First Edition Cycling News for January 29, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones and Les Clarke
Vervecken believes he can challenge
Erwin Vervecken will be one of several Belgians vying for the elite men's Cyclo-cross World Championship title on Sunday in St. Wendel. Winner in 2001, Vervecken has what it takes to be number one on the day, and he believes that the cold, snowy conditions will suit him. "The circuit suits me and I won my world title in the snow," said Vervecken to Gazet van Antwerpen. "If anyone other than Nys attacks, then he has to react himself. If he attacks, then I will definitely react."
Vervecken laughed at the idea of being teammates with his compatriots, as cyclo-cross is still very much an individual sport. "Since De Clercq floored me in Poprad, I know that it's every man for himself. And that goes for Nys as well."
Vervecken questioned Nys' mental strength, which has seemingly failed him at past World Championships. "Is he really that strong mentally? And Wellens was still better last year and he only just won the World's."
Franzoi has hopes
Italian cyclo-cross champion Enrico Franzoi (Lampre-Caffita) will be one of the outside favourites for this Sunday's Elite Men's cyclo-cross World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany. Altogether, it will be Franzoi's sixth World's, taking into account his participation in the Road World's in Zolder in 2002.
Franzoi already has an U23 World Championship to his name after winning in Monopoli in 2003. "I remember the joy and the emotions at this particular race," he recalled. "Only once I got onto the podium did I really start to realise what I had achieved, winning the World Champ's is an unbelievable satisfaction, which seems to repay all the sacrifices paid in the past."
Last year in France, Franzoi managed only 8th in the U23 race, but he has come on strongly during the last season and will enter his first Elite World's with high hopes. "After the victory in Rovato [Italian Championships] my morale is high and I am feeling good for the race," he said. "I have good condition at the moment and I am looking at a podium finish. I know this year's circuit well, where we raced last year in the World Cup. It is a very technical circuit with a lot of steep climbs and technical descents which are found more or less half way through the circuit. The Belgium and Dutch riders will be the riders to look out for - I will be looking at these riders in particular, which will hopefully take me to a podium finish."
The rest of the Italian elite team is made up of Simone Masciarelli, Marco Bianco, Stefano Toffoletti and Daniele Pontoni.
Denmark not at World's
The Danish National Cycling Federation (DCU) has chosen not to send any riders to the Cyclo-Cross World Championships this weekend. The qualification level is a place in the top 33% of a World Cup field, which indicates a chance to be in the top 33% in the World Championships. Two top 30 results in World Cups this season have not been considered good enough by the DCU, and no team was sent.
Danish riders are struggling against tough odds and long traveling distances to central Europe [what about the Zimbabweans? - ed] to uphold the heritage of former World Champion, Henrik Djernis. The Danish riders feel their sport is being neglected both by lack of funding from the federation and a proper organisation. The UCI has expressed its regret and bewilderment that Denmark, though present at several World Cups this season, is not present at the World Championships. Nations present: Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Canada, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, USA.
Courtesy of Frank Rud Jensen/cykel-sport.dk
Perez to be banned for two years
Ex-Phonak rider Santiago Perez, who finished second in the Vuelta a España, will likely receive a two year suspension from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), after his violation of rights appeal to the Spanish High Court was rejected. Perez tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion in an out of competition test taken at the UCI headquarters in Lausanne in October last year. It's expected that the RFEC will hand down its verdict in two weeks.
Perez' appeal to the ordinary courts merely served to delay the outcome of the case for six weeks. In rejecting his appeal, the High Court stated that, "The allegations formulated [by Perez] do not fit well with any special process of protection of the fundamental rights of the person."
Assuming that he is sanctioned by the RFEC, Perez will lose his contract with Relax-Fuenlabrada, which he signed on the proviso that he would not be suspended.
The case of Perez is running parallel to that of his former teammate Tyler Hamilton, who tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion during the Vuelta a España, as well as failing an "A" test for the same banned method at the Athens Olympics. Hamilton's case is to be heard by the US Anti-Doping Agency's arbitration body.
