First Edition Cycling News for November 7, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen
McGee: I feel like a junior again
Bradley McGee, who has left Française des Jeux squad to join Team CSC in 2008, says he feels like a junior again and admits that he's cherishing the feeling. McGee, who has won stages in both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, added that he's even happy to play domestique during 2008, if that's what the Danish ProTour squad's management decides is best.
"I feel like a junior all over again, it's great," McGee told team-csc.com. "My ambition is to regain my strength completely to the level I was at two years ago. From there on anything is possible really.
"The interests of the team hold first priority," added McGee. "If that means I have to be a helper for the entire season, fine by me, and if I get a chance to achieve some results that's great as well. I trust the team management completely – they've proved over the years that they know what they're doing, so I'll do whatever they think is the best."
McGee has struggled with injury in recent years and hopes that the new atmosphere and attitude to racing will help him revert to his former stage-winning glory. "Unfortunately I've had a couple of difficult seasons due to an injury, which it took a long time to locate," explained McGee. "At first we thought it was a back injury, but in the end it turned out to be some kind of cyst in my knee, and I only had it removed in June after having been bothered by it for more than a year. After the op I haven't had any problems and already during this fall I've felt a major improvement."
"Team CSC radiates an atmosphere, which is noticeable by everyone," added McGee. "Even from the outside you're able to appreciate what goes on here so I've wanted to be a part of it for a long time now."
McGee joined the French Française des Jeux ProTour squad in 1999, taking two Tour de l'Avenir stage victories and the Tour de Normandy Prologue win. In 2002 McGee took his first Grand Tour stage win, claiming victory on the Tour de France's seventh stage. When McGee returned to the Tour the following year he claimed another win, this time on the opening Prologue. The Australian's Grand Tour success continued in 2004 when he claimed the 6.9 kilometre Prologue at the Giro d'Italia.
"I knew Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt before they joined Team CSC and I can tell it's had a positive effect on their attitude towards cycling in general and also their motivation to race," added McGee. "So I'm very excited to get the chance to become part of it all."
Kashechkin Vs. UCI decision expected within two weeks
A court in Liège, Belgium began hearing the case between Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin and the UCI yesterday. Kashechkin was suspended after returning a non-negative anti-doping sample in an out of competition test taken in Turkey while the rider was on holidays on August 1. Kashechkin, whose sample allegedly showed evidence of blood doping, has taken the UCI to court as he believes that a private sports body is in breach of human rights by subjecting athletes to out of competition testing. A decision on the case is expected with in two weeks.
Luc Misson, Kashechkin's lawyer, argued that the way that the UCI handles the testing procedures does not protect the rider's human rights and that the UCI determines the punishment for the offences using not yet proven methods of detection. He also demanded that the punishment be lifted as it is preventing Kashechkin to carry out his occupation.
Only five laboratories worldwide are capable of tracing blood in an equivalent manner, and are obliged to offer their expertise to federations and are not allowed to ask for help from any third parties. Furthermore Misson disputed the validity of the testing of the B sample, which was processed outside of the allowable range some 22 days after the A sample.
According to the defence, the control that was carried out in Turkey was an illegal control in that the blood was taken after 10pm at night, which is outside the permitted times of 6am until 10pm. The test was reportedly taken at 10.45pm local time in Turkey, as the doctors apparently forgot to take into account the one hour time difference between Turkey and the rest of Europe.
Misson also believes that the UCI is in breach of a number of human rights as stated in the convention. He believes that when a rider takes out a licence with the UCI he must distance himself with his own rights and abide by the rules that the UCI outlines and the eventual sanctions that come with that. Kashechkin had to accept these conditions in order to practice his chosen profession, and thus was not given a choice.
According to Misson, it should not be obligatory to hold a licence in order to work and each person is entitled to an independent and impartial jurisdiction when being punished. "The UCI through its regulations and procedures is laying down a privatisation of the punishment measures to take away the rights and lively hood of a rider suspected of doping. They want to tear a suspected doper to pieces," Misson explained.
Health Net releases O'Neill after positive test
American Professional Continental squad Health Net-Maxxis has announced the termination of Australian Nathan O'Neill's contract as of October 29, following the star rider's non-negative test for prescription appetite suppressant Phentermine. The World Anti-Doping Agency's code allows riders to use prescribed Phentermine out of competition, but no trace amounts are allowed in a rider's system during competition.
The Health Net squad was informed on September 24 that O'Neill's A sample returned the positive result in a test performed on August 12, following the Tour of Elk Grove. The rider's B sample confirmed the positive result in a test performed on October 24, leading to his dismissal when the squad was informed of the B sample result October 29.
