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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 28, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown and Sue George

Bettini disappointed by Museeuw

Paolo Bettini
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

World Champion Paolo Bettini is "disappointed" in his former teammate Johan Museeuw, who recently admitted to doping in his final year as a professional, 2004. Bettini rode with the 1996 World Champion together on the Quick-Step squad and considered him a role model. The Belgian admitted not being "100 per cent honest" before retiring.

"I wanted to end my career in style, that's why I did things which were wrong," said Museeuw January 24.

"I am really disappointed in Johan, who, like [Michele] Bartoli in Italy, was a maestro for me," said the 32 year-old Italian to La Gazzetta dello Sport during a sporting ceremony in Toscana. "I have made my career and some of my best results [with him in the team].

"Museeuw has made a mistake in declaring that he doped because he wanted to end his career with important results. Honesty has to prompt a rider when is the right moment to stop; and not to create schemes," said Bettini.

Starting Saturday, January 27, Il Grillo Livornese will join his Quick-Step teammates for a training camp in Marina di Bibbona, near his hometown of La California. The camp will be the last of its kind before the Belgium-based team starts its season.

'Cross worlds round-up

Low countries fulfill expectations

By Brecht Decaluwé in Hooglede-Gits

Start of the junior men's race
Photo ©: Mitchell Clinton
(Click for larger image)

Two races were scheduled on Saturday at the worlds in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium: the junior and U23 men were to battle for the world title. The low countries of the Netherlands and Belgium have been dominating the cyclo-cross worlds lately, and 15,000 spectators showed up to watch their young stars shine.

The junior race is always unpredictable at worlds because the young men don't compete with each other often during the season, but the Belgian World Cup winner fully met expectations when he became the new world champion. Six riders remained in contention going into the ultimate lap. Eventually, it came down to a sprint in which Joeri Adams clinched the biggest win of his young career.

Most spectators were surprised to see American rider Danny Summerhill finish second. By claiming a medal at the cyclo-cross worlds, Summerhill follows in the steps of Walker Ferguson (silver in 2000) and Matthew Kelly (gold in 1999). Ferguson and Kelly battled with Belgians Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb), guys who will both race Sunday in the elite men's category, unlike those two American heros themselves, who have disappeared from the scene. Summerhill has proven that he has talent, but the real work of his career is just beginning.

To read the full report and results for the junior race and see photos, click here.

Boom leads
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

The U23 race was dominated by Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) who outclassed his competition. Leading up to the race, Boom and rival Niels Albert (Palmans) kept a media battle going in which they tried to make each other nervous. However, Albert finished nowhere near the wheels of Boom; in fact, he was over a minute down. The Dutch champion said he would compete in more cyclo-cross races from now on, while Albert promised to win the title next year. No American riders anywhere near the front on Saturday afternoon, with Jamey Mullet Driscoll first American in 36th position.

On Sunday, the elite riders will compete in Hooglede-Gits. German champion Hanka Kupfernagel is the favourite in the women's race, and Sven Nys (Rabobank) tops the favourites list in the men's race.

To read the full report and results for the U23 race and see photos, click here.

Mourey out for worlds after crash during training

One outsider for the victory in the men's race is out of contention. Francis Mourey (fdjeux.com) felt on his head during a training session on Friday afternoon as reported yesterday. The number three at the worlds in Zeddam (2006) was brought over to hospital where they determined Mourey suffered a minor concussion and a wound above his eye. He left the hospital, but will certainly not compete Sunday.

US riders more than ready for good performances

In the days leading up to worlds, Cyclingnews spoke with the two major American racers: Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Jonathan Page (Morgan Blue). Both are coming into the worlds with a top 10 result at the latest world cup race under their belt.

Page and Trebon were both eager to start tomorrow's race. Despite his troubled early season, Page felt extremely well. "Actually I'm coming into the worlds with the best preparation ever. I just hope that luck is on my side so I can compete to the best of my abilities," Page said. "On Friday I visited the course, and I like it a lot."

