First Edition Cycling News for November 17, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Horner to Astana
The Astana Cycling team announced Friday that its latest signings include American Chris Horner. Horner was named along with former Discovery Channel riders Jose-Luis Rubiera and Vladimir Gusev as the latest to join the newly re-vamped Astana team. The team management was taken over by former Discovery director Johan Bruyneel after Astana's triple doping positives this season threatened the team's future.
Horner will mark his 13th year as a professional under Bruyneel after helping Cadel Evans to his second place in this year's Tour de France, finishing 15th overall in the process. The 36 year-old did not extend his contract with his former team, Predictor-Lotto, where he has ridden since 2006.
While Horner told Cyclingnews he's been happy with his salary at the Belgian squad over the past two years he was openly critical of what the team was offering for next season and beyond, saying it offered a salary one-third of what all the riders of his level in the Tour recieved which prompted him to look elsewhere. He indicated he was looking for a better deal in August, saying, "If one team won't offer you what you are worth then you go somewhere else. There are a bunch of different teams out there where I could be happy."
New manager Bruyneel saw the value in signing Horner. "He will be of extreme value in the mountains for our leaders. Chris is extremely motivated to join our team." Horner will likely ride the Tour de France in support of this year's winner Alberto Contador and third place finisher Levi Leipheimer, both of whom will be a part of the 'new' Astana squad.
Bruyneel also hinted that more announcements would be forthcoming. "We are very ambitious. In the next days, we will announce more details about the Astana Cycling Team 2008."
The team also said that the new organisation will work to fulfil all financial obligations toward the 2007 team and staff. The statement indicated that some staff and riders had not received salaries from the former manager, Marc Biver. The Kazakh Cycling Federation promised to make all payments in the near future, and said that it had "ended collaboration with Zeus due to mismanagement/lack of confidence", and did not rule out legal proceedings against the company or Biver.
Team Hanegraaf shaping up
The new team of ex-Unibet manager Jacques Hanegraaf is starting to take its final form. Hanegraaf announced in October that he had secured a sponsor, and would seek a ProTour of Professional Continental license from the UCI.
According to sportwereld.be, the team of 17 or 18 riders will include Jimmy Casper, Gil Suray, Tom Criel, Sergey Kolesnikov and Matthé Pronk (all ex-Unibet) and is likely to be led by Unibet director, Hilaire Van der Schueren.
Hanegraaf still has not revealed the title sponsor, but said that the company is from outside Belgium, and will fund a budget of 4 million euros.
CSF Group-Navigare unveiled
The new CSF Group-Navigare team (formerly Panaria-Navigare) was presented Friday morning in Milan at its new sponsor's industry trade show, the International Machinery Exhibition for Enology and Bottling (SIMEI). The Professional Continental team, managed by Bruno and Roberto Reverberi, joined the new sponsor, CSF Inox, to present the 2008 team and staff.
Bruno Reverberi, who was accompanied by three of the team's stars, Mexican climber Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio and Italians Emanuele Sella and Paride Grillo, described the trio as fun, and emphasized that the team will focus on the Giro d'Italia as it has in past years. "We are an Italian team, it would be nice if we can have a good Giro, while not forgetting the other competitions."
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Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
WADA: money, governments, replacing Pound at issue
The annual conference of the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed several issues which could impact the organization's efforts Friday. The falling value of the U.S. dollar and uncooperative governments have the agency looking for other solutions to help keep the fight against doping alive.
Despite raising fees by four percent in 2008, the Montreal-based agency is looking at a 16-17 percent hit because of the weak dollar. "With the shrinking dollar is a shrinking amount of what's available for the rest," said WADA director general David Howman. This has the agency looking at charitable trusts and corporate sponsorship as possible sources of additional funding.
"[We] understand that US$25 million a year is not enough to carry out the things we need to these days," out-going WADA president Dick Pound explained. "I take it we now have a mandate to get inventive and go out and get looking for funds."
Higher fees, however, could put a strain on developing countries. "If we had the money, we would put in more," said Jean Jacques Nzoghe of Gabon's Ministry of Youth and Sport, according to AP. "But in Africa when you ask for more funds, even to get the approval means a process at an assembly level, which is no guarantee."
Governments 'have a lot to do'
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge joined Pound in urging governments to work harder to fight doping or risk being barred from the Olympics. Rogge urged governments to ratify the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport. "I respectfully urge all governments to assume their full responsibility by ratifying the UNESCO convention," said Rogge.
The governments have until January 1, 2009 to ratify the convention, which includes the new World Anti-Doping Code, or risk being barred from competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, or the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Only 70 of the 205 IOC member nations have ratified the UNESCO convention to date.
Pound gave an example of the importance of governments creating laws to fight doping and having the fortitude to enforce them in ridding sport of its doping problem. "'Raw Deal' is very good example... more than 50 million dollars worth of anabolic steroids were discovered during that operation, and the authorities that conducted it believe it's the tip of the iceberg," said Pound.
Pound said that had more countries joined the investigation,which was led by the US Drug Enforcement and other federal agencies targeting importers of steroids from China, Mexico and other countries, there could have been more discoveries.
"Some countries didn't join (Raw Deal) for reasons of their own, some countries didn't join because they had no laws to enforce," added Pound with frustration.
