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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, January 8, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson

Menchov for Giro and TdF in '08

By Susan Westemeyer

Denis Menchov will take on the world's biggest
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

Rabobank's Denis Menchov will not defend his title in the Vuelta a España but will turn his sights to the Tour de France. He will prepare for it by riding the Giro d'Italia, team leader Erik Breukink announced Monday at Team Rabobank's team presentation in Rotterdam.

"The programme he will ride this year is for the most part his own wish," announced Breukink. "Denis is good for a very long time after a major tour, [and] can even improve [more], that is why."

The Russian will also contest Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the first time with the Rabobank squad. "I want to try something new in preparation to the Tour de France," explained Menchov. "That is still the most important course."

The team has six newcomers for the 2008 season. Tom Leezer and Bauke Mollema come from the Rabobank Development Team. Laurens Ten Dam rode for last year, Bram Tankink from Quick Step, and Paul Martens from Skil-Shimano. Michiel Elijzen returns to the Dutch team after two years with Cofidis.

The Rabobank team of 2008
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

Michael Boogerd may have retired from racing but he will remain associated with Rabobank – both the team and the bank. He will do promotion for the bank, while his tasks with the cycling operation is still being determined.

"Michael will stay involved with the team," said acting team manager Henri van der Aart. "We do not know in what way yet. He will first go through a training programme and then we will look for a function that best suits his qualities. We want to treat Michael with care."

For more information on Rabobank or any other ProTour team's roster, see our 2008 team database.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by DCP/Bert Geerts

Team Rabobank's 2008 roster: Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col), Jan Boven (Ned), Graeme Brown (Aus), Bram De Groot (Ned), Marc De Maar (Ned), Thomas Dekker (Ned), Michiel Elijzen (Ned), Theo Eltink (Ned), Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa), Rick Flens (Ned), Oscar Freire (Spa), Robert Gesink (Ned), Mathew Hayman (Aus), Pedro Horrillo (Spa), Dmitry Kozontchouk (Rus), Sebastian Langeveld (Ned), Tom Leezer (Ned), Gerben Löwik (Ned), Paul Martens (Ger), Denis Menchov (Rus), Koos Moerenhout (Ned), Bauke Mollema (Ned), Grischa Niermann (Ger), Joost Posthuma (Ned), Kai Reus (Ned), Bram Tankink (Ned), Laurens Ten Dam (Ned), William Walker (Aus) and Pieter Weening (Ned).

Spanish Federation won't re-open Mayo case

Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) attacked
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) has officially rejected a request from the International Cycling Union (UCI) to re-open the Iban Mayo case, after the sport's world governing received a second opinion on the B sample taken from Mayo in the 2007 Tour de France. Mayo's A sample tested positive for EPO (Erythropoietin) shortly after the Tour last year, however results of his B sample, tested in the first instance by Belgium's national anti-doping lab in Gent last October returned an inconclusive result, clearing the rider of any wrong doing.

However the UCI, not convinced by the Gent lab's findings, sought a second opinion on the sample. It had the French Châtenay-Malabry lab, whose practices came under scrutiny after Floyd Landis' positive sample from the 2006 Tour, test the sample which returned a positive reading in mid-December.

RFEC, however, has stated that the second testing is illegal, describing it as being "in contrast to the principles of justice", and that re-opening the case would be double jeopardy.

"We wrote to the UCI on December 28 to inform them that the competition committee could not reopen [the Iban Mayo file]," explained Eugenio Bermudez, general secretary of the RFEC. "No one can be tried twice for the same facts ".

The UCI has appealed the matter with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) where the matter is expected to be resolved in Lausanne, Switzerland

"We supported Mayo and we will continue to do," added Bermudez.

Elmiger to defend Tour Down Under crown

2007 Tour Down Under winner Martin Elmiger (Ag2r Prévoyance)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Swiss rider Martin Elmiger will defending his Tour Down Under crown this month, after being named in AG2r - La Mondiale's roster for the Australian race. The 29 year-old rider claimed a narrow victory over Australia's Karl Menzies at last year's event, however the AG2r team will face increased competition at this year's race, after the South Australian event was named as the ProTour's first non-European round.

The defending champion's team will also bring Tour de France stage winner Sylvain Calzati, French youngster Stéphane Poulhiès and Ukrainian climber Yuriy Krivtsov to the stage race, which starts unofficially on January 20 with a pre-race criterium.

Meanwhile, local broadcaster SBS has announced it will air daily highlights packages from the race. The free-to-air network will screen a half hour package at 6:00 PM from January 22 - 27.

AG2r - La Mondiale for TDU: Sylvain Calzati, Renaud Dion, Martin Elmiger, Yuriy Krivtsov, Laurent Mangel, Lloyd Mondory and Stéphane Poulhiès.

Powering towards the Worlds

A satisfied Jeremy Powers
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Gradually building his 'cross credentials on the European circuit, American Jeremy Powers is glowing with confidence as the 2008 World Championships approach. As he cleaned up after round five of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, Powers told Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown about the season so far and his expectations for Treviso.

"The whole season so far has been awesome," Powers says with enthusiasm as he and Tim Johnson clean up in their kitted-out van following the day's race in Loenhout, Belgium. He had just finished 23rd in one of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy races, and was pleased with the day.

One year ago the Massachusetts native raced in Europe in Jelly Belly colours, the same team he races with for the road season, but has since found his new setup with Team Cyclocrossworld to be better suited to his needs. "Last year when I talked to Brecht [Decaluwé of Cyclingnews], it was about getting a better team and getting back over here with good support. Jeff Proctor's [Euro 'cross] camp is good, but there was not a whole lot of support from Jelly Belly for cyclo-cross [he is still with the team for the upcoming 2008 road season - ed.]. The whole goal was to get myself on a better team which had better support."

