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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for October 24, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Ullrich to Italy?

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Ullrich
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Jan Ullrich is heading to Italy, short-term and perhaps also long-term, according to the German sports magazine Kicker. It reports that Ullrich's manager Wolfgang Strohband claims that the cyclist is heading to a training camp in Toscana, Italy in the next few days, and that he "has in front of him offers from ProTour teams."

Kicker further claims that, according to an unnamed Belgian cyclist, Ullrich's advisor Rudy Pevenage has contacted Italian teams. Not only Pevenage but also Ullrich's former T-Mobile bosses Olaf Ludwig and Mario Kummer "are named as Ullrich's possible sports directors, as is the recently retired Georg Totschnig [Gerolsteiner]," the magazine claims.

Basso decides while DNA tests could arrive

Basso decides
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
(Click for larger image)

Yesterday, Ivan Basso attended the Collari d'Oro awards in Roma and took time to comment on his team search for the upcoming season. Il Varesino indicated to La Gazzetta dello Sport that a decision could be expected soon, saying, "Next week I will decide. I will return strong like in the first part of 2006. I still have a strong desire to win."

The 28 year-old is eyeing two teams: Johan Bruyneel's Discovery Channel and Claudio Corti's Barloworld. "It is 50% for Discovery and Barloworld," continued Basso, who was given the approval to resume racing on October 12 by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). "I want to race the Giro and the Tour, if my new team will allow this. In any case, this will be my first request to Discovery Channel. But now I just want to turn the page."

The American team has the opportunity to allow Basso to race both the Italian and French Grand Tours, something that will be discussed between Basso's manager, Giovanni Lombardi, and Bruyneel. But it is at Barloworld where the 2005 Giro winner could rebuild his group. The smaller, non-ProTour team would allow for Basso to bring along some of his old mates.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, both Daniele Nardello and recently retired Andrea Peron have been called by Basso regarding the 2007 season. The three riders, all from Varese, would find Corti's Barloworld better suited to meet their needs. The only drawback is Barloworld's non-ProTour status and the need to rely on wild-card entries into the Tour and Giro, which could be very difficult for the former.

Possibly complicating matters for Ivan Basso is tomorrow's meeting of ProTour teams in Paris. The day before the 2007 Tour de France route announcement, one of subjects for discussion is DNA testing of all the rides involved in the Spanish investigation, Operación Puerto. The idea of DNA treating, which was previously refused by Basso during his hearing with CONI, was discussed last month at a meeting in Salzburg and could gain momentum tomorrow.

Volksbank signs two Swiss riders

By Susan Westemeyer

Yesterday, Team Volksbank announced it has signed two Swiss riders. Florian Stalder (24), from Team Phonak, is a strong climber and all-rounder, who has signed for a year. He won the sprinter's jersey at the Tour of Austria and the young rider's jersey at the Tour of Georgia, both this year. Stalder had 92 racing days this year, more than any other Phonak rider.

"Next year I want to claim my first pro win with Volksbank," said the Swiss.

"Stalder will assume a leadership position at Volksbank," added Team Manager Thomas Kofler. "He rode super well at Phonak, although he was only a helper. With the freedom we will give him, he will bring in better results. Stalder was one of my absolute 'must-haves' for the coming season."

The professional continental team also signed 24 year-old Simon Schaerer, who is considered one of the most promising up-and-coming young Swiss riders. Schaerer, who rode in 2006 as a stagiaire for Barloworld, is an all-rounder who time trials well, the team notes. His TT abilities helped him finish second in this year's national time trial championship behind Fabian Cancellara.

2007 CPA Riders' Council formed

Rubiera on Council
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

From the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) meeting that took place on October 14 in Como, Italy there has been formed the Riders' Council. The riders already have representation in the UCI ProTour via Jens Voigt and José Luis Rubiera but now they have their own spokesmen within the CPA.

The members of Riders' Council are Jens Voigt, José Luis Rubiera (member and supply member in the Council of the UCI ProTour), Matthias Kessler, Michael Rogers, Philippe Gilbert, Iñigo Cuesta, Cédric Vasseur, Thomas Dekker, George Hincapie, Filippo Pozzato, Dario Cioni (substitute), Fabian Cancellara, Roger Hammond, José Azevedo (representative of the professional continental teams), as well as Denis Menchov and Thor Hushovd (which must confirm their adhesion).

The first two meetings of that new organization, which proposes to analyze the main problems the riders have to face within the framework of their activity and to collect their suggestions, were programmed for the beginning of the season 2007.

