First Edition Cycling News, November 1, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Brits pick up where they left off in Manchester
By Ben Atkins in Manchester
The British team might have largely sent its B-squad to the first round of the UCI World Cup, but that did not stop them from dominating in the first session of the weekend. Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton, Wendy Houvenaghel and Jason Kenny cruised through the qualifying rounds in their respective events, but new faces also stepped up to the challenge.
Ed Clancy, a mainstay of the British team pursuit squad, put in the fastest men's individual pursuit qualifying ride, and Matthew Crampton emerged victorious in his heat of the keirin first round. Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins skipped his signature event, choosing to dabble in the scratch race instead.
With many of the Olympians taking a late summer break and choosing to start the World Cup rounds later, the door was wide open for new faces from all countries to have a chance at the medals in Manchester.
See the full report, results and photos for session one of the Manchester World Cup.
O'Neill still battling but able to race in 2009
Toyota-United becomes 2007 NRC team champ
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Multiple Australian time trial champion Nathan O'Neill is still battling with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority panel over the length of his suspension after admitting to using the appetite suppressant Phentermine. He made the admission after testing positive at the 2007 Tour of Elk Grove, in which he won the opening prologue and overall title. The wins were taken away and O'Neill was given a reduced 15 month suspension by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after an appeal demonstrated a degree of no significant fault by the rider.
Another outcome of the decision came about recently, albeit quietly. USA Cycling revised the team NRC standings for 2007, adjusting for the revoking of O'Neill's Elk Grove wins. Because he raced Health Net-Maxxis at the time, the change resulted in Toyota-United claiming the team NRC title for that year in a close points race.
Since O'Neill's appeal, the ASADA panel has argued the details of his suspension with O'Neill and his lawyer – trying to get the maximum time out of the suspension period in what O'Neill thinks is the panel trying to use the situation to make an example. "[The panel] wanted the maximum sentence of two years, then they backed down to 15 months, but now they want it from the date of notification. It's is so trivial and splitting hairs."
The difference between when the actual suspension started is only a month, and would change his possible return date from mid-November to mid-December. O'Neill is fighting this, but mostly out of spite, since the neither date falls within the racing season. "If the appeal is even allowed to be heard and they win, it will mean the 15 months from the day I was notified. So it will mean the middle of December instead of November, but as long as I can race by January it doesn't matter."
With the problems between him and the ASADA seemingly behind him, the bigger problem is finding a ride for next season. In an already tough market with so many riders still without teams, O'Neill said the perceived uncertainty of his 'racing status' for 2009 has not helped in securing a contract. He said he was in talks with Rock Racing for a time but that the negotiations remain ongoing.
"It's a tough market right now, but I want people to know that I am able to race next season."
USA Cycling expands track focus
USA Cycling unveiled several new programs designed to increase international racing opportunities for American track riders on Friday. The USA has struggled to keep up with track powerhouses such as Great Britain and Australia in recent years, although they've enjoyed success from female riders like Jennie Reed (2008 world champion, keirin) and Sarah Hammer (2006, 2007, pursuit) and the recent emergence of Taylor Phinney as a name for the future.
USA Cycling will begin by abandoning its "Talent Pool" criteria for selection to the country's world championship team. For the 2009 championships in Pruszkow, Poland, on March 26-30, the team will be selected "based on various parameters including 2008 world championship performance, time standards and additional international results."
The access to international competition has been relatively limited for US track athletes, but the new programs aim to expand attendance by American riders to not just the World Cups, but also the European Grand Prix and Six Day races. USA Cycling also hopes to develop new talent along the way.
"We've already built a successful model for athlete development," said USA Cycling Director of Athletics, Pat McDonough. "Now it's just a matter of specifically applying it to track riders. We've shown in other disciplines that consistent exposure to international competition is the most effective way to develop world-class athletes, so we needed to expand upon that idea for our track athletes. In the past, sending a team to four World Cups a year didn't provide our athletes with the amount of high-level racing necessary to improve."
USA cycling will first expand its men's and women's endurance programs, and in 2010 it will add a long-term sprint program. Both the men's and women's endurance programs will focus efforts on developing athletes who are relatively new to track cycling at the international level, and will take advantage of infrastructure and resources already established by USA Cycling for its U-23 National Team in Izegem, Belgium and its Women's National Team in Lucca, Italy.
