First Edition Cycling News for March 13, 2005
Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones
CSC puts Bobby in a winning position
Young Dutchman Posthuma takes stage
There were no real challenges to Bobby Julich's yellow and white leader's jersey in today's sixth stage of Paris-Nice. Julich's seven CSC teammates rode in perfect formation for the whole stage, protecting Julich and not using too much energy in light of tomorrow's tough finale. Although the Saunier Duval riders repeatedly tried to break the rhythm of the CSC train on the climbs, they could not succeed and Julich conceded no time to his nearest rivals today.
"My team rode perfectly today," said Julich after the finish. "I think it's been eight years since I've had a leader's jersey. This is the best day I could hoped for. I was super strong, the team was super strong, Jens Voigt was super strong. We have one more objective: to win Paris-Nice."
Julich is looking forward to tomorrow's finish on Nice's famous Promenade des Anglais. "I know the promenade very well," he smiled. "My base is in Nice, France. I don't really live there, as we're in and out of the country all the time. But I'm at least half Niçoise now. I know every single one of the climbs tomorrow, so I'm very confident."
CSC used smart tactics today to allow a non-threatening eight man breakaway to go clear after 5 km, letting them stay out there all day. Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze) was the best placed rider in the break on GC at 6'43, so CSC simply kept the gap at around 5-6 minutes, until the end of the stage when they rode a little harder to reduce the threat.
Although Ludewig looked to be the strongest rider in the break, he was perhaps too strong and attacked with 35 km to go. He managed to take a 30 second lead before the final climb of the Col du Tanneron, but then Dutchman Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) sprang out of the chase group and bridged up to the German. On the descent, he dropped Ludewig and powered away to the finish line along the beachfront in Cannes to take his biggest victory to date. It was a reward for saving his strength and then using it at the right time, and it capped off a great day for Rabobank, whose World Champion Oscar Freire took his third successive stage win in Tirreno-Adriatico and is now the outright favourite for Milan-San Remo next weekend.
Paris-Nice Stage 6
Cancellara fit for Belgian Classics
By Hedwig Kröner in Cannes
At the start of Stage 6 of Paris-Nice in Rognes today, Cyclingnews spoke to Fassa Bortolo's Fabian Cancellara. The sunny and warm weather conditions made the whole peloton's day, and the Swiss time triallist's too. "Finally, the sun is out!" he smiles. "It makes you feel better immediately. Of course, the mountain finish yesterday was difficult for me; I couldn't hold the others' pace."
Cancellara lost the leader's jersey on the climb up Mont Faron, but isn't giving himself a hard time about it. "I just don't have the form to lead a longer stage race yet," he explained. "I've been ill twice just before the season start, and I couldn't train around Christmas at all because of a problem with my knee."
Nevertheless, he is hopeful for the near future. "I think my level of fitness should be good enough for one-day races, so preparing for those is what I'll do now. I'll be competing at the Three days of De Panne next, and then at three classics - Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix." Asked if there was one of them he targeted especially, he declined. "No, all of them could be good for me. We'll see what I can do.
"After that, I'll stop racing for a little while, to concentrate on my first Tour de Suisse, to which I'm very much looking forward to. This race suits me well on paper." Of course, the Swiss prologue specialist also has the Tour de France on the back of his head, which he won last year in Liège. "I'll take my chances again this year, that's for sure," he said. "If I get the opportunity to take the Yellow jersey at the prologue, I'll use it. And if I can hold on to it for a little longer than last year, that'd be great!"
Cancellara smiled at the prospect of it, and then had to hurry - the start of the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice was imminent.
Voigt clarifies on Armstrong's Tour participation
By Hedwig Kröner in Cannes
As reported on Cyclingnews a few days ago, German Jens Voigt was quoted by a German newspaper as saying that he didn't believe Lance Armstrong would actually take the start of this year's Tour de France. Before hitting the road for yesterday's stage five, Voigt took the time to rectify what had been written about his statement. "All I wanted to say is that I would understand it if he wouldn't participate anymore," Voigt told Cyclingnews. "He's already won the Tour six times! He now has something to lose, but not to win anymore. I could understand it if he said to himself, 'Why am I still bothering with this'? As I always like to think of it, Armstrong stands alone on this Olympus of cycling, untouched, and will continue to do so pretty much forever! All I wanted to say was that I would have understood him if his decision had been different."
Voigt also explained that he even talked to his American colleague at Paris-Nice, before Armstrong decided to pull out of the race. "He told me that he wanted to ride the Tour," Voigt said. "It had been agreed with his sponsor and he felt the responsibility of about 70 jobs depending on his participation there: the whole of the team, the drivers, masseurs etc. So everything is clear."
Armstrong's programme "sure to change"
Although Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel told Het Nieuwsblad that Lance Armstrong will be ready for the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), as reported in yesterday's news, newswire service AFP reports Bruyneel also told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure that the six-time Tour winner's preparation for the Ronde has been "compromised" as a result of falling ill during Paris-Nice, and his programme is "sure to change".
"Lance's programme is sure to change. We will have to just wait and see when he is ready to compete again. His participation in the Tour of Flanders is compromised, but nothing is certain," Bruyneel was quoted as saying.
