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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, July 17, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Details on teams' organisation revealed in ProTour's fallout

By Gregor Brown in Foix

Liquigas team manager Roberto Amadio faces the press
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Details of the new teams' organisation have become clearer after the announcement Tuesday that the ProTour teams would not renew their licenses to the UCI's ProTour system.

"We are united and becoming a group, this is the fundamental aspect," Roberto Amadio, Team Manager of Liquigas, explained to Cyclingnews on the morning of Tour de France's stage to Foix.

One day before, information was released regarding the meeting of 17 ProTour teams (excluding team Astana who was not at the Tour) and the organisers of the Grand Tours – Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. They came together in a united front against the International Cycling Union's (UCI) ProTour that started in the 2005 season.

It was the fourth meeting, after one in Frankfurt and two in Brussels, for the new and unnamed project. Patrick Lefevere, Team Manager of Quick Step, explained that the real push for change started 20 days ago and promoted the meeting on Tuesday in Pau during the most recent rest day of the Tour de France.

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The teams included will be the same as the ones in the current ProTour system, but with the addition of wild cards. "It will include 18 teams with a strong number of wild card Pro Continental teams. If those teams are in the same boat as us they have to do the same controls, the same financial controls and everything."

Amadio added, "The agreement gives the right to the teams to participate in all the races, but it is not an obligation that they participate. However, there will be a percentage of teams that have to participate."

A list of teams or races within the project is not yet publicly available.

The project does not involve the UCI. "We talked with the UCI," said Amadio. "We have not yet had a response. I hope that the UCI reflects well on this because all the parties need each other. I hope with this we have a good solution and that cycling finally calms down."

The next meeting scheduled will take place Monday, on the Tour de France's second rest day in Cuneo.

UCI will seek compensation from ProTour teams

Governing body comes out fighting, rejects new proposals

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)
A day after seventeen teams at the Tour de France announced that they no longer wanted to be part of the ProTour series, the UCI has said that it will consider seeking compensation from those who it feels have breached a contract.

The governing body has contacted several different people and organisations affected by the turn of events. One letter obtained by Cyclingnews and sent to the ProTour teams points out that nine of them - Astana, AG2R, Columbia, Milram, Gerolsteiner, Caisse d'Epargne, Lampre, Liquigas and Saunier Duval – all have licences for 2009 and are thus still considered part of the series.

As participation in the ProTour requires the teams to take part in each one of the races concerned, the UCI points out that this is a contract. It also states that the races concerned face serious losses if the ProTour teams do not participate, due to a loss of sponsor and/or television revenues.

The UCI says that it will pass on these costs to the teams concerned. In addition to that, it states that it will also seek its own compensation.

"If you no longer participate in the UCI ProTour in 2009, you break the commitment you have vis-à-vis the UCI, organizers and riders.

"A breach of contract was the last thing we could expect from a team that expressed the ambition to belong to the elite.

"In addition, this breach of contract causes enormous material and moral damage to the UCI and the UCI will seek compensation for the harm caused to the UCI ProTour in which it invested heavily for years."

The communiqués also point out what it describes as the instability of the new system, saying that teams have a responsibility towards their riders. "By declaring out of the UCI ProTour, you'll cause the loss of jobs for many riders as well as the loss of protection offered by cycling managed by the UCI for riders: minimum wage, bank guarantee, joint agreement, contract type.

Another letter sent to Gerolsteiner manager Hans Michael Holczer – who was heavily involved in negotiations for the proposed new system – rejects the calls for the UCI to be part of a revised governance of the sport. "Your proposals are totally unacceptable," it reads. "You should also realize that these proposals aim at institutionalizing conflicts of interests and a rat race among teams and organizers, with ASO as spectator and arbitrator.

"There will be continuous disputes between the directly interested parties in order to determine which teams and which races shall have access to or leave the elite level, which races shall be in which category, which teams shall participate in which races. Teams will be opposed against teams, organizers against organizers, teams against organizers, and only an outcome that is acceptable to ASO will be implemented.

"The purpose is to reduce elite teams and organizers to a small number that is tied to the actor with the dominant position. You bring serfdom back into cycling."

The UCI has also written to the organisers of the ProTour races, expressing frustration with the decision, acknowledging that they face potential financial loss and pledging its support where possible.

Cyclingnews will have more on this story soon.

Australia maintains hopes for future Tour de France team despite recent ProTour news

News of the ProTour teams withdrawing from the UCI's Pro Tour for 2009 have not dashed hopes that an Australian team will participate in the Tour de France by 2010.

Directors of Australian Road Cycling:
Photo ©: ARC
(Click for larger image)

Australian Road Cycling's Director Victor Barichello said, "News of the decision... of the professional teams not to renew their UCI Pro Tour licences does not come as a complete surprise. We have been well aware of the issues surrounding the difference of opinion between the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO, which runs the Tour De France) and the UCI for quite a while now.