Tonkov eyes the Giro
Swiss-registered, but with a strong Italian/Russian flavour, Team LPR has set its sights on the 2005 Giro d'Italia. Managed by 29 year-old Omar Piscina, Team LPR has signed the 1996 Giro d'Italia winner Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola), who will lead the young squad into 2005. At the team presentation on Friday, Tonkov threw down the gauntlet to the Giro organisers. "I want to go to the Giro d'Italia at all costs," he said. "I saw the parcours on television and I'm sure that I could play a role as a protagonist. I don't feel my age, I only have a desire to relive the magical emotions of Montecampione, when Pantani deservedly beat me."
Team LPR also includes 38 year-old Russian Dmitri Konyshev, Barloworld signing Gabriele Missaglia, and Swiss neo-pro's Alberto Tiberio and Andrea Del Biaggio.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
T-Mobile ready for Qatar
The T-Mobile Team will kick off its 2005 racing season at the GP Doha in Qatar on Saturday. The second edition of the GP Doha is set to be a flat, fast and windy warm-up for the five day Tour of Qatar which starts on January 31 and runs until February 4. "Everybody has been training hard for weeks now and it is about time that the season finally got going," said T-Mobile sporting manager Frans van Looy. "At just 97 km the GP Doha is a bit like a criterium race and is perfect for getting the season started."
The magenta team arrived in Doha on Wednesday evening and trained in pleasant 20 degree sun on Thursday morning. Missing out on the Thursday training was Marcus Burghardt, who forgot to bring his passport with him to the airport. "It is not as bad as it sounds," said Van Looy. "It could happen to anyone. Marcus is catching the next flight on Friday evening and he will be with us on Friday."
In the absence of the injured Olaf Pollack, sprinters André Korff and Eric Baumann will go into Saturday's race as the spearheads. "We will be doing our best to fill in for Olaf," said Baumann, who fancies his chances on the flat terrain to capture his "first pro race win".
The team will be up against some stiff opposition, including the very much in-form Robbie McEwen, who has already won four UCI races this year. Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) and Max van Heeswijk (Discovery Channel), Mario Cipollini (Liquigas) are other riders to watch for.
There are a few changes to the format for this year's race, which will be held on Doha's 5.4 km long grand prix motorbike circuit. 17 teams in total, including eleven ProTour squads, will cover 18 laps of the fast circuit.
T-Mobile for GP Doha and Tour of Qatar: Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Bas Giling (Ned), Bernhard Kohl (Aut), Daniele Nardello (Ita), Bram Schmitz (Ned), Sergey Ivanov (Ru), André Korff (Ger) and Eric Baumann (Ger).
Marco Polo gets serious
After creating the first Chinese professional team, the Marco Polo Cycling Team held its first press conference before training camp in Zhuhai, Southern China. Around 15 journalists were present - newspapers, magazines, Zhuhai television and CCTV, Chinese national television.
Tian Junrong, Secretary General of the Chinese Cycling Association opened the meeting, followed by Todd McKean of Trek China, presenting the team's new bike. They were delighted with the professionalism of the event and the squad's beginnings. The team has received sponsorship from Nestle, Trek and Dutch company JP Print.
After the press conference, Marco Polo took to the roads around Zhuhai for the pre-season training camp. From all accounts, the camp was succcessful in forging bonds between the riders and staff.
The team's first goal for 2005 was the Tour of Siam in Thailand. This is the first UCI race in Asia in 2005 and therefore also the first race for the UCI Asia Continental Tour. Marco Poli's Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh finished third overall in the race.
Although they aren't established as a force in world cycling, the Chinese riders on the Marco Polo roster are totally enthused by the prospect of racing at such a high level. The team aims to be as competitive as possible whilst enjoying the experience of racing against the likes of Mario Cipollini in the Doha GP and Tour of Qatar. The team taken to the United Arab Emirates for these races is:
Michael Carter (USA) Ulzii-Orshikh Jamsran (Mgl) Chi Yin Leung (Hkg) Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Eddy Hollands (Aus) Yu Tong (Chn) Li Fuyu (Chn) Rhys Pollock (Aus)
Replacement riders: René van Oord (Ned), Chengguang Yu (Chn)
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Francis Cerny/Nikon Camera
Italian Oscar Pozzi has decided to retire from professional cycling, aged 33. Pozzi has ridden professionally for the past eight seasons, without recording a win. However, he has worked hard for his team leaders in Asics, Riso Scotti, Amica Chips, Fassa Bortolo and Tenax.
