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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, August 19, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Stapleton analyses UCI world calendar announcement

By Shane Stokes

Bob Stapleton weighs in to the new world calendar
Photo ©: AFP
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Team Columbia manager Bob Stapleton has given a provisional thumbs up to what he sees as progress in improving the relationship between the UCI and the Grand Tour organisers. The American was contacted by Cyclingnews following Monday's announcement of a new UCI World Calendar, and saw several possible benefits under the proposed new structure.

"The announcement addresses some contentious issues - calendar, race entry, and a stable structure to improve the sport," he said. "It suggests the following. Firstly, it is creating a Unified World Calendar, and ultimate jurisdiction of the UCI in coordinating and operating it. It appears that this will combine the ASO/RCS events with the existing ProTour Calendar, with a few events potentially added to the ProTour calendar. This keeps the sport under a predictable, common-rules structure and governance.

"Secondly, [it features] the continuation of the ProTour as a circuit of races and elite teams, with automatic participation within the ProTour ecosystem. The ProTour can pursue global expansion and offers events a package of teams and athletes to participate, while ASO and RCS and others can develop their events with independence.

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"And, thirdly, it is creating a 'World Ranking' or team standing system - where entry into the Tour de France and potentially other top races would be determined by the actual combined results of the individual teams. This will be heavily debated, but will take the shape of a merit-based system determining the selection of the majority of team spots in races. Organisers will keep wildcard and self-determined entry rights for remaining entry spots, which they have fought for and earned."

Stapleton stated that it was important to get the viewpoint of the other main stakeholder before being able to fully assess the impact of the proposed new system. "It must be noted that this announcement is a unilateral one from the UCI. It will be interesting to see what the ASO says in response," he said.

Stapleton came to the sport after a very successful career in business. The lack of a lengthy association with cycling means that he has arguably greater independence than many other team managers, with no long-running ties to either the UCI or ASO. That factor plus his strong business background makes his assessment a valuable one.

"Overall, this is a clear sign of progress and a pragmatic solution," he continued. "With a stable structure in place we can now refocus on key issues. I will be personally focused on the full adoption of the biological passport and the body of rules and actions to be taken to enforce it."

He is clear about the advantages of this. "If a coordinated anti-doping effort is undertaken, it would be powerful progress in creating fair competition. Real work has been done on the scope and sophistication of testing; now it needs to be consolidated and rigorously implemented and enforced."

Time will tell if the UCI's announcement will translate into reality, and whether the long-running political struggle between it and the Grand Tour organisers will come to an end. Stapleton concluded his analysis by stating that he expects a flurry of activity at the World Championships. "Keep your fingers crossed that this truly becomes a step forward," he said.

Regio Tour back to its roots

By Bjorn Haake

The Regio Tour fights against doping and un-invited CSF Navigare following Sella's positive
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
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With almost 700 kilometres to cover in five days the Regio Tour will be a strenuous work week for the majority of the peloton. Constant effort will be required right up until the end of the tough traditional final stage in Vogtsburg for anyone with overall aspirations. Only then will the winner be able to relax and enjoy a giant mug of beer from main sponsor Rothaus.

Started by Rudi Renz in 1985 as an amateur event, the tour became a professional event in 1994. With all the doping scandals over the last couple of years the main sponsors requested the race return to its roots and amateur status. This year, the Regio Tour will be held one last time for professionals, before reverting back to the amateur format in 2009.

The decision came earlier this year, with the news that 2007 winner Moisés Dueñas doped during the Tour de France.

The organisers also decided to un-invite the CSF Navigare team, following the announcement that Emanuele Sella tested positive for EPO.

Rudi Renz decided to not go out with a star studded field before the race will drop in significance. Last year, all eyes were on riders like Alessandro Petacchi. He won a stage and the sprinters jersey, but was also implicated in a - somewhat bizarre - doping scandal.

This year, the most famous names are Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Björn Thurau (the son of former yellow jersey Didi), 1999 overall winner Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), 2005 overall winner Nico Sijmens (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner), Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone Caffe Mokambo) and Australian Luke Roberts, who now rides for the German Kuota - Senges team after two seasons with CSC.

Read the full preview.

