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First Edition Cycling News for January 17, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Gerolsteiner's "Simple Recipe"

By Susan Westemeyer

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Team Gerolsteiner 2007
Photo ©: Patrick Reed
(Click for larger image)

Team Gerolsteiner has a "simple recipe" for the 2007 season, according to team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "Keep on going like before." With 41 victories from 16 different riders, the team can look back on a successful 2006 season and calmly look forward to an equally successful 2007.

If the team had a nickname, it would be "The Originals," Holczer said at the team's presentation Tuesday at its sponsor's corporate headquarters. "We go our own way," he said proudly. That way includes the development of and reliance on young, usually German, riders.

"Young" is a key word. The team boasts seven newcomers, none of whom is older than 25. "Team Gerolsteiner will be one of the youngest ProTour teams in the 2007 season," Holczer noted.

He is also pleased that the team doesn't rely on just one or two captains, but has a broad range of riders who are capable of bringing in big wins. In fact, the team presented five riders as "leaders": Sebastian Lang, Fabian Wegmann, Davide Rebellin, Stefan Schumacher, and Markus Fothen.

Time trial specialist Lang is focusing on the world's time trial in Stuttgart, saying, "My goal is bronze, but if I do better, that's ok, too." Wegmann, who finished third in the Giro di Lombardia in 2006, will be concentrating on the spring classics, as will Rebellin. And at the tender age of 25, Fothen is under consideration as Tour de France captain. "I'm not afraid of the responsibility if it should come my way," says the self-confident young man.

The discovery of the 2006 season was 25-year-old Stefan Schumacher, who brought in a team-leading nine wins in 2006. "I have a lot planned, but I know it will be hard to repeat as good a year," said the tall man with the shaved head. He is looking forward to his first Tour de France – based on his Giro performance last year, with two stage wins and two days in the leader's jersey, he has reason to hope for a good Tour.

Cycling statue in downtown Gerolstein
Photo ©: Patrick Reed
(Click for larger image)

The team will put an extra focus on the spring classics this year, perhaps hoping for a replay of Rebellin's "three-peat" in 2004 when he won Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, all within a week. Rebellin himself will be a central part of that effort. "We have the strongest team for the Classics and I will try my best to win," the quiet 35-year-old Italian said. Schumacher will be appearing in the Ardennes Classics and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The latter race will also see Fabian Wegmann and Andrea Moletta in new roles. "We're trying something new this year," said Sports Director Christian Henn. "We will use riders in some of the spring classics who have never ridden them before."

The seven newcomers to the team include Bernhard Kohl, the mountain-climbing Austrian who transfers over from T-Mobile, little Oliver Zaugg from Saunier Duval, and Germans Tim Klinger and Carlo Westphal from Team Wiesenhof. The team boasts three neos, Italian Oscar Gatto, Dutchman Tom Stamsnijder, and Johannes Fröhlinger. Fröhlinger seemed destined to ride for Gerolsteiner – he was actually born in the town of Gerolstein.

One possible question that might arise in the team's future concerns the sponsor. Gerolsteiner, a bottler of mineral water and other drinks, has frequently stressed the need for a clean sport and stressed the relationship between its clean products and its clean team. The sponsor contract runs only through 2008, and Jörg Croseck, Managing Director of Marketing, said that the company must first review everything and hold discussions with, among others, the UCI, the team management, riders and race organizers before deciding on whether to continue its sponsorship.

Meanwhile, though, Holczer hopes that he has found the right combination of riders for even more successes in 2007. "You always have a few doubts," he said, wondering whether he has put the right team together and brought in the right new riders. He also hopes that cycling can recover from the blows it suffered in 2006. He noted that the angst had finally eased a little, and said, "The way won't be easy, but we will find the way."

For the full roster and transfer information, visit our 2007 Cyclingnews' teams database.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Patrick Reed/http://web.mac.com/kokkonenreed/iWeb/Site%2014/patrickreedphotography.html

Images by Andrea Hübner/www.velo-photos.com

Di Rocco writes McQuaid: "Enough with the pointless accusations"

By Gregor Brown

Italian Cycling Federation boss Renato Di Rocco (l)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

The president of the Italian cycling federation (FCI), Renato Di Rocco, responded to accusations by UCI president Pat McQuaid that there existed a "'Mafia' Western European culture." McQuaid had made a tough comparison between country's anti-doping measures when he said, "The Western European culture [meaning Belgium, France, Italy and Spain - ed.] has to some extent, I won't say condoned doping, but because of their culture in life, the way they deal with everything else in life, they accept certain practices."

Di Rocco had immediately come out and issued a response for McQuaid to consider his words but yesterday, Tuesday, he wrote a letter to the president of cycling's organizational body.

"Despite the dialogue of democratic comparisons there are months that have passed where you have cast shadows and discredit on some national federations with unfounded arguments while flattering others with praise and caress, in an attempt to create opposing fronts," read the letter on tuttobiciweb.com.

