Latest Cycling News, June 18, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson & Gregor Brown
Garmin joins Slipstream as title sponsor
Satellite navigation company Garmin has upped its involvement with American squad Slipstream Sports, signing as the Professional Continental squad's new joint title sponsor. The announcement, just days after American ProTour team High Road Sports signed Columbia as its title sponsor, will see Jonathan Vaughters' team ride in Garmin colours at next month's Tour de France.
"Slipstream cyclists are setting the standard for success through integrity and sportsmanship," said Jon Cassat, Garmin's vice president of communications. "This fresh perspective on work ethic and accountability is in keeping with Garmin's worldwide reputation for accomplishing great things through teamwork."
The squad will contest the upcoming French Grand Tour as Team Garmin-Chipotle Presented by H30. The team's new logos and visuals will be unveiled just six days before the squad makes its Tour de France debut, at a ceremony in Brest, France on July 3.
"We are thrilled to partner with Garmin and believe that establishing this title sponsorship is further evidence that a new era of cycling is upon us," said Vaughters. "Garmin's commitment to innovation and integrity mirrors our own."
Garmin's announcement is a positive boost for the sport, with many major sponsors exiting cycling in recent years as the sport travels through a rough patch with doping scandals. In a press release announcing the new sponsorship deal, Garmin said it is dedicated to Vaughters' vision of a new generation of ethical competition and supports his "ride clean or go home" approach.
Vaughters has been a strong opponent of doping within the sport in recent years. The former cyclist brought David Millar into the squad's fold this season, with the Scott also becoming a strong anti-doping voice within the sport since himself admitting to using EPO and serving a two year ban from cycling.
Garmin's first major association with Slipstream came in January, when it announced it would provide the team's professional riders with its Edge 705 computer to use throughout the season. The Edge 705 includes power compatibility, wireless unit-to-unit connectivity and the ability to monitor GPS position, heart rate, speed, cadence, altitude and gradient on the same display.
Stay tuned for more coverage on Cyclingnews.
CPA searching for 2007 Tour payments
By Gregor Brown
With three weeks left before the start of the 2008 Tour de France there are still riders who have not been paid their prize money from the 2007 edition. "We are still waiting for the payments from last year's Tour," noted President of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA), Cédric Vasseur. The retired Frenchman, who happens to have won a stage in last year's race, plans on meeting with Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme to discuss this and the recent vote on the use of race radios.
"Today, I got three riders who sent me an SMS asking 'where is the money from the Tour'," said Vasseur from his home in France, one of the few locations in Europe at this moment enjoying sunshine.
The CPA noted in April that only prizes related to the general classification had been paid, and only to foreign racers.
Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of
the Dauphiné Libéré live
as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe
time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).
Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of
the Dauphiné Libéré live
as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe
time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).
"I need to get in touch with him [Prudhomme] and fix it before the start to the next Tour," he added. "For sure, if we arrive in Brest and half of the bunch does not have the money then the riders will be unhappy."
Vasseur was proud of CPA's recent successful poll that revealed riders are for the use of race radios by some 70 percent. He emphasized that despite the results the CPA would welcome non-radio trial runs in the upcoming Tour.
"They [ASO - ed.] would like to try something new in the race, like a test," he said. "I told Christian Prudhomme that we would poll the riders regarding race radios.
"Most of them [riders - ed.] became professional after the existence of race radios in the peloton and they cannot imagine them not being there," he added.
He offered a different idea for ASO, involving less communication by its official radio – Radio Tour – in the opening hour of the stages. "We can preserve the security in keeping the race radio, but give less information in the first part of the race by Radio Tour," he said. "There will of course be riders in the break that give their directors information, but [without Radio Tour] it will take longer for everybody to get information – this will give more interest to the race. We could only give out safety information [via Radio Tour], like about flats and crashes. This would be a good middle ground."
Whether or not ASO would be open to the idea is yet to be seen, however, it would certainly add to the likelihood of escape groups forming in the critical moments of the Tour de France's stages.
