First Edition Cycling News for October 24, 2006
Edited by Sue George & Laura Weislo
Hunter confirms with Barloworld
The UCI Professional Continental team, Barloworld, has confirmed that Robert Hunter will join the team in 2007. The 29-year old native of South Africa is rated as one of the world’s leading sprinters and has recorded 29 professional victories.
Hunter has entered all the Grand Tours, including five Tours de France, one Giro d’Italia and three Vuelta Espana's, for some of the world's leading teams. He joins Barloworld from the disbanded Phonak team. Prior to the Swiss team he rode for Rabobank, as well as Mapei and Lampre.
“We are thrilled to have this world-class rider joining our team," said Chris Fisher, head of corporate marketing at Barloworld, a South Africa-based industrial conglomerate. "We need experienced riders in our team if we are to continue to take on the best in the cycling world."
While largely funded by this South African company, Barloworld is actually registered with the UCI in Great Britain but bases itself in Italy and is largely managed by Italians.
Hunter had previously been previously linked to Team CSC for the next season, but has decided to support his home team, which is hoping to gain a ProTour license for next season.
“I’ve always wanted to ride for a South African-sponsored team and Team Barloworld have certainly proven to their critics that they are a competitive team who are entrenching themselves in the international cycling circuit" said Hunter. “I’m looking forward to joining the team and taking direction from the highly respected Claudio Corti and his management team.”
Former pro Papp seeking diplomatic assistance
by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Jimenez, herself an elite cyclist with the Cuban national team, tried with Papp to pursue immigration for her through the proper diplomatic channels. However, due to the unique tension between the two countries, immigration visas are nearly impossible. "If the U.S. is going to maintain an embargo against Cuba and enforce travel restrictions against its own citizens, then the least that could be done is expedited processing of visa petitions made by U.S. citizens on behalf of their Cuban spouses," Papp told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
After delays of more than a year she tried over the summer to flee Cuba and escape to the U.S. by traveling through Russia and Europe. But her attempt was thwarted and when she was forced to return to either Cuba or Venezuela, Jimenez chose Venezuela. The couple again tried to come together in the U.S. via less-than-official means, but Jimenez was detained in Venezuela and Papp has not had direct contact with her since.
"I never heard from her," Papp said in the interview. "I went to Kennedy Airport to wait for her and she never showed up. And I still don't know all of the details. I don't know where it went wrong."
Last reports say that Jimenez was to be deported back to Cuba this week, and Papp fears for the possible repercussions. "It's a bad situation for her because the Cuban government likes to make examples of people who are well-known," Papp said in the interview.
Papp has done all that he can, including contacting his Senator, Rick Santorum, who's office is assisting, and now he is desperate for any attention he can get on the case. "If this case can get more publicity, and if people are motivated to call their government representatives and ask them to pressure the Venezuelan and Cuban governments to divulge information on the condition and whereabouts of my wife, well, that's all I'm asking."
Lombardi continues as advisor
By Gregor Brown
Giovanni Lombardi's racing career came to an end this last weekend in Valencia, where he lined up in a criterium with 21 other professionals, including Paolo Bettini and Oscar Pereiro. The Spanish event closed out 14 seasons of racing for the 37 year-old Italian; a career that was launched with Lampre in 1993 after his 1992 Olympic Gold medal in Barcelona. "To see the world, talk with people. I know Spanish and French very well; now I hope to better my English," noted Lombardi of his international experiences during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Since turning pro, the cyclist, who makes his home in Madrid, has racked up wins all over Europe. Lombardi has 42 wins to his credit, the first was in 1993 in the Settimana Bergamasca, and the other big wins came via four stages in the Giro d'Italia, two in the Vuelta a España and three in the Tour de Suisse.
Lombardi, who started racing at 10 years-old, never thought he would do, "All of the stages in the Tour and Giro." Further adding that the one thing he wishes he had was "a win in Sanremo", but he did have the satisfaction of leading out teammate Mario Cipollini to victory in the 2002 edition of La Classicissima.
The Italian has turned his role from lead-out man to advisor since joining Team CSC, and he will continue in this role by guiding other riders, specifically Ivan Basso the Schleck brothers, Fränk and Andy. "I will try to be near them in their difficult moments, in which all reasons for racing can be understood," concluded Lombardi.
Lombardi's teams: Lampre (1993-1994), Polti (1995-1996), Telekom (1997-2001), Acqua & Sapone (2002), Domina Vacanze (2003-2004), Team CSC (2005-2006).
Mercado & Jalabert to lead Agritubel
by Antonio J. Salmerón
The Agritubel team will be led in 2007 by Juan Miguel Mercado, winner of two Tour de France stages, and Nicholas Jalabert, whose Phonak team was disbanded. The French squad also include six Spanish riders, including the sprinter Mikel Gaztañaga and Moisés Dueñas, who won this year's Tour de l'Avenir. Agritubel will have 21 riders for 2007, and will focus on more success in the Tour de France. Agritubel started the Tour de France this year as a wild-card team, where Benoît Salmon was their top finisher in 39th place overall, and Mercado won stage 10.
New signings: Emilien-Benoît Berges (Fra), Freddy Bichot (Fra), Romain Feillu (Fra), Mikel Gaztanaga (Spa), Cédric Hervé (Fra), Nicolas Jalabert (Fra), Freddy Ravaleu (Fra), Anthony Ravard (Fra)
Returning: Christophe Agnolutto (Fra), Stéphane Berges (Fra), Mickaël Buffaz (Fra), Gilles Canouet (Fra), Nicolas Crosbie (Fra), Benjamin Johnson (Aus), Christophe Laurent (Fra), Lenaic Olivier (Fra), Saulius Ruskys (Lit)
More cobbles for Paris-Roubaix
The organisers of Paris-Roubaix, Amaury Sport Organisation, has announced the addition of a new section of pave to the 2007 edition of the race. The new section, the Chemin du Moulin, is situated between the towns of Orchies and Beuvry-la-forêt, and is made up of a 800 metre stretch of cobbles and a 600 metre segment of non tarmac road.
