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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Regional Cycling News for October 28, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Warnie to lose UCI status?

2005 winner Jonas Ljungblad
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
Click for larger image

Australia's Melbourne to Warrnambool may lose its UCI status next year unless it radically changes its format, reports the Warrnambool Standard. In 2006, the UCI wants all international races only to be contested by UCI listed teams, which would rule out 95 percent of the starters in the "Warny". The regulations could also affect the UCI rated Herald Sun Tour and the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

This year's Melbourne to Warrnambool featured more than 140 riders in the 299 km mass start road race, and was won by Amore e Vita's Swedish champion Jonas Ljungblad. But if the UCI holds firm, then the race will have to undergo a radical change or lose its 1.2 status. And given the cost and difficulty of flying a large number of international riders out at the end of the season, it seems as though the "Warny" will revert to being a National Event (NE) with no UCI points on offer.

Race director John Craven told the Standard that he would fight the ruling. "The Australian Cycling Federation has approached the UCI on our behalf and hit a brick wall," he said. "Negotiations are continuing. One way or another we must win. We have a 110-year history to protect. It's now an international race. We have worked brutally hard to elevate it to that level. We now don't want to back down."

The Australian riders agree that the race should retain its international flavour. "It would wipe out 95 per cent of the field and I think they would struggle to get the internationals," said Warrnambool's Andy Graham. "They are only here at this time because of the Sun Tour. It won't make for much of a race."

The stricter regulations could also affect the Herald Sun Tour, which features a number of local riders going up against the internationals in the UCI 2.1 rated stage race. One possibility could be to move the Sun Tour to January, where it would feature alongside the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under and benefit from the large presence of European teams in Australia at that time.

Negotiations are continuing.

AIS women at charity luncheon in Sydney

Katie Brown holds forth.
Photo ©: John Stevenson
Click for larger image

Katie Brown and Kate Nichols will be the special guests at a charity luncheon to be held in Sydney next month to raise funds for the Amy Gillett-Safe Foundation.

The two women were members of the AIS women's road cycling squad that was struck down by an out-of-control car in Germany on July 19 that took the life of their team-mate, Amy Gillett but have both made steady progress in their recoveries from the injuries sustained in the accident.

The luncheon is being held in the 'Handlebar Tavern', the bistro opposite Sydney's Dunc Grey Velodrome, at noon on Wednesday, November 16. Organiser Peter Johnston said there would be guest appearances by other elite cyclists and Olympians, as well as a silent auction of special sporting memorabilia, including a signed and framed print of Robbie McEwen, a framed and signed 2005 Australian Wallabies (national rugby team) jersey, as well as jerseys from local rugby teams the Canterbury Bulldogs (2005 squad) and a signed and framed print of the West Tigers 'Team of the Century', plus a biography of Ian Thorpe signed by the super-swimmer himself, Johnston said.

Tickets are AUS$60 per head or AUS$500 for a table of ten (all-inclusive) and can be purchased by contacting Peter Johnston (email to: ) or phoning +61 (0) 2 9738 9900.

Bicycling Australia Challenge

Andrew Fraser, NSW State member for Coffs Harbour, will send 55 volunteer cyclists off on a six-day 720km ride on Sunday, October 4, hoping to raise more than $100,000 to help the fight against drug and alcohol addiction. Fraser will fire the gun to start the fifth annual Bicycling Australia Challenge in which riders of varying talents have paid up to $2500 each to make the trek from Coffs Harbour to Mooloolaba, finishing on Friday, November 4.

This is the fifth time the charity ride has been held in aid of Teen Challenge, a world-wide charity organization that boasts 77 countries and 440 centres world-wide - six in Australia. The ride has raised $300,000 in total over the last four years but Teen Challenge organisers are hopeful of a record return this year.

The ride will begin at 2pm on Sunday from the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort on Charlesworth Bay Drive, Coffs Harbour. Riders from Queensland, NSW and Victoria will overnight in Dorrigo, Grafton, Ballina, Kingscliff and Brisbane before finishing their exhausting journey in Mooloolaba on Friday. Participants will be in cycling mode when Australia stops for the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday (November 1), and when the summer of international cricket begins the First Test against the West Indies at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday (3 November).

The Challenge begins with a 70km ride from Coffs Harbour to Dorrigo that will quickly test the participants, because the last 10km into Dorrigo is all up hill. The longest leg will be the 152km ride from Kingscliff to Brisbane on day five.