US-champion Trebon watched both races today and in between, he did a training session. "It was exiting to see Summerhill claim a second place," Trebon said. "I didn't do a reconnaissance on the course just yet, that's for tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to having a good result."

Vervecken not chanceless

Experienced Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) wore the jersey throughout the year with dignity but failed to impress with a string of victories as he was unable to overcome Nys' dominance throughout the season. The Fidea-rider always performs well at the championships. He has claimed an impressive row of podium finishes at the worlds, in part due to his strategic savvy and calm under pressure. Vervecken has a history of not caving into the stress and pressure that come with the Worlds.

GP Etruschi opens Italian season

The 12th Gran Premio Costa degli Etruschi will officially open the Italian season when it is raced on February 10. The organisers expect a star-studded field for the race, a 193 kilometre affair from San Vincenzo to Donoratico (Livorno). The parcours is a flat affair that favours the sprinters, as witnessed in its honour role; names like Alessandro Petacchi and retired Mario Cipollini.

Petacchi will return this year, facing a strong field of riders. Some of the big names lining up in San Vincenzo will include Daniele Bennati, Fabio Baldato (Lampre-Fondital) Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas), Luciano Pagliarini (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Tom Steels (Predictor-Lotto) and Paride Grillo (Panaria).

According to tuttobiciweb.com, in the coming days, organisers are hoping for the confirmation of Paolo Bettini. In fact, the course passes the childhood home of the World Champion and his fan club headquarters in La California.

Züri Metzgete organizer steps down

By Susan Westemeyer

Marco Canonica has stepped down as director of the ProTour race Züri Metzgete for "financial reasons", it was announced Friday, January 26. Two years ago, he became head of the race's (also known as the Championship of Zurich) organization with his firm Züri Metzgete GmbH, according to Sportinformation Zürich.

Canonica took the race's organization over from the German organizer Upsolut, which also organizes the Vattenfall Cyclassics ProTour race in Hamburg. The Swiss race reported profits in the 2005 and 2006 editions.

It has not yet been announced who will take the organizational reins for the 2007, and future editions. This year's event is scheduled to be held October 7.

2011 road worlds in Copenhagen

By Susan Westemeyer

Copenhagen, Denmark, is on its way to becoming the world champion city in cycling. As first noted yesterday, it will host the 2011 road World Championships, the UCI (International Cycling Union) announced on Friday, January 26. Denmark won over other candidates Loreto and Castelfidardo (Le Marche, Italy).

The Danish capital had already been selected to hold the 2010 Track Championships.

This year's Worlds will be held in Stuttgart, Germany, while 2009 will be in Mendrisio, Switzerland, with the location of 2010 still to be decided.

2009 mountain bike worlds in Australia

The management committee of the UCI (International Cycling Union) at a meeting in Belgium confirmed Canberra, Australia the host city of the 2009 Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships. The Championships will be held from September 1 to 6, 2009.

UCI Vice President, Ray Godkin, said the UCI was impressed by Australia's passion for mountain biking and the quality of the proposed venue; Canberra's new $7.5 million world-class Stromlo Forest Park, where the Australian Mountain Bike Championships are currently being contested.

"Australia has a proven track record of hosting world class events and we are confident Canberra will deliver an outstanding World Championships," Godkin said.

The event will involve more than 750 of the world's top riders who will compete in the four mountain bike disciplines of cross country, downhill, four cross and observed trials for the honour of being crowned World Champion.

Cycling Australia President Mike Victor noted that being awarded the right to host the Mountain Bike World Championships is a major coup, and will not only highlight the talent of our elite mountain bikers but the excellence or our sporting organisers. "The World Championships will put mountain biking well and truly in the spotlight ... and showcase Australia's emerging dominance in a cycling discipline that continues to go from strength to strength," said Victor.

Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC) and Apis Events have joined forces to host and manage the 2009 World Championships. MTB World Events, the CORC-Apis joint venture company will oversee the planning, organisation and running of the 2009 UCI World Championships. CORC president Anthony Burton said it was a historic achievement and a major vote of confidence for the local mountain biking community.

"It's a perfect chance to highlight Stromlo Forest Park and Canberra as the number one mountain biking venue in Australia," he commented.

