First Edition Cycling News for November 15, 2004
Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Jeff Jones
Phonak almost out of ProTour
Drop dead date December 2 for UCI decision
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Although Phonak owner Andy Rihs may have thought he could finesse the delicate situation with the UCI vis a vis ProTour license approval, Swiss Federal Judge Zappelli and his Pro Cycling Council appointed commission lowered the boom on Saturday with the formal communication that the Swiss squad would not be granted a ProTour license.
Phonak's directeur sportif Alvaro Pino told Spain's Todociclismo that he was "surprised". "Regarding our riders [Hamilton and Perez - ed.] there are no official measures against them. If there were, they would be kicked off of the team as we did with Camenzind. I want to be clear that we are not against the UCI and their blood test controls. We just want to be certain of the eventual guilt of our athletes," Pino explained. But with defiant statements posted by Phonak about the Hamilton and Perez tests on their team website, the Swiss hearing technology team evidently did itself no favours with Judge Zappelli's panel. Today, the New York Times' Juliet Macur quoted Phonak boss Rihs at last month's Interbike trade show as saying, "We wanted a clear second opinion because this new test is a little black box with a thousand questions in it."
At the same Interbike show, Hamilton's fellow Team USA Olympian Bobby Julich told the Times' Macur that, "Suspicions about Hamilton 'go against everything I've ever known from the guy.' But, Julich added: 'The rest of us at the Olympics passed the test. Why didn't he? I'm sick of people who cheat, sick of cleaning up their mess and trying to explain it. There is heavy evidence against (Hamilton). With that much evidence, I don't know how he's going to get out of it."
Phonak still has one chance for an appeal to Judge Zappelli's commission by November 22 but at this point, the chances seem slim to none that the only top level Swiss cycling team will compete in the ProTour in 2005.
Small ProTour calendar for 2005
The International Cycling Union's licensing commission has published a list of 16 races that will be included in the new 2005 ProTour calendar, according to AFP. While the three Grand Tours are missing, as well as other French classics like Paris-Roubaix or Paris-Tours which are owned by Tour de France organiser ASO, the previously not picked French one day race GP Ouest-France in Plouay has been selected for the new calendar. The publication indicates that no agreement has yet been found in the ongoing negotiations between UCI officials and the Grand Tour's organisers, who wish to improve their standings within the road cycling reform.
The UCI ProTour will include the following races in 2005:
Ronde van Vlaanderen (Belgium)
Ulli's back, and Rudy's on the horn
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
After a post-season vacation, Jan Ullrich has returned to his home along the Bodensee in Switzerland with his companion Gabi and their baby Sarah Maria. Ulli has been talking with his mentor Rudy Pevenage, who recently explained Jan's state of mind. "We'll be getting together soon to talk about Jan's winter preparation", explained Pevenage. "Jan is relaxing now but as he's done in year past, he will go to South Africa for the month of December. Normally I'll go with him."
With Jan's main career rival Lance Armstrong a 50/50 chance to start next year's Tour, if the American isn't there, Ullrich will likely start as favourite despite his disappointing fourth place Tour finish this year. But Pevenage isn't certain that the American won't be at the Tour. "People are talking about one chance in two that Lance will be at the Tour. If it's true, that would be the first time....and that would change everything. Because there wouldn't be one team that would control everything, at least at the beginning of the Tour until the pecking order is decided. As well, with the absence of the number one favourite, the race would be more open. "If Lance decides not to ride the Tour after the first of the year, five riders could be candidates to win."
Pevenage named Vinokourov, Basso, Heras, Cunego and Klöden as potential rivals for Jan The Man, but also explained that, "I know that if Jan wins the Tour again, he wants to beat Lance Armstrong!"
An interview with Mark McCormack
Taking the future one season at a time
Mark McCormack is as accomplished an American cyclist as any in the sport today. Racing since the mid-eighties, McCormack has become known as a patient, intelligent racer and evolved as a strong team leader of the Colavita Olive Oil team. He's won everything there is to win, from crits and stage races to, ultimately, the 2003 USPRO Championships in Philadelphia, PA. He's competed in or won races as close as in his hometown to as far away as two-days' flying time.
McCormack is also a cyclocross racer. He won cyclocross national championships as both a junior and an Elite. The key to his success, he tells Steve Medcroft, is to focus on three simple principles: set goals, stay focused and keep it fun.
