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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 15, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Bäckstedt not happy with Roubaix route changes

Magnus Backstedt
Photo ©: Olympia

Defending Paris-Roubaix champion Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi) has reacted to the route changes made by race organiser ASO, saying "Arenberg is what Paris-Roubaix is all about! It is the location of the first major selection in the race. If it is being removed so that it can be restored then I can accept that, but if it's being removed because organisers don't think its safe for riders and they might fall, then that is unacceptable."

The Wallers/Arenberg cobblestone section will be removed from the course in 2005 because its first 200 metres have deteriorated and made the "entrance" onto the 2400 km-long pavés too dangerous for the riders. In its press release, race organisers do consider restoring the section to possibly include it as of 2006. Meanwhile, the exclusion of the Arenberg cobbles does not make any sense to Bäckstedt.

"You don't go into Paris Roubaix not thinking about the dangers", he said. "It is a dangerous race and that is what makes it the monumental classic which it is. You come out of the Arenberg section with the contenders generally in the group, you then lose two or three guys a section until you get down to the real potential winners.

"I would say that taking out the tough section of the race is like putting a gear restriction on bunch sprints to limit the speed we sprint at. There are many races including unnecessary dangers, like having the finish line 200 m after a corner that has just had a 2 km straight! As professional riders, we are all concerned about safety, but in the right place and context."

Backstedt now heads to Italy for the presentation of his 2005 Liquigas-Bianchi team, before taking a flight to Doha, Qatar at the end on the month, where he will participate in the Tour of Qatar alongside his teammates Mario Cipollini, Dario Andriotto, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi, Marcus Ljungqvist, Gianluca Sironi and Marco Zanotti. Liquigas riders Dario Cioni, Danilo Di Luca, Devis Miorin and Charles Wegelius will fly to Toluca, Mexico, to train at altitude until the end of February.

Dierckxsens retires

After spending a good part of the European winter waiting for a contract agreement to be made, Belgian rider Ludo Dierckxsens has finally decided to finish his career as a professional cyclist. The 40 year-old had wanted to continue racing, but his contract with former employer Landbouwkrediet-Colnago was not renewed. Other negotiations with teams like were not successful.

A late starter, Dierckxsens entered the pro peloton in 1994. His main victories include Pais-Bourges in 1998, a stage win at the Tour de France 1999 and the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise in 2003. In 1998, he also won the Belgian road championships.

Superprestige to lose main sponsor?

High pressure cleaning systems builder Kärcher, main sponsor of the Superprestige European cyclo-cross race circuit, has announced that it is reconsidering its financial backing of the sport following the confessions of cross rider Ben Berden, who tested positive for EPO in December and now admitted his use of the forbidden substance.

In a press release, the company's management declared it did not want to be associated with doping and its inherent sporting treachery. "After the doping affair of Mario De Clercq, cyclo-cross still had the benefit of doubt," it said in the communiqué. "But the recent developments have increased our indignation." Ex-world champion Mario De Clercq is involved in the Landuyt case in Belgium and is still under investigation.

Team Group Health Women's Club of the Year

Team Group Health/Sound Velo, based out of Seattle, Washington, has been named USA Cycling's 2004 Women's Club of the Year. The Team won the award with a combination of top results, community involvement and contribution to the sport.

Team Group Health accumulated over 212 top ten finishes with over 30 victories in 2004 alone, including the NORBA 24 Hour Elite Women's National Championship. In addition to the team's results, it has made significant contributions to the Northwest cycling scene over the years by attracting more women to the sport and developing new racers through programs, race clinics and events such as the Marymoor Velodrome, Northwest Women's Cycling and the Northwest Women's Race Series.

"We're really excited about this award," says Danielle Crandall, Team Group Health President. "We're continuing to develop bicycle racing for women in our region and promote cycling and healthy lifestyles. Being recognized for our contributions is just such an honour!"