Ryan eager to hit the road
By Bjorn Haake in Gent
The 2007 Australian Time Trial Champion, Carla Ryan, had been riding for her national team, however, she changed a couple of months ago to join the Cervélo Lifeforce team. Considering her time trial abilities, she is a good fit for the Grande Boucle Féminine in a line-up that includes Kristin Armstrong, Karin Thührig and Christiane Soeder. "So far so good!" described Ryan of her first days with her new team-mates. "I took a break after l'Aude and went back to Australia. Now, I have been back in Switzerland with the team for a few days."
Her mid-year deal will see her with the team until the end of the season. Ryan stated, "We started talking a little bit in the New Zealand tour at the beginning of the season and after Tour de l'Aude we finalised the contract."
Even without a team she felt well prepared. "I raced with the Australian National Team, which has given me a lot of good experience and an opportunity to race in Europe." One thing it didn't prepare her for were the cobbles in Belgium and France, which dot the first stages of the Grande Boucle Féminine. "We had a look at the cobble stone sections, but I haven't done much racing in Belgium and Holland. You can't do anything about, so just go for it!" expressed the Queenslander.
Naturally, Ryan is already looking forward to the time trial, although "I have never done 40 kilometres – that will be a new experience as well. But it should be fun. The course is predominantly flat. With a hill I'd be happier," she stated honestly. However, like with the cobbles, she just takes it as it comes. "I can't do anything about that and I just have to give it my all."
Ryan is confident and is upbeat about the new team. "It's a very exciting opportunity. I am looking forward to working with everyone and being part of the team." She knows well that first and foremost she will fill the role of a domestique. "Being given the opportunity to race here with them I will definitely work for the team. I am more than happy to do whatever is asked of me."
Hansen happy with Columbia
By Susan Westemeyer
Team High Road will become Team Columbia as of the Tour de France, and all associated with the team were happy to know that their future was assured. Australian Adam Hansen was happy, too, for another reason – he loves the Columbia sport clothing.
"Columbia is very, very cool," he told Cyclingnews. "Before my eight-week racing block (Amstel Gold to Dauphiné Libéré), I was hiking four to six hours a day (plus two to three hours of bike training). Even today, as I start my training, I went for a two hour hike this morning."
And what does the 27 year-old wear on those hikes? Columbia-brand clothing, of course. "I've used Columbia gear in the past and I really like their stuff. So I'm the most excited rider on the team because of it!"
Ireland names Olympic roadies
By Gerard Cromwell
Cycling Ireland has announced Ireland's two-man team for the Olympic Games road race in Beijing, China on August 9. The only two Irish professionals to ply their trade at cycling's highest level, the ProTour, Crédit Agricole's Nicolas Roche and AG2R La Mondiale's Philip Deignan, will line up for the 245-kilometre Olympic event.
Roche will follow in the footsteps of his father Stephen, who represented Ireland at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 before going on to become a legend in the professional ranks. Both 24 year-olds have plenty of experience and have ridden together on numerous Irish teams at World Championship level.
Now in his fourth year as a professional, Roche has progressed steadily each year and looked likely to make his Tour de France debut in July. Illness three days before this week's Tour de Suisse has forced Roche to skip what should have been his final Olympic preparation race. Olympic selection though, has made that blow a little easier for the Dubliner.
"I was disappointed to miss the chance of riding the Tour," said Roche. "But I'm absolutely delighted to be going to the Olympics. I was hoping to get the call today and I'm really, really delighted to be picked."
Roche has been in consistently good form this season taking numerous top 10 placings, culminating with a stage win and two days in yellow at the GP Internacional Paredes Rota dos Móveis in Portugal last month. His record in big races over the years, including good performances for Ireland at previous Junior (U-18) and U-23 world road race championships, make him an automatic choice for selection.
The course around Beijing is a gruelling 24-kilometre loop, with 10 kilometres of climbing on each of the seven laps, making it comparable to a Tour de France mountain stage. The route takes in many of Beijing's landmarks, passing through the city zoo, past the Great Wall of China, Tiannamen Square, Yonghegong Palace and Temple of Earth Park.
"I've heard the course is very hard," said Roche. "With 10 kilometres of climbing, followed by a long descent before going straight back up again. People who rode the Olympic test race have told me it's crazy, with a very hard climb each lap and that it's more like a mountain stage of a big tour. So it's going to be hard.
