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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for November 1, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

Pro team organisation looks to cash consolidation

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

By tradition, on the eve of the Tour de France presentation, the AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Teams) meets in Paris to review its current activity and business. In 2005, the main point of discussion was to form a economic alliance between the AIGCP teams that would look out for their common interests. For the most part, all of the ProTour squads were in favour of this approach, with two exceptions, Cofidis and Francaise des Jeux. Last March, AIGCP president Patrick Lefevere announced a plan to that would unite the teams in this economic alliance by creating a company that would collectively manage the rights of the teams and financial obligations and relations with race organisers. But two out of the three French ProTour squads currently oppose this approach.

After the meeting, Discovery Channel sports director Johan Bruyneel told Cyclingnews, "I find it kind of strange that the two teams that disagreed with this project were the teams that were featured in the 2005 Tour de France highlights video. Cofidis had the little kid with his cycling cap that was featured, and then Marc Madiot [Francaise des Jeux directeur sportif] was screaming on radio in that video. Not to mention that it's not normal the way Lance wasn't included in that video. But I'm not surprised about this attitude. After Lance decided to go for his seventh win, we went to see the Tour de France people last February to tell them and the reaction wasn't very positive. So this video is just a continuation of this weird, negative atmosphere."

As for the AIGCP teams, Bruyneel was confident that AIGCP president Lefevere would be able to bring the project forward despite the resistance of the French teams.

Bruyneel & Discovery Channel still focused on Tour

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Johan Bruyneel, right, and Discovery's Belgian bike brain trust
Photo ©: Tim Maloney

After last week's tumultuous Tour de France presentation in Paris, Cyclingnews asked Discovery Channel sports director Johan Bruyneel how would Lance do in the 2006 Tour de France if he decided to ride?

"It would all depend on his focus and motivation, and at this point, the Tour de France can't give Lance Armstrong anything anymore," said Bruyneel. "We've also seen that in the Tour de France presentation. It was sad to see [at the Tour de France presentation] that a rider like Lance is not respected by [the Tour de France organisation]. There was very little about him in the film, for example. And what nobody seems to appreciate or doesn't want to see is that the Tour de France would never be at the level internationally, where it was now, without the Armstrong era, from 1999 to 2005. I'm convinced of that and so are a lot of people. Lance's presence and performances has given the Tour a boost [after 1998] and that's sad to see."

Bruyneel continued, "If you look at the fifteen minute speech before the Tour presentation, it's at least ten minutes about something else [doping]. There are four Americans in the top 10 in the ProTour, because they are good riders, while there are only four French riders in the top hundred. And the first French rider is thirtieth. What does that mean?"

But Bruyneel remains focused on the prize he's already won seven times with Armstrong. "The Tour is the race that has given us a lot and we have given a lot back to the Tour," he said. "We've prepared for it 365 days a year; we've gone to bed with the Tour and we've woken up with the Tour. So I see what the Tour can do for a rider and for a team and we want to keep doing that, no matter what's been said or what's been written. In July, we'll ride the Tour as hard as we can."

Click here for a longer interview with Johan Bruyneel in which he discusses the 2006 Tour including the removal of the team time trial, the 2006 parcours and Discovery's contenders for the overall victory.

German media predicts 'Jan's Tour de France' in 2006

By Susan Westemeyer

German magazine Bild is claiming that Tour de France management wants T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich to win the Tour next year. In a recent edition the magazine announced, "It's a Jan Ullrich Tour! Come on Jan, just say merci! The French are serving you your second win on a yellow-gold tray..."

Bild's analysis centres around two features of the 2006 Tour: the team time trial has been dropped, because "Basso and his CSC team would have been top favourites," and the 'hellish' Alps come in the last week, when Ullrich usually rides better. And then there are the two long time trials, "Ullrich's absolute specialty." Bild hasn't lost all sense of reality, though; it notes that Ullrich's biggest advantage will be that Lance Armstrong won't take part.

