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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 11, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Danielson satisfied with form

By Shane Stokes,

2003 Tour de Langkawi winner Tom Danielson may have finished fifth, 3'01 off race victor Ryan Cox in this year's edition, but the Discovery Channel rider is nevertheless happy with his form and says it bodes well for his targets later in the year.

Speaking to Cyclingnews, Danielson said that he had made a conscious decision to hold back on the crucial climb up to the resort of Genting Highlands, sacrificing his chances of a higher GC finish in order to peak later in the season.

"I just rode at threshold the whole way," he said. "I didn't go above it at all because my goals this year are at the end of March and in May. Two years ago when I won the Tour de Langkawi I did a lot of high-end for the race...I went all out for it and I peaked too soon. Then the rest of the year was too hard.

"I have bigger fish to fry this year. It was a conscious decision on the climb to hold back. I could have jumped around all day but I backed off when the final attacks started to go. I am quite happy...I have done real low training, in that I have done lots of miles but not much threshold work. To be able to ride with the front guys here is a good sign for the rest of the year.

"My real goals are a little later on. Firstly, I would like to go a good Paris-Nice for the team, to be able to be an asset because we are sending a really good team. And then my real goal for the year is the Giro d'Italia. I am hoping to do a real good race there.'

Danielson had been due to ride the Italian Tour last year with Fassa Bortolo but wasn't selected for their final lineup.

An interview with David George

Cultural differences and personal reinvention

George hopes to get the monkey off his back in 2005
Photo ©: Mark Sharon

After a less than satisfying year, Barloworld's David George wants to get back to the basics, and become the rider he believes he was destined to be when he first turned professional. As the team prepares itself for its season in Europe, Shane Stokes speaks with a man dealing with cultural differences and personal reinvention.

Despite being just 28 years of age, David George is one of the most experienced South African racing cyclists. Back in 1997 he finished third in the under 23 world championship time trial and then repeated the podium position the following season in the Commonwealth Games TT. Third place in the 2002 Tour de Langkawi was followed by the first of three consecutive wins in the Giro Del Capo, South Africa's premier stage race. The former US Postal Service rider was also the national road race champion in 2003 and the time trial winner one year later.

That national crown, his third Giro Del Capo win and sixth in the Tour de Langkawi would seem to mark out last season as a good one, but George says he was disappointed with his year. "I think you have good years and bad years," he says. "For me personally it was a disappointing year, for various reasons. Physically... I fell off twice at the start of the year and never gave my body enough time to recover from it. I spent the whole year nursing a back injury and being frustrated that I wasn't getting the results that I wanted to get. But hopefully we have solved the problem."

That frustration boiled over into a falling out with the Team Barloworld management last year and the news that he would not be riding with the team in 2005. However, things were smoothed over and he is now back firmly in the fold; indeed, if his relaxed, satisfied demeanour at the recent training camp is anything to go by, he seems to be in good spirits and looking forward to the year ahead. He sees 2005 as an opportunity to step up the level of his performances and to learn from the established European professionals now riding as part of the Team Barloworld-Valsir squad.

"I think it is difficult to set out goals right now because we don't know the full programme, but from a personal point of view I want to reinvent myself," he told Cyclingnews. "I want to get back to basics as a bike rider, to the things I was good at when I turned pro. Obviously, I will support the big riders who have come to the team and try to learn from them. I will play a strong supporting role and hopefully get the opportunity to shine at what I am good at."

"Time trialling has always been a passion of mine, but I have never been allowed to shine at that. So I think I would like to reinvent myself this year and work on that. And obviously just working on a few victories, it is time for now to start winning races... stages in stage races or one day races, there is definitely scope for that this year."

Click here for the full interview

De Groot out

Bram de Groot (Rabobank) is out of the Tour Méditerranéen after crashing into a motorbike following the second stage. De Groot finished fourth in the sprint, but will not be able to start tomorrow's stage as he has broken his collarbone.

Wellens misses World Cup final

Belgian Bart Wellens (Fidea) will miss this Sunday's final round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Lanarvilly, France. Wellens, who has pulled out of several races this season due to lack of form, is ill. His compatriot Sven Nys holds the lead in the World Cup series, but will have to have a good race on Sunday to secure his jersey.

AS journalist files complaint against Belda

Juan Antonio Gutiérrez, the journalist who interviewed Jesus Manzano for AS, has filed a complaint with the police in Palma Nova and Palma de Mallorca claiming that Comunidad Valenciana director Vicente Belda provoked him. According to Gutiérrez and three witnesses, Belda pointed and fired an imaginary pistol at him. Belda also had previously said, "You are dead, Guti."

In Gutiérrez' articles in AS last year, several members of the Comunidad Valenciana team were accused by one of its former riders, Jesus Manzano, of using and administering illegal drugs. However, a legal investigation into Manzano's claims found that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.

Armstrong and Crow on Oprah

Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his partner Sheryl Crow will be guests on the number one U.S. chat program, the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Friday, February 11. Armstrong and Crow will be quizzed by Oprah on how they got together, Armstrong's feelings on being a single father and whether he wants more kids, and why Crow is writing love songs, and Armstrong's attempt at a seventh Tour victory. Oprah will also challenge Lance to a bike race, with a few conditions, and Crow will debut her new love song inspired by Armstrong, "I Know Why."

Milano-Torino moved; Reggio Calabria in doubt

This year's 90th Milano-Torino will be held on March 5, a departure from its traditional date at the end of the season. The race, which is organised by RCS Sport, will be followed two days later by the seventh edition of the Giro della Provincia di Lucca, starting in Viareggio. Both races will see 17 teams taking part, one each from Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, France, Britain, Ireland, three from Switzerland and eight from Italy, with a maximum of 10 riders per team.

