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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 11, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Godefroot looks back at T-Mobile, Ullrich and Pevenage

Walter Godefroot, the retiring general manager of the T-Mobile Team, said in an interview with the Belgian Sport Magazine that he was "getting tired of it all. You start to notice that you no longer have that edge and that you let certain things pass you by."

In addition, he disagrees with the direction the team is taking. To him, "The team is more important than the individual, no matter what. And that goes against everything they're doing at T-Mobile right now. Everything is focused on Jan Ullrich and will be even more so next season. I don't feel comfortable with the direction they're taking."

Godefroot was critical of his star rider, Jan Ullrich, and his personal advisor, soon-to-be Directeur Sportif, Rudy Pevenage. "Things aren't easy with Jan, he only wants one thing: that you leave him be. Jan hardly bothers with other riders, either. Armstrong, for example, would call injured riders two times a week to check up on them. Ullrich would never do that. On the other hand: I never heard Jan say a bad word about anyone."

He noted that several support staff members had left the team specifically because of Pevenage, adding, "I don't think it's a bad thing to give Pevenage full responsibility over Ullrich. If Jan fails in the Tour, Pevenage doesn't have anyone else to blame anymore."

Looking back at the Tour, Godefroot said, "It was remarkable that it was mostly (D.S. Mario) Kummer who was being criticized during the Tour, they didn't think him crafty enough, not enough of an Arschloch (arsehole) like they say in Germany. Even if Mario is an excellent DS. But now they've gone and made him coordinator instead."

How does he summarize his decision to leave? "I did my job and now it's time for a new part of my life. It's as simple as that."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

ProTour teams and organisers to meet in January

While the split between the Grand Tour organisers and the UCI is the biggest issue of the ProTour at the moment, the UCI has announced a conference for the remaining organisers and the ProTour teams next January. The meeting will take place on January 19-20 at the UCI's World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, and is designed to enable the participants to assess the past season and their involvement in the 2006 season.

Alain Rumpf, UCI ProTour Manager, will present the season guide for teams and organisers at the conference. The publication sets the quality criteria that UCI ProTour licence holders must respect.

Quick Step-Innergetic starts in Bari

The Quick Step-Innergetic team will have its first pre-season meeting in the southern Italian town and province of Bari between December 12-16. The aim is to make the most of the area in and around Bari and to try and attract youngsters to cycling. Members of the team, including World Champion Tom Boonen, will begin the team retreat on Monday with a press conference in Bari's Town Hall, after which there will be photo sessions and the preparation of the team's promotional material. The meeting will also serve as an opportunity to intergrate the new members into the team, and to sketch out rider and team programs for the next season.

Milram starts in Tuscany

The new Milram team, of Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel, will also hold its first camp of the season in Italy, but further north of Quick.Step. Between December 12-21, the team will meet in Castagneto Carducci in Tuscany. The main aim of the exercise will be similar to Quick.Step: to sort out the equipment, have photos taken, create promotional material, and work out season programs.

Bettini to carry the Olympic Torch

Olympia gold medalist Paolo Bettini will carry the Olympic Torch on its way to the Winter Games in Turin, reports. The Quick-Step star will carry the flame on December 13 from Fattoria Carli to Cecina - on his bike. "That is a great honour for me. The Olympic win will always be one of the highpoints of my career," he said.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Rasmussen extends with Rabobank

Michael Rasmussen has extended his contract with Rabobank by an additional year, taking him up to the end of 2007, as he writes on his diary on "There is quite some sense in striking while the iron is hot," he wrote. "There was a strong mutual interest. My pay check is a bit larger and at the same time Rabobank is assured that I do not leave."

The Danish rider would have liked to extend the deal covering 2008 as well. "That was a bit of a dream scenario. I turn 32 before the start of the next Tour de France, and therefore it would have been rather unusual. It is one thing being 21 years when you sign a three year contract, doing it at 31 is something quite different."

