First Edition Cycling News for February 2, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo and Ben Abrahams
UCI threatens Paris-Nice
The dispute between the UCI and the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) over the invitations to the opening round of the ProTour, the Paris-Nice stage race, escalated today when the UCI allegedly sent out a threatening message. According to Reuters, the UCI sent a message to the managers of the ProTour teams at the Tour of Qatar which suggested that the 'Race to the Sun' be banned if the ASO did not comply with the rules of the ProTour.
The message is yet another dig in this war of words between the two organisations. Earlier this month, the ASO, which organises Paris-Nice as well as the Tour de France and other races, refused to invite all twenty ProTour teams to compete in the event, choosing to leave out new ProTour team Unibet.com in favor of the Professional Continental team Agritubel.
The ASO president, Patrice Clerc, told Cyclingnews that Unibet.com's position didn't concern them, saying "It's a problem between them and the UCI, not between them and us." UCI president Pat McQuaid followed up this week, saying "Without going into details right now, at the moment we are looking at what measures we could take in relation to the Paris-Nice situation."
For their part, the riders sided with the UCI in support of the ProTour. A statement released following the Association of Professional Cyclists' (CPA) first meeting this week, said "the Rider's Council wishes to stress that it is totally unacceptable for riders that participation to their races be unilaterally determined by organizers. Riders and teams, but definitely also organizers, will have to respect the UCI rules and these rules can only be changed by a democratic procedure as foreseen in the UCI statutes, and certainly not in a one-sided manner by one of the parties."
The CPA called on the UCI to take "all adequate measures in order for all UCI ProTour teams to participate to all races on the 2007 UCI ProTour calendar."
ASO director Christian Prudhomme was quick to respond to the news, telling Sporza, "We will organise Paris-Nice. I can reassure the teams: we will do everything to ensure the race takes place. We respect the regulations. We do nothing against the law. I find it paradoxical that the UCI now threatens us with a prohibition."
UCI president Pat McQuaid has been in meetings all week to ensure the future of the ProTour. He told Cyclingnews that all of the meetings involved discussions, saying, "Obviously the ProTour was discussed at all of those meetings and a commitment to the future of it is there. Everybody from the UCI agrees that the ProTour is the way forward." With the season already kicking into high gear, time is ticking down to the March 11 Paris-Nice start date, and a compromise will need to be found soon if the 'Race to the Sun' is to kick off the ProTour calendar.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Volksbank breaks off with Jaksche
By Susan Westemeyer
Operación Puerto claimed another victim this week, as Team Volksbank has broken off negotiations with Jörg Jaksche, the Austrian Professional Continental team announced Thursday. The main problem was "the massive pressure from prominent race organizers, especially the Deutschland Tour, who have categorically opposed" allowing the German rider to start.
Jaksche was named in Operación Puerto, and was allegedly filmed entering the building where Dr. Eufemiano Feuntes had his office. Jaksche, who lives in Austria, was under contract to Manolo Saiz' team, but has consistently maintained his innocence.
In a press release, Volksbank manager Thomas Kofler said, "This decision has nothing to do with the person Jaksche. The assumption of innocence belongs to Jörg as it does to the other 47 people named in the Fuentes affair, but we have to consider the future of our team, which would be endangered in the actual situation. Our sponsor didn't want that."
However, Deutschland Tour organizer Kai Rapp told www.radsport-aktiv.de that he would not prevent the whole Volksbank team from participating in his race if it had Jaksche under contract. He also noted that he had spoken with Jaksche. "Jörg and I have come to a 'gentleman's agreement that, pending further developments, he would desist from riding the Deutschland Tour, or that he would not start the Deutschland Tour, if his presence would hurt the race."
Garcia Quesada out of Unibet
Unibet.com announced that the team has parted ways with Spanish rider Carlos Garcia Quesada. Garcia Quesada had taken legal action against the team after he was suspended following his name being included in a list of riders involved in Operación Puerto last July. Garcia Quesada was later cleared, but according to the rider, the team did not continue paying his salary. The team justified the suspension saying that Garcia Quesada had failed to clarify his role in the investigation, and that "this was jeopardising the going Pro Tour Application of Unibet.com".
According to the Unibet.com website, the team offered Garcia Quesada "a generous amicable solution" to end his contract. A decision in the case was due on February 8th, and there is no word yet on if the agreement with Unibet.com will end the litigation. The statement went on to accuse the rider of spreading "false information to various media." and threatening to "hold him liable and responsible... for any further false accusations he and/or his lawyers spread in the media about team Unibet.com."
The winner of last year's Vuelta Andalucía must now scramble to find a team in order to defend his title in the race, which runs from February 18-22. The organiser of the race previously threatened to exclude Unibet.com from the race if they did not bring Garcia Quesada.
Lelangue speaks out on Landis
The former manager of the defunct Phonak team, John Lelangue, expressed his frustrations regarding the Floyd Landis affair today, saying he felt "betrayed" by the American who tested positive for testosterone in last year's Tour of France, adding "I have endured an enormous deception, a true human treason on the part of Landis."