"The discontent has been brewing for some time, and there have been few signs of a peaceful and constructive resolution," he said. "It has been clear for some time that the organisation of cycling was experiencing difficulties, and that it had to adopt a strategy to overcome them."

Barichello hoped the teams' decision would benefit cycling, but indicated that his organization's long-term goal remained the same. "Our aim is to ensure that an Australian team competes in the Tour De France by 2010."

Not taking sides in the ongoing dispute involving the UCI, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and ProTour teams, he said, "ARC continues to remain respectful of the need for the major organisations and the governing body to sort out their differences and to move forward." His organization is openly in discussions with all major players in the sport, and he explained his view on what would benefit professional cycling.

"Most important is that we have a structure that is representative of the professional teams and endorsed unanimously by them, rather than having a division in the very backbone of the sport."

Happy to see the teams collaborating amidst the uncertainty of cycling's organizational future, he said, "Although the way forward is being mapped out even as we speak, there is hope that the teams understand the importance of working together for the good of the sport."

Voigt: CSC's aggressions pay off with Arvesen win

By Gregor Brown in Foix

Jens Voigt (CSC-Saxo Bank)
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC-Saxo Bank's Jens Voigt was thrilled to see his team's aggressiveness pay dividends for his friend and team-mate Kurt-Asle Arvesen in Tour de France stage 11 to Foix

"He is in great shape. He knows how to make the escapes and win," Voigt said to Cyclingnews following Arvesen's win. "He is a complete rider; he goes okay in the sprints, he climbs okay and does okay in the time trials – and that is what we have him for."

Arvesen took the win from a stage that was marked with the usual high speeds from the start. CSC made sure to put one rider in ever move that started to form. Arvesen made the move that stuck. He joined in on a 13-man escape at kilometre 35.

"As soon as there are six or seven riders attacking we should have someone in the move to control the situation a little bit. We all took turns trying to join the breaks – [Stuart] O'Grady, [Fabian] Cancellara, me, Andy Schleck – and Kurt was able to catch the right one."

CSC also has to protect the general classification interests of Carlos Sastre and Fränk Schleck. Having one of its riders in the escape allowed CSC not ride on the front with the team of race leader Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto.

Voigt explained that he was ready to do his share. "If I would have caught the right escape today then I would have been there. Fortunately, Kurt caught the escape. He just put the icing on the cake."

Arvesen forced the move in the final four kilometres and led the charge when Italy's Alessandro Ballan started the sprint. Voigt was pleased by Arvesen first Tour de France win.

"The whole team is a group of friends. We like to see each other win. I am so happy for Kurt because he has worked many years for this stage win. He has always had the capacity to do it, and today it all worked out for him."

The added morale boost will help with the Denmark-based team hits the first high-mountain Alpine stage on Sunday. Schleck is only one second off of the race leader's maillot jaune. The muscle work in the Pyrénées is expected to be done by Team CSC.

"Any stage win is great, that means that you have something already secured and your Tour is already won. The win takes some pressure off of the team as a whole and gives confidence for the coming stages."

Voigt's plan is simple: "Kill them all!" he said with a laugh. "What can I say? We will try to be a little conservative in the coming days and save ourselves for the Alps. In the Alps, we will try something to take the yellow jersey; we are here for that reason. We have to try to take the yellow jersey and we have to try to win.

Damsgaard on Tour doping

Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard
Photo ©: Sabine Sunderland/Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Rasmus Damsgaard, the man behind Team CSC-Saxo Bank's anti-doping program, indicated on Danish Television Wednesday that he is not satisfied with the way the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) are handling the anti-doping controls at the Tour de France.

The second doping case of the French Grand Tour broke Wednesday morning when Spanish rider Moisés Dueñas of Team Barloworld was announced to have had his "A" sample test non-negative for banned blood booster erythropoietin. Dueñas was suspended from his team and did not start stage 11 after the news while the results of his "B" sample are pending.

After news of the second doping case, Dr. Damsgaard said according to, "In fact, I think that these two cases show that their doping control does not work - because of the fact that two very moderate riders have been caught by random tests."

"I am afraid that if ASO did an EPO test on all riders in the peloton tomorrow, 10, 20 even maybe 30% of the riders would test positive for EPO," hypothesized Dr. Damssgaard, who thought it would be up to ASO as to whether the Tour de France would see more positive doping tests.

"If ASO continues doing only random tests, there will probably only be one or two more caught. However, if they work harder and start collecting a larger quantity of samples to test for EPO, we will see more positive cases," Dr. Damsgaard explained.

The Tour de France is not being sanctioned by the UCI, but instead run under the French Cycling Federation, so the AFLD is in charge of anti-doping controls at the this year's Tour de France.

Marycz, Contoli, and Graziato:

Tinkoff Credit Systems signs three Under 23 riders

Tinkoff Credit Systems signed three U23 riders for internships with the squad effective August 1: Jaroslav Marycz, Alberto Contoli and Massimo Graziato. The news comes shortly after Tinkoff announced plans for a major team expansion.

