First Edition Cycling News for February 28, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: The Revenge
As can often happen in the Belgian opening weekend, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne was won by one of the big teams who had missed out in Het Volk. Today saw the first ever victory for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team as George Hincapie comfortably beat the young Kevin Van Impe (Chocolade Jacques) in a two man sprint. The pair had attacked with 6 km to go at the end of a tough, wind-blasted 190 km, with no-one in the remaining peloton having an answer. And despite having eight men (the whole team) in the front group of 32, Davitamon-Lotto missed the boat again and had to settle for third with Bert Roesems.
Hincapie became the first American to win Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, adding to his 2001 win in Gent-Wevelgem and 2004 win in the Driedaagse van De Panne. "It was a super hard race in nasty, cold and windy conditions," Hincapie said. "It was a battle all day. At the end, every was so completely dead from the wind and all the attacks that there was no control at the front."
"I didn't know much about him," Hincapie said of Van Impe. "Dirk said he was good and I still had enough left. I didn't feel great following yesterday. I felt great yesterday (finishing 30th at Het Volk) and was there on the last climb but we still had 65 km to the finish. Today I was feeling that effort but still had enough to finish it off."
"For sure, George likes to race in this area, even in the cold conditions," said Discovery Channel director Dirk Demol, who is from this area of Belgium. "Wevelgem is only around 10 kilometres from here and de Panne is another 50 or so kilometres, so this seems to be one of his favourite areas.
"We were trying to make the race hard," said Demol. "Like yesterday (at Het Volk), although the final result wasn't great, the performance of the team was strong. Today, we seemed to always have someone in a good position, which helped for the final. I ordered the boys to try and spread the peloton and it worked well, putting us in a good situation at the end."
Towards the finish, Demol said he told Hincapie and Devolder to save their energy for the final. Devolder then attacked five or six times in the last 15 km: "He killed (Quick Step's Tom) Boonen alone," said Demol and Roulston covered another acceleration just before Van Impe attacked and Hincapie joined him in the winning move.
"It's a nice win for us," said Demol. "From what I saw, almost everyone is on a very good level. This weekend was our first big test and winning today was great."
"Hey, here we are!"
Bruyneel pleased at historic first win for Discovery Channel
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Although he followed George Hincapie's historic first win for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne via the Internet from his home office in Madrid, Discovery team director Johan Bruyneel was clearly delighted with the victory when Cyclingnews caught up with him post race. "Oh, it was good to see this win; you know, it's always nice to win in the early part of the season. Sometimes your team is strong, but the but victory doesn't come. At the Ruta del Sol, Max (Van Heeswijk) was close, and at Algarve, Jose (Chechu) Rubiera was seconds. But you also need a little bit of luck to win.
"Today's victory by George (Hincapie) in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne was excellent. It's a semi-classic race, but still this is a good impact. And for Discovery, our classics team won the first race so now we know we can count on them for the spring campaign. George's win will be good for everyone's motivation." Johan also had his marketing cap on when he said that, "Today is also an important win for our new sponsor Discovery Channel and it's a good feeling for everyone on the team to deliver this win to them. It's like we are saying 'hey here we are!' and we hope it's the start of many."
Bruyneel related his post-race telephone call with Hincapie to Cyclingnews, saying "George told me he felt very strong today; he felt Het Volk yesterday in his legs, but he was there at the end...it's like a game and he planned to put in one big attack and that strategy worked for him." When we commented on the powerful performance of Discovery's second-year pro Stijn Devolder, Bruyneel was pleased to tell us that, "Yes, Devolder is very impressive and is riding very strongly now. He'll need a little bit of luck but one day I know he has the legs to win a big one...he just needs to learn to manage his strength better."
