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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 5, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Cyclingnews reader poll: The year of Armstrong

2004 Cyclingnews Rider of the Year Lance Armstrong
Photo: © Caroline Yang
Click for larger image

What do you have to do to be selected by Cyclingnews readers as Rider of the Year? Make history, it seems. Lance Armstrong has won the title in our reader poll for 2004, after twice finishing runner-up (to Mario Cipollini in 2002 and Tyler Hamilton in 2003). You have high standards but the reasons you gave for choosing Armstrong clearly show that it was his sixth Tour de France victory that clinched the title this year, ahead of Damiano Cunego and Paolo Bettini.

Unsurprisingly, after the achievement of six Tours in a row, you also chose Armstrong as Male Road Rider of the Year and Legend of Cycling, the special title reserved for modern-day riders who deserve to be considered alongside the sport's historical greats. Despite - or perhaps because of - her finishing salute at the Olympics, you voted world champion Judith Arndt as Best Female Road Rider.

Over the last few days we have also announced winners in many other categories. Sven Nys swept all before him in Male Cyclocrosser of the Year, as he has done in the Northern European mud all season, while the most consistent US cyclocross racer of the season, Ann Knapp topped the poll for Best Female Cyclocross Rider.

Also in the dirt, you went with world and Olympic champions Julien Absalon and Gunn Rita Dahle in the categories of Best Male MTB Racer and Best Female MTB Racer respectively. Given the seasons they have had, it'd hard to see any other choices, and Dahle's win in particular was a landslide.

There was a wider range of choices in the equipment categories of Best Product and Best Team Bike, but we think it's no surprise that both winners are used by a certain six-time Tour de France winner.

However, Lance Armstrong doesn't feature in our Photo of the Year, a shot by long-time Cyclingnews stalwart Sirotti that captures the colour and congestion of Liège-Bastogne-Liege.

Damiano Cunego took the prize for Most Improved Rider after coming from almost nowhere to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Lombardy, on the way eliciting amazement at the sheer talent being shown by such a young rider.

The Armstrong Factor was also at work in your choice of Best Stage Race. The Tour de France was the winner once again, by a large margin. While some readers expressed disappointment that it wasn't as tense as the 2003 cliff-hanger, the 2004 Tour had enough exciting sideshows in Thomas Voeckler's battle to retain yellow, the emergence of Ivan Basso and Andreas Kloeden and the crumbling of Jan Ullrich to keep it in top spot for another year.

Paris-Roubaix was once again your choice for Best One-day Race. Whatever the conditions, Paris-Roubaix captures the imagination like no other event, and Magnus Backstedt's victory in 2004 was all the sweeter for being unexpected - "a hero to all of us who will never weigh 150[lb]" as one reader put it.

Turning back to riders, Ryan Bayley's pair of Olympic gold medals, blistering sprint and sheer down-to-earth manner landed him Male Track Rider of the Year. The Best Female Track Rider went to Sarah Ulmer after she spent the year showing every other female trackie how to break pursuit world records.

It's back to Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France for your Favourite Moment of 2004. Stage 17 of the Tour, and Armstrong has attempted to spring team-mate Floyd Landis to the stage win as a thank you for Landis' unrelenting work in the mountains. But Ullrich and Kloeden shut down Landis' bid for victory and Armstrong retaliated to pip Kloeden on the line, proving just who was the strongest on the ascent to Le Grande-Bornand. "No gifts," said Armstrong afterwards. Terrific stuff.

Cycling Australia names new High Performance Manager

Kevin Tabotta
Photo ©: Gerard Knapp
Click for larger image

Cycling Australia has named Tasmanian Institute of Sport Head Coach Kevin Tabotta as its new High Performance Manager, replacing Michael Flynn who left last month to take up a similar position in New Zealand. Tabotta, 36, was Cycling Australia's Coaching Director eight years ago, but has since then concentrated his efforts on nurturing up and coming riders at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport. Just over a week ago, he engineered an impressive display of teamwork among the TIS/Cyclingnews riders in the Launceston classic, which paid off when Matthew Goss outsprinted Stuart O'Grady for a huge win.

"I am very happy about my appointment and I'm looking forward to building on the success of my predecessor who did a great job," said Tabotta. "Cycling has a great pool of talent and winning six gold medals in Athens was a fantastic achievement. Now we need to maintain that momentum and further develop our programs to ensure continued success."

