First Edition Cycling News for December 11, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson
Soler focused on Grand Tour future
This year's Tour de France star climber Mauricio Soler has met with Team Barloworld manager Claudio Corti to study the 2008 Giro d'Italia route, where the Colombian believes he can do well. The Tour polka dot jersey winner enjoyed a sensational breakout year in 2007, with his efforts in the French Grand Tour leading to compliments from the Colombian president and resulted in the rider being awarded the Colombian Athlete of the Year title.
While the 2008 Tour has already been signaled as the climber's main target for Soler next season, the importance of a Giro start to the British registered, Italian based, South African squad means Soler is likely to tackle both the French and Italian Grand Tours next season.
"I'd obviously have to train well but I think I can do well in the Giro because there are some really tough mountain stages that suit me," Soler said. "There are lots of riders that did well in the past in both these important stage-races in the same year. 2008 is going to be a very important and difficult season, but I'm really motivated and can't wait to start racing again."
The 24 year-old climbed to victory on the Tour's 159.5 kilometre Stage 9 before going on to claim the overall mountains jersey in this year's race. The youngster also finished runner up in the Tour's young rider classification, won by overall race winner Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel). In addition to his Grand Tour success Soler claimed victory on Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Burgos before going on to win the event's classification during his first year at Team Barloworld.
"Mauricio is really enthusiastic about next season and keen to try something new," Corti said. "The Giro is an important objective for us and we hope to receive an official invitation from the organisers because we're convinced we can do well before we head back to the Tour de France for further success."
Matt White: Out with the old, in with the new
In 2008 Matt White will swap his Discovery Channel lycra for a suit and tie as he takes on the role as one of the three sports directors for the American Slipstream squad. Cyclingnews' Paul Verkuylen caught up with White for a coffee and a chat in his home town of Sydney shortly after his return to Australia.
The 33 year-old Australian had planned on continuing with the sport from within the peloton as a rider for one more season before retiring, yet he decided to hang up his wheels a little early to take up a post on one of the peloton's emerging squads. "This time last year retirement hadn't even crossed my mind. Things change through the year and one big thing was I got an offer as a director for Slipstream."
At the time White was midway through a tough Classics campaign that would culminate in a ride at the Giro d'Italia. "Jonathon [Vaughters] gave me a few months to think about it, as I told him I wanted to concentrate on the season right now". What we know now is that White did accept the offer, but it was not without a lot of deliberation. "You only retire once, so what ever decision I had to make, I had to make it for the right reasons."
The progression from rider to directeur sportif or even manager of some of the world's top squads has usually been the domain of the Europeans, as historically sponsorship dollars and backers come from the major European nations, yet with the growing number of English-speaking professionals coupled with the globalisation of the sport, Australians and Americans are being sought after to run an increasing number of professional teams.
White's experience within the professional ranks along with his attitude as a team player were no doubt contributing factors when it came time for Slipstream to consider new directors as the team was expanding it operations for the 2008 season. After beginning his career with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) team back in 1996, White has seen his fair share of employers in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, France and the USA, which have contributed to his intimate knowledge of the professional scene, and this was something invaluable to a squad like Slipstream.
To read the full interview with Matt White, click here.
Menchov takes time out
Rabobank's Denis Menchov has taken some time out to have fun with his team-mates at the Dutch ProTour squad, with the riders taking in some go-karting last week. The fun on four wheels was a part of a multi-day team introduction held by the squad for the members of its 2008 lineup to get to know one another.
The 2007 Vuelta a España winner will again tackle two Grand Tours in 2008, however according to team sources the Russian will trade the Spanish event for Italy's Giro d'Italia.
The 29 year-old rider had a stellar 2007 season claiming victory on Stage 10, the mountains and combination classifications as well as the Vuelta's overall win and also finished runner up in the points standings. Additionally Menchov won the Volta a Catalunya's Stage 5 and claimed the points competition at the ProTour race.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jacob Bergsma
Elk Haus Simplon ready for 2008
Elk Haus Simplon has completed its roster for the coming season. The Austrian Professional Continental Team will go into the new year with 16 riders, including four newcomers.
