Latest Cycling News for March 6, 2007
Edited by Gregor Brown
Ceasefire reached in Brussels
Last night in Brussels concluded peace talks between Grand Tour organizers and the UCI ProTour, held at the insistence of the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT), an economic interest group of the ProTour teams. A ceasefire was called, and, although the details are still vague, cycling will continue with the running of the Paris-Nice, starting this Sunday.
"The present agreement has the aim of amicably settling the disagreement which is affecting professional cycling," read an IPCT release.
UCI President Pat McQuaid had threatened to punish any ProTour team taking part in the "Race to the Sun" after race organizers, ASO, established its own selection criteria and requested the French Cycling Federation (FFC) to take over race regulation.
"We are going to ride Paris-Nice," said IPCT Chairman Patrick Lefevere to Reuters following a meeting of seven hours. "We have a consensus for the moment that we can live with."
Rolf Aldag, Team Manager of ProTour team T-Mobile, was pleased with the news. He commented on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com, "We are happy that a solution has been found that will benefit cycling."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Michaelsen to retire after Paris-Roubaix
By Susan Westemeyer
Team CSC's Lars Michaelsen has announced that he will stop riding after Paris-Roubaix. "Then I will retire. I have decided that in advance," he told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Michaelsen, 38, just finished the Vuelta a Valenciana, but was not satisfied with his performance there, saying he could not find his rhythm. He hopes to do well in this his final spring and even changed his season planning. "Usually I am competing in January, but for this last spring offensive, we decided to start much later this time."
US Open Championships names Eustice as Executive Director
Yesterday, Red Five Sports Group, the organizer of the US Open Cycling Championships, announced the appointment of John Eustice as Executive Director. The announcement came over one week after former director, Tim Miller, had abruptly given his resignation. The 2007 event is to be held in Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia on April 7 and broadcast nationally.
Eustice is a cycling expert whose company, Sparta Cycling, has produced over thirty professional races in addition to providing technical consulting to many others. His Univest Grand Prix is a live television production and is listed on the USA Cycling calendar. As a pro cyclist Eustice raced on European professional teams and was the first US Pro Champion. One of the nation's top cycling analysts, Eustice has covered the Tour de France since 1992.
"It is great for the event to have John come on board," Richard Durishin of Red Five Sports Group said. "His experience and international reputation will play a critical role in producing a successful inaugural US Open Cycling Championships event. We will be transitioning operational aspects of the race to him this week."
"The US Open Cycling Championships contains all the ingredients needed for a world class event," said Eustice. "Beautiful and historic terrain, wonderful civic cooperation, and a same-day television production. The race represents a wonderful opportunity for the United States Professional racing class to show off its exciting racing style to a national audience."
Petacchi to Niedersachsen
By Susan Westemeyer
Alessandro Petacchi won all five stages of the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt last year, will be looking to repeat his success at the end of April, in the race now called the Lotto Rundfahrt. "The team's management gave us a verbal agreement," said race director Otto Pätzold.
He further hopes that Team Milram will also send Erik Zabel. "There are indications that Milram wants to start with its double prong," Pätzold told the press agency dpa. They may meet one of the rising young sprint stars there, as 20 year-old Gerald Ciolek of T-Mobile Team will apparently also start.
The Lotto Rundfahrt runs April 25 to 29, and covers 900 kilometres through Lower Saxony, Germany.
Coppi-Bartali honours Pantani
The parents of Marco Pantani were at the presentation of the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali. Tonina and Paolo were gifted a painting with the back number 145, the number in which il Pirata wore when he competed his final Coppi e Bartali, Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale stage 5, March 30, 2003. That number was retired in the 2004 edition, where at the start of the race organizers released 145 white doves.
The 2007 edition of the race is slated for March 27 to 31, and should include Italians Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic), Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) and Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir).
Tin-Tin Rebellin continues push through 2008
"I still love cycling a lot and, at nearly 36 years-old, I have decided to prolong my career to the end of 2008," said Davide Rebellin to tuttobiciweb.com. The rider from Veneto started his career in 1992, with GB-MG, and has rode for such teams as Polti, Liquigas Pata and now Gerolsteiner, racking up victories in Classic San Sebastián, Amstel Gold, Flčche Wallonne and Ličge-Bastogne-Ličge.
"In the winter I had some really good training," said Rebellin, who has aims for the 2007 Ardennes Classics. He will use Paris-Nice as preparation, and was delighted at hearing the agreement news between cycling's heads of state. "It pleases me that the UCI and Grand Tours are finding an agreement because I am ready to participate, starting Sunday; I will race the Paris-Nice, using it as preparations for Milano-Sanremo."
Expresscopy.com, building an empire
Now armed with a UCI pro licence, the sky's the limit for the Expresscopy.com women's team. Cyclingnews' Jonathan Devich caught up with the crew at a recent team camp to find out what's driving the squad to all-new heights.