Tabotta will relocate to Adelaide with his wife Leeanne and three year old son Samuel to officially take over the role on the 14th February. Until then he will act in a dual capacity with the TIS and CA. "In some ways it's a bitter sweet decision for me because I am already in a fantastic environment both for work and where we live," said Tabotta. "But this is such a great opportunity and I'm very excited about working with the national program."

"Kevin is the ideal candidate for the role of High Performance Manager and comes into the position with outstanding credentials," said Cycling Australia President, Mike Victor. "It's a testament to the development of our sport not only in terms of athletes but in administration and coaching that the best candidate for the job has come from within our National Program structure."

Cycling Australia has also confirmed the reappointment of Kevin McIntosh as Paralympic Program Coach. McIntosh has taken Australia to the past two Paralympic Games where cyclists achieved outstanding results. granted Continental Pro licence

The UCI yesterday granted the team a Continental pro team licence, the equivalent of the old Division II licence under he UCI's new ProTour-based structure, according to

"We have been told by the UCI that everything is present and correct," said team manager Hilaire Van Der Schueren. "From today I can get on with my real job as manager and directeur sportif."

Van Der Schueren said that his team's application had been help up by problems with the wording of documents accompanying the bank guarantee that teams must lodge with the UCI to show they are able to pay riders. "After we filled the forms in again, everything was in tiptop order," he said.

Manchester keirin full line-up announced

With a total prize list of £45,000 (€63,000/US$84,000), it's no surprise that the start list for the Special Keirin event on January 9 at the Manchester World Cup reads like a who's who of the world's top sprinters. (See Japan aiming for Keirin glory, January 1 News)

Organisers have released the full start list for the invitation-only event which is sponsored by the Japan Keirin Association. Japan is sending six of its top racers to Japan to ride against the likes of reigning world champion Jamie Staff and runner-up José Antonio Escuredo Raimondez, and 2002 world champion Jobie Dajka.

Full keirin start list: Jamie Staff (Great Britain), Jobie Dajka (Australia), Ben Kersten (Australia), Pavel Buran (Czech Republic), Ivan Vrba (Czech Republic), José Antonio Escuredo Raimondez (Spain), José Antonio Villanueva (Spain), Grégory Bauge (France), Mickael Bourgain (France), Ross Edgar (Great Britain), Craig MacLean (Great Britain), Matthias John (Germany), Jan Van Eijden (Germany), Rene Wolff (Germany), Domenico Mei (Italy), Takashi Kaneko (Japan), Kazuya Narita (Japan), Yusho Oikawa (Japan), Hiroshi Tsutsumi (Japan), Harutomo Watanabe (Japan), Yuji Yamamada (Japan), Josiah Ng Onn Lam (Malaysia), Theo Bos (Netherlands), Teun Mulder (Netherlands), Sergey Ruban (Russia), Jaroslav Jerabek (Slovak Republic), Andriy Vynokurov (Ukraine), Marty Nothstein (USA)

Japanese Reserves: Kei Uchida (Japan), Kazunari Watanabe (Japan),

International Reserves: Chris Hoy (Great Britain), Tim Veldt (Netherlands), Hervé Gane (France), Jason Queally (Great Britain), Jan Lepka (Slovak Republic)

For more information see the race website:

Dajka in Australian team for Manchester

Jobie Dajka, the South Australian cyclist thrown off the Australian Olympic team after he was found to have misled the Anderson enquiry into the Mark French doping allegations, is one of six riders named yesterday to the Australian team for the Manchester world cup, January 7-9.

Dajka's place in Athens was taken by Ben Kersten, who will also ride in Manchester, along with Shane Kelly, Katherine Bates, Kerrie Meares and Alexis Rhodes.

Along with four other riders accused by French of using his room to inject themselves, Dajka was cleared of using banned drugs by the Anderson report, but his denials that he had ever been in French's room were disproven by DNA evidence. Now Dajka says he has learned his lesson and just wants to get back to racing.

"I'm just glad it's all over and I can now get on with my life as a bike rider," Dajka told The Australian. "The last six months have been tough training alone. Being recalled to the team has certainly been the best news I've had in a long while.

"I'm doubly keen to get on with my career. I'm still young enough to have a shot at making the team for Beijing and getting a recall for the World Cup track meet has certainly lifted my spirits."

