News for November 18, 1999

Oceania games news

Australia's hopes of gaining another place in next year's Olympic keirin may be dented due to the absence of top sprinter Darryn Hill at the Oceania games in Sydney, next month.

At the time of the games, Hill is scheduled to appear for an assault trial in Perth. He is facing five charges relating to an incident in a Perth nightclub in 1995. The trial starts in Perth on December 13th, which will essentially clash with the keirin in Sydney on December 12th. Hill may be available for the sprint competition however.

Although Australia has qualified at least one cyclist in every event at the Olympics, the Oceania games are the last chance to qualify extra positions in the following: the women's 500 m TT, the men's 4000 m individual pursuit and the aforementioned keirin. The winners of these events will automatically gain a position for their country in the Olympics.

Australia's 1 km TT star, Shane Kelly is the man most likely tipped to take Hill's place, however he will have to beat New Zealand's Anthony Peden who placed second at this year's World Championships in the keirin. It would be ironic indeed if Peden, an Australian who left the country for a better chance at riding in the Olympics and World's, denied Australia an Olympic position by winning the event. We can expect a bit of pushing and shoving on December 12th.

Meanwhile, pursuiting specialist Brad McGee (La Francaise des Jeux) will be attempting to win a second individual pursuit spot for Australia in the Olympics. His task is fairly straightforward and he is clearly relishing the challenge. He told the Sydney Morning Herald, "It's not a big ask, I have just got to win in a near-enough record Australian time in the off season." He has just a month to prepare after not being selected in the World Championships in October.

The Oceania games will also see the return of Lucy Tyler-Sharman to competition in the 3 km pursuit. She qualified 7th in the event at the World's (after a jersey mix up minutes before she was scheduled to ride) and has been training in Florida, USA since then. She is due to return to Australia today in order to prepare for the Oceania's and consider her future.

Although there were rumours that she was considering returning to the US to compete for them at next year's Olympics, Tyler-Sharman has decided to remain in Australia for the time being. However, she is still unhappy with the present situation in Australian track cycling and is certainly not alone in this.

At the World Championships in Berlin, she, together with Hill and 1km time triallist Josh Kersten avoided contact with head coach Charlie Walsh, with Kersten going on record saying that "Walsh should have gone years ago" and there were "major problems" in the team.

Although the Australian Cycling Federation intends to sort out this latest division in the track team, will it come in time to stabilise things before next year?


O'Grady, Julich, Boardman out of World Cup?

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

It now seems clear that Crédit Agricole will race as a second division team next year. When Fabrizio Guidi left Polti for La Francaise des Jeux he brought 630 UCI points with him. This means that his team will have enough points to get in amongst the five teams that will qualify for first division on the points of their eight top riders at the beginning of the season. As such, it is probably Crédit Agricole that will have to step down as only the first division teams are guaranteed to start in the World Cup races. So far these are only unofficial speculations - it is the line up at January 15 that counts.

According to German site Radsport-news, Crédit Agricole's sports director Roger Legay states that "I have signed riders from what they might achieve in terms of sports. Bobby Julich and Jonathan Vaughters are hired on their qualities as riders only, not from their ranking points". He adds, "I don't see us as a second division team. We are going to show in the races that we are a team for the first division."

Let us once again present the rules: The sixteen top teams at October 31st will qualify for the first division the coming year and so will the first team in second division. The additional five places go to the five teams among the rest that have the highest points (the eight best members of each team count) after January 15th with their new line ups.

This also means that Guidi first helps Polti to qualify as well as helping La Francaise Des Jeux to qualify for the top division. But Marc Madiot, sports director of La Francaise Des Jeux also criticizes the system and it's "perverted logic" although he signed a rider with enough points to qualify the team for the first division:

"Let's say that a rider takes a fine victory with lots of points late in the season and then goes to another team. If his old team is not among the top sixteen the new team will gain from the efforts and push down the old team mates that helped him to win to the second division," he said, expressing regrets about the fact that so many French teams are in a critical position this year. Festina and Cofidis just barely made it among the top sixteen, and his own team and Crédit Agricole got into trouble. The situation was not easier when two new teams, Bonjour and Jean Delatour, formed and recruited good French cyclists.

French track coach awarded

Gerard Quintyn has been awarded the first Trophée de l'Entraîneur de l'année, Trainer of the year, in France.

52 year-old Quintyn has led the French National track team since 1992 and among his disciples are Florian Rousseau, with 9 World and Olympic titles since 1993. Quintyn was elected by a vast majority of trainers from a list of eight nominated from various sports.

