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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for March 3, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

IPCT calls for 'last chance meeting'

By Shane Stokes

Paris-Nice may be just over a week away but the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) declined to come to a quick decision at today's meeting held in Brussels. The 17 teams that comprise the IPCT decided unanimously to call on both sides to attend what it refers to a ‘last chance' meeting on Monday. All ProTour teams, with the exception of Francaise des Jeux were present, but Astana and have no voting rights as they are not members.

The IPCT released a strongly worded press release on Friday which, while steering clear of any statements of support for one side or another, expressed its dissatisfaction with the current situation and made it clear that the teams concerned want the UCI and ASO/RCS Sport/Unipublic to find short and medium term solutions, as well as coming up with a timeframe for a longer-term resolution to their conflict.

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The IPCT statement read "At the extraordinary general meeting which was held on March 2 in Brussels, the IPCT decided today to address the UCI, on the one hand, and ASO, RCS and Unipublic, on the other, issuing a formal invitation to take part in a meeting of reconciliation, scheduled for Brussels, on March 5 next Monday."

Depending on the outcome of this invitation and the talks which will follow, the IPCT says that its members could consider not taking part in Paris-Nice or other such events to be held in the next few weeks. Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad that the teams want a quick solution to the conflict, saying "the 17 teams have together more than 1000 people in service, the budget is enormous. A stalemate isn't good for anyone."

The IPCT statement highlighted the serious nature of the ongoing conflict, saying "The principal professional teams, which are the members of the IPCT, have let the UCI and the three above-mentioned organizers know that their conflict is causing very serious damage. At this point, the teams refuse to give an opinion as regards the question of who bears responsibility for this damage.

"Their only immediate concern is to restore without delay the conditions that enable them to carry out their work in all serenity and legality, in other words to participate in the best cycling events. This is the basis of their socio-economic survival. For this reason, the IPCT invites the UCI and the three organizers to a 'last chance' meeting."

While the UCI and ASO failed to work out their differences at a recent meeting, the IPCT believes that negotiations can have a positive outcome. It says that the outcome of this will help shape their decision vis-à-vis participation in the next ProTour races, letting both sides know that genuine efforts must be made to resolve the problems.

Quick.Step's Patrick Lefevere
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Lefevere said that the members didn't want to be against either side, "but nevertheless I found this to be a strong meeting", he said to, "because we have adopted a unanimous position." The unified stance of the teams is a positive direction, but the work is nowhere near done. United, the teams present a powerful front, and Lefevere said, "I remain optimistic. Look, the riders are paid to race - but not at any price. I honestly never thought I would see this kind of political situation."

The IPCT release suggested the possibility of boycotting races, but says that other measures may be considered in order to protect their position. "Indeed, in the absence of agreement, the members of the IPCT will have to carefully evaluate the legal consequences on all levels (UCI rules, civil responsibility, etc) of a decision taken in one direction or another.

"Moreover, in the event of failure of the attempts at conciliation evoked above, the IPCT reserves the right to protect the interests of its members by the most suitable legal means, in particular at the level of community legislation." It remains to be seen how the UCI and the three Grand Tour organisers will respond to the IPCT decision. Friday's release shows that the teams – who up until now have generally kept out of the conflict – appear be prepared to stand firm together in pushing for a solution to be found.

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'
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August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Contador and Valverde shine in Valenciana

By Monika Prell

Two Spaniards
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Alberto Contador, winner of the fourth stage of the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, showed that the pivotal stage was a course that suited him. "I get along very well with the Alto de Campello, I know it already from the last two years and finally I could defeat it and win the stage." According to, the 24-years-old Discovery Channel rider, who lost time on stage two, complained that he could not "struggle for the yellow jersey due to the fall [during the second stage], but I had a lot of ambition to win the stage for my team, which fought a lot to help me."

Alejandro Valverde, who took over the yellow jersey from sprinter Daniele Bennati, said that Saturday's last stage will be complicated. He will have to struggle for the bonus seconds in the sprints because the Slovenian Tadej Valjavec - second in the overall standing - is only at two seconds behind. Valverde sees him as his "biggest rival because he has a very strong team which is working very well in the sprints.

"The danger will not be to sprint, but to position as well, but we will take the risk." The Caisse d'Epargne rider considered today's stage as "very difficult, but we had one of us in front [Pablo Lastras] and so we only had to work a little bit until the final. The last part of the race has been difficult because I had to pull the others all the time and we had adverse winds, so I went a bit slower with the idea to have still power for the finish because I thought that the others might beat me in the final sprint if I used too much power."

Pozzato hopes for sun in Belgium

Thumbs up from Pippo.
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Liquigas team, which already scored one early season win at the Tour du Haut Var, thanks to Filippo Pozzato, is hoping for a repeat performance this weekend. Pozzato will head the green and blue squad in the Belgian season openers, Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne. He'll be joined by Francesco Chicchi, Mauro Da Dalto, Murilo Fischer, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Roberto Petito, Manuel Quinziato and Alessandro Vanotti, along with team manager Mario Scirea.

Pozzato, the winner of last year's Milan-Sanremo, said his form is coming along, and he is hoping for some sunny weather in Belgium. "I've spent a quiet week concentrating on training," said Pozzato. "Sensations are good. What about my purpose? I will try to stay in the heart of the race ready to take my chance of succeeding. Well, I will look for victory but it won't be the end of the world if I don't win. The weather could play a key role: I prefer the sun but I know well the tricks of the 'Belgian climate.' If it is raining I will try to make the best of a bad situation."

