First Edition Cycling News for November 25, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo
Predictor-Lotto to Silence
Team Predictor-Lotto is changing its name again for the 2008 season, as sponsor Omega Pharma wants to publicize a different product. The new team name will be Silence-Lotto, according to sportwereld.be, and the jerseys will be red as opposed to this year's salmon-pink strip of the company's pregnancy test brand. Silence is an anti-snoring medicine.
Omega has been a team sponsor since 2003, first dubbing the team with the name of its vitamin supplement line Davitamon before changing last season to Predictor. It is not known how long the name will remain. The team's ProTour license expires the end of 2008, as does the Lotto sponsorship contract.
Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ulmer calls it quits
New Zealand's Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ulmer announced her retirement this week after years spent trying to regain her winning form following a chronic sciatic nerve injury in her leg.
The 31 year-old holds the world record in the women's individual pursuit with the 3.24.537 she set at the Olympics in Athens, Greece in 2004. Ulmer switched from track to the road hoping to focus on the individual time trial, but a recurring injury kept her from regaining her top form. In 2006, she was plagued by back and leg pain, and expressed her frustration with the problems to Cyclingnews earlier this year.
"I've been toying with retirement for longer than I actually expected," Ulmer told AP Saturday. "It's been a pretty frustrating year from the cycling side of things. I've been in and out of doctors and medical specialist and MRI machines."
Stefano Zanini – still on the market
Despite news reports to the contrary, 17-year veteran Stefano Zanini has announced that after a recurring injury and no contract renewal from his 2007 team, Predictor-Lotto, that he is still motivated to return to the peloton for an eighteenth season in the 2008. Zanini spoke with Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins about his uncertain future while looking back on the supportive cycling community that lead to the most successful moments in his career.
Stefano 'Zazà' Zanini turned professional in 1991, and since then, the rider from Varese, Italy has become recognized as one of the most successful cyclists on the European circuit. Having been on the most renowned teams of the past two decades, including a six-year term with the former Mapei squad, the 38 year-old has taken home nearly thirty victories including one World Cup and stages in both the Tour de France and Giro d' Italia.
After his current team, Predictor-Lotto, did not renew his contract and some nagging injuries resurfaced, the likeable Italian had thoughts of retirement. But Zanini confirmed that his manager is in negotiations with several teams for 2008 and that he is capable of offering matchless experience and strength to whatever team he should sign a contract. (Read Zanini wants to continue for more information.)
Zanini's palmarès have been running a bit dry as of late – his last victory was a stage in the 2004 Tour of Britain, but this skilled Italian assures us that he has a clear idea of when he wants to retire, and it is not now. "I always wanted to finish my career when I no longer reach the good level that I used to be and even though I had no victories in the last two years, I am highly motivated and competitive and I'm able to do the work that the team asked me to do," Zanini said.
Should he decide not to compete in 2008 it will be because a suitable contract did not present itself. In that case, he may be loaded down with the same annual race schedule but under a new position, if granted his post race career dream. "If I had the opportunity to be the director of a team next year, I would accept that," said Zanini. "I have spoken with Predictor-Lotto about becoming apart of the staff but nothing has been decided yet because the team's administration needs to figure out if there is a spot available with in the team budget."
Palomares confirms with Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Adrián Palomares confirmed his signing with the Professional Continental team Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia. The 31 year-old Spaniard had other offers, but chose the team, "because Ginés García insisted he counted on me. In addition to that I know him from my U-23 era," said Palomares. In 2007, Palomares had his best season since his debut in 2000 while riding for the Furerteventura-Canarias, winning a stage and taking second place overall in the Tour of Britain and taking one stage of the Regio Tour and fifth overall.
With the one-year contract with Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia, Palomares hopes to continue the success of last season, where he was able to recapture the aggressive style of racing which made him so successful in the lower category teams earlier in his career. "I still left a lot to say in cycling," Palomares told Cyclingnews.
Rodríguez to focus on Giro, Olympics
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish national champion Joaquim 'Purito' Rodríguez has already laid out his 2008 plans. In a press release, the Caisse d'Epargne rider announced he will focus on the Giro d'Italia, ProTour classics and the Olympic Games in Beijing. The winner of this year's Clásica de Ordizia and Klásika Primavera began the season with a strong 10th place overall in Paris-Nice, but did not ride any of the Grand Tours.
