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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for December 13, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

UCI vs Grand Tours: Everyone back to their seats

Victor Cordero
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

In Paris last Friday, organisers of the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espańa and Tour de France expressed their complete disagreement with, and abandonment from the UCI ProTour. This is a serious issue inside elite road cycling that will certainly create new chapters in the coming days. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez spoke with Vuelta a Espańa director Victor Cordero to get his personal view of the argument.

Cyclingnews: After this meeting, how are things right now?

Victor Cordero: There has been no news these last 48 hours. The main topic now is to set up a vision of the three Grand Tours in terms of how things should go for 2006 and the coming years. Let's not forget that we took into account a letter from the UCI which we received around 12 days ago, telling us that there was no chance of negotiating, there were no more discussions, that they agreed to establish the same system in 2006 as in 2005, and in which they already announced to put us into a, let's say, separate calendar in 2007.

So, the situation today [Sunday, December 11, 2005] is that the organisers of the Giro, Vuelta and Tour have decided to set up this basis in 2006, that will be put into practice in 2007 when [the UCI intended to] create the separated calendar. And the fundamental basis is: the chance for the 20 ProTour teams to ride the races freely, not compulsorily in 2006. If the 20 teams want to, they will be welcome. If some of them don't want to, it doesn't matter. In 2007, the 14 best teams will be invited on the grounds of a classification that will award points from these three races. The rest, up to eight possible wildcards, will be given by invitation.

CN: Apart from the Grand Tours, there are other important races that would also be out of the ProTour.

VC: Yes, we have Milan-San Remo, Giro di Lombardia, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico; they are important races indeed. Since the World Championships in Verona in October 2004, we have been saying that the ProTour as it is built is not the reform that cycling needed. We tried to convince the other parties involved that it wasn't the correct reform and we suggested our ProTour change proposal for the good of cycling in general. They [the UCI] didn't want to hear, they couldn't hear. I'd like to think that there was good will, but that they didn't understand us.

Click here for the full interview.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

UCI: ProTeam sponsors support ProTour

Meanwhile, the UCI's latest salvo in its ongoing disagreement with the Grand Tour organisers is to claim that the sponsors of the 20 ProTeams support a united professional series.

"After discussions in Brussels today [December 12] with leaders of the UCI, including president Pat McQuaid, vice president Hein Verbruggen and the president of the ProTour Counsel Vittorio Adorni, representatives of the sponsors of the 20 ProTour teams have confirmed their support for a united professional series," the UCI said in a statement.

The statement said that the sponors expressed their willingness to assume a strong role within the ProTour after presentations on marketing and television opportunities and an explanation from the UCI of the general situation. The sponsors have requested another meeting on January 18, 2006 to determine the nature of their involvement.

Klöden plans February comeback

T-Mobile rider Andreas Klöden says he will return to racing at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Spain, February 21-25. Klöden will probably be hoping for better luck in 2006 than in recent years. His stellar ride to second place in the 2004 Tour de France was bracketed by disasters in 2003 when he broke his coccyx in a crash and 2005 when he broke his scaphoid.

That injury is just about healed, and Klöden is training in South Africa with his team-mates including Jan Ullrich. "My hand has recovered well and is giving me hardly any problems," he told German news agency dpa. "Sometimes I get a bit of mild pain in the forearm, but it's all tolerable."

Klöden will remain in South Africa until just before Christmas and then join the team again for another training camp in Mallorca in January. "In my daily training everything is going according to plan," he said. "I'm already somewhat better than at the same time in previous years."

Cancellara aims for the Tour

By Jesper Johannesen, Feltet.dk

Swiss time trial and prologue specialist Fabian says he is looking forward to new challenges at Team CSC after three years at Fassa Bortolo. He racked up five victories in 2005 and ended the season with a bronze medal at the world time trial championships.

"I've ridden for Fassa Bortolo for many years," says Cancellara. "I needed a change, and I would have decided to change team, even if the team hadn't closed. I had to find some new motivation, and I'm sure I'll find it on this team."

The future CSC rider's goals for the 2006 season will be the spring Classics, where he hopes to be able to fight for the podium spots.

"I'll start with the Classics, and then I might be riding in the Tour de France, though that won't be decided until about before a month after the Classics. But I do want to ride the Tour. My goals for the classics will be Milano-San Remo, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix."

Cancellara is excited at the prospect of returning to the Tour after creditable performances in 2004 - when he won the prologue - and 2005. He says he has already taken a look at the parcours, and says he'll miss one aspect of previous Tours that's been dropped for 2006.

"I've looked at the route for the Tour - it looks very hard," he says. "The Tour is always hard, because it's ridden over three weeks and at a very fast pace. I think it's a shame, though, that the team time trial has been cancelled, as cycling is very much about team work, and that's an important signal to send to the outside world. The Tour isn't a one-man-show, but a team show."

