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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for November 15, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Millar gets new team, new attitude

By Mark Zalewski

Jim Felt works with Millar
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

David Millar has a unique role in the new incarnation of the Slipstream Sports cycling team, that of rider and co-owner. When director Jonathan Vaughters announced that Millar was signing with the team, many did not realize that his role would be multi-faceted.

This week was the first global meeting of the new incarnation of the Slipstream team – a combined logistics orientation, media launch and casual training camp all rolled into one. One of the opportunities of the camp was to spend time in the low-speed wind tunnel in Fort Collins, which is where I was able to speak with Millar during the ample amounts of down time between runs.

Being part of the Slipstream team, Millar is looking at cycling in a whole new way. As a rider, he is technically taking a step down from the ProTour level. As a new co-owner, he has a new sense of responsibility beyond just being a team captain on the road. All of this is influencing his outlook for the 2008 season, starting at the launch this week in Boulder.

"This year has been a start-up year for us, if you like," said Millar. "So there has been a lot more off the bike stuff for me. Part of the reason for coming in as a part owner with JV [Vaughters] and Doug [Ellis], all the way back in March, is because I have such a passion for the sport – more than just as a cyclist. I know there is going to be more expected of me but that is some of the reason behind becoming part owner."

The time and effort leading up to the Boulder meeting has been a lot of work, but all signs are indicating that the work has paid off. "Now the hardest part is really behind us, of having to be a start-up. Beth [Seliga] and the other behind-the-scenes staff have set-up this team in such a great way... I've never, ever seen it so organized before. It is just phenomenal! Everything down to the little things like every rider receiving a Blackberry with all of the vital numbers transferred across and the schedules for the whole week down to the hour already loaded on there."

But Millar said it is more than just an attention to detail – it is a whole new paradigm for running a team. "It's great to have this level of structure and organization of schedule, but what the means is that all that is left up to us the riders is to follow it without having to worry about anything. That is really rare; cyclists are generally treated as incompetent school boys! People don't think we can be responsible for ourselves and it all becomes very elementary-like. And then that often ends up making it seem okay to not be responsible for ourselves."

"This is one example of us trying to do things slightly different. JV wants us to learn responsibility for each other and hope that transfers across to the racing and gets the most out of us."

To read the complete feature, click here.

World Champions prevail in Munich

By Laura Weislo

Risi and Marvulli
Photo ©: Birke Ulrich
(Click for larger image)

The Munich Six Day ended in a dramatic fashion on Tuesday night, with home favourites Erik Zabel and Leif Lampater battling to regain the lead from the reigning Madison World Champions, Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli. The Swiss pair took over the lead on night five when, in the night's first Madison, they gained a lap on the German pair and the overall lead on points.

Risi and Marvulli, winners of the Dortmund Six Day, had taken the early lead on night one, but played the following nights cool - always leading by points but waiting for a prime opportunity to steal back a lap that Zabel and Lampater had gained on night two.

By the end of night five, Risi and Marvulli had pulled themselves onto the same lap as Zabel and Lampater, and led by 19 points, setting up a thrilling final evening in the Olympiahalle in Munich. In the last Madison of the event, Zabel and Lampater went on the attack just laps before the finish. Despite an initial half lap lead, Risi and Marvulli were able to prevent the pair from lapping the field, and eventually pulled the pair back on the final lap, setting up a tight sprint finish. Risi won the race by centimetres, giving the pair their second Six Day win of the season.

Amsterdam Six Day winners Iljo Keisse and Robert Bartko were overtaken for third place on the final night by the resurgent Dutch pair of Robert Slippens and Danny Stam. The Six Day crew will now head to Belgium for the Zesdaagse Van Vlaanderen-Gent beginning November 20.

In the excitement of the final night, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov also broke the flying lap record with a time of 10.18 seconds, besting that of Marty Nothstein (10.22).

Two more World Champions complete Revolution line-up

The World Champions show how it's done
Photo ©: Birke Ulrich
(Click for larger image)

World Points Race Champion Juan Llaneras and World Madison Champion Franco Marvulli will be joined by Peter Schep and Iljo Keisse to complete the international line up at Revolution on November 17.

