First Edition Cycling News, December 27, 2007
Edited by Ben Abrahams & Sue George
Big names battle in Belgium
By Brecht Decaluwé and Gregor Brown
While many were working off holiday indulgences, Wednesday was just another day at the office for the likes of Sven Nys (Rabobank), Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) and Lars Boom (Rabobank). The trio went one-two-three off the front before 20,000 spectators as they raced by a lake in Hofstade, Belgium.
The three men escaped from a field of 58 riders just after the first lap, with Nys eventually winning solo to add yet another World Cup to his palmares. He was so pleased by the course, of which many riders approved, that he said, "This is why we became cyclo-cross riders."
Wellens made an unexpected rear exit from the lead group on lap four when he dropped back when completing a bike change. He found that he had not put enough air into his tires for the forest sections of the course. The two Rabobank team-mates worked solidly together to keep Wellens at a distance. "We took turns so we would stay in the lead," Nys said.
But Boom wasn't strong enough to stay with the UCI points leader Nys. "I allowed Boom to return at first because I could use his help, but eventually he got dropped anyway. I didn't attack, I just rode my own tempo," Nys explained how he kept Wellens on a safe distance and how he dropped his Dutch team-mate.
Nys went on to another World Cup victory while Wellens successfully accomplished a strong surge to catch and defeat Boom for second place.
The next World Cup leg is held in France on January 13, in Liévin. For full coverage of the World Cup in Hofstade, click here.
Salvetat ponders retirement after Hofstade win
By Brecht Decaluwé in Hofstade
World cyclo-cross champion Maryline Salvetat grabbed her first World Cup win of the season in Hofstade and afterwards announced she may not come back to cyclo-cross next season. "It's great to win here," Salvetat told Cyclingnews at the finish line. "I had a bad start - I crashed, and had to chase for a while. I didn't panic because I knew that I needed the energy for the two final laps as the course is very demanding."
The French woman has not had a great season so far, but explained why she took it easy back in November. "I want to go to the Olympics and I'm building up my season for that goal," she said. "I didn't race in November and after the world championships I will take a break again. I hope to race the road race and the time trial in China, but I don't know if I'll be selected right now."
Taking a break isn't what many would expect, since 33 year-old Salvetat is combining cycling with a hospital job. "I don't think I'll be here next year," she said. "I studied for ten years to become a doctor and I finally want to perform the job. Right now I want to make it to the Olympics and that should be it for me."
Up and coming riders fare well at Latrobe Carnival
By Paul Verkuylen in Latrobe
While some of the Australians and Japanese riders were busy battling it out for the first-ever UCI points offered in conjunction with the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, some young riders were taking advantage of the chance to make their names known.
Relative unknown Steven Hall of Western Australia took the 2,000m wheelrace first final after riding from the 130m mark. The youngster, who is just starting his second year in the under 19s, displayed the tactical skills of a much older rider as he waited until the last possible moment to come around Eddy Wilson to win the event by no more than a tyre width.
Hall, who has only been riding for three years, explained later that he "had no plan for the race, just see what I can do and stay with the big boys," referring to his more experienced and possible idols who started behind him. "I am only going into my second year as a junior next year. I am hoping that I can do enough to get to the worlds." Peter Loft came across the line to take third ahead of James Schneider, another name to watch in the future.
In the women's 2,000m wheelrace, Australia's newest women's cycling sensation, Kirsty Broun, took out the prized wheelrace in thrilling style. Broun had her work cut out for her: starting off a mark of just 40 metres, she had to catch the entire field. Showing her class right from the gun, she quickly made up the ground needed to put her in contention for the win, and brought the entire field together, too. She then successfully responded to an attack by Julia Bradley of Canada on the Australian's way to victory. Broun won her national criterium championship just one month ago.
"I am proud to have won here at home in Tasmania," the Tasmanian born Broun said after the event. "I stopped riding for eight years while I was at uni, I only just got back into it, but I honestly thought that I would only ever do it socially."
Her results the past few months have told a different story however, and it seems that there is still much more to come from this talented lawyer. "I will do the Bay Series crits and then the nationals, so we will see," she said.
The 3,000m men's wheelrace race saw yet another future talent take the top step on the podium as 16 year-old Scott Law took home the AUS$7,500 first prize cheque ahead of Leigh Howard and Edward Wilson. With half a lap to go, the sprint was opened, Law made his move around the outside, and with an amazing turn of speed beat the rest of the field to the line to take what is undoubtedly the biggest win of his career.
"I wasn't actually expecting to win. I was told that in the paper I had been earmarked as the winner of the race, so I thought that that may jinx me," Law said afterwards. "I didn't think I could get around Leigh Howard but eventually I did, so I just kept going and I thought this could be it so I just kept going and hoped for the best.
"I am only a first year under 19, so to win a major wheelrace is really great," said Law.
For full coverage of the Latrobe, click here.
Predictor - Lotto fires Leukemans
Björn Leukemans has been dismissed by Predictor - Lotto after the team received official confirmation that his B-sample had tested positive for testosterone. The 30 year-old had originally tested positive in an out-of-competition control on September 26, but went on to compete at the Stuttgart World Championships, finishing 13th in the road race.
