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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for January 29, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Dutch strong on first day of 'cross World's

Boy Van Poppel (Ned) wins
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Dutch riders scored well on the first day of the Cyclocross World Championships in Zeddam, The Netherlands, coming away with one gold and one silver medal in the juniors and U23 categories.

In freezing, fast conditions, Boy Van Poppel (son of top Dutch sprinter Jean-Paul Van Poppel), opened the home nation's account when he won the juniors race ahead of Robert Gavenda (Slovakia) and Tom Meeusen (Belgium). A few hours later in the U23 race, Lars Boom finished second in a very tight race of changing fortunes behind defending champion Zdnek Stybar (Czech Republic), with Tom Meeusen scoring another bronze for Belgium.

Van Poppel used his strength on the long stair climb to gap his rivals: "I didn't have any strategy in mind before the race started," he said. "But in other races, I have been faster than other riders up stairs. Because these were so long, I felt like I would have an advantage there."

The U23 race was a very tight affair, with Stybar lucky to hold off Boom and Albert, given that he punctured on the finishing straight. "If it had happened 100 meters sooner, I would not have won," he said.

Stybar, Boom, and Albert had been together for much of the race, with all riders suffering setbacks of one sort or other: Stybar and Albert both crashed; Albert later ran into the elbow of a spectator; and Boom changed bikes at a bad moment. On the last lap, Stybar took the initiative on the dusty farm-road descent leading to the finishing straight, but pinch-flatted his front tyre just before the asphalt. But he had done just enough to secure the gold medal, and now has two U23 world titles to his credit before entering the pro ranks full time next year.

See also: U23 full results & report, Juniors full results & report, Main, Schedule & results, Map, History, Start List, Photos

Bruyneel on ProTour - GT organisers must come to the table

By Gerard Knapp

Johan Bruyneel
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

The directeur sportif of the Discovery Channel team, John Bruyneel, has urged the organisers of cycling's three Grand Tours to reconsider their opposition to the fledgling ProTour concept as promoted by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

In an interview with Cyclingnews, Bruyneel said, "the teams and riders are the main actors of cycling. We have made huge sacrifices to be part of the ProTour; invested more money, more staff, more riders, changes in the schedule, changed our goals, and nobody has complained.

"I think everybody is happy with the way it went. Unfortunately, the Grand Tours have not been doing the same thing, that is where the resistance comes from. I just think that cycling cannot be done without riders and teams and I hope that finally they will start to understand that."

In 2005, the Grand Tours - the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta España - were all part of the UCI's ProTour, but not this year. The UCI's ProTour concept was rocked in December 9 last year by the withdrawal by the organizers of the Grand Tours. Further, the organizers also withdrew eight other major races, namely Paris Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy.

The withdrawal virtually gutted the ProTour of its key events, so an agreement with the organizers of these events is seen as critical to the future of the UCI's concept. However, the races are owned by three large European companies - ASO, RCS and Unipublic - that have successfully developed their properties without any kind of umbrella structure. They are firm in their opposition to any form of controlling structure imposed by the UCI.

The next step in the process is a meeting to be held in less than three weeks in Switzerland, where the UCI will meet with representatives of these companies (see report).

Bruyneel's comments are not entirely unexpected, as the world's leading teams once again reiterated their support for the ProTour concept at another UCI meeting held on January 18 this year.

At this meeting, a market research firm gave a presentation that was said to describe the potential commercial benefits to cycling if the world's major races join the ProTour. But it's expected that the UCI may need more than a slick AV presentation to win them over.

As Bruyneel said, "I think every new system has to be open for modification. And it is open for modification."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

"Nothing To Do" against already super Boonen

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Known as the best lead-out man in the business, Italo-American Guido Trenti has been the pilot fish for sprinter sharks like Mario Cipollini, Alessandro Petacchi and, since 2005, Tom Boonen. World Champ Boonen started his 2006 season in the best way possible in the Doha GP, winning his first UCI race with his rainbow jersey of World Champion right out of the box. After his Quick.Step-Innergetic team controlled the race, Guido Trenti and and new QS signing Matteo Tosatto provided a perfect set-up for Tornado Tom to blast Phonak's Robbie Hunter and Milram's Erik Zabel by two bike lengths for the win.

After the Qatar race, La Gazzetta dello Sport's Claudio Ghisalberti talked to Guido Trenti, who said, "Tom just has two more speeds than the competition. In the sprint, there were four Phonak riders there but they couldn't even hold his wheel! We could see how strong Tom was in our team training camp and this the right way to start the season."

