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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, January 25, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo

Il Grillo: Dreaming of August performance

Paolo Bettini chats with Cyclingnews at the Quick.Step training camp in Benecassim, Spain.
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

World Champion Paolo Bettini didn't exactly have a dream first season in the rainbow stripes, but he did manage to earn another chance for success in the jersey. Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins caught up with him at his Quick Step team's Benecassim training camp as he prepared for his second – and he hopes more successful – year in the jersey.

With his highly emotional win in the 2006 Giro di Lombardia – spurred on by the death of his elder brother Sauro – it looked like, in sporting terms anyway, that Paolo Bettini was going to shrug off the curse that often seems to attach itself to a recently won rainbow jersey.

Unfortunately it was not to be, and the insult of a series of near misses added to the injury of multiple pile-ups, and the high win count that we have become accustomed to from Il Grillo (the 'cricket') was conspicuous in its absence.

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Despite all this, Bettini remains positive about the experience of his first full season in the rainbow jersey, and even manages to see the lighter side of his apparent bad luck. "It was good, it was wonderful to ride in the jersey, but maybe less crashes would have been better!" he joked when asked for his overall impressions of 2007. "I only had three wins, but I crashed 12 times!"

Thankfully though, despite ending up on the tarmac more times than just about anyone else in the peloton, he managed to escape serious injury. There were some notable aches and pains he could happily have done without though: "I had a problem with my ribs during the Giro, and before Milano-Sanremo, but nothing serious." One crash can ruin a season, so to suffer a dozen and come away relatively unscathed can be viewed as fortunate in many ways – although not as fortunate as not having the crashes in the first place!

Continue to the full feature.

Madiot knighted by French president

By Jean-François Quénet

Marc Madiot
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Early this week, Française des Jeux directeur sportif Marc Madiot was made a knight of the French Legion of Honor (Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, in the local language). The medal was presented to the double winner of Paris-Roubaix (1985, 1991) by French president Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysées palace in Paris.

"This is something I never expected but it really touched my heart because of the presence of my parents and some close friends who mean a lot to me," Madiot explained. He now joins Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault among the road cyclists who have received the award.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is all smiles
Photo ©: Francaise Des Jeux
(Click for larger image)

Sarkozy's personal passion for cycling has probably played a major role in the promotion of one France's prominent cycling personalities. He looked like an enchanted fan when he was given in return a jersey signed by all of the riders from the Française des Jeux team. He publicly addressed a clear message to the president of the French national lottery Christophe Blanchard-Dignac, "You have to keep sponsoring this cycling team!"

Since Française des Jeux is a company mainly owned by the French government, the news of the extension of the sponsorship of the team with the four-leaf clover should soon follow the one of Bouygues Telecom, which has decided to stay in cycling for two more years after the 2008 season.

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Francaise Des Jeux

Images by AFP Photo

  • Marc Madiot was knighted by French president Nicolas Sarkozy

Leukemans suspended for two years

Björn Leukemans
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

The disciplinary commission of the Vlaamse Gemeeenschap (Flemish Community) has given Björn Leukemans a two year suspension for using testosterone, beginning February 14. The former Team Predictor-Lotto (now Silence-Lotto) rider indicated that he would appeal the ban.

Leukemans, 30, tested positive in an unannounced out-of-competition test shortly before the World Championships. He claimed that the positive test was due to a medication prescribed by a team doctor The team fired both Leukemans and the doctor.

The Commission was not persuaded by arguments that he relied on the doctor's advice and was therefore innocent. "Even if the product is prescribed by a doctor, the rider still remains responsible for what he is administered," it ruled.

The rider did not give a comment on the ban, but his lawyer, Kristof de Saedeleer, told, "He is totally disillusioned. He has lost all faith in other people. However, there is no doubt that we will file an appeal. We find the sanction out of proportion."