Sánchez honoured in Basque country

Golden moment: Samuel Sánchez of Spain
Photo ©: AFP
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Samuel Sánchez was honoured in Bilbao yesterday by his Basque fans for his Olympic gold medal. The Asturian rider, born in Oviedo and with secondary residence in Güeñes (Bizkaia), was accompanied by his Euskaltel team-mates, the team manager Miguel Madariaga and the technical secretary Igor González de Galdeano.

According to the Spanish website Deia, José Luis Bilbao, the general deputy of the Diputation of Bizkaia, handed a "makila", a traditional Basque walking stick. The 30 year–old Sánchez expressed his gratitude to his team for its season planning. "Many people thought perhaps that we committed an error, but nothing ventured, nothing gained," said the Asturian with regards to the Tour de France, where he finished seventh.

Sánchez started to grasp what he has accomplished in China. "Being Olympic champion has an enormous magnitude, not only in cycling but also in the daily life. When I walked through Beijing, everybody recognised me, and here everywhere I go [people recognise me], even if I go shopping. Previously, this was unthinkable," admitted Sánchez. Sánchez is conscious that the triumph "will change me, because everywhere I go, there will always be a microphone or a camera, but I want to go on with my career. I have still many objectives and even if I still have to adapt to my new life as Olympic champion, I will try to live the best way possible and to learn to live with it."

The Asturian announced that his objectives for the next years are "winning the Vuelta al País Vasco, one stage of Paris – Nice or struggling for the podium of the Tour de France. I think that I am in the best age to obtain these objectives and to extend my palmarès step by step."

Talking about doping, Sánchez defended cycling from the continuous suspicions and said that the four anti-doping controls the riders passed within four days in Beijing were exaggerated. "I always say that we have to assume our part of the guilt, but everybody [else does, too]. There will always be suspicions and we have this always above us. It is something very heavy. In other sports every year new records are established, and nobody says anything. Cycling can be proud because we are passing a lot of controls and this has to be recognised," demanded Sánchez.

His next goal will be the World championships in Varese, even if he is conscious that he will participate there in order to support Óscar Freire. Sánchez won't ride the Vuelta a España. Instead, he will try to get in form riding the Tour de Pologne.(MP)

Sprint finals set

The sprint showdowns for both the men and women's events at the Olympics are set. Big favourite Chris Hoy and his compatriot Jason Kenny will fight it out for more gold and silver for Great Britain. The second final will also be anglophone, with Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton facing off Anna Meares (Australia).

Hoy beat Frenchman Mickael Bourgain easily in two races. Kenny also dominated his rival, German Maximilian Levy, in two heats. In the women's first semifinal Pendleton also won in two races against Willy Kanis (Netherlands).

The second women's semifinal was the only one that required three races. Shuang Guo (China) won the first race against Meares. Meares then tied it and the final race ad to bring a decision. In that race Guo was relegated, something that can easily happen in a hotly contested sprint.

Kohl considering "five or six" offers

Bernhard Kohl is looking around for a new team
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Bernhard Kohl doesn't have to worry about finding a new team for next season after his current Team Gerolsteiner folds at the end of this year. The Austrian has a handful of offers to consider.

"Five or six teams are in the final running. I haven't yet decided," the 26 year-old told The two Belgian teams Quick Step and Silence-Lotto have both expressed interest in the Tour de France third-place finisher. The other teams are said to be Rabobank, Milram and Columbia.

Kohl turned pro in 2005 with T-Mobile Team. He transferred to Gerolsteiner in 2007. In 2006 he was Austrian national road champion and finished third overall in the Dauphiné Libéré.

In his first Tour de France, in 2007, he finished 30th overall and 20th in the mountain ranking. This year he won the mountains jersey and finished third overall.

Gerolsteiner Brunnen Gmbh announced last September that it would not extend its sponsorship, which expires the end of this season. Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer told Cyclingnews yesterday that he has so far been unable to find a new sponsor.(SW)

Riders coming, going and staying put

The signings continue, with riders changing teams or staying with their old ones. Roy Sentjens is one of the stayers, having re-upped with Team Silence-Lotto. "The team made me a proposal and I will sign the new contract this week," he told "I know that places in the ProTour are very dear and so I am satisfied with this proposal."