Colombians against Botero ban

Protests in Colombia have been raised in opposition to the six month ban on top ranked rider Santiago Echeverry Botero, who had a positive doping test, according to Colombian paper Diario Deportivo. In the UCI sanction, the months December and January don't count since there is no racing on - so Botero will have to be away from the peloton for eight months.

However, some Colombian Botero supporters argue that this is the most active period in Colombian cycling, so Botero will be punished more harshly than is necessary. Botero himself, though denying the use of drugs, has accepted the ban.

Zamana banned

Polish road champion, Cezary Zamana, who also won the 1998 Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic and two stages of the Vuelta a la Artgentina, has been banned for six months by the Polish Cycling Federation. He delivered a positive doping test during the Tour of Poland where he finished second, and will also have to pay a 2,500 Swiss Franc fine.

In his defence, Zamana claimed that the banned substances were contained in the weight loss products he was taking at the time. "When I found out that I had tested positive, I was stunned. Today I feel really upset with what has happened and I have nothing to add," he said.

New UCI regulations

UCI-points for more jerseys

The UCI are increasing the opportunities for riders to obtain points. Next year, the points, mountains and team qualifications in the Grand Tours and the Hors Categorie stage races will give ranking points - however, how many has not been decided yet. The motivation behind the change is as a reward for the work of the team riders.

The three Grand Tours of France, Italy and Spain are well known by all. The HC races are: Paris-Nice, Tirreno - Adriatico, Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Tour de Suisse and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

...and more points to the women

The female elite riders will now get more points as the second category races, 1.9.2 and 2.9.2 will carry UCI points as well as National Championships. The points scales have not been revealed, but the new rule means that the women's ranking will be much wider, resembling that of the Elite men's ranking.

The second category races are:

14 - 18.03 SRAM Sea Otter Classic Stage Race, USA
19.03 Giro dei 6 Comuni, Swi
26.03 Stausee - Rundfahrt, Swi 
26.03 Trofeo Manolo Perez, Spa
21 - 23.04 GP de la Mutualité de Haute - Garonne, Fra
21 - 23.04 Vuelta Ciclista a Navarra, Spa
28.05 Tjejtrampet, Swe
02 - 05.06 Eko Tour, Pol
16 - 18.06 Emakumeen Bira, Spa
27.06 - 02.07 Tour Féminin de Bretagne, Fra
20 - 23.07 GP Pharming  -  Zahrady  -  Krasna Lipa, Cze
22.07 GP Carnevale d'Europa, Ita
04.08 Scandinavian Open Time Trial, Swe
05.08 Scandinavian Open Road, Swe
15 - 20.08 Merkur Interreg Dreiländer Damen - Tour, Aut
23.08 - 27.08 GP Féminin International du Québec, Can
30.08 - 03.09 Trophée d'Or Féminin, Fra
03.09 Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, Ger
05.09 - 09.09 Holland Ladies Tour, Ned
09.09 Giro della Ciuffenna, Ita
10.09 Chrono Champenois, Fra 
12.09 - 17.09 Giro della Toscana Femminile, Ita
23.09 Durango - Durango Emakumen Sarria, Spa
07.10 GP de, France, Fra
21.10 Trofeo Mamma e Papa' Boni, Ita
Maximum gear for juniors

The maximum gear ratio for juniors (men and women) will be 7.93m as from 1/1/2000. The rule may be modified by national federations for their own national events.

Longer women's races and shorter stage races

In another forward thinking step, the UCI have realised that elite women can ride long distances as well, though still nothing like the men (perish the thought!). The maximum length for women's one-day races will be increased to 140 km, approximately half that of the longer men's classics. Hey, every little bit counts.

The maximum length of stage races for juniors has been reduced to six days and for U23s it will be eight days. Under 23 stages may not exceed 180 km and the average daily distance will not be allowed to exceed 150 km. The number of half-stages will be restricted to four for races of six days or longer. Furthermore, for women, Under 23s, and juniors, a rest day must be included in events involving 13 or more days of competition.

In all stage races, the number of laps on a circuit may be greater than 5 for circuits between 5 and 8 km long, but only during the final stage of the race. In such cases, the total distance raced on the circuit may not exceed 100 km.

Better ad space for sponsors

Advertising on shorts will be completely unrestricted for all types of teams, not just Trade Teams. Team sponsors who are advertising on race leaders' jerseys and skin suits will have to be printed on a white background by the organizers. In addition, no advertising may be placed by the organizer underneath the space reserved for the team.