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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 1, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Ballerini confirmed as Italy's DS for Beijing

By Gregor Brown

Franco Ballerini
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) has confirmed Franco Ballerini as the technical director for the country's road team for the Olympics in Beijing. The 42 year-old Tuscan, who recently led the national team to victory at the World Championships in Stuttgart, was given the go ahead to coordinate activities for 2008.

Italy and many other nations sent teams to Beijing in August to race in the Good luck Beijing Invitational as a reconnaissance for the Olympics. Confirming himself as a master tactician, Ballerini led a team of six that won the race with Gabriele Bosisio.

Rosario Fina and Rino De Candido will guide the Under 23 team juniors respectively.

For the track Andrea Collinelli will lead the juniors, while the elite men's role, formerly led by Silvio Martinello, has yet to be determined. Edoardo Salvoldi will lead the women with help from Marino Amadori and Pierangelo Cristini.

Stapleton supports Rogers

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile team general manager Bob Stapleton
Photo ©: Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile Team Manager Bob Stapleton believes his captain Michael Rogers when he says he was not involved in doping during the Tour of France 2006, as described by Patrik Sinkewitz. "We know that Rogers has been part of a strict anti-doping programme in 2007 and has totally followed all of our rules," he said in an interview with the German news magazine WELT.

Stapleton took over the team in 2007, and said that while he knew big changes would have to be made, the biggest disappointment of all was the behaviour of the team doctors from the Freiburg Unversity Clinic. "It is absolutely discouraging to find out that medical professionals were so deeply involved. That they so convincingly assured us that there had never been doping in the then-Team Telekom. My biggest personal failure was to believe them."

The recent revelations "have shown me very clearly that the change in management that the sponsor made as of 2007 was totally necessary. At the same time, we should have changed more," the 49 year-old said.

And more changes are planned for the coming season. "We will test the riders not just for blood doping – everyone will be tested 26 times during the year and have a blood profile – but we will also test for all substances that are testable: growth hormones, stimulants, steroids, and EPO." It won't be cheap," he noted. "The budget is higher than all our travel costs together – and those are pretty high."

Stapleton said that it was possible that Sinkewitz and Jörg Jaksche could eventually sign with the team, even if he did phrase it more hypothetically than practically. "Our team is always open to riders who are ready to do the right thing."

Bettini for Paris-Roubaix 2008?

Bettini was able to laugh
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Innergetic) will face a full calendar in 2008, and for the first time in his career, he may even take part in Paris-Roubaix.

"There are still some classics that I haven't won, like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix," said the Tuscan rider to L'Equipe. "I've never done Paris-Roubaix, and I'd like to do it before I stop racing. I've followed it so many times on television."

"It would please me to take part, even if my schedule is already full." Alluding to the pressures of a World Champion in an Olympic year, Bettini added to L'Equipe, "The year to come, I will have to defend two titles in a month and a half: The Olympic Title in Beijing plus the World Championship in Italy." Under these conditions, Bettini does not think that l'Enfer du Nord will be a priority for him.

Saunier Duval fills squad with Jufré

By Monika Prell

Saunier Duval signed its final rider Josep Jufré with a two-year contract. The team closed its squad with the signing of the rider from Predictor Lotto, while awaiting a final decision in the case of Iban Mayo. Jufré's soon to be former team-mate Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) will likely miss him. Evans previously called Jufré "one of the best team-mates" he has ever had.

Team Manager Mauro Gianetti and Coach Joxean Fernández Matxin will lead the 26-rider team. The 19 riders continuing on the team include Riccardo Riccò, José Ángel Gómez Marchante, Leonardo Piepoli, Juan José Cobo, David De la Fuente, Manuele Mori, Jesús Del Nero, David Cañada, Iker Camaño, Rubens Bertogliati, Raivis Belohvosciks, Luciano Pagliarini, Javier Benítez, Rubén Lobato, Ángel Gómez, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, Javier Megías, Arkaitz Durán and Raul Alarcón.

Seven riders will be new to the Cantabrian team: Josep Jufré (Predictor-Lotto), Aurélien Passeron (Acqua/Sapone), Denis Flahaut (Jartazi), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas), Beñat Intxausti (Nicolás Mateos), Ermanno Capelli (Unidelta Aficionado) and Héctor González (Saunier Duval aficionado).

Gilberto Simoni, David Millar, Koldo Gil, Francisco Ventoso, Christophe Rinero, Guido Trentin, Remmert Wielinga, Piotr Mazur and Manuel Zárate are among those departing the team for 2008.

Young talents stay with Rabobank

Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Rabobank Cycling Team has ensured that five talented riders will stay in its ranks. For 2008 and 2009, Bauke Mollema will make the switch from the Rabobank Continental Team to the Rabobank Professional Team. Sébastian Langeveld also renegotiated his contract, extending it by two more years, and Pieter Weening also signed for two more years while Theo Eltink and Marc de Maar renewed their contracts for one additional year each.

Mollema joined the team at the beginning of the 2007 season, during which he earned overall victories in two stage races: Circuito Montañes in Spain and Tour de l'Avenir in France. Mollema was only the third Dutchman to win at the Tour de l'Avenir. He joined Fedor den Hertog (1972) and Joop Zoetemelk (1969) on the roll of honor. He also won the best young rider category at the Vuelta a Navarra, Circuito Montañes, Vuelta a Leon and Tour de l'Ain.