More information on the team can be found at

France and Britain head to head at Revolution 7

The French and British sprinters will go head to head in a Team Sprint at Revolution 7 in Manchester on January 29. The British trio of Chris Hoy, Jason Queally and Craig MacLean was rampant at the Manchester World Cup, taking the gold medal in the team sprint. Craig MacLean was back to winning form, riding sub-18 second first laps for the heats and final despite having cracked his rib in the heats of the Japanese Keirin.

MacLean is recovering well from the injury and is looking forward to facing the French at Revolution 7. "The French have been our main rivals for the last few years and are the current world champions so it is going to be an important race," he said. "It should be a better judge of how we're going as the French will be one of our main rivals for the world title this year."

Confidence is clearly riding high in the British camp but the French won't be defeated easily. Arnaud Tournant will be one of the star attractions at Revolution 7 and will be joined by two excellent French sprinters, Francois Pervis and Gregory Baugé. After a strong performance at the Moscow World Cup, Baugé finished third in the Japanese Keirin and fourth in the sprint in Manchester. Arnaud Tournant too will be a formidable opponent and is eager to return to Revolution following his appearance at Revolution 3.

The sprint line up doesn't stop there though, with sprinters from Germany, Belgium and Ireland all competing including the 2000 Sprint World Champion, Jan van Eijden. Other top British sprinters such as Ross Edgar, Barney Storey and Matt Crampton will also bolster the domestic field.

The sprint programme will consist of Keirin and Sprint competitions, an invitation Keirin and the head to head Britain and France Team Sprint. There will also be plenty of endurance racing with the highlight being the 1 km Madison Time Trial.

More information:

Sutter Home wines sponsor Colavita/Cooking Light women

Trinchero Family Estates, producers of Sutter Home wines, has joined Colavita USA, distributors of Italian extra virgin olive oil, and Cooking Light magazine, the world's largest food and fitness title, as a sponsor of the 2005 Colavita/Cooking Light Women's Cycling Team. Already a large supporter of the Colavita/Sutter Home Men's Professional Cycling Team, this marks Sutter Home's first venture into women's professional cycling.

Sutter Home and Colavita will co-market their products through a variety of cross-promotions throughout the year. Sutter Home will also host training camp for the pro men and support staff in Napa Valley, this February 24 through March 3.

The Colavita/Cooking Light Women's World-Class Cycling Team is pedaling full speed ahead, shaping up as a top team in the North American peloton. Team members include Canadian Sue Palmer-Komar and Olympic hopeful Dotsie Cowden; decorated cyclists Michelle Beltran, Rebecca Larson, Ashley Kimmet and Megan Esmonde round out the roster. Under the leadership of team manager John Alsedek, the cyclists will kick into high gear during training camp this February in Gainesville, FL, in preparation for their first race of the season, the Redlands Classic beginning March 31, 2005 in Redlands, CA.

For more information on the Colavita/Cooking Light Women's Cycling Team, please visit

Mooloolaba Charity Challenge for Tsunami victims

World beater triathlete, Brad "The Croc" Bevan will join forces with local Sunshine Coast cyclists on Saturday, January 15 to raise money for those affected by the Tsunami devastation.

The Mooloolaba Charity Challenge aims to raise $20,000 for Red Cross Australia's Tsunami Appeal. The Sunshine Coast event is expected to be the largest charity bunch ride held in Queensland. The 35km ride beginning at Mooloolaba will have a police escort to ensure safety. All cyclists are encouraged to participate, whether serious or social, and regardless of bicycle type or experience.

Local businesses have been quick to support the cause with many of Mooloolaba's Cafés donating $1 for every coffee served on the day. Hot Pippi's Café will also be donating $2 for every bottle of Infinity Water sold. Support from businesses is encouraged to reach the targeted donation amount.

Registration is at 6.30am on Saturday 15th January at Hot Pippi's Café, Mooloolaba. The entry fee for each rider is $10.00. Bring along your friends, family and colleagues to participate in this fun event while supporting an extremely worthwhile cause.

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