First Edition Cycling News for November 2, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo
Zabel to stay at Milram, with new team manager
By Susan Westemeyer
After several months of speculation about whether he'll head back to T-Mobile or stay on at Milram, Erik Zabel has made a final decision to stay with the blue team in 2008 under a new manager, Gerry van Gerwen. "There is no doubt about Erik riding for Team Milram next year. Erik will fulfil his contract with the team," said Van Gerwen, who replaces Gianluigi Stanga in the management role.
Stanga had served as team manager for the team's first two years and in fact holds the team's ProTour license. He fell into disrepute when Jörg Jaksche accused Stanga of introducing him to doping, charges the Italian denied. In August, a spokesman for sponsor Nordmilch indicated that Stanga would be replaced by van Gerwen, and that the sponsor would either buy the license from Stanga or attempt to take over another existing ProTour license. There was no word as to what has become of Stanga.
"The combination of experienced riders like Zabel and the many new young riders form the basis for the 2008 Team Milram," according to van Gerwen. "As captain, Erik will also have a special responsibility for the team."
Zabel had tried to have the last year of his contract with Milram cancelled, apparently so that he could re-join his former team T-Mobile. According to Milram, Zabel, team management and representatives from sponsor Nordmilch met over the last few weeks and agreed to fulfilling the contract. "We had good discussions and went over various options with Erik Zabel," van Gerwen said. "We are happy that we can count on him again next year and that Team Milram will continue to develop with his help."
"With 27 wins we have closed a successful season for Team Milram," Zabel said. "Next year many young riders will join us, who I can support with my experience. The new season will be a big challenge for our team and I gladly accept this challenge."
No links to Ullrich in Freiburg Clinic
Investigators who searched the University of Freiburg Clinic as part of an investigation into allegations that the clinic participated in doping rides from the T-Mobile team found no evidence that Jan Ullrich had used the lab's services. The German Tour de France winner has been linked with the Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes through Operación Puerto.
"As far as I have heard, there is no reason to think that Jan Ullrich was doped in Freiburg," said the head public prosecutor in Freiburg, Wolfgang Meier. On Wednesday his office conducted searches of the University Clinic and the private homes of the former T-Mobile team doctors. The searches were based on testimony from Patrik Sinkewitz, who said that the 2006 T-Mobile team had organized doping through the clinic in the early part of the season as well as during the 2006 Tour de France.
Dortmund Six-Day begins
The Six-Day season is in full swing at the moment, and with the Grenoble Six-Day wrapping up just days ago, the Amsterdam race ending this past weekend, and the Munich Six-Day due to begin on November 8th, the riders will have little rest between the races which are marathon events themselves. Only the Czech pair of Alois Kankovsky – Petz Lazar and German Christian Grassman will double up this week, racing Dortmund after just one day's rest after Grenoble.
The home town German crowd will have several strong countrymen to cheer for, with perennial favourite Erik Zabel teaming up with Leif Lampater, while another road pro, Olaf Pollack will team up with Lampater's usual partner, Guido Fulst. The winners of the season's first Six-Day, Robert Bartko and Belgian Iljo Keisse will split up as well, with Bartko pairing with fellow German Andreas Beikirch, while Keisse will pair with the promising young German talent, Erik Mohs.
The Madison World Champions Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli will try to get revenge for their defeat in Amsterdam, while Robert Slippens and Danny Stam seem to have regained their old form after Slippens' long recovery from injuries sustained in a road crash in 2006. They placed second in Amsterdam with a strong final night.
1 Erik Zabel – Leif Lampater (Ger) 2 Luke Roberts (Aus) – Christian Lademann (Ger) 3 Marc Hester (Den) – Karl-Christian König (Ger) 4 Olaf Pollack – Guido Fulst (Ger) 5 Bruno Risi – Franco Marvulli (Swi) 6 Robert Bartko – Andreas Beikirch (Ger) 7 Stefan Löffler – Sebastian Frey (Ger) 8 Robert Bengsch – Marcel Kalz (Ger) 9 Andreas Kappes – Sebastian Siedler (Ger) 10 Iljo Keisse (Bel) – Erik Mohs (Ger) 11 Robert Slippens – Danny Stam (Ned) 12 Christian Grasmann – Andreas Müller (Ger) 13 Alexei Markov (Rus) – Henning Bommel (Ger) 14 Christian Bach – Roger Kluge (Ger) 15 Alois Kankovsky – Petz Lazar (Cze)
Things looking up for Høj
By Katharina Schulz
It wasn't exactly one of the best seasons for Dane Frank Høj. In February, he dropped a knife which split one of the tendons in his foot. After several complications, he could only resume training in May, which meant that he missed those races that he loves best: the Spring Classics. When he finally returned to the race circus at the Tour of Poland, he got a call that his girlfriend had been involved in a car accident and was hospitalised with internal bleeding.
