First Edition Cycling News for November 6, 2006
Edited by Gregor Brown and Steve Medcroft
Hondo: moving on
By Susan Westemeyer
Danilo Hondo enjoyed his season at Team Lamonta, but now it's time to move on. "It was fun to ride on this small team," he told Cyclingnews. "But in the end it's a question of finances. For me, it was just a stop-gap, that is clear, and it is imporant that I move on."
The former Gerolsteiner sprinter tested positive in 2005 for the somewhat obscure drug, carphedon, a stimulant that is said to be effective in increasing physical endurance and cold resistance.
He was subsequently sacked by the ProTour team and banned for two years. However, his trips though various courts have allowed him to start riding again this year - but only for a Continental team. In June, he admitted that he had worred as to whether he would be able to come back successfully after sitting out a year but said, "I think that all things considered, it was a great season."
"I am totally satisifed with the possibilities that I had," he said. "I had a lot of wins and was often on the podium." Those wins include an overall second in Franco-Belge, a stage win in the Sachsentour, and wins in such races as the Omloop van de Vlaamse Scheldeboorden, Wiedenscrüker Night and Stuttgart-Hohenheim. And in both the Friedensfahrt (Peace Race) and Circuito Montanes he won two stages and the sprinter's jersey.
Hondo said that he is moving on from Lamonta to the Professional Continental Team Tinkoff Credit Systems. "For the future, there are eight Russian riders, all of them young," he said. "It is clear that in order to have some success, the team also has to have an experienced rider, who can bring the victories in for the team. They approached me with great interest, and of course it was very interesting that they wanted to have me as a top sprinter."
The Tinkoff team has made headlines lately for the high-profile riders it claimed are interested in signing, such as Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ullrich or Ivan Basso. However, Hondo said despite the big aims, it is a serious team.
"The plans for this team are not dreams, but are going forward step by step." The team is interested in signing such riders, maintaining the optimistic outlook. "Especially since the (latest) development in Operacion Puerto shows that soon Ullrich will probably be acquitted."
Meanwhile, Hondo's own doping case continues to make its way through the Swiss judicial system. The injunction allowing him to ride was upheld in September. The next hearing will probably be in Feburary or March, he said. "Naturally I hope that in my own case the court will base its decision on the evidence presented to it and that the court's decision will fall in my favour."
His own experiences have given him a clear perspective on the riders named in Operacion Puerto. "I further hope that in Spain everything will finally be cleared up. Too much time has gone by with nothing happening. Either the riders should be allowed to ride again or the evidence against them needs to be presented so that they can be punished.
"You can't expect everyone to put up with this uncertainty for an extended period of time."
Basso in Japan
Last week the Italian cyclist Ivan Basso - who is deep in contract negotiations - visited Japan as a guest of Full Speed Ahead (FSA) for Cycle Mode International 2006, a Japanese cycling industry trade show. Miwako Sasaki visited the show to witness his popularity in the Far East.
Given the termination of his contract with Team CSC, this year's Giro d'Italia winner, Ivan Basso, appeared at the Japanese trade show fully kitted-out in FSA clothing.
It was only the second time the 28 year-old Italian had visited Japan. "I came to Japan in 1996 for Tour of Japan, as an amateur rider of the Italian national team," he said.
Read the full feature here.
Bishop injury update
Early Saturday the American racer, Jeremiah Bishop (Volkswagen-Trek), was transferred to CIMA Hospital in San Jose, California after he crashed five kilometres from the finish of Stage 2 at the La Ruta de los Conquistadores.
After the incident, Bishop was reported in stable condition but will undergo an operation to treat two fractures on his nose and jaw that he suffered because of the accident.
The Trek dealer in Costa Rica, Ignacio Pasos, said that Bishop was descending at high speed on the last downhill and lost control of his bike. Nevertheless, Bishop managed to finish the stage in second place. "He will be treated in this medical centre and will head back to the United States to recover," Pasos explained to La Ruta's organizers.