Struggle to replace Pound
Following the withdrawal of WADA vice-president Jean-François Lamour from candidacy to replace exiting President Dick Pound, Australian John Fahey remains the sole candidate for the position despite a last minute nomination of France's Guy Drut.
Drut, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was put forth as a candidate Friday by European governments opposed to the nomination of Fahey. However, Pound, who leaves his position on December 31 said that the nominatiton was too late. Fahey will be the sole candidate when voting takes place on Saturday,
Lissavetzky: 'Operación Puerto set an example'
Spanish Secretary of State for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, said that the Spanish government will continue to give full support to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) with concrete actions in the fight against doping while speaking at the WADA conference in Madrid on Friday.
He said that with Operación Puerto, the country had set an example of co-operation between police and sporting bodies. Referring to other doping investigations in Spain, Lissavetzky detailed
Lissavetzky also referred to other operations carried out in Spain, known as 'Gamma' and 'Mammoth', saying these investigations "seized 30 million doses of doping substances to be distributed throughout Europe - a business [worth] twenty billion dollars, according to data from Interpol."
However, the Spaniard emphasized that in the goal of ensuring the cleanliness of the sport, it is important to consider what is happening in society, and to ensure respect for the athlete's privacy.
USA Cycling offers collegiate scholarships
USA Cycling announced Friday that it is accepting applications for the 2007 John Stenner Collegiate Cycling scholarships. The organization will be awarding two $1,250 scholarships to the top male and female applicants. Scholarships will be awarded to full-time student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in academics, community involvement with an emphasis on collegiate team development and competitive cycling results.
All applicants must be full-time students for the 2007-08 academic year. The applicant must also be a U.S. citizen, a member of a current USA Cycling collegiate cycling club and hold a current USA Cycling collegiate racing license. All applications must be received by December 1, 2007, and winners will be announced December 15. The application can be found at USA Cycling's website. www.usacycling.org.
The scholarships are made possible by a fund to honour the memory of Stenner, a 1992 Olympian one of the founding fathers of the National Collegiate Cycling Association (NCCA). Stenner died at the age of 29 when he was struck by a pick-up truck while traveling home from work in May, 1994, near Mead, Colorado. Following his death, a scholarship fund in his name was established, and the original donations have since been converted into an endowment. The John Stenner Collegiate Cycling Scholarship awards continue to be funded by the annual donations to the USA Cycling Development Foundation.
When duty calls: soldier-cyclist trains in Iraq
Many of the women competing at a high level in cycling have full-time careers, but in the case of a few special riders, those careers offer very unique challenges. For a few, their jobs include serving in the United States military in Iraq. Surface Warfare Officer for the US Navy and Velo Bella racer Nicole Shue spoke with Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins about her life on the bike while at sea.
The Velo Bella team is a diverse group of women from across the United States. With riders from beginner to world class, the team has fun while taking racing seriously. It's a perfect environment for some special athletes like Nicole Shue and Nicole Messinger, who both work in the US Navy, and with Rebecca Gross and Beth Boyer, who work for the US Air Force. Team manager Alex Burgess regards the careers of these women cyclists as nothing short of heroic.
All of them are currently serving in the US military and have been relocated to Iraq, and Burgess thinks they have courageous stories that need to be shared. "The fact that these women split their lives amongst their family and careers as officers while continuing to achieve to be elite level athletes is a statement on their ability and talent," said Burgess.
Surface Warfare Officer Nicole Shue is a just one of several Velo Bella cyclists who balances the life of an athlete with a career in the US Navy. Shue is out to sea nearly half of every month and though she finds it difficult to train full time, being attached to a ship, she noted that her chain of command is supportive of her passion as a cyclist.
Shue admitted that officers are nurtured to have type-A personalities, a competitive personality that translates well into cycling. "We are extremely organized, methodical and display a strict execution of schedules, plans and missions," explained Shue who tapped into these qualities when training for her latest Ironman.
When long work days start in the early morning, finding training time is very precious for anyone, let alone someone living on a ship, but Shue found a way to fit training into her life at sea with limited resources. "I received a lot of strange looks when I first brought my bike and trainer aboard the ship. I would set up my bike on the flight deck of the ship during dinnertime, and ride with the sun setting behind the ocean as my scenery."
South African team goes pro
South African cycling, bouyed by the success of Robbie Hunter in the Tour de France, has stepped up its game, putting forth a UCI Professional Continental men's team and a professional women's team for 2008. The MTN team will be headed by Nicholas White, South African champion Malcolm Lange, sprinter Neil MacDonald, Waylon Woolcock and David George. It will also bring in U23 riders Jay Thomson, Jonathan Kinnear, Juan van Heerden and Bradley Potgieter.
"It's time we started developing African cycling from Africa," said George, according to iAfrica.com. "The traditional cycling structures which insist that success can only be bred from Europe can now be challenged with the substantial backing of MTN. It's a very exciting time for cycling on this continent."
The company will also support the country's first ever women's professional cycling team. Cherise Taylor and Marissa van der Merwe will lead the team along with Chrissie Viljoen, Altie Clark and Cashandra Slingerland.
Taylor was the silver medalist in the 2007 junior world championship road race.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)