First Edition Cycling News for October 30, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Complicated negotiations stall Pro Tour progress
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris
RCS Sport's Angelo Zomegnan, the new director of the Giro d'Italia, updated Cyclingnews at the Tour de France presentation about the current status of the Pro Tour. Zomegnan, who was the top cycling journalist for many years at La Gazzetta dello Sport before becoming Vice-Director of the pink paper, took over the helm at RCS in August. Characterizing the current Pro Tour negotiations with UCI as "complicated", Zomegnan told us that, "The attorneys are all working on it; Mr. Verbiest for the UCI and the attorneys for ASO (Tour), Unipublic (Vuelta) and us. We believe that all the changes that are coming from these reforms need to be put in the official rules of the UCI, not just as agreements between people. With these elements clearly laid out, contracts can be made and enforced. And above all, contracts are made over certain term, in a period that can end...so if these new changes, these new reforms are to come into being, we believe they must be part of the rules of the sport."
Zomegnan pointed out that all the parties, including the UCI and the major race organizers, must agree on the points that constitute these changes and continued by saying, "Right now, we don't have sufficient guarantees (from the UCI) on a plan to address historic rights (of race organizers), of a code of ethics, that doesn't even exist right now. The code of ethics at this point is just a list of principles to agree on. Plus we don't agree on the system where teams are locked into the Pro Tour for four years. There is also a problem of governance with the Pro Tour; in other words, the old regime at the UCI can't manage a new program of reform. We (ASO-Unipublic-RCS) don't believe we are sufficiently represented in the governance of these reforms, so we want to have a greater presence."
Regarding the differences with the AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Teams) over team size in the Grand Tours, Zomegnan stated that, "It was our proposition to the 20 (Pro Tour) teams, so as to allow the Grand Tour organizers the possibility to invite more teams, other than the 20 that exist. It's a possibility - something for us to discuss, just like the rest of the (Pro Tour) system is in force only for 2005. Perhaps we will consider 2005 just as an experiment."
Cipollini inks deal with Liquigas
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Despite speculation that Mario Cipollini would announce his retirement from cycling at a press conference held this morning in Milan, the 37 year-old super-sprinter has instead confirmed that he will give it one more blast in 2005.
The former world road race champion has signed a deal with the Liquigas team for next season, lining out alongside fellow Italians Stefano Garzelli, David Dario Cioni and Franco Pellizotti.
Cipollini has had a lacklustre couple of seasons since winning his world title in Zolder two years ago, even if he did manage to extend his sequence of Giro stage wins to a record 42 victories in 2003. A crash ruled him out of that race, with two more falls taking him out of the Giro and the Tour this year. He failed to take a stage win in either event.
Cipollini has shown little interest in competing since then, dropping outside the top 600 in the world ranking and this lack of drive, combined with a falling-out with management and riders on his Domina Vacanze team, prompted speculation that he would finally hang up his wheels this Autumn. However 'Super Mario' seems determined to have one last shot at the big time with Liquigas. Whether he will have a spectacular season, 2002 vintage, or an anonymous one à la 2004 remains to be seen.
Images by Roberto Bettini
CSC announces roster for 2005
Bjarne Riis has announced the full roster for the CSC team next season. The squad numbers 25 riders, including 19 current riders and six new additions. Liberty's Christian Vandevelde, US Postal's David Zabriskie and Domina's Giovanni Lombardi are the main additions, while Jörg Jaksche will be leaving the team for Liberty Seguros.
"I am very pleased with the team we are now able to present as the Team CSC 2005," said Riis. "It's a strong and diverse team, tailor made for the Pro Tour. A lot of work has gone into selecting each rider on the team, and there are no coincidences among these 25 riders. I know we can achieve good results through the entire season with this team.
"This year has been a turning point for us, and we have shown, we belong among the absolute best in the world. We have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved so far. We came very close to finishing the season as number one in the world rankings, and this is thanks to our ability to put together a team, which is able to work together and perform at a high level for the whole season in all kinds of races...We possess the potential to win both the classics and the greatest race in the world - the Tour de France in the coming seasons."
Riis added that he is "still working on closing a deal with a co-sponsor, and if we succeed, we will improve the team even further on different levels and at the same time give some of the riders a larger salary. We have made all of our choices based on what we think is best from a sports perspective, and obviously our ambitions are limited by our budget, but that doesn't mean we are not thinking big. If we get the possibility to expand our budget, it will make a difference on all levels."
Jaksche back to Saiz
Riis also commented on the departure of one of his top riders, Jörg Jaksche. "In order to gain some space in our budget we have chosen to let Jörg sign for Liberty Seguros. He has had a super season with us, and that has made him attractive to a lot of other teams. It was a necessary decision, which I have been able to discuss openly and constructively with Jörg...Last year Liberty Seguros' sports director Manolo Saiz was in the same situation as we are now. He was also waiting to be able to expand his budget and had to let Jörg go. At the time we took Jörg in, and now we are letting him go for the same reasons. I am happy, that Saiz has been able to help us in this situation. I am also proud, that Jörg has had his big break through with us, and the team has contributed to this in a big way."