"We have a strong team again for 2008," said team manager Bernhard Rassinger. "We have high expectations based on our successes of the last years. And I am convinced that we will be able to continue with the performances that we have had."
Two Austrians are joining the team for 2008, 29 year-old Gerhard Trampusch and 19 year-old Daniel Schorn. Trampusch has ridden with Team Telekom and Team Gerolsteiner before moving down to the GS-II level. He started for Team Volksbank last season, but the team released him at the end of July, citing "behaviour contrary to provisions in his contract". The Schorn is a neo-pro who this season rode for ARC-KTM-Junkers-Team.
The other two newcomers are Germans Steffan Radchola and Björn Thurau. Radochla, a 29 year-old sprinter, rode in 2007 for Team Wiesenhof-Felt which is closing its doors at year's end. During his career Radochla has won stages in the Tour of Austria, the Sachsen Tour and the Rheinland-Pfalz Tour.
Thurau, who turned pro this year with the German Continental Team Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei, is one of the promising young German talents. The 19 year-old is the son of Didi Thurau, who was the dominant German cyclist in the 70s and 80s, winning, for example, five stages of the Tour de France 1977.
The team will divide for two training camps in January, with one group of riders on Mallorca and the other group on Gran Canaria. The team's first race of the season will be the GP Costa degli Etruschi on February 9. The season highlight will be the Tour of Austria, but it also has hopes of a wild-card invitation to the Giro d'Italia.
Elk Haus Simplon for 2008: Stefan Rucker, Jochen Summer, Wolfgang Murer, Robert Lauscha, Stefan Denifl, Thomas Rohregger, Harald Starzengruber, Peter Pichler, Harald Totschnig, Jan Valach, Markus Eibegger, Clemens Fankhauser, Gerhard Trampusch, Björn Thurau, Steffen Radochla, and Daniel Schorn.
Gilmore has sights set on Beijing
By John Flynn
The sub-script to the weekend's 'State of Origin' women's event at Australia's Grand Prix Cycling Tour on the Gold Coast was very much about the Beijing Olympics and the all important issue of qualifying for the three positions available in Australia's women's team to contest the road race and time trial. The issue will come to a head at next month's Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat - a key selection event for the Olympics - where standout performances will be noticed.
Victories in the Open road race and time trial won't guarantee a place in the Olympic team, but the winners of the green and gold striped jerseys will prove difficult to dislodge from Australia's shadow team for Beijing.
While the weekend's result was little to go by, given most of Australia's elite cycling women are deep into a training block, Rochelle Gilmore was satisfied her plans for the national titles are on schedule. Gilmore has set herself lofty goals, given the Mount Bunninyong course is not suited to sprinters.
"Road Nationals is the big goal, that's been my goal since I come back from Europe," Gilmore affirmed. "It's a very tough course and it's not suited to a sprinter, a good race there will prove to myself that I'm becoming more of a complete rider."
Gilmore has specifically targeted the toughest hills in the Gold Coast Hinterland during her recent training block, including the brutal Tomewin Mountain Road, as she aims to lift her climbing to a new level. The reality of making the road team for Beijing means she will need to be climbing on-par with Oenone Wood.
"I improved on the hills in Europe this year and it'll be a real test to come back to our National Title and see how I go against girls that I could never match, the likes of Nat Bates, Oenone Wood, Olivia Gollan, Nikki Egyed and Sara (Carrigan) herself," Gilmore said. "I have to be climbing at least as good or better than Oenone Wood (to make the Beijing team), she's been ranked number one in the world, we're both ranked in the top 20 in the world at the moment.
"I'm certainly getting there and maybe in the next two months I'll be matching her."
Graham's comeback on track
By John Flynn
Former Australian Road Champion Lorian Graham, who rode one hundred kilometres from Brisbane to contest the weekend's Surfers Paradise Criterium, is deep in training for the Australian National Titles in January. Graham's comeback from an horrific knee injury, sustained in the crash which killed team-mate Amy Gillett and decimated Australia's national squad more than two years ago, continues to build momentum.
