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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 2, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and John Stevenson

Landis delighted with CAS decision; Phonak GM delighted with Landis

By Tim Maloney-European Editor

When Floyd Landis's phone rang early Tuesday morning at his Murietta, California home and his boss, Phonak's general manager John Lelangue left a message, the American Tour hopeful didn't know what to think. But when he got up and listened to the message a few minutes later in the pre-dawn darkness, a big smile broke out on Floyd's face as the news sank in that Phonak was part of the ProTour thanks to yesterday's decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"Well finally there is some good news for Phonak with the (TAS) decision!", Landis told Cyclingnews. "I was worried when John Lelangue called at 5.30am and then I was caught completely off guard by the decision. Without this decision, I thought that the chances were kind of slim... that we would make the Tour De France."

As he prepared for a training ride through the Southern California hills, Landis continued by saying frankly, "I feel that this decision is a vindication for the Phonak team; we believed we deserved to be in the ProTour; for whatever problems people on the team may have had, that was really no reflection of the team as a whole. I'm sure that I'm not the only one on Phonak that is happy that TAS made this ruling and now we're in the ProTour for the next two seasons."

"For me and the other guys, it certainly makes it a lot easier to plan for the season. With this change, things have become a lot clearer; we can set goals and don't have to question whether we will even get into the big races. Maybe Robbie Hunter winning the first race down in Qatar was good luck!"

When we asked Phonak GM Lelangue about Landis recently, he told Cyclingnews, "I have seen Floyd race for years, but I didn't know him that well until recently, when I joined Phonak. Floyd is a very nice guy; down to earth and hard working. I know he will be an important part of Phonak and a good man for the Tour. I know he will ride well with our riders like Victor Hugo Peña, Santi Botero and Oscar Perriero."

Like Phonak, France's AG2R Prévoyance squad didn't get into the ProTour in November, but for entirely different reasons. AG2R team manager Vincent Lavenu said today, "I have no regrets or bitterness about this decision... [the Court for Arbitration in Sport] is the supreme authority in sport and I wouldn't criticize their decision. Phonak decided to take their case to [CAS] and we didn't and good for them that they got in. As far as we're concerned, we also did the maximum to get in but we decided to accept the decision of the UCI License Commission. At this point, our team is ready to show we are competitive with [ProTour] teams."

Top five or bust?

An interview with Levi Leipheimer

Georg Totschnig and Levi Leipheimer
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Click for larger image

Since its creation in 1999, German team Gerolsteiner has made steady progress its absolute goal, and five seasons later, it is ranked third best team in the world and continues to grow according to this principle. Therefore, at the end of 2004, it seemed only natural to sign a rider with an equally high belief in improvement and one who was ready to use a new environment for further achievements: Levi Leipheimer. At least, that is what is expected of the American, but at the team's presentation in Gerolstein on January 20, Leipheimer gave the impression to Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner that he is up to the challenge.

Coming from Dutch team Rabobank, the American didn't want to compare between the two teams yet, but his feelings about Gerolsteiner were very good. "It's very relaxed," he said. "Which is something I was surprised with, to be honest. I expected a very strict organisation which they have; everything runs perfectly. But I also suspected a little rigidity and there is none of that, it's very relaxed."

Click here for the full interview.

WADA uncovers next designer steroid

By Mark Zalewski

The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) announced yesterday that a new "designer steroid" has been discovered. The drug, desoxy-methyl-testosterone (DMT), was seized by Canadian customs officials at a U.S. border crossing this past summer after WADA received an anonymous e-mail tip.

WADA's science director Olivier Rabin said in a media teleconference on Tuesday that the agency believes this drug was created specifically for athletes. "We believe this was developed for the sole purpose of doping in sport," Rabin said. "We now have proof that there are other designer drugs."

This is the second designer steroid discovered by WADA, with THG creating many headlines worldwide in recent months, including the BALCO scandal in the U.S. DMT is believed to have comparable effects to testosterone, including increased strength, muscle mass and stamina.

Rabin cited the lessons learned from the THG incident as reason for the quick discovery of the new drug. "In this case we are ahead of the dopers. This shows to the dopers how serious we are."

WADA officials also said that thousands of urine samples have been retested for the new drug, but have found no traces of DMT. WADA is confident that the drug has not been used in sport since the drug contains markers of already detectable steroids.

