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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 29, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

McQuaid cautiously optimistic about ProTour talks

By Shane Stokes

UCI president Pat McQuaid at the inaugural ProTour awards in 2005
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

UCI President Pat McQuaid has said that he is hopeful that a positive outcome will emerge from the current round of talks being held on the ProTour. Speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday, he said that several discussions have been held of late and that it seems that some progress may be being made.

"The ProTour talks are ongoing," he confirmed, by phone from the UCI headquarters in Aigle. "There are different groups meeting and dealing with the different areas involved. From the reports that we are hearing back from our people involved in the talks, the talks are positive and it seems that each of the stakeholders involved - and when I say each, I mean each and every one of them - are interested in finding a solution to the problems."

Click here for the full story.

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

An interview with Nat Ross: Going the distance

Nat Ross
(Click for larger image)

As a six-year professional mountain biker who's competed in twenty-eight solo 24-hour races, you'd think that ultra-endurance racing has consumed every waking hour of 35 year-old Nat Ross' adult life. But as Steve Medcroft discovers, the lean, long-haired and laid-back Coloradoan has a more complete resume than even the most upwardly-mobile corporate go-getter.

For starters, Ross holds a biochemistry degree from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. After college, he pulled a five-year stint as high school teacher and coach. He also built Tough Guy Productions, the company that puts on the Arapahoe Basin based Telemark Freeskiing Championships and has produced five editions of the Total Telemark extreme ski movies. In 2005, he even took a swing at mountain-bike race promotion; designing the course for Sleepless in the Saddle.

The most impressive thing about this list of accomplishments is that he's built it at the same time as he's developed a world-class endurance resume that includes one solo national championship, a number of key individual wins, and top placements in races like Montezuma's Revenge and the 24 Hours of Moab.

Click here for the full interview.

Hondo eligible to race this weekend

German sprinter Danilo Hondo is free to return to racing this weekend, according to the UCI. "The UCI informs that the German rider will be able to resume competition on 1st April 2006," the organisation said in a statement yesterday.

Hondo tested positive for Carphedon during the Vuelta Ciclista in Murcia on 3 and 4 March 2005 and was suspended for one year by the Swiss cycling federation. He appealed the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which upheld it and extended it to two years. Two weeks ago, Hondo appealed again, this time to a Swiss civil court, and had the extension of the ban set aside.

In its statement, the UCI concluded, "The UCI reminds nevertheless that the UCI ProTeams' position with respect to any rider implied in a doping case also follows from the Code of conduct signed by said ProTeams and not only from the UCI Regulations." That code of conduct prevents ProTour teams from hiring riders found guilty of doping infractions for up to four years.

Di Luca and Garzelli to lead Liquigas at GP Indurain and Paìs Vasco

Danilo Di Luca and Stefano Garzelli will captain Liquigas in Saturday’s GP Miguel Indurain (April 1) and next week’s Vuelta Ciclista al Paìs Vasco (April 3-7). Di Luca will return to the race where he began his great run in the 2005 season which eventually saw him crowned the inaugural Pro Tour champion.

Di Luca won a stage win and took the overall victory at Paìs Vasco last year, but this year things may be a little different. "This year I’m focusing on the Giro d’Italia," said the Italian. "I like this race very much and I’m going to do my best, though I’m not in peak form like last year," he added.

In light of Di Luca's change of focus, Stefano Garzelli may be one of the key riders for Liquigas in these two races. Garzelli won the G.P. Miguel Indurain in 1999 and has taken two stages of Paìs Vasco (in 1999 and 2001).

Liquigas’ squad for GP Indurain and Vuelta Ciclista al Paìs Vasco: Dario Cioni, Vladimir Miholjevic, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè, Alessandro Spezialetti, and Charles Wegelius. Team managers: Stefano Zanatta and Mario Chiesa.

Ullrich racing in Circuit de la Sarthe

After confirming his intentions to ride the Giro d'Italia, Jan Ullrich's preparations for the Tour de France will be raised a notch next week as he begins racing at the Circuit de la Sarthe on April 4. It's a chance for Ullrich to prove his winter training has been solid and he's ready to race leading up to La Grande Boucle.

With Tour rivals such as Ivan Basso and former teammate Alexandre Vinokourov taking wins in Criterium International and Vuelta a Castilla y Leon respectively, Ullrich isn't worried that he hasn't yet got much racing under his belt, with T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig explaining that, "Jan always starts [his racing] late in the season. What counts is that his peak fitness is in July."

Ludwig also said that the four-day tour in west France will be a good opportunity for T-Mobile's number one to gather racing kilometres, but is not expecting big results in the time trial, despite Ullrich's strengths in that discipline.

CSC's Bak sidelined

CSC rider Lars Bak will be out of action for about ten days after an examination Monday revealed he had four broken ribs.

Bak crashed in Tirreno-Adriatico and had been experiencing pain ever since, but nevertheless rode the first stage of Critérium International on Saturday. He finished, but was outside the time limit. It turns out that's hardly surprising.

"I've had quite a lot of pains, but not more than I chose to participate in the Criterium International this weekend," Bak said on the team's website. "But just to be sure, I underwent an examination when I got back to Luxembourg, and now I know why I was in so much pain for the past couple of weeks. I've been able to deal with the pain, so I didn't think anything was broken. I can still work out on my home trainer, but I'm not racing for a while, as I can feel every little bump in the road, and it would be too dangerous to crash again with four broken ribs. Now I'm taking a break and slowly start to rebuild my form. I hope to be back on the road in about 10 days."

2006 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series opens registration

Registration has opened for the 2006 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, with the deadline for registering teams being May 1. The 2006 Series includes three of North America’s premier stage races:

June 14-18: Nature Valley Grand Prix
July 24-30: International Tour de Toona
September 7-10: CD&P Bermuda Grand Prix

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series attracts teams such as Webcor Platinum, Colavita Cooking Light, Victory Brewing and TEAm Lipton. The series also provides many regional teams with the opportunity to take their racing to the national level as each year composite teams form specifically to be part of the series.

In addition, teams are in the running for the series “brass ring”: a subsidized trip to the Bermuda Grand Prix. Each year, the top ten teams following the International Tour de Toona receive free housing and a $2,000 travel grant to attend this event in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

For more information on the 2006 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, or to download the registration form, visit:

CSC Invitational set for June

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) has announced that it will again support the June 3 CSC Invitational in the Washington, D.C. area. This year will be the event's third with CSC's support, and the company will again bring over members of the European-based CSC team to compete.

While CSC is best known to cycling fans as a European-based team, the US-based company has a very large presence in the area, as Mike Laphen, president and chief operating officer of CSC underlined. "With more than 10,000 employees in the region, CSC is proud to help bring professional cycling to the Washington, D.C. area," said Laphen.

For more information see

Altoona races this weekend

This weekend April 1 and 2, Altoona and Des Moines, Iowa host the Road Race and Circuit Race, a pair of events that comprises 'opening day' for racing in Central Iowa.

Saturday's race course will be a hilly four-mile circuit north of the South East Polk High School with races from 10am - 2pm and distances ranging from 22 to 45 miles. Sunday's races will be held at the main loop at Des Moines Waterworks Park from 10:30am - 3pm.

The events are also part of the Iowa Cup series, which started with the Kent Park Classic Road Race last weekend near Iowa City.

For more information see

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