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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 6, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Relax makes an offer to Santi Perez

Spanish team Relax-Fuenlabrada has made an offer to Santiago Perez, whose contract with Phonak was not renewed after it was found that he tested positive for blood doping. Perez has yet to be sanctioned for the offence, but Relax team director Jesús Suárez Cueva said that if he is found guilty, then the contract will be cancelled.

"The rider already knows the conditions and he agrees in principle," said Suárez Cueva to AS. "We haven't yet reached an agreement over the financial terms, which evidently are not going to be very high because we are a modest team and can't offer a lot."

Relax-Fuenlabrada is not a ProTour team, and can therefore in principle sign riders who are being investigated for doping offences (ProTour teams can't, according to the Code of Ethics). Cueva said that he was unaware if this would create problems further down the line, for example if the team was invited to the Vuelta a España. "I don't know. Perhaps Santi would not be able to race these races. But what I don't think is logical is marginalising a cyclist if he has not been sanctioned."

Perez's case is currently being heard by the Spanish cycling federation after he tested positive at an out of competition control in Switzerland on October 5. Meanwhile he has launched his own suit in the Court of Justice to ask for his provisional suspension to be lifted pending the outcome of his doping case, enabling him to continue to compete.

Aitor Pérez to Spiuk

27 year old Aitor Pérez Arrieta, from Zegama, Guipúzcoa, has signed a one year contract with the Spanish Continental professional team Spiuk. Like recent signing Fernando Torres, Aitor Pérez is coming from the Café Baqué team, and is considered a complete rider. With Pérez's engagement, Spiuk now has 14 riders.

Fernandez signs on as Phonak DS

Just a few days after appointing a new team manager, John Lelangue, Phonak has announced that 48 year old Juan Fernandez will be its new directeur sportif, joining fellow directors Jacques Michaud and René Savary. The pair replace Urs Freuler and Alvaro Pino, who resigned from their positions recently.

Fernandez, a former professional cyclist, started as a directeur sportif with Clas Cajastur (1989-1994), and went on to direct Mapei (1995-1996), Festina (1999-2001) and Coast (2002).

Phonak will hold its first training camp of the season in Mallorca from January 10-20.

Venezuelans to be sanctioned in Guatemala doping affair

The two Venezuelans involved in the Vuelta a Guatemala doping affair, in which the four top GC riders and five others tested positive for drugs, will be sanctioned by the Venezuelan cycling federation after its disciplinary commission heard the case on January 4. Yeisson Delgado has admitted to taking EPO (one of seven positives for that drug), while Noel Vásquez, who finished second on GC, admitted to taking the stimulant Nikethamide, claiming it was for personal problems. Delgado could be suspended for up to two years, but Vásquez risks a lifetime ban after he also tested positive five years ago. However, the Venezuelan cycling federation will probably let him off with a lighter sentence due to the reasons given by the rider.

Vasquez said, "I was taking an antidepressant after the death of my parents, but I did not know that it would make me positive. I now have to expect a sanction from the UCI in my case."

In addition to the Venezuelans, Guatemalan winner Lizandro Acjú (EPO), compatriots Nery Velásquez (EPO), Abel Jocholá (Testosterone), David Calanche (EPO), Colombian Federico Muñoz (EPO), Mexican Carlos López González (Testosterone and EPO), and El Salvadoran José Reynaldo Murillo (EPO) will likely also face sanctions in what is the biggest doping affair to hit the race since five riders tested positive in the 2001 edition.

Post to advise Rabobank

One of the Netherlands' best known team managers, Peter Post, will take up a role as an adviser for the Rabobank team this year. Post, who managed the formidable Panasonic and Raleigh teams in the past, has been on the sidelines of cycling for the past nine years, apart from a brief stint with Domo-Farm Frites in 2000. But towards the end of November last year, Post was approached by Rabobank to become an adviser for the team, a role that he accepted.

The team already has an overseeing council consisting of three of Rabobank's top men, as well as an advisory board consisting of businessmen, politicians and sports administrators. Post will be an independent and neutral part of this structure.

RCS Sport changes 2005 race calendar

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

With former Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Angelo Zomegnan now running the show at the cycling division of RCS Sport, the Giro d'Italia organizers have made some smart new changes to their race program for the 2005 season, pending approval by the Italian Cycling Federation and the UCI. These simple changes will better focus and make the RCS Sport cycling program more rational for 2005.

