First Edition Cycling News for November 12, 2007
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Compton takes first 'cross World Cup win
By Brecht Decaluwé
In only her third ever World Cup race, American Katie Compton (Spike Shooter) took her first victory on the cyclo-cross World Cup circuit. The 29 year-old totally dominated the women's race in Pinjacker, Netherlands, where local Dutch riders had hoped to continue their domination from previous rounds.
Thirty-four women started the second World Cup race of the season, and the big favourite was newly crowned European champion Daphny Van Den Brand (ZZPR.nl) who had won the previous World Cup race in Kalmthout. Compton decided things would be different this time and dropped everybody including Van Den Brand on the first lap.
A chasing group gathered behind the American including Belgian Sanne Cant (ASD Selle Italia Guerciotti) who had a good start, but the 17 year-old couldn't maintain her tempo and eventually finished eighth. While Compton worked hard to build her lead, a group of three women formed behind her. Van Den Brand and compatriot Rheza Hormes Ravenstein were joined by Birgit Hollmann (Team Getränke-Hoffmann) and going into the final laps it was clear they would battle for second place.
Compton cruised to grab her first ever World Cup win while Van Den Brand dropped her rivals to grab second place. The experienced Hormes Ravenstein claimed third place, accompanying her compatriot Van Den Brand on the podium.
See full coverage of the Pinjacker round of the cyclo-cross World Cup here.
Barredo takes stock of 2007
Carlos Barredo finished his first full season on the team of his dreams – Quick.Step-Innergetic. The 26 year-old, who has aspirations to specialize in the classics, says that 2007 gave him a taste of the action amongst the specialty's best. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown reflected with the Spaniard about his first season with the Belgian squad and asked Barredo to look ahead to 2008:
Carlos Barredo was in a difficult position when Cyclingnews last spoke with him at Quick.Step-Innergetic's team camp in Marina di Bibbona, in late 2006. The Spaniard was getting to know his new Quick.Step team-mates but was in the unique position of not being entirely sure what would come of his existing contract with Manolo Saiz's now-defunct Liberty Seguros squad. As the week of training pressed on, the rider from Asturias warmed to his new team-mates and most importantly received a call from his former boss giving him the all clear to kit-up in his new Belgian squad's blue colours in 2007.
"Yeah, back then I had two contracts, one with Liberty and one with Patrick [Lefevere]," recalled Barredo in the lobby of Stuttgart's Hilton Garden Inn just after finishing his lunch. "So much has changed. This is a team that works completely for the one-day races, whereas the team [Liberty] last year was one that worked and trained for stage races."
Quick.Step was structured around one-day specialist Tom Boonen and dual World Champion Paolo Bettini. "This year has been important because I have progressed a lot," he explained. "I was able to ride the Classics well in the spring, and also, for me, a good Tour [de France] working for Tom. Afterwards, the San Sebastián went well and then the Vuelta [a España]. I think that this year I was able to have three good peaks with good form, it was difficult but I did it and now I am very content."
Read the entire Carlos Barredo interview here.
Gerdemann hopes for a continued T-Mobile Team
By Susan Westemeyer
Linus Gerdemann doesn't know whether his T-Mobile Team will continue next season, but he hopes it will. "It would really be too bad if the good intentions of the (team's) anti-doping programme, which the team's new management introduced this year, would come to nothing because of sponsor withdrawal," he told the dpa press agency. "If a global player like T-Mobile leaves, then that would be a heavy blow for all of cycling."
The media shares responsibility for the current tense situation in cycling, the 25 year-old continued. "There is a certain sensationalism (in the media). Everyone knows that when they call a certain person, they can come up with certain headlines. But there is much too little reported about the progress in the fight against doping, in which a lot more must happen and whose goal we have not yet reached. We have to deal differently with the past and the future."
Gerdemann hopes that his team will continue next season with the same sponsor and the same team management under Bob Stapleton. He is also looking to the newly introduced blood passport. "That will bring us a lot further," he noted.
Meanwhile, the team applauded news that the UCI had declared that Michael Rogers was not implicated in statements given by Patrik Sinkewitz concerning doping on the team. "We appreciate the statement of the UCI and their review of the Sinkewitz information," team spokesman Stefan Wagner told Cyclingnews. "Independently, we continue to seek the files from the prosecutor so that we better understand the events of 2006 prior to our operation of the team."
Fans rally behind still-unemployed Rubiera
Following the withdrawal of the Discovery Channel team from cycling, Chechu Rubiera is still not on the 2008 roster of a ProTour team, a fact his fans, represented by checurubiera.info, hopes to change.
"Chechu once told us that he had the best fans in the world," a spokesperson for the site said on Sunday in an open letter to the cycling community. "The team which hires Chechu Rubiera in 2008 will gain not only a dedicated professional and gifted athlete, but an extraordinary group of fans around the world. From Australia, South America, Africa, Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain and Hungary. And in the US, from California, Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts, Washington, Arizona and Kansas. Not forgetting his aficionados, Spaniards who have supported him since his first win twenty years ago."
