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First Edition Cycling News for January 13, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

ASO: No Unibet in Paris-Nice

No Unibet?
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The ASO threw down the gauntlet this week in its fight against the UCI and the ProTour. The ASO, which organizes the Tour de France among other races, announced the teams which had been invited to Paris-Nice - and did not include ProTour newcomer Unibet.

Paris-Nice, which will run from March 11-18, is the first ProTour race of the season, and under UCI rules, all 19 ProTour teams should participate. However, the ASO invited the 18 "old" ProTour teams, and issued wild cards to Astana (which received its ProTour license late in December) and the French Continental Professional Agritrubel team.

The organizers announced that "logistical grounds" prevented them from inviting more than 20 teams. Unibet team manager Koen Terryn has already said that he will ask the UCI to intervene on his team's behalf. "We have received a program from the UCI, in which Paris-Nice stands in black and white. But now it looks as if we won't be there, but instead there will be Agritubel, a French team without a ProTour license. We will complain to the UCI. We don't have the power to change anything in this matter, but the UCI does," Terryn said. "If we are not allowed to race, then that is a slap in the face for cycling."

Teams invited to Paris-Nice

AG2R Prévoyance
Bouygues Telecom
Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears
Cofidis Le Crédit Par Téléphone
Credit Agricole
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
Euskaltel - Euskadi
Française Des Jeux
Lampre - Fondital
Predictor - Lotto
Quick Step - Innergetic
Saunier Duval - Prodir
T - Mobile Team
Team CSC
Team Milram

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Landis called to Paris hearing

Floyd Landis
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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The embattled Tour de France winner, Floyd Landis, has been summoned to a hearing before the French anti-doping agency, AFLD to be held on February 8. Landis, whose urine sample returned an 'adverse analytical finding' for exogenous testosterone after stage 17 of the 2006 Tour, faces action by the US Antidoping Agency (USADA) as well, but no date has been set for that hearing.

Unlike the USADA hearing, which will ultimately decide whether Landis will be sanctioned over the test results, the AFLD hearing will only decide whether Landis will be allowed to compete in France. However, this could mean that even if Landis is cleared by USADA, he could still be prohibited from racing the Tour de France by the AFLD. This would be a major blow to the American who recently expressed his desire to win the Tour again.

Landis has been busy with a public relations campaign to argue his innocence, and will likely be represented by one of his lawyers at the hearing in Paris, according to AFP reports. He recently appeared in Virginia where an auction was held to raise money for his defense through the 'Floyd Fairness Fund', and it appears that he will have extra incentive to fill the coffers now that he faces legal proceedings on two continents. According to Reuters, Landis hopes to raise more than $2 million through the fund.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Swiss wait for Ullrich documents

There seems to be no end in sight for Swiss Cycling's investigation of Jan Ullrich, as they are still waiting for documents from Spain. Only when the documents are received, can a recommendation to the disciplinary committee be made.

Bernhard Welten, who is leading the investigation, told, "I figure it will be the end of January before the UCI gives me the documents. Then the recommendation will be either acquittal or lifelong ban. In my eyes Jan Ullrich is a repeat offender, because of his six-month suspension by the German federation (in 2002)."

Klöden aiming for Tour

Andreas Klöden and Alexandre Vinokourov
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)
Andreas Klöden is clear about what he wants to accomplish this year: win the Tour de France this summer. "The Tour is my main goal for this season, because I continue to dream of one day standing on top of the podium in Paris," he told the press agency dpa. However, he might find some of the same problems with that goal on his Astana team that he faced with T-mobile - competition for the spot as team leader.

Alexander Vinokourov will also be an obvious candidate for leader, but as yet, no captain has yet been named for the Tour. Klöden said that the title may not be decided until some point during the race itself. "No one can say yet which of us will be the captain at the Tour. Vino and I are both prepared to support the other."

Klöden said hopes to see another rival, ex-teammate and close friend, at the Tour - Jan Ullrich. "If he gets a license from the Swiss Federation, then I assume that he will be at the start at the Tour. I wish it for him, that he can ride it again."

