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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for December 8, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Big weekend for U.S. Cyclocross Championships

By Steve Medcroft

2004 men's champ Jonathan Page
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
Click for larger image

On December 9 through the 11th in Providence, Rhode Island, the best in U.S. cyclocross will come together to battle for the right to wear the national championship jersey in 2006. More than twenty championships will be awarded over the weekend in categories ranging from junior, collegiate, masters, and U23, to Saturday's elite men and Sunday's elite women's showcases.

In the men's race, three-time and defending national champion, Jonathan Page, is expected to return from the European cyclocross circuit, leaving the rest of field with the job of trying to match his form and skill. Defending women's national champion Katie Compton will lose the element of surpise that helped her win last year's race and will face currently on-form favorites like Ann Knapp and Barbara Howe in the women's race.

Held in historic Roger Williams Park in Providence, promoters have devised a challenging stage for the weekend. And if the curent predictions of snow and freezing temperatures hold, the weather could make the event as photogenic and memorable for spectators as the last two years when racers, on a Portland, Oregon course drenched by torrential downpours, raced through running rivers of mud.

Live coverage

Racing gets underway Friday with age-group and collegiate racing. Stay tuned to for live on-line race coverage of the following races:

Saturday, December 10
Elite U23, 12 noon, 50 minutes
Elite Juniors, 2pm, 40 minutes
Elite men, 3pm, 60 minutes

Sunday, December 11
Elite Women, 3pm, 40 minutes

Click here for the Full preview, Program & results, Past winners

Cofidis ordered to pay Lelli

The Cofidis team has been ordered by a court in Tourcoing, France, to pay Massimiliano Lelli €50,000 after it dismissed him prematurely in 2004. Lelli was one of those charged in the Cofidis doping affair last year, on the basis of evidence given by Philippe Gaumont and David Millar, and was sacked from the team in August. But the court found that he had been dismissed unfairly, and it will have to pay his for lost wages, damages for harming his character, and legal costs.

Eddy Verstraeten dies

Former Belgian professional Eddy Verstraeten has died of a brain tumour, aged 57. A professional for 12 years starting in 1970, Verstraeten won a Tour de France stage from Sint-Niklass to Roubaix in 1973, as well as the Four Days of Dunkirk that year, the prologue of the Tour of the Netherlands in 1975, and a stage of the Tour of Belgium in 1979.

Fanelli to Amore & Vita

Following the signatures of Daniele Di Batte, Simone Guidi and Christofer Stevenson, Amore & Vita has acquired another rider for its 2006 roster in Ivan Fanelli. The 27 year-old rode for Amore & Vita in 2003 and 2004, but switched to LPR this season. However, while there he clashed with fellow sprinter Danilo Napolitano and did not have a good year. His former and future team manager Ivano Fanini believes Fanelli has great potential "not only as a sprinter, but as a complete rider, a Bettini-type when he is in form, who can cope with a hard parcours and contend for the victory."

Fanelli commented, "2006 will be a decisive year for me, and in Amore & Vita I've found the right environment and the necessary space to reach my best form and show my worth. Thanks to Cristian and Ivano who believed in me again and gave me the chance to return. I will not let them down.

Acqua & Sapone on De Rosa

Next year's Acqua & Sapone team will be seated on De Rosa bikes, reports the Pescaran manufacturer. Team manager Palmiro Masciarelli has reached an agreement with Cristiano De Rosa to that effect.

Ben Kersten and Kate Bates honoured at NSWIS awards

The 2005 NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) annual awards dinner held at Sydney's Westin Hotel on Wednesday night crowned cyclist Ben Kersten (Kiama) the NSWIS/ClubsNSW Male Athlete of the Year, and fellow cyclist Kate Bates (Old Toongabbie) as NSWIS/NSW Tourism, Sport & Recreation Female Athlete of the Year.

Kate Bates was a stand out performer on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup circuit with three gold medals at a meet in Manchester. She went on to be crowned the World Cup Champion for the women's scratch race, and she also won two silvers and a bronze at the 2005 World Championships.

Currently in Manchester preparing for a World Cup, Bates was unable to accept the award in person with her parents collecting the trophy on her behalf. She won the award ahead of finalists Torah Bright (Winter Sports), Sophie Edington (Swimming), Nikki Garrett (Golf) and Amy Winters OAM (Athletes With Disabilities - Track & Field)

After the disappointment of the 2004 Olympic Games, Ben Kersten won one gold, one silver and two bronze on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Circuit. He is the 2005 World Cup Champion for the Men's 1km Time Trial and placed fourth in the 1km Time Trial at the 2005 World Championships.