Jaksche commented, "I would've preferred to stay on with Team CSC, but the opportunity presented itself to help the team in this way, and I suggested it to Bjarne myself. The team has helped me enormously, and Bjarne has meant a lot to me both on a personal and professional level. I'm very grateful for this, and I'm leaving the team after a very satisfying year. Even though we will be competitors next year, I naturally wish the team the very best of luck."
Full team roster
Ivan Basso (Ita), Carlos Sastre (Spa), Jens Voigt (Ger), Bobby Julich (USA), Michele Bartoli (Ita), Jakob Piil (Den), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor), Frank Schleck (Lux), Andrea Peron (Ita), Fabrizio Guidi (Ita), Nicki Sørensen (Den), Lars Michaelsen (Den), Tristan Hoffman (Ned), Peter Luttenberger (Aut), Michael Blaudzun (Den), Manuel Calvente (Spa), Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den), Vladimir Gussev (Rus), Brian Vandborg (Den)
Christian Vandevelde (USA - Liberty Seguros), David Zabriskie (USA - US Postal), Lars Bak (Den - BankGiroLoterij), Giovanni Lombardi (Ita - Domina Vacanze), Matti Breschel (Den - neo-pro), Andy Schleck (Lux - neo pro).
Boonen leaves hospital
Tom Boonen was discharged today (October 29) from the Mol hospital where he has been since last Friday, recovering from an operation on October 25 to fix an intestinal problem (Meckel's diverticulitis). "I am feeling better even though I've not recovered 100 percent," said Boonen. "The first few days after the operation were difficult, I was in a lot of pain, but now things are getting better each day. I'll be resting for the next couple of weeks and after this recovery period, I'll be back on my bike."
Quick.Step team manager Patrick Lefevere commented, "The most important thing is that Tom recovers well, without hurry. It's not important that he return to be competitive immediately. Even if in November he doesn't train a lot, this won't change his approach to 2005 season. The only thing that Tom has really lost is his holiday."
Launceston Classic cancelled
By John Stevenson
After just two years in which is established itself as one of the top criterium events in Australia, the Launceston Classic criterium is no more. According to organiser Tom Sawyer, who dreamt up the event along with local businessman, neurologist Dr. Stan Siejka (see background story), the 2004 event will not go ahead after Sawyer and Launceston City Council failed to agree on terms for running the December 27 race.
"Stan and I had formed a little non-profit company to run the event and Launceston Council wouldn't recognize it, so I resigned from the event committee. Fifteen minutes later I got the call that council had pulled their money and we're left high and dry," Sawyer told Cyclingnews.
The cancellation is a dramatic reversal of fortune for the event which just last week looked to be on a secure footing after pledges of $20,000 in support from the Tasmanian state government and $20,000 from Launceston City Council. Sawyer said that Tasmanian government figures indicated the event was worth about $1.5 million in income for the Launceston community.
An impressive roster of top Australian riders had been scheduled to ride Launceston, Sawyer said, including Robbie McEwen (winner in 2003), Stuart O'Grady, Allan Davis, Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans. The inaugural event in 2002 (see report) was won by Hilton Clarke Jr, ahead of McEwen and O'Grady.
In recent years other Australian state and local governments have strongly backed major cycling events. Support from the South Australian government has helped make the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under a world-class season opener. At grass roots level Queensland has seen the club nationals go from 900 entries in 2003 to 1,300 in 2004 and the Australian Capital Territory's assistance has helped make the Mont 24-hour mountain bike race one of the world's biggest endurance MTB events. In 2005 Victorian Major Events - an arm of the Victorian government - will take over the Herald Sun Tour with the aim of increasing its international profile. The demise of the Launceston Classic leaves Tasmania without an international-class road event.
The actions of the Launceston City Council also seem at odds with other regional authorities in Tasmania, as government support for the 'Christmas Carnivals' continues to grow and this year the events could be bigger than ever, particularly after the success of Australia's track cyclists at the Athens Olympics.
The 'Carnivals' (see 2003 reports) are multi-sport events but cycling is arguably the star attraction, featuring riders from around the world who travel to Tasmania for the world-class competition. They are held on both outdoor and indoor velodromes throughout the State and the organisers of the Carnivals had slotted in December 27 as the day for the Launceston Classic, to avoid a clash with the track racing and allow cyclists to compete in both events.
News Update: Businesses rally to save criterium
By Gerard Knapp
Further to the Cyclingnews report (above), after extensive reporting in its local media on Saturday morning that one of Tasmania's genuinely international sporting events had been cancelled due to the actions of the Launceston City Council, business leaders in the State have been calling race founder, Launceston-based neurologist Dr. Stan Siejka, pledging commitments to help save the race.
According to co-founder Tom Sawyer, it appears that executives from some of the State's largest companies, as well as Launceston-based retailers who are adversely impacted by the cancellation, will lobby the State Government and also pledge financial support to help save the race.
