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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 8, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

United Pro Cycling unveils sponsor

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling team
Photo ©: Marco Quezada
(Click for larger image)

After months of secrecy the United Pro Cycling announced its sponsor and a planned structure of support from fans. Ashley McCullough was in New York City for the team's launch.

The US' latest professional team, United Pro Cycling, unveiled its title sponsor in New York Tuesday morning, revealing that car maker Toyota would be backing the new squad. The team will also be funded by support from fans, team owner Sean Tucker announced.

Tucker is clearly hoping that the riders and directors he has recruited will be an irresistible draw for fans. The team includes USPRO champion Chris Wherry, U.S. time trial champion Chris Baldwin, Pan Am Games champion Ivan Dominguez, former U.S. Olympian Tony Cruz, and four-time Argentinean national champion, Juan Jose Haedo. The fan support business model has worked for the Euskaltel-Euskadi team in the Basque country, but failed to bring in enough revenue to support Australia's iTeamNOVA in 2002 and 2003.

It's a new way of working for an American team; U.S. domestic squads have always followed the traditional cycling model of seeking support from a large naming sponsor. But when the sponsor decides its priorities lie elsewhere, the team can go from dominance to nothing overnight.

"The problem with the existing structure is that after a couple years of building a great team, a sponsor will fold and the team will disappear. Not anymore," says Tucker.

Click here for the full report.

Time trial returns to Tirreno-Adriatico

A day after the course of the Pro Tour's first race of the season, Paris-Nice was announced, its second race, Tirreno-Adriatico (March 8-14) has also been unveiled. Run over seven stages and beginning in Tivoli on March 8, this year's edition will feature one big day of climbing plus a 20 kilometre time trial.

Stage one is a circuit that starts and finishes in Tivoli, with a slight ascent until Forano before it flattens out for a sprint to the finish. Stage 2, from Tivoli to Frascati runs past Subiaco and the ascent of Arcinazzo before coming down into Fiuggi, Ariccia and Alban Laziale. From Frascati riders will start a circuit that includes the ascent of the Tuscolo before returning to Frascati for the finish.

Stage 3, from Avezzano to Paglieta pits riders against the Forca Caruso (1,107m) after 25 kilometres, and riders will finish the stage with two trips of a 14km circuit around Paglieta. Paolo Bettini has won this stage twice, and look out for the Quick Step rider to win it again if he's in the squad for this race. The fourth stage is one for the sprinters, with just one ascent of the S. Elpidio in what should be a fast day with an even faster finish.

March 12 sees a return to the time trial, restored to the race after being absent since 2002. Run around Servigliano, the last six kilometres of the 20-kilometre test against the clock are slightly undulating, with positions on general classification up for grabs. This is followed by a mountaintop finish on stage 6, which runs from San Benedetto Del Tronto to San Giacomo; the stage will finish on Monti Della Laga after 12km of climbing to reach the summit at 1,105 metres.

This year's edition will finish with a stage that takes riders from Campli to San Benedetto Del Tronto, including a final circuit repeated seven times, which should give the sprinters enough time to get organised for a fast finale to the race.

21 teams will ride this year's Tirreno-Adriatico:

Davitamon-Lotto (Bel), Quick Step-Innergetic (Bel), Team CSC (Den), AG2R (Fra), Bouygues Telecom (Fra), Crédit Agricole (Fra), Cofidis, le Crédit par téléphone (Fra), Française des Jeux (Fra), Gerolsteiner (Ger), T-Mobile Team (Ger), Panaria-Navigare (Ire), Lampre-Fondital (Ita), Liquigas (Ita), Milram Team (Ita), Rabobank (Ned), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa), Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne (Spa), Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team (Spa), Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spa), Discovery Channel (USA), Phonak Hearing Systems (Swi)

Stages

Stage 1 - March 8: Tivoli - Tivoli, 167km
Stage 2 - March 9: Tivoli - Frascati, 171km
Stage 3 - March 10: Avezzano - Paglieta, 183km
Stage 4 - March 11: Paglieta - Civitanova Marche, 219km
Stage 5 - March 12: Servigliano - Servigliano (Crono), 20km
Stage 6 - March 13: S.Benedetto Del Tronto - S. Giacomo (Monti Della Laga), 164km
Stage 7 - March 14: Campli - S.Benedetto Del Tronto, 166km

Voler sponsors Tour of California

Voler Team Apparel will be the official cycling jersey sponsor of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California (USA, February 19-26). Voler will provide jerseys in five separate competitions: overall race leader jersey, Clif Bar sprint jersey, California Travel and Tourism king of the mountain (KOM) jersey, Union Bank of California best young rider jersey and Adobe most aggressive rider jersey.