"While, regarding the fight against doping, there is evidence the power of many national federations, including ours, are acting together with the UCI. You did not hesitate to launch downright pointless accusations against your partners, interfering with the ongoing proceedings, regardless of the rules, of the divisions of power and the principles we have all come to respect. All of which results in cycling being shackled and criminalized by public opinion."

Di Rocco took further aim at McQuaid but also called for a constructive dialog. "I remind you that Italy is amongst the mother nations of the European Union. This is my culture, and I am proud to be Italian. Imagine if I was to say the same things about the UCI! ... I urge you to take time and reflect, performing your role as president of the 'super party,' to finally have a dialog that ours and the other cycling federations can use to help better the cycling world."

Museeuw and others to stand in doping trial

On Tuesday a local Belgian court ruled that former world champion Johan Museeuw and six other cyclists must stand trial at a date later in the year still to be specified. Their appeal to avoid a trial was overturned as reported by the International Herald Tribune.

In a case dating back to 2003, the cyclists were charged with possessing EPO and Aranesp. The now retired Museeuw, the 1996 world road champion, is accused of possessing drugs acquired through a veterinarian. Although he never failed a doping test, he was banned by the Belgian federation for two years for his alleged offense.

T-Mobile Launch: Leading the fight

T-Mobile fills a large stage
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile will be setting an example this season, with their extensive medical testing and other anti-doping measures. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes was at their launch in Majorca and heard what they had to say.

Fresh start, new beginning, clean approach and Die Mannschaft (teamwork); these words and themes featured heavily in the 2007 T-Mobile team launch, which took place Saturday afternoon on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Metaphorically, the storm clouds of last July seemed a long way away, as the riders, staff and assembled media met amid sunny conditions and temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius. Both the men's and women's squads were presented, making for a total of 40 motivated riders decked out in the distinctive magenta of the German team.

New general manager Bob Stapleton was one of the first to speak and he set out a strong message of intent. "I am very proud to be here today," he said. "2006 was a challenging year for the sport but I think we have made tremendous progress. For me, I am very happy to be in Majorca with the team and to show our personal commitment to T-Mobile and their executive board, who are all here today.

"I think it was a very tough year for everyone. What we did is we focussed on what we could do in our own house. We wanted to make sure we could bring in the best people, best methods and really build the team spirit that we feel is fundamental to doing well.

"I believe that success is built from the intense work of a group of focussed individuals and that is what we are encouraging here. This is a very demanding sport, it looks like it is an individual victory when the first person crosses the line but in reality that success depends on a lot of people doing their job very well."

One year ago Jan Ullrich was the star of the team and, following the retirement of Lance Armstrong, hopes were strong that he could finally repeat his Tour win of 1997. However Operación Puerto put paid to all of that and, according to several team sources on Saturday, the scandal went very close to ending the sponsor's multi-million euro backing of the team. What saved the squad was the determination that something good could come out of the problem, namely that T-Mobile would reshuffle, reassess, regroup and lead the new anti-doping fight in the sport.

To read the complete feature, click here.

For the full Team T-Mobile roster and transfer information, visit our 2007 Cyclingnews' teams database.

Boonen renews with Northwave

Tom Boonen as gladiator - a new advertising campaign
Photo ©: Northwave
(Click for larger image)

Belgian champion Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) renewed his sponsorship agreement with Northwave for two more years. Boon has been supported by Northwave since 2002, when he transferred from US Postal to the Quickstep. Along with the signing comes a new advertising campaign which will see Boonen cast as Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" among other figures from famous movie playbills.

Boonen now rides the Aerator shoe. Andrea Pellizzari, General Manager of Northwave, cited Boonen's charisma and said he expects him to draw more of cycling's passionate fans to Northwave.

Northwave will also sponsor five others from the Quickstep-Innergetic team, including Peter Van Petegem, Wilfried Cretkens, Gert Steegmans, Kevin Van Impe and GertVerheyen.

Riis asks for unity in cycling

CSC Team Manager and former Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis called on Tuesday for those involved in cycling to unite to overcome existing problems. He was responding to ongoing doping scandals and differences between the UCI and the ASO, the organizers of the Grand Tours. Last year, Team CSC topped the ProTour team rankings, even after Ivan Basso's alleged involvement in Operación Puerto.

"From the outside looking in, it looks as though all cycling has is problems," said Riis according to the AFP. "We have to stand together -- teams, riders, the UCI and the race organisers."

Riis said the ProTour was good, but might still need some changes. For Team CSC, he has announced strict anti-doping measures, but he acknowledged that DNA profiling is not the sole solution. "For me, DNA is not the most important thing. It is more important for each team to spend time examining their own structures and riders to fight doping."

Mark McCormack: Time to move on

Mark McCormack
Photo ©: Nancy Wright
(Click for larger image)

At the 2006 cyclo-cross nationals, Mark McCormack, a multiple national champion on the road and in cyclo-cross, revealed that he would not race as a pro on the road in 2007. With no formal announcement during the off season, Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski called the veteran North American racer to see what was behind the decision, and what lay ahead for him.

