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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for June 12, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson and Jeff Jones

UCI announces Pro Tour licence candidates

By Jeff Jones

The UCI has announced the names of the 24 sporting groups that have applied for licences under the new Pro Tour system next year. Despite a good deal of widespread opposition to the new scheme, it seems that plenty of teams want to make sure they have their foot in the door when it comes to making the cut next year. A three member UCI commission consisting of Pierre Zappelli, Hans Höhener and André Hurter will assess each candidate to determine the most eligible for the 18 Pro Tour team spots.

The UCI Licences Commission will give a preliminary ruling on the status of the candidates on July 2, with the final grant of licences to be made in November, 2004.

On the basis of the UCI's licence/country breakdown, Italy has been awarded the most spots with four Pro Tour licences. Spain and France are both eligible for three; Germany and Belgium have two each; and Denmark, USA, Netherlands and Switzerland will be awarded one licence per country.

A glance at the list below shows that Italy is the only country that has fewer licence candidates than available spots, a reflection of the fact that Italy is one of the countries most strongly opposed to the Pro Tour. On the other hand, France, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium are oversupplied with licence candidates, while Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and the USA have applied for the exact number of spots available.

It's also noteworthy that two of the Belgian licences have been applied for by Omega Pharma (Davitamon and Bodysol) and Esperanza bvba (Quick.Step), which indicates that Patrick Lefevere definitely wants "in" in the Pro Tour. On the other hand, Christophe Sercu, current manager of Lotto-Domo, has not applied for a licence.

Another interesting point is that Domina Vacanze, under the managing company of Blue Sea Service LLC Albany, has applied for a licence in Switzerland, along with Phonak and Saunier Duval-Prodir. But given Phonak's current committment to cycling, it seems unlikely that the sole Swiss licence will go to another team.

The list of candidates is only that at the moment. Each one has paid the required €15,000 and met the May 31 deadline for submission. But with teams of between 25 and 28 riders and minimum budget requirements equivalent to those of the largest Division I teams now, it remains to be seen how many of these applications turn into fully funded Pro Tour teams with licences. At the moment, there are less than 10 teams on the list that have confirmed they have sufficient sponsorship to take part in the Pro Tour next year and beyond.

The full list of candidates is as follows:

Italy

Sport Services Team Srl (Alessio-Bianchi)
Pro-Cycling Professional Cycling Team AG (Lampre)
First Bike Italia srl (Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie)

France

France Cyclisme (AG2R Prévoyance)
Vélo Club de Paris (Crédit Agricole)
Société de Gestion de l'Echappée (FDJeux.com)
Cofidis Competition EUSRL (Cofidis)
SA Vendée Cyclisme (Brioches la Boulangère)

Spain

Abarca Sports S.L. (Illes Balears-Banesto)
Fundacion Ciclista Euskadi (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Active Bay S.L. (Liberty Seguros)
Grupo Deportivo Fuenlabrada Ciclismo (Relax Bergasol)
Sponser S.L.

Belgium

Omega Pharma
Esperanza bvba (Quick Step)
Bucs Bears Promotion (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)

Germany

H-S-M GmbH (Gerolsteiner)
Walter Godefroot GmbH (T-Mobile)

Switzerland

Blue Sea Service LLC Albany (Domina Vacanze)
ARcycling AG (Phonak Hearing Systems)
GM Bikes SA (Saunier Duval-Prodir)

Denmark

Riis Cycling A/S (CSC)

Netherlands

Professional Cycling Promotion B.V. (Rabobank)

USA

Tailwind Sports Corporation (US Postal presented by Berry Floor)

Death in Tour of Colombia

By Haroldo Camacho

Juan Barrero (31) has died during stage 5 (Santa Rosa-Chinchina) of the Tour of Colombia. Barrero crashed on a high-speed descent and died of head injuries in hospital shortly afterwards. Barrero was a well known amateur in Colombia and was riding the Tour of Colombia for the sixth time, lying 30th in the overall classification.

Two other riders, Víctor Hugo González and Santo Álvarez were also involved in the crash. González sustained a broken left wrist and Álvarez suffered cuts and bruises on his left thigh.

The fall occurred some five minutes after the start, but due to the descent the peloton was already descending at high speed. Other riders said the turn was slick with some type of liquid on the surface. Barrero suffered injuries to the head, cervical area, and the thorax area. Ambulance attention was immediate and all resuscitation measures were given at the hospital. All three riders were wearing appropriate helmets.

Barrero was a member of the Fusagasuga-Juegos Nacionales team, and of the Ciclo Ases de Bogota bicycling club. He had also raced in the Dominican Republic, Panamá, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Guadalupe (France).

Colombians fail blood tests

In other Vuelta a Colombia news, Orlando Acosta and Néstor Bernal have been declared unfit to race after returning high haematocrit levels in the race's first-ever blood tests.

Hincapie & O'Grady in audacious Dauphiné exploit

Stuart O'Grady and George Hincapie
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Australian sprinter Stuart O'Grady's run of good form hit a new peak at the Dauphiné yesterday when he and US Postal's George Hincapie tore away from the peloton in an unstoppable two-up escapade.

"Big day... I'm stuffed," an exhausted Stuart O'Grady told Cyclingnews. "Our team really deserved a win this week... after a few close calls and a few tactical errors, but the team has just been absolutely fantastic. This morning at our team meeting, we decided that all the eggs were in my basket and no matter what, I had to get in the break and try and win today."

