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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 16, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

USPRO championships moves to Greenville, South Carolina

US-only road race and time trial planned for 2006

By Mark Zalewski

Chris Wherry wins the 2005 USPRO Championship in Philadelphia, PA
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

USA Cycling has announced that the 2006 US professional championships will take place in Greenville, South Carolina with the road race on September 2, 2006 and a time trial on August 31. The 2006 races will be restricted to US citizens who must be members of UCI-registered trade teams. The move is a departure from the championships' traditional venue of Philadelphia where it has been held since its inception in 1985.

USA Cycling's Sean Petty told Cyclingnews that the contract with Threshold Sports, the promoter of the Philadelphia race, expired this year and that once the negotiation period had passed the event was opened to general bidding. "How we arrived here was that our contract with Threshold expired this year. So after their period of negotiation passed, we put it out for bid. This ended up being the best bid -- it's strong in terms of the city, corporate and organisation support."

The need for a change to the format of the championship has been debated for years, with some arguing that closing the race to foreign riders would weaken the competition -- while others have argued that U.S. riders are much stronger than they were twenty years ago. The latter was the argument used in deciding to change the format.

"When it started in 1985, there were only ten or fifteen U.S. professionals, so you couldn't have it just as a national-only championships," Petty explained. "Of course [U.S. cycling] grew quickly, but we continued to tie into the support of Wachovia the whole time, along with the support of the city of Philadelphia. But we felt the time was right to have a US only championship."

Another significant change is the date -- much different from the current weekend in June and also different from the national championships weekend of most other countries, usually the final weekend in June. "We surveyed some of the guys informally -- George, Levi and Floyd said it was a good time, that there was less pressure without the grand tours," said Petty. The hope is that with most of the season out of the way, top European-based Americans will be able to take time away from their UCI team's racing goals. In mid-June a lot of teams are recovering from the Giro d'Italia or focusing on the Tour de France.

When asked if the exclusion of foreign riders will hinder the participation of Americans on teams consisting of mostly-foreign riders, Petty responded, "A lot of the domestic teams have foreign riders too. And Freddie has won without a strong team behind him before -- he's done it because he's one of the best riders."

The weekend will also include a first-ever USPRO time trial race, increasing the chances that the stars and stripes jersey might be worn in the prologue of a grand tour. The title sponsors of the event include The Cliffs Communities, a group of gated residential communities in the heart of the Carolina Preserve, and regional cable provider Charter Communications. Medalist Sports, organisers of the Tour de Georgia, and Southern Hospitality Group Event will run the event.

The new format events will be organised by Medalist Sports and Southern Hospitality Group Event Management with sponsorship from The Cliffs Communities and Charter Communications. "This event will truly showcase the best of the best American cycling talent," said USA Cycling chief executive officer Gerard Bisceglia. "After a rich history in Philadelphia, the USPRO event has become the benchmark of one-day professional cycling in this country and with the support of The Cliffs and Charter Communications, as well as the unparalleled commitment of the folks at Medalist Sports and Southern Hospitality Group, we fully expect that the USPRO event will thrive in Greenville."

More details on the course and other aspects of the event will be in a forthcoming press conference later this month.

An interview with Heinrich Haussler

"A beautiful year"

Heinrich Haussler
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Click for larger image

Australian-born Heinrich Haussler emigrated to Germany seven years ago to try and make it as professional cyclist. Susan Westemeyer caught up with the youngest member of the Gerolsteiner team after completing an excellent season as a neo-pro.

"I simply wanted to find out what a three-week tour is like and maybe one time finish in the top five of a stage," said Gerolsteiner rider Heinrich Haussler of his expectations going into this year's Vuelta a Espana. Haussler didn't just meet his expectations, he exceeded them: not just three top five finishes, but also a stage win in Alcobendas.