Llaneras and Marvulli will be sporting their rainbow jerseys along with Britain's Bradley Wiggins who holds the world title for both the individual pursuit and team pursuit. With Junior World Champions Thierry Jollet, Kristina Vogel, Christian Lyte, Dave Daniell and Pete Mitchell in the sprints, there will be no less than eight world champions on the Manchester boards come Saturday.

The six day specialists will be making the trip to Revolution off the back of the Munich six, won by Marvulli with team-mate Bruno Risi. Both Marvulli and Keisse have shown their winning form so far this season with Keisse taking victory in the Amsterdam six and Marvulli preceding the Munich win with victory in Dortmund.

These riders will have a chance to put a strong British field to the test in a packed endurance programme. Highlights of the evening will include a 20km Points Race, one kilometer Madison time trial and team pursuit challenge where emerging British stars Andy Tennant, Jonathan Bellis and Peter Kennaugh will take on experienced Spanish trio, Sergei Escobar, Miguel Alazamora and Antonio Tauler.

To intensify the action the sprint racing will feature a clash between Great Britain, France and Germany as the world's best junior riders come head to head for the first time since the Junior World Championships earlier this year. With national pride at stake and Revolution the focus for the season the junior sprinters will be racing full gas guaranteeing plenty of excitement for the home crowds.

Riis happy with CSC's 2007 season

Team manager Bjarne Riis
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Team Manager Bjarne Riis said he couldn't be happier with his Team CSC's performance in 2007, its seventh season. The team, which finished first in the UCI ProTour rankings for the third consecutive year, collected wins in the Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Germany and the World Time Trial Championship and second places at the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. They also spent a week in yellow at the Tour de France.

"I think we can be very satisfied. We reached our goals and won a lot of races," said Riis to "We were strong in races from January to October. That's something that should characterize the best team in the world."

When asked which result stood out most, Riis said, "I think the podium in the Giro was something really special. We didn't expect it. We thought maybe Andy [Schleck] could be in the top 10 or fight for the best young rider. What he did was something really special and it proves that he really is the guy for the future. He is the man we can count on for the next few years and he's someone we can build the team around."

Riis said that winning a Grand Tour is the team's ultimate goal. "That's what everyone is working for. It’s possible. It's realistic. We will keep working. We have the team and the riders to do it, I am sure of that."

The team will hold a week or 10-day training camp in Norway prior to the 2008 season and another in California in February around the time of the Tour of California. Riis named the monuments and the Grand Tours as top priorities. Riis lamented the lack of a prologue and team time trial for the Tour de France, but was still optimistic about the team's chances. Riis said he didn't know whether the Schleck brothers would be there.

"We haven't decided if Andy will go to the Tour. Maybe he'll defend and go for the Giro victory instead. There are good reasons to take him to the Tour and good reasons to take him to the Giro. Maybe it's an emotional decision. There's no doubt he's ready for the Tour. We'll see. He's still young and he has a lot to improve and to learn. He has the physical skills to be a man for the future. His brother, too, Fränk, still has a lot of potential at the Tour.

Ljungskog switches teams

Swedish racer Susanne Ljungskog will join Menikini Selle Italia Gysko for 2008 according to officials from the team. The 31 year-old, who will transfer from Team Flexpoint, was World Champion for two consecutive years in 2002 and 2003. The three-time Olympian wrapped up the 2007 season ranked seventh by the UCI.

Zanini retires after 17 pro seasons

Stefano Zanini (Predictor - Lotto)
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

Stefano Zanini announced his retirement from pro cycling after 17 seasons. The rider opted to end his career after recent accidents and the lack of a contract extension with his Predictor-Lotto team for 2008. The 38 year-old has previously ridden for Gewiss -Bianchi, Mapei and Liquigas and logged 30 career victories.

In 1996, he became the first Italian to win the Amstel Gold Race. He also counts the 1995 Milano-Torino, and the final stage of the 2000 Tour de France and two Giro d'Italia stage wins (1994, 2001) among his palmares.

