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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 7, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

Mancebo to Ag2r

Paco Mancebo (Illes Baleares)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Spanish rider Francisco Mancebo has signed a two-year deal with French professional Continental team Ag2r-Prévoyance in Madrid on Friday. Together with his current teammate David Navas at Illes Balears, the 29 year-old will leave the Spanish team to join Vincent Lavenu's squad in France, who have also just signed French classification rider Christophe Moreau.

Mancebo finished this year's Tour de France placed fourth. The signing of the Spaniard will surely help Ag2r's bid to enter the ProTour, especially as there will probably be a vacant place left by Fassa Bortolo, who will stop their sponsorship of professional cycling at the end of this year.

Kroon to Gerolsteiner?

According to German TV broadcaster DSF, Rabobank's Karsten Kroon will sign a three year contract with Gerolsteiner on Sunday. Kroon has already been confirmed as leaving Rabobank, as he wants a chance to ride for himself.

Meanwhile, 24 year-old Joost Posthuma has extended his existing contract with Rabobank for another year, meaning that he will ride with the team until the end of 2007. Posthuma debuted with the team in May of 2004, and won a stage of Paris-Nice this year.

CSC signs Frost as new DS and more

Former Olympic and World Champion in track cycling Dan Frost will join Team CSC as sports director as of next year, the Danish team has announced. "Bjarne and I have been discussing this for some time now, and finally it's all worked out," the 44 year-old said. "I think I have a lot to offer the team and I look forward to working at the highest level within cycling sport."

"Dan will be a good guy to get on the team," team director Bjarne Riis added. "He's got a lot of experience and most importantly he has the abilities to become a good leader. We value human qualities greatly here at Team CSC, which is one of the reasons why we've chosen him in the first place. Among other things he'll be working a lot with the young riders and will have a big responsibility in helping them evolve. We all look forward to working with Dan."

One young man Dan Frost will then particularly look after is Martin Pedersen of Team GLS, who will also join CSC next season as a neo pro. The 22-year-old Dane won the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2005, and is considered one of the most promising young riders in international cycling. "I predict Martin a great future. He has the potential to go very far. First and foremost he has to get himself used to racing at this level, but he's already quite convincing in the way he handles himself in the professional peloton. I'm happy that we've managed to sign yet another big talent," Riis said.

"It's a dream come true for me," a happy Pedersen added. "Team CSC has always been at the top of my list. I know a bit about the team and would like to be a part of their way of doing things. I'm proud to begin my professional career at Team CSC." Pedersen's last big goal as an amateur will be next month's U23 World Championships in Madrid.

CSC also announced two stagiaires for the rest of 2005, Danish riders Kasper Klostergaard of Glud & Marstrand Horsens and Chris Anker Sørensen of Team Designa Køkken. Klostergaard's first race will be Tour de l'Avenir, where he will get a chance to show his potential. "We are always looking for new talents and Kasper has also been recommended by other riders. Now he will get a chance to show us what he's made of and also learn more about professional cycling at a high level," sports director Kim Andersen said.

IAAF calls for tougher bans

By Shane Stokes

A tougher stance against drug used in sports has been taken by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), who have asked WADA to double the mandatory ban from two years to four for first-time drug cheats.

Speaking at their congress meeting at Helsinki prior to the world championships, senior vice-president Dr Arne Ljungqvist responded to calls made by the United States to impose life bans on any athlete testing positive for steroids. Ljungqvist said that it was necessary to work with WADA, who currently feel that life bans would be difficult to enforce.

The US motion was seen as a response to the BALCO laboratory drugs scandal, which represented one of the biggest threats to athletics' credibility in recent years. Although the IAAF have decided against life bans, their calls for the doubling of the current two year suspension is significant. They previously reduced the first time ban from four to two years in 1997 as some civil courts had argued that the longer ban was excessive.

"We adopted the WADA code two years ago at our last Congress including the two years' ban," said Ljungqvist. "There is a wish from many sports to review this situation.

"Whatever wish we may have - and I'm certainly one of those who would like to see stronger penalties - this is not the right moment to do so, to increase the penalties in our organisation, which is not supported by the international code of today.

"We are in a situation where we can extend the ban but I believe we have to do it on an international scale and in agreement with WADA. It should be jointly evaluated by WADA, so we can get the world anti-doping code changed in that direction.

"The IAAF should take the lead in presenting this to WADA and lead the world in the anti-doping fight."

Cycling currently follows WADA's two year model for serious doping cases, although ProTour teams have imposed a stricter limitation with a four year freeze on banned riders competing within their ranks. Should WADA decide to accept the IAAF's motion, it is likely that an outright four-year ban would extend to other sports.

The recommendation will not be considered immediately, though, as it is not due to go before WADA until their congress in 2007.

An interview with Ivan Stevic

Fruit of two nations

It hasn't taken long
Photo ©: Sabine Sunderland
Click for larger image

The name Ivan Stevic is one most North American cycling fans wouldn't have heard very often - their team, Aerospace Engineering-VMG is probably even more enigmatic in that it's the fruit of two nations' ability to work together to produce talented riders capable of winning races. Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski sat down with Stevic to find out a little more about the Serbian rider and the little-known Serbian/American team.

The Aerospace Engineering-VMG cycling team is a unique program; based in both Florida and Serbia, it consists of a UCI Continental team as well as a developmental amateur squad. In 2003, the amateur team scored a big with 18-year-old Keith Norris winning the US elite criterium nationals. This year marks the first time the team is entering professional races in the US, and it wasted little time in scoring wins. Team leader Ivan Stevic won three of the four stages of the Vuelta de Bisbee and the challenging Laguna Seca circuit race of the Sea Otter Classic, finishing fourth overall.

Cyclingnews: First, tell us a little about yourself and how you began racing.

Ivan Stevic: I was born in Belgrade. I raced there as a junior and my first year as an elite. I did two world championships as a junior for my country. After that I went to Italy to race - I did five years there. I had two teams; Team Futura 2000 where I did one year. After that I went to central Italy and did four years there. I won about twenty races in those five years.

Last year I had the jersey of the best foreign rider in the baby Giro for five days. I won six races, and after that I took this opportunity to come here and race in the US - first because I have never been to the US, this is my first time here and my first races here. I have to say I like it here - I like racing here.

Click here for the full interview

The Barrys a family

Congratulations to Michael and Dede Demet Barry, who are celebrating the birth of their first child, Liam, born the night of Tuesday, August 2. "He is healthy and the birth went well," Michael reported. "Dede is doing very well also. It has been a really good experience having the baby in Spain. The hospital is new and nice and the staff and docs are all very kind.

"We are going home today and will stay with Liam, who is now a Spanish citizen as well, in Spain until the middle of October as I will be racing the fall Classics and he can't travel for a few more months. This experience has been more than we had ever imagined and these are truly the greatest moments of our lives!

Added Mom / Dede / former pro cyclist: "He is a big boy, 3.7 kg. He is doing super and we are totally in awe of him. Labor was definitely the most intense effort I have ever experienced!"

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