First Edition Cycling News for December 6, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke
"The kids are our future" says Rogers
World TT champion calls for more events like Brindabella Challenge
By Anthony Tan in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
He may have only returned from Europe five days ago, he may have woken up on Saturday morning with a head cold, but Michael Rogers wasn't going to miss attending last weekend's Brindabella Challenge, held in his home city of Canberra. The three-time world time trial champion praised the event and its philosophy, which aims to promote the sport on a family rather than purely individual level.
"I would say Australia doesn't really take this sport to people's hearts, it's still not widely accepted," lamented Rogers to Cyclingnews.
"To get that wide acceptance, you really do need to promote the sport at a family level. So the nice thing about these couple of days is that there's something for the whole family; there's not only elite, but kids riding behind a fire truck, weaving through cones... and it's what the sport needs to be accepted as a family sport, which it can be."
While Australia's track cycling facilities are world-class, increasing public liability costs are impacting on many road races at club and open level across the country, forcing the cancellation of many events Rogers used to participate in when he first began cycling at seven years old. The now 25 year-old believes encouraging greater participation is one way of meeting these insurance demands; another is via closed-off circuits, such as Sydney's Heffron Park in the suburb of Maroubra. "Of course, the [local] government has to follow suit," he adds.
"It's not like athletics where the kids are enclosed in the sports arena; unfortunately, we have to go out there and battle with traffic and weather conditions, so I'd like to put it forward to all Australian local governments to open these closed off circuits that families can come along to and where there's no roads and no cars, and kids can cruise around and have fun.
Looking around him, Rogers noted three different disciplines - road, BMX and mountain bike - all taking place within close proximity of one another, as well as a fun ride for small children that both he and two other famous Canberra locals participated in, Oenone Wood and Stephen Hodge. "I started when I was seven, having fun like this, and this is where cycling starts. Here could be our future champions.
"The kids are our future," continued Rogers, "and if cycling wants a strong community, we have to educate our children to ride. Cycling is a positive sport: it's a mode of transport, it promotes healthy living through exercise, and if a nation's healthy, it's usually happy."
Look out for an interview with Michael Rogers soon on Cyclingnews.
More information: www.brindabellachallenge.com.au
Spanish Olympic president accuses doctors of doping complicity
Alejandro Blanco, the president of the Spanish Olympic committee, has accused sports doctors of complicity in doping cases such as Roberto Heras' recent positive for EPO at the Vuelta a Espana.
"It is impossible that a rider is doping without his doctor knowing," said Blanco. According to Europa Press, Blanco said his organisation would take a "zero tolerance" attitude to drugs in sport. "Although I will never say that all sportsmen are innocent, I won't say that the majority are guilty either," he said. "There are some people that are winning a lot of money, but the ones that pay the consequences are the sportsmen and the people at home watching the TV."
Blanco's remarks were made in the context of explaining Madrid's possible candidature for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Madrid must be a candidate for 2016, he said, to have any chance of actually hosting the Games in 2020.
An interview with Dario Cioni
Pro mountain biker, student, pro road racer, scholar - at one time or another, Dario Cioni has been all these things. However, in 2006, all he wants is to graduate to the podium at the Giro d'Italia, as he tells Anthony Tan.
2004 changed everything for Dario Cioni. It began in late April with a top five finish at the Tour de Romandie, a race won by American Tyler Hamilton. Then it ballooned into a fourth place finish at the first Grand Tour of the season, the 87th Giro d'Italia. A spot on the final podium at the Tour de Suisse confirmed the previous two were no fluke, before the Italian time trial championship became another addition two days later.
"My position on the team changed completely compared to previous years, because this was the first year I was able to do GC riding without having to look after other riders that much," says Cioni, reflecting on his 2005 season from his home on the outskirts of Florence. "It was really the first year I went to the Tour to do a good GC."
Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride diary: The launch
Day 1 - Saturday, December 3: Community ride from Singleton to Wyndham Winery Estate
By Pete Forbes
Dramatically, the ride began with a necessary diversion in itinerary as the New England Highway was blocked with a serious and tragic accident between Singleton and Branxton. Our condolences go to the families involved in the tragic accident near Singleton. In unfortunate circumstances, it continues to highlight the need for motorists to exercise caution on our roads.
Fortunately, Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly) was on hand in his home town to re-map the route for organisers, Pete Forbes and Nick Gallo, so that the group of around thirty riders from the local clubs of Muswellbrook and Singleton could still make their way to the Wyndham Estate Winery. Muswellbrook Cycling Club showed their presence with four father and son teams. Amongst our riders was a keen cyclist getting back on the bike after a knee replacement and a pacemaker that was not two months old. Our local riders were joined by the core group that will be making the adventure to Brisbane (Nick Gallo - Maitland, Pete Forbes - Brisbane, Craig Sorensen - Maitland, Terry Peters - Brisbane, Dave Thomson - Brisbane and Pete's brother Michael - Melbourne). Our special guest Matthew White together with Ben Brooks led the riders through the more scenic regions of the Hunter Valley to rejoin the New England highway at Branxton.
