First Edition Cycling News for November 14, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen
Tour of California names 2008 cities, stages
By Mark Zalewski
The hilly prologue will be missing
from California in '08
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
The promoters of the Tour of California announced the cities and routes
for the 2008 edition, including a new prologue city in Palo Alto on February
17 and a point-to-point finish from Santa Clarita to Pasadena near Los
Angeles seven days later.
"We remain committed to upgrading and enhancing every element of the
race experience for the cyclists and spectators by creating an even more
challenging and exciting race," said AEG's senior director for sport Kristin
Bachochin. However, the overall make-up of the race remains quite similar
to the first two editions – both in terms of distance and difficulty of
climbing, keeping in mind the early season calendar position of the race.
One big change for 2008 is the prologue, which will have no climbing.
This is a stark contrast compared to the previous course which ascended
the very challenging Telegraph Hill in downtown San Francisco. Stages
one and two are the same as last year's race with stage one having been
the same for all three.
The third stage is half-new, with a start in Modesto that will add a
new section of climbing before returning to the famed Sierra Road climb
just before the finish in downtown San Jose. Stage four will again travel
from Seaside south down the beautiful highway 1 to San Luis Obispo, followed
again by a critical time trial in Solvang.
The other big change for 2008, one that could actually affect the overall
classification, is making the final two stages point-to-point, unlike
the circuit race final stage of the previous two years. Stage six from
Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita is well-known from last year's race, but
the final stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, home of the Rose Bowl,
is completely new and could make for an exciting and tactical finish –
especially if the overall race is close.
"The challenging geographical features and picturesque landscape of California
provide the perfect combination of elements for a world-class cycling
event," said Bachochin.
The course design, particularly the changes to the prologue, seems to
try to maximize view-ability for potential spectators. AEG said that last
year's race garnered 1.6 million on-site spectators, even though that
would have required around 1,500 people lining every kilometre of the
1031 km course. Regardless, four stages with finishing circuits and a
more open prologue location will make it easy for anyone to see the action.
Follow the links for more information on the stage
details and the overall
Belgian federation not chasing European league
Belgian Cycling Federation chairman Laurent De Backer has quashed claims
by Tour of Flanders chairman and KBWB treasurer Louis de Laet that the
Belgian federation wants changes to the ProTour structure or the UCI will
risk the threat of a rival European league. De Laet made the remarks in
the lead up to yesterday's 125th anniversary celebrations for the Belgian
body, claiming the Belgian federation wants a tear away European league
in conjunction with the three Grand Tours and its French, Italian, Spanish
and Austrian counterparts.
"What De Laet said in the media is his own personal view point and is
certainly not the official view of the Belgian federation," De Backer
told HLN.be. "We want to remain loyal to the UCI, where we are
with the KBWB one of the founders. There is certainly no talk of a tear
away. On the contrary, we want to have a good talk with the guys from
the UCI and work towards a common consensus."
De Backer did however support the notion of sitting down with the UCI
to work on evolving the ProTour into something that better accommodates
all party's needs. "The KBWB has nothing against the ProTour, but can't
see how this concept is going to work," De Backer explained. "We could
all benefit by sitting around a table and finding a correct solution."
Sinkewitz settles a suit
Patrik Sinkewitz has one less legal problem after the Bonn, Germany,
public prosecutor announced that it has closed its investigation of the
cyclist in exchange for the payment of a five-figure sum of money to be
paid to various charities. A court in Bonn has approved the deal.
Sinkewitz was being investigated for defrauding his sponsors and commercial
partners. The case was settled because he was cooperative and he confessed,
chief public prosecutor Fred Apostel told the dpa press agency.
His testimony was important in bringing to light much valuable knowledge
about doping in professional cycling, Apostel said.
Sinkewitz has also announced that he was not doped when he won the Rund
um den Henninger Turm race this spring. "I was clean there," he said on
German television Monday night. He admitted that he received a cortisone
shot the beginning of April at the Freiburg University Clinic, but that
was treatment for a tendon problem, and not doping.
The 27 year-old hopes to ride again, but doesn't know when that might
be or with which team. "Before I know when I can ride again, it is hard
to make contact with teams," he admitted.
Rasmussen meets UCI today
Michael Rasmussen will meet with the UCI to discuss his case in Aigle,
Switzerland today. The Dane's lawyer yesterday received Rabobank's report
on the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from the squad and ejection
from the tour, which outlined that in its eyes the rider should never
have been allowed to start the Grand Tour.
"This meeting has been delayed a number of times already, I would have
preferred to meet with them sooner," Rasmussen told Sportwereld.be.
