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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for January 8, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

ProTour teams back UCI

By Shane Stokes

The UCI has scored an important point in the standoff between it and the organisers of cycling's three Grand Tours. It has emerged that, at a meeting overseen by the AIGCP (International Association Of Professional Cycling Teams) last Wednesday, the ProTour teams rejected outright the plans unveiled by ASO, RCS and Unipublic in December.

A letter released by the AIGCP after the meeting declared the teams' support for the UCI on the ProTour issue.

"Following the meeting of the UCI ProTour teams under the aegis of the AIGCP, held on Wednesday January 4, 2006 in Brussels, the teams have completely rejected the proposals made by ASO, RCS and Unipublic on December 9, 2005," the letter stated.

"The UCI Pro Teams, who have accepted all the regulations, confirm their unreserved support for the UCI ProTour as it was set up for the period 2005-2008, in particular regarding the number of races and the number of teams, etc. They reaffirm their support for the UCI Pro Tour Council to organise this competition."

The decision is a setback for the Grand Tour organisers, who on December 9th officially withdrew from the ProTour and put their weight behind a new ‘Trophy of the Grand Tours' competition, to run from 2006 onwards.

As an incentive to take part, the organisers stated that they planned to award €100,000 to teams who competed in the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España, as well as offering a total prize fund of €2 million for the three-race contest.

The letter issued by the AIGCP on Wednesday stopped short of declaring that the teams would take a stance against the Grand Tour organisers. However, in declaring in favour of the UCI and the ProTour project, the teams appear to have come down firmly on the side of the governing body in its standoff with ASO, RCS and Unipublic.

The AIGCP further outlined the position in the letter. "The UCI ProTour teams recognize the UCI ProTour Council's competence in organizing international cycling and, for this reason, ask the UCI to stick by the regulations drawn up during the awarding of ProTour licences as regards to the a number of races, the number of teams and the conditions of participation".

The AIGCP concluded by saying that it was willing, as before, to discuss the future of the UCI ProTour with all of the parties concerned.

When contacted by Cyclingnews about the latest development, UCI President Pat McQuaid said that it was a significant show of support. "This development supports what the UCI have been saying all along," he said. "The UCI is in charge of the rules and regulations of our sport and the Professional Cycling Council is in charge of the organization of the ProTour. By this statement, the Association of Professional Teams gives its full support to that position."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Sánchez ready to defend in JCTDU

Once again, Liberty Seguros-Würth will make its season debut in Australia, taking part in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under from January 17-22. With Marino Lejarreta at the helm, the team will consist of Carlos Barredo, Koen de Kort, Eladio Sánchez, Luis León Sánchez, Iván Santos and Jose Joaquín Rojas and locals Allan Davis and Aaron Kemps.

The Liberty team dominated the race last year, with Luis Leon Sánchez winning the overall classification, Alberto Contador taking a stage and Allan Davis also riding very well. This year looks to be no different, with Sánchez saying that he will do "everything possible" to help Allan Davis win a stage, but not ruling out his own chances either.

"I have trained fewer hours that in 2005 but with more intensity," said Sánchez on his winter preparation. "At this time I am good enough and have a good weight to start the year. I have worked especially on my climbing technique. I believe that till now, I was climbing with a very big gear, and because of it I have been training specifically on my pedaling agility. I rode my mountain bike a lot and I believe that it has been very useful."

Sánchez suffered a family tragedy last year when his brother León Sánchez Gil died in a quad bike accident in October. That forced a rethink of Luis' racing program. "At first it was planned that I would begin in Malaysia, but after the death of my brother, Manolo Saiz and I think that the best thing was to begin as soon as possible. To return to Australia is exciting, because I have a very nice souvenirs of my first victory in a stage race, though there will be also Allan Davis. The plan is identical to that of last year, to do everything possible to help Allan and then, the road will decide."

After the JCTDU, Sánchez will have a steady early season. "The immediate aim will be to prepare for Paris - Nice, and later, I will ride Setmana Catalana and 3 Days of de Panne. After a rest, I will return in Alcobendas and the Volta a Catalunya before disputing the Tour de France."

Sánchez aims for a first peak at Paris-Nice. "It is a race that I like and motivates me especially, but also it is necessary to rely on the climate. Last year was very cold and several stages were slow, but already we will see."

Amy's Ride a success

By Kristy Scrymgeour in Geelong

A long line of riders
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
(Click for larger image) A long line of riders stretches as far as the eye can see

The inaugural Amy Gillett Foundation ride took place in Geelong, Victoria on Saturday with almost 3000 people turning up on their bikes to celebrate the life of Amy and raise money for road safety awareness and development of women's cycling in Australia. A perfect day greeted the riders, who could choose between a 45km ride, a 120km ride and a couple of mountain bike rides. It was an emotional start to the day for Amy's parents, who after having trained for a few weeks to prepare for the day, led the 3000 people out of the Botanical Gardens to start the ride.

AIS riders, family and friends of Amy, Australian professional riders, cycling enthusiasts and people who had never ridden a bike before joined in the day to support the cause.

Those people brave enough to attempt the 120km ride were subject to the Simon Gillett race pace ride instead of the relaxing place they were expecting. Whilst Simon sat on the front of the bunch most of the way, the enormous bunch dwindled to almost nothing by the time it arrived back in Geelong, with stragglers creeping in behind in dribs and drabs. The ride record stands at 3 hours 19mins setting the tone of the ride for years to come.

Sara Carrigan, who did the ride and went onto win the fourth round of the women's Bay Classic in the evening, told Cyclingnews, "I love racing the Bay Crits, but this year I decided I just wanted to come down for Amy's Ride, and to do a crit either side of the ride. The ride was awesome this morning, there were so many people out, it was great."

As for Simon Gillett, Carrigan recalled that "he did an 80k turn on the front, had 20k rest then did the last 20k home. On the paper we were given last night it said to allow five hours - well we made it in three hours fifteen! It was a great ride and good training as well."

More information:


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mal Sawford/

Giant Asia duo aiming for Langkawi participation

By Shane Stokes

Irish duo David McCann and Paul Griffin have outlined their early racing programme for 2006. The Giant Asia riders will get things underway shortly with a ride in the Tour of Siam from January 15-21, then begin the six-day Tour of Thailand three days later.

The performances in the 2.2 ranked events will determine who gets selected for the 2.HC Tour de Langkawi (3-12 February). The 2.2 Tour de Taiwan follows from March 6-11.

McCann is reasonably confident of competing in the Malaysian race. "The team isn't finalised yet but if I am going alright I should be there," he said. "They invited us on condition we go for the Asia classification so we must bring four Asian riders, leaving only two others. At the minute it's me and Griff (Paul Griffin), but we will see how the first two races go."

Knee operation delays Renäng

Swedish talent Petter Renäng will not be joining his Unibet teammates at training camp in Calpe, as he is undergoing a knee operation. Renäng will have the operation performed on Tuesday by Dr De Clercq in Antwerp. A scan showed that he has tissue rubbing on his knee that resulted in pain and inflammation. The doctor will remove the cause of the pain and after a two week period off the bike, Renäng should be able to train again without pain.

Petter will be helped in his comeback by the well known Belgian physiotherapist Lieven Maesschalck. During first part of his rehab, Renäng will stay in Waregem, and from February 1, he'll stay together with Glenn Bak (Unibet-Davo) in Geraardsbergen.

Although it's been a tough professional debut for the Swedish neo-pro, Renäng is feeling confident that he'll be able to show his skills from the middle of the season onwards.

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