First Edition Cycling News for November 4, 2006
Edited by Laura Weislo
New indoor velodrome proposed for Philadelphia
Following the success of the indoor Los Angeles velodrome, the manager of a township outside Philadelphia has announced plans to build the first modern-era east coast US indoor velodrome on a 14 acre site near Valley Forge National Park, just outside of Philadelphia. Lower Providence Township Manager, Joseph C. Dunbar, revealed plans for a 2,500 seat arena and velodrome today. The building will be designed for multiple uses, and will include expanded seating capacity for up to 4,000 for concerts, sporting events and community activities. Initial plans also call for connecting the velodrome via bike path to the Schuylkill River and Perkiomen bicycle trails.
Dunbar said that a private investment partnership, American Management Group, LLC, is providing financial backing for the project, and is purchasing the site of an abandoned semi-conductor plant. Plans for the site include the 130,000 square foot arena and a 150-room hotel. The project could be completed as soon as 18 months from now.
The new site is less than 100 km from the highly successful Lehigh Valley velodrome, also known as 'T-town'. The close proximity of the new track was met with mixed feelings by the Lehigh Valley velodrome CEO, Erin Hartwell. He told Cyclingnews that he "hopes we can work with [VMG] to promote the sport together, and to co-promote events. If we don't, it will be bad for both venues". Hartwell admitted that "there is definitely something lacking [as far as facilites] on the east coast". Harsh weather makes training during the winter track racing season impossible at most of the east coast tracks, which are exclusively outdoor, so the addition of an indoor track will add a convenient complementary facility.
Making a velodrome economically viable has been a challenge to many communities, and the Lehigh Valley velodrome, with its 31-year history, is "somewhat of an anomoly in the US" said Hartwell, because they've kept the track and their programs going for so long. While other velodromes struggle to run the facilities and programs with volunteers, T-town has a paid staff. But Hartwell was optimistic about the addition of a new track. "I liken it to soccer, which had slow growth at first, because there weren't many facilities. But as the fields became more prevalent, the growth was enormous".
Cycling will be a major focus of the new facility, according to the press release, but they will rely other events to provide a steady source of income. Paul Decker, president of the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, "Our research indicates that there is a universe of some 35,000 events that could potentially be held in the Center. Attracting some of these is a major goal for us, particularly when you consider that attendees spend money in the area and will make a significant contribution to our local economy."
The velodrome will be developed and operated by Velodrome Management Group LLC (VMG) of Norristown. Pennsylvania. VMG is run by David Chauner and Jerry Casale, who double as organizers of the Pro Cycling Tour, which includes the former US Pro championships in Philadelphia, now known as the Philadelphia International Championship. Chauner has a history of developing cycling programs in the area. He and former partner Jack Simes created the program at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, which, since its inception in 1977, has introduced cycling to 14,000 youngsters and has produced 16 Olympic team members including 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, Marty Nothstein.
"In the mid-seventies, we proved that velodrome racing could be presented as entertainment as well as compelling athletic competition," said Chauner, who told how he and Simes, then the US Olympic team coach, attracted international athletes and thousands of paying spectators to watch bicycle racing when the sport was virtually unknown. "In those days, there was no Greg LeMond, no Lance Armstrong and bicycle racing wasn’t on anyone’s radar screen."
Jack Simes and his company, Veloplex Arenas, will be hired to help plan and construct the velodrome, a 250 meter wood track to be designed and built by Peter Junek of Canada. Simes, a three-time Olympian and Olympic Team coach, will also work closely with VMG to create a racing format with unique spectator appeal.
When asked about whether he thinks the new velodrome will come to fruition, Hartwell said, "I get asked about [the viability] of new velodromes all the time, and this one is further along than anyone else in the country. And with Chauners record in the sport, I have no doubt he will make it work".
See also: Cyclingnews recent coverage of track racing
Claudio Casas to Andalucía
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spaniard Claudio Casas, who made his debut with the Comunidad Valenciana team in 2006, has reached a contractual agreement for the next two seasons with Andalucia. Until now, he has not won any races, but it has been he has adapted well to the rigors of professional racing. "I feel very lucky to have found a team that trusts me at such a complicated time". Casas told Cyclingnews. "We have been talking about the next season, and they seemed very serious", he said. "I am already training in order to be ready to help the team with their goal of winning the Vuelta a Andalucia, which is very important for us." Andalucia is also negotiating with Cajasur as new sponsors in place of Paul Versan.
Treviso feels the rainbow atmosphere
Another year has to pass before the world championships will be held here, but in the "Bandie Lake" centre everybody feels "the rainbow" spirit. The weather is sunny, the air is rather cold and everything is ready in Spresiano-Treviso to host the fourth round of the cyclo-cross world cup. This weekend's race will take place on the same course that will be used for the world championships in 2008, a former quarry which was converted to a sports center in the 1970's by Remo Mosole, president of the 2008 worlds organisation.
The Treviso world cup round is considered a sort of dress rehearsal, not only by competitors, but also by the organizing committee, who is facing a great effort to make everything go smoothly. Four categories (Elite, U23, Junior, Women), and more than 200 athletes will be participating, and 22 Italian television cameras will be around the circuit, and there are a nearly 200 people from the committee who are will be working hard to put on a top-level event.