MNCF seeks agreement on Tour de Langkawi
By Shane Stokes
With the time continuing to tick down to the scheduled start of the 2007 Tour de Langkawi, the current confusion relating to who will organise the race should be settled early this week. A government decision was expected last week but the Malaysian Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said will now make her pronouncement on the future direction of the 2.HC event after the outcome of a special meeting of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) to be held today [Sunday].
Tension has been high within the MNCF since an EXCO meeting in September saw the board back the appointment of Red Revolution Sdn Bhd to be involved in the running of the race. This decision was then reportedly given a green light by the government appointed taskforce overseeing the event, which was put in place due to the financial difficulties experienced during the past two editions.
The disagreement over Red Revolutions appointment is due to the fact that many of its personnel came from First Cartel, the previous organisers. While MNCF president Abu Samah Wahab, most of the board members and the UCI itself are understood to have agreed to Red Revolutions involvement some of the payment for which would be used to settle the final debts remaining after the governments RM3.4 million (approximately 730,000 euro) buyout earlier this year MNCF president deputy president Datuk Mohd Naim has taken a different line and has clashed with Abu Samah Wahab over this.
Naim was not present at the EXCO meeting where the original vote was taken and has been campaigning since then for a different organisational structure to be put in place. It is understood that some of those involved in running the Tour of Britain are his preferred choice.
The battles within the MNCF and the resulting negative articles in the national press have frustrated Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman and she recently issued an ultimatum to the federation to get its house in order. It will endeavour to do so at Sundays special meeting, where its National Committee members (comprising cycling heads representing Malaysias nine states) will come together, discuss the issue and vote on the direction to be taken.
Datuk Azalina Othman has stated that she will await the outcome of this meeting before making any decision. It has been suggested that if the MNCF fail to reach agreement, the overall organisational rights given to them by the government might be rescinded. However this possibility plus the large injection of funding promised for cycling should surely be enough of an incentive for some consensus to be reached.
See also: 2006 Tour de Langkawi.
Leblanc ends in Burkina Faso
Jean-Marie Leblanc has closed out his directing career in Burkina Faso. The 62 year-old Frenchman is best known as race director of the Tour de France but was asked to oversee the Tour du Faso one last time, a race the ASO started organizing in 2001. After 88 kilometres to Ouagadougou in Sunday's stage 11, Leblanc ended his days on the road.
"This closes a loop for me," said Leblanc from Africa in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I started with cycling like it was an adventure, I continued with cycling as a profession and I will end with cycling as an adventure. This is cycling with lots of courage and resistance, fundamental cycling, but good. The Burkina Faso is a poor country. And with respect to hunger, cycling seems like a plus.
"The ASO came here in 2001, and now my colleagues always asked to return," continued Leblanc, who spent five years racing as a pro, starting in 1967. "Because, here you have the sense of doing something good. And I am proud to end my career here, a long way away from stage lights."
Bettini on track for Olympics
Italian Paolo Bettini made such huge improvements in his first six day race that now Silvio Martinello is considering the road world champion for a spot on the track team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Il Grillo, the reigning Olympic champion on the road, will seek to defend his 2004 title but could have a spot on the track squad for the points race.
"We passed a lot of months talking about the ProTour and DNA, and it seems never ending," commented Martinello, Italian federation technical director, to tuttobiciweb.com. "And we have lost the occasion to celebrate a champion like Paolo Bettini, a rider who in the last months has done some sensational riding, and considering in the same time he lost a close loved one.
"His talent was measured in the six days and it was great publicity for world cycling. Personally, I made note of this to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in which there is a great appreciation for Paolo Bettini because he has made a positive impression for track cycling. And Patrick Sercu, director of the Six days of Grenoble, called me to say that in a few days Paolo had improved 200 percent. ... It will now be nice to see the world champion go to Monaco, one of the most difficult six days on the calendar."
Martinello noted that in light of Bettini's recent performances, he is thinking of a spot for the Italian in the Olympic track team. "Paolo believes in what he is doing and I know that he has also started to dream of Beijing. It would be an extraordinary project to see him on the track for the Olympics, maybe in the points race."
