First Edition Cycling News for January 8, 2005
Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones
An interview with Chris Horner
Tooting his own Horner
Chris Horner has every right to be happy with his career of late. After a significant but tumultuous stint over in Europe with Francaise des Jeux in the late nineties, including both highlights and lowlights, as well as a brief but successful return to Euro racing with Mercury in 2000, the 33 year old from Oregon has got himself a third crack across the pond with the Spanish team Saunier Duval in 2005, as Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski reports.
The veteran U.S. racer is more prepared than ever to avoid the pitfalls associated with Americans racing in Europe. In 2003, Horner dominated the U.S. circuit along with his buddies on the unstoppable Saturn team. In 2004, his job security was uncertain until a new team, Webcor Builders, surfaced and gave him a ride. However, the team was seemingly the opposite of Saturn - a team of riders that mostly hold down day jobs. But Horner led them to an extremely successful year, with a strong showing in Georgia and a win for Charles Dionne at the T-Mobile International in San Francisco.
These strong team showings, along with his own personal accomplishments, effectively punched his ticket to Europe. But the typical Chris Horner does not ever consider merely showing up a victory. In his fall campaign, he continued his strong year into the World Championships where he made the final 15 rider selection and finished eighth overall (the highest placing American). That result gave him a place on his new team's roster for the next three World Cups, and he began to move up the result lists, culminating with an 11th place at the Giro di Lombardia.
Everything seems to be lining up for what many consider the best American-based racer at the peak of his career. But can he continue his success for an entire year and in the biggest races of the world's biggest cycling stage? We tracked down Chris Horner on the west coast with his family, and even helped him avoid the chore of making dinner to talk with us.
MrBookmaker.com goes public
On Thursday, January 6, part of the UCI Professional Continental team MrBookmaker.com-SportsTech gathered in Paris for a first public appearance in new team colours following an initial team presentation in Oostende, Belgium on the previous day. The Belgians Frank Vandenbroucke, Kurt Van der Wouwer, Gorik Gardeyn and Geert Omloop as well as the five Frenchmen of the team (Fréderic Gabriel, Julien Laidoun, Laurent Paumier, Camille Bouquet and David Boucher) met with the attending media alongside their new directeur sportif Lucien Van Impe, Tour de France winner of 1976, and team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren.
In 2005, the Belgian team will be focusing on the Spring Classics and the French races mainly, but "our sponsor also has interests in Spain and Portugal," Verschueren explained. Meanwhile, the team hopes for invitations to ProTour races like Paris-Roubaix or Dauphiné Libéré, but much will depend on the performances of Frank Vandenbroucke, of which Van Impe says, "I don't think that he will come back a 100 percent as the VDB we once knew, but if he can come back to 80 percent he'll still be a great rider. He's 30 years old and I think he may still have five good years in front of him."
Mrbookmaker.com-SportsTech will be in Calpe, Spain for a training camp from January 10-17.
For the full team roster, click here.
Images by Daniel Schamps
Bouquet out, Gadret OK
Camille Bouquet (Mr.Bookmaker.com-SportsTech) will not be able to attend the French Championships of Cyclo-cross in the Northern town of Liévin this Sunday, January 9. The rider suffered a knee injury required five stitches due to a crash while training behind a Derny motorcycle on Monday.
National champion John Gadret, on the other hand, will be trying to defend his title in spite of a shoulder injury. Although the habitual shouldering of the bike in cyclo-cross will be very difficult for him, Gadret still means to compete against his strongest rivals Francis Mourey and Arnaud Labbe.
Bouygues Telecom presentation in Paris
French ProTeam Bouygues telecom (ex-Brioches La Boulangère) was presented to the media at Bouygues HQ in Paris yesterday. The team directed by Jean-René Bernaudeau is a very young one (average rider age 25.5) and only has French riders on its roster, except for Spanish Unaï Yus. The experienced Laurent Brochard, who changed from AG2R, will be road captain in 2005, sharing this responsibility with Didier Rous and Pierrick Fédrigo, after Sylvain Chavanel left to join Cofidis.
The team, including French road champion and Tour de France surprise Thomas Voeckler, will be riding more international top races as it will be part of the UCI's ProTour circuit. "The Belgian Classics are very attractive to me," Voeckler said. "I'd like to discover the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, very high level races."
For the full team roster, click here.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Daniel Schamps
Images by velofotopro.fr.st
Franck Bouyer still waiting
While the presentation of team Bouygues Telecom was held yesterday, one of its riders is still waiting for an authorisation to continue as a professional cyclist in 2005: Franck Bouyer, who suffers from narcolepsy, a neurological disorder resulting in irresistible sleep attacks. While the illness can be treated with a drug called modafinil (Provigil), this medication figures among the list of banned substances. Bouyer therefore officially asked the UCI for the right to use the drug in competition, but his bid was declined, and he has not been racing since May 2004.
