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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, December 7, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Hincapie keeps sights set on Roubaix

By Daniel Benson

George Hincapie (Columbia)
Photo ©: VÝctor SolÝs
(Click for larger image)

As Team Columbia's Majorca training camp drew to a close Saturday, George Hincapie spoke to Cyclingnews about his aims for 2009, with Paris-Roubaix squarely at the top of his list of priorities.

The American all-rounder won two races this year, but once again missed out on a Roubaix victory due to mechanical problems. "It's a race that I have unfinished business with, and in my opinion, there's nobody better than me in that race. It's just a question of how I finish things off and having good luck," he said.

"This year in Roubaix I was stronger than I've ever been in that race but I just had bad luck. That's what has always happened to me. I know I have a few more chances though."

Those chances could be dwindling for Hincapie, now 35, but he revealed that since his move from Discovery to High Road (which later became Columbia) he has become even more motivated as a rider. Taking on the added responsibility of the team's elder statesman has given the New Yorker added motivation as he has guided bright lights such as Mark Cavendish and Thomas L÷vkvist through the year.

"When I get a number on my jersey, I'm always the first one to pin it on and to ride to the start. You can't say that about many riders my age. It comes down to team spirit and what we've built here. We're always laughing and the attitudes are lot more relaxed but when it comes to racing we're super focused."

"I have really close relations with the other younger riders. They rely on me a lot and I love mentoring them and helping them along. That's a really big part of my job now. Of course results are important for me, but passing on my experience is a real factor for me too."

The past year was full of success for Columbia, who racked up more than 80 wins – including six Tour de France stages – and a spell in the yellow jersey courtesy of Kim Kirchen.

However, Hincapie is under no illusions about how hard a repeat of that performance will be. "The pressure is really going to be on us next year. We went to races and we were winning nearly every day but I don't see any reason why we can't be just as successful or even more so," he said.

Hoy shifts post-Olympic focus back to training

Chris Hoy
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

It's been a wild ride for Great Britain's Chris Hoy ever since the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, where he won gold and was one of Britain's top performers. He's been busy doing endorsements and taking a two-week vacation in Thailand, but British Cycling recent told Hoy's manager it was time for the star to shift his attention away from his publicity work and get back to focusing on training.

According to Scotland on Sunday, Hoy, who receives £24,000 in lottery cash annually, said there had been no conflict of interest, but he was delaying further publicity endeavors until following the UCI Track World Championships.

Hoy was in the difficult position of having to train for the upcoming World Championships in Poland in March while also taking advantage of the fleeting window for capitalizing on his Olympic Games success.

"It's my own choice to do these exciting things and have fun post-Olympics, but now I've got to knuckle down and get back to training," said Hoy, who reportedly signed eight deals worth up to two million pounds with sponsors after the Olympics.

"I was called down to Manchester to discuss Chris's training regime," said Manager Ricky Cowan to the Scottish publication. "He's very busy with training at the moment and he's also been doing filming for the Kellogg's advert. I've been told Chris needs to concentrate on his training now, and needs to cut back on what he's doing. What was OK two weeks ago has now been overruled by British Cycling... ."

"We all understand the position, and cycling has to be number one," said Cowan.

"Although he's been out of serious training, he's been doing quite a bit of stuff in between publicity work. It's wrong to think that he's stopped riding his bike for two or three months. But now he will be in the gym and on the bike every day for most of the day," said Gary Willis, performance manager and Scottish Cycling coach.

Astana busy training

Astana climbs the hills
Photo ©: Pete Goding Photography
(Click for larger image)

Astana's team has been busy training and preparing for the 2009 season in its first pre-season training camp on the island of Tenerife. The team boasts strong men such as Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kl÷den ľ all proven Grand Tour riders.

With so much depth, Astana will be a favorite at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France and other races next year, especially with American Lance Armstrong making his come back to professional cycling.

Cyclingnews has been following the action including the team's press conference on Thursday. Take a look at some new photos by Pete Goding that we added to a previous gallery.

