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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for October 18, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

An interview with Nicolas Roche: Back in green and happy with year one

Wolf and cub...
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

The 2005 peloton includes quite a few riders with famous family names. Axel Merckx, Frank Vandenbroucke, Kevin Van Impe and Hervé Duclos-Lassalle are some of those, and so too Nicolas Roche, son of the Irishman who in 1987 won the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and World road race championships in one season. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes caught up with Roche after re-declaring for Ireland to get a verdict on 2005 and his plans for 2006.

Living up to his father Stephen's achievements was always going to be a difficult task. However, much as Axel Merckx did years earlier, Roche Junior nevertheless decided to give up soccer and concentrate on the sport which made his father a household name. That comes with both advantages and disadvantages: he's guaranteed more attention than many other young riders, but also faces more pressure and the weight of expectation. He has taken it in his stride, though, riding well over the past few years.

In 2004 he had a consistent stream of placings in France plus a bronze medal in the Irish road race championship; this earned him a stage with the Cofidis team, the trial turning into a two year pro deal when he netted a tenth place in the GP d'Isbergues.

Heading into the 2005 season, Roche was just 20 years of age and the youngest rider on the team. But he quickly got into his stride, riding well in the season-starting Etoile de Bessèges. He was away during a long breakaway on stage 2, and then helped set his team-mate Jimmy Casper up for a final-day victory by going on the attack inside the final ten kilometres of the last stage.

Click here for the full interview.

Di Luca renews for two years

After a successful 2005, Danilo Di Luca will stay with Liquigas until the end of 2007. The winner of the inaugural Pro Tour title confirmed his status with the squad yesterday afternoon in Milan, along with president of Liquigas Paolo Zani, director-elect and president of Liquigas Sport Paolo Dal Lago, and Liquigas-Bianchi team manager, Roberto Amadio.

Di Luca said, "In Liquigas-Bianchi I've found the ideal technical conditions and atmosphere, which means that this year, I've had the best season of my career. Staying in this team means I will be able to throw myself into new goals, first of which will be the Giro d'Italia."

Crocodile Trophy: Aussie underdog Hansen takes on world cup champion

By John Flynn

Adam Hansen crosses the finish line in the final stage of the 2004 Croc Trophy
Photo ©: Mark Watson
Click for larger image

He may be the reigning Crocodile Trophy champion but Australian Adam Hansen will go into the 13-day mountain bike stage race - considered one of the world's hardest MTB races - with ‘Aussie underdog’ status, when the 2005 event gets underway in Townsville, North Queensland today.

Hansen will once again lead the will lead the Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort team. Attending yesterday’s pre-race briefing, he was matter of fact about his intentions in 2005, despite the fact he will be up against UCI World Cup Marathon Cross Country Champion, Mauro Bettin of Italy, who will head the rival Felt-Shimano Dream Team.

“I didn’t come here to get second,” Hansen told Cyclingnews. “I’m aiming to win it, but it will be harder than last year.”

The 24 year old Australian, who had what he described as a “terrible year” racing in Europe with the Austrian based Elk Haus road team in 2005, is desperate to finish the year on a positive note. To help the cause, Hansen has brought with him two team-mates from Austria, including the well credentialed Stefan Rucker, who alongside Australian Joe McDonnell will be key supports.

Click here for the full preview & schedule.

CSC and Phonak happy with ProTour team rankings

While Danilo Di Luca was crowned inaugural king of the ProTour after Saturday's final race in the series, the Giro di Lombardia, the two squads that landed first and second place in the teams competition, CSC and Phonak, have also pronounced themselves very satisfied with their results for the season.

Trophies were awarded at a gala dinner after Lombardia, and CSC team manager Bjarne Riis collected the team trophy with many of his riders. "It's very satisfying to win the team prize because we pride ourselves on racing as a team throughout the season," Riis said. "We won some important UCI ProTour races such as Paris-Nice and the Eneco Tour but won the team prize because in each race our riders rode consistently well. We deserved this prize and will be trying to win it again in 2006."

Riis has no intention of resting on his - or rather his team's - laurels. "It has always been our ambition to be the world's greatest team, but not just in points and rankings. We have done things our own way and this has proven to work extremely well. I have never doubted the fact that the results would follow. We have a unique thing here and it is part of our way of thinking that you should always continue to improve. Of course we should be proud of what we have achieved, but at the same time it should also heighten our motivation even further for the tasks ahead," he said.

Phonak manager John Lelangue was also happy with his team's second place. "The goal at the beginning of the season was to be one of the top five teams. That there is only one team that is better than us in the final tally is much more than we could have hoped for," said Lelangue.

Lelangue said he believed his team had performed well in part because it had taken the wishes of the riders into account. "We are convinced that a pro can give his best when he's competing in races that appeal to him," he said, adding that riders had been consulted about the races they preferred and their wishes were taken into consideration as much as possible.

Rabobank hopes for three more years of Rasmussen

Tour de France King of the mountains Michael Rasmussen has yet to renew his contract with Netherlands team Rabobank, but team manager Theo de Rooij is hoping to secure the services of the fast-climbing Dane through to 2008, according to De Telegraaf. Rabobank and Rasmussen are expected to finalise the details this week.