Holland Ladies Tour loses sponsor

One of cycling's top women's stage races has lost its title sponsor, plunging the race into uncertainty. The Holland Ladies Tour lost title sponsor Expert, leaving the future of the race in questions. Race promoters are in the midst of securing host cities for two of the planned six stages of the race. Chairman Martin de Lange told ANP that they hope to find a replacement title sponsor.

BMC begins in Qatar

John Lelangue
Photo ©: BMC Racing Team
(Click for larger image)

The new Professional Continental BMC Racing Team is set to begin its season in the Tour of Qatar this weekend. The race, which begins in Doha on Saturday, is known for being flat, fast and windy, and the team's new director John Lelangue is looking forward to using the race as a way to showcase the team's sprinters.

"For Qatar we will always want to be on the offensive. It is largely a sprinter's paradise, so we have brought three of our strongest sprinters in Martin Kohler, Danilo Wyss and Tony Cruz," Lelangue explained. "As for the other riders, we will be certain to make an appearance in every big breakaway and always stay on the offensive."

"We brought a team that would be strong enough to protect one of the sprinters each day, along with Mike Sayers who will be our master at positioning the sprinters for the last few hundred meters of each race. And then the rest of the guys will be working on getting in and even creating the winning breakaways."

Another important goal of the Tour of Qatar for BMC is to prepare its riders for a good performance in the team's home race, the Tour of California. "California is an important American event where many top teams from both America and Europe come to race. Naturally, America is a big market for us, so we will bring our A-List team. Scott Nydam, who is here in Qatar will be one for our California GC and is obviously in good shape. Also he will have the advantage of having six days of racing in his legs to blow out the cobwebs."

BMC Racing Team for Tour of Qatar: Danilo Wyss, Martin Kohler, Steve Bovay, Scott Nydam, Taylor Tollison, Jackson Stewart, Tony Cruz and Mike Sayers.

UCI awards 2011 'cross worlds site

The UCI announced it has awarded the 2011 Cyclo-cross World Championships to the town of St. Wendel, Germany. The city previously hosted the 2005 World Championships, won by Hanka Kupfernagel and Sven Nys in the elite races, and Zdenek Stybar in the espoirs category. Held in the snow and ice, the St. Wendel course proved to be a treacherous one that year.

St. Wendel, a small town in the Saarland, has also hosted both cyclo-cross and mountain bike World Cups.

'Cross Worlds on WCSN

The World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) will provide exclusive video coverage of the 2008 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships from Treviso, Italy, on January 26 and 27, the Internet video provider announced Thursday. The site will host same-day coverage of the Men's and Women's Elite races, as well as the Junior Men and Under-23 competitions from Lago Le Bandie. Producers will put 25 cameras on the course, including a fly-cam running on a cable all along the riverside to ensure a great experience for fans tuning into the broadcast.

The race coverage can be viewed on delay, Saturday, January 26 at 6:00 PM EST for the Junior men's race, followed by the under-23 race at 7:30 PM. Elite races will be shown Sunday at 4 PM EST for the women and 5:30 PM for the men.

For more details see WCSN's website.

Be sure to see Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Cyclo-cross World Championships.

Trust House tour attracts top teams

2007 winner Hayden Roulston.
Photo ©: Mike Hayden
(Click for larger image)

New Zealand's premier stage race, the Trust House Cycle Classic, will kick off with many of the top teams heading over from Australia to take on the 21st edition of the race, which begins January 30 in Lower Hutt.

The event will see the FRF Couriers-NSWIS, Ord Minnetti Professional Team and Savings and Loans teams line up alongside the South professional team in a head-to-heat battle with the top Kiwi squads, including the Trek-Zookeepers Cafe team of last year's winner Hayden Roulston and Gordon McCauley as well as the Subway squad of Jeremy Yates.

"Securing four top Australian teams is great for the sport and for our event. The Trust House 2008 Tour already looks like being bigger and better than last year, and that's fantastic for everyone involved," said race director Jorge Sandoval. "The Australians are very competitive and always want to do well. They will be formidable opposition."

