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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 28, 2004

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Jeff Jones

An interview with Chris Hoy

Still hungry after a historic treble

Hail Chris Hoy
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Since returning from his history-making treble Athens, Kilo champion Chris Hoy has been busy with appearances, dinners and functions, but recently knuckled down again and returned to racing. He's determined to keep in top shape, not to lose the edge. He's Olympic champion for the next four years, but as the amiable, ambitious Scot tells Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes, that is not enough. At just 28 years of age, many more top results are surely on the way.

In terms of excitement, suspense and drama, the Olympic Kilo contest will surely rank up there as one of the most stirring events of the year. Hollywood scriptwriters could hardly have crafted it better; first, Shane Kelly (Australia) broke the Olympic record with a time of 1:01.224. This was bettered immediately by the 1:01.186 effort of Germany's Stefan Nimke, and then superceded once again by world record holder Arnaud Tournant.

To those watching the race, it seemed that Tournant's 1:00.896 would be enough to book a place on the top step of the podium. There was just one rider to go, Great Britain's Chris Hoy, but it seemed unlikely that the new Olympic record could fall once more. Four improvements of the standard in one evening? Surely not.

Incredibly, that's what happened. Hoy shrugged off the pressure, tore out of the starting gate and blazed his way around the boards to complete the distance in just 1:00.711. The effort saw him complete a remarkable treble, adding Olympic gold to his World Championship and Commonwealth titles and further underlining Great Britain's position as one of the major forces in world track cycling.

It is to Hoy's credit that he has retained all of his hunger for success, despite reaching some of his chief goals in the sport. The thoughts of sitting back and chilling are alien to him; as long as he continues to enjoy cycling, he says that he will be pushing his limits and those of the sport.

"I am still the same person I was before, I don't think anything has changed drastically," he tells Cyclingnews. "I've achieved my big goals (Commonwealth, World Championship and Olympic titles) but I still feel I have a lot more to give. Throughout my career, when I achieve something, I reset my goals and move on. All I can do is attempt to reclaim my titles and then hopefully break a world record as well. That is another big target for me."

Click here for the full interivew

Tafi ready for revenge in 2005

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Andrea Tafi has signed a contract with Saunier Duval-Prodir for the first half of the 2005 season. The 38 year old powerhouse rider will wrap up is professional career after 17 seasons next April 10th at Paris-Roubaix. "I want to come back from all my bad luck", explained Tafi, who has had a series of back and knee injuries over the past two seasons. "I'm really happy about the opportunity to race next season. I thought about it a long time and I realized I could still ride well."

"I've been lucky in life but the last two seasons have not been good.. .but now I'm over my injuries, " continued Tafi. "I'm 100 percent and I want to be ready for Flanders and Roubaix next season. After that, we'll see how it goes but I don't want to leave cycling before taking another shot."

Tafi's engagement with Saunier Duval began at Lombardia, when he spoke to team manager Mauro Gianetti about a possible ride and once Beloki decided to move to Liberty Seguros, Gianetti could ink a deal with Tafi. "We decided to work with Tafi for two reasons; one is that he's one of the most serious, professional riders in the sport and he can be an excellent example for not only our young riders, but all of our riders."

Gianetti also pointed out that, "We also think that Tafi can win again - both Flanders and Roubaix are races he can win. Duclos Lassalle won Roubaix when he was older than Tafi. Maybe he isn't as strong as he once was, but in races like those, you need a lot of experience and Tafi has that, as well as talent." In fact, Gianetti has a good point, as among Tafi's 30 career wins are five World Cup races (Lombardia '96/ Rochester '97/Roubaix '99/Paris-Tours '00/Flanders '02) and with his physical problems behind him, there is no reason that an old warhorse like Andrea Tafi can't still ride into battle again.

Besides Tafi, Mauro Gianetti should bring Spanish sprinter Angel Edo on board as well as young Italian talent Matteo Carrera, while Floyd Landis could transition to Saunier Duval-Prodir and join his former Mercury teammate Chris Horner if his current 2005 squad Phonak doesn't make it into the ProTour and is forced to release the American. Tafi will join his new Saunier Duval-Prodir teammates at an initial training camp in mid-December in Santander, Spain.

