First Edition Cycling News for October 9, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen
Baden back to racing with Barloworld
Australia's Baden Cooke has signed with Professional Continental squad Team Barloworld for 2008, having spent much of the 2007 season on the sideline due to legal complications between his ProTour team's naming rights sponsor Unibet.com and European event organisers. Cooke inked a one year agreement with the British-registered, Italy-based, South African squad over the weekend.
"He's definitely a talented rider who has lots of experience but who can still achieve a lot," Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti said. "I'm convinced he can do well in the Spring Classics."
Despite the problems Cooke's squad experienced in 2007, which saw the team left out of the Tour de France while Barloworld was offered a wildcard entry into the Grand Tour, he managed three victories. The 28 year-old took stage victories at the Tour Down Under, Etoile de Bessèges and Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen.
"Team Barloworld has an excellent reputation for the way it's managed and organized," said Cooke. "I think I can begin a new part of my career in the red and white Barloworld jersey."
Before joining the Unibet.com squad when it was a Professional Continental outfit in 2006, Cooke had spent four season with French ProTour team Française des Jeux. It was this period of Cooke's professional career, which commenced in 2000, that the Monaco-based rider saw the most success. In addition to a swag of stage victories, Cooke claimed the Tour de France's Stage 2 in 2003 and continued his strong ride all the way to Paris where he claimed the Tour's points jersey.
In addition to signing Cooke, Barloworld also re-signed Portuguese rider Hugo Sabido. The 27 year-old rider impressed the squad with his mountains jersey at the Giro Del Capo in March and his strong results in both the Volta ao Alentejo and Santarem.
The pair's signing leaves just two or three more openings available in Barloworld's 2008 roster.
German Parliament to investigate Schumacher's blood values?
By Susan Westemeyer
The German Bundestag (Parliament) might be looking into Stefan Schumacher's diarrhoea - in a manner of speaking. Peter Danckert, the chairman of the Sport Committee, said that he "would introduce into the Parliament [and] debate the theme" of the results of Schumacher's two out-of-competition doping controls before the World Championships. The German rider, who finished third, showed "irregularities in various parameters" of the blood, which doctors determined was due to the diarrhoea from which he was suffering.
Danckert told Süddeutsche Zeitung that he challenged Schumacher to lay down all his blood values. "That way the case can be quickly explained," he added. "It is not acceptable that such cases be explained solely by experts working for the athlete."
Steegmans wants Paris Tours win
Gert Steegmans (Quick.Step-Innergetic) says he is ready for the upcoming Paris Tours ProTour race and is riding to win after claiming two stages, the points classification and overall victories at the 67th Circuit Franco-Belge in Belgium. "I will ride the remaining races this season to win," Steegmans told Sportwereld.be.
Steegmans has had a successful season this year, having already taken 10 wins, including stage two in the Tour de France. "You would be happy with less, hey!" he commented on his success. Steegmans first ever stage race victory in the Franco Belge came after a nail-biting final stage. Steegmans had to beat Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) in order to take overall honours, as the two were on equal time. He did so in the best possible fashion, by taking the stage victory ahead of the Manxman. "Once you have the leader's jersey on your shoulders, you don't want to give it up," he said.
Unlike his T-Mobile counterpart, Steegmans road season is not yet over and he is looking forward to Paris Tours. "I am looking forward to it, quietly but confidently," he noted. "I don't think anyone needs to question whether my form needs to get better."
Revolution gears up in Manchester and Melbourne
The Revolution track series has announced the addition of Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas to the star studded lineup at the Manchester Velodrome, on the same day that the Australian Revolution series was launched in Melbourne. With their neo-professional road seasons drawing to a close, Great Britain's Cavendish and Thomas are preparing to return to the track, with the duo confirmed as starters in this month's Revolution.
The pair will head straight into the track season with the Revolution at Manchester Velodrome on October 20, their first event in an important winter that will see the world's top track riders prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. "It's going to be good to get back to the track," said Thomas, who rode for Team Barloworld on the road in 2007. "After a long season on the road, I am looking forward to a change and after three weeks off racing I want to come back with a bang."
"It's always good to race in the UK and Revolution is great racing" he added. "It's going to be an important season and my main focus will be the Team Pursuit. Revolution will be a good workout before training in Australia and then on to the first big challenge in the Team Pursuit at the Beijing World Cup."
Cavendish is also set for an intense track season and will be using Revolution to help him prepare for the Gent Six. "I'll be riding with Bradley [Wiggins] in Gent so I'm going to get straight into the track season" said Cavendish, who has enjoyed a stellar road season with T-Mobile. "The Revolution is always a great night of racing and a good way to get the track speed in your legs. I'll definitely be looking to bring my sprint form into play on the track and take more wins over the winter."
Meanwhile the Australian Revolution series was launched yesterday at Melbourne's Darebin International Sports Centre Velodrome by local licensee of the concept CotterPin (see the full feature on the Revolution series Australian launch).