"I'm going to focus my training in the next couple of weeks on mountain climbing and myself and Philip will probably have a training camp in the Pyrenees or the Alps after the Irish Championships next weekend," he added.
While last year's Tour de France winner, Spanish climber Alberto Contador, is already being touted as a pre-race favourite, many of the world's top sprinters have deemed the circuit to be too hard for them and withdrawn from selection. The high humidity and dirty city air is sure to make this a race of attrition.
"I don't mind the heat," says Roche. "I raced in Malaysia in February and I reckon it will be the same type of weather, air quality and humidity."
The hilly Beijing course would suit an in-form Deignan, whose best results have come in tough mountain stages of big tours. Although the Letterkenny youngster missed much of the early season with injury, he completed his second Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, in May and is currently in action in Switzerland for his French AG2R team.
Deignan took two top 12 placings on mountain stages of last year's Vuelta a España and has also previously finished on the podium on mountain top finishes at the Baby Giro and Tour de l'Avenir. The duo head for an Alpine training camp organised the Irish Sports Council on July 14th.
"I've been racing with Philip since we were 15," says Roche. "He won his first race and I was second. Since then we've been on Irish teams together. We've roomed together and even lived together for a year in Marseille with VC La Pomme.
"It'll be great to ride the Olympics together and we'll probably train together up until then," he added. "Every athlete in every sport wants to go to the Olympics at some stage. It's the dream and it's my goal for the year. For me it's a very important race. I know we only have two riders in the race, but the Olympics will be a lot different to the Worlds or races where other teams can have 12-man teams. I'm really looking forward to it."
O'Neill satisfied with CAS outcome
By Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia
Australia's Nathan O'Neill is satisfied with the outcome of his Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal, which sees him able to return to the sport on November 12. O'Neill will return to the United States of America on Monday, where he will begin training and start to focus contract negotiations for the 2009 season.
O'Neill tested positive for the stimulant Phentermine in an in-competition test on August 12, 2007, during the Tour of Elk Grove in the USA. While the eight-time Australian Time Trial Champion is allowed to use the appetite suppressant out of competition, traces of the substance remained in his system during the event.
"I am [satisfied], I admitted my mistake, I've paid my penalty," said O'Neill. "I think it's more than fair, so I'm prepared to take it and move on."
CAS determined that O'Neill had been able to demonstrate a degree of no significant fault or negligence and thereby imposed a lesser penalty of 15 months.
O'Neill admitted he was frustrated with yesterday's announcement to the media he'd been handed a 15-month suspension by CAS. The rider was actually served the maximum penalty of 24 months by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, with yesterday's CAS appearance an appeal by O'Neill over the little publicised initial sanction.
A press release from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) said it would now review the case in conjunction with the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Cycling Australia. An ASADA spokesperson told Cyclingnews.com that the case is still being reviewed and no decision had been made as to whether there's any cause for the body to lodge an appeal of yesterday's findings or not.
"My version of events matched up with that of their key expert witnesses, everything lined up," said O'Neill. "There was no disagreement there."
O'Neill wasted little time getting back on the bike after the CAS decision, with the rider undergoing power-output testing today. The Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist is looking forward to reuniting with his wife and daughter in the USA next week.
He has struggled to put together more than one week of continuous training since testing positive last year, he said. With the CAS appeal now behind him, O'Neill said he's looking forward to getting back on the bike and competing again.
"I'm really motivated, more than ever," he said. "It's been a good thing in a strange way from that perspective. I've got six months to get ready, so I don't expect to have any problems being ready [for my return]." O'Neill indicated the results of today's power-output testing look good, considering the time he's been away from the sport.
Marzoli out with six-month suspension
Italy's Ruggero Marzoli has been disqualified by the Italian cycling federation (FCI) for six months for his involvement in the Oil for Drugs investigation involving Doctor Carlo Santuccione. The 32 year-old will be able to return to racing October 17.
Despite an appeal made on March 31 to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the FCI appeals commission ruled, "he is liable for frequenting Doctor Carlo Santuccione, limited and without membership ... therefore it is considered guilty of attempted use of prohibited substances and a sanction is imposed."
