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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for November 15, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Ullrich moving into higher gear

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Ullrich training
Photo ©: Michael Lang
(Click for larger image)

Jan Ullrich is not sitting around waiting for others to decide his fate but is taking matters into his own hands. The Ostsee Zeitung reported that the 32 year-old German will fly to South Africa Thursday for a training camp.

Ullrich, who recently announced that he had started training again will likely be joined there by former teammates Andreas Klöden and Danilo Hondo, the paper reports.

In addition, Ullrich has a new attorney to represent him in his various legal battles, Dr. Peter-Michael Diestel of Potsdam, Germany. "I want to help bring one of Germany's most prominent and important cyclists back into the life he belongs in," Diestel told the German newspaper.

Diestel, 54 years-old, studied law in Leipzig in the former East Germany, but was not allowed to practice law for unnamed "political reasons." In 1986 he became active in national politics. In 1990 he served as the last Minister of the Interior for the East German government and was allowed to start practicing law after the German reunification. Diestel has specialized in representing former Stasi workers (Stasi being the former East German secret police) and former East German athletes and trainers who have been accused of doping. For example, in 2005 he represented track and field trainer Thomas Springstein, who was accused of having assisted in doping of under-age athletes.

Ullrich's press spokesman Michael Lang doubted the report of the imminent training camp. "Either the Ostsee Zeitung needs to double check their sources or Jan needs to turn into a real fast packer. As far as I know he's not flying anywhere the next few days," he explained to Cyclingnews Thursday midday.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Kohl: unfounded doping accusations are "character assassination"

By Susan Westemeyer

Bernhard Kohl racing in June
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

"The doping accusations against Jan Ullrich and the others have done a lot of damage to our sport," quipped Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl. "It's time now for those who made the accusations to present their evidence. But obviously they don't have any. That's character assassination."

Kohl continued with his comments to the Austrian newspaper Niederösterreichische Nachrichten, putting a positive light on cycling, saying that, "You could tell at the World Championships in Salzburg that cycling isn't at all in a crisis."

The 24 year-old rode the past two seasons for T-Mobile, but will join Team Gerolsteiner in 2007, and is looking forward to the new challenges. "Top priority is of course the Tour de France." He has started training already, despite continuing problems resulting from a nasty crash in stage 9 of the Vuelta a España. "I bruised my sternum in the Vuelta crash. I'm still not pain-free."

The little Austrian has another problem; so far, he has managed to gain about six kilograms in the off-season, he explained to "Everything comes together. I eat what I'm usually not allowed to eat and don't burn any calories because I don't train. So my weight shoots up twice as fast as usual."

This is due, he said, to his slow metabolism, which is actually an advantage. He'll never have the problem of "bonking" during a race. "People with a fast metabolism are barely able to keep up with taking in as many calories as they need during one of the Grand Tours. But my metabolism is so slow, that this problem doesn't really arise."

Zabel/Risi take Six Days of Munich

By Susan Westemeyer

Erik Zabel and Bruno Risi have taken the overall victory in the 43rd Six Days of Munich ahead of Franco Marvulli and Iljo Keisse, with the team of Danny Stam and Peter Schep coming in third. It was the seventh time that Swiss Risi won in Munich and the fourth for his German partner. The duo also won took the overall Derny win ahead of Marvulli and Keisse.

Bettini closes his six day season

Paolo Bettini in day 4 of Munich
Photo ©: Birke Ulrich
Click for larger image

Italian Paolo Bettini closed out his short six day season yesterday in Munich. The Italian paired with compatriot Marco Villa for two winter six day events; first the Grenoble Six Day and then the 43rd Six Days of Munich. The total of 12 days of racing brought Bettini an immeasurable amount of experience that could serve in next winter's events or, although recently denied, a possible run on the track in the 2008 Olympics.

