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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for February 17, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Jeff Jones

Valencia sets the scene in Spain

The next Spanish races on the calendar are the Trofeo Luis Puig and the Vuelta Comunidad Valenciana, both held in the coastal region of Valencia. The Trofeo Luis Puig will lead the international peloton from Benidorm to Valencia, covering 174,2 km on Saturday, February 19. The riders will have four climbs on their way to the finish line: Alto Del Canonche (cat. 2) 660 m in altitude, Puerto De Confrides (cat. 3) 960 m, Puerto De Albaida (cat. 2) 600 m and Puerto De Serragrosa (cat. 3) 250 m.

The following teams will be participating: Illes Balears, Liberty Seguros, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Saunier Duval, Relax-Fuenlabrada, Comunidad Valenciana, Kaiku, Rabobank, Cofidis, Andalucía-Paul Versan, Phonak, Fassa Bortolo, Liquigas-Bianchi, Orbea, Discovery Channel and Spiuk.

Team Spiuk has announced its line-up for the Trofeo: Jorge Ferrío, Aitor Pérez, Ángel Rodríguez, Alfonso Rodríguez, Jesús Pérez, Rafael Macarrón, Fernando Torres and Alberto Benítez. Racing for Fassa Bortolo will be: Fabio Baldato, Fabian Cancellara, Juan Antonio Flecha, Alberto Ongarato, Alessandro Petacchi, Roberto Petito, Matteo Tosatto and Marco Velo.

Swiss team Phonak will be represented by Niki Aebersold, Santos Gonzalez, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Ignacio Gutierrez, Tomasz Nose, Robert Hunter and Miguel Angel Perdiguero. Illes Balears will have Daniel Becke, Iker Leonet, Xabier Zandio, Toni Tauler, Alejandro Valverde, Cayetano Julià, Isaac Gálvez and Joan Horrach.

Following the Trofeo Luis Puig, the 63rd Vuelta Comunidad Valenciana will take place from Tuesday, February 22-Saturday, February 26, with the following stages:

Stage 1 - Tuesday 22: Calpe - Calpe (150 km)
Stage 2 - Wednesday 23: Xabia - Puerto De Sagunto (178 km)
Stage 3 - Thursday 24: Sagunto - Alzira (151 km)
Stage 4 - Friday 25: Alzira - Vallada,Alto Del Campello (161 km)
Stage 5 - Saturday 26: Valencia - Valencia (149 km)

The following teams will participate in the stage race: Illes Balears, Liberty Seguros, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Saunier Duval, Relax-Fuenlabrada, Comunidad Valenciana, Kaiku, Credit Agricole, T-Mobile, Rabobank, Cofidis, Andalucía-Paul Versan, Phonak, Fassa Bortolo, Liquigas-Bianchi and Spiuk.

Ekimov wants to equal Tour record

According to De Telegraaf, Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery Channel) wants to try to equal Joop Zoetemelk's record of 16 participations in the Tour de France. Ekimov (39) has already raced in 14 Tours, said, "To equal the record is a goal for me."

Euskaltel lined up for Giro

The Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi will be participating in the Giro d'Italia for the first time this season. In its eleven years of existence, the Orange-clad squad had never made it to the biggest Italian stage race; but being a ProTour team now, Euskaltel is obliged to start. Leading the team roster at the Giro 2005 will be Samuel Sanchez and Haimar Zubeldia, directeur sportif Julian Gorospe has announced. Helping the two in the task will be Unai Etxebarria, Gorka González, Roberto Laiseka, Alberto López de Munain, David López, Gorka Verdugo and Joseba Zubeldia.

Franck Bouyer appeals to CAS

Bouygues Telecom rider Franck Bouyer has been given a date for his appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). On March 4, Bouyer will explain his case to the appeal judges in Lausanne. The rider has not been racing since May 2004, because the illness which prevents him from doing so (narcolepsy) can only be treated with a drug included in the list of banned substances. Bouyer hopes the CAS will overrun the UCI's decision and let him take his medication in order to take up his profession again.

