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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 2, 2007

Edited by Sue George, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Cox mourned in South Africa and the world

Ryan Cox
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

Funeral plans for Ryan Cox have been made, while the South African cycling community mourns and more details concerning his final hours have been made public. Cox passed away Wednesday after the main artery in his left leg burst. The 28 year-old rider had undergone an operation in France on July 4 to treat a blood flow problem in his leg.

The funeral is planned for the afternoon of Tuesday, August 7, in his hometown of Kempton Park. The funeral will be preceded by a memorial ride, open to all. The ride will pass by Cox's house on its way to the church.

Team Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti was shocked by the news. "Ryan was an extremely talented rider who excelled in the international cycling arena," he said. "He has represented his country with great skill and pride, and has always been looked upon as a great ambassador for South African cycling.

"On behalf of Team Barloworld, our deepest condolences are extended to the Cox family."

Clint Curtis, Cox's junior coach and a good friend of the late cyclist, said that Cox collapsed at home Monday, where his brother found him and rushed him to the hospital. He underwent emergency surgery, receiving several units of blood, but his kidneys and other organs were failing. He died Wednesday morning.

Cox had had problems with his leg for some time, sometimes losing feeling in the leg after riding. "Ryan then went to see one of the leading doctors in France. It was found that the artery had, as a consequence of all the cycling, become knotted as sometimes happens to a garden hose, Curtis told news24.com. "It often happens to cyclists because they spend so many hours on the bicycles, with their legs bent while pedalling. The doctor in France has performed surgery of this type on about 600 cyclists, among them Stuart O'Grady, who has worn the yellow jersey in the Tour de France."

Financial worries may have played a role in the subsequent problems. "Because cyclists often do not have a medical fund, Ryan was concerned about the costs of the operation," Curtis continued. "Fortunately his teammate Robert Hunter offered to lend him the money to pay for surgery. I think the problems arose because Ryan discharged himself from hospital because he was worried about the costs. One has to remain very still after such an operation. Ryan then flew back to South Africa and was probably too active. He worked in his garden a lot."

Cox and the team had some misunderstandings earlier this summer about his health problems and the best treatment, specifically when the operation should take place. On his web site, ryancox.co.au (which has temporarily been removed from the internet), Cox wrote, "I really need the team to tell me my next step. Do I carry on racing, like this? Or do I do the operation. It's just all up in the air at the moment and not knowing my next step is quite frustrating. I hope I know soon as carrying on like this is just no good. I need a plan of action."

In response, the team noted that the rider and the team management had agreed that he would ride the two Iberian races and then, during the ensuing race break, undergo the surgery, if needed. "I think the things Cox has written on his website are wrong and childish because he agreed his race programme with us," team manager Claudio Corti said. "Rather than create further problems, he should try and find out if an operation will effectively help him in the long-term. In recent races, Cox has shown some good form despite complaining about pain in his left leg."

To view a tribute page to Ryan Cox, click here.

German TV to carry Deutschland Tour

German public television withdrew from live coverage of the Tour de France, but it will show the Deutschland Tour and the Cyclassics one-day race in Hamburg, it was announced Wednesday. ARD said that it would continue to lay a heavy emphasis on the sport's doping problems.

"This was not an easy decision, in light of the events during the Tour de France," said ARD director Fritz Raff to sid. The ground for acceptance was an anti-doping program presented by the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (the German cycling federation) and the race organizers. If this program is not upheld, then the broadcasts will be immediately ended.

"These measures are absolutely necessary, so that cycling will have a chance in the long run in the fight against doping," Raff said.

The broadcasts will feature less live coverage of th race itself and more background on the doping problems. As part of the new anti-doping program, riders who wil be tested will be chaperoned from the moment they cross the finish line. Winners' prizes will be paid only after negative tests are registered, and each rider must sign a "declaration of honor" before the race starts

"The ARD is not interested in an unfair competition, which is skewed by doping," RAff told the dpa press agency. "We have to be sure that the controls are tight and that the organizer and federation are doing eveything to prevent doping. Only then will we broadcast. That is our clear message to the Deutschland Tour."