Marycz currently races with the team and so far this season has won the Polish U23 time trial championship, the Trofeo De Gasperi, and the Tour of Bern.

Italians Contoli and Graziato are currently riding under Mirko Rossato at the Filmop team; a team that has strengthened its relationship with the Tinkoff squad during this season. Contoli placed second this year in the U23 Italian National Championships, and Graziato logged several top finishes including third at Piccola Coppa Agostoni and fourth at the International "De Gasperi".

Bakelants to Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator

Jan Bakelants will ride next season with the Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator team, effective January 1, 2009. Bakelants, a 22 year-old Belgian racer, placed well in Brussel-Opwijk and the Circuit des Ardennes. He also won the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège race this season. His accomplishments are especially impressive in that they were achieved while he was completing university studies in Bioengineering.

"Given how the past few months have been, I am glad I will not have to occupy myself with my studies from now on. Bicycling and studies are a heavy combination. I'm excited to sign with the team that works splendidly for other athletes, especially neo-pros."

"The signing of Jan is entirely appropriate given the vision of the team, in particular training and supporting young pro hopefuls," said Christophe Sercu, Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator. "With us, he will have the chance to finish maturing.

Twilight Crit in Boise next stop for USA Crits

Next up in the USA Crits spotlight is the Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium on July 19 in Boise, Idaho. To celebrate the event's 22nd year, organizers have created a new course for racers.

A strong field of contenders will include riders from Team Inferno, Toshiba-Santo presented by Herbalife, Time Pro Cycling and California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized.

Current UCI World Track Omnium Champion Hayden Godfrey and former Junior World Track Champion "Lightning" Jeff Hopkins (Team Inferno) will compete against Seth Hansley (Locos Grill & Pub), Adam Myerson (Time), Yosvany Falcon and Frank Travieso (Toshiba-Santo), riders who are fighting for the title of overall series champion.

"Now that we're on the homeward stretch of the series, we're getting a clearer picture of which racers and teams have consistently excelled at the best criteriums in America and who among them will be awarded the overall series winners' jerseys in Las Vegas on September 25," said USA Crits co-founder Gene Dixon. "However, history has shown us that nothing is guaranteed until the last race is won."

The elite women's race will feature Taitt Sato (Value Act Capital) and Shannon Koch (Metro Volkswagen). Koch is hoping to narrow Erica Allar's (Aaron's) lead in the competition for champion in the U25 category, but she will have to step up the pace.

Even though she will be putting in an appearance at the race, US Olympian Kristin Armstrong is not racing. Saving her speed for the Beijing Games, she will be there to make young fans smile and get them into the Olympic spirit. Armstrong will sign autographs and take part in the St. Luke's/EMI Kid's Ride before the pro races begin. She was selected for the women's road team in both the time trial and mass start races in China next month.

Remaining USA Crits events
July 19: Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium Boise, Idaho
August 2: Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium Charlotte, North Carolina
August 24: Chris Thater Memorial Binghamton, New York
September 13: San Francisco Twilight Criterium San Francisco, California
September 25: USA Crits Final, Las Vegas, Nevada

For more information, visit

Trexlertown hosting Festival of Speed

On Friday night, the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania will host the Festival of Speed and International Women's Challenge. Back again to compete this year will be Australian National Sprint team members Jason Niblet, Scott Sunderland, and Kaarle McCulloch, along with Trinidad and Tobago's Hasseem Maclean, Simon VanVelthooven of New Zealand, Argentina's Leandro Botasso and Demis Aleman and Australian Pete Fitzpatrick.

The annual International Women's Challenge will draw a top field to fight for the title including McCulloch, T-Town favorite Liz Reap Carlson, Argentina's Veronica Martinez, Ashley Kimmet, Kacey Manderfield and New Zealand's Catherine Cheatley.

Gates will open at 6:30 pm local time with racing beginning at 7:30 pm. For more information, visit

Coach arrested on rape allegations

Ricki Lee, a 51 year-old cycling coach from Perth, Australia, was arrested in Lehigh Township, Pennsylvania upon allegations of raping a 15 year-old girl according to television station WFMZ.

Lee, a coach of an Australian cycling team visiting the Lehigh Valley area and competing at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center while staying in nearby Kutztown, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after turning himself in. He allegedly was introduced to his victim, not a member of the team, online and is being held in the Northampton County Prison on US$125,00 in bail.

Wanted: Teams for the Univest Grand Prix Weekend

Organizers of the 11th annual Univest Grand Prix, a stop on the UCI America and USA Cycling Pro Tours, are inviting teams to apply to compete in the September 6-7 weekend of racing in Pennsylvania including a 166km road race and a criterium.

UCI Professional Continental, Continental, National, Regional, and Club Teams are invited to apply. To request an invitation application, please contact Drew Cunningham, Competition Director, or visit for more information.

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