First Edition Cycling News for January 1, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Nine positives in Vuelta a Guatemala
In what is certainly the biggest doping case in the race's history, nine riders have allegedly tested positive in the 46th Vuelta a Guatemala, including the winner and the first four places on the general classification. The positives were mainly for EPO and testosterone, with four Guatemalan and five foreign riders implicated: Lizandro Ajcú (1st GC), Nery Velásquez (9th GC), David Calanche (17th GC) and Abel Jocholá (all Gua), Noel Vásquez (Ven, 2nd GC) and Yeisson Delgado (Ven, 7th GC), Carlos López González (Mex, 3rd GC), Federico Muñoz (Col, 4th GC), José Reynaldo Murillo (ESA, 15th GC). The winner, Lizandro Ajcú, returned positive A samples for EPO on three separate occasions. He also recently and suddenly abandoned the Vuelta a Costa Rica.
None of the riders have admitted to taking banned substances. And as yet, no B sample analyses have been carried out, although it is not known how many of the riders will request them. If all are found guilty, the top part of the general classification will change radically, with Costa Rican Paulo Vargas (Pizza Hut) being elevated from fifth to first and the 18th placed rider, José Migdael Zeceña (Café Quetzal), jumping up to 10th.
According to Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre, the news wasn't initially reported by the Guatemalan cycling federation. Instead, it came to light after the UCI informed the various other national federations of the positives. The Venezuelan federation has already confirmed the cases of Noel Vásquez and Yeisson Delgado, and the Guatemalan federation, which claimed it was on holidays when the UCI communique was received, said that all the other riders had been contacted.
Wiggins and Hoy get gongs
British riders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy have been included in Britain's New Year Honours list, being awarded an OBE and MBE respectively. Both riders were stars of the Athens Olympics, where Wiggins won a gold, silver and bronze medal and Hoy won gold in the kilometre time trial.
"This is a great honour and I am delighted to be recognised in this way," said Hoy on his website, www.chrishoy.com. "It has been a great year for me and for Track Cycling in Britain and this is the icing on the cake. The public recognition is much appreciated and helps with my motivation to strive for even more success in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Thanks to everyone who has helped me on my way. I could not have done it alone."
Hoy is currently back to full time training and is preparing for the World Cup event in Manchester on 7-9 January and then the World Championships in Los Angeles at Easter.
Marco Polo Cycling Team to be launched in China
The Marco Polo Cycling Team, China's first professional cycling team, will be officially launched at a press conference in Zhuhai, South China, on January 2. The team is based upon an agreement between the Chinese Cycling Association and the World Wide Cycling Foundation (management Marco Polo Cycling Project), that runs from January 1, 2005 till December 31, 2008. The aim of the agreement is to develop the level of Chinese riders towards the international pro-level before the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The team will start this year with 12 riders, with a more to be added later this season. It's composed of an existing core of international riders: Mike Carter (USA), Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh (Mgl), Robin Reid (NZl), Chi Yin Leung (HKg) and Maarten Tjallingii (Ned), with four new Chinese riders and three new internationals to be added: Tong Yu, Li Fuyu, Chengguang Yu, Gang Xu (all Chn), Rhys Pollock (Aus), Eddy Hollands (Aus), Rene Van Oord (Ned).
The international riders are to make the base of the team strong and bring experience and stability. The Chinese riders are in the team to learn and gain experience in international competition. The team's goals in 2005 will be a top ranking in the UCI Asia Tour for teams and have the Chinese riders gain experience in European pro-am racing.
The Marco Polo Cycling Team will be sponsored by Trek Bikes, Nestlé Pure Life, Craft, Volkswagen, Setpoint, JP Print, Vredestein, Lake, Tacx, Gazelle, Axley, Born Sportscare, Keywin, Nikon, Selle Italia, Pazzaz, Universal automation, Bontrager, Limar and Sigma Sport. Some of these companies are sponsoring the team, some the Marco Polo Cycling School training centre in The Netherlands and some both.
Team website: www.marcopolocycling.com
Japan aiming for Keirin glory in Manchester Track World Cup
At the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, dual Olympic gold medallist Graeme Brown is one of the star riders and has been putting on a good show for the crowds. Shown here at the Devonport Carnival, 'Brownie' was already into the swing for 2005 by cruising around on a new Colnago C-50. He hastened to add his official team bike will be provided with Campagnolo components, unlike the Dura-Ace on the model provided by the Australian distributor, Excelpro.
He's looking forward to sprinting into the new year with Ceramiche-Panaria on his new mount, where he will be in action at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, then the steamy Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, before heading over to the cooler climate of Italy to commence the new season.
The Australian has been in good form at the Carnivals, both on and off the bike, although he's still hungry for more wins and at the time of writing, one of the high-value 'wheelraces' had eluded him, narrowly missing out in Launceston to American Jame Carney.
For all the reports, results and photos from the Carnivals, see our special section.
SCAT International Rider Award update
By Rod Morris
Any one of 12 riders remain in contention to win the inaugural Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania - Malaysia Airlines International Award with only the Burnie New Year's Day Carnival to determine the end result. The inaugural award carries a return a trip to Europe for the eventual winner and Nook cyclist Belinda Goss, who is now based in Melbourne, will take a slender 3-point lead into Burnie.
All open age riders are eligible for the award, with nominated races offering a 5-3-1 points system. Goss has amassed 25 points from the Latrobe, Launceston and Devonport carnivals, including three wins, three seconds and a third and leads from dual gold medal Olympian Graeme Brown.
Sister-brother act, Carrie and Ben Price from Ulverstone are third and fourth respectively, while newly crowned Devonport Wheel winner Ben Kersten jumped into fifth place on Thursday with 15 points, after winning the 1000 m Lightning Handicap and A Grade Scratch on the first night of the Devonport Carnival. Unfortunately Kersten is the only one of the top 13 riders who cannot win the award, as he has returned to NSW for his brother Josh's wedding.
SCAT and Malaysia Airlines are also offering one lucky patron at the carnivals to win two return air fares to any of its European destinations. All patrons have to do is fill out a coupon and place it in the box provided. The winner will be drawn at tonight's Burnie New Year's Day Carnival.
SCAT - Malaysia Airlines International Rider Award standings
1 Belinda Goss (Tas) 25 2 Graeme Brown (NSW) 22 3 Carrie Price (Tas) 19 4 Ben Price (Tas) 17 5 Ben Kersten (NSW) 15 6 Sarah Eaves (Tas) 14 7 Ben Laskey (Tas) 14 8 Liz Williams (NZ) 14 9 Rochelle Gilmore (NSW) 13 10 Darren Young (Tas) 12 11 Aaron Salisbury (Vic) 11 12 Louise Yaxley (Tas) 11 13 Tommy Nankervis (Vic) 10
TV coverage on Cycling Central
The 2004-05 Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals Series will be featured on this Sunday's (January 2) edition of Cycling Central on SBS television, which screens at 11:30am and is repeated the following Tuesday at 3:30pm. SBS cycling host Michael Tomalaris was in Tasmania earlier this week to watch the Tasmanian carnivals as well as the third annual Launceston Criterium. Due to time constraints, the second night of the Devonport Carnival and the Burnie New Year's Day Carnival will be featured on the following week's edition of Cycling Central.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)