First Edition Cycling News for February 4, 2005
Edited by Hedwig Kröner and John Stevenson
'Little old man' scores first Italian win
Mario Cipollini (Liquigas-Bianchi) has won the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar in a bunch sprint, thereby scoring the first victory for his team in 2005 and the first win by an Italian this season. The 188th success of the Lion King's career was made against one of the strongest sprinters this season, Tom Boonen from Quick.Step, who had won the first two stages of the race.
"Every win encourages you very much." Cipollini said after the stage. "This one in particular since it comes after months full of sacrifices and very tough training. I believe this is the first and partial answer to the understandable doubts surrounding a 'little old man' like me at the beginning of his seventeenth season as a pro."
Call him what you may, Cipollini had a perfect team preparation for his sprint. "It was a very tight sprint between us, the Liquigas-Bianchi riders, and Boonen’s team," he explained. "Loda and Andriotto performed perfectly until the last kilometre. Then it was Bäckstedt’s and Zanotti’s turn, extraordinary. Boonen moved from the wheel of one of his teammates to Zanotti’s and I found myself behind the Belgian. The ideal condition for a remounting bunch sprint. This win rewards the whole team: we can aim at great results with such a solid squad."
For the full Qatar stage four results, report and photos, click here.
Downing and GB Team hope for good result
By Shane Stokes in Raub, Malaysia
Speaking to Cyclingnews after being involved in a 130 kilometre-plus breakaway during the seventh stage of the Tour de Langkawi, Dean Downing said that he is hoping for a good end of race for the Great Britain team in the 2.HC ranked event.
"The plan tomorrow is simply to suffer up Genting," he smiled. "The day after is quite hard but the team is getting it together really good for the sprints, now. We have been getting riders in the top ten and leading out Rob Hayles in the final sprint, so things are going well. We will see what happens in the criterium on Sunday."
Downing and the GB riders will also do what they can to help Kristian House hold on to the King of the Mountains jersey, although today’s stage to the top of the Genting Highlands may prove too steep for the tall Englishman. Morale is growing on the team, however, not least because of Downing’s big move yesterday.
"Setting out this morning, I wanted to try to get involved in the race," he explained. "All of us were involved early on yesterday, getting into breaks in the first hour, and it was the same again today. I was lucky I got across to those two and the bunch were going steady. It (the breakaway) was probably doomed to failure but it was good to have a go, anyway.
"With fifty kilometres we had a good four minutes plus, and that is when we started really going. We were cruising before that, obviously going fast but saying to each other ‘let’s not go too hard and see what happens.’ Then when the fifty kilometres to go point came along, we started going really hard. But the peloton must have been really flying - they caught us with about fifteen kilometres to go.
"The German guy (David Kopp) was really strong. We were all working hard but he was taking long longer turns all the time. When he jumped, Sijmens and I went after him, but when he went a second time we just looked at each other and went ‘pffffhhhh’. There was nothing we could do."
Downing and Sijmens were reeled in by the peloton inside the final ten kilometres, while Kopp was recaptured by the main field with just four kilometres to go. However, although Downing’s big bid came to naught today, he and the rest of the team will try again before the end of the race in Kuala Lumpur this Sunday.
For Tour de Langkawi results, reports and photos, click here.
An interview with Tom Danielson: Fresh for success
A previous winner of the Tour of Langkawi has come a long way since scaling the heights of Genting two years ago. And despite playing down his chances of another victory, Tom Danielson has quietly moved into the top 10 on the overall classification. Anthony Tan reports.
I caught up with Tom Danielson soon after the fourth stage time trial in Bachok. It was a good 10-15 minutes after he finished, but he was still dripping with sweat, perspiring as if he had a fever.
"I mean, look at me - I looked like I just jumped out of the pool! You can write on Cyclingnews, 'there's Danielson, fresh out of the pool next to the TT course!'" he jokes.
Last time I spoke to Tom Danielson, he'd just won the 2003 Tour de Langkawi. The victory in Malaysia led to a swag of success for Danielson, driving his Saturn team to its best year ever, also its last year after a decade's involvement in the sport.
At the year's end, the then 25 year-old signed his life away with Fassa Bortolo, one of Italy's top teams, and with no real GC contender, Giancarlo Ferretti's team appeared the perfect choice. Or so he (and everyone else) thought.
Click here for the full interview
Hamilton hearing date set
Tyler Hamilton will get the chance to defend himself against accusations of blood doping arising from his positive test at the 2004 Vuelta a Espana some time at end of this month or beginning of March. According to the website of the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, the hearing before the US Cycling Federation is scheduled between February 28 and March 3.
On his own website, Hamilton writes, "The panel has been selected and we are working toward solidifying a date to present my case. Originally we thought it might be in mid-February, but it is looking more and more like it will take place in early March. That would mean a verdict would be delivered by mid-March."
