First Edition Cycling News for December 7, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke
RIP Charly Gaul, 1932-2005
By Shane Stokes
Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner Charly Gaul died in hospital on Tuesday after suffering a pulmonary embolism. The Luxembourg rider, who took the Tour title in 1958 plus victories in the 1956 and 1959 Giri d'Italia, was one of the best climbers in the history of cycling and twice took the Tour's King of the Mountains award.
Gaul, known as the 'Angel of the Mountains', became ill after he recently fell at his home in Itzig in Luxembourg. He would have been 73 on Thursday.
Gaul's professional career lasted from 1953 until 1965. In addition to his overall victories in the races, Gaul took a total of ten stages in the Tour de France and 11 in the Tour of Italy. He topped the podium in three Tours of Luxembourg, took six Championship of Luxembourg titles and placed third in the 1954 world championships. Gaul was also third in the 1955 and 1961 Tours de France plus the 1958 and 1960 Tours of Italy.
Each of his victories came about through his characteristic high-cadence climbing ability. Gaul's sparkling talent in the high mountains saw him set a long-standing record in the 1958 Tour's Mont Ventoux time trial, as well as earning him KOM wins in the Tours of 1955 and 1956 plus the 1956 and 1959 Giri.
Following his retirement, he withdrew from public life for two decades, living as a hermit in the Ardennes. However in recent years he married again, coming out of his self-imposed solitude to reappear at events such as the 2000 Tour. Gaul admired the exploits of Marco Pantani, who shared similarly flamboyant climbing talents and was himself a winner of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, in 1998.
Tour de France director Jean-Marie LeBlanc paid tribute to Gaul. "I knew Gaul from books and photos and then I met him in 1989 when the Tour set out from Luxembourg for the first time," LeBlanc told L'Equipe. "It's thanks to the Luxemburg authorities that he returned to our sport. He always sent me a card when he was on vacation in France and in a way he ha rediscovered the Tour." LeBlanc sent his condolences to Gaul's wife and daughter, "who had given him a reason to live again."
LeBlanc spoke of Gaul's "great kindness, his modest, his tolerance," and how he thought of the former Tour champion as having "a graceful silhouette that turned the legs incredibly quickly and was able to dig huge gaps in the mountains."
In recent years, LeBlanc said, Gaul, "with his beard, [and] his slightly rounded figure, had become a sort of sage, a father figure," to his successors, Tour mountain men such as Pantani and Richard Virenque. "He was not at all nostalgic," said LeBlanc. "Quite the opposite, he soaked up today's cycling, like a fan. I do not know many champions like him."
When the Tour visited Luxemburg in 2002, LeBlanc said he visited Gaul at home, "Everything was dedicated to cycling," he said, "books trophies, medals etc. Entering his home was like entering a chapel."
Luxembourgian cyclocross racer Suzie Godart also paid tribute to Gaul, writing on her website: "Tomorrow morning I will leave for the U.C.I. cyclocross world-cup race in Milano, and I 'm sure in Italy, where Charly was at least as popular as in Luxemburg and where he still had many friends, the affection will be as deep as here. I will do my race in memory and honour of Charly and I want simply to say to him: 'Äddi Charly, mir vergiessen Dech net!'"
"I condole with his wife and his daughter and assure them my deepest sympathy," Godart concluded.
Arenberg set to return to Paris-Roubaix
One of the most feared sections of pavé may make its return to the Paris-Roubaix Classic in 2006 after the regional government, the conseil général du Nord, voted to spend 220,000 Euros on rehabilitation and maintenance of the historic Arenberg Forest road.
The Arenberg was omitted from the 2005 race after organiser ASO decided it had deteriorated to the point where it was simply to dangerous to use. But regional council hopes its grant and maintenance works will allow the section to return to Paris-Roubaix, "as early as 2006".
ASO is optimistic that the works will be completed on time, and Arenberg will be back in the race. "The organizers envision that Paris-Roubaix will return to this legendary traverse as early as 2006 since this rehabilitation will be finished by April 9, the date of the 104th edition of the race."
Irish sports award for Kelly
Irish sprinter Sean Kelly, four-time winner of the green jersey at the Tour de France and the first rider to win a major stage race seven times in arrow (Paris-Nice, 1982-88) is to be awarded Ireland's Mick Doyle Golden Memory Award at the Canon Hayes National Sports Awards in Aherlow this weekend.
According to Ireland Online, Martin Quinn, a spokesman for the 10th annual awards, said, "The Mick Doyle Golden Memory Award will go to cyclist Sean Kelly in tribute to a career in which he was rated number one in the world as well as being regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of all time."
Kelly will accept the award in person. In his 17-year career, Kelly clocked up 193 victories including 11 Classics and was the first rider to be rated as world number one when the FICP introduced rankings in 1984. He held that spot for a record seven years.
