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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for March 3, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

De Clercq considers appeal

Mario De Clercq (MrBookmaker)
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
Click for larger image

Three time Cyclo-cross World Champion Mario De Clercq is considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his four year suspension (two of which are effective) for his involvement in the José Landuyt affair. De Clercq suffered the same fate as the three other professionals involved in the affair: Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers and Jo Planckaert. He has, however, already retired from cyclo-cross.

De Clercq's lawyer Peter Callebaut called it "a heavy punishment because my client has not done anything," Callebaut told VRT television. "Conversations are apparently enough to punish someone. But you can't condemn anybody on that basis. Once again, De Clercq had the conversations with the veterinarian Landuyt because he is writing a book. There is zero proof of doping use or possession. If you and I talk about planting a bomb, then we aren't terrorists, right?"

Callebaut added that an appeal to CAS would have to be made within the next month. "But that costs a lot of money. After an appeal to CAS, we could also take the disciplinary commission (of the Belgian cycling federation) to court."

De Clercq's job at the cycling school in Ronse may not be endangered, however, as the school's director Frank Verkleyn believes that he should be allowed to stay. "The legal department of the Flemish Community Education confirmed to me that De Clercq can keep teaching. He can only lose his job after a judgment from a civil court. The fact that De Clercq has been involved in such an affair is his own personal business. But he is then also the appropriate person to warn young people of the dangers of such actions. We have had a discussion with him about that."

Berden receives 15 months

In contrast to De Clercq, cyclo-crosser Ben Berden has no argument with the 15 month suspension given to him by the disciplinary commission of the Belgian cycling federation today. Berden tested positive for EPO at a race in Essen last December, but admitted that he used the drug. His suspension will run from January 12, 2005 to April 12, 2006.

Berden received a lighter than normal (up to four years) sanction because the federation considered that he had a "clean record and a good character." "It's a punishment I deserve," said Berden to Sporza radio. "But twelve months would have been nicer, then I could have done a bit of 'cross in 2006."

"Actually I can be satisfied that it was only fifteen months," he told VRT. "Initially there was a suspension of four years asked, but the federation decided otherwise. It takes a load off me and will help me to train."

Berden vowed that he would be back: "Now I have to work to become the old Berden again. I really want to do everything I can."

His next aim is to get a job that allows him to train, and then find a team that will have him after his suspension is finished.

Giro invites Panaria and Colombia

Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport has announced two wildcard invitations for this year: Italian Professional Continental teams Ceramica Panaria and Colombia-Selle Italia will be able to participate in the next Giro, from May 7-29, alongside the 20 ProTeams.

The Giro will therefore count 22 teams, nine riders each, at the start in Reggio di Calabria on May 7, 2005. Emmanuele Sella, who finished 12th last year, as well as Julio Perez Cuapio, who won two Giro stages and the mountains jersey in 2002 are racing in the colours of Panaria. Colombia-Selle Italia includes several Italian and Colombian riders, as well as two Australians: Russell Van Hout and Trent Wilson.

Phonak lines up in Italy

The following riders will compete for Swiss team Phonak Hearing Systems in Milano-Torino on March 5, as well as in the Giro di Lucca on March 7: Niki Aebersold, Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Fabrizio Guidi, Ignacio Gutierrez, Daniel Schnider, Johann Tschopp, Sascha Urweider and Steve Zampieri.

For the following stage race, Tirreno Adriatico from March 9-15, Niki Aebersold, Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Fabrizio Guidi, Gregory Rast, Daniel Schnider and Steve Zampieri have been announced by the team management to start.

Memorial Samyn Fayt-le-Franc cancelled

Tuesday's 1.1 race in southern Belgium, the Memorial Samyn Fayt-le-Franc, has been cancelled due to bad weather conditions. Many of the roads are covered in snow, and it would have been too dangerous to race over them.

Koppenberg should remain in Ronde

Despite a report that the Koppenberg could be removed from the parcours of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, it appears as thought the notorious climb will remain in this year's edition. The city council of Oudenaarde will fill in the gaps between the cobblestones, which have started to separate.