Lelangue, who now works a commentator for Radio télévision belge de la Communauté française (RTBF) expressed his desire to return to the peloton, but indicated he would wait a year or more. Lelangue told Sporza, "In 2007 I am a commentator on the RTBF, and keep in touch with the [cycling] environment this way. I can work a day or hundred. But I will not hide that it is still my ambition to return to the peloton. And that does not need be per se as a manager of a team."
Ullrich gives DNA sample
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich followed through on his promise to deliver a saliva sample for a DNA comparison to blood taken custody in the Operación Puerto investigation. His attorneys announced earlier this week that he was willing to travel to Germany to give a DNA sample, which was actually taken in Konstanz, Switzerland, on the German border.
The sample will be turned over to prosecutors in Bonn, Germany, who must now await arrival of the blood bags from Spain, before the comparison test can be made.
Canada's UCI women's team unveiled
Newly registered UCI women's team, Expresscopy.com, have unveiled their 2007 lineup at an official presentation in Portland, Oregon, the home of their title sponsor. The new team brings the number of UCI registered women's teams in North America up to a record high of five. The number of women's UCI teams has increased 50% this year with 42 teams from across the globe, up from 28 in 2006. For a full list of women's UCI teams, please see the Cyclingnews teams database.
The Expresscopy.com team consists of eleven riders from Canada, USA and New Zealand and will be split into two divisions racing simultaneously in Europe and the US. The first division riders will tackle major European races then return to the North American circuit in May before heading back across the Atlantic in September to finish their season at the UCI Road World Championships in Stuttgart. The team's second division will focus solely on the North American circuit.
Following the presentation, the team will attend a training camp in Tucson, Arizona and then commence racing at the Valley of the Sun stage race starting in Phoenix on February 16.
Besides a busy racing schedule, the girls will be doing their bit for the community, promoting healthy and active lifestyles among female teenagers alongside a series of Olympic athletes and health specialists in a program called FitSpirit.
First division riders: Gina Grain (Can), Jessica Phillips (USA), Anne Samplonius (Can), Erinne Willock (Can), Meshy Holt (NZl), Audrey Lemieux (Can)
Second division riders: Stéphanie Bourbeau (Can), Jennifer Magur (USA), Joelle Numainville (Can), Alison Testroete (Can), Amanda Shaw (Can)
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Andrea Brewer
Mercado for Andalucía
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Spanish Agritubel team leader, Juan Miguel Mercado, has confirmed his participation in the 53rd Vuelta a Andalucia, which will be held from the 18th to the 22nd of February. Mercado, who won two stages in the Tour de France in 2004 and in 2006, will be accompained by his countryman Manuel Calvente (ex CSC), the young promising climber Moisés Dueñas (Tour de l'Avenir winner), the veteran Alberto Martinez, sprinter Mikel Gaztañaga and Eduardo Gonzalo, in addition to Frenchman Samuel Plouhinec.
Valverde and Simoni to contest Murcia
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Alejandro Valverde and fellow Spaniards José Joaquín Rojas and Fran Pérez will lead the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears in the next Vuelta a Murcia, that will take place from March 7-11. Apart from Valverde, Gilberto Simoni and Koldo Gil of Saunier Duval,have also confirmed their participation in the Spanish race. The race was nearly canceled over funding issues, but found new life when television rights were ironed out.
The Vuelta a Murcia 2007 will consist of five stages. The first stage will be run between San Pedro del Pinatar and Las Torres de Cotillas (166 kms). Stage 2 will start in Totana and finish in Fortuna (162 kms), and will include the Alto de Espuña and the Collado Bermejo (1st category climbs). On Friday, stage 3, from Puerto Lumbreras to San Pedro del Pinatar (146 kms) is followed by a time trial, and the final stage will run from Ceutí to Molina de Segura (142 kms).
'Inconsiderate cyclist' wins re-trial
British cyclists scored a victory today, as a cyclist who was found guilty last year of inconsiderate cycling has had the verdict overturned upon re-trial. Daniel Cadden was heading on a fast downhill of a single lane road, taking the lane and, according to police, forcing cars to cross the solid white line in the centre of the road illegally in order to pass him. Instead of citing drivers for crossing the centre line, police instead charged Cadden with inconsiderate cycling.
The judge who presided over the first trial said that Cadden should have been on the cycle path instead of on the road, but Cadden's lawyer, Francis Fitzgibbon, was able to demonstrate that there was no legal obligation for cyclists to use the path, and that the brief delay drivers encountered while waiting to pass did not constitute "inconsiderate cycling".
Speaking outside court, Daniel Cadden said: "I am overjoyed that the ludicrous decision to prosecute me has been overturned... This success serves to reaffirm cyclists' right to decide when to use cycle facilities and when they are inappropriate or dangerous. The first judgement was unreasonable in denying this."
Daniel Cadden was supported in his defence by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF), the independent charity which was founded by CTC to provide cyclists with support in legal cases. Over £25,000 was donated to the CDF by cyclists in support of Cadden.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)