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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for November 9, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson, Les Clarke & Mark Zalewski

Armstrong settles with former assistant

After more than a year, the legal dispute between Lance Armstrong and his former personal assistant Mike Anderson has been settled out of court following mediation, the Austin American Statesman reported. A short press release, issued jointly by both Armstrong and Anderson said, "Lance and Mike have wished each other the best of luck in the future." Neither side's lawyers could be reached for comment.

While the terms of the settlement are not public, the decision comes only a week after the last of the serious charges against Armstrong were dismissed by the Travis County district judge overseeing the case, including the claim that Armstrong owed Anderson $300,000 to help open a bike shop. The only remaining claim was one of defamation of character surrounding the terms of Armstrong's termination of Anderson.

Armstrong was also recently involved in a legal action against an internet domain name squatter who was found by the World Intellectual property Organisation to have registered in bad faith three domains related to the Lance Armstrong foundation's 'Livestrong' wrist bands.

Rain promises hardest Ruta de los Conquistadores ever

By Rob Jones in San Jose, Costa Rica

Several mountain bike races contend for the title of the world's toughest off-road race. Australia's Crocodile Trophy has two weeks in the vast expanses of the Outback, with heat and dust to contend with; Canada's TransRockies offers a week in similar isolation, with serious mountains, while its sister event, Europe's TransAlp tackles the sheer steepness and hostility of the Alps. Then there's South Africa's Cape Epic, a week of taxing riding in some of the world's wildest country.

La Ruta de los Conquistadores, which starts Friday, November 11 may only be three days long, but it easily takes its place in the roster of world's toughest MTB races, and qualifies for the descriptor "epic". The stats are mind-boggling:

- 320 kilometres of riding
- over 9,000 metres of climbing, with the highest point at 3,100 metres
- riders from 27 countries and five continents

The race began thirteen years when ago Roman Urbina read about the Spanish Conqueror Juan de Caballon and his 20 years trip on the mountains of Costa Rica, in his attempt to explore the country. De Caballon's expedition started at the Pacific Coast and finished in the Caribbean. Urbina - a recognized Costa Rican athlete and adventure man - decided to emulate that long voyage himself.

Captivated by the histories of that Spanish general, he and another 34 brave adventurers started the trip across nine of Costa Rica's twelve microclimates. An adventure that led them to crossing the rain forest, volcanoes, high mountains and crystalline rivers.

Roman decided that such a trip had to turn into an annual competition and that's how La Ruta de los Conquistadores was born. It is now in its 13th year, and is the final event of what is becoming know as the annual "Grand Slam" of endurance racing: Cape Epic, TransAlps, TransRockies and La Ruta.

"More than a race, La Ruta is a personal growth journey. That's the difference with the traditional competitions of World Cup," explains Roman Urbina.

"There are some segments that cannot be traveled even in 4X4 vehicles or motorcycles. Imagine what type of event is the one that we organize! The competitors will not have any access to external support and must trust in their own tenacity and, in some cases, in the help of other competitors," adds Urbina.

This year Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) will attempt to become the first non-Costa Rican to win the overall title. Frischknecht is the first world champion (mountain bike and cyclo-cross) to enter La Ruta, and has won marathon World Cups. However, La Ruta is like doing three marathons back-to-back. Other pros on the start list include Americans Walker Ferguson and Jeremiah Bishop, and Spain's Alejandro Diaz de la Pena (Maxxis-MCS).

Costa Ricans make up the largest contingent of entries, with 193 riders, followed by the U.S. (107) and Canada (34). The top local hope is Deiber Esquivel, who won the Pan Am Championships in Mexico City only a few week ago.

Urbina explains that the locals take defending the title very seriously. "They work together as a team, and train all year for this race. Some riders will go out early, forcing the [foreign] riders to chase, and then another local will come by at the end."

An added obstacle this year could be the torrential rain that has been falling. Normally, it is dry at this time of year, but the record-breaking hurricane season (although further north) has extended the rainy season.

"If it keeps raining like this, it will be the hardest La Ruta ever." promises Urbina.

La Ruta de los Conquistadores 2005

Stage 1 - November 11: Garabito, Puntarenas (Pacific Coast) to Santa Ana, San Jose (Central Valley), 114.1 Km (70 miles) - Max. alt: 1,158 meters at Grifoalto de Mora - Total ascent: 4,526 meters (15,000 vertical feet)
Stage 2 - November 12: San Jose to Turrialba, 77.9 Km. (50 miles) - Max. alt: 3,010 meters (Irazu Volcano) - Total ascent: 2,729 meters (9,000 vertical feet)
Stage 3 - November 13: Turrialba to Moin Port, Limón, 126.4 Km. (80 miles) - Max. alt: 898 meters (Santa Teresita de Turrialba) - Total ascent: 1,785 meters (6,000 vertical feet)

2006 U.S. nationals calendar announced

USA Cycling has announced the 2006 U.S. National Championship Calendar consisting of 12 events across four disciplines, and the schedule includes a few significant changes from 2005. The biggest change comes in the form of a new location for the National Championship Festival -- from Park City to the Seven Springs Resort near Pittsburgh, PA. The site of the 2003 elite road championships, the resort will host the festival from July 5-17 and will consist of titles for junior, U23, master and elite categories.

For the third consecutive year, the Mountain Bike National Championships take place at Mammoth Mountain Resort, but with a new mid-Summer date of July 20-23 to align with the international mountain bike calendar in terms of date and its one-day format.

On the collegiate front, road nationals return to Lawrence, Kansas, May 10-14 for the second straight year of a three-year commitment, while the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships will be held at the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 22-24. Collegiate mountain bike nationals will head to Angel Fire Resort in northern New Mexico October 20-22 after two years at Seven Springs.

