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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 19, 2004

Edited By Jeff Jones

Cofidis won't pull out of cycling

François Migraine, CEO of French telephone credit company Cofidis, has declared that his company will continue to sponsor a cycling team, despite a large scale investigation into doping that has touched several past and present members of the team. "We will not let go of cycling because we don't want to make it pay for the faults of one, two or three individuals," Migraine told France 2 TV on Sunday. "I have thought about it. This is not the way out that would resolve the problem. The captain of a ship does not jump overboard when the boat leaks...I have no intention of leaving cycling."

Migraine defended his team from accusations that it was another "Festina affair", which in 1998 was the first big doping scandal to hit cycling. "I don't at all feel in the same situation as the Festina of that time, quite the opposite in fact. Since 1998 we have put in place a whole organisation for fighting doping."

The Cofidis boss admitted that it was a "huge surprise" that Cofidis soigneur Bogdan Madejak was at the centre of this investigation. "He's been with us since 1997, he has always done his work well."

As for Robert Sassone, who allegedly said that pressure to get results forced him to dope, Migraine did not agree with his point of view. At the French track championships in July last year, Cofidis director Alain Bondue and Robert Sassone were discussing his future. "When he asked if we envisioned to keep him, we said no 'because your results are insufficient'," recalled Migraine. "This is all that was said to him. If he interprets it like he wants to interpret, I find that extremely regrettable."

Sassone meanwhile has been sacked by Oktos, the team he was to ride for after Cofidis.

Crédit Agricole presentation

French Division I team Crédit Agricole has presented a substantially revamped roster to tackle the 2004 racing season. 10 new riders have been signed by the team, which has lost big hitters Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt, among others. The acquisition of New Zealand sprinter Julian Dean, French all rounder Patrice Halgand, Russian climber Alexandre Botcharov, British track world champion Bradley Wiggins, French sprinter Damien Nazon and Kazakhs Dmitriy Muravyev and Andrey Kashechkin will strengthen the team that already boasts Christophe Moreau and Thor Hushovd in its ranks.

Hushovd will be the team's leader for the classics, and also wants to contest the green jersey at the Tour de France. Moreau is the team's main GC rider, while the arrival of Dean and Nazon will certainly bolster Crédit Agricole's sprinting stocks.

"Our calendar is centred on the Tour de France," team manager Roger Legeay told the press. "But we are also interested in the other French stage races and the Coupe de France races."

Crédit Agricole will sponsor the team until at least the end of 2005, but is so far extremely happy with the level of exposure that cycling has brought it.

Credit Agricole team roster

Cyclo-cross World Cup to change

The UCI will change the format of the cyclo-cross World Cup next year, expanding it from current six race series. It will undergo a name change to become the "World Cup Series", and will feature 14 races held in 10 countries. A win in a race will be worth 250 points towards the overall classification. Teams of eight riders per country will contest each event, but riders will be allowed to wear their sponsor's jerseys rather than national jerseys.

In addition, the UCI rankings will start from zero at the beginning of the season, and the number one rider at the end of the season will receive €30,000.

Source: VRT Teletekst

Team LPR meet

New Italian Division II team LPR is holding its first training camp of the season in Terracina, Italy. The team which includes Elio Aggiano and Angelo Lopeboselli in its roster will remain in Terracina until January 29. Team LPR will be presented on January 31, and its first race will be the GP Costa degli Etruschi di Donoratico on February 8.

Southam to Amore e Vita

British U23 rider Tom Southam has signed a two year contract with the Amore e Vita team, which has seen many of his compatriots get starts in professional cycling. Southam rode as a stagiaire for the team last year, including racing in the Coppa Sabatini and the Giro della Provincia di Lucca.

Alpine Tracks/SRAM/RockShox MTB team

The SRAM/RockShox mountain bike team has been boosted by the arrival of Alpine Tracks as a major sponsor for the 2004 season. Alpine Tracks will provide the team's European base of operations at its luxurious chalet complex in Morzine, France, and both the team's riders will have superb access to some of the best riding areas in the Alps.

Two of the most experienced women in UK downhilling make up the Alpine Tracks/SRAM/RockShox World Cup Team: Anja Rees Jones, who returned from a serious injury in2003 to take silver in the British National Championships and 30th overall in the UCI World Cup, and Petra Wiltshire, the 2001 Masters World Champion who will likely be riding her final season in 2004.

The team's program will include the UCI World Cup, IXS Downhill Cup, Maxxis International Series, British Cycling National Championships and National Points Series.

The team's sponsors are Alpine Tracks, SRAM, Rock Shox, PowerBar, Kona Bicycles, Bolle, Sixsixone, Endura, TFTunedShox, Buff and USE

Cycling Tasmania Rider of Season update

By Rod Morris

American Jame Carney faces an uphill battle to reel in Ulverstone's Ben Price to win his second Cycling Tasmania Rider-of-the-Season award. Carney heads to the 50th annual St Helens Carnival trailing Price by 10 points, with a maximum of 15 points on offer. The CT Rider award is based on all open track carnivals with points on offer in handicap finals and scratch races. Price is currently on 51 points and is 8 clear of Australian scratchmen Graeme Brown and Nathan Clarke, neither of whom will be riding at the popular St Helens Carnival, leaving Carney as Price's biggest danger.

Price has won four races this summer, including the Pursuit Scratch at the PCCCT Carnival on November 23 and the D Grade Scratch at the Launceston Silverdome Carnival on December 28, as well as Lightning Handicaps at the Rosebery and MVDCC carnivals. His consistency has also seen him score 16 minor placings, swelling his points tally considerably.

Although a major wheelrace eluded Carney, he did win the Betta Milk 2000 m at Burnie on New Year's Day and last weekend's MVDCC Wheelrace, as well as four A Grade Scratch races at Rosebery, Devonport, Hobart and MVDCC.

Carney's American countrywoman Becky Conzleman has a massive 14 point lead in the Women's Cycling Tasmania award, whilst the junior award will go down to the wire. Launceston's Clay Murfett holds a slender a 3 point lead over Thomas Robinson, with just a 1000 m Lightning Handicap, Scratch race and St Helens Wheelrace remaining.

Male Rider of the Season
1 Ben Price                    51 pts
2 Graeme Brown                 43
3 Nathan Clarke                43
4 Jame Carney                  41
5 Gareth Atkins                25
6 Matthew Atkins               24
7 Stephen Rossendell           23
Female Rider of the Season
1 Becky Conzleman              38 pts
2 Belinda Goss                 24
3 Natasha Mapley               17
4 Liz Williams                 14
5 Sarah Hammer                 12
6 Carrie Price                 10
7 Grace Sulzberger             8
8 Samantha Hellyer             7
9 Louise Yaxley                6
10 Kailee Goodwin              1
Junior Rider of the Season
1 Clay Murfett                 67 pts
2 Thomas Robinson              64
3 Jake Laskey                  49
4 Brenden Sutton               49
5 Ed Robinson                  44
6 Ben Fielding                 41
7 David Lyons                  39
8 Ben Laskey                   36
9 Callan Walker                27
10 Carrie Price                26
Cycling Tasmania Order of Merit
1 Bradley Payne              $12,345
2 Graeme Brown                 $8785
3 Mark Jamieson                $5880
4 Matt Goss                    $4526
5 Stephen Rossendell           $4090
6 Jame Carney                  $3815
7 Russell Downing              $3800
8 Ben Price                    $2990
9 Nathan Clarke                $2720
10 Grant Irwin                 $1803 

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