First Edition Cycling News for December 6, 2006
Edited by Greg Johnson & Ben Abrahams
Vuelta organisers determined to keep three-week tour
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Ignacio Ayuso, president of Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic, has responded to reports that the UCI is considering a shortening of the Spanish Grand Tour so that it may share the September calender with other races such as the Deutschland Tour or the Tour of Poland.
"The UCI just wants to frighten us and divide us from the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, but the UCI knows very well that the three Grand Tours go hand-in-hand," Ayuso told Spanish sports newspaper AS yesterday.
"We can compete with the German Tour or the Tour of Poland. The Vuelta will take place, and the ProTour teams prefer to participate in the Vuelta."
UCI President Pat McQuaid recently told Cyclingnews that the calendar issue had not yet been resolved but it was nothing to do with the ongoing saga between the UCI and the Grand Tours.
According to a letter signed by Alan Rumpf, the UCI's ProTour Committee co-ordinator, changes to the Vuelta would not take place until 2008. The route for next year's race is due to be announced on December 13.
Ludewig bouncing back
Jörg Ludewig is happy to be "off of the powderkeg" and back on the bike. After a turbulent season which saw him ride the Giro d'Italia - and not much else - for T-Mobile Team and in which his career was nearly destroyed by an eight-year-old letter, he is now looking forward to starting over again in 2007 with Team Wiesenhof-Felt. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with him after his new team's first meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Ludewig was a highly-regarded German rider who spent most of his career with Italian teams, where he developed the reputation of being an outstanding domestique and helper. But all of that was nearly wiped out this summer with the publication of a letter he wrote as a 22-year-old amateur riding for Team EC Bayer Worringen. In the letter he was seeking information about doping products and indicating a willingness to use them. That was as far as his interest in the products went, he claimed, and he went on to a successful professional career.
Unfortunately for him, this letter turned up again shortly after the beginning of the Tour de France, when not only T-Mobile and the German media but all of cycling were hypersensitive to any kind of charges related to doping. The team announced that Ludewig would not race for them again and that his contract would not be renewed
For the full interview, click here.
Giro and Tour for Mayo
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Saunier Duval-Prodir director Joxean Fernandez Matxin has outlined the events he expects Iban Mayo to contest in 2007, which include the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. "Giberto Simoni, Koldo Gil and Iban Mayo will be take part in the Vuelta a Murcia," Matxin told Cyclingnews. Speaking from a hotel in Murcia where the team are currently training, Matxin said: "We want him to begin next season with a good physical form, so that he will participate in the Vuelta a Andalucia, Vuelta a Murcia and Paris-Nice."
While Matxin sees those events as important for Mayo, he added: "I want that his best form to be reached in the Vuelta al País Vasco and in the classics of April."
Mayo will aim to contest the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, in which he will be accompanied by Gilberto Simoni, Koldo Gil, David Millar and Gómez Marchante.
Landis to ride for families
Floyd Landis will return to the bike on December 17 to help raise funds for the families of the United States Fire Service engine #27 who lost their lives battling the Esperanza forestry fires in October. The David Witt Memorial Holiday Cycling Classic presented by OUCH will be used to raise funds for the families of the five-fighters who perished when their engine was overcome by flames
“I was born and raised in the area of the fire and along with my many long time friends, family and business associates, have tremendous sympathy for those that have suffered,” said Dr Brent Kay, MD of OUCH Sports Medical Center. “Along with many other cyclists I train regularly in Idyllwild and ride by the fire station where the fallen firefighters were stationed. I’m honored to present this event and would like to thank the countless individuals who have contributed to make this a reality.”
Joining Landis at the event is American professional rider, Dave Zabriskie and world champion Sarah Hammer. The memoriam/fundraiser will be held at the San Diego Velodrome from 1pm.
The event will also include a sanctioned elite track race and fundraising auctions.
Unai Osa injured
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Astana rider Unai Osa has fallen while training in the Basque region of Zarautz. He was entered taken to nearby medical centre, where his definitive treatment has not been yet decided by doctors, according to an official medical report published by the facility.
Osa arrived at the emergency section yesterday at eleven o'clock, and was later diagnosed to have multiple fractures.
CSC promote Pedersen
ProTour outfit, Team CSC, has announced that former Tour de France stage winner Jørgen V. Pedersen will fill the roles of Sports Director in 2007. Pedersen has spent the last year working under general manager Bjarne Riis as Key Account manager for the team's sponsors.