Next up for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team are a series of races leading up to Milano-Sanremo on March 19th. In the 3 Days of West Flanders, the riders will be Fumi Beppu, Mike Creed, Ryder Hesjedal, Jason McCartney, Pat McCarty, Guennadi Mikhailov, Hayden Roulston and Jurgen Van Den Broeck. At Paris-Nice, the debut race of the ProTour and the 2005 debut of six-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, the Discovery Channel team will consist of Lance, Jose Azevedo, Manuel Beltran, Slava Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych, Jose Rubiera and Paolo Savoldelli. Discovery's classics team for Tireneo-Adriatico is Michael Barry, Volodymyr Bileka, Stijn Devolder, Roger Hammond, George Hincapie, Leif Hoste, Benoît Joachim, Pavel Padrnos and Max Van Heeswijk, which should be the same team that contests Milano-Sanremo, according to Bruyneel.
Perez gets two years
The Spanish cycling federation has announced its decision to ban Santiago Perez for two years from professional cycling because of blood doping offenses. "Santi" Perez was riding for Phonak last season and impressed with very strong performances during the Vuelta a España, where he finally placed second behind overall winner Roberto Heras. He was tested out of competition in Switzerland, a week after the Vuelta had finished.
The Spaniard has already made public that he will appeal the decision. His ex-teammate Tyler Hamilton also tested positive for blood doping during last year's Vuelta, and is also appealing the decision.
Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T-Interim start season in style
Professional women's cycling team Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T-Interim was presented in the "Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen" in Oudenaarde, Belgium last Thursday. With three clothing companies as sponsors (Erima, Modemakers and Bio Racer), it was clear that there was going to be a short fashion show, so the presentation started in style with Hanka Kupfernagel (cyclocross world champion), Anita Valen (third World Championships on road 2004), Emma Davies (British track racer), Evy Van Damme (wife of Quick.Step's Nick Nuyens), Sharon Van Dromme (Belgian up-and-coming youngster), Veerle Ingels (Belgian cyclocross champion) and all the other ladies on the catwalk.
Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T-Interim, managed by Fons Leroy, is the first and the only Belgian professional women's cycling team. Established 11 years ago, the team is subsidized by the Flemish government and sponsored by Capri Sonne (German lemonade), T-Interim (a temporary employment agency) and Focus bikes (German company from Mike Kluge, Hanka Kupfernagel's partner and former cyclocross world champion). Thanks to experienced riders such as Hanka Kupfernagel, Anita Valen, Debby Mansveld, Sharon Van Dromme and Evy Van Damme, Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T-Interim offers young talented riders the opportunity to ride international world cup and stage races.
The most important race to the team this season will be the women's edition of the Tour of Flanders, considerably longer and hillier than last edition and starting at the Molenberg. Meanwhile, Hanka Kupfernagel has left for South Africa to prepare the for the race. Returning to the team after three years is Evy Van Damme, teaming up with newly signed British Emma Davies (2004 Olympian) and Charlotte Goldsmith. Also new to the team is Christa Pirard (partner of Mr. Bookmaker.com's Bobbie Traksel) and daughter from former Dutch rider Fritz Pirard. Debby Mansveld as well as Cindy Pieters will also stick to the team in 2005.
More information: www.cyclingteam-damesvlaanderen.be
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Luc Cromphout
Images by Erik Van Breugel
Images by www.megafoto.be
Images by John Davies
Grant recipients announced by Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund
Recipients of the first Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund "Access Grants" were announced on Friday, February 25. Four grants have been awarded to: The Fulton Flyers Junior Development Club (Atlanta, GA); ABD Cycle Club Women’s Development Program (Chicago, IL); Project SuperBee (Kansas); and Team Power Train (Tulsa, OK).
The Nicole Fund Access Grant is a grant given to cycling clubs that aim to attract and support new riders. Mike Reinhart, President of the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund which has given out more than $225,000 since its inception in 2001, noted that "We designed this grant program to identify some of the best programs in the country for bringing new riders into the sport. We want to help these programs grow and gain visibility so other clubs in other areas might try to emulate them."
Jim Whittaker on Team GP/VeloTek is also receiving national recognition for Project Super Bee, an innovative program that provides 24 inch wheel road bikes to youth age 7 to 12. GP VeloTek partners with community organizations such as Scouting, Boys and Girls Clubs, and schools to provide appropriately sized road bikes for rodeos, races, and beginner rides.
