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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 28, 2006

Edited by Greg Johnson, Ben Abrahams & Anthony Tan

Vaughters asks all for a change in mentality

By Anthony Tan

Jonathan Vaughters
Photo: © Beth Seliga
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TIAA-CREF manager Jonathan Vaughters, a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong on the US Postal Service team, says everyone involved in cycling is partly to blame for the situation as it stands now.

"Managers, fans, press, everyone needs to look at what they ask of riders. Think about it," he asks. "You loved Tyler Hamilton getting fourth in the Tour and winning a stage with a broken collarbone. Think about that. What message does that send? He got the job done. He didn't let anyone down."

In an interview with Cyclingnews' Gerard Knapp, Vaughters says the mentality of team managers asking to "get the job done" - in part brought on by sponsors, team-mates, fans and the media - is what he believes has led to a spate of doping abuse in recent years. He says a cyclist's behaviour needs to change, and by allowing "some humanity" back into cycling, as Vaughters puts it, this will allow for an outcome of 'we did our best' to be considered acceptable.

"If the peer pressure is to 'get the job done' because that's the implicit message, it will get done - in a bad way. Don't force athletes into decisions like that. Don't force ethical people to make poor decisions. Instead allow for some humanity. Allow for 'we did our best.'"

Regarding his own riders, who comprise a large crop of US talent, Vaughters says that if one tested positive, he would be fired immediately. But unlike other team managers, he says he wouldn't distance himself from the rider. Said Vaughters: "We stand by our riders for a long time, even if they have a bad patch of form. I never push harder than they can handle. I push to the edge, but not over."

The full story will be published on Cyclingnews later today.

De Fauw an 'emotional wreck'

By Brecht Decaluwé

De Fauw at the Gent Six
Photo ©: Emory Ball
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Belgian Dimitri De Fauw is still coming to terms with the death of Issac Gálvez after being involved in the crash which killed the Spaniard on the fifth night of the Gent Six Day. "Emotionally I'm a wreck. I need to move on," De Fauw told Belgian newspaper De Standaard. Although the rider from Gent admits that the accident is still weighing heavily on his mind.

"On Sunday morning I returned to the Kuipke track to talk with Patrick Sercu, the organiser, and my minder Robert D’Hont. They looked after me and told me it wasn't my fault. The prosecutor did the same, allowing me to tell my version of the story. You're innocent. But still, in your head you're imagining things that aren't there. How am I supposed to digest this?" De Fauw said.

The 25 year-old discovered the terrible news while being checked over at the Gent University Clinic hospital. "I heard two doctors talking about the accident and the death. They didn't know I also arrived from the track and crashed together with him. My heartbeat rose immediately."

Recalling the events of Saturday night’s second Madison, De Fauw explained, "I was sitting in fourth or fifth position in the bunch. Iljo Keisse had just accelerated. We came out of the corner towards the finish when the bunch made a sweeper. I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything, but suddenly Galvez was there; he had accelerated behind me to start the chase on Iljo. I never saw him coming. We hooked into each other with our handlebars and got catapulted towards the top of the track. It all happened in a fraction of a second."

De Fauw described his injuries as "only scrapes" but admitted that the real wounds were much deeper: "It was supposed to become a party. Winning or at least the podium for Iljo, the track record for me, everyday 7,000 people going out of their minds. Until suddenly, bang. And everything fades to black."

Marco Villa reflects on loss of fellow Six Day cyclist

By Gregor Brown

Marco Villa
Photo ©: Emory Ball
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"The crash did not seem that bad," Italian Marco Villa said of the incident that lead to the death of fellow six day cyclist, Isaac Gálvez. The 37 year-old Italian, who has claimed 23 wins in 135 six day events, was obviously shell-shocked when recalling the incident to La Gazzetta dello Sport, but he noted that track racing is typically safe.

"In Gent they have raced on this track for 45 years and there has never been such a serious incident," continued Villa, twice world champion in the Madison. "To race on the track is not dangerous. Between us there are rules that we all respect: you stay in Indian file, no passing on the inside, before changing you look, in the sprint everyone holds their line... Then, we all know each other very well. In short, a road sprint is surely much more risky. Here, there were a series of incredible coincidences."

