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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for October 5, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan and Les Clarke

Cooke confirmed for Unibet

The current MrBookmaker.com team, to be renamed Unibet.com in 2006, has confirmed the signing of Australian rider Baden Cooke for two years. The 26 year-old Cooke has been a professional since 2000, riding with US team Mercury before moving to Francaise des Jeux, but after a stellar 2003, the last two seasons have been lean for Cooke, his only highlight being his first stage win last month's Tour of Poland. Cooke came to prominence after winning the green jersey at the Centenary Tour the France and has a total of 55 career victories. The sprinter from Benalla, Victoria, brings countryman Matthew Wilson to the squad. Team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren believes the addition of Cooke to the squad will help their chances of riding ProTour events, in particular the Tour de France.

Vasseur to Quick.Step

French rider Cédric Vasseur will ride for the Quick.Step team in 2006 after signing a one year contract on Tuesday. Vasseur will begin his 13th season as a professional with Patrick Lefevere's squad after spending the last four seasons with French outfit Cofidis. Vasseur's adamant the year-long deal doesn't mean he'll be retiring at the end of next year, saying: "It's not the intention that this will become my last season. I haven't ridden many races this year and I have plenty in reserve."

Sutton joins O'Grady & White at Sony Ericsson

Joining compatriots Stuart O'Grady and Matthew White at Giancarlo Ferretti's new team in 2006 will be New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) cyclist Chris Sutton. In March this year, Sutton was offered a place at Cofidis, however the opportunity to ride with one of his long time idols in O'Grady was an important part of his decision to join Sony Ericsson.

"Chris has always looked up to riders like Bradley McGee and Stuart O'Grady. The chance to be part of the team which included Stuart played a big part in the decision he made," said Chris' father Gary Sutton, who is also the head coach of the NSWIS cycling program.

"This is a great opportunity for Chris to develop as a rider. During his career so far, he has been fortunate to have had the support of Bradley and Rodney McGee at the McGee-NSWIS Cycling Program, and recently Brian Stephens in the AIS U23 road program. He will now be working with Giancarlo Ferretti at Sony Ericsson which is fantastic," he said.

Chris Sutton's deal comes on the back of what has been an outstanding 2005 season. He was crowned the Australian U23 men's road race champion at the start of this year before joining Brian Stephens and the AIS squad in Europe. He went on to become the first Australian to win the prestigious Gran Premio Liberazione race in Italy and last month finished fifth in the U23 men's road race at the world championships in Spain.

Sutton is the second athlete from the McGee-NSWIS Cycling squad to sign a professional contract with a European team, with Mark Renshaw joining Francaise des Jeux at the end of 2003. The McGee-NSWIS Cycling squad was established by current NSWIS scholarship holder and Tour de France rider Bradley McGee in 2002. Funded by McGee, the program aims to develop talented young Australian riders to compete on the lucrative European road racing circuit.

Cunego favourite for Coppa Sabatini

Final preparations for this weekend's 53rd edition of the Coppa Sabatini are taking place in Peccioli. Race favourite Damiano Cunego goes into the race with a solid though not spectacular 2005, with a stage win at the Tour de Romandie and victories at the GP Nobili Rubinetterie Trofeo Melinda. He won't have it easy, however, with Italian champion Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas) out to take a late-season win, as will Fassa Bortolo rider Paolo Bossoni, who won the race in 2003. Lorenzo Bernucci, fresh from his third place at last Sunday's Championship of Zurich, also has the legs to stand on the podium in this race, with South African national champion Ryan Cox also making an appearance among a quality field.

The complete team list for Sunday's race: Fassa Bortolo, Lampre Caffita, Liquigas Bianchi, Domina Vacanze, Saunier Duval Prodir, Team LPR, Miche, Ceramica Flaminia, Androni Giocattoli, Universal Caffè, Team Barloworld, Tenax Nobili Rubinetterie, Naturino Sapore di Mare, Acqua & Sapone.

Recycling.co.uk/Litespeed to Australia

After a very successful 2005 season, Britain's top pro team Recycling.co.uk/Litespeed are to finish their road season off with the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the Melbourne to Warrnambool classic and Tour of Queensland.

The team for the races consists of: team captain Russell Downing (2005 British Road Champion - 2005), Dean Downing (yellow jersey holder for three days at the 2004 Herald Sun Tour), Ben Greenwood (2005 U23 British Road and TT Champion - 2005), Evan Oliphant (2005 Scottish Road Champion - 2005) and Shaun Snodden (British Cyclocross Champion - 2005). Guest riders for the team are British rider Kristian House, Scot Jason McIntyre and Australian Rhys Pollock

With Greenwood just returning from the world's in Madrid and in form after taking the season-long U23 road series, Oliphant starting his preparation for next year's Commonwealth games, and the Downing brothers fresh out of the British Track championships, the team will be looking to get some results to end their season on a high.

Crank Brothers Cyclocross series announced

With its six stops around the country, organizers of the 2005 Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross claim to have created a series encompassing the variety available in American cyclocross courses, utilizing the natural resources and traditions of each region's 'cross scene.

Starting with the October 8-9 weekend in Portland, OR and Tacoma, WA, respectively, U.S. Gran Prix racers will likely get a face full of what makes Northwest 'cross: mud and plenty of it. A hub of the pacific Northwest's biggest 'cross races, the Alpenrose Dairy in the heart of downtown Portland will host the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic for the second consecutive year. While the course is mostly flat, a leg breaking 20-meter run-up combined with the dependably mucky conditions will give racers all the elevation change they can handle. The following day, Fort Steilacoom Park in Tacoma will boast an even burlier run-up - the Kona Knapp Time Run-Up - but may leave out the mud. The 80-meter run-up never fails to separate the truly fit from the hangers on, especially a day after the plodding around in the mud in Portland.