"The Team has a zero tolerance policy regarding the failure of any of its riders to pass a UCI/WADA-sanctioned medical examination, which is grounds for immediate termination in accordance with the Team's standard Rider Agreement, which all riders have signed," read a short statement from the team. "Nathan has been a valuable member of the team and has achieved many exceptional results. Nonetheless, it is the team's policy to treat all riders fairly and consistently, and by the terms of our Rider Agreement."
While O'Neill did have a prescription for Phentermine, which means his possession of it was legal, but its use failed to meet the guidelines of the UCI/WADA code and that set out by the team's medical director.
"We wish him and his family the very best in the future. At present, this is now a personal matter between Nathan and UCI/WADA, and the team will not comment on it any further," concluded the team's statement.
Nominations for Vélo d'Or
Each year French cycling publication, Vélo Magazine, awards what it considers the best performing rider of the season with the Vélo d'Or award (French for Golden bike). The annual award, which began in 1992, is widely considered to be the most prestigious individual award in cycling.
American seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong holds the record for the most number of Vélo d'Or awards, having taken the prize on five occasions as well as placing second twice. Up until last season when Paolo Bettini won the award, the winner of that year's Tour de France has always finished either first or second in the competition.
Each year 10 riders are nominated for the award before the final results are released. This year's competition is expected to be fierce, with Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) up against reigning world champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Innergetic) as well as Paris Roubaix winner Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) and Milan-Sanremo winner Oscar Freire (Rabobank).
The 10 nominations for the 2007 award are: Tom Boonen (Quick-Step.Innergetic), Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step.Innergetic), Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital), Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital).
Contador, Boonen get swimming lessons
Just days after finishing off their seasons with the Amstel Curaçao Race on the Netherlands Antilles Island, race winner Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic) have taken some time out for swimming lessons – with dolphins. The Spanish Tour de France winner and Belgian star sprinter have been enjoying the party atmosphere on the island, but took some time out this week to meet some of the local wildlife.
Boonen, who finished fifth in the weekend's event, in particular will be glad after his day relaxing with his fellow mammals, after describing the weekend's race as the hardest of the year.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Leo van Vliet
Ivanov signs with Selle Italia
By Vitalii Abramov
Moldavian rider Ruslan Ivanov, who rode for Amore and Vita-McDonalds in 2007, has signed the contract with Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Selle Italia for 2008, the Republic of Moldova's cycling federation has announced. In following year Ivanov will join in Selle Italia to the ProTour Europe 2007 winner Alessandro Bertolini, and also Gilberto Simoni which according to many sources of the information also is going to pass in Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Selle Italia.
"Yes, really, I have signed the professional contract with team Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Selle Italia," Ivanov told SPORT-Courier. "We have negotiated long enough and at last they have crowned success. I am very glad with this circumstance, because in my present team (Amore and Vita-McDonalds) business is not as well as it would be desirable. This season in general has left me unsuccessful enough. But now, I hope, the black strip in my life has come to the end and in following year to I will be able to make that which I could not at present."
Ivanov, who in 2006 became the first rider in the world to sign a professional contract that included a DNA-test, hasn't enjoyed a successful 2007 season. But Ivanov, winner of Giro di Toscana 2000 and Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartoli 2001, hopes that his fortunes will change in 2008.
"It is assured that I can be useful to the new team as there I shall act side-by-side with friends Gilberto Simoni and Alessandro Bertolini," explained the 33 year-old. "Very much I hope, that after a long break I at last can take part in the Giro d'Italia."
Merckx to race Cycle Challenge
Eddy Merckx will line up in the Pick 'n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg on Sunday, 18 November 2007. Merckx, whose famed career spanned a period of 16 years from 1961-1977, says he's looking forward to the event, which will form part of his schedule during a five-day social visit to South Africa.
Merckx has close personal friends in Tshwane and is a regular visitor to South Africa. For the first time his trip coincides with the Cycle Challenge, which he will ride with the Tshwane-based Queens Club. Merckx won the Tour de France five times and rode to victory in the Tour of Italy on five occasions. He also boasts a victory in the Tour of Spain and he became the world road race champion some four times during his illustrious career.
"He is in good shape," said advocate Salim Yousuf, a Tshwane-based friend of the Merckx family. "We will certainly struggle to hold onto his wheel!"
Auber 93 completes roster with Thiré
By Jean-François Quénet
Auber 93, a French professional outfit since 1994, has completed its 10-men roster with the signing of Jonathan Thiré, who joins the squad from amateur team U Nantes-Atlantique just like Mathieu Drujon and Christophe Diguet did in the previous two years.
The 21 year-old has compiled five wins this year, including the UCI 2.2 Tour of Gironde in June. He was a regular member of the U23 French national team at the Nations Cup events and also rode as a stagiaire for Agritubel and helped Moises Dueñas to win the Regio Tour in August. He later went for a long breakaway in Paris-Bourges in October, but didn't secure a contract with the French Pro Continental team because of the signing of two riders – neo-pro Maxime Bouet and veteran Christophe Rinero – together with French champion Christophe Moreau.