McQuaid open to continue working with TDF

Pat McQuaid, head of the UCI, says he is open to talks between the UCI and the Tour de France organisation and wants to continue working along side them, according to EuroNews, just a week after Patrice Clerc, director of the Tour organisers, ASO, called for McQuaid to be fired from the position for incompetence in regard to the handling of the doping documentation surrounding riders including Michael Rasmussen.

"The organisers (of the Tour de France) have experienced a difficult period on the emotional front. I think that in a few weeks, when every body has calmed down, it will be realized that we need to work together for the welfare of the sport" explained McQuaid. "The Tour de France is the most prestigious race in the world. The riders, and this is more true for the older riders among them, want to come away with a good result, and because of that, they are willing to take risks."

"Cycling is a battlefield in the fight against doping" continued McQuaid, "it is no wonder then that the Tour de France is in the firing line then. If approximately 1200 media personnel follow the race, then it is no wonder that it get blow out of proportion. I think that we will see within two to three years, the sport will have cleaned up. I truly believe that" he concluded.

No pay for Rasmussen in July

Rabobank is not paying Michael Rasmussen for the month of July, and the Dane will need to forget his Tour bonus from the ProTour team. Together this means Rasmussen, who held the yellow jersey for 10 days in July, will miss out on 67,000 Euros, according to Danish paper B.T.

The Dane has calculated that his ejection from the Tour and his potential Tour win would have earned him 1.3 million Euros, but if Rabobank gets its way, he won't receive any sort of compensation. "If someone is fired, then they are also not paid out, that is logical," said team spokesperson Jacob Bergsma.

"There may well be discussions between the lawyers, but we are not planning on paying him any compensation for him being fired. Rasmussen broke various rules and that means that he broke the terms of the contract," he concluded.

Men's British championship moved to this weekend

By Gerry McManus

Fresh from Le Tour, Geraint Thomas will take on the national title this weekend
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The re-scheduled British men's road race championships will be the final event in a week of cycling based around the Welsh town of Abergavenny on Sunday, August 5. The festival started on Saturday July 28, with the Tour of the Black Mountains cyclosportif.

The championship event was cancelled in June as the severe weather conditions put pressure on the local resources when Yorkshire was hit with record rainfall and subsequent flooding. British Cycling made the decision to turn the Grand Prix of Wales into the championship event with the race calendar already pretty packed. The Robert Price sponsored event was already a British Cycling Premier Calendar counting event and was the perfect host. The GP of Wales and the British men's road race championship are now one event.

124 riders line up for the 172-km race which now includes the entries already accepted for the GP event. This means that the best of the British riders will be racing against the Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam cycle team from Holland. Other non British national entries include former New Zealand national champion Gordon McCauley and his Swedish Plowman Craven / Evans team mate Freddie Johansson. British Cycling competition co-ordinator explained. "With the cancellation of the original National Title event, a new event had to be identified which both suited the International Calendar and which was up and running," said West. "It is of course it would be impractical for a brand new promotion of this magnitude to be established at this late stage."

"The only event which suited the situation is the Grand Prix of Wales," West continued. "The promoter of this event had already accepted entries from riders who would not qualify for the National Title. A decision was therefore made to incorporate the National Championship within this Premier Calendar Race rather than change the status of the Grand Prix of Wales."

First over the line wins the GP of Wales and first British rider over the line will be crowned national road race champion. The race features two Tour de France finishers in the shape of local lad Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) and David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir). Millar will know what to face in the Welsh terrain having finished second in the Junior Tour of Wales in his formative days.

Hamish Haynes (DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed) returns to defend the title he won last year when he pipped Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) and Thomas in the final sprint. 21 year-old Thomas will be much wiser this year and anxious to upgrade his bronze medal. Jeremy Hunt (Unibet), Chris Newton (Recycling.co.uk), Rob Hayles (Team KLR/Parker Int), Rob Sharman (KFS Special Vehicles), Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello RT) and Russell Downing (Team Health net/ Maxxis) are all expected to be in the mix fighting it out for the title. Elliott, Hunt (2) and Downing are all former British champions.

