First Edition Cycling News for November 16, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
McCartney excited to continue in Europe
American Jason McCartney's career could have been in trouble this year. After his Discovery Channel team announced it would disband at the end of the year, he was one of many riders sent scrambling for a new contract. However, a timely career first Grand Tour stage win in September's Vuelta a España got the phones ringing. He was courted by Team Slipstream before signing a contract with Team CSC.
The former US National Champion was signed to the Discovery Channel after a gutsy ride in the Tour de Georgia in 2004 earned him the win in stage four and the overall victory in the mountains classification. However, years of domestique duties for Discovery hadn't produced the kind of palmares that bring in stacks of job offers, and a virus that hit McCartney at this year's Tour de Georgia hampered his season after he'd gotten a promising start with third overall in the Tour of California.
His Vuelta stage win was all he needed to be guaranteed a full season of racing overseas. "Discovery Channel gave me the opportunity in 2005 and I love to race in Europe so I was very happy. But this is my first time with a professional European team – and not just any old team either! I just got the call the other day about the first training camp so I'm pretty excited about that right now," said McCartney on the team's website, www.team-csc.com.
"I'm looking forward to being a part of Team CSC. I'm impressed with the way things are done on the team - the team work and the aggressive racing style really appeal to me, so I think I'll fit in well. Of course I'm always ready to make an effort for the team, but it seems like you often get the chance to do your own thing as well with Team CSC – if you've got the strength for it, that is," continued McCartney, who discussed the team with fellow Americans Bobby Julich and Christian Vande Velde as well as German Jens Voigt prior to joining the Danish team.
The 34 year-old is ready to forge new goals for the upcoming season. "On Discovery Channel I had a specific role and I knew what to expect every year, so it'll be exciting to see what's next for me now that I've switched. I'm considering it at the moment and I think maybe I'll have a more complete picture in my head after the first training camp," concludes McCartney.
Four Days of Dunkirk having problems finding host cities
The organizers of the Four Days of Dunkirk (4 Jours de Dunkerque) in northern France are racing to find cities willing to hold the finish and starts of stages for the race in 2008. The race, which is scheduled to be held May 6 - 11, is still looking for a finish for the third stage, which starts in Cateau, and a start for the fourth stage, which ends in Calais.
The race's 53rd edition was won by Mathieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux), and T-Mobile sprinter Mark Cavendish took two stages in the 2.HC ranked event.
"Time is running out on us," race secretary Bruno Vandaele told Belga. "However we continue to hope that we will still reach a solution. We still have two weeks." He added that if they are unable to find cities willing to host the event on those two occasions, the race may well have to be cancelled.
Two Swiss climbers to Team Volksbank
Team Volksbank has signed two Swiss climbers for the coming season, Andreas Dietziker and Elias Schmäh. Both signed one-year contracts with the Austrian Professional Continental team.
Dietziker, 25, comes from Team LPR. This season he won the Giro del Mendrisiotto and a stage of the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt. "He is a dark horse, who could have his big breakthrough in 2008," said Volksbank manager Thomas Kofler.
Schmäh, 21, is the Swiss U23 road champion. He started his career two years ago with the Swiss Continental Team Hadimec. "Since he is only 164 cm tall, he is an absolute climber who will get his chances and will help riders like Gerrit Glomser in the mountains," Kofler said.
Casas renews with Andalucía - Cajasur
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spaniard Claudio Casas has reached a contractual agreement with the Professional Continental squad Andalucía - Cajasur for the 2008 season with an option for one more year, it was announced Thursday. "I had a contract to sign with the Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia, but when I received that, I was already studying the extension of the Andalucía - Cajasur one," Casas commented today to Cyclingnews.
The 25 year-old rider made his debut in 2005 with the now defunct Comunidad Valenciana team, where he raced for two season. He was then signed by Andalucía - Cajasur. "When I came to this team, I was given a verbal agreement to renew for two more years, until 2009, but in an optional way", Casas said.
He assured that he is treated "very well" by team manager Antonio Cabello and director Martínez Oliver, and was optimistic about the possibility to debut in the Vuelta a España. "I was selected last year, but at the end they decided that all the team-members, except Luis Pérez, should be from the region of Andalucia; anyway, our squad has many possibilities to be invited by Unipublic after having given a good impression in the last edition". Casas considered, "I have to get better each season, and to work harder than ever before" in the mountains and in the time trial.
Germans stage public 'tit for tat'
Jörg Jaksche and Patrik Sinkewitz have both responded to Gerolsteiner's Markus Fothen, who blasted the two confessed dopers earlier this week on German television, saying, "First they lie forever and then after being caught, they confess everything in order to slide into the 'cooperative witness' program and get a reduced sentence -- that's a no-go." Fothen was also critical that the pair would want to come back to the sport.
At a discussion at the German Sport University in Cologne, Jaksche noted that Fothen has had a positive doping test, according to the dpa. "He was tested positive once, too, for cortisone. Those days it was easy enough to explain away the problem with a faked medical certificate." Fothen answered that by explaining that after an eye operation in 2004, he had eye drops with cortisone in them, for which he had the appropriate certificate. He presented the UCI and the German federation with the certificate when a doping control came back noting "traces of cortisone." Fothen refused further comment, saying he didn't want to discuss the matter "on this level".