Not surprisingly, this victory that came on the third last day of the Vuelta was the highlight of his year. However, Haussler showed promising form in previous stages. On a mountainous Stage 6, he finished less than five minutes behind winner Roberto Heras and was the best-placed Gerolsteiner rider. He then showed his sprinting qualities the very next stage, finishing seventh, and again on Stage 8, where he sprinted to a sixth place finish.

"Heinrich still has potential," said his directeur-sportif Reimund Dietzen at the time. "It's likely that it will just get better for him. After this performance, I expect even more from this youngster."

For the full interview click here.

ProTour Council rejects Giro half-stages

The UCI's ProTour Council has formally rejected a request from the organisers of the Giro d'Italia to run two half-stages on the final day of the 2006 Giro.

Giro organiser RCS had planned a split final day, with an 11km mountain time trial on the Ghisallo, to celebrate the inauguration of the Ghisallo museum on the same day. The time trial was to be followed by a 116km road stage into Milan.

Split stages in grand tours are not allowed under UCI rules but RCS director Angelo Zomegnan has been taking a conciliatory tone on the issue of the split stage. "This is a suggestion not a provocation," said Zomegnan.

When it became clear that the idea of a split final day was unlikely to be received well by the riders and the ProTour, Zomegnan told Italian media, "If the UCI doesn't give us the permission to carry on with it, we will find another way to honour the mountain and its museum."

If the ProTour council's ruling extends to other ProTour stage races, then the Tour of the Basque Country, which has traditionally finished with a split stage, will also have to change its schedule.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Schaffrath to become D.S. at Milram

By Susan Westemeyer

When Jan Schaffrath left Team T-Mobile this year, he planned to join his friend Erik Zabel as a rider for the new Milram team. But it looks like "Schaffi" will not be pulling sprints for his childhood friend, but instead telling him what to do. Schaffrath will become a directeur sportif for the team.

"It's a great offer," said Schaffrath. "At 34 years old, I could still put in good performance, but the end of the career was in sight." In preparation, he will be attending an intensive English course. "With a team of 15 Italians, 10 Germans and five riders from other nations, English will be the team language. I want to prepared for that."

Zabel viewed his friend's new career with mixed feelings. "I would liked to have ridden longer with him. But I can also see him as a directeur sportif. I won't have any problem when Jan is my boss in the future. We are and will remain friends."

Roche okay after training crash

By Shane Stokes

Young Irish professional Nicolas Roche had an unexpected spill while out training near his Antibes home on Tuesday, hitting the deck when part of his carbon seat post snapped. Fortunately the Cofidis rider was unhurt in the accident.

"My seat post broke," he told Cyclingnews. "I landed on my arse and hit my wrist. I am a bit sore this afternoon, but luckily no real damage was done. I was sitting pretty far back when the clamp snapped at the place where the saddle is held in place. I went flying, but as I was going through the city I wasn't traveling very fast. Luckily there wasn't a car behind me."

The 21 year old has been gradually increasing his training in preparation for the 2006 season, his second as a professional. "A couple of weeks back I went off to Spain for a week to my dad's training camp in Mallorca and did a few four-hour spins there. Since then, I have been swimming a lot, getting into the pool three times a week, and also getting out on the bike four times a week. I haven't done anything very hard yet, but the longer spins will start soon."

Roche will join the rest of the Cofidis team at their first training camp in Amiens next week. There much of the pre-season paperwork and formalities will be completed. "We actually do very little training on the bikes there - we mainly stay inside and discuss the season just past and the one ahead. It's more of a get-together, where we do all the paperwork, get all the pictures taken, and try the new bikes out. We will also get fitted for the new team clothing there."

As the son of a former Tour de France winner, there is considerable interest in how Roche will fare as a professional. He took some decent results in 2005, placing fourth in the Tour du Vendée and sixth in the Tour du Finistère, but feels it will be several years before he knows of his true capacities as a rider.

