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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for October 23, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

T-Mobile meets to start building 'The Team'

Michael Rogers climbs the wall,
Photo ©: T-Mobile
(Click for larger image)

Teamwork in professional sport is often the difference between mediocrity and greatness - particularly in cycling. With that in mind, the leading ProTour teams do everything in their power to begin building strong working relationships between their riders as soon as contract obligations permit. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with the T-Mobile Mens' team during a recent team building meeting.

Bob Stapleton doesn't speak much German yet, but he knows two very important words: "Die Mannschaft" - the team. "These are two powerful words that we need to build power in," he told the assembled 2007 Team T-Mobile squad at its first team meeting in Lugano. "Only through a commitment to personal improvement, mutual respect and trust, and confidence in every member of the team, staff and management can we become something special."

The team meeting involved the usual photography sessions, trying on of clothing, medical tests, race planning, nutritional workshops, and, most importantly, a chance for the team members to get to know each other. Six new managers and 13 new riders are joining the team as well as new staff members for 2007.

They all took to the treetops on Sunday for a climbing course, which required the team to, well, work as a team! "Positive thinking, group motivation and effective internal communication to solve problems together: these are all crucial to setting a cycling team on the road to success," said incoming Sports Director Rolf Aldag.

To read the full feature, click here.

Louis Bobet: Refusing the Maillot Jaune

Nearly sixty years ago one rider refused to wear the yellow jersey and it was for natural reasons. In 1947, after taking the overall lead, Frenchman Louis Bobet almost turned the Tour de France sponsorship on its head. Les Woodland recalls why Bobet did not want to accept cycling's coveted jersey.

Louison Bobet in yellow
Photo ©: Collection Roger-Viollet
(Click for larger image)

If you've never speculated on the revenge you'll take on your last day at work - telling the boss what you really think, dropping a few home truths and then leaving the office with a slam of the door - then you are a saint. This world isn't good enough for you. But what do Tour riders dream of? Do they amuse themselves with thoughts of climbing the podium, accepting the yellow jersey and then handing it back with a polite "No, thanks!"?

Well, if they do, they wouldn't be the first. I'm not talking of riders like Eddy Merckx and Ferdy Kübler, who declined to wear the maillot jaune because they had gained it only through the misfortune of the previous holder. I'm talking of simply taking the jersey, looking at it and then turning up your nose because it isn't good enough.

Unbelievable? Well, it's happened. It was 1947 and the rider concerned was Louis Bobet, still known by that name because the family diminutive of Louison hadn't caught on. He was 22, he was riding his first Tour de France - the first Tour after the war, in fact - and he had achieved what everyone man in France dreamed of becoming: the leader of the Tour de France.

And yet he wouldn't wear the jersey.

To read the full feature, click here.

Bäckstedt undergoes shoulder surgery

Monday, October 23, Liquigas pro Magnus Bäckstedt will undergo an operation to reconstruct his damaged shoulder. Bäckstedt crashed a week ago when training on the track with fellow Swede Freddie Johansson. 20 year-old Johansson spent five days in hospital before being released. He took his first ride on Friday only a week after the accident to show he is progressing well.

Meanwhile, the tall Swede has a severely separated shoulder and visited three specialists in a week. As his orthopedist explained, "The impact of the accident has caused the collarbone to become detached. It is not only pointing up, but also back into the trapezius muscle."

On Monday, a hook and a titanium plate were screwed to the collarbone to re-set it. Hopefully, this will put the 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner on his way to a successful 2007.

"This year has just been awful in terms of luck," Bäckstedt said. "I'm confident in the specialist who carries out the operation. He expects me to be in sling for about six weeks, which for us bike riders means about four! I will be back on the turbo trainer very quickly."

At some point, the plate will have to be removed, but this could be at the end of the 2007 season. "I finished fourth at Roubaix in 2005 with a cracked bone in my wrist so this shouldn't present too many problems," concluded Bäckstedt, who is well-known for high pain tolerance level.

Hunter to join CSC?

Robert Hunter and team CSC manager Bjarne Riis have had discussions about the possibility of the Phonak rider joining the Danish squad next season, according to South African The Star. But Riis, who was in Johannesburg last week, said nothing definite had been agreed upon just yet.

