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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 3, 2004

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

ProTour saga continues

On Wednesday, December 1, the International Cycling Union announced a deal between the three Grand Tour organisers and the UCI with respect to the inclusion of Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta as well as other important World Cup races. After months of negotiation, the remaining 11 races were finally included in the ProTour, next year's professional road racing calendar, which will therefore count 27 races in total. But on Thursday, French daily Le Parisien quoted the director of Tour de France organiser ASO, Patrice Clerc, as saying, "We have not become part of the ProTour," indicating that a real agreement still hasn't been reached. Le Parisien went as far as saying that UCI president Hein Verbruggen bluffed by publishing the notice, while Patrice Clerc explained that the meaning of the announcement can be interpreted in different ways.

"Real differences still exist between us, especially on ethical and doping questions, which prevent us from reaching an agreement on the concept of the ProTour," Clerc stated, adding, "Of course, the international calendar will be called the UCI ProTour in 2005. I can't stop Verbruggen from calling it that." The new-found settlement therefore seems to be a matter of names, since the UCI's World Cup will cease to exist.

"We took into account the legitimate teams' and organisers' concerns, which could not continue in this uncertainty any longer. There just had to be a calendar. It's a provisional solution for 2005. The situation is unblocked, but we're far from being ready. On October 1, for example, we decided to engage in an ethical code. Two months later, this code is still not written."

Perez vows to continue

Santi Perez (Phonak)
Photo ©: Unipublic
Click for larger image

Like his teammate Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Perez has also been let go by Phonak in a belated attempt to save the team's ProTour chances. Like Hamilton, Perez tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion in October, and now finds himself facing a possible two year suspension for doping. But the 27 year-old believes that he still has a future in cycling, even if he is found guilty.

"I am young and even if the worst comes to the worst, I would still be able to come back, but it would be a very big blow," he told Marca. "I am preparing to show my innocence, but first I would like them to show that I am guilty...I continue to the wait for the opinion of the scientists on the [testing] method, whether or not it is reliable."

Perez said that he "couldn't understand [the UCI's] decision" to exclude Phonak from the Pro-Tour, even after both he and Hamilton had supposedly been sacrificed for the cause. "They were looking for economically solvent and serious teams for four years, and Phonak was one of them. It's not fair...With respect to what happened in the team, if nothing changed after they let me go last week, it's evident that the problem wasn't me."

Perez added that he is still doing his pre-season training as normal, and is hoping that things will work out in his favour.

Domina Vacanze disagrees with Scarponi's transfer

Michele Scarponi's transfer from Domina Vacanze to Liberty Seguros has not pleased his former team. Domina Vacanze's management company Blue Sea Services has issued a statement to the effect that Scarponi still holds a valid contract with them, and that they will take legal action against him to ensure that the contract is enforced.

Renäng to ComNet-Senges

Swedish rider Petter Renäng, after not being able to continue with team Liquigas-Bianchi, will become part of German Div. III team ComNet-Senges in 2005. Renäng will be one of the team's leaders and hopes that this step will result in a pro contract in 2006.

Spiuk - Spain's second Continental team

After Orbea, a second Spanish team has made the step into the UCI's Continental circuit: team Spiuk from Spain's Extremadura region. Its main sponsor is the cycling gear manufacturer Spiuk Sport Line, and has ten riders on its roster at the moment, with Jesús del Nero Montes and Jesús Pérez Priego (Caja Castilla-La Mancha) also likely to join. Spiuk will be directed by Alfonso Rodríguez Hidalgo, and the riders will race on Kuips bikes, also a brand of its main sponsor.

Colavita adds Palmer-Komar and new sponsor to women's team

The Colavita professional women's cycling team has signed Canadian Sue Palmaer-Komar to its roster for 2005. "Sue is coming off one of her best-ever seasons in 2004," said the team's new director John Alsedek. "In addition to winning the Canadian National Time Trial, the St. Amand Montrond French Cup event, and America's famous Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Sue also placed second overall in the Tour de 'Toona, one of the world's longest multi-day races for women, earned a trip to the Athens Olympics, and placed fourth in the Flèche Wallonne, arguably the toughest of the Women's World Cup events."

The team has also announced a new co-sponsor for its program: Cooking Light, the world's largest food and fitness magazine. As part of the sponsorship, Cooking Light and Colavita will be co-hosting a bike safety and nutrition fair in Maplewood, N.J. this spring and a bike trip through the Colavita region of Italy during next autumn's olive harvest season.

Wiggins back on track

Triple Olympic medallist Bradley Wiggins returns to the international track scene in round three of the Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester on January 7-9. Wiggins confirmed last week that the Manchester event would be his only appearance in this season's World Cup series.

"It's always a homecoming for me at the Velodrome, especially as I've lived in Manchester for the past few years," he said. "I expect to ride the distance races, which could mean the Madison, points and scratch race."

Wiggins' likely teammate in the Madison will be Rob Hayles, his partner in their bronze medal ride at the Athens Olympics. Olympic pursuit champion Wiggins plans to take a break from pursuiting for the next two years. Then he will start his build-up for the defence of his title at the Beijing Games.