Rasmussen was Rabobank's most successful rider in 2005, almost making the Tour de France podium but for a disastrous time trial on the penultimate day. By that time, however, the polka-dot jersey of king of the mountains was securely on his back.

Klostergaard to CSC

Kasper Klostergaard will begin his professional career with CSC, the 22-year-old Dane having been part of the team on a trial basis for the latter part of this season. His performances during this time convinced CSC's sports directors that the rider from Danish Continental team Glud & Marstrand has the potential to begin time in the pro ranks next year.

"I'm extremely happy that my dream of becoming a professional rider is now coming true. It has been a great experience to ride on the team as a stagiare, and of course I'm glad that I've done well enough to get an actual contract. This will give me the opportunity to evolve and become part of a fantastic team," said Klostergaard.

Team director Bjarne Riis was positive about the young rider's potential, saying, "Kasper has been very convincing during his trial period, and there's no doubt he has great potential. We feel that we have the right environment for his young talents and it'll be very exciting to follow him in the next few years."

ENECO Tour criticised

At a recent meeting of the professional cyclists' association, the CPA, the organisation levelled some strong criticism at the ENECO Tour of Belgium and the Netherlands. The race was marred by safety and organisational issues, in particular relating to the shortness of some of its circuits. The CPA has proposed that for 2006 ProTour circuits should not be shorter than 10km, and has also suggested that some of this year's stage races were too long. The ENECO Tour and the Tours of Germany and Poland should be shortened to five or six days, the organisation has suggested.

Cyclist dies after crash in Norfolk

30-year-old Zak Carr, of Attleborough, UK, has died after being hit by a car on the A11 dual carriageway in Norfolk. Carr was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following the crash, but died soon after. The crash occurred on the northbound carriageway of the trunk road between Wymondham and the Thickthorn roundabout at about 7:30am BST.

Carr, well known in the cycling community for his records and championships in time trials and on the track, was also starting to make his mark racing for Great Britain as a pilot for disabled athletes, and was planning to compete at the 2008 Paralympics. Dave Mellor, team manager at the recent European championships in Holland, said of Carr's death, "I know he was enjoying his time with us, as we were enjoying our time with him. Fate has decided that this period has been very short but we will remember this time fondly and will try and carry on Zak's infectious enthusiasm for all things cycling."

Everyone at Cyclingnews would like to extend our sincere condolences to Carr's partner Bev, and his family and friends.

NZ road cycling championships start Thursday

The 2005 Lion Foundation New Zealand road cycling championships begin on Thursday in the Manawatu. The start and finish of all races is in the small town of Ashhurst, 12km from Palmerston North; interest in the event has been strong, with 552 riders entering races over the weekend.

The first event of the championships is the under 15 girls time trial, starting at 9.00am on Thursday, with the senior women due to start at approximately 1.30pm and senior men at 3.25pm. Riders to watch out for in the time trial events include 2002/03 time trial champion Gordon MacCauley in the senior men and in the senior women former champions Dale Tye and Melisa Holt - and of course Sarah Ulmer.

Friday is the start of the road races, with the under 15 boys and girls, under 19 men and women, under 17 girls and veteran 1, 6 and 7 men. Saturday's events are the veteran 2,3,4 and 5 men's races, veteran 1 and 2 women, AWD (Athletes with Disabilities) men and hand bikes, with the senior women's road race due to start at 1.15pm.

The final events are on Sunday, with the under 17 men's road race at 9.00am and the under 23 and open men racing at 10.45am.

Nebraska Cyclo-Cross Series begins Saturday in Omaha

The Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series begins its sixth year this weekend with two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23 at Standing Bear Lake in west Omaha. Over six races, with later rounds in Lincoln and Raymond, the 2005 series will award $700 in cash prizes at each event and offer a separate women's event and the addition of a singlespeed race category.

Racing begins at 12:00pm on Saturday with the women's race at 12:45pm and the men's "A" event at 3:00pm. Sunday's races kick-off at 10:00a.m.with the women's race at 10:45a.m. and the men's "A" event at 12:30p.m. The complete race schedule and other race information is available at

Registration for the Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series is available on-site at Standing Bear Lake for both Saturday and Sunday as well as online at

Roswell Velo seeks under-23 category 3 riders

Roswell Velo, the club behind the A.G. Edwards and TravelGirl Cycling teams, is looking for under-23 Cat 3 riders for its men's Cat 3 team. Riders must meet the following requirements:

Qualify for U-23 status for 2006 racing season
Experienced Cat 3 with at least a partial season racing at the Cat 3 level
Proven Performer with consistently high finishes.
Display rapid growth from Cat 5, to Cat 4, to Cat 3
Desire to "Cat-up" to the next level and race at the P/1/2 level
Willingness to race at least 15 weekends in 2006
Willingness to put the "Team" ahead of individual goals
Atlanta metro area based (special exceptions may be made for riders outside the area)
Ability to travel to at least one stage race

Riders interested can find more details at Resumes can be sent to Michael Johnson at

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