First Edition Cycling News for November 2, 2006
Edited by Sue George
Government decision due on organization of Tour de Langkawi
By Shane Stokes
An important announcement as regards the future of the Tour de Langkawi is set to be made this week by the Malaysian Minster of Sport, Datuk Azalina Othman Said. The last two editions of the prestigious 2.HC Malaysian event have been dogged by financial difficulties but a government buyout earlier this year settled many of the financial debts, thus securing the race’s license with the UCI.
Although a very considerable financial commitment on the part of the government seemed to ensure that the race would have a long-term future, planning for next year’s race has been hampered by bitter political infighting within the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), as well as some negative commentary in the national press. The Minister of Sport is frustrated by the turn of events and is due to make a ruling on the matter this week.
The Malaysian government are reported to have paid RM3.4 million (approximately 730,000 euro) to settle most of the debts, with RM2.3million coming from the Youth and Sports Ministry and RM1.1 million from the Tourism Ministry, yet infighting within the MNCF continues. Involved parties need to reach agreement soon if the race is to be organized in time for 2007.
To read the full feature, click here.
Nys overcomes conditions at Koppenberg Cross
By Brecht Decaluwé in Oudenaarde
Today marked another big win for Sven Nys (Rabobank) in an eventful and exciting race up and around the famed Koppenberg. 15,000 spectators enjoyed a thrilling race with many changes among the leaders. For a while, John Gadret (Ag2R Prévoyance) gave the impression that he could annoy the Belgian UCI-leader, Nys. Halfway through the race, Sven Nys overcame his technical problems and steamed through towards the lead and eventually the victory.
"I was never worried because I know that the best rider always wins over here," Nys explained after the muddy day in Oudenaarde, Belgium. "In this race, you're allowed to make mistakes because in the end, the experience and the condition gain it over all the other factors."
It's quite clear that when the courses get heavier, the strong guys move up. Nys' experienced teammate Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank) finished second and he knew how he got that good result; saying, "My experience and instincts kept me on the bike where others had to walk."
An unexpected shower spoiled the handling of the cross bikes for most riders. Even Sven Nys known for his skills suffered with the suddenly slippery course. At one point, the UCI-leader was seen letting some air from his tires while the race was going on!
Behind the two experienced Rabobank-riders, John Gadret managed to hold for third place. Gadret performed really strong on the road in the Giro d'Italia but still wants to race in cyclocross. "I'm really happy with my performance as this is the first important cyclocross for me. Up until now, I didn't enjoy specific cyclocross training, so I'm certainly lacking the technical skills the other riders have mastered," Gadret explained. "My goal this season is to win an event in the world cup."
Tomorrow Nys will ride in a somewhat smaller race in Knokke, Belgium before traveling to Italy for the world cup race in Treviso.
For full race coverage, click here.
Interbike responds to competing Eurobike show
Eurobike announced earlier this week that it would launch a bicycle trade show to be held in Portland, Oregon, in the fall of 2007. Exact dates are not yet known, but the show is intended to compete with Interbike, the current industry standard US trade show. Eurobike selected Portland for its reputation as a bike-friendly, major city.
The 25th annual Interbike Outdoor Demo and International Bicycle Expo were held during the last week of September 2006. Interbike boasted that this year's edition occupied the largest exhibit footprint in its history and an attendance increase of twelve percent to 22,000 compared to 2005.
Responding to Eurobike's announcement, Interbike's Lance Camisasca said, I was interested to hear the news of Eurobikes proposed show. We welcome competition, as it will help us do a better job. However, we are also greatly concerned about the dividing effect Eurobikes announcement may have on the industry. Many will remember the time when the industry suffered through multiple shows resulting in additional expense and heartache."
We understand the Interbike show may not be perfect, but we have always tried to listen to retailers, exhibitors, and advocacy groups to improve the show and to help the industry grow," said Camisasca, who then promised to do "everything we can to make Interbike the best show for the North American market.
Zabel and Risi wrap up victory in Six Days of Dortmund
By Susan Westemeyer
The new Six-Days' "Dream Team" of Erik Zabel and Bruno Risi brought home their first victory in a start-to-finish win in the Six Days of Dortmund. They won with two laps advantage over Guido Fulst and Leif Lampater. Third place went to Danny Stam and Andreas Beikirch, four laps back.
"That looked easier than it was," Zabel told the German press agency "sid". The German was the strongest rider in the race, as his partner Risi acknowledged: "It was an honor for me, to achieve this victory with Erik."
Tinkoff interested in Ullrich
By Susan Westemeyer
Italian team Tinkoff Credit Systems is interested in Jan Ullrich, at least under certain conditions. Director Sportif Omar Piscina spoke last week with Ullrich's adviser Rudy Pevenage. "But the team is only interested when Ullrich's situation is cleared up and Jan can ride races," Piscina told the German press agency dpa.
As reported to www.express.de, Tinkoff allegedly offered Ullrich a salary of 3.8 million Euros per year. Furthermore, it says that Tinkoff has long been in negotiations with Ullrich's manager, Wolfgang Strohband, although his only comment was, "That's just speculation, I don't want to say any more about it."
The team has already signed Danilo Hondo and is reportedly in negotiations with Tyler Hamilton. The sponsor is not interested in the riders' pasts, according to Piscina, who told the dpa, "Tinkoff has an idea that everyone deserves a second chance."