"I hope I can do a lot in my career, but I will take it one year at a time," he states. "For the moment, I am still young enough that I don't really know what level I can achieve. As long as I am still growing and becoming mature physically, I can't really say when I am going to stop getting better. When I am fully grown at 25 or 26, then I can look at it and know that if I train better or eat better I can reach a certain level. They are the factors that will count then. But as long as I am not fully finished developing, it is hard for me to approximate what kind of level I can reach.

"That said, I hope that I can get to a level which is sufficient enough for me to be winning some big races. For the moment, I don't put that pressure on myself. I just do my job, try to be a good team-mate and try and do as well as I can in terms of gaining experience, getting into the front group and being in the right position. Next year, I really hope I can get a win and I will do everything for that. This year I was close enough a couple of times so now I really want to concentrate on getting a victory. Riding a Grand Tour is also a goal, most likely the Giro or the Vuelta. I would like to try to get into a break on one of the stages, to concentrate on one or two of those and try to get up there. That will be a target."

Trinchero Family Estates and Colavita USA renew partnership

Trinchero Family Estates and Colavita USA have announced the continuation of their partnership into 2006. Their sponsorship of the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Wine men's pro team will continue, along with their joint brand participation at Gay Life Expo and collaboration on Sutter Home's Capsules for the Cure programme to benefit breast cancer research.

For 2006, the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Wine men's team has re-signed the core of its team from this year and added several new riders, including Belorussian rider Viktor Rapinski and Kyle Wamsley, who finished third at the USPRO and USCF Criterium Championships and won the 2005 Tour of Somerville. The team will travel to Napa Valley as guests of Sutter Home Winery to train before the 2006 racing season kicks off in early March.

Information on the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Wine men's team, as well as Colavita recreational cycling clubs throughout the country, is available at www.teamcolavita.com .

Gilmore plans record attempt

Safi - Pasta Zara Manhattan rider Rochelle Gilmore is planning to start the track racing season with an attempt on the women's speed record for Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. The 23 year-old is looking to emulate the feat of fellow Sydney rider Ben Kersten, who recently broke the 80 km/h mark on the boards at Bass Hill. Gilmore, who will ride the Sydney Thousand carnival at Dunc Gray on November 27, is aiming for 60 km/h, establishing a new benchmark for women behind a motorcycle pacer.

Gilmore has selected the women's scratch race and handicap as her targets for the Sydney Thousand carnival, because, she said, "These will suit my endurance-oriented riding style and give me a better chance of winning. But first, my coach Gary Sutton wants me to post a speed at the Dunc Gray Velodrome which will give all the other girls something to think about."

Gilmore is confident of making her mark less than two weeks out from the start of her track campaign. "I believe 60 km/h is attainable and maybe if I'm feeling good on the day I can push it up a little further," she said.

Vuelta a Cuba 2006

Organisers of Cuba's national tour, the Vuelta a Cuba, have announced the route of the race for 2006. The 13-stage race will cover a total of 1861km, starting in Baracoa on February 7 and finishing with a circuit race in the capital Havana on February 19.

Stages

Stage 1 - February 7: Baracoa-Guantánamo, 153km
Stage 2 - February 8: Guantánamo-Stgo. De Cuba, 111km
Stage 3 - February 9: Stgo. De Cuba-Bayamo, 125km
Stage 4 - February 10: Manzanillo-Holguín, 135km
Stage 5 - February 11: Holguín-Camaguey, 206km
Stage 6 - February 12: Camaguey-Ciego de Ávila, 113km
Stage 7 - February 13: Ciego Ávila-Sancti Spíritus, 146km
Stage 8 - February 14: Sancti Spíritus-Santa Clara, 159km
Stage 9 - February 15: Santa Clara-Cienfuegos, 140km
Stage 10 - February 16: Cienfuegos-Cárdenas, 178km
Stage 11a - February 17: Varadero-Matanzas (C.R.I.), 30km
Stage 11a - February 17: Matanzas-San Ant. de los Baños, 120km
Stage 12 - February 18: San Ant. de los Baños-Pinar del Río, 155km
Stage 13 - February 19: Cacahual-Ciudad Habana, 90km

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