Cyclist Power gets thumbs up in Irish Olympic review

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

Irish cyclist Ciarán Power's 13th place in the Olympic road race was today highlighted by the government-commissioned Athens Review as one of the bright points of the otherwise lacklustre multi-sport campaign at the 2004 Olympic Games. The sport has had little attention in the years following the retirements of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche, with Irish attention turning to soccer, rugby, athletics and the national sports of Gaelic football and hurling. The start of the Tour de France in Ireland in 1998 was initially embraced by the media and public alike, but the Festina affair evaporated that interest and further marginalised the sport.

Power's performance was, however, applauded today as the country looked back on an Olympic campaign which brought many more disappointments than successes. Ireland won one medal, the equestrian gold of Cian O'Connor, but even that is now in doubt following the positive drug test of his mount, Waterford Crystal. judgment is pending in that case. By and large, the Athens Review was critical of the Irish multi-sport campaign, concluding that athletes under-performed at the Games. However it referred to Power's ride as one of the 'notable individual performances' in Athens.

"There was an original Olympic performance squad of 28 cyclists which was later revised to 17, each of whom had individual performance targets," the authors said in the report. "Five cyclists had previously represented Ireland in Sydney, but no cycling medals had ever been won. There were no predictions that medals would be won in Athens, either.

"In the event, four Irish cyclists qualified for the Olympic Games, two in the men's road race and a male and a female mountain biker. Only one of the road racers finished, in a highly credible 13th place against a world ranking of 496," stated the report.

Power had what was probably the best showing of his career in Athens, placing 13th. He rode above pre-race predictions, showing the benefits of a carefully planned preparation period which included high-speed motor-pacing sessions.

His ride was all the more meritorious as he expended precious energy when he went clear in a dangerous, but ultimately unsuccessful, six-man breakaway group in the final 70 kilometres of the hilly 224 kilometre event. Power's group was caught with three laps remaining, the Waterford rider finishing tenth in the bunch sprint for fourth place. The gold medal was won by the Italian one-day specialist Paolo Bettini.

It is hoped that Power's showing may have a positive impact on future resources directed into the sport. Mainstream Irish journalists mocked proposals several years ago to build a proper velodrome in the country; two bumpy outdoor tracks in Dublin and Belfast are the only faculties open to Irish riders at present. However today's report plus the track successes achieved by countries such as Great Britain in recent years show that such a short-sighted view of a sport is misguided, to say the least.

Jeanson solo for 2005

Genevieve Jeanson
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

Canadian Geneviève Jeanson has decided to compete as an independent this season. After her team Rona dissolved because the sponsorship contract ran out at the end of last year, the 23 year-old will participate in major races by joining established teams on an ad hoc basis when she is invited, or by joining the "composite" teams specially established for independent racers by race organisers.

"I'm fortunate to have a personal sponsorship from Rona for the season, and I have kept my major equipment sponsors - Colnago bicycles, Biemme clothing, Sidi shoes and the American cycling supply distributor Trialtir," she explained. "I want to take advantage of this opportunity to race for the pure fun of it and to choose my racing program as the season unfolds."

Jeanson, who was declared unfit to race at the 2003 World Championships because of a too high hematocrit, and later received a slap on the wrist for missing a drug test at last year's Flèche Wallonne, finished third in the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona from February 18-20 as an independent racer. "There are meets that I just can't miss," she added. "The Montreal World Cup, the Tour du Grand Montréal, and the Canadian Championships are absolute musts, and I'll definitely be at the start for the Redlands Classic on March 31. Other than that I plan to keep my options open, including competing in races in Europe. I'll see."

Good Friday with Prix de BPA International Stayers

The Heavy Motors
Photo ©: London Cycle Sport
Click for larger image

The Good Friday track meeting to be held on March 25 at Herne Hill stadium, London, UK is taking shape. One of the highlights of the programme will be the return of motor pacing, the Prix de BPA International Stayers Race, using the Triumph Thunderbirds that are based at the track. The legendary master motor pacer Bruno Walrave will travel to London to head up a field of internationally acclaimed pacers, partnering with British National Stayers Champion Simon Cope (Pacific RT). Other riders include Ronald Schur from Holland and Jan Richter, the German stayers champion.

The motor paced Stayers race pits rider against rider, who use the slipstream of a pacing Triumph Thunderbird to attempt to gain an advantage. Riders will have to work hard to stay on the pace, the track rumbling as they race by at fast speeds. The Pacers are almost as famous as the riders, many of whom play to the crowd and sport dashing mustaches to set them apart.

