First Edition Cycling News for May 2, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson
Threshold faces final hurdle for Philly series
Bills paid, UCI approval awaits but ProTour teams stay away
by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Since the completion of last year's USPRO championship, various events have cast doubt on the future of the Philadelphia race series that had traditionally hosted the race. First came the sudden loss of the race sponsor after more than twenty years of consistent sponsorship. Then came complaints that teams were not being paid on time by race organisers Threshold Sports, which had the potential to stop the 2006 event from happening at all as UCI and USA Cycling regulations stop a promoting company from running a race if it still owes teams from the previous year. Finally, the loss of the USPRO race made many people think that Philly was done for.
Nevertheless, Threshold Sports has always maintained that the series would happen this year, and things definitely looked rosier after the recent announcement that the state of Pennsylvania would kick-in $400,000.
USA Cycling's Chief of Staff Sean Petty told Cyclingnews that as far as he could see, this years races were good to go. "We have, as far as we know, the teams have been paid... the UCI has been paid and we have been paid," said Petty. "You hate to see [payment problems] because it's been a great race with good organisation. But it was important to get the teams paid as well. Now that we are there we can hopefully move ahead in a positive direction."
Threshold's CEO Dave Chauner told Cyclingnews that the problem was merely a misunderstanding. "[The payments] were completed before the end of last year," Chauner explained. "There were a couple of cheques that came back to us because we had the wrong address. It took us a while to find teams. The cheques kept coming back from different addresses. I saw the email a few days ago that the teams finally got them. It's so ridiculous, they make it look like it is our fault."
But with the bill payment hurdle apparently passed, another comes up. "What we have to do now is get the Reading race on the UCI calendar," said Petty. "We were waiting until we got all the payments in to make the request. And this late you never know. We have Trenton in there now but we waited to make the request from the UCI until everything was paid. If it does, the question then is what category is it?"
"Confident" Ullrich expects to suffer in Italy
After proving that he can still ride a bike at the Tour de Romandie, T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich will continue his preparation for the Tour de France by lining up for the start of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday. Despite finishing 115th, almost 50 minutes behind winner and former team-mate Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), Ullrich told Reuters he was "satisfied with how I rode considering it was my first race of the season and so now I'm definitely going to ride the Giro d'Italia. Obviously, I wasn't able to compete for victory in Romandie but I felt good and now I'm looking forward to working hard during the Giro."
Ullrich is now aiming to ride himself into shape during the Giro. "I know I'm going to have to suffer," he said, "but the first two weeks of the Giro are not too difficult and I hope to find some form for the final week in the mountains.
"I'm not going to try and win the Giro because my big goal is the Tour de France but now I'm confident I'll be at my best come July."
Phonak for the Giro
After deciding that it wasn't in his best interests for Floyd Landis to ride the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, the Phonak team is pinning its Giro general classification hopes on 31-year-old Colombian Victor Hugo Peña. Peña rode last week's Tour de Romandie as preparation for the Giro, finishing 54th overall, but Phonak team manager believes his man is capable of a top 10 finish at the Giro.
Peña will be supported by Martin Elmiger, Fabrizio Guidi, José Enriqué Gutierrez, Patrik McCarty, Axel Merckx, Gregory Rast, Johann Tschopp, and Steve Zampieri. The squad will be directed by John Lelangue, Juan Fernandez, and Adriano Baffi.
Davitamon-Lotto for the Giro
The Davitamon - Lotto team will be looking to its Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen for stage victories in the Giro d'Italia when the Italian national Tour starts on Saturday, May 6 in Seraing, Belgium.
McEwen has won at least one stage in each of the last four Giros, and has a total of eight Giro stage wins to his name, including three in 2005. He will be supported at the Giro by Christophe Brandt, Jan Kuyckx, Bert Roesems, Preben Van Hecke, Wim Vanhuffel, Nick Gates, Henk Vogels and Josep Jufre.
Landbouwkrediet - Colnago for Four Days of Dunkirk
The Landbouwkrediet - Colnago team has announced its line-up for the Four Days of Dunkirk, France, May 3-7. The team will field Steve Cummings, Paul Manning, Fréderic Amorison, Jean Paul Simon, Jurgen Van Loocke, Sjef De Wilde, Mathieu Criquielion, and David Verheyen. Claude Vancoillie will be directeur sportif.
Three-time winners look to repeat at Gila
Two previous three-time winners will be looking to add to their tallies at the 2006 edition of Teleperformance's Tour of the Gila, New Mexico, USA, May 3-7. Defending champion Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators) took the overall in 2005 on the final day's Gila Monster road stage. He'll be bringing only one team-mate from Navigators, but Phil Zajicek won two stages and the overall at La Vuelta de Bisbee, held the weekend prior to the Tour of the Gila in nearby Bisbee, AZ.
The other triple champion racing this week is Drew Miller (Successfulliving.com/ParkPre), who first won the Gila in 1990. Miller gave Zajicek a run for his money at Bisbee, winning the final stage and finishing second overall.
However, Swindlehurst, Zajicek and Miller will face tough opposition from some of the USA's top domestic professional teams. Season-long rivals Toyota-United and Health Net/Maxxis will both field squads and the team of rising stars TIAA-CREF will feature former under-23 world time trial champion Danny Pate.
All-diabetic team to race RAAM
A team of eight diabetics will start this year's Race Across America on June 11 with high aims. Team Type 1 plans to win the eight-rider division of the non-stop coast-to-coast race in record time, and along the way "to prove to the world that type-1 diabetics can do anything, without restriction," as team member Steve Holmes put it.
As well as its race goals, the team is working towards raising US$1 million for the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org).
The team was founded by former top collegiate cyclist Phil Southerland in 2005 as a way to raise awareness and education of type-1 diabetes. Other team members include Jay Hewitt, a ten-time Ironman competitor; former pro cyclist Steve Holmes; and Pratt Rather, the first diabetic to race in and complete the RAAM in 1995 (as part of a team). Rounding out the team are Linda Demma, Troy Willard, Robert Heyer and Joe Eldridge.
With the help of Abbott Diabetes Care and their Freestyle monitoring device, Team Type 1 hopes to make winning the team division look, well, as normal as possible. You can find out more information about Team Type 1 and their goal to raise $1 million for JDRF at www.teamtype1.org.
UCI anti-doping news
The UCI has announced the following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences.
Roberto Ballestero (Costa Rica), tested positive for Phentermine during the Vuelta ciclista a Costa Rica, December 23, 2005, sanctioned by the Federacion Costarricense De Ciclismo, suspension of 2 years from March 29 2006 to March 29 2008, disqualification of the race.
Ferney Orlando Bello Clavijo (Colombia), tested positive for Stanozolol during the Tour de Guadeloupe, France, on August 9 2005, sanctioned by Colombian Cycling Federation, lifetime ineligibility, disqualification from the race.
The UCI also noted the recent sanctions against Roberto Heras and Tyler Hamilton.
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