Hamilton returned a positive test for homologous blood transfusion at the 2004 Vuelta a Espana. He was subsequently suspnded by his Phonak team. Another Phonak rider, Santiago Perez, also returned a blood doping positive in 2004 though his case is not expected he be heard by the Spanish cycling federation until May or June of this year.
Tafi to end career after Roubaix
Andrea Tafi (Saunier Duval - Prodir) will finish his career in style just after Paris-Roubaix on April 10, 2005. The 38 year-old, who won in Roubaix in 1999, has decided the time was right to call it quits just after what he says is still his favourite race. "I have a long and beautiful career behind me. Therefore, it's time to turn the page, but I'll do everything I can to shine once more in the 'Hell of the North'," he said. The former Italian champion (1998) has also been victorious in the Tour of Lombardy (1996), Paris-Tours (2000) and the Tour of Flanders (2002).
Petacchi debut this Sunday
Alessandro Petacchi will start his racing season at the GP Costa degli Etruschi in Donorato, Italy this Sunday, February 6. Joining the Ale-Jet in his first competition this year will be his Fassa Bortolo team-mates Andrus Aug, Fabio Baldato, Francesco Chicchi, Andrej Hauptman, Alberto Ongarato, Roberto Petito, Fabio Sacchi, Matteo Tosatto and Marco Velo.
Amsterdam to host Giro 2007?
The Dutch city of Amsterdam has expressed its desire to host the start of the Giro d'Italia in 2007. Three other European cities outside of Italy have reportedly applied to welcome the Giro in 2006, but the timeline is too short for Amsterdam.
Giro director Angelo Zomegnan is open to the city's proposals for 2007. "We would like to start in Amsterdam," he said. "If it can't be in 2006, then it will still be possible for 2007." Meanwhile, the Giro organiser did not divulge the names of the other three cities.
The Dutch municipality has estimated the cost to host the opening of the Italian stage race at 3.6 million Euros. A large part of it should be financed by sponsorship, but the contracts have not yet been finalised. Also, the cities of Utrecht and Rotterdam are currently in a bid to take the Tour de France start to the Netherlands in 2008.
Cross Tour de France in making
Tour de France organiser ASO is planning a mini Tour de France for cyclo-cross. The revolutionary stage race is scheduled to take place between Paris and the Franco-Belgian border during the 2006-2007 season, and involve three stages.
"It's true, there is a lot of interest in creating something special," said Belgian UCI coordinator for cyclo-cross Peter Van den Abeele. "ASO is working on a new concept, a three-day stage race where the cyclo-crossers would ride different competitions. A time-trial in the morning, followed by a 40-minutes circuit race in the afternoon." But the new plan seems still open to suggestions. "Another idea is to make the riders race [as pairs], and then place the best twenty finishers of each in a final contest." Of course, the race leader would wear a yellow jersey according to French cycling tradition.
Phonak for Tour of the Med
The Phonak team has announced the riders that will represent it at next week's Tour Méditerranée. Under directeurs sportifs John Lelangue and Jacques Michaud, the team will field Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Robert Hunter, Tomaz Nose, Daniel Schnider, Johann Tschopp, and Steve Zampieri.
Meares sisters head lineup for Australian track champ's
The stars of Australian cycling will be in action next week when Adelaide's Super-Drome plays host to the 2005 Australian Track Cycling Championships. Headlining the six day event is Athens Olympic gold medallist, World Champion and world record holder for the 500 m time trial, Anna Meares, 21, who will come up against her sister and major rival Kerrie, 22, in the women's sprint events.
The Queensland sisters have qualified for the upcoming World Championships in Los Angeles (March 23-27) and both are eager to claim the Australian Champions jersey with Anna defending titles in the 500 m time trial and sprint. Kerrie is continuing her successful comeback from a back injury which saw her sit out the Athens Games.
Joining them in the sprint events is Queensland newcomer, Deborah Lovely, 21, who made the swap from weightlifting after the Athens Olympic Games where she finished 13th in her division. Lovely, who claimed three weightlifting silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, made her cycling debut at the Queensland Championships and picked up three golds (keirin, 1 lap time trial and teams sprint) and two silver medals (500 m time trial behind Anna Meares and sprint).
Athens keirin bronze medallist, Shane Kelly, 33, will be out to claim the Australian keirin crown in a year when he has opted not to compete in the kilometre time trial - the event in which he has claimed three world titles and Olympic silver and bronze. But he faces tough opposition in the form of Sydney's Ben Kersten, 23, who is defending the title, and hometown hope Jobie Dajka, 23, the 2002 keirin World Champion, who is pushing for selection in the Australian team for the World Championships. In the sprint, Oceania and defending Australian champion Sean Eadie (NSW), 35, will be trying to make it two in a row as he takes on young guns Kersten and Dajka.