The following Pacers - Riders have been announced to participate:

Bruno Walrave (Netherlands) - Simon Cope (Great Britain)
Current British National Stayers Champion

Wilfried Kluge (Germany) - Bryan Taylor (Great Britain)
British National Stayers Champion 1991, 1992
British National Derny Champion 2003

Ronald Rol (Netherlands) - Ronald Schur (Netherlands)
1st International Stayers GP Alkmaar Feb 2005
1st Stayersrace Amsterdam Nov 2004
1st International Stayersmeet Amsterdam
Dec 2004

Sam Mooij (Netherlands) - Patrick Kops (Netherlands)
Netherlands National Stayers Champion
1999, 2001, 2002, 2003
Netherlands National Derny Champion 2004

Ronald Adelmayer (Germany) - Jan Richter (Germany)
German National Stayers Champion 2002
2nd German Nat. Stayers Championship 2003
1st Steher Cup Erfurt (Germany) 2004
2nd Steher Deutschland Cup Bielefeld

Manfred Adelmayer (Germany) - Thomas Schmidt (Germany)
1st Stayersrace Leipzig (Germany)
1st Stehermannschaftsrennen Erfurt (Germany)
3rd Stayersrace Leipzig 2002
3rd Stayersrace Bielefeld 2002

Raymond Persijn (Belgium) - Edwin Smeulders (Belgium)
1st Stayers GP Saint-Etienne (France) 2002
1st Stayers GP Hulshout (Belgium) 2003
1st Open Derny race Boom (Belgium) 2001/3

More information can be obtained on the Good Friday website: www.goodfridaymeeting.org.uk

Forest City Velodrome progressing

The structure pre-construction (trusses and portable sections) of the London, Ontario Forest City Velodrome is progressing, according to the Forest City Velodrome Association. Over 50 percent of the track is complete, and new sponsors have also been announced: Long time track racing supporter, Rene Kosko from Cyclosprint, Chambly, Quebec has agreed to become a sponsor at the new track in London, Ontario.

Rene Kosko, who in the late 1960's was a regular combatant at the Delhi, Ontario indoor Velodrome, specialized in Six Day races during that period, and he competed at the Montreal Olympic Velodrome in the 1970's. "The Velodrome in London is going to run three Six Day races in the winter season beginning in September, and I look forward to attending at least two of them," Kosko said.

Jason Filer, owner of Winterborne Custom Bicycles, a new custom frame builder in Guelph, Ontario, is putting together a program to purchase tickets on a custom made bicycle. The value of the complete custom track bike will be over $2,500, with tickets available as soon as racing begins on the Velodrome in late March. The draw will be at the first race of the Winter season in September for $10.00 each or three for $20.00. Only 2500 tickets will be sold.

A Former OCA member and track cyclist Greg Stephanson has donated a Cinelli carbon track rear wheel to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Bids will be taken by email only to info@ForestCityVelodrome.ca. The auction will run until the first Nas-track Madison Saturday night race in April, bids starting at $200.00. The amount of the highest bid will be published every week on www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca

Mountain Bikers race across Iowa

A new ultra endurance race is scheduled to take place on the rural roads of Northern Iowa, USA in spring 2005. Dubbed "Trans-Iowa presented by Cateye Electronics and Tifosi Optics", by the event's organisers, the race is set to pit a field of 55 competitors against the challenge of crossing the state on gravel roads. The event is scheduled to start in Hawarden on April 24, and finish in Decorah on the following day.

Pass-through towns to gather food and supplies include Orange City, Primghar, Emmetsburg, Algona, Forest City, Osage, and Cresco. The course, over 300 miles long, will require the riders to finish within a 30 hour time limit. Only one stop, in Algona, will be scheduled by race organizers. Riders will be self supported, and follow route instructions given to them on "cue sheets" just prior to the start. Award ceremonies will be held immediately following the race. These will be held in conjunction with the ceremonies for the Decorah Time Trials, an off road time trial event.

For the latest information regarding Trans-Iowa presented by Cateye Electronics and Tifosi Optics, please visit www.transiowa.blogspot.com

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