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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for October 2, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

An interview with Eddy Merckx

Eddy on all things cycling

While at the 2005 Interbike, Cyclingnews' North American Editor, Mark Zalewski, found the legendary Eddy Merckx signing autographs for a long line of fans at his booth. The Cannibal took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to sit down a catch up on what he has been up to and what he thinks about the current cycling world.

A long line waited to get a autograph from the legendary Eddy Merckx
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
Click for larger image

Cyclingnews: First off, what did you think of that world championships? Finally another win for Belgium!

EM: It was a very good ride! This year, winning Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix - for one day races, the best one is Boonen. It's a very good thing for Belgian cycling, absolutely. And he's still a young rider. It was good to see him growing.

CN: Being as young as he is, do you think that one day he might be able to transform into a GC rider for the grand tours?

EM: No... I think he can win every one day race - maybe not a Lombardy for a few years still, but Milan-San Remo, Amstel Gold Race or any one that has a difficult finish. I think he is a strong and complete rider. He is more than just a sprinter.

CN: What are your thoughts on the latest in the EPO allegations, particularly involving Lance Armstrong?

EM: I cannot understand it. How can you attack somebody that cannot defend himself? It's not normal too... the testing [procedure.] If you have something, you go to the UCI or WADA - but not after five or six years. That is not correct. It's a bad thing for cycling. It's not true and not just - attacking someone who cannot defend.

Click here for the full interview

Winners of the UCI Continental Circuits

The UCI has announced the winners of four out of the five Continental Circuits for 2005, with the UCI Europe Tour rankings to be published later. The 2005-2006 UCI Europe Tour will start on October 15, 2005 and will end on October 14, 2006. For the UCI Africa Tour, the UCI America Tour, the UCI Asia Tour and the UCI Oceania Tour, the season will start on October 1, 2005 and will end on September 30, 2006. At the beginning of each season, the points from the previous season will be erased and riders will start from scratch.

UCI Africa Tour

Individual winner: Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA) Team Barloworld-Valsir
Team: Team Barloworld-Valsir
Nation: South Africa

UCI America Tour

Individual winner: Edgardo Simon (Arg) Colombia-Selle Italia
Team: Health Net presented by Maxxis
Nation: Brazil

UCI Asia Tour

Individual winner: Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) Cycling Team Capec
Team: Giant Asia Racing Team
Nation: Islamic Republic of Iran

UCI Oceania Tour

Individual: Robert McLachlan (Aus) MG XPower presented by Bigpond
Team: MG XPower presented by Bigpond
Nation: Australia

Full rankings: Continental Tours, Teams, Nations

Willo on the hunt

By Anthony Tan

Trent Wilson
Photo ©: Shane Goss
Click for larger image

Now back in Australia, Cyclingnews diarist Trent Wilson is enjoying a good run of form. The Selle Italia-Colombia rider, along with his equally larrikin Aussie team-mate, Russell Van Hout, returned from Europe early last month, deciding it was best to finish their season with a solid block of racing Down Under, beginning with the final race of the Tattersall's Cup Series, and finishing with the Herald Sun Tour and Tour of Queensland.

"That was a bit of a disaster, really," said Wilson about Tatt's Cup Tour of the Murray River, where he was judged most aggressive rider on the ninth stage before finishing in third place that day. "Russ and I were thinking we were going to make some good coin, but to be honest, we were marked by everybody; we couldn't move anywhere until the last day, when the tour was nearly wrapped up."

Despite this, 'Willo', as he's known to his mates, had his eye on a few other races, one being the Grafton to Inverell classic two weeks later. Race conditions were described the toughest in the 45-year history of the 228 kilometre race, with a howling headwind and a winner's time an hour slower than that seen in recent years, but Wilson was undeterred, creating the final five-man selection with 20 kilometres to go on the climb of Wire Gully. Though as he admits, the lack of a sprint put paid to his chances, especially going up against Health Net's Greg Henderson, a previous scratch race world champion, who took the race comfortably from two young Victorian Institute of Sport riders, with Wilson in fourth.

"I rode better than the results showed... I just can't sprint!" he laughs, albeit a little nervously.

