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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Edition Cycling News for October 4, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Les Clarke

ProTour: too many races?

By Hedwig Kröner

With the end of the 2005 season drawing near, a new president of the UCI selected and the three Grand Tours' participation in the ProTour being a provisional settlement, many details of the latter race calendar are still subject to criticism and will be discussed in the near future. With the proclaimed goal of the series being 'All the top teams and top riders to the top races', many questions have been raised over this inaugural season of the ProTour, one of them concerning the number of events the calendar includes.

Gregorio Moreno, the director of the Vuelta a Burgos, who was also a candidate to the UCI presidency, told Spanish newspaper AS that his vision of a top pro cycling calendar is different to the current situation. "You have to oblige the elite to participate in a series of races, but not in the 27 of the ProTour," he said. "For example, I would create specialty classifications: the best of the Grand Tours, the best of the classics... That would be better than to mix them all, because the result is that Di Luca, the first winner [of the ProTour] hasn't raced the Tour."

Moreno also talked about the difficulties the Continental Circuit races are experiencing in the reform. "The second division races have to assume their category, but in order for them to be able to survive, the conditions of participation of the first category teams have to regularised," Moreno continued. "One possibility would be that the so-called ProTeams wouldn't have to race the whole of the ProTour calendar, but only 70 percent," adding, "We have to try and get the best riders in the best races, not the best teams."

The 2005 season has showed that not all of the top races attracted the team's top riders, with many pros still focussing on their specialty events. While some might argue that the days where the likes of Eddy Merckx raced during the whole season are certainly over and would be impossible to realise nowadays, others say that many races overlap time-wise, and that the smaller races get sidelined in the process.

French ProTeam Crédit Agricole's manager Roger Legeay, for example, recently complained in L'Equipe that his team was forced to drop the 1.HC-rated French event GP des Fourmies on September 11 because his team was busy in ProTour races. "At the time, we didn't have enough riders to create a team because we had one in the Vuelta, the Tour de l'Avenir just finished and the Tour of Poland about to begin," Legeay said. "Mathematically, it was impossible." With most ProTeams having 25-28 riders available, a minimum of 25 being imposed by the UCI, three simultaneous events represent their maximum capacities, with all the consequences this has on the smaller races.

And the riders in all of this? German pro Jens Voigt (Team CSC), who has just been appointed as the CPA representative on the ProTour Council and the UCI Road Commission, told French Vélo Magazine that the high number of ProTour races resulted in the peloton's exhaustion. "There are too many races," Voigt said. "How can we change that now? Which organiser would accept not being included next year? We'll have to go with it, but we already see what's happening: everybody wins [with the ProTour], except the riders.

"In the Tour of Poland, 160 riders started in Gdansk and 70 finished in Karpacz," the tall German underlined his statements. "Everybody was exhausted. Before the ProTour, the peloton could ease up a little after the Tour de France and come back for the end of the season. This year, there was the Tour of Benelux right after it, the Tour of Germany, then the Vuelta, the classics... Really, it's much, much harder."

Voigt, who believes that the ProTour makes the riders specialise on certain races even more, added that the reform took place too fast and that everybody in the teams - including the assistants - suffered from it. "It's hard also on the teams' staff: since the Tour de France, how many have taken a holiday? With the ProTour, [...] the teams are more serious but there's also much more stress, more pressure and more nervousness."

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

Salon du Cycle celebrates the Tour and more

David Moncoutié
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
Click for larger image

The 2005 edition of the Salon International du Cycle got underway on October 1, but with press allowed in the previous day, Cyclingnews took a little walk around the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles to see what takes the fancy of the French this year. This two-wheel extravaganza is repeating its "two shows, one event" theme, and will once again feature two specialised "two-wheeler" sections - the bicycle show from October 1-4, run simultaneously with the motorcycle show, which stretches the festival of two wheels until October 9.

Zipp, SRAM, Kuota and Lapierre make an appearance at the show, with lots of Tour de France 'specials' featured, including Michael Rasmussen's polka dot jersey, Thor Hushovd's green jersey and bike (complete with Ksyrium ES wheelset) and Bastille Day stage winner David Moncoutie. Moncoutie became the darling of French cycling as a Frenchman winning on the national day, and with changes at his Cofidis team, he's sure to take on a greater leadership role next season.

Fresh off his MTB world championship win, Olympic champion Julien Absalon was smiling for the cameras in Paris - another show favourite as France's most exciting cycling prospect, particularly in the MTB world. Tom Boonen's world championship-winning Time machine made an appearance, complete with race number and very comfy-looking white Regal saddle. Campagnolo unleashed the latest update of their premium Bora wheelset - the Bora Ultra set weighs just 1285 grams, which shaves a few grams off this year's version.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.fr.st

Phonak signs top Swiss U23 rider

Team Phonak has announced the signing of the best Swiss U23 rider at the 2005 World Championships. The young rider from Ticino, Steve Morabito (VC Mendrisio), 8th-place finisher in Madrid, was given a two-year contract by ARcycling AG, the company managing the ProTeam. "It's great that in spite of offers from other top teams Steve has decided in favour of us," manager John Lelangue said.

With the addition of Morabito, there are now 26 riders under contract for the new season: Aurélien Clerc (Sui), Martin Elmiger (Sui), Gregory Rast (Sui), Johann Tschopp (Sui), Alexandre Moos (Sui), Sascha Urweider (Sui), David Vitoria (Sui), Steve Zampieri (Sui), Florian Stalder (Sui), Steve Morabito (Sui), Axel Merckx (Bel), Koos Moerenhout (Hol), Luis Fernandez Oliveira (Spa), José Enrique Gutierrez (Spa), Ignacio Gutierrez (Spa), Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spa), Santiago Botero (Col), Victor Hugo Peña (Col), Floyd Landis (USA), Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA), Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Bert Grabsch (Ger), Nicolas Jalabert (Fra), Uros Murn (Slo), Robert Hunter (RSA) and Fabrizio Guidi (Ita).

