First Edition Cycling News for June 2, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Sponsor Quick-Step, one of the surprisingly large number of flooring companies that supports professional cycling, yesterday announced it would continue to support the team that carries its name, run by Patrick Lefevere, until at least 2008.
In an announcement from the team, Lefevere said, "We are very pleased to have come to an agreement. Quick Step has guaranteed its support for four more seasons. The budget put at our disposal by Quick-Step will permit us to build a top-quality team and plan for the long term.
"In accordance with the UCI's requirements for teams taking part in the new Pro Tour we will pay special attention to developing young riders. We intend to reinforce an existing system where we directly and indirectly monitor certain teams of young riders, creating an important feeder for the principal team."
Canadian Tour prologue "can't be done"
The proposed 2008 Tour de France prologue in Quebec, Canada is looking very unlikely, according to a report in Canadian newspaper La Presse.
Jean-François Pescheux, competition director of the Société du Tour de France, told the paper that the idea was tempting but "difficult to realize".
"The inherent logistical constraints of such a project are practically impossible to resolve," said M. Pescheux, "In a 24-hour period you can't arrange two seven-hour flights with a peloton of 200 racers.
"It's as if you asked the Formula One organisers to run trials in Canada then run the race in Europe. They wouldn't do it. The idea was studied, the potential was there, everything was there, but it just can't be done."
M. Pescheux also mentioned recent comments by Lance Armstrong that it took him three weeks to fully recover from the jet lag after racing in the US. "If that's true for him, it's true for all racers," he said.
Tour of Britain route outlined
Organisers of the Tour of Britain (September 1-5), the first national pro tour in the UK for five years, have released outline details of the route of the five-day race.
The first stage, which organisers were previously reported to be planning to start in Manchester, will take place in the north west of England, according to organiser Sweetspot. It will be followed by a stage in Yorkshire. The third stage will visit cities in the East Midlands and the fourth stage, on Saturday, will be centred on South Wales.
The final stage will be a criterium in Westminster, the central area of London. All five stages will be covered by the BBC.
Lehigh Valley Velodrome opening night
This Friday June 4 sees the 2004 opening night at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, Trexlertown, PA and organisers have announced a packed program for the evening, including the Nicole Reinhart Women's Cycling Classic and Tandemonium tandem racing.
The Nicole Reinhart Women's Cycling Classic holds the largest single day track purse for women in North America and commemorates the tragic passing of Nicole Reinhart in September of 2000. Events included in the 2004 version of this event include the Women's Mid-Atlantic Points Race Championships; miss-and-out, and one-mile final. Women to compete include Ashley Kimmet, 2000 Junior World Championship points race medalist, Sarah Uhl, 2001 Junior World Champion, national championship medalist Becky Conzelman, and New Zealand Olympic hopeful Joanne Kiesanowski.
Tandem racing, formerly a world championship event, has all but disappeared from the track world, largely because of its dangerous and unpredictable nature. Riders slated to participate in the event include Gibby "the Bear" Hatton, a Velodrome Hall of Fame rider and multiple world champion.
Men's events for the evening will highlight racing by local rivals Marty Nothstein, 2000 Olympic gold medalist, and two-time Olympian Jame Carney. Events to be contested include a miss-and-out, 5-mile final, and prime race.
For more information see www.lvvelo.org
Cycling among top five tested sports
Cycling is often claimed to be the sport that most thoroughly or frequently sees athletes tested for performance enhancing substances, but statistics recently released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) show that's not the case, in the USA at least.
USADA conducted 1,866 tests in the first quarter of 2004, of which by far the largest number - just over 23 percent - were in the sports of track and field athletics. Cycling ranked fifth with seven percent of tests.
The USADA figures include tests conducted at races, out-of-competition tests performed without notice and prearranged tests at training camps and the like. While the time of year would tend to reduce the number of in-competition tests, cycling ranks fourth in the number of out-of-competition tests (6 percent), well behind track and field (23 percent) and swimming (13 percent).
