News for January 12, 2001               

Recent results and new features

CCP, UCI reorganise calendar for 2002

The Conseil du Cyclisme Professionnel (CCP) and Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met in Lausanne yesterday to plan the calendar and season structure for 2002 and beyond. Significant changes planned for 2002 include the expansion of Division I to 30 teams, which should please managers and sponsors of top Div II teams, some of whom have been heard to grumble that the designation automatically causes them to be viewed as 'second class' squads.

The ten best teams, calculated on classification from the previous November 15, will form a 'Top Club' and will gain automatic entry to the Grands Tours and the World Cups, with the obligation to ride two of three Grands Tours and nine World Cup races. Also gaining automatic entry to the Grands Tours will be: the team of the previous year's winner; the reigning World Cup champion team; and the previous year's winning teams in the Tour, Giro, and Vuelta. The remainder will be made up of invited 'wild card' teams.

On the calendar front, there will be a reversal of the dates of GP de l'Escaut, Flèche Wallonne, the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège so that the latter becomes the culmination of the Ardennes Spring Classics. The Giro d'Italia and Tour of Romandy will start a week earlier, to reduce congestion before the Tour de France, and from 2003 or 2005 the Vuelta will also take place a week earlier, subject to discussion with that race's organisers.

Other changes will be implemented with the aim of improving conditions for pro riders. Two rest days will be mandatory in all the Grands Tours, their distance will be limited to 3,500km (2,200 miles) and no more than two stages of a Grand Tour will be allowed to exceed 225km (140 miles)

Virenque appeals

As expected, Richard Virenque submitted an appeal on Thursday to the Court of Arbitration in Sport in Lausanne for a reduction in his nine month suspension after his Festina trial confession to drug use in the 1998 Tour de France. Virenque and his lawyers Vincent Speder and Albert Rey-Mermet have ten days to make written submissions to the Court, after which the Swiss federation has 20 days to present its own arguments.

A decision from the court can take four months, but is expected to come much more quickly, given the publicity around this case. If the court upholds the suspension, Virenque's only remaining avenue will be to appeal to the Swiss Federal Court. However, the this court will only hear appeals on procedural grounds, which Mathieu Reeb, General Secretary of the Court of Arbitration in Sport, says is unlikely.

Marcel Wüst update

Marcel Wüst says that he's still hoping for a miracle, but if his injured right eye doesn't improve by June, then the Tour de France will see his official resignation from bike racing. "I have more tests at the University of Cologne in February" he said at his team's training camp in Majorca, "but currently my right eye is just as dark as it was five months ago."

If Wüst is unable to continue as a rider, he should have no problem finding a job within the cycling world: he is fluent in five languages and is renowned as one of the peloton's Mr Nice Guys. His team-mate Andre Korff attested to Wüst's abilities: "With his enormous talents, Marcel can do everything with us in the team, from the team head to the PR man. He just can't ride any more."

Wüst has already been allocated a non-riding role with his Festina team for 2001, so he should be able to make a smooth transition, though that probably won't much ease the disappointment of being forced to end a 12 year career by injury rather than choice.

Prime Alliance: New U.S. team from Colorado

Following on from the Noble House team that was announced late last year, is a new U.S. third division squad based in Boulder, Colorado. The title sponsors are Prime Alliance, a service provider to the plastics industry with product design, engineering services, and distribution of thermoplastic resins and compounds. The company is U.S. based with branches in Hong Kong, and the team's main focus will therefore be national level races in the U.S.

The team has 15 riders on its roster, split into a "national" squad of 11, and a regional four man team, that will be co-sponsored by Pro Peloton in Boulder. The team carries plenty of experience, with key signings being the Carney brothers, Jonas and Jame (both 2000 Olympians), Kirk Willett (Mercury) and Colby Pearce (7UP-Colorado Cyclist). Combined with these is 2000 NORBA champion, Steve Larsen, giving the team a great deal of strength and versatility in road, MTB, track and 'cross disciplines.

The younger riders include talents such as multiple national champion Michael Creed and Danny Pate, the latter who raced for Saeco-Valli&Valli in 2000. In addition, there is track specialist John Walrod, winner of several national titles. Finally, Ryan Allison, Rusty Beall, and Michael Sherer round out the core squad, in addition to the regional team of Ian Birlem, Michael Larsen, Kirk Robinson, and Cody Waite.