The letter posted on the site which is run by American Rebecca Bell, Scotland-based Nicky Orr and Paris-based Christine Kahane, calls for fans to support the former Lance Armstrong lieutenant and for teams to take the rider seriously. "Chechu Rubiera is important to us, not just for his titles and trophies. We support him because he is a decent man, who since 1995, has performed his role as team leader and gregario in Artiach, Kelme, US Postal and Discovery Channel with sacrifice and loyalty, and who has represented the interests of professional riders with integrity.
"The cycling community, struggling to survive every day, can't afford to lose Chechu Rubiera. They must ensure that this outstanding career does not end here."
Fans wishing to post messages of support for Rubiera can visit the site's message board at www.chechurubiera.info.
Damning d'Hont phone transcripts featured in German magazine
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich decided to retire in February 2007 because "nothing has changed," he is said to have told his mentor and former directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage. Pevenage in turn told this and more to Jef d'Hont, a former Team Telekom soigneur, d'Hont claims in the German news magazine Focus.
d'Hont presented the magazine with CD-ROMs containing secretly recorded telephone calls and meetings with Pevenage. The former soigneur has said that he is preparing to write a second book concerning doping in cycling and will specifically name Ullrich.
Asked by the magazine to confirm the quotes they are running from from the recordings, Pevenage gave a number of different responses. Pevenage's attorney said that Pevenage confirmed that "there were conversations between him and Mr. d'Hont," but denied the content of those conversations as reported.
In the recordings, Pevenage allegedly said that he visited Ullrich during a training session on Mallorca in February of this year. Ullrich then said that he was there with former teammates Andreas Klöden and Matthias Kessler, both of whom rode for Team Astana. Ullrich is said to have told Pevenage that he wanted to end his career because he didn't want "to take any more risks." Ullrich added that he was at the same hotel as his former teammates, "and I tell you, they were all there, the most important of them are still using the same stuff, EPO and all of that. Nothing has changed."
Pevenage also is quoted as discussing the 2006 Giro d'Italia saying that before the Giro he told Ullrich "as long as we are in Belgium, you can still ask me for something." Once the race arrived in Italy, "he started to ride well. He told me, call him [Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes - ed. note]." Pevenage resisted, but the rider insisted. "Come on, call him, take care of it." In the end, Pevenage did call on his mobile phone – Ullrich won the time trial on May 18, to the surprise of many and that same evening the Guardia Civil listened in a telephone conversation between Fuentes and a person identified only as "Rudicio," who they assumed to be Pevenage. According to d'Hont, Pevenage told him that he regretted using his mobile phone to have made the call. "Yeah, shit, man. They caught me. I know that that was dumb."
Does Pevenage have evidence against half the peloton?
After the news of Operación Puerto broke later in May, "I thought that something could happen with Jan, that he could be on the list. But I never thought that I would be on it too," Pevenage said.
d'Hont claimed that he wanted Pevenage to confirm his stories for the book that he was writing. "When I start to talk," Pevenage is said to have told d'Hont, "then I would nail half the peloton to the wall. But should I do that? Yeah, sure Zabel and all these guys, yeah, I took care of them too. You know what I mean.... A lot of them have a big mouth now, but actually they should be wetting their pants."
Pevenage was worried about what might happen if he had to testify at some point. "Just imagine that I had to testify and the judge asked, did Jan Ullrich ever take EPO? What should I say?" Simply confirm it, d'Hont told him. Then he would have to "say goodbye to Jan throw him to the wolves," which he didn't want to do. "They would hang him in Germany."
According to the magazine, former team manager Walter Godefroot was also involved in the team's doping programme. The drugs were supplied by the doctors from the Freiburg University Clinic, which sent the bills to Godefroot. He also took the cash from the riders to pay those bills, Pevenage said. "He stuck the money in his pocket and settled up with Freiburg, well, with [former team doctor] Andreas Schmid and the others." When contacted by the magazine, Godefroot's response was "no comment."
Pevenage continued to say that panic broke out at the Clinic after Operación Puerto was announced and Ullrich was prevented from starting the Tour de France. "I know that a number of bills from the pharmacy were gotten rid of." When asked who dealt with the pharmacy, he answered, "Schmid."
Will Pevenage come out against the former riders he says he aided in doping?
In another conversation, Pevenage is reported to have said, "I have stress. The Germans want evidence. They have blood samples, and found some things by him [Ullrich] and me, mobile phones and so on."
D'Hont warned Pevenage about what might happen if Ullrich decided to confess. "What can I do, we are bound together," Pevenage replied. "You will pay and he will be free," d'Hont answered. "They will see him as a victim and find you guilty, because you did everything for him."
Should he "give up on Jan?", asked Pevenage. "Or they will hang you," was the answer. "One or the other of those two options."
D'Hont had been looking for written confirmation from Pevenage, but never received it. In a last telephone conversation, Pevenage said he couldn't do it. "Jef, I tell you, I am in deep shit."
