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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 3, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Les Clarke

Verbruggen stands his ground

Although the 64 year-old Dutchman officially gave his seat at the UCI's headquarters to Irishman Pat McQuaid a few months ago, Hein Verbruggen still expresses the same opinions on cycling matters and associated institutions during the last 14 years of his presidency. Speaking to Swiss newspaper 24 Heures, Verbruggen, who has now moved on to supervise preparations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with the IOC, continued to strike the same tone, undoubtedly challenged by a curious journalist.

"I depend on no one, which is why I can always speak my mind," quoted the paper for its headline of the interview, published on November 30, in which Verbruggen did just that. Asked about the polemics which constantly surrounded his term at the UCI, Verbruggen said, "The French-speaking Swiss may get the impression [that this is so], because they read L'Equipe too much and because this sports tabloid (sic) always shot at me because I'm not French. I have excellent relations except for them and a few others."

These "few others" also include the WADA, whose chairman Dick Pound has criticised the UCI and Verbruggen several times over his anti-doping policies. "I can't deny this conflict, as Dick Pound spends his time insulting me, using every opportunity that presents itself, but I don't know why. Give me one other sport that has done more than we have in this matter, with the medical monitoring, the blood controls and the funds put into research. The Agency acts like a police officer, where it should in fact help us!" Verbruggen said.

Relations between Tour de France organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) and the UCI have dropped to a new low, the French company refusing to integrate Verbruggen's greatest achievement, the ProTour calendar, along with its Italian and Spanish counterparts. "The directors don't wish to remain in their role as organisers, and on this day, I'm very pessimistic," the vice-president of the UCI continued. "I'm not ready to give in, because if I accept that cycling is nothing without the Tour, I might as well transfer our headquarters from Aigle to Paris and give them the keys to the sport. The Tour de France should think carefully about the consequences, because without our professional teams, they're risking organising the next edition for junior riders."

Hondo attorney pessimistic

Michael Lehner is not optimistic about the result of his client Danilo Hondo's appeal of his doping suspension before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). "After the hearing on November 22 in Lausanne I had a good feeling," he said. "But the power of WADA, which requested a two-year ban, makes me feel anxious. I don't know what to expect."

Hondo was banned for one year after having tested positive for Carphedon in March 2005. "WADA is the only one with this demand (for a two-year ban), but with the IOC backing them up, they have an enormous influence on the CAS, which isn't really independent," he told German news agency dpa. Lehner said he expected to hear the court's verdict next week. Hondo is currently training in South Africa with other German riders including T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden. If he is acquitted, he is expected to re-sign with Team Gerolsteiner.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Forde faces ban for testosterone

Track keirin sprinter Barry Forde of Barbados has run afoul of the doping testers. By a doping control by a race in France in October, he was found to have too high a testosterone level. The Barbados Anti-Doping Commission is waiting to hear from the national cycling federation before it begins its own investigation, dpa reports.

If the charges are upheld, Forde, 28, would face a four-year ban, since it would not be his first offence. He tested positive for ephedrin two years ago at the world championships and the Pan-American Games, but explained that it was due to a cold medicine. Forde received only a warning at the time, but had to return the two gold medals he had won at the event.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Another award for Boonen

Quick.Step's Tom Boonen has been given yet another award for his outstanding achievements in the 2005 season. After winning the French Vélo d'Or, a Swiss jury has honoured the current World Champion with the 34th edition of the Mendrisio d'Oro, which was given to Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini and Mario Cipollini in 2004, 2003 and 2002 respectively. The young Belgian earned it this year for his victories in Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and of course the World's in Madrid.

The Mendrisio d'Argento traditionally given to Swiss riders went to Thomas Frischknecht, double Marathon World Champion and winner of two World Championships in cyclo-cross.

Growing passion: FRF Couriers-Caravello

By Les Clarke

The men making it happen.
Photo ©: Les Clarke
Click for larger image

For local Sydney riders, the deep blue, yellow and red of the FRF Couriers-Caravello team is a familiar sight on training rides and at races alike. Sponsored by FRF Couriers and run by Dominic Caravello, the team participates in domestic races and has managed to achieve strong results over the past few seasons. But it's usually seen as a development squad, a team that has blooded some excellent talent and somewhere for local elite riders to enjoy the benefits of a more professional team structure.

But next year it's time to step it up a notch. Frank and Rocky Fortuna, along with Caravello helped launch Australia's newest Continental pro team in Sydney on Wednesday night, with the birth of FRF Couriers-Caravello as a team to race both domestically and internationally. Welcomed by SBS TV's Mike Tomalaris, guests at the launch saw all-new team clothing, team bikes and a squad boasting names such as Troy Glennan and Tony Mann, two riders who've experienced the level of competition FRF Couriers-Caravello will be up against in 2006. Both riders rode for the now-defunct MGXPower-Bigpond team in 2004 until its demise earlier this year.

Click here for the full story

Rain stops play at Brindabella Challenge

By Jeff Jones in Canberra

The rain in Canberra
Photo ©: Jeff Jones
(Click for larger image) The rain in Canberra  was enough for the organisers to call off Friday evening's criteriums in the CBD.

The organisers of Australia's Brindabella Challenge, a three-day cycling extravaganza set in Canberra, were forced to cancel the first day due to inclement weather. When the heavens opened at around 4:30pm, violent storms drenched the nation's capital and one person was even killed by a falling tree. By 6:00pm, when the B grade criterium was due to kick off the Challenge in Canberra's CBD, rain was still falling solidly, and the decision was taken to cancel the evening's racing.

"We have called it off," said Brindabella Challenge spokesman and organiser Miles Prosser to Cyclingnews shortly after 6:00pm. "The roads are too wet and it's not easing up. [Saturday's] road races will go ahead as planned, and there will be criteriums rescheduled for Sunday on a closed circuit in Fyshwick."