The team will be directed by Ian Birlem, and managed/captained by Kirk Willett. The former Mercury rider has had wins in the Cascade Cycling Classic, Visalia/Exeter Road Race, Tour of Willamette, Tour LeFleur and McLane/Pacific Road Race and is a pivotal member of the squad.

Team Roster

Team Management

Team Owner: Tom Irvine
Team Director: Ian Birlem
Team Manager: Kirk Willett

Riders — National squad

Ryan Allison
Rusty Beall
Jame Carney
Jonas Carney
Michael Creed
Steve Larsen
Danny Pate
Colby Pearce
Michael Sherer
John Walrod
Kirk Willett

Riders — Regional squad

Ian Birlem
Michael Larsen
Kirk Robinson
Cody Waite


Prime Alliance (title sponsor), Solutia, Inc., Dow Chemical, Cyro Industries, LNP, Rhetech, Injection Molding Magazine, Pro Peloton, Coppi, Campagnolo, Castelli-Squadra, Continental, Rudy Project, Extran, Cliff Bar, Fizik, Carnac, Speedplay, Giro, Cateye, Sports Instruments

IOC bans asthma drug

New on the IOC banned list for 2001 is Terbutaline sulfate, the active ingredient in the asthma drugs Aerodur Bricalin Bricanyl, Brethine and Brethaire.Dracanyl and Terbasmin

The Dutch Centre for Dopingquestions (NeCeBo) has advised athletes with asthma to use another medicine. They agree with the UCI-rule, because the use of terbulatine is nearly impossible to find in a control. However, NeCeBo expressed disappointment with the late time of publication of the new ban, saying, "Some athletes have had to change from using one medicine to day to another the next."

USCF adds eight to NRC

The United States Cycling Federation has announced the 52 races that make up this year's National Racing Calendar, with eight new events making up a calendar the USCF quite reasonably describes as "packed". Here's the full calendar, with new races marked, somewhat unsurprisingly, as 'NEW' and races listed on the UCI calender marked 'UCI'.

Mar 3-4      SaveMart Bicycle Classic (m/w) CA
Mar 10-11    Sequoia Cycling Classic (m/w) Sequoia, CA
Mar 13-18    Redlands Bicycle Classic (m/w) Redlands, CA UCI
Mar 22-25    Mercury Sea Otter Classic (m/w) Monterey, CA UCI
Mar 29-Apr 1 Solana Bicycle Classic (m/w) Solana Beach, CA
Apr 7        BMC Software Lance Armstrong Criterium (m/w) Austin, TX 
Apr 10-15    Tour of Willamette (m/w) Lane County, OR
Apr 21       BMC Software Tour of San Jose (m/w) San Jose, CA
Apr 22       TDK Nevada City Bicycle Classic (m/w) Nevada City,CA
Apr 27       First Charter Criterium (m) Shelby, NC
Apr 28-29    Xcelerate Twilight (m/w) Athens, GA
May 2-6      Wells Fargo Tour of the Gila (m/w) Silver City, NM
May 15-19    America's Cup (m) MA
May 20       Housatonic Valley Classic (m/w) Danbury, CN NEW
May 24       Elite National Time Trial Redding, CA Championships (m/w)
May 26       Elite National Road Race  Redding, CA Championships (m/w)
May 28       Tour of Somerville (m/w) Somerville, NJ
Jun 2        Capital Cup (m/w) Arlington, VA UCI
Jun 3        U.S. Postal Service Clarendon Cup (m/w)Arlington, VA
Jun 5        First Union Invitational (m) Lancaster, PA UCI
Jun 7        First Union Classic (m) Trenton, NJ UCI
Jun 8        First Union Hill Climb (m) Manayunk, PA UCI
Jun 9        NYC Women's Sports Challenge (w) NY
Jun 10       First Union USPRO Championships (m) Philadelphia UCI
Jun 10       First Union Liberty Classic Women's Philadelphia World Cup (w) UCI
Jun 13-24    HP LaserJet Women's Challenge (w) Idaho UCI
Jun 16-17    Touchstone Energy Bicycle St. Paul, Minn. Classic (m/w)
Jun 28-Jul 1 Fitchburg Classic (m/w) Boston, MA
Jul 8        Four Bridges of Elgin (m/under-23) Elgin, IL UCI
Jul 8        BMC Software Tour of Arlington (m/w) Arlington, MA
Jul 11-15    Cascade Cycling Classic (m/w) Bend, OR
Jul 24-29    Wendy's International Cycling Hillard, OH Classic (m/w)
Jul 31-Aug 5 Tour de 'Toona (m/w) Altoona, PA
Aug 2        Manhattan Invitational (m) Manhattan, NY NEW
Aug 11-12    Chevron Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach, CA Grand Prix (m/w)
Aug 19       USPRO Criterium Championships (m/w) Downer's Grove, IL UCI
Aug 19       USCF Criterium Championships (m/w) Downer's Grove, IL
Aug 24-26    Hotter than Hell Hundred (m/w) TX
Aug 26       Chris Thater Memorial Criterium (m/w) Binghamton, NY
Sep 1-3      Killington Stage Race (m/w) Killington, VT
Sep 2        The Zinger Colorado
Sep 8        San Rafael Cycling Classic San Rafael, CA NEW
Sep 9        San Francisco Grand Prix (m/w) San Francisco, CA NEW
Sep 15       Univest Grand Prix (m/w) Souderton, PA
Sep 16       BMC Software Tour of Houston (m/w) Houston, TX UCI
Sep 16       Bear Mountain Road Race Harriman State Park, NY
Sep 24       Irvine Cycling Grand Prix (m/w) Irvine, CA NEW
Sep 29       US Open Cycling Championships Columbus, OH NEW
Sep 30       Deland Cycling Grand Prix (m/w) Deland, FL NEW
Oct 6        Mercy Celebrity Classic Criterium (m/w) Fort Smith, AK NEW
Oct 13-14    Michelin Classic (m/w) Greenville, SC
Oct 19-21    Sunshine Cycling Classic/Great Miami Coconut Grove Bicycle Race(m/w)

