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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for November 3, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones

Tour of California details announced

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Tour of California route details
Photo ©: Tour of California
Click for larger image

Next year's Tour of California, set for February 19-26, 2006, announced its title sponsor, route and participating teams today in a press conference in San Francisco - which will also serve as the race's starting venue. Race presenter AEG announced that biotechnology company Amgen will be the title sponsor, and that U.S. sports network ESPN 2 will serve as the official broadcast partner.

AEG's president and CEO Tim Leiweke pointed to the importance of having a strong television package to promote the race to the country and to the world. "With the partnership with ESPN, we will be talking to a million people every night, and with the worldwide distribution rights, this will be the most televised cycling event on American soil."

16 teams will take the start of the 700 mile race, with eight teams already confirmed to participate. Discovery Channel, Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto, Phonak, Saunier-Duval and T-Mobile will represent the Pro Tour teams, while Health Net/Maxxis and Navigators Insurance will defend the Continental Tour's reputation. Beginning with a prologue in San Francisco the race will move north, from Sausalito to Santa Rosa, Martinez to San Jose, an ITT in San Jose, and then from the Monterey Peninsula to San Luis Obispo, then to Santa Barbara and south again to Thousand Oaks. The race will finish in a circuit race around Los Angeles, specifically in the south bay area of Redondo Beach.

Gerolsteiner's Californian-connection Levi Leipheimer was on hand and said that races like this are the key to developing the cyclists of tomorrow. "When I was 13 years old and saw the Tour de France on television, I just felt this immediate connection and new I would be there. And now we have the Amgen Tour of California to inspire the next generation of cyclists. The first stage comes to my home town of Santa Rosa, so I am excited! The Tour de France is getting nervous! It's going to be the biggest cycling race in the world."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome was very excited to be a part of the event, even offering full access of his city to the race. "This is a great thing for the city, and for the state," said Newsome. "Whether you want to start [the race] on the Embarcadero or even on the Golden Gate Bridge, I don't care - we are behind you!"

Robert Colarossi, managing director of the race, expressed that this race will be one of the best because of their treatment of the riders and the cities in which the race will pass. "Every decision we make regarding the race will be athlete-centric and athlete-focused, to make the best possible race. From when the riders arrive to when they leave. We are going to make it a great experience for all of our citizens as well."

Aldag finishes on a high note

37 year-old Rolf Aldag has finished his career on a high note by winning the 64th Dortmund Six Days, together with partner Erik Zabel. The pair ended with a massive 160 point lead over second placed Bruno Risi/Kurt Betschart after successfully taking a lap from the Swiss pair on the final evening. But things didn't go to plan for Risi, who crashed on both the first and last nights. It was worse for British rider Mark Cavendish, who crashed on the final night and was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured skull.

Aldag has now won the Dortmund Six a total of seven times, including four with Erik Zabel. He has a swag of victories on the road as well, including the German Championship in 2000, a stage in the Tour de Suisse in 1997, stages in the Deutschland tour in 1999 and 2001, second in a stage of the Tour de France in 2003, and a number of top 10 finishes in classics. He turned pro in 1991 with Helvetia, before joining Telekom in 1993, where he remained until the end of his career.

Hoy has "no confidence" in UCI top-brass

Kilo Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy has criticised the UCI's decision to drop two track events from the Beijing Olympics. He said the UCI "supported road at track's expense".

In The Herald newspaper Hoy said: "Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, told me there's nothing more they can do. The BOA put substantial pressure on the International Olympic Committee, but the IOC told the UCI it was up to them.

"It has caused me to lose confidence in the people who run cycling, and I don't believe it's in the best interests of the sport. It was down to what individuals wanted, and they have supported road at track's expense, even though road stands alone outside the Olympics. I have no complaint about BMX [which the Kilo has made way for], but all the Kilo competitors are already at the Olympics. So are the officials. It's only saved the cost of three medals.

"Initially it was a body-blow. I was almost in denial, thinking this could not happen, but as time went on I realised there was no point sitting moaning about it. I had to move on."

Courtesy of Carlton Reid, Bikebiz.com

Lampre gets new co-sponsor

The Lampre-Caffita team will become known as Lampre-Fondital next season, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Team manager Giuseppe Saronni confirmed that the deal should be closed by the end of this week, and that he hopes to re-sign Igor Astarloa and Peio Arreitunandia from Barloworld, as well as a Basque neo-pro.

Backstedt: "I want this record for myself"

Despite falling well short of Matthe Pronk's Derny-paced Hour Record last Saturday at Newport Velodrome, Magnus Bäckstedt has vowed to try again soon. "I want this record for myself," he said after missing the Pronk's mark by almost eight kilometres.

Rather than cite his choice of gearing (60x13) on the night, the imposing Swede believed the lack of harmony with his pacer Paul Spender was a contributing factor to the failed record attempt. "I'm happy with my form and also for this reason I'd like to try again as soon as possible. I think to have chosen the right gear of 60x13 on the base of the pace during training sessions. I'd rather think my pacer and me were not in harmony; maybe he was a little excited because of the public. Anyway, this experience was extraordinary also thanks to those who cheered for me: I'll try again soon."

Tassie Christmas Carnivals part of national series

The popular Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series will now form part of the Cycling Australia Rankings Series (STAR). The series was first introduced by Cycling Australia last season but the Tasmania Carnivals were not included, but this summer, the Sports Carnivals Association has been accepted as part of the ranking system for the 2005-2006 series.

The Latrobe, Devonport, Launceston and Burnie Carnivals will carry category 1 ranking points and the Rosebery, Hobart and St Helens Carnivals category 2 ranking points. There will be three categories of events: sprint, endurance and wheelrace.

For more information see www.tascarnivals.com.

Gran Fondo Federico Morini

The first edition of the Gran Fondo Federico Morini will be held on June 2, 2006. The community of San Giustino, together with Ciclo Sport Selci is organising the mass participation ride in honour of the former pro. The event will part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany series, although most of it will be held outside Tuscan territory. The full parcours will be announced on December 3 at a press conference in San Giustino.

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