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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 18, 2006

Edited by Greg Johnson

NZ get Tour Down Under invite

New Zealand's national men's road cycling team has been awarded a slot at the 2007 Tour Down Under, making it the first non-Australian national team to receive an invite to the prestigious event. "A start in the Tour Down Under is some of the best news New Zealand cycling has received," explained BikeNZ high-performance director Michael Flynn. "It is the most important road race in this part of the world and to be allowed to start New Zealand's national team is a great honour."

Speaking of the announcement South Australia's Tourism Minister Dr Jane Lomax-Smith said: "This gives us an opportunity to showcase the best of South Australia to people who travel from New Zealand to watch the event as well as those who watch from their lounge-rooms." The Tour's growing profile has resulted in 15,330 event specific international and national visitors attending the 2006 event, generating an economic benefit to the State of at least $16.25m," added Dr Smith.

While the NZ team's coach Jacques Landry dubbed the announcement as "an amazing coup," Flynn also suggested: "With the recent pro signings of Tim Gudsell and Greg Henderson this will further exhibit to young athletes that with a great deal of hard work there are very real rewards to be gained."

The announcement is yet another boost for the event which last week revealed SA's Stuart O'Grady would take part in his home event, which commences on January 16.

Schaffrath goes back to T-Mobile

Jan Schaffrath Photo ©: Elmar Krings
Click for larger image

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Schaffrath will be a Directeur Sportif with Team T-Mobile for the 2007 season, it was announced the day after the revelation that his contract as DS with Team Milram was dissolved. He left Milram for "personal reasons," the team explained in a statement.

The 35-year-old rode for T-Mobile from 1998 to 2005, when he left to join his friend Erik Zabel at the new Milram team. Schaffrath is said to have participated in the T-Mobile's team meeting earlier this week in Lugano but T-Mobile refused to comment on the claim.

Ullrich parts ways with Krohme

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Ullrich has laid off his personal physiotherapist Birgit Krohme, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported. She was considered part of Ullrich's inner circle, along with his brother Stefan, a mechanic with Team T-Mobile, and Rudy Pevenage. The newspaper concludes from this move that Ullrich is giving up hope of returning to racing. He met Krohme in South Africa in 2001 and made her his personal physio after his doping suspension in 2003.

Peña to Unibet.com for two years

By Gregor Brown

Colombian Victor Hugo Peña has signed a two year contract with Unibet.com, according to Team Manager Jacques Hanegraaf. The 32 year-old will leave Phonak when the team disbands at the end of this season and ride for the Belgian squad in 2007 and 2008. Unibet.com is expected to receive a ProTour license starting in 2007.

Peña, pro since 1997, came to attention with his time trail win in the 2000 Giro d'Italia while riding for Vitalicio Seguros. The following year he signed with US Postal, where the Colombian spent the next four seasons with the American team, including 2003, where he wore the Tour de France leader's maillot jaune for three days.

Erik Zabel CAREs

By Susan Westemeyer

Erik Zabel and Team Milram are offering a box of goodies to be auctioned on the German version of E-Bay for the benefit of the CARE charitable foundation. He is one of ten German celebrities participating in the action, which celebrates CARE's 60th anniversary. "I am very happy to have been asked to support this action to celebrate the 60th birthday of CARE with my personal CARE package, because this organisation continues to do some much for the poorest people in our world, continually and in an impressive manner," he said. "Therefore, I hope that the cycling fans will show as much enthusiasm for this project as the do on the race course, when they root for me and Team Milram."

The auction runs through October 26, and contains an invitation to meet with Zabel at a race, a signed Milram jersey, a personally dedicated autograph card and various team souvenir items.

Cayetano Juliá is optimistic

Jose Cayetano Julia Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

By Antonio J. Salmerón

After two seasons racing in Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, Cayetano Juliá is now looking for a new team for 2007. "It is a difficult task because the cycling market is saturated [due to] the disappearance of so many teams from Spain," the Spaniard rider told Cyclingnews. Juliá joined Caisse d'Epargne Illes Balears from Comunitat Valenciana-Kelme at the same time as Alejandro Valverde.

The sporting yield of Juliá was never to the liking of Eusebio Unzué, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears' director. Juliá believes his future could be in the fledgling Portuguese market. "Why not? Many Spanish riders are finding new opportunities there, so I am optimistic with my continuity."

Juliá's only two wins came in Portugal and the 2003 Vuelta, and Juliá is hopeful this could open doors to him.

Haselbacher for the 4000 m Individual Pursuit

By Susan Westemeyer

Rene Haselbacher will ride his last race in the Gerolsteiner jersey on the track after a ten-year absence from track racing. He will ride the 4000 metre individual pursuit in the Austrian Championships in Vienna on Thursday evening. He last rode on the track in the 1996 World Championships in Manchester. "Paris-Tours last week was supposed to be my last appearance for Gerolsteiner," said the Austrian rider, who has signed for Team Astana for the coming season. "Now I've added the track championship." He is looking forward to the challenge: "In my time as a junior rider, I was an outstanding pursuer. I can simply do this discipline well."

"The biggest difference will be in the distance," he notes. "A road race lasts hours and can go over 240 kilometres. On the track it's all over after four and a half minutes." Haselbacher also has the 2008 Olympic games in the back of his mind. "Who knows, if it goes well, then I could imagine starting the 4000 metres in Peking. One thing is clear, though, road racing is my number one priority, the track comes in second place."

Codol joins Acqua & Sapone

Massimo Codol has decided to continue his career into 2007. The 33 year-old rider from Lecco (Lombardia) signed a contract with Palmiro Masciarelli's Acqua & Sapone according to tuttobiciweb.com.

The Lecchese started his career with Mapei in 1998 and then had his best year to date in 2000 with Lampre, where he won the Japan Cup and a stage in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. After racing for two years (2004-2005) in the services of Alesandro Petacchi at Fassa Bortolo, Codol signed with Tenax-Salmilano in 2006. He will use his skills to help the younger riders on the Acqua & Sapone team.

Lampre-Fondital announce Japan Cup riders

Team Lampre-Fondital has announced the riders which will lead the team in this weekend's Japan Cup. Marco Marzano, Ruggero Marzoli, Morris Possoni, Sylwester Szmyd and Hong Kong's Wu Kin San will take part in Sunday's races with Fabrizio Bontempi overseeing the outfit's efforts as sport director.

"In the past seasons we obtained a many victories in Japan," explained Bontempi. "Also this year we could aim to the victory with Marzano, Marzoli and Szmyd, but Possoni and Wu Kin San too want to end the season in the best way. However, this Japanese experience will be for sure great; the fans are outstanding and they will support Lampre-Fondital, maybe the most beloved team in Japan."

Warrnambool set to expand

Organisers of the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic are currently planning a second cycling event to run in conjunction with the classic, the Warrnambool Standard reports. Details are limited on the tourism-focused event expected to take place between Warrnambool and Apollo Bay next year. "It's creating opportunities for more local riders in the region to go on a little less arduous ride," said organising committee chairman Geoff Rollinson. The announcement comes off the back of Victorian State Government pledging 30,000AU$ in funding for the event, which takes place this weekend.

While details on the new component to the event will take "some months to develop," Victorian State and Regional Development Minister John Brumby revealed it will go some way to "help improve the sustainability of the [Melbourne to Warrnambool] Classic." Just yesterday, Classic organisers announced the largest ever field for the 111-year-old event.

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