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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 7, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Sister act back on track

An interview with Anna and Kerrie Meares

With the 2005-06 track season about to get underway, track sisters Anna and Kerrie Meares go into the season prepared for a busy schedule of racing that includes the Commonwealth Games, Oceania Games and world championships. Having recovered from a serious back injury which stalled progress last season, Kerrie Meares believes she's in the best form of her life whereas sister Anna is struggling a little with her own back complaint. Both are keen to perform in 2005-06 and spoke with Cyclingnews' Les Clarke about how it's all looking.

Kerrie Meares congratulates sister Anna
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

It's going to be a busy season for the Rockhampton sisters, with world cup rounds in Moscow, Manchester and Los Angeles, plus the Oceania Games and Commonwealth Games. This is followed by the world championships in Bordeaux, which signifies the end of the track season - but that's not all; in between these events there are domestic races such as the Sydney Thousand carnival, plus state and national championships where qualifying times can be recorded for the big international meets. So the pressure's never really off.

"I'll still be doing training and development rides to maintain my fitness over Christmas," said older sister Kerrie, indicating that there's not much time for rest in a packed schedule. "January 2 next year I have state championships then about a week after that Anna and I have the Los Angeles round of the world cup." Throughout February it's national championships time and then into the Commonwealth Games, where both sisters will be favourites for the sprint and 500m time trial titles. Do they think it will come down to a sibling sprint final? "It's definitely enticing. It's like a golden scenario for my parents - it'd be awesome for both of us to ride in the final; but we've got big competition. Current world champion, current Olympic sprint champion..." says Kerrie, something backed up by Anna. "We've got the current world champion, current Olympic champion, current world record holder and current Commonwealth Games champion. That's the thing - people say it's just the Commonwealth Games, but there's the cream of the crop going to Melbourne for track cycling."

For the full interview with Anna and Kerrie Meares, click here.

A golden summer on the boards

An interview with Ryan Bayley and Shane Perkins

For Ryan Bayley and Shane Perkins incidents during the past two years at the AIS academy in Adelaide are a distant memory, and now it's simply a matter of hard work, plenty of learning and a hectic schedule for the 2005-06 track season. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke caught up with these two fast men for a chat.

Ryan Bayley (l) and Shane Perkins
Photo ©: Gerard Knapp
Click for larger image

Mark French and Jobie Dajka had been considered two of Australia's rising stars in track cycling, and until the scandals surrounding both these riders put them out of the sport [in Australia, at least] they represented part of the next generation of male sprinters following the likes of Shane Kelly and Brett Aitken to the top of the track sprinting tree. French was involved in a doping scandal before last year's Olympics, and earlier this year Dajka was involved in verbal and physical outbursts against the administration of the sport in the country.

Many observers saw this as an indication that something was wrong with the AIS programme, and the claims of these two athletes pointed to an institution aimed at developing strong working bonds within an elite group of riders that was in fact breeding something quite the opposite. That couldn't be further from the truth, says dual gold medallist Ryan Bayley, one the most experienced riders in the AIS squad. "It was only those two individuals," he says, "They made a decision to do what they did and that doesn't really reflect on us." This is something 19-year-old sprinter Shane Perkins believes, saying, "I just believe we're a lot better off at the moment. I think the group that we've got now has become kind of a little family to help each other through things. I wasn't around for very long beforehand, but I get the impression there were mind games and things like that going on, but now it's a lot better."

Bayley saw everything that went on and is philosophical about the effect of the actions of some individuals. "In the past there were a lot of head games being played - instead of people backing each other and supporting each other it was just a few stronger people trying to mess with the weaker people. It made things very difficult; obviously the programme received a bad rap because of the couple of idiots that went through the programme. It's a lot better now - the support's there and we help each other out. Unfortunately people still see the bad side of things, but we know where we've got to go - we just have to jump a few hurdles to get there sometimes."

For the full interview with Ryan Bayley and Shane Perkins, click here.

Giro to be announced

The 2006 Giro d'Italia will be officially revealed by organiser RCS Sport in Milan at the MazdaPalace in less than one week, on Saturday, November 12. It is already known that the "Corsa Rosa" will start in Belgium next year as homage to the approximately 200,000 Italians living in the northern European country. An initial time trial in Seraing, in the region of Wallonia, will start the 2006 Grand Tour on May 6, followed by three stages in that same hilly southern part of Belgium. Before the parcours heads southwards, the first three stages of the Giro will be as follows: Mons-Charleroi, Perwez-Namur and Wanze-Hotton.

The final destination of the race is also already well known: on May 28, the Giro's last stage will end in the Corso Venezia in the city of Milan. Stay tuned next weekend for Cyclingnews' coverage of the full details of next year's Giro d'Italia,

Bronzini captain of 2006 Team FRW

Italian women's cycling team FRW has announced its roster for the upcoming season. The outfit will be headed by Giorgia Bronzini, who won 13 races in 2005 - including three stages in the Giro d'Italia - in the team colours of US Chirio Forno d'Asolo. Another newcomer to FRW will be Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini Cogeas).

Until now, the 2006 team roster reads as follows: Giorgia Bronzini (Ita), Martina Corazza (Ita), Kettj Manfrin (Ita) , Nina Ovcharenko (Ukr), Laura Pisaneschi (Ita), Ombretta Ugolini (Ita) and Modesta Vzesnaiuskaite (Ltu).

Castelblanco back to racing

Colombian rider José Castelblanco will be back to racing at the Vuelta al Zulia in Venezuela from November 8-13 after sitting out a competition ban for a positive doping result in 2004. The three-times winner of the Vuelta a Colombia is happy to continue his career and has new objectives. "I'll use this opportunity as I'm doing well mentally," the 34 year-old said. "I still lack a little fitness physically, but this race and the rest of the year will get me back into the form I need for the Vuelta al Táchira, which is my short-term goal."

Castelblanco last participated in races with the Colombia-Selle Italia team, and will now join Colombian team Alcaldia de Cabimas. Nicknamed 'Don José', he started his career as a professional career in 1995 with Team Kelme.

Aebersold hangs up the bike

Swiss rider Niki Aebersold (Phonak) is stopping his bike racing career. The 33 year-old, who started out as a pro with PMU Romand in 1996, won 16 races since then, including four stage wins in the Tour de Suisse, Milano-Torino in 1998 and the Swiss Championship in the same year. Aebersold is reported to be exchanging his bike for four wheels, starting to work for a German car manufacturer in Thun, Switzerland.

Cyclist dies in Hong Kong race

CMS Cycling Team member Brandon Chiu was killed during a race near Sai Kung in Hong Kong. Chiu was riding downhill, about to overtake another cyclist, when a public bus swerved onto the oncoming lane and hit him. The rider suffered concussion and head injuries, and died on the way to the hospital. The driver was arrested for dangerous driving leading to death.

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