LeMond in court battle over accessories brand

By Tim Maloney European Editor

The St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press newspaper reports that three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond is embroiled in a breach of contract lawsuit with New York mass market bike accessory manufacturer PTI Holding Inc. in a breach of contract suit in district court in St. Paul, Minnesota. 43 year old LeMond, who lives in nearby Medina, Minn., told a jury that "neither his stardom nor his marketing appeal has been eclipsed by Armstrong," in response to PTI Holding's claim that the lack of sales of LeMond-branded accessories was due to LeMond being eclipsed in the American public's mind by Lance Armstrong.

LeMond explained further that he believed his "LeMond" brand could become a household name "like Calvin Klein" in testimony Monday. However, PTI Holdings saw things differently and abruptly dumped the LeMond deal after only three years.

Trek Bicycles, which holds the rights to LeMond's bicycle brand, tried unsuccessfully to market a Greg LeMond line of accessories in the late 1990's, and then agreed to allow LeMond to peddle his name elsewhere for an accessories product line. LeMond's longtime agent Warren Gibson brought in a deal with PTI for the LeMond brand of accessories, in which leMond was to be paid a guaranteed minimum of $500,000 a year through the 10-year contract. Three months after the agreement was official, LeMond and PTI offered the budding brand to Target Corp. Target execs were game, but they really wanted PTI to make low-end Target bike products. PTI then gave Target the exclusive to sell LeMond bike products alongside budget target-branded equipment from PTI.

However, in court proceedings, LeMond admitted that the contract he agreed to did not call for any specific marketing efforts, including television, magazine or billboard advertising to promote his mass-market brand of bike accessories. After three years of the ten year deal, PTI was not satisfied with the sales volume, and emailed LeMond in March 2003 offering a $1.1 million payment to terminate the deal because of Lance Armstrong's "emergence as the dominant American cyclist." In early 2002, PTI had replaced the LeMond accessories on Target's shelves with Schwinn bike accessories licensed from Pacific Cycles, owner of the Schwinn brand.

"I wanted to keep my name going long past my cycling career," said LeMond of his rationale to agree to sell his brand in discount retailers like Target and Costco, when the LeMond brand had only been sold in high-end bicycle dealers since the 1980's. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, LeMond told the jury how "he had hoped his accessory line would fill retailers' shelves and bring in $30 million to $50 million in revenue" and also agreed he took a "calculated risk" when he agreed to put his name and face on a low-end mass market bike line of helmets, pedals and gloves. But when consumers looked at the LeMond product, they didn't seem to bite. "Basically, it was a huge price difference for the same product," said LeMond, explaining that consumers weren't fooled, according to the Pioneer Press report. In court, LeMond claimed that PTI didn't try to develop markets in Europe and Asia for his branded products, where he believed his line would have been a success.

LeMond told the St. Paul jury he hadn't been notified that his brand had been dropped until December 2002. PTI had also stopped making contracted payments to LeMond. LeMond's court battle with PTI Holding Inc. continues in St. Paul District Court with a jury trial expected to conclude sometime in February.

Americans target Australian Madison championship

Two American teams have entered the Delaware North Australian Madison Championship at Vodafone Arena this Saturday, February 5. The American team pursuit squad, consisting of Gui Nelessen, Bobby Lea, Josh Kerkhof and Mike Friedman, have spent the last two months training in Tasmania ahead of this month's Sydney World Cup and are keen to impress in their first hit out in front of the Melbourne crowd.

Nelessen and Lea will ride as one pairing in the Madison, with Friedman and Kerkhof the other, and based on recent race form experts believe that Nelessen and Lea are a chance of winning this event.

Adam Murchie, media and relations manager with Madison organiser Cyclists International said, "Nelessen rode brilliantly in the Launceston and Burnie Criteriums over Christmas whilst Lea impressed many on the flat Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals velodromes with a strong turn of speed and cagey race tactics".

However, Australian riders want to prevent a repeat of last year where an international team (the German pairing of Lars Teutenberg and Erik Weispfennig) rode away with the victory. A strong Australian contingent will make sure that the race is taken to the Americans and they fight for every point they earn.

The Delaware North Madison runs over 50 kms or 200 laps. It is hugely important for the Australian based riders as by winning this event they will be guaranteed selection into the National Team to contest the World Cups and/or World Championships. The Queensland pairing of Miles Olman and Ashley Hutchinson are favoured to take out the event, however they will be closely followed by Steve Wooldridge and Tim Decker and Darren Young and Matthew Goss.

The Madison will also be supported by a number of feature events including the Vodafone Keirin Series, an Aces Sprint Derby and a number of Scratch Race and elimination events.

