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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for December 16, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Vuelta 2005 route has climbers smiling

By Shane Stokes in Madrid

Roberto Heras
Photo ©: AFP Photo
Click for larger image

The likely protagonists of next year's Vuelta today pronounced themselves happy with the look of the route for the 2005 edition, with more than enough mountains featuring to guarantee a humdinger of a race. Riders such as 2004 winner Roberto Heras, Alejandro Valverde, Oscar Sevilla and Joseba Beloki all gave the route the thumbs up at today's launch in Madrid's Auditorio de IFEMA in the Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I.

"It is a typical route for the Vuelta. With the Pyrenees and Asturias, I think it is a good tour for me," said three-time winner Roberto Heras. "There are many mountains, but we will see. There is also just 85 kilometres of time trials and that is important."

"I think there are three stages that will prove to be crucial. Ordino-Arcalís, Lados de Covadonga and Pajares are going to be the hardest. All in all, it is a nice course. With regards the other contenders, it is a bit early now to work out who they will be, as it is only December. But with teams and the cycling calendar changing next year, I think that many riders - not just Spanish - will ride the race. That makes it a bit more unpredictable."

Click here for the full report from the 2005 Vuelta launch

Phonak appeals

The Phonak team has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the UCI's decision to exclude it from the ProTour, the team announced yesterday.

"Regardless of the CAS decision, the complete Phonak Cycling Team, which was assembled for the ProTour, will start the 2005 season," the statement continued. "At the first get-together last weekend in Regensdorf all of the riders signed the proposed contracts for the 2005 season. [Team management company] ARcycling hopes to obtain various wildcards with this team, especially one for the Tour de France."

Durand calls it a day

Popular French rider Jacky Durand has decided to end his long career as a professional cyclist. Durand, 37, is famous for a 'suicide break' attacking style that usually resulted in his being caught by the bunch a few kilometres from the line, but occasionally landed him some spectacular victories, including three stages of the Tour de France, two World Cups and two French championships. Durand himself once conceded that the tactic only worked one time in 20, but those weren't bad odds in pro racing.

"There is a time for everyone and this is the time for me to stop," Durand told l'Equipe. "I had hoped to do ten years and win a race from time to time. I did 15 and won some beautiful races."

Durand, who turned professional in 1990 and rode for the Belgian Landbouwkrediet team in 2004, said he hopes to remain in cycling

Backstedt aims for Roubaix repeat

Magnus Backstedt, the Swedish rider who shot to fame earlier this year when he won Paris-Roubaix, is building his preparation for 2005 around repeating that victory. Backstedt, who will be riding for the Liquigas-Bianchi team in 2005, hurt his back in a crash, wiping out much of the rest of his 2004 season.

"Winning Roubaix was great for me," said Backstedt, "[but] the back injury I suffered ... is not something I want to repeat." A winter spent in the gym has strengthened Backstedt's damaged back muscles and rectified the problem.

"I am looking for a full season in 2005, with my main aims being the spring classics, defending my Roubaix title and adding to my 1998 Tour de France stage win."

As well as gym time, a large part of Backstedt's preparation for 2005 has been spent on the track. He says he is keen to establish himself as a track rider and to promote the benefit it gives to his road racing, and has been training and racing at the Newport velodrome in Wales, close to his home. He has also raced the Revolution series at Manchester Velodrome, and will race the Rotterdam Six (January 6-11 2005).

Backstedt will return to road racing in Qatar at the end of January with the GP Doha International (January 29) and Tour of Qatar (February 1-4) before embarking on a full ProTour schedule leading up to the 2005 Tour de France.

Van Moorsel's track farewell at Rotterdam

Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel will make her farewell appearance as a bike racer at the Rotterdam Six (Kanuary 6-11, 2005). A talk by Van Moorsel, discussing the highs and lows of her long career, is planned as one of the high points of the evening on January 8, and will be followed by a special Madison in which Van Moorsel and other top female Dutch racers will be paired with some of the country's best men.

Van Moorsel will team up with Erik Dekker, and will race against Mirjam Melchers (with Michael Boogerd), Anouska van der Zee (with Bart Brentjens) and Sissy van Alebeek (with Servais Knaven).

However, don't go looking for tickets for Van Moorsel's farewell - they're already sold out. Organisers say 7,000 tickets have already been sold for January 8, and a total of 25,000 have gone for the whole Six-day.

Patrick Sercu, the racer-turned-agent who arranges most of the riders for Europe's major Six-day races, said that the Rotterdam Six, "has the strongest field of all this winter's Sixes," and while that's perhaps a slight exaggeration, the field is a high-quality one. Paris-Roubaix winners Magnus Backstedt and Servais Knaven will both ride Rotterdam, as will Tom Steels and Jakob Piil.

Top track talent will include current Six-day kings Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart, plus the popular Dutch pairing of Robert Slippens and Danny Stam, and the Pronk brothers, Matthé and Jos.

Strong line up for Manchester world cup

A total of 34 countries and 225 riders are expected to contest the third round of the track World Cup in Manchester, January 7-9. the Los Angeles round saw strong performances by British and Dutch riders and the next event is set to take it up a notch as riders build toward the world championships in Los Angeles in march.

British women riders were particularly strong in LA with Victoria Pendleton's gold medal in the keirin ensuring her first place in the World Cup classification. She will be determined to sustain this lead at Manchester. Santa came early too for endurance rider Emma Davies as she grabbed both a silver and bronze medal.

