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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 7, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Freire and Petacchi open their accounts

Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Franklin Tello
Click for larger image

World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) have both managed to notch up that all-important first victory of the season with wins in the first stage of the Challenge Illes Balears and GP Costa Degli Etruschi respectively. Both races finished in bunch sprints, with Freire overcoming Isaac Galvez and Vicente Reynes (both Illes Balears), and Petacchi beating Luciano Pagliarini (Liquigas) and Francesco Chicchi (Fassa Bortolo). It was the first race of the season for both riders, and they join top sprinters Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Mario Cipollini and Tom Steels with victories in 2005.

Meanwhile, across the other side of the world in the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, Panaria sprinter Graeme Brown finished off an incredible tour for him and his team by winning the final stage in Kuala Lumpur, ahead of his teammate Guillermo Bongiorno. It was Brown's fifth stage win (he also had two second places) in the 10 day race, while Bongiorno came away with two wins and three second places - the team only missing three stage wins. Brown has now gotten his season off to a flying start, and hopes to be competitive with the other top sprinters at the Giro d'Italia, his major appointment this season.

Ullrich in Tuscany

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) is continuing his early season build up by training in the winter sun in Tuscany, Italy. The 31 year-old is being accompanied by his mentor Rudy Pevenage and training partner Tobias Steinhauser. "I've done a lot of intense training during the last days at home on the trainer," said Ullrich on T-Mobile's website. "But now I'm glad to be able to ride on the road again. Blue skies and sunshine make it easier to cover the many kilometres."

Pevenage commented that Steinhauser's presence will help Ullrich. The pair plan to debut in the Tour of Murcia at the beginning of March. "The two of them find the necessary conditions here to get prepared for the challenges ahead," he said. "And maybe one or another riders from the team will drop by for a training ride."

LeMond wins $3.46 million in lawsuit

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

On Friday, February 4, a jury in a St. Paul, Minnesota (USA) federal court ruled in favour of three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond in his breech of contract suit against PTI Holdings Inc. of New York. 43 year-old LeMond of Medina, was awarded $3.46 million dollars. According to LeMond's attorney Bill Pentelovitch, the award was based on an estimate of royalties LeMond would have received if the contract had been honoured by PTI.

In 2002, PTI dropped LeMond before his 10 year contract expired, and LeMond subsequently filed suit in 2003 for breach of contract. In court proceedings, LeMond introduced evidence of an e-mail from PTI, sent in March 2003 saying PTI wanted to end LeMond's contract with a $1.1 million buyout because of Lance Armstrong's "emergence as the dominant American cyclist."

At press time, there was no word whether PTI Holdings would appeal the award.

Wellens and coach separate

Bart Wellens (Fidea) has broken off his relationship with his coach Paul Ponnet after having worked with him for the past two years. An angry Ponnet told that he had heard the information second hand. "Apparently Bart didn't have the balls to tell me himself," he said. "I felt resentment for a couple of weeks. After the season I had planned to evaluate things with him. I wanted to keep working with Wellens provided that he considered changing a few things drastically. Now I even get a punch on the nose.

Ponnet added that Wellens was "surrounded by too many gurus who all want a slice of the cake" and that his life was now imitating his reality soap Wellens & Wee.

Wellens' response was that Ponnet "has not managed to lift my condition to a higher level in the past months and therefore I've made this choice." He is also considering stopping with Wellens & Wee, because "only ratings and sensation counts."

Admission fees for NZ National MTB Championships

The 2005 NZ Community Trust National Mountain Bike Champs in Rotorua, New Zealand between February 25-27 will for the first time charge spectators admission fees. With the staging costs at over NZ$100,000, the organisers using the $18.00 admission fee to improve spectator facilities and safety (competitors, invited VIP's, event staff and volunteers will gain free entry).

The one-off entry fee will cover three days of parking, access to the gondola and chairlift to transport spectators about the Skyline venue, from the bottom carpark to the top of the cross country course which passes right beneath the Skyline café. Spectators at the Four Cross event will be required to pay $2 per person and $2 per car to access parking and the venue at Mountain Action. They will also receive a map to navigate about the courses.

Organising Committee chairman Dave Donaldson said that "While the charge for admission to the NZ Mountain Bike Nationals is almost unprecedented, we are moving into a new era in the sport. The 2005 National Championships is the first test of the organisation and venue leading up to the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships. Proposed facilities provided for spectators at the Worlds Venue are on a par with those at most National Championship sporting competitions, and better than many."

British BMX and Junior coaches appointed

The British Cycling Team has appointed two new coaches. Jeremy Hayes is the lottery-funded GB Team's first full time BMX coach, reflecting the fact that BMX is an Olympic sport from the Beijing Olympics onwards. The other coach is Darren Tudor, who joins the GB Team from the Welsh Cycling Union and will be looking after the team's new junior program. With the success of the U23 Academy, the GB Team is looking to extend its coaching into the area between Talent Team and senior squad.

Cuevas Cycles founder dies

Francisco Cuevas, founder of Cuevas Cycles in the USA, has died at his home in Barcelona, Spain on January 28, aged 89. His grandson Fernando wrote the following obituary:

Dear Cyclists,

This past Friday January 28th. 2005, Senor Francisco Cuevas SR. died in his home in Barcelona, Spain after a brief illness. He would have been 90 years old this July.

Francisco was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1915. By the time Senor Cuevas was 14 he began an apprenticeship as a frame builder. He built his first frame at the age of 18 and started racing his creations.

By 1937 politics in Spain were very bad. As a result He then went to war against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. He married in 1940 and had two children, my dad Paco in 1942 and my aunt Maria in 1946. By 1951 the political situation in Spain had become even worse. So he set of to Argentina were he would start his life all over again. He built frames in Mendoza, Argentina and was the trainer and coach for the National cycling team. In 1955, he and his wife had another son, my uncle Andres.

By 1970 Argentina was in a terrible economic state, especially after the death of President Juan Peron when Argentina became a Military State. Senor Cuevas and my dad set of to the USA in 1971 and started to work in the bike shop business for Metro Bikes.

In 1977 Mike Fraysse and his dad the late Vic Fraysse hired my Grandfather and Andres to build frames for them and their team under the Paris-Sport line. In 1984 Grandpa and my uncle Andres started their own frame shop in Astoria, NY and built about 200 frames a year. In all, I believe that grandpa and his sons have built about 5000 frames in three continents.

Senor Francisco Cuevas was a plain man who took his craft very seriously, spending hours making every frame as if it was for himself. He was the one that would take me to races and would go on training rides with me. He was one of my greatest heroes and mentors.

I will really miss him and will try to follow in his footsteps.

Francisco is survived by his wife Maria, his sister Isabel, his three children, me and my brother Diego.

May his torch continue through everyone he knew and those he influenced in our great sport.

Fernando Cuevas

Team Biovail

Giroscopic Sports Management has announced that Team Biovail will be competing in road cycling events throughout North America in 2005. Team Biovail continues to build on an existing five year franchise and is actually two distinct teams. The Elite Women's team will focus on key Pro-Am races in the U.S. and Canada while the Master Men's team will contest events primarily in Canada.

Team Biovail will also be attending events on behalf of Biovail to promote the Canadian Diabetes Association, and further support the connection between healthy living and the management of diabetes.

Click here for the full team roster

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