First Edition Cycling News for December 16, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Clerc "perplexed at UCI's inconsistency"
By Hedwig Kröner
The president of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), Patrice Clerc, organiser of the Tour de France, has expressed bewilderment at the recent statements of the head of the International Cycling Union (UCI), Pat McQuaid. In an interview with Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes, McQuaid said that the UCI had never made a statement claiming that it didn't want the three Grand Tours in the ProTour, yet Clerc was baffled when asked him about it.
"I'm utterly perplexed at this statement," Clerc told Cyclingnews earlier this week. "They have to have a minimum of consistency here! We have received a number of letters in which the UCI tells us that it was putting an end to the talks [of adherence to the much-discussed UCI ProTour series, which the organisers of the three Grand Tours have now definitely rejected - ed]. I don't understand how they can say that they wanted us in the ProTour now. They proposed to put our races into the World calendar in 2007, and we decided this would be the case already in 2006, as the continuation of the status quo seemed useless to us."
In Clerc's opinion, the creation of the "Trophy of the three Grand Tours" is an incentive for the teams to take part in all three stage races, and by no means the attempt "to buy the participation of the best teams," as it has been put in a communiqué from the world's cycling governing body. "It's a system of incentive for the teams, we are not buying them in!" Clerc pointed out. "That's exactly the point: we do not buy the teams, they are free to come or not to come! The UCI was the one who told us in one of these letters that the participation of the teams could be 'negotiated', but we are doing the exact opposite - we invite them to come."
Clerc did not refute the authority of the UCI, which has to still approve the "Trophy of the three Grand Tours", but said he wouldn't understand if the UCI refused to authorize it. "The UCI is the only thing managing global cycling, as we are organisers of racing events. But that's exactly what we ask for: to be able to do just that. The UCI had planned to put our races in the World calendar alongside the ProTour series, the World's and the Olympics, and that's where they are now. I can't see why they wouldn't like the 'Trophy of the three Grand Tours' - it's a good thing for cycling," he concluded, adding,"The former president of the UCI once said that the ProTour would go on with or without the Grand Tours. Well, that's that. I wish them good luck."
Stay tuned for the full interview with Patrice Clerc coming up soon on Cyclingnews.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Millar signs for Saunier Duval-Prodir
David Millar will return to professional racing with the Saunier Duval-Prodir team, the team confirmed today. Millar has signed a contract that will take him from his re-entry date in June, 2006 up until the end of 2007. Millar is currently serving a two year ban after admitting to EPO use following police searches of his home in 2004.
"David Millar is an outstanding athlete and Saunier Duval-Prodir is convinced he deserves a second chance to prove his talent," said the team in a statement. "He has recognised his mistake and is very motivated to make his comeback an amazing one. David is looking forward to being able to work officially with the team when his ban ends and with the British Cycling Federation as well, in order to promote the sport and help up-and-coming riders.
"The team will take precautionary measures to confirm his good faith, as will UKSPORT, the UCI and WADA. The team will do everything possible to offer him the best conditions to come back to competition and looks forward to seeing David racing for the yellow colours of Saunier Duval Prodir."
Maria Luisa Calle Sportswoman of the Year in Colombia
Maria Luisa Calle has been voted Sportswoman of the Year by newspaper El Espectador, at a ceremony carried out in the country's capital, Bogota. At the same time, road riders Libardo Niño and Mauricio Ardila, and mountain biker Leonardo Paéz were awarded prizes in other categories.
36 year-old Calle won the gold medals in the individual pursuit in the Pan-Am Games and Bolivian Games, as well as winning the gold in the individual time trial in the Bolivian Games. She was also able to claim the bronze medal that she won in the points race at the Athens Olympics last year, after successfully appealing a doping sanction.
Finally, Calle will be awarded the Sportswoman of the Year by ACORD (Association of Sports Journalists of Colombia) and will be honoured by the Colombian Cycling Federation.
Sanchez returns to defend Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under crown
Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez will return to Adelaide in January to defend his crown in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. The 22 year-old claimed the race lead on stage two of this year's Tour, won stage three, and was second on stage five where his Liberty Seguros team secured the top three stage places.
