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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, December 19, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson and Gregor Brown with assistance from Susan Westemeyer.

Hoy on target for track worlds

Chris Hoy (R) with Frenchman Arnaud Tournant in Beijing
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

Britain's top track sprinter Chris Hoy is happy with his form with just three months ahead of the start of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, March 26-30, 2008. The 31-year-old from Edinburgh has already won gold medals in the Keirin events at the first two rounds of the UCI World Cup events in Sydney and Beijing this year and is feeling positive about his preparation for his big year ahead.

"It's pretty much on target," said Hoy. "It is still early in the season at the moment but every race counts in qualification for the World Championships. It is good to start the season on a high by winning a few gold medals and getting some good placings."

Hoy won gold medals in the men's kilometre time trial and Keirin in the 2007 World Championships in Palma, Mallorca. His world cup Keirin victories give him three consecutive wins in the event against world class competition.

"The Keirin is quite an unpredictable event and it is not often that you can get a string of consistent places," he added. "It is encouraging that I can go unbeaten for so long but it is inevitable that it won't go on forever. I am getting more experienced and the longer it goes on, the better it is for me.

"The kilometre time trial and team sprint events are a bit more predictable because it is just you against the clock but if you ride to your strengths in the Keirin and stick to your game plan, you can eliminate a lot of the variables," said Hoy.

The GB team has a huge battle ahead in the men's team sprint. Hoy led the team sprinters to bronze in the Sydney World Cup but has his sights set on World Championship gold in Manchester.

"We haven't really decided our 'A' team in the team sprint yet," Hoy explained. "We have been trying different people in different positions so we have yet to run our full strength team, which obviously we will do at the World Championships.

"This year we missed the gold medal by two thousandths of a second in Palma, which is less than a blink of an eye," he added. "So we are looking at every possible area where we can make small gains. We have not won a team sprint gold since Los Angeles in 2005 so we are aiming to turn that round in Manchester and that would be great to do that in front of a home crowd pushing us on."

Hoy has also picked up some awards off the bike. He was in his native Scotland last week for a civic reception in Edinburgh celebrating his successes on the track in 2007. He also picked up the Sports Person of the year award from the City of Glasgow this month.

Team LPR's Savoldelli and Di Luca have busy weekend

Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca
Photo ©: Team LPR
(Click for larger image)

Team LPR, including star off-season signings Paolo Savoldelli and Danilo Di Luca, has a busy weekend planned for it riders. The Italian Professional Continental Team of Fabio Bordonali will meet December 22 and 22 to programme the 2008 season and have some fun for charity.

The first day will be dedicated to medical checks and trying out the team’s kits and bikes. Savoldelli and Di Luca will have time later in the day to race go-carts for a sports disability programme of Rovato (Brescia) – Icaro Onlus Cultura Sport Disabili – organised by A&J Sport as Image. Other cyclists competing include Damiano Cunego, Paolo Bettini, Gilberto Simoni, Filippo Pozzato, Riccardo Riccò, Franco Pellizotti, Luca Paolini, Alessandro Spezialetti, Pietro Caucchioli, Alessandro Ballan, Claudio Corioni, Marzio Bruseghin, Daniele Nardello, Enrico Degano, Marco Zanotti, Stefano Zanini, Francesco Failli, Francesco Bellotti, Andrea Tonti, Dario Cataldo, Mirco Lorenzetto, Matteo Tosatto, Celestino Mirco, Paolo Bossoni, Angelo Furlan, Marco Marzano, Morris Possoni, Lorenzo Bernucci, Rinaldo Nocentini, Marco Corsini and Matteo Bono.

Every LPR rider will plan out their individual 2008 schedules on the following day, December 22, before returning home to their families for a Christmas break.

CPA expresses its concern publishing target group names

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid met Cédric Vasseur, the new President of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA), at the UCI's headquarters in Aigle on 12 December. The two, along with other CPA delegates discussed a wide range of subjects during the meeting, including the publication of the names of the riders in the UCI's target group.

CPA representatives described problems that had arisen as a result of the publication of the names by the UCI on its website. This list gives the names of riders obliged to disclose their whereabouts to allow out-of-competition testing. At the CPA's request, the UCI stated that this list would be removed as a matter of urgency.

From 1 January 2008, all riders in ProTour and Professional Continental Teams with wildcard status must provide details of their whereabouts as part of the introduction of biological passports. (Read Online whereabouts system to replace fax.) The target group will therefore be extended to the whole of the peloton, and, for this reason, the publication of a list is no longer justified.

The CPA stated the need for its members to have great say in decisions made by the cycling union. The two parties considered that riders' representatives should be more systematically consulted on subjects that concern their profession.

Cancellara drops Olympic track plans

Fabian Cancellara
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Fabian Cancellara has decided to limit himself to the road race and individual time trial at the Beijing Olympic Games next summer, scratching plans to ride on the track as well. "It was too much. Track and road just can't be combined. My family and employer have priority," he told the SI press agency.

The Team CSC rider's main problem was with the qualification for the track events. He did not ride the recent World Cups in Sydney and Beijing. The next race is in Los Angeles, from January 18 to 20, which overlaps with the Team CSC training camp. That is followed by a meet in Copenhagen (February 15 to 17), and the World Championships in Manchester March 27 to 30, both of which fall in the middle of his preparations for the Spring Classics. Under UCI rules, a rider can qualify for the Olympic track events only through participation in the World Cup races and World Championships.

Cancellara had hoped to participate in the individual pursuit event.

TDU date affects High Road's training camp

Team High Road will hold a smaller than usual team training camp in January, putting the blame on the extended ProTour calendar which commences in late January. Last year's ProTour calendar didn't start until Paris-Nice on March 11-18, however with the addition of the series' first non-European round, next year's calendar starts on January 20 in Adelaide, Australia, throwing a spanner in the works for the team's planned training camp.