Newcomer Tosatto echoed his friend and training partner Trenti, explaining, "Trenti and I gave Tom an Italian style leadout like we did for Petacchi. I don't think Tom has ever had a real lead-out train like that and now that we've organized it, I think we'll be able to help Tom a lot in the sprints." Boonen then saluted 'Toso' in his first '06 win after the victory, saying, "Matteo did an extraordinary job in his lead-out. He hit the front with 1200 meters to go and peeled off with 500 meters to go. We were flying! Then I had De Jongh and made my move about 200 meters to go."

Also on hand in Qatar was Eddy Merckx, who raced against Tom's father Andre, who was a journeyman kermesse rider in Belgium. Merckx paid homage to Tom Terrific, saying, "Tom is an old-style racer; he rides all season long to win. It shows that for the great riders, nothing has changed in cycling. He's really incredibly strong now and I think he can win any classic now, even Liege-Bastogne-Liege."

Already in his first race, Bad Boy Boonen has the competition worried, as third place Erik Zabel commented post-race in Qatar "Against a Boonen like that, there's nothing you can do!"

Lampre meets in Montecatini

Following the example of Team CSC, the Lampre-Fondital team will gather in Montecatini, Italy, from January 30 to February 4 for its first official training camp of 2006 season.

During the camp, the team's 25 riders will be divided into two groups: Daniele Bennati, Danilo Napolitano, Claudio Corioni and others who are already quite fit will work on their preparation for the first race of the season, the GP Costa degli Etruschi in Donoratico (Li) on February 4, followed by Tour of Méditerranéen (February 8-12), Trofeo Laigueglia (February 14) and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 21-25).

The other group will be led by Damiano Cunego, who will work with riders such as Marzio Bruseghin, Paolo Tiralongo, Tadej Valjavec, and Sylvester Szmyd, who will be by his side for the whole season. They will aim at the races later in spring, with Cunego making his debut in the Clasica Almeria on February 26.

Following the World Championships in Zeddam, Cyclo-crosser Enrico Franzoi will join his teammates in Montecatini.

Giunti to Naturino-Sapore di Mare

Massimo Giunti has become Naturino-Sapore di Mare's latest signing, joining the Italian Pro Continental team late this week. The 31 year-old rode under team manager Vincenzo Santoni for the majority of his career, but changed to the ProTour team Fassa Bortolo in 2005. However, that team folded and Giunti had to find work again. His old boss was happy to take him back.

"I have to thank Vincenzo Santoni for two things: to allow me, at the end of 2004, to try a season in a ProTour squad like Fassa Bortolo, freeing me from my 2005 contract without problems; and today to put faith in me again in this difficult period."

Santoni said that the door was always open to Giunti, although he wanted to confirm the team's position as a Pro Continental team, which he did so only this week. "I asked myself how it was possible that a strong rider like Massimo was still without a contract in January, another clear sign of how strange cycling can be. I'm confident that I have made an excellent purchase."

Another Swedish rider for KSV Deerlijk

Belgian junior team KSV-Deerlijk-Gaverzicht has signed another Swedish rider, Sebastian Balck, for the coming season. Balck will race for the team between May and July, and hopes to use the Belgian experience to win a national championship back home. In the past, KSV Deerlijk has worked with Swedish riders Johan Lindgren (who will ride for Française Des Jeux in 2007-2008) and Jonas Bjelkmark (who will ride with Camargo-Roper this season).

Hayles is a dad

World Madison and Team Pursuit Champion Rob Hayles is over the moon this week after his wife Vicky (British Cycling physio and former Olympic Swimmer) gave birth to their first child, Madeleine Elizabeth Hayles in the early hours of Monday, January 23.

Both girls are doing very well, but rumours that Madeleine Elizabeth is being measured by British Cycling's official frame builder Terry Dolan for her first track bike, are being dismissed as speculation.

Courtesy of Ben Atkins

Memphis Motorwerks/Carve Cycling Team

Memphis Motorwerks will partner with Central Arkansas Velo (CARVE) for the 2006 season. Memphis Motorwerks had a successful 2005 campaign with a U.S. Masters National Championship and wants to build on its success. The team consists of 11 riders who will compete in several events around the country this year. They will focus on Elite Nationals and several NRC races including (but not limited to) the Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race, and the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Click here for the full announcement and roster

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)