It's understood that a meeting is scheduled for this Monday where it is hoped that one or more major sponsors will finalise their commitments to ensure the race proceeds. More details will follow.
Colombian season closes with Clásico de Ejecutivos
By Martin Hardie
This coming weekend will see the running of the Clásico de Ejecutivos El Colombiano in Medellin, Colombia. It is the final race of the Colombian calendar and features all of the great figures of Colombian cycling who have returned home after their season in Europe. Present will be Botero, Peña, Cárdenas, Buenahora, Parra, Ardila, Marlon Pérez, Felipe Laverde, Duque, Fredy González among others.
The race is one of the unique races on the calendar as proceeds from the race inscriptions are used to assist community works projects:
Colombian cycling journalist Luis Barbosa told Cyclingnews that the race "certainly achieves the social function of supporting the labour of institutions that work for the welfare of the community. They receive donations for the development and improvement of their projects in which they search for a better quality of life. Realising this project is a significant for our country."
The race will see the coming together of more than 350 cyclists who will ride and support the pros in their efforts to improve the life of many Colombians.
Crank Brothers USGPCS heads east
New England, USA plays host to Rounds 3 and 4 of the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross this weekend at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The two day event on October 30-31 will inevitably shake up the national standings with more than $12,000 on offer in prize money.
In the elite men's category, series leader Marc Gullickson (Redline) will have to fend off strong challenges from Maine native Adam Craig (Maxxis Giant) and Massachusetts' own Mark McCormack (Clif Bar-Colavita Olive Oil), both of whom will be looking for victories close to home in the Michelob ULTRA Gran Prix of Gloucester races. But the toughest challengers could come from international riders such as Canada's Geoff Kabush (Maxxis Giant) and Italian national champion, Daniele Pontoni (Selle Italia), who are sitting in second and fourth place, respectively.
Kabush has been widely tipped as a rising star on the cyclocross scene after a sterling performance during the mountain bike season. Pontoni, a former two-time world champion, has already won Round 1 of the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Portland, Oregon and is hungry for more victories.
In the women's race, making her series debut will be Louise Robinson, the silver medallist in the inaugural women's world championship in St Michielsgestel, Holland, in 2000. Robinson has been one of the top women cyclocross racers over the years, having captured the British national championship last year and placing sixth at the world championships in Pontchâteau, France in 2004.
Robinson will square off against race leader Gina Hall (Missing Link), current runner-up Ann Knapp (Kona), and Rhonda Mazza (Vanilla/S&M), sitting in third. However, the absolute race favourite may be Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles), the U.S. Olympic mountain biker and top cyclocross racer on the Northeast circuit.
In other categories, U-23 Champion Jesse Anthony of Cyclocrossworld.Com will be trying to snatch the leader's jersey from Matt White (NCC-Bikereg.com), trailing by just six points. Among juniors, Taylor Lane (Rio Grande) maintains a slim advantage over Brady Kappius (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar) and Charles "Toby" Marzot (Corner Cycles).
For complete U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross details, go to www.usgpcyclocross.com
ComNet-Senges adds youth
German division III squad ComNet-Senges has added another young rider to its roster for next season. Konstantin Schubert from Pforzheim, who rode for Team Optik Delker this year, had a solid season in the Bundesliga and represented Germany at the European and World Championships. The 22 year old architecture student will join the team at the beginning of next year.
ComNet-Senges also recently added the young Stefan Heiny to its ranks for next season. "We want to offer the possibility to young riders to get a foothold in the pro ranks in order to develop themselves further," said ComNet's team boss Markus Ganser.
Two more for Jet Fuel Coffee
The Canadian Jet Fuel Coffee team will be back on the road in 2005, entering its seventh year as a UCI registered team. As Canada's longest running trade team, Jet Fuel Coffee has applied for the new Continental team status, and will continue its domestic and international campaigns next season.
Two new young riders will be racing with the squad in 2005. One of Canada's top U23 talents, Mark Pozniak, has joined the team. The team has also added Zach Bell. This season, Zach won the Canadian Pursuit title as well as various road events.
Jet Fuel Coffee will again be supported by Cervelo Cycles, Louis Garneau Sports, Alex A-Class wheels and Truvativ. The team's final roster and the complete list of sponsors will be finalised in the upcoming weeks.
Symmetrics Cycling signs three
Canadian team Symmetrics Cycling has signed young talents Brad Fairall (19), Christian Meier (19), and Jeff Sherstobitoff (22) for next season. All three riders spent time in Europe with the Canadian National Espoir program and raced domestically as well. Sherstobitoff placed third at the National Espoir Time Trial Championships and also raced the World Espoir Championships. Meier and Fairall were both part of the spring Espoir project and returned to Canada in late May, having strong late seasons.
Returning to Symmetrics for his third year will be Scott Goguen of Coquitlam, BC. Goguen was a bronze medalist at the 1990 Commonwealth Games road race, and his experience will help to guide the youngsters.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)