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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 6, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Boonen to retire in five years

Way to go: Boonen crowned new World Champion
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

World Road champion Tom Boonen, who is currently on the Caribbean island Curaçao (dutch Antilles), has said that he will not continue to race as a professional bike rider beyond the age of 30. While enjoying a holiday on tropical beaches, the 25 year-old is also participating in the Amstel Curaçao Race, the first race in which he will wear his rainbow-coloured jersey.

But Boonen knows that repeating his 2005 successes (Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, World Championships etc.) will be very difficult in the next season, and believes that he might not be able to hold his current level in a few year's time. "Many riders of the last generation continued until they're 35, but I won't," the Flemish superstar told Belgian media. "I hope to give the best of myself on the highest level for the next five years, then I'll stop."

Boonen is also heavily in demand by the media. "Everybody wants me on their cover," he continued. "They're asking if I can walk on the catwalk. Sometimes, these things are fun, but it shouldn't get too crazy. I can't understand that people see me as their idol - maybe because I never had one, neither."

As for his 2006 season plans, the Belgian is ready to take up the challenge. "Every top sportsman has moments in his career where he performs in a unique way," he said. "I've done it this season for the first time in my career, and I hope it's not the last time. It will be difficult, but I do like a bit of a challenge! And my performances in this year didn't surprise me that much, really. It was more the way I handled them that puzzled me. I was very strong tactically speaking: to assess the parcours, grasp my rivals. In the classics, the race situation changes every five minutes, and my greatest strength was that I kept my calm in all circumstances. I'm proud of that."

Technical adjustments for Valverde

Valverde on the podium after his stage victory in the 2005 Tour de France
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Spanish media outlet Marca reports that Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) as been undergoing a series of technical tests to improve his power output and aerodynamics in view of the 2006 season, where one of his major goals will be the Tour de France. Team mate Vladimir Karpets joined the Spaniard at the Pinarello factory in Italy for a thorough study of their position and pedalling efficiency.

As it turned out, Valverde could improve his power transfer by fixing his cleats a little more to the back of his cycling shoes. "Before, the rotary mouvement of his ankle was blocked, as there was no angle," Italian biomechanic Alessandro Mariano explained. "Now, thanks to this small change, has an angle of 30 percent." However, a modification to the height of Valverde's seat did not bring about the desired effect. "This high, I won't be able to increase my cadence," Valverde said after the saddle had been uppered, and the subsequent computer data proved him right.

Further tests on a time trial bike revealed that the handlebars, as well as the seat could also be lowered by five millimetres in order to improve the 24 year-old's efficiency.

Valoti to Lpr

Swiss Team Lpr has confirmed the signing of Paolo Valoti (Domina Vacanze), one of the 'left-over' riders of the Ferretti/Sony-Ericsson blowup. Valoti, who won the Coppa Agostoni as well as the Coppa Placci this season, will be riding for the Professional Continental outfit during the next two years.

"We're satisfied by this new signing," said team manager Omar Piscina. "Valoti is the last rider to arrive, and we're very happy to have contracted a winner with this much experience. Now we'll think of our racing programme and concentrate on getting as much satisfaction next year as we have done this season."

Genetic doping "a serious threat"

Genetic therapy research has reached a critical phase. Already practised on humans as part of strictly controlled experiments, gene therapy promises to become a widely available form of treatment for injury and disease. However, advances in the science of gene therapy could also lead to abuse - in the form of genetic doping within sports, for example. Genetic modification to enhance athletic ability is a field investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who is organising the second WADA Symposium on Gene Doping in Stockholm in December.

"We have seen an interest among individuals who contact gene researchers for the purpose of doping in sport," said Karolinska Institutet’s Professor Arne Ljungqvist, Sweden’s most well-known anti-doping expert and chairman of WADA’s Health, Medical and Research Committee. "This is a disturbing trend not only because gene doping in sport is wrong, but also because it can be extremely dangerous."

The current status of research in the field of gene-doping detection will be presented at the international symposium to be held at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden from December 4-5, 2005.

"Gene doping represents a serious threat to the integrity of sport and the health of athletes," said WADA chairman Richard W. Pound. Anti-doping scientists are working vigorously alongside genetic scientists so that, as new therapeutic methods are being developed, anti-doping scientists are finding new ways to detect gene doping.

"Gene doping will in all likelihood soon be with us, and I would not be surprised if the first tentative steps had already been taken," said American professor Theodore Friedman, one of the world’s leading gene researchers, chairman of WADA’s Gene Doping Panel and the first speaker at the symposium.

Sportspeople are taking immense risks when they add new genetic material into their bodies. Already there have been at least two deaths during experiments conducted to treat the sick. "Two people have, for example, developed leukaemia," continued Professor Friedman. "The seriously ill can take such a risk perhaps, but for young, healthy sportsmen and women, it is completely unacceptable."

One challenge that anti-doping experts are trying to tackle is the fact that gene therapy methods, once available, will be relatively simple to use. All that may be needed is a standard laboratory according to WADA.

Danielson in Fort Collins, Colorado

Lee's Cyclery in Fort Collins, Co, has announced an evening with members of Team Discovery and Michael Sagan, lead product designer and engineer for Trek advanced concept group, who will be presenting the actual bike that Lance Armstrong rode to victory number seven in the Tour de France.

Dan Osipow, Director of Communications for Team Discovery since 1990 and Tom Danielson, Colorado local and Team Discovery member, will be speaking about racing in Europe and life as a pro cyclist. Questions and answers will follow the discussion.

The event will be taking place on Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at Lee's Cyclery South location (Harmony and Lemay) from 6-9 pm.

Contact April at 970.226.6006 or for more information.

Fundraiser for Sarah Scott

On July 29, Philadelphia bicycle racer Sarah Scott was paralyzed in a racing crash in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Her family, friends, colleagues, and fellow bike racing enthusiasts have rallied in support. Many have asked what they can do to help.

This Saturday, November 5, cyclists and supporters from throughout the country will hold a cross-state fund raiser for Philadelphia bicycle racer Sarah Scott, who was paralyzed in a racing crash in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on July 29. To assist her with her medical, rehabilitation and equipment expenses, the Manayunk Brew Pub in Philadelphia will host a silent auction organized by her team, Guy's Racing, and the coaches at Cadence Cycling Center of Philadelphia, PA. The list of items for bid include signed jerseys from Lance Armstrong and Bobby Julich, cycling equipment, triathlon packages, ticket packages for Philadelphia sports teams and much more. Bidding starts at 7:30 pm and information can be found at

Earlier in the day at the Lower Allen Classic international cyclocross event near Harrisburg, racers, officials and spectators will be asked to make donations and sign a banner advertising Sarah's website. Race promoter Mike Hebe will match all donations up to $250. The banner, which will be located at the most-photographed portion of the track, will be presented to Sarah (along with the donations received at the race) at the benefit auction in Philadelphia later that evening.

For more information on the fund raiser, including the Auction Item List, or to make a financial donation on-line, please go to the above mentioned website.

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