Tour of Elk Grove officials name new winner following O'Neill positive

Tour of Elk Grove officials named Mike Friedman (Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle) as the new winner of the 2007 edition of the three-stage race in place of Nathan O'Neill, who tested positive for and later admitted use of the appetite suppressant Phentermine at the event.

The Tour of Elk Grove was held August 11-12. Organizers expressed their disappointment publicly in a written statement Wednesday after hearing of O'Neill's positive. His Health Net Pro Cycling Team suspended him after his B sampled confirmed the initial positive test.

"We're obviously disappointed but we will continue to be aggressive about testing and holding our riders to the highest possible standards," said Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson, who also serves as Director of Tour of Elk Grove. O'Neill has returned his US$33,500 prize money (which will be redistributed to other 2007 top winners). He will also be banned for life from racing in the event.

WADA kicks off world doping conference

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will host its third World Conference on Doping in Sport, with support from the Spanish High Council for Sport, beginning Thursday in Madrid, Spain and running through November 17. More than 1,500 representatives will convene to cover topics on the agenda include debating future anti-doping strategies and revising the World Anti-Doping Code, which was adopted in 2003.

Outgoing WADA President Dick Pound drew a connection between doping and endangered public health. "Doping is without doubt the greatest threat ethical sport has ever known and has become so pervasive that it places public health at grave risk. It is incumbent upon the Sport Movement and Governments of the world to continue to bolster efforts to battle the scourge of doping ... by approving refinements to the World Anti-Doping Code and by discussing emerging trends and strategies for continued progress."

Representatives of public authorities, sport movement, the anti-doping community, athletes, observers and of course the media will attend the conference to review WADA's work since its inception in late 1999 and to formulate strategies going forward.

The first such world conference happened in 1999 and "led to the establishment of WADA as the international independent body to coordinate and monitor the global fight against doping." The second conference, held in 2003, resulted in "the adoption of the Code by Sport and Governments as the basis for the global harmonized fight against doping in sport" according to Pound.

At the conference, two of WADA's decision making bodies, the Executive Committee and Foundation Board, will hold their annual November meetings. The Executive Committee will look at revisions to the Code as well as revisions to the International Standards for Testing and for Laboratories. It will also discuss strategies for monitoring the stakeholder compliance with the Code and look at the allocation of grants for the 2008 Social Science research program.

The Foundation Board will, upon recommendation of the WADA Executive Committee, consider approval of the revised Anti-Doping Code. It will also consider for election the candidates presented by the Governments for WADA's next Chair, and by the Sports Movement for WADA's next Vice Chair, whose three-year terms begin on January 1, 2008. The Board will appoint the 2008 Executive Committee, approve the 2008 Foundation Board and Standing Committee memberships and approve the 2008 budget.

Pound speaks on Puerto

On the first day of the World Conference on Doping, World-Anti Doping Agency president Dick Pound shared his thoughts on Operación Puerto and the possible involvement of athletes from sports other than cycling.

"It just doesn't make sense that only cyclists are dopers," Pound, who believes the Puerto case goes beyond just cycling, to the Associated Press. "The only documents given to me are related to cyclists. That is quite different to saying that all of the documents don't include other sports."

Pound was responding to Spanish Sports Minister Jaime Lissavetzky, who had said the documents provided to various federations and organizing bodies were cycling-related.

"The only sport that this refers to is cycling, that's it," Lissavetzky had said according to the Associated Press. "We have worked with the official reports issued by the Civil Guard and that is what the judge is using. We haven't covered up any information and won't in the future. These innuendoes are baseless."

Some newspapers have alleged the involvement of athletes from other sports, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, a key figure in the case, has admitted that some of his clients were football players, although not for purposes of doping. The International Olympic Committee asked last week that the Spanish courts share documents so that all sports bodies may prosecute all athletes implicated in the case.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Cramer to leave USA Cycling

USA Cycling's National Mountain Bike Director Matt Cramer announced this week that he will be leaving his post. Cramer has filled a range of responsibilities including developing the national team's under 23 mountain bikers through working with elite athletes on US Olympic Team selections. In his new position with the United States Olympic Committee, Cramer will continue to be involved in athlete and sport development, but will work with about a dozen sports. Cramer could not be reached for comment.

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