Ullrich himself has commented on the 2006 TdF course, calling it a "good and difficult" one. "Of course I am happy about the two long time trials, where I can show my strength," he said on his website. "The climbing specialists will have their advantages in the mountains - the stages in the Pyrenees are particularly challenging, I think." He concludes, "Only when I ride it will I know whether the Tour 2006 course is a good one for me. Like every year, it depends on who has the best legs."

Cunego targets Giro

After a 2005 season marred by slow recovery from mononucleosis and only partially salvaged by his victory in the Japan Cup two weeks ago, Lampre-Caffita leader Damiano Cunego is targeting the Giro d'Italia in 2006, in the hope of repeating the 2004 victory that shot the then 21-year-old to stardom.

Cunego's team manager, Giuseppe Martinelli told L'Equipe, "In a race that you have to say is mountainous, Cunego will aim to win."

Cunego will also ride the 2006 Tour de France, after missing the 2005 edition because of his illness. "The Tour will be equally in Cunego's program after this year's forced absence," said Martinelli. It's also mountainous and it will be good experience in a race that will be dominated by the duel between Basso and Ullrich."

Petacchi focuses on classics

By Susan Westemeyer

At the end of another strong season, Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi has his sights set on the classics in 2006. "I want a new challenge, he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "My future lies in the classics." 31-year-old Petacchi wants to take on newly-crowned world champion Tom Boonen on the young Belgian's home turf. "I've got nothing to lose. Flanders is a race that for me is on equal terms with Milan-San Remo," he said.

Petacchi says he doesn't anticipate any conflicts with new team-mate Erik Zabel when, for example, the two face Milan San Remo for the first time at Team Milram. "It is a great honour to have Erik Zabel as a pacemaker in San Remo - that gives me a feeling of security," said Petacchi. "When he gives me tips, then I will have a lot to learn from him. Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, HEW Cyclassics in Hamburg, and Paris-Tours will be the focus of my attention next year."

Zabel, who has won Milan-San Remo four times, has said that it's his favourite race also. Petacchi won there in 2005, and says there is no enmity between him and Zabel regarding the race. Milram team manager Gianluigi Stanga said in September, "Both are professional enough. In San Remo, and anywhere else that they ride together, there will be no problems."

Hondo back to Gerolsteiner?

Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer has said that sprinter Danilo Hondo, currently serving a doping suspension, might return to the team next year, but that the final decision must be made by the sponsor. Hondo tested positive twice in March and is suspended until March 31, 2006. "On November 22 his case will be heard again in Lausanne. If this committee also finds that it was a case of unintentional doping, then it will remain as a one-year ban and not become a two-year ban," Holczer said recently. He questioned the guilt of his star sprinter, saying, "After I had reviewed all the facts, I had great doubts. Why would Danilo take a stimulant? He knew he would be controlled." The Gerolsteiner boss also questioned the alleged dosage, saying, "If he had really doped, then why would he have taken such a small amount? It wouldn't have had any effect."

Gerosa to Miche

The Miche team has announced that Mauro Gerosa has signed a one-year contract with the team. Gerosa, who rode for Liquigas - Bianchi in 2005, said in a team statement, "I am pleased to ride for Miche and hope to repay the confidence that [Miche directeur sportif Marco] Tozzi has shown in me and to bring my experience and skills to the service of the squad."

León Sánchez Gil dead in accident

Former cyclist León Sánchez Gil, the older brother of Liberty Seguros rider Luis León Sánchez, died after a quad bike accident on Sunday October 30.

León Sánchez Gil was a gifted junior rider, coming second in the 1999 Spanish junior championship in his first year as a junior. Along with Luis León Sánchez, he rode for the Würth - ONCE under-23 team in 2002 and 2003, before deciding to give up cycling and work toward joining the police in his home province of Murcia.

Colombia - Selle Italia 2006

The Colombia-Selle Italia team has announced its complete 16-rider line-up for 2006. The team gets a substantial facelift for 2006, with only six riders remaining from the 2005 squad and a change of name swapping the order of its title sponsors. New faces include Italians Wladimir Belli and Alberto Loddo, Swedish rider Nicklas Axelsson and Swiss Philippe Schnyder. Departures include Giro mountains runner-up Colombian Ivan Parra and Australians Russel Van Hour and Trent Wilson.