Langeveld, an honorary citizen of Lisse, The Netherlands, and Dutch national under 23 champion of 2006, won the overall classification of the Ster Elektrotoer in 2007 after his spring got off to a rough start and he recovered from a fractured right wrist.

Weening will enter his tenth season with Rabobank. Among the highlights of his career are Thüringen Rundfahrt (2002), Transalsace (2002), Jadranska Magristrala (2003) and Tour of Limburg (2003). The Dutch national under 23 champion in 2002 won the eighth stage of the 2005 edition of the Tour de France to Gérardmer. At the end of 2005, Weening also record a stage victory in the Tour of Poland. He was voted Dutch Cyclist of the year in 2005.

Just like Weening, Eltink learned the ropes with Rabobank. For 2008 will be Eltink's twelfth season overall and fourth as a professional. He has won stages in the Ronde de l'Isard (2001), Thüringen Rundfahrt (2003), Tour de Normandie (2004), Tour des Pyrénées (2004) and Tour de l'Avenir (2004).

Excepting a break of one year, Marc de Maar has been a member of Rabobank since the 2001 season. He turned pro in 2006 and counts on his resume victories in the under 23 edition of Rund um den Henninger Turm and the under 23 classic Spa-Hasselt-Spa (both in 2004). In 2005, he won the general classifications of Triptyque des Monts-et-Châteaux and Tour du Loir-et-Cher.

Relax continues team sponsorship

By Monika Prell and By Antonio J. Salmerón

Relax will continue its sponsorship of the cycling team Relax GAM for 2008. According to todociclismo, the company had the option to transform itself into the sponsor of the Spanish national football team, but Relax expects that the cycling team continue being a good source of publicity. Relax, a firm which produces mattresses, had previously expressed doubt about continuing its sponsorship and was open to another sponsor taking over title sponsorship.

The Ministry of Defence will be the team's co-sponsor, and the text "soldados.com" will be on the jersey. The web address links to a page offering information about how young people can sign up for the army. El Heraldo de Aragón confirmed the news while also saying that Aragonese cyclists Ángel Vicioso, José Miguel Elías and Jorge García have renewed their contracts.

Specialized rebuilds for the coming year

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Specialized Designs for Women has replaced half of its squad for the coming season. The Swiss team has added six new riders as it goes into its second season.

Only six riders are returning from last year's 11-woman squad, with six newcomers being added. One is German sprinter Tanja Hennes. The 36 year-old is coming over from Team Bigla, as are two Swiss riders, Monika Furrer and Andrea Knecht. Danish rider Karina Hegelund Nielsen will be making her professional debut. She won the professional women's national road title this year as a junior.

Two of the new riders are coming from outside of Europe. American Kristen LaSasso rode this year for TEAm Lipton. Min Hye Lee of Korea will add a exotic touch to the team. She won Rund um Visp this year and is reigning Korean time-trail champion and Asian pursuit champion.

Briton Emma Pooley remains the team's captain. She finished eighth in the World's time trial and 10th in the road race.

CPA recruits new member of Riders' Council

Benoit Joachim at the water
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

The Professional Association of Cyclists (CPA or Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) announced a new member of the Riders' Council. 31 year-old Luxembourg rider Benoît Joachim will help the CPA with its mission to improve the working conditions of professional cyclists. The organization was established at the beginning of 2006.

Joachim is about to finish the Crocodile Trophy, which ends Thursday in Australia. Riding for the Dream Team, he is expected to finish in seventh place.

Cycling community mourns death of Hall

The cycling world said goodbye to Harry Hall on October 28, 2007, when he passed away at age 78 at his home in New Mills.

He started Harry Hall Cycles in the 1950s in Manchester, England, but he may be most famous as the mechanic, in many photos, seen trying to revive Tommy Simpson when he collapsed on the Ventoux in the 1967 Tour de France. The unfortunate incident claimed Simpson's life. Hall never spoke much about the details of his experience.

Hall was famous for building frames and according to the Manchester Evening, he was acknowledged as one of the top British mechanics of his era and for helping produce some of the best road riders in the country. "Cycling was much more than a hobby or a sport with Harry: it was his absolute passion. He always used to say that he had been so lucky to combine both his work and his hobby, and he never ceased to love it," said his widow Jean.

Hall gave up competitive cycling to build his business, but he later retired and returned to racing – winning both the British National and World Age graded Championship in 1989.

Ely & Smith win Fast Freddie Foundation scholarships

The Fast Freddie Foundation, created by pro cyclist Fred Rodriguez, has chosen the two recipients of its annual collegiate scholarships. Sarah Ely and Josh Smith were selected by the Fast Freddie Foundation as winners. Both are graduates of Nevada City High School. Ely now attends Chico State University and Smith studies at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

Each rider received US$1,000. The scholarships are earmarked for high school seniors who have raced in the Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League series and who will continue their education at university. The Fast Freddie Foundation aims to encourage young riders to continue to pursue their educations while still racing at the highest possible level of sport.

"Allowing kids to go to college without sacrificing their potential as bicycle racers is one of the primary reasons I formed the Fast Freddie Foundation," said Rodriguez.

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