First Edition Cycling News for January 11, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Hondo gets extra year
Former Gerolsteiner rider Danilo Hondo had been hoping that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) would let him race again in 2006, appealing the decision of the Swiss cycling Union with the Lausanne court and asking for acquittal of his case, as only very small amounts of doping substance Carphedon were found in his body in the Vuelta a Murcia in March 2005. Instead, the CAS has announced yesterday that Hondo deserved in fact a two-year ban - one additional year that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had demanded in the trial, as it was also one of the parties involved in the case alongside the UCI, Swiss Cycling and Hondo himself.
The 31 year-old German will therefore not return to racing any time soon, and it is speculated that this will be the end of his career altogether. Hondo is currently training in Swiss ski station Sankt Moritz, as he had hoped to come back to his Gerolsteiner squad as of April 1. "It's merciless, wrong, unfair and bitter," was the first reaction of Hondo's attorney Michael Lehner. "It's absolutely terrible for the rider."
In fact, the amount of the banned stimulant found in Hondo's A and B probes was so small that it could not have had any performance-enhancing effects according to professor Werner Franke, who acted as a defense witness. Nevertheless, the CAS applied cycling's rules and regulations to the letter, saying that Carphedon was a stimulant which had been undoubtedly identified in Hondo's A and B samples by the assigned laboratory in Madrid. This offense is punished with a two-year ban from cycling, as well as another two-year ban from racing in the ProTour.
Team Milram: two sprinters are better than one
The new Italo-German venture Team Milram was presented in Bremen, North Germany yesterday, and while everybody knew that the team will be the sprint train squad to look out for in 2006, some observers still had their doubts about the compatibility between its two star riders, Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel. At the Nordmilch headquarters however, the Italian fast man Petacchi announced that he would participate in the Giro d'Italia as well as the Tour de France and - maybe - even the Vuelta a España, and that Zabel and himself would share the season's goals according to their capabilities.
"It's not the first time I will participate in all three Grand Tours," Petacchi said. "I look forward to this adventure. My other goals include Milano-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours at the end of the season."
"I will aim for the Green jersey at the Tour," said Zabel. "Between Alessandro and me there won't be any problems as we are both professionals and honest people." Admitting to Petacchi's superiority in the final hundred metres, Zabel said that he could very well imagine being the Italian's lead-out man at one of his own favourite races, Milano Sanremo. "If we are both on the finishing straight together, we will not ride against each other. A victory by Petacchi would also be a victory for me," Zabel continued.
Meanwhile, 'Al-Jet' admitted that he could still learn a lot from the 35 year-old German. Relating to the so-called train that Team Milram will now try to consolidate within its roster, he said, "It will be hard to re-create a train like we had at Fassa. But it is necessary - for me more than for Zabel, as I don't have his racing smartness."
Former rivals Zabel and Petacchi will thus collaborate on all occasions. "Prior to the finishes, we will discuss which one of us will go for the victory and who will prepare the sprint. What counts is that one of us is in front in the end," Zabel added, and Petacchi continued: "If Erik and I give our very best and agree with each other, we will have quite an advantage over other sprinters - we will be very unpredictable."
Team manager Gianluigi Stanga is enthusiastic about his new team leaders. "The team is twice as strong now," he said. "This is my 24th year as a manager for professional cycling teams. I have always directed great outfits and I can see all the conditions for very high results in this team."
A detailed report on the Team Milram presentation will follow.
Rhyl investigation continues
In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in North Wales where fours cyclists were killed last Sunday, January 8, British Cycling has instructed Sue Bence, a partner of their solicitors, Leigh Day, and leading barrister William Hoskins, to Wales to represent its members and the other cyclists involved in the accident. North East Wales Coroner John Hughes opened and adjourned inquests into the deaths later on Tuesday, pending a full police investigation. One key issue of the ongoing investigations will be the state of the A547 road where tragedy occurred.
"This road appeared to me and other members of the public to be the same as those road surfaces that had not been treated by gritting," Conwy councillor Darren Millar told the BBC. "The council released a statement saying the road was gritted about 18.20 GMT on Saturday evening. Clearly, the road surfaces were unacceptable and perhaps a second gritting should have taken place."
Peter King, chief executive of British Cycling also thought that the treatment of the icy road bend was not enough. "We don't accept that this was an accident," he said. "This was an incident that could have avoided."
Police authorities said that because a minor accident had taken place at the same spot about an hour before the fatal collision, they had made a request for the Conwy council to re-grit the road.
Meanwhile, Deeside Olympic CC has set up a message board on its website for condolence messages for the families and friends of the victims: www.deesideolympic.co.uk.
Moreau and Mancebo "a strong pair"
By Hedwig Kröner
Francisco Mancebo and Christophe Moreau, both newcomers to the French team AG2R, agree they will perfectly fit together to make a strong pair at the 2006 Tour de France, each one of them having his own objectives. While Moreau finished a respectable 11th in last year's edition of the Grand Tour - securing once again the spot of best Frenchman in General Classification - 'Paco' Mancebo ended up in fourth position, just missing the much-aspired podium placing that has become his ultimate goal for this season.
"Armstrong is gone, so the Tour is much more open now - for me as well as for many other riders," Mancebo told Cyclingnews in AG2R's pre-season training camp in L'Isle-sur-Sorgue, Provence. "That's my ambition this year: get to the Tour in better shape, increase my form during those three weeks and step on the podium in the end."