While disappointed with the setback, Discovery's master tactician is happy to see Armstrong back living in Europe, where his media commitments are fewer and distractions are less: "What is good is that he is now in Europe. His style of life here is very different to his everyday life over in the States," he said.
"He [Armstrong] has to wait a day or two until he feels better and then I hope he will be able to start training again. It's better for him to train than to compete when sick. I don't think it's a problem. When Lance applies himself to the job, he progresses quickly."
De Canio suspended
U.S. cyclist Matt De Canio has accepted a two year suspension with seven months deferment from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after admitting that he used EPO and testosterone in May 2003. His suspension began on June 12, 2004, the date of his admission. De Canio served a voluntary one year suspension for the 2004 cycling season, which means that he can compete again on November 1, 2005. He will also forfeit his results and winnings from the 2003 Housatonic Valley Classic.
Cycling is a go in England
A newly-created national body known as Cycling England has been established to better develop and encourage participation in cycling throughout Great Britain. Established as part of the Department for Transport's review of its cycling strategy and armed with a budget of at least five million pounds (1.43M Euro/ US$9.62M), Cycling England's priority is to change the manner in which the British government manages and delivers cycling policy, so as to obtain a better return on investment in cycling.
This investment includes not only the promotion of cycling, but also the creation and improvement of cycling facilities. In the next financial year, Transport for London is projecting a record spend of £17M (€24M/ US$33M) on cycling in London, while local authorities outside London expect to spend £46 million (€65M/ US$88M) on cycling facilities in 2005/06, an increase of 50 percent from 2000/01.
"By establishing Cycling England we are re-affirming the Government's commitment to cycling," said the Minister for Local Transport, Charlotte Atkins.
"Cycling is fun, fast, green and healthy. It can contribute to a wide range of government objectives - such as accessibility, sustainability, public health - as well as reducing transport congestion. The Government is already making unprecedented investment in cycling through local authorities, and Sport England and Cycling England will work to maximise the return on our investment."
The National Standard for Cycle Training - a successor to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) - is tabled as one of Cycling England's first priorities. The Standard's aim is to increase the frequency of that both children and adults ride bikes, and to improve the quality of the surrounds in which they ride in, with the wider goal of tackling the growing issue of obesity (no pun intended).
According to the British government's Chief Medical Officer, the average recommended weekly exercise is a minimum of one hour of moderate physical activity a day for children and 30 minutes a day for adults, at least five days a week.
Added Minister Atkins: "The new National Standard for Cycle Training will be a priority for Cycling England. We need to extend and improve training to give children and adults the skills and confidence they need to cycle on the road. Our aim is to get more people cycling, more safely, more often."
Significant funding boost for Scottish cycling
In other news from Great Britain, Scottish cycling has received an almost 100 percent year-on-year increase in funding for 2005, with 242,860 pounds (approx. €347,474/ US$467,263) per year for the next four years aimed at radical improvement of the sport from grassroots to the elite level, reports The Scotsman.
National coach Graeme Herd believes the funding boost, confirmed by Sportscotland, can be largely attributed to the recent success of Scottish track riders on the world scene. In particular, current Olympic and world champion Chris Hoy, but also a small but growing group of athletes that are now making their mark in international-level competition, who are successful by-products of the country's regional and national academies of sport.
"The increase is a reflection of the success at the top end, especially Chris Hoy's gold medal in Athens, but it's also because athletes like Evan Oliphant and Kate Cullen are now achieving internationally," said Herd. "They are products of the programmes we started four or five years ago. There are others coming through, and the regional academies will hopefully ensure that young riders continue to emerge."
The four-year plan includes the establishment of seven regional cycling academies, to be launched next month, as well as the appointment of a new performance coordinator to work alongside Herd at the Scottish Institute of Sport, tipped to be filled by British mountain bike coach and former Commonwealth Games cyclist Neil Walker.
Added Herd: "The employment of a performance co-ordinator will allow me to focus more on developing coaching programmes for athletes and coaches."
Currently, only Hoy and fellow Kilo rider Craig MacLean are full members of the Scottish Institute of Sport, but the funding is hoped to introduce more talented riders as members, as well as become one of the academy's core sports.
Construction begins at Forest City Velodrome
Based in London, Ontario, Canada, the Forest City Velodrome project is an atypical but ingenious cycling initiative whereby individuals, corporations and government can all own a share in this publicly-held corporation. Businesses and members of the public can become involved by owning shares in the track itself; donating to the not-for-profit corporation; becoming a partner; or volunteering time to help run learn-to-race and other development programs.
Construction of the 3,000 seat, 142 metre indoor cycling track is now underway, as can be seen from the pictures, and when complete, the Forest City Velodrome will be one of only three indoor velodromes in North America.
Designed by Albert Coulier, the track will be built in the vacant Ice House hockey arena in the south end of London (again, that's London, Ontario, in case you were wondering). Coulier's company, Apollo Velodrome Systems, has constructed dozens of tracks over the decades, including Olympic and world championship tracks in Montreal, Pan-Am tracks in Winnipeg and other temporary tracks in arenas in Canada and the United States.
Garnering the support of local business, community and government partners to finance the project, one of the primary aims is to bring new, young Canadian talent into the sport, while elite athletes can train indoors during the winter to prepare themselves for international competition that culminates in the world track championships, now in February each year.
More information: www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca
Images by Rob Good/Forest City Velodrome
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