First Edition Cycling News for October 7, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Final Pro Tour teams announced
The UCI has announced the last three teams that will make up to roster for its new Pro Tour, the season-long race series that replaces the world cup in 2005 and incorporates major stage races into its structure as well as one-day Classics.
The three organizations named to the Pro Tour are France's SA Vendée Cyclisme, which currently runs the Brioches La Boulangere team and in 2005 will be known as Bouygues Télécom; Ciclosport Srl of Italy, currently the De Nardi team but set to combine with Domina Vacanze for 2005, and Bici Club Azzurro Srl, also of Italy. The latter currently runs the Lampre team, but in 2005 will be responsible for the merged entity that combines the current Saeco and Lampre structures.
The exact shape of the Pro Tour is still undetermined as the organizers of the three biggest stage races, the grand tours of France Italy and Spain, withdrew their support from the series toward the end of September and have not yet been persuaded to come back on board. A fundamental aspect of the Pro Tour system is that all 20 teams would take part in all three grand tours, which would limit the ability of organizers to allocate wildcards.
Pro Tour selections are currently provisional and depend on final approval of the teams' financial status. The UCI will confirm the allocation of places at the end of November, by which time teams are supposed to have their rider rosters and financial arrangements finalized.
Subject to that final approval, the 20 teams that will make up the Pro Tour are therefore: Bouygues Télécom, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, CSC, Davitamon-Lotto, Discovery Channel (currently US Postal), Domina Vacanze-De Nardi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Fassa Bortolo, FDJeux.com, Gerolsteiner, Iles Baléares, Lampre-Saeco, Liberty Seguros, Liquigas, Phonak, Quick Step, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, and T-Mobile.
Zabel breaks heel
Erik Zabel has been forced to end his season early after breaking the heel bone in his left foot falling from a ladder at his home in Unna, Germany. "That puts an end to my season. It is annoying: I was in good form and well-prepared for the Paris-Tours World Cup race", said Zabel in a team statement.
Zabel was x-rayed at the University Clinic in Freiburg where doctors are yet to decide whether to operate and how long Zabel will have to rest before returning to training. Zabel is famous for continuing to race through the off-season, usually taking part in a few Six-day races during the winter. A forced lay-off because of this injury would mean an unusually long spell away from the bike.
The loss of Zabel means T-Mobile has been forced to rearrange its roster for this weekend's Paris-Tours World Cup race. Zabel won Paris-Tours last year, ahead of Alessandro Petacchi. The long, predominantly flat classic is traditionally a sprinters' race.
"Losing Erik has hit us hard. He was finishing the season in fine form," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer on the team's website.
In Zabel's absence the team leadership falls to T-Mobile's Classics specialists Rolf Aldag and Daniele Nardello. Tour of Flanders winner Steffen Wesemann, Matthias Kessler and Stephan Schreck also travel to France, with youngsters Eric Baumann and Andreas Klier rounding out the roster.
Zanini ends season
Quick.Step-Davitamon's Stefano Zanini is also out of action after a fall - in this case from the bike. Zanini has a contusion to the head of the right thighbone sustained in a crash while training on September 25, according to his team.
"I was riding from Olgiate Olona in the direction of Varese when a car that was coming in the opposite direction all of a sudden decided to turn left without even noticing me," said Zanini. "I tried to avoid the impact. I fell to the ground landing heavily on my right side. The x-rays that were taken showed that I hadn't fractured any bones thankfully. That said, the pain has got worse over the last few days. Yesterday I underwent a magnetic resonance test that evidenced bad contusion."
For the next few weeks Zanini will have to use crutches in order to avoid putting to much weight on his femur.
"I am disappointed that I'll not be taking part in the Paris-Tours," said Zanini, "I really had good vibes for this race. The team result will be important for Bettini in the World Cup and important for Boonen with regard to the partial result. After this period of forced rest I'll have to work hard in building back up the muscle tone that I've lost."
Mancebo under the knife
Team Illes Balears - Banesto rider Francisco Mancebo underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his broken left hand. Mancebo crashed before the Vuelta, during a race in Burgos, but still rode the Spanish tour.
Mancebo spent the night in hospital after the one and a half hour procedure to rebuild the bones of his left hand, and will be off the bike for six to eight weeks because the injury must be immobilized to allow it to heal.
Cooke aims for Sun Tour win
FdJeux.com sprinter Baden Cooke hope to salvage a lackluster season when he returns home to Australia for the Malaysia Airlines Herald Sun Tour of Provincial Victoria (October 14 - 24). Cooke won the Herald Sun Tour in 2002, becoming the first Australian to do so in 16 years, and demonstrating the sprinting talent that gained him the 2003 Tour de France green jersey.
The decision to ride the Herald-Sun Tour was a last-minute one as Cooke realized he was coming into good form when he was second in the first stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge on September 23." I hadn't actually planned on doing the tour at all after having a really tough year, but the legs are now turning well," Cooke said. "I will ride and I will ride to win. The last two times I have ridden and had success, I have had very good support, so I have asked Mark Renshaw (Athens Olympian) to be in my team."
Riders in the Herald-Sun Tour are usually assembled into one-off teams outside their usual European sponsors and Cooke will captain the Subaru team in the Herald Sun Tour, which will also include Colombian mountain specialist Ruber Marin.
Several other top Australian riders will be vying with Cooke for stage and overall victories. Henk Vogels will lead the Bicycle Superstore team while up-and-coming rider Simon Gerrans, recently recognized as the top Elite 2 in France, will head the Jayco team.