Newton leads the BC Premier Calendar series overall with Dean Downing (Rapha) in second spot. Third placed Ian Wilkinson (Science in Sport-Trek) is an absentee, probably on his mountain bike for the big event in Scotland. The race will also show how Plowman Craven/ Evans, Recycling.co.uk and DFL/Cyclingnews-Litespeed are shaping up in their preparation for the forthcoming Tour of Ireland at the end of this month.

The course is tough and undulating featuring two laps of a 53km circuit stretching out to Monmouth via Raglan and taking in Cross Ash on the return route. Welsh fans will be screaming for Geraint Thomas as the race finishes with seven laps of the 9km finishing circuit in Abergavenny. The race starts at 11am with the finish expected around 3.30pm.

Holm plans new Danish team

Brian Holm is planning to start a new Continental team in Denmark next year. Holm is currently a Directeur Sportif at T-Mobile Team, and is in charge of the team's squad at the Tour of Denmark. "During the Tour of Denmark I wanto sit down with a Danish sponsor. We will talk about a new team, which would be on a lower level," he told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

California Giant Berry Farms and Specialized sponsor 'cross team

California Giant Berry Farms and Specialized have teamed up to expand their successful cyclo-cross program for the 2007-08 season.

The team will features six elite riders - three men and three women: worlds U23 team member Chance Noble, two-time 30+ national champion Justin Robinson, Specialized product manager Andy Jacques-Maynes, two-time collegiate national champion Melodie Metzger, 2005 US national 30+ silver medalist Josie Beggs, and nationally-ranked road racer Shelley Olds.

In addition to six elite athletes, three masters will round out the squad including: 2006 world masters silver medalist, two time US silver medalist Henry Kramer, two-time US national champion Todd Hoefer, and top 10 nationals finisher Gannon Myall.

Beginning in October, the team will tackle a full Northern California schedule of races, the six Crank Brothers US Grand Prix races, CrossVegas as well as the National Cyclo-cross Championships in Kansas City, Kansas.

2007-08 Roster: Andy Jacques-Maynes, Chance Noble, Justin Robinson, Josie Beggs, Melodie Metzger, Shelley Olds, Gannon Myall, Henry Kramer, Todd Hoefer

Gerolsteiner for San Sebastián

Gerolsteiner is starting off the second half of the season with the Clásica San Sebastián, "the biggest and most important one-day Spanish race." Davide Rebellin, fresh off his overall win at the Brixia Tour, will lead the team in the ProTour race.

Gerolsteiner's Clásica San Sebastián roster: Johannes Fröhlinger, Tim Klinger, Volkder Ordowski, Davide Rebellin, Matthias Russ, Marcel Strauss, Beat Zberg and Markus Zberg.

USA Cycling tweaks pro TT course finish

The finish of the course for the USA Cycling Professional individual time trial national championship, scheduled for September 1 in Greenville, South Carolina, was altered to eliminate a technical 90 degree right-hand turn according to the Greenville News.

The 18.7 mile course will travel from The Cliffs at Mountain Park to Cliffs Valley by a golf course on Terry Creek Road. Defending national champion David Zabriske, who recently signed with Team Slipstream for 2008, is expected to defend his time trial title from 2006.

The road race championships will be held the day after, only September 2. Greenville local George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) will defend his road title.

Lehigh Valley Velo to host wheel race and corporate challenge

For the second year in a row, the Golden Wheel Race comes to the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. The wheel race is also known as a "handicap," a race in which riders qualify for a seeded final via traditional events such as the scratch, elimination, and points before they are seeded in a final according to speed and ability.

Argentina's Alejandro Acton, Gustavo Artacho, Alejandro Borrajo, and Sebastian Alexandre. Jackie Simes, a Trexlertown native, are among those pros scheduled to hit the track. Look out also for the New Zealand National Sprint Team, and T-Town Express riders Ben Barczewski and Andy Lakatosh, who are 2007 Pan-American Games silver and bronze medalists respectively. Their teammate and last week's sprint champion Ryan Nelman will take on the concrete crater this weekend for some serious sprinting action.

In conjunction with the wheel race, the eighteen Corporate Challenge teams will fight for local "bragging rights" The teams will duke it out in the Italian Pursuit time trials to see who will bring home the title.

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