New Continental team for Spain
A new Spanish Continental team sponsored by construction company Nicolás Mateos Group and a subsidiary of ProTour team Saunier Duval will be presented on December 20 in Murcia City. The team, which originates from the Murcia region, aims to be a ProTour team in the near future, and young construction magnate Nicolás Mateos is confident the team can succeed in their ambitions for the top echelons of pro cycling. "We aspire to be in the UCI ProTour in a brief amount of time," said Mateos.
The Mateos Group has given the team two years to become a ProTour team, which coincides with the withdrawal of Saunier Duval as a sponsor of that particular squad. The two teams share both sporting and media infrastructure, and Saunier Duval-Prodir boss Joxean Fernández 'Matxin' has suggested the two teams be presented jointly on December 20, such are the links between them.
Spanish cycling is highly regionalised, with this latest development seen as a plus for cycling in the Murcia region. González Savior, head of rider acquisitions at the squad and manager of Alejandro Valverde, recognised that, "certain difficulties exist before the advanced creation of another of Murcia team can occur," and alluded to the hard work by team management to organise everything in the time limit stipulated.
Members of the team include young riders Javier Benítez, Pedro de Pedro, Javier Moreno and Víctor García, with a focus on 'future and quality' in terms of rider selection. Mateos has criticised the Murcia Government for not supporting the team but is confident this new venture can compensate for their lack of support.
Milram clarifies Petacchi & Zabel roles
The question of who will do what among the two star sprinters at new ProTour team Milram gets its first answer for 2006: Alessandro Petacchi will lead the team at the Vuelta a Andalucía, February 12-16, 2006. Marca reports that Petacchi's presence has been secured by the race after an agreement between the organisers and team director Vittorio Algeri.
Later in the year, both Petacchi and Erik Zabel will probably line up for the Tour de France. According to German news agency DPA Zabel will contend for the green jersey, which he has won six times (1996-2001 inclusive) while Petacchi will go for stage victories.
Team manager Gerry van Gerwen told DPA he was not worried about a conflict between the sprinters. "Both Zabel and Petacchi will probably start the Tour," he said, "which is a huge advantage for our team and our project. Petacchi offers the certainty of one, two or more stage wins. If that happens early [in the race] the team could then concentrate on working for Erik to take the green jersey."
The season's first one-day Classic, Milan San Remo, is a race both riders have won in the past. But for 2006, "the race profile has changed," van Gerwen said. "Now there is another climb shortly before the finish. Perhaps that is too difficult for Petacchi." However, Petacchi has listed Milan-San Remo as one of his goals for 2006, along with the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France.
Two more for Amore & Vita
Italian Pro Continental team Amore & Vita has signed 24-year-old Italian Simone Guidi and 23-year-old Swedish rising star Christofer Stevenson. Guidi has clocked up 91 victories, was Tuscan under-23 champion and wore the leader jersey for four stages of the 'baby Giro d'Italia' for under 26 riders in 2002. He rode for Tenax in 2005.
Stevenson caught the eye of team manager Cristian Fanini at the end of May when he was fifth in the Tartu GP in Estonia. A few weeks later he was second behind Amore & Vita rider Jonas Ljungblad in the Swedish national road championship. In August he won the Scandinavian Open Road Race.
"Christofer has great potential," team Fanini told Datasport. "He has won important races not just in Sweden but also in Spain, in France and in Denmark. He has also showed himself to be competitive on every type of route and through the arc of the whole season, and that is what counts in a rider."
Trust House Women's Tour toughest yet
The finalised route for next year's Trust House Women's Cycle Tour of New Zealand, March 1-3 2006, promises to be the toughest race yet. The 2006 event will again be a forerunner to the Wellington leg of the Women's World Cup on March 5, with stages held in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa.
Riders will complete four stages in three days, covering a total of 216 kilometres. The tour starts whit a circuit in High St, Lower Hutt on Wednesday March 1 at 5.00pm, and finishes with the individual time trial in Wellington on Friday, March 3. Riders will then have a rest day ahead of the Wellington leg of the World Cup, on Sunday March 5, starting at Parliament Grounds at the later time of 12.30pm.
A big change for the race will be the inclusion of the steepest climb in the Wairarapa - Te Wharau hill - previously used only by their male counterparts. Race director Jorge Sandoval says the change has been made in response to feedback from riders who competed last year. "We didn't want to make it too hard last year because it's early in the season and the riders are not race fit," he said. "But some of the Russian team said to me last year that it was too easy - they wanted it to be more challenging. And believe me, it will be next year. The stage up Te Wharau hill is the same one we'll be using in the men's tour earlier in January - it will be hard on their legs, because it's on just the second day of racing."
The 2006 event will feature the New Zealand national team and three composite teams from around the country, taking on 16 other national or professional teams, with riders from 24 countries. Sandoval says along with excellent racing, the 2006 tour will also provide even better spectator opportunities. "It will also be televised both nationally and internationally, so it really provides a unique showcase for the Wellington and Wairarapa regions."
