First Edition Cycling News for January 28, 2005
Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones
Nys gets a head start
The big favourite for this Sunday's Elite Men's Cyclo-cross World Championships, Sven Nys (Belgium), has been training on the parcours in St. Wendel since Wednesday after fleeing his home in Belgium. Although Nys had planned to arrive just before the race, he chose to leave Belgium to avoid the fuss about his wife Isabel who is a model. In the lead-up to the World's, Isabel posed on the cover of P-Magazine, naked with a rainbow jersey painted on.
"Right away she was getting more questions from journalists than I was," said Nys. "I couldn't take all the fuss and escaped."
Nys is now living in the Olympic training centre in Saarbrücken, 45 km from the World Championship venue. "My room is quiet, I don't even have a television to distract me from preparations," said Nys, who is determined to become world champion on Sunday. He has won six World Cup races this winter and has a commanding lead in the cyclo-cross world rankings.
"It's my kind of course," was his delighted reaction after seeing it for the first time on Wednesday. There has been a lot of snow in St. Wendel in recent days and the course is covered with snow; it's frozen hard and is very fast. "I like fast and technically demanding courses. If I don't have some kind of mechanical problem in an awkward moment on Sunday, then I believe that, this time, I can do it," is the Belgian's confident prediction. "I feel as strong as I did in the 1999/2000 season when I had 21 wins. Now I hope that at last I can take the world title."
Nys has won two U23 world titles, and despite winning everything else on offer in elite cyclo-cross, the professionals' rainbow jersey has eluded him. One of his U23 titles was taken in Munich in 1997 and he also dominated the World Cup event in St. Wendel last year. "Germany is a happy hunting ground for me," said the 28 year-old.
In St.Wendel, Nys will aim to finish solo as doesn't want to risk being beaten in a sprint. His main rivals are from his own country: Erwin Vervecken, a World Cup winner in Koksijde, Sven Vanthourenhout, who won the World Cup event in Aigle and, of course, defending champion Bart Wellens.
After winning the World Championships in Monopoli and Pontchâteau, 26 year-old Wellens is going for a hat-trick. "That's my avowed aim, naturally," said Wellens, who has been hampered by a virus and an insect bite on the leg this season. "Even if I haven't been able to place high up in the World Cup, I hope to find top form by the end of January. The hat-trick is motivation enough but it’s going to be a really tough race."
Apart from the Belgians, the riders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France and Italy also have hopes of winning the title. Italian Enrico Franzoi, Frenchmen John Gadret and national champion Francis Mourey, Czechs Zdenek Mlynár, Kamil Ausbuher and Zdenek Stybar and of course Dutch hope Richard Groenendaal. Germany's hopes will rest with Jens Schwedler (Stevens Cyclo-Cross), Steffen Weigold (Alpirsbach/Lamonta), Johannes Sickmueller (Hamburg/Harvestehuder RSV/Stevens Cyclo-Cross) and Fabian Brzezinski (Trebel/IGAS Wendland/Stevens Cyclo-Cross).
Weather: cold and snowy
The weather forecast for St. Wendel this weekend is for chilly temperatures with the possibility of more snow. Maximums for Saturday and Sunday are -5 and -3°C respectively.
Saturday, January 29
Race 1 - 11:00: Juniors (40 minutes)
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Race 3 - 11:00: Elite Women (40 minutes)
Official site: www.cyclocross-2005.de
La Francaise des Jeux presentation
The emphasis was on youth as the 2005 La Francaise des Jeux team was presented in Paris on Wednesday. Directeur Sportif Marc Madiot is keen to combine the experience of riders like Australian Brad McGee with the youthful fervour of riders such as 22 year-old Belgian Philippe Gilbert.
Madiot believes the team is a "great family," and with this sentiment the role of riders such as Baden Cooke and McGee is paramount to a successful 2005. With five neo-pros on the roster, including 24 year-old French Cyclocross Champion Francis Mourey and 20 year-old Junior World Champion (2002) Arnaud Gérard, the mixture of youth and experience isn't just a publicity claim.