Sprint Especial - the story of the Otxoa brothers

Spanish TV station RTVV is airing a movie feature, Sprint Especial on the life of Ricardo and Javier Otxoa on February 27. Four years ago, the two Kelme riders were hit by a car while training. Ricardo Otxoa died from his injuries, his brother returned to cycling as a disabled athlete after a long period of rehabilitation. A final judgment of the court case against the driver is expected in March.

Directed by Juan Carlos Claver, Sprint Especial will also be presented on February 24 at the University of Valencia.

Sutter Home joins Colavita in sponsorship

Trinchero Family Estates, producers of Sutter Home wines, has joined Colavita USA, distributors of Italian extra virgin olive oil, to sponsor the 2005 Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Professional Men’s Cycling Team, John Profaci, Vice President of Marketing for Colavita USA, announced.

Following the announcement of Saturn’s non-renewal of its major cycling sponsorship last year, Profaci upped his sponsorship, signing several top former Saturn riders. For 2005, the team has re-signed the majority of its team and inked several new riders including Baby Giro D’Italia winner Davide Frattini of Varese, Italy. With this star-studded roster came a mandate for superior leadership, and accordingly, the signing of Frank McCormack, U.S. cycling legend, as the team’s director sportif.

With all of these elements - superior sponsorship, cyclists, and leadership - in place, Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home is gearing up for the start of the racing season. The team will kick off their 2005 season at training camp hosted by the Sutter Home Winery in Napa, California, February 24-March 3, 2005.

Additional food and beverage sponsorship for the team is provided by Amino Vital, The Olive Garden, Lavazza, and San Benedetto, along with media partner, Cooking Light. Equipment and wardrobe are supplied by Diadora, Giordana, Mavic, Maxxis, Rudy Project, Pedro’s USA, Felt Bicycles, and Shimano.

For more information on the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Men’s Professional Cycling Team, please visit teamcolavita.com

Skil-Moser returns Skil to peloton

The Skil-Moser Pro Cycling Team, a new Continental team from The Netherlands, sees the return of the Skil brandname to the peloton after a near 20 year absence. In the early 1980s, Skil sponsored a top professional team that included the likes of Gerrie Knetemann and Sean Kelly, winning several of cycling's top classics (Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Roubaix, Giro di Lombardia, Amstel Gold Race).

"With this new, young and enthusiastic team we intend to reach for the same highlights as in the early 1980s," said Gerhard Kobesen, President of Skil Europe.

This year's team is built around Tour de France and Vuelta stage winner Bart Voskamp, with Bert van der Tuuk as team manager and Gerry Takens, Aike Visbeek, and Merijn Zeeman as directors. The team is largely a mix of Chocolade Jacques and Team Moser-AH.nl riders, including Bert Hiemstra, Peter Mazur and Jan van Velzen.

At 36, Bart Voskamp is the most experienced cyclist in the team. A professional since 1993, Voskamp has twice won the Dutch time trial championship (1991 and 2001) as well as stages in major cycling races such as the Tour de France (1996) and the Vuelta a España (1994 and 1997). Voskamp has ridden for TVM, Polti, BankGiro Loterij and Chocolade Jacques, and his experience will be very useful both for the riders and the management. "I'm setting myself the goal of lifting this team to a higher level," said Voskamp. "With the experience I have, I will be fulfilling the role that lies between the management and the riders as team captain. But that will not stop me from adding to my list of victories."

Alongside Dutchmen, Belgians and a German, no fewer than four strong Polish riders have been included in the team. Peter Mazur was first in the Tour of Poland young riders classification last year; Marek Wesoly won the Polish road championship that year; Dariusz Rudnicki is considered to be a good sprinter; and Arkadiusz Wojtas wants to prove that he can be one of the leaders of the team.