Ivanov and Fanini sign first DNA contract
Ivano Fanini of Amore & Vita-McDonald's has added Ruslan Ivanov for the 2007 season and by doing so the rider became the first to sign a contract where DNA testing is obligatory. The signature follows from a decision by the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), who asked that the riders authorize the UCI to collect their DNA samples, and, with the start of 2007, any new professionals to automatically authorize the collection of their DNA.
"This time there is something more; Ivanov is the first rider in the world to signed a contract with an obligatory clause for submitting DNA," explained Fanini to tuttobiciweb.com. "... He demonstrated right away to be available and made his seriousness clear. I hope this will be an example for all the other riders who will be racing for us in 2007, since whoever wants to wear our jersey has to accept this clause."
"Ruslan has given a lot in his career and I am sure that the best is yet to come." The team also will form part of a reality show in Italy, Fanini explained, "Also, I think that he will be a good personality for the reality show in which we will be a part of."
Last racing for Domina Vacanze in 2005, the rider from Moldavia found himself without a team for 2006 and was left focusing on mountain bike racing. "I was calm at Domina," recalled the 32 year-old. "Then I heard there was not space for me in Milram. I had a verbal contract with Giancarlo Ferretti for SonyEricsson, but we all know how that turned out."
"Thanks to Ivano and Cristian Fanini for giving me a chance to redeem myself. ... Now I can't wait for the time to return and demonstrate the real Ruslan Ivanov."
The Italian team with a Polish license has also confirmed the renewal of Lithuanian Dainius Kairelis.
Armstrong beats NYC Marathon goal
Competing in his first running marathon, Lance Armstrong finished the New York City Marathon on Sunday in with an unofficial time of 2:59:37, under his goald of finshing within one hour of the winner (Brazilian Marilson Gomes dos Santos; who finished in 2:09:58). According to the Associated Press, although he was paced by three elite-level marathoners provided by sponsor Nike, the seven-time Tour de France champion struggled at times to stay on a 3-hour pace, but - as he has so many times in cycling - found the energy to meet the challenge.
Leonardo Moser ride for Selle Italia
Leonardo Moser, nephew of Francesco Moser, will transfer from Acqua & Sapone to Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni for 2007 according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 22 year-old Italian, who earlier this season claimed overall honors in the young rider competition of the Tour de la Région Wallonne, will ride his third season as a professional for the team of Gianni Savio.
The Crocodile Man and the Snow
By Susan Westemeyer
The Crocodile Trophy in Australia has been called "the hardest race on the planet," and when you've won it twice, you're ready to face anything and there is nothing that can still surprise you. Well, not if you're Adam Hansen; an Australian experiencing an early winter in the Czech Republic.
Hansen was recovering from minor surgery at the home he shares with his girlfriend in the Czech Republic, he writes on his personal website, "I will be here until the 9th of November, and then I'm on the way home to Australia where the sun shines! I woke up this morning to see snow everywhere! I was in a little shock, but this is winter, and it's coming fast!"
He added that T-Mobile team doctor Lothar Heinrich has ordered him not to start riding again quite yet, an unpopular decision. "I must obey my boss! Damn you!!!! So when I'm home, I will be getting into it pretty seriously! I can't wait! 'Til then I will count the snowflakes....."
Also read Cyclingnews' feature with Adam Hansen, Joining the ProTour with T-Mobile
After World Cup, Treviso ready for 2008 Worlds
According to the organizers of Saturdays World Cup cyclo-cross race in Treviso, there were more than 10,000 spectators who enjoyed the day inside the Lago le Bandie course. The day was considered a successful preview towards the upcoming 2008 World Championships to be held in the same location
"We feel quite satisfied," Organizing Committee President Remo Mosole said. "As we were able to show all our capacities."
The World Cup stage was considered a "dress rehearsal" not only by competitors but for Mosole and the organizing committee. It was a great effort to make everything working well, with four categories (Elite, U23, Junior, Women), more then 200 athletes participating, 22 Italian RAI TV cameras around the circuit and a lot of people from the management (200).
Full complete race coverage, click here.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)