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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 5, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan, Ben Abrahams & Greg Johnson

Mancebo breaks with AG2R

By Anthony Tan

Paco Mancebo (AG2R)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

In an official press statement from the team, Francisco Mancebo has formally broken ties with AG2R Prévoyance. The French ProTour team issued a brief, one-sentence statement on Monday evening, stating both parties had reached a common accord.

Cyclingnews' correspondent Antonio J. Salmerón called Mancebo's manager Daniel Plaza today, who confirmed the news, also saying that he's in still in contact with five teams, including Relax-Gam. Given their wildcard invitation to this year's Vuelta a España, the Spanish Pro Continental outfit is a likely destination for 30 year-old Mancebo.

Plaza gave the impression that Relax and Mancebo will sign as soon as possible. Having recently courted compatriot Luis Pérez from Cofidis, 10th overall in the 2006 Vuelta, it appears the Spanish team's ambitions for 2007 have stepped up a notch.

Mancebo was one of 58 cyclists implicated in Operación Puerto, the Spanish investigation that uncovered what appeared to be a well-organised, large scale doping network headed by Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, a former team doctor. Subsequent to his name being mentioned, Mancebo announced his retirement, but after the Spanish cycling federation shelved his file in late October, he indicated his intention to race again.

Hoy confirms plans for world record attempt

By Ben Abrahams

Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Photo ©: John Veage
Click for larger image

The one kilometre time trial may have been scrapped from the 2008 Beijing Olympics but that isn’t stopping current Olympic and world champion Chris Hoy from planning an attempt at the world record in Bolivia next year.

Speaking to Cyclingnews at the recent Track World Cup in Sydney, Hoy acknowledged that plans for the record were still being finalised: "At this early stage we’re just trying to get the funding in place so it’ll probably be mid-May but there’s so many things to sort out. I’m just trying to let my management team sort it out and I’ll focus on the training part."

The high-altitude ‘Velodromo Alto Irpavi’ near Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, has been the setting for numerous records including Arnaud Tournant’s current world best of 58.875 seconds set in October 2001.

Hoy, whose Olympic record of 1.00.711 is the fastest time ever at sea level, believes that if he can recapture his blistering Athens form, then breaking the record is a definite possibility. "All I can really gauge it on is Arnaud’s performances before he broke the world record. He was doing 1.01s at sea level beforehand which I can do as well. But because the track’s on a different level altogether it’s very hard to make comparisons," he said.

"All I know is that if I’m going to break it anywhere then that’s the place to do it," added Hoy. "So all I can do really is try and get myself in the same shape or better than I was in Athens and step up there and just give it everything."

Look out for a full feature on this story later in the week.

Asian Games road race champions crowned

Hong Kong's Wong Kam Po and Japanese rider Mayuko Hagiwara have taken out the men's and women's road race titles at the 2006 Asian Games.

The men's race on Sunday was scheduled to run for 200 kilometres, but due to strong wind gusts up to 65 km/h, the event was cut short to 156 kilometres to protect the safety of the riders. In the final three-man bunch sprint, Mehdi Sohrabi from Iran and Korea's Sung Baek Park finished second and third respectively.

20 year-old Japanese university student Mayuko Hagiwara was a surprise winner in the women's race the following day, held over 113.1 kilometres. Hagiwara won by almost a minute and a half over China's Na Zhao and Korean Song Hee Han.

Compton going for three

The happy winner Katie Compton (Spike/Primus Mootry)
Photo ©: Mark Legg
(Click for larger image)

As the current US national cyclo-cross champion, Katie Compton is arguably the best American female 'cross racer on the circuit. After the final weekend of US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross races in Seattle and Portland, Cyclingnews' Sue George caught up with Compton, who is preparing to defend her title at the upcoming championship race in Providence, Rhode Island.

Well into her second decade of racing, Katie Compton (Spike Professional Team/Primus Mootry) knows what it takes to be successful, and she's looking forward to the US national championships coming to Providence, Rhode Island, December 15-17. "My goal is to win," said Compton. "I would love to defend the jersey, but above all, I want to have a good ride, with my legs good and my bikes running great. I want to win the jersey and go to worlds." Compton will be chasing her third consecutive national title, possibly on her way to becoming one of five American women who will represent their country at the world cyclo-cross championships in Hooglede, Belgium, in January 27-28.