Liquigas, Gerolsteiner for Swiss races

A muddy Rebellin in 2006
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

With the Classics team off to the Belgian races, the Liquigas squad will rely on Vincenzo Nibali, winner of the 2006 Grand Prix Ouest France, along with Michael Albasini and Patrick Calcagni for the weekend's Swiss races, the GP Chiasso and GP Lugano. The squad, directed by Mario Chiesa, will also feature Leonardo Bertagnolli, Kjell Carlström, Francesco Failli (only at the GP Chiasso), Roman Kreuziger, Matej Mugerli and Andrea Noè (only at the GP of Lugano).

Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin is looking forward to the Swiss races. In last year's edition, Rebellin took second to Quick Step's Remmert Wielinga after chasing the late escape only to fall short in the end. In the 2006 GP Lugano, Rebellin took fourth, showing that the parcours suit his abilities. Rebellin's form is coming along, as shown by his fourth overall at February's Volta ao Algarve.

Gerolsteiner for the GP di Lugano: Johannes Fröhlinger, Oscar Gatto, Heinrich Haussler, David Kopp, Sebastian Lang, Andrea Moletta, Davide Rebellin, Matthias Ruß, Stefan Schumacher and Tom Stamsnijder.

The UCI Professional Continental team Ceramica Flaminia will have an important debut at the GP Chiasso and GP Lugano, and will count on Cristian Gasperoni and Maurizio Varini to achieve a good result. Also starting are Wladimir Duma, Michele Scotto D'Abusco, Hubert Krys, and Adam Wadecki.

Koerts makes a comeback

Former Dutch professional Jans Koerts will mark his return to the peloton this week for the first time since 2005. The 37 year-old will start at the Ster van Zwolle for the UCI European Continental team Time Van Hemert, under the direction of former Tour de France stage winner, Jeroen Blijlevens.

Koerts crashed heavily in the fourth stage of the Trofeo Joaquim Agostinho in Portugal in 2005, breaking both ankles, ribs, and fractured a femur. During his recovery, his contract with Cofidis was not extended. Koerts was under contract with Time-Van Hemert for the 2006 season as well, but did not race due to pain from his injuries.

La Vuelta de Bisbee returns for 29th edition

Organizers of the La Vuelta de Bisbee stage race in Arizona have announced the dates and parcours for the 29th edition of the race. The three day race will be held April 27-29, 2007, and will consist of an uphill time-trial prologue, two road stages and a time trial. The senior men, Pro 1-2, riders will cover more than 175 miles of racing with 10,000 feet of climbing. The senior women and master men riders will cover slightly less distance and elevation.

Prologue: Friday April 27th – the Mule Pass Individual Time Trial, 2.8 miles, 837 feet of climbing
Stage 1: Saturday April 28th – the Sulphur Springs Road Race, 79 miles, 2,300 feet of total climbing
Stage: Saturday April 28th – the Warren Time Trial, 8.3-miles
Stage 3: Sunday, April 29th – Tombstone Road Race, 87 miles, 6,400 feet of climbing and uphill finish.

For complete schedule, event information, and registration information, visit the LVDB Web site at

Washington holds Juniors Tour

Rad Racing Northwest and the Washington State Bicycle Association have announced the 2007 Washington Juniors Tour, a junior road racing series is designed to provide more opportunities for junior racing in the state of Washington, as well as determining the best riders.

"The Washington Juniors Tour is a UCI Pro Tour type concept aimed at providing juniors consistent competition racing in criteriums, road races, stage races and time trials", said Juniors Tour director Dave Schilling, "And we've taken the basic parameters of the Seattle-Lance Armstrong Junior Olympics Race Series and expanded it to encompass all disciplines of road racing".

"The Juniors Tour is the largest of its kind in the US that I know of," said Schilling, "I hope other States will pick this concept up and expand the racing opportunities for juniors".

The Juniors Tour provides consistent age and gender-based juniors categories. "It is very important to offer categories that match the strength progression of kids." says Schilling, "This gives them the opportunity to race competitively from 10 years old on up." The categories are: A (17-18), B (15-16), C (13-14) and D (10-12).

All Juniors Tour races are part of established races, including all five Seattle-LAJORS Series races, one stage race and four state championship races. A season-long points system will run for male and female racers separately in each age group. Final series category winners will be awarded "2007 Washington Juniors Tour Champion" jerseys, trophies and prizes.

2007 Washington Juniors Tour Calendar

April 8 Recycled Cycles Brad Lewis Memorial Crit, Seattle
April 15 First Rate Mortgage Seward Park Crit 1 *, Seattle
April 21/22 Tour of Walla Walla Stage Race, Walla Walla
June 10 Junior State Road Race Championships, Elma
June 17 First Rate Mortgage Seward Park Crit 2, * Seattle
July 1 Des Moines Criterium, Des Moines
July 4 Junior State Criterium Championships, Burien
July 7 Derby Days Criterium, * Redmond
July 22 State Time Trial Championships, Tenino
August 5 Volunteer Park Criterium, Seattle
August 11 Nooksak Criterium, Bellingham
August 25 State Hillclimb TT Championships, Crystal Mtn.
August 26 First Rate Mortgage Seward Park Crit 3, * Seattle
September 2 Blackberry Criterium, Bremerton

* also Seattle-LAJORS Series Race

For more information go to or contact Dave Schilling at

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