US Cup MTB series going forward

By Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru) and Carl Decker (Giant) race at the NMBS race in Fontana
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

The US Cup mountain bike race series will happen in 2009 Cyclingnews confirmed Saturday. The future of the sport in the US looks brighter after several months of uncertainty and behind the scenes work reconciling the diverse interests of pro racers, amateur racers, teams, promoters and sponsors.

After the demise of the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) at the end of 2008, Team Sho-Air's Scott Tedro proposed the US Cup as a re-invention of the series. Although many in the industry expressed support, sponsorship dollars were slow to follow and the future of the series was in doubt.

"The US Cup is a reality and is established," said Tedro to Cyclingnews. "Race venues have been selected, promoters have signed on, and it's ready to go. We'll have a six-race East Coast series and a six-race West Coast series with a final in [Las] Vegas."

Tedro described the US Cup as having evolved over the past few months into a kind of co-op supporting domestic mountain bike racing. "It will promote regional racing and competition," said Tedro. But it's not just about amateurs and regional pros. "A deal has been hammered out with USA Cycling that will bring an exciting pro element to this series." Details on both the pro and amateur aspects of the series are expected soon.

The momentum behind the US Cup includes support from organizers of major events around the country, and the committee organizing the series will be operating under the following mission statement: "The US Cup has established a national mountain bike series that creates synergy between race organizers and it pro and amateur athletes. These mountain bike events will showcase our nation's finest riders while fostering the development of new talent in a way that makes economic sense for organizers and participants alike."

What that means is that the US Cup's governing body will assist and subsidize various aspects of races in the series to create a similar look and feel and to reduce costs for promoters and racers. The US Cup will provide medals, number plates and a website for posting series points. "We'll do things to help minimize the costs to promoters," said Tedro. Race swag, t-shirts and water bottles are other items that will promote the series consistently throughout.

"The promoters have agreed to be part of it because they love mountain biking and these are tough economic times," said Tedro. Some road cycling and mountain bike events and teams across the US have been struggling to stay afloat despite the current economic climate.

Sponsorship commitments and hard work by key supporters have transformed the series concept into a reality. "Kenda has come onboard as the title sponsor, so there will be the Kenda Cup East and the Kenda Cup West. Hayes Bicycle Group has stepped up to provide a major rider rewards program," said Tedro. "The series also could not have happened without the support of Specialized." Finally, he credited USA Cycling's Kelli Lusk, Mountain Bike Events and Programs Manager, with doing much of the heavy lifting to support the series.

Tedro's Sho-Air company has financially contributed to the co-op; however, the company is not an official sponsor. "I have not put our name on anything. It's not about Sho Air," said Tedro, whose team sponsors accomplished riders like Sid Taberlay and Manny Prado. "It's about getting all organizers together to create a racing league of the best venues and best promoters to make it easier and more cost effective for the end of the user."

"It's been a tough road," said Tedro after reflecting on months of effort to bring about the series. "A deal has been worked out with USA Cycling and that was very difficult due to the multiple personalities involved and some of the pro teams."

"But USAC and I have worked through it," he said optimistically. "I'm very excited and very happy and think the country deserves this."

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for more details on the 2009 US Cup.

Castaño becomes new president of Spanish cycling federation

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Juan Carlos Castaño Moreta was elected as the new president of the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC). The father of Xacobeo-Galicia professional Carlos Castaño won with 78 votes. His adversary, José Luis López Cerrón only received 34 votes. Cerrón organises the Vuelta a Castilla y León and was a director at the Banesto team.

The 56-year-old Castaño has a general accounting diploma as well as a degree in economic analysis. He was an active athlete with Unión Ciclista San Sebastián de los Reyes and later worked for the Federación Madrileña of the Spanish capital. For the latter, he worked as the coach and also was the technical director of the women's and the track team since 1990. In 2005, he was elected president of the Madrid federation.

