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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for November 19, 2004

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Jeff Jones

Lance golden again: Armstrong wins Velo d'Or

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Lance Armstrong
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

For the fifth time in six years, Lance Armstrong has won the prestigious Velo d'Or award from France's Velo Magazine. After his incredible comeback from testicular cancer, Armstrong placed third in 1998's Velo d'Or and since 1999, only Mario Cipollini has bested the Texan (2002) since Armstrong emerged as the dominant Grand Tour rider of his generation.

After winning an unprecedented sixth straight Tour last summer, the 33 year-old Armstrong has said he's not sure to be back for the Tour de France next season. Last month in an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Armstrong hinted that he wanted a change of scene from the Champs-Elysees podium. "Part of me wonders what I'm ever going to do on the Champs-Elysees again," explained Armstrong. For 2005 with his new Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team, Lance looks ready to embark on the pursuit of new challenges like a successful spring classics season and perhaps a shot at the Hour Record.

Runner-up to Armstrong in the Velo d'Or is emerging Italian star Damiano Cunego, who will lead the Lampre-Caffita squad in 2005. Cunego paid homage to Big Tex from his second place, saying that "Armstrong is the top rider in the world and he certainly deserved the recognition of the Velo d'Or. Even I deserved to win, since I had a season beyond any expectation this year...but the fact that I'm ahead of riders like Bettini and Freire is a great satisfaction. I hope to win this next year."

Despite the historical accomplishment of six straight Tours by Armstrong, this hasn't convinced old school Euros like Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser. Although they are old friends, Eddy never minced words when evaluating Armstrong's approach to racing. "Armstrong is a cannibal, but only at the Tour," said the man nicknamed The Cannibal for his ferocious appetite for victory. "If I raced with a medicine dropper like him, I'd have won the Tour for at least twenty years. I've always criticised Lance because he gives little back to cycling."

Evidently, Italian great Francesco Moser isn't very impressed with Armstrong's fifth Velo d'Or, saying, "(For me) Cunego in first place; I don't even consider Armstrong, even if he's really great in the Tour. If every rider (rode) like him, cycling would have to close up shop tomorrow." But the criticism of old-timers like Moser and Merckx has never had much impact on Armstrong, who's always admitted that the Tour De France is the only race he really cares about. Plus the American has shown how to succeed in the biggest bike race in the world in an cycling epoch that is much more about specialization and specific focus than back in the day when Moser and Merckx were doing over 100 races per season.

On Monday, November 30, Armstrong and his new Discovery Channel team will have their first training camp in Austin, Texas, slated until December 6.

New world record by Pronk

Track rider Matthé Pronk has topped the 34 year-old world hour record behind Derny in Alkmaar, Netherlands, on Thursday. Behind the Derny motorcycle driven by Joop Zijlaard, he rode 66.114 km in 60 minutes, adding 1.568 km to the Belgian Theo Verschueren's record of 1970.

His brother, Jos Pronk, had aimed for the Dutch hour record behind Derny on the same afternoon, but did not succeed. After his time was up, just a few laps separated him from the title, which belongs to Danny Stam (61,219 kms).

Matthé Pronk's new record was established steadily, as the following measurements show:

Min.    Verschueren      Pronk          Difference

5        5.119 km       5.200 km        81 metres
10      10.496         10.680          184
15      15.875         16.160          285
20      21.275         21.710          435
25      26.677         27.250          573
30      32.062         32.800          738
35      37.458         38.300          842
40      42.836         43.850         1014
45      48.214         49.350         1136
50      53.643         54.900         1257
55      59.080         60.500         1420
60      64.546         66.114         1568 

The Derny hour record has evolved since 1953. It is the first successful record to be timed in the Netherlands. The record throughout history:

Jean Bobet (Fra) 1953, Paris, France, 54.884 km
Georges Decaux (Fra) 1954, Paris, France, 55.195 km
Roger Queugnet (Fra) 1954, Paris, France, 55.338 km
Dolf Verschueren (Bel) 1954, Antwerpen, Belgium, 58.686 km
Graham French (Aus) 1955, Antwerpen, Belgium, 59.875 km
Stan Ockers (Bel) 1956, Antwerpen, Belgium, 61.745 km
Peter Post (Ned) 1965, Antwerpen, Belgium, 63.783 km
Theo Verschueren (Bel) 1970, Antwerpen, Belgium, 64.546 km
Matthé Pronk (Ned) 2004, Alkmaar, Netherlands, 66.114 km

Médéric Clain suspension lifted

The Disciplinary Commission of the French Cycling Federation FFC has lifted the suspension of ex-Cofidis rider Médéric Clain. The 27 year-old had been accused of doping infractions and suspended since April 1, 2004 after allegations from his then-teammates Philippe Gaumont and Robert Sassone. On November 3, before the FCC's commission, Clain maintained his claim that he had "bought and transported the products, but never used them.

