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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for November 24, 2004

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & John Stevenson

An interview with Danilo Hondo

From lead-out man to leader

Danilo Hondo
Photo: © Chris Henry
Click for larger image

At the end of last year, Germany's number two, sometimes forgotten sprinter decided to seek a new challenge after six high-class years as Erik Zabel's lead-out man. A certain kind of leadership he was naturally denied at Team Telekom, Danilo Hondo has flourished with Team Gerolsteiner, and as Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner writes, the 30 year-old has gone from lead-out man to leader - all in the space of a year.

When Danilo Hondo chose to step out of his teammate's shadow at Team Telekom at the end of the 2003 season, another German team, Gerolsteiner, was more than happy to give the 30 year-old a chance to prove himself.

It didn't take long for the trust to be repaid - and he kept on repaying right through 2004. As well as eight great stage wins, Hondo took points classification victories in no less than four stage races - including three in Germany, Gerolsteiner's main market - with his season ending on a high after victory at the GP Beghelli on September 26.

After a relaxing holiday in Mauritius with his family in October, Hondo was back home in Ascona, Switzerland, before heading to Germany for a team meeting at the end of November.

"Well, I'm back on my bike every day now," a relaxed Hondo says when asked about his current training regime. "I'll try to keep fit by doing some muscle training, playing some tennis, things like that."

The temperatures at his home were still decent (around 12 degrees Celsius), but Hondo wasn't sure what he would do once winter really hit Switzerland. "In December, some of my teammates want to go to Mallorca, but I can also imagine travelling to the States or to South Africa to shape up. I might take my family with me and stay until the beginning of January to celebrate Christmas and New Year's in a place where it's summer now."

This year, he started his season early on the Six Day velodrome in Berlin with teammate Olaf Pollack. "It was an interesting experience, especially the high pedalling frequency. But it also bears its risks, as the racing takes place at night-time, the air is filled with cigarette smoke and lots of riders caught a cold," he says.

Click here to read the full interview.

Svorada leaves Lampre

Czech rider Jan Svorada has left the Italian Lampre team and signed a new contract with eD'system ZVVZ from his home country, currently a Division II team and next year a Continental squad under the UCI's changes to the structure of pro cycling. "Several solutions were possible, but I didn't succeed," the 36 year old sprinter said to the press. The five-times Czech champion has achieved three Tour de France stage wins and a total of 76 victories during his professional career.

Sáiz open to Beloki

After the recent cancellation of Joseba Beloki's contract with the Saunier Duval Team, whose colours the top Spanish cyclist wore for only three months, Liberty Seguros' directeur sportif Manolo Sáiz is open to Beloki's return to his team. As Spanish website Marca reports, Sáiz, who previously ran the ONCE team where Beloki finished on the podium at the Tour de France, doesn't rule out a possible deal.

"I can't deny that this is interesting," the Spaniard said about Beloki's new-found liberty. "Not only for our friendship and the personal relationship that we have - it's interesting because Joseba still has a lot to offer on a sporting level." Asked whether including Beloki within the team would create difficulties with its current leader, Roberto Heras, Sáiz replied, "It wouldn't necessarily be incompatible, on the contrary. The more good riders, the better. And there are never any problems between true great riders; only between those who think they are."

Meanwhile, Beloki hopes to return to his previous sports director at ONCE, and is convinced that the repeated team changes are part of his path back to the top. "I'm in good shape," he said. "If I didn't believe that I wouldn't have separated from La Boulangčre and bought my freedom from Saunier now. I believe in my capabilities and needed some fresh air, that's why I've made this step. I want to return to what I used to be and once again ride the Tour."

Liquigas gets together

The new Liquigas-Bianchi ProTour squad starts its first team get-together today in the Northern Italian spa town of Salsomaggiore Terme. The team will stay until December 3. While in Salsomaggiore Terme the team will begin to organise its racing and training schedule and riders will have spa treatments aiming to help prevent respiratory and muscular problems.

French bashed - or was he?

Management of the pub where Mark French was allegedly bashed on Sunday night say they seem to have no record of the incident.

Media reports yesterday, apparently based on claims by French's father David, alleged that French was knocked out by a man who immediately fled the scene in an incident at the Star Hotel in South Melbourne at around 11pm on Sunday night.

However, according to the ABC, management of the pub say the incident was not reported at the time and does not appear on security footage. Star Hotel managing director Michale Thiele told the ABC that none of his staff saw anything, and while security camera footage has been handed to police but the incident does not appear to have been recorded.

"Not as far as we can see, no, and the cameras cover most areas of the bar internally and externally," he said.

French is the young Australian track cyclist whose allegations of drug use within the track team generated a storm of controversy earlier this year, most recently resulting in the second stage of the Anderson report, which heavily implicated French himself.

Clarence St Cup attracts top trackies

On Saturday November 27, the 23rd Clarence Street Cyclery Trek Cup will be held at the Dunc Gray Velodrome, Bass Hill Sydney. Following a very successful year for Australian cycling on both road and track, most of the leading Australian track cyclists will be competing at the Cup, which will start at 1:00 pm with a large junior program featuring cyclists from all over New South Wales.

At 4:00 pm, the heats of the Clarence St Cyclery Cup will be held, followed by heats of the NSW Derny paced championship. After a short break, the main carnival will commence at 6:30 pm. The program will include the finals of the Clarence Street Cup, the NSW Derny Championships, the NSW Keirin Championship plus a full race support series.