”I still like professional cycling a lot, and when Bjarne one year ago gave me the opportunity to work with the sponsors, I said yes right away. I've been away from the sport for quite a while, but I've really enjoyed becoming a part of Team CSC, and for me it's a very big thing to be appointed as a Sports Director," said an excited Pedersen. "I know the employees and the staff and now I'm looking forward to getting to know the riders as well. First of all I have to learn how to be a Sports Director, but I know I'll be working with the most competent people in the sport of cycling."
Pedersen competed in the Tour for four consecutive years during the 80s, the first three with Carrera then his final TdF outing with BH. In 1990 he won Stage 8 of the Vuelta a España.
”From day one Jørgen has been an asset to the team, and it's a pleasure for me to appoint him as a Sports Director," added Riis. "I'm sure he'll be able to use his business experience in his new role on the team and in Jørgen I believe we've found exactly the right Sports Director.”
Lampre-Fondital planning for 2007
Damiano Cunego, 2004 Giro d'Italia winner, and his Lampre-Fondital team have begun their 2007 campaign with a short training camp in Boario Terme, Northern Italy. The full team are attending with the exception of Jaime Alberto Castaneda Ortega who is yet to return to Europe from his home in Columbia.
During the three day camp, which began this Monday, the riders will be testing new equipment, undergoing medical tests and meeting journalists at the Saint Hotel Martino in Boario Terme.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Zabel to Qatar
By Susan Westemeyer
Instead, Milram team manager Gianluigi Stanga has told him that he will be riding the Tour of Qatar.
Obree to take on future stars at Revolution
'Flying Scotsman' Graham Obree, will now line up against a team of four up-and-coming riders for a pursuit match over 4 km at the next Revolution track meeting in Manchester on December 9. The former world hour record holder was due to partner Ian Stannard for a 2 km team pursuit but no suitable match could be found for the pair.
Revolution technical director Gordon Harling explained the reasons behind the change: "We decided to tweak the format of the feature event to ensure the crowd get to see Graeme at his best," he said. "We knew that Graeme had taken on a similar challenge in the past against a team of amateur riders so lining him up against the Future Stars made perfect sense".
Obree, who has twice been world pursuit champion, was also happy with the change, "It always takes me a while to get going," commented the 41 year-old. "So riding 4 km suits me better. We will be riding on normal bikes as well which will help even things out; it’s going to be a good race."
RAAM changes hands
The 3,000-mile Race Across America will have a new owner and race director for 2007. Fred Boethling, a cancer survivor and the 60-plus solo RAAM record holder, has agreed to buy the race from Jim Pitre and Lon Haldeman who have run it for the last six years.
After setting the age-group solo record in last year's RAAM, Boethling said: "I wanted to make a statement about age and lifestyle choices. Aging doesn't mean the end of life as you know it."
On Monday, Boethling appointed Terry Zmrhal as the Race Director. Zmrhal outlined the pair's plans for the 2007 event: "Our highest priority is to put on a great race for the riders and crews. We will build on the 25-year legacy to produce a high quality race." Zmrhal is a 15-year veteran of the sport and raced two-man RAAM in 2002.
The 26th Race Across America is due to start on June 10, 2007 when the solo competitors head east from the Pacific Ocean to the finish in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Relay teams will tackle the same route two days later.
Rodrigo García joins Fuerteventura-Canarias
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Rodrigo Garcia has reached a contractual agreement with the new cycling pro-continental squad Fuerteventura-Canarias, whose technical adviser is Vicente Belda. Garcia, with the approval of mentor and former director Oscar Guerrero, has inked a one-year contract to compete with the 14-strong outfit.
During his third season as a professional cyclist, Garcia hopes to overcome the string of bad luck he's endured in recent seasons.
The outfit, which is rumoured to have a two-million Euro budget for the season, will start its preparations in January with a training camp.
Christmas carnival's STAR attraction
The National Grid Christmas Carnival Series has announced its carnivals will count towards this year's Summer of Track Australian Rankings (STAR). There will be three categories of events at each carnival: sprint, endurance and wheel races.
Organisers of the Tasmanian event hope that the inclusion of its events as point scoring rounds of the national award will further entice cyclists to take enter the NGCCS.
Events in Latrobe, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie will offer category 1 ranking points while the Rosebery, Hobart and St Helens carnivals offer category 2 points.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)