First Edition Cycling News, October 4, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Zabel's last German race signals change
By Susan Westemeyer
The podium of Friday's Münsterland Giro was André Greipel (Columbia), Erik Zabel (Milram) and Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) – three of the top German sprinters from the three German (and formerly German) teams. The order of their finish reflected not just how their race went, but also how their season as a whole has panned out. It also signaled a change of the guard at the top of the German sprinting ladder.
It was Zabel's last road race in Germany. The 38-year-old is retiring the end of the season, after a 16 year-career with over 200 victories. But those wins have been coming less often over the past few years. He had five wins last year, but only one this season – and 32 top ten finishes.
Third place went to Robert Förster, who still has apparently not found a team for the coming season. The 30 year-old had his biggest year in 2006, when he won stages in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, with six wins altogether. In 2007 he won two stages in the Giro, but only four in the season. This year "Frösi" also has only four wins in lesser races, and came away from the Giro and Tour empty handed, with only six top ten finishes in the two Grand Tours. Will those results and his experience be enough to recommend Förster for a ProTour team in 2009?
The winner of the race and the man they were unable to out sprint was a man who is called the strongest man in the peloton, Greipel. He is also a German sprinter riding for what is now a formerly German team, and with 14 wins, has the third-most of any rider this year. "Gringo" is also the youngest of the three, at 26. He started out the year as the first leader in the ProTour ranking by winning the Tour Down Under, and has continued his winning ways over the entire season.
The other big name in German cycling was also in the race, Gerald Ciolek. The youngest of the bunch at 22, he has had trouble establishing himself this season. Columbia has already said that it is planning to be without him for next year, and while Ciolek has not yet announced where he will be riding in 2009, it is widely expected to be for Milram. And his results in Münsterland? He was DNF.
New ASO chief to maintain values
The newly appointed president of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), Jean-Etienne Amaury, said Friday that he will not back down on his group's strict position against doping. Amaury, 32, is the son of Philippe Amaury - the founder of the eponymous media group which is the parent company of the ASO. He took over the presidency after Patrice Clerc was removed from that role this week.
Jean-Etienne Amaury told AFP that he was well aware of how doping had harmed the credibility of cycling, and promised that the dismissal of Clerc would have no impact on the fight against doping.
"This is due to a disagreement of people, not strategy," said Amaury. "We continue to have a very strict position against doping. These are ethical values that are fundamental in the culture of the group. Nothing has changed on that side. Our position is the same."
Amaury called into question the absence of specific language about doping in the agreement between the Editions Philippe Amaury (EPA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) last week, which ended the four-year long conflict between the sport's governing body and the owner of it's biggest race
"There is nothing specific about doping in this agreement," said Jean-Etienne Amaury. "We can not legislate as an organizer but we work as we did in the past with the responsible parties."
Amaury said the agreement will help to rebuild cycling in the years to come, and that his organisation would lead the way in the fight against doping.
However, he would not repeat his predecessor's decision to have the anti-doping controls run outside the aegis of the UCI. This year's Tour was not held under UCI rules, and as a result relied on the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) for the testing.
The anti-doping controls for next year's Tour will be "the responsibility of the UCI since one of the points of agreement is that we go back under the aegis of the international federation," but said that he would seek cooperation between the UCI and the AFLD.
Amaury said that the organisation of the ASO's management is still being studied, but was optimistic that it had "potential for significant development". He hinted that the group's plans for globalisation meshed with the UCI's plan to spread the top level of cycling across the globe. "ASO has an expertise in organizing events that it could export."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Quick Step down two in Franco-Belge
Quick Step lost two of Tom Boonen's key lieutenants in the Circuit Franco-Belge on Friday. Steven De Jongh and Kevin van Impe both withdrew due to physical ailments. 15km into the miserably cold and wet stage from Bray-Dunes to Poperinge, De Jongh pulled out due to pain in his back, possibly due to his kidneys.
The 34-year-old was seen at a local hospital Friday evening, and a team press release stated that he does not have any serious problems, but is being kept under the team's medical observation for a few days.
Van Impe pulled out due to increased pain coming from the tendon of his right knee – possibly made worse by the cold, wet weather. The Belgian has been suffering from recurring knee problems since the start of the season, and decided to pull-out of the race in order to not jeopardise his knee in light of the end of season races.
Puerto closure appealed - again
One week after the judge in charge of the infamous Operación Puerto closed the proceedings, the Spanish prosecutors announced that they will submit an appeal to the Provincial Court to fight the dismissal, according to AS.com.
