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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 26, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

Team Liquigas-Bianchi presentation

A mean green ProTour machine ready to rock

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Milano

Liquigas' three captains
Photo ©: Liquigas
Click for larger image

In a fun, show-bizzy team presentation with top riders riding their bikes on stage through the smoke, the big reveal for the mean green ProTour machine of Team Liquigas-Bianchi happened Milano's East End Studios Tuesday evening, with the return of Mario Cipollini as the highlight. A fit looking Cipo shared the stage with the other key men at Liquigas, Giro hopeful Stefano Garzelli and Danilo Di Luca, who is looking for a big comeback year in 2005. The show was hosted by Italian TV sports personality and former track star Giacomo Crosa, who asked Liquigas boss Paolo del Lago up front why the Italian energy giant has returned to cycling.

"We have been sponsor of the Italian national team jersey for a few years and have a national mountain bike series (Liquigas Cup) but when we heard about the ProTour, we thought that it was a good idea. This is something new in cycling, a situation where all the ProTour teams have the same objective. It's an ideal situation for us."

Click here for the full report

First leaders of UCI Continental rankings

Robert McLachlan (MG Xpower-Bigpond)
Photo ©: CN
Click for larger image

The 2005 cycling season has already begun in America, Asia and Oceania, and the International Cycling Union has published the first leaders of the individual rankings on these Continental Circuits. The jerseys of these rankings, which mark the beginning of a new era for cycling, will be worn from the February 1-28 2005 by the following riders:

UCI America Tour: Nilceu Dos Santos (Bra)
UCI Asia Tour: Shimichi Fukushima (Jpn)
UCI Oceania Tour: Robert McLachlan (Aus)

Although riders like Luis Sanchez, Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) and Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) performed well in races that are part of the Oceania Tour, they ride for ProTour teams and therefore can only score points in ProTour races.

The Continental rankings are calculated by the UCI on the 25th of each month. The respective leaders will wear the jersey in races particular to that Continental Tour from the beginning of the next month. Somewhat paradoxically, if McLachlan is still leading after the Trust House Cycle Classic (Tour of Wellington), he will not be able to wear the jersey until September at the earliest (World Championships), as there are no more races on the Oceania Tour in between.

More information on the Continental Circuits can be found at www.uci.ch.

Millar heard by CAS

David Millar's appeal hearing with the Court of Arbitration of Sport took place on Monday, January 24. The rider had appealed against his two-year ban issued by British Cycling in September last year. On his website, Millar stated, "It was a long procedure looking into the legal position of my case. At the end I was informed that a decision would be reached within two to four weeks but I don't have any idea what the outcome will be. I can't make any comment until I have received the verdict myself."

The appeal to reduce his two-year sentence indicates Millar will return to racing, possibly aiming at a comeback at the Tour de France 2006. His ban is currently in force until August 5, 2006, but if it is shortened even by a few months or the start date changed to the date of his confession, he will be able to ride the 2006 Tour.

Simoni enjoys Down Under - looks forward to Giro

Simoni flags his support in Adelaide
Photo ©: CN
Click for larger image

After a 28 hour flight from Adelaide to Verona, Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) has returned from his first race of the season, the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, with a positive balance. "I had a great experience, I enjoyed the racing in Australia, the race is very well organised, the public are great, the organisers know what they doing and do an excellent job," said Simoni, who finished 78th.

"I am sorry I could not have been in better form for the race, it was obvious that I could not have prepared better for the race, the weather in my town did not permit me to do the preparation needed. However I was happy with the outcome of the race and the procedure of my form."

Simoni showed his support had an Australian flavour with a special saddle covered in the Australian flag. It was one of the "Saddles of Nations" that were made by Italian company fi'zi:k for its sponsored cyclists who raced at the 2004 Olympics. The 'Aussie Arione' is the first of only 50 to be made.

Lampre's sports director Guido Bontempi declared himself to be "satisfied with the results and the general outcome of the race, and also with the way in which the riders rode, Marzoli and Righi have integrated well with the new riders of the team. It was a good pre-test for the team before starting their racing in Europe."

Simoni missed the presentation of the Giro d'Italia, and he is waiting to see a race profile before giving any detailed comments. But he was more than pleased about the inclusion of the Pordoi climb, where he laid the foundations for his 2003 Giro victory. "I am very happy to once again find Pordoi in this year's edition, hopefully this will help me bring my third victory in the race," he said.

The Australian contingent of Lampre-Caffita will be joining the rest of the team at the training camp in Terracina starting from Wednesday, February 2.