"I was disappointed but I think Auber 93 is a good ramp towards bigger teams", said the young rider from Nantes. Three members of Auber 93 are joining Pro Tour teams in 2008 – Drujon (Caisse d'Epargne), Guillaume Levarlet (Française des Jeux) and Maxime Médérel (Crédit Agricole).
As he does every year, Auber 93's team manager Stéphane Javalet has replaced them with up and coming French talents with the addition of Thiré, Tony Gallopin from SCO Dijon, Morgan Chedhomme and Arnold Jeannesson who were already riding for the amateur club of CM Aubervilliers. The six other riders confirmed for Auber 93 in 2008 are Niels Brouzes, Steve Chainel, Diguet, Jérémie Galland, Jean Mespoulède and Florian Morizot.
Auber 93 enjoyed highlights between 1996 and 2001 when it contested the Tour de France with BigMat as a title sponsor.
Equipe signs two
Equipe Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe has announced the signing of two riders for the coming season, Suzanne de Goede and Christina Becker, who will join her sister Charlotte on the team.
The 23 year-old de Goede spent the 2007 season with T-Mobile's women's squad. She was Junior World Champion in 2002 and Dutch National Champion in the Time Trial in 2005. Her main goal in the coming year will be the Olympic Games. "For me, the fight for a ticket to the Olympics in Beijing starts the with the Belgian Spring Classics," noted de Goede. "There won't be any problem with motivation in 2008."
"Suzanne is one of the shooting stars of the last years in the Netherlands, next to World Cup winner Marianne Vos," said team manager Alexander Oppelt. "In spite of her tender age of only 23 years, she has a lot of experience and has already won important races."
The other new signing is 29 year-old Becker, the older sister of Charlotte Becker. She rode this year for Getränke Hoffman and is a track specialist. "I am very much looking forward to next year," said Becker.
Japan confirmed for Christmas Carnivals
Former French Cycling Champion Frederic Mange, who won three World Keirin Championships and is now National Director of the Japan Cycling Federation, has notified the Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania that Japan will be sending a team of four elite cyclists to compete in the UCI sprint series to be held at this year's Christmas Carnivals. The series will carry qualification points for the Beijing Olympics.
Japan's participation is a great win for the sprint series and the carnivals in general, the organizers said, adding that they expect cycling at this year's carnivals to reach a new level and deliver a boost to the carnivals. SCAT is hopeful of announcing other competing teams for the sprint series in the next few weeks, with the Australian Institute of Sport already confirming its intention to send a team of elite cyclists for the sprint series.
The Japanese team will be made up of three male and one female cyclist.
Japan's roster for 2007 Christmas Carnivals: Haruki Tanaka, Masato Tsuchiya, Takashi Sakomoto, Satomi Wadami
Chicago gets '08 criterium
The City of Chicago will don the lycra in 2008, with the announcement of the city's inaugural Chicago Criterium. The event, which will be stage on July 27, will take place in Grant Park along the city's lakefront. "Biking is a great international sport and the Chicago Criterium will be further evidence that Chicago is becoming a great international sports town," said Mayor Richard M. Daley. "Next summer I look forward to some very exciting cycling races in July."
The Inaugural Chicago Criterium was announced by Mayor Daley at the 2007 Bike to Work Rally, as part of Bike Chicago. Next year marks the 18th year for Bike Chicago, a five-month long celebration on Chicago's commitment to become more bicycle friendly and environmentally conscious. Bike Chicago events include neighbourhood, lakefront and architectural bike tours, cycling classes, bike maintenance workshops and much more.
The Chicago Criterium will be presented by the City of Chicago and the Mayor Office of Special Events in conjunction with Special Events Management. Racing will start at 8:00 a.m. at Columbus and Balbo in Grant Park.
More details, including registration information, will become available later this year at www.chicagocriterium.us.
Kaka to represent South Africa
Acsis professional cycling team rider Luthando Kaka will lead the South Africa National Team in Cameroon's African Continental Cycling Tour on November 8 - 11. The event will be the fifth occasion that Kaka has represented the nation at an international event.
Male and female riders from several African countries – including Cameroon, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Morocco and Ivory Coast – will participate in the tour. The event comprises a 7.5 kilometre closed circuit race and an Individual Time Trial event. The closed circuit race route for female cyclists will cover a distance of 74 km and for male riders, 133 km.
According to the organizing committee, the African Continental Cycling Tour is a qualifying event for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the next two UCI Road World Championships in Italy (2008) and Switzerland (2009).
South African squad for African Continental Tour: Luthando Kaka, Daniel Spence, Nolan Hoffman, Hanco Kachelhoffer, Johan Rabie, Jay Thomson, Marissa van der Merwe, Yolandi du Toit, Lynette Burger, Arien Torsius and Anriette Schoeman.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)