Jason Queally's LA performance in the kilo also bodes well, keeping him at the head of the classification table, 10 points ahead of Theo Bos of the Netherlands. Bos is set to ride the special Japanese keirin event at Manchester, leaving the way clear for Queally.

Manchester will also see world and Olympic champion Chris Hoy ride his first kilo since Athens.

Belgian TV formalizes doping ban

Flemish broadcaster VRT has formalized a ban on suspended sportspeople working for it as commentators. The ban comes as part of the aftermath of the Landuyt affair which resulted in a two-year suspension for retired Belgian racer Johan Museeuw. Museeuw had been working for the government-funded station as a guest commentator, leading to criticism of VRT by Belgian politicians and an interim ban on the use of suspended riders in October.

That ban has now been made official. Riders and other athletes found guilty of doping infringements by their sports federations will not be allowed to appear on VRT as commentators or guests while they are suspended.

Ventura to coach Landis

Phonak rider Floyd Landis will be coached by his former US Postal team-mate Robbie Ventura in 2005. Ventura, who recently retired from racing to concentrate on his coaching business, will be assisted in fine-tuning the Landis engine by Dr. Allen C. Lim, a sports physiologist who specializes in evaluating power output in competitive cyclists, and Dr. Arnie Baker, a long-time advisor to Landis and well-known cycling coach and author.

Acknowledging Landis' impressive 2004 season, Ventura said, "I will not have to change much from what he has done this year to prepare Floyd for next season. I plan to drill down on some specific energy systems for Floyd that need attention and fine-tune his interval wattages and training volume. I believe Floyd is one of the most gifted riders in the peloton and my main goal is to keep him healthy in '05 as well as fine-tune his peaks."

Landis says he's "excited" to be working with Ventura. "We both have a similar mindset when it comes to training," he said. "Robbie is very good with the power side of training and he really gets the mental side of it as well. Robbie always seems to get me motivated when we talk about training and racing and I will look to him to get me through the hard times that come along every year."

US MTB nationals back to Mammoth

USA Cycling has announced that the 2005 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships will be held in Mammoth Mountain, California September 15-18, 2005.

In September this year, the popular Californian venue, which has a long history as a host of mountain bike racing saw over 1,400 participants race in the first one-day nationals championships in many years. Previously, US national championships had been decided from the NORBA national series.

Subaru-Gary Fisher team roster

The Subaru-Gary Fisher mountain bike team has announced its full roster for 2005. Eight riders will join double US national champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski on te team, which will have three categories: national team, endurance team, and international team.

The national team will race largely in North America with a focus on the NORBA NCS, domestic World Cups, and major domestic events, though national team riders will travel internationally for some events. The national team will comprise Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Willow Koerber - a team-mate of JHK's on the now-defunct Ralph Lauren Polo MTB team - returning 2004 Subaru-Gary Fisher rider Kerry Barnholt and up-and-coming Australian rider Trent Lowe.

The endurance team will focus on major 24-hour races and regional one day endurance races and will be made up of 2004 24 Hours of Moab champion Nat Ross and Cameron Chambers.

Two riders return to Subaru-Gary Fisher to make up the international division: British national points series champion Jenny Copnall and Japan's Takahiro Ogasawara.

Olympia's Tour 2005

The 2005 edition of the Netherlands Olympia's Tour will finish in Ossendrecht for the first time and will be classed as 2.2 under the UCI's new grading scheme. This is roughly the equivalent of the old 2.5 and means the race is open to Continental elite teams. This year's race was won by promising young Dutch rider Thomas Dekker, who will ride for the Rabobank ProTour team next year.

The 2005 Olympia's Tour begins May 14 with a prologue in Veendam on Saturday. The nine-day race will include a time trial in Nunspeet on May 18 and a 'queen stage' to Buchten on May 20. The next day, riders make their way to Ossendrecht and the Olympia's Tour comes to a close on Sunday May 22 with a stage through the Brabant country starting and finishing in Ossendrecht.


Prologue - May 14: Veendam
Stage 1 - May 15: Veendam-Veendam
Stage 2 - May 16: Veendam-Hardenberg
Stage 3 - May 17: Hardenberg - Tiel
Stage 4 - May 18: Tiel-Nunspeet + ITT
Stage 5 - May 19: Nunspeet-Rhenoy
Stage 6 - May 20: Geleen-Buchten
Stage 7 - May 21: Geleen-Ossendrecht
Stage 8 - May 22: Ossendrecht-Ossendrecht

Last few days for Cyclingnews reader poll

If you haven't yet voted in the 2004 Cyclingnews reader poll, you've now got until December 21 to do so as we've extended the deadline by a couple of days. And as an incentive and thank you to those who take the time to vote in our 'people's poll', each fully completed entry in the Readers' Poll will go into the cyber-barrel to win a range of Cyclingnews merchandise worth $200 - it could be a matching jersey and knicks, or cycling socks, or one of our great posters.

Visit the Cyclingnews online store to check out what's on offer, but please note the prize does not include the DVDs or books (sorry). Most importantly, there is no 'right' answer as such, because the prize draw will be completely random and all previous entries in the Readers' Poll are included, so please don't vote again.

We look forward to sharing the results with you later this month.

Click here to register your votes

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