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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for December 25, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

2004 - records broken, unprecedented headlines

By Gerard Knapp, Cyclingnews publisher

Click for larger image

At the end of another eventful year of racing on the road, track and dirt, the whole staff wish our readers all the best for the holiday season. What a year it's been, and once again our Reader's Poll reflects who made the news this year.

We've seen the arrival of a significant young rider on the road, one of the sport's longest-standing records broken and an Olympics that delivered great racing in all disciplines, with records smashed by remarkable athletes. Cycling also made the headlines for the wrong reasons, but we can only hope that these measures to have a clean sport will see fewer disappointments for us all in the future. Rollercoasters can be fun, as long as they stop now and then.

As it's the muddy season for many, we've kicked off the Reader's Poll results of the best male and female cyclo-cross riders in 2004, with many categories to follow until we announce the rider of the year on New Year's Day.

At Cyclingnews, we've enjoyed another season of continued growth and exciting race coverage, and we extend our thanks to you for your support and thanks to our advertisers for their support, without which the site could not continue to grow as it has.

A big thank you as well to our diarists and the numerous contributors from around the world who help extend the reach of our staff, already spread across three continents.

In such an eventful year it's almost impossible to pick a favourite moment, but many of you did and there were many amazing performances and races to choose. This year, we were very chuffed when our diarists got the 'double' at the Olympics; Paolo Bettini won gold, as did Sara Carrigan, who contributed during the year, along with her team-mates Olivia Gollan and Oenone Wood. We were delighted to share their feelings - and those of our other stellar diarists - throughout the year.

Cyclingnews was also proud to support three development teams racing on three continents this year - a big congratulations to the riders and staff on the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS/Cyclingnews) team in Australia, to Jonathan Vaughter's TIAA-CREF squad in the USA, and of course, Team, based in Belgium and taking on the big guns in Europe.

Over the next week, we will bring you the results of the poll so many of you entered, and I'm sure you're keen to know the results.

Safe riding, and best wishes for a healthy and happy 2005.

Thor Hushovd targets world's

By Jean-François Quénet

Norwegian champion Thor Hushovd will have a different race programme in 2005. Hushovd wore the Tour de France yellow jersey in Namur this year, and won a stage Quimper, and will again have the Tour de France as a major goal in 2005. But the end of the year will be more important than the beginning for the big sprinter who will ride the Vuelta a Espana for the first time next year as preparation for the world championship in Madrid where he has no less ambition than taking the rainbow jersey.

The massive Scandinavian recently had a sinus operation. "It went all fine but I've had seven weeks off," he said. Known for picking the form quickly, Hushovd has deliberately delayed his winter preparation and will not try to be successful as early as last season when he kicked off the year with a stage win at the Étoile de Bessèges. His first appearance will be at the Tour of the Mediterranean (February 9-13).

He will also take part in the Classic Haribo (February 20), a race he won in 2004 among 10 successes in total, but he will not show up at Paris-Nice. "I've asked to ride Tirreno-Adriatico instead," he revealed. Hushovd was somewhat frustrated in 2004 when he couldn't start some important World Cup races for which his Crédit Agricole team didn't qualify but the UCI Pro Tour rules give him the opportunity to build his programme around the major events now. "Milan-San Remo will be my first big goal," he said.

Belgian races such as Het Volk, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Waregem, GP E3, Flèche Brabançonne and Tour of Flanders are also on his schedule prior to Paris-Roubaix, the race of his dreams.

Zijlaard-Van Moorsel awarded

Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel has been voted Netherlands sportswoman of the year, ahead of swimmer Inge de Bruijn and equestrian Anky van Grunsven. Track cyclist Theo Bos was the runner-up in the men's category behind swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband.

New Australian Continental team

2005 will see the launch of a new Australian Continental team to compete on the UCI Continental circuits.

Called MG XPower presented by BigPond, the team has emerged from the successful elite amateur outfit Team MGZT-Bianchi, which will continue as a domestic team racing in Australia.

Boasting backing from MG Cars and Australian Internet service provider Telstra BigPond the team will comprise 10 riders, including 2004 national road series champion Rob MacLachlan and national road cycling championships winner Tony Mann. Although Melbourne-based, team members will be drawn from throughout Australia with the starting line-up including riders from New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland, and Western Australia, with others from Victoria and South Australia expected to join the squad in the new year.

The team has been established under the guidance of Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson, who said, "MG XPower presented by BigPond is an exciting development for Australian cycling. I think it's fantastic that the best Australian-based riders will have the opportunity to contest the new UCI Continental circuits on an Aussie international professional cycling team."

The team's debut race will be the Australian Open Road Championship in January. Team captain MacLachlan finished second in this year's edition and is expected to make another strong showing on the new Adelaide course.

Tasmanian carnivals kick off at Latrobe

By Rod Morris

The Basslink Tasmanian Christmas carnivals start tomorrow in Latrobe with a day of racing that features one of the Australia's richest wheelraces in Australia, the $12,500 Patrick Latrobe Wheelrace.

With only four heats in this year's Patrick Wheelrace, expect the qualifying races to become a mad scramble. Only the first five riders in each heat will advance to the final, but it's unlikely the scratchmen will get everything their own way.

Ten riders have been afforded the elite scratch mark, but the dilemma facing new Tasmanian Senior Track Handicapper Michael Grenda, was the genuine lack of riders between scratch and 100m. Only nine cyclists are handicapped from 60m to 90m, meaning the scratchmen will have plenty of chasing to do, just to qualify.

The plus side for the backmen is the lack of depth at the front of most heats, so if they can tack onto the rear of the fields with enough laps and energy left, then qualifying shouldn't be so difficult.

Obviously the entire field want to win the race, as the Latrobe Wheel is one of the most prestigious track events in the world... but there can be only one winner!

For the full, in-depth analysis of the Latrobe Wheel click here.

For more information on the Tasmanian Carnivals see:

Indie MTB series for Washington state

A group os Washinton state mountain bike race promoters has come together to create the 2005 Indie Mountain Bike Series, a six-race points series from February to July 2005. The series links the efforts of several promoters, an idea that's been brewing for several years, according to series spokesperson Lisa Miller who says the goal is "to provide a quality points series while each promoter and venue retains its own individual character, bringing for more fun and great racing to each event."

For more information see:

Series schedule

February 27: Valentine's Challenge, Belfair, WA
April 24: SeaTac Shuffle, Seatac, WA
May 15: Whidbey Island Mudder, Langley, WA
June 4: Leavenworth Bike & Brew Fest, Leavenworth, WA
July 10: 13th Annual Padden Mountain Pedal, Bellingham, WA
July 31: Greenwater Gamble, Greenwater, WA

Team GS Camerati

Team GS Camerati presented by Stensvad Dental Group has announced its 2005 team roster and new kit. After wrapping up its first winter training camp the vibe is very positive for the upcoming season. The Team is returning 8 riders with one new arrival already inked. Racing in and around the Northwest U.S. the team is gearing up for a busy year with a full calendar from late February to mid September and will then rest and recharge for a full Cross campaign.

Team roster

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