First Edition Cycling News, November 8, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Julich recalls epic days
By Bruce Hildenbrand
American Bobby Julich decided to hang up his wheels at the end of this season, but he will by no means exit the sport. The 1998 Tour de France podium finisher will take on the role as rider development manager for the Saxo Bank-IT Factory team next year, and will also be providing Cyclingnews with his unique insights in a monthly column, to begin next week.
We spoke with the humble family man from his Pennsylvania home last month, where he recalled his most famous day on the bike - the epic 15th stage of the '98 Tour where he battled through horrible weather, dropped Jan Ullrich and thought he was riding into the yellow jersey only to find one Marco Pantani many minutes ahead.
"The one day that I really remembered that will stay with me forever was the stage that finished on Les Deux Alpes after going over the Galibier," Julich remembered. "It was epic survival. What was crazy was going up the Galibier, I had Kevin Livingston on the front and he started to go really, really fast pretty much from the bottom. He actually sprinted out of a turn and I yelled at him 'Hey Kevin, slow down, slow down' and that was when [Marco] Pantani just rocketed away from us. There wasn't anyone that could even come close to matching the pedal stroke that he had that day."
"Just going up the climb with the weather we had that day, riding side by side with Jan [Ullrich] who had the yellow jersey, you just felt like 'wow, this is going to be remembered.' We went over the top and, luckily, I was able to put on my rain jacket; I almost went off the side of the road and hit a camper trying to put it on. On the descent, even with the rain jacket, I was shivering so hard I could barely keep my bike straight."
"I got warm again and we came to the bottom of Les Deux Alpes and I remember seeing guys like [Laurent] Jalabert throwing his helmet, his gloves, his arm warmers, everything that was wet and heavy on the side of the road. I decided to do the same thing. One thing I don't do very often is take off my helmet, but I took it off along with my rain jacket, gloves, everything. Whoever the person was standing right there probably scored five or ten grand of cycling clothing because everyone was just ripping it off and throwing it."
"I did not know that Jan had a flat tire at that time because I had decided that I needed to go from the bottom. I knew the climb. It is a good climb for me. I needed to limit the time advantage that Pantani was taking. I felt amazing and I was just going with it in the big ring just time trialing to the top. I got to the top and thought that I had made some progress taking back some time on Pantani and I come across the line and I saw that I was over five minutes behind."
"As fast as I was going, he put two minutes on me on that climb. That was when I realized the guy was going to win the Tour. I really felt that I was possibly riding into the yellow jersey that day because I never really looked around, but I knew that Jan wasn't with me. But, when I came across the line and I saw the time difference of over five minutes I was blown away, but happy at the same time.".
More epic tales can be found in the complete interview with Julich.
Garmin-Chipotle roster final
By Laura Weislo
The Garmin-Chipotle team will head into 2009 with a 29-man roster for its first season in the ProTour ranks, manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews on Friday. The team will officially reveal its full roster at its November 22 team launch in Boulder, Colorado, but much of the information about transfers to and from the team has been made public already.
Most of the 2008 team will remain, including its stars Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie and David Millar, with the only exits coming from Christophe Laurent, who will join the Agritubel squad, and Patrick McCarty. The team added Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, two Canadians from the Symmetrics team, Svein Tuft and Christian Meier, Australian Cameron Meyer, and Dutch riders Richard Van Der Velde and Hans Dekkers.
Vaughters denied that he hired riders with homonymic names just to make his directeur sportifs' lives more difficult. "We can change the riders around and they won't have to yell anything different," he joked.
He explained that he decided to complete the roster with talented young riders rather than add a more established name. "We went with a bunch of unconventional bets as opposed to signing a big name. It's more fun, really." He tipped Tuft as one of the riders to watch. "I think Svein is going to be one of the big stories of top level cycling next year," he said of the rider who took silver in the world time trial championships. "He comes with an incredible work ethic, and it will be nice to see him evolve."
Vaughters is giving special attention to 30-year-old Tom Danielson, who he thinks has not been riding to the level of his physical capabilities this year. "I'm personally coaching Tom for next year – we just started that this week," he said, adding that Danielson found his stride toward the end of the season after being left off the Tour team.