Sandoval also announced the longest stage ever included in the tour. The traditional stage up Admiral hill in the Wairarapa has been extended by 60 kilometres to create a 185 km beast with six hill climbs, two of them grade one.

"I think it is about time to step up the tour in many ways. By having a longer stage in day three it will get the best riders out in front and waiting for the final day individual time trial. This year's winner would need the strength in the mountains and also the speed in the time trial" Sandoval said.

Top Australian Bernard Sulzberger will team up with current Oceania champion Matt Sillars, New Zealand representative Hayden Godfrey and recently crowned under-23 road national champion Thomas Hanover and Stephen Elden on the Tabak team, placing him at the top list of contenders for the crown.

New WADA president meets with IOC

New World Anti-doping Agency president John Fahey met today with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Jacques Rogge at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to discuss strategies in the fight against doping in sport. Also present were the heads of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) as well as the Chairpeople of the IOC Athletes' and Medical Commissions.

Rogge expressed his support for WADA, but said that more still needed to be done to fight doping. "WADA has come a long way with the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Code, for example, but challenges remain. Efforts are still needed to allow the full implementation of the Code by the Olympic Movement by January 1, 2009 and the adhesion by governments to the UNESCO Convention. I am confident that Mr Fahey will significantly help to move things forward," said Rogge.

Rogge went on to say that this year's Summer Games would see 4,500 in- and out-of-competition tests carried out in Beijing, and called upon governments and National Olympic Committees to keep any athlete who has been sanctioned for more than six months out of the Games.

Fahey was pleased to get a promise of co-operation from Rogge, and laid out the plan for his administration. "I will be focusing much attention on maximising the role of governments for enhanced cooperation and sharing of information between governmental and law enforcement agencies and sports authorities."

"High-profile doping cases and investigations underscore the fact that no sport and no country are immune to the threat of doping, as well as the critical need for strong collaborative sport-government efforts in confronting doping," the Australian concluded.

WADA is funded by and composed in equal parts of the Olympic Movement and governments of the world. Under the Agency's Statutes, the WADA Presidency and Vice-Presidency alternate between the sports movement and governments.

Interbike explores alternative sites

The Interbike OutDoor Demo
(Click for larger image)

The North American trade show Interbike outlined its host city requirements at the 11th annual Bicycle Leadership Conference (BLC), last Saturday in San Diego, giving an update to the Sands Convention Center and sharing new options for future event locations.

Interbike Industry Consultant Lance Camisasca laid out the needs of the show, which have grown to include 700,000 square-feet of show floor with additional meeting space, a desirable location convenient to hotels, restaurants and entertainment, as well as an international airport nearby with affordable fares. The group also needs an outdoor site with "great weather" in which to hold its off-road demos as well.

Las Vegas, Nevada, which has hosted the show in recent years, meets most of these requirements, but attendees have been hit by rapidly rising hotel costs in that city. The contract with the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas expires after the 2009 show, and Interbike is mulling over moving the event to another city.

Denver, Colorado, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Anaheim, California were named as two towns that come closest to meeting all the requirements to host Interbike. Both cities have strong ties to the cycling community and the proper infrastructure, but attendees at the meeting showed no clear preference for any of the cities.

According to Camisasca, Interbike has not made a decision about moving the show, but a decision will need to be made by mid-2008. As part of its ongoing research, Interbike will continue to reach out to retailers, industry advocacy groups and other industry members before making a decision about a the future venue for the Interbike show.

"I was quite happy with the attendees' understanding of the situation," Camisasca concluded. "The feedback I received regarding the potential host cities and the very engaging question and answer period following the presentation exceeded my expectations. We have now completed the first of several rounds of research in order to make the best decision possible."

