First Edition Cycling News, August 19, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkyulen
Britain's Aussie track mastermind feels for home squad
The mastermind behind Great Britain's dominate track cycling squad, Australia's Shane Sutton, says he feels for his home squad. The Australian team has suffered a disappointing track cycling campaign to date, with its failure to secure a medal to date in stark contrast to its 10 medal haul from Athens in 2004.
"I do feel for them," Sutton told The Australian. "Everyone's making a lot of this Aussie-Pom thing and the fact that I'm an Aussie coaching the Poms, but it's not like that.
"Green and gold run through my blood but, at the end of the day, I've got my job to do," added Sutton.
Sutton is the brother of New South Wales Institute of Sport coach Garry, whose son Chris competes professionally for the Garmin-Chipotle Professional Continental squad. The coach, who has reportedly been lured to the British Cycling's squad with a ?1 million deal, said that the sport is cyclical and that it's now Great Britain's turn at the top.
"The West Indies dominated cricket a long time before we did and we went on to knock them off," he said. "It's the same in rugby and it'll be the same in cycling. Australia will emerge again and become dominant. And our job basically is to keep them under wraps."
After losing his heat in the men's sprint 1/8 finals, Athens sprint champion Ryan Bayley said the difference in performance came back to funding. While the British squad has received a massive injection of lottery funds, Australia's Olympic Committee chief John Coates has warned the nation is facing a funding crisis.
"We Australians have got a lot of heart," Bayley said. "But we don't have the funding of the British.
"They have the Australian sports scientist who was ours (Grant White), they've got a German sprint coach who was one of the most tactical riders ever (Jan van Eiden)," he added. "Basically they can buy whatever they want whenever they want."
While Australia's efforts on track have failed to produce results to date, not all hope is lost. Anna Meares has bounced back from injury in strong form to make tonight's women's sprint final. Meares will go head-to-head with world champion and favourite Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain.
Bronzed Roulston aiming for more Beijing glory
New Zealand's Hayden Roulston is hoping to claim his nation's third Olympic Games cycling medal for 2008 in this evening's Madison ride with Greg Henderson. Roulston knocked-out his Australian rivals, along with team-mates Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan and Jesse Sergent, in last night's 4000 metre team pursuit bronze medal race.
"I'm not finished yet," Roulston told NZHerald.co.nz. "Hendy wants to redeem himself [for his 10th place in the points race on Saturday] so combining those two and I think we've got a pretty good team."
New Zealand crushed the once formidable Australian squad, which featured Jack Bobridge, Graeme Brown, Mark Jamieson and Luke Roberts, in the bronze medal ride-off. Great Britain conquered Denmark in the ride for gold,
"To walk away with two medals so far - I'm absolutely ecstatic," he said. "On any given day we've got six riders who are world class. We're like a family. There are no egos and it's very level and everyone gets on great, so it's fantastic."
The Kiwi's crushing victory over Australia is a good sign for the future of New Zealand's track cycling squad, said Roulston.
"Those guys are so young they don't even realise what they're doing right now," said Roulston. "It's quite phenomenal really to be riding 3.57 and one of the guys is 20."
UCI names World Championship numbers
USA misses out on top allocation
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the number of riders each nation will receive for this year's World Road Championships to be held in Italy next month. The United States of America has failed to qualify for a full nine man team, as previously calculated by Cyclingnews.com, meaning it will have to take on the top nations with just six riders.
The top 10 nations on world classification have qualified for nine rider squads - including the likes of Spain, Italy, Belgium and Australia. USA was the top nation to gain selection via the UCI America Tour, meaning it will start with six riders, as will Venezuela.
The Islamic Republic of Iran takes six positions as the top UCI Asia Tour team. Slovenia, Poland, Ukraine, Great Britain, Portugal and Demark all get six spots for their standing in the UCI Europe Tour and New Zealand takes out the only Oceania spot, giving it three places, as Australia has qualified via the world standings.
Teams with nine starters: Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg,
Australia, France, Switzerland, Russia and Netherlands.
Evans to lead Silence-Lotto at Vuelta
Tour de France bridesmaid Cadel Evans will ride his second Grand Tour of the season when he lines up as joint leader of the Silence-Lotto team in Spain for the Vuelta a España. Evans will start the Vuelta as preparation for the UCI World Road Championships in Varese, Italy next month.