Australian Mark Renshaw, a relatively new recruit for the French team, should also benefit from Madiot's focus on developing youth and allowing them "to express themselves." After major back surgery late in 2004, Renshaw (22) is another young rider looking to ride higher-profile races in 2005. A top-ten finish at the recent Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under was just the way he was looking to start the year, and although he stated in the lead-up to the event that he was aiming for stage victories, his ninth place overall displayed a consistency that will have impressed Madiot.
Brad McGee, aiming for a top-ten finish in this year's Tour de France after his eighth overall at last year's Giro, will be vital to Francaise des Jeux's 2005 campaign. Speaking in Sydney last month, he outlined the plans to focus on the Tour as the French team has the potential for big things within the ProTour format. He said that the plan is to "race hard until (the Tour of) Romandie, which takes us into May," and then it's into the mountains for training and reconnaissance of the Tour's climbs.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Régis Garniervelofotopro.fr.st
An interview with Ryan Cox
South Africa's next Tour rider?
When the 2005 Tour de Langkawi gets under way this Friday one of the big dangermen will certainly be 25 year-old Ryan Cox of the Barloworld-Valsir team. Last year he finished second, just 48 seconds off the yellow jersey of Colombia Selle Italia's Freddy Gonzalez; this time round he is determined to go one better and win the prestigious early season event, as Shane Stokes reports.
In order to make that ambition a reality, the South African road race champion has been training hard since last Autumn. "I did about 8,000 kilometres from the middle of November," he told Cyclingnews at the team training camp near Pescara in Italy. "Everything is going well here this week. With the cold we are taking it a little bit easier. But we are going to have a strong team going to the Tour de Langkawi. Early season racing for us is perfect because we are coming from our summer and there are a lot of us who have really good training, good form. So I think we are going to be contenders. And I want to win in Malaysia."
Cox is a good climber and decent time trialist and believes that as long as he doesn't miss any crucial moves on the flatter stages, that combination of skills will help him make a strong big for overall honours. "There are just two mountain stages but one of those isn't too difficult. I think we did it last year and it normally ends up with a group of twenty or thirty guys. So that is not something to really worry about. The problem is with so many flat stages, you have to watch out that you are not left out of the action and a big group gets away and gets ten or fifteen minutes, because then you are going to be the loser. But I think the time trial will be important - if I can do a good time trial, I can get time out of the smaller climbers. I don't think they are going to ride away from me on the climb, so it will be half-won there."
Looking further ahead, Cox has some big ambitions, goals which will be made possible by the expanded lineup of Team Barloworld-Valsir. For now they don't have a ProTour licence but he is hoping the good lineup will earn a couple of wildcard places for the longer Tours. "I am excited by the prospects for the team," he states. "I want to do the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta...I want to do a Grand Tour, that is where I see myself going. Not only doing it but winning a stage."
15 teams to Challenge Illes Balears 2005
The organisers of the Challenge Illes Balears-Volta Ciclista a Mallorca have announced the participation of 15 teams in the race running from February 6-10. Illes Balears (Spa), Euskaltel Euskadi (Spa), Team T-Mobile (Ger), Rabobank (Ned), Quick Step (Bel), Comunidad Valenciana (Spa), Relax Fuenlabrada (Spa), Saunier-Duval (Spa), Kaiku (Spa), Phonak (Swi), Orbea (Spa), Spiuk Safra (Spa), Grupo E-Bici.Com (Spa) and the Spanish track selection (Spa) will participate in the race, which consists of five Cat. 1.1 one-day races with an overall classification at the end.
The first race will start in Palma de Mallorca on the Balearic island. This year, the Mallorca Challenge will have a mountain finish on offer for the first time at the end of stage three, on the Mirador des Colomer (2nd category). All five stages may be entered separately, an overall classification possible for those riders completing all the stages. The organisers are still looking to attract more teams. However, the biggest names of this year's edition will be Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana), Eric Zabel (T-Mobile) and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
The stages of the Mallorca Challenge 2005:
February 6: Palma - Palma (82,5 km)
More information can be found at vueltamallorca.com.
