Latest Cycling News for November 16, 2007
Edited by Hedwig Kröner with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
One-year suspension for Sinkewitz
German rider Patrik Sinkewitz has received a suspension of one year for testing positive for the banned hormone testosterone on June 8, 2007, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR, the German cycling federation) announced Friday morning. The suspension was backdated to when the positive was made public this summer, so that it will end on July 17, 2008. He has also been ordered to pay a fine of 40,000 Euro.
In a press release issued today, the BDR also noted that Sinkewitz is now belatedly disqualified from both the Tour de France and the Tour de Suisse, and must return to the race organisers any prizes he received during those two races.
Sinkewitz tested positive during a T-Mobile Team training camp before the Tour de France this year. The results were announced during the Tour de France, and made German TV broadcasters ARD and ZDF stop their live transmission of the race. Sinkewitz waived the opening of the B sample and made a confession, hoping that his cooperation with the BDR would bring him the reduced one-year ban, instead of the usual two years.
Jaksche "not an issue now" for T-Mobile
The question of Jörg Jaksche's possible return to the T-Mobile Team "is not an issue for us at the moment," team spokesman Stefan Wagner told Cyclingnews on Friday. In an interview with the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger newspaper, Jaksche had said that he was contact with the team and that contract negotiations had taken place. He rode for Team Telekom in 1999 and 2000.
The 31 year-old confessed this summer to not only having been a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, head of the blood doping ring uncovered in Operación Puerto, but also to having doped throughout his entire career. The Austrian cycling federation gave him a one-year suspension, which he is currently trying to have shortened to come back to racing in May instead of July 2008.
Jaksche said that he "would feel comfortable only with T-Mobile. That is because it has the new internal orientation of an anti-doping team, which is what I am seeking." He further stated that if he didn't have a contract by the end of the year, he would retire.
All 2007 World Champions to Sydney Track World Cup
Every individual 2007 World Champion will race the opening round of the 2007-2008 UCI Track World Cup Classics being staged at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome from November 30 to December 2. The UCI finalised the entry list this week and have confirmed 15 of the reigning 2007 track cycling World Champions will be in Sydney as the first step in their bids to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"It simply doesn't get any better than this," said UCI Vice President and Sydney resident, Ray Godkin OAM. "The Sydney World Cup will be the most competitive ever and I believe the field assembled in Sydney boasts some of the riders who will win Gold next year in Beijing."
395 cyclists representing 48 nations, the biggest field ever assembled for an international track competition, will contest 17 events during the three days of racing.
"The importance of the World Cup series for Olympic qualification has seen an unprecedented number of nations and riders enter for both the Sydney round and the Beijing round to be contested a week later," said Godkin. "That's fantastic for local sports fans who are going to be treated to an absolute feast of sporting excellence."
The reigning 2007 World Champions competing in Sydney are:
Katherine Bates (Aus - T-Mobile) womens points race
The reigning Olympic Champions competing in Sydney are:
Ryan Bayley (Aus - Team Toshiba) - keirin and sprint
Tickets for the opening round of the UCI World Cup Classics series are now on sale online at www.trackworldcup.com.au.
Rubiera to Astana
The migration from Team Discovery Channel to Team Astana continues, with Jose Luis 'Chechu' Rubiera being the latest to make the move. According to chechurubiero.info, the Spaniard has just signed a one-year deal with the Kazakh sponsored team. "I spoke to Johan [Bruyneel] yesterday, and signed the deal," he told the website. "I am very excited. I will start training again today. The training camp is in December, in Valencia."
At the new Astana team, the 34 year-old will join manager Johan Bruyneel and directeurs sportif Sean Yates and Viatcheslav Ekimov, as well as former Discovery team-mates Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Jani Brajkovic, Benjamin Noval, Sergio Paulinho and Tomas Vaitkus. Rubiera had been waiting a long time to get a contract for next season, fearing he would remain jobless.
French firm buys German race owner
The two German ProTour races, the Deutschland Tour and the Vattenfall Cyclassics, will soon be in French hands. Lagardère Sports announced this week that it has signed an agreement to purchase Upsolut, a German sports marketing company which owns the races. Lagardère is also a part-owner of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which holds the Tour de France.
Upsolut, based in Hamburg, employs 40 people and has a reported annual budget of around 10 million Euro. In addition to the two cycling races, it organises the Hamburg Cityman triathlon and markets two professional teams, the FC St. Pauli (soccer) and the Hamburg Freezers (ice hockey).
The French company also owns Sportfive, Europe's largest sports marketer, and this year also bought IEC, a Swedish sports marketing company. In a press release, Lagerdère Sports Chairman and CEO Olivier Guiguet said, "Upsolut entitles the introduction of a Lagardère Sports events division and will benefit from numerous synergies with Sportfive and IEC to expand its activity."
