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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for February 17, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo and Steve Medcroft

UCI in contact with ASO

Prepared to meet but concessions need to be made by both sides

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

With time ticking down to the March 11th start of Paris-Nice and the Unibet/ProTour situation showing no signs of being resolved, the UCI and ASO have been in contact regarding possible talks about the issues.

While remaining fully committed to the ProTour project, Pat McQuaid has told Cyclingnews that he has been in communication with Patrice Clerc and is willing to sit down with him and others from ASO in order to attempt to find a resolution to the matter.

As reported on Friday, directeurs sportifs within the sport have expressed their frustration with the deadlock and have urged all sides to come together and work out an agreement.

"It would be my sincere intention that we would have some reason to move forward and we might make some progress. Both on the issues regarding Unibet and the rules and the bigger issue, which is the ProTour," said McQuaid.

On Wednesday L'Equipe printed an interview with Clerc which painted an uncompromising stance. "We are not afraid. The race [Paris-Nice] will take place," he stated. "Only a real war [ie outside cycling] could prevent this from happening.

"It [the UCI] wished to set up a commercial system which we consider illicit. It must now struggle with those contradictions, but that should not prevent a beautiful race from taking place. One should not penalize the riders, the teams, the public."

"Since 2004, we have clearly said that we don't want to be part of the ProTour, this system that we consider bad for cycling," he added later in the interview. "The teams know this. If the UCI can't keep its promises, it has to assume its responsibilities."

When asked by the journalist concerned if Clerc was currently in contact with the UCI, he suggested that this was not the case. "I understand that it [the UCI] prefers to put the dialogue on a legal level," was his sole response.

Read the full feature here.

Backstedt to get surgery

At the 2006 TdF
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

After months of trying to recover from a shoulder injury, Magnus Backstedt has decided to go under the knife for the fourth time in four months to have a metal plate removed from his shoulder on Tuesday.

Backstedt was involved in a high speed crash on the track in October when he and fellow countryman Freddy Johansson tangled on a madison change. The crash sent the big Swede straight into the bottom of the banking, snapping his shoulder on impact, resulting in a 5th degree shoulder separation. Surgery was required to screw a titanium plate to the collarbone and a hook inserted into the shoulder joint to allow scar tissue to replace the torn tendons.

Backsted expressed his frustration with the slow pace of recovery to Cyclingnews earlier this week, saying "I will keep on working and hope that things improve and take it from there. Sooner or later it will sort itself out, but would rather it was on the sooner side! For now, the Classics are still a target and until a moment I decide I can't actually ride with this, then they still will be on the list."

"For me the shoulder is an aggravation because my legs are great. I spent such a long time off the bike, but my power figures are on par if not higher than last year, I just can't pull on the bars. I managed to complete two stages of the Tour of Majorca without being able to hold the bars properly. My team decided that it was too much of a risk for me to continue, so I returned to the UK to see my surgeon again"

The diagnosis from Backstedt's surgeon was that the damage to the shoulder was sufficiently healed to go ahead and remove the hook and plate. While he is under the general anesthetic, his surgeon will also treat mobility issues, and Backstedt thinks he'll be back in time for the Classics.

"My surgeon was confident that removing the plate and manipulating the shoulder should be fairly straightforward.I should only be off the bike for a maximum of a week and this will give me a fighting chance of being on the start line in shape for Roubaix."

Pound unrepentant about his style

Richard Pound has been a controversial WADA chairman
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Richard Pound was at an anti-doping conference in Athens this week, where he quipped to reporters that he has no regrets about his comments, which earned him criticism from the International Olympic Committee this week.

According to the AFP, Pound didn't take too much stock in the reprimand, and said that the IOC is trying "to influence how WADA acts, how its president acts, and I said, 'I'm sorry but you don't have that jurisdiction.'"

Long outspoken and harshly critical of even the most famous of athletes, Pound was unabashed in his comments about Lance Armstrong after Armstrong's urine allegedly tested positive for traces of EPO. A letter sent to the IOC was the source of Pound's censure, but he says that he's "very happy to be known by the enemies I make," he said, "You're dealing in most cases with organised cheating and hypocrisy beyond belief. You've got to challenge them, you've got to be right in their face," he added.

Pound's term as WADA chairman expires in November, but according to Pound, his apparent successor, French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour, will be even tougher. "The guy who's presumably going to replace me, Lamour, he's a two-time Olympic champion, he's been there...he doesn't like what's going on, and he's way ahead of me, suggesting that the penalty [minimum, for any doping offense -ed.] should be four years," Pound said.