The Skil-Moser team will have an international program, including Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Giro del Capo, Brabantse Pijl, Veenendaal-Veenendaal, Tour of Belgium, and Volta ao Alentejo this spring. In addition to the professionals Skil will also sponsor the Moser-AH-Trentino U23 Continental team, which is a development squad for young riders aiming to become professional.

Skil-Moser Pro Cycling Team roster
Moser-AH-Trentino roster

MTB Team Haro for 2005

The Haro mountain bike team has named its four man lineup for 2005, which is largely unchanged from last year's squad. Canadian Seamus McGrath, who spent the much of the 2004 season competing in Europe in effort to secure his spot in the 2004 Olympic Games, will return to the North American race circuit intent on regaining his form from two years ago when he won the NORBA Short-Track title.

Canadian Chris Sheppard finished 4th in cross country and 3rd in short track in the NMBS overall standings. After being involved in a serious bike vs. pickup truck accident in the middle of the season, which left his bike in pieces and his body bruised, Shep is looking for a solid 2005 racing season.

Australian Mick Hannah started his 2004 race season with a bang by nearly sweeping the Sea Otter Gravity Omnium. However, a bad crash at the World Cup opener in Fort William left Mick with a broken hand, cutting his season short. Mick has been training hard and racing in the Australian National Series and wants to redeem himself in 2005.

Former U.S. Junior National Downhill Champion Cody Warren made his pro debut in 2004, taking top 15 finishes in both downhill and mountain cross races last season. Cody hopes to have a break-out year in 2005 after completing an intense off-season training program.

Team Haro will debut in Boerne, TX with the NMBS cross country event between March 4-6. The team will race in the Sea Otter Classic, all NMBS races, and select World Cup events.

More information: www.harobikes.com.

Austral gets a boost

Australia's famous Austral Wheelrace, which is to be staged at Vodafone Arena in Melbourne on Saturday February 26, has been given a boost with the news that Jefferson Ford, one of Melbourne's biggest car dealerships, has signed on as the naming rights sponsor.

The Jefferson Ford Austral Wheelrace will celebrate its 107th edition this year and is claimed to be the world's oldest track race. Among those competing at the event will be the versatile Ben Kersten, who is competitive in anything from a one lap time trial to a points race, and Chris Pascoe (dual Australian Champion).

The Austral 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 (www.ticketek.com) from $20.

Youth membership recruitment drive by OCA

Ontario Cycling Association (OCA) has announced a deep discount offer for all licenses to 18 and under cyclists in Ontario until March 31.

The license fees will be discounted by 25%, applicable to both new as well as returning members. Citizen Permit holders will be given $5.00 off. For new UCI or Citizen Permit members under 17 who have never raced in an Ontario Cup Road or Mountain Bike event there will be additional benefits. The OCA, in partnership SUGOI, will be offering a fee entry into any Ontario Cup in 2005. This offer can be combined with the early bird discount for OCA memberships leading to significant savings for our under 19 cyclists.

In the next two weeks, the OCA will also be introducing a program to encourage clubs to recruit more junior aged athletes. Further details on this program will be announced shortly.

For membership details please visit www.ontariocycling.org.

Brasstown Bald Buster Century Ride created

Surge Sports, Inc. has announced the first Annual Brasstown Bald Buster Century in Georgia, US, a challenging bike ride up Georgia’s toughest mountains. The ride will take place on April 16, 2005, as one way, point-to-point ride that will culminate with cyclists finishing at the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. The ride is a 100 mile bike ride with an 80 mile option and includes over 12,000 feet of elevation gain.

The Brasstown Bald Buster Century ride starts in Historic Jefferson, Georgia, and travels through the scenic Georgia countryside. As the riders progress to the northern end of the state, their route becomes more familiar to them as it turns into the stage which challenged Lance Armstrong in the 2004 Tour de Georgia, and will challenge him again in 2005. After the ride, participants will enjoy a complementary spaghetti dinner in the Bavarian alpine village of Helen, Georgia.

Due to logistical concerns, this ride is limited to the first 300 participants. For more information visit Brasstown.SurgeSports.com.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will go towards the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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