Team UniSA-Australia set for 2006 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under
The UniSA-Australia team has announced their rider lineup for next year's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, including some powerhouse talent on the roster. The eight-man team includes South Australian rider Gene Bates and time trial specialist Ben Day, who has enjoyed a successful year with 13th in the elite men's time trial at the world championships, fifth overall in the Tour of Britain and sixth overall in the Rheinland Pfalz Tour in Germany.
Also in the line up is 2005 Oceania Continental Tour champion and silver medallist in the road race at this year's Australian Open Road Championships, Robert McLachlan. "I love the race because it's such a high standard of competition and great organisation," said McLachlan, who was tenth overall at this year's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in January. "This year I was in the split that decided the riders who would contest overall honours but next year I'd love to win a stage."
Rabobank professional Matthew Hayman comes into the team after a 2005 season that saw him win the Sachsen Tour International in Germany and claim a third place on the opening stage of the Tour of Luxembourg. Hayman rode in the Australian world championships team, and along with Barloworld pro Sean Sullivan and Colombia-Selle Italia rider Russel Van Hout, there's a big engine for the UniSA-Australia team.
Bronze medallist in this year's Australian Open Road Championships road race, Paul Crake, has also been selected for the squad - the Canberra cyclist has been a real cycling revelation in 2005 and may well pull out a surprise come January. Chris Jongewaard joins the team for the South Australian race, having proven his versatility on and off road this year with the Oceania and Australian cross country mountain bike titles to his name and third on the stage 7 of the Herald Sun Tour.
The UniSA - Australia squad for 2006 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under
Gene Bates, Ben Day, Robert McLachlin, Matthew Hayman, Sean Sullivan, Russell Van Hout, Paul Crake, Chris Jongewaard, Dave Sanders (Team Manager)
Two year deal for Griffin
By Shane Stokes
Paul Griffin reaped the benefits of a strong 2005 season when he signed a new and improved two year deal with the Giant Asia squad this week. The Irish rider has confirmed that he has inked a contract for 2006 and 2007, being rewarded for stage victories and high overall placings in races such as the Azerbaïjan Tour, the Tour of East Java and the Tour of Indonesia in 2005.
"I am delighted to get the contract sorted out and put my mind to rest, knowing what I will be doing for the next couple of years," said Griffin.
"The team were very happy with how I went in my first year. As a result, I have ended up with a deal which is a good bit better than last year's arrangement. Apart from taking some wins myself, I did some good riding for the team. I had the chance to do better in some of the 2.2 races I did - I could have got top five places in more of then, but instead sacrificed my chances to ride for the team and help the designated leader."
Griffin says that he is looking forward to getting back to training. "I start this week," he said. "I feel like I am ready to go…the season didn't end too long ago but I am feeling fresh now after my break. When I away on holidays I found myself planning out what I was going to do in training, so I think that's a good sign."
Griffin is planning a strong start to the 2006 season, and says that the team has a busy programme. Early on, Giant Asia will take part in the Tour of Siam, the Tour of Thailand and then either the Tour de Langkawi or the Tour of Okinawa, before returning to tackle the Tour of Taiwan.
Fellow Irishman David McCann has also been offered an extension of his contract with the team, but he hasn't yet indicated his decision.
Louise Yaxley to be Tassie Carnivals ambassador
The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania (SCAT) has appointed Tasmanian cyclist Louise Yaxley as its Ambassador for the 2005-6 Christmas carnivals.
Yaxley was one of five Australia Institute of Sport riders seriously injured when a car hit their training group in Germany in July, killing AIS rider Amy Gillett. Yaxley and her team-mates Katie Brown, Kate Nicholls, Lorian Graham and Alexis Rhodes have all expressed their determination to return to cycling and have spent the last several months in intense rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
"The Association sees Louise as a person who is greatly admired for her cycling ability and one who is determined to recover from the tragic event of the accident in Germany," said SCAT chairman Grant Atkins. "Last Christmas Carnival series Louise put in some outstanding performances in the women's events in which she gained the respect and support of the Tasmanian crowds.
"We believe Louise is very worth of being our inaugural Ambassador and as such she will be promoting the Carnivals and assisting with presentation and interviews."
Yaxley was in good spirits at the recent Cycling Australia awards and last week told Australia's The Age newspaper, ""I think I will be able to get on a bike. But I don't know at what level. I'll try and get back to where I was, at that elite level, and I'll give it two to three years, but if I can't, I'll move on."
Yaxley is very supportive of the Amy Gillett Foundation which has been established with the aims of providing support for the rehabilitation of Amy's injured team mates; funding and administering a scholarship program for young women cyclists; and supporting and promoting projects aimed at road safety awareness amongst cyclists and motorists.
While the details are yet to be worked out, Atkins said SCAT would find a way to assist the Foundation.
For more information see the SCAT website.
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