"Tom exhibited in Missouri – without him we wouldn't have won the overall - that he's learned to be a team member instead of an eccentric climber. Step two is getting back to his physical capabilities. He's had some tough times and coming off a very rigid organisation like Discovery and moving to a more self-motivated team like ours was a hard thing for Tom. I like to make the riders think for themselves, and he's always had someone telling him precisely what to do. My goal is to get him to start thinking for himself. He's proven he's a good team worker."
Pijnacker World Cup a circuit for the strong
By Peter Hymas
The third round of the World Cup heads to the Netherlands after venturing to Belgium and the Czech Republic for the two opening events. A full schedule is in store for spectators at the Dutch venue with the elite men and women contesting their third World Cup race while the U23 and junior men compete in their second round.
Niels Albert, second in Kalmthout and first in Tabor, is the new elite men's World Cup leader. In only his first elite-level season of cyclo-cross, the 22-year old Albert's stirring start to this season's World Cup rewards him with the right to wear the leader's white jersey at the start of a World Cup event for the first time. Sven Nys, no stranger to sitting atop the World Cup standings, will look to rebound from a crash-marred race in Tabor to challenge once again for the victory and overall series lead. Nys has won the Pijnacker World Cup on three prior occasions and looks to put his experience to work on Sunday.
The Netherland's Lars Boom, Pijnacker's defending champion, won both his first World Cup and first win in the elite men's ranks last year and he's surely looking to excite his home nation's crowd with a repeat performance. Boom's current World Cup campaign has started slowly for the world champion with only a tenth and ninth place finishes to date and his status as the sport's phenom is undergoing a strong challenge from Niels Albert.
Ullrich manager denies Rock Racing rumours
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich is not negotiating with Team Rock Racing, according to his manager Wolfgang Strohband, who Friday denied rumours which appeared in the Belgian press.
Ullrich was in Las Vegas at the auto convention for his sponsor Terra-S, and Rock Racing manager Michael Ball arranged a meeting with him "because he is a big fan", Strohband told Cyclingnews. "The two got together and chatted about cycling, but there were no negotiations," he clarified.
Ullrich was the first German to win the Tour de France, in 1997. He rode for Team Telekom from 1995 – 2002, and Team Coast (later Bianchi) in 2003 before returning to T-Mobile in 2004. The team suspended him before the start of the Tour de France 2006 after he was named in Operación Puerto, and the German rider announced his retirement from the sport in February 2007.
However, rumours of his return have continued in light of the return of his Tour de France rival, Lance Armstrong.
Rock Racing signing former Toyota riders
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
With the departure of the Toyota-United team from the cycling stage in North America, its riders are all trying to land on their feet with contracts for 2009. But with the economy dropping and the pro peloton already contracting in size, the options and opportunities are few and far between. But a few of the riders seem to have found a home at Rock Racing, with owner Michael Ball signing sprinter Ivan Dominguez, time trialist Chris Baldwin, former Mexican champ Jose Manuel 'Chepe' Garcia and Aussie Caleb Manion.
"Right now Caleb Manion, Jorge Garcia and Chris Baldwin are coming with me," Dominguez told Cyclingnews. "I was trying to get a few guys to go with me. Michael has guys who can help me but I need some of my own guys too. I've worked with them for three years. And for climbing we have Chris Baldwin now to go with Tyler [Hamilton] and [Oscar] Sevilla."
While Dominguez said he is still finalizing his contract terms with Ball, Baldwin confirmed that he has signed with the team for 2009. Dominguez said the length of his proposed contract is for one year, but that he is more than happy with that in this current contract climate. "It is just a one year contract. If he wants to sign me two years I would sign it, but it's just one year now."
"The situation right now is really bad," said Dominguez about the tight job market in the USA."Teams [are] going from pro to amateur, some teams going under, it's really a bad time to find a team. I am very lucky that Michael is interested in me. I didn't know if I was going to keep racing or not. I really don't know what is going to happen with my other teammates, everyone is looking very desperate. And it's not only here, it's all over."
Toyota-United's manager Sean Tucker released the team's riders from their contracts in late August to find new jobs, and has been unsuccessful in finding a replacement before the deadline to register for the 2009 season.
Stay tuned for a full interview with Ivan Dominguez later this month.
Number of UCI teams declines in USA
By Laura Weislo
The number of professional teams has made a sharp decline in the United States compared to last year according to the USA Cycling. Two days after USA Cycling's deadline for UCI team applications, USA Cycling technical director Shawn Farrell revealed that only 12 applications for men's continental UCI licenses, and one for the Professional Continental level had been received by the November 5 deadline.