Both parties also agreed that they wanted a continuation of Rasmussen's success in this year's Tour. That means the Dane will have no goals in the spring, but will focus on defending his polka dot mountains jersey in the Tour. "I have an opportunity to concentrate 100% on the Tour de France, and they expect nothing from me until then. That is of course an opportunity of which I will take advantage. It is the most important bike race of the year, and when you have the luxury to be able to focus 100% on it, you better take that opportunity."

However, there will be a slight change in his preparations comparing to this year. The Giro d'Italia will be replaced by Catalonia and Dauphiné Libéré. "It has something to do with the way the Giro is built up. Last year (this year) we started in the southern part of Italy, next year it all starts with a week in Belgium. That is not necessarily the coolest place to ride a bike in the beginning of May. That is one of the reasons. Another is the fact that Rabobank has a policy that you do not start a three week race if you do not know whether you will ride it all the way. That is fair enough to me. And therefore it will be Catalonia and Dauphiné Libéré instead."

Rasmussen has had some good results in those two races before: In 2003 he won the mountains jersey in Catalonia, and in 2004 he won a stage in the Dauphiné Libéré, but for 2006 his primary goal will be to get into shape for the Tour de France.

"It simply has to be a continual rising run of form heading towards the Tour de France, and then we will perhaps try to pick out a stage. But I will not go to Catalonia for a win, certainly not if it is going to cost one and a half month later. Of course you will have to ride relatively fast in Dauphiné Libéré, that goes for the other favourites too."

Davis late withdrawal; McEwen set to shine in Surfers Paradise

By John Flynn in Surfers Paradise

Robbie McEwen
Photo ©: John Flynn
Click for larger image

The 'boys of summer' will be out in force later today, Australian time as the holiday mecca of Surfers Paradise prepares to host race two of Queensland's Grand Prix Criterium Series.

Working on his tan on Saturday while cruising the glitter strip with his Australian based Davitamon Lotto teammates, Robbie McEwen was very much the centre of attention as 150 amateur cyclists took up the invitation to ride with the pro's on a 100 kilometre bunch ride beginning at Brisbane's Southbank Parkland.

McEwen, who calls the Gold Coast home during the worst of the European winter, traditionally turns up ready to race in Surfers Paradise. The tight, technical circuit, which includes sections of clay pavers and challenging corners in the famed Cavill and Orchid Avenues, generally suits the former BMX rider, who last year was burnt off in the final lap of the race by Francaise des Jeux's Brad McGee.

"I'm not expecting to be one of the best," McEwen told Cyclingnews. "The supporters always give me a really good reception in Briso and on the coast. I'm not here because I enjoy the pain!"

Odds of a McEwen victory have been slashed with news Liberty Seguros sprinter Allan Davis will miss today's race, as his wife is due to give birth any day. Davis was impressive in race one of the series at Brisbane's Southbank, finishing second in the sprint behind World Champion track pursuiter Ashley Hutchinson.

Allan Davis
Photo ©: John Flynn
Click for larger image

When Cyclingnews caught up with Davis after last week's race, the cyclist who hails from the small sugar town of Bundaberg was eager to put behind him a tumultuous finish to 2005, in the wake of the positive EPO test involving teammate Roberto Heras and rumours surrounding the future of his team.

"Nah mate it's all go ahead," Davis said. "Just try and forget about it, a mistake happened and it's the past now mate, we're just worrying about the future and trying to get results."

Davis was also eager to put to an end any rumours about the future of his team, following the loss of their champion GC Rider. "I haven't heard any different. I think it's just a bit of the media who are changing it around."

Davis, whose brother Scott recently joined T-Mobile, has singled out the upcoming Australian Open Road Championships as his next major objective; the goal being to make the team for the Commonwealth Games. Beyond that, the Liberty Seguros sprinter will look to the spring classics, and the race he dreams of winning, Milan - San Remo.

"I'd love to, it'll be a dream come true," Davis said.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by John Flynn/

Broken collarbone for Cooke

Nicole Cooke has been confirmed as breaking her collarbone after crashing in the first day of racing at the Manchester World Cup meet. Cooke, who signed for Raleigh/Univega Pro Cycling Team on the same day, broke the bone in two places after she crashed in the heats of the women's points race. It is a clean break and she will only be off the bike for two weeks.