After eight years at Telekom/T-Mobile, Klöden changed this season to Astana, but isn't looking back. "I have never regretted this decision. At T-Mobile I would not have had as strong a team as I will have with this new team."

French world champ to lead Japan's team

Former world champion Frederic Magne
Photo ©: AFP
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Frederic Magne, the Frenchman who represented his country in four Olympic games and won seven world titles on the track (four on a tandem, three in the keirin), has been named to lead Japan's cycling team. Magne will help the team to build their program towards the London Olympic Games in 2012. Mange previously was head coach at the UCI's World Cycling Centre, and will start developing the program with the fundamentals - a solid coaching system and programs to develop younger riders, according to AFP wire reports.

In the country which invented the keirin, it seems surprising that an outsider would come in to run what appears to be a track-centric program. However, many Japanese riders prefer to compete in the more lucrative professional keirin circuit rather than in international races. Magne will try to change this situation, and make sure the riders gain as much experience as they can in international competition.

The upcoming Olympics will serve as a building experience, "Whoever I will see at the first step in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the main reason of all the work that we are going to do will be very significant in London," said Magne. The ultimate goal of medals in the 2012 Olympics rests on a young team, including 22 year old Tsubasa Kitatsuru who won the gold in the men's sprint at December's Asian Games. Magne is optimistic about his riders, saying "I think at the moment the situation is good, because we have some riders with experience, and we have some very, very young talented riders."

Cycling discovers China

Kam Po Wong is a superstar at home in Asia
Photo ©: Steve Thomas
Click for larger image

At 33-years of age, Kam PO Wong is certainly in the later stages of his career but that hasn't stopped the Chinese rider from achieving in the sport he loves most. With another Asia Games medal now in his trophy cabinet Wong tells Cyclingnews' Steve Thomas that there's at least one more Olympic Games left in him.

As we sat in a hotel lobby between stages of the Tour of South China Sea, Kam PO Wong's home stage race, it was blatantly obvious that I was in the company of a local superstar. The hotel staff were all peering and grinning from behind half opened doors, then one girl nervously came over with here mobile phone and asked for a photo, she was literally jumping up and down with glee at meeting one of Hong Kong's biggest sporting heroes. It seems as though this humble bike rider is almost as big as Jacky Chan in these parts!

I first met Wong about seven years ago, and did a little digging into his track record. This guy was without doubt one of the most promising bike riders around back then and the hottest thing to come out of Asia since curry powder. Hailing from the small island enclave of Hong Kong, where there are almost no rideable roads, Wong has gone on to win just about every race in Asia, or at least stages in them, as well as winning regularly in Europe and Australia.

To read the full interview, click here.

T-Mobile's 'couple', Olson and Anderson

Aaron Olson and Kim Anderson are that rare duo - a couple who both happen to be pro cyclists and even happen to ride for the same team. Both are with T-Mobile Team and are in Mallorca with their various teammates for a training camp. "We hardly see each other throughout the season, so the fact that the women are also at the camp here is a welcome bonus!", said Olson on

Olson rode the US circuit for many years before breaking into the ProTour last season with Saunier Duval. His contract with T-Mobile came about through girlfriend Anderson. "I had always been in contact with Bob Stapleton, because of Bob and Kim's involvement with women's cycling. And when the opportunity came along to be part of this revamped team, I had to jump on it."

He will start his season with the Mallorca races and then go back home for the Tour of California. One race that is not on his calendar this year is the Tour of Flanders, one of the rare races where the men's and women's programs cross. He is happy not to be riding it, as it showed in 2006 that too much togetherness can sometimes be a bad thing. "Last year the only race where Kim's and my program crossed was the Tour of Flanders, but it wasn't a good omen and we don't need a repeat - Kim broke her collarbone and I broke my hand."

