First Edition Cycling News for July 27, 2005
Edited by Anthony Tan
Discovery talks about life after Lance
By Anthony Tan in Paris
For Discovery Channel directeur-sportif Sean Yates, his feelings at the start of the final stage of the 2005 Tour de France were not that dissimilar to how he felt at the Giro d'Italia two months ago. In Italy, Yates directed the Discovery Channel team to its first overall victory with Paolo Savoldelli, and like the peloton's final procession to Milano, last Sunday's ride to Paris had a similar affect on him.
"Obviously, when you have such a big goal in front of you and it looks so daunting and it looks so far away, what lies between yourself and the end is so huge, it feels like it's going to take forever... are you going to make it, you know?" said Yates to Cyclingnews.
"And when you get there, like I said before when I used to ride [the Tour] and get to the Champs Elysées, after three weeks of suffering, getting over all these mountains, when you get there, it's like, 'Is that it?'"
In his 15 seasons as a professional, Yates rode 17 Grand Tours including 12 Tours de France, so the now 45 year-old from Surrey, England knows what he's on about. "You'd lose your right arm to get to the Champs Elysées," he adds. "But here, it's a special occasion. We've won the Tour for a seventh consecutive time - I've only been a part of this last one - but that's it for Lance, you know, no more bike racing.
Click here to read the rest of the story.
Concerns remain for Giro boss Angelo Zomegnan
ProTour polemics & UCI governance
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
A long-time friend of Lance Armstrong who was the former head of cycling at La Gazetta dello Sport, Angelo Zomegnan is now head of RCS Sport, part of the Italian media giant Rizzoli Corriere della Sera and organizer of the Giro d'Italia, Milano-Sanremo and Giro di Lombardia, among other major cycling events. Zomegnan visited the Tour de France last weekend to pay homage to his friend Armstrong, who he covered since the American's first pro win at GP Sanson in Marostica, Italy in 1992.
When Cyclingnews sat down with Zomegnan to get his perspective on recent developments between the Grand Tour organizers and the UCI over the ProTour, he said: "Really, since last year, nothing has changed between us [Grand Tour organizers] and the UCI over the ProTour since last year in September.
"We are still convinced that the ProTour concept is not the ideal way to bring forward needed reforms in professional cycling. What has changed, according to Zomegnan, is that "many race organizers and teams in the ProTour have begun to understand that this reform isn't going that well, and even if they are not saying so publicly, have become convinced that the ProTour isn't working."
Cyclingnews: Why are the organizers and team saying that the ProTour isn't working out for them?
Angelo Zomegnan: Because there are too many days of racing, because there are too many teams. The ProTour is a system that is copied from a model that comes from American pro sports that isn't adaptable to cycling. Because, in cycling, the champion rider, the team leader is still more important than the team itself. So you can't just borrow the model of the NBA, where at the end of the finals, the worst team gets the top draft pick.
In cycling, the weakest team is still the weakest team at the end of the season. So there are too many teams in the ProTour; 20 teams are too many, the system just can't support this many teams and the teams can't support 157 days of racing per season. Plus the calendar has too many conflicts; the ProTour TTT is at the same time as the Tour de Suisse, the Tour of Catalunya during the Giro d'Italia, the Tour of Poland during the Vuelta d'Espana. So when the Giro and Catalunya are at the same time, Spanish TV, or rather TV Catalunya, will show their race and not the Giro so this limits the exposure. So the difference between last year and this year is that many race organisers and many ProTour teams now understand that the obligations of the ProTour participation are greater than the advantages.
Click here to read the rest of the story.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Saiz - the final word
By Hedwig Kröner in Paris
Just before the departure of the last stage of the 2005 Tour de France to Paris, Cyclingnews took the time to ask Liberty Seguros team director and Spanish cycling representative #1 Manolo Saiz for a final word on this year's Grande Boucle.
"A final word?" he asked back. "Well, that can only be one of congratulations to Lance Armstrong, no? Not only for this year's Tour, but also for the whole of his career. He sets the perfect example of professionalism and capacity of sacrifice for young riders, as well as being an ambassador of cycling for the whole world. That's my final word."
Did he think that he Johan Bruyneel managed his team differently in order to achieve these record-breaking successes? "No - the difference is the individual capacity Armstrong has to focus on his profession. Jalabert, or Zülle were also like that, but other riders just aren't. The motivation to train is higher - and if you lack that, you won't win, and that's it."
"For a lot of riders, cycling is more of a game," he explained further. "It's easy to earn a lot of money and continue with the game rather than transcending the barrier of true professionalism. Armstrong has done that and much more; he is truly a racing professional."
As for his own team's performance at the Tour, Saiz had to admit that his designated GC leader, Roberto Heras, might not be made for the French stage race after all. "The only explanation for a rider who comes to the Tour highly motivated, having raced it already, with a team to back him up and who loses like Heras did is that he is not a rider for the Tour. Then again, in the past, Heras rode the Tour and then came to the Vuelta strong enough to win it. The team's attitude, meanwhile, has been extraordinary. All of the rest of our team rode a very good Tour. For me, the racing behaviour of Alberto Contador, Allan Davis and Luis Leon Sanchez is most important. They're very young, but they make me very optimistic about the future," he smiled.
