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First Edition Cycling News for January 5, 2007

Edited by Sue George and Laura Weislo

Lefèbvre's racing doesn't impress UCI

By Brecht Decaluwé

Peter Van den Abeele
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

The organizers in Sint-Niklaas didn’t have a contract with Maxime Lefèbvre (Josan) and knowing that he missed a doping control in Middelkerke last week (as reported earlier), many people were amazed to see the French rider at the start. Peter Van den Abeelem, the UCI representative for cyclo-cross, explained to Cyclingnews that the organization had fulfilled all their duties in Middelkerke, and that Lefèbvre's failure to show for anti-doping control was his own fault.

“I was there when the speaker announced the names in Dutch. I was checking the results and saw that many foreigners were in the top 10; I suggested to the speaker that he should announce it as well in some other languages, which he did,” Van den Abeele said, “the names were also listed where it needed to be listed.

Lefèbvre’s defense wasn’t impressive, “I didn’t see or hear anything,” he claims. “ Now I’ll get a new punishment and that will probably mean the end of my career,” Lefèbvre said on Sporza. After the race in Sint Niklaas, it took a while before Lefèbvre showed up for the doping control but he eventually turned up.

Lefebvre in Diegem
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Lefèbvre continues to race despite the prospect of a career-ending sanction, and if he is sanctioned, he'll also lose any prize money he's gathered since Middelkerke. Still, he plans to continue on until forced to stop. “I’ll race again in Surhuisterveen [where he finished sixth just before Jonathan Page (Morgan Blue)] and maybe as well in Otegem [on Monday January, 8th]”, Lefèbvre said.

His start in Monday's race is by no means secure, since Van den Abeele wasn’t happy with the current Lefèbvre-circus. “I’m going to warn the office in Aigle that they need to take care of this case as soon as possible,” the UCI-representative said.

Irish federation backs McQuaid

By Shane Stokes

Following last month’s declarations of solidarity from USA Cycling and British Cycling to UCI president Pat McQuaid over the ProTour model, the Irishman’s own federation has said that it was supporting his stance on this issue and with regard to his approach to recent doping scandals.

"I want to assure you of our continuing support in the battle against cheating by medical and pharmaceutical manipulations in our sport," wrote CI president Miceal Concannon on Thursday. “The shadow of Operación Puerto looms large over the public perception of cycling and the ham-fisted approach of the Spanish magistrates has left UCI, the riders who have been named, AIGCP and the various National Federations in the unenviable position of being damned if they do anything and being damned if they don’t.

"Undoubtedly, there are lessons to be learned from the debacle, most of which should be given to the Spanish authorities. Their initial haste to get a juicy story to the media contrasts strongly with their subsequent lethargy in making information available to UCI, WADA, or to the National Federations. While I don’t wish to be seen as making a judgement against anyone, I applaud the action taken by UCI to proceed as it has. To have done otherwise would have shown our sport in a very poor light.

"Even though you were vilified in certain quarters, any reasonable assessment of events since Operación Puerto serves only to enhance your personal integrity and the integrity of the anti-doping process of UCI."

He continued by stating that CI was siding with the UCI as regards the recent tensions between the governing body and the federations of France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, and Luxembourg. On November 30th these six declared that they rejected the ProTour model, echoing the stance of the Grand Tour organisers.

UCI president Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image
Concannon indicated his disagreement with this course of action, saying it was an undemocratic one. "On a separate matter I wish to add the support of Cycling Ireland to that offered to you by British Cycling on the 20th of December 2006. I absolutely share Mr. Cookson’s abhorrence of the actions of a self-appointed group in proposing to speak on behalf of the European Continental Confederation. Their action has been high handed and contemptuous of the other European Federations.

"There is a body and a structure that represents the European Confederation – (the) UEC. This is the appropriate vehicle for discussion and decision making in all matters relating to the European Confederation. I am annoyed and angered at the way the six national Federations have set out to attempt to undermine firstly UEC, then the Pro Tour and finally UCI."

He said it was vitally important to move forward in order to ensure the growth of the sport. "Cycling Ireland is a 100% supporter of the globalisation of cycling. Nobody can question the glittering history of cycling in Europe and particularly in France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. However if we follow their view and only continue to do what we have always done, then the sport is doomed to die slowly."

"As the population of the world moves towards 6.6 billion people, how can any sane and reasonable individual or group suggest that the advancement of our sport is best served by concentrating our efforts in three or four European countries? Such palpable nonsense does a grave injustice to our sport and to the myriad practitioners who reside outside of the six objecting countries."

Concannon concludes by saying that McQuaid should maintain his current approach to both issues. "On behalf of the members of Cycling Ireland I urge you strongly to continue the battle against doping. I look forward to the report of the audit into doping in cycling and to the implementation of the recommendations that will come from it. I urge you also to stand firm on the development of the UCI Pro Tour. Sectional interests should not dictate what is the best policy for a worldwide sport."

Voigt, Worrack awarded

Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
Click for larger image

Jens Voigt has been selected as male German Cyclist of the Year for the second year in a row. The CSC rider won a Tour de France stage and the overall title in the Deutschland Tour.

Erik Zabel finished second in the voting by the readers of Radsport magazine, and Gerald Ciolek finished third.

Trixi Worrack of Equipe Nürnberger, who took the silver medal in the road world championships, won the vote for the best female cyclist, ahead of the cyclo-cross UCI leader Hanka Kupfernagel and Claudia Häusler.

Saunier Duval supports human rights

By Monika Prell

According to the Spanish newspaper Diario Vasco, the Saunier Duval team will continue with its campaign for human rights started last season. In 2006, every cyclist represented one right, and together they rode 225,178 kilometers in support of the campaign. In 2007, the human rights campaign celebrated its100th anniversary, and accordingly, Saunier Duval will participate in a new project.

