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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, November 27, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo and Peter Hymas

Gent Six Days organisers satisfied

By Bjorn Haake in Gent

Organiser Rob Discart (l) and race director Patrick Sercu
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

The organisers of the Zesdaagse in Gent, Rob Discart and Patrick Sercu, expressed satisfaction with the racing and the spectators of the week-long event. Discart, responsible for the overall organisation of the Gent Six Days, drew a positive summary. "We as the organisers can look back at five days of great racing." He was extremely happy with the atmosphere in het Kuipke, the old Gent track arena. "It was made possible by the [local] riders, headed by Iljo Keisse. But I think the participation of Erik Zabel also helped."

Good news for the organisers was a well-behaved crowd. "We didn't have problems with drunks, like sometimes in the past. The atmosphere was very festive, to which the racing and the music contributed."

There was definitely not a lack of people, with ticket sales going well. The Gent track seats 7,000. "We sold between 41,000 and 42,000 tickets over the week," Discart said. He admitted that not all of those sales went to general public. "We had about 1,400 VIPs every day, but that still leaves room for the general public."

The health department stopped by three times to check if regulations were followed and Discart was happy about the visits. "There were no abnormalities, which shows what kind of discipline we had."

The sporting side of things

Sercu, responsible for the sporting side, was very happy with the six days. "I don't understand some of the problems other events are having. In Germany they think more about other things than the sports aspect [the Stuttgart Six Days were cancelled, other German races are struggling - ed.]"

In Gent both spectators and racers had a good time. "The atmosphere was great here and that is partially due to the local racers. Most prominently Iljo Keisse, of course, but also Kenny de Ketele and Tim Mertens," Sercu said.

He added that Keisse, with German partner Robert Bartko, continued their form from Munich. There was one sour note for him. "I think Stam and Schep did not live up to expectations."

Another rider he praised was Erik Zabel, who is ending his career with the Six Days in Berlin. "You don't have to say much about him – a great athlete, full of enthusiasm and he had a strong partner with Lampater.

"The only one who didn't progress was [Ingmar] Depoortere. De Neef is a little older; Dimitri de Fauw gave all he could. Those people deserve a contract."

Sercu also praised some of the younger riders, from whom he expected a lot of fun within a few years.

Even though the event wasn't finished at the time Sercu drew the balance, he was already thinking about next year. "It would be nice for next year to put together some high level teams. I am thinking about Wiggins, [Alex] Rasmussen, Mørkøv, Kluge and others. Of course, they were all in Munich and Keisse/Bartko won anyway. Both are top right now and of course were extremely motivated."

Sercu was realistic about the difficulty of signing all the strong riders for one event."It was an Olympic year and a hard year for the track riders. They need some rest, too. It is tough to get all the top guys, like Mørkøv, Rasmussen, Kluge. You just can't pay to have all the top guys."

Bodrogi joins Katusha despite healing leg

By Gregor Brown

Laszlo Bodrogi
Photo ©: Mathieu Istil
(Click for larger image)

Laszlo Bodrogi expects to be back on the bike soon following a long rehabilitation due to a crash in the final stage of the Tour of Germany in September. The Hungarian time trial specialist will join his new team at its training camp in mid-December despite not being able to ride.

"My leg is still recovering from the crash. I fractured the tibia and fibula. ... It is better to be off my bike now because it is winter, it would have been worse to be stopped later on in the year," said Bodrogi to Cyclingnews.

Four kilometres from the arrival in the 34-kilometre stage he slide across the pavement and came to a stop against the roadside advertisements. His recovery has been steady despite not being able to ride his bike. He will revisit the doctor in France, where he lives with his wife, who performed the initial operation on his leg for x-rays and advice in the coming weeks.

"I will attend the camp in December, but I don't think I will be riding my bike with the others. I will work on building my muscles; I can work on the rollers at this point."

Team Katusha signed Bodrogi, winner of the 2005 Tour of Luxembourg and the 2007 Chrono des Nations, last month. He is looking forward to meeting up with the members of the new Russian team at its first camp for the new year, this December near San Vincenzo, Italy.

"There are a lot of young Russians; they wanted to create this team to have a structure to integrate the young Russians that are coming up through the ranks. This will be the first big professional Russian team since the 1990s [Italian team Alfa Lum - ed.].

"It will be the first time to work with Andrei Tchmil. I raced alongside Dmitri Konyshev when I was in my first years and I know Serge Parsani [the team's director sportifs] from my days at Mapei. I don't know the group of riders very well; I do know [Evgeni] Petrov and [Filippo] Pozzato, I raced with them at Mapei, the others I will get to know soon."

Katusha is the continued growth of Oleg Tinkov's Tinkoff Credit Systems. Tinkov is for the most part out of the day-to-day operations of the team, and the financial backing comes from a conglomerate of sponsors – namely Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii.

Scott-American Beef becomes Fuji-Servetto for 2009 season

By Monika Prell

The former Scott-American Beef team, registered with the UCI last week under the name of GM Bikes, has announced today that the team has acquired title sponsorship for the 2009 season from the Fuji bicycle company and Servetto, an Italian company which manufactures accessories for wardrobes. The ProTour team also will also be supported in 2009 by TMC Transformers, designer and manufacturer of electric transformers, and of the government of Cantabria. The team's headquarters will be situated in Cantabria, a province in northern Spain. Fuji-Servetto management is currently negotiating with additional sponsors for the upcoming season and expects to make an announcement next week.