Ford supports Tour de Georgia

The Tour de Georgia, (USA, April 18 - 23) has announced a title sponsor in car maker Ford. Georgia Ford Dealers will support the race in association with Ford's official agency J. Walter Thompson.

"The Georgia Ford Dealers are excited to play a leadership role in this emerging property, and to support the event's core objectives by promoting cycling, good health and the Georgia Cancer Coalition," said John Shoemaker, Past Chairman of the Atlanta District Ford Dealers Advertising Association.

"Ford's commitment to the Ford Tour de Georgia is an essential element in the growth of both the event itself and the sport of cycling in the United States. Annually, this event makes legitimate strides in becoming a more prestigious event globally, so naturally an association with a company like Ford is a perfect complement," said Gerard Bisceglia, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling. "Their continued support to cycling projects like the Ford Tour de Georgia, as well as an elite-level women's mountain bike team Ford Cycling, represents a significant dedication to our sport."

International stars for Revolution 12

With four more international riders now confirmed for Revolution 12 on February 18 the Manchester Velodrome is set to experience the strongest endurance line up of any Revolution event to end the season. Four all star international teams with pairings from Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark will take on the Great Britain team of Rob Hayles and Chris Newton.

Fresh from winning the Berlin six day Dutch rider Danny Stam is confirmed to ride, joining team mate Peter Schep in Manchester. "It will be great to be back at Revolution," said Stam. "The programme is fast and hard but I'm riding well following the victory in Berlin so I hope to get a win or two."

Swiss rider Alexander Aeschbach will also make the trip to Manchester as well as Danish pairing of Marc Hester and Jimmi Madsen. It will be a special occasion for Madsen who will be officially retiring at Revolution 12, ending a career that has spanned over 17 years. Having participated in three Olympic Games and six world championships, Madsen has a wealth of experience on the track. He has also won seven six day races, and over the last few seasons ridden for Team CSC on the road. "Revolution will be my last race so I'm looking forward to it" said Madsen. "I've ridden the event before and the crowd is excellent so it will be a good place to finish racing."

The race programme will include a 1km Madison time trial, team elimination, points race and showcase Madison. Tickets for Revolution 12 are available at www.cyclingrevolution.com, calling 07005 942 579 or the Velodrome on 0161 223 2244 and selecting option 3.

Biondi & DuPouey implicated in doping charges

Twenty-three people, including former AG2R assistant directeur sportif, Laurent Biondi, former world mountain bike champion Christophe Dupouey and former pro rider Laurent Roux have been named by the Bordeaux court in connection with an investigation into the trafficking of 'pot belge', an illegal doping cocktail of amphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

The principal suspect in the case is Belgian former soigneur Freddy Sergant who worked for the ADR team at the end of the 1980s. Sergant has been accused of "importation, possession and transfer of doping and narcotic substances," while Biondi has been charged with "transportation, possession, and acquisition of narcotic substances and also usage."

Sergant and his wife were recently released from custody after being held for almost a year. The distribution network they are alleged to have controlled is believed to have imported more than 3,000 doses of pot belge into France between January 2002 and January 2005.

Related stories

January 22, 2005: Three ex-pros involved in doping ring
January 23, 2005: Ten charged in Bordeaux
March 4, 2005: AG2R director arrested
March 8, 2005: Biondi charged
March 8, 2005: AG2R suspends Biondi
January 4, 2006: Sergant and wife released

Barloworld for upcoming races

Team Barloworld will be in Portugal for the GP Costa Azul (February 9-12) and Volta ao Algarve (February 15-19). Most of the riders who started Barloworld's 2006 season at the GP degli Etruschi last Saturday in Tuscany will ride in Portugal.