"The regulations are what they are," team manager Marc Sergeant told Sporza. "A positive 'A' and 'B' sample means dismissal."
Leukemans has made no comment on the decision, heeding advice from his lawyer, but previously asserted his innocence by saying that his testosterone level was naturally high and that he was having sex when the testers arrived, which would elevate his testosterone count. However, doping experts have maintained that neither story would explain away the synthetic testosterone found in his sample using the carbon isotope test conducted in Cologne, Germany.
Sergeant said that the Predictor - Lotto team, which will be called Silence - Lotto next season, has a zero tolerance policy towards doping. "The team has one target: to race clean," he said. "The sponsors also stand behind that. Now we want nothing more to do with the affair. These things can drag on for a long time. Leukemans has no future with us."
Under the ProTour ethical charter Leukemans could be fined a year's salary if found guilty at a Flemish cycling federation disciplinary committee hearing on January 10.
Karpin Galicia announces provisional Langkawi team
The Tour de Langkawi is still over six weeks away, but Spanish Professional Continental squad Karpin Galicia has announced its provisional nine rider selection for the Malaysian stage race, from which six will be ultimately selected. Langkawi organisers have recently hinted that the second stage to Genting Highlands may be moved further into the race, following complaints from teams and sponsors.
The following riders have been chosen by directeur sportif Álvaro Pino: David Garcia, Gustavo Dominguez, Vladimir Isaychev, Gustavo C. Veloso, Ramon Troncoso, Jesus Cobelo, Alejandro Paleo, Juan Mourón and Alberto Fernandez. The squad is expected to leave for Malaysia on February 4 with the race running from February 9-17.
Gourgue signs with Landbouwkrediet
Benjamin Gourgue has signed with the Belgian Professional Continental team Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner, the team announced Tuesday. The 21 year-old Belgian is a graduate of the training centre set up by the Wallonian cycling federation.
Gourgue signed a one-year contract. He will open his season in Italy with the GP Etruschi on February 9, followed by the Giro della Provincia di Grosseto from February 15-17.
Tour stage winner Teisseire passes away
Four-time Tour de France stage winner Lucien Teisseire died at his home in north-west France shortly before Christmas, a family member told AFP on Wednesday. Teisseire, who lived at Plonevez-Porzay near Finistere, was a professional from 1942 to 1955. He was 88.
Besides his Tour stage victories, the Frenchman won Paris-Tours in 1944, Paris-Nice in 1946 and the Dauphiné Libéré in 1953. He also finished second in the 1945 Paris-Roubaix and the 1946 edition of Milan-San Remo.
Basso gives back with Intervita
It's the time of year when many people dip into their pocketbooks and give not to friends and family, but to the charities they believe in, and cyclists are no different. Ivan Basso donned the white and black jersey of Inervita not just for the December 8 at the Pedalata Con I Campioni charity ride, but will make good use of his time spent under suspension by wearing the jersey of the worldwide orphaned children's fund at charity events throughout 2008.
Basso, who has been involved with the organization since 2004, will partner with the charity to raise awareness and funds after several years of donating a percentage of his earnings to he and his wife Micaela's chosen fund. "Intervita knew about this idea and they asked me if I would unite with them for 2008 and give a contribution, not only economically like I usually did, but also with my image and I said yes," Basso told Cyclingnews. He has volunteered to wear the self designed and unique Intervita jersey at all of the major fund raisers he will attend in the 2008 calendar year.
The first event took place on December 8th at the Pedalata Con I Campioni, where the public was invited on a charity group ride with the professional cyclists including Basso, on a forty-five kilometer circuit that started and finished in the small town of Brinzio, located on the outskirts of Varese.
Basso will not only be attending events in Europe, but will spend five days in Dubai, Arabia, the country chosen to receive the funds that Intervita has raised. "I will go to visit the third world country to visit where the money goes," said Basso. "We decide which country is the most necessary to send the funds to."
It is not unusual for riders to attend charity events in their off season but there is usually a fee attached to the invitation, but Basso clarified that he will not ask for an appearance fee, instead he asks for a portion of funds raised due to his attendance go toward Intervita, in the form of adopting a child.
"There are a lot of organizations in the world but I think it is important that if you can help some or at least one organization, that is good."
To read a recent interview with Basso, click here.
Cyclingnews Reader's Poll
It's that time of year again - vote for your favourites
As the year draws to a close, it's time for you to review the year in cycling and cast your vote in the annual Cyclingnews Readers' Poll.
And as in previous years, we have a wee incentive so you can justify the time and mental exercise: the chance to win a Christmas stocking full of the latest carbon fibre goodies from our friends at Zipp, like the lightest crankset on the market, plus animal-strength handlebars and a classy-looking stem.
So please, contribute to what has become one of the largest global polls of the cycling community and cast your vote. Please try to complete each category and only vote once, as we do a thorough review of the votes and make sure we remove all the duplicates.
Please visit this link to get started.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)