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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for October 27, 2006

Edited by Laura Weislo

Pereiro refuses to claim '06 Tour

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)
Spaniard Oscar Pereiro may be given the title of winner of the 2006 Tour de France, should Floyd Landis lose the honor after arbitration over his failed doping test is complete, but the Caisse d'Epargne rider does not feel like the race winner. Pereiro told the press, "I am not considering myself as the Tour de France winner," reports Reuters. "In the statutes, Floyd is still the winner. So for now, it's Floyd, not me."

Landis, who faces losing the title if his appeal fails, will try to prove his innocence at an American Arbitration Association hearing early next year. The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), has been hit hard by the recent doping scandals, and snubbed the former Phonak rider during the presentation of the 2007 Tour de France route, displaying his image on the final podium dissolving into a broken mirror. Who, if anyone, will wear the number 1 at the start of the Tour in London remains to be seen. Race director Christian Prudhomme said, "We do not have the right to decide who is the winner of the Tour, so we just have to wait and see."

UCI to examine shortening major tours

On the day when the 2007 Tour de France was revealed to be more than 3500 km long, the UCI's manager of the ProTour, Alain Rumpf, said that if reducing the length of major tours will help in the fight against doping, the organisation will take action, reports the Associated Press. "If the UCI audit shows that the length or the difficulty of the major tours is identified as a factor (in doping), the UCI will not hesitate to act." The ProTour calendar currently includes the three major tours, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta Espana, but organisers of the tours are in seeking to be removed from the ProTour.

Recent doping scandals involving major tour winners Roberto Heras, who tested positive for EPO during the 2005 Vuelta Espana, and Floyd Landis, who tested positive for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, have spurred the UCI to find ways to prevent future problems. The manager of the UCI's anti-doping program, Anne Gripper, sees increased out-of-competition tests as a possible path. "We want to increase and improve out-of-competition tests," said Gripper, "the element of surprise is important."

The moves were announced during a meeting of the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), which also put forth the use of DNA testing as a method to deter the use of illegal blood doping methods. "We hope this will be very useful to us," Gripper said. "But there are legal questions to explore before we can use this."

Relax-Gam for one more year

by Antonio J. Salmerón

Jorge Garcia Marin
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

The Relax-GAM Pro continental team has already signed ten riders for the next season 2007. Suarez Cuevas, the team's director and manager, has renewed with Jorge Garcia, Jose Rafael Martinez, Ángel Vallejo, Daniel Moreno, Óscar García, José Terciado and Jose Miguel Elías. The Spanish squad has added to their ranks Joaquin Sobrino, Julian Sanchez Pimienta (Comunidad Valenciana) and Raul Garcia. Relax GAM will be completed with four or six more riders. Currently there are about forty Spanish riders without contracts for 2007.

Relax-GAM made themselves know during the last Vuelta, in which it took part through a 'wild-card' selection from Unipublic. The team's aggressive performance in that event, where the team was represented in nearly every breakaway, inspired its sponsors to commit for one more season.

Paris-Tours espoir winner to TIAA-CREF

Huub Duijn, winner of this year's Paris-Tours espoirs race has signed a one-year contract with Jonathan Vaughters' TIAA-CREF squad. The contract includes an option for a second season. The talented 22-year old Dutch rider was part of the Rabobank Continental squad this year. In addition to his Paris-Tours win, he also took third place in the GP Waregem. While racing for the American team, Duijn will keep to a mostly European program.

McLane Pacific back on

The McLane Pacific Cycling Classic has become the MERCO Credit Union Cycling Classic, presented by McLane Pacific. After being announced as cancelled last week, the local newspaper in Merced ran an article that enraged local business owners and community personalities with the thought of not having the popular event in 2007.

The day of the article headlined "Bike Race in Jeopardy" on the front page, race directors Doug Fluetsch and Steve Hale were contacted by several companies about the situation at hand. "The feedback from the community has been absolutely amazing. We had just began talks with Toyota, thanks to connections with Sean Tucker of Toyota-United Pro, when suddenly the local article ran. Our phones rang constantly and suddenly we had more options than we could sort through", commented Hale.