For more than twenty years, Mark McCormack has been a part of cycling in North America in one way or another, from amateur to pro, enjoying success on both levels. McCormack found his greatest success alongside brother Frank on the Saturn team, winning the USPRO road championship in 2003. Following the end of Saturn, the two joined forces again on the newer Colavita team, with Frank moving to the role of director and Mark leading on the road. In those four years, Mark continued to ride among the top domestic pros, helping propel the team upwards, and mentoring younger riders.

The team was owned and managed by John Profaci who also ran the Colavita Company at the same time – essentially working two full-time jobs over the past three years. "It's always been me, at my desk," said Profaci about running the team and company simultaneously. "I juggle the business, with sales and marketing, and then the two teams – or ten teams, if you include the regional teams! It was just too much for me."

This year, Profaci decided to hand over the day-to-day operations to Tom Schuler and his Team Sports management company, after successfully merging the Colavita women's programme with Schuler's former Quark team during the 2006 season. When talk of this began to circulate back in August, Profaci and Schuler said that both Mark and Frank were going to remain with the team. However, since that time, financial and other issues resulted in reevaluations; and the money to pay Mark was not found.

"The management changed everything," said Mark. "If Profaci was running the team, I would still be racing, plain and simple. Not because of personalities, but because of dollars. I could easily race for Tom if he wanted to pay me a fair wage. That was a hard thing to accept. We had all assumed that when the team changed management, the only change would be someone else would be signing your paycheck. We hoped the team would grow in sponsorship but it didn't go that way."

To read the complete feature, click here.

Teams finalized for Tour of California

The Amgen Tour of California announced a complete list of eighteen teams for the eight-day, 650 mile stage race February 18-15. Joining previously announced Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, Team CSC, Predictor-Lotto, and Health Net Pro Cycling Team, are 14 additional teams including American squads Toyota-United Pro, Jelly Belly, and Colavita/Sutter Home Presented by Cooking Light.

Split between teams who compete on the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of 144 athletes will be one of the strongest appearing on US soil. Paolo Bettini is one of the riders making the field so strong. The Italian world champion will compete for his Quickstep - Innergetic squad.

"With the tremendous success of last year's race and the very positive 'word of mouth' among the professional cycling community, we were extremely fortunate that not only did all of the top teams from 2006 ask to return but we were also able to add some of the new favorites entering the upcoming racing season,” said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports.

Several of the 18 professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California prior to the race.

BMC Racing Team (USA)
Colavita/Sutter Home Presented by Cooking Light Team (USA)
Crédit Agricole (France)
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Gerolsteiner (Germany)
Health Net Presented by Maxxis (USA)
Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA)
Liquigas Pro Cycling Team (Italy)
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team (USA)
Predictor-Lotto (Belgium)
Priority Health Cycling Team Presented by Bissell (USA)
Quick Step-Innergetic (Belgium)*
Rabobank Cycling Team (Netherlands)
T-Mobile Team (Germany)
Team CSC (Denmark)
Team Slipstream Powered by Chipotle (USA)
Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team (USA)
USA Cycling National Development Team (USA)

Four more added to USA Cycling track talent pool

USA Cycling added four riders to its 2007 Track Talent Pool to bring the total number of riders now eligible to represent the US in international competition to 29. At this weekend's qualifier in Los Angeles, two men and two women, out of 60 total entrants, met specific time standards.

The four new riders include Christen King (South Bay Wheelmen), Kele Murdin, Curtis Gunn (Team Successful Living) and Kenny Williams (First Rate Mortgage). They earned their spots after fast performances in mass start events. Gunn clocked a time of 3 minutes 25.131 seconds in the men’s three-kilometer event and Williams turned in a 3:30.197. In the women’s two-kilometer mass start race, King posted a 2:34.382 and Murdin a 2:33.457 to meet the time standards. The athletes met not only the time standard at the finish, but also at the 500m mark.

Some members of the talent pool will compete this weekend at the third round of the UCI track world cup in Los Angeles and at the track world championships March 28-April 1. The complete list of qualifiers is below.

Men’s Endurance
Mike Friedman (Slipstream presented by Chipotle)
Mike Creed (Slipstream presented by Chipotle)
Brad Huff (Slipstream presented by Chipotle)
Cody O’Reilly (Echelon Santa Barbara)
Tom Zirbel (Priority Health)
Dave McCook (Jelly Belly)
Bobby Lea (Toyota-United)
Austin Carroll (i.e. Bikes)
Curtis Gunn (Team Successful Living)
Kenny Williams (First Rate Mortgage)

Women’s Endurance
Sarah Hammer (Ouch Pro Cycling)
Neva Day (Southbay Wheelmen)
Becky Quinn
Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton)
Kori Seehafer (Team Lipton)
Sima Trapp (Colavita-Cooking Light)
Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Wolverine Sports Club)
Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine)
Christen King (Southbay Wheelmen)
Kele Murdin

Men’s Sprint
Giddeon Massie
Adam Duvendeck (Echelon Santa Barbara)
Ben Barczewski
Michael Blatchford
Kevin Selker
Andy Lakatosh

Women’s Sprint
Jennie Reed
Liz Reap-Carlson (East Coast Velo)
Anna Lang (Big City Velo)

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