Sanchez started cycling at the age of four when his father, who was in the Spanish Civil Guard, was injured in a terrorist attack and began cycling for rehabilitation. His brother and he went riding with him and by the time he turned 18 he knew he wanted a career in professional cycling.
Pundits have touted him as the next Miguel Indurain (five time Tour de France winner) and in January he will have strong support from a Liberty Seguros team that includes Bundaberg cyclist, Allan Davis.
Davis finished second overall behind his team mate this year which set him up for an outstanding season on the UCI ProTour that saw him win the points classification of the Eneco Tour of Benelux and claim third place in both the HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg and Paris-Tours.
"I reckon there'll be a fair bit of pressure on our team to perform considering how dominant we were in this year's race," said Davis. "Luis Leon is always in good form early in the season and I pretty sure he'll be trying to claim the title again."
25 year old Davis on Tuesday celebrated an addition to his family when wife Andrea gave birth to a son, Harrison Allan Davis, in Bundaberg Base Hospital. The couple already have a daughter, Brooklyn, who is three years old. Davis fully expects a little sleep deprivation but won't let that hamper his preparation.
"I probably won't be as race fit as I was this year but I'm putting down a solid base and I want to do well in January," said Davis, who expects the sprints to be explosive with 2005 Tour de France green jersey champion, Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Queensland's Robbie McEwen, (Davitamon-Lotto) who has won 24 races this year, the ones to beat.
"That will be a showdown for sure, but it's really another day at work and it's nothing new for me to mix it with them," he said. "The problem is beating them."
Davis, who has ridden every Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under since its inception in 1999, is also determined to finally score a stage win, something that has eluded him for the past seven races.
"I really would love to win a stage next year and that will be my aim come January," said Davis. "That and the team picking up the overall again, would be a great result."
Fellow Queenslander, Aaron Kemps, will also line up in Adelaide for Liberty Seguros. The 22 year-old finished second in the Best Young Rider classification (behind Sanchez) in January and this year also secured a third place on the sixth stage of the Paris-Nice Tour.
Organisers have also confirmed that French registered Bouygues Telecom will make its Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under debut in 2006. The team of eight Frenchmen includes sprinter Sebastien Chavanel, who this year won three stages and the points classification of the Tour de l'Avenir and was second on the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar.
Liberty Seguros (Spa)
Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) 24.11.1983
Team Manager: Marino Lejarreta (Spa)
Bouygues Telecom (Fra)
Walter Beneteau (Fra) 28.07.1972
Team Manager: Christian Guiberteau (Fra)
More information: www.tourdownunder.com.au
Team time trial for FBD Insurance Ras
By Shane Stokes
Although over five months remain before the start of the 2006 FBD Insurance Rás, the race organisers have begun to release details of next year's Irish tour. A team time trial will take place on Friday, May 26, the race against the clock making history as the first such team effort to affect the overall classification of the race. The 24 kilometre contest will start and finish in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) village of An Cheathru Rua/Carraroe, acting as the first of two stages on day six of the 2.2 world-ranked event.
"We feel that it will make for a great stage," said FBD Insurance Rás organiser Dermot Dignam on Thursday. "The team time trial has been one of the most spectacular clashes in recent Tours de France. The prospect of seeing top riders from world cycling compete against the very best Irish riders in such a dramatic test should guarantee a good turnout of spectators, as well as some very exciting racing."
In addition to taking inspiration from the Tour, the organisers will employ similar rules to those used in recent team time trials in the French race. Under the system, the differences between teams will be capped in order to ensure that no squad loses an insurmountable amount of time.
The rules state that the second-placed squad will be subject to a fixed gap of 20 seconds, regardless of its actual deficit. Thereafter, each subsequent team will concede a further five seconds.
Furthermore, the race organisers are taking unusual measures to ensure that those on county teams do not lose their chance of winning the FBD Insurance Rás. Under the system, the quickest of the county teams will also be awarded the same time as the day's fastest squad. The second of these will again be 20 seconds back, while each subsequent county team will be separated by five second blocks.
