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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 13, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and John Stevenson

Neil Stephens analyses the Tour

From Fromentine to Briançon...

Neil Stephens
Photo ©: Brian Farrell
Click for larger image

A veteran of seven Tours de France, Australian Neil Stephens has a very good idea of what it takes to complete La Grande Boucle. Now employed as a Tour guide and professional cycling coordinator within the Australian Sports Commission, 'Stevo' provides Cyclingnews with his unique take on the 2005 race route, spiced with plenty of his own experiences of Tours gone by. The first part covers stages 1-11, while the second part will cover stages 12-21.

The Tour is the biggest annual sporting event in the world. Just look at the crowds on the mountain stages, especially Alpe d'Huez over the past two years where the number of spectators have been estimated as the largest ever to watch a sporting event live. I have been lucky enough to have participated in seven Tours as a rider, and now work for a travel company that organises trips to the Tour and most other major cycling events.

One of the great pleasures of my job is sitting in the bar at the hotel each night chatting with the clients and reviewing the day's stage and what might have been. I get lots of questions about what it is really like in the pro peloton. As we were going through the Tour route for 2005 and planning our trips, my mind began flooding back with memories of the days in the peloton. For once I decided I would put the words down on paper. For what they are worth here they are. I hope they give you a bit of an insight in the life of a pro and the buzz I still get when I think of the magnificent event.

Click here for the full story.

Belda summonsed

Vicente Belda, sporting director of the Comunidad Valenciana team (formerly kown as Kelme) will have to appear in court in the next ten days to answer charges of threatening the journalist who covered former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano's allegation of doping within the Kelme team.

Juan Antonio Gutiérrez, a journalist with Spanish sports newspaper As, filed a complaint against Belda after the two bumped into each other in a café in Mallorca during this week's Mallorca Challenge series. Belda allegedly shouted insults at Gutiérrez, and made the shape of a pistol with his fingers and shouted "You're dead!"

Comunidad Valenciana team manager José Luis Aznar told As that he would speak with Belda about the incident. "If we have to call someone to order we will do it," he said, "but we are not going to do anything rash. Many members of our team and other witnessed the incident and I think they will be able to clarify the facts."

The investigation into Manzano's allegations was dropped earlier this week for lack of evidence.

Pozzato out of Tour Med

Filippo Pozzato (Quick.Step) has dropped out of the Tour Méditerranéen after waking up with a fever on the morning of yesterday's fourth stage. His team doctors decided to take him out of the race and fly him back to Alassio, Italy, where his teammates are preparing for the Trophée Laigueglia. "I'm disappointed to leave," Pozzato told French website "I had hoped to place well on the last stage to Marseille. Now I hope I'll be better for Laigueglia, a race I would really like to win," he added.

For full results of the fourth stage, a team time trial, of the Tour Méditerranéen, click here.

Nobili Rubinetterie presented

The UCI-registered Italian women's team, Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini Cogeas was presented to the public in Suno, Italy, yesterday. Directed by Walter Zini, the squad's main objectives this season are the Giro d'Italia and the La Route de France Féminine, although Zini believes the under 23 European Championships could also be within its reach. "Modesta Vzesniauskaite could show her worth there and obtain a very good result," he said at the presentation. "Also Olga Slyusareva will be riding the World Track Championships and then be entirely available to the team," Zini added.

The team has 18 elite and four junior athletes on its roster and will make its racing debut at the Geelong Tour in Australia from February 22-25, to prepare for the first World Cup event in Geelong, Australia on February 27. Next race on its schedule will be the Trust House Women’s Tour in New Zealand, March 2-4, followed by the second World Cup race in Wellington, New Zealand, on March 6. Participating at these competitions will be Lithuanian Modesta Vzesniauskaite, Russian Olga Slyusareva, Joanne Kiesanowski from New Zealand as well as the Italian riders Daniela Fusar Poli, Sigrid Corneo and Silvia Valsecchi.

Meanwhile, it has been made public that Daniela Fusar Poli will be a candidate for 'federal counselor' to the Italian Cycling Federation. The organisation will hold an electoral congress in Rimini, Italy, on March 12 and 13.

For the full roster of Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini Cogeas, please visit the team database pages.