For Mark McCormack, learning to love the fun in cycling came only after a try at a number of traditional sports in his hometown of Plymouth, MA. He played ice hockey at age 4, Little League Baseball from 9 to 12 and youth Football and Basketball in school.
But his love of sport would soon find a mate in cycling. "I've ridden bikes since I was able to walk," he said during a recent exchange from his home in Massachusetts.
Rossner 38 and directeur sportif
Petra Rossner, "the fastest woman on earth" as she's called in Germany, celebrated her 38th birthday yesterday (November 14). The ex-pro cyclist will continue to be involved in cycling as her team Nürnberger Versicherung made public that she will work as sports directeur alongside Jens Zemke next season. Rossner put an end to her very successful career as a professional cyclist this summer after not getting selected to participate in the World Championships in Verona, despite being 2004 German road champion.
Half a century for Hinault
Bernard Hinault celebrated his 50th birthday on Sunday in Saint-Grégoire, France, where an exposition of his jersey collection, bicycles and trophies was organised to honour his distinguished career. Among the guests were UCI President Hein Verbruggen, French cycling federation president Jean Pitallier, and Tour de France boss Jean-Marie Leblanc.
A five-time Tour de France winner, Hinault could be regarded as the greatest ever French road cyclist. Nicknamed "Blaireau" (badger) for his obstinate, forceful style, Hinault won the Tour de France in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985. After retiring at the end of the 1986 season, Hinault returned to his farm in Calorguen, near Dinan on the north coast of Brittany. Today he divides his time between the life of a gentleman farmer, and his activity in wholesale bakery distribution as well as public relations with Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the group that runs the Tour de France.
Born: November 14, 1954 at Yffiniac (Côtes-du-Nord) France
Four weeks until Vuelta presentation
The last of the season's three Grand Tours, the Vuelta a España, will be presented in Madrid's IFEMA convention centre on December 15. The 60th edition of the race will run between August 27 and September 18, effectively a week earlier than this year.
Thürig, Marvulli and Schneitter take Swiss honours
Karin Thürig, Franco Marvulli and Nathalie Schneitter have been named the Swiss Cyclists of the Year by Swiss Cycling. The three were considered the top athletes in their category, with Thürig winning the World Time Trial Championship, and a bronze medal in the Olympic time trial and the individual pursuit; Marvulli winning silver medals at both the Olympics and the World's; and Nathalie Schneitter winning the Junior World MTB Championship.
Univega: A new Swiss women's team
Univega bicycles will sponsor a Swiss-based professional women's team next season. Growing out of a national women's team in 2004, the Univega Pro Cycling Team will include World TT Champion Karin Thürig and Priska Doppmann, who was 3rd in this year's Giro d'Italia. "The investment in women's cycling will be reinforced and is in line with the company's marketing strategy to enlarge our range with more specific models for the fast growing female bike market," said sponsor Univega in a statement.
The team has one reigning World Champion and five current national champions. It will concentrate on the World Cup and the major stage races, leaving Europe in January to start its training camp in Melbourne, Australia.
Karin Thürig (Swi, World TT Champion, Olympic TT Bronze Medal, Swiss
TT Champion 2004)
More Information: www.univega-pro-cycling-team.ch
Belgian national series announced
The 2005 Sapim Topcompetitie, the Belgian national series, will amount to ten races and start with the classic Kattekoers Gent-Ieper on March 13 instead of the Zesbergenprijs Harelbeke which was the traditional opening race of the series. The last race on next season's calendar will be the Grand Prix Joseph Bruyère in Hotton on September 17. Last year's team winner was Division II team Palmans-Collstrop.
The full 2005 racing schedule lists as follows:
March 13: Kattekoers Gent-Ieper (ME 1.2)
Commonwealth Bank Classic on December 4
The Commonwealth Bank Central Coast Classic will take place on Saturday December 4 at the Adcock Park Velodrome, West Gosford, Australia. The Cat. 2 event of the Australian Track Series Ranking (STAR) will feature Country Junior Track Championships, Junior Carnival and the Commonwealth Bank Classic as a final race at 5.30 pm on the outdoor track. Entertainment for the whole family will be provided.
On the following day, a criterium at Ourimbah University campus with $1500 cash prizes will be organised on a 2 km circuit closed to traffic. The lap features two corners, a 400 m climb as well as a descent along the finishing straight. Rider's entry closing date is Friday, November 19. For more information, contact Damon Scarfe at firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Craft at email@example.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)