Wiggins, along with the other British medallists, has been much in demand over the winter. "It's been a good break for me, one that I needed. Now I'm turning down a lot of invitations and am back on the training treadmill," he said.

The Manchester meeting will be one of the last opportunities to see Wiggins in action on the track this winter, with just one more race remaining. "I'm concentrating on the road in the coming season," said Wiggins. Immediately after the World Cup, he heads for South Australia to lead the Credit Agricole squad in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, starting on January 18.

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Ford to Tassie carnivals

Australian Junior Track Cyclist of the Year, Michael Ford, has been confirmed for this month's Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals Series. Earlier this year, Ford smashed a 10 year-old World record at the Australian National track championships in the 3000m individual pursuit. Ford was clocked at 3:17.775 during the event, beating previous record holder Brad McGee's time by two seconds. In August, Ford won both the World Junior Individual and Team Pursuit Championships in Los Angeles.

Ford has ridden the Tasmanian Carnivals previously as a junior, but will now take the challenge up to the big guns of the sport. He will join a growing list of big name riders in the Tasmanian Carnivals, including the already announced Jame Carney, Shane Kelly, Ashley Hutchinson, Christian Lademann, Nathan Clarke and American Bobby Lea. Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania Chairman, Mr Grant Atkins is expecting to make further rider announcements within the next two weeks.

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Melbourne Cup on Wheels on Saturday

A field of 100 elite cyclists has been confirmed for the Melbourne Cup on Wheels track cycling meet at Vodafone Arena this Saturday, December 4. International cycling stars of the likes of Shane Kelly, Sean Eadie, Ben Kersten and Kerrie Meares (all Australian Team members) will be competing against the best from New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji and Tahiti as well as a host of other Australian Cycling stars.

Handicaps for the main event, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, have been released with four riders (Shane Kelly, Todd Wilksch, Darren Young and young Stephen Rossendell) all riding from the scratch mark. Ben Kersten, being in excellent form after dominating an event in Sydney last weekend, will also be competing.

The event, which commences at 6.30 pm, has also attracted a record field of 30 female entries which will contest a packed program of handicap, scratch and Keirin races. Amongst others, Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ - Athens Olympian), Liz Williams (NZ - Oceania Champion) and Belinda Goss (AUS - Australian Representative) will be competing.

The Melbourne Cup on Wheels program will also include a number of Oceania Championship events, including the Men’s Keirin, the Women’s Sprint, the Junior Men’s Scratch race and the Women’s Individual Pursuit.

Tickets are on sale at Ticketek ( from $20, and season tickets are available prior to the Melbourne Cup on Wheels for the 3 race International Track Series being held at Vodafone Arena.

Seymour on the edge

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The All-Ireland Cyclo-Cross Championships will be hosted by the Haldane Fisher Newry Wheelers Cycling Club in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor on Saturday, December 4.

The pre-championship events were handicapped, thus on this occasion making the handicapper redundant as everybody comes out of the starting blocks, more or less on level pegging. The seeded competitors have a slight advantage as they are on the front grid. So, many of the competitors will from the outset be off the pace as the leaders roll off for the start of the championships.

The defending champion Robin Seymour goes for his 14th straight victory as champion, but in all probability he'll be conscious of the number 13 and the connotations that surround the merits or demerits of that infamous number, depending on his belief in superstition! He can't take it for granted that he'll have it all his own way because of Roger Aiken from Banbridge Cycling Club who has put in some solid displays over the last number of weeks.

Roger got the better of Robin by over a minute last weekend in Bangor. But Seymour is very down to earth about his prospects and realises that he has his work cut out to keep the title. "Yes, it is good for the sport that somebody is knocking on the door," said Robin. "He beat me in Bangor fairly and squarely which I have to say has not been one of my happy hunting grounds and Roger has been always in contention over the last number of years! So, maybe it could be his year."

Two weeks ago, Paul Christopher from Banteer CC also had the satisfaction of beating Robin, but that was on the basis of the handicapper.

If Christopher makes the long haul to Rostervor, he could very much cause an upset. All the indications are pointing to the demise of the champion, but I still feel that he'll get the better of the opposition on the day and finally call it quits.

There is ample parking; good changing facilities, a restaurant and an excellent course that has been designed for the championships. Racing starts at 11.00 with the underage championships sponsored by Noel McKinley Builder, and the main senior race sponsored by J C Campbell Honda / Citroen starting at 12.30.

California State Cyclocross Championships

The Home Depot Center Sports Complex in Carson, CA, USA will host the Scary Fast California State Cyclocross Championships on December 5, 2004. The 1.2 mile course will have a variety of challenging elevations around the ADT Velodrome including two run-up sections. This is the first Cyclocross event to be held at the Home Depot Center.

Racing begins promptly at 11am. During the event, spectators are welcome to watch World Cup Track Racers who will be training on the Velodrome for the up coming UCI World Cup Track event which starts on December 10.

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