A goal his new teammate Moreau has vowed to support. "Mancebo and I know each other well; we've been up front together many times in stage races," the 34 year-old said. "I think that he might be our man for the General Classification more than myself at the Tour, and that I as a co-leader will be able to do like in Mulhouse: go for the jackpot like the yellow jersey, the stage victory or the Polkadot jersey," he continued, referring to stage nine of last year's Tour, where he chased Michael Rasmussen with former teammate Jens Voigt, earning Voigt the Yellow jersey and himself the second placing on GC.
Since his prologue victory in 2001, Moreau hasn't been able to win a stage at the Tour de France again, but he is already focused on his chances in this year's 'Grande Boucle', saying that his personal ambitions will not interfere at all with his responsibilities with regard to the team and especially Mancebo. To the contrary, Moreau sees the co-leadership as an asset opening up many possibilities. "Now that I'm not up for a podium spot anymore, I might as well try and get a stage victory - and why not a mountain stage to get some points for the mountains jersey?," he affirmed. "To collaborate with Paco in the mountains will be very good also because we will share the responsibility. I will be there to help him for the GC, but at the same time be able to go out for other things. Two is better than one!"
Look out for the full interviews with both Francisco Mancebo and Christophe Moreau on Cyclingnews in the coming days.
Australian Open rolls out today with time trials
By Gerard Knapp
A change of location for this year's Australian Open Road Championships (AORC) could lead to an upset, especially in the time trials.
Today in South Australia, the elite men, U23 men and elite women will contest the time trials and this year's AORC will be held on new circuits in Mt Torrens, on the outskirts of Adelaide. According to Paul Brosnan, the head cycling coach of the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS), this year's TT course is like "chalk and cheese" compared to the previous circuit in Echunga.
"It's pretty hilly for a TT course, and I think the time gaps will be even bigger than they have been in the past," he said, "and the weather will also play its part. In this part of the country at this time of the year, it's likely it could be very warm."
Brosnan believed that the new circuit for the road races is "comparable to last year. It's fairly undulating and it will end up being a race of attrition, a 'last-man-standing' type of race. On the course, there's no real place to recover." In an interview published today on Cyclingnews, Brosnan explains why he has had a select group of riders training in Adelaide for the past week, while the majority of Australia's elite riders have been contesting the Jayco Bay Classic street criteriums in Victoria.
Also see AORC section preview.
South Australia.com-AIS Cycling Team in New Zealand
There's good news this week for organisers of the Trust House Men's Cycle Classic, with confirmation that South Australia.com-AIS Cycling Team will compete in this month's event around the Wellington region, New Zealand, taking place from January 25-29. The Oceania Continental team will line up as part of their schedule of UCI classified events, which also include stops in Asia, Australia and North America.
"The team is full of world, Olympic and national champions," said race director Jorge Sandoval. "Amongst them they have an incredible record of 12 world championship wins, two Olympic gold medals, two Commonwealth Games golds and over 24 Australian national titles."
The team is led by current Olympic and Commonwealth champion Peter Dawson who was awarded the OAM in last week Australia Day Honours List. Dawson has achieve stage wins in the Giro Regioni in Italy, a win in the 1999 World Junior Championship and several Australian National Championship victories.
Current Commonwealth and Olympic Games champion Stephen Wooldridge is also part of the team, as is 2004 World Teams Pursuit Champion and 2003 Junior Points race Champion Miles Olman, and current Victorian road champion Sean Finning, 2004 and 2005 World teams Pursuit champion Ashley Hutchinson and Wesley Sulzberger complete the team line up.
"Over the 19 years of the Trust House Cycle Classic, I have never seen a team with so many top riders coming to our event. There are other top riders in the tour but if this team ride as they should, they have to be top contenders to take the title to Australia once again," Sandoval said enthusiastically.
Also see: Official team site
Mills a DS at Targetraining
American Continental team Targetraining has announced that Ken Mills will join the team as director sportif for the 2006 racing season, joining team coach Rick Crawford and team manager Tom Schuler in guiding a young and talented group of pros. Mills most recently directed the Jittery Joe's-Kalahari team in its 2005 campaign, and has worked with teams Navigators, Festina, Linda McCartney, Iteam Nova.com after racing for many years as an elite in Portugal and Spain.
Mills' 2006 Targetraining squad will be co-captained by Anthony Colby and Frank Pipp. In addition, newly crowned National Cyclocross Champion Todd Wells, Alejandro Acton, Ryan Blickem, Josh Bezecny, Dustin MacBurnie, Eneas Freyre, Dan Greenfield, Wes Hartman and Matt Shriver will race in the Targetraining colours for the 2006 season.
Fundraiser ride for kids with learning disabilities
The "2006 Ride with Bob", organised by "Cyclists for Frostig", an informal group committed to helping kids with learning disabilities, will be taking place in Pasadena, California, on Sunday, January 29. The two-hour event will be hosted by former pro cyclist Bob Roll, who will talk about his experiences inside the European peloton after the ride.
The total of the admission fee will be benefiting the Frostig Center, founded by Marianne Frostig in 1951, which helps students with difficulties like dyslexia but also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
For more information go to www.frostig.org and follow the link to Bob Roll.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)