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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 31, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Lefevere wins case against Omega Pharma

Quick.Step team director Patrick Lefevere has won his case against pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma, which was suing him for €7.5 million for breach of contract. But the court in Kortrijk, Belgium today ruled that Lefevere was in the right, and ordered Omega Pharma to pay him €1,095 million it owed in sponsorship money. Omega Pharma can appeal the decision.

Omega Pharma, which owns the Davitamon brand, was a co-sponsor of the Quick.Step team, but Lefevere broke the contract in July after Omega Pharma refused to pay more money to start in the ProTour. But Omega Pharma also stopped paying its share of the initial sponsorship deal, to the tune of approximately €1 million. Lefevere took Omega Pharma to court over this, while Omega Pharma launched its own counter-suit for damages. It also applied for two ProTour licences (as Davitamon and Omega Pharma), while Lefevere applied for one (with Quick.Step).

The judge ruled partly in Omega Pharma's favour: that Lefevere hadn't formally broken the contract and thus it was still valid. But that meant that Omega Pharma did have to pay the money it owed for the second half of the year. The judge also declared that Omega Pharma had broken the UCI's rules in applying for two ProTour licences.

For his part, Lefevere was pleasantly surprised. "I will finish this year with a very nice feeling," he said to VRT. "I can only say that justice is done with this decision. I hope that the opposing party understands its position and abides by this, which is for me a fair ruling. I also hope that everything is behind us now and that we can battle on the sporting field and no longer in court. Of course there is a chance that Omega Pharma will appeal, but will that make it more popular?"

Omega Pharma's Mark Coucke was naturally disappointed with the outcome. "On the basis of the case, we actually won, but financially we lost completely. We were strongly convinced that we would win, because we believed that there was effectively still a contract. We did not expect that we would receive such an unequal treatment in financial terms. We posted a moral victory, but a financial loss. Beaten at the post. We will now discuss a possible appeal. We'll look at the motivation of the judgment over the next few days."

Astarloa to Barloworld

Igor Astarloa, 2003 World Champion, will ride for British registered team Barloworld next season, according to Spanish newsagency EFE. His manager Paolo Zanni was quoted as saying, "We are talking to the Valsir company, the Italian sponsor of Igor Astarloa which will be the main sponsor of the team in Italy and the co-sponsor with Barloworld in the rest of the races. Next week, we will talk to [Lampre manager Giuseppe] Saronni to reach an agreement and to break the contract that Lampre-Caffita had for 2005."

Astarloa's move from Lampre to Barloworld will put him out of a ProTour team, and Zanni conceded that, "This is a step backwards, but there are times when it is important to take a step back in order to take another one forward. It's an operation with a future with a great director in Emanuele Bombini."

Finally, Zanni said that Barloworld was talking to Giuliano Figueras and Félix Cardenas in an attempt to boost the team's strength, particularly after potential signing Francesco Casagrande will ride for the new Naturino-Sapore di Mare team.

An interview with Liz Williams

The Ulmer influence builds track cycling in NZ

By Gerard Knapp

Liz Williams
Photo ©: Shane Goss

When New Zealand rider Sarah Ulmer smashed the world record for the women's 3km individual pursuit at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, she secured what was then New Zealand's only gold medal of the Games. Consequently, the country's media focused its attention on the attractive blonde rider, who's remained down-to-earth despite her stratospheric performances, and in turn, track cycling has benefited from the extra attention.

According to Kiwi sprinter Liz Williams, currently in Tasmania racing at the Christmas Carnivals, the positives are already starting flow after Ulmer's efforts in Athens, as well as the two gold medals the country secured at the 2004 track cycling world championships in Melbourne, with Ulmer winning the IP and Greg Henderson the scratch race.

"Sarah has been amazing, she's putting so much in and helping boost the sport's profile," said Williams. "After Sarah won just about every schoolgirl is getting on a bike and Sarah has been really generous in going to schools and encouraging kids to get into it. It's huge."

As for Williams, she is now being coached in Melbourne by John Beasley, who is also credited with converting Australian road cyclist Katie Mactier into the track rider who took silver in the IP behind Ulmer in Athens. Williams said she had already improved under Beasley's instruction and was hoping to continue her development in time for the world championships in Los Angeles in March next year.

Click here for the full interview

Freire wins Sportsman of the Year award

Oscar Freire, who became World Champion for the third time this year, has been awarded the Best International Sportsman of the Year at the Cantabrian Sports Gala in Santander, Spain. Freire received the award from Cantabrian president Miguel Angel Revilla. Other Cantabrian sports awards went to Talant Dujshebaev (Best National Sportsman), Alberto Urdiales (Most Improved), the trainer of the Remo Astillero team (Best Team), Real Club de Pedreña (Best Club), Laura Urriola and Bernardino Herrera (Sporting Values), Félix Iglesias (Sports Promotion) and the Banco Santander Central Hispano (Sponsorship).