Castaño was strongly supported by the members responsible for the lower categories in the Spanish federation, both from the road and the track side. He also had support from José Griñán, the former director of RFEC, who renounced his own candidacy in favour of Castaño.

Pat McQuaid, the president of the world's governing body, the UCI, backed Castaño. McQuaid hopes for an improvement in the relationship between the UCI and RFEC. Cyclingnews has information that the two already talked together, since the election on Saturday.

Castaño is aware of the hard job ahead. "I will [try to restore] the dignity of the currently damaged image that cycling and cyclists have. I want to revitalise the base of cycling [lower categories - ed.] and I want to see a return of its presence and its preference in the plans of the federation."

Castaño was relieved to begin his new role on a positive note after hearing some news about a major Spanish team. "I am glad that Contentpolis-Murcia-AMPO is finally accepted as a Professional Continental team," he said.

Bartko the track specialist

By Bjorn Haake

Former Olympic Champion Robert Bartko
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake / Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Robert Bartko won two Olympic gold medals in the 2000 Sydney Games. Eight years down the road, he is still a force to be reckoned with at various track events. He hopes to qualify for the UCI Track World Championships in the pursuit. During a racing break at the Gent Six Days he told Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake about his plan to achieve this goal.

Racing on the Gent, Belgium, track provided Bartko with a unique hometown advantage. The German has been racing with local resident Iljo Keisse for the past two years. "Of course, it is something special to ride with the 'local hero'. All the spectators are behind you," Bartko said.

However, riding with the local hero was a kind of double-edged sword. "Then, of course, there was the pressure from the spectators. That didn't make it easier." Overall, though, he found it nice to be racing with the extra cheers provided by the 7,000 fans that ventured to the old Gent track, called het Kuipke, every night.

The short, 166-metre track provided its own challenges for the 1.86-metre tall rider. "On a short track like this, for a tall and robust guy like me, it is difficult. The centrifugal forces in the corners, the short straightaways ­ they do not necessarily favour me."

But Bartko gets used to it. "I need the first night, and then I always manage well in Gent."

Read the complete feature.

USA Cycling appeals Haywood verdict

Susan Haywood (Trek-VW)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

USA Cycling is appealing last month's verdict in a case in which American mountain bike racer Susan Haywood was awarded US$300,000 in damages by a US Federal Judge for being unfairly removed from the USA Olympic team in 2004.

A West Virginia jury had awarded her $318,647.14 in compensation, $18,647.14 of which were expenses incurred to fight USA Cycling's decision and the remainder in damages. However, USA Cycling filed the appeal stating that award was excessive according to WBOY.

In the appeal, dated December 1, and filed in the Northern District Court of West Virginia, the American governing body said the cyclist did not show evidence supporting the damages and asked for either a new trial or a reduction in the award to match similar emotional damage awards in West Virginia.

"USA Cycling now argues that the jury's verdict regarding the plaintiff's damages for annoyance and inconvenience and the emotional distress, humility, embarrassment and loss of personal dignity were excessive and contrary to the law as the Plaintiff [Haywood - ed.] failed to provide the necessary evidence to support the amount of damages awarded on these two claims," read the appeal.

Dubnicoff heads south

Three-time Canadian Olympian Tanya Dubnicoff is taking a new job as the coach of a club in California. She's leaving her post at the Canadian National Cycling Centre in Calgary.

"I have been at the Oval for seven years and I think it was time for a change to re-motivate myself," the 39-year-old Dubnicoff, a former sprint World Champion, told "It just sprung up, really." She was invited by former World Champion Connie Paraskevin to coach at the Home Depot Velodrome in Los Angeles.

She will coach riders as young as 12-years-old, but she hopes to keep her ties to Canadian athletes by inviting them down for training camps.

Dubnicoff retired in 2000 after nine national, four Pan American and two Commonwealth Games titles.

Now online: 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll

(Click for larger image)

It's that time of year again... the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online. Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly like Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!

(Additional editorial assistance by Bjorn Haake.)

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