In the top-level of track racing there has not been a tragedy since 1956, when Stan Ockers, 1955 road world champion, crashed in Antwerp. There have been many more incidents during road races, the latest being Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France and Andrei Kivilev in the 2003 Paris-Nice.

Tour stage and mentoring for Giuseppe Guerini

By Gregor Brown

Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
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Evergreen Giuseppe Guerini is approaching his 15th season as a professional. The 36 year-old from Bergamo, Italy is currently on island of Lanzarote, Spain with his T-Mobile teammates, preparing for the 2007 season.

Guerini, affectionately nicknamed Beppe Turbo, has lived through two of cycling's biggest disgraces, the Festina affair and Operación Puerto, but is still keeping focused on his goals; winning a third Tour de France stage and helping the up-and-comers in the German squad. "We rode out the Operación Puerto scandal with character," said Guerini to "I am ready to start my new role as the appointed guide for the young riders of T-Mobile, in what will be my ninth season with T-Mobile."

Having been slapped hard before the Tour even started, losing Oscar Sevilla and Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile went about business, which resulted in winning the team competition. "To win the team classification in the last Tour was a big joy despite only having started with seven riders, given the withdrawal of Ullrich and Sevilla due to the ethical codes.

"The day before the Tour started, we took a decision in the team, my companions and I went on a two hour ride around Strasbourg, away from the clamour of the media. It was in this moment that there was created a strong will to react; the maillot jaune held by Honchar for a few days and the three stage victories were the immediate confirmations."

Since those hazy days in July, T-Mobile has gone through some serious restructuring, leaving few of the original riders, but Guerini was one who was asked to stay around.

"The internal monitoring of the riders will help combat doping and the new schedule that lacks the pressure of results at any cost are the basis of the new group," continued the rider who finished third in the Giro d'Italia on two occasions and has a mythical Alpe d'Huez win in his palmarčs.

After a crash in stage three of the Regio Tour, resulting in a hairline fracture in his left collarbone, Guerini ended his 2006 season. "On my part, after passing though a season of stomach problems and a fractured collarbone, I dream of winning a third stage in the Tour."

Dean concerned over BikeNZ resignation

Julian Dean (Credit Agricole)
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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Following the resignation of BikeNZ high performance director, Michael Flynn, Credit Agricole’s Julian Dean has expressed his concern for the state of cycling in his native New Zealand. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald from his home in Rotarura, Dean said: "I just throw my hands in the air again in dismay at BikeNZ and the directors of BikeNZ because they have made a stupid mistake, again."

Flynn announced on Wednesday that he was returning to Australia for personal reasons but Dean believes it was the environment at BikeNZ which forced his resignation. "For BikeNZ to put Flynn in a situation where he wants to resign - which seems to be what happened - they have got no idea what they are doing ... Michael Flynn is very specialised at what he does, he knows cycling, he understands Europe and he knows how to build a programme. He's created an incredible environment for the young guys."

The chief executive of BikeNZ, Rodger Thompson, admitted that views of Dean and fellow professional Greg Henderson were understandable. "BikeNZ understands that there is real concern from many of the senior riders," said Thompson. "However, the decision to resign was taken by the high performance director and we must respect the decision."

With the Beijing Olympics only 18 months away, BikeNZ are hoping to find a replacement for Flynn by February.

Konica Minolta make fresh start

African Continental team Konica Minolta will start the 2007 with a clean slate after announcing its men's line-up for next year which only retains two riders from this season and the addition of a women's program to its portfolio. Herman Fouche and Travis Allen will be the only riders retained in the new, all South African line-up.

Dual South African national champion Tiaan Kannemeyer will leave Barloworld, after three seasons with the team, to join the outfit next season. Kannemeyer brings with him a wealth of experience having won in '03 Tour of Egypt, and the '05 Pick 'n Pay Giro del Capo. Also leaving Barloworld behind for Konica Minolta is South African cycling stalwart Jock Green.

Other riders included in the line-up are Jay Thompson, Dennis Van Niekerk, Christoff Van Heerden.

Meanwhile, the newly announced women's program will be spearheaded by Yolandi du Toit, the reigning African Continental Champion. Toit will be joined by Cherise Taylor and Arien Torsius in the program for 2007.

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