Latest Cycling News for December 11, 2006
Edited by Gregor Brown
Oleg Tinkov and Omar Piscina ready for 2007 season
One of the biggest news items this fall was the emergence of Tinkoff Credit Systems. The formation stepped up from continental to professional continental and along the way signed some big name riders like Tyler Hamilton, Salvatore Commesso and Danilo Hondo. During the Giro d'Italia presentation Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews caught up with the two men that are making the team a reality, Omar Piscina and Oleg Tinkov.
Tinkoff Restaurants, formerly Russia-based, is advancing to professional continental level in 2007 thanks to the shrewd signings of Team Manager Omar Piscina. Piscina, former Team LPR manager, made a wave by signing German cyclist Danilo Hondo, but then made even a bigger wave when he took onboard American Tyler Hamilton.
Both riders have served their time for doping offences and are now free to race. These two will form part of the core of riders in the Italy-based Tinkoff Credit Systems for 2007. The main sponsor name has changed slightly but the man supplying the money, Oleg Tinkov, has not.
The energetic Siberian, 40 years-old this Christmas day, made his money in the beer industry (currently producing seven million bottles a month). After 20 years of riding and racing, Tinkov started his own team in 2006 to help promote his chain of restaurants, Tinkoff Restaurants, and he even signed himself as one of the team's riders. For 2007 he will not be an official racer but will work closely with the team to ensure success its riders and help promote his line of online banks.
Read the full interview with Oleg Tinkov and Omar Piscina.
Landis considers cost of defence
Floyd Landis and his lawyer, Howard Jacobs, are waiting to present their case regarding Landis' postive doping result in the 2006 Tour in an USADA arbitration hearing, expected for early 2007. If found guilty, Landis will face a minimum two-year ban from cycling and be stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory. Since July, the 31 year-old American has had to deal with the stress of legal battles and losing a family member.
In an interview with England's The Mail on Sunday, Landis reported his defence has already cost him $150,000 and he is losing optimism. "The sport doesn't want me to win and it's going to be very difficult to do so," he said to the newspaper. "Even if I do, people will believe I've got off on a technicality. I want people to understand the true, scientific reasons behind my innocence, not a technicality.
"If I lost, I'm not sure I could carry on. I wasn't the highest-paid cyclist and it's looking like this might cost me $500,000. I think the authorities know I'll run out of money. They've said they'll appeal if they lose the hearing and that might take another year. ... If I'm banned for four years and stripped of my title and prize-money, I'll never race again. My desire for it would have been obliterated."
Landis gave the Tour de France an unwanted scandal when it was found, post-Tour, that he had tested with a high Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio. The result effectively ended Phonak's involvement in the sport of cycling, put riders and staff out of a job and has thrown Landis into legal battles to try to retain his Tour title.
David Witt, Landis' father-in-law and close friend, shot himself dead in a San Diego, California car parking lot shortly after the Tour. Witt's family refuse that the suicide had anything to do with Landis' positive result, but the rider is not ruling it out.
"I don't know why he did it," Landis said in the interview. "But I'd be deluding myself if I thought the dope case did not play a big part in his stress. He was a good friend long before he became my father-in-law. We used to cycle together... He was on the Champs-Elysees the day I won the Tour and he was at the victory party.
"I didn't talk to him the week before he died. I feel really bad about that but I was completely consumed by the accusations levelled against me. Maybe, if I had, he would have said something about how he felt. Now it's too late and we'll never know why. It's been the toughest few months of my life. One moment I've realised a lifelong dream in Paris, the next I've become one of the biggest doping stories of all time. But if it's been hard for me, it's been a great deal harder for my family."
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
Garzelli - one more go at Giro
This fall, the 2000 Giro d'Italia winner, Stefano Garzelli, ended his two-year run with Liquigas by signing with Acqua & Sapone. It was a step-down in one sense, going from ProTour to pro continental level, but the 33 year-old from Varese will still be able to participate in the race most important to him, the Giro d'Italia.
