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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 6, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Mario De Clercq resigns

Mario De Clercq handed in his resignation as a teacher for the cycling school in Ronse yesterday. After De Clercq was suspended for four years (two of which are effective) by the Belgian Cycling Union, pressure was put on the director of the Royal Athenaeum to fire the former cyclo-cross world champion. "Because the journalists wouldn't back off and leave director Frank Vercleyen in peace, I have decided to resign from the job as part-time teacher," said De Clercq.

Earlier, Mr Vercleyen had said that he would only fire De Clercq if he was also found guilty in civil court.

Hoffman back home

Tristan Hoffman (CSC) has been permitted to return home from the UZ hospital in Gent, where he has been since his crash in last Saturday's Omloop Het Volk. Hoffman broke his left shin in two places and also suffered concussion. From his home in Nieuwmoer, Belgium, Hoffman told ANP, "My leg muscles are just half the size of what they were. With electro-stimulation, I can carefully try to strengthen the muscles."

Hoffman won't say yet whether he'll race professionally again, as "the only thing that matters for the time being is the recovery of my leg."

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and Vlaamse Pijl cancelled

The organisers of the Record Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen decided on Saturday to cancel the race completely. Continued snowfall on Friday night and Saturday morning made it an impossibility to race under safe conditions. A plan to race laps of a circuit was also scrapped.

"On Saturday morning we got another fall of snow to work with," said organiser Eric Mortelé at a press conference on Saturday. "Together with the UCI, we decided to cancel everything. We took the decision painfully, but could not put the safety of the riders and caravan in danger. Naturally this is a financial loss. But there is a positive note: we will come out of this stronger and will hold a great race in 2006."

Following the trend of races in Belgium this week, the 1.2 classed Vlaamse Pijl was cancelled, along with the junior support race. The organisers took the vote on Friday evening for the safety of the riders.

GP Castenaso cancelled

Due to the bad weather and snow, the 9th GP di Castenaso, an international road race for women in Italy, will not take place tomorrow, March 6. The race, which was to mark the start of the European women's road season, will likely be postponed until March 20, one day after the Primavera Rosa World Cup race. The European women's road racing season will still begin in Italy next Sunday, March 13 in Rosignano.

Vanden Bussche cleared

U23 Belgian rider Steven Vanden Bussche has been cleared of doping use. He tested positive last year for a product that he declared he used as treatment for a back injury.

Pitallier wants to continue

French Cycling Federation president Jean Pitallier (72) wants to continue for another four years in the position, which he has held since June 2001. The Federation's elections will be held on Saturday at the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) centre in Paris.

If elected, Pitallier said that it would be his last term, explaining to L'Equipe last year that, "Four years is too short to complete the works that were started and to follow them through. "It is necessary to have presence, perseverance and once again dynamism."

Dodge Tour de Georgia looking for tour hostesses

The Dodge Tour de Georgia is looking for candidates to be the official Tour Hostesses for the 2005 event, scheduled for April 19-24. Tour Hostesses act as ambassadors for the race and present the stage and jersey winners with awards during the awards ceremonies held after each stage. They will work directly with the Director of Programs to facilitate the daily awards ceremonies and special events, while working hands on with Tour sponsors, VIPs, staff and athletes. They will be photographed extensively and presented in front of media, fans and athletes at the team presentation event, all start and finish ceremonies and other select special events. Tour Hostesses are volunteer positions, although clothing, accommodation, meals and transport during the race will be provided by the race organisers.

"We are seeking women who are smart, knowledgeable in current affairs and culturally aware, who will represent themselves, this event, our state and our nation in a professional yet friendly manner to the world," said Karen O’Neill, director of programs for the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia. "The cyclists, the press and the spectators come from around the globe to this event, making it an international occasion to showcase our state and the warmth of our hospitality. Ideally, the successful candidates will have the ability to speak a foreign language fluently, preferably Spanish, French or Italian."