French opening races taking shape
The traditional French season opening races GP de la Marseillaise (February 1) and the stage race Etoile de Bessèges (February 2-6) will count on the participation of 18 teams, half of which are French: Crédit Agricole, Bouygues Télécom, Bretagne-Jean Floc'h, La Française des Jeux, RAGT Semences, Ag2r Prévoyance, Cofidis, Auber 93 and Agritubel.
Making up the nine foreign squads are: Davitamon-Lottto, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Miche, MrBookmaker.com-SportsTech, Team CSC, Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, Flanders, Jartazi-Revor and Team LPR. The most prominent riders competing in the two events are: Jaan Kirsipuu, Brad McGee, Tom Steels, Peter Van Petegem, Christophe Moreau, Laurent Brochard, Sandy Casar, Thomas Lövkvist, Franck Vandenbroucke, Bobby Julich, Jens Voigt, Sylvain Chavanel, Cédric Vasseur, Pavel Tonkov and Dimitri Konyshev.
The GP de la Marseillaise will be held over 128 km from Six Fours-les-Plages to Gardanne. On the next day, the 35th edition of Etoile de Bessèges will start in Marseilles and finish in Bessèges four days later. The race course is as follows:
February 2: Marseille-Marseille (126 km)
Courtesy of velomania.net
Training pause for Pollack
Olaf Pollack, new member of the German T-Mobile team is currently undergoing medical treatment for a knee inflammation after having to stop training at the team camp in Mallorca. The talented sprinter told Cyclingnews last week that the pain in his knee caused him to return to Germany after one week of the training camp to see various specialists.
The former Gerolsteiner rider now knows the origin of his problem, explaining, "Part of the muscle got squeezed in the knee joint, causing an inflammation called the 'Plica syndrome', which leads to infected cartilage tissue."
Pollack immediately stopped all training and hopes the healing process will not take too long. In his first season at T-Mobile, Pollack will have a different racing programme to Erik Zabel. "I hope I can race again at the Tour of Algarve in Portugal, with the perspective to participate in the Giro d'Italia," he told Cyclingnews. About his long-term perspective with the squad, Pollack was careful when he replied, "Of course, you have a lot of dreams, but first of all I want to get established within the team, that's what counts now."
Colavita/Cooking Light women’s team re-signs Kimmet
With the return of Ashley Kimmet, a member of the U.S. National Track Team, the 2005 Colavita/Cooking Light Women’s Cycling Team is fully assembled, ready for training camp beginning in early February. Along with Kimmet, the current points race national champion who has been racing with the Colavita team since its inception in 2002, the squad includes Canadian legend Sue Palmer-Komar as well as Dotsie Cowden and Kim Anderson. Stage-race rider Michelle Beltran and decorated cyclists Rebecca Larson and Megan Esmonde round out the roster.
"We're very excited to have such an array of talent joining us on the 2005 Colavita/Cooking Light team," said team manager John Alsedek. "We've got a great combination of skill, experience, leadership, and dedication, backed up by superior sponsorship. I'm anticipating a very exciting race season."
Under Alsedek's leadership, 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 www.colavita.com.
Jensen referee for FBD Insurance RÁS
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The world controlling body for cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale, has appointed Denmark’s Ulf Jensen as President of the Race Jury for the FBD Insurance RÁS 8 Day International Cycle Race, which starts from Dublin on Sunday, May 22.
Jensen, a 43 year-old engineer, is one of the UCI’s up and coming race referees having officiated at the World Road Championships in Lisbon, the Track World Cup in Moscow, the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in his home country and many of the top events in Scandinavia and Europe. Following the big Irish event, he will be a member of the Race Jury at the World Road Championships in Madrid later this year.
Speaking from his home in Copenhagen, Jensen said, "I'm delighted with my appointment to the FBD Insurance RÁS, the unique mix of national teams professional teams, continental regional teams and Irish county teams certainly presents a major challenge to which I'm very much looking forward."