USA Cycling will not field a national team for the season's first three World Cup events in Manchester, Melbourne, Australia and Cali, Colombia. US trade team athletes will take part in these events. However a national team comprised of development athletes will represent the United States at round four in Beijing and the fifth and final race in Copenhagen this winter.
Details of USA Cycling's track program can be found at the organisation's web site.
North American 'Cross Trophy heads to Boulder
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The North American cyclo-cross season shifts again this weekend, from the start of one major series back to the other, with a pair of UCI races held in and around Boulder, Colorado. The North American Cyclo-cross Trophy series' Boulder Cup weekend will see a C2 rated race on Saturday at the Boulder Reservoir and a C1 race on Sunday Harlow Platts Park. The races make up three of the four weekends in a series led by Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Amy Dombrowski (Velo Bella-Kona).
In the men's race, a quality field is on the registration list, including national champion Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale) who is just 30 points behind Trebon in the NACT series. The two riders traded wins last weekend at the Derby City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky. But each rider also had off days likely due in part to the constant racing for the past month – with Trebon pulling out of the second race with a banged-up knee. The fatigue of travel and racing could affect how the top riders fare this weekend.
With this in mind, Jesse Anthony (Jamis) could capitalize on having just come back to racing, after missing two months from a broken wrist. Last weekend's racing was the first time he raced without a brace on his wrist – and though he admitted to missing a little endurance towards the end of the 60 minutes, he pulled out two second place finishes to take the USGP series lead.
Anthony, however, is without teammates this season. And an off day by riders like Johnson or Trebon is usually countered by their teammates – the strongest of which so far has been Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale.) The young rising-star of US 'cross racing has had his best season ever so far, recently winning the Wissahickon Cross race and sitting in third place on the NACT series.
Powers, Johnson and Trebon, or some variation thereof, seem to make-up the leading group in most races this season, putting all the pressure on Trebon. The Kona rider's teammate Barry Wicks has yet to make it past the chase group to even the odds for Trebon. Also consistently in the chase groups are riders like Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe's), Jamey Driscoll (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale) and the brothers Wells, Todd (Team GT) and Troy (Clif Bar.)
The women's series is much closer than the men's, with Dombrowski holding a 58 point lead over both Canadian champion Wendy Simms (Kona) and Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale). Dombrowski gained her lead by winning both of the Gloucester races while Simms and Butler, who traded wins on the first weekend of the series in Seattle and Tacoma, did not race. Neither Simms nor Butler are expected to race this weekend.
The biggest news also comes from the 'not-racing' file – US champion Katie Compton (Spike) is not on the start list, likely due to her leg injury that kept her from finishing the first World Cup.
This leaves the favorites to Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) and Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) who battled last weekend in Louisville. Gould won one of the races while her Luna teammate Katerina Nash took the other. The double-team kept Lloyd from even having a chance, but with Nash racing in Europe this weekend the playing field is more even.
Cyclingnews will have full reports and photos from both days of racing.
Bulgarian Bourgas team moves up a level
The current Bulgarian Cycling Club Bourgas is undergoing a serious change towards the 2009 road season. Belgian Franky Van Haesebroucke received a three-year contract to lead the Bourgas team towards a higher status; Van Haesebroucke led the American Navigators team back in 2004.
The Belgian manager explained what the Bourgas team is planning to do. "The main sponsor Pons Holding increased the budget for the next three years. We are building on the fundamentals of the Cycling Club Bourgas but we will now be located in Belgium.
"In 2009 we're a continental team and we're going to ride a program of races in Belgium, France and The Netherlands; hopefully we can ride a lot of category 1.1 and 2.1 races. In 2010 we want to be a professional continental team," Van Haesebroucke said.
"The team will consist of fourteen riders of which six are Bulgarians. I assume Daniel Petrov is the most well known among them," Van Haesebroucke referred to the rider, who is with Team Benfica this year and won the 2006 Trofeo Agostinho back. "Then there's the experienced former Slovakian champion Martin Prazdnovsky and probably also the talented young riders Darren Lapthorne – who is a former Australian champion – and his compatriot and former U23 TT champion Zakkari Dempster.
