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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for October 28, 2007

Edited by Steve Medcroft

US men secure seven Beijing Olympics starts

Bobby Julich at the '04 Games
Photo ©:
Click for larger image

Following the completion of the 2007 UCI ProTour and the 2007 UCI Road World Championships in Germany last month, the United States will receive the maximum of five starts in the men's road race and two entries in the men's time trial at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Finishing the season-long ProTour calendar ranked ninth, the United Sates earned five starts in the road race and one in the time trial, while a top-15 finish in the elite men's time trial at the world championships in September, courtesy of Dave Zabriskie (Salt Lake City, Utah/Team CSC) who placed 12th, yielded a second start in the race against the clock. American women are also on pace to secure the maximum number of three road race starts and two time trial starts.

Although the size of the U.S. women's team won't officially be determined until May 31, 2008, the U.S. is currently ranked fourth in the world with 1,117 points behind Germany (2,082), The Netherlands (1,933) and Italy (1,871). A top-15 ranking is needed on May 31 to claim three road race and one time trial start.

Zabriskie at Worlds
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

The U.S. women have already met the criteria to receive a second time trial start – a top-ten finish at the world championships – after Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho/Team Lipton) captured a silver medal and Amber Neben (Irvine, California/Flexpoint) and Christine Thorburn (Sunnyvale, California/Webcor Builders) placed fourth and fifth respectively in Germany last month.

Of the seven starts, only Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, California/Discovery Channel) has satisfied the automatic nomination criteria to represent the United States in 2008 with a third-place overall finish in the 2007 Tour de France and Stage-19 time trial victory. On the women's side, Armstrong is the only athlete to meet the automatic nomination criteria with a top-three finish in the time trial at the 2007 UCI Road World Championships. On Jan. 1, 2007, a maximum of eight women will be named to the 2008 Olympic Road Long Team based on UCI rankings on December. 31, 2007 and USA Cycling principles of discretion.

Tour de Georgia confirms for 2008

Lance Armstrong at the 2004 Tour de Georgia
Photo ©: Bob Badalucco

Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced this week that the Tour de Georgia will continue for a sixth season, April 21-27, 2008 and will be reorganized under new leadership. Owned by the not-for-profit Georgia Partnership for Economic Development (GPED), the event will now be governed by a reconstituted Board of Directors with the Lt. Governor serving as Chairman. Medalist Sports will continue as the logistics and operations management company for the Tour, led by Chris Aronhalt and Jim Birrell. Elizabeth Dewberry, who has worked with Cagle for five years, will be named as Executive Director of the Tour de Georgia and will manage the marketing, business operations and strategic partnerships. The current GPED Board is taking action to ratify these changes.

"The Tour de Georgia is an internationally known sporting event. It is the largest cycling race in the U.S. occurring just before the Tour de France," said Cagle, who was elected as Lt. Governor in 2006. "The Tour represents an excellent opportunity to bring the world to our state – and that is what we intend to do. Through aggressive marketing and strategic partnerships, we will add this event to the ranks of historic Georgia sporting events like The Masters and the Peachtree Road Race. The cities we will select this year will exemplify all the special qualities and Southern hospitality that make Georgia the greatest state in America. The race and activities focused around it in every community will encourage others to visit our state again and again – having a strong impact on our state's tourism development and overall economy."

The Tour de Georgia has enjoyed great success since its inception in 2003. In 2007, the Tour expanded from six to seven days. The week-long event will maintain its traditional "Tour de France tune-up" slot on the UCI international cycling calendar and 2. HC (Hors Catégorie) status. It is also part of the USA Cycling Professional Tour.

"The Tour de Georgia has established itself as one of the premier events for professional cyclists and for cycling fans in North America," said Levi Leipheimer, current National Road Race Champion (USA Cycling Professional Championships) and 3rd Overall in the 2007 Tour de France. "Personally, I enjoy participating in the Tour de Georgia as it is perfectly placed in the world cycling calendar in terms of preparation for the Tour de France. The challenging courses, enthusiastic crowds and southern hospitality are the best of any North American race."

The early announcement of the race's return for 2008 is in contrast to the financial challenges faced in 2006 that were only resolved weeks before the race commenced. Recognizing that this event was indeed a strong driver for economic impact and tourism, the office of the Lt. Governor is taking initiative to support the Tour de Georgia as a valued sports property for the state. The reorganization will focus on increasing multi-year business partnerships with the event and creating year-round publicity.

The route for the sixth annual Tour de Georgia is expected to again cover over 650 miles of roadways through communities across Georgia. Lt. Governor Cagle, in partnership with Medalist Sports, will announce the official route and Host Venues on November 14.

Launceston Cycling Classic returns in December

Chairman of the Launceston (Tasmania) cycling classic steering committee Hugh McKenzie announced this week that the highly successful criterium style cycling classic would return to the streets of Launceston on the 23rd of December following a break a break of two years.

ProTour winner Cadel Evans is expected in Launceston
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Tour de France 2007 runner-up and 2007 ProTour champion Cadel Evans along with previous Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen and Paris-Roubaix champion Stuart O'Grady are amongst the field of up to 80 riders who have confirmed for the event. "This is a huge coup for the event and for the city," said McKenzie.

Gunns Mitre 10 will again be the naming rights sponsor for the event. Other corporate partners include Cascade Breweries, Mercure Hotels, the National Australia Bank, Southern Cross TV and The Examiner Newspaper, together with a number of local businesses. "It's great to see Launceston's business community, as well as the Launceston City Council and both State and Federal Government, combining to make this one of Australia's richest and most exciting cycling events," McKenzie said.

