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Latest Edition Cycling News for January 10, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

McEwen a definite non-starter at Australian Championships

By Ben Abrahams

Robbie McEwen
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image) Robbie McEwen  leads the long line of riders

Following the confusion over his participation in the Australian men's road race championship, Robbie McEwen has confirmed to Cyclingnews that he will definitely not be at the start line in Ballarat on Sunday.

"I made a definite decision last night that I won't start the nationals in Ballarat," McEwen said on Wednesday. "I'm still suffering with bronchitis and need to make sure I'm rid of it before the Tour Down Under. I had been leaving my options open until now but there is little point making the trip if I'm not healthy."

McEwen's withdrawal coupled with team commitments for other top European-based professionals means the men's road race will be considerably more open than usual. Click here for a full preview of all events at the Australian Open Road Championships.

The 2002 and 2005 Australian champion is expected to be back for the start of the Tour Down Under, a six-day event starting on 16 January. The stage race marks the beginning of the season for a lot of European teams, including McEwen's Predictor-Lotto. Cyclingnews will be at the race with daily reports and live coverage.

Echavarri questions T-Mobiles ethics

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Team manager
Photo ©: Daniel Schamps
(Click for larger image) Team manager Jose Miguel Echavarri

The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team manager José Miguel Echavarri has explained in the pages of the sport daily AS his malaise with the possible drafting of his star rider, Alejandro Valverde, by T-Mobile. The interview was published at the same time that ABC published their details of a supposed relationship between Valverde and Eufemiano Fuentes.

Echavarri explained his opinion. "Cycling lives a compulsive moment, in which it seems that everything is possible. It is no longer strange to me that those who wish the rules are met now infringe them," noted the Spaniard on the practices of T-Mobile.

"We admit that the T-Mobile has great economic capacity, but it does not correspond with its results, and in this sense, T-Mobile needs a leader. But the ethical code is not only for Operación Puerto; the UCI has a regulation that does not allow us [ProTour teams] to try to reach a contractual agreement with those riders who have still contract in force," he continued, in clear reference to Valverde.

Echavarri confirmed that Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears Director Sportif Eusebio Unzúe had travelled to Murcia to try to negotiate with Valverde, but he also sent a strong alert. "Valverde says that he prefers to remain with us, but they offered him a great increase of pay, leaving him to want more. If he wants to go then we could not prevent this, but he would have to also assume all the responsibilities, as well as T-Mobile."

Basso wants world championships

Ivan Basso in 2006 Giro
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Italian Ivan Basso has decided to go for a Stephen Roche-like triple, the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the world championships. The newly signed Discovery Channel rider will eye the time trial in Stuttgart, Germany this September 27.

"I decided to elongate my season up through September for the time trial world championships in Stuttgart," said the rider from Varese to AGR. "This will serve as a proving ground for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing."

Basso honed his time trialing skills under the guidance of Bjarne Riis in his tenure at CSC, which ended this last summer when the two mutually terminated the contract due to the rider's alleged links to Eufemiano Fuentes and Operación Puerto. In joining Discovery Channel, Basso will be able to advance his skills even further with the help of Team Manager Johann Bruyneel and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.

Basso added, "The German worlds time trial will be the fundamental verification of the level that will need to be reached for the Olympics, and also to solidify my consideration in the national team of Sandro Callari."

Who's where, and on what team?

Keeping track of all the professional riders – and the ever-changing status of teams – is quite a task, but Theo Muller has been editing the Cyclingnews Teams Database since 1998, and has helped build up an invaluable repository of riders' careers.

As we roll into the New Year, we have launched the first two components of the 2007 Teams Database, covering the ProTour and Professional Continental squads.

Coming soon will be all the new Continental teams in their various regions, namely: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, plus all the professional women's teams.

The Teams Database section is a key part of the Cyclingnews Road index - where you can even delve back to 1998 - and please be sure to check back as Theo continues his work updating this resource.

Two Danes in the World championship

According to the website of the Danish Cycling Federation,, Denmark will have two riders at the cyclo-cross world championship in Hooglede-Gits. The riders are junior national champion Morten Gregersen and Danish elite champion Joachim Parbo.

Targetraining launches women's professional cycling team

Targetraining, a Connecticut personal and endurance coaching company, continues its support of the professional peloton with the introduction of the 2007 Targetraining Women's Professional Cycling Team. It hopes to add to the momentum of women's racing in the United States. Targetraining's chief executive, Rick Spear, said that "women endurance athletes are a key aspect of the future of the sport and that we should help in this effort."