Stromlo Forest Park is Australia's most advanced, purpose-built mountain bike park with courses designed by course expert Glen Jacobs.

More Spanish races for Sastre

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Carlos Sastre (CSC)
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

Carlos Sastre (CSC) will be in San Francisco from January 30 to February 18, visiting with his team's sponsors and participating in a team training camp.

The CSC riders will work with their new bicycles, as well as relationship building with the newly signed riders for 2007. In this sense, the training program will be developed in an intensive way. "There will be two work groups, with different intensive levels, depending on his personal training programme from each one," Sastre commented to the press agency EFE.

What they have insured is good weather, since "the temperatures are rather high." In Sastre's opinion this one of the most positive things of this training camp in California since in the last days he has had to train in sub-zero (C°) at home, in Ávila, Spain. "In San Francisco, we will not have that problem."

"... I will not ride the three Grand Tours; one will be sufficient," said the Spanish climber. He added, "I do not feel that need for competitive excess that caused me to complete the three Grand Tours in 2006," although he recognised that, "at the end of last season, I managed the fatigue - so that I feel that I recovered well."

Unlike 2006, where he made debut in Paris-Nice, where he only competed in the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica de Amorebieta during the first half of the season, this year he will participate in more Spanish races. He will start his calendar in the Clásica de Almeria (March 4), and, if the Vuelta a Murcia will not take place, Sastre will be in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, and will return to the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica de Amorebieta, before confronting Flèche-Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"I will be ready for the Basque race, in which I always do well. The last year, I won in Amorebieta," Sastre commented. "I will race in the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse in preparation for the Tour de France," he concluded.

García Quesada commences legal action

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Carlos García Quesada has initiated legal actions against his squad, Unibet.com, for the refusal to pay, in addition to interest accrued on the delay in payment. (Read related news.) The Spanish rider's manager, David Plaza, indicated to Cyclingnews.com that they have been themselves forced to resort to legal methods for the lack of sensitivity of Unibet.com.

"Not only is it failing to fulfill its economic obligations, but has blocked any possibility transferring [to another team] when it notified him [Garcìa Quesada] this last month of December that he continues being Unibet.com's rider," said Plaza. The judgment set for February 8.

García Quesada has asked for UCI, which retains the banking endorsement from Unibet.com, as well as taking measures for the breach of Unibet.com's obligations.

Tour de Langkawi - Kam Po Wong back

Kam Po Wong
Photo ©: Steve Thomas
Click for larger image

It has been four years since Wong Kam Po last rode in Le Tour de Langkawi, but that doesn't mean the 32 year-old most successful rider in Hong Kong's history has slowed down one bit. Kam Po comes into the 12th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi as the reigning Asian Games road race champion and after outdoing himself to win a bunch sprint in the recent Jelajah Malaysia, proving he has added versatility to his profile. (Read Cyclingnews' recent interview with Kam Po Wong.)

Being the first and only Asian stage winner in Le Tour de Langkawi when he won the Cameron Highlands stage in 2000, Kam Po makes his return with the new Hong Kong pro cycling team this time around. "It's been four years since I last rode Le Tour de Langkawi. Normally, I want to do this race every year, because it is the best in Asia and it is the only one really from Asia that people in Europe focus on. Usually, European top pro cyclists don't come and race in Asia, so for Asian riders, it's very good to do Le Tour de Langkawi," said Kam Po.

"My team from Hong Kong wasn't good enough to take part in the race and in the recent past years, I couldn't come with a mixed team. But this year, the Hong Kong pro cycling team is very happy to be invited. All of my teammates are very young, under 22, but they are improving a lot."

During Jelajah Malaysia, the Hong Kong riders were very active all the times and very helpful to their leader who won a stage finishing in a bunch sprint in Taiping.

So far in the 12-year history of Tour de Langkawi, Kam Po is the only Asian who has won a significant stage beating top teams like Farm Frites, and top climbers like Giro winner Evgeni Berzin when he won the Cameron Highlands stage in 2000. Some people might have thought his best days were behind him but he proved them wrong when he won the Asian Games road race in Doha.

