First Edition Cycling News for February 1, 2007
Edited by Sue George
Commesso finds support in Tinkoff
Italian Salvatore Commesso is entering his tenth year as a professional cyclist, and the skills that garnered him two national championships were just what Omar Piscina and Oleg Tinkov wanted when forming their new team, Tinkoff Credit Systems. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews spoke with Totò about his off-season transfer right after the team's training camp, on the day of its presentation in Rome.
"I have one child, a boy; he is three years-old," the 32 year-old explained to me as we sat down on a couch in the lobby of Hotel Victoria Roma on the day of the team's presentation. "His name is Dylan. My wife and I actually selected the name because it was a name that we liked from Beverly Hills 90210, the name of the character played by Luke Perry. When we heard it, we immediately liked. You know he drove a Porsche in the show, and, of course, at the end he had a drug problem but it was the name we liked.
"We are expecting another child around June. Maybe it will be a girl," he proudly continued. Will it be a 90210 name for him or her? "No. We have been thinking of the names. 'Ginevra' we like a lot. Like the wife of King Arthur."
Man of warm climates
Originally from Napoli, where his love affair with the bike began, Commesso retains his desire for the warm climates even though he now lives in Lombardia. "I started at 10 years-old, just for fun," he recalled. "My uncle raced through the amateur ranks. I raced the first two years in Napoli and then we moved to the north.
"I have been in the north [Lombardia] for 20 years; I left at 12 years-old. It has really been a long time. I left first for cycling, but now for my family. We moved to Pusiano, near Erba, but now I live in Bergamo because I found my wife, who is from there. My parents came, too. They still live in Pusiano.
"[Lombardia] is better for work even though it is a little colder up in the north. Luckily, I will go to Malaysia. For the heat, it will be nice to be there, racing for ten days [at the Tour de Langkawi], and getting to know the team better."
Commesso is really a man of stage races, particularly the Tour de France, where he has won two stages, one each in 1999 and 2000. "You have to have some trust in this team and put in the training, being ready to go well. We have been training for two weeks, up until yesterday [January 22], and the atmosphere is there. My sensations are good. With respect to the other years, I never really began like this-so strong."
To read the complete feature, click here.
USADA clears two mountain bikers of "no show" doping violations
USA Cycling and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that two athletes previously sanctioned for anti-doping violations have been cleared by USADA. Their eligibility to compete was reinstated effective immediately after a joint investigation by USA Cycling and USADA's Legal and Doping Control departments.
Cale Redpath and Alice Pennington had accepted one-year suspensions each for failure to appear for a doping test. Both were selected as reserve athletes during competitions in 2006; however, neither would have been tested because both the automatic selections and the randoms were available for testing at the events where the violations occurred.
Cyclingnews previously reported that Redpath received a one-year ban from competition because he failed to present himself for testing following the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series race at Deer Valley, Utah. Penningon received the same sanction for failing to show up to the antidoping control at the NORBA Series Finals in Snowmass, Colorado.
In USADA's decision to set aside the offenses and sanctions of Redpath and Pennington, it cited a "fair and appropriate application of Article 122" (of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules) in light of USADA's investigation regarding reserve riders that are subject to a no-show violation only in the event they would have actually been tested.
USADA reviewed the cases in conjunction with USA Cycling. The organizations are aiming to better communicate anti-doping procedures to reduce the number of no shows for testing at events. USADA also worked with the UCI to determine a position regarding riders who are picked as reserves for testing.
Discovery Channel Marco Polo readies for Langkawi
For the Tour de Langkawi, the team hopes to break its winless streak and visit the top step of the podium. In the first month of this year, the team has made the trip to the lower steps of the podium seven times in UCI races. The squad will include the following riders: Russian sprinter Sergey Kudentsov, Chinese Xing Yan Dong, Dutch riders Pol Nabben and Thijs Zonneveld, and Malaysian Loh Sea Keong. Yu Tong from China will replace Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh from Mongolia, who returned home on short notice.
Prosecutor expects Ullrich DNA sample soon
By Susan Westemeyer
German prosecutor Fred Apostel expects to be able to make the DNA comparison from Jan Ullrich "in the near future." Apostel confirmed the offer from Ullrich's attorneys announced yesterday, indicating the cyclist's willingness to give a DNA sample.
