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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for October 10, 2006

Edited by Greg Johnson & Kyle Mackay

Discovery begin sponsorship talks

Online US business website MediaPost has reported that pay-television operator Discovery Channel has begun re-negotiating its sponsorship deal with the US-based ProTour team. "The deal has given us tremendous value," a spokeswoman for Discovery Channel was quoted as saying. "We have an incredible relationship with CSE [Capital Sports & Entertainment, which manages and co-owns the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.]. We are negotiating now."

The discussions indicate the television giant is keen to extend its original contract, inked in 2004 as a three-year deal, despite the retirement of former Discovery Channel rider Lance Armstrong. The current deal expires at the conclusion of the 2007 ProTour. The article values Discovery's sponsorship at $10-15 million US dollars per year.

The revelation that Discovery is keen to continue its association with the team is positive news for the outfit which is undergoing a major revamp. The team recently announced the departure of 11 riders from its 27-strong line-up ahead of the 2007 ProTour.

Riders Jose Azevedo, Michael Barry, Manuel Beltran, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Roger Hammond, Leif Hoste, Benoit Joachim, Gennady Mikhaylov, Paolo Savoldelli, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Max Van Heeswijk have all departed the squad. Meanwhile Discovery Channel has announced the first in a new wave of riders that will join the team including Uros Murn, Gianni Meersman, Levi Leipheimer, Sergio Paulinho and Tomas Vaitkus, with more announcements expected in coming weeks.

T-Mobile confirms signings

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile has confirmed the signings of New Zealander Greg Henderson and Australian Adam Hansen, as CyclingNews reported yesterday. "We are pleased to have Adam and Greg," incoming General Manager Bob Stapleton told Cyclingnews. "We have one spot open on the roster. Both Hansen and Greg are very motivated and proud to be in magenta. That makes a difference."

Landis to remain NRC champion, Pic wins again

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Last month the National Racing Calendar concluded with the Parker Main Street Omnium in Colorado with Tina Pic and Floyd Landis sitting on insurmountable leads. Unlike the UCI ProTour standings which at first put an asterik and then removed Landis from the standings citing a pending investigation, the USA Cycling release did not mention any pending action against Landis.
Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

"We did not feel it was appropriate since he has not been found guilty of anything," said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. Johnson also indicated that regardless of any findings regarding Landis and the Tour de France, he would keep his NRC championship. "As well, all of his points were earned at the Tour of California and Tour de Georgia, so [the current investigation] would not affect anything."

Closing in behind Landis and finishing just seventeen points down was Health Net's Karl Menzies who is continuing his strong season with a win at the Herald Sun Tour. This helped Health Net-Maxxis claim the overall team title.

On the women's side, Colavita-Cooking Light's Tina Pic earned her third championship in a row and fourth overall thanks to big wins in many criteriums. Not far behind was double national champion Kristin Armstrong who, along with third place Laura Van Gilder, helped TEAm Lipton take the overall season win.

Changes for Wiesenhof

By Susan Westemeyer

In 2006 the name was Wiesenhof-Akud and the team was based in Essen, Germany. In 2007 the German Professional Continental Team will be called Weisenhof-Felt and will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany. The new name co-sponsor, Felt, is an American bike manufacturer, and is sponsoring a team for the first time. Also new to the field is the city of Karlsruhe as a co-sponsor, specifically through the Messe Karlsruhe, the city's convention center. Team Manager Raphael Schweda sees the new sponsors in a positive light, calling it "a sign that the sponsors are staying with us and with cycling."

Sports Manager Jens Heppner says the team will continue to develop young talent. "It's normal that they then go in another direction," he admits. Next season the youngsters on the team will profit from the presence of veteran Steffen Wesemann, like Heppner a former member of the T-Mobile team. "That will be a real challenge for me," Weseman says. He may be joined by yet another T-Mobile teammate, sprinter Olaf Pollack, who is considering an offer from Weisenhof.

And yet another new name pops up. Ronny Lauke will become the team's new Directeur Sportif, replacing Jochen Hahn. Hahn, in turn, is looking to found his own Continental Team with twelve riders, and while he hopes to work closely with Wiesenhof, he has his own sponsors and plans. "Akud has agreed to be a sponsor. I will concentrate solely on young riders like German junior champion Dominik Roels," Hahn says.

