First Edition Cycling News for December 23, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Saturn reborn as Quark Cycling Team
By Kristy Scrymgeour and Jeff Jones
Team Sports, which ran the highly successful Saturn team for many years, has announced the formation of a new women's trade team sponsored by Quark, a brand division of Sofft Shoes. With an initial financial agreement of three years, the Quark Cycling Team hopes to enter the fray with the majority of the former Saturn Cycling Team roster intact. Canadian Lyne Bessette will captaining the team, which has also confirmed 2003 US National Champion Sarah Uhl. In negotiations with the team are Manon Jutras, Amy Moore and Megan Elliot. The squad will number 7-8 riders and will managed by Tom Schuler and directed by ex-Saturn Development Director, Brett Meinke who wants to finalise the roster by January 9, 2004.
"In terms of staff, I'm going to be looking after everything really," team director Brett Meinke told Cyclingnews today. "I'm the director and manager and team mechanic and so on. It's not going to be quite up to the Saturn standard in terms of budget however we have a three year contract with Quark and we are hoping that the team will grow each year. Quark are also excited. They wanted to get into Women's cycling on a safe level to start, but they are also hoping to build in the future."
Quark's schedule will consist mainly of US races, debuting at McClane Pacific in Merced, CA, on March 13 and including the Redlands and Sea Otter Classics, Montreal Grand Prix, Wachovia Liberty Classic, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Tour de Toona, T-Mobile International and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, which is being given a high priority by the team.
"We will be releasing riders to their National teams a few times during the year so that they can do World Cups and qualify for Olympic positions," added Meinke. "There is going to be a lot of leeway and support for riders who want to go to the Olympics. I am excited to be a part of this, because we have some super Olympic hopefuls on the team and that's a new experience for me. It will be different to the development team I have been managing for the past couple of years."
The majority of bike industry sponsors from the 2003 Saturn Women's Team will continue with sponsorship of the new Quark Team. Quark will be the sole title sponsor for the first season, with the possibility of adding co-sponsors in the future.
UCI announce Division I teams
The UCI has confirmed 24 of the 30 teams that have the right to ride in Division I next season, with a further six pending subject to certain conditions to be fulfilled by January 8, 2004. The 24 teams include new squads Chocolade Jacques-Wincor/Nixdorf (Bel), Illes Balears-Banesto (Spa), Liberty Seguros (Spa), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover (Fra), Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spa), and the top two Division II teams in 2003, Bankgiroloterij (Ned) and De Nardi (Ita). Bankgiroloterij has yet to decide whether it will accept the promotion to Division I, as it may not be willing to take on the extra financial burden.
There are a few surprises on the "pending" list, including the top team of 2003, Fassa Bortolo, and Lance Armstrong's US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor team. These teams have just over two weeks to qualify for registration in Division I, but it is believed that they will make the cut.
Teams qualified for Division I
AG2R Prévoyance (Fra)
Alessio - Bianchi (Ita)
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago happy to stay in Division I
The Belgian Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team was one of 24 teams granted Division I status by the UCI for 2004. This year marked the team's first season in the top division, and it has every intention of staying there.
"It's proof that we do our work seriously," commented team manager Gerard Bulens. "Our dossier was already complete in November and fully approved by the UCI. We were confident then that we would get a good result but we note now that the UCI does its work seriously and even the big teams whose files do not meet all the necessary requirements have not made it onto the list yet."
Next season, Landbouwkrediet riders will be on the new Colnago C-50 frames, which will be rather distinctive in black, in contrast to the red/white/grey frames that they used this year. However, the team's colours will remain red and grey and the jerseys will be of a similar design.
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago's team presentation will take place next January 16 in the Van den Stockstadion in Anderlecht, Belgium.