"This is one hellish atmosphere," joked the 32 year-old, who was paid €100,000 for his participation in the six-day German race. "It is a party, a spectacle. For us [in Italy] it would be enough to have one-fourth of what Munich has to help relaunch our track tradition. And the public is qualified, who are aware if you make a mistake during a change and they'll hiss at you."

Bettini took his second victory in a side derny event, but did not live up to his road standards for the six day competition. Bettini and Villa finished eighth after six days, 11 laps back.

Riders arrive in Sydney for the World Cup

Yvonne Hijgenaar top Sydney 2005 500m podium
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Riders have begun to arrive in Sydney in preparation for the opening round of the UCI World Cup which kicks off at the Dunc Gray Velodrome this Friday. 242 riders representing 32 nations will compete in 16 events in three days of cycling action at the Sydney velodrome. The entry list includes eight reigning World Champions, Olympic and World Champion medallists, as well as five of Australia's Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallists.

Recently introduced changes to the UCI World Cup Series allow for professional track team entries, similar to the current set up for road and mountain bike racing, which means the host nation will actually field three teams. The inclusion of the Australian 'Cyclones' National team and the and Drapac-Porsche professional team means fans will not only have the chance to cheer on their heroes, they will also witness the young stars with their sights set on the 2008 Olympic Games.

This is the sixth time this event has been staged in Sydney which first hosted a round in 2002. The World Cup ranks only behind the Olympics and World Championships in importance on the international track cycling calendar.

There will be seven professional track teams (two each from Australia and Spain, one each from the Ukraine, Russia and Great Britain) will participate. The eight reigning world champions include: Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr), 500 metre time trial and sprint, Arnaud Tourant (Fra), teams sprint, Theo Bos (Ned), keirin and sprint, Chris Hoy (GBr), kilometre time trial, Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa), Madison, Peter Dawson (Aus), teams pursuit, Mark Jamieson (Aus), teams pursuit, and Stephen Wooldridge (Aus), teams pursuit.

The winner of each event at the Sydney World Cup will receive the World Cup Classics leader's jersey in addition to the gold medal. Four rounds will be contested in the 2006-2007 series: Sydney, November 17 to 19, Moscow, December 15 to 17, Los Angeles, January 19 to 21, and Manchester, February 23 to 25.

Further information can be found here on the organizer's website.

Finalists announced for 2006 Australian cyclist of the year awards

Robbie McEwen in 2006 Tour
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Cycling Australia has announced the finalists for the 2006 Australian cyclist of the year awards. The winners will be announced at a gala evening of celebration being staged at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on Friday, November 24th.

"The finalists represent just some of the wealth of talent we have in our sport in Australia," said Cycling Australia President Mike Victor. "2006 was a year when Australian cyclists 'punched well above their weight' in results on the world stage and continued to be outstanding ambassadors for the sport and Australia."

Awards will be presented in a range of categories including juniors, masters, elite and AWD categories. The 2006 Cycling Australia media awards will also be announced. The final award of the night will be the presentation of the "Sir Hubert Opperman Medal" to the 2006 Australian Cyclist of the Year.

Male Road Cyclist of the Year:

Cadel Evans - In 2006 Cadel equalled the highest overall placing ever by an Australian at the Tour de France finishing the three week race in fifth place. During the season he also won a stage and overall honours in the Tour of Romandie and finished the year ranked fourth on the UCI ProTour rankings.

Robbie McEwen - Robbie won the green sprinter's jersey at the Tour de France for the third time and along the way scored three stage wins. Three stage victories in the Giro d'Italia were also amongst his 21 season victories.

Stuart O'Grady - Despite a forced rest during the season to recover from five broken ribs and a collarbone fracture Stuart came back in fighting form to finish second in the GP Zurich and third in Paris-Tours. He was second overall in the Tour of Denmark and with CSC won the stage one team time trial of the Vuelta a España.

Female Road Cyclist of the Year:

Oenone Wood in early season action
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Natalie Bates - Natalie found herself doing a victory lap in the road race at the Commonwealth Games celebrating her gold medal with a solo win in front of a home crowd. She also scored third place in the Denmark Golden Hour World Cup round.