The Active For life team, which dominated last year's race, has assembled a powerful line-up, led by Canadians Eric Wohlberg and Dominique Perras, and Uruguayan Jorge Libonatti.
Credit Agricole, one of Europe's most successful squads, will send two members, Benoit Poilvet and Christophe Le Mevel, to ride with the newly-formed Provincial Victoria team.
Stage 1 - October 14: Melbourne, Lygon Street Criterium, 33 km
Wiggins back on track at Revolution
Olympians galore in Manchester
Organisers of the Revolution track series have announced that Olympic individual pursuit gold medalist Bradley Wiggins will be among the attractions at the first race of the series at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday October 23.
Wiggins will join his fellow gold medalist, kilo king Chris Hoy in what s shaping up to be a homecoming celebration of the British track team's success at Athens. Wiggins team-mate in the Madison, Rob Hayles, will also be racing at Manchester. Hayles and Wiggins landed bronze in the Madison in a dramatic comeback after Hayles fell toward the end of the race.
The remaining members of the silver medal team pursuit squad will also be at Revolution #1, with Chris Newton, Paul Manning and Steve Cummings all scheduled to race and Bryan Steel along as a guest; Steel announced his retirement from cycling after Athens.
The sprint events will be livened-up by the presence of world keirin champion Jamie Staff and Sydney gold medallist Jason Queally.
The event will start at 7pm and will run until around 10pm. For more information and tickets see www.cyclingrevolution.com.
Paris-London race launched
By Mark Sharon
The French ambassador's 19th century residence was the elegant setting for the press launch of the Paris-London charity bike race here in London yesterday. Presented by Tour de France director Jean Marie LeBlanc, the race takes place on the weekend ofOctober 23-24 and is part of the year long centenary celebration of the Franco-British Entente Cordiale treaty signed in 1904. In addition to its cultural status, the race will be a major charity fund-raising event with all proceeds in aid of cancer-research.
Comprising two stages of 148km each the race will bring together 300 riders representing France and Great Britain in equal numbers. The majority of riders will be top amateurs, though there will be a number of well-known figures including several French and British professional riders, including former Pursuit World Champion and Olympic medallist Champion Yvonne McGregor.
The first stage, starting at 10.30am on the Iena Bridge across from the Eiffel Tower takes place on Saturday 23 October and finishes in Amiens. After spending the night in Calais, the race transfers to Dover for start of the second stage on Sunday 24 October. Starting on Dover's Esplanade at 10.30 am the race covers the 148km via Rochester to finish outside Traitor's Gate at the Tower of London.
Despite the 'cordiale' inspiration for the event, organisers acknowledge that 'entente-cordiale' itself may give way over the weekend as centuries-old rivalries raise the competitive stakes. Just as French riders will attempt to thwart a British win in Amiens, British riders will be none too pleased to see a French victory in London.
Commissioned by the French and British Governments, the event is a collaboration between Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) which runs the Tour de France, and The Events Group, which organises events like the Tour de Langkawi and The Manchester Track Championships.
For some of the parties involved, notably the police and the British race organisers the event is more than a celebration and a chance to raise money for charitable causes. It is also seen as a valuable opportunity for London to further its case for hosting the start of the Tour de France, possibly in 2007.
Ensuring the safety of riders and spectators will give both the Kent Constabulary and London's Metropolitan Police exposure to the sort of policing they will be called upon to provide to the Tour de France, albeit on a smaller scale. They will also be working alongside representatives of the French Republican Guard who are responsible for race security at the Tour de France.
Images by Mark Sharon
Australian Paralympic parade
Australia's Paralympians will be welcomed home in Sydney on Wednesday 13 October after a terrific performance at the Paralympic Games in Athens Greece that saw them win more medals than any nation except China. The team will be officially welcomed at Sydney Town Hall by New South Wales Premier Bob Carr and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and presented with the keys to the city by the Lord Mayor.
The Parade starts at 12 noon from the Museum of Contemporary Art on George St and will travel along George St to finish at Town Hall at approximately 12:45pm when the official proceedings will take place.
For more information, see www.events.nsw.gov.au.
US cross GP starts this weekend
The Crank brothers Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross gets underway this weekend with two evets in the Pacific Northwest as America's top cross riders face off in Portland, Oregon on Saturday and Seattle/Tacoma on Sunday.
The race that kicks off the six-event national series is the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic, held on the grounds of Alpenrose Dairy in the heart of downtown Portland. Promoter Brad Ross describes the course as fairly flat, but with a 30-meter run-up section to test competitors.
Italian national champion Daniele Pontoni is the hot favourite to challenge top domestic racers such as Todd Wells (GT/Hyundai), Carl Decker (Giant/Pearl Izumi) and Adam Craig (Maxxis/Giant). Pontoni, twice a world 'cross champion, finished fourth in February¹s 2004 world championship.
Racing kicks off at 9:30 a.m. For more information see www.crosscrusade.com.
For its second round the series moves to cyclocross stronghold Washington state for the Clif Bar Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross at Fort Steilacoom Park, Tacoma, Washington. A strong contingent of Northwest riders will try to outdo Pontoni, McCormack, and Kabush, but promoter Jim Brown says to keep an eye on an old favorite, Marc Gullickson.
Preliminary events start at 9 a.m. For more information see: www.radracingnw.org
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)