"That win made me very happy," he said. "I was very surprised. I only thought I could maybe reach the top three if I could perform well but I didn't think about the gold medal before the race. But I had a great day."

He has done the Asian Games four times. He was fourth in Hiroshima in 1994, he won in Bangkok in 1998, came third in 2002 in Busan and won again in Doha in 2006.

"The cycling community knew me mostly for what I've done in Le Tour de Langkawi. But then I've changed my role in cycling and I've spent more time and energy on the track. People said I was no longer good for the road," said Kam Po. "My crucial year was 2000, when I was a climber in Tour de Langkawi. I won the last sprint of the points race at the Olympics in Sydney in September then finished the professional world championship road race in Plouay, France," said Kam Po.

"I went racing as an amateur in France last year for three months before the Asian Games. It was difficult because I had to do everything by myself with no support but I enjoyed it. I got four wins.

"I took some rest after Doha and I built my form step by step in order to be at my best for Tour de Langkawi but I can't ride for GC anymore because I can't go up the mountains very well anymore, probably after all the work I've done on the track I turned into kind of a sprinter, but my team will try their best for getting a top five in the overall team competition.

"Since I won in Doha, the Hong Kong Government became very supportive to all cyclists. They have even decided to build an indoor velodrome. I hope to remain involved in the sport when I stop my career, but before that, I'll give another try in the Olympics in Beijing."

The Hong Kong pro cycling team for Tour de Langkawi: Kam Po Wong, King Wai Cheung, Kai Tsun Lam, Wang Yip Tang, Chun Hing Chan and Kin San Wu.

Colavita/Sutter Home selected for international races

NRC (National Racing Calendar) champion Tina Pic and Canadian national champion Alex Wrubleski of the Colavita/Sutter Home Women's cycling team will race against the top women cyclists in the world at Australia's Geelong Tour, the first UCI (Union Cycliste International) event of the 2007 season. Dotsie Bausch (USA) and Alison Powers (USA) will also represent the Colavita/Sutter Home squad at the three-day, four-stage race, which runs from February 27 through March 1.

"We are thrilled that the Colavita/Sutter Home will make its UCI debut at the Geelong Tour, which consistently draws the finest cyclists from the international women's peloton," said Team Director Jim Williams. "In addition, Tina, Alex, Dotsie and Alison are excited to race in the first round of the 2007 UCI Women's World Cup at the Geelong World Cup on March 3."

In preparation, Pic, Wrubleski, Bausch and Powers will join teammates Iona Wynter Parks (Jam), Sue Palmer-Komar (Can), Mackenzie Dickey (USA), Stacey Spencer (Can), Candice Blickem (USA), Sara Tillotson (USA), and Andrea Dvorak (USA) for eight days of rigorous training with the Colavita/Sutter Home men's team in Napa Valley, California from February 2 - 12. Hosted by co-title sponsor Sutter Home Winery, the training schedule will include steep hill climbs and long stretches of flat road to also ready the men's cycling squad for the upcoming Tour of California.

One of the most anticipated events in the USA cycling calendar, the roster for the Tour of California includes 18 of the world's top professional men's cycling teams. Director Sportif Tom Schuler noted, "The 2007 race marks the second year in a row that the Colavita/Sutter team has been selected for the Tour of California, considered one of the largest cycling events in North America." Sanctioned by UCI and USA Cycling, the eight-day stage race begins in San Francisco on February 18 and concludes in Long Beach on February 25.

Irish National Champion David McCann and former Canadian Criterium Champion Charles Dionne will make their debut in Colavita/Sutter Home colours at the Tour of California. They will be joined by teammates Davide Frattini (Ita), Gustavo Artacho (Arg), Tyler Wren (USA), Peter Hatton (Aus), Anthony Colby (USA), and Alejandro Acton (Arg). Co-title sponsor Sutter Home Winery, whose St. Helena, California headquarters are along the race route for stage two of the Tour of California, will also serve as an official wine sponsor for the event.

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