Cycling commended in fight against obesity
By Carlton Reid, bikebiz.co.uk
Like many developed nations, the UK is seeing a substantial increase in obesity among its population. A report from the House of Commons select committee on health is scathing of the government's efforts to deal with the problem, the health effects of which are seen as a potentially huge problem for the UK National Health Service. The report comments that it is "scandalous" that successive governments have failed to promote walking and cycling as key modes of transport and lauds cycling as the single most effective solution to keeping folks trim.
Obesity has grown by almost 400 percent in the last 25 years. Three-quarters of the adult population are now overweight or obese. England has witnessed the fastest growth in obesity in Europe and childhood obesity has tripled in twenty years.
The report paints a bleak picture of the likely threat that obesity poses: "Should the gloomier scenarios relating to obesity turn out to be true, the sight of amputees will become much more familiar in the streets of Britain. There will be many more blind people. There will be huge demand for kidney dialysis. The positive trends of recent decades in combating heart disease, partly the consequence of the decline in smoking, will be reversed. Indeed, this will be the first generation where children die before their parents as a consequence of childhood obesity."
The report calculates the cost of overweight and obesity to the nation at up to £7.4bn per year, a figure which will rapidly rise.
Chairman David Hinchliffe said, "Our inquiry is a wake-up call for Government to show that the causes of ill health need to be tackled by many Departments not just Health.
"Wholesale cultural and societal changes will be needed if any headway is to be made. The urban infrastructure will need to be completely redesigned to encourage an active lifestyle."
The report notes that levels of cycling have fallen by over 80 percent in the last 50 years. Fewer than one percent of school journeys are now made by bicycle and half the nation's children fail to achieve the Government's modest target of two hours activity per week.
The cross-party committee remarks that the key to improving activity levels across society is to boost activity in everyday life in areas such as transport.
The committee calls on the government to "take serious measures to boost cycling such as creating properly segregated cycle lanes."
The report has some jump-out passages on cycling:
40. We believe that providing safe routes to school for walking and cycling, adequate and safe play areas in and out of school is very important in the battle against obesity. (Paragraph 284)
46. It would not be appropriate for us to spell out the individual measures required to achieve the Government's ambitious cycling targets, although we were particularly impressed by the segregation of cyclists from road traffic we witnessed in Odense. If the Government were to achieve its target of trebling cycling in the period 2000-2010 (and there are very few signs that it will) that might achieve more in the fight against obesity than any individual measure we recommend within this report. So we would like the Department of Health to have a strategic input into transport policy and we believe it would be an important symbolic gesture of the move from a sickness to a health service if the Department of Health offered funding to support the Department for Transport's sustainable transport town pilots. (Paragraph 316)
Win a team bike in basis sweepstakes
The Basis Women's Cycling Team will be giving away one Javelin Brunello bicycle, equipped with Reynolds Cirro-SV race wheels in the basis team 2004 sweepstakes.
The bike is valued at over $4500. "When I put the bike on top of my car, the value of the car triples," says team director Nicole Freedman.
"This team issue bicycle is designed to be the lightest, legal racing bicycle," continues Freedman. "It weighs barely 15 pounds. We hope one of our competitors does not win."
The bicycle comes equipped with super light componentry including: a Thomson seatpost and stem, Kestrel handlebars, White Industry hubs, Cane Creek brakes, Kool Stop brake pads, Full Speed Ahead cranks, Speedplay pedals, Fizik saddle, and Continental tires. Handlebar streamers and/or orange flags can be added by request, although such items are not recommended for use in professional races, not least because the addition of streamers or orange flags adds a non-trivial amount of weight.
Says team member Chrissy Ruiter "When I switched to my Javelin, my bike lost three pounds. That's five pints of Ben and Jerry's!"
Basis hopes the sweepstakes will attract a range of athletes, not just cyclists. "Non-cyclists could use the bicycle for a flower pot," says Freedman's grandmother Helen.
The team will also provide 25 first prizes, a goody bag with products from basis, fresh and gentle facial cleansing, and Barbara's Bakery, all-natural and organic breakfast cereals, cookies, crackers and snacks.
To enter to win your free bicycle visit www.basisclean.com or come by the team van when no one is looking.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)