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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, October 12, 2008

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Albert and Vantornout speak out on prize money tensions

By Brecht Decaluwé in Mouscron

Niels Albert (Palmans-Cras)
Photo ©: Isosport
(Click for larger image)

Discussions over prize money in the European cyclo-cross peloton continue to cause commotion after the race in Mouscron on Saturday.

Niels Albert – who battled near the front of the race – was annoyed with the racing style from some of his colleagues. "I think it's a shame that those guys are riding here. Our holiday time is in March and not in October. If you're paid to race then you've got to show yourself and if you can't do that then you should stay away from a race," Albert said to Cyclingnews.

"If you're only racing at 50% then your price should only be 50% of its normal rate." These statements from Albert will only add to the commotion about the start money that has lived up this season. Riders from the subtop like Ben Berden claimed that the big guns killed the sport by claiming huge start money fees.

Hans Van Kasteren – from Fidea – then gave away estimates of those prices to the press, which is not done in cyclo-cross; it turned out that riders like Sven Nys and Lars Boom asked about 8,000 euro to start in a independent race like the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne on Saturday. Last week the organizers of the Gazet van Antwerpen trophy decided not to offer a contract to Klaas Vantornout as they felt he wasn't motivated enough to offer a return for his money.

Vantornout in 2007
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Vantornout had called off his participation in a GvA-round due to sickness a couple of times last year, nevertheless being able to claim good results one day later in other important races.

"I can understand their suspicion but it was pure coincidence. Some people should understand that if I ride for the victory today [on Saturday in Mouscron] then I'm paying the price for that tomorrow in Ruddervoorde. I'm not Sven Nys who can ride here at 90% and recover in time for the race on the following day," Vantornout said.

Sunweb-rider's Vantornout took a good start but dropped back and finished on a – for him – poor thirteenth position. "I hope that I can prove to the organizers from the GvA-trophy that they were wrong not to offer me a good contract," he concluded.

Anti-doping expert defends CERA tests

The test for CERA, the new form of EPO, "is one hundred-percent sure," the expert for blood-doping at the Lausanne, Switzerland anti-doping lab says. "We conducted clinical studies in order to ensure that the results that we pass on are one-hundred percent correct."

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Interviewed by the German television station ARD Neil Robinson refuted doubts on the tests recently expressed by Stefan Schumacher's attorney and manager.

Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli tested positive for CERA during the Tour de France, with all samples being tested at both the labs in Lausanne and Paris.

"We don't think there will be problems in court, because we worked hand in hand with those responsible all the way," Robinson said. "And the Paris lab also did an analysis with another test procedure," reaching the same results. (SW)

Beghelli to test Cunego's Lombardia form

By Gregor Brown

Lampre's Damiano Cunego
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Sunday's 12th Gran Premio Beghelli is set to test Damiano Cunego's form in light of the Giro di Lombardia next week. The 195.8-kilometre parcours in Emilia Romagna, Italy will pit Cunego against top-rivals Cadel Evans, Fabian Wegmann and Alexandr Kolobnev.

"He [Cunego] won in a sprint last year, but it could arrive in an escape this year," warned Directeur Sportif Maurizio Piovani to Cyclingnews.

Cunego won the 2007 edition in a sprint from a nine-man group. He bettered Germany's Wegmann and fellow Italian Alessandro Bertolini and went on to win Giro di Lombardia six days later. He first won Lombardia in 2004.

Piovani was impressed with Cunego at the Giro dell'Emilia and believes his form is there for Lombardia. "Di Luca made the difference and Cunego could not follow and decided to go at his own pace. He has shown his form over the distances, like at Worlds, and Lombardia will suit him – he will be a protagonist."

The Beghelli parcours climbs the Zappolino each time in the closing eight 12.3-kilometre circuits. The final climb leaves 7.8 kilometres to the finish in Monteveglio.

Eeckhout considers Rock Racing offer

Niko Eeckhout has an offer from Team Rock Racing for the coming year, according to Michael Ball, owner of the USA based team, is said to want to hire more European riders for the coming season.