"I have seen Robert Hunter ride and I like what I see," said Riis. "We have talked about his future and the possibility of us doing something together in the future, but we will have to wait and see. There are constraints, financial and other, that mean the team can only be so big. But it is good to speculate (on a rider's future)."

Hunter said that he had been in contract negotiations with a few teams, including, it is rumoured, the South African-backed Barloworld squad who are hoping to be granted a ProTour licence for 2007.

Team CSC will be officially announced in Cape Town during the squad's annual pre-season training camp in South Africa from December 5-15, where the riders will again be sent on military survival course for a team-building exercise.

Dedecker file: Olympic Committee official source of names

Belgian senator Jean-Marie Dedecker, according to whom some 20 people (riders, soigneurs and dealers) are allegedly involved in doping in Belgian cycling, said on a TV show on Sunday that one of his sources was Renno Roelandt, the Vice-Chairman of the Belgian Inter-Federal Olympic Committee (BOIC).

"About one month ago, Renno Roelandt comes up to me at the 100 years of BOIC celebration and gives me two more names," Dedecker said. "'We can't nail these people, but you could give their names to the court. They are also doping dealers,' he told me." A criminal investigation into the matter is underway.

Roelandt himself confirmed what Dedecker had said. "Indeed, I gave him those names," the doctor told Sporza. "This concerns two former cyclists, who were not absolute top-level. I've only known their names for a few weeks, but I'm very confident in my sources, otherwise I wouldn't have given their names." The Olympic Committee official had decided to turn to criminal law as he did not believe sports-administrative organisations could solve the problem. "What could WADA have done about it? Only the court can get a hold of this," he added.

Also present at the show aired on Belgian "Éen" station was QuickStep manager and AIGCP president Patrick Lefévère, who urged Dedecker to finally name the accused cyclists in public, but the Belgian senator remained silent.

Also see: Roelandt expects more doping cases (2004)

Kersten back at 2006 Sydney Thousand?

The leading cyclists featured at the Sydney Thousand will have their final workout on the Canterbury Velodrome in Tempe, Australia this Wednesday, October 25. Ben Kersten, who stole the show at this year’s Commonwealth Games when he defeated two Olympic and World champions to win the Commonwealth Games gold medal, will be having a hit out to see whether he will be able to compete in the Sydney Thousand.

Kersten underwent major surgery on back in July to rectify of problem that has restricted his cycling for the past twelve months and has not competed since. Kersten’s decision will be made on Wednesday in consultation with Gary Sutton, the NSW Institute Coach.

Gary Sutton will nominate the events that will be suitable for Kersten to contest. Rochelle Gilmore, Kaarle McCulloch, Skye Lee Armstrong and Kate Bates will be in attendance as well as national criterium champion Richard England and Keith Oliver, the World Masters Champion. Oliver will be involved in a three-lap match race against the dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kate Bates in what has been termed the 'Battle of the Sexes'.

The Battle of the Sexes is being supported by Robbie McEwen, who has put up $1000 for the winner to make a presentation to Make a Wish Foundation.

Le Tour Handcycle 2006 from Horsham to Melbourne

The Australian 2006 Le Tour Handcycle from October 24-28 will cover 500km over five days and visit 35 towns, promoting the 'get active' message. All pedalled by hand, Le Tour will travel from Horsham to Melbourne via Glenorchy, Stawell, Halls Gap, Ararat, Beaufort, Snake Valley, Smythesdale, Ballarat, Buninyong, Meredith, Lethbridge, Geelong, Corio, Lara, Werribee, Altona and Footscray. The aim of the tour is to help those in rural areas become more physically active while showing children that disability is no boundary to real ability.

Along the route the tour group will visit many primary schools and secondary school students and the general public will join them in riding sections. Local Cycling clubs (Horsham and Stawell) have been involved in organising racing events and special recreational rides to run in conjunction with the event. There are a limited number of available places for the public to join the team.

Several Australian Cycling Foundation races will also be part of Le Tour Handcycle 2006 giving the opportunity for local residents to see national level competition on their own doorstep. The Victoria Police cycling unit will escort the group from Altona to Wurundjeri WaySouthbank Queens bridge Melbourne on the final leg of Le Tour.

To register as a participant in Le Tour Handcycle or to have a community group or school included in the 2006 activities, visit the website

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