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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for October 11, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Grand Tours may reduce racing days

The president of the International association of cycling race organisers (AIOCC) and Sports Director of Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic, Victor Cordero, has stated that the Organisers of the Grand Tours would be willing to discuss a shortening of their races in the context of current discussions surrounding the future of the ProTour.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper AS, Cordero explained that one way to fulfil the ProTour's initial aim ['The best riders of the best teams to the best races'], was the cutting down of race days in the three Grand Tours. "Manolo Saiz proposed the obligation of riding a certain number of days, but that was ruled out," Cordero said. "All sports oblige their participants to compete a minimum. We know that another way is to reduce the days of the Grand Tours. We would be willing to discuss the reduction of racing days, but it shouldn't serve to race criteriums and the like."

Cordero continued by exposing the "promotion calendar" - a possible framework of exchange between the ProTour and the European Continental Circuit. "The ProTour Council had a good idea with what he called the promotion calendar, which could be created in 2007. It would include race like the Vuelta a Burgos, the Bicicleta Vasca, the Critérium International - great races that aren't in the ProTour. Only the best teams of this calendar could aspire to participate in the big races," the Spaniard added, also saying that the ProTour race organisers should have more wildcards to give to second-level squads, which made necessary the reduction of the number of ProTeams.

"So that the remainder of cycling can subsist, the number of licences must be reduced to 18 teams," Cordero continued. "We would have four wildcards and could give one of them to the best team of the second calendar, but this one has to be clarified. There is an enormous confusion of teams and races on the second level. The worst teams of the European circuit are still better than the best of the other continents," he concluded, specifying that this did not include South-African Team Barloworld, which should "reconsider its license."

Rogers and Cancellara gearing up for World champ's revenge

By Jean-François Quénet

Rogers, Cancellara and Gutierrez on the podium in Madrid
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

After the cancellation of the legendary Grand Prix des Nations, there aren't many individual time trials left on the UCI calendar, although there is a team time trial in the ProTour. The Chrono des Herbiers is set to become the Chrono des Nations next year, still held in the Vendée area where the Tour de France took shape this year. It will be organised in partnership with Tour de France organiser ASO but run by the same local committee created 23 years ago by Christian Tessier, who is still the president. The first winner of the race back in 1982 was Englishman Gary Dowdell, whose pupil Tom Southam, currently racing for Barloworld, will be one of the 24 professionals lined up on Sunday for the 24th edition of the event.

It will be no less than the revenge of the World championship between Gold and Bronze medallists Michael Rogers and Fabian Cancellara. The Australian and the Swiss started their career together at Mapei and attended the Chrono des Herbiers as neo-pros in 2001. They'll be back for a new challenge. Since they aren't doing the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday, both target the French time trial. Their main opponents will be Russian ITT champion Vladimir Gusev of CSC who run second last year to Bert Roesems, Sebastian Lang of Gerolsteiner who came 8th at the World's this year, and Czech ITT champion Ondrej Sosenka of Aqua & Sapone who is the new world hour record holder since July (49.7km).

Other contenders will be Italian champion Marco Pinotti, Latvian champion Raivis Belohvosciks, Kazakh champion Dimitri Muravyev, Australian specialist Ben Day, young Belgians Philippe Gilbert and Olivier Kaisen, as well as Frenchmen Frédéric Finot, Sébastien Hinault, Nicolas Fritsch, Emilien-Benoît Bergès, Julien Mazet, Lilian Jégou, Franck Bouyer, Christophe Kern, Sébastien Duret and David Le Lay.

The Chrono des Herbiers is known as being the unofficial "road hour record". The actual record man of the 48.150 km race is Swiss rider Jean Nüttli who scored 59 minutes and 45 seconds in 2001.

McEwen extends with Davitamon

Top sprinter Robbie McEwen has extended his current contract with Belgian team Davitamon-Lotto for another two years. The existing agreement between the two saw the Australian with the team until 2006; now McEwen is committed to Marc Sergeant's squad until 2008.