"I'm still in the same situation today", he told French website velomania.net. "I continue to train not knowing when I will be able to race again. I'm now waiting for a summons from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where I have appealed against the decision."
Peace race in danger again
Only four months before the start of the Peace race, organisers have not yet issued a stage plan for the Central European event. First held in 1948, the traditional stage race was supposed to start in Poland on May 7 and finish in Germany, on May 15, passing through the Czech Republic.
The race was already missing sponsors in 2004, when it lost the support of German Radio and TV broadcaster MDR. Furthermore, other events like the U23 Thüringen-Rundfahrt and the Rheinland-Pfalz-Rundfahrt will take place at the same time this year, making the search for sponsors more difficult. Spokesman Maik Märtin said on Friday, "It doesn't look good."
Heirewegh suspended for two and a half years
37 year-old Belgian Bart Heirewegh has been suspended for doping for two and a half years, despite the fact that he chose to retire at the end of 2004. Heirewegh, who rode his last races in Australia, tested positive for EPO during the 2004 Tour of Antwerp, which he won. The Flemish government suspended him from December 1, 2004 until May 31, 2007. It also suspended three other amateurs, including World Military Champion Hans Ardeel (December 1, 2004 - February 28, 2006), Karolien Heirbaut (December 1, 2004 - November 30, 2005) and Peter Verhofstadt (November 15, 2004 - February 14, 2006).
"I went a little bit too far," Heirewegh was quoted by Het Laatste Nieuws as saying. "And I was informed a little bit too late about the possibilities of the controls. What I did, I prefer to keep to myself. I did something to stay healthy and to keep my condition. It was not to ride faster. And I only did it at the end of my career, after a period when I had a lot of health problems. Actually it makes no difference for me any more. My decision to retire was already made."
A professional since 1993, winning several stages in the Herald Sun Tour and the Melbourne-Warrnambool, Heirewegh race in the Elite without Contract category in Belgium for the last three years of his career. His team this year was Deschacht-Eddy Merckx, the same team that Jeremy Yates (who was banned by the Belgian cycling federation for two years for having an unexplained high testosterone level) rode for.
Irish 'cross raises money for tsunami appeal
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
As the world continues to reel from the enormity of the tsunami catastrophe, we can be sure of one thing: that the generosity of people from around the globe will help to ease the loss and return the affected areas to normality someday.
Usher Irish Road Club has taken up the baton to make its contribution to the fund on Sunday, January 9, when it promotes a cyclo-cross race, which under the circumstances may see huge numbers turn out. According to Michael Lawless, the organiser of the event, "Since we had an event listed it was prudent that we should divert the entire proceedings on the day to the fund."
The cyclo-cross race will be held in one of the most important treasures of South County Dublin. It is in the 128 hectare, Corkagh Park immediately adjacent to the Naas Road and stretching almost a mile to the village of Clondalkin. It incorporates lands of the former Corkagh Demesne.
"It is indeed a natural setting for an off-road race. The competitors - and hopefully we will get the numbers because of the commitment we are making to raise funds - will tackle the rough with the smooth and the occasional manmade hazard which is par for cyclo-cross. The Park personnel have facilitated me in every way.
"I would like to reinforce their confidence in permitting us to stage the event and that we leave the environs as we found them."
It's more than likely that many of the roadmen will put their training on hold for the day and participate. No doubt the raging hot favourite will be Robin Seymour, who recently lost his title in the discipline (13 wins on the trot).
Proceedings get under way on Sunday at 11 o'clock for the underage participants and then at 12.30, the seniors will tackle the 2.5km circuit for an hour plus of racing. Also please note that the prize list for the day has been suspended and will go towards bumping up the contribution to a cause that the Irish nation has shown great awareness to dig deep, considering the time of year.
Powerade mini tour at TDU
On stage 6 of Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, young riders aged 8-14 can take to the course and see some of it from their own eyes, before watching their cycling heroes race. A 'hot dog' loop up and down the finishing straight on King William Road will be open for up to 300 children for half an hour (10:45-11:15am). The Powerade mini tour for kids for kids only, no parents allowed! Who knows - one of them could be the next Stuart O'Grady or Robbie McEwen, but he/she will still need a mechanically sound bicycle, a helmet in good condition and sunscreen.
Participants will need to sign in with their parent/guardian from 9.00-10.30am. Each participant must wear the official 2005 Powerade mini-tour for kids t-shirt, available at the Bicycle SA registration desk in the Powerade canopy. Line up commences at 10:30am and the half hour ride kicks off at 10:45am.
To register online, go to www.bikesa.asn.au or complete and send the registration form to Bicycle SA by 5pm on Friday, January 21. It costs only $15 to register online (normal registration is $20). Please note that once registration forms are sent in, T-shirt sizes cannot be exchanged.
The registration includes: Exclusive kids t-shirt, Powerade drinks, goodie bag, participation certificate, mechanical back-up and support as well as supervision by experienced adult ride leaders.
For more information on the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under visit www.tourdownunder.com.au
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)