T-Mobile, Milram for Portugal

T-Mobile Classics specialists Andreas Klier and Servais Knaven will be looking to put the final touch on their form in the Volta ao Algarve before heading to the Spring Classics in Belgium the beginning of March. They wll be leading the magenta team in the five-stage race along the Portugese coast from February 21 to 25, the team announced.

"The Algarve Tour fits perfectly into our preparations," said director sportif Tristan Hoffman. "The riders can test their form but are not forced beyond their limits." Sprinters Bernhard Eisel and Andre Korff will also be in Portugal to contest the sprint finishes. Eisel won the second stage of the race last year.

T-Mobile for Volta ao Algarve: Lorenzo Bernucci, Scott Davis, Vernahrd Eisel, Andreas Klier, Servais Knaven, Andre Korff, Patrik Sinkewitz, and Thomas Ziegler.

The T-mobile sprinters will have to contend with one of the top lead-out trains in the business - that of 'Ale-Jet' Petacchi's Milram team. Petacchi will hone his train's technique in the Volta ao Algarve, bringing some of his best helpers, including right-hand man Marco Velo and Alberto Ongarato.

Milram for Volta ao Algarve: Alessandro Petacchi, Alessandro Cortinovis, Volodymyr Dyudya, Alberto Ongarato, Björn Schröder, Fabio Sacchi, Marcel Sieberg, Marco Velo.

Euskaltel for Andalucia

Riding high off Unai Extebarria's victory on the last stage of the Volta a Mallorca, the Euskaltel Euskadi team will head next to the Vuelta a Andalucia - Ruta Ciclista del Sol. Jon Odriozola will return to direct to the boys in orange, and will count on part of the squad that has participated in the Challenge of Mallorca.

Beñat Albizuri, Koldo Fernandez de Larrea, Antton Luengo, Jorge Azanza, Andoni Aranaga, Markel Irizar and Unai Etxebarria will head into the race with a great deal of momentum after the win in the Trofeo Calvia, a race where Odriozola was proud of the team. "We had one rider in every escaping group; in every attempt. That is what was asked of by our sponsors. To act. To be united. To show collectively. And we're actually doing those things."

Women's season to kick off in Geelong

Teutenbergwon the 2006 Geelong WC
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

While the men had their 'season opener' in January's Tour Down Under, the women's road season will kick into high gear later this month in the land down under with the Geelong Tour, the opening round of the UCI Women's Road World Cup, and the Women's Tour of New Zealand.

More than 100 riders from 16 nations, including Olympic, Commonwealth and World Champions, will contest the three day, four stage Geelong Tour (February 17 to March 1) - the first international stage race on the women's calendar for 2007, and the single day Geelong World Cup on March 3rd.

Defending champion Oenone Wood has joined the powerhouse T-Mobile squad, who will stack the deck with champions. 2004 World Champion, Judith Arndt, the 2006 Geelong World Cup winner, Ina Teutenberg, 2006 Australian Road Champion, Kate Bates and 2007 Australian Criterium Champion Alexis Rhodes are all part of the T-Mobile team.

Not to be underestimated, the new Raleigh Lifeforce Creation squad will bring the world number one and defending World Cup series champion Nicole Cooke and Switzerland's Priska Doppman. Cooke was the bronze medallist in the road race at the 2006 World Championships and the Welsh star is keen to find early season form and pick up points in her bid to add a third series win to her World Cup tally that also includes the 2003 title.

Other champions to appear in Geelong are two time World Champion Susanne Ljungskog, riding for Team Flexpoint, and Trixi Worrack, ranked fourth in the world, riding for Team Nürnberger. Athens Olympic Champion, Sara Carrigan, will return to international competition after taking a break from cycling. She'll lead the Queensland Academy of Sport team and will be joined by 2005 Australian Champion, Lorian Graham and newly crowned Australian time trial Champion, Carla Ryan.

Japan's Miho Oki has twice sprinted her way onto the podium in the Geelong World Cup, second in 2006 and third in 2004, and is hopeful of victory for either herself or one of her Menikini Gysko team mates who include Australia's Olivia Gollan and Rochelle Gilmore.

Sydney's Natalie Bates, the 2006 Commonwealth Games road race winner, will head the NSW Institute of Sport team.

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