Yaroslav Popovych joins Evans as leader of the squad which features six Belgians, according to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
The Australian is not heading to Spain to exact revenge for the Tour de France, but he will be lining up against the previous two Tour de France winners: Carlos Sastre and Alberto Contador. Both Spaniards will be riding on home soil with strong teams and will be in contention for victory.
Contadar was unable to defend his 2007 Tour title after his Astana team was not invited to this year's Tour for past doping violations. Contador won the Giro d'Italia after Astana was given a last minute start at the expense of NGC Medical - OTC Industria Porte.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for coverage of the 2008 Vuelta a España, which starts on August 30.
Silence Lotto for the Vuelta a España: Cadel Evans (Aus), Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Pieter Jacobs (Bel), Roy Sentjens (Bel), Bart Dockx (Bel), Olivier Kaisen (Bel), Dominique Cornu, (Bel) and Maarten Tjallingii (Ned).
UCI won't introduce life bans…yet
International Cycling Union (UCI) chief Pat McQuaid would like to hand out life-bans to convicted dopers, but won't move to do so unless the World Anti-Doping Agency changes its regulations. The Irishman admitted he's a supporter of expelling athletes for life if breaking anti-doping codes.
"On a personal level I would like to see that, but on a professional level we have to work within the WADA anti-doping code," he told Smh.com.au. "We have to work within the laws, the normal civil laws, in relation to that as well.
The UCI is unlikely to introduce any life-ban system for the time being, McQuaid said. McQuaid's support of WADA's regulations come despite the anti-doping body's chief implying cycling should be dumped from the Olympic Games as a result of the frequency of positives in the sport.
"Until the WADA anti-doping code allows us to do that, I don't think we will," he said. "We will stick with the regulations as they are."
New doping test proposed for Deutschland Tour
The Deutschland Tour hopes to use new "Intelligent Doping Controls", the race organisers announced Monday. They have asked the International Cycling Union (UCI) to approve the procedures.
"With their approval we will be ahead of all other sports events around the world," race manager Kai Rapp told sid. He expected a response from the UCI within the next two weeks, ahead of the Deutschland Tour's from August 29 to September 6.
The proposed tests would involve new methods of testing for insulin and for the possibility of urine manipulation. In addition, an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) would be used to look for testosterone, and the samples will be tested for all known EPO derivatives.
"The teams have let me know that they are very interested in the new methods," Rapp said. "I also hope that all participants are warned. We will proceed very strictly, not to destroy but to be constructive."
Rapp would not confirm whether the invitation to Team Scott-American Beef, the follow-up to Team Saunier Duval, has been rescinded. It had previously been reported that he withdrew the team's invitation after Riccardo Riccò's positive doping test during the Tour de France.
"The UCI has an inquiry from us, which lays out our position," he said.
Euskaltel Euskadi re-signs Astarloza
Basque ProTour squad Euskaltel Euskadi has announced the re-signing of Mikel Astarloza. The rider has re-signed with his home squad for another two years, seeing him stay in orange through to 2010.
"I'm very satisfied with the renewal of Mikel," said team manager Miguel Madariaga. "[He's] had a good season and is one of the major corridors for the future of the team. He has experience in professional racing and can provide many things to all in the team. He is a competitive cyclist and we can enjoy his services for two more years."
Astarloza was delighted with the announcement. "I'm very happy to continue two more years in my home team," he said. "I think to be in the Basque Euskaltel Euskadi team is special. Now I want to thank and repay the confidence shown by the team on the road. This year has been a year good for me, but I think I have room for improvement and I hope for further progress."
Skil-Shimano chasing Dutch talent
Skil-Shimano has three talented Dutch riders in its sights for the 2009 season. The number two Dutch squad, behind Rabobank, has been in touch with Marc de Maar (24), Koen de Kort (25) and Tom Stamsnijder (23). All three rider's contracts with their respective employers, Rabobank, Astana and Gerolsteiner, end at the conclusion of the 2008 season.
Skil-Shimano currently has three Japanese, two Chinese and 13 European riders on its roster. With the addition of the three Dutch riders the team would have a complete roster for next season, unless another spot becomes available.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)