Driver gets light sentence in Pasque case

The driver who killed 31 year-old Australian cyclist Saul Pasque last January has escaped serious punishment, receiving just a $1000 fine and a two month loss of his driver's licence. Pasque, from Camperdown in the southern Australian state of Victoria, was killed while riding along Barrabool Road by 57 year-old Eric Lewis Walter. The accident happened late in the afternoon, and Walter claimed not to have seen Pasque until the last moment. After he hit the cyclist, he tried to help him, but Pasque died from severe head injuries after being taken to Geelong Hospital.

Magistrate Ian von Einem handed down his sentence in the middle of last week, admitting that the charge of careless driving will still be considered "too lenient" by Pasque's relatives. "That charge [of careless driving] carries a maximum $1200 fine and any loss of licence is at the magistrate's discretion," von Einem was quoted by the Geelong Advertiser as saying. "The cyclist was doing nothing wrong, he was riding 34 centimetres from the edge of the bitumen when he was struck by the defendant's car. There was no excessive speed, no alcohol involved and the defendant has no prior convictions...But this is a situation where a careless act has caused a life to be extinguished."

Champion System to Tour of South China Sea

Champion System is taking a team of six riders to the UCI 2.2 Tour of the South China Sea. The team is made up of half USA-based and half Hong Kong based riders, as follows:

Jared Bunde (USA)
Simon Chau (Hong Kong)
Daniel Lee Chi Wo (Hong Kong)
Joseph Papp (USA)
David Sommerville (USA)
Derek Wong (Hong Kong)

New York-based rider, David Sommerville will serve as team director, having had plenty of experience in that role this year at the UCI 2.2 Vuelta El Salvador, Vuelta Nicaragua and recently the UCI 2.2 Tour De Taiwan, where one of the Champion System composite riders, Tom Peterson, placed 3rd overall.

Cyclingnews diarist Joe Papp will serve as the team sprinter, with Jared Bunde as lead out, and also brings his impressive international race experience to the team. "I'm excited to return to Asia to compete, and am honoured to have been invited to join the Champion System for the Tour of South China Seas," said an enthusiastic Papp. "With the team we've assembled, I'll be free to concentrate on stage placing and won't have to stress about GC."

Hong Kong based rider Simon Chau recently broke Wong Kam Po's Tai Mo Shan uphill TT record, is probably the best climber in the Hong Kong local circuit, and recently placed 5th at Tour of Macau. Rounding out the contender spots is another Hong Kong based rider Derek Wong. Derek placed 2nd overall at the Tour of South China Seas in 2004 and was a two year member of the British Army National team and currently a member of the Hong Kong National Cycling team since 2001.

Finally, Daniel Lee Chi Wo a top ranked triathlete, sitting 63rd in the ITU rankings, and is very well known in the sport in Asia. His 2004 results include 16th Ishigaki World Cup in Japan, 65th Madeira World Championships in Portugal, 1st Hong Kong International, 6th Macau International, 1st Valsana International in ITA, and 43rd Athens Olympics.

"We've assembled a strong, capable team," says Champions System's owner Louis Shih, "And I expect to see some of our riders on the podium during the race, especially Derek Wong, who will be a front runner for the Best Asian rider and possible overall. Let's not forget Joe Papp in the fast finishes."

The stages

Stage 1 - December 26: Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui– Tsing Yi, Hong Kong SAR
Stage 2 - December 27: Longhua, Shenzhen, PR China
Stage 3 - December 28: Nanhai District, Foshan, PR China
Stage 4 - December 29: University City, Guangzhou, PR China
Stage 5 - December 30: Jiangmen City, PR China
Stage 6 - December 31: Nantou town, Zhongshan, PR China
Stage 7 - January 1: Zhuhai, PR China
Stage 8 - January 2: Macau SAR

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)