Over the past few weeks at a secret base in Tucson, Arizona the Expresscopy.com women's pro cycling team has been putting the final touches on what has become its most powerful and experienced group of riders yet.
The Expresscopy.com team is the dream child of director Scott Gerrie - you might remember Gerrie's name from the women's Biovail squad from the last couple of years. He started as a team director seven years ago when a group of riders approached him about putting together a team. He began with a men's masters team but then saw the opportunity in women's cycling.
"I felt at that time that it was going to be maybe a little easier to get sponsorship money selling a women's program because there were so few of them," Gerrie explained with a laugh. "I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing but I stuck to my guns and once I knew what side I was going to do, the vision was to go UCI at some point."
This year, with Expresscopy.com as title sponsor, Gerrie has been able to bring the team up to UCI status. With the new status in the bag a campaign in Europe is on the horizon.
"We're going in the spring just to get the team used to racing in Europe and to get used to racing together in Europe," he said. "June1st is when Olympic qualifying comes up, so from June to May 2008 the more points we can get as a team, and as individual riders, will help get spots for the Olympics."
Read the full news feature.
Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner's sick-and-injured list
By Susan Westemeyer
Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner just barely survived the opening weekend of the Belgian season, reporting two injuries and two down with the flu, according to the team's website, landbouwkrediet-tonissteiner.be.
Saturday, Frédéric Amorison crashed during the Omloop Het Volk and had to go to the hospital with suspicion of a broken rib. However, he was lucky enough to come away only with bruising. Teammate Jan Kuyckx wasn't so lucky. A crash Saturday on the Kwaremont left him with a two centimetre long cut on the chin and a broken tooth. He is doubtful for the Record-Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen this coming weekend.
Bert Scheirlinckx went home Saturday night with the flu, while Andy Cappelle is only starting to train again after sitting out a week with the same bug.
Murcia: Euskaltel changes, Saunier Duval announces
By Monika Prell
Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi had to change its roster for the Vuelta a Murcia. Amets Txurruka, who finished the Clasica de Almería with a fever, has got the flu and will be substituted by the young Unai Uribarri, according to the team's homepage.
Current team: Haimar Zubeldia, Ińigo Landaluze, Ińaki Flores, Igor Antón, Jorge Azanza, Aitor Galdos and Unai Uribarri.
Spain-based Saunier Duval-Prodir will participate with a solid team. According to the team's homepage, Gilberto Simoni, Koldo Gil, José Angel Gomez Marchante, David De La Fuente, Arkaitz Durán, Rubén Lobato, Javier Mejías and José Alberto Benítez will compete the Tour that begins tomorrow.
Peter Velits looks to Giro del Capo repeat
By Susan Westemeyer
Team Wiesenhof-Felt hopes that last year's winner of the Giro del Capo can repeat his victory this year. Peter Velits, who won the stage race last year for Team Konica-Minolta, will be leading the German Professional Continental team in the South African race, which starts today, March 6.
Velits also won a stage in the race last year, as did Wiesenhof teammate Steffen Radochla. "We will be there with a strong team and hope that Peter Velits can continue the good performances, we have seen in his preparations and he can defend his title," said Jens Heppner, Sports Director.
Peter Velits, who finished second in last years Slovak Republic U23 Championships, will be joined by the Slovak Republic's U23 champion, his twin brother, Martin.
Wiesenhof-Felt for Giro del Capo: Steffen Radochla, Artur Gajek, Martin Velits, Peter Velits, Christian Leben, and Robert Retschke.
Giro del Capo kicks off
Tonight, the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Giro del Capo kicks off with the Prologue in Paarl, marking the official start of the six-day international stage race (March 6 - adsfsd). The results of the Prologue will also determine who will start stage 1 on Wednesday, wearing the coveted rose-pink leader's jersey.
While all participants vie for the top honour to wear this jersey, the reality is that it is ultimately destined for an all-rounder. The good news is that riders can still compete in four other competition categories – each with its own special jersey or award.
The blue points jersey will be awarded to the rider who has accumulated the most number of points in the Pickfords points primes. Climbers can look forward to the king of the mountains competition which features in all stages, except the prologue; the jersey is a blue and white polka-dot affair.
Riders who fall in the U23 age group and hail from anywhere on the African continent can vie for the young African rider jersey. While their teams will also have a chance to shine; co-title-sponsor Cape Argus is back to sponsor the team prize.
Quick-Step for Le Samyn
Quick-Step has announced its roster for the 1.1-ranked Le Samyn, March 7. Tomorrow, the Belgian team will arrive with very Belgian line-up, with the addition of a Frenchman and two Dutchmen.
Riders for Le Samyn: Wilfried Cretskens (Bel), Addy Engels (Ned), Kevin Hulsmans (Bel), Jurgen Van de Walle (Bel), Bram Tankink (Ned), Geert Verheyen (Bel), Wouter Weylandt (Bel) and Cédric Vasseur (Fra), with Director Sportif Rik Van Slycke.
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