Phonak to GP Doha and Qatar

Phonak Hearing Systems have announced their team roster for the GP Doha and the Tour of Qatar. Directeurs sportifs John Lelangue and Jacques Michaud will take the following riders to the middle eastern state: Aurélien Clerc, Robert Hunter, Nicolas Jalabert, Uros Murn, Viktor Rapinski, Gregory Rast, Sascha Urweider and Steve Zampieri.

Hofbräu-Six doing well

The last night of the 22nd Hofbräu-Six Day in Stuttgart, Germany, started out with bad news: Scott McGrory suffered a broken rib and had to withdraw from racing. Nevertheless, the organisers of the event have announced an overall positive outcome of the Six Day. With more than 48,000 spectators, the Stuttgart velodrome has had a exceptional number of visitors during the last few evenings. Next year, the race will be held from January 19-25, and the organisers hope to top this year's result to keep the tradition alive. Main sponsor Hofbräu, a beer brewery, will continue to support the Six Day until 2008 at least, so the future for track lovers in Southern Germany looks good.

Gerolsteiner neo-pro Haussler realistic

Australian-German rider Heinrich Haussler has turned professional with team Gerolsteiner, signing a two-year contract with the German ProTour team at the end of last year. Born in Inverell, Australia, the son of a German father and an Australian mother left his home aged only 14 to stay with his grandmother in Cottbus, with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve: become a professional cyclist. The now 20 year-old quickly brought about results, winning the German Championships in 2000 as a Novice and becoming German Junior time-trial champion in 2002.

At Gerolsteiner, Haussler will be able to develop his talent without feeling pressure - at least, not in his first year as a pro. "I'm only 20 years old, and have a lot of time ahead of me," he told Cyclingnews at least week's team presentation in Gerolstein. "With Christian Henn and Udo Bölts [Gerolsteiner's DS - ed.], we've arranged for me to participate at smaller stage races, but take it easy. After one year, we'll see where I stand. The team wants me to build up my capabilities steadily. I will get my chance within the team, but first I have to work for it."

Sangiovanni re-elected

Ettore Sangiovanni has been re-elected president of the Colombian cycling federation. Sangiovanni has been the head of the cycling federation since January 2001 and will continue in this position until 2009, as the vote by the representatives of the country's 20 leagues was unanimous. Also elected were the six members of the executive board, Jorge Ovidio González, Antonio Ambrosio, Carlos Ariza, Héctor Gutiérrez, Baltazar Medina and Carlos A. Lenis.

Cyclocross Juniors fundraiser successful

Nearly 300 people recently gathered at Trilogy Wine Bar and Lounge in Boulder, Colorado and helped raise more that $4000 to help two Junior cyclocross stars fund a trip to the 2005 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, January 29-30 in St. Wendel, Germany.

Some of the sport's biggest names, including Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Travis Brown, Colby Pearce, Marc Gullickson, Gretchen Reeves, Adam Hodges-Myerson and Kerry Barnholt were on hand to help support these up and coming stars. "It's great that so many people came out tonight to give these guys the opportunity to race against the world's best riders, " noted U.S. National Team coach Marc Gullickson. "Now they can focus on racing and not on how to pay for the trip."

Each guest paid $10 and were treated to a preview of the upcoming release "TRANSITIONS: An American Cyclocross Season" and the Colorado premiere of the cyclocross documentary "Pure Sweet Hell" created by Willie Bullion and Brian Vernor. There was also a silent auction with items donated by Crank Brothers, Clif Bar, Pedro's, Travis Brown, Dede Barry, Cycle-Smart, Colby Pearce, Jonathan Vaughters, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Marc Gullickson, Christian Vande Velde, Velo Press, Oakley, Boulder Racing and SupaFan.com.

Colorado Junior cyclocross stars Brady Kappius (Team TIAA-CREF/CLIF BAR) and Adam McGrath (Team Redline) will receive a portion of the events earnings to cover expenses for the costly trip to the 2005 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, January 29-30 in St. Wendel, Germany. The cost of being a member of the U.S. World Championship Cyclocross Team will exceed $3000 per person. Remaining funds will go into an account for future U.S. junior cyclocross team members.

Australia Day honours to Olympic cyclists

On January 26, Australia celebrates its national day and as part of those celebrations, it bestows medals to Australians for their contributions to the country over the past 12 months. The honours are ranked in Companion, Officer, Member and General categories and in 2005, the cyclists who secured Australia's six gold medals at the Athens 2004 Olympics were among the recipients of the OAM honour, being a medal in the General Division.