After the team's success in the 2005 Giro d'Italia, when José Rujano finished third and topped the mountains classification, Selle Italia - Colombia announced plans to seek a ProTour licence. However, it will remain a Continental professional team for 2006, having apparently been unable to attain the requirements for a ProTour team in time.

The line-up comprises:

José Rujano (Venezuela)
Walter Pedraza (Colombia)
Alexis Giraldo (Colombia)
Nilton Ortiz (Colombia)
Freddy Paredes (Colombia)
Rolando Trujillo (Colombia)
Uberlino Mesa (Colombia)
Edgardo Simon (Argentina)
Wladimir Belli (Italy)
Gabriele Missaglia (Italy)
Sergio Barbero (Italy)
Alberto Loddo (Italy)
Mariano Giallorenzo (Italy)
Diego Nosotti (Italy)
Nicklas Axelsson (Sweden)
Philippe Schnyder (Switzerland)

Hushovd to lead Credit Agricole in 2006 Tour Down Under

2005 Tour de France sprint champion, Thor Hushovd, will lead the French registered Credit Agricole team at the 2006 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

It is the first time the Norwegian sprinter has raced in Australia's premier road event and ensures the sprints will be hotly contested in 2006. Hushovd, who pipped Australians Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen, for the prestigious green jersey in July, also claimed five wins during the season including victory in stage five of the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) in September.

Joining Hushovd in the Credit Agricole team will be three other members of the team's 2005 Tour de France combination in Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi, Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu and Frenchman Patrice Halgand.

Bodrogi, the five time Hungarian time trial champion claimed overall honours in this year's Tour of Luxembourg while Tour de France stage winner Kirsipuu is returning for the eighth time.

Russian Alexandre Botcharov, second overall in the 2002 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under behind Michael Rogers, will also line up. Bathhurst cyclist and Athens Olympian, Mark Renshaw, will make his debut in the Credit Agricole green and white after his transfer from the Française des Jeux team. The final two members of the team are New Zealand's Julian Dean, who finished ninth in the road race at this year's World Championships in Spain, and Norwegian Mads Kaggestad.

The Credit Agricole line up for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under will be:

Thor Hushovd (Nor) 18.01.1978
Lazslo Bodrogi (Rus) 11.12.1976
Alexandre Botcharov (Hun) 26.02.1975
Julian Dean (NZl) 28.07.1975
Patrice Halgand (Fra) 02.03.1974
Mads Kaggestad (Nor) 22.02.1977
Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) 17.07.1969
Mark Renshaw (Aus) 22.10.1982

Team Manager: Michel Laurent

Germany steps up to take on the British at Revolution 10

After a strong performance by the British squad against the Dutch at Revolution 9 it's now time for the German team to sprint it out at Revolution 10 at the Manchester Velodrome on November 19.

World sprint champion Rene Wolff and Carsten Bergemann will make their first appearance at Revolution and will be joined by Jan Van Eijden who was a massive hit with the crowd at Revolution 7. They take on team sprint world champions Chris Hoy and Jason Queally, and national sprint champion Craig MacLean whose recent return to form has made him a serious contender to get back into the team sprint starting three.

The history between the British and German sprint squads will make the contest a serious matter of national pride, as it was Germany who knocked out the British team sprint at the Athens Olympics, denying them a medal. However, the British were successful at the world championships this year, taking the title over the Dutch team and leaving the Germans trailing in third place.

The action will also be fierce in the sprint and keirin competitions, with Rene Wolff taking on Craig MacLean, who is in good form after recently taking the national sprint title. Up and coming sprinter Matt Crampton will also be a rider to watch after winning the sprint competition at Revolution 9. With the top three Madison teams in the world fighting it out in the endurance races and an elite women's endurance omnium Revolution 10 will provide another big night of track racing.

Tickets are available online at or by calling 07005 942 579 or the Manchester Velodrome on 0161 223 2244 and selecting option 3.

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