World Champions for Christchurch cycling festival

Christchurch, New Zealand's inaugural Armstrong Prestige Festival of Cycling will feature World Champions Greg Henderson and Katie Mactier at the two day event on December 3 and 4. Henderson, from Dunedin, is a three-time Olympian and Commonwealth and World champion. Australian Katie Mactier is a current World Champion and Olympic silver medallist on the track. Both riders are using the Armstrong Prestige Festival of Cycling as a major part of their build up for the Melbourne's Commonwealth Games in March.

"The race comes at a good time for both of us," says Henderson. "It will serve as a good test of form and fitness leading into our Commonwealth Games campaign."

While track specialists, both Henderson and Mactier are experienced on the road. Henderson rides professionally for U.S.A's top-ranked HealthNet team. In 2004 he won the prestigious New York Criterium. In 2005 he won the points competition in the Tour of Georgia, which was won overall by Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong. Although a Dunedinite by birth, Henderson has an affinity with Christchurch. Three of his 17 national titles were won in the Garden City and he is keen to return for this new event.

Australia's Katie Mactier is known to New Zealanders for her silver medal ride behind golden girl Sarah Ulmer at the Athens Olympics. In 2005 Mactier went on to win the world title and will use the Armstrong Prestige Festival of Cycling as a strength building exercise for her Commonwealth Games hopes on the track.

On Saturday, December 3, the weekend opens with the 75km Armstrong Prestige Harbour Ride. From the start at Centennial Park (Pioneer Stadium), participants take in the foothills around Halswell and Taitapu Road to Motukarara before heading over Gebbies Pass. The course then undulates through Lyttleton Harbour's northern bays before climbing over Evans Pass. A final stretch through Sumner and back around the foothills brings the ride back to Centennial Park for the finish.

On Sunday December 4 the Festival continues with a taste of cycling Euro-style with the City Criterium. Based on a tight, 1km circuit around Oxford Terrace/Cambridge Terrace this will be a major national event featuring many of New Zealand's best cyclists. But will also be a fun-filled day for riders of all experience, including novice races and a celebrity tandem series, Penny Farthing demonstrations and Steve Gurney's Crazy Commuter competition.

World champion Greg Henderson is certainly keen. "I have actually won the national criterium title three times on this circuit," he says, "so we are both very excited about attending the race."

For more details, go to:

McVeigh and McQuaid have something in common

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Irishman Derry McVeigh, a prolific winner in the 90s, announced in 2000 that he was opting out of the sport. He was highly regarded in the bunches and was an excellent team man Now, after five years on the fence, he has decided to make a comeback.

"I had good years with the Emerald Cycling Club, of which, I may add, was the club that our esteemed President of the UCI is a member. Mr. Pat McQuaid," said McVeigh. "The notion of recording six victories in 1999 in succession gave me the out clause. They say it is best to quit when you are on a high. Of late I have started to get the bug again and a couple of weeks ago, I made my mind up that 2006 was the return of the 'mean machine' with me in tow.

"At least I am aware of how to get fit and most importantly, race fit. I aim to be able to mix it with the lads and hopefully the winning mode will kick into action. Regarding, a club, I'll more than likely go unattached for the first couple months of the season and then who knows, when I have proved myself, some club will come looking for the signature? I hope!

"My principal aim would be to help foster good relations with the guys that are in their first year as a senior and help them along the path. Really, I would love to ride the FBD Insurance Ras. My goal would be to finish in the top 30.

"To get myself into shape, I will give the cyclo-cross events a go. That'll knock the cobwebs away. It was noticeable that the road lads who turned to that discipline of the sport in the last few years had an advantage when it came to racing at the beginning of the season,"

With these words, McVeigh slipped off into the night on his way home, not by the regular mode of transport that needs gasoline, but the one that needs the legs and lungs to be in sync.

Orbitel to Doble Copacabana

Colombia's Orbitel 05 squad will take part in the Doble a Copacabana in Bolivia between November 8 and 13. The riders selected include Alvaro Sierra, Mauricio Neiza, Mauricio Soler, Javier Zapata, Jairo Hernández and Hebert Gutiérrez, and should be among the favourites for the UCI 2.2 ranked race. Zapata won the Doble last year.

Another Colombian squad, Coordinadora-Loteria de Boyacá, will travel with Orbitel to Bolivia, with Israel Ochoa, who was runner up and mountains champion last year.

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