UCI's anti-doping director Anne Gripper, said in August that Rasmussen's
story had changed completely and it looked like he had lied. "Then he
will receive a new warning for his lie as to his whereabouts on top of
the two that he already has. Then we can proceed to punish him according
to the ruled," she said.
Rasmussen, who was spectacularly dumped from his team while leading the
Tour de France, is due to respond to the Vogelzang report tomorrow. The
Vogelzang committee was employed by Dutch bank Rabobank to investigate
the Rasmussen affair, and was headed by Peter Vogelzang, a former chief
of the Utrecht Police and head of the 2004 Dutch Olympic team.
Bissell praise Vennell signing
Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling
Photo ©: Barry Harcourt
The Bissell Pro Cycling Team has praised the efforts of its new signing
from New Zealand, Jeremy Vennell. The former DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed
rider was released early from the Belgian-based squad to join his new
American outfit at the Tour of Southland in his home nation, where Vennell
claimed an impressive two stage wins.
"We signed Jeremy months ago based on Team Director Glen Mitchell's
recommendation and we could not be happier to see him deliver on his potential
already," said team manager Mark Olson. "I think Jeremy will
be a force to reckon with here in the United States and will lend a great
hand in helping Ben Jacques-Maynes to more success in 2008."
The Bissell squad enjoyed a successful venture down in the Southern Hemisphere,
adding five stage victories at Southland to their two podium positions
in Australia's Jayco Herald Sun Tour last month.
The two races were the squad's first races under the Bissell tag, with
the company moving into the title sponsor position after former title
sponsor Priority Health announced it wouldn't be renewing its agreement
with the squad for 2008. Its recent success will likely give the riders
a boost in confidence heading into the 2008 season.
Pros ready for Darren Smith Cycle Classic
Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), Matt White (Discovery Channel) and Henk
Vogels (Toyota-United) are just some of the professional riders will contest
the Darren Smith Cycle Classic on November 25. The race has been an annual
event since 1993 in honour of promising CATS Cycle Club member Darren
Smith, who was tragically killed in a road accident in 1992 just months
after he competed at the Barcelona Olympic Games.
"The line-up for this years race is world class and it's also
a great opportunity for selected amateurs from clubs across the country
to race the same circuit as our elite athletes," said Gold Coast
CATS Cycling Club president Luke Lucas.
The race, run by the Gold Coast CATS, will be supported by title sponsor
Salt Village for the second consecutive year and will again be held in
the Salt Village prescient on the Tweed Coast. "The beach side track
at Salt Village provides an excellent environment for sprint racing, with
technical and high speed cornering sections for the riders to negotiate
and lots of great vantage points for the crowd," said Lucas. "We
are looking for a lot of support from locals and travelling guests to
the area to come and watch the race."
This years event will feature two races including a one hour criterium
style event with sprint bonuses for competitors from the international
racing circuit and a 45 minute competition for regional cycling club members.
The event will get underway at 9 AM New South Wales daylight saving time,
8 AM Queensland time, at Salt Central Park.
"The field is much deeper this year with the addition of the amateur
race, and its great to see a lot of the elite riders returning to
compete in the event," Lucas said. "Prize money for the day
will be well over $10,000 and this should attract a very high calibre
of riders to come and watch and even compete against some of their cycling
For further information visit CATS Cycling Club's website www.goldcoastcats.com.
Hindmarsh joins Tour Down Under
The Hindmarsh property and construction company will sponsor the Tour
Down Under's Most Aggressive Rider's jersey at the 2008 event, race organisers
have announced. Next year the Adelaide, South Australia race will become
the first ProTour event outside of European borders.
"Hindmarshs sponsorship of the first-ever ProTour race to
be held outside of Europe adds another business industry sector to the
events sponsorship portfolio," Tourism Minister Dr Jane Lomax-Smith
said. "The major sponsorship brings direct investment and a new national
and international relationship to our Australias premier cycling
Hindmarsh was established in South Australia in 1985 and has been responsible
for constructing a number of the citys landmark buildings, including
Flinders Link, the major office buildings of both Santos and IAG. The
company has offices around Australia in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and
Darwin as well as in Beijing and Shanghai.
"Sponsoring the Most Aggressive Riders Jersey reflects the
companys commitment to support the local community coupled with
a desire to participate in such an exciting, international event,"
said Hindmarsh's local general manager George Ochota. "The Tour Down
Under gives us a chance to promote the Hindmarsh brand to the general
public. We consider this partnership a strategic opportunity for our business
to create further business associations."
The 2008 Tour Down Under will open the 2008 ProTour calendar on January
22 - 27, with the Down Under Classic being held on Sunday 20 January 2008
at Glenelg. Visit www.tourdownunder.com.au for more information.
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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)