"2007 will probably be the last occasion for me to demonstrate [I can win the Giro again] and I want to ride the best race I can," confirmed Garzelli to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He has had more one-day wins lately, with wins in the Rund um den Henninger Turm, a stage of the Tour de Luxembourg, the Tre Valli Varesine and the Trofeo Melinda, making him seem less of a grand tour rider.
"If it [the Giro] goes bad then I will consider the consequences and change my schedule," he continued. "This year was strange. I missed out on the races I was aiming for, like Pais Vasco and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but in the others, like Henninger Turm and the Tour de Luxembourg, I won without expecting it."
For 2007 it will be important that Garzelli goes strong from the start; Acqua & Sapone need to ensure its wild-card entry into the Giro d'Italia. "I will start strong," he noted. "I will begin with the Tour Méditerranéen, a race that I have never done but they tell me is very beautiful. Then I want to be competitive at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, where usually I am amongst the top riders. To win, like it has happened in the last years, will be hard but you never know."
The 2007 Giro d'Italia offers a climbers' paradise, with only one real time trial. The parcours should suit Garzelli's quest for a second win in his home tour. "It is better than the last years. Hard, but not a massacre, like the last one. It is how it should be; the climbs will be decisive, but the final time trial will be great and the mountain time trial I like a lot."
The stage 12 route, from Scalenghe to Briançon, will be almost identical to stage 19 in 2000, when Marco Pantani helped his teammate Garzelli advance towards the overall win. "I remember, at breakfast Marco said to me, 'Go calmly because you will win this Giro.' He was more convinced of winning than I was. The stage was beautiful and it still gives me goose bumps."
Currently the Acqua & Sapone team is taking part in a training camp, set to run through December 23.
Rubiera is worried for Spaniards
By Antonio J. Salmerón
José Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel) is worried "about 50 Spanish cyclists without work for 2007 due to the disappearance of the Kaiku and Comunidad Valenciana, and Operación Puerto." What is the solution? "None," continued Chechu in an interview published by La Nueva España. "Many riders call me and I call them for friendship reasons, but I do not have influence on the directors and teams' decisions. In addition, there are some teams which are presenting low offers ..."
Chechu Rubiera, the riders' representative in the UCI ProTour, also expressed concern for the disagreement between Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España's organizers; he considered it "unfortunate" for cycling. "The Tour wants to preserve its advertising income but the UCI demands to the Tour that the money should be distributed," continued Rubiera. "The UCI looks for economic interests in new markets, like Poland and other places, which do not have importance in the cycling. But it should not have to be at the cost of other races that are historical and important."
Rubiera noticed that, "this pulse can be stopped," and said in that, "the fans are getting tired of the bad image that the cycling is showing." Rubiera commented, "there are riders who are accused for doping [in Operación Puerto], but there is not any arguments against them, and they are still prevented to compete. If somebody passes the limit, he will be sanctioned, but without dramatizing." The Spaniard concluded, "We are not united, as we could see when Voigt, who was [Ivan] Basso's team-mate, said that he [Basso] should not come back to competition again."
Contador and Hernández in Madrid to testify
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Today in Madrid, the Spanish cyclists involved in the Operación Puerto started to appear before judge Antonio Serrano, who called all 58 riders named in the investigation to testify. Alberto Contador (Astana) and Jesús Hernández (Relax-GAM) were the first called to testify.
Antonio Serrano accepted the thesis of the public prosecutor, who asked that the riders be called to declare like witnesses, but the judge did it by limiting the questions that can be asked to three:
1) What is or was the rider's relationship with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, José Luis Merino, Manolo Saiz, José Ignacio Labarta, Vicente Belda?
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Subaru-Gary Fisher announces 2007 roster
JHK, Irminger, Koerber, Ross and others renew
By Sue George
Subaru-Gary Fisher announced its 2007 roster. The team's core will return; Jeremy Horgan Kobelski, Nat Ross, Heather Irmiger, Willow Koerber, Jenny Copnall, Ken Onodera, Asa Erlandsson, and Dror Pekatch have renewed their contracts. New riders for 2007 include current U23 US champ, Sam Schultz, and Great Britains Phil Spencer.