O'Grady couldn't have picked a better breakaway partner than Hincapie as the two powered away from the bunch, building a lead over the peloton that peaked at 7'35". Not that far behind, though, was a chasing group including Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) and Jérôme Pineau (Brioches La Boulangere). "Man, we were going and the guys behind would have to be going really hard to get us," said O'Grady. "It was a hardcore day; we could see them just behind most of the break, but I knew if we could get over that hill the second time, there was absolutely no way we were going to get caught."

Hincapie concurred that the two had gone like the clappers. "I wanted to win," he said. "I haven't raced in a while and this morning at our team meeting, I said I would try to go in the break and it worked. We both worked at the limit today; there was no holding back if we were going to stay away."

Full report, results & photos

Gerolsteiner announces Tour team

The German Gerolsteiner team has announced its lineup for the upcoming Tour de France. Under the direction of Hans-Michael Holczer and Christian Henn, the nine man squad will consist of a mixture of German, Austrian and Swiss riders.

"We want to aim for two things above all: first with Georg Totschnig to get one man in the top 10 of the general classification," said Hans-Michael Holczer. "Secondly we have a world class sprinter in Danilo Hondo, who we want to try and get into the green jersey. With Ronny Scholz and Sebastian Lang the team will take two German Tour-neo's to the Grande Boucle, which will give them their debut in the toughest cycling race in the world."

The full team: René Haselbacher (26, Wien, Aut), Danilo Hondo (30, Cottbus, Ger), Sebastian Lang (24, Erfurt, Ger), Sven Montgomery (28, Kehrsatz, Swi), Uwe Peschel (35, Kressbronn, Ger), Ronny Scholz (26, Herrenberg, Ger), Georg Totschnig (33, Ramsau, Aut), Peter Wrolich (30, Latschach, Aut), Markus Zberg (29, Oberhofen, Swi).

Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme riders paid

Financial authorities of the Comunidad Valenciana have released the funds necessary to pay team members the two months salary they have been owed, according to a report from Marca.

Team manager Vicenta Belda said he hoped the funding would also solve the problem of the seven riders who are still unable to compete for the team because their licences have not been finalized with the UCI, and that he team would now be able to race normally.

First teams confirmed for Tour of Britain

Organisers of the Tour of Britain (September 1-5) have announced the first two teams that will take part in the race, which returns to the international calendar this year after a five-year absence.

Lotto-Domo and MrBookmaker.com-Palmans have signed up for the five-day event which starts in Manchester and finishes in Westminster in central London. For Briish fans, this raises the possibility of seeing riders such as Peter Van Petegem and Robbie McEwen of Lotto-Domo in action, as well as MrBookmaker.com-Palmans' British duo of Roger Hammond and Jeremy Hunt.

Team rosters for Volta a Catalunya

Several teams have announced their rosters for the Tour of Catalonia (Volta a Catalunya, June 14-20). They are:

Cofidis: Daniel Atienza, Inigo Cuesta, Jimmy Engoulvent, Bingen Fernandez, Dmitriy Fofonov, Luis Perez, Cédric Vasseur.

Liberty Seguros: Rene Andrle, Dariusz Baranowski, Carlos Barredo, Giampaolo Caruso, Allan Davis, Alvaro Gonzela De Galdeano, Jesús Hernández, Christian Vande Velde.

Lampre: Igor Astarloa, Alessandro Ballan, Paolo Bossoni, Matteo Carrara, Olexandr Kvachuk, Daniele Righi, Michele Scotto d'Abusco, Romans Vainsteins.

Cafés Baqué: Peio Arreitunandia, Hernán Buenahora, Félix Cárdenas, Mikel Gaztañaga, Francisco Palacio, Aitor Pérez-Arrieta, Fernando Torres, Julen Urbano

Dietsch checks out Marathon world's course

With just a month to go till the 2004 MTB marathon world championships in Bad Goisern, Austria (July 9 & 11), Thomas Dietsch (Bianchi Agos) has been in Upper Austria checking out the course, along with local riders of the DT Swiss-Merida-Austria team, 2003 Austrian MTB championship runner-up Adi Harrer, as well as the two MTB Challenge overall champions 2003, Roland Galler and Günther Pernkopf.

Dietsch thinks the 106km-long course is a hard one. "In comparison to the marathon route of the past two years, the World Championship course is a lot more demanding and challenging. Especially the long steep up-hills are tough," said the French endurance specialist. "What I like in particular is that this year there are fewer sealed roads."

Dietsch was also impressed by the technical single track sections. "After we passed Bad Ischl, I thought, well this was it. But then we hit the incredible climb up to the Bad Ischler Salzberg, the toughest ascent of all."

The course will get a thorough test on July 10 when it hosts the Salzkammergut Trophy, and riders will complete two laps for a 200+km distance, a bit more than the typical 30-40km cross-country mountain bike race.

Tour de Gastown seeks volunteers

The Tour de Gastown in Vancouver, BC Canada, July 21, is seeking volunteers to help with event functions such as rider registration/sign-in, marshalling, set-up and teardown and others. To volunteer please contact Tatiana Micenko on (604) 215-0306 or email volunteers@tourdegastown.com, indicating your time availability.

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