With the Garmin-Chipotle squad moving up to the ProTour level and only BMC seeking a Pro Continental license, this leaves two fewer continental teams than last year. The Rock Racing team was rumoured to have considered moving up to the Pro Continental level, but Farrell confirmed that they had decided to stay as a Continental team.
Continental teams, the equivalent of the former division III, cannot participate in ProTour races, and can only race the "Historic" (European Classics and major races like Paris-Nice) calendar if they are registered in the country of the race. They are allowed to enter international races of all other categories except Nations Cup events.
With the loss of the Rite Aid, Jittery Joe's, Toshiba and the Toyota United teams this year, the number of US professional teams is down to sixteen for 2009 from 18 in the past two years. The decline on the women' side is even more severe, with zero teams on the UCI registration list for 2009 - down from two in 2008 and four in 2007.
Cyclingnews spoke with the manager of the DLP Racing team from North Carolina, Jonathan Kane, who explained some of the difficulties with fielding a professional team in the United States. While the UCI's limit of 15 continental registered teams per country isn't an issue this year, high fees, tight deadlines and piles of paperwork can be a daunting task for all but the most organized manager.
"The deadline for applications were much earlier this year, and we were only informed of them in the beginning of September, so there was a lot of scrambling going on," Kane said.
USA Cycling's procedures required teams to file preliminary paperwork informing the organisation of the intent to register as a professional team by September 30th in order to meet the UCI's October 31 deadline for the teams list. A November 5th deadline was given for all applications to be submitted to USA Cycling. From there, applications are put through an external auditor at the expense of the applicants.
"For a team of the minimum eight riders, without salaries, the total cost just for the team licenses is about $17,600," Kane said. The list of fees include a bank guarantee, a 6,750 Swiss Franc registration fee to the UCI, $750 fee for the auditor, and $4,000 fee to USA Cycling.
Another issue for the domestic teams is the UCI's rule which requires a majority of riders to be under the age of 28. "It's really difficult to find good young riders in the US," Kane said. His team was interested in signing three riders who were then scooped up by Lance Armstrong's new Trek-sponsored developmental team.
Kane has completed his application and his roster for the coming season, but said it was a challenge to meet the demands of USA Cycling and the UCI while staying within his budget.
He could have hired a number of older riders if he'd had the space and budget, given the current market. "There are a lot of good riders 28 and over who don't have teams this year, but a lot of them were making $50-60,000 a year. Teams like ours and Kenda [a new US pro team -ed] don't have the resources to hire those riders," Kane said.
Sapa joins Lampre
Polish rider Marcin Sapa will join the Italian Lampre squad under a one-year contract, the team announced Friday. The 32-year-old comes from the DHL - Author squad, and came recommended after a strong performance in the Tour of Poland.
The Polish national road race champion, Sapa took the overall sprint classification in his national Tour. "We noticed Marcin during the last Tour of Poland," Lampre's manager Giuseppe Saronni said. "Sapa tried several breakaway attempts and it was not so easy for the bunch to chase him. Taking the advice of the Tour of Poland organizer, we choose Sapa in order to continue the tradition of very good Polish cyclists in the blue and fuchsia, who will allow the Lampre company to obtain high visibility in Poland."
Haywood awarded damages for losing Olympic nomination
American mountain bike racer Susan Haywood was awarded over $300,000 in damages by a US Federal Judge on Thursday for being unfairly being removed from the USA Olympic team in 2004.
Haywood then filed a counter-appeal, but lost when an arbitrator decided that 15 points that Haywood earned in an Idaho UCI race which never were submitted to the UCI shouldn't have factored into her points total in the Olympic selection.
A West Virginia jury awarded Haywood $318,647.14 in compensation, $18,647.14 of which were expenses incurred to fight USA Cycling's decision and the remainder in damages.
"After the Jury returned its verdict, Susan was grateful for the Judge and Jury finally acknowledging what she knew all along – that she was the rightful nominee to the 2004 Athens Olympics," a press release from her lawyers stated. "Sue pursued this case seeking to bring the issues to light in the hopes that mistakes such as this will not occur in the future."
"No verdict or court can ever give me what USA Cycling took," the release quoted Haywood. "It is my hope that this outcome will send a message to USA Cycling that it needs take its job as seriously and work as hard as those athletes who pursue the dream to represent the United States at the Olympics."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)