Of USA Cycling's two professional championships, the USPRO National Criterium Championships is the only event that has been confirmed at this time. Returning to the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Illinois the USPRO Criterium Championships are scheduled for August 19-20. The date and location for the 2006 USPRO Road Championships has yet to be determined and is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

2006 USA Cycling National Championship Calendar

May 10-14: Collegiate Road National Championships, Lawrence, Kan.
July 5-17: National Road Festival - Seven Springs Resort, Champion, Pa.
July 12-15: Junior Track National Championships - Lehigh Valley Velodrome, Trexlertown, Pa.
July 20-23: Mountain Bike National Championships - Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
August 8-12: Masters Track National Championships - 7-Eleven Velodrome, Colorado Springs, Colo.
August 19-20: USPRO National Criterium Championships - Downers Grove, Ill.
September 22-24: Collegiate Track National Championships - Major Taylor Velodrome, Indianapolis, Ind.
October 5-8: Elite Track National Championships - ADT Event Center, Carson, Calif.
October 20-22: Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships - Angel Fire Resort, Angel Fire, N.M.
TBD: USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships - Providence, R.I.
TBD: USPRO Road National Championships
TBD: 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships

Aranaga to Euskaltel

Basque rider Andoni Aranaga has secured a move from Continental team Kaiku to ProTour outfit Euskaltel - Euskadi. The 26-year-old second year pro has captured two wins this year - at the Vuelta Valencia, where he outsprinted David Blanco after a stage-long escape, and the Vuelta Asturias, where he won an uphill sprint against the likes of Erik Zabel, Igor Astarloa, Dmitri Konyshev and Samuel Sanchez.

Skil-Shimano completes European contingent

The Skil-Shimano team has announced four Dutch riders who will start their professional careers with the team in 2006. Sebastian Langeveld, the current under-23 Netherlands national champion, has signed for two years, while Kenny van Hummel, Piet Rooijakkers and Arno Wallaard have inked one-year contracts with the team.

At just 20 years old, Sebastian Langeveld is one of the Netherlands rising stars. As well as winning the under-23 national championships, he won a stage of the Olympia's Tour and placed well in the under-23 editions of Ronde van Vlaanderen (2nd) and Paris-Roubaix (7th).

A sprint specialist, 23-year-old Kenny van Hummel is 2005 Dutch national champion in the Elite without contract category and won the sprinter's jersey in the Olympia's Tour as well as five other victories this year.

Piet Rooijakkers, 25, is an all-round rider who finished ninth overall in this year's Ster Elektrotoer and won the final stage of the Olympia's Tour, and the time trial in Ronde van Midden-Brabant.

The team says these four complete its roster of European riders, which also includes Paul Martens (Ger), Christoph Meschenmoser (Ger), Rik Reinerink (Ned), Maarten Tjallingii (Ned), Aart Vierhouten (Ned) and René Weissinger (Ger). The team will also incorporate several Asian riders, including Japanese national champion Hidenori Nodera.

OTC-DOORS on Tommasini for 2006

New Italian Continmental team OTC-DOORS has announced its roster for 2006, and its bike sponsor, cult Italian marque Tommasini. An agreement was recently reached between team manager Pier Giovanni Baldini and Tommasini that extends a long-running collaboration; Tommasini has supplied bikes to Baldini's amateur team since 2003.

The team plans a roster of at least ten riders, of which seven spots have so far been filled.

OTC-DOORS roster

Alessio Ricciardi (Ita, neo-pro)
Matteo Lasurdi (Ita, neo-pro)
Emanuele Bindi (Ita, neo-pro)
Vasil Kir Yenka (Blr, neo-pro)
Roman Luhovyy (Ukr, ex RAGT-Semences)
Jamie Burrow (GBr, ex Amore&Vita)
Diego Genovesi (Ita, neo-pro)

Bayley vs Wolff part 2 at Melbourne Cup on Wheels

A week after their November 27 show-down at the Sydney Thousand, world sprint champion Rene Wolff (Germany) and Olympic champion Ryan Bayley (Australia) will face off again at the Melbourne Cup on Wheels at Vodafone Arena, Melbourne on Saturday December 3, 2005.

Also competing in the sprint events are Wolff's compatriot, Matthias John and Australia's World Cup and Austral winner, Ben Kersten. Kersten will also attempt back to back Melbourne Cup on Wheels victories.

The world's best sprint cyclists and the cream of Australia's track riders will go head to head in the Melbourne Cup on Wheels and other feature events on the program at the venue which will be the centrepiece of track cycling for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The Melbourne Cup on Wheels is the first event in the Cyclists International Track Cycling series for 2005/06, which comprises:

Saturday, December 3, 2005: The Melbourne Cup on Wheels, Vodafone Arena, 7:00 pm.
Saturday, January 21, 2006: The Sid Patterson Grand Prix, DISC, Darebin, 7:00 pm
Saturday, February 4, 2006: The 108th Austral Wheel Race, Vodafone Arena, 7:00 pm
Saturday, February 21, 2006: The Australian Madison Championship, DISC, 7:00 pm

Tickets for events at Vodafone Arena can be obtained from Ticketek, tel 132 849 and for events at DISC from CycleSport Victoria, tel 03 8480 3000.

Nominations for USA Cycling Club of the Year

USA Cycling is calling for applications for Club of the Year. The organisation will recognize ten cycling clubs in the United States for excellence in three overall divisions and seven special categories. Decisions will be based on the amount of events a club held, outstanding competitive results, clinics and seminars held to benefit member education and community related charitable events. Winners will receive free renewal for their club and a plaque. The application and points criteria for Club of the Year can be found at Applications are due by Dec. 15.

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