Sentjens, 27, turned pro with Rabobank in 2002. He won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in 2003. He joined Predictor-Lotto in 2007 and won the Druivenkoers that year. He is next scheduled to ride the Vuelta a España.

His Silence-Lotto team-mate Dominique Cornu will change from one Belgian ProTour team to the other. The 22 year-old announced that he has signed with Quick Step for the coming season.

"I am satisfied with the clarity about my future," he told "I could have stayed with Silence-Lotto but after two years, maybe it is better to make a change."

Cornu won a stage in the Giro del Capo this year, and was third in the Belgian national time trial championships. He has twice won both the junior and U-23 national time trial titles, and in 2006 was U23 World time trial champion. In addition, in 2006, he was Belgian champion in the individual pursuit on the track.

Fumiyuki Beppu has decided to stay with Skil-Shimano for another year. The 25 year-old rode for Discovery Channel for three years before joining Skil-Shimano this season.

The Japanese rider rode in both the road race and the time trial at the Olympic games in Beijing, and won the Asian road championship this spring. In 2006 he won both the national road and time trial titles.(SW)

USA Cycling National Racing Calendar Standings

Jeff Louder (BMC) claimed the overall title in Utah
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Jeff Louder won the general classification in front of his home crowd at the National Racing Calendar's 31st event, the Tour of Utah. Louder used a stage four win to boost him to the top of the standings in the 2.3-rated NRC event.

With only three events remaining on the 2008 NRC, Australian Rory Sutherland continues to hold a commanding lead in the overall individual standings on the men's side. Tina Pic is the current women's leader. The teams currently atop the standings include the Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis in the men's rankings and the Cheerwine Professional Cycling Team in the women's.

Men's Individual Standings

1 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net-Maxxis)            1403 pts
2 Ted King (USA) Bissell                               813
3 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell)                    643
4 Anthony Colby (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home             624
5 Kyle Wamsley (USA)                                   544

Men's Team Standings

1 Health Net Pro Cycling Team p/b Maxxis              2737 pts
2 Colavita/Sutter Home                                2488
3 Bissell Pro Cycling Team                            2331
4 Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team                      1938
5 Successfullivingcom p/b Parkpre                     1436

Women's Individual Standings

1 Tina Pic (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home                 1019 pts
2 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Cheerwine                    1012
3 Kristin Armstrong (USA)                              870
4 Catherine Cheatley (NZl) Cheerwine                   852
4 Anne Samplonius (Can) Cheerwine                      852

Women's Team Standings

1 Cheerwine Professional Cycling Team                4022 pts
2 Aaron's Cycling Team                               2831
3 Colavita/Sutter Home Women's Cycling Team          2498
4 Team Tibco                                         2212
5 Valuact Capitol Cycling Team                       1260

The next race on the National Racing Calendar will be the 12-rated Chris Thater Memorial, August 24 in Binghampton, New York

Star Crossed – nightime cyclo-cross opens North American Cyclocross Trophy

The nation's first twilight cyclo-cross race is returning on September 20th to King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. Star Crossed kicks off the US 'cross season for the seventh consecutive year under the bright lights of the Group Health Velodrome. This year Star Crossed will be the first UCI level race in the US and the first race in the new North American Cyclocross Trophy (NACT) that spans the entire United States. Inclusion in the tour and the already proven formula of great racing, spectator friendly course, beer garden and music should add up to another successful and record breaking year for this event.

Already confirmed for Star Crossed is Olympic competitor Adam Craig, who will race on August 23rd in the men's cross country mountain bike event. Also confirmed to attend is current National Cyclocross National Champion Tim Johnson, former National Champion Ryan Trebon and his dangerous team-mate Barry Wicks. In the women's category there will be several big hitters from around the nation like Wendy Simms who won Star Crossed last year and placed sixth overall at the 2007 World Championships. local series contender Kristi Berg will also join the action.

Other races of the series include the Rad Racing GP, the Gran Prix of Gloucester, the Boulder Cup and the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup. All eight races are UCI sanctioned.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer and Monika Prell.)

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