Australian Revolution event program 2007/2008:
Boonen's green up for grabs
Tom Boonen is putting his Tour de France points classification green jersey under the hammer for a good cause. The jersey, from this year's Tour, is being auctioned with proceeds going to the To Walk Again foundation, set-up by Marc Herremans to help support research into spinal cord injury. Herremans has organised an indoor cycling marathon in the Belgian city of Oostende on November 10, with all proceeds going towards the foundation which was established after Herremans fell in Lanzarote in 2002, leaving him in a wheelchair.
The auction for Boonen's jersey began on September 28, with a starting bid of 200 euro. Since then the bids have risen to the current price of 5,800 euro with more than a month remaining before the auction's closing date. After his win in the 2005 world championships held in Madrid, Boonen's national jersey fetched 6,000 euro in a similar auction, also for charity.
The auction for Boonen's green jersey will finish on November 8. Bids can be made here.
Bettini gets sky-high
Quick.Step-Innergetic's Paolo Bettini has been busy since retaining his UCI World Road Championship at last month's world championships in Stuttgart, Germany but last week he took some time out to take to the sky. While the dual world champion is a frequent flyer, it's not often the Italian has the opportunity to take to the controls himself.
Bettini took some time out of his busy schedule, full of celebration and racing, to hit the airways with an instructor. Of course, the Olympian's fresh-out-of-the-wrapper UCI rainbow jersey wasn't far away, the Italian bringing it along for the ride.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
T-Mobile women finish as number one
The T-Mobile women's team has ended the 2007 season on top - as number one in the UCI's teams ranking. The team is very satisfied with its 2007 season and is planning few changes for the coming season.
"We are extremely happy to have finished the season accomplishing our goal to be the number one ranked team on the UCI calendar," team manager Kristy Scrymgeour said. "It was a good year for us and it came together particularly well in the second part of the season.
"In fact we are so happy with the team that we are not making all that many changes for 2008. The team will stay almost the same with the addition of a few exciting new riders. I believe that we can improve on our performance and have a really great year."
The team used podium places in the Holland Ladies Tour, the Giro di Toscana and the World Cup race in Nürnberg, as well as several stage wins, to claim the final number one team spot.
T-Mobile finished with 1693.33 points, ahead of the Dutch Team DSB Bank (1496.32 points) and the Swiss team Raleigh Lifeforce (1479.32 points).
In the riders' individual standings, T-Mobile's highest-ranked rider is Germany's Judith Arndt (see her recent diary update about the World Road Championships), who is third with 617.83 points, behind Holland's Marianne Vos on 1285.86 points and Welsh rider Nicole Cooke, with 710 points. Meanwhile, one of the T-Mobile Australian contingent, Oenone Wood, is in seventh place with 497.5 points and just outside the top 10 is team-mate Ina Teutenberg, in 11th place with 431 points.
Liquigas, Quick.Step-Innergetic for Italian races
ProTour squads Liquigas and Quick.Step-Innergetic have announced the rosters they will send to a trio of races in Italy this week. The block of racing in Italy starts with Thursday's Coppa Sabatini and is followed by Saturday's Giro dellEmilia and Sunday's GP Beghelli.
Liquigas' Leonardo Bertagnolli, who won the Memorial Cimurri GP Bioera last Saturday, Vincenzo Nibali and Luca Paolini will be lined up in all the races while newly re-crowned World Champion Paolo Bettini will lead the Quick.Step-Innergetic men. Enrico Gasparotto will join Liquigas at the Coppa Sabatini while Carlos Barredo will line up with the Quick.Step-Innergetic guys at both Giro dellEmilia and GP Beghelli.
Liquigas: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Eros Capecchi, Dario Cataldo,
Enrico Gasparotto, Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini and
Liquigas: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Dario Cataldo, Danilo Di Luca,
Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini, Franco Pellizotti and
Liquigas: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Maciej Bodnar, Dario Cataldo,
Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini and Franco Pellizotti.
New Zealand joins Tassie Carnivals
By Paul Verkuylen
The Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals are one step closer to meeting its new UCI Category 3 criteria, with the confirmation that New Zealand will send its track squad to contest the event. The event's organisers, Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania, announced in September it had been awarded UCI status for three of the events that make up the annual track racing series, which means they now carry all important qualifying points for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Latrobe, Launceston and Devonport will each feature four events that carry UCI points; the Elite Men's sprint, Keirin and Team Sprint as well as the Elite Women's points race. In order for the event to be officially sanctioned, four national teams must be in attendance, a number which the organisers are confidant in achieving. "We already have Martin Barras' [Australian] sprint team and New Zealand are already coming with their team. America has expressed interest in making the trip and we have sent out invites to Malaysia, Canada, China as well as Japan," SCAT President Grant Atkins told Cyclingnews.
Race organisers are excited that their carnivals have received the UCI status, and are working hard to make sure that the carnivals are run at their usual high standards. "The Tassie Christmas carnivals have always been great, but this will make them that little bit more special," added Atkins.
The new UCI classified races won't be at the expense of the hugely popular wheel races, but rather will serve to add to the excitement that they generate. "It will mean there will be around 30 extra international riders attending the already packed field, which will make the racing even more exciting," noted Atkins.
Organisers are working busily to adjust the packed event schedule to accommodate the extra races, in an attempt to impress the UCI enough to be granted category 2 status in 2008.
For more information on the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, click here.
The Tasmanian Christmas carnival consists of:
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)