Zubeldia and Galpasoro sign with Euskaltel

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Haimar Zubeldia has re-signed with ProTour team Euskaltel-Euskadi until 2008. Euskaltel-Euskadi general manager, Miguel Madariaga and technical secretary Igor González de Galdeano were on hand at yesterday's announcement in Guipúzcoa, Spain. Zubeldia has renewed the contract with his Spanish team after making his professional debut with the outfit in 1998. The Spaniard finished ninth in this year's Tour de France.

The team also announced that Dioni Galpasoro has signed a contract to ride with the outfit until 2008. Galpasoro joins the team after two seasons with the now defunct Spanish professional squad Kaiku.

Meanwhile, Euskaltel-Euskadi management isn't sure of Iban Mayo's future within the team. "Mayo is more and more far from Euskaltel, but not by our part," explained Madariaga. Unconfirmed reports have claimed the Spaniard has held preliminary discussions with Joxean Fernandez Matxin, the director of Saunier Duval Prodir.

Last ProTour race for Phonak's Stalder

The demise of the Phonak team at the end of this season will see another rider without a ride in the ProTour next year. Swiss rider Florian Stalder, who celebrated his best career result by taking fifth place at Paris-Bourges last Thursday, will bid farewell to the ProTour next Sunday at the Giro de Lombardie. In future, the young Swiss rider will be racing for the Austrian second-division team Volksbank.

"I had a lot of good moments. The Tour de Georgia with our captain's [Landis] win there and the Vuelta a España were great experiences. The fifth-place finish last Thursday was an encore," said the 24 year-old.

"I dreamed of becoming a pro and invested everything and trained hard to come this far. In the next couple of days I'll sign a one year contract with the Volksbank Professional Cycling Team. I hope to fulfil the expectations in the Austrian team by securing good results and then later return to the ProTour," added Stalder.

Riis proud, still no news on Basso

Winning the ProTour team rankings for the second consecutive year was one of the big goals for Team CSC during the 2006 season, and last Sunday the Danish team reached this goal by winning the team competition in Paris-Tours, according to the team's website. "I'm so incredibly proud of the whole team. It was very important for us to show we could do it again. It's literally all the riders who deserve the credit for this achievement. We have been strong throughout the season and in all kind of races. Even now at the end of the season, where many other teams have more or less fallen apart and it's hard to put together strong line-ups, we have delivered great results," said Bjarne Riis.

In both Paris-Tours and Züri Metzgete the team had to settle for second places, but during the season Team CSC has a total of 51 victories - four of them in team time trials. Team CSC now leads the ProTour team rankings with 373 points, while Caisse d'Epargne is second with 336. Last year Team CSC finished with 390 points with a 37 points lead. "Perhaps securing the ProTour victory takes off some of the pressure in Giro di Lombardia, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still a very important race and a big goal for us this season. We have a very strong line-up and several riders on really good form," added the 1996 Tour de France winner.

Ivan Basso kisses the spoils
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

For the past couple of years Team CSC has finished third in the classic Italian race. In 2005, Fränk Schleck made the podium in a race won by Paolo Bettini ahead of Gilberto Simoni, and in 2004, Ivan Basso was beaten in the sprint by winner Damiano Cunego and runner up Michael Boogerd.

Meanwhile, a judgement in the case of Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso - for implication in the doping affair around Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes - is now expected at the end of October, according to An announcement was expected soon after Basso last saw a magistrate on September 29 in a hearing for the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), but that decision has now been delayed for another month, pending further documents from the public prosecutor's office in Madrid.

Gobbi showing positive signs

Michele Gobbi's doctors have reported that while still in a serious condition the Team Milram rider has shown positive signs. Gobbi remains in a drug-induced coma following a violent crash on the final lap of Sunday's GP Beghelli. "Fortunately Michele has been reactive to the external stimulation, that means the prognostic is positive," explained Dr. Claudius Sprenger.

Doctors at the Bologna Maggiore hospital diagnosed a cerebral hematoma and fractures to the skull following the incident. Team doctor Sprenger reported that two separate brain scans have shown evidence of stabilisation within the brain and that Gobbi will remain in an induced coma for at least a further 36 hours.

New faces at Bigla for 2007

Swiss UCI women's team Bigla have announced four new signings at the end of a seminar for the preparation of the 2007 season. One rider, Austrian Andrea Graus, has left the team, while Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog and Veronika Andreasson, Germany's Tanja Hennes and Switzerland's Catherine Lohri have arrived to significantly bolster the team and increase its roster from eleven to fourteen riders.

The team will be managed by sporting director Felice Puttini and assistant director Emil Zimmermann.