Guidelines and the application for Tour Hostesses are available at the Tour’s official website: The completed form and a current full-length photograph must be submitted via email or mail no later than Wednesday, March 16, 2005, to the Tour offices: Dodge Tour de Georgia, Attn: Tour Hostesses, 85 5th Street NW, 3rd floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. Email applications may be sent to

Tour de 'Toona part of Prestige Tour in 2005

America's International Tour de 'Toona stage race, scheduled for July 24-31 in various locations near Altoona, PA, will continue to be the US anchor leg of the Women's Prestige Tour. The Prestige is a four race series for women's teams that will include three U.S. races and a finale in Bermuda. The Tour de 'Toona will mark the penultimate round in the series.

"The International Tour de 'Toona is elated to continue our participation in this series, not only for its appeal to participants, but also because it will increase its $4 million impact on the local economy," said Race Promoter Rick Geist. "The quality of the teams involved in The Prestige series is absolutely the finest in women's cycling. Each has their own following of enthusiasts who travel to see them race. For local spectators, it's a chance to see world class athletes of a calibre they would normally see only on broadcast network television or international cable sports networks, up close and personal."

"This is a great example of how events that directly generate tourism attraction can boost the local economy," Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger said last year when the Tour's affiliation with the Prestige series was first announced. "It is a demonstrable success story that is evident throughout Blair County every year."

In addition to The International Tour de 'Toona and the culminating Bermuda event, the Prestige series will include the Redlands Bicycle Classic, California, and the Nature Valley Grand Prix, in Minnesota.

More information:

Irish season off to a flying start

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The opening two races of the Irish cycling season last weekend, saw familiar faces in Shane Baker of the Usher Irish Road Club and Rory Wyley of Dan Morrissey/Carrick Wheelers sending out signals that they have both wintered well and that they are keen to be wearing the national jersey when it comes to selecting teams for international duty. They will have the option of staking their claims when they go into action on Sunday in Navan and Banteer, where it is expected that last weekend's turnout will be exceeded.

Admittedly there were teething problems with the issuing of licences prior to the start of the season by Cycling Ireland. "All the requests for licences up to Thursday were looked after," said Brendan Kilbride of CI this week. "The race commissaires were also advised of this and they duly let those people participate. Unfortunately, human nature as it is means that club secretaries may have sent in late requests, thus causing a little anxiety. At least they had the option of purchasing one day licences which would have let them partake in either Bray or Tralee."

Two very competitive fields turned out last weekend with 100 in Bray on Saturday and 98 in Tralee on Sunday. Both races saw solo wins with Shane Baker etching out the biggest winning margin with Wyley having a four second advantage. Still, a win is a win and both were upbeat about the coming season.

"I have to admit that win in the cyclo-cross event in January and the long hours every weekend over the winter months that I put in with the members of the club bore fruit today," said Shane. "I know it is a long season but when you come out of the blocks with a win and it was fashioned out of hard work. I was never at the back of the race. It was head down all the way. Hopefully there will be a lot more success this season for the Usher Irish Road Club."

In Tralee, Rory Wyley was pleased with his win last Sunday. "Yes! It is good to be back in the winning mould," he said. "Things got off to a flier last season and up to the FBD Milk Ras I was involved with the National team, but I had an injury in the Ras which more or less sidelined me for the rest of the season. Thankfully, I am fully recovered and today's win fully vindicates my enthusiasm for the coming season. What's more, it was a great win for our new sponsor, Dan Morrissey."

Both winners have indicated that they will be action this Sunday. Whereas, Shane is heading for Navan, Rory is still keeping his cards close to his chest and may opt for Banteer in preference to making the journey from Dungarvan to the Leinster venue.

Paidi O'Brien, who won last year in Banteer, may make the trip home to his roots from Belgium where he is racing and training at the moment. Word from the Co. Cork venue is that the "Hill" is out this year and they are hopeful he'll show up and retain the trophy which he won in fine style. Paidi was in the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi last month where the members of the Discovery Channel team of Lance Armstrong had nothing but praise for his commitment and dedication to the sport. Coming from that quarter, Paidi will not be found wanting this coming season with that kind of recognition.

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