"This season has been good for me, except for not having gone to the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews, "but I had a great performance where I took part. To gain the national championship and to have been fighting in the classic races has been very important for me in 2007."
There was much speculation about Rodríguez' future after he was left off the Grand Tour squads, but he renewed with Caisse d'Epargne. "Eusebio Unzué wanted to focus on the Classics, and the truth is that I usually do well in those, but I also think that they are perfectly compatible with a three-weeks race", Rodríguez commented.
The Spaniard has already planned his calendar in 2008, and seemed satisfied. "I have discussed with Unzúe taking on the ProTour Classics again before the Giro, and later, to prepare in depth for the Olympics in Beijing because it is good for me." Rodríguez also referred to the proposed implementation by the UCI of a 'biological passport' saying that, "I agree with everything that is done for the good of the sport. In fact, I hope that we are not imposing anything until it is implemented widespread in all sports. If all the controls are done well in cycling, why not extend it to the entire sport... It would be better for everyone".
Boasson Hagen voted best Norwegian
Recent T-Mobile recruit Edvald Boasson Hagen was voted Norwegian cyclist of the year in a poll taken by the Norwegian cycling web site Syklingens Verden. Boasson Hagen, the winner of the Paris-Corrèze, Ringerike GP and Istrian Spring Trophy also took stages of the Tour of Ireland, Tour de Normandie and Tour de Bretagne as well as the Norwegian time trial championship.
He beat young BMX rider Andre Fosså Auguiluz with 27.9% of the votes. CSC's Kurt Asle Arvesen was a close third with 21.4 percent of the votes, just 0.1% behind second, while the big sprinter Thor Hushovd was fourth with just 5.3% of the votes. Multiple mountain bike world champion Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå was a distant 13th with 0.7%.
Kevin Pauwels extended his contract with the Fidea Cycling team, despite rumours that he would sign with the Sunweb-Projob team. Pauwels, the 2004 Espoir Cyclo-cross World Champion, signed on for three more years with manager Hans van Kasteren, according to sporza.be.
Pauwels is ranked 14th in the world after taking sixth in the GvA-cross in Hasselt and fifth in the Superprestige-cross in Gavere. Second ranked Zdenek Stybar also was given a new contract proposal from Fidea. The Czech winner of the Kalmthout World Cup was being wooed by Sunweb-ProJob as well, but it is uncertain which team he will choose.
Australia's best gather at fundraiser
Some of Australia's best racers gathered outside Perth for a charity event for the Henk Vogels Foundation, an organization founded in 2002 to support promising racers from Vogels' home region of Western Australia. Named for Henk Vogels Sr., a 1964 Olympian, the foundation beneficiaries include multiple Junior World Champions Josephine Tomic and Travis Meyer.
Tomic and Meyer each won three world titles at the recent 2007 Junior World Championships in Mexico, and Tomic also set a world record in the Individual Pursuit event. Tomic said she was "very grateful for the financial support to attend the event and the advice and mentoring I received from Henk senior."
Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen was on hand to auction off a 2007 Tour de France jersey which attracted a winning bid of over $6,000. McEwen talked about his experience in this year's Tour, recalling his miraculous win on stage one in Canterbury after having crashed with 20 kilometres to go. McEwen described getting "goose bumps" after seeing his team come back for him.
"Essentially the boys did a team time trial made even harder by the fact the some of the other teams had gone to the front after my fall to set the pace ready for the finish. It was an unbelievable effort from the guys and I had to hang on at 70km/h, but once they got me to the point where I was on the back of the pack I knew I had to go for it," said McEwen.
"I paid the penalty in later stages as the bursitis injury to my knee from the fall just got worse. But I was determined not to pull out of the Tour mid-stage as I think the images of defeat and the (velcro) sound of your number being ripped off are too humiliating and there were film crews trailing me ready to pounce just to get that shot. I didn't want to give them the satisfaction!"
For more information about the foundation, visit www.hvcf.com.au.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)