"We will now make an appointment," Apostel told the dpa. Ullrich's spokesman, Michael Lang, said that Ullrich was willing to travel to Konstanz, Switzerland, on the German border, and there give a saliva sample to be used to compare to the DNA in bags of blood taken in Operación Puerto. "We don't want to hurt the German taxpayers, by having Jan come to Bonn," Lang told Spöort1.de, adding that his client wanted to make the test "as quickly as possible".
Even if Ullrich completes the test quickly, the comparison will have to wait until the bags of blood in question are delivered from Spain to Germany.
Swiss authorities took a saliva DNA sample from Ullrich in September, following the search of his house. Ullrich's attorneys have asked a Swiss court to prohibit the turnover to German investigators of various documents obtained in the search. Although the DNA sample is included in this request, Ullrich's attorneys claim that they were not specifically trying to block it. Apostel called that "a contradiction," but noted, "It's not up to us to explain it."
Beltrán not to compete in Vuelta a Andalucía
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Instead of competing in the Vuelta a Andalucia, Liquigas racer Manuel Beltrán will begin racing this season at the Vuelta a Castilla y León from March 26 to 30. The Liquigas team was not invited to the Andalucian race, in part due to UCI regulations which require a 50/50 split between ProTour and Professional Continental squads.
Beltran, who was born in this region of Spain, said to press agency EFE, "I am disappointed by not being able to compete in a race that takes place where I live."
However, the veteran Spanish climber may do well at the Vuelta a Castilla y León. Last year, he finished second in the fourth stage. Also on his revised schedule are the Vuelta al País Vasco, the Tour de Romandía, and the Dauphiné Libéré. However, his main focus will be on the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
Zürich Six-Days plans for next race
By Susan Westemeyer
Plans are already afoot for the next Samsung Six-Days Race in Zürich, the race organizers announced Wednesday. The race will start on December 27 and end on New Year's Day.
Co-organizer Max Hürzeler said, "The audience's enthusiasm, and especially the interest from many young fans, showed us that the event has a good perspective and should continue."
This year, the winning team of Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli were sponsored by Möbel Märkli (Risi) and Skoda (Marvulli). For next year, both sponsors have indicated they want to sponsor a whole team. "That undoubtedly means more fireworks on the track and will lead to an exciting race," according to the press release. Co-organizer Urs Freuler said that "The basest riders have to be on the start in Zürich. We are definitely figuring with Erik Zabel next time."
Flynn leaves BikeNZ for UCI
Performance director Michael Flynn will leave BikeNZ after two years on the job for a management position with the UCI. This is not the first time Flynn has resigned from Bike NZ. According to Radio New Zealand, Flynn, unhappy with the cycling's structure at the elite level, resigned in November. However, after BikeNZ and Sport and Recreation NZ agreed to a "revamp," he withdrew his resignation and stayed on.
Looking fondly on his time in New Zealand, Flynn said his resignation this time around has nothing to do with last year's problems. "My decision to accept the UCI role was difficult but it is a once in a lifetime a career opportunity." In his new role as part of the Oceania group, he will continue to work New Zealand's riders and federation.
Regarding Flynn's departure, Rodger Thompson, the CEO of BikeNZ said, "The reality is that people like Michael who have such a strong international track record in performance sport are always going to be targeted, and I understand that the role with the UCI is an incredible opportunity that is just too good to pass up."
Flynn leaves BikeNZ with a high performance programme focusing the country's athletes on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics and on London for the 2012 Olympics.
Hoy and Wiggins for Manchester track World Cup
Joining the Science in Sport and 100% ME registered track team riders will be former world championship silver and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Tony Gibb of the Plowman Craven / Evan Cycles team.
Wendy Houvenhagel and Rebecca Romero met in an exciting match at the Moscow world cup when Houvenhagel narrowly defeated Romero in the final of the womens 3,000m individual pursuit by just 0.015 sec. Houvenhagel tops the world cup table for the women's individual pursuit going into the final event.
Youngster and local from Bolton, Jason Kenny, will be cheered on by friends and family in the sprint. He won three gold medals in the junior track worlds.
Look out for British national junior road race champion Russell Hampton in some mass start events. He won gold in the scratch race at the Los Angeles world cup.