Ullrich announced his retirement the end of February, at a "theatrical" press conference, at which he attacked the press and continued to proclaim his innocence. "Jan has always said that he never used doping," Pevenage said. "It would have been better if he hadn't said that," responded d'Hont. Pevenage: "No, he shouldn't have said that," adding that now they would "go after him. He attacked the press much too much."
Cyclingnews requested comments on this story from Ullrich's manager and his spokesman, but received no reply.
No comeback for Heras?
Robert Heras may not now be making a comeback to the peloton after his two-year doping ban. After earlier saying, "the truth is that I want to return," he now says, "I have offers, but when I look at cycling, then I don't have any interest to ride again. I will probably give up," reported the sid press agency.
Heras tested positive for EPO at the Vuelta a España 2005. He was suspended for two years and under the UCI's code of ethics, would not be allowed to ride for a ProTour team for another two years.
La Ruta goes bigger for 15th anniversary
By Rob Jones
On November 9, the organizers of Costa Rica's most famous bike race, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, held a press conference in San Jose to introduce the 2007 edition. This year is the 15th anniversary of La Ruta, and the organizers have added an extra day (up to four from three), and extra distance and climbing.
For 2007 La Ruta has increased by 72 kilometres, to 360 kilometres, with the vertical gain now up to a staggering 12,000 metres (39,000 feet). The reasons for the additional day are twofold:
1. Last year a significant proportion of participants could not complete the first day (which contained approximately half of the total climbing for the event). The final climb was a brutally steep and long off-road muddy slog, which did people in (earlier years had used a paved climb). Thomas Frischknecht exclaimed at the time "the hardest day of racing I have ever done".
2. The organizers wanted to truly make this a 'coast to coast' event. Previous years had a gap around San Jose.
The first stage, from Jaco Beach on the Pacific Coast to El Rodeo (west of San Jose), has gone back to the previous course, with the final climb paved. The course is by no means easy, with 4420 metres of vertical gain over 95 kilometres. The first portion of the course contains the most technical trails of the entire race, with riders slogging through tropical rain forest, mud bogs and river crossings. They also pass through the beautiful Carara National Park – Carara is a local native word for crocodile...
See the entire La Ruta de Los Conquistadores preview here and stay tuned this week for full race reports, results and photos from the Costa Rican classic..
Ronde van Vlaanderen goes with "traditional" route in 2008
By Susan Westemeyer
The Ronde van Vlaanderen will be run on a "traditional" course in 2008, but without the world-famous De Koppenberg climb again (the climb was not featured this year due to problems with the cobblestones).
The route is 259 kilometers and runs from Brugge to Meerbeke. The peloton will face 17 slopes and 20 km worth of cobbles.
"First there is an excursion through West Flanders, then the long cobblestone and climbing section in the Flemish Ardennes, followed by the usual finale," organizer Wim Van Herreweghe said, according to Sporza.be. The race is scheduled for April 6.
The 17 climbs, or "hellingen" are: Kluisberg, Nokereberg, Molenberg, Wolvenberg, Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, Kortekeer, Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg, Berg Ter Stene, Leberg, Berendries, Valkenberg, Tenbosse, Eikenmolen, Muur-Kapelmuur, Bosberg.
See also: 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Tour of California to release prologue details
On Tuesday, November 13, in Palo Alto, California, the 2008 Amgen Tour of California will release details of the race's prologue which is set to start in downtown Palo Alto and end on the campus of Stanford University.
The announcement will be made during a media conference which will include information about green initiatives of the city of Palo Alto, bicycle school programs, and the potential Bicycle Street Art Project.
The events start at 10:00 at Palo Alto City Hall (King Plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave). Attended must RSVP to Joe Manning, Lead, Local Organizing Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Patt Baenen-Tapscott, Chair, PR/Media Outreach (email@example.com).
Canadian cyclists seek Paralympics spots at Pan American Open
The Canadian team at the Pan American Open paracycling championships – set for November 11-18 in Cali, Colombia – is looking to qualify as many athletes as possible for the Paralympic Games next year in Beijing.
"It's the last competition for our riders to score points in order to determine how many we send to the Paralympic Games," said coach Vincent Jourdain. "Canada is currently ranked eighth internationally which should give us about eight athletes."
Individual Canadian riders are Paralympic medallist Jean Quévillon (cerebral palsy), Mark Breton (LC1), Éric Bourgault (LC2) and Mark Beggs (handcycle). There are also four tandems. In the road events: world championship silver medallists Stéphane Côte and Pierre-Olivier Boily (pilot) of Quebec as well as Brian Cowie (B.C.) and pilot Devon Smibert (Alberta).
Quebec riders Daniel Chalifour and veteran pilot Alexandre Cloutier race on the track while Geneviève Ouellet and Mathilde Hupin-Debeurme of Quebec chase Paralympic spots in women's competition.
America and Europe are expected to provide the toughest competition. "Normally this is a Pan American championship and only countries from the Americas compete," said Jourdain. "This year they decided to make it an open event to allow European countries an opportunity to also earn qualifying points for the Games. It should be a very strong competition."
Track events get underway Sunday while the road races start Thursday.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)