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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 9, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

An interview with Cadel Evans: Davitamon-Lotto's Aussie gamble

Cadel Evans
Photo: © John Flynn
Click for larger image

Sporting a new name and a new team roster, the Belgian based Davitamon-Lotto team (formerly Lotto-Domo) will enter 2005 with a distinctly Australian flavour. Best known as the team of two-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen, the return of his lead-out man Nick Gates and the addition of recovering classics rider Henk Vogels will ensure Vegemite croissants are added to the menu wherever the team goes.

But in the land Down Under, the coffee table conversation is all about Cadel Evans, the former mountain bike World Cup champion who has joined Davitamon-Lotto after two challenging, injury-interrupted years with T-Mobile. Cyclingnews' John Flynn caught up with the him and the rest of the Aussie Davitamon-Lotto contingent at Brisbane's South Bank, and ponders the question: can Cadel contend in July?

Since crossing over to road full-time in 2002 when he joined Mapei-Quick Step, Evans has shown plenty of promise as a stage racer, wearing the maglia rosa at the Giro and more recently in June this year, winning his second Tour of Austria. Along the way, the determined Australian has made no secret of his dream to ride the Tour de France, but injuries and team politics have so far kept his major career objective on ice.

While his new contract doesn't take effect until after Christmas, Cadel joined Davitamon-Lotto's Australian-based riders in south-east Queensland this week to race the Grand Prix Criterium Series and do some serious miles in training.

Click here for the full interview

Ullrich heads for South Africa

One week later than originally scheduled, Jan Ullrich will today fly to South Africa to begin his traditional winter training camp, the first stage in his preparation for another assault on the Tour de France.

Ullrich has been suffering from a cold, hence the delay, according to his trainer Rudy Pevenage. "He is healthy again and will fly out tomorrow," Pevanage told DPA yesterday. Pevenage, who has had an uneasy relationship with T-Mobile team management since he and Ullrich left the then-Telekom team for Coast at the end of 2003, will not be accompanying Ullrich to South Africa.

Pevenage said that Ullrich would initially train alone, because the other team members have already been at the camp for a week and are therefore further in the programme. In South Africa, Ullrich will join team-mates Matthias Kessler and Andreas Klöden and former Telekom riders Danilo Hondo and Jens Heppner.

After the South African camp, Ullrich will return to his home in Switzerland for Christmas and then head to Majorca on January 6 for a three-week training camp with the team. "Before we get into the season in March, we'll do one more training camp, in Tuscany," said Pevenage.

Wellens' thumb still sore

World cyclocross champion Bart Wellens managed to finish tenth behind winner Sven Nys at yesterday's Milan round of the cyclocross world cup despite still being bothered by the thumb injury he sustained at the Superprestige race in Gieten, Netherlands on November 28. Before the race, Wellens told that his doctors had advised him to wear a cast for four weeks to allow the torn ligament to heal.

Wellens' thumb swelled again after Sunday's Wetzikon World Cup. "For the first few days after Gieten... the treatment went well," said Wellens. "But I went to Wetzikon rather too optimistically, thinking it would go all right." It wasn't, as Wellens discovered, "the digit is still quite sensitive."

Since then, Wellens has been using an appliance that compresses the injury to reduce the swelling and was expecting to need an injection in the injury to ride in Milan. "It's impossible to ride with a brace," he said.

McEwen wants more JCTDU stages

Queensland's Robbie McEwen will be hunting for more victories to add to his tally of eight stage wins at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under when he heads the Davitamon-Lotto team in 2005's event.

McEwen holds the record for the most stage wins by any rider in the Tour and his sprinting prowess is certain to be on show again this January. The 32 year old will also be defending the SA Lotteries sprint crown which he also claimed in 2002. McEwen's 2004 included reclaiming the green sprinter's crown and two stages of the Tour de France plus a stage win in the Tour of Italy.

"I don't like to talk up my performances too much in advance but obviously I want to win a stage," said McEwen who finished second overall in 2004 behind South Australian Patrick Jonker. "Anything on top of that aim is a bonus but I'll be coming to Adelaide with the usual off season training in my legs and I usually come up pretty well in January."

McEwen will be joined by two new Australian faces in the team with Cadel Evans and Henk Vogels making their debut for Davitamon-Lotto in Adelaide.

"Half the riders will be Australians and they are all blokes I have known for a while," said McEwen. Nick Gates will be the fourth Australian in the team. "Henk and I raced together in the national team back in 1994 and in Rabobank in my first year as a pro so it will be good to race again with him on my team.

"Cadel has been signed to give our team a general classification rider and he's highly capable of that," said McEwen of the Victorian who this year won the Tour of Austria.

Meantime the Ceramiche Panaria ­ Navigare team will field two Olympic gold medalists in Australians Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster. Brown teamed with Lancaster, Luke Roberts and Brad McGee to set a world record and win gold in the team pursuit at Athens before joining Stuart O'Grady for a gold medal performance in the Madison.