Phone calls came from new supporters, continued supporters and from the Mayor of the City of Merced. "You can't let this go without a fight, I won't let this go without a fight, we can still fix this" were the comments made by Mayor Ellie Wooten to Fluetsch. "With the previous success of the classic built on relationships, it only made sense that we continue a relationship we have had for years and so we opted to increase the involvement of MERCO Credit Union and have signed a 5 year agreement with them" stated Fluetsch.

The new agreement will allow the MERCO Credit Union Classic, presented by McLane Pacific to exceed the requirements set by USA Cycling for its NRC series with the hopes of the event continuing as an early season tradition for the NRC. "This confirms just what a cycling event can mean to a community like Merced. It is far more important than I could have ever envisioned years ago" continued Fluetsch.

New records ratified by cycling Ireland

by Shane Stokes

David McCann (Ireland)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Cycling Ireland has ratified a host of new national records, with improvements being confirmed this week across a range of distances and disciplines.

National road race champion David McCann highlighted his ability against the clock when he set a new mark of 18 minutes and 21 seconds for the ten mile time trial on August 17th. One week later, under 18 rider Thomas Martin broke the existing national 25 Mile Junior Time Trial Record when he covered the distance in 55 minutes and 44 seconds on August 24th.

Louise Moriarty broke the women’s ten mile time trial record on August 17th, recording a time of 23 minutes and 1 second. On August 31st she went almost a minute faster in posting a ride of 22 minutes and 8 seconds, but this mark was improved the same day by Heather Wilson, who did a ride of 22 minutes and 1 second.

August was clearly a good month for new records. On the 17th of the month Roger Aiken and Leslie Creighton posted a time of 21 minutes and 10 seconds for the national ten mile tandem time trial. The bar was subsequently raised when Aiken and Tommy Evans pooled their strength on August 31st and went over two minutes faster with their time of 19 minutes and 4 seconds. Another tandem pairing of Gareth Crothers and Paul McMinn also raced to success when they set a new mark of 52 minutes and 35 seconds for the 25 mile distance on August 24th.

Several new standards were set at the Paralympic World Cycling Championships in Switzerland a month and a half ago. Cathal Miller set a Locomotor Disorder (LC1) record of 5 minutes 3.169 seconds on September 11th, then posted a time of 1 minute and 12.850 seconds for the kilometre time trial one day later. First time competitor Enda Smyth set two new marks in the Cerebral Palsy (CP4) category, covering 1 kilometre in 1 minute 19.576 seconds on September 11th and 3 kilometres in 4 minutes 0.429 seconds on September 24th.

The tandem pairing of Michael Delaney and pilot David Peelo broke two records in the Blind and Visually Impaired competition. On September 11th they raced the 1 kilometre time trial in 1 minute 9.623 seconds, then one day later covered 4 kilometres in 4 minutes 44.848 seconds.

More recently, Navigators Insurance professional David O’Loughlin made a very successful pursuit debut in Newport velodrome, breaking the ten year old national record with a time of 4 minutes 29.909 seconds.

Three long distance time trial records also fell in what was an important year for endurance racing. Paul O’Donoghue set a time of 18 hours 37 minutes and 8 seconds in his Mizen Head to Fair Head bid on July 23rd. Padraig Marrey then beat this on August 27th, covering the distance in 17 hours 48 minutes 28 seconds.

Finally, Dave McLoughlin recorded a new 24 hour mark when he raced 456.4 miles on July 23rd.

Ukraine to get first pro team

Volodymyr Rybin (Ukraine)
Photo ©: Russ Wright
Click for larger image

Ukraine may get its first professional cycling team in 2007. The ISD Sport-Donetsk team is applying for UCI Continental status, and is planning to take part in international events in Russia, Poland, France, Italy, England, the USA, and Australia, in addition to Ukranian national events if it is granted professional status.

The team is mostly comprised of riders with backgrounds in track racing who will be branching out to road next season. Volodymyr Rybin, World Champion in the points race and silver medallist in the 2006 madison, will be joined by Maxim Polishuk, Alexandr Polivoda, Denis Kostyuk, Yuriy Agarkov, Sergiy Minashkin, and Rostyslav Mykhaylov, who rode for the Ukranian National team this season. Coaches Mykola Myrza and Sergiy Stepanenko will lead the team.

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