The schedule will start at 10.00 am with the Juniors, followed by the Under 23 at 11.10 am, and the Women at 1.15 pm. The most awaited race, the Elite men, starts at 3.00 PM, where the biggest names in the cyclo-cross will compete.
Check back on Cyclingnews this weekend for full coverage of the Treviso cyclo-cross World Cup.
Will the Belgians miss Treviso?
On Saturday, the world cup arrives in Treviso for the fourth race in this year's World Cup series. The Belgian riders were supposed to travel from the Charleroi airport to Treviso on Friday morning, however, the team arrived at the airport only to find their flight had been canceled. The Belgian delegation was left hurriedly trying to find alternate flights at the Brussels airport, cyclo-cross.info reports.
UCI leader Sven Nys joked that the cancellation might offer the team "an extra rest day." Transportation challenges aside, the Belgian delegation expects to arrive in time for the races.
Vossem 'cross may end
By Brecht Decaluwé
On Saturday November 4th, the 45th Witloofcross will be held in Vossem, Belgium, but it may be the last time the race will be organised. The organisers are unhappy with the way there race has been treated by the UCI. "The way it goes now, we don't appreciate organising a race anymore," president of the organising committee Kris Sommerijns said at the press conference in Vossem. "In the current cyclo-cross circus it's not longer possible for us to organise a top class race, so we choose to pull away," Sommerijns continued.
The president complained about the problems finding a date on the over-full international calendar. "The best riders can't race everywhere. Besides the world cup, they choose to compete in a series like the Superprestige or the GvA-trophy which is offered in one contract to the riders," Sommerijns explained.
The independent race organisers are third in the row and find it difficult to attract good riders. "The starting fees have risen enormously in recent years, for that reason there's no longer interest to organize a race in foreign countries. If the sport loses it's value outside of Belgium, it'll be clear that the riders signed their death sentence". The president also asked the UCI to look at the future of the sport without suppressing the popularity of cyclo-cross in Belgium.
l'Etape du Tour adds new event
Alongside the the announcement of the Tour de France route, the organisers of l'Etape du Tour, an event where up to 8,500 amateurs get the opportunity to ride a full Tour de France stage, revealed which of next year's stages has been selected.
In keeping with past years, the 2007 Etape be held on the course of one of the epic mountain stages. The event will be held in the Pyrennees, and will follow the parcours of Stage 15 from Foix to Loudenvielle, featuring five categorised climbs: the Col de Port, Col de Portet d'Aspet, Col de Menté, Port de Balès and the Col de Peyresourde, in 196 km (see profile). It will be held on Monday July 16th, coinciding with the Tour's first rest day.
Because of the demand for places in l'Etape du Tour far outstrips supply, organisers ASO have created a new event. The Etape de Legende will be run along same lines as its sister event, but on a classic stage from the Tour's past.
The first Etape de Legende will be run on Sunday, September 23rd, and will revisit the 8th Stage of the 1967 Tour de France between Strasbourg and the Ballon d'Alsace. The original stage was won by Lucien Aimar of France, but is also notable for the fact that Raymond Poulidor crashed, costing him that year's Tour.
For more information about both events visit www.letapedutour.com
Luperini to Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini
Fabiana Luperini has signed with the Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas team for the 2007 season. Luperini, a four-time winner of the women's Giro d'Italia, and three-time winner of the women's Tour de France (La Grande Boucle Féminine) will be the new team leader of Nobili after the departure of Edita Pucinskaite (Equipe Nürnberger). Team manager Walter Zini said, "Our objective will be the Giro 'd Italia: we succeeded in winning this year with Pucinskaite, and I do not see why we should not try with Fabiana Luperini."
The team has also picked up Australian Rochelle Gilmore, who will be handy for stages wins and bunch sprints. Gilmore has two Giro d'Italia Donne stage wins, and several medals on the track from past world championships. Danish rider Dorthe Lohse Rasmussen who, at 35 years of age, is another new signing, and will bring a considerable amount of experience to the team. Rasmussen was fourth at this year's world championships in Salzburg. Nobili Rubinetterie reinforces their abilities against the clock with Spanish time trial champion Eneritz Iturriaga. Italian Carmela Maria Massaro, 19, rounds out the squad.
Van Gilder to Cheerwine
Laura Van Gilder, one of the top sprinters in the United States, will lead the 2007 Cheerwine women's team, along with the current New Zealand national road champion Catherine Cheatley (nee Sell). Van Gilder, a former member of the US worlds team, who has more than 300 career wins, will bring much-needed power to the team. Director Thad Fischer said, "This team is so competitive, and so capable and the riders are truly professionals with the chemistry between them just right. The 2007 overall NRC team win will be wide open for 2007, with all the major teams going for it. The riders are very evenly distributed throughout the teams this year. It is going to be exciting until the very end and Cheerwine’s goal is to come out on top."
Other new signings include former US national champion Sarah Uhl, national team members Chrissy Ruiter and Brooke Ourada, Canadian national team members Leigh Hobson and Betina Hold, Australian Rachel O'Connell and Alisha Lion. Returning to Cheerwine is sprinter Kelly Benjamin, a member of the US national track team, Sarah Bamberger, Clara Beard and cyclo-cross racer Elizabeth Frye.
Orbea bicycles have signed on as the team’s bicycle sponsor for two years. The team will start racing in late February, and have squads in place for both the Geelong World Cup event, the New Zealand Tour, and the first US national calendar races in California.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)