USA Cycling announces National Mountain Bike Calendar

Georgia Gould
Photo ©: Susan Candee
(Click for larger image)

Following up on October's announcement of a new season-long mountain bike initiative, USA Cycling published a list of 53 races that will comprise the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Calendars, which are modeled after the National Road Calendar (NRC). The calendar is divided into three sub-calendars: cross country, gravity, and ultra endurance. Over US$200,000 in prize money is on the line.

The calendars are intended to provide more opportunities for top-level US events that were not part of the previous NORBA national series model. More high profile events should also give elite athletes more consistent, high-quality races. Over the course of the season, athletes will accrue ranking points at each race. Overall titles will be awarded in men’s and women’s individual and team categories – much like the NRC.

Consisting of 29 events across 17 states, the cross country calendar kicks off March 25th with the Chickasaw Trace Classic in Columbia, Tennessee, and stretches six months to the last weekend in October with the Piney Hills Classic XIV in Ruston, Louisiana. In between, the series visits notable events such as the Sea Otter Classic and the six National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) races.

Eight races will offer UCI points, including all the NMBS series races, the Greenbriar Challenge, and the Maplelag MTB Spring Opener. UCI points are the primary factor in determining how many start positions the US will receive at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and if the past is any indication of the future, those points will play a role in the selection of individuals for the US Olympic team. The national championships at Mount Snow will also award UCI points.

Each of the 29 events on the cross country calendar will be further subcategorized according to the amount of overall ranking points available. Five category-1 events will offer the most points toward the series– the Sea Otter Classic, the Snowshoe MTB Festival in West Virginia, and the NMBS stops in Phoenix, Park City, and Banner Elk. In addition, the series will feature three category-2 events, seven category-3 races, and 14 category-4 events.

The 18-event gravity calendar, which features downhill, 4-cross, super D, and dual slalom, will cover 11 states. Top category gravity events include the Sea Otter Classic, the Chile Challenge, the Blast the Mass, the Mountain States Cup races in Telluride and Keystone, and the Rock MTN G3 Series Race.

The ultra endurance calendar, which consists of 62-mile races, marathons and 12- and 24-hour races, will include six events.

"Riders will have the chance to compete at national-level events across the country where consistent competition, organization, and prize purses are offered. Promoters will have the opportunity to be a part of a national calendar and earn the recognition they've long deserved. There are so many quality events throughout the US, but most of these events didn't have a higher level to graduate to under the previous model after they obtained AMBC (American Mountain Bike Challenge) status. Now, these calendars give those races something to aspire towards," said USA Cycling mountain bike eastern regional manager Kelli Lusk.

Sweet 16 for Revolution

A new generation of exciting British talent has dominated the racing at Revolution this season. Riders such as Peter Kennaugh, the junior world scratch race champion and former Future Stars winner, Adam Blythe, John Bellis and Steven Burke have shown their talents, but they must now face a challenge from the top UK riders.

Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, and Ed Clancy missed earlier Revolutions, having spent part of the season training and racing in Australia, but will be back for number 16 on January 20th, and ready to give their younger counterparts their toughest challenge yet, "It was disappointing to miss the previous Revolution events" commented Hayles. "The younger riders have been racing well so it is time to take them down a peg or two!"

Mark Cavendish, who took gold in the scratch race at the Commonwealth Games last year, and is about to start his first year as a ProTour road professional riding for the T-Mobile team, will also be back for the event. "It will be great riding at Revolution again" said Cavendish. "I haven’t ridden this season as I have had a lot of commitments with the GB team and my new T-Mobile team."

One race that will be eagerly anticipated will be the 1km madison time trial. Peter Kennaugh and Adam Blythe came close to breaking the record at the last Revolution, however, it will be Clancy and Cavendish who, as the record holders, will be the biggest threat. They set the 57.457 record at Revolution 6 in 2004 but can they go one better in 2007? "Yeah, we’ll definitely go for it" said Cavendish. "It’s great that we still hold the record but people have come very close so maybe it is time we made the record a little tougher to beat!"

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