"The idea behind the ruling is to ensure that strong riders on relatively weaker teams are not unduly penalised by the team time trial," Dignam explained. "We drew largely on a system used in the Tour de France, but adjusted it in very important areas to suit the type of event that is the FBD Insurance Rás. It means that if a race favourite happens to ride as part of a county team, he has the same chance as those on the international or professional squads."
Although team time trials have featured in the Rás before, this will be the first time that they will directly affect the general classification. Cheathru Rua's hosting of the finish of stage 5 and then the following day's team time trial also makes history. "We are particularly pleased to bring the FBD Insurance Rás to An Cheathru Rua in the beautiful Connemara Gaeltacht for the first time ever," said Dignam. "Perhaps it's fitting that our first visit should also include a first-ever team time trial that impacts on the individual general classification. We believe that it makes for a very exciting test against the clock, and one which could produce many surprises on the general classification."
The team test against the clock will start and finish in An Cheathru Rua and take in a loop through Casla, Bóthar Loch an Fhiolair, An Tulach, Caorán na gCeac Theas, Ros a Mhíl, Casla and back to the finish. The race against the clock will be followed by an 83-kilometre stage later that day. Club Rothaíochta Chonamara will help organise the stage finish and the team time trial.
British rider Chris Newton beat former Tour of Spain points jersey winner Malcolm Elliott to win the 2005 edition of the FBD Insurance Rás. More details of next year's event will be announced shortly. For further information on the race contact: Dermot Dignam at +35 318481517 or, alternatively, visit www.fbdinsuranceras.com
USA Cycling announces scholarship winners
The 2005 recipients of the USA Cycling Development Foundation Stenner Scholarships and other Foundation year-end grants were announced earlier this week, totaling $29,000 in scholarships and grants given directly to athletes and clubs/teams. The Foundation annually presents two $2,000 scholarships to the top female and male athletes in the National Collegiate Cycling Association. Stenner scholarship recipients must be collegiate cycling athletes, active in their collegiate cycling teams.
Molly Hummel was named this year's women's recipient. Hummel has developed a healthy respect among her peers while racing for the University of Colorado-Boulder cycling team. She recently transferred to Fort Lewis College to complete her senior year, but not before helping the CU team win its latest Conference and National road championships. Hummel had 31 top-five finishes in Women's A and Pro,1,2 regional and national road and mountain bike events combined in 2005 alone, including 14 wins and the 2005 collegiate team omnium at road national championships.
Kenneth Hanson (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) is this year's men's recipient. Hanson is a senior at Cal Poly majoring in Nutrition Science, and originally came to college with plans to play for the school's varsity soccer team. Hanson was unable to make the roster and was recruited to the cycling team by a fellow dorm mate. With no prior racing experience, Hanson went through the ranks racing both road and mountain bike events, upgraded and eventually qualified for the 2004 Road Nationals in Madison. Hanson finished a respectable 10th and 12th in the road race and criterium, and returned in 2005 with only three years of experience to win the National Championship Criterium in Kansas.
2005 Center of Excellence Awards
Six outstanding regional athlete development programs were chosen in 2005 to receive financial awards from the Foundation through the Center of Excellence designation. The awards are based on the requirements of a specific team structure, which includes a board of directors, coaches and a plan for developing athletes into international competitors. Topping the list are three familiar programs which continue to set an example for the rest of the nation with continued growth in organisation, participation and results.
Rad Racing, based out of Olympia, Wash. and serving junior and U-23 riders in the Northwest, continues a mission to develop young local beginner riders into international competitors. Joining Rad are two other California based programs: The Santa Rosa road program of Team Swift, and the Northern California (NorCal) High School Mountain Bike League. Additional programs include the Orlando Road Club (Florida), XXX Racing (Illinois) and Team Bliss (Vermont), that join the list as Centers of Excellence for young athlete development in 2005.
Collegiate Performance Awards
The top three teams in both divisions from the 2005 Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships will each receive a cash grant from the Foundation in support of overall team development. The Collegiate Performance Awards to the following programs total $5,000, and are made possible by the generosity of Foundation supporters from around the country:
Division 1: 1st) University of Colorado-Boulder, 2nd) Ft. Lewis College, 3rd) Colorado State University Division 2: 1st) Lees-McCrae, 2nd) Warren-Wilson, 3rd) Union College.
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