Riders competing on Saturday night include:

Ryan Bayley - Dual Olympic gold medallist
Graeme Brown - Dual Olympic gold medallist
Shane Kelly - Four time Olympian and four time world champion
Sean Eadie - Two time Olympian and past world champion
Ben Kersten - Athens Olympian and Past Junior World Champion
Anna Meares - Athens Olympic Gold and bronze medallist and world record holder
Kerrie Meares - Past junior World Champion and winner of 20 Australian Titles
Stephen Wooldridge - Olympic Gold Medallist and World Champion
Ashley Hutchinson - World Champion
Katherine Bates - Athens Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion
Rochelle Gilmore - Five time Australian champion
Michael Ford - Dual Junior World Champion and world record holder
Matthew Goss - Dual Junior World Champion
Kial Stewart - Paralympics Gold medallist (pilot)

The Fitzpatrick brothers, Rebecca Ellis, Chris Pascoe, Shaun Hopkins and the Victorians, Jason Niblett, Damien Keirl, Jole Leonard and Apryl Eppinger will also participate.

The Sprint and Keirin racing will see Bayley, Eadie, Kelly and Kersten go head to head with a host of other Australian talent while in the women's sprint events, the Meares sisters will compete against each other in Sydney for the first time in more than a year as Kerrie continues her comeback from a back injury that stopped her Athens campaign.

Brown, a two time winner of the event, Wooldridge and Hutchinson have their eyes on the major prize of Clarence St Cup, but the handicap event will give their rivals plenty of opportunity to attack. Defending champion, Warren Scott, will also be out to repeat his 2003 success.

Special guest of the Clarence St Cup will be Olympic Road Champion Sara Carrigan. "Sara is a fabulous ambassador for our sport," said Event Organiser, Rik Fulcher. "I'm sure those who saw her win in Athens will be thrilled to see her in person."

Tickets will be available at the door at 6:30 pm.
Admission: Adults $20.00, Pensioner $12.00, Children Under 16 free
Location: Dunc Gray Velodrome, Craysfield Road, Bass Hill, NSW, Australia.

For further information, please go to:

Lampre-Caffita comes Down Under

Overnight, Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under event management has confirmed that Italian cycling powerhouse Lampre-Caffita will compete at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in 2005. With two times Tour of Italy winner Gilberto Simoni set to lead the charge in Australia, the 2005 Tour Down Under is shaping up to have the strongest team and individual line up in the history of the event.

The merger of Saeco and Lampre to form Lampre-Caffita will see sport directors Claudio Corti and Giuseppe Saronni pull together a dominant team with 16 Saeco riders, seven Lampre riders and a further three cycling stars from Italy. Both Saeco and Lampre participated in the inaugural Tour Down Under in 1999, setting the foundation for a strong relationship with Italian cycling and seeing Saeco return to Australia to compete in a total of five events.

Gilberto 'Gibo' Simoni will meet the other riders and staff of Lampre-Caffita at a team training camp starting next week in Lake Garda, then on January 11, 2005, Gilberto will head to Australia with his team for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

"I want to start the season well next year," said Simoni, who wants to leave the 2004 season behind. "I'm looking for a new start." With the calibre of riders like Simoni starting their season at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under it confirms the growing global reputation of the event.

Race director, Mike Turtur said, "To have a Grand Tour winner like Simoni ride at our event means there is a shift in thinking in relation to the preparation of riders who traditionally have focused only on competing in the Grand Tours of the world. This may be due to the introduction of the ProTour.

"The Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under has been regarded for many years as a race offering great opportunity for Classic riders, but we as an event have grown and evolved with the ability to attract major Tour competitors," Turtur continued.

For further event information visit

Top Aussies line up in Queensland

Australia's best road cyclists will line up in Queensland on the first two weekends of next month for the Queensland Grand Prix series. The two-race series kicks off December 5 at South Bank and concludes at Surfers Paradise on December 12, with a 100km ride linking the two venues on December 11.

Sprint rivals Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke are both signed up for this year's races. McEwen, the 2002 and 2004 Tour de France green jersey winner, is unbeaten in the Surfers Paradise event, while Cooke took the 2003 Tour green jersey and recently showed good form in the Herald Sun Tour after an otherwise disappointing season.

Other riders on the start list include McEwen's team-mate Nick Gates and Athens team pursuit gold medalist Bradley McGee, in what organizers say will be his only race in Australia in 2004. Former US Postal and now Cofidis rider Matt White and mountain biker turned road cyclist Cadel Evans will also race. The field of top contenders is rounded out by Henk Vogels, Allan Davis and Matt Wilson, the current Australian champion.

In the women's events, Athens Olympic gold medalist Sara Carrigan will make her return to racing and training in the series.

The two races in the Queensland Grand Prix Series will be held in Brisbane around the streets of Grey and Little Stanley at South Bank, and on the Gold Coast around the circuit of Orchid Avenue, The Esplanade and Cavill Avenue. The events at South Bank and Surfers Paradise also include a corporate challenge, and B and C grade races.

For more information see

Team pursuit champ Hutchinson to ride Tassie

Ashley Hutchinson, a member of Australia's world champion team pursuit quartet in Melbourne earlier this year, is the latest track star to sign up for the Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. Hutchinson will almost certainly ride from 'scratch' in the carnivals, joining American Jame Carney, Germany's Christian Lademann, dual Olympic gold medallist Graeme Brown and a quartet of Tasmanians, Darren Young, Nathan Clarke, Mark Jamieson and Stephen Rossendell.

Hutchinson didn't make the final selection for the pursuit team at the Athens Olympics - a race for which Australia had so many possible riders some observers commented that an Australia B team would probably still have finished on the podium - but he has had a strong year with two stage victories in the Jayco Tour of Queensland earlier this month.

The Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals kick off in Latrobe on December 26, and visit Launceston for the Launceston Classic criterium on December 27, followed by the Launceston track carnival December 28. The two-day Devonport Carnival follows December 29-30 and the action wraps up in Burnie with a criterium December 31 and the Burnie carnival January 1.

For more information see

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)