First Edition Cycling News for October 31, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen
Hanegraaf secures sponsor, awaiting UCI decision
Team Manager Jacques Hanegraaf
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
Dutch cycling team manager Jacques Hanegraaf, who operated the Unibet.com
ProTour squad through his company, Cycle AB, is busy planning a new team
for the 2008 season having secured a new title sponsor. The outfit is
expected to be built around the remaining structure of the now defunct
Unibet.com squad, according to the Belgian newspaper La Derničre Heure,
however what level licence the squad participates under is in the UCI's
"I have found a new sponsor for next season," Hanegraaf confirmed. "I
have good reason to be optimistic. I can't say much about the team, but
what I can say is that I am waiting on an answer from the UCI to find
out at what level the squad will be – in the ProTour or as a Professional
Continental Team. Once I have heard, then I will be able to tell you more
on the teams structure."
Hanegraaf didn't release any further information about the squad's new
sponsor; however the news will come as a welcome surprise for many of
the ex-Unibet.com riders who are still looking for a new employer in an
increasingly difficult job market. "We are looking at a squad of a minimum
of 15 riders, but everything hangs on the UCI's decision," he concluded.
The Unibet.com outfit suffered at the hand of event organizers in 2007,
with many of the major race organizers moving to block its participation.
Following the joy of being granted the final ProTour licence for this
season in late 2006, the elation was quickly quashed when the Amaury Sport
Organisation announced on January 13 the team wasn't welcome at the opening
ProTour race of 2007, Paris-Nice.
ASO's announcement in January was the first in a string from the French
organizer, whose portfolio of events included the Tour de France, with
other race organizers soon joining the movement to exclude the squad.
Despite a number of court cases in a last ditch bid to gain entry at several
events the squad was entitled to start due to its ProTour status, the
squad and its riders were ultimately forced to miss the majority of 2007's
While the reason being put forward for the Swedish squad's snubbing was
related to primarily French law forbidding the advertisement of online
gambling in a country that has a state-owned monopoly on gambling, it's
widely accepted that the team became a victim in the battle between the
Grand Tour organizers and the UCI. This notion is supported by the fact
that many organizers also refused Unibet.com's proposal to ride without
the company's branding, instead offering to compete under the name Canyon.com
– as it did at several events throughout the season.
Murcia to start in San Pedro
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Vuelta a Murcia, which will take place on March 5-9, 2008, will start
and finish in San Pedro del Pinatar, while the other stage start and finish
destinations are still being finalized. "The first stage will start in
San Pedro del Pinatar, where the third one will finish," event representative
Francisco Gúzman told Cyclingnews.com. "The capital city of the
region of Murcia will also be the end of the last stage."
Other details regarding the event's 2008 route are sketchy, however Gúzman
did offer some insight into a possible climbing time trial. "We are now
negotiating with some cities, so that we cannot say anything more on the
subject, although we very much liked the climbing time trial between Alhama
and Aledo," he said, referring to the stage won be Alejandro Valverde
(Caisse d'Epargne) in 2007. "The Collado Bermejo climb is well known by
many riders, but we are studying another similar final stage in order
to find a solution to the traffic jam that always takes place after finishing
"The Club Murciano Organizador de Carreras is always concerned because
there is a reasonable balance between the plain and mountainous terrain,
especially when the season is just beginning," Gúzman explained.
In 2007, the Vuelta a Murcia had serious problems for completing its
budget, especially in the absence of the its usual live television coverage.
"We will have not any more of that, because the Vuelta a Murcia can also
take place without TV, on the internet," said Gúzman. "We are working
in order to make it possible to see it live on the internet." During
this year's race people who visited vuelta-murcia.com were able to listen
to interviews and watch the final stages, something the organizers plan
on expanding for 2008.
"We are waiting for the participation of the best ProTour and Pro Continental
squads, as always, because they will be always in the same hotel and the
movements are short distance and very comfortable," Gúzman concluded.
Fuerteventura-Canarias struggling to find budget
The Fuerteventura-Canarias squad
might not be back in 2008
Photo ©: Fuerteventura-Canarias
Spanish cycling could be dealt a blow, with the management squad behind
Fuerteventura-Canarias failing to gather the necessary budget to run the
Professional Continental squad in 2008. While the squad's management company,
Cyclingcomtat, is continuing the search for funding, the outlook for next
season is bleak confirmed its director Óscar Guerrero.
"At the moment we have no news that says a different thing," explained
Guerrero. "It would be a pity to end a great effort here."
The Spanish squad debuted last January and has achieved some good results,
such as the seven stage victories in different races gained by young promising
riders Oleg Chuzda (one) and Manuel Lloret (two) as well as those claimed
by veteran riders Adrián Palomares (two) and Rodrigo García (two). Despite
its success, Fuerteventura-Canarias wasn't offered a 'wild-card' entry
into its home Grand Tour – the Vuelta a Espańa – this season.