Kersten received the award ahead of fellow finalists Darren Bundock (Sailing), David Hall OAM (Wheelchair Tennis), Andrew Hoy OAM (Equestrian), Brad Kahlefeldt (Triathlon), Michael Milton OAM (Athletes With Disabilities - Alpine Skiing) and Joshua Ross (Track & Field).

A total of 13 awards were presented during the evening, recognising the achievements of NSWIS athletes, coaches and sporting programs. NSWIS Cycling Head Coach Gary Sutton (Sylvania) received the Telstra Coach of the Year award for the second year in a row, while Cycling was named Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year.

2005 has been a great year for Gary Sutton and his athletes. Not only were Kersten and Bates crowned World Cup champions, but Skye-Lee Armstrong won the women's Scratch race at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships and Stephen Wooldridge won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Senior Track Cycling Championships. NSWIS athletes also excelled at a number of European road races.

Over 600 people attended the evening, including the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Morris Iemma MP and the NSW Minister for Tourism, Sport & Recreation, the Hon Sandra Nori MP. Other VIPs attending the evening were NSWIS Deputy Chairman Alan Jones AO and a number of Olympians, Paralympians and World Champions including Bradley McGee, Stephen Wooldridge (cycling) and Jane Sachs (wheelchair basketball).

Uni's over - let's race

By Gerard Knapp

Rosemary Barnes
Photo ©: Liam Tung
(Click for larger image) Rosemary Barnes made a storming comeback to MTB racing after an 11-year break to win the women's category.

The surprise winner of the open women's division in Saturday's 55km MTB race - one of the main events of the weekend-long 'Brindabella Challenge,' held in the picturesque mountains outside of Canberra, Australia's capital city - was local Canberra rider Rosemary Barnes.

When asked if it was the biggest win of her career, a delighted Barnes replied, "hell yeah!". The unsponsored rider attacked early in the race and was in the lead, ahead of Australian 2005 world MTB XC championships representative Niki Fisher, who flatted twice on the muddy, mountainous course. But Barnes stayed clear and posted what she hopes will be the first of more victories in the senior ranks.

Barnes, 23, recently finished her university degree and wants to see how far cycling can take her. Next month, it will take her to Melbourne to take part in the elite road criterium series, the Jayco Bay Classic, or 'Bay Crits' as they are more widely known. Barnes will be riding in the same team as reigning Women's World Cup champion (and fellow Canberra Cycling Club member), Oenone Wood, who will be one of the favourites for this criterium series. (It should be pointed out that Wood's team for the Bay Classic series is not her usual Nürnberger squad, but a special composite team formed just for this series.)

Barnes has been racing a bike since her early teens, but then illness forced her off the bike at 19 and into university. But with studies over, she is now logging about 400km per week, mainly on the road, and is hoping to attract the attention of sponsors at the Bay Crits next month.

Cyclingnews' Brindabella Challenge coverage

Round-up, Criteriums, 55km MTB race, Road races, BMX, People Telecom Urban Polaris, Photos, Schedule

Toohey's Extra Dry Tasmanian Criterium Championships finale

By Rod Morris

Only one of three riders remain in contention to win this year's Toohey's Extra Dry Tasmanian Criterium Championship, but none can lay claim to outright favouritism for this weekend's third and final round. Matt Goss, winner of both rounds held to date holds a 2-point lead over Latrobe's Nathan Clarke and a further three points to Hobart's Stephen Rossendell, who are the only other riders that can win the title. But Saturday's final round at Ulverstone looks almost certain to throw up some surprises.

Former triathlete Karl Menzies, is an expected starter, and will be keen to throw a spanner in the works before he heads overseas to take up a new racing contract in America, whilst Bernard Sulzberger of Flowery Gully will be equally as keen to upset the leading riders, Sulzberger finished third in the opening round but missed the Devonport round due to racing commitments in Bundaberg. He is currently sixth overall and will want to finish with a higher credit rating for the series.

Whilst Goss is the nominal favourite, Clarke must be thoroughly sick of finishing second. In the last three major race carnivals on the Tasmanian cycling calendar, Goss has beaten Clarke to the line in four key races and while Goss may end up winning this championship, Clarke may have to settle on claiming the spoils in the Goodstone Sprint King Championship.

Six intermediate sprints will be dotted throughout the final round criterium and Clarke will be desperately trying to extend his 4-point lead over Wesley Sulzberger. Goss is third, 10 points adrift of Clarke in the Sprint title.

Despite winning both rounds comfortably, Grace Sulzberger will only carry a 2-point lead over Kate Warren in the Invitational Women's series. However Sulzberger needs only to finish in the first three placings to ensure overall victory.

Launceston's Clay Murfett leads Burnie's Matthew McDonagh in the B Grade Men by just 1-point with their nearest challenger being Adam Hartley. Newly crowned George Town Wheel winner Jamie Perry holds a 3-ponit lead in the North-West Veterans category.