Things are finally starting to look better for the rider who took second to Peter van Petegem in the 2002 Het Volk, and soon he will be able to start some serious training again. And what's more, Høj hasn't lost his spirits. "It's not like I want to end my career. Fortunately, I still have another year with Cofidis, so I still have some options," he told the Danish webpage 24Timer.
Even though he does have long term plans, the 34 year-old is now taking things one step at a time. "I have a dream about continuing till 2011 and taking part in the world championships in Denmark, but I have to take one year at a time now. I've been close to abandoning things, but I don't feel I'm finished as a professional cyclist just yet."
Haedo calls first ProTour season 'educational'
Juan José Haedo was ranked as one of the best sprinters in the North American peloton before he decided to go for the 'big time' and join a ProTour team. The Argentinean was accustomed to winning and placing in the top of most bunch sprints in the domestic circuit, so heading to Europe to take on the ProTour was an humbling and educational experience for the 26-year-old.
"It's a whole other way of doing things over here simply because the level is so much higher here. A lot of the time in the States I could win a race or at least be at the top of the list even though I was only giving about 70 or 80 percent, but over here that's just not possible – you get dropped straight away if don't make an effort," explained Haedo on the team's website, www.team-csc.com.
Haedo, one of the first pure sprinters to be hired on to the CSC team was prepared for a shock to the system, but even still has had his share of struggles.
"When I was with Colavita Olive Oil and Toyota-United Pro in the States the major goals for the season would be Tour of Georgia, Tour of California and other races, where we had to compete against the Europeans. So of course I knew that you gotta be on form to keep up here. But now my whole season is at this level so I still had a lot of things to learn."
"Some things are harder than I thought they would be, but then some have been slightly easier than expected," comments Haedo, who took six victories this past season, of which only two were in Europe – something the Argentinean sprinter would like to change next year.
"I won a race in Denmark, one in Germany and four in the States. Next year I'd like to win some ProTour races. I've learnt a lot about how to train and rest between the various races, because it's very important that I plan these thing better than I used to. For example I should have had more rest ahead of Giro d'Italia, because after one week I was completely worn out," said Haedo.
"My training is fine though. I've been going over my winter program with the sports directors and that's all good. Now I'm going home to Argentina for the next three or four months except for our training camp, which is in the summer so I'll get loads of opportunities to train on the roads. But it's really my resting periods which I need to plan more carefully – and then I'll get those ProTour wins."
The victory in Rund um Köln in April was Haedo's first in Europe so naturally it meant a lot to him, but winning the Philadelphia International Championship was still his favourite. He won it ahead of his team-mate Matthew Goss, whom he has worked with a lot during the year.
"It completely took me by surprise that all of a sudden he was there behind me in the sprint. We were both ecstatically happy afterwards. We've been room-mates for most of the year and have had a great time together. We've both learned so much in the course of this season so I'm looking forward to celebrating with him," concluded Haedo.
Extremadura becomes professional team
By Monika Prell
The team Extremadura, until now a UCI Continental team, will move into the ranks of UCI Professional Continental teams for 2008. The team has already signed 16 riders, and is mainly formed by the riders who wore the Extremadura –Spiuk jersey in 2007.
According to todociclismo and Noticias de Gipuzkoa, the team signed five new riders: Aitor Pérez Arrieta, Rodrigo García, Carlos Torrent, Jaume Rovira and Xabat Otxotorena.
30 year-old Aitor Pérez Arrieta began his career on the Extremadura Spiuk team before he became professional with Caisse d'Epargne, where he stayed for two years. Xabat Otxotorena passed the last three years on the team Orbea Oreka, where the 26 years-old won this year one stage of the Circuito Montañés. The ex-Fuerteventura Canarias rider Rodrigo García won two stages of the Vuelta a Asturias this year, and made a good choice signing for Extremadura, as his former team Fuerteventura Canarias won't go on as Professional team. Jaume Rovira comes from the team Diputación de León, and the 33 years-old Carlos Torrent from the Viña Magna – Cropu team.
García wants Extremadura-Spiuk in Vuelta
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spaniard Rodrigo García, who has raced for the Fuerteventura-Canarias in 2007, has signed today a contractual agreement with the new Pro-continental Extremadura-Spiuk until the end of 2008.