The nervous chuckle may also have something to do with the fact that Wilson is on the hunt for a new team next year. After Selle Italia-Colombia's brilliant performance at this year's Giro d'Italia, which saw the team earn three stage wins, the mountains classification and a place on the final podium - and which Wilson and Van Hout were a part of - it seems direttore sportivo Gianni Savio is in the midst of a little 'restructuring', with his eyes on making the ProTour in 2006. Sure, the restructure is understandable to some extent, but it's also the harsh reality of a domestique who's rarely given the chance to ride for himself.

"Same as every year, pretty tough," Wilson said when asked about the market conditions in securing a contract over in Europe. "If you're in Division 2 and you're not in the ProTour... if you're not Baden Cooke or Stuart O'Grady, it's pretty tough every year."

Which makes next week's Herald Sun Tour all the more important. Three years ago, Wilson took his best-ever result in the race, finishing fifth overall and claiming the mountains classification prize, with two top-10 places before that, so the lanky Parramatta rider is no stranger to solid results in the race. This year, he'll be riding for a local team based out of Sydney, Caravello/FRF Couriers, comprised of a number of youngsters along with experienced New Zealander Gordon McCauley. "I've always ridden against him, but he's one of those guys you hate to race [against] because he's always aggressive from k zero, so he's good to have," remarks Wilson about the veteran Kiwi.

"I've shown enough form for them [the team] to have some confidence in me, so we'll see what happens. I'd love a top five on general classification, and/or the king of the mountains jersey or a stage win. I'd been there [winning the mountains classification] and been close [to a stage win] a few times, but I've never won a stage there.

"Out training, I've been feeling average, but as soon as I pin a number on, I've been travelling well. All of a sudden, the lights come on, and I feel pretty good. It's [the Sun Tour] a pretty hard tour, so it could suit me if the form's there."

Cooman questions De Cauwer's appointment

Doctor Hans Cooman has denied Eddy Merckx's allegations that the "doping-hunters" seem to do their job, only looking for profit. "I don't think so," said Cooman in Het Laatste Nieuws, the same newspaper in which Merckx made the earlier statements. "Wether we catch one hundred or five hundred athletes; we don't earn a cent more. It's the doping dealers who are after the big money. We just want a clean sport. And we know that not everyone agrees with us on that."

The appointment of José De Cauwer as youth-coordinator with the Davitamon-Lotto team is something that Cooman thinks of as strange. "I don't know if De Cauwer will be sanctioned (for passing on amphetamines to a cyclist) But if he does, he doesn't seem to be the ideal person to lead the young riders."

The Belgian National Lottery recently gave €58,000 to the Flemish Community to buy a Sysmex, a device used to analyse blood samples. At the same time, the Lottery is sponsoring Davitamon-Lotto, which is now employing De Cauwer.

It is known that there were meetings between Omega Pharma boss Marc Coucke and Miel Van den Bosch of the National Lottery before it was agreed to contract De Cauwer. And strangely enough, there were no objections.

"The appointment of José De Cauwer fits into our social reintegration program. It's an active policy of the National Lottery to give people a second chance." says Lotto spokeswoman Ann Publie. "That's why we agreed on taking him on as youth-coordinator."

This all happened one week before the trial of De Cauwer starts. No matter wether De Cauwer gets fined, sanctioned or not, it won't cost him his income. "The facts are old" says Ann Publie "things were completely different ten years ago.

"On top of that, it has nothing to do with his job as youth-coordinator in our team," according to Omega Pharma spokesman Philippe Demyttenaere "We know the facts and don't have a problem with them."

The transfer of De Cauwer from the National Federation to the Davitamon-Lotto team also solves a sensitive issue. "If De Cauwer is convicted heavily, then it would be almost impossible to keep his job as National Coach," Tom Van Damme (director Belgian Federation) had said. This way, no-one needs to be fired.

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

Cunego leads in Zurich

Damiano Cunego will captain the Lampre-Caffita team in the Championship of Zurich on Sunday. "Lampre-Caffita presents a very competitive team which will work all for Damiano," said team director Giuseppe Martinelli. "Our main rivals are Bettini and Di Luca. This race will be very important for us also to determine how to organize the team around Damiano for the end of the season, in particular for the Giro di Lombardia."

The full team is: Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan, Salvatore Commesso, Andreas Matzbacher, Eddy Mazzoleni, Gorazd Stangelj, Sylwester Szmyd, and Patxi Vila.