Sinkewitz responded, also on German television. "If Mr. Fothen has such a clear conscience, then he can say things like that. But I don't think that it is very helpful. Besides, he contradicts himself: On the one hand, he wants a clean sport, on the other hand, he has no understanding for people who want to help. No rider will admit something before it is proved. Actually he ought to applaud our statements. We have learned from our mistakes and have helped cause the system which he has criticized to get cleaner. In my eyes, it is not a solution to exclude riders or team workers who have confessed and to continue working with those who aren't any better."
Fothen had also criticized World Champion Paolo Bettini for not signing the UCI's 'Riders' commitment for a new cycling, to which Italian national team manager Franco Ballerini responded that Fothen did not understand what Bettini had done.
Weak dollar to hurt anti-doping research?
The World Anti-doping Agency expressed concern that its research and out-of-competition testing budgets may be impacted by the weakness of the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. At a time when the organisation is vowing to strengthen the global fight against doping, the agency's $23.7 million budget is falling victim to economics.
The Montreal-based agency gets its funding from a variety of sources, including the International Olympic Committee and governmental organisations, but its funds all come in U.S. dollars, which hit a record low last week.
WADA plans to put $6.5 million towards 'cutting edge' anti-doping research, including developing new testing methods. The agency may cut costs by ending out-of-competition testing, leaving those duties to the sports federations such as the UCI instead. "We are a monitoring agency," Pound said at the WADA conference in Madrid. "We've made some efforts to get out of that [testing] responsibility."
The WADA budget is due to be reviewed on the final day of the conference by the Executive Committee on November 17.
Lissavetzky asks for respect from UCI
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Spanish State Secretary for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, asked UCI president Pat McQuaid for more respect for the work in Spain against doping on Thursday, asking that he "not throw shadows of doubt on the Spanish sport or Spanish authorities."
Lissavetzky, who met with McQuaid during the World Anti-doping conference in Madrid, told EFE that the meeting was constructive, but reiterated his criticism of the UCI's actions regarding the Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde, who the UCI sought to ban from the World Championships over his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto. "The rule of law must be based on the presumption of innocence," Lissavetzky stated.
Valverde was eventually allowed to race in the World Championships in Stuttgart, after the Court for Arbitration of Sport ruled that the ban would be a form of "advance sanction". His fight is not yet over, as the UCI claims that it has evidence of Valverde's involvement in the scandal in the dossier obtained from the Spanish Civil Guard.
Slipstream supports youth teams
Slipstream sports announced today the recipients of their youth grant awards for "Causing the Slipstream". The Fulton Flyers Cycling Club of Atlanta, Georgia and the Major Motion Development team from Los Angeles, California were named as 'Yellow Jersey' recipients of financial support to support their outstanding youth cycling programs.
Each organization will receive a $5,000 development fund, a spot at a team training camp for the top rated rider, Felt bikes for the most outstanding junior, discounts from industry sponsors including Felt, Giro and Pearl Izumi, access to private online coaching from renowned sports physiologist, Allen Lim, PhD, and access to a private online forum with select Team Slipstream/Chipotle riders.
The winners were chosen based on their past history of athlete development, need for financial support, and proposed implementation of sponsorship funds.
"Slipstream Sports has an opportunity and an obligation to help the next generation of American cycling champions achieve their dreams," said CEO/President Jonathan Vaughters. "We're thrilled to be able to help these outstanding organizations and we look forward to helping them grow and prosper."
Four other clubs were awarded at the 'Argyle Jersey' level, each receiving $2,500 development fund: Mesa Cycles Racing Team, St Louis, Missouri, Rad Racing Northwest, Olympia, Washington, Motivated Over Bicycling (M.O.B.), Fishers, Indiana, and Team Swift Junior Development, San Francisco, California. Argyle Jersey recipients will also each receive a Felt bike for the most outstanding junior and access to a private online forum with select Team Slipstream/Chipotle riders.
Nineteen other youth cycling programs will receive the Polka-Dot KOM development fund and will be listed on www.slipstreamsports.com.
British Cycling awards 10 year clubs
British Cycling sent out a public thank you on Thursday to the clubs who supported them in dark times. Back in 1997, the organisation was faced with severe funding difficulties, and it asked the clubs for financial support. A number of clubs provided support in the form of a ten-year affiliation to the organisation, allowing it to grow into a world-class governing body of the sport.
Since those troubled days, British Cycling had increased participation at all levels of the sport, and has grown membership to its highest level in 40 years. It also enjoyed unprecedented success on the international competitive scene; and launched a comprehensive range of programs dedicated to the development of the sport and its infrastructure.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation, British Cycling's Chief Executive, Peter King said, "Although the clubs involved now return to the "normal" cycle of annual affiliation fees, British Cycling would like to thank them for their massive contribution to the sport. They gave the organisation the support and the confidence upon which the far from "normal" developments of the last 10 years have been built. At a time when we were under unprecedented scrutiny and when we needed our friends in the sport more than ever, they were prepared to back us. On behalf of British Cycling, I'd like to offer them our sincere thanks."
The 15 clubs involved in the 10 year affiliation were:
Ashfield RC, BEC Cycling Club, Birdwell Wheelers, Cheltenham & County CC, Derby Mercury RC, Drighlington BC, Hastings & St Leonards CC, Liverpool Mercury, New Brighton CC, North Hampshire RC, Rockingham Forest Wheelers, Southend Wheelers, Team Welwyn, Wolverhampton Wheelers & Woolwich CC.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)