"The other spots are reserved for good riders from Belgium, France or The Netherlands. I was thinking about Niko Eeckhout but he recently signed elsewhere. Luckily there are enough other quality riders available to ride in a team with a good program like ours," he concluded.
Australians send young team to Manchester
After being shut out of the gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, and netting just one silver thanks to sprinter Anna Meares, the Australian track cycling programme is rebuilding with some of its young riders in the Manchester World Cup. Leigh Howard and Glenn O'Shea will represent Team Toshiba at the event this weekend.
Howard and O'Shea, both former junior world champions, have been showing good signs this year but Manchester is the opportunity to prove themselves at senior level. "Our main aim in Manchester is to win the Madison, which will be our goal at all the World Cups we do together," Howard said.
"Ultimately [this season] we're aiming for a good result in the World Championships next year in Poland. Together Glenn and I are riding awesome. Our riding styles are similar and we both egg each other on to go to the next step every race.
"I think we will be a force to be reckoned with in the future and hopefully come London."
The two 19-year-olds have every right to be confident after their impressive performance in the recent UIV Talents Cup 3-Day event in Amsterdam. "I'm really happy with our performance in Amsterdam. The field was a similar quality to last year so to win this year by seven laps was amazing," Howard said.
Yet Howard sees more room for improvement saying "I've still got a bit of work to do to get my track legs back to top form, as March was my last track race before Amsterdam."
"Hopefully come Melbourne [Track World Cup] I'll be going great guns," said Howard who along with O'Shea will this season race with Team Toshiba, Cycling Australia's professional track team.
After Manchester the two Victorians will head to Munich, Germany, for another UIV Talents Cup 3-Day event before returning home to ride the Track World Cup in Melbourne. In addition to riding the Madison together in the Manchester World Cup, Howard will ride the scratch race and O'Shea the points race.
K2 Classic to test Kiwis
A star-studded field head to the Coromandel this weekend for the grueling RoadCraft K2 Cycle Classic. K2 is renown in mountain climbing circles as the world's toughest peak, but in New Zealand it is a grueling 200km cycle event attracting the country's best riders. Past winners include Kiwi internationals Glenn Mitchell and Fraser McMaster, American record holder John Leiswyn and Denmark's women's Tour de France champion, Linda Vilumsen.
The attraction is the European-style course and a hefty prize purse. With over 40km and 2300 vertical metres of climbing, the RoadCraft K2 combines the rigours of European cycling with New Zealand's supreme surroundings to produce a challenge that is fast becoming a favourite amongst elite and recreational cyclists alike.
Every year this unique event starts from a different Coromandel town and does one full 200k lap of the peninsula. This year racing gets underway in Tairua on Saturday.
This year the RoadCraft K2 also doubles as round four of the BikeNZ National Road Series, which is currently led by Jeremy Yates (Hast) and Serena Sheridan (Nels), who will both be on the start line at Tairua on Saturday.
Yates is the defending K2 champion and fresh from winning the national club championship and taking a top 10 finish in Australia's prestigious Sun Tour, the former world junior champion starts as favourite for this year's RoadCraft K2.
But in a tough field the Hastings builder won't be able to rest on his recent laurels. Auckland's Karl Murray currently sits second behind Yates in the national series, while talented teenager Tom Findlay (Palm Nth) is fifth. Both will be keen to topple Yates from the top spot, as will former world under-23 top 10 Peter Latham and (Ham) and American standout Omer Kem.
Kem, a full time professional on the prestigious American team, Bissell Pro, is keen to revisit K2 after finishing third in 2007 just two minutes down on Yates' record breaking ride. He may have an advantage this year too in support from his newly-signed teammate, Peter Latham, who will ride for Bissell Pro on the American circuit next year.
But the rider likely to challenge Jeremy Yates might be his brother Mathew, a former RoadCraft K2 winner on the comeback after a couple of years away from the sport.
For details visit www.arcevents.co.nz.
Celebrate with Cyclingnews' End of Season Sweepstakes
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the road and mountain-bike seasons are winding down and it's time to plan to get through the off-season blues (and if you live in the Southern hemisphere and your season is just getting started, no worries – your offy will be here in no time so this sweepstakes is for you too). We and our friends at CycleOps and DiNotte Lighting want to help you.
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