Barloworld's lineup for GP Costa Azul and Volta ao Algarve: Giosuè Bonomi (Ita), Enrico Degano (Ita), Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita), Mauro Facci (Ita), Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA), Tom Southam (GBR), Hugo Sabido (Por) and Felix Cardenas (Col). Directeur sportif: Valerio Tebaldi (Ita).

Acqua & Sapone Caffè Mokambo for Tour Méditerranéen

Acqua & Sapone has named its squad for Tour Méditerranéen (February 8-12). After almost making the podium in Donoratico last Saturday, Estonian rider Andrus Aug is keen to do well in France, and directeurs sportives Franco Gini and Bruno Cenghialta believe the team can do well. "The boys are in good good condition and I'm sure that we'll get a good result," said Gini.

Acqua & Sapone for Tour Méditerranéen: Andrus Aug (Est), Alexandre Arekeev (Rus), Gabriele Balducci (Ita), Crescenzo D'Amore (Ita), Alessandro Donati (Ita), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), Andrea Rossi (Ita), Jure Zrimsek (Slo) Directors sportive: Franco Gini and Bruno Cenghialta (Ita).

2006 World Deaf Cycling Championships

The 2006 World Deaf Cycling Championships (WDCC) committee has released its event schedule, with the USA hosting the international week-long event from June 19-24 for the first time ever. The championships will feature elite contestants from 10 countries, with venues including the Hellyer Velodrome, Coyote Lake, Santa Teresa Park and Pescadero, all in the San Jose, California, USA area.

On June 19, Hellyer Velodrome will host the 1000m sprint, before the June 20 individual time trial at Coyote Lake. The short track mountain bike race at Santa Teresa Park will take place on June 21, followed by a return to the velodrome for the points race at Hellyer Velodrome on June 22. On June 23 the longer distance mountain bike race will take place at Santa Teresa Park before the championships finish with the 75-mile Pescadero on Saturday, June 24. That night the World Deaf Cycling Championships banquet will be held at City Beach in Fremont, Ca, which promises to be an entertaining end to a week of cycling.

The complete 2006 WDCC schedule can be found at www.usdeafsports.org/2006cycling.

Entries high for Isle of Man Junior Tour

Entry numbers are high for the Isle of Man International Youth & Junior Tour (April 28-30) and due to the high demand, title sponsors Sleepwell Hotels have allocated a second hotel for the event in order to keep pace with the number of bookings.

Anyone wishing to enter as a team or as an individual who has yet to book is urged to do so as soon as possible as entries close April 9. Special travel & accommodation rates can be viewed on the event's website.

Organisers are hopeful that the 2006 event will attract riders from the continent, with teams based in Holland and Belgium expressing interest in competing. The tour consists of a prologue, a road race held on completely closed roads and a circuit race, with leaders, points jerseys, a large prize fund and trophies on offer.

For more information and latest news go to www.youthtour.co.uk

Overcoming in Sydney

Hitting screens in Sydney this Thursday night is Overcoming, the cycling documentary by Tomas Gislason that follows former pro rider and Tour de France winner Bjame Riis and his Team CSC closely as they strive to become the best in the world and win the Tour de France. The screening will be on this Thursday night, February 9 at 6:30pm but will start with a social gathering at 6pm for anyone who wants to help create awareness for cyclists and support the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Be at the Dendy at 6pm for coffee and mineral water courtesy of Sydney gourmet coffee company, Numero Uno (www.numerouno.com.au) and San Benedetto. Arrangements will be made to ensure bikes are secure. If you're not riding, come straight from work and socialise before and after movie with great coffee.

Dendy Cinemas have offered to donate $1.00 from each ticket to the Amy Gillett Foundation and you can pre-book tickets by phone by calling 02 9247 3800 during cinema opening hours or see www.dendy.com.au. San Benedetto is also giving 50% of their takings to the Amy Gillett Foundation and will have soccer ticket giveaways. Numero Uno is providing free coffee before, during and after the screening. Come along and show your commitment road safety and enjoy the entertainment.

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