The team gathers a dynamic squad of women: Rebecca Much, multiple US champion and U23 world time trial silver medallist; Megan Elliot, former US road race champion and Saturn team member; Anna Milkowski, multi-year pro on Rona, Lipton, and Advil/Chapstick; Kathleen Billington, ex-Diet Cheerwine and Connecticut state champion; Robin Farina, a Tennessee talent; Andrea Myers, a young Illinois speedster; Hiroko Shimada, Yale researcher and Japanese national team member; and Mandy Lozano, fresh off a top-10 at cyclo-cross nationals. Former professional Greg Wolf will direct the team with the assistance of Kyle Wolfe, a top New England Master's racer.

The ladies will race on ride on handcrafted Victory bicycles from Aegis, complete in team-colours. Targetraining will use Champion Systems clothing, DMT shoes, Speedplay pedals, and DeFeet accessories. The team's first target race will be the newly-unveiled US open cycling championship from Williamsburg to Richmond, Virgina.

Scottish cyclists supported by Braveheart Cycling Fund

2006 Braveheart Cyclist of the Year Kate Cullen
Photo ©: Alan Miller
Click for larger image

Twenty-seven Scottish cyclists will receive funding of £37,000 from the Braveheart Cycling Fund in 2007. It is the largest number of athletes ever to be supported by the fund, which is in its fourth year. Between them, they will also receive a higher level of support than the fund has been able to provide in previous seasons.

The youngest funded rider is 12 year-old Kyle Yates, with 29 year-old Commonwealth bronze medallist Kate Cullen the most senior. Apart from Cullen, all other funded athletes are under 25. With a higher proportion of the funding directed at younger athletes, a new initiative for 2007 is the Braveheart Juniors. Five of the 'Braveheart Juniors' will be based in Belgium for much of the season, with the fund contributing to their accommodation and living costs, as well as travel, coaching and an intensive racing programme.

In a new three-tier funding structure, nine riders are fully funded; seven are named in the 'Braveheart Juniors' squad; and eleven are in the Braveheart Academy.

The fund was established in 2003 by former British champion and Giro d'Italia rider Brian Smith. In a ten-year professional career Smith was a Motorola team mate of Lance Armstrong in 1994. Smith explained, "The fund was set up to help young Scottish cyclists to fulfil their ambition, with an emphasis on assisting them to train and race abroad.

"It is our goal to support talented young cyclists who are aiming for a career with a professional continental road team; we also support track cyclists and mountain bikers who are aiming for the Olympics and world championships in their disciplines."

Smith added that the fund's focus in 2007 is increasingly on youth riders. "The fund was not established to give riders long-term financial assistance. Our role is to help them progress to the next level, and that means a professional career.

"For 2007 we are increasing our level of support for young Scottish riders, among whom are some very talented male and female prospects. If they can show the commitment and dedication that is needed then I feel that some of them could go on to professional careers, riding the Tour de France and Olympics. ... It is particularly encouraging to see a number of young female riders emerging. They have a fantastic British role model in Nicole Cooke [of Wales] who is ranked number one in the world."

In 2007 the Braveheart fund has also managed to secure sponsorship for equipment to the value of £4,000 from Evans Cycles and £2,000 from Science in Sport (SIS).

2007 funded riders: Fully funded: Kate Cullen (29 years-old), track, Ross Creber (18), mountain bike, Alex Coutts (23), road, Evan Oliphant (24), road, Kevin Barclay (18), road/track, David Smith (23), road, Hamish Creber (16), mountain bike, Joe Barnes (18), mountain bike, and Chris Hutchens (17), mountain bike.

Braveheart Juniors: Shane Charlton (17), track, Ross Yates (16), road, Tom Dempster (16), road, Peter Ettles (17), road, Andrew Whitehall (17), road, Eileen Roe (17), road, and Daisy Sherwood (16), road.

Braveheart Academy: Magnus Davidson (15), Calum McLean (15), Kyle Yates (12), Aaron Murray (15), Craig Martin (14), Kevin Stewart (15), Ewan Clark (15), Kenta Gallagher (14), Mark Sinclair (14), Patrick Galbraith (13) and Kayleigh Brogan (14).

Commonwealth games cyclist visits Hurstville public school children

Maltese Commonwealth Games cyclist David Treacy recently visited students at Hurstville, Australia Public School to thank them for their support. The children provided encouragement for Treacy to compete in the 160km road race event despite suffering from a broken collarbone.

"The kids are great. The letters they wrote me, and the support they gave me, provided me with the strength to compete. I would not have been able to do it without them. I just wanted to let them know how much it meant to me," Treacy commented.

He also took the opportunity to promote the benefits of cycling, exercise and healthy eating. The children were also amazed by the Commonwealth Games memorabilia and the state-of-the-art machinery used by his team FRF Couriers – New South Wales Institute of Sport.

"I also wanted to show the students that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible, not only in sport but also in other areas of life," Treacy said. "I hope I can make the children proud of me by making the 2008 Olympics, which is a reality with the support of my FRF Couriers-NSWIS team." Joining Treacy in this squad are many other talented NSW registered cyclists.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)

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