"I was able to explain myself," the rider said about his meeting with the Commission. "I showed them my medical test results, spoke about the legal examination and about eight months of unemployment." Clain had been fired by his team Cofidis on May 4. "I am happy that my honesty has been recognised. If a team is looking for a clean rider, I am ready."

The other suspended Cofidis riders Philippe Gaumont and Robert Sassone, who said they had doped themselves with Clain during the 2003 season, still have to appear before the Disciplinary Commission.

2008 World's to Ireland?

By Shane Stokes,

Pat McQuaid and fellow race promoter/organiser Alan Rushton are currently working on a bid to stage the 2008 World Road Race championships in Ireland. The bid is still in the early planning stage, the two negotiating with the tourist board Failte Ireland and the Irish government for the necessary backing. They expect a decision to be made before the end of this year.

"There is a bid in for 2008 all right," confirmed McQuaid today. "We are in discussions at the moment as to how 'live' it is. It is under consideration; we expect a decision in the next month or so." McQuaid and Rushton have worked together for many years, in the past bringing some of the world's top riders to compete in Ireland. They promoted the highly successful Nissan Classic during the eighties and early nineties and, in 1998, were a crucial factor behind the hosting of the prologue and two stages of the Tour de France there.

Several years ago they explored the possibility of staging the 2004 world championships in Killarney, but were unable to secure the necessary government backing then. McQuaid is hoping for more success this time round. As of yet no location has been set, but he confirmed that Killarney was one of the venues being considered at present.

Nolan's departure a vacuum?

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Another distinguished chapter will come to an end on Saturday, November 20 when PJ Nolan, so much associated with cycling for many a long year, exits the role of President of Cycling Ireland. His departure will leave a vacuum as he had still one year of his presidency to complete. It will put pressure on the Board and the CEO Stuart Hallam to keep up the task of the strategic work that is ongoing, but the news that membership has grown, as the CEO has indicated, will give rise to optimism in the future.

Nolan's departure took everybody unawares, whereas his predecessor Michael Lawless in late November 2000, opted out. Once on board, Nolan put his whole weight behind the job and worked tirelessly for the sport on a volunteer basis, but other commitments made it impossible for him to continue to give the post the ongoing effort it deserves. Nolan also propelled Cycling Ireland into the 21st century, securing the appointment of the federation's first Chief Executive Officer, Eamon Duffy. Cycling Ireland was the adopted name change to breathe new awareness into the body and the reduction of board members from ten down to six was very rewarding.

Nolan was largely responsible for many other appointments in Cycling Ireland: the federation now has six full time staff, three of which are administrators in Kelly-Roche House, two development officers and a national coach. PJ Nolan, whose family have been synonymous with cycling at grass roots level through his club, Navan/Avonmore, thanked everyone who had helped him during his time as President.

"I have enjoyed my office during the past four years and others can decide if the organisation progressed during that time," he said. "I have always said that organisations should be personality-proof not personality-based and I am confident that there are sufficient structures in place in Cycling Ireland to ensure the continued development of the sport.

"I feel however that the resources being put into sport development especially at the very early stages need to be dramatically increased and this would pay big dividends in the areas of health and social improvement. I wish my successor all the best and hope that the co-operation I have received from all in cycling is afforded to him. It is important for the future development of sport that statutory funding of sport reflects the immeasurable contribution of volunteers and I hope that the real heroes of sport in this country, the extraordinary local volunteers, are given the resources to turn their hopes into reality."

Cycling Ireland's AGM will take place on Saturday in the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare at 11:00 am. The Champion's Award Ceremony will take place at 8:00 pm that evening.

ARD no longer T-Mobile sponsor

The first German public Radio and Television broadcaster ARD will no longer be an official sponsor of the German Team T-Mobile. The sponsorship, which existed since 1998, included ARD's logo on the cycling jersey's of the team.

Particularly questioned since this year's Tour de France, when one of ARD's commentators was accused of biased commentary, German media openly criticised the involvement of journalism and sponsorship. ARD is one of the live broadcasters of the Tour de France in German TV and, along with Eurosport, the main transmitter of professional cycling races. Both parties underlined the continuation of good working relations with each other and stated,"The development of German pro cycling with a second top level team, Gerolsteiner, has led to ARD's and T-Mobile's mutual decision not to renew their contract at the end of 2004."