Courtesy of tuttobiciweb.net
Latest UCI decisions
The UCI Management Committee met on Friday in St. Wendel, Germany, the scene of this weekend's Cyclo-cross World Championships. The Committee accepted the modification to the regulations concerning the composition of the Professional Cycling Council, meaning that the presidents of the three associations represented by this organism (AIGCP, AIOCC, CPA) will not be automatically members of the PCC.
The Management Committee was also informed of the current status of negotiations ongoing between ASO, RCS and Unipublic concerning their membership of the UCI ProTour in 2005.
The Committee approved the Mountain Bike reform which will come into force in 2006 and will see a restructuring of the UCI MTB World Cup on the basis of four series of different formats (Olympic Cross-country, Marathon Cross-country, Downhill and 4X), with a maximum of 10 events per format. During the UCI MTB World Championships, the Women's U23 category will be introduced to the Olympic Cross-country.
The 2006 Junior Track and Road World Championships have been awarded to Gand-Spa Francorchamps (Belgium), while the 2007 Indoor Cycling World's will be held in Winterthur (Switzerland). The Management Committee also approved the Cyclo-cross calendars for the 2005-2006 season (with 11 World Cup events) and the UCI 2005 Trial World Cup: (Madrid (Spa) May 7-8, Graz (Aut) July 9-10, Lausanne (Swi) September 10-11).
Finally, the UCI has recalculated its Continental Tour rankings due to an error, and José Rujano Guillen (Ven) is the leader of the UCI America Tour instead of Nilceu Santos (Bra).
New structure for British Cycling
British Cycling will undergo some major changes to its structure in the next four years, as a result of its new UK Wide One Stop Plan for Cycling (UKWOSP), which is under consideration by UK Sport and the Home Country Sports Councils. The federation's Chief Executive Peter King will continue to be responsible for strategy and operations, but will have a more outward focus in order to promote cycling at the highest levels in political circles, in the media, and look for commercial sponsors
The organisation will now be structured around two fundamental elements of the UKWOSP, namely "Excellence" and "Participation". Responsibility and accountability for "Excellence" and "Participation" has been to Performance Director Dave Brailsford and Participation Director Ian Drake respectively.
Jonny Clay has been appointed as Competition and Events Manager, while Brian Furness, Paul West and Roger Wilbraham will report to Jonny. At the same time, Bob Barber is leaving British Cycling to pursue other interests after five years in the events and competition areas.
Dave Cockram (National Facilities Officer), Claire Rollinson (Membership Services Manager) and Phil Ingham (Communications Manager) will all now report to Ian Drake. John Mills will continue in the role of Coaching, Education and Development Director, reporting to Peter King, but working closely with both Ian Drake and Dave Brailsford.
Peter King will retain full responsibility for all areas of Corporate Governance: Alan Hawkins (Company Secretary), Julie Jones (HR Manager), Kath Wood (Financial Controller) and Jim Hendry (Special Adviser - part-time) will all report direct to Peter.
"The UK Wide One Stop Plan for Cycling is proving to be both a catalyst and a framework for the future of British Cycling," commented Peter King. "We are used to being judged by the performance of the GB Team and, by linking all strands contributing to the development of this team under the "Excellence" banner, I believe that we can achieve even more coherence and focus in our pursuit of success in world and Olympic level competition."
Ag2r U23 team
French Professional Continental team Ag2r-Prevoyance has named the riders making up its U23 development squad, which numbers 13 in total. The team consists mainly of French riders, with the exception of Armenian Tigran Korkotyan.
Alexandre Aulas (Al La Chapelle)
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