Judge Antonio Serrano previously dismissed the case in March of 2007 after deciding that no laws had been broken by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, whose clinic was raided in 2006 and found to contain documents, doping products and hundreds of bags of stored blood, presumably banked by athletes with the intent to re-infuse the blood as a performance benefit. Italian Ivan Basso confessed to having been the source of several of the stored donations.
Prosecutors successfully appealed to have the case re-opened under a law prohibiting activities which are harmful to public health, which would be a criminal offense under 2006 Spanish law. Serrano decided last week that this law was not broken.
New Spanish anti-doping laws have since been passed to make doping offenses into a criminal offense, but were not in effect at the time of the Puerto raid.
Ullrich thinks Armstrong can win Tour again
Jan Ullrich thinks that his former rival Lance Armstrong can win the Tour de France again. but says that he himself has no plans for a come back.
"I think it is possible that he can win again in France," the retired German cyclist told the dpa press agency. "He has a great life and great women, but it doesn't fulfil him. He finds his fulfillment in sport. If he meets the challenge mentally, then his body will also meet it."
The German, who retired from the sport after falling under intense scrutiny over Operación Puerto, said that he would not consider making a return of his own. "This option doesn't exist," said the 34-year-old. "I stopped under different circumstances than Lance. I have experienced too many unfair things."
Ullrich was heavily pursued by the German investigators who sought to prove that he was involved in the scandal. He repeatedly denied being involved, and ultimately settled the case with a fine while escaping any legal or sporting sanctions.
Ullrich also said that he supported Armstrong's decision not to let his doping samples from 1999 be re-tested. "Why should he do something he doesn't have to do? I wouldn't do it either, it is a matter of principle."
Ullrich is appearing in two races in Germany this weekend, the "Charity Bike Cup" on Friday in Weil der Stadt and Steffen Wesemann's farewell race Saturday in Wolmirstadt.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
Swiss rider Steve Zampieri has announced his retirement. The Team Cofidis rider had hoped to finish off his career by riding the Giro di Lombardia later this month, but was not chosen by the team for the Italian Classic, according to the Swiss press agency, Si.
Zampieri, 31, turned pro in 2000 with Mercury, and rode for Post Swiss in 2001 before transferring to Vini-Caldirola for 2002 to 2004. He then rode for Phonak from 2005 to 2006 before signing with Cofidis. He is three-time Swiss climbing champion and won the climbing title at the Tour de Suisse and Tour de Romandie in 2002.
Rochester expands into Tour de New York
Organisers of the Rochester Twilight Omnium announced Friday that the event would expand into a six-day, UCI-ranked 2.2 event for 2009. The race, which was three-days this year, will cover six stages next year through the Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions of upstate New York from August 8th through August 13th.
The original event began in 2004 as the Saturn Rochester Twilight Criterium and has experienced exponential growth each year in all areas including spectator attendance and economic impact. "2008's three-day Rochester Omnium was designed specifically as a platform to introduce the Tour de New York. The planning has been in the works for several years and we're incredibly excited to launch the six-day Tour," said Scott Page, the event's Executive Director. "The long term plan for the Tour de New York is to explore different areas of New York State each year for a portion of the event".
Professional cyclists, including Olympic, World and National Champions, will compete in the following stages of the Tour de New York:
Rochester Twilight Criterium - Saturday, August 8th
USGP to qualify junior, U23 worlds slots
Organizers of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross presented by Crankbrothers, (USGP) have announced and the establishment of the a junior race series will host four junior and under-23 UCI races. The races will be used by USA Cycling to qualify riders for the world championships in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands in January 2009.
The two-race Mercer Cup and Portland Cups have been named the official U23 and Junior Worlds qualifying races, and are the only sanctioned UCI Junior races on the US 'cross calendar.
USA Cycling's Cyclo-cross director, Marc Gullickson said, "The four selection races will be used to pick the best riders (using their best three out of four results) on the two weekends, and to do this we attempted to use the most appropriate and well run events that fit into a very specific criteria. Both these race weekends will run two UCI Junior races as the selection races so the 17-18 Juniors will be the only riders on the course for their events and will receive appropriate UCI prize payout."
Hanscom continued, "We've shown our commitment to the development of junior riders through ongoing programs such as the Clif Bar Kids' clinics and last season's sponsorship of an additional junior rider for the Worlds team. Running dedicated UCI Junior fields seemed like the next step in our natural progression and we are really pleased to provide a quality competitive environment for these young athletes to compete against each other."
About the USGP The US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross presented by Crankbrothers takes place October 25th and 26th in Louisville, KY, November 15th and 16th in Mercer Co., NJ and concludes in Portland, OR on December 6th and 7th. For more information visit www.usgpcyclocross.com.
(Editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
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