First Edition Cycling News for December 4, 2007
Edited by Paul Verkuylen
Biver comments on salaries owed to 2007 Astana riders
Marc Biver and the Zeus management company, which oversaw management of the Astana ProTour team in 2007, responded Monday to comments from Astana's 2008 Team Manager Johan Bruyneel. The former Team Discovery Channel director had announced he would pay overdue 2007 Astana rider salaries out of an escrow account set up by the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KCF).
According to a press release posted Monday on team-astana.com, Zeus said the company never received official notice of the cancellation of its contract with the KCF which holds the ProTour license-holder for Team Astana. The Zeus - KCF contract was slated to run until 2010, but the collaboration ended in September, around the time the 2007 team's riders stopped receiving payment of their salaries and when Bruyneel confirmed his role as the team's new leader.
Biver's management company reported that it was the KCF who was supposed to pay the riders' salaries and failed to do so. Zeus claimed it appealed to the UCI to release the Astana team's bank guarantee to pay the back salaries owed to the team's riders from 2007, but no funds were released. Zeus pointed to an Ernst & Young report from August 31, 2007, which looked at each UCI ProTour team seeking to renew or obtain a ProTour license. The report showed no remarks on any of the teams' accounts and approved all without restrictions.
KCF had previously indicated it would take full responsibility for the salaries according to comments made by Bruyneel in late November.
Evans rates ProTour win over Tour de France second
By Shane Stokes
Cadel Evans may have gone within 23 seconds of winning the Tour de France this summer, but he has said that he rates his ProTour victory higher than his runner-up slot in cycling's biggest single event. The Australian Predictor Lotto rider values his season-long consistency as his most rewarding achievement in 2007.
"For me, personally it [the ProTour victory] was better than getting second at the Tour and it's not easy to do," Evans told AFP at the weekend. "It's taken from all of the big races from February to October so it's a long time to have to be good for. In terms of races or contracts or whatever, maybe it isn't (better) but for me personally it was."
The 30 year old has shown steady improvement in his Tour record and after placing eighth, fourth and second in the past three years, he will head into the 2008 season convinced that he can stand on top of the final podium in Paris. "A little bit of luck and keep focused, keep motivated and yeah, it's possible," he said. He has also said that the Olympic Games is a target for him.
Big changes are afoot for the new season due to the introduction of additional anti-doping measures, including the recently-unveiled plan to have biological passports in place. These will keep track of a wide number of values for each rider, including blood parameters and hormonal levels. Backed by WADA, this 'forensic-style' approach to anti-doping will enable the governing body to suspend and/or sanction riders, even if there is no positive test.
Evans gives a thumbs up to the new measures. "For all the good efforts and the good work that the UCI has done, they don't always get portrayed in the media as they should do," he said.
"Sometimes it seems being honest and doing a lot of controls is actually bad for the image of a sport. I hope that people realise that to work for the long term being transparent and honest is the best way to go."
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Images by John Veage
Cronulla to farewell White
By Paul Verkuylen
The line up of the Cronulla international criterium being held on Sunday December 16 has been announced today and will see some of Australia's best riders line up to farewell Matt White on the streets of his home town.
Event promoter Phil Bates told Cyclingnews that the plan was to build on the success of last years edition which saw 8000 spectators line the streets of Cronulla to watch local boy and Rabobank rider Graeme Brown take the title.
For Matt White the event holds special significance as it will be the final time he races a criterium as a professional. "This is by far the best field ever assembled for a criterium in Australia," he said.
White explained that all the current crop of Australian ProTour riders who were able to make it and ride will be there. Others, like Cadel Evans who is currently enjoying a break before his preparation for the 2008 season, will be in attendance but won't be riding.
"It's pretty special, all these guys are coming for one reason," White said referring to his final race. "It's going to be a good weekend.
"We all race together all the time, but not everyone together at the same race."
Over 50 riders will take part in the event including Stuart O'Grady (CSC), Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson (both Unibet.com), Allan Davis (Discovery), Scott Davies (T-Mobile), Aaron Kemps (Astana), Simon Gerrans (Ag2r), Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Chris Sutton (Cofidis). "It will be far from a procession," Bates said.