First off, the presentation for the 2005 Giro d'Italia has moved to accommodate live TV from Thursday January 20 to Saturday, January 22. Cyclingnews will be there with all the up to the minute coverage on the Giro. As for the racing calendar, the 60th edition of the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria will happen earlier this year; it will moved forward one week from Saturday, March 5 to Saturday, February 26. Then, at least for 2005, Sicilian race Trofeo Pantalica slated for March 6 will be suspended and will not be linked to the Giro dell'Etna as originally planned. Instead, RCS Sport will put off the race for one year and will re-launch Pantalica as part of some new tourism initiatives under development with the Region of Sicily in 2006.

One of the oldest races on the calendar, Milano-Torino (in its 90th edition this year) will move from its previous fall date in October to Saturday, March 5 to start the grande sprint towards the 96th edition of Milano-Sanremo on Saturday, March 19, 2005. No word yet if the semi-classic will still maintain its cool finale on the velodrome in Torino. The former four stage race, Giro della Provincia di Lucca, originally slated for February 22-25 will now move to Monday, March 7 and have a one day race format. Then, right after Lucca, its the 40th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts Wednesday, March 9 as originally planned and runs through Tuesday, March 15, just four days before Milano-Sanremo.

Six Hours of Euskadi cancelled

The organisers of the Six Hours of Euskadi have decided to cancel the event, which was to take place on February 12, owing to hail damage suffered by the Anoeta velodrome last September. Although a new roof is planned for the velodrome, construction will only begin on January 17 and will not be finished in time.

Next year's meet will go ahead, and will pay homage to the Otxoa brothers Javier and Ricardo, who were hit by a car four years ago with only Javier surviving.

Subway team ready for 2005

US Continental team Subway has finalised its roster for 2005. The squad consists of 12 elite men and seven elite women riders, and will kick off its season with a camp in Merced, California, between February 25 - March 7. The camp will also overlap the first NRC race of the year McLane Pacific, which will serve as the team's first official race outing.

Seven riders will return from 2004 to the men's team, with the five new additions all under 26 years old. With only three riders over age 30, Subway will function as a development team, focusing on UCI races and top National Racing Calendar races in the U.S. "I'm looking forward to taking this group of riders to the biggest races in the US and teaching these guys to race and present themselves as pros," said returning Manager/Director René Wenzel. "We have some great young talent and some older guys who are really committed to the team. I think we'll surprise a lot of people this year."

Returning to the Subway team is Australian Cameron Hughes of Scotts Head, Australia, as well as 2001 Elite US Champion Remi McManus of Boise, ID. David Richter of Seattle, WA returns as one of the teams sprinters, while the team's virtual "Jared", youngster Omer Kem of Salem, OR returns slimmed down from 162 to 145 pounds for 2005, making the 2003 Oregon Pro Mountain Bike Series Champion a threat in the hills. Sprinter Nathaniel Cornelius (Lexington, KY), Todd Cornelius (Indianapolis, IN), and Robbie Yost (Murfreesboro, TN) are also returning.

New to the team is road convert Ryan McKenzie, a seven-time Canadian National Champion on the track from Calgary, Alberta. The team is also adding Joshua Carter of Fairview Heights, IL, Peter Femal (Appleton, WI), Kevin Vanes (Indianapolis, IN), and Scott Walters (Oak Brook, IL).

On the women's side, the team includes the winner of the 2004 Tour of Somerville and American Criterium Series Champion Melissa Sanborn of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. Climber Suz Weldon of Briar, Washington, winner of the state's Best All-round Rider competition in both 2003 and 2004, Sima Trapp (Boise, ID) and Nichole Wangsgard (Longmont, CO), Liza Rachetto (Boise, ID), Emily Westbrook (Seattle, WA), and Crystal Yap (Logan, UT) round out the women's team.

Like the men, the women's team will also go after a strong NRC showing. "Our women's team has a particularly good mix of sprinting, time trialing and climbing talent. With strong direction, we expect this team to win a lot of races," said Wenzel. That direction will come from Wenzel himself, along with assistant directors Erin Hartwell (two-time Olympic medalist) and former racer Kendra Wenzel (team Saeco-Timex).

Team Subway will again be aboard Fuji bicycles, riding the same new carbon framesets as Judith Arndt did in her 2004 World Championship ride.