Mercury and others to get tested

Over the next week various international racers including the entire Mercury-Viatel team will attend physiological testing at Pepperdine University's Sports Exercise Physiology Lab. The team is training in Woodland Hills from January 14 - 21, and are scheduled to undergo testing on January 14 and January 19. On January 19, the tests will involve team members who are scheduled to compete in the Tour de France including Pavel Tonkov (Rus) and Chann McRae (USA).

The testing will be conducted under the supervision of sports medicine professor Dr Holden McRae, using state of the art facilities not normally available elsewhere. The main outcome of the data received through the tests is intended to custom tailor each individual athlete's training regime to ensure success in competition.

Sydor and Green sweep Canadian Cyclist reader poll

Olympic mountain bikers Alison Sydor and Roland Green took all three of Canadian Cyclist magazine's People's Choice awards, as voted for at the magazine's website. Both riders recently signed for trek-Volkswagen and are based in Victoria, British Columbia.

Sydor took 38 per cent of the vote, ahead of top Canadian road racer Genevieve Jeanson and another mountain biker, national champion Chrissy Redden.

Green netted 44 per cent of the vote for top male rider, no surprise after a breakthrough year that saw him take silver at the world's and become the only North American to finish in the top 10 of the UCI rankings. US-based road pro Gord Fraser was second, followed by track Olympian Jim Fisher.

Green also grabbed the Individual Performance award for his world's silver. Geoff Kabush was second in polling (13%) for his ninth place finish in the men's Olympic mountain bike race and Genevieve Jeanson finished third for her victory in the Fleche Wallonne.

JCTDU set to scorch

Medium-range weather forecasts indicate that next week's Jacob Creek Tour Down Under will be a scorcher, with sunshine and temperatures into the high thirties Celsius. For readers still using the Fahrenheit scale, here's a cut-paste-and-keep conversion chart of the upper reaches of the Celsius 30s:

Celsius     Fahrenheit
34          93.2
35          95
36          96.8
37          98.6
38          100.4
39          102.2
40          104

You can keep an eye on the weather for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under here.

Vote for Cyclingnews

And finally, a small request that you please visit the web site of MTB component manufacturer Titec and let them know that Cyclingnews is your favourite cycling website. Titec's poll for top website is here.

Recent results and new features on cyclingnews