Those interested in receiving a copy of Interbike's BLC presentation, please contact Chip Smith at or Maura Lansford at The presentation will also be available on Interbike's Media Center download page at

Bruno-Roy disqualified from US master's 'cross title

Josie Jacques-Maynes (Giant Berry Farms) is the new 30-34 champion
Photo ©: John Peterson
(Click for larger image)

Cyclo-cross rider Maureen Bruno-Roy won the women's 30-34 race at the US Cyclo-cross championships in Kansas City in December, but has been disqualified because she was ineligible to race, USA Cycling announced Thursday. Bruno-Roy was ineligible under rule 1H4 and 1A29 of the 2007 USA Cycling Rulebook, which state that elite riders may not enter master's races. Bruno-Roy was classified as elite after she placed 26th at the Koksijde World Cup in Belgium.

Following the revision to the results, Josie Jacques-Maynes was declared the national champion, moving Sally Annis into second and Kristi Berg into third.

"It is unfortunate that Ms. Roy's ineligibility was not brought to our attention until after the event," said Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. "This situation highlights the importance of every athlete being aware of the published rules and regulations that dictate a fair racing environment for all of our members. On behalf of USA Cycling, I'd like to congratulate Ms. Jacques-Maynes on her national title and wish both athletes the best of luck in future events."

Bruno-Roy said that she was not aware of her ineligibility, and apologised to her sponsors and competitors. "Neither the race officials at Nationals nor I were aware that I was ineligible at the time of the event. I would like to share in the responsibility for the oversight of this rule with the USA Cycling officials at Nationals as this decision is being made six weeks after the event."

Time goes pro for 2008

After a successful 2007 season, the Time Factory Development Team will evolve from a six-rider elite amateur squad into a twelve-rider UCI Continental team for 2008. With the new status comes a new name, Time Pro Cycling, while the main focus of the team remains the same: teaching the sport of cycling to young riders and bringing them to the next level.

The management team of James Bennett, Erik Saunders and Pat Raines remain committed to the goals of the team. "When we went into forming this team last year we wanted to do something completely new," said Saunders. "Looking back on all the things that happened in each of our careers the theme seemed to be lack of guidance and mentorship and plain old indifference to development. It was important to us that we do the team for the guys who are right in that spot where they need a little guidance to be great."

In its first year, the team won two medals at the U23 National Road Race Championships (2nd and 4th), one medal in the 17-18 National Criterium Championships (3rd), scored two National Calendar Race top ten finishes and a host of regional wins.

The team was able to show its riders on the national stage and two of them were picked up by established programs where their career can begin. At the end of their first year with the team Eric Bennett graduated to Team Successful Living, and Chris Monteleone to the US National Team. "Our team is the youngest pro team in the US. Our goal is to give young riders the support and mentorship that they need to perform in the nation's top events, launch a career in cycling, and move on to bigger programs. We are obviously very proud of these two guys and happy that we are successful in our mission earlier than we had hoped," said Bennett.

The competitive focus will hinge on U23 Nationals, the Tour of Pennsylvania, the USA Crits Series, and selected other events.

2008 Roster:, Andy Baker (19), Jackie Simes (20), Nick Frey (21), Eric Barlevav (22), David Duncan (23), David Guttenplan (23), Mike Stoop (24), Jered Gruber (25), Tom Soladay (25), Captains: Daniel Ramsey (30), Jon Hamblen (33), Adam Myerson (36)

Ride the Tour of California prologue

Amateur riders will get a chance to ride the same course as the professional riders in the 2008 Tour of California prologue. On February 17th, the same day as the opening leg of the tour, the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation will hold a Charity Challenge Time Trial. The prologue organisers will auction off 25 spots to amateur time trialists who will have the honour of racing against the clock just moments before 130 of the top cycling professionals in the world will take to the roads of the Stanford University campus.

Winning bidders will receive full professional treatment, including close quarters with the pros in preparation for the race, official UCI timing and officiating, a closed course, race announcers, photographers and awards for the fastest man, fastest woman and largest donor.

The auction will benefit the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation. Bids can be made by calling 1-800-341-0310 until Feb 10th at 5pm (PST). Minimum bid is $500. Official bid rankings will be updated and posted daily.

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