Guerrero didn't seem convinced that the squad would be able to continue
as a Continental outfit if it couldn't find the funding to operate as
the higher ranked Professional Continental squad. "I don't know about
that, but this squad was created to be Pro-Continental, so I do not think
that it will be the best solution at the moment," he explained. AJS
Pros gather for big weekend in Noosa
Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto)
leads the men's field
Photo ©: Sirotti
The annual Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival this weekend is set to
be an even bigger festival than usual, with the announcement of the inaugural
Cannibal Women's Grand Prix cycling event added to the carnival. As the
event celebrates its 25th year, women's racing has been added to the 'hot
dog' course, with the riders expected to take on 30 minutes plus three
laps of racing this Saturday, November 3.
Contesting the race will be Olympic road race champion Sara Carrigan,
AIS riders Alexis Rhodes and Lorian Graham and former triathletes turned
professional cyclists Nikki Egyed (Raleigh Lifeforce Creation) and Josie
Loane (AIS). The women will vie for some $5,000 in prize money at the
The men's criterium race will again feature at the famed triathlon event,
with the star-studded field set to contest the Ridley's Dash for Cash,
with a $50,000, winner takes all, prize on the line.
Contesting the men's event is three time winner of the prestigious green
jersey in the Tour de France Robbie McEwen, defending champion and two
time Noosa winner Allan Davis, 2003 Tour de France green jersey winner Baden Cooke,
former Discovery Channel rider Matt White and Henk Vogels.
This year's Herald Sun Tour winner Matt Wilson is mounting a challenge
for the massive cash prize and brining his Unibet.com team-mate Cooke
as well as Briton Jeremy Hunt and Frenchman Jimmy Casper.
Vogels won't be the only Aussie export to America's National Racing Calendar
teams on display this weekend. The likeable Vogels will be joined by Hilton
Clarke, Ben Day and Trent Wilson in the one hour plus three lap event.
Kashechkin case not a public affair
Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
The professional cycling teams associations (the AIGCP and the IPCT)
are of the opinion that the fight against doping should not be fought
using public prosecution. This was clarified by the duo's lawyer, Jean-Louise
Dupont, who announced that the AIGCP and the IPCT have served a request
to the court in Ličge, Belgium. The AIGCP and the IPCT have resultantly
placed themselves in the middle of the affair between the Kazakh Andrey
Kashechkin and the UCI. Both associations want to clarify their standpoint
and be involved in the case.
"Kashechkin's attorney [Luc Misson], finds that the fight against doping
and the controls should only be fought using the public system and not
that of a private institution," Dupont clarified.
The rider's organizations believe that the fight against doping should not be decided by only public powers. "The question is not if the fight
should be undertaken by the state, a private institution – like the UCI
or WADA – or the teams themselves, but rather if the rules and the sanctions
are objective and well proportioned."
Dupont believes that the AIGCP, the IPCT and the cycling
teams should be allowed to wager in on the debate. "Trust and honesty
in the fight against doping is for professional cycling a question of
life and death," he said.
The Kashechkin affair is due before the courts on November six in Ličge
and Misson has based his defence on Article 8 of the Convention of Human
Rights, which states that an infringement on the private life may only
be dealt with through the public court. Misson
believes that each blood sample taken, even within competition, is an
infringement of a rider's private life. The control that has lead to the
positive test of the former Astana rider on August 1 in a Turkish hotel,
where he was on holidays, is an example of this infringement, according
Lissavetzky: Complete Puerto investigation needed
A complete investigation into the Operación Puerto documents relating
to the Spanish Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes must be undertaken, Spanish sports
minister Jaime Lissavetzky told the Gazet van Antwerpen.
A Spanish judge publicly declared that the investigation into the affair
should be closed in March this year. The public prosecutor opposed the
decision at the time, but the Court of Occupation has remained tight lipped
on its opinion. "I hope that the investigation gets right to the core
of the problem," said Lissavetzky, who described doping as a "global problem,
that needs to be fought".
The Puerto affair began in May 2006 when five people were arrested in
Madrid. Among them was Dr. Fuentes, who had been team doctor for many
different professional teams. In Fuentes' offices, police found hundreds
of bags of blood, as well as illegal performance-enhancing products including
EPO and growth hormone.
Pantani's mother wants new investigation
Tonina Pantani, mother of late professional cyclist Marco Pantani, has asked
a new investigation be opened into her son's death, according to Sportwereld. The Italian winner of the 1998 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France died three years ago in a Rimini, Italy, hotel room after
overdosing on cocaine. "The hour of his death is still not clear. There
were other people present in his hotel room at the time," Tonina declared.
Giseppe Fortuni, a Doctor of Law in Bologna, said yesterday that "everything
possible has been done according to the law", in regards to Pantani's
death. The re-opening of the case by Tonina follows the release of a book
on the life of the cyclist, which was written by French L'Equipe sports
journalist Philippe Brunel.
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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)