Kersten will be the rider to watch in the one kilometre time trial for which he is the reigning Oceania champion. At the Manchester World Cup the Sydney rider cracked 62 seconds for the first time to claim the silver medal.
In the women's endurance events Sydney's Kate Bates, 22, has been unstoppable in recent weeks claiming gold in the individual pursuit, points race and scratch race at the January World Cup round in Manchester. She has her eye on all three gold medals in Adelaide, but young South Australian Alexis Rhodes, 20, who claimed bronze in the points race in Manchester and is defending the crown in Adelaide, may have other ideas. Rhodes will also be one to watch in the scratch race while Rochelle Gilmore (NSW), who has two World Championship silver medals and is the defending scratch race champion, is hoping to again stamp her dominance on the event and earn a berth for Los Angeles.
Athens Olympic Games road race champion, Sara Carrigan (QLD), 24, is lining up for a shot at the 3 km individual pursuit crown. Carrigan, who this year has already collected two silver medals at the Australian Open Road Championships, has been preparing for the track with little fanfare but she comes into the event with solid form.
Reigning teams pursuit World Champions Ashley Hutchinson (QLD), 25, and Stephen Wooldridge (NSW), 27, who is also a gold medallist from Athens in the teams pursuit, will lead the charge in the men's endurance events.
The Championships run from Monday, February 7-Saturday, February 12. Tickets can be obtained from Venue*Tix bookings: Phone (08) 8225 8888; Fax (08) 8223 6555 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Pro racing comes to Morgan Hill
The Northern California town of Morgan Hill - best known in cycling circles as the home town of bike and component company Specialized Bicycles - gets its own pro/am race on April 10 as it hosts the inaugural Specialized Morgan Hill Grand Prix.
The race will take place on a winding criterium circuit in downtown Morgan Hill, with nine turns in just over one mile. The circuit starts and finishes at the corner of Monterey Road and the 3rd Street Webcor Bridge, which is being refaced courtesy of Webcor Builders just for this race. The Webcor Bridge and the short climb are two signature features of the course. The narrow entrance to Webcor Bridge will be a critical spot every lap with riders looking to be first through the gap, while the "Hill" will provide a chance for the climbers to put a little hurt on their rivals. The finish on tree-lined Monterey Road is expected to be a perfect venue for a bunch sprint for line honours.
"It's really great to be involved in the creation of a local race," said Mike Sinyard, founder and president of Specialized Bicycles. "We're committed to creating a sustainable event that's built out of the passion of the riders. But there's more to it than that. Morgan Hill is a great city, we've had our headquarters and R&D facility here for more than twenty years, and hosting a cycling race here provides a way for people from outside to discover what Morgan Hill has to offer. And of course this is going to be a real fun day, for cyclists, for families, and for the community as a whole. Ultimately we want to put our hometown, Morgan Hill, on the map as a destination for cycling world-wide - and believe me, there's some awesome riding in this area."
Baltimore's BikeJam again sponsored by Kelly
Kelly & Associates Insurance Group announced today that it will once again, for the second consecutive year, serve as the presenting sponsor of Baltimore’s annual BikeJam Cycling Festival in Patterson Park taking place Saturday, May 28. The day’s major event, "The Kelly Cup," has been placed on this year’s National Racing Calendar (NRC).
Promoted by Baltimore based Lateral Stress Velo Racing Team and Bicycle Club and Corrigan Sports Enterprises, BikeJam is the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest cycling festival that has earned national recognition from the U.S. Cycling Federation. Last year’s event attracted more than 750 participants and 5,000 spectators who, along with the races, were entertained by live music, professional biker demos and kids’ safety cycling workshops.
The BikeJam 2005 Festival will feature a variety of activities for cyclists and non-cyclists. In addition to The Kelly Cup, there will be a non-competitive Community Recreation Ride that tours the city of Baltimore, a bike stunt demonstration, a health and fitness expo, a kid’s pavilion for bike decorating and live music. All activities, with the exception of the recreation ride, will be in Patterson Park. For more information, visit www.bikejam.org
CRCA/Blue Ribbon-Translations.com Racing for 2005
With the addition of former collegiate All-American Jeff King and the experienced duo of Mark Alden and Jesus Espitia, the New York-based CRCA/Blue Ribbon-Translations.com Racing Team (www.blueribboncycling.com) is poised for a strong 2005 season. Returning to the squad are 2004 New York State Masters Road Race Champion David Taylor and perennial strongman Thomas Pennell, both aiming to tear up the 40+ field in 2005. The team hopes to build on the success of its 2004 campaign, which resulted in over 25 podium places and 85 top-ten finishes in races up and down the Eastern seaboard.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)