First Edition Cycling News for September 21, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke
World's opens - without Verbruggen
By Hernan Alvarez Macias
The world championships was formally opened in Madrid, Spain yesterday, but UCI president Hein Verbruggen and most of the UCI management missed the ceremony after flying to Geneva on Monday for a meeting.
Madrid's mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon was there to welcome the teams from 54 countries on behalf of the host city. "We want to do the greatest world championships in history," said Ruiz Gallardon.
"Cycling is in perfect health in Spain. We want to demonstrate the organisational capacity for this kind of event," said the mayor, adding that he wanted to thank the UCI for the trust it had put in the city of Madrid.
That sentiment may be an olive branch toward the UCI after the disputes of the last few days. Last week the Spanish cycling federation initiated legal action over the UCI presidential election which was due to be held during the world championships. The political and legal wrangling over the UCI presidential succession threatens to taint these world championships.
The president of the organising committee Ignacio Ayuso also thanked all the riders and authorities who have come to Spain for the championships. The ceremony featured the flags of all the 54 nations that will take part in these world's.
Spanish federation explains
By Hernan Alvarez Macias
Fulgencio Sanchez Montesinos, the president of the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) has explained the legal action his organisation has taken over the UCI presidential elections, which causes most of the UCI management committee to leave Madrid on Monday.
Sanchez Montesinos said he was puzzled by the UCI's abrupt departure. "I can't understand the reason," he told Cyclingnews. "Mr. Verbruggen is free to change the plans of the management committee. [The meetings were] scheduled to take place here and he thought it was opportune to change it; it's his problem. We actually didn't do anything at all for his change of plans."
However, Sanchez Montesinos conceded that the RFEC's action in a Swiss court on Friday might have something to do with it. The RFEC presented a judicial petition to the court to have UCI president Hein Verbruggen prevented from running the meeting that will elect his successor, on the grounds that Verbruggen is not a neutral party. A decision is expected today.
"I guess that could be the reason," said Sanchez Montesinos. "But in this case the Spanish Federation is doing its duty. There is a Spaniard candidate [Gregorio Moreno] who is standing [for UCI president] with our approval... Maybe what we did wrong was to allow a Spanish candidate to stand for president of the UCI. We asked for information about the electoral process. As there were no answers, we logically used the law to keep on demanding that information. And there's no other reason."
So what will happen now with the Friday meeting that was supposed to select a new UCI president? "We don't know," said Sanchez Montesinos, "because actually we don't have any news about how things will go at that meeting because there are no electoral rules, there is nothing that allows us to know what we will do. Apparently, there will be a congress with the main purpose of the presidential elections among the candidates. We don't know how that congress will be held. There must be a neutral person in charge of the congress."
Fulgencio Sanchez said the UCI committee's departure would not affect the event. "The stampede will not affect the world championships," he told Reuters. But the UCI elections are a different matter. "I wouldn't be surprised if the congress didn't even take place in Madrid," he added.
"It seems that there is a terrible fear of this person [UCI president Hein Verbruggen], but I'm not afraid of him. They have been surprised that I have dared challenge him ... I've no fear whatsoever of any reprisals that will be taken against the RFEC or Spanish cycling."
Spain regrets Freire's absence
World championships host nation Spain has always been a serious contender for the win in the men's road race, but this year national coach Francisco Antequera concedes that its chances are limited because of the absence of triple champion Oscar Freire and doubts over the form of 2003 world's runner-up Alejandro Valverde.
"With Oscar it would be easier because on a course with these characteristics he is faster than anyone and would have done well," Antequera told As. "The team that we have is not one for a mass finish, so we must look for another solution," he added.
What would suit Antequera and Spain is race that splits up, allowing his three team leaders, Valverde, Igor Astarloa and Juan Antonio Flecha a chance to escape. "In principle the three leaders of the team ... are going to have the same opportunities, but everything will depend on the type of race that unfolds. If everyone arrives together, Petacchi will take it easily."
Antequera said that Alejandro Valverde is "the great unknown quantity because we do not know his physical state. We will not know until the race. Alejandro has been training like never before and has done sessions of seven or eight hours of high intensity behind a car. If he turns up in good form he will be dangerous."
Longo wants a world championships start
French veteran Jeannie Longo has initiated legal action against the French cycling federation after her non-selection for the French team at the world championships. Longo, 46, alleges that she is being discriminated against because of her age and should have a place in today's time trial. France's two spots in the race against the clock were allocated to national TT champion Edwige Pitel (38) and Marina Jaunatre (23) who was third behind Longo in the national championships in June.
"This is discrimination in hiring, a subject that the government has things to say about," Longo told AFP. "Competence should be the criterion for the race, and age should not matter."
Longo said she was "injured", "disappointed", "humiliated" by her non-selection and added that she had been training hard for the time trial. "I have built power; I trained on the track; I rode my time trial bike as much as possible," she said.
However, the chairman of the French Cycling Federation, Jean Pitallier, doesn't believe Longo deserves a spot. "Her results don't justify a place in the team. The possibility of her returning to the team is out of the question."
When the French team was announced, national technical director Patrick Cluzaud told L'Equipe, "We preferred to play the youth card; our role is also to prepare the future."
Pitallier added that he was disappointed with Longo's attitude. "It's a pity that such a champion wouldn't display a little more sporting behaviour," he said.
2008 world's decision delayed
A decision over the location of the 2008 world championships is expected to be made in the next day in Geneva, Switzerland, where among the many candidates Valkenburg and Heerlen have put their case forward. The decision and subsequent announcement has been delayed due to the ongoing feud between the UCI and grand tour organisers over participation in the Pro Tour.
