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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition News for October 23, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson

Manchester to host Track World Cup round

Britain's team sprinters in action at Manchester in 2000
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

The 2004 Easter weekend will see a major treat for British track racing fans as the Manchester Velodrome hosts a round of the UCI Track World Cup series, on April 9-11.

The three-day meeting will be organised by Alan Rushton's The Events Group, a company with a long record of promoting British cycling events such the Tour of Britain and 250 city centre races. Long-time cycling supporter Kellog's will be the event's presenting sponsor and the meeting will be funded by a £188,000 grant of lottery money from UK Sport's World Class Events Programme. It also has the support of Manchester City Council, British Cycling and the Manchester Evening News.

The biggest beneficiary of a World Cup round in the UK at this time is likely to be the host nation's own track team, which will be able to use the event as a tune-up and selection test for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Other rounds of the World Cup will be held in Moscow, Mexico and Sydney. Dates have also been agreed with the UCI for 2005 and 2006 events.

Rachel Heal and Yvonne Hijgenaar sign for Farm Frites-Hartol

English rider Rachel Heal and Dutch Yvonne Hijgenaar are the newest recruits for Team Farm Frites-Hartol, directed by Michael Zijlaard. Heal proved herself as a good climber and time trialist this year as part of the British national team. Hijgenaar will transfer from the Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports development team, and is considered a future talent on the track.

Rachel Heal rode as a guest rider for Farm Frites-Hartol during some races this season, and fit in well with the squad. Her main role next year will be to help world number two Mirjam Melchers in stage races outside The Netherlands. Hijgenaar, who placed fourth in the World Championships 500m time trial in Stuttgart, will race a similar road and track program to Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, Anouska Van der Zee and Adrie Visser.

The arrival of Heal and Hijgenaar means that Farm Frites-Hartol is almost complete for 2004, and team leader Michael Zijlaard will probably add one more rider before the end of the year.

SoBe ends mountain bike sponsorship

Cannondale staff are putting a brave face on the loss of beverage maker SoBe as sponsor of the pro-am SoBe/Cannondale team. In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, thanking SoBe for its five years of support for the team and for mountain biking in general, team director Matt Jewett said, "I'm very optimistic that we'll be able to line up a new co-sponsor. It certainly helps that we're coming off the team's best season ever. We sent six riders to the 2003 World Championships, and we scored our first-ever #1 NORBA team ranking this year."

SoBe/Cannondale was founded in 1999 as a grassroots adjunct to the high-profile Volvo/Cannondale team, and helped several now-prominent riders get a leg up to the professional ranks. Team alumni include Shonny Vanlandingham, Jimena Florit, Kashi Leuchs, Carmen D'Aluisio, Amber Neben, Kristen Johnson, Kim Smith and Tom Danielson.

Irish Olympic squad starts to take shape

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

With next year's Olympic Games now just ten months away, Cycling Ireland has begun to finalise the squad of riders from whom the team will be selected for Athens 2004. The Federation has named eight riders as what they term 'probables' for the Olympic slots, with the final decision to be made closer to the Games.

The form displayed this season by the top-ranked Irish professional Mark Scanlon of the Ag2r team suggests he is most likely to secure one of the places on offer. Navigators rider Ciarán Power, Ofoto Lombardia's David O'Loughlin and Team Endurasport's David McCann have also valuable experience of competing on the professional circuit, while Tommy Evans and Brian Kenneally have achieved considerable success in Irish jerseys in the past.

The VC La Pomme duo of Denis Lynch and Philip Deignan are the youngest of the eight but are regarded as ranking amongst Ireland's strongest hopes for the future. Should they find good form next year, they too will be very much in the running for the coveted Olympic slots. They have one advantage over the other riders in that they have already competed on the Olympic road race circuit, having taken part in the European under 23 championships there earlier this year.

Mountainbike and track events have different qualification cut-off points and so their 'probables' lists have not yet been released.

The board of Cycling Ireland has also announced that Martin O'Loughlin will be the Team Manager for Athens 2004. His appointment follows the recent decision of Philip Collins to step down from the position, due to work commitments. Collins will continue to work with O'Loughlin in order to assist in the implementation of the Olympic programme, and will also remain involved in the development of the track facilities at the Eamon Ceannt Stadium, Sundrive Road.

Commenting on the announcement, Cycling Ireland said that 'Martin O'Loughlin's administrative capabilities and his extensive cycling knowledge will ensure that this complex task of co-ordinating Ireland's 2004 Olympic preparation and participation will be undertaken to the highest standards.'