Team roster

Men:

Joshua Carter - 26 - Fairview Heights, Illinois - USA
Nathaniel Cornelius - 27 - Lexington, Kentucky - USA
Todd C. Cornelius - 26 - Indianapolis, Indiana - USA
Peter Femal - Appleton, Wisconsin - USA
Cameron Hughes - 33 - Scotts Head - AUS
Omer Kem - 23 - Salem, Oregon - USA
Ryan McKenzie - 22 - Calgary, Alberta - CAN
Remi McManus - 30 - Boise, Idaho - USA
David Richter - 35 - Seattle, Washington - USA
Kevin Vanes - 25 - Indianapolis, Indiana - USA
Scott Walters - 23 - Oak Brook, Illinois - USA
Robbie Yost - 23 - Murfreesboro, Tennessee - USA

Women:

Liza Rachetto - 31 - Boise, Idaho - USA
Melissa Sanborn - 33 - McKenzie Bridge, Oregon - USA
Sima Trapp - 32 - Boise, Idaho - USA
Nichole Wangsgard - 33 - Longmont, Colorado - USA
Suz Weldon - 37 - Briar, Washington - USA
Emily Westbrook - 33 - Seattle, Washington
Crystal Yap - 32 - Logan, Utah - USA

Manager/Director: René Wenzel
Express Racing Business Director: Daniel Byrne
Assistant Director: Erin Hartwell
Assistant Director: Kendra Wenzel

Sponsors (partial list)

Subway (www.subway.com), Fuji Bicycles (www.fujibikes.com), Truvativ cranks (www.truvative.com), Byrne Specialty Gases (www.byrnegas.com), FSA (men) (www.fullspeedahead.com), Rudy Project (www.rudyprojectusa.com), OS Cycling (www.oscycling.com), Santini (ts.cycling@verizon.met), Active Sports Cream (www.puracare.com), Essentia Water (www.essentia.com), Speedplay (www.speedplay.com), N-Zymeceuticals (www.nzymeceuticals.com), Santiam Bicycles (www.santiambicycle.com), Bio-Energy), Inc. (www.bioenergy.com), Mortimer's Downtown Boise (www.mortimersidaho.com), Smartbikeparts.com (www.smartbikeparts.com), Bacardi (www.bacardi.com), Wenzel Coaching (www.wenzelcoaching.com), MOAB Bikes (www.moabbikes.com), Galaxy Granola (www.galaxygranola.com).

Website: www.expressracing.net

Team Yeti adds Riffle and Houseman

Team Yeti has added two gravity racers, Duncan Riffle and Rich Houseman, to its team for the 2005 season. Riffle, who recently turned 18 and is the current USA National Champion in downhill, will be surrounded by some of the best professional racers on the circuit. Rich Houseman, who excels in mountain-cross and downhill, is coming off one of his best seasons ever and will add depth to the Yeti roster.

Returning are mountain-cross specialist Jill Kintner, Aussie downhill and mountain-cross speedster Jared Graves and Colorado's favourite gravity racer Ross "the crusher" Milan. Gone are longtime Yeti cross-country racer Paul Rowney, who retired last year and young hammer Trent Lowe, who will move to a bigger team for '05 and split his time between road and mountain bike racing.

The team's riders will be racing a new downhill bike called the 303 DH this year. The 303 uses Linear Rail Technology (LRT) to create a bike that has over 9" of travel, but is still very efficient when pedaling.

Team Yeti will focus on NORBA National Championship races and select UCI World Cup events in North America and Europe.

Team roster

Jill Kintner (USA)
Rich Houseman (USA)
Jared Graves (Aus)
Ross Milan (USA)
Duncan Riffle (USA)

Sponsors

Yeti (frames)
Fox Racing Shox
Maxxis (tyres)
DT Swiss (wheels)
Hayes (disc brakes)
Race Face (components)
SRAM
e.thirteen
ODI
Chris King

Team website: www.yeticycles.com

Campbell steps down

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

Frank Campbell's tenure as a Cycling Ireland national team manager has come to an end with the news that he has advised CI of his decision to cease acting in this role.

Campbell proved to be a successful manager during his time, achieving successes such as the national team's domination of the 2004 FBD Milk Rás. He played an important part in the Team Ireland operation in Belgium and also assisted Irish internationals in their efforts to achieve strong results abroad and thus secure professional contracts.

Campbell's resignation is the latest in recent months. CI President PJ Nolan, Mick and Delores Usher of the women's commission, track commission President Philip Collins plus several others have also stood down from their positions, leading to a drain in volunteers from the sport.

CI has not yet announced who will replace Campbell in the driving seat of the Team Ireland car this season. A seven-man national squad will compete in the Tour de Langkawi later this month.

Clubs donate money to tsunami appeal

More Australian cycling clubs have been donating money to the tsunami victims relief fund, following the example of Carnegie Caulfield in Melbourne which raised $1000 in its first race of the season last weekend. The South Australian Veteran and Ladies Cycling Club raised $500 in its January 2 races, while in the first round of Sydney's Trek Summer Series on January 4, it was decided to donate all entry and prize money to the fund, netting another $650. Also, this week's Sutherland Shire Cycling Club criterium on January 7 will be donating half of all entry fees towards the appeal.

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