Brown to Rabobank
Rabobank has signed Australian sprinter Graeme Brown for next season. The 26-year-old dual Olympic gold medallist has signed for one year, coming from Italian squad Ceramica Panaria. Brown has been riding for the Italian squad for four years, and in 2005 posted five stage wins - all coming at the Tour de Langkawi.
Team manager Theo the Rooij said, "We think Graeme Brown is a sprinter that hasn't found his best yet. We'll arrange for Graeme to start slowly within the team, and gradually build up as a rider for the future through a good programme."
Lefevere threatens grand tour boycott
Patrick Lefevere, chairman of the association of pro cycling teams and manager of the Quick.Step team, has spoken strongly in Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws about the possible withdrawal of the grand tours - the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana - from the ProTour.
Lefevere believes the grand tours must continue to be part of the ProTour. "The teams paid for the ProTour. You don't buy something only to open it and found it's half gone," he said.
"Perhaps we should boycott Paris-Tours or the Tour of Lombardy. Then we'll hit the Tour and Giro organisers hard. Or maybe we could stay out of Milan-San Remo for two years, how big would the race be then?"
Lefevere believes that keeping teams away from the grand tours, and sending them to smaller races instead may force grand tour organisers to rethink their stance. "If we direct our riders towards the races in Germany or Poland instead of the grand tours, would they let that happen? If they [the grand tour organisers] don't accommodate our wishes, who says they will exist five years from now?"
Rabobank to investigate Sutherland
The board of directors of the Rabobank cycling teams has given the go ahead for an independent investigation to the possible causes and circumstances that led to a positive A-sample in a UCI doping test of Rory Sutherland during the Deutschland Tour last month.
In order to monitor both the quality and independence of the investigation, the board of directors has requested the independent advisory board of the Rabobank cycling teams to guide the investigation and take responsibility for the final report and its conclusions. The board expects to release the composition of the investigation committee shortly.
Rabobank for upcoming races
The Rabobank team has announced its line-up for three races over the next couple of weeks.
For the Delta Profronde Van Midden-Zeeland (Netherlands, September 24) the team will field Steven de Jongh, Roy Sentjens, Maarten den Bakker, Ronald Mutsaars, Theo Eltink, Jan Boven, and Thorwald Veneberg under directeur sportif Adri van Houwelingen.
For the Circuit Franco-Belge (France and Belgium, September 29 to October 2), the team will field Erik Dekker, Jan Boven, Steven de Jongh, Maarten den Bakker, Mathew Hayman, Roy Sentjens, Thorwald Veneberg, Pedro Horrillo under directeur sportif Frans Maassen. Ronald Mutsaars, and Remmert Wielinga will be reserves.
For the first of October's three remaining rounds of the ProTour, the Züri Metzgete (Switzerland, October 2) the team will field Michael Boogerd, Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Bram de Groot, Grischa Niermann, Joost Posthuma, Pieter Weening and one more rider to be announced later. Erik Breukink will fill the directeur sportif's role and Thorwald Veneberg will be the reserve.
Half a million for the Davis Phinney Foundation
Filmmaker Scott Coady and fi'zi:k's Suzette Ayotte teamed up to produce 'An evening with Davis Phinney and friends - dinner with the pros' to raise over $25,000 for the Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF). A kick-off to the Barclay Global Investor's San Francisco Grand Prix, the benefit dinner sold out in four days and featured two-time Tour de France stage winner guest of honour Davis Phinney.
Local resident, cycling enthusiast and Oscar winner, Robin Williams made a guest appearance, adding to the 'celebrity quality' of the night. He donated his signed Griffin bike, netting $4500 for the Foundation. OLN Tour de France commentator Bob Roll donated a signed jersey to raise $500. Other guests included Ron Kiefel, Steve Hegg, Thomas Prehn, Kurt Stockton, Wayne Stetina and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, Connie Carpenter, Phinney's wife.
Phinney was grateful for the contributions of all to the night's success, saying, "San Francisco cycling fans, the bike industry, the teams, my friends and colleagues, Robin Williams and everyone who contributed to the success of this event heeded the call. I'm confident we're making progress with each of these victories." To learn more about the Davis Phinney Foundation or how to contribute, please visit their website at www.davisphinneyfoundation.org.
Spike pro track team created
Looking to return professional track cycling to former glory days, Biotest Laboratories has announced its sponsorship of a professional track team with the creation of the Spike Professional Cycling Team.
The Spike Pro Track team, consisting of eight of America's top male and female track cyclists, will target the USA Cycling National Track Series, USA Cycling national track championships, USA Cycling world cup qualifier events and select World Cup track events, according to team director Bill Ramsay.
"This is an historic day for US cycling and for this team," said Ramsay. "The quality of athletes and staff combined with the commitment of Spike to the program ensures that this team will achieve great results." In relation to their role in American cycling, Ramsay said, "I believe we are uniquely positioned to take track racing to the professional level in the United States."
In addition to the pro track team, Spike will be sponsoring the elite Cody Racing masters team. The new Spike masters team will contest Colorado road and track events as well as USA Cycling road, track and cyclocross national championships in 2006.
U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame 2005
The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame has announced its 'Class of 2005' inductees. Named this year are William Spencer in the veteran competitors category; Oliver "Butch" Martin in the modern post 1945 competitor category; Ron Skarin in the modern post 1975 competitor category; Greg Hill in the BMX category; Juliana Furtado in the MTB category; Michael Aisner in the contributor category and Pierre Lallement in the contributor category.
The induction ceremony will take place at a dinner event on Friday, October 14, 2005 at the Bridgewater Marriott, 700 Commons Way, Bridgewater, New Jersey, beginning with a cocktail hour at 6:00pm followed by the dinner and induction ceremony at 7:00pm. Tickets for the dinner and ceremony are $85 per person and are available by calling the Hall of Fame at 732-356-7016.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)