The Criterium will start at the Town Hall in St John Street. Riders will travel down to Williams Street where riders will turn right, passing Launceston's iconic Boag's Brewery before entering George Street, proceeding to York Street then turning back into St John Street for the down hill run to Town Hall.

Busy times for Sieberg

By Susan Westemeyer

Marcel Sieberg ended his season in the beginning of October with the Münsterland Giro, where he finished fourth, but he is hardly taking it easy in the off-season, finding time for contract negotiations, team meetings and surgery before he starts apartment hunting and preparing to move.

The tall (1,98 meters) German spent two weeks in Egypt on the Red Sea immediately after the conclusion of his season. Once he got back to Germany, he went directly into negotiations, first to end his contract with Team Milram a year early and then to sign with T-Mobile Team for two years. He met with his future team-mates at the first meeting for the team last week in Cologne, yet most of them could hardly be called strangers, as he has ridden on the same teams as Linus Gerdemann, Andre Greipel and Gerald Ciolek in the past.

Since then the 25 year old has undergone surgery to rectify a problem he has been suffering with since his childhood days. "Ever since my childhood I have had troubles with my nose. And my sinuses have also always given me problems," Sieberg said on, "now I hope not to have any more breathing problems in the future." Sieberg hopes to be able to begin his preparations for the 2008 season in around 10 days.

Once he is up and about again, he will look to leave his current home in Dortmund and move to the Cologne area, where he can train with Greipel and Ciolek, both of whom live in the area.

The move would also put him closer to the races he most loves. "I like the Belgian Classics," he noted. "I will ride the whole spring program and then a few smaller stage races."

Slipstream rider heads to VC La Pomme

Alex Howes at the Tour de Beauce earlier this year
Photo ©: Jerome Lessard
(Click for larger image)

Alex Howes (Team Slipstream) has signed with French amateur team VC La Pomme Marseille for 2008.

The 19 year-old was born in Golden, close to Boulder (Colorado). In his first season in the professional peloton he showed superb motivation, riding the six months of his season on the US criterium circuit. After a big crash last Summer, Howes ventured to Europe for a hard programme starting with the Tour du Limousin as well as the ProTour event, the GP Plouay.

Based in the South of France, Howes' new team says he'll take part to some biggest amateur races in Europe. After that, the team said, he can return to the professional ranks again "like 23 other VC La Pomme Marseille's riders have done since 2003."

"We look forward to working for the first time with a young US talent", Frédéric Rostaing, VC La Pomme Marseille's manager said.

UIV Track Talents Cup opens at 6-Days of Amsterdam

2006/2007 UIV Talents Cup winner Iljo Keisse (with Marco Villa)
Photo ©: Nick Rosenthal
Click for larger image

The 2007/2008 round of the UIV (Union Internationale des Velodromes) Under 25 Talents Cup began this weekend with at the 6-Days of Amsterdam. Back for a fifth year, the UIV Talents Cup is an independently-sponsored points competition that runs parallel to the 6-days track season.

The UIV Talents Cup was introduced in 2003/2004 and won by the Belgium team Iljo Keisse – Dmitri De Fauw. The main goal of the Cup is to foster youth talent for 6-Days.

Full regulations and information is available the promoter's website at

UIV Cup-Winners

2003/2004: Iljo Keisse - Dmitri De Fauw (Bel)
2004/2005: Michael Mørkøv - Marc Hester (Den)
2005/2006: Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) - indiv. classification
2006/2007: Ingmar de Poortere - Tim Mertens (Bel)

Legs of the UIV Cup 2007/2008

Amsterdam 25/10 - 27/10, 3 days
Dortmund 02/11 - 04/11, 3 days
München 08/11 - 10/11, 3 days
Gent 20/11 - 25/11, 6 days
Maastricht 20/12 - 22/12, 3 days
Zürich 28/12 - 30/12, 3 days
Rotterdam 04/01 - 08/01, 5 days
Stuttgart 18/01 - 20/01, 3 days
Berlin 24/01 - 27/01, 4 days
Copenhagen 31/01 - 05/02, 6 days

Cooke faces challenging off season

Not long after hearing that he would have to find another employer for the 2008 season as his professional cycling team, Navigators, would not be continuing next year, Matt Cooke now faces yet another problem after his apartment was totally guttered by fire on October 26.

2007 was Cooke's rookie year in the professional peloton. The 28 year-old from Boulder, Colorado, spent time racing in Europe over the cobbles in Northern Europe, but his best results were achieved in his native America when he finished third in the San Dimas stage race.

A fire started in the 36-unit condominium shortly before dawn on Friday, and quickly tore through the entire building, leaving Cooke with nothing.

Cooke told the daily camera that he was in bed and nearly asleep when he smelled smoke this morning.

"I thought it was maybe lightning or fireworks, and then I said, 'Let's think about that,'" Cooke recalled. But he quickly decided otherwise, thinking to himself "I'm getting out of here."

Cooke initially thought that it was nothing more than a college students prank, only grabbing his his wallet and shoes as he left. He soon realised that it wasn't, when he was forced to feel his way along the wall to escape the blaze not being able to see his hands in front of his face.

The tragedy leaves the lightweight climber not only searching for a new employer, but also looking for a new place to live as well as the daunting task of replacing all of his belongings.

It is not yet known if there were any casualties in the blaze as due to the age of the building, it is unsafe for fire fighters to search through the rubble.

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