Tickets are on sale at Ticketek (132 849 or www.ticketek.com) from $20 or at the Vodafone Arena Box Office on the day of the event.

The team line-up for Saturday:

1 NSW Institute of Sport
Chris Sutton (NSW) Aust Under 23 Road Champion
Chris Pascoe (NSW) Represented Australia at Junior World Champs

2 Australian Abalone Exports
Nick Sanderson (Ararat) Represented Australia at Junior World Champs
Simon Clarke (Carnegie) Current Junior World Champion/Aust U23 Champion

3 The Locker Group
Steve Wooldridge (NSW) Current Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champion
Tim Decker (Bendigo) Victorian Champion and placegetter in Bendigo Madison

4 Vero Insurance
Warren Scott (NSW) NSW Champion and top track cyclist
David Pell (Bendigo) Victorian Champion and International cyclist

5 Drapac Property - Porsche
Mitchell Docker (Brunswick) Current Junior World Champion
Matthew Rex (SA) Stage Winner in Sun Tour and Bay Classic Sprint King

6 Assos
Steve Martin (Blackburn) Represented Australia at Oceania Championships
Andrew Steele (Blackburn) Good local club cyclist

7 Jefferson Ford
Mike Freidman (USA) Member of USA Teams Pursuit Team
Josh Kerkhof (USA) Member of USA Teams Pursuit Team

8 Queensland Academy of Sport
Ashley Hutchinson (QLD) Current World Champion
Miles Olman (QLD) 3 times Junior World Champion

9 Vodafone
Darren Young (TAS) Australian Champion and former winner of this event
Matthew Goss (TAS) Dual Junior World Champion

10 Lockwood Security Concepts
Patrick Shaw (Ballarat) Represented Australia at Junior World Champs
Tommy Nankervis (SA) Top track cyclist and state representative

12 Delaware North
Steve Fitzpatrick (NSW)
Peter Fitzpatrick (NSW) This team are NSW Madison Champions

13 VIS
Sean Finning (Castlemaine) Current Aust Madison Champion
Richard England (Blackburn) Australian representative and National Champion

14 Bicycle Technologies (BT)
Hamish Taylor (Brunswick) Top level local cyclist - has ridden this event before
Dylan Boone (Carnegie) Has just come from Bay Classic and other top events

15 Mercure Grand Hotel on Swanston
Gui Nelessen (USA) USA Teams Pursuiter. Placed in Launceston Classic
Bobby Lea (USA) Member of USA Teams Pursuit Team

Viner Bikes sponsors Team RPM

Team RPM, the premier masters cycling team in the Southwest of the United States, and Viner bikes have announced a sponsorship agreement for the 2005 racing season. The company, known for its Italian hand-crafted frames looks to Team RPM for key exposure to the racing marketplace. Team RPM, based in Scottsdale, AZ, is one of the premier masters cycling teams in the Southwest. Since its inception, Team RPM has repeatedly won the Arizona Masters Road Race, Criterium and Hill Climb championships and places on the podium more than 30 times each season. Team RPM competes throughout the Southwest as well as selected National and International events including the Masters World Games held annually in Austria.

Viner bikes have been building bicycles by hand since 1947 in Italy. The company fabricates racing bicycles of steel, alloy and carbon in its factory near Tuscany, Italy. Viner has been ridden to victory in races such as the Giro d’Italia. Viner bikes specialize in customer specific custom geometry.

National Cycling Centre Hamilton announces Board of Directors

The National Cycling Centre Hamilton (NCCH) has announced the successful adoption of bylaws and the election of a Board of Directors. The NCCH, headquartered at McMaster University, is a result of the $1.2 million HCC legacy generated by the 2003 Road World Championships, held in Hamilton from October 9-13, 2003. Over $630,000 of the legacy fund has been directed to the establishment of a national cycling centre in the Hamilton region, with the goals of grassroots development of cycling in Ontario as well as the provision of athlete support services and junior racing improvements.

The Board consists of the following members:

Steve Merker, President - Executive Director, Ontario Cycling Association
Robert Jones, Vice President - Editor, Canadian Cyclist magazine
Kris Westwood, Secretary - Development Coach, Canadian Cycling Association
Amy Moore, Athletes Rep - Member Canadian national cycling team
Therese Quigley - Director of Athletics and Recreation, McMaster University
Bill Fenwick - Director of Culture and Recreation, City of Hamilton
Eddy Della Maestra - Orlick Industries

Head coach of the NCCH, reporting to the Board, is Neil Ross.

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