Anna Blyth and Shanaze Reade will make up the first British team to contest the women's team sprint on Saturday night. Blyth is experienced track sprinter and Reade moving over to track racing from BMX.
Sprint Team Men
Sprint Team Women
Funding crisis threatens Irish Paralympic team
By Shane Stokes
Paralympic Cycling Ireland manager Denis Toomey has appealed to Irish businesses and other donors to get involved in backing the team prior to the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
Speaking at a media briefing held in Dublin last week, Toomey said that the squad would otherwise fall far short of the funding required for their 2007 qualification and training campaign.
"Our minimum costs for 2007 will be at least €83,000," he said. "This is just to cover the race entry, equipment, travel and accommodation. With track wheels costing in the region of €4,000 per set and a top class tandem costing up to €5,000, much more is required to give the squad their best support."
Last year the Irish squad received just €15,000 in Irish Sports Council funding. Paralympic Cycling Ireland is hoping that this will double this year but even so, they will still be at least €53,000 short.
Toomey pointed out that far greater funding was available to other countries. "It's hard for us not to contrast our situation with that of Britain, whose squad receives £1 million sterling per annum and have two indoor velodromes at their disposal," he said.
The Irish squad fared well at last year's world championships, taking four top ten placings and setting a total of six new Irish records. Paralympics Ireland had just one place at the last Paralympics but the good 2006 worlds' showing has greatly increased confidence that more riders can qualify this time round.
Strong performances at the Paralympic world championships in Bordeaux this August are crucial to these hopes. In order to maximise chances, Toomey is hoping to send the largest ever Irish squad, including male and female visually impaired cyclists riding tandem bikes with a sighted pilot, at least one cerebral palsy cyclist and at least one locomotor disorder (limb amputee) cyclist.
Fuerteventura-Canarias ready for team presentation
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Tourism International Exposition of Madrid (FITUR) will host the presentation of the Fuerteventura-Canarias Pro Continental cycling team for its official presentation today.
The new Spanish squad is composed of 17 riders and directed by Oscar Guerrero, formerly of Kaiku. It will make its racing debut in the Challenge de Mallorca from February 1 to 15.
Fuerteventura-Canarias will be led by 2005 winner of the Volta do Portugal David Bernabeu. Vicente Ballester, David Belda, Jose Adrián Bonilla, Mikel Artetxe, Oleg Chuzhda, Javier Cherro, Dailos Diaz, Iker Flores, Manuel Lloret, David Muñoz, Adrián Palomares, Antonio Piedra, Javier Ramirez, Eladio Sanchez, Iker Leonet, and Rodrigo Garcia join him.
For a complete roster of this and other teams, visit Cyclingnews' Teams Database for 2007.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rafa Gómez
APS to sponsor Tour of Malta
APS Bank has agreed to sponsor this year's Tour of Malta to be held between April 12 and 15 this year. Organizers told Malta Media that ten teams "mainly from England , Ireland , Italy , Germany and Holland" had confirmed participation. Specific teams were not announced.
Other primary sponsors will likely to include the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport and the Ministry of Tourism.
Escape Velocity/dEVo Spring Series announced
The 2007 Escape Velocity/dEVo Spring Series will again feature 10 races in the month of March. Highlights include two new courses and a new novice category for three of the races. The series will start with the traditional River Road course. All the favorite courses return such as Armstrong and Bradner, but a new 16 km loop in central Langley will replace the second running of River Road. A criterium will be added, either in the heart or Murrayville.
Besides participating in the novice categories, interested beginners may wish to attend the Learn to Race Clinic on March 3.
For a complete schedule and more information, see www.escapevelocity.bc.ca
Planet X recruits North American racers
Planet X Bikes is expanding its grass roots program. They will sponsor Team Planet X Tyros and Team Planet X Masters for 2007.
The Tyros team with include including both triathletes and road cyclists and replaces last year's grass roots program. The team is open to North American owners of Planet X bikes who wish to race in team colors and get swag and discounts on gear. Interested applicants should send a resume and a short statement of why they would like to be part of the team to email@example.com.
Team Planet X Masters will be a USA Cycling Masters' team focused on time trials and track racing. Ten members will race exclusively on Planet X bikes (racers do not currently have to have a Planet X bike), and a few spots remain open. Serious racers with top local results and who are influential in their local community should send their resume and a statement of why they should be on the team to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)