"I've learned my lesson. I was dumb and stupid," he said. "I want to go out on that track in Manchester this weekend with a point to prove. I'm fit enough, but I'm looking at it like an AFL footballer coming back after a long lay-off.

"It has been a difficult time for me, but I had family and friends around me who still believed in me. I'm also grateful to coach Martin Barras and the selectors for giving me another chance."

While Barras and team management are prepared to give Dajka another chance, his return to the fold of Australian track cycling is not complete.

"He won't get an [Australian Institute of Sport] scholarship in the short term - we'll see how he handles himself in the next year," team coach Martin Barras told AAP. Dajka is receiving support from the South Australian Institute of Sport.

"There is a matter of time now, where he has to rebuild some trust within the national team, the AIS and SASI," said Barras. "We made our message clear to him - 'do the right thing by us, we will do the right thing by you'."

Sentjens explains Belgian decision

Rabobank rider Roy Sentjens has explained why he's Belgian after all. As the offspring of a Dutch father and Belgian mother, Sentjens has dual nationality and has been listed as Dutch since his days on Rabobank's junior squad, which was only open to riders from the Netherlands. From now on, though, he'll be known as a Belgian.

"I was thoroughly tired of all that business with my nationality," he said. "To Belgians I was a Dutchman and to the Dutch I was Belgian. Very annoying sometimes. My sporting performances were never mentioned, even when I won Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne [in 2003]."

Sentjens said he had been worried that Rabobank would have a problem with his change of nationality, "but neither manager De Rooij or the team leaders had a problem with it. 'Follow your feelings,' they said, so I did. I was born in Belgium, grew up in Hamont-Achel now live in Neerpelt and have a Flemish wife. That decided it, not the fact that there are more teams, more racers and more possibilities in Belgium."

Bay Crit series starts today

The five-day Jayco Bay Cycling Classic criterium series starts today in Williamstown and features a host of top Australian riders including three of Australia's Athens gold medal-winning team pursuit riders, Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster and Stephen Wooldridge, Tour de France green jersey winner in Robbie McEwen and former top mountain biker turned road race Cadel Evans. A strong women's field is headed by World Cup champion Oenone Wood, Rochelle Gilmore and junior track world champion Amanda Spratt.

McEwen has won this series five times and will be determined to hang on to his title, and is paired with team-mate and lead-out man Nick Gates in the Drapac-Porsche team, but he'll face strong opposition from Graeme Brown, who seems to have conquered last year's injury problems and has lead-out man Brett Lancaster on his Colnago/Caravello squad.

Oenone Wood took the overall women's title last year, but Hayley Rutherford and the Mercure Geelong team will be looking to knock her off her perch, as will the NSW Institute of Sport team of Kate Bates and Rochelle Gilmore. NSWIS won in 2002 and 2003 and coach Gary Sutton has a simple goal. "We aim to get back that title," he said.

Acing starts at 12.30 today in Williamstown, followed by rounds in Portarlington, Geelong (two days) and Docklands.

For more details see

Jayco Bay Cycling Classic criterium series

Round 1 - Wednesday, January 5: Williamstown Start: 12.30 pm, finish: 3.30 pm
Round 2 - Thursday, January 6: Portarlington Start: 12.30 pm, finish: 3.30 pm
Round 3 - Friday, January 7: Geelong - Ritchie Boulevard Start: 5.00 pm, finish: 9.00 pm
Round 4 - Saturday, January 8: Geelong Botanic Gardens Start: 5.00 pm, finish: 9.00 pm
Round 5 - Sunday, January 9: Docklands Start: 10.00 am, finish: 1.30 pm

Mactier out of Bay Crits

Australian Olympic pursuit silver medalist Katie Mactier is out of the Jayco Bay Classic criterium series, which starts today. Mactier is recovering from a bout of pneumonia that put her in hospital for New year's Eve.

Mactier spent five days on a drip, but is now on the mend. "I had a chest infection two months ago and got rid of it," she told AAP. "Last Tuesday, I woke up and felt like I'd been hit by a car and that night I had a raging temperature. It hit me from out of nowhere. I've never been so sick in my whole life. I'm feeling a million times better, although I'm still on a lot of antibiotics."

Mactier had been due to lead the Victorian Institute of Sport team.