The Race Jury is the panel of commissaires, or referees, which has the responsibility for implementing the technical regulations of a cycle race and work in close harmony with the event organisers in ensuring a fair and successful competition. Joining the Dane on the FBD Insurance RÁS will be Irish International Commissaires Jack Watson, Michael Robb and Ian Gallaher, assisted by Phil O’Brien and Paul Watson.
At least 150 riders from upwards of 8 countries are expected to be in the line-up when the race moves off from the GPO on May 22. Following stage finishes in Emyvale, Tubbercurry, Lisdoonvarna, Templemore, Abbeyleix, Rathdrum and Wicklow Town the grand finale will once again be in the beautiful setting of the Phoenix Park on Sunday, May 29.
Team Barbasol announces sponsorship and 2005 roster
Barbasol has announced its sponsorship of the Barbasol Bicycle Racing Team. The USAC amateur cycling club based out of Clarksville, Indiana will be known as Team Barbasol/Rapid Transit Racing. The Rapid Transit Racing Team (RTRT) has a long and rich history. For the past 25 years, the team has played a significant role in the Midwestern Cycling scene, and is believed to be one of the oldest racing oriented cycling teams in Southern Indiana.
For the full 2005 roster, click here.
We have a winner of the Argon18!
Christmas came a little late to a reader in Virginia, USA, but it seems that it was worth the extra wait, as Mr Jose Aguto of Alexandria has been confirmed as our winner in the special Red Ace - Argon18 competition we held last month.
Thank you to the thousands of readers who entered this competition, where you had to correctly answer a question about the Red Ace preparation. Mr Aguto was thrilled to be called and keenly awaits throwing a leg over the very choice prize - a Dura-Ace-equipped Argon18 Krypton FC road bike from this rapidly emerging Canadian firm.
Mr Aguto, 39, is a keen commuter and occasional racer, although he said he's realised he's "not the second coming of Eddy".
"I'm a proud member of the (in)famous Team Lardbutt, Greg Taylor's squad/motley crew in northern Virginia," Jose told us. "I currently ride a Quattro Assi Team 2000. I use it primarily to commute to work year-long along the George Washington Parkway bike trail along the Potomac River into Washington DC, except when the snow hardens on the trail. I particularly enjoy inclement weather, when I and other commuters pass even more automobiles into work," he said. "I also ride with the Lardbutts on occasion during their regular Sunday morning rides, though I often wonder why, as getting dropped by 40, 50, and yes, sometimes 60 year olds does very little for the ego, though I suppose it could be worse since they generally do so with cheery smiles."
Well, it seems that Jose will now have one less excuse for being dropped by the rest of the bunch. Congratulations and thanks again to all those who entered. Cyclingnews is certain to be offering more great competitions in 2005, so there will be further chances to win great prizes provided by our wonderful sponsors, who help us bring the news to you every day.
And another winner!
While we're on the topic of prize winners, we'd also like to thank all of you who took the time to complete our 2004 Readers' Poll. We realise it took more than a handful of seconds to complete and appreciate the effort to recognise all those cyclists and events that made 2004 such a great year.
As a special incentive to all those who entered, we offered up to $200 in Cyclingnews.com merchandise as a prize, and the name who came out of the cyber-barrel was Mr Dahron Johnson, a former cyclo-cross racer who's had to put aside the racing to concentrate on his studies as a student at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee.
Johnson said he still maintains membership with the Cycles de ORO/The Printery team in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as belonging to the Vanderbilt collegiate squad. However, one is most likely to see him on a bike during his daily commute through downtown Nashville to and from school, jumping fences on closed bridges and giving the one-finger salute to more vehicles than one would expect from someone in such training.
Dahron plans to spend his huge kitty on items like the Team Cyclingnews jersey and knicks, Cyclingnews-branded socks by DeFeet and maybe even a poster. Thanks again to all who took the time to complete the survey.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)