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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 10, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

London plans mega Tour start

London has officially announced its plans for hosting the start of the 2007 Tour de France. At a press conference on Thursday, London Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled the parcours of the 8 km prologue and 200 km first stage. Taking place on July 7, the prologue will be an individual time trial, starting in Whitehall and passing alongside St James Park, by Buckingham Palace, through Green Park and Hyde Park before doubling back and finishing on The Mall. Featuring few corners or climbs, the short stage should produce some high average speeds.

The first stage on July 8 will also begin in London, travelling eastward along the Thames out to Gravesend, before turning south and passing through Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, Tenterden, Ashford, and finishing in Canterbury. The 209 km stage features several small climbs, but should be suited to the sprinters.

The 2007 start will take place exactly two years after the tube bombings that shook London on July 7, 2005. At the launch, Mayor Livingstone was quoted by BBC as saying, "Having the Grand Depart on the seventh of July will broadcast to the world that terrorism does not shake our city. There can be no better way of celebrating the unity of humanity than this great sporting event coming to us on that day and being seen by millions, safety and happily."

The last time the Tour de France visited England was in 1994, when it remained in the southeastern part of the country, but did not pass through London. The only other time it has been to England was in 1974, when Henk Poppe won the sole stage from Plymouth to Plymouth.

Heras to appeal

After being given a two year ban for doping by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), Roberto Heras said that he will appeal his sanction to the Spanish courts. The Spaniard tested positive for the blood boosting drug EPO on the penultimate stage of the 2005 Vuelta a España, and as a result will lose his overall victory to Russian Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

"It's not hard to understand my complete disagreement with the decision of the federation, and the feeling of total defencelessness that I find myself in," said Heras in a statement. "I can't accept that my name, my dignity, and that of my whole family remain tarnished by a test that doesn't offer any guarantees."

Heras expressed his disappointment and frustration at the RFEC, "that did not evaluate in legal and technical depth any of the allegations that we presented." Heras' lawyer, José María Buxeda, argued that there were several procedural errors in his client's case, and that the test itself was unreliable, particularly following intense exercise. In response, the RFEC admitted to the existence of some errors, but did not rate them as significant enough to clear Heras.

Heras argued that he has had the best record of anyone in the Vuelta. "I have participated in nine editions of the Vuelta. I have won four, I have finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th on the general classification and spent 36 days in the leader's jersey, always with rigour and honesty. And I have passed more than 50 blood and urine controls during these years to prove it.

"I don't understand the positive test, nor the sanction, and I cannot accept that my name remains damaged by something that I am absolutely certain I have never done...I am going to do whatever it takes to show my innocent and I want to clarify that, in spite of the fact that I will be far away from racing and the grand tours, I will continue riding with a clear conscience."

Cycling Center announces 2006 roster, growth plans

The Phoenix, USA-based elite amateur team Cycling Center-Bio Racer has announced the 2006 roster for its Belgian-based racing program, targeted primarily toward elite U.S. amateurs.

In addition, team director Bernard Moerman has outlined growth that has occurred in the past year, including the addition of a second Belgian facility for visiting masters riders and international teams, as well as the start of ties with Veloport Corp. in Albuquerque, N.M., as an early-season training facility for Cycling Center athletes.

The race calendar for Cycling Center riders spans the Atlantic with early- and late-season events in North America, including Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona and Vuelta Sonora in Mexico this spring, as well as the Univest Grand Prix in September. The European racing calendar will centre on UCI races and kermesses in Belgium, as well as UCI races in the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany and Luxembourg.

Click here for the full announcement and roster

USA CRITS Championship Criterium Series

A new criterium series in the USA has been announced: USA CRITS 2006. The series will be run in the southeastern part of the country between April 29 and May 6, a week after the Tour de Georgia. It will combine well established races in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama and boasts $75,000 in prize money. $10,000 will be awarded to the overall winner of the series.

The series will use a points structure, with awards for the overall points leader, the top three teams, individual awards for the top 25 overall places, and the rider with the most laps lead. Jerseys will be presented at each race for points leader, race winner, lap leader, young rider leader, and best in state.

The schedule

April 29 - Athens Twilight Athens, GA
April 30 - Nalley Historic Roswell Criterium Roswell, GA
May 3 - Walterboro Criterium Walterboro, SC
May 4 - Greenwood Criterium Greenwood, SC
May 5 - Spartanburg Criterium Spartanburg, SC
May 6 - Sunny King Criterium Anniston, Ala

For more information, see

Fred Rodriguez hosts fund raising repast

Fred Rodriguez and his Davitamon-Lotto teammates will be hosting a fund raising late lunch for the Fast Freddie Foundation in San Francisco on February 16, a few days prior to the start of the Tour of California. The event will take place at the B44 restaurant in Belden Alley, which specialises in Catalan food, and hors d'oeuvres, Sangria, beer, soft drinks and coffee. will be on offer. During it, there will be a presentation by the Davitamon-Lotto Team and a raffle for a Davitamon-Lotto jersey signed by the entire Tour of California team. It will start at 3:00pm and finish at 6:00pm, and tickets cost $50 per person (in advance) or $75 at the door, space permitting.

The Fast Freddie Foundation is a charitable, non-profit corporation formed by Freddie Rodriguez to support developmental cycling in the United States.

More information: Doug Katona.

Motivational session for juniors

But wait, there's more. On February 17, Rodriguez will be conducting a motivational training session for junior riders using the Multi-Rider indoor bicycle racing technology at Endurance Mill Valley, San Francisco. Junior cyclists from the Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League and the Bay area's junior road racing league will attend this pre-Tour of California clinic.

The event begins at 2:00pm with a motivational talk and training advice from Rodriguez. Racing begins at 2:30pm with a series of 10 km races in which junior cyclists also will have a chance to ride alongside Fast Freddie.

Padraig Marrey training camp

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Since opting out of the Irish national scene, former Cycling Ireland National Coach Padraig Marrey has found quite a niche for himself on the local scene in an advisory capacity. Padraig has tremendous knowledge of the sport of cycling and this can be gauged by the amount of people interested in his training camps around the country.

With the cycling season just around the corner, Padraig will be in Cong the weekend of February 18-19. The camp will take place at the Cong Hostel, Co Mayo. It's open to all abilities and genders, from age 14 years up.

Coaching topics include, race and event tactics, pre and post event nutrition, training at pace, and using HR and wattage. There will be a training spin with a specific session plan for each group's ability, and some of Ireland's best coaches will be there to offer advice.

For booking contact Padraig Marrey at

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