Davitamon ­ Lotto for Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under

Robbie McEwen (Aus) 24/06/1972
Wim Vansevenant (Bel) 23/12/1971
Cadel Evans (Aus) 14/02/1977
Johan Van Summeren (Bel) 04/02/1981
Nick Gates (Aus) 10/03/1972
Gert Steegmans (Bel) 30/09/1980
Henk Vogels (Aus) 31/07/1973
Mario Aerts (Bel) 31/12/1974

Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare for Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under

Graeme Brown (Aus) 09/04/1979
Sergey Matveyev (Ukr) 29/01/1975
Brett Lancaster (Aus) 15/11/1979
G. Ruben Bongiorno (Arg) 29/07/1978
Mirko Allegrini (Ita)
Julio Perez Cuapio (Mex) 30/07/1977
Fortunato Baliani (Ita) 07/07/1974
Paride Grillo (Ita) 23/03/1982

LeMond, Heiden to appear at Los Angeles World Cup

Three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond and five-time Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden are scheduled to be special guests at the second round of the track world cup at the ADT Event Center, Carson, California this weekend, December 10-12. LeMond will be appearing on Friday, December 10 and Heiden will be on hand Saturday, December 11.

Ticketholders who purchased an all session package are welcome to attend a VIP meet and greet with LeMond from 5:00-5:30pm Friday evening in the ADT Event Center infield. A similar meet and greet for the general public with LeMond is also tentatively scheduled for Friday evening.

On Saturday, similar events are planned with Heiden, who was one of the USA's most successful Olympians as a speedskater and crossed over to road cycling, winning the USPRO Championship in 1985 and riding for the 7-Eleven team.

On Sunday, the event's final day of competition, 2000 U.S. Olympic Team member Antonio Cruz will be on hand. Cruz, a Southern California native has been a member of the U.S. Postal Service Professional Cycling Team for the last four years.

Snow Summit ends downhilling

The Californian mountain resort of Snow Summit, venue for numerous NORBA and World Cup mountain bike races over the years, has closed its gates to downhill mountain biking, both competitive and recreational.

According to an announcement on the website of Snow Summit race organiser Team Big Bear, the closure comes as a response to legal and environmental factors. "Snow Summit is no longer willing to accept the liability exposure of DH mountain biking and racing," says the announcement. "A major lawsuit has been filed against USA Cycling, Snow Summit, and Team Big Bear on behalf of an injured DH racer. This lawsuit is still pending (it has not been settled nor reached the trial stage)."

In addition, unauthorised trail building has been a concerns for Snow Summit authorities. "The US Forest Service has been pressuring Snow Summit and Team Big Bear to address the substantial amount of illegal downhill trails that have developed adjacent to Snow Summit's permit area, primarily as a result of its Sky Chair operation. Various methods have been used to inhibit the development and use of these trails including, signage, fencing, and ticket revocation. These attempts have proved futile. The combination of liability exposure and environmental concerns have led to this decision."

While Snow Summit will still host cross-country races and cross-country riders will still be able to use the chairlifts, there will be no downhill races at the venue and resort staff will not load downhill bikes on the chairlift.

Skelde to Glud & Marstrand Horsens

Michael Skelde, who rode for the Alessio Bianchi team in 2004, has signed a one year contract with Glud & Marstrand Horsens, according to the team. Current Glud & Marstrand Horsens rider Kasper Klostergaard has renewed for 2005.

George back with Barloworld

After some to-ing and fro-ing about his future with the team, South African David George has signed up with Barloworld again for the 2005 season. According to the team, George will concentrate on stage wins in 2005, and will aim to come into form later in the season.

Dede Demet-Barry speaks

Olympic time trial silver medalist Dede Demet-Barry is to speak at the annual meeting of the Hellenic-American Cultural Association of Colorado on December 18, 2004. Demet-Barry will talk about her experiences leading to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and discuss the pride and motivation she felt competing not only in the birthplace of the Olympics but also the birthplace of her grandfather, Thomas Dimitrakoupoulas.

The program starts at 6pm a the Hellenic Community Center, 4610 East Alameda Avenue, Denver, Colorado and will be followed by a dinner. Entry is free, while the dinner costs $20 - reservations are required.

For more information see:

Mont Australian 24-hour date confirmed

The date of the 2005 edition of the Mont Australian 24-hour mountain bike race has been confirmed as October 8-9. With 2200 competitors, the 2004 event was the largest and most successful to date, awarding national champion jerseys in the solo category for the first time.

Australian minister calls for motorists and cyclists to share

Launching an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report on cycling safety, the Federal Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, has called for motorists and cyclists to share the road.

According to the report, on average, 35 cyclists are killed and around 2500 are seriously injured on the Australian public road system each year. While this figure is substantially down from 142 in 1950, it's hard to ascribe any meaning to that decline because, as the report says, "There are no data available which reliably measure cycle use at a national level, making it difficult to compare the safety of cyclists over time or relative to other road users."

Nevertheless, the report concludes, "The overall community benefits gained from regular cycling are likely to outweigh the loss of life through cycling accidents." In other words, the reduced health care and pollution costs to society as a whole that results from people riding bikes instead of turning into lard in their cars, likely outweighs the costs of the cycling road toll.

"Cycling is an important form of transport and recreation for many people in the community," Mr Lloyd said. "It is important that motorists recognise the rights of cyclists to use the road and be considerate. It is equally important for cyclists to know their responsibilities on the road and follow the rules."

Bike stolen in Watt shop raid

Australian 1992 Olympic gold medalist Kathy Watt is appealing for cyclists to be on the lookout for a high-end bike stolen from her Melbourne bike shop in the small hours of Wednesday morning. The front window of the shop on Beach Road was broken at about 1.30 am and a 56cm Inexa C1 carbon fiber bike with full Dura-Ace group was taken. The bike has Pazzazz carbon components including handlebar, stem, seatpost, bottle cages and headset spacer and Alex 600 wheels. It retails for $7000.

A reward is offered for the bike's return and anyone with information on its whereabouts should contact Watt on 03 9589 4544 or, or contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)