The cyclists include Sara Carrigan (gold medal - women's road race), as well as Anna Meares (women's 500m TT), Ryan Bayley (men's sprint and keirin), Graeme Brown (men's teams pursuit and Madison), Stuart O'Grady (Madison), and all six cyclists who contributed to the gold medal in the teams pursuit, with the aforementioned Brown plus Bradley McGee, Luke Roberts, Brett Lancester, Peter Dawson and Stephen Wooldridge.

In fact, the OAM medal was awarded to almost all Australian athletes who secured gold medals in the both the Athens Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the apparent exception of those who'd previously received Australia Day Honours.

SA team sponsor wanted

Five talented South African riders, Jamie Ball, Owen Hannie, Jeffrey Howes, Adrian Maaske and Rory Spong will combine in a determined effort to become South Africa’s top cycling team in 2005. This lineup will be competing for the title of "Best South African team" alongside the likes of Microsoft, Exel and Tuks and in the absence of Barloworld and Minolta, who will be leaving South African shores to compete on the European front.

The team have managed to secure the following co-sponsors to the team for Bikes, shoes and accessories: Specialized, PERC, Selev, Crank Brothers, Fizik and McCarthy Pre-Owned Randburg, but is still in search of a title sponsor. The Leverage Corporation has been appointed to help procure sponsorship funds for the team. At this stage, in the absence of a title sponsor, the lineup has been named "Team Sponsor Needed".

Ball and Hannie are former SA U23 champions. Hannie, prominent in development cycling, is the only black rider to represent South Africa in the sport, and will be out to prove his worth. Howes is a real fighter, as he proved as member of the HSBC lineup. Spong, back from a successful two-year learning stint with Trade 3 Team Hormann in Switzerland, will be eager to show off his skills on home soil. Maaske is a former member of the Minolta outfit, while Ball is already a sprinter of note.

Contact Details: Kandice Buys or Rob Jackson at The Leverage Corporation on (011) 705 1978.

Safeway/GA Communications team for 2005

Safeway Corporation, based in Pleasanton, California, one of the largest Grocers in the US, and Atlanta based GA Communications, Safeway’s advertising partner since 1995, have announced a new Elite Masters Cycling Team for the 2005 season.

Safeway/GA Communications Cycling, based in the SF Bay Area, is one of two sponsored teams affiliated with the VSRT, a long standing club in the East Bay. Leading the team are 2004 NCNCA Best All-around Rider, Robert Pasco, 2004 NCNCA Masters Criterium Champion, Jeff Poulsen, and Dan Martin, a former Canadian and US National Rowing Champion. Martin spent most of the 2004 season concentrating on rowing, attempting to gain a spot on the Olympic team, and only began to focus on cycling in September, scoring two wins at the end of the season.

They are joined by Ron Reade, who won the Sea Otter Road Race last season, and a diverse group of accomplished riders with many wins to their credit including Copperopolis and San Ardo Road Races, and the Fremont and ICCC Criteriums.

The team will concentrate their efforts in Northern California/Nevada, but plan to attend a few out-of-state races including The Mt Hood Cycling Classic (OR), La Vuelta de Bisbee (AZ) and The US Masters Nationals (UT).

The team will ride 2005 Giant TCR Composite bicycles, wear Giro Atmos helmets and use PowerBar sports nutritional products. Willow Glen Bicycle Shop of San Jose will provide mechanical support.

For the full team roster, please click here.

Another Victorian cyclist killed while training

Following on from the tragic death last week of Australian elite cyclist Saul Pasque comes news of another cyclist being run down and killed while out training.

Victorian Police have confirmed that a man in his early 30s was killed in surbuban Melbourne on Saturday, January 22, while riding with his regular training partner of four years. It's alleged that a late model Australian sedan struck the cyclist at 7am and then the driver sped off, leading to an extensive police search. However, the driver, a 28 year-old from a Mebourne suburb, then presented himself to the Mill Park police station the same afternoon after visiting his legal representative.

It's understood after the driver sped away from the collision with the cyclist, his vehicle then struck another car, before he abandoned the vehicle and left on foot.

Senior Sergeant Jeff Smith, of the major collision investigation unit, told The Sunday Age newspaper, "It was broad daylight, clear road; there's no issues in relation to visibility." It's believed he will be charged with culpable driving and other offences.

Meanwhile, the funeral service for Saul Pasque was held in Melbourne yesterday, attended by many people from the cycling community. Pasque was admired by many in the sport and his trade, but was killed on January 18 when struck from behind by a utility vehicle (pickup truck). Pasque had raced at the elite level in Australian and Europe, with a victory in the Tour of Tasmania one of his career highlights.

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