Oriol ends career

Ag2r's Christophe Oriol will end his career as a professional bike rider. The 32 year-old's last official race is scheduled to be the Herald Sun Tour in Australia from October 9-15. Oriol started his career seven years ago and won a stage of the 1999 Dauphiné Libéré.

Ag2r for next races

French team Ag2r has announced its roster for the next-up events. At Paris-Bourges on October 6 and Paris-Tour on October 9, the squad directed by Vincent Lavenu will line up the following riders: Samuel Dumoulin, Yuriy Krivtsov, Lloyd Mondory, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Christophe Riblon, Mark Scanlon, Aliaksandr Usau and Tomas Vaitkus.

In Italy at the Giro dell'Emilia and the G.P. Beghelli taking place on October 8 and 9 respectively, Ag2r will be represented by: Mikel Astarloza, Inigo Chaurreau, Cyril Dessel, Philip Deignan, Stéphane Poulhies, Blaise Sonnery and Ludovic Turpin.

Finally, the team announced its line-up for the Herald Sun Tour in Australia. From October 9-15, Andy Flickinger, Simon Gerrans, Christophe Oriol, Nicolas Portal and Erki Putsep will race the event "down under".

Lampre and Liquigas rosters

Italian teams Lampre-Caffita and Liquigas-Bianchi have communicated their selection for the Italian races Coppa Sabatini (October 6), Giro dell'Emilia (October 8) and the G.P. Beghelli (October 9).

Coppa Sabatini

Lampre: Daniele Bennati, Damiano Cunego, Oleksandr Kvachuk, Marco Marzano, Andreas Matzbacher, Evgueni Petrov, Sylwester Szmyd, Andrea Tonti.

Liquigas: Enrico Gasparotto, Kjell Carlström, Vladimir Miholjevic, Devis Miorin, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè, Gianluca Sironi, Charles Wegelius.

Giro dell'Emilia

Lampre: Damiano Cunego, Marco Marzano, Andreas Matzbacher, Gilberto Simoni, Gorazd Stangelj, Sylwester Szmyd, Andrea Tonti, Patxi Vila.

Liquigas: Enrico Gasparotto, Eros Capecchi, Vladimir Miholjevic, Devis Miorin, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè, Gianluca Sironi, Charles Wegelius.

G.P. Beghelli

Lampre: Damiano Cunego, Marco Marzano, Andreas Matzbacher, Evgueni Petrov, Gorazd Stangelj, Sylwester Szmyd, Andrea Tonti, Patxi Vila.

Liquigas: Enrico Gasparotto, Vladimir Miholjevic, Devis Miorin, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè, Marco Righetto, Gianluca Sironi, Charles Wegelius.

Sun Tour field announced

Australian stage race the Jayco-Herald Sun Tour, starting October 9, has an increased overseas contingent this year, with international riders making up half the peloton.

Given the record number the internationals, it looks likely that invited riders will continue the domination of the Tour that has seen them claim 16 of the last 18 titles. With the start lists now available, a total of 144 riders will participate in this year's Tour, including a record of 72 internationals representing 16 countries.

Last year's winner Jonas Ljungblad from Sweden returns, with a full line-up from the Italian Amore & Vita squad ensuring the versatile Swede will be difficult to beat.

American Danny Pate is another pre-race favourite and will join last year's third place rider Ben Brooks (NSW) in the Jelly Belly - Pool Gel team. Pate is searching to become the seventh American to win the Tour.

The Australian assault will be led by 2002 winner Baden Cooke, Athens Olympic gold medallist Brett Lancaster and 2005 Tour de France debutant Simon Gerrans. All three grew up in country Victoria and have watched countless editions of the ‘Sun Tour' pass through their town as they developed their passion for the bikes.

Cooke grew up in Benella and is keen to recapture the form that took him the Tour de France sprint title in 2003. He won't have his FDJ teammate Brad McGee for company, the 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist unable to ride due to a back injury.

Lancaster still calls Shepparton home and will be looking to take out Stage Three when it gallops into town next week. The 25 year-old was a member of the Australian teams pursuit outfit that won gold in Athens and early this year he won the prologue and wore the pink leaders jersey at the Giro d'Italia.

Gerrans grew up in Jamieson in the Victorian high country and had Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson as a neighbour. Gerrans won the stage into Mansfield last year and went on to reach the podium during a mountain stage of this year's Tour de France, his debut Tour.

The full team list includes: Amore & Vita, FDJ, AG2r Prevoyance, Ireland (national team), Japan presented by Latrobe City, Shimano, Bridgestone Anchor, Jelly Belly - Pool Gel, Australia (national team), Colnago - Caravello, Savings and Loans, HLP/Superstore, VIS Jayco, Cyclingnews.com - Fondriest, MG Xpower presented by BigPond, Davitamon - Lotto, Netherlands (national team), Recycling.co.uk/Litespeed.

Signed jerseys up for fundraiser

Following the death of Allan Butler in Las Vegas three days ago, several pros have stepped up to help his family in their time of need by way of an Ebay auction to raise money, Ryan Barrett of the Healthy Choice-Goble Knee Clinic Cycling Team announced. Levi Leipheimer donated a signed Gerolsteiner jersey, a signed jersey from Ivan Basso and Dave Zabriskie is available, as well as a Tour of the Gila Leaders Jersey signed by Burke Swindlehurst and a Jeff Louder signed Navigators Insurance Team jersey. Hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Allan's wife, Jenny and their nine-month old baby Odessa.

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