The day also include a women's race that will showcase some of Australia's finest women cyclists including Sara Carrigan, Rochelle Gilmore and the Bates sisters, Kate and Natalie. Support events for juniors, masters and an open men's event will also be held along with an inline skating race and a 1500m running race that will pitch most of the Cronulla sharks against anyone game enough to take them on.
The event will be televised live on Channel nine in Australia with coverage starting at 12.30pm.
"NSW is in dire need of some big sporting events after Victoria pinched them all, so it's going to be pretty special," White concluded.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Veage
Valverde to race Vuelta a Murcia 2008
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Alejandro Valverde the 2007 winner of the Vuelta a Murcia has already expressed his interest in the 2008 edition scheduled to be ridden from 5-9 of March. Francisco Gúzman, director of the five day event told the media today in Lorca, which will host the finish of the opening stage that he is counting on Valverde along with Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Danilo Di Luca and Alberto Contador to make the race as exciting as in previous editions. "We are negotiating with Rabobank, CSC, Astana and LPR for the 2008 Vuelta a Murcia, and, why not, with their best riders, as always."
Gúzman is also said that the Euskaltel-Euskadi team along with Samuel Sánchez is interested in racing next year.
The first stage will be raced between San Pedro del Pintar, close to the Mediterranean, and Lorca. The following days stage is being heralded by the organisers as the Queen stage, and will see riders face the first category Collado Bermejo-Cima Marco Pantani climb as they race from Calasparra to Totana. The third stage will finish in San Pedro del Pintar, no start town has been announced as yet, while the fourth stage will be a time trial.
The final stage from San Javier to the capital city of the region of Murcia, includes the el Santuario de la Fuensanta climb which could see the overall classification decided on it's slopes on the final day.
2008 Professional continental teams registered
Following recommendations by the accounting firm Ernst & Young as well as documentation presented by the teams, the UCI has approved 21 teams who have applied to register as professional continental teams for the 2008 season. Seven squads were denied during the approval process due to one or more non-conformities. Those teams have until Friday December 10, 2007 to appeal to the UCI's management committee.
The teams that have been approved for the 2008 season are:
Elk Haus - Simplon (Aut)
Those refused were:
Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia happy with selection
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The announcement of the inclusion of the Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia among the Pro-continental squads by the UCI was celebrated yesterday. "We are very happy after receiving this awaited decision," team manager, Ginés García, told Cyclingnews. The new Spanish squad will count on 16 riders for the next season, among them ex Relax climbers José Miguel Elías and Julián Sánchez Pimienta, as well as ex Fuerteventura-Canarias rider Adrian Palomares. Joining them will be rising star José Herrada, who won a stage at this years Tour de l'Avenir and Javier Etxarri, who has been racing for the squad since it was a continental squad.
"We don't have a clear leader, all of them are very combative riders. We are thinking of the future, because our contractual agreement with the Grupo Nicolas Mateos is for four years. We will have to fight in all our races if we are to achieve a start at the Vuelta a España," Garcia said.
The first part of the next season will be very important for them. "The youngest riders will have their opportunity from the beginning, and looking at the Vuelta a Murcia (in March) will be the turn of the veterans. We have to do as well as possible in the Vuelta a Murcia, but also in all April races", he concluded.
Giro calls for drug free cycling
Giro d'Italia organiser, Angelo Zomegnan, has called for a clean race in 2008 and said cycling needed to undergo substantial changes next year if it wants to put an end to the doping scandals that have rocked the sport, according to British paper The Telegraph.
WADA along with the UCI have already stated that they will be collecting blood samples from all riders in 2008 that will be used to create a medical profile for each rider. These profiles will then be used to compare data registered in doping tests.
Shimano & PRO continue to support Team High Road Sports
Following the announcement that T-Mobile would with draw from the sport, there was speculation that other sponsors would follow Adidas was the first to announce that it would follow T-Mobile's lead, so too Audi. Giant who have supported the team since 2004, have remained as the official bike sponsor and now Shimano along with its private brand PRO have announced that they too will continue as equipment supplier to the team.
"For Shimano it was not even a question to continue or not after T-Mobile's withdrawal from the team. Shimano keeps on supporting professional cycling especially in these difficult times. Team High Road Sports is one of the leading teams in the peloton in all aspects and therefore this was a very easy decision. The philosophy of Bob Stapleton and his team is the right and only way to go for professional cycling in the future," Hennie Stamsnijder, Shimano's sports marketing manager said.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)