It has been speculated that the acquisition will allow the ASO to add the two German races to its stable and to develop its own series of races in competition with the UCI's ProTour.
The proposed acquisition was first mentioned at the end of October, was subsequently denied and has now been confirmed. It must yet be approved by the German Kartellamt, a cartel investigation institution, before it can take effect on January 1.
Gravity racing comes to Australia's iconic mountain
Australia's Mount Panorama motor racing circuit will host bikes for the first time next year as part of the Newton's Playground gravity racing and music festival, March 7-9 2008. The festival at the legendary Mt Panorama venue in Bathurst, New South Wales, will include mountain bike dual slalom, jumping, and a trials demo, plus an invitation-only road downhill event, along the lines of the Red Bull Road Rage, according to Craig Flynn, president of the Central Tablelands Mountain Bike Club which is organising the cycling events.
Riders testing the road course on regular cross-country mountain bikes had already exceeded 100km/h, according to Flynn. "Invited riders will be able to use any bikes they like," he said, which should see speeds break well into three figures on Mount Panorama's notoriously treacherous descent.
Newton's Playground will also host street luge, downhill skateboarding, gravity bikes, in-line speed skating and freestyle skateboard sliding events. That should attract an 'extreme sports' audience and, "open up mountain biking to a bunch of people who have never taken any notice".
There's also the chance of some rivalry between gravity disciplines. Events like the street luge and gravity bike racing (which uses low-slung bikes without pedals) will be part of a World Cup event under the International Gravity Sports Association (IGSA). "Some of those corners look pretty nasty and I'm told to expect 125km/hr+ down Conrod Straight on board the street luge," said Marcus Rietema, president of the IGSA. An informal contest to see who's fastest between bike riders and gravity racers could be on the cards.
One draw for mountain bikers who fancy taking part is that entries will be in effect reduced-price tickets to the whole event. Spectator entry costs AUD80 per day, but race entries will be AUD50/day or AUD80 for the weekend.
For more details visit www.newtonsplayground.com.au.
German amateur tested positive
Doping in cycling is not only limited to professionals riders. This fall, an amateur in Germany, Sven Bauer, tested positive for the drug Cathine, an appetite suppressant.
Bauer, of Team Singer, was controlled on October 14 after the "Grosser Preis der Sparkasse Rhein-Haardt" race. He declined to have the B-sample tested, thereby admitting his guilt. The Bund Deutscher Radfahrer, the German cycling federation, will open a disciplinary proceeding against him.
Bauer may have ended more than his own future in cycling. The team sponsor said that it would immediately withdraw all support from the squad, according to team manager Rolf Ehret.
2008 Beauie Worlds start Sunday
The Northern Sydney Cycling Club in Sydney, Australia, has announced the first round of its 2008 Beauie Worlds Criterium racing series to take place this upcoming Sunday. Every second Sunday until the end of April next year, the events staged on Beaumont Road, Mt Kuringai will see A,B,C and D category riders battle it out for the day's prize money and a chance to win one of the overall participation prizes drawn on April 13, 2008.
For more information, go to www.northernsydneycyclingclub.org.au.
Sydney considering rental bikes
Sydney, Australia, is the latest major city to consider a bike rental scheme along the lines of the successful programs already in place in Paris and Barcelona and being planned for Rome. The City of Sydney council is investigating bike rentals after a recent survey found that more than 80 per cent of people favour the introduction of a public bike hire scheme in the City, and one in three people say they would definitely use it.
"There’s been a lot of good feedback so there is the potential for it to work," City of Sydney spokesperson Leanne Lincoln said.
However, Sydney has one obvious impediment to a bike rental scheme that doesn't afflict the European cities where the scheme has been a success: mandatory helmet use. In Paris, casual users can pick up a bike from the Velib scheme and ride away. In Sydney, though, they'd have to have a helmet with them, and if you already have a helmet with you, presumably you already have a bike.
Whether that will be a stumbling block or not remains to be seen, says Lincoln. "There’s going to have to be some investigation, obviously, because of issues like that."
Nevertheless, Sydney council under Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP is making positive noises about cycling. "The City's Cycling Strategy is all about encouraging greater and safer use of bikes - to boost fitness but also to reduce car usage and subsequently pollution and congestion," she says.
"It makes sense that the City would seriously investigate whether a public hire scheme would work in Sydney," she added. "They are certainly booming in many other parts of the world."
Introduction of a bike rental scheme in Sydney might depend on the prior provision of better cycling facilities; 66 per cent of people who expressed an interest in cycling said improved cycling facilities would boost their use of the service, the survey found.
That might be a chicken and egg situation though. Do better facilities encourage cycling or do more people riding make provision of better facilities - including perhaps a rental scheme - compelling? Ms Lincoln says it’s not necessarily a conundrum. "We're willing to trial [ideas like a rental scheme] before taking them on, so it depends what the studies determine."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)