The cobbles, which are in need of repair, will be restored by a group of 12 young people recruited by the Orchies - Beuvry-la-Forêt district council. The Orchies - Beuvry-la-Forêt section, 1400 metres in total length, will be traversed at the 200 km mark of the 259 kilometre long race.
Out with the old, in with the new for Health Net
by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Sitting at the top of the U.S. domestic racing calendar is not easy from one year to the next. Just when you get the individual riders you need to make it work, the wooing from other teams begins and the transfer season upends the roster. For Health Net-Maxxis' director Jeff Corbett, this is a difficult but good problem to have, as it illustrates the team's success. But do not ask him if he thinks 2007 will be a rebuilding year. "It will be more like a re-birth. We're going to have a lot of big, powerful guys on the squad. Our oldest guy will be Nathan O'Neill, and he'll only be 32!"
A better term than re-birth might be reload, as Corbett replaces departing veterans like Gord Fraser, Mike Sayers, Scott Moninger, and ProTour bound Greg Henderson with ProTour level talent in Canadian Ryder Hesjedal from Phonak and Australian Rory Sutherland from Rabobank. Hesjedal, 26, has ridden in two grand tours, including Discovery Channel's winning Giro d'Italia campaign in 2005. Sutherland, a little younger at 23, spent time with Hesjedal on the Rabobank development squad before being called up to the ProTour team where he finished third in the Tour of Denmark while taking the best young rider jersey. Sutherland is currently serving a suspension for testing positive for Clomiphene. His suspension ends in December.
But not all the talent is coming from across the Atlantic. Sean Milne, 25, made a name for himself and practically wrote his own contract with a breakout season in 2006, winning two stages and the overall at the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic. He then went on to pocket $25,000 for his Navigators Insurance team at the Bank of America criterium and finished off the season with at win at the UCI Univest Grand Prix.
A little newer to professional racing is sprinter Frank Pipp, who spent his second year as a pro racing for Target Training. He will be reunited with Karl Menzies who started racing as a pro with Pipp two years ago. Pipp showed marked improvement this year winning a stage of the Tour de 'Toona and riding in many big breakaways throughout the season. A former sprint winner of Superweek, Pipp will be useful in races like the USPRO criterium championships.
With even younger signings in Matt Crane and John Murphy from the U.S. U23 national team, the overhaul of the team is complete, with no members of the 2003 first season remaining.
2007 Health Net Presented by Maxxis roster:
New for 2007
European duo lead Tour of Tasmania starters
By Rod Morris
Two international competitors headline the entry list for this year's Jayco Tour of Tasmania road cycling classic, after the recent announcement Tour de France star Kjell Carlstrom will contest the Tattersall's Cup round. Carlstrom, 29, the 2004 Finnish national road champion, is joined by England's Kristian House as the foreigners in this year's event. House, 26, has enjoyed a tremendous year, winning the FBD Insurance Ras, a stage of the Tour of Bretagne in France, and four races in Britain.
Carlstrom was placed in a stage of the 2006 Tour de France and also raced the Tour of Spain. He is making his second visit to Australia, having won the Herald Sun Tour's sprint championship in 2003, and also a stage of the Tour of Queensland. Carlstrom's Australian manager Paul Ciuro said the Finn was keen to ride the Tour of Tasmania because of the magnificent terrain and the State's rich cycling heritage. "Kjell has had a vigorously tough year, but would love to finish it off with at least a stage victory in the Tassie Tour," Ciuro said. "He will be a terrific acquisition to the event."
One more for Rabobank
Rabobank has announced the addition of one more rider to their Continental team. Thomas Berkhout has moved from Van Vliet – EBH Advocaten, signing a two year deal with the Rabobank organisation. The team had been finalised, but the departure of Huub Duyn last week opened a spot for the young Dutch rider. Berkhout won the 2005 Ronde van Vlaams-Brabant, and a stage of this year's edition of the race. Berkhout was also second in the under 23 edition of the Tour of Flanders and sixth in Olympia’s Tour.
With the arrival of Thomas Berkhout the total number of riders for the team of Nico Verhoeven and Piet Kuijs comes to 22. ProTeam and Continental Team of Rabobank together will consist of 50 riders.
USA Cyclo-cross nationals registration now open
The US Cyclo-cross National Championships will return for the second consecutive year to Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island, on December 15-17, 2006. Registration for the event opened yesterday. "The city is thrilled to have us back," said Lyle Fulkerson, operations director. "We believe this to be one of the greatest cyclo-cross venues in the world."
Certainly, racers from last year will remember the venue. At times during the 2005 championships, the weather was so severe that the promoter postponed two events until later in the weekend. Racers faced blinding snowstorms and freezing rains one day. Over the next two days, icy mornings and mild temperatures left the course a difficult combination of sloppy mud layered over frozen ruts that made the technical dirt off-camber turns and tricky ups and downs even more treacherous.
Race communications director Richard Fries said, "We will be making some exciting announcements in the coming days regarding sponsorship. We have a good committee, some great sponsors to announce, and we expect to build upon last year's event."
In 2005, Todd Wells (GT Hyundai) defeated Ryan Trebon (Kona) and an ailing Jonathan Page (Liberty Mutual) for the national title in the elite men's event. Katie Compton (Redline) successfully defended her elite women's national title; only second-place finisher Anne Knapp (Kona) could keep her in sight during the race.
See also: 2005 US National Cyclo-cross Championships.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)