Track builder Webb awarded

By Nisa Schebella

UK based Australian Ron Webb has been named the latest recipient of the prestigious F.T. Bidlake Memorial Trust plaque awarded to 'the most outstanding performance or contribution to the betterment of cycling in any sphere for the year'. Only citizens of Britain and the Commonwealth are eligible and Webb is only the second Australian in its 80 year history to receive this award.

Webb has been cited, "For his work in designing and building so many tracks world- wide including those in Britain which have furthered the development of cycle racing, leading to British Olympic successes at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004."

"It is a great honour as the second Australian to be awarded the Bidlake Memorial Trust Prize" said Webb from his home in London last week. "The first recipient, in 1934, was also the first Australian winner, Sir Hubert "Oppy" Opperman. So that gives me pride to fly the Australian flag after such a long break". (Oppy won his award for his 24 hour John O'Groats to Lands End and 1000 miles records accomplished in the one ride in October 1934.)

"The Bidlake Plaque is for the highest achievement in Cycling and not restricted to just cycle racing, but all to do with the sport and trade on two wheels. I am also humbled that I have been nominated in this particular year of Olympic and World championship success by British cyclists. But, I guess it does underline the fairplay and sportmanship of the Trust Committee".

Webb, a former Australian cycling champion, started racing at 15 with the Canterbury Cycling Club in Sydney. He now lives in England and works with the British Cycling Federation and Sport England as a track consultant. He also holds the position of European consul to Cycling Australia and has been pivotal in negotiating European riders for the Tour Down Under since its inception in 1999. As a track designer and builder, Webb has stamped his name on 61 cycling facilities since 1970. Both temporary and permanent, some of his creations around the world include tracks such as the Tasmanian Silver Dome in Launceston, the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games track, the Seoul Olympic track, the Malaysian South East Asian Games track in Ipoh, the Speed Dome in Perth, the Athens Olympic track, the Herne Hill track centenary rebuild in London, the Adelaide Super Dome, the British National Centre for Cycling in Manchester, the Wangunal Velodrome in New Zealand, the Dunc Grey Velodrome in Sydney and the Melbourne Vodafone Arena.

Webb was has also been promoter of the London Six-day race, race director at Herning Halls Denmark, race director at the track in Hanover, Germany as well as a promoter of other sports such as speedway, pro-celebrity snooker, weight-lifting, and modern pentathalon.

PoolGel supports Redlands

The Redlands Bicycle Classic has announced PoolGel as its title sponsor for the 2005 edition of the race. PoolGel, a manufacturer of a water care system for swimming pools, was the sponsor of the US Elite Nationals race in June 2004 and the company saw that event as successful enough that they have stepped up to support the Redlands Classic, March 31-April 3, 2005.

California Road Club helps Howe

Barb Howe and a big cheque
Photo: © CRC
Click for larger image

San Francisco's California Road Club has donated $1300 to Barb Howe, 28 of Larkspur, CA, to help fund her trip to Belgium and Germany to compete in the Cyclocross World Championships. Howe, in only her second year of racing cyclocross has risen to the top-level, and was chosen by USA Cycling to represent the United States at the annual World Championship.

"Barb works at A Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito, which has sponsored the California Road Club since our inception," said Bud Napolio, CRC spokesman. "We are pleased to help Barb with her expenses, as she represents the essence of what our club is about." CRC's contribution of $1300 will add to the pool of money Barb has raised by herself, and through other generous contributions.

USA Cycling does not assist riders with expenses for attending world championships in non-Olympic sports, so Howe, like other members of the US cyclocross team, is having to raise her own funds.

The contribution to Howe's trip coincided with the formal creation of CRC's new women's team. "We've just completed an outreach program to start a women's team," said Napolio. "This contribution fits in nicely with that effort."

Team Cobblestone

The Richmond, VA-based Team Cobblestone, presented by Nature's Path has announced a new elite men's cycling team for 2005. The team will focus on major Mid-Atlantic regional and NRC events - such as Tour of Shenandoah, the CapTech Classic, Univest, and the Carolina Cup - as well as national championship events.

Full roster

ISCorp Cycling Team

Nova Cycle Sport, Inc. has announced the 2005 ISCorp Cycling Team. Nova Cycle Sport, prides itself on supporting young riders, with the club' s sponsors and vast network of master cyclists providing opportunities allowing young cyclists to strive to the best of their abilities both on and off the bicycle.

Full roster

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