Gadret injured

French cyclo-cross champion John Gadret (Chocolade Jacques) injured himself in Tuesday's World Cup race in Hofstade. He is suffering from a dislocated right shoulder and will have his arm in a sling for several days, receiving twice daily physiotherapy sessions. Gadret was hoping to take part in this weekend's World Cup race in Switzerland, but will have to forfeit. But he is aiming to be on the start line to defend his national champion's jersey in Liévin on January 9.

Santoni and Scarponi settle their differences

The contractual dispute between Domina Vacanze team manager Vincenzo Santoni and rider Michele Scarponi has been settled, with both parties coming to an agreement that permits Scarponi to ride for Liberty Seguros next season. Scarponi is being touted as Liberty's leader for the Giro d'Italia.

Derepas to Jartazi

French rider David Derepas ( has joined the new Jartazi Team, according to

Two more for Spiuk

The Spanish Professional Continental team Spiuk has signed two more riders, both neo-professionals. Jesús Javier Ramírez, 25, from Ciudad Real, and Francisco Javier Aguilar Pozo, 20, from Alcázar de San Juan, have both signed on for one year. Jesús Javier is considered a pure climber, while Francisco Javier Aguilar is suited to races containing more moderate hills.

Another award for Tour Down Under

Australia's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under has received its second award within six weeks: the SA Great Award for Tourism. This follows the win by the event in the South Australian Tourism Awards in the category of Major Events. The SA Great Awards encourage and pay tribute to the talent within South Australia so that recognition of achievement remains an integral part of state development.

Leeanne Grantham, General Manager, Australian Major Events was pleased to accept the award, saying, "National and international interest in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under continues to grow from year to year, with research confirming that the 2003 event attracted more than 10,800 visitors. These two awards cement and represent the next significant phase in the event's growth and stamps further authority on its reputation as a tourism icon.

"We want to build on this success and next month we are confident of bringing the best ever Tour to town". There will be an increased number of recreational events allowing more amateur cyclists and cycling enthusiasts to participate .

The Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under will be held from January 18-23 2005 at various locations around South Australia and is owned and managed by Australian Major Events, a division of the South Australian Tourism Commission.

For more information, visit

More teams confirmed for Vuelta al Tachira

Venezuelan teams Gobernación de Trujillo-CTD-Café Flor de Patria and Triple Gordo-Gobernación de Lara-Alcaldía de Jiménez are the latest squads to be confirmed for the 40th Vuelta al Tachira, which runs between January 8-21, 2005. They will join the professional continental team Colombia Selle Italia, the Chilean and Cuban national teams, México Tecos-Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and Colombia Bono de Ciclismo (all foreign teams) and probably the Venezuelan teams Lotería del Táchira, Gobernación del Zulia-Alcaldía de Cabimas, FECEZ-PDVSA Barinas, Kino Táchira, Expresos Occidente-Alcaldía de San Cristóbal and Farara Tour de Amazonas, as well as a Costa Rican national team. There will be no Colombian national team taking part in the race, however.

The Vuelta a Tachira is classified as a 2.2 stage race on the American Continental Circuit and covers 1814.5 km in 14 stages, including 20 climbs and 53 sprints, 26 of which are for time bonuses.


Gobernación De Trujillo - CTD - Café Flor De Patria: Carlos Ochoa, Víctor Becerra, Wilmer Vásquez, Luis Molina, Jimm Santos, Luis Díaz, Daniel Median and José Vielma.

Triple Gordo - Gobernación De Lara - Alcaldía De Jimenez: Miguel Ubeto, Isaac Ramírez, Rodolfo Camacho, José Ramos, Carlos Escalona, Douglas Pérez, Oscar Luna y Federico Muñoz (Col).

Novice riders get a boost in Texas

The Texas Bicycle Racing Association will introduce a new component to its Texas Cup series for 2005. "Tomorrow's Stars Today" will be a year-long collection of races geared for novice riders in a family-friendly environment. The program is the brainchild of Team Bicycle Inc's Andy Hollinger who promoted the first event last summer. For 2005, TXBRA member clubs have adopted Hollinger's model. TXBRA will fund medals for participants in the novice categories.

All TST events will include the following categories:

Novice* Categories

Under 10
10 - 12 Boys
10 - 12 Girls
13 - 14 Boys
13 - 14 Girls
15 - 16 Boys
15 - 16 Girls
17 - 18 Boys
17 - 18 Girls
Cat 5 Men
Cat 4 Women

Standard Categories

Men's Pro 1/2/3
Men's Category 3/4
Men's Category 4/5
Women's Open

* Novice categories are restricted to newly licensed category 4 female and category 5 male riders.

The races will be centred around the metropolitan areas of Texas: Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, and will be run in conjunction with a weekend of Texas Cup racing. The TST schedule is as follows:

January 29: Omloop Whatever Lake is in Flemish (New Braunfels)
Feb 13: The Original TST (Fort Worth)
April 10: Town Lake Criterium (Austin)
May 22: Top Gun Criterium (Fort Worth)
July 3: Bicycle-Heaven Circuiterium (San Antonio)
August 1: Woodlands Criterium (Houston)
October 9: Bryan Criterium (Bryan)

More information:

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