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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 14, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Paris-Tours finish under threat from urban development

Guesdon takes the 2006 edition on l'Avenue de Grammont
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Paris-Tours race may be celebrating its 101st edition on Sunday, but the finish of the 256 kilometre race might have to leave the traditional Avenue de Grammont in the next two years, as urban development encroaches on the final 50 kilometres of the course. As development spreads on the outskirts of Tours, the proliferation of 'traffic furniture' - directional islands, speed bumps and other traffic calming devices - have made the race increasingly dangerous for the riders if the peloton were to hit the narrow roads intact.

"We are worried," admitted Jean-François Pescheux, manager of the event for the ASO, to AFP. Pescheux compared the situation to that of Paris-Roubaix and the Forest of Arenberg which, before it was restored, was left out of the race due to the high risk of serious accidents. "Fortunately, a good part of riders are dropped in the last ten kilometres," Pescheux said. "Last year, the race had played out well before Tours. Otherwise, when a peloton of 150 riders reaches 60 km/h in the finale, there is good reason to be cautious."

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Another threat to the race is a proposed tram to be built on the famed Avenue de Grammont, the finishing straight of the historic race. A one-day event is unlikely to make a big impression when fighting against a tram that is touted to fight pollution and traffic congestion, but the organisers have pledged to work with the city to ensure the future of the Paris-Tours. The ASO is already considering an alternate finish on an adjacent road, the boulevard Heurteloup.

The possibility of an approach along the banks of the Loire river rather than the current route which contains many of the small hills that make the final kilometres challenging, frustrates Pescheux. "Giving up these climbs would be like removing the Poggio from the finale of Milan-Sanremo," said the organizer.

Herety upbeat about new UK 'super team'

By Gerry McManus in London

John Herety
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

John Herety is looking forward to next year as manager of the British 'super team' The merger of two of Britain's two top teams Rapha-Condor and came as a surprise to many but the current manager was at the London Cycle show explaining that the new team has great ambitions.

"I am very pleased with the merger," said Herety. "We will be a new Continental team for next season. We will have a bigger budget and bigger ambitions. We have always been about being a platform for young riders to give them an opportunity to race abroad in types of races that will allow them to develop. There is some scope for some older riders as well and the idea is that they pass on their experience to the younger riders. Rapha Condor has been quite a revelation on the UK domestic scene this year and they wanted to tap into our experience on the continental side of things. There is complete synergy in our philosophies."

Chris Newton is one of only two riders confirmed for next year alongside Kristian House. House is returning from the US after Navigators Insurance ended their long running sponsorship of the New Jersey based team. Newton will be looking to win Olympic gold in Beijing in the team pursuit to add to the silver he won in Athens and the bronze from Sydney. The 34-year-old from Stockton on Tees is also a double world champion in the team pursuit in Los Angeles in 2005 and points in Copenhagen 2002.

There is no word on which Rapha Condor riders will remain with the team in 2008. The team included Dean Downing who was the third best ranked rider in the British Cycling tables for 2007.

The new team will be registered on the road for next year but Herety doesn't rule out moving onto the track. "We will look at registering as a track team next August," continued Herety. "I guess it probably depends on what happens at the Olympics with Chris Newton and so forth. We have always supported Chris with a racing programme tailor-made to help him achieve his track ambitions.

Millar, Pineau and Voeckler to attend doping summit

Scotsman David Millar will have a chance to give his input on how to fight doping in cycling when he attends the Paris antidoping summit on October 22-23. The Saunier Duval rider has been outspoken about doping in the peloton since admitting to having used EPO in 2005 and serving a suspension. Millar will be joined by French riders Jerome Pineau and Thomas Voeckler for the 'International meeting against doping in cycling', which was called by the French Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports.

The meeting was the idea of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who suggested the gathering after doping scandals erupted at the Tour de France.

Boonen becomes comic book hero

Tom Boonen's popularity in his home country has been great since even before he won the World Championships in 2005, and now he will be a hero in a comic book as well as on his bike. Boonen will 'star' in the new book called "The Autovirus", which is scheduled to be released on Monday, according to Belga.

The story tells the adventures of the 10 year-old "Tommeke" and his brother Sven, and the proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit a charity for disabled children called "Move to Improve".

Boonen joins legend Eddy Merckx in the list of cyclists who have been immortalised in cartoons.

Join Slipstream team launch

Slipstream Sports' Jonathan Vaughters, Doug Ellis and Beth Seliga
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

Team Slipstream is opening its team launch at the Boulder Theatre in Boulder, Colorado to the public in order to raise funds for the Davis Phinney Foundation. Fans can purchase a limited number of special 'VIP' tickets for $500 (US) to the November 14 event, which entitles ticket holders to an exclusive happy hour with hors d'ouevres and wine prior to opening the doors with the 2008 team, Front row table seating for the evening, VIP access to the 2008 fan-club, including exclusive web-content and discounts from selected 2008 sponsors, including Pearl Izumi.

The night will provide fans with a rare opportunity to spend an evening with the Slipstream/Chipotle Professional Cycling Team and staff, and view a screening of the pilot for the team's reality TV show, which will potentially air this year, as well as a short film highlighting the history of Slipstream's rise to the top of American cycling, and another film showcasing the tumultuous career of Slipstream's new recruit, David Millar.