Mike Reinhart was pleased with the level of interest in the Access Grant. "We'd like to do it again and we need to work on finding more donors to help increase the amount of grants we can make," said Reinhart.
For more information on the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund and each of the grantees, go to: www.nicolefund.org
SXC series kicks off in April
The kick off for the 2005 Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Race Series is set for a return to the Glentress Forest on April 3, 2005. Once again this year, the SXC series will comprise seven races with the fourth race at Contin, by Inverness, doubling as the Scottish Championships.
The venues are spread all round Scotland from Dalbeattie in the South to Fort William in the North, a new venue at Kelburn Park, Ayrshire in the West and a return to Aviemore. This year, top racers hope to catch the eye for inclusion in the Scottish Commonwealth Games squad. It was a source of disappointment that the Scottish team for the last Games did not include a senior man even though the Games were in Manchester. The first three in last year's men championships, James Ochterlonie, James Fraser-Moodie and Robert Wardell are likely contenders with several other riders also capable of making a challenge.
Caroline Alexander represented Scottish women in Manchester and after starting as favourite and building a considerable lead she unfortunately punctured, forcing her to give up. She has since retired from the sport and the mantle of leading Scottish women now rests with Ruth McGavigan.
The full SXC series race programme is:
XC-1 - April 4, Glentress near Peebles
The schedule for each race includes all the usual race categories through age groupings as well as the Senior Elite races, the Schools race programme and fun races for beginners. This year there is a discount scheme available for early entry and a special offer of entry to all seven races in advance for the cost of six races.
Full details and downloadable entry forms can be obtained at www.sxc.org.uk
Rock Hill is CVA's preferred site
The Carolina Velodrome Association (CVA) announced Rock Hill, South Carolina as the preferred site for the concrete, 250 meter velodrome proposed by the group. The announcement comes after months of discussion between CVA founders and Rock Hill officials, including a site visit to the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, and consultations with USA Cycling.
"We are extremely pleased to finally go public with our progress," said Michael Cowan, a CVA co-founder with strong ties to the Rock Hill community. "Rock Hill is a perfect location for our proposed facility in terms of community support, easy access to major thoroughfares, and a favourable cost-of-living." USA Cycling officials agree. "We need [the velodrome] to be accessible to some regional centres. [Rock Hill] is right in the corridor here," said Pat McDonough, Director of Track Cycling for USA Cycling, the United States cycling governing body.
CVA co-founder Spencer Lueders noted that the velodrome will meet regulations for hosting national and international events. The velodrome will also feature a concrete infield, allowing the facility to host non-cycling events throughout the year, making it a truly multi-use facility that would be enjoyed by a large percentage of the community. "We will be able to run the facility year-round," said Lueders. "As the only regulation velodrome in the Southeast, that will be a huge benefit to the sport of track racing and to the community as a whole."
Gerard Bisceglia, CEO of USA Cycling, agreed that the proposed velodrome would fill a void in the Southeast. "You have a tremendous population base that is undeserved by this sport," said Bisceglia, who flew in from Colorado to help present the plan.
CVA, Rock Hill City Manager Carey Smith, and USA Cycling officials presented the plan to Rock Hill City Council on February 22 and received support from the City Council to assess site locations and create plans, conduct a third party economic impact study, and structure financing models. A final report is due in six months. Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols said, "This is an exciting and unique prospect for our community. It is the kind of distinctive sports tourism opportunity the Rock Hill is known for, and I look forward to hearing the City Manager’s report in the next six months." The velodrome has an estimated construction cost of $2.5 million, and CVA already has $500,000 in private funds for operations.
Martin loses the battle
Australian cyclist Bryan Martin, originally from Sydney but who spent the last few years living in Brisbane, has died in hospital after a crash last week. Martin rode for several clubs, including Randwick Botany and Samford Velos, and his funeral will be held next week in Samford, Queensland. A talented rider, Martin will be remembered for being fastest man in a blue singlet and brown stubbies to ride a bike.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)