Cancellara is one of eight new riders on Team CSC for the next season. Besides him, the team has been strengthened with the two neo pro Danes, Kasper Klostergaard and Martin Pedersen, Stuart O'Grady, Karsten Kroon, Marcus Ljungqvist, Ińigo Cuesta and Volymir Gustov.

Leonard latest signing for Tasmanian carnivals

The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania [SCAT] has announced that Australian track stars Joel Leonard and Jason Niblitt from Victoria will ride at the Nationalgrid Tasmania Christmas Carnivals. They will join the likes of Shane Kelly, Ben Kersten, Jon Norfolk of Great Britain, Daniel Ellis and Scott Sunderland at the carnivals, providing an abundance of pure speed in the sprint events.

24-year-old Leonard, who rides for the Footscray Club is the current Australian sprint and keirin champion, having won the title in Adelaide earlier this year. 22-year-old Nibblit, from Horsham in country Victoria, has represented Australia at this year's Oceania Games in New Zealand. According to organisers, this latest announcement provides even more reasons why the sprint, derby, lap dash and keirin events at this year's carnivals will be something not to be missed. For more information on the Nationalgrid Tasmania Christmas Carnivals, visit SCAT's website.

Queensland Summer of Cycling

The four-day Queensland Summer of Cycling carnival starts today at the Chandler Velodrome with 550 riders scheduled to contend for a slice of $10,000 prize pool. Racing takes place Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with a rest day Thursday and starts this evening with masters and elite races.

With state teams to be announced early in the new year, organisers are expecting sizzling performances from athletes looking to stake their claim on a position in their state's team.

CEO of Cycling Queensland Wendy Sanders said she hoped the prospect of intense competition would help attract large crowds to the evening competition.

"We've seen a big increase in the number of people attending cycling events and it's great to be able to reward this support with such an exciting standard of competition," she said.

Mrs Sanders' tips for cyclists to look out for included Olympic gold medallist Kial Stewart OAM, Junior World Champion Chloe MacPherson and New Zealand born Jaaron Poad, who will take the track as a Queenslander for the first time.

The races will begin at 6pm each night with tickets on sale at the gates. Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for pensioners, $2 children, with a family ticket costing $12. For more information see www.qld.cycling.org.au or call Cycling Queensland on (07) 3390 1477.

Australian solo-only race back for 2006

After the event's successful debut in 2005, Australia's Canberra Off-Road Cyclists has announced the return on the solo-only 24-hour mountain bike race at Majura Pines in the Australian Capital territory, April 15-16.

For the 2006 event a special singletrack course is being built at Majura. Entries will open February 1 and are expected to fill up fast - the hugely popular Mont Australian 24-hour team event in October 2005 filled up within seven days of entries opening.

For more information see www.corc.asn.au.

Diet Cheerwine 2006

The Diet Cheerwine women's team has announced its 2006 roster and a much larger schedule of races than it had originally planned.

Team director Anne Bolyea said she had originally told applicants for the team that its budget was limited. As a result she originally planned for riders to participate in only a small number of races and to have to return their team bikes at the end of the season.

However, Bolyea said she has since decided to invest some of her own money in the team. "After much deliberation with myself, my family and Nicole [team manager Nicole Bossie], I found it necessary to invest a great deal in this very deserving group of women," said Bolyea.

"After Nicole and I had all of our girls in place, we were able to re-write the contracts and reveal to the riders our budget was indeed large enough to stipend every rider, give them custom bicycles to keep (built by Kane Bikes out of Charlotte, North Carolina) and do the entire NRC calendar which included taking care of their travel, entries and housing for all of these races."

The original expected restrictions had a benefit, said Bolyea. "This was a great way to find out who was truly in it for the love of the sport, who respected our team philosophy and who was willing to work with what they were given. Because so much of this budget comes out of my own pocket, it gave me tremendous peace of mind to know who we had selected was willing to stay and make a go of it given the original circumstances."

Norwegian Olympian and Paralympic pilot, May-Britt Hartwell, remains with the team as does last year's guest rider Allie Warfel. The team has added veteran racer Charm Breon formerly of Freddie Fu, Diet Rite and Colavita; Michelle Beltran from the 2005 Colavita team; two-time US masters national champion and time trialist Kristen Sanders; strong all rounder, Sarah Bamberger from Touchtone Climbing; sprinter Gina Voci from Defeet; climber Holli Steelman from Defeet; and power house sprinter Kelly Benjamin from The Bicycle Store.

The team is planning its first training camp in the mountains of North Carolina on January 20 and will start its racing season in March with the McLane Pacific races.

The team's sponsors include Anne Whitton Bolyea; Cheerwine Bottling Company; Kane Bikes; Verge; Rolf Prima; OS Cycling-Nutrition; Magic Cycles; Kenda; Sigma Sport; Thomson; Voci Spa; Blackburn; Bell-Helmets and Rudy Project.

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