The main attraction of the evening will, of course, be the introduction of the 2008 team, which will also include a question and answer session with the riders. The event will culminate with a live auction, which will include special contributions from David Millar, David Zabriskie, and the Davis Phinney Foundation, an organization designed to accelerate Parkinson's research through collaborative funding, and to explore the positive effects of exercise on Parkinson's patients. All proceeds will benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation.

VIP Tickets are available now at, while General Admission tickets will be available on October 24. Supplies are limited, so fans are encouraged to purchase as soon as possible.

Slipstream for 'credible cycling'

Team Slipstream has joined the "Movement for a Credible Cycling " (MPCC), the antidoping group created by the French and German teams during the Tour de France by the French and German formations, according to AFP. The team, which is led by former Credit Agricole rider Jonathan Vaughters, joins Ag2r, Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Credit Agricole, Francaise des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, T-Mobile, which were the original founding members, and the Dutch Rabobank team, which joined last month.

Hoy's dad backs Edinburgh velodrome

The father of Olympic gold-medallist Chris Hoy, David Hoy, is hoping to convince the city of Edinburgh to replace the Meadowbank velodrome where his champion son learned to ride with a training facility, the Scotsman reported on Friday. The renovation of the sporting complex has been the subject of great debate, and the estimated price tag of the new velodrome has been tagged at £11 million - about twice what Hoy thinks it should cost.

With Glasgow set to build a velodrome suitable for international competition as part of its Commonwealth Games bid, Hoy said that Edinburgh need only build a minimal 200m track without all the expensive accoutrements of a larger facility.

"Scottish Cycling has commissioned a report by outside consultants in light of the fact that the competition velodrome is now going to be based in Glasgow," Hoy said. "That will be the centre of excellence for cycling in this country. We want to have a structure in place to feed potential world class cyclists into that centre of excellence."

Hoy fears that the high price tag quoted in the proposal would prevent the facility from being approved in Edinburgh. "Nobody from the council has spoken to us [about this] in over two years. I'm not sure where the figure of £11m came from but it is either too high or too low, depending on the type of facility that would be needed,"Hoy insisted. "It looks to me as if it has been plucked out of the air.

"If they are talking about building a new facility, it would cost about half of the £11m that has been quoted and we can prove that."

According to the report, a spokesman for the council said that the estimate was not final, and they would work with Scottish Cycling in replacing the facility. "Gleebs' independent report was ordered to determine the costs of refurbishing the existing competition facility on a like for like basis, not to determine options for a training velodrome.

"The council's sports manager met with [Scottish Cycling's] chief executive two weeks ago to discuss their national facilities strategy. We look forward to the publication which will discuss Edinburgh's future requirements for cycling."

Old rivalries die hard at Revolution

Staff battles Blatchford in 2006
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image) Jamie Staff (UK) leads out the sprint in the 1/8 final that would result in him on the deck and disqualified, and his opponent Michael Blatchford (USA) moving on to the next round

The Revolution series continues at the Manchester Velodrome on October 20th, where the sprinters are set to battle for glory on the boards that will host the World Championships next year. The normally friendly competition could fuel serious rivalry when British sprinter Jamie Staff meets US Sprint champion Michael Blatchford.

The two riders clashed at the LA world cup in 2006 where Staff was disqualified following an altercation where he threw his helmet at the American. The riders haven't seen each other since and with plenty of tension between the two the scene is set for an epic GB verses USA head to head.

New British Kilo champion Jamie Staff didn't mince his words at the prospect of meeting the American again, "I haven't really seen or spoken to him since the incident" he commented. "The track is a dangerous place, and I don't take kindly to people risking my health in or out of competition! I'm over it now and hopefully at Revolution I'll win, if I have an ounce of speed I should beat him."

Blatchford was more reserved in his judgment of the situation and is looking to redeem himself in the eyes of the more experienced Brit. "In the heat of competition a lot can happen" he said. "With regard to the LA World Cup, the officials ruled on any deemed infractions by which both parties abided by. The truth is, ever since I met Jamie in Encino, California I have held him in high respect and always strived to achieve the level of ability and success he has had. Whilst I cannot speak for Jamie, what is past is past and I look forward to a rematch."

Rivalries aside Blatchford is also looking forward to the experience of racing Revolution and understands the challenge the event will pose, "The Revolution series has always come across as one of the premier events in track cycling. Home town advantage is always hard for foreigners to overcome, and with the level of British Cycling at its finest I am hoping to hold my own."

Staff and Blatchford will resolve their differences in a Match sprint and Keirin event and with 2004 Keirin World Champion Jose Antonio Escuredo and team-mate Itmar Esteban in the line up their will be plenty of competition to enhance the action. British stars Craig MacLean, Jason Queally and Jason Kenny will be joined by Junior World Champions Dave Daniell, Christian Lyte and Pete Mitchell to complete the line up.

Tickets for Revolution on October 20th are on sale at or by calling 07005 942 579 or 0161 223 2244.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)