Quick.Step confirms Grabovskyy

The Quick Step-Innergetic team has confirmed its signing of Under 23 men's World Champion Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukraine). In 2006, the 20 year-old will ride for the Finauto D'Etoffe-Quick.Step team, one of the satellite teams of the ProTour squad, managed by the old pro Luca Scinto. From 2007, Grabovskyy will be joining the full Quick Step-Innergetic team.

CSC extends with Vandborg, Vandevelde and Luttenberger

Team CSC has confirmed the contract extension of Christian Vandevelde, and has also announced that Brian Vandborg and Peter Luttenberger will ride with the Danish squad for another season.

"We're very close to having all contracts finalized, and it's a pleasure to be so far ahead in the planning at this point already," said team manager Bjarne Riis on "It gives us space and opportunity to get started early on planning the details of our program for next year. Of course we want a diverse group like now, with both experienced riders and new talents, and the three riders mentioned before have already shown they deserve a spot on our team for next year."

CSC's 26 riders under contract are: Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lars Bak, Ivan Basso, Michael Blaudzun, Matti Breschel, Fabian Cancellara, Linus Gerdemann, Allan Johansen, Bobby Julich, Karsten Kroon, Marcus Ljungqvist, Giovanni Lombardi, Peter Luttenberger, Christian Müller, Martin Pedersen, Andrea Peron, Jakob Piil, Luke Roberts, Carlos Sastre, Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck, Nicki Sørensen, Brian Vandborg, Christian Vandevelde, Jens Voigt and David Zabriskie.

Teams for Coppa Sabatini

14 teams have been announced for the 53rd Coppa Sabatini-Gran Premio Città di Peccioli, that will take place on October 6 in Peccioli, Italy. The roster includes the four Italian ProTour squads: Lampre Caffita, Domina Vacanze, Fassa Bortolo, Liquigas Bianchi, as well as Spanish ProTour team Saunier Duval Prodir, and Professional Continental teams Barloworld Valsir, Tenax Nobili Rubinetterie, Naturino Sapore di Mare, Acqua & Sapone Adria Mobil, Universal Caffè Styloffice, Team LPR, Miche, Androni Giocattoli and Ceramica Flaminia.

The race will be run on its usual parcours, starting from the Campi Sportivi in Peccioli at 11:00am. The riders will complete eight circuits of 22 kilometres, before finishing with a 12.5 km circuit. The riders should finish between 15:30 and 16:00.

Past winners

2004 Jan Ullrich
2003 Paolo Bossoni
2002 Paolo Bettini
2001 Dimitri Konyshev
2000 Andrei Tchmil
1999 Dimitri Konyshev
1998 Emmanuel Magnien
1997 Andrea Tafi
1996 Bjarne Riis
1995 Davide Cassani
Past winners Trofeo Neo Professionista
2004 T. Dekker
2003 J. Albizu  Lizaso
2002 M. Timochine
2001 R. Jørgensen
2000 L. Turpin
1999 D. Bruylandts
1998 R. Ongarato
1997 P. Bettini
1996 K. Moerenhout
1995 L. Scinto

Allan Butler killed

American rider Allan Butler was struck and killed by a taxi cab that had run a red light as he crossed "The Strip" in Las Vegas at approximately 3am on Thursday night. Allan was unconscious at the scene, but still alive, and after transport to the hospital, was pronounced dead early Friday morning. He had been attending Interbike this year, and was planning on returning home upon the conclusion of the event.

Allan is survived by his wife Jenny, his daughter Odessa, his mother Tammy, and his father Kevin. He was a member of Utah's Logan Race Club's Healthy Choice-Goble Knee Clinic Cycling team. He had raced with the LRC since the 2002 season. Allan had traveled to Europe, including racing with Bernard Moerman, during the early days of the American Bicycling Center. Allan's local and regional palmares included multiple stage race wins, and most recently, he had secured the Utah Cycling Association's year long overall title as the best Category 1-2 rider. Additionally he had numerous one day victories throughout the intermountain west and was regarded by everyone as the consummate gentleman on the bike.

Funeral arrangements are currently underway. Additionally, a charity ride is being planned to benefit Allan's wife and daughter. Further information will follow as it becomes available.

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