Marzoli initially refused to cooperate with CONI prosecutors in the investigation dating back to 2004. Another Italian, 2007 Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca, served a three-month suspension this last winter for his relationship with Santuccione. For more details on the Oil for Drugs, read NAS blitz nets nada and NAS raid Giro again.
Savings & Loans for Korea-Japan
Australian squad Savings & Loans has announced the roster it will send to contest the first Tour of Korea-Japan this Saturday. The outfit will be led by team strongman David Pell, whose general classification efforts will be supported by Chris Luxton and Will Dickeson.
"The team are riding really well, having won almost every tour in Australia so far this year," said team manager Stephen Cunningham. "This is our first race in Asia which will become our main greater focus for the team over the next few years."
The team has drawn on the experience of other riders in the squad, including Brett Aitken, who claimed third place in the Tour of Korea in 2003, and Joel Pearson who raced the event in the same year. Cunningham hopes to bring home a strong result for Pearson, who wasn't able to be included on the team's roster as he continues to recover from a car accident in April.
Organisers of the event, based off the Tour of Korea, are expanding to include Japan in this year's event as a symbolic move of the two nations moving on after centuries of conflict. The addition of an opening prologue and first stage on Japan's shores is also indicative of the organiser's intentions to develop the event into a Tour de Asia, with the aim of adding stages in more nations over the coming years.
"Not knowing the competition all that well, we're going to have to assess our goals after the first road stage in Yamaga, Japan," said Cunningham. "This is without doubt going to be one of the biggest challenges for us."
Savings & Loans for Tour of Korea-Japan: David Pell, Chris Luxton, Will Dickeson, Craig McCartney, Tim Roe and Russell Gill.
SuperWeek to celebrate 40 years
The organiser of the International Cycling Classic - SuperWeek has announced it will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year. The event has confirmed a host of professional teams from around the world that will take part in this year's event, including outfits from as far as Asia and Australia.
"I am elated that we have been producing bike races for over 40 years," said founder Otto Wenz.
The event is hoping to play off the Olympic Games theme for this year's event, announcing it will be trying to attract both local American Olympic hopefuls as well as those from abroad.
"This being an Olympic year we expect several American and International Olympians to enter as part of there training program, and we expect an international war waged on Bicycles," said director of operations Andy Garrison.
Some of the teams already confirmed for this year's Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic - SuperWeek include Australian squads Savings & Loan Cycling Team and Virgin Blue-Australia, Asian outfit Hong Kong Cycling and USA's Rock Racing.
"Last year we had over 7,000 entries and 250,000 spectators during the event, and we expect even more because of the 40th," said marketing director Michael Garrison.
2008 International Cycling Classic / SuperWeek Tour schedule: July 11 - Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Chicago, Illinois July 12 - St. Francis Hospital Blue Island ProAm, Blue Island, Illinois July 13 - Homewood Cycling Criterium, Homewood, Illinois July 14 - TBA July 15 - Ray Basso Bensenville Criterium, Bensenville, Illinois July 16 - Ray Basso Bensenville Criterium, Bensenville, Illinois July 17 - Humboldt Park Criterium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 17 - Tim Hart DDS/Rainbow Jersey Shorewood Criterium, Shorewood, Wisconsin July 18 - Ripon Red Hawk Criterium, Ripon WI July 19 - Carl Zach Cycling Classic, Waukesha WI July 20 - Evanston Northwestern HealthCare Grand Prix, Evanston, Illinois July 21 - Pharma Pacific Tour of Holly Hill, Hartford, Wisconsin July 22 - WDSC Cedarburg Cycling Classic, Cedarburg, Wisconsin July 23 - Whitnall Park Road Race, Hales Corners, Wisconsin July 24 - Racine.org Criterium, Racine, Wisconsin July 25 - Chase Food Folks & Spokes, Kenosha, Wisconsin July 26 - Downer Avenue Bike Race, Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 27 - Time Warner Cable Whitefish Bay Classic, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
(Editorial assistance and research provided by Susan Westemeyer)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)