"For me it's Beijing or nothing now, next year is very important for me to get results in the selection races that the coach and the selectors will be looking at for Beijing," Graham admitted. "So yeah, Road Nationals it'd be fantastic to get a second title, to go overseas again - you earn that respect from fellow team-mates."
Graham has already earned plenty of respect in her return from injury and the whispers from Brisbane's local criterium scene suggest the Rockhampton raised cyclist is returning to race winning form.
"This year went beyond expectations, it was really just to test and see how my body was going to cope and particularly my head, we were walking a fine line all the time," Graham said. "I'll be following pretty much a mirror image of what I did this year and I'll be stronger again next year."
The 2008 Australian Road Championships are set down for January 9-13 in Ballarat, Victoria.
Newcastle training ride ends in tragedy
One rider was killed and another injured when a truck travelling north towards Newcastle, Australia veered into a training bunch of 20 riders at 6:45 A.M. this morning. Police and ambulance officers responded quickly to the accident and a 33 year-old man was rushed to John Hunter Hospital, but passed away before arriving at the hospital.
Newcastle Police spokesman Sergeant Tony Tamplin said investigators are still figuring out how the accident occurred. "We still don't know the finer details; I am waiting to speak to the crash investigation unit who have just left the scene," said Sergeant Tamplin.
Local rider John Ebeling was one of the 20 riders in the bunch, riding just three riders back, and recalled the morning's events. "We were swapping off turns like we always do on a Tuesday morning, with one pace line going up and the other one down in the emergency lane," Ebeling told Cyclingnews.com.
"We were on our way back from Swansea when a truck came past us; he was pretty close, but no closer than a lot of other trucks come to us," he added. "He seemed to be edging closer to us, I don't think that he was swerving at us, more just moving back into the lane as he came around us. It looked like he bumped the guy who then ran into the guy beside him and bounced back to hit the truck. I think that he hit his head on the truck then again on the road."
The truck driver pulled his rig to a stop only 100 metres from the scene of the accident and waited for police to arrive. "One rider in the bunch, Paul Healey - a Doctor in Newcastle, immediately attended to those injured, with several riders helping out with CPR," Ebeling added.
The driver of the truck was "traumatized by the accident and was taken to Hospital for breath testing and will be spoken to in due course", Sergeant Tamplin added.
Another man injured in the accident was treated for cuts and abrasions, requiring stitches to his elbow and knee.
The 33 year-old victim survived by his wife and two children.
Jarvis gets UCI medical gig
British Cycling's Medical Officer Dr Chris Jarvis has been invited to join the UCI Anti-Doping Commission. The organisation's President Pat McQuaid targeted Dr Jarvis for the role after hearing of his cycling background and of his wide-ranging experience working for sporting organisations, including British Cycling, UK Sport and the Commonwealth Games Council for England.
"I am honoured to have been offered this position," said Dr Jarvis. "Doping has had such an insidious effect on cycling that it gives me great satisfaction be involved so centrally in countering it and in contributing to protecting the future of the sport."
Dr Jarvis joins the Commission in an advisory capacity as "Medical Expert" and will be involved in regular meetings and discussions with fellow Committee members - Chairman George Ruijsch Van Dugteren, from South Africa, scientific expert Peter Hemmersbach, from Germany and legal expert Joseph De Pencier, of Canada - as they fight the battle against doping in the sport.
Dr Jarvis has also been invited to act as the official UCI Doctor at the World Track Championships in Manchester in March. The high profile roles reflect the many years of service Dr Jarvis has given to British Cycling and the GB Cycling team as both Medical Officer and Team Doctor.
"Chris Jarvis is one of the most experienced and highly respected cycling doctors in the world," said British Cycling's President Brian Cookson. "He has had a long association with British Cycling, and I know he shares my view that our sport faces a serious challenge in dealing with the problems and issues of doping. I am very pleased that he has been appointed to this important UCI Commission".
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)