Otxoa decision expected in March

A final judgment in the court case arising from the 2001 death of Spanish cyclist Ricardo Otxoa will be handed down between March 15 and 18, according to Europa Press. Ricardo Otxoa and his brother Xavier were hit by a car on February, 15 2001. Ricardo died from his injuries and Xavier spent over six months in hospital as a result; he has subsequently returned to cycling as a disabled athlete.

The driver of the car, the director-general of sport at the University of Malaga, Sebastián Fernández is accused of causing death by negligent driving, and causing injury by negligent driving. The statement of facts in the case records that Fernández "partly entered the right shoulder of the road because of a minor distraction," hitting the two riders while traveling at about 80 km/hr.

Good Friday track meeting saved

After weeks of speculation, UK race organiser Graham Bristow has announced that an agreement with Dulwich Estates has been concluded, making available Herne Hill Velodrome to the Southern Counties Cycling Union in order to stage the Good Friday Meeting on March 25, 2005. With the uncertainty removed, Bristow is now working on getting the promotion of the event back on track.

However, he signals that the agreement between Dulwich Estates and SCCU is separate from the ongoing lease renewal negotiations, which still have to be concluded before the long term future of cycle racing at Herne Hill can be secured.

For further information on the Good Friday Track Meeting, please go to:

Australian Solo 24-Hour MTB Race

The Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC), organisers of the MONT Australian 24-Hour Mountain Bike Championship, have announced that entries are now open for the Solo 24-hour MTB race to be held in Canberra, on March 26 and 27, 2005. The event is the first of its kind in Australia and will take plce at Innabaanya Girl Guides Camp at Majura Pines, ACT off Majura Road just north of Canberra airport.

The race will be conducted within the Majura Pines forest complex. With a lap length of approximately 10 km and no excessively long or steep climbs, riders will nevertheless be presented with a rigorous world-class mountain biking course with excellent access for spectators and media. Riders will start racing at 12 noon Saturday, March 26 and finish after 12 noon on Sunday, March 27.

Online entries are now open, with a limit of 300 so CORC suggests riders should get in early. The entry fee is $120.00 for all competitors. Solo under-18 year olds can enter a mini-race consisting of two six-hour events to get a taste of endurance mountain biking. The cost to them is $60.00.

For more information, please got to

Queensland Academy looking for female road/track talents

The Queensland Academy of Sport Talent Search program is conducting a search for mature age female endurance track/road cyclists based out of the University of Queensland in Brisbane. All athletically talented women who would be interested in pursuing a career in road or track endurance cycling are concerned, as cycling experience is not necessary.

Candidates should possess good coordination, endurance, power, be aged between 17 and 25 and have the determination and persistence to make it to the top. To register, please visit and complete the on-line application form, or for further information call Leanne Bullemor on (07) 3872 0245. Successful applicants will be invited to a testing day in the week beginning March 21, 2005.

Kahala LaGrange to debut at Valley of the Sun

Scottsdale based Kahala Corporation, a franchising and marketing company, has partnered with Los Angeles based cycling club Velo Club LaGrange to create a new team, Kahala LaGrange. On its roster are former professional racers Victor Ayala and Ryan Lane as well as Mexican National champion, Marco Rios. The club, which won numerous State Championships last season, will compete mostly in California, but also nationally and internationally.

The team will make its debut next weekend in Phoenix, Arizona at the Valley of the Sun stage race from February 18-20. Starting with an individual time trial, the race will proceed to a long road race on the 19th and ultimately finish with a downtown circuit race near the State Capitol building.

To learn more about LaGrange, please visit

A devil of a tandem

Didi 'the devil' Senft and the world's largest tandem.
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image
The tandem hits the road
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

German artist Didi Senft, known in the bike racing world as 'the devil' for his unusual habit of dressing up in a red costume with tail and pitchfork and, ahem, encouraging riders in races such as the Tour de France is claiming a new world record: the world's largest tandem.

At 81.5 kilograms the giant two-seater is in no danger of upsetting the UCI's weight limit commissaires, though its 6.38 meter length and 3.13m height almost certainly contravene a whole raft of technical rules.

Senft says he hopes the enormous bike will make it into the next edition of 'The Book of Alternative Records', alongside the backwards cycling hour record (29.1 kilometres) and the record for running 100 meters in Wellington boots filled with custard.

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