Ben Day to Palmans-Collstrop
Australian time trial champion Ben Day (Carvalhelhos-Boavista) has signed for the Mr.Bookmaker-Palmans-Collstrop team. "After some solid results this year, I am very happy to have been able to capitalise by signing with this strong team based out of Belgium," Day told Cyclingnews. "It is going to be great to be able to do more of the bigger races and to be able to compete all year round on the big stage."
Day, who represented Australia at the World Championships in Hamilton (11th in the time trial) added that he is "not aware of all the little details yet as this being silly season, I have been unable to ask all of my questions." But he does know that he will be starting his racing season in Australia, including the national titles in Buninyong (January 15-18), then will travel to Malaysia for the Tour de Langkawi at the end of January before making the final trip to Belgium.
Ben Day has also just launched his new website, www.ben-day.com, which features a diary, photo gallery, profile, Q&A, message board and more.
Van Santvliet extends
Belgian cyclo-crosser Peter Van Santvliet has extended his contract with the Spaar Select team. After finishing third in the GP Rouwmoer in Essen on Saturday, he was guaranteed a place in the team by manager Hans Van Kasteren.
"It's nice for a change not to have to wait until February for my assurance," said Van Santvliet.
Navigators in JCTDU
The Navigators Insurance Cycling Team will begin its 2004 racing season with the first major tour of the new year, the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under (January 20-25). The team will join the 11 other teams that have been invited by the race organisation to this prestigious event. Squad members will be: Siro Camponogara, Vassili Davidenko, Jeff Louder, David McKenzie, Kirk Obee, Ciaran Power, Burke Swindlehurst, Phil Zajicek and Henk Vogels.
Following the JCTDU, Navigators will hold its team camp and presentation in Tuscany, Italy in the first week of February.
Koerts to lead Chocolade Jacques in Langkawi
The new Chocolade Jacques-Wincor/Nixdorf team will make its debut in the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi next February, led by team sprinter Jans Koerts. Koerts is no stranger to Malaysian roads, three years ago winning three stages and holding the yellow jersey. Stage wins remain high on his priority list this time around.
The team also has high hopes for Dave Bruylandts, another past visitor to the Tour de Langkawi. The Belgian has notched up 13 road race wins in his career including the 2003 GP de Wallonie and Giro d'Oro and the fifth stage of the Tour of Belgium. The rest of the squad consists of Florent Brard, Jan Van Velzen, Jurgen Vandewalle, Mauricio Ardila and Andoni Aranaga.
Disappointed Peden plans training camp at home
By Karen Forman
Inverell track record holder Anthony Peden is planning a training camp at his home in Newcastle for his team of juniors and himself following the surprise cancellation of the Inverell track carnival set down for Friday and Saturday (December 26-27), due to lack of entries.
Peden, who had planned to attempt to break his flying 200 metre record of 10.96 seconds during the event, has been left without any Christmas racing following news that the carnival - the first at Inverell for a number of years - was off. He said he had been looking forward to his record attempt and at giving his young charges - brothers Nicholas and Christopher Vincent and Jono Hanlin from New Zealand and promising Newcastle junior Chad Schneider - race training on the Inverell velodrome. And he says it's too late to make alternative arrangements for racing in the lucrative Tasmanian and Victorian carnivals.
Despite hopes that the Inverell Amateur Wheelers Cycling Club might have been able to save what was meant to be its comeback event, with just 32 nominations received by its 10am decision meeting yesterday (December 22) Inverell Amateur Wheelers Cycling Club say it had no choice but to cancel the carnival. President, Gary Bloggs, had told Cyclingnews on Friday they needed a minimum of 50 seniors to make the event viable and expressed his hopes that more riders would come out of the woodwork over the weekend and sign up.
Yesterday he was obviously very disappointed at the decision despite an eleventh-hour attempt to attract riders with Peden's full support. "We only got a couple more over the weekend. I think everyone had made their plans already," Bloggs said. "All we can do now is look to next year."