The team manager Mauro Gianetti will travel with some of the squad's racers, amongst them Raúl Alarcón, Alberto Fernández, Rubens Bertogliati, Guido Trentin, Alberto Fernández, Rubén Lobato, Carlos Zarate, and Christophe Rinero, to Mali, a country affected by drought and forest fires.

The new project includes planting trees, one for every kilometer they ride and five for every victory. They expect to plant about 300,000 trees. The campaign starts in Mopti on Sunday, also the site of a 70 kilometer bike race featuring the best African cyclists and seven Saunier Duval members, each of a different nationality.

Saunier Duval also approached football player Samuel Eto of FC Barcelona about joining the campaign, but his participation remains uncertain due to potential schedule conflicts.

Kroon back training after accident

Karsten Kroon (CSC)
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC racer Karsten Kroon is back on his bike and training in Spain after a broken wrist sustained while snowboarding during Christmas holidays, which he spent in Val Thorens.

"At first they gave me a cast on the lower part of my arm, but that was no good because I couldn't ride my bike. I talked to the doctor about it and he said it was ok for me to remove the cast, but that it would hurt a great deal and I would have to wear something to stabilize my wrist. I've followed his instructions and I'm able to continue my training, but there is a lot of pain both in and around my wrist and also it wrecks my balance on the bike," Kroon said on the team's website,

A full recovery is expected in time for the team's late January-early February training camp in California. Kroon is also expected to race in the Tour of California, which will serve as preparation for the spring classics.

"They [the classics] are my main priority this season, and also I'm hoping to get to do Tour de France as well. The Tour is better for me this year, because we're not building the entire team around one person like last year. The route seems perfect for our team and we should be able to snatch a couple of stages," said Kroon.

Canadian cyclo-cross team to Cycling Center

The twelve members of the Canadian cyclo-cross team, who last week posted a public plea for financial assistance, have found support thanks to the Cycling Center in Belgium. The Canadian Cycling Association does not currently support the 'cross team, and riders were faced with paying for their own travel and accomodations.

The Cycling Center in Hertsberge will host the team for the weeks preceding the world cyclo cross championships in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium, which take place on 27th and 28th January.

Along with housing, the Cycling Center will provide logistical support as well as team cars, vans and support crew. The Center in Herstberge is in the heart of the Belgian cycling mecca of Flanders. Their Belgian 'home away from home' will give the team a calm and comfortable setting in which to prepare for the championships.

Canadian calendars announced

The Canadian Cycling Association announced an expanded calendar for its four major cycling disciplines: road, mountain bike, BMX and track today. For the roadies, major events will include the Montreal women’s UCI world cup followed by the Tour du Grand Montreal, the Tour de Beauce, and new events, the Tour of Prince Edward Island and the Montreal/Boston Tour.

For track, there are two major Tim Hortons National Championships events: one in Bromont, QC for the junior, master, handisport categories and one in Dieppe, NB for the elite categories.

The BMX season will open with the UCI International competition in Victoria, BC, followed by the national championships in Bromont, and will culminate with the UCI BMX World Championships in Victoria, BC. Results in Victoria will help determine country rankings and athlete participation numbers for the sport's Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008.

Mountain biking continues to be strong in Canada, which will host 14 events from May to August, including 16th consecutive Mountain Bike UCI World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC .

World cup of ultracycling announced

The UltraMarathon Cycling Association (UMCA) announced a new world cup series for 2007. The series includes 16 races with seven in Europe, eight in North America, and one in South America, and it will be used to determine the world champions.

"We are excited to take this next step in supporting ultracycling internationally," said John Hughes, director of the UMCA. The world cup is a challenging mix of 24-hour, 500-mile and longer races. By the end of the series, the world champions will have proved themselves masters of the sport."

Races in the series range from 24-hours to 3,000 miles. Each race will be assigned a difficulty rating based on the distance and climbing. Each racer's points will be calculated as the difficulty rating for a race multiplied by the rider's average speed for the event.

To be eligible for a world championship title, a rider must race on two of three continents and must complete at least one race of 800 km or more. Riders will compete in 10 divisions defined by age and gender.

The UMCA's two European representatives, Fabio Biasiolo (I) and Chris Hopkinson (UK) participated in the design the series and selection of events. After testing and refining the World Cup format, the series will be extended to other continents.

Some highlights include:

February 17 - Sebring 24-Hour
March 30 - Heart of the South 500, Alabama, US
May 11 - Race Around Slovenia, Solvenia (also the 2007 European Ultracycling Championships)
July 7 - North American 24-Hour championships, New York, US
July 21 - European 24-Hour championships, United Kingdom
October 6 - Furnace Creek 508, US

Garate, Sayers become dads

Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) became father of a baby girl on Tuesday. The girl, named June, was born weighing 3370 grams and measuring 51 centimeters. According to Team Quick Step, June and her mother Eider are doing well.

BMC professional cycling team's Mike Sayers announced the birth of his new child, Brody William Sayers. Brody was born at 6:30am on December 28th. Sayers said, "Nicole and I would like to thank everyone who checked in on us over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Brody was 8 lbs and 2 oz and 21 inches long. Mom and baby are doing fantastic....Dad is hanging in there."

Cyclingnews 2007 road team database released

We've been hard at work updating our team database for 2007. Visit the database and search for an ProTour teams or Pro Continental teams. Information is provisional and will be updated in the coming days and weeks as teams finalize and announce their rosters for 2007

Cyclingnews reader poll: Best product and team bike

Cyclingnews has tallied up all 11,532 votes in the the biggest ever reader poll. Today, we announce the winners of the best product and best team bike categories. The winner of the HED Kermesse road wheels will be announced later in the week. Thanks to everyone who voted.

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