"It is true that our camp on Mallorca will be smaller," team spokesman Stefan Wagner told Cyclingnews. "Because of the Tour Down Under it doesn't make any sense logistically."

The TDU starts January 20 in Australia, so certain team members will simply stay in that area, rather than flying halfway across the world for training and then back for the race. The remaining riders on the squad, who aren't competing at TDU, are expected to gather on Mallorca.

It was also unclear where and when the team presentation would take place. "We are working on the details," Wagner said.

Rasmussen preparing to sue Rabobank

Michael Rasmussen
Photo ©: Makoto Ayano
(Click for larger image)

Michael Rasmussen is apparently planning to take Team Rabobank to court to contest his withdrawal from the Tour de France and his dismissal from the team this summer. The 33 year-old Dane has hired Dutch lawyers, who have confirmed to the Belga press agency that they have been engaged.

Rasmussen was fired from Rabobank this summer on the ground that he had lied to them about his whereabouts in the time before the Tour. The Danish rider admitted that he had lied to the International Cycling Union (UCI) but claimed that the team knew all along where he was. Rabobank commissioned an independent report on the matter, which was released last month, and which Rasmussen characterized as incomplete, one-sided and not objective.

In November, the rider said that he had two options: "either we come to an agreement or I go to court." In a press release, his attorney Karoly Nemeth said that the time had come. "It is good that there is now a lawsuit in the Netherlands. During the trial, the Dutch team leaders will no longer be able to avoid telling the truth. So far they have not given an honest explanation and that must stop."

Lampre signs Bindi

Italian Emanuele Bindi will ride in the blue/fuchsia colours of Lampre-Fondital for 2008. The 26 year-old, who was born in Pistoia but lives in Seregno (Milano), at 176cm and 64kg is able to hold his own in the mountains and very for the sprints.

Bindi started to race in 1987 and turned professional with OTC Doors-Lauretana in 2006, spending this last year with Professional Continental Team Universal Caffè-Ecopterol. His palmarès include third in a stage of the 2006 Boucles de la Mayenne and third in the 2007 Giro del Mendrisiotto.

Viña Magna-Burgos signs Iriarte

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Javier Iriarte will ride for Spanish Continental Team Viña Magna-Burgos in 2008. The 21 year-old Spaniard received a call from Team Manager Julio Izquierdo asking him to form part of next year's formation.

"Do you want to be professional?" recalled Iriarte local newspaper Diario de Navarra of the conversation with his future team manager – he did not think twice. After racing this year as an Under-23 for Seguros Bilbao, he had already given up on the idea of debuting as professional rider in 2008. However, Izquierdo needed riders under 25 years old to fill out his team. He had three options: the first two failed and the third one was Iriarte, who replied, "Yes, I want to."

"Iriarte has a lot of courage; he is a team-rider, who also knows how to move perfectly within races and is even able to finish," Seguros Bilbao Directeur Sportif Mikel Madariaga said. "And those cyclists are not plentiful."

"Having a cycling team [to ride for] is almost a luxury," commented the rider. "So I take it as a great opportunity. I want to perform as well as possible. It will be a year to know whether or not I can avail to be a professional, and I will give it my all."

Short training camp for Niermann

Grischa Niermann of Team Rabobank flew off to Denia, Spain, to train for a week with Jan Boven, Bram De Groot, Rick Flens, and trainer Louis Delahaye and get in the first preparations for the Tour Down Under. But after only three days he was back home in Germany again, laid low by a fever and infected tonsils.

"It wasn't really worth it to fly to Spain for only two training rides," he noted on his website, "But of course it wasn't planned that way. Now I have to take antibiotics and hope to be fit again by Christmas."

Morscher back in the saddle again

Harald Morscher of Team Volksbank is 35 years old, however, he is not yet ready to pack his bike. He is looking forward to another year on the road for the Austrian Professional Continental team in 2008.

Morscher served last season as an assistant to Team Manager Thomas Kofler, in addition to riding. This coming season he will have an assistant "who will do all those things that take up so much time," allowing him to focus again on his riding. "I will devote myself again to by real job of being a pro cyclist."

He knows that at his age, his time is running out. "That is exactly why I want to give everything one more time, and show what I can do."

He has been with Volksbank since 2004, and is proud of how the team has developed. "We don't have to reach for the stars, but alone through the signing of Olaf Pollack we have taken another step to more professionalism. His experience will help our young riders."

Morscher won the Tour of Austria in 1994 and was National Champion in 2004.

New kittens named

Vanderkitten Racing has announced the riders which will form its 2008 American squad, after announcing earlier this year it would expand from a single sponsored rider in Liz Hatch to a full squad. Hatch will again ride for the outfit and will be joined by eight new signings.

"It is an honor to be the Director and a part of a first year team of this caliber," said Scott Gross, Director Sportif. "Our 2008 race season will show that the work being done by the management, coaches and team riders was with one purpose in mind and that is to be one of the best teams for the year "

The squad will be announcing additional riders in the near future, with the team to be supported by Regional riders.

"Vanderkitten Racing could not be more thrilled with the roster we have compiled," said Vanderkitten managing director Mark Zefeldt. "The roster has a good mix of youth and experience on this team - specifically in Despas and Valletti, two riders with proven returns. We're confident that this team will perform well, and it will only help further our preparation for many years to come."

The outfit recently announced it would be riding BH Bikes in 2008, while other equipment and supporting sponsors will be named in the near future.

Vanderkitten Racing's 2008 roster: Jane Despas, Leah Guloien, Liz Hatch, Moriah MacGregor, Melissa Sanborn, Jenny Trew, Leigh Ann Valletti, Flavia Oliveira and Heather Sborz.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)