In light of a number of riders already announcing a change of team, Saiz was asked about his roster for 2006, but he wasn't ready to respond. "We're not there yet - the Vuelta is still to come. The Italians get into contract negotiations after the Giro, all the others after the Tour, but we Spanish start only with the Vuelta. I will try to get a GC rider for the Tour de France, but somebody who can give our younger riders a little bit of liberty, too." Meanwhile, the signing of Alexandre Vinokourov has been made official [see news story].
Looking ahead to next year's Tour de France, Saiz said that although he admired Armstrong's career achievement, he thought cycling might benefit from his retirement. "The next Tour is very, very open," he said. "There will be a change of generation soon. But apart from the fact that there aren't a lot of champions who can achieve a series of victories like Indurain or Armstrong did, I would like to see a lot of different winners in the next 10, 12 years. It would be good for cycling in general, as the public was losing interest."
Vinokourov to be given total Liberty
Rogers and Sinkewitz confirmed for T-Mobile
With the transfer of ever-aggressive Kazahki Alexandre Vinokourov to Liberty Seguros now public knowledge, the 31 year-old explained his reasons for leaving T-Mobile after six successful years.
"My goal is clear, I want to win the Tour de France," said Vinokourov on t-mobile-team.com. "So I chose the team with the best arguments. It's [Liberty Seguros] the most organised and the most experienced team. They have the best riders in the mountains and are among the bests in the team time trials. It was a natural choice."
Vino finished fifth overall in the 2005 Tour, as well as winning two stages, including the final hurrah on the Champs Elsyées, for which he will long be remembered for. But he now has his eyes totally focused on the bigger picture of winning overall.
"We have discussed my programme for 2006. I've had the guarantee I will be able to fully focus on the Tour de France," he said.
Although T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig concedes Vinokourov is an irreplaceable rider, the team has confirmed 25 year-old world time trial champion Michael Rogers and 24 year-old German Patrik Sinkewitz have been recruited for next year, both currently riding for Quick.Step-Innergetic. "These engagements are all about looking ahead," said Ludwig.
San Francisco GP confirmed for 2005
Threshold's Chauner optimistic for future
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Despite rumours to the contrary, the 2005 edition of the San Francisco Grand Prix bicycle race will definitely happen, according to race organizer Dave Chauner of Threshold Sports. "We are happy to tell Cyclingnews that we have secured a new title sponsor for the event with a three-year commitment and will be making an official announcement shortly, but we wanted to get the news out to the cycling community that come September 4th, the top cyclists in the world will be out challenge the streets of San Francisco again," he said.
"We also have reached an agreement with the City of San Francisco about city services costs," Chauner added. "Mayor Gavin Newsom has been really supportive of the San Francisco Grand Prix race and now we're really positioned well for the future." Chauner explained that Threshold Sports is now the sole owner of the SFGP, although they continue to collaborate closely with former partners Tailwind Sports. "Dan Osipow has done a fantastic job over the years for the race in San Francisco, and we continue to have a great relationship with him and Tailwind Sports."
Chauner expressed regrets that there would be no women's SFGP this year, saying to Cyclingnews that "we really wish that we could have a women's race in 2005; the last two years were excellent events where top women racers from all over the world came to compete. But with our budget shortfalls, it was impossible to keep the course open the extra time to do the women's race," he said.
"Due to the unique way the SFPD runs the rolling enclosure for the race, we can not put both races on simultaneously. The traffic impact would be too great, so we can only run the women's race before the men's race. But we have had a great response from the cycling community in San Francisco and our goal is to bring back the Women's San Francisco GP in 2006." When the official announcement is made for the 2005 San Francisco GP, Cyclingnews provide further information as it happens.
Southland Tour expects strong line-up
Avoiding any clash with other races on around the same time, this year's PowerNet Tour of Southland looks likely to attract a strong contingent of world-class riders. Entering its 49th year, the UCI category 2.2 race offers $50,000 in cash prizes, and with the Herald Sun Tour and the Tour of Queensland raced shortly beforehand, a number of international riders have already indicated their interest in competing.
Raced in the southern region of New Zealand, the six-day race covers over 900kms of testing terrain, ranging from the rugged beauty of the southern coast, zig-zagging across the fertile farming plains of the inner province, to the spectacular scenery of the lakes district, including the resort destinations of Queenstown and Te Anau.
"In recent years, there has been a continuing growth in international riders coming to New Zealand, and without fail, all have enjoyed the experience," said race organiser Bruce Ross. "This year's race will be conducted from the 7th-12th of November and will be limited to 20 five-man teams, with individual entries permitted and placed in composite teams at race management's discretion."
Inquiries can be made to Tour Manager Bruce Ross at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.tourofsouthland.com.
Extra route announced for BikeWales
In addition to the three main routes already announced for the BikeWales mass participation event set for August 21 in Newport, an additional family-friendly route will also be available. Around three miles long and held within the grounds of the five-star Celtic Manor Resort, the extra route is ideal for families and those wishing to avoid the roads.
BikeWales is supported by the government-backed Health Challenge Wales initiative, which encourages a return to a healthier, active lifestyle. Said Sports Minister Alun Pugh AM: "I'm a keen cyclist myself, and am really looking forward to welcoming such an excellent new event right here to our doorstep. I urge as many people as possible to get involved - whether it's to cycle or maybe to be a marshall, helping to make the event safe and fun."
For an entry form or more information about how to be a marshall, please visit www.bikewales.org or call 01372 464666.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)