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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 8, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Vuelta organiser Ayuso strikes back

Vuelta a España organiser Ignacio Ayuso was very surprised at the declarations of former UCI president Hein Verbruggen, who recently stated that the next Tour de France could be organised "for junior riders" if the Grand Tour remained out of the ProTour. "I'm absolutely convinced that this will never happen," Ayuso told Spanish media As. No serious professional team will ever decline the Vuelta, the Giro or the Tour, no matter how much Verbruggen wants to get even."

With the three Grand Tour organisers meeting on Thursday, December 8, to discuss their position in the future organisation of the international cycling calendar, an integration of the races into the ProTour seems more and more unlikely. "We will not give in to Verbruggen's threats," the president of Unipublic continued. "We're part of the UCI, and want to continue being part of it, but we cannot be in favour of a closed league that could kill cycling, just because somebody wants to do business. The European Union is against closed competition. It's been one year that we've said we won't accept it."

A joint statement by Unipublic, Giro d'Italia organiser RCS and Tour de France organiser ASO has been announced for Friday, December 9, at a press conference in Paris.

Suspended sentence requested for Rumsas

After questioning Edita Rumsas for two and a half hours on Wednesday, the public prosecutor of the court in Bonneville, France, has requested that her husband Raimondas Rumsas be given an eight month suspended jail term for the illegal importation of drugs in 2002. The prosecutor also requested that Edita - who was the one caught with an illegal stash of drugs in her campervan - be given a three month suspended sentence for the same offence.

A third person involved in the 'Rumsas affair', Polish doctor Krzysztof Ficek, is charged with writing the prescriptions for the drugs found in Edita's vehicle. He was not present at the questioning today.

A ruling on the case isn't expected until late January next year.

Contador and Osa recovering

Liberty Seguros riders Alberto Contador and Unai Osa are recovering from some recent surgical operations, the team reports. Contador was operated on last Saturday for a groin hernia in Madrid's Hospital Ramon y Cajal. Doctors thought that surgery was the most rapid way of healing an injury without major disruption, and he will only be off the bike for 15 days.

Unai Osa, who is new to the team, had an arthroscopy in his right knee last Monday. He had been having difficulties with it while training, and during surgery, doctors removed an internal scar. It's expected that he will resume training soon.

Nazon the elder retires

Damien Nazon, the elder of the two Nazon brothers, has opted to finish his career, aged 31. The French sprinter has 33 victories to his credit, including stages in the Dauphiné Libéré, Midi Libre, Criterium International and Tour of Belgium. He won two races this year, a stage in the Tour De Picardie and one in the Circuit De La Sarthe.

Nazon began his pro career in 1996 with Banesto, then rode for La Francaise des Jeux for three years before joining Bonjour. In 2003, Nazon stayed with that team that became Brioches la Boulangere, then joined Credit Agricole for the last two seasons of his career.

In future, Nazon will serve as road captain, trainer and directeur sportif of the Hagueneau club in France.

Züri-Metzgete back in ProTour

The organisers of the Züri-Metzgete have announced that the race will form part of the ProTour calendar for the next four years, joining the Tour de Suisse and Tour de Romandie as the other Swiss ProTour events. The race was left off the provisional calendar for 2006 as it was 'under review' by the UCI's ProTour committee. But the UCI was satisfied that it met ProTour requirements, and it will be run on October 1, 2006.

Peace Race revival in 2006?

The post-World War II Eastern Europe stage race "Friedensfahrt" (Peace Race) might be back on the calendar next season, according to German news agency dpa. First established in 1948, the traditional race did not take place this year for the first time in its history. Czech organisation director Pavel Dolezel is reported to have been replaced with the Swiss Herbert Notter, former president of the Swiss cycling federation, and the 2006 parcours is to take the riders from Austria to Germany via the Czech Republic in nine stages from May 12-20.

World Champions on track at Manchester World Cup

There will be plenty of rainbow jerseys on the boards at the Manchester UCI World Cup this weekend, with World Madison Champions Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish and World Scratch Race Champion Alex Rasmussen featuring in their respective events.

The madison, considered one of the most spectacular track events, will see three of the top four madison teams from the World Championships competing. Hayles and Cavendish will face tough opposition from Belgians Matt Gilmore and Iljo Keisse, who placed third at the World's, and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev and Nikolai Troussov, who placed fourth. However, with a number of strong parings from other nations including Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov from Denmark, Fabio Masotti and Marco Villa from Italy, Richard England and Sean Finning from Australia, Guido Fulst and Leif Lampater from Germany and Spain's Joan Llaneras and Miguel Alzamora, a podium place will be hard to attain.

In the scratch race, World Champion Rasmussen will feature in a strong line up including Great Britain's Chris Newton, who is in good form leading into the meet. Newton would normally compete in the points race, the event in which he was World Champion in 2002, but due to a clash in Saturday's race program, he has opted to ride in the team pursuit instead. This leaves him free to test his form in the scratch race, which takes place as part of Friday's programme,

“I'm going quite well at the moment so the Scratch Race will be a good opportunity to stretch my legs," said Newton. "I'll stick to one tactic and if it works that's great but it's a tricky race and anything can happen, if you miss an attack that's it. It will be a tough race with the World Champion in there; he's pretty consistent so I'm sure he'll be up for it."

Other riders in the scratch race include Matt Gilmore and road star Magnus Backstedt as well as Scotland's James McCallum and fellow Brits Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift.

The men's scratch race final will take place on Friday 9th December with the madison final on Sunday the 11th. Full details at www.worldtrackcycling.com.

Yaxley ambassador for Tasmanian Nationalgrid Carnivals

The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania (SCAT) has named Louise Yaxley as its Ambassador for the upcoming Nationalgrid Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. Louise was part of the Australian women's team that was hit by a car while training in Germany in July, resulting in the death of Amy Gillett and serious injuries to the other five cyclists involved. The injured riders have made remarkable progress and all are well on the way to recovery.

SCAT considers Yaxley as someone who is greatly admired for her cycling ability and one who is determined to recover from the tragic event of the accident in Germany. Last Christmas Carnival series, she 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," said Grant Atkins, Chairman of SCAT in a statement.

It's also expected that SCAT will assist the Amy Gillett Foundation, which has been established to provide support for the rehabilitation of Amy's injured team mates, to fund and administer a scholarship program for young female cyclists, and to support and promote projects aimed at road safety awareness amongst cyclists and motorists.

For more information see the SCAT website.

Cycle for missing persons

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Tosh Lavery, a former cyclist who participated in the FBD Milk Ras and is now heavily involved in the Health and Safety of the sport, has thrown all his weight behind the Missing in Ireland Support Service (MISS.ie), a voluntary organisation. It was formed to provide support for families and friends of missing persons.

On Saturday, December 10, they intend to hold a "Missing Miles" cycle as part of their public awareness campaign. The event will commence at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin and travel via Terenure, Rathfarnham, Johnny Foxes Pub and Tallaght. During the ride, they will halt briefly at four locations in order to meet the families of the long-term missing, and a symbolic "Candle of Hope" will be presented to the families by Dermot Browne, Chairperson of MISS.

It is hoped that the cycling clubs throughout Ireland will show solidarity with the promotion. It has to be stressed that this is not a fund raiser.

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