Tinkoff Credit Systems will be a Professional Continental team in 2007, and hopes for invitations to the Grand Tours and the Spring Classics.
Doping scandals cost LuK Challenge its main sponsor
By Hedwig Kröner
The German paired time trial LuK Challenge in Bühl, a UCI-rated 1.1 road race, has lost its main backer. According to Radsport aktiv, the supplier for car clutch systems, LuK has ended its sponsorship because recurrent doping scandals have shattered cycling's image this year and cost the sport its credibility.
Organizer Eugen Rösinger is now searching for another sponsor and has already established some contacts. "But it will be hard," said Rösinger, who needs 500,000 Euros to continue running the event, which was won this year by Gerolsteiner's Markus Fothen and Sebastian Lang.
After Operación Puerto, which swept Germany's long-time star Jan Ullrich off the cycling scene (for now), public indignation and media criticism continue to put pressure on the sport and its promoters. The 2007 LuK Challenge was scheduled to take place in early August.
USA Cycling announces new national mountain bike calendar
USA Cycling introduced for 2007 a new mountain bike calendar that is designed to recognize and support top-level regional, national and international events through a season-long calendar similar to the National Racing Calendar model currently utilized in road cycling. This series is not to be confused with the "National Mountain Bike Series" (NMBS), which has been owned and operated by Team Big Bear and Blue Wolf Production for the past three years.
The new Mountain Bike National Calendar is an attempt to increase interest in US mountain bike racing and will include events that have not participated in the traditional "NORBA National Series" model. Events will be grouped into categories: endurance, gravity and ultra-endurance. Endurance will consist of cross country, short track cross country, time trials and stage races. Gravity is defined as downhill, dual slalom, 4-cross and super downhill. Ultra-endurance will include marathon, ultra-marathon and 12- and 24-hour races.
Later today, USA Cycling will release pro purse requirements and bidding documents for the three categories. The documents are expected to explain the requirements and process for solidifying a spot on the calendar, prize money requirements, event guidelines, rights and responsibilities, and application procedures.
Steve Johnson, USA Cycling chief executive officer, called the calendar an attempt to "build a true national event ladder to support and sustain the continued development of American mountain bike racing."
Cycling popularity grows in Ontario
The Ontario Cycling Association reported record membership numbers for 2006 and growth for the sixth consecutive season. This year, total members numbered 9,777, an increase of nearly 10% from 8,898 members in 2005. The OCA sanctioned nearly 300 road, mountain, track, cross, and BMX events this year.
Furthermore, more racers are participating in clubs. In 2003, OCA licensed 92 clubs. In 2006, there were 143 clubs, to which 5,947 racers belonged.
OCA attributes the growth to a new online membership registration system and to the Forest City Velodrome, which has been operating for a little more than a year. The Velodrome, one of only three indoor tracks in North America, is an ideal place for cyclists to train year-round.
But mountain bike racing remains popular, too, and growing among some sectors. Female participation in mountain bike events rose to 19% (from a low of 10.5% in 1998).
On the road side, 43 of OCA's athletes finished in the top 10 at the Canadian National Road championships, and looking ahead, interest in road cycling will like rise as plans are in the works for an international UCI Road event in the Ottawa area in 2007.
Burgos and Hernández renew with Relax Gam
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Relax-GAM Pro continental team has nearly completed its roster after renewing the contracts of Spanish riders Nácor Burgos and Jesus Hernandez.
Relax GAM had already strengthened their team for the coming season by signing Santi Perez, formerly of Phonak, who is back racing after serving a two-year sanction for a doping violation. The team also signed Julián Sánchez Pimienta, for his climbing abilities. The Spaniard squad, directed by Suarez Cuevas, is aiming for Vuelta next year.
Other team members include Jorge Garcia, Rafael Martinez, Jose Miguel Elias, Joaquin Sobrino, Raul Garcia, Oscar Garcia, Angel Vallejo, Daniel Moreno, Jose Terciado, and Mario de Sárraga.
Van Emden extends with Rabobank
General director Theo de Rooij of the Rabobank Cycling Teams extended the contract of Jos van Emden through the end of 2008. His contract would have expired at the end of the 2007 season.
In 2006, his first season with the Continental Team, Van Emden recorded eight victories. He won the general classifications of both Roserittet (Norway) and Triptyque des Barrages. Additionally, he won stages in the Tour de Normande, Tour du Loir-et-Cher, GP Tell (where he won the prologue, too), Roserittet, and Triptyque des Barrages.
Jos van Emden placed seventh during this year's under 23 World Championship. In the Dutch National under 23 championships, he was fifth among the top six riders, all of whom were Rabobank racers.
Record registrations for US Cyclocross Nationals
The US Cyclocross Nationals, set for December 15-17 at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island, has set a pace to break all attendance records for the national cross championships.
The event's online registration service reported a massive hit when the registration opened in October. "This is the biggest registration spike we have seen because it was so important to be in first for riders," said Steve Roszko of BikeReg.com.
Roszko reported more than 600 entrants registered in the first 10 minutes. After one day, the event had signed up more than 1,100 entrants. There are no field limits for the national championships, but start line position is based on criteria that includes order of registration.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)