With back-to-back days at the seaside Stage Fort Park, the Michelob ULTRA Gran Prix of Gloucester races, October 29-30, offer wide open and fast East Coast racing. High speeds and big gears rule the racing in the sandy paths and grassy fields of Stage Fort Park, with victory often going to the strong riders willing to take chances through the course's multitude of twists and turns. The deceptively grinding uphill paved section to the finish never fails to provide a thrilling sprint.

Harkening back to the NorCal tradition of "Jungle 'Cross" the Surf City Cyclocross in Watsonville, November 19, will initiate a new generation to the wonders of cyclocross Cali style. Run at the Watsonville Fairgrounds, a site which has hosted 'cross races for nearly 30 years, the off beat Surf City U.S. Gran Prix stop will likely be the hilliest of the series, with undulating terrain change the defining feature. The final race of the series, the Clark Natwick Gran Prix, November 20, brings the U.S. Gran Prix to the world famous grounds of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The urban park flavor of the historic site will add yet another twist to the series. Following in the steps of the hugely popular 1999 U.S. National Championships in San Francisco's Presidio Park, the Natwick GP will use Golden Gate Park's meandering trails and paths around which thousands of rabid Bay Area 'cross fans will crowd.

All six races will be held under UCI category and competition regulations. U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series leaders will be recognized at the conclusion of each event with leaders' jerseys. Overall winners in the Elite Men, Elite Women, U-23, and Junior Men categories will receive automatic selection to the World Cyclocross Championships in Zeddam, The Netherlands, January 28-29, 2006. Master 35+ Men will also be ranked.

Schedule for 2005:

Race 1: October 8 - Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic, Alpenrose Dairy, Portland, OR Race 2: October 9 - Rad Racing Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Ft. Steilacoom Park, Tacoma, WA Race 3: October 29- Michelob ULTRA Grand Prix of Gloucester #1, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA Race 4: October 30 -Michelob ULTRA Grand Prix of Gloucester #2, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA Race 5: November 19 - Surf City Cyclocross (30th Anniversary), Watsonville Fairgrounds, Watsonville, CA Race 6: November 20 - Clark Natwick Grand Prix, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

Liberty Seguros' Stateside visit

Liberty united
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Signing autographs
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Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano rolls 'em out
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Last week, Liberty Seguros-Würth team manager Manolo Saiz along with six of his charges travelled Stateside to Boston, Massachusetts, the purpose of the trip to visit the central headquarters of first sponsor Liberty Mutual, to take part in a charity ride and to see their American fans.

On Friday, Saiz took advantage of their proximity to Boston's Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Alberto Contador and Luis León Sanchez spent an intense day of work doing wind tunnel testing, experimenting with new materials and various positions on the bike. Saturday's charity ride, the 'Rodman Ride for Kids', was attended by Contador and Sanchez as well as Joseba Beloki, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and Marcos Serrano, where 3,000 participants got a chance to ride with their Spanish stars, with the funds raised donated to help children in need.

The stay in Boston concluded with a visit to Liberty Mutual's head offices, where the members of the team were warmly received by Liberty Mutual Chairman, President and CEO Ted Kelly and Executive VP Tom Ramey. Both emphasised the sporting successes of the team and the excellent advertising yield the team's presence had given the company throughout the world. The Liberty Seguros-Würth men then said goodbye to the fans of New England with a long session of autographs at the Wheelworks bike shop, considered one of the biggest in the country with an annual invoicing said to be close to 80 million dollars.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Liberty Seguros-Würth

Backstedt to ride the Revolution

2004 Paris-Roubaix champion Magnus Backstedt has confirmed his attendance at the first of this year's Revolution track series on October 15 at the Manchester Velodrome. Although more famous for his exploits on the road, the big, friendly Swede is no stranger to the track, often training at Newport Velodrome when back home in Wales.

Backstedt will be using the event to reacquaint himself with boards of Manchester before taking on the challenge of the Derny-paced hour record on the October 29. On the night, the 30 year-old will be joined by local stars Chris Newton, Rob Hayles and Paul Manning, where they will take part in a host of endurance events including a Elimination Scratch Race, a Points race and the popular 1km Madison Time Trial.

Also confirmed to ride are sprint stars Chris Hoy and Theo Bos, Tuen Mulder and Tim Veldt. Victoria Pendleton, the UK's only reigning female world champion, will also be in attendance riding a special female sprint Omnium.

Tickets are available at www.cyclingrevolution.com, or by calling 0700 594 2579 or the Velodrome on 0161 223 2244 and selecting option 3.

Technocycle BRC/Dynaflo Racing seeks riders for 2006

Technocycle BRC/Dynaflo Racing is looking for two riders for their men's category 1/2 team next year. The team will participate in the Pennsylvania Cycling Association best all around rider series, as well as the following NRC events: Bike Jam/Kelly Cup, Tour of Somerville, Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Tour de Toona, Chris Thater Memorial and the West Chester Twilight Crit.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Maryland residents are preferred, and interested riders should forward a resume to Nick Price at: nick@technocyclebrc.com. Selected riders will be notified by November 30, 2005.

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