The 27 year-old from Madrid will confront his fourth professional year, having begun with the team Kaiku (2005 and 2006) and riding this season for Fuerteventura-Canarias. "It is a pleasure to be able to defend the aspirations of success of a cycling team born where I have lived since many years ago, so that I have to thank to Alfonso Rodriguez (manager and director) who has agreed to join me in this new project," García said to Cyclingnews.
García has achieved good results in his three professional seasons, highlighted by two stage wins in the Vuelta a Asturias in 2007 and a second place overall in the Vuelta a Andalucia in 2006.
García has high hopes for 2008, including one major goal: "to debut in the Vuelta a España in 2008". If this team is invited, it will be the first Grand Tour for García, who sent a clear message to Unipublic:: "I would like that the Vuelta's organizer would be generous with the Extremadura-Spiuk team".
Pound takes last stab at cycling
World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound will step down from his post at the end of November, but took the opportunity of one of his final public appearances to take a parting shot at the UCI for this year's multiple doping positives which became public during the Tour de France.
"They let it get out of control," he said, according to Reuters. "Maybe they thought that the Tour de France was bigger than the sport. This year was a disaster and when television, written press and commercial backers start bailing out they must have known they were looking into the abyss."
German television broadcasters pulled their coverage of the Tour de France after the doping positive of Patrik Sinkewitz was announced. Private broadcasters stepped in at the last minute to pick up coverage.
Pound also insinuated that the UCI had been guilty of looking the other way when it came to doping in the past, and blamed this lack of action for the sport's current problems. "Letting doping into a sport is much easier than getting it out. They are reaping what they sowed."
New Continental team for Australia
The Australia-based Praties cycling team has announced that it will become a Continental registered team for 2008. The team's major sponsor, Tasmanian baked potato franchise called Praties, has agreed to increase its commitment to enable the team to take the next step, which will see it compete in the complete National Road Series and The Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
"The confidence that the Praties Group and all our sponsors have shown in our program is gratifying and reinforces that we are heading in the right direction." said team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston. "But we will still need additional sponsors to enable us to compete in races like The Trust House Classic (Tour of Wellington), The Powernet Tour of Southland as well as the possibility of some racing in Asia and Europe. That is what we are working on at the moment. So we would love to hear from any potential sponsors interested in supporting us."
The team is still to finalise their roster for next year so Australian-based riders looking to join a Continental squad should send a brief resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Praties Team and it's sponsors visit www.pratiescycling.com
L'Etape du Tour heads to Hautacam
The 16th edition of the favourite amateur 'race', L'Etape du Tour, will take place on Sunday the 6th of July 2008, and will follow the parcours of the 10th stage of the 2008 Tour de France.
Starting in Pau, a town which has hosted the Tour de France 61 times, the course will head 165 kilometres through Pyrénées Atlantiques and the Hautes-Pyrénées to the daunting climb to Hautacam – a monstrous 14 kilometre ascent at an average of 7.2%.
The challenge doesn't start there, as the riders will first have to tackle the Col du Tourmalet via la Mongie, a climb of more than 17 km at a 7.5% gradient.
As usual, the "Host Village" will be open for two days before the event: on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of July, in Pau. For the first time this Village will be set up on the Pau racecourse in order to welcome all participants.
For more information, visit http://www.letapedutour.com.
BarBici unites cycling and coffee culture in Sydney's south
By Paul Verkuylen
Two of Australia's brightest talents, Chris Sutton (Cofidis) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank), joined soon to be retired cyclist Matt White (Discovery Channel) at the official opening of a new retail store in Sydney that aims to offer something different for the local cycling community.
The cyclists were in Sydney's Sutherland Shire for the launch of BarBici, a revamped bike shop that aims to bring cycling nutrition and a community feel to the cycling retail experience.
BarBici founder Liam Kelly said he wanted to establish a place for Sydney cyclists to meet after a ride, an environment similar to that of a football or surf club. "Most sports have a club house or pub to socialise in after competing," Kelly said. "BarBici gives cyclists and triathletes somewhere to sit around and chat after a ride."
The store brings together some of the world's leading brands in cycling and triathlon, while providing customers with advice on the latest nutrition and a place to sit down and enjoy a coffee, a drink synonymous with cycling. "Coffee and cycling have always gone together, it is a tradition as old as cycling," said shop supporter and recent Hawaii Ironman champion Chris McCormack.
With the inclusion of a coffee cart, BarBici will be able to provide its customers with the best of both worlds.
Rabobank's fast-finisher Brown, who returned to Sydney only days ago from Europe, recently announced he's signed again with the Dutch squad, while Sutton will leave his French squad for American outfit Team Slipstream in 2008, where White will be taking up a position as a team manager.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Gerard Knapp
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)