Next year's team is looking to build on past success. In 2006, Horgan-Kobelski captured the overall NMBS cross country title in the US, and Ross pulled in the overall National Point Series 24 hour solo title in addition to finishing the Race Across America (RAAM).
Ross told Cyclingnews, "I'm very excited for the upcoming season. The team is a perfect fit for me, but I fill a different role on the team than the others." Ross, who races a 29er, visits many ultra-endurance and grassroots events while other members of the team target shorter-duration cross-country races, often on an international level. He has been a team member for five years, longer than anyone else on the squad.
Horgan-Kobelski's wife, Irmiger, and Koerber round out the American women's roster. Irmiger finished second overall in the NMBS Series that included a first place finish at the Brian Head NORBA series race for a second straight year and a first at Deer Valley NORBA series race. Koerber looks to build on her international momentum from 2006. She finished as second overall American in the World Cup series and fifth overall in the NMBS standings in 2006.
In fact, the Subaru-Gary Fisher team has two divisions: a National Team and a Global Team. The National Team will race largely in North America with a focus on the US National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS), World Cups, premier domestic events, and select international races.
On the global side, Copnall won the British womens overall cross country title. She returns to Subaru-Gary Fisher for her fourth season after finishing as the British National XC Champion, British National Marathon Champion, British National Points Series Champion and ranked first in the British National Rankings. Her teammate Asa Erlandsson took the Swedish womens overall marathon win in 2006.
23-year-old Spencer was the third-ranked British cross-country racer on the UCI circuit in 2006. The 21-year-old, Japanese Onodera, Swedish Asa Erlandsson, and Israel's Dror Pekatch round out the men's Global team.
Australian Capital Territory backs mountain bike worlds bid
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Andrew Barr, today announced the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government would provide over one million AU$ to support the 2009 mountain bike world championships if a bid to hold them in Canberra was successful.
The ACT Government has joined with Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) and their event partners Apis Consulting Group in their bid for Canberra to host and manage the UCI 2009 mountain bike and trials world championships at Stromlo Forest Park in early September 2009. "If successful in its bid for the world championships, Canberra would play host to the most significant mountain bike event of 2009 and have the capacity to attract in excess of 60,000 visitors and spectators over 4 days," Barr said. "The ACT Government is pleased to announce our support for the event, which comes on top of an investment of $7.5 million in the facilities at Stromlo Forest Park.
"The ACT Government and CORC have successfully tested the venue as part of the Brindabella Challenge and CORC have been granted the rights, for three years, to stage the Australian Mountain Bike and Trials Championships at Stromlo Forest Park, commencing in January 2007. Given the stature of this event in the world and the growing popularity of mountain biking in Australia, it is a major opportunity to promote Stromlo Forest Park and Canberra as the number one mountain biking destination in Australia and a hot spot for mountain biking in the world."
Barr explained that CORC is the largest mountain bike club in Australia and has more experience than any other club or promoter in Australia in staging major international standard mountain bike events. "This combined with Apis' core project management and media marketing experience will no doubt ensure the delivery of a world class event," Barr continued.
CORC President Anthony Burton noted, "As a club we have worked hard to get the attention of the government, built their belief in the sport and, worked together in developing a truly world class facility and now want to show this off to the world. ... This funding is goes to show what can be achieved when you are professional, courteous and persistent."
An announcement of the successful host of the 2009 mountain bike world championships will be made in January 2007.
Women's 2007 team Ultralink
Ultralink, manufacturer of audio/video cabling and connectivity products will be the title sponsor of Team Ultralink, an elite women's cycling team based in Toronto, Canada.
Ultralink introduced its support in 2006 with the WOB women's team that went on to win seven championship medals in Ontario. The 2007 sponsorship will support the team in calendar events including the Canadian road championships, five to seven NRC events in the United States, the Montreal world cup and stage race and local Ontario Cup events.
Team Ultralink is actively recruiting two or three more riders to complete its roster, and support staff. Resumes and inquires can be sent via e-mail to Julia Farell, Team Director at email@example.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)