First Edition Cycling News for December 2, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
UCI satisfied with Grand Tour agreement
The agreement between the organisers of the three Grand Tours (ASO, RCS and Unipublic) and the UCI has paved the way for the ProTour, the spearhead of the UCI's Road Cycling Reform, to go ahead next season. The race organisers have also accepted the participation of the 19 ProTour teams that were confirmed on November 30. With the inclusion of an additional 11 ASO, RCS and Unipublic events, the ProTour will now number 27 races and will be the cream of the calendar.
"The UCI wishes to express its satisfaction for the agreement that has been reached, which will enable the UCI ProTour to start in 2005 in the best of conditions," said the UCI in a statement. "This assuredly is a positive step forward to vouch for the future of professional cycling."
Negotiations between the Association of Race Organisers (AIOCC), representatives of the UCI Professional Cycling Council (PCC) and the Association of Cycling Teams (AIGCP) will continue in 2005.
March 6-13 Paris-Nice
Scarponi to Liberty, Beloki confirms
Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze) has signed a two year contract to ride for Liberty Seguros, according to Italian sources. The 25 year-old climber with six wins this season will join Joseba Beloki at Liberty, with the latter signing a one year deal with his former manager Manolo Saiz.
Beloki said that he was eager to return to the directorship of Saiz, as his best performances were with ONCE. He said that while his results were mixed in 2004, 2005 will be the year in which he shows more of his old form. Beloki wants to put his 2003 crash behind him and is confident he will reach grand tour podiums again.
Liberty Seguros is now looking very much like the strong ONCE team of old, with Beloki, Scarponi, Roberto Heras, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, Marcos Serrano, Isidro Nozal, Jörg Jaksche and Allan Davis all part of the team.
Rumsas charged in France
Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas has been summoned to appear in a French court, charged with smuggling illegal products into France in 2002. Rumsas' lawyer Alexandre Varaut confirmed the news on Wednesday, adding that Rumsas' Polish doctor Krysztof Ficek is also being charged with a similar offence and his wife Edita has been charged with offering doping substances to an athlete involved in competition.
The case started at the end of the 2002 Tour de France when Edita Rumsas was stopped at the French border in the Alps and searched by customs officers. They found a large quantity of illegal medicinal products in her campervan, and she was imprisoned for 68 days while police tried (unsuccessfully) to question her husband. Although she was released in September 2002 without being charged, an investigation into the affair was opened by French magistrate Franck Guesdon, which concluded in May of this year. Guesdon couldn't determine whether Raimondas Rumsas had used doping products [n.b. Rumsas served a one year suspension after testing positive for EPO in May, 2003], but ruled that there was enough evidence to charge he and his wife with smuggling.
Neither of them have set foot in France since Edita was released. An international warrant for the arrest of Raimondas and Dr. Ficek was issued in May, 2004. It's expected that the trial will not commence until the second half of 2005.
O'Grady wants third Jacob's Creek title
Stuart O'Grady has set his sights on victory in the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under and his Cofidis team has confirmed a strong line up to help him achieve his third victory in his hometown event. "I definitely want to win it," said O'Grady, who was last week named Australian Male Road Cyclist of the Year. "I missed out on racing it this year so I'm fired up to make a big impression in 2005."
The Cofidis team will include O'Grady's faithful lieutenant, Matt White, who will be making his Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under debut. Newly signed sprint specialist Jans Koerts, has been assigned the role of getting O'Grady to the finish line in the big sprints throughout the season the JCTDU will be his first with the Cofidis team. Reigning Estonian road race and time trial champion, Janek Tombak is also listed to start.
"It's basically the team that rides the Classics (major one day races) and it's a really strong group," said O'Grady. "We'll be strong in the sprints through Koerts and Tombak and we've got experience with White and Peter Farazijn. Plus there's a couple of young strong blokes to do the work when it's needed."
O'Grady has enjoyed a great deal of success this season becoming the first Australian man to win a round of the World Cup. He also claimed a Tour de France stage win and the gold medal in the Madison at the Athens Olympic Games. "It's been a very long year but I've had a good break and I'm now cruising back into training and building up a solid base," he said. "By the time the tour starts I should be in good form."
O'Grady says he's also excited about racing the road race at the Australian Open Road Championships being staged in the Adelaide Hills town of Echunga. "That's another of my 2005 objectives, to take the jersey back," said O'Grady who was the 2003 Australian Road Champion. "It's going to be pretty difficult because it will be a top field but I'll be having a go."
Cofidis won't have it all their way with Queensland's Allan Davis leading the Liberty Seguros team in Adelaide. Davis, described by multiple Tour de France green jersey winner, Erik Zabel, as the 'next big thing', has had his share of the podium in 2004 and finished fifth in the road race at the World Championships in Italy.
"There's no way Manolo (Saiz - Team Director) is bringing the team out for a holiday and he'll be expecting us to perform," said Davis who at the 2004 event competed with Team Australia because of logistical delays that prevented Liberty riding in Australia. "It's going to be great to ride in the Liberty pro team colours for the first time in Oz."
The Liberty team includes new recruit and Athens Olympic road race silver medallist, Sergio Paulinho of Portugal as well as Spaniard Isidro Nozal who was second overall in the 2003 Vuelta and this year finished seventh overall. "Nozal is very strong and I'm looking forward to meeting Paulinho," said Davis. "Alberto Contador is also coming to Australia and he's a really good climber. Contador suffered a seizure and crashed in a race earlier this year so he hasn't raced since May but he has a lot of potential and will be making his comeback in Australia."