Stage 1 - March 1: Hutt City Criterium, 40km
Argentinean cycling stars to ride in Tasmania
Tasmania's Christmas Carnivals have secured another boost, with the state government providing additional funding to attract two Argentinean riders to the series. Labor member of Parliament Brenton Best has announced that the state government has provided an extra $5,000 to carnivals organisers to fly Sebastian Donadío and Sebastián Cancio to Tasmania to compete in the Latrobe, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie Carnivals.
It will be the first time Argentina has ever been represented at the Carnivals, with both riders strongly expected to compete off the elite scratch mark. "Securing the Argentineans is a masterstroke by Carnivals organisers and the state government is delighted that we've been able to help make it happen," Mr Best said. "Their presence will add further interest to the series and I'm certain they will create a lot of excitement among Carnivals fans."
Sebastián Cancio is the reigning World Cup points race champion (having recently secured the title in Moscow) and is also the current Pan American pursuit champion. He's also a four-times champion of Argentina in the points race, scratch race and individual pursuit. Sebastian Donadío was champion of the 'West Indies vs the world' track meeting in Trinidad and Tobago and won this year's Six Days of Torino in Italy. He was sixth in the World Cup Madison in Moscow and is a five-times team pursuit national champion.
Carnivals organisers had been keen to attract the Argentineans earlier this year but had been unable to secure a commitment from them. When the pair contacted organisers again recently to say they would be able to make the trip to Tasmania, SCAT's budget had already been exhausted. Mr Best said funding to fly the pair to Tasmania was made available by the state government after the personal intervention of the Premier, Paul Lennon. He said the Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania [SCAT] had written to Mr Lennon seeking his assistance and he was pleased to be able to provide the special, one-off package in addition to the carnivals' usual state government funding arrangement. "It would have been a great shame for Tasmanian crowds to miss out on seeing this exciting pair in action," Mr Best said.
For more information see the SCAT website.
Jongewaard goes for Commonwealth games selection
Two years ago, South Australian mountain biker Chris Jongewaard narrowly missed out on selection for the Olympic Games. This weekend he will line up for the selection race for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Lysterfield, Victoria, on Sunday, determined not to let the chance to represent his country slip away again.
Jongewaard starts with an advantage: as national series leader he will have pole position on the grid after placing second and first respectively in the first two national series in Tasmania and Western Australia. Nevertheless, to secure one of the three Commonwealth Games berths, he will have to finish first on.
Sid Taberlay, one of Australia's 2004 Olympians, thinks Jongewaard can do it. "It just depends on the day," he said, "but Chris most deserves to win. He's the rider in form at the moment."
Jongewaard has become stronger as the season progresses and doesn't plan to taper his training for Lysterfield. "I am happy with the way Perth went so I'll follow on from there," he said.
Jongewaard's fellow South Australian, Shaun Lewis, will line up in the elite men's race along with Taberlay and national series defender, Dylan Cooper from Canberra. Olympian Josh Fleming from Sydney will also have his first national race of the season.
Great Britain's Olympian, Nick Craig will compete in the expert men and use the event to assist the British team in their preparation for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
The women's event has seen a keen resurgence of interest with Olympian Lisa Mathison returning to training after a year's break. Melbourne's Dellys Starr has returned from her base in America and Sydney Olympian, Anna Baylis, who is is based in Germany is expected to enter. Also competing will be national champion and series leader, Emma Colson from Melbourne.
The Elite women will start on Sunday at 10.30 am with the Elite men starting at 2pm.
Race indoors with ABD
Don't fancy riding outside in sub-freezing temperatures but still want to race? The Athletes by Design Cycle Club has opened registration and announced details for its seventh annual indoor time trial series, which includes two indoor flat 10 kilometre races, two indoor rolling 10km races and the John Fraser Memorial time trial. Riders race on Computrainers, simulating race conditions - and considering that Chicago's weather is predicted to just nudge freezing from below once this week, riding without snow and possible frostbite certainly looks like the way to go! Whereas at past ABD indoor events riders have traditionally raced head-to-head against other competitors, at the 2006 series riders have the option of racing on Computrainer's new 8-Up, Multirider racing system, which is currently being used at the ABD Cycling Centre in Prairie Path Cycles.
In addition, after a hugely successful 2005 series that averaged over 200 participants per race, the indoor events have been relocated to a larger venue at the Community High School in West Chicago, Illinois. Overall results will now be based on participants' single fastest flat 10km, single fastest rolling 10km and the 10-mile outdoor event.
The 2006 Indoor Time Trial Series features over $3,000 in overall and daily cash and prizes, including the return of the fastest men and women challenge: $50, $30, and $20 to the three fastest men and women each day. There will also be a raffle at each event for racing equipment from Profile Designs - so not only do you escape the wicked cold while getting time on your bike, but you can win cash and prizes too. Full race details, flyers and registration forms are available at ABD's website, ABDCycling.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)