Metlushenko joins Santoni

Ukrainian Yuri Metlushenko has signed a contract to ride with the Gruppo Santoni in 2005. The deal was sealed between Metlushenko, his lawyer Fabio Perego and Vincenzo Santoni (outgoing Domina Vacanze director) in Rome. Metlushenko turned pro in 2002 with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and has eight victories to his credit, including two in the GP Costa degli Etruschi.

Vera Koedooder to Buitenpoort/Flexpoint

The new professional Women's Team Buitenpoort/Flexpoint has signed its fourth Dutch rider for the coming 2005 season, Vera Koedooder. The two-times Junior Road world champion and bronze medallist at the European championships in 2003 will be riding alongside Susanne Ljungskog and Mirjam Melchers for the Dutch squad. Koedooder wants to focus on the Road and Track European championships next season.

The new Buitenpoort/Flexpoint team roster is: Mirjam Melchers (Ned), Susanne Ljungskog (Swe), Linda Syrup (Den), Amber Neben (USA), Camilla Larsson (Swe), Lada Kozlikova (Cze), Tanja Hennes (Ger), Vera Koedooder, Elsbeth Vink and Sandra Rombouts (Ned).

New Polish Continental Team: Knauf

The new Professional Road Cycling Team Knauf has been created in Wloszczowa, Poland on November 10. Team Knauf is affiliated with the Professional Cycling Club Domin Sport and registered with Poland's Cycling Union to become a Continental Team nest season. The team will be directed by Andrzej Domin.

Team Knauf includes the following riders:

Marcin Sapa, Piotr Zaradny,Wojciech Pawlak, Krzysztof Jezowski, Jaroslaw Rebiewski, Wlodzimierz Gilicki, Tomasz Kiendys, Tomasz Lisowicz, Tomasz Kloczko, Daniel Okrucinski.

Cuevas Junior/Espoir program seeks members

Fernando Cuevas and Bill Keiler have announced that they have formed their own bicycle junior development programme starting with the 2005 cycling season. The Cuevas Junior/Espoir Developments Program (a not for profit USA Cycling club) is designed to encourage, support and elevate all levels of cyclists from the ages of 12 to 23 in the North Atlantic and North East regions. Members will have access to some of the best coaching available and access to amazing discounts and support, through the programmes affiliation with Mike Fraysse Sports, Keiler Coaching Services and Cuevas Cycles.

The programme covers all aspects of cycling including Road racing, Mountain bike racing and Cyclo-cross, focusing on both international and national USCF, NORBA and UCI races. All those interested are encouraged to contact either Fernando Cuevas ( or Bill Keiler ( for more information.

Indianapolis businesses support cycling team

Indianapolis, USA based companies Delta Faucet Company and homebuilder The Estridge Group, along with Turner Applicance, Indy Velo Management and Promotion will sponsor an expanded roster of Category 1 and 2 cyclists in 2005.

The core of the team will see Indiana's 35+ Metro Cycling Series winner and Masters National Track points race medal winner Darin Marhanka return. Also returning from the 2004 roster is winner of three 2004 Masters National Track medals Bill Bedwell, 2004 Masters National Sprint medal winner John Singleton, 2004 Indiana (Road) Race Series master's winner Brian Murphy, 20-time 2004 podium finisher Mike Moles and former National Masters Road Champion Chuck Moll. New additions to the team are 2003 Elite mixed Tandem TT champions Kevin Noone and Jane Vanni-Noone and Mark Swartzendruber; a 2003 NRC race winner who in 2004 recorded over 20 victories and won the Masters National ITT bronze medal. The men's roster is rounded out with masters riders Dan Skinner and Charlie Scott.

In addition to Jane Vanni-Noone, the women's team will feature 17 year-old Mary Geier, a top ten finisher at the 2004 Junior Pan-Am Games Track Championships and USCF Junior Track Nationals, Michelle Bazemore, Heather Gathercole and Katy Hair.

The 2005 team will focus on regional NRC races, local events in the Midwest on the Road and Elite and Masters National races on the road, track and cyclocross. Delta Faucet will be the primary sponsor of the USCF Masters National Track championships at the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, IN this coming August 2005. The Estridge/Delta team hosts the Tree City Stage Race in Greensburg, IN to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

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