Gone are the days of relative anonymity on the 'cross circuit. Compton, who will turn 28 in early December, surprised almost everyone when she won her first national title in 2004. While racing for several years as the pilot of a Paralympic tandem team*, Compton chose not to race more often in events that would have given her too many UCI points and rendered her ineligible for Paralympic competitions. Eventually, the UCI rules changed, allowing Compton to become a fixture on podiums at major American 'cross races. Now she is a household name among 'cross fans.

To read the full interview click here.

Illes Balears team gathering

From December 14-15 next week, the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team will gather in Pamplona (Navarra), Spain, as the team begin their preparations for the 2007 season.

Personnel from race clothing supplier Nalini and suit maker Hugo Boss will be present to fit out next year's riders, with Le Coq Sportif and Giro supplying casual clothing and helmets respectively. Although mainly for logistical purposes, a biomechanicist will be on hand to fine-tune measurements for each of the riders' bikes.

Jartazi make '07 announcements

Geert Omloop (Unibet.com)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Belgian continental team Jartazi has announced its 18-strong rider line-up for 2007. The team will include 12 new additions, including former Belgian champion Geert Omloop. Omloop, who joins the outfit from Unibet.com, has been appointed the team-leader and will be in charge of assisting the outfit's numerous neo-pros.

In addition to the rider line-up announcement the outfit also revealed sportswear manufacturer Promo Fashion has come onboard as joint title sponsor. Jartazi hope the sponsor's addition will assist the team's bid to become a pro-continental team in the near future.

Jef Braeckevelt will continue as sports director in 2007, while Patrick Stallaert has been appointed as the new general manager and will be assisted by team manager Wim De Wolf.

The team's riders for 2007 are: Yohan Cauquil, Tom Criel, Geoffrey Coupé, Mathieu Criquielion, Mathieu Drouilly, Denis Flahaut, Jurgen Francois, Grégory Habeaux, Mario Ickx, Vytautas Kaupas, Eddy Lembo, Sven Nevens, Geert Omloop, Jan Soetens, Mindaugas Striska, Janek Tombak, Kenny Van Braeckel, Jarno Van Mingeroet.

Cooke re-signs with Univega

Nicole Cooke (Univega)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Nicole Cooke, winner of this season's Women's World Cup, will remain with Swiss-based Univega Pro Cycling Team for the 2007 season. Speaking to Wales on Sunday, the 23-year-old from Wick, South Wales said: "I'm delighted to be staying with the team for next season. Last year was really successful, the whole set up is very professional and I'm really happy. The whole team believed in me and committed to winning the World Cup, which we did."

Cooke is the first British cyclist to be ranked number one in the world after claiming the World Cup title for the second time in three seasons and leading Univega to victory in this year's team standings. Despite missing out on the Commonwealth Games road race title in March, the Welshwoman bounced back to take the prestigious Magali Pache time trial in Lausanne at the end of April. She said: "It was a fantastic year and I'm definitely on the up. My time trialing has improved and that makes me a better competitor."

Cooke has also been short listed for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year to be announced in Birmingham on Sunday evening. The last cyclist to win the award was Tom Simpson in 1965.

Bobridge to mix it with the best

Organisers of Tasmania's National Grid Christmas Carnival Series have announced that Jack Bobridge will contest this year's event. Bobridge, a member of the junior world track championship winning team in Belgium earlier this year, is the latest to join the growing list of upcoming Aussie cyclists to take part in this year's event.

“Jack’s inclusion in the series will add to the depth of cyclists coming through the ranks and I am sure everyone will be keen to see how he performs,” said event president Grant Atkins.

Sooty Park returns to Melbourne screens

The second series of Channel 31's TV variety show ‘Cycling Sooty Park’ is returning to Melbourne screens tomorrow night (8.00pm Wednesday, December 6).

The popular show has moved outdoors for it’s new series, broadcasting from local shops and boasting loads of European and local content. Highlights include interviews with the inhabitants of ‘Dutch Corner’ on Alpe d’Huez, a Madrid courier, Steve Bauer, Alan Peiper, the ‘Whoops’ speed bike owner, Mat Hayman, Phil Anderson, Formula One's Mark Webber, Matt White, Eddy Merckx and John Trevorrow.

Some of this season's segments include ‘Those we leave behind’, interviews with cyclist’s partners, 'In your shed', obsessive cyclist's collections, and the self-explanatory ‘Don’t try this at home'.

Meanwhile, the first series is still screening in Perth (Access TV) and will soon be aired in Sydney, check you local guides for details.

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