O'Loughlin acted as team manager to Lynch and Deignan at the European championships this summer, and so will have an understanding of the demands and peculiarities of the tough Athens course.

Rogers awarded

Quick.Step-Davitamon and world championship time trial runner-up rider Michael Rogers has been awarded the Australian Capital Territory Academy of Sport's Senior Male Athlete of the Year 2003, in recognition of his world's performance and victories this year in the Tour of Belgium, Tour of Germany and Route du Sud.

Transfers: New berths for Durand & Piepoli; Farazijn stays put

French favourite Jacky "suicide attack" Durand, who last month said he was eager to continue racing despite his contract with FdJeux.com not being renewed, will ride for Belgian team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago next year.

Italian rider Léonardo Piepoli (iBanesto.com) will ride in 2004 for the German Gerolsteiner team.

Cofidis rider Peter Farazijn, who was mentioned in last Thursday's news as a member of the Belgian exodus from Cofidis, is in fact staying with the team, according to Cofidis' website.

Memorabilia auction to benefit Northbrook velodrome

A copy of Lance Armstrong's new book 'Every Second Counts', and one of Olympic gold medalist Marty Nothstein's jerseys are among the items being auctioned as part of the effort to save the Ed Rudolph Northbrook Velodrome in Northbrook, Illinois.

Also up for grabs are a signed copy of Graeme Obree's 'Flying Scotsman: The Graeme Obree Story'; a Russian National Champion jersey signed by Nothstein's Navigators team-mate Oleg Grichkine and a 19996 US National team jersey signed by Atlanta Olympian and world championship medalist Bill Clay. Clay's is a local connection to Northbrook - he began his racing career there and now coaches several riders based at the Velodrome.

The on-line auction is being hosted by Midwest cycling web site www.peteslist.com. Bidding will start at $100 for each book, and $200 for each jersey. Any amount collected in the auction will be eligible for 2:1 gift matching from the 'Velodrome Angel', an anonymous donor who has already given more than $25,000 and has pledged to match all contributions two-for-one through the end of the year. The auction will run through Friday, October 31, with bidding by e-mail only to peteslist@peteslist.com. More information is available at www.peteslist.com or www.northbrookvelodrome.com.

Massachusetts State Cyclo Cross Championships

The Massachusetts State Cyclo Cross Championships will be contested at the Plymouth Cyclo Cross scheduled for November 15th and sponsored in part by Sago Tea Café, Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA; Music Unlimited, Kingston and Hanover, MA; Simms Brothers Marine, Humarock, MA and Martha's Cyclery, Plymouth, MA. The Plymouth Cyclo Cross will be held on a rider friendly course at Plymouth North High School, Plymouth, MA at the site of two USCF National Championships. This year's event will also be designated a Tim Johnson Junior Development Series race and a Heritage Series race.

The Plymouth Cyclo Cross is promoted by the Mass Bay Road Club and International Cycling. For more information go to www.planetpeloton.com.

Iranian cycling needs club support

The Deputy Head of the Iranian Cycling Federation has called on Iran's cycling clubs to support the country's provincial teams, according to a report on iranmania.com. Ali Zangiabadi said that the main problem for the provinces' cycling squads was insufficient funding and that the federation's budget was not enough to even supply the costs of domestic races and the required cycling facilities.

"That's why we are not able to satisfy the cycling squads' demands," said Zangiabadi . "However given their huge capital, the cycling clubs of the country are able to financially support the provinces' cycling squads."

New England mountain bikers buy trails

The New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) has announced that it has taken title to 47 acres of open space in Milford, Massachusetts in an area known as the Upper Charles River Headwaters. According to mountain bike advocacy organisation IMBA, this is the first time that a mountain bike advocacy organization will purchase, own, and manage its own trail system, and the project marks the largest single investment undertaken by mountain bikers to preserve open space. NEMBA raised the $210,000 needed to purchase the popular riding area two months before the option that was purchased in the fall of 2002 would run out.

The land acquisition is part of a complex partnership between numerous organizations trying to protect a patchwork of privately-owned open space totaling over 500 acres in the Upper Charles Headwaters area of Milford and Holliston. Some of the organizations that have been involved are The Trustees of Reservations, the towns of Holliston and Milford, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the Upper Charles Conservation Inc., and the Department of Environmental Management (now the Department of Conservation and Recreation). In addition to protecting the open space from development, there are plans to develop a rail trail near to the property.

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