Olivia Gollan - Olivia's success in 2006 included wins in a stage of the Montreal Tour in Canada, Stage 3 of the Gracia Orloza in the Czech Republic and Stage 3 of the Advertiser Criterium Series in South Australia. She also found herself on the podium for her third place in a stage of the Tour de l'Aude in France.

Oenone Wood - Oenone began the season with her third straight overall victory in the Geelong Tour and a month later was celebrating gold in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games. In the road race in Melbourne she led home the main bunch to clinch a silver medal. Oenone also celebrated a stage win in the Tour de l'Aude in France.

Other nominees

Male Track: Ryan Bayley, Sean Finning and Ben Kersten
Female Track: Katherine Bates, Katie Mactier and Anna Meares
Male BMX: Wade Bootes, Jamie Gray and Kamakazi
Female BMX: Tanya Bailey, Krystal Cranfield and Renee Junga
Male MTB: Jared Graves, Sam Hill and Chris Jongewaard
Female MTB: Katrina Miller

South African cyclist of the year awards

The nominees have been released for the 2006 Go Banking Cyclist of the Year Banquet which takes place in Sandton next Wednesday (22 November).

In the category for men's road cyclist of the year the six nominations represent a good mix of youth and experience with youngsters John Lee Augustyn (Konica Minolta) and Nolan Hoffman (Exel) making a first appearance on the star studded nominee list. The other nominees in this category are David George (Relax-GAM), Robert Hunter (Phonak), Ian McLeod (Française Des Jeux) and Malcolm Lange (Microsoft).

In the category for women's road cyclist of the year, junior Cherise Taylor finds herself among South Africa's elite ladies after two stunning top ten rides at the World Championships. There are seven nominees in the women's category with Elsa Karsten, who is back racing this year following her recovery from cancer, also making the grade. The nominees are Karsten (CBIST), Taylor (Mr Price Gauteng Youth Cycling Academy), Anriette Schoeman (Proline), Marissa van der Merwe (Proline), Lynette Burger (Harmony), Chrissie Viljoen (Harmony) and Cassandra Slingerland (Proline).

The top three in the category for overall men's mountain-biker of the year are multiple world championship downhill medallist Greg Minnaar (G Cross Honda), Kevin Evans (Raleigh) and Burry Stander (GT), while in the women's category Yolande Speedy, Tania Raats and Yolanda de Villiers are the chosen three.

The cyclist of the year awards are taking place for the sixth time this year and is again shaping up to be a glamorous affair in the company of hosts, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin.

London-Paris cycle tour adds David Harmon

The London-Paris Cycle Tour announced that David Harmon, a UK television commentator for professional cycle racing, will be joining Sean Kelly for the 2007 event. David commentates for British Eurosport, Sky Sports and ESPN Star.

David competed as an elite mountain bike racer before moving into television. Commenting on the London-Paris Cycle Tour he said‚ "I am really looking forward to this endurance ride and have made this my major goal for 2007. I am sure that my Eurosport colleague, Sean Kelly, will be happy to take my advice on training!"

Sean Kelly, seven-time winner of the Paris-Nice replied‚ "It will give me great pleasure to show David the way to Paris!"

Sven Thiele, founder and Chairman of the London-Paris Cycle Tour, added that "Having David Harmon join us is wonderful news. David has also promised us that he will be MC for the tour and be hosting the prize giving in Paris. His knowledge and passion for the sport will help motivate the entire peloton."

The London-Paris (L2P) Cycle Tour is a multi-stage, 600km endurance event for amateur and cyclo-sportif riders. The route starts in Kingston (Hampton Wick) on the outskirts of London and then travels southwards through the North and South Downs to Portsmouth. The riders then cross the channel on overnight ferry to St Malo, France. Day 2 is from St Malo to Alencon, and Day 3 from Alencon to Versailles, Paris.

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