"I'm very happy with it," said McEwen, who is on his way back to Australia with his pregnant wife Angelique and son Ewan today. "In 2008, I'm 36 and then we'll see. I know what I've got with this team and they, too, know very well what they've got with me. The contract of my friend Nick Gates was also opened to 2008, and Henk Vogels could extend his too. It's perfect!"

Possible hand fracture for Paolini

Luca Paolini (Quick.Step), who did not finish Sunday's Paris-Tours because of a crash, might well have broken the scaphoid bone of his right hand, but first x-ray examinations in Varese, Italy, were inconclusive. "I don't know if the scaphoid is broken," Paolini told Italian Tuttibiciweb. "But it sure does hurt a lot and the pain is the same as when I broke it a year ago."

Nevertheless, the Italian will continue to train for the upcoming Giro di Lombardia. "I will train again tomorrow with a special bandage on, as I would really regret it if I couldn't ride my last race with Quick.Step, which is also and above all my last race at the sides of Paolo Bettini," he explained. "On Thursday, I will undergo x-rays again and hope to be at the start at the Giro di Lombardia."

Godefroot renounces

According to Belgian radio Sporza, the retired manager of T-Mobile Walter Godefroot has declined wanting to become the next national coach of the Belgian cycling federation. "I've heard all the time how José De Cauwer worked very hard, and I just can't live up to that at the moment," Godefroot said. "After 40 years, I've seen enough of the cycling sport. Of course, I will still be in contact with T-Mobile, if the team directors Mario Kummer and Olaf Ludwig ask me for my opinion."

Former national coach De Cauwer, who is currently incriminated in a court case, will be a part of the Davitamon-Lotto squad next season.

Vuelta a Guatemala cancelled

Because of the heavy rainfalls that hurricane Stan shed across Central America, provoking floods and mudslides which killed thousands of people and destroyed local infrastructure, the 67th edition of the Vuelta Ciclista a Guatemala has been officially cancelled. The biggest stage race of the country was scheduled to take place from October 20-November 1, 2005, but more than 1,400 kilometres of roads in the South and West coast of the country were severely damaged, including the regions where the road race was supposed to take place. Officials said that the Vuelta needed to wait until those roads were repaired, possibly until 2006.

Hurricane Stan was also the reason for the cancellation of the last stage of the Vuelta Ciclista Femenina a El Salvador. Prior to this natural catastrophe, the women's stage race was confronted with the eruption of a volcano.

Registration still open for 24 Hours Of Moab

Coming up on the MTB calendar is the 24 Hours Of Moab, the biggest 24-hour mountain bike race in the United States, scheduled for Saturday, October 15, from noon until noon. Participants will ride as members of a team or in the grueling solo category, a full 24 hours in Behind-the-Rocks, Moab, Utah.

Registration is still open until midnight (EST) on Wednesday, and walk-ups can register Thursday and Friday at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC). The course is set in a red rock desert, featuring big-chainring descents, technical old jeep trail, and 1,360 feet of climbing per 14.9 mile lap. The cash and prize list of the event tops $100,000 in value.

To find out more on the 24 Hours Of Moab, please go to

Giro di Brisbane at Italian festival

Queensland, Australia, will have a new criterium next month when the Brisbane Abruzzo Club hosts "Italy 2005" on Sunday, November 13. Apart from the fine food, wine and other festivities which make up Italian culture promoted that day, a 60 minute cycling Criterium - the Giro di Brisbane - will pit the talents of Queensland’s top cyclists against some of Australia’s best riders.

CEO of Cycling Queensland, Wendy Sanders, said the Criterium would be a fantastic addition to the day’s celebrations. "It’s going to be a very hotly contested race which will give spectators a chance to see some of Australia’s best cyclists competing," Sanders said, adding that she was delighted to finally receive permission from the police and Brisbane City Council following six months of negotiations regarding where the race would take place.

The Criterium will begin at 3:50 p.m. from the Brisbane Abruzzo Club with the 85 competitors completing a circuit course which winds through Fursden Road, Ellen Street, Kate Street, Preston Street and turns on Meadowlands Road. "Italy 2005" festivities will commence from 10 a.m.

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