Sydney's Hugh Kimber was a bit nonplussed
Photo ©: Jeff Jones
(Click for larger image) Sydney's Hugh Kimber was a bit nonplussed  by the organisers decision to cancel tonight's racing.

Although most of the riders were either not present or not particularly enthused by the idea of racing on a tight 800m circuit in the pouring rain, there were a few exceptions. Sydney-based Hugh Kimber rolled up in his cycling kit, complete with a plastic bag to keep the rain off, ready to ride the B grade event, but was told of its cancellation.

"I feel sorry for the organisers but I'm still keen to race," said Kimber to Cyclingnews. "I came down yesterday with one of my mates. I really wanted to see the difference compared to Heffron Park, and how the girls like Oenone Wood would go in B grade."

But Kimber was outnumbered by the rain gods today, and will have to wait until Saturday's road races for his chance to turn the legs over. The Brindabella Challenge will feature a 70 km scratch and a 55 km handicap race on Saturday, along with a 55 km mountain bike race, BMX racing, touring and family rides, and more events on Sunday.

More information:

Bayley aims for double in Melbourne

Ryan Bayley
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Dual gold medalist from the Athens Olympics, Ryan Bayley, wants to achieve in one night what took a couple of days at the Olympics in Greece - a sprint and keirin double. The 23-year-old is on target to show the world he is the best sprinter at the Melbourne Cup on Wheels on December 3, after defeating world champion Rene Wolff at the Match Race of the Century showdown in Sydney on November 27.

Bayley is determined to continue his dominance over the 27-year-old German who won this year's sprint world title while Bayley was out injured with shoulder, rib and hip injuries.

"This year was the worst I've had since I started as a 15 year-old in 1997 - to put it bluntly it sucked," Bayley said after arriving back from the Oceania Championships in Wanganui, New Zealand, where he defeated New Zealand champion Nathan Seddon in the sprint final. "With only a few days of 2005 left, I have to make up for lost time. I can do it in the eyes of the world if I can beat Wolff twice in Melbourne tomorrow night and again at the world cup in Manchester next weekend. I am very happy with the way I'm riding - both tactically and powerfully - so I can see me having a good night in Melbourne, barring unforeseen circumstances," he added.

AG2R signs another DS

To step up the squad for its first ProTour season in 2006, French team AG2R has announced the signing of another directeur sportif: Julien Jurdie, who was in this position with dissolved Continental team RAGT Sémences. The 32 year-old will join the outfit at its first pre-season meeting in Temple-sur-Lot from December 6-15.

Petacchi and Zabel get cheesy

Nice hats, boys!
Photo ©: Nordmilch
Click for larger image

The team leaders of the Italo-German squad Milram have visited the headquarters of their new sponsor Nordmilch in Bremen, Germany, earlier this week. Alongside meetings with the team management, top sprinters Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel were shown the milk processing equipment of the dairy products company and introduced to its directors and employees.

"It was an interesting and pleasant day at the same time," said Petacchi. "They impressed me for the amount of work they put into their business every day. Meeting my new teammates was also excellent. Although there is the language barrier, we all made the effort of speaking English. Zabel is a great person also off the bike - I'm enthusiastic."

His German team mate Erik Zabel shared Petacchi's thoughts, saying, "I was also very impressed how many thousands of litres of milk are processed at Nordmilch each day." "It's truly enormous. To meet the rest of the squad was entertaining, too. With Petacchi, there's already a feeling." to sponsor team

Germany will have a new Continental Tour team next year, under the name, which translates to cheaper notebook. The sponsor is - you guessed it - a computer supplier on the internet. The team based in Potsdam will be managed by Karsten Niermann, with Stefan Sprenger and Gregor Kritschenko as directeur sportifs.

"" will have 15 riders, including captain Renzo Wernicke, as well as Enrico Zinn and Timo Scholz. The team's first race will be the Tour of Siam in Thailand in January 2006, to be followed by the more traditional German races, including Cottbus-Görlitz-Cottbus and Rund um Köln, reports

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Horner looking for upset at 'cross nationals

A newcomer to cyclo-cross, Tour de France star Chris Horner, will line up to race at the Liberty Mutual US national Cyclocross championships. Horner recently made his cyclo-cross debut at the final two races in the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross in California where he started from the middle of the pack and placed 13th and 11th respectively over the two races. "I had a blast," Horner told the crowd after the final race in San Francisco, "I think this suits me."

Horner will step to the start of the elite race on December 10 to match skills with the likes of Jonathan Page, Tim Johnson, Ryan Trebon, Adam Craig, Todd Wells, and Mark McCormack. The men's elite race is set to start at 3 p.m. on December 10.

For the complete race schedule and information about the Liberty Mutual U.S. National Cyclo-cross Championships, visit

Danielson hosts cycling scholarship fundraiser

Tom Danielson and Tour de France commentator Bob Roll will host the 2005 Fort Lewis College Cycling Scholarship fundraiser on December 16 at the college's Community Concert Hall in Durango, Colorado. The night of celebration and fundraising will also benefit the Durango Wheel Club Junior Development.

With guests including USPRO champ Chris Wherry, Michael and Dede Barry, Ned Overend, Todd Wells and Shonny Vanlandingham, there'll be plenty on offer for those looking to contribute to the college's cycling scholarship in the company of some of US cycling's best riders.

Donations will be taken, and there's a silent auction to bid on. There's also a private dinner after the event with Tom Danielson, Bob Roll, Chris Wherry and Michael and Dede Barry; tickets for the private dinner are $100. Tickets for the main event are $10 for students, $20 for balcony and orchestra positions and $25 for plaza positions. See Tom Danielson's site for more details.

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