The Junior 1 (U17) series is extremely close with Ben Grenda, Matthew Kent and Andrew Smith level on points but separated in order by percentage. Luke Ockerby and Izac Guest are respective leaders of the Junior 2 (U15) and Junior 3 (U13) titles.

Saturday's races will start at 2 p.m. and all presentations will be held in the Chelsea Room of the Furners Hotel at approximately 5.30 p.m.

Progressive points tally (after Round 2)

Elite Men                  
Matt Goss            20 pts
Nathan Clarke        18
Stephen Rossendell   15
Wesley Sulzberger     9
Tom Robinson          9
Bernard Sulzberger    8
Aaron Jones           7
Richie Port           7
Andrew Hannigan       5
Jarrod Harman         5
Will Robinson         4
Tim Walker            2
John Rayner           1
Goodstone Sprint Championship
Nathan Clarke        21 pts
Wesley Sulzberger    17
Matt Goss            11
Bernard Sulzberger    9
Andrew Hannigan       3
Mark Jamieson         3
Aaron Jones           3
Stephen  Rossendell   2
Tim Walker            2
Jarrod Harman         1
Invitational Women   
Grace Sulzberger     20 pts
Kate Warren          18
Bethany  Coleman     16
Kate De Paoli        14
Tarrisha Jones       12
Tiffany Manion        9
Emma Smith            6
Sarah Eaves           6
Laurilee Sharman      4
Sarah Cure            2
Melissa Barnes        2
Emma Haynes           1
B Grade Men          
Clay Murfett         18 pts
Matthew  Mcdonagh    17
Adam Hartley         15
Michael Smith        14
Jamie Perry          12
Alex Holden          10
Cameron  Daniel       6
Daniel Jamieson       6
Ben Laskey            3
Codie Redman          3
Craig Burrows         3
Andrew Loft           2
Steve Mccoy           1
NW Veterans          
Jamie Perry          19 pts
Steve Martini        16
Craig Price          15
Tim Elmer            14  
Peter Gleeson         9
Darryn Pugh           7
Fred Guilbert         6
Tim Hicks             6   
Glenn Myler           5
Craig Burrows         5
Shane Cresswell       4
David Weeks           3
Nick Millington       1
Junior 1             
Ben Grenda           18 pts
Andrew Smith         18
Matthew  Kent        18
Alex Benson          14
Ed Robinson          12
Brenden  Sutton      10
Andrew Dolan          6
Timothy Taylor        6
David Lyons           4
Jonathon Taylor       2
Matthew Sermicki      2
Junior 2             
Luke Ockerby         20 pts
Sam Brett            18
Amy Cure             16
Ryan Mather          12
Brandon  Stewart     12
Gerald McDonagh       7
Ryan Ockerby          7
Kodey West            5
Jacob Fielding        5
Callan Walker         4
Jason Bounday         2
Madison  Catlin       2
Junior 3             
Izac Guest           20 pts
Drew Redman          17
Liam Ockerby         17
Danieka West         14

Improvements for 2006 Sydney Thousand

The marathon 2005 Sydney Thousand track cycling carnival at Dunc Gray Olympic Velodrome held two weeks ago will be almost totally revamped before it is held again next year. Organisers have decided on a more streamlined program to replace the four hour enduro that, although successful, tested spectators' time budgets on a stormy afternoon. Some races are shorter, some are gone altogether, and others, including the Sydney Thousand, will receive a prize money boost.

The Sydney Thousand will have a total of $10,000 attached and the popular and exciting race for under 19 year-old men - which carries Ben Kersten's name - will be increased twofold to $2,000. This makes both races the richest of their kind in the world - wheelrace and under 19 scratch.

Time between events will be reduced - there will be fewer on the program - thus reducing the overall running time. In addition all scratch races have been brought back to 12 laps duration with the exception of the aces men's scratch, which will be reduced by a third to 20 laps. The masters race will be replaced by stars of the future showcasing under 13 year-old riders.

The aces will have a 15-lap elimination race and the best eight sprinters will contest an innovative skins-type sprint series - eight riders to start. The men's keirin will be reduced to straight out finals for aces and A reserves, while the women's event remains intact.

One event is to be a NSW or Australian Championship final with heats conducted prior to the day. Planning is under way to send Ben Kersten, NSWIS Athlete of the Year - inaugural recipient of the Major Taylor-SCG Trust Award for best performance by a Sydney Thousand backmarker - to travel to Worcester, Massachusetts, USA to meet with people from the Major Taylor Foundation.

An Afro-American, Taylor was the stand out rider in the first two Sydney Thousands conducted in 1903-4 at the SCG which attracted crowds of 54,000 people. He settled in Worcester after being denied access to velodromes in his home state of Indiana because of his colour.

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