The ProTour team has signed four new riders for 2009: Andrea Tonti and Davide Viganò (Quick Step), Daniele Nardello (Diquigiovanni) and Ricardo Serrano (Tinkoff). The remainder of the current Fuji-Servetto roster is comprised of riders from the 2008 Scott-American Beef squad including David Cañada, Eros Capecchi, Ermanno Capelli, David De la Fuente, Jesús Del Nero, Arkaitz Durán, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, José Ángel Gómez Marchante, Héctor González, Beñat Intxausti, Josep Jufré, Javier Megías, Ángel Gómez, Juanjo Cobo, Iker Camaño and José Alberto Benítez.

The squad, lead by the General Manager Álvaro Crespi, will have its roster finalized in the coming weeks.

Hoy named Sportsman of the Year by SJA

Chris Hoy had tears of joy in his eyes
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

Olympic gold medal winners Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year by the British SJA (Sports Journalists' Association) at their 60th Sports Awards on Wednesday. Hoy, who won three track cycling gold medals at the Beijing Olympics topped the men's poll ahead of runner-up Lewis Hamilton, 2008 Formula One world champion, and third place finisher Ben Ainslie, winner of three Olympic yachting gold medals. Rebecca Adlington, double Beijing gold medal winner in swimming, was awarded Sportswoman of the Year ahead of runner-up Nicole Cooke, Olympic and world road race champion, and Christine Ohuruogu, Beijing gold medalist in track and field's 400 meter event.

Great Britain's cycling team, which won 14 gold medals in Beijing and 11 gold medals at the track world championships in Manchester in March, was named team of the year.

The SJA is comprised of British-based sports writers, photographers, broadcasters and editors, more than 600 of whom participated in the 2008 Sports Awards poll.

UCI names 2009 ProTour teams

The UCI ProTour council (CUPT) has ruled on applications submitted for a ProTour license and has registered 18 teams for the 2009 ProTour. Each year teams are required to submit an application with full supporting documentation to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). This procedure, which is carried out on the UCI's behalf by Ernst&Young, allows the UCI to ensure that all teams meet the requirements set under the regulations, particularly the legal and financial aspects.

The 18 ProTour squads for the 2009 season are comprised of AG2R - La Mondiale (Fra), Astana (Kaz), BBox Bouygues Telecom (Fra), Caisse d'Epargne (Spa), Cofidis (Fra), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa), Française des Jeux (Fra), Garmin-Slipstream (USA), Katusha (Rus), Lampre-N.G.C. (Ita), Liquigas (Ita), Team Milram (Ger), Quick Step (Bel), Rabobank (Ned), Fuji-Servetto (Spa), Saxo Bank - IT Factory (Den), Silence-Lotto (Bel) and Team Columbia (USA).

Garmin-Slipstream and Katusha are new to the ProTour for 2009 replacing the defunct Crédit Agricole and Gerolsteiner squads.

Boom back on the bike, but not in Koksijde

Lars Boom
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Lars Boom will miss this weekend's round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde and the Superprestige race in Gieten, his team announced Wednesday. The reigning 'cross world champion has recovered from fever caused by a urinary tract infection and has resumed training, but will not make his return to competition until December.

Boom will head south for warmer weather to a previously-planned training camp in the Canary Islands. He isn't the only 'cross racer who has sought to escape the brutally cold November in Northern Europe. Sven Nys and Sven Vanthourenhout headed to Mallorca for two weeks of training which will only be interrupted by a quick trip back North for the Koksijde World Cup.

Cataldo joins Quick Step

Italian Dario Cataldo was announced as the latest signing by the Quick Step team on Wednesday. The 23-year-old turned professional in 2007 with the Liquigas team after winning two stages of the 2007 Tour de l'Avenir and the 2006 'baby' Giro d'Italia. Cataldo joined the team in Antwerp, Belgium for the squad's photo shoot.

"Dario is a young rider who has showed his abilities in the past," commented manager Patrick Lefevere. "He will ride with us next year with an option for 2010 season. We believe that Dario can grow in this group and obtain good results in the near future."

Cataldo brings the total number of riders on the 2009 Quick Step team to 27.

CSF Group-Navigare signs Marangoni

The Italian Professional Continental team CSF Group-Navigare announced the signing of its sixth neo-professional rider on Wednesday. 24-year-old Alan Marangoni will join the squad of Bruno and Roberto Reverberi as a time trial specialist. He won the Italian under-23 time trial championship in 2006 as well as a title in the scratch race and derny race on the track.

Marangoni was excited to be given a chance to turn professional, and hopes to challenge for his national time trial championship next season.

"My thanks go to my parents and my former team, the U.S. Fausto Coppi Gazzera Videa, which was great with me. I want to thank also the Mastromarco: I had an agreement with them for the elite season in 2009, but they were very excited about the signing with the CSF Group-Navigare."

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