High hopes at Gerolsteiner

German ProTour squad Gerolsteiner has just finished its first team meeting at the Phantasialand amusement park in Brühl, Germany. The team managed by Hans-Michael Holczer finished this year's road racing season third on the UCI's team ranking and has set itself a high goal for 2005: to become a top five ProTour team.

As the new riders like Levi Leipheimer and Frank Høj met their future teammates, Sports director Christian Henn was cautious about it when asked by German website Radsportnews.com. "Top five is a very high goal," he said. "Until know, our strength was to give every rider a chance for victory, often collecting UCI points at smaller, German races. [With the ProTour changes,] these races are equally important, but don't count for points anymore." But then again, nobody expected the "second" German team to score so well this year, so Henn is confident - just like American stage racer Levi Leipheimer, whose declared target is a Tour de France podium placing.

"I've left Rabobank to find new motivation in a new team," the 31 year-old said. At Gerolsteiner, Leipheimer as well as Georg Totschnig, who finished seventh at the 2004 Tour de France, will be team leaders at stage races.

"Having two leaders is a big advantage for us," said Henn. "At last year's Tour, Totschnig was on his own too soon when a 30-rider group left before the last climb. That's why we looked for a man like Leipheimer. If one of them could make it to the top five, that would be a huge outcome."

Also on the list for victories are of course Classics hunter Davide Rebellin, helped by his young fellow countryman Andrea Moletta, and sprinter Danilo Hondo, recently interviewed by Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner.

The full 2005 team roster includes five new riders and reads as follows:

Robert Förster (Ger), Markus Fothen (Ger), René Haselbacher (Aut), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Sven Krauss (Ger), Sebastian Lang (Ger), Sven Montgomery (Swi), Volker Ordowski (Ger), Uwe Peschel (Ger), Davide Rebellin (Ita/Arg), Michael Rich (Ger), Torsten Schmidt (Ger), Ronny Scholz (Ger), Marco Serpellini (Ita), Marcel Strauss (Swi), Georg Totschnig (Aut), Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Peter Wrolich (Aus), Beat Zberg (Swi), Markus Zberg (Swi), Thomas Ziegler (Ger)

Newcomers: Heinrich Haussler (Ger), Frank Høj (Dan), Levi Leipheimer (USA), Andrea Moletta (Ita), Matthias Russ (Ger)

Gent Six: Hayles and Marvulli ill

Franco Marvulli and Robert Hayles missed Friday night's riding at the Gent Six Day in Belgium due to illness. Marvulli, who is reported to be suffering from 'flu, did not enter the velodrome at all on Friday night, leaving his teammate Alexander Aeschbach on his own. Hayles did start the fourth night of racing, but finished early as he withdrew due to gastrointestinal problems.

The duo Marvulli/Aeschbach will not be able to compete for final victory any more. After leading the overall standings after night 3, the Swiss team lost four laps because of Marvulli's illness. Madsen/Hayles are 16 laps back behind current leaders Robert Slippens/Danny Stam. It is not known whether Hayles and Marvulli will be able to ride again on Saturday, although the rules do allow for re-entering the competition.

Yates wins at Lake Taupo

New Zealand cyclist Jeremy Yates has won the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, although he has just recently received a two-year doping suspension from the Belgian Cycling Union. Yates' ban will not come into effect until December 1, which permitted him to race in the Challenge and take home $NZ2000 in prizemoney, which should help offset the $NZ925 fine he received from the Belgian cycling federation for failing to submit a B sample.

The organisers declined to comment on the ethics of allowing Yates to participate.

End of career for Arnouts?

16 year-old Belgian cyclist Ben Arnouts suffered heartbeat disturbances after competing in the Novices race at the Cyclo-Cross in Koksijde. He was driven to hospital immediately, where his problems were relieved but doctors diagnosed a hereditary heart malfunction. The rider has been advised to stop racing. Last year, Arnouts won the Herman Van Springel Diamond novices race and dominated his category in the winter before, taking 11 victories.

New sponsor for Trust House/Women's World Cup

Wellington, NZ car dealer, Avery Ford, has become the latest sponsor for the Trust House Cycle Classic and Women's World cup by securing the naming rights as "Official Car" of the events. Avery Ford will provide cars for all judges, timekeepers and race referees during the five days of racing at the end of January.

For further information, please visit www.cycletournz.com

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