Peden, meanwhile, said he would probably just run the post-carnival training camp he had planned for Inverell following at home in Newcastle. "I will talk to the guys tonight at the track and see what they want to do," he said. "I was going to enjoy training on that track, but it's too far to drive up, I think."
He also ruled out heading south to the Tasmanian and Victorian track fixtures. "It's too late a notice to start booking hotels and without the option of riding the wheel races and handicaps (according to the rules of late nomination) it's not really worth it. I think we will just have Christmas at home and then stay here and have our camp here. Unfortunately there isn't much track racing in January."
Peden is looking at the summer series in Queensland from January 20-25 (three days at Chandler velodrome in Brisbane followed by three days at Nerang) and then to Sydney for February 14 followed by the Oceania Championships in New Zealand and the Sydney World Cup.
Luckily for the Inverell club, the decision to cancel hasn't cost too much financially. "We haven't lost much," Bloggs said. "We were sort of cautious in the amount we had outlaid in promoting it. Now it's just a matter of running around and saying to the sponsors, 'look fellas, thanks for your support, we aren't able to use it this time but maybe you can help us out next time'. We will have another go next year." The club is hoping to interest other clubs in creating a northern NSW track circuit, starting in Newcastle on Boxing Day and then heading to Muswellbrook, Tamworth and Inverell and the either Grafton and Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie or Toowoomba and Nerang.
"Everybody is saying there is no racing in NSW at this time of the year, but when you do put it on they don't support it," Bloggs said. "We probably lose some riders to Tasmania, but not every rider in Australia goes down to Tasmania and Victoria. There has to be lot of intermediate type riders who just enjoy the racing, who just want to come and do a circuit like that rather than chase the big names.
"If we can get a huge C and D grade of riders up here, that would be great. Those blokes have a better chance at getting some cash this way."
Christmas racing in Ireland
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Visually impaired cyclist Mark Kehoe from the Navan Road Club, who recently received the "Recognition of Achievement Award" from Cycling Ireland, will be a participant along with his pilot Karol Lynskey in the club's promotion on Christmas Day. It is a novelty two-up time trial in aid of the local St. Vincent de Paul.
According to organiser Larry Clarke, "The event has been on the go for the last 32 years and has raised substantial funds for the local society. It starts from the Ramparts in Navan at 11 o'clock. Teams are requested to nominate the time they expect to complete the course of approximately 8 miles. Placings are decided on the difference between the nominated and actual time for the test. Normally we have a good turn out and Mark who also was awarded the Leisure Cyclist of the Year is rarin' to go. He also took part in this year's 'European Disabled Championships' in the Czech Republic. Mark is visually impaired and Karol is the navigator. Two former winners of the Ras Seamus Kennedy and Philip Cassidy have also signalled their intentions of showing up. At least it will give all who participate an appetite for the Christmas dinner."
On St. Stephen's Day, the club will do a follow up with the "Tour of the Boyne Valley," with Niall M. O'Connor the master of ceremonies. Niall won a Silver Medal in this year's Special Olympics at basketball. This event is based in Slane and has the blessing of the local Parish Priest, Joe Deegan, and the man who exercises the law and order in the area, Garda Sergeant Mark Tobin.
Starting from the Village Inn at 11 o'clock it meanders through some of the most historical town lands close to Slane. Of course the start up point is a popular venue for concerts in the grounds of the famous castle. To keep everybody amused the organisation has come up with a novel idea of a Roller Cycle event in the Square.
BMX contract news
2003 ABA World Champion Cristian Becerine will ride for the Factory Crupi team in 2004, together with existing team member Jason Richardson.
Brandon Meadows, the 2003 X-Games champion, has decided to renew with his current sponsor and signed a 2 year contract with Specialized.
Finally 2003 UCI World Champion Kyle Bennett scored a contract from Free Agent last week. Kyle will rejoin his old teammate, Dale Holmes, on Free Agent, as both riders just signed for the next 2 years.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)