Teams: Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil (Ita), Androni Giocattoli (Ita), Barloworld (GBr), Ceramica Flaminia (Ita), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare (Ita), Cofidis (Fra), Colombia-Selle Italia (Col), CSC (Den), Domina Vacanze (Ita), Fassa Bortolo (Ita), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago (Bel), Lampre-Caffita (Ita), Liquigas-Bianchi (Ita), L.P.R. (Swi), Naturino-Sapore di Mare (Swi), Phonak (Swi) and Tenax (Irl).

Another RCS organised race, the 60th Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria, has not been given the go ahead by the UCI to start on February 26. Negotiations are ongoing between RCS and the UCI to try to agree on an alternative date.

Sydney plays host to Track World Cup finale

The Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney will host riders from 26 countries in next week's fourth and final round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics Series. The World Cup is the final international event before the March World Championships in Los Angeles and has attracted a stellar field.

Athens Olympic gold medallist, World Champion and world record holder for the 500m time trial, Anna Meares, 21, will be in action in the sprint, the event in which she claimed the bronze medal in Athens and the silver medal at last year's World Championships. Headlining the sprint will be Canadian Lori-Anne Muenzer, the reigning Olympic Champion who is currently in Adelaide competing at the Australian Championships as preparation for Sydney.

"I think it will give me some more confidence because I haven't had a lot of racing this year," said Muenzer. "And racing is what it's all about."

The 38 year old was one of only three Canadians to win gold in Athens and she admits her life since the victory has been frantic. "It's been an absolute whirlwind and the hardest part has been balancing school and community speaking requests and it's been inspirational for me and I hope for the children I've spoken to," said Muenzer who unlike most of her rivals didn't take a break after Athens. "It's best to strike while the iron's hot and training is the easy part. My main aim is to try a few more things out, learn a few new things and have fun in Sydney."

Not only will Muenzer have to face Anna Meares, she'll also have to match Kerrie Meares, the 2002 Commonwealth Games sprint champion who this week, in her comeback from a back injury that ruled her out of last year's Olympic Games, defeated Muenzer in two straight heats in the semi finals of the women's sprint.

Olympic sprint silver medallist and reigning sprint World Champion, Theo Bos of the Netherlands has been in Sydney for a couple of weeks training at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in advance of next week's event. Bos who defeated West Australian Ryan Bayley for gold at the World Championships last year had to settle for silver when Bayley turned the tables on him in Athens. Whilst Bayley will miss Sydney and the upcoming World Championships due to injury Bos will face in-form South Australian Jobie Dajka who this week claimed the Australian sprint crown. Also lining up in the men's sprint events is Polish star Damien Zielinski, 23, who last year was fourth at the World Championships and seventh at the Olympic Games.

France's fast men in eight time World Champion, Laurent Gané, 31, and nine time World Champion, Arnaud Tournant will return and traditionally perform well on the Sydney track.

Sydney's Ben Kersten, who after four days of competition at the Australian Championships already has two gold medals and a silver, will line up for the kilometre time trial as his main event in Sydney whilst Kate Bates, another dual gold medallist in Adelaide with her pet event, the points race, still to come is expected to dominate the women's endurance competition. Already this year she has blitzed the international competition picking up three gold medals in last month's World Cup round in Manchester.

The Sydney Track World Cup Classic runs from Friday, February 18 to Sunday February 20.


Day 1 - February 18: 10am - Qualifying session
7.00pm - Finals - Men's Scratch Race, Women's Points Race, Men's Individual Pursuit and Men's Kilometre Time Trial.

Day 2 - February 19: 10am - Qualifying session
6.00pm - Finals - Men's Teams Pursuit, Women's 500m Time Trial, Women's Individual Pursuit, men's Points Race, Men's Sprint

Day 3 - February 20: 11.50am - Qualifying session
1.00pm Finals - Women's Scratch Race, Men's Madison, Women's Keirin, Men's Teams Sprint.

More information:

Australian national MTB series in Kooralbyn

Mountain bikers from around Australia will converge on Kooralbyn, Queensland this weekend to contest the fourth and fifth rounds of the National Series. Saturday will see the Olympic Cross Country being held, which marks round five of the National Cross Country Series. On Sunday, top world ranked downhillers will begin their qualifying rounds at 12:00 for the fourth round of the National Downhill Series.

Gold Coast downhiller Nathan Rennie, currently ranked fourth in the World, will strive to maintain his lead of 65 points. Rennie, who recently lost his mother, was keen to dedicate his last win in Canberra to her memory. At only 23, Rennie has been dominant in the sport of downhill since becoming a World Junior Champion in 1999.

Lining up with Rennie is Gold Coast's Chris Kovarik, who has been Australia's leading rider until being sidelined through injury. A motorcycle accident last year saw Kovarik limp away with a seriously broken ankle which saw him out of action for six months. This will be Kovarik's second race of the Australian season after he rode in Cairns in November.

The Elite Women start the Olympic Cross Country on Saturday with Athens Olympian, Lisa Mathison unable to continue in the Series after suffering a Fatigue Syndrome. This could leave the door open for Canberra based Niki Fisher to assert her current lead. The Elite Men start at 12.30pm with close finishes expected from Alistair Farley, Dylan Cooper and Murray Spink.

Gold Coasters, Sandy McGennis and Luke Scudamore lead the National Series in the Masters Women and Under 15 men respectively.

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