Simoni to Mexico

Gilberto Simoni will leave tonight from Milano to travel to Mexico. Sunday, the Italian from Trento will take part in an international mountain bike competition called "Popo Bike." Taking place 150 kilometres from Mexico City, in Metepec, the recently crowned Italian Marathon Mountain Bike champion will continue his off-season of off-road racing.

Orbea, one season more

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Thanks to the agreement reached with the Fundación Euskadi, the same one that manages to the Euskaltel-Euskadi, the Orbea continental team will continue one more season as branch of the Basque ProTour team. Ex-professional Alvaro González de Galdeano will direct Orbea in substitution of Jon Odriozola, who will become a director sportif of Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2007.

The continuation will also allow for team management jointly from the Fundación Euskadi. "The work carried out in Orbea is essential in the new scheme of Euskaltel-Euskadi. In this sense, the Orbea riders will have the opportunity to make debut in the ProTour through the Euskaltel-Euskadi," according to an official press note by Orbea management.

Jorge Ferrío close to Andalucia-Paul Versan

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spaniard Jorge Ferrío is close to reaching an agreement with Pro Continental team Andalucia-Paul Versan, directed by Antonio Cabello, for the 2007 season.

The slight climber raced the 2006 season with 3 Molinos Resort, but it was in 2004 while riding with Costa de Almería when won the general classification of the Clásica de Los Puertos (Spain), the fifth stage of Volta a Portugal and the second stage of Vuelta a La Rioja. Ferrío (30) will enter his sixth season as a pro; making his debut in 2002 with the Jazztel-Costa de Almería.

Brumby announces Premier Cycling Series

Three of Victoria's premier cycling events will be linked with the help of a $30,000 Bracks Government grant announced today by the Minister for State and Regional Development, John Brumby.

During a visit to Ararat, Brumby said the grant to CycleSport Victoria through the Government's Provincial Victoria Key Regional Events Program would link three cycling races into the one premier event.

"The Ararat, Alpine and Warragul cycling clubs each hold an annual road race over mountainous country, with the climb up Mt Baw Baw claimed to be among the toughest in world cycling," Brumby commented. "CycleSport Victoria and the three clubs will link these three events and promote them as The Provincial Victoria Pinnacle Cycling Series, the first event of its kind in Australia."

The first event in this year's series is the Grampians-Mount William Road Classic on November 11, followed by the Tour of Bright on December 2-3. The series concludes with the Mt Baw Baw Road Classic on 14 April 2007.

"The series will also provide an opportunity for young aspiring athletes to test their skills across mountainous terrain, which is a wonderful training ground for the Tour de France and other world-class events," continued Brumby. Adding that the $30,000 funding would be provided over two years for the $74,000 project, with other contributions from CycleSport Victoria, Baw Baw Shire, and Ararat Rural City Council.

Two Big Wheels Roll On

Two icons of American bicycle shops recently passed away in Chicago and Los Angeles. Fred Richard Sr, a revered figure in the Chicago bike scene, passed away last week at age 76. Born in 1930 in Chicago, Fred eagerly followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father who owned Richard's Bicycles, one of the oldest bicycles stores in America that was founded in 1910.

Fred Richard Sr's son, John Richard today CEO of southside Chicago's Richard's Bicycle commemorated his late father, saying "Although my father semi-retired ten years ago, he continued to be a part of the culture here at Richard's Bicycles as well as at my brother Fred's company, Chicagoland Bicycle. His humour, dedication, integrity and wisdom were a source of inspiration for his employees and family, making all who met him proud to be a part of the companies that are his legacy."

In Santa Monica, California, Duane Stier, owner of Helen's Cycles, suffered a heart attack Tuesday afternoon that proved fatal. Stier is survived by his wife and family.

Considered the top bike store chain in Southern California, Helen's Cycles was founded in 1936 by Helen and Ted Throckmarton, who built the Helen's Santa Monica Broadway location in mid 1960. Duane Stier and his wife Karen Stier purchased Helen's Cycles in 1975 and eventually expanded to five locations as well taking over LA's legendary I .Martin Bicycles on Beverly Boulevard.

Jay Wolff, Helen's Cycles general manager was with Stier when he had his heart attack and told Bicycle Retailer that “It was a big shock to everyone. Duane and I were returning from lunch in the car when his heart attack struck. We were only minutes away from the hospital," said Wolff. In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to charities that are listed on the company's website.

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