Davis' return to training was delayed to fit in his wedding and Gold Coast honeymoon but says he has now settled back into his training regime.
Cofidis: Stuart O'Grady (Aus), Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra), Matthew White (Aus), Peter Farazijn (Bel), Janek Tombak (Est), Jans Koerts (Ned), Arnaud Coyot (Fra), Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel)
Liberty Seguros: Allan Davis (Aus), Isidro Nozal (Spa), Aaron Kemps (Aus), Carlos Barredo (Spa), Alberto Contador (Spa), Angel Vicioso (Spa), Sergio Paulinho (Por), Luis Sanchez Leon (Spa)
For more information: www.tourdownunder.com.au
Jenner to race final race in New Zealand
French-based New Zealand pro Chris Jenner will head a team made up of New Zealand and overseas riders in what will be his final race as a professional cyclist in next January's international Trust House Cycle Classic from January 26-30, 2005. "This will be the last one and I would like to do well," said Jenner, who won the race in 2001. "I started my cycling career in Wellington and it's going to be great to be able to end it there riding in one of New Zealand's biggest cycling events."
"Chris is a good friend and an excellent rider, the doors would always be open for him to come and ride the Trust House Cycle Classic," said race director Jorge Sandoval. "It's a privilege to have him on our event for what will be the final race of his illustrious career. Chris is very well respected in New Zealand and a legend in Wellington cycling. I will work on building a team of riders who are prepared to do the work and ensure Chris have their support over the five days of racing."
Jenner's main claim to cycling fame is being the first Kiwi to win a stage of the Tour de France. In 2001 as part of Credit Agricole, his squad took the team time trial stage. In 2002, Jenner won the GP Le Télégramme as well as a stage in the Tour de l'Ain and the Tour de l'Avenir in 1999.
Riding for Credit Agricole up until the end of 2003, Jenner was due to ride for an American team this year, but it did not eventuate. Jenner represented New Zealand at World Championships and Olympic Games and now will focus his efforts on being the directeur sportif of the New Zealand U25 team that will take part in the European calendar.
16 year-old Belgian cyclo-crosser Ben Arnouts has decided to stop his racing career after suffering heart problems during last Saturday's race in Koksijde. Fortunately, there was no repeat of the Tim Pauwels tragedy at Koksijde, as Arnouts was quickly attended to by four doctors and is now recovering in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwziekenhuis in Aalst.
Although he has yet to get the final diagnosis from the doctors who examined him, he has decided not to risk his life for the sake of a sporting career. "I will still be able to play sport later, but top sport is out...It's not worth that much to me," he told Sportwereld.be from his hospital bed.
Dutch rider Rudi Kemna (37) will continue his career with the new Shimano-Van Keulen-Imabo Van Buren team managed by Arend Scheppink. Kemna, who rode for Scheppink's BankGiroLoterij team this year, had decided to retire after BankGiroLoterij stopped, but received another opportunity with Shimano.
Jonas Ljungblad, winner of this year's Herald Sun Tour, will also race for Amore e Vita in 2005, after turning down offers from a Dutch and a German Continental team.
Dietziker and Stalder to ZVVZ
Swiss neo-professionals Andreas Dietziker and Florian Stalder, both 22, will ride for the Czech ZVVZ-ED'System team next season. Dietziker is a multiple Swiss champion at the junior and U23 level, while Stalder was the best Swiss rider in the U23 GP Tell this year.
USA team for Track World Cup #2
USA Cycling has announced its 11 rider squad for the second round of the 2004/05 UCI Track World Cup in Los Angeles December 10-12. Four women and seven men will represent the U.S. in the various sprint and endurance events.
2004 Olympic bronze medalist Erin Mirabella (Racine, Wis.) leads a women's endurance trio that also includes Rebecca Quinn (Quakertown, Pa.) and Anna Webb (San Diego, Calif.). Mirabella will be competing in both the points race and the individual pursuit, while Quinn will race the scratch and points race, and Webb will ride the scratch.
The sole representative in the women's sprint events will be Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash.). Reed is ranked number one in the keirin after the 2004 World Cup. She will contest the keirin and sprint in Los Angeles.
Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.), also a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, is one of three representatives of the men's endurance squad and will compete in both the points race and the madison. Teaming up with Pearce in the madison will be 2000 Olympic gold medalist Marty Nothstein (Orefield, Pa.). Rounding out the men's endurance squad is current scratch race elite national champion Josh Kerkhof (Fort Worth, Texas).
The men's sprint squad features a mix of established veterans and talented newcomers. 2004 Olympic team members Christian Stahl (Bethany, Conn.) and Giddeon Massie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will race with Ryan Nelman (Houston, Texas) and Aaron Kacala (Racine, Wis.). Massie and Stahl, who comprised two-thirds of the team sprint squad in Athens, will join forces with Nelman this time around. Stahl and Massie will also compete individually in the match sprint with Stahl also scheduled to contest the keirin.
Kacala will ride the kilometre time trial, an event in which he claimed a junior national title at the ADT Event Center in June.
Erin Mirabella (points race, individual pursuit)
Christian Stahl (sprint, team sprint, keirin)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)