Aaron's team enhanced for 2007

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The Aaron's Corporate Furnishings women's cycling team is looking to break into the top five on the National Racing Calendar next season with the signing of a new team director. Carmen D'Aluisio, formerly the director of the Webcor women's team, has signed on to direct the team in 2007 as the sponsor extends its sponsorship for two more years.

"I couldn't be happier with how everything is going right now," said Micah Rice, General Manager in a team statement. "Aaron's Corporate Furnishings has made a huge commitment to domestic women's cycling and we have been able to hire one of the best directors in the business."

D'Aluisio previously directed and raced for the Webcor women's team, leading them to overall wins at the Joe Martin, Tour of Montreal, Redlands and San Dimas races. "I am so excited for the opportunity to join a team on the rise in women's cycling," said D'Aluisio. "Taking the Aaron's Team to the next level is a challenge I look forward to."

Dajka pleads guilty to assault charge

Australian 2002 World Keiren Champion Jobie Dajka has pleaded guilty to assaulting national cycling coach Martin Barras, according to a report by AAP. The charges relate to an alleged incident at Adelaide's Superdrome track in June, 2005.

Dajka had been banned from competition for three years by Cycling Australia and was dumped from Australia's Athens Olympic Games team for lying to a drugs inquiry. The hearing will resume in December when the assault charge will be heard in addition to pleas for a string of unrelated charges.

Post stage quotes - Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Monday's second stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour was a hotly contested battle which saw the field blown apart in blustery conditions. CyclingNews reporter John Trevorrow caught up with the key riders at the finish line.

Mitchell Docker (Drapac Porsche)

Q: Top ride and you caught him (Menzies) on the last lap?
A: Yeah just up the hill and we mucked around a bit and I saw they were coming so I thought one of us is going to have to bite the bullet and it ended up being me. I knew Karl's reputation as a sprinter so I thought it would be better to go because it was better to be beaten by him than get caught and get nothing. Yesterday I had some breathing problems and it was pleasing to come back from that.

Tobias Erler (Giant Asia Racing Team)

Q: Tobias you are in very good form?
A: I won in Korea this year then afterwards I was in a big hole I just couldn't ride any more. Then I started training in Indonesia and the Tour of Indonesia and then some training in Canberra and I feel quite good.
Q: I here you climb very well for a big guy?
A: I now have a chance of getting in the top 16. I climb not bad, but I'm more than 80 kg and compared to Gerrans I have no chance. I saw the mountain last week and the first four kilometers are quite steep and then it's a long way uphill to the finish.

Robbie McEwen (Australian National Team)

Q: It was good day for the team?
A: Yeah it was great for the team. We had three good guys out there and two of our best GC guys and of course Gerro had to be there. The rest of us just did what we could. We just covered every move and once the boys got in it, well it was just a matter of sitting in the peloton and making it to the finish. I thought Henk may have won but I just noticed that he spent too much time talking to the TV guys on the road (laughs).
Q: A bit of a recovery day?
A: I felt a bit ordinary actually and it was a good thing that it settled down and maybe I can ride myself in.

Simon Gerrans (Australian National Team)

Q: A tough day in the office?
A: Yeah it was pretty tough. A long hard slog today basically. The race split apart so early it was just a matter of working hard at the front and getting that gap. Once we established the break then we just rolled through and kept it steady but it was still a hard slog into the wind all day.
Q: Karl said you were very strong near the finish!
A: Unfortunately I was a bit outnumbered. Trent Lowe and Henk did quite a bit early on to establish the break and they were a bit cooked near the end. So when the attacks started I had a couple of goes, but Navigators had a couple there, Drapac had a couple there as did HealthNet and the numbers game paid off in the end. Once I realised I couldn't win the stage I just though I'd cut my losses and contain the time gaps and keep it close. I'm not in a bad position but we are going to have to keep an eye on things. There are still some real good bike riders in with a chance.

Gilbert de Weert (DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed, Team Manager)

Q: How was it today?
A: Pretty average. We only had one guy in the break today. I would have liked one more there but it was impossible to do that once the break started. It's also a technical race. A group of the best get a small gap and that's about it. It happens. But Dave (Harrigan) rode well so now we need to keep him up the front. We were never really going for GC but we will take each day at a time.

David Harrigan (DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed)

Q: Well done Harro!
A: Yeah thanks. It was pretty hard early on. It was eyeballs out and Henk was keeping everyone pumped. There was a couple who didn't want to do much but with Gerro there and that team will probably win the tour, well they had to ride. Once the band broke and we got the gap we just had a long hard day in the saddle

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