"I would consider this if a serious European program is being offered, but if I have to ride ten months in America, then I am out," Eeckhout said. The 38-year-old has not been offered a contract for the coming season from his current team of Topsport Vlaanderen. (SW)

Franzoi keeps focus on cyclo-cross and marriage

By Brecht Decaluwé in Mouscron

Franzoi leading the favorites on Saturday
Photo ©: Stijn Vercaemer
(Click for larger image)

A surprising rider at the start of the Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne in Mouscron was 'crossista' (cross-country scrambler) Enrico Franzoi. The Italian of Team Liquigas explained cyclo-cross is important as ever despite his stated desire earlier this year to reduce his winter program.

"Tomorrow I'm not riding in Ruddervoorde because I didn't receive a contract and next week, I'm not riding the World Cup in Kalmthout because I'm getting married with my girlfriend Elena the day before the race. Afterwards there'll be no honeymoon because that's a bit too difficult since we have a picollo bambino, Matteo," he said to Cyclingnews.

"Before taking a break halfway November I'm participating in Tabor [Oct 26], the Koppenbergcross [Nov 1], Eernegem [Nov 8], Pijnacker [Nov 9] and maybe Asper-Gavere [Nov 16],"

He will then prepare for the World Championships in January. "Knowing that I was riding my first race of the season I must say that I'm very happy with my performance [Franzoi finished fourth]. Too bad for Rob Peeters [who was alone in the attack], but I wasn't planning on taking an easy ride here, so I kept chasing in the background.

"With these good sensations I can now focus on my next big goal, and that is getting married," Franzoi added before driving away from Mouscron.

Pfannberger's bike stolen in Italy

Pfannberger at Amstel Gold earlier this year
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

Christian Pfannberger of Team Barloworld had to ride the Giro dell'Emilia on his substitute bike, after his bike was stolen shortly before the start of the race Saturday.

"The mechanic set the bike aside for a moment and suddenly it was gone," Pfannberger said. "That is really unbelievable."

Riding on his replacement bike, the Austrian finished twentieth in the race. "I am not satisfied with this result," he said. The course "is like it was made for me. I have the Giro dell'Emilia on my list for next year. When possible, I want to win here."

Pfannberger will end his season with the Giro di Lombardia. "I hope that until then I will have one of the new light-weight Bianchi bikes again. It wouldn't be so great to have to start my season finale with a replacement bike." (SW)

Liese new national German women's coach

Thomas Leise in the Jayco Tour leaders jersey in 2004
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Thomas Liese will be the new German national women's trainer, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR) announced Saturday.

He replaces Jochen Dornbusch, who will become directeur sportif at Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung.

Liese, 40, rode professionally from 1999 to 2005, and was a stage-race specialist. He was national time trial champion in 2001, and also did well on the track, winning the 1989 world championship in the team pursuit.

Most recently he was Sports Director for the US women's Team Lipton.

"We are convinced, that Thomas Liese brings with him the qualifications to see to it that the BDR not only stays successful in road racing, but that it will also again be among the best in the world in the track endurance," said BRD Vice-President Udo Sprenger. (SW)

Vegas and the Offy; the Rory Sutherland diary

Making people happy
Photo ©: Rory Sutherland
(Click for larger image)

The two subjects most talked about right now: Interbike in Las Vegas and the off season. That is pretty much all that was said during September. Even though we were racing the Tour of Missouri, the chats with other riders on the bike was always the same: What are you doing in the off season? Are you going to Interbike? This question was directly followed asking one where they are staying and what parties they will be attending.

It was my first Interbike. Wow! What a show! I get it now! I've seen the expo, noticed how important it is for selling product, and now I'm totally over Las Vegas. Chapeau dealers. I cannot imagine standing on your feet from 8AM until 5PM, talking about bike stuff, trying to tell consumers or bike shop reps why your product is better than the competitors, cleaning up, going out all night, and then doing it all again the next day. Chapeau! I am but a bike rider.

My mental capacity and patience is unfortunately not too long at all. After fifteen minutes of a one hour photo signing session, I was ready to be out. Vegas is a huge unorganized mess. I am sure most of those reading will have been there, so you already love or hate the place. I am somewhere in between... It's fun for a day or maybe, just maybe, two days, but four days... too much. ANYWAY, a lot of faces were put to names and e-mails, so there were a lot of positive things that came out of the experience. Catching up with friends/sponsors on a social level was also awesome fun.

Read the entire Rory Sutherland diary here.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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