Powers' season got off to the right start with three big wins at Louisville, Gloucester and Wissahickon on the US domestic circuit – all good moral boosters for making the transatlantic flight. "I was confident in coming over her, this year has been much better," he says in a relaxed tone.

"I was mentioning to Tim that last year, before the start of a big race I was gluing my own tubulars until two in the morning. I rode with an iPod in that race because I knew I was going to be crushed; my arms were slush because I had been pushing on tubulars all night. Now we have Stu Thorne gluing on 30 sets of tires – I don't have to do anything. On top of not worrying about the money and having enough bikes and support... there is no reason not to perform; if you have all of this and you don't perform then there is something wrong."

To read the full feature with Jeremy Powers, click here.

Webcor announce roster

Christine Thorburn (Webcor)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

American women's outfit Webcor Builders Cycling Team has announced its 2008 roster, which is led by top returning riders Christine Thorburn and Katheryn Curi Mattis. The squad will be the only UCI-registered women's team in North America this year.

Thorburn, a 2004 Olympian and 2006 Worlds Bronze Medalist, will take a leave of absence from her medical practice to focus on earning a medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing this August.

Curi Mattis enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2007 with overall podium appearances at the Redlands Classic and the Tour Cycliste Feminin International Ardeche.

"With our great success in North America in 2007, I am very excited to take our 2008 team to compete internationally against the best in the world," Team Manager Karen Brems said.

Thorburn and Curi Mattis are joined on the roster by a trio of top Canadians – 2006 double National Champion Alex Wrubleski, 2007 National Road Champion Gina Grain, and 2005 National Silver Medalist Erinne Willock, a Webcor rider in 2005 and 2006.

Brems, the 1994 World Champion and 2000 Olympian, expressed optimism about the team's Olympic prospects. "With our level of talent, Webcor Builders could send up to five riders to Beijing," she said.

Also racing for Webcor will be three promising new talents – Rebecca Much, 2004 Jr. Worlds Silver Medalist; Amy Dombroski, 2006 and 2007 U23 National Cyclo-cross Champion; and Janel Holcomb, who captured third place in the 2007 Bermuda Grand Prix time trial as a guest rider for Webcor.

The team's plans for international competition this year include the Geelong World Cup in Australia, the Women's Tour of New Zealand, and three top European races – the Tour de Berne, Giro di San Marino, and the Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Feminin. The outfit will also contest the Montreal World Cup, as well as top NRC road and stage races.

Webcor Builders' 2008 roster: Christine Thorburn, Katheryn Curi Mattis, Alex Wrubleski, Gina Grain, Erinne Willock, Rebecca Much, Amy Dombroski, Janel Holcomb, Laura McKenzie and Beverley Harper.

Bikes continue to outsell cars in Australia

Australian lobby groups are calling for more government funding for cycling infrastructure, after the release of new figures showing the industry sold more bikes than the car industry did vehicles for the eighth consecutive year in 2007. The nation sold a record 1.47 million bicycles in 2007, compared to 1.04 million cars, while the government is believed to spend $7.5 billion on road related expenditure compared to the $100 million spent on cycling infrastructure.

"Soaring petrol prices, concern over climate change, crippling traffic congestion and the desire to lead healthier lifestyles all contributed to the record breaking year" said Elliot Fishman, policy advisor at the Cycling Promotion Fund. "Not only are Australians buying more bicycles, they are using them in increasing numbers. Cycling has become the fourth most popular physical activity with more than 1.6 million Australian adults cycling in 2006, an increase of 17 percent from 2001.

"Recently released Census figures show that many Australians have rediscovered the bicycle as a great way to commute, with cycling trips to work growing at an average 22 percent across Australian capital cities; with Melbourne soaring 42 percent between 2001 and 2006," added Fishman.

The Cycling Promotion Fund, together with other national cycling organisations and over 60 councils across the country, have called on the Federal Government to adopt its Healthy and Active Transport (HEAT) proposal on the back of the figures. The HEAT programme involves a Commonwealth contribution of $50 million per annum direct to local government for walking and cycling infrastructure projects.

"Australians want to become more active and are looking for practical ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," Rosemarie Speidel, the programme director of the Cycling Promotion Fund said. "Cycling offers an accessible and popular way for people to not only look after their body but also the planet and it is terrific to see so many Australians taking up cycling".

"The challenge is now for all level of Governments to significantly increase funding to improve bicycle infrastructure to make it easier for Australians to make healthy and sustainable choices" concluded Fishman.

TIBCO goes green

Team TIBCO Women's Cycling Team has joined the effort to curb climate change, launching a four-part environmental initiative to reduce the team's ecological footprint. The Team TIBCO Blue Planet Campaign targets four areas for action: reducing the team's carbon emissions by more than 80 percent in 2008; supporting community emissions reductions in California's greater Bay Area where the team is based; increasing health and environmental awareness; and reducing equipment waste through recycling and reuse.

Part of Team TIBCO's mission is to make a positive impact on community health, and its approach recognizes the close relationship between health of the community and health of local ecosystems.

"We want to see people benefit from good health, by being active and getting outside to enjoy local environments," said TIBCO rider Amber Rais. "We can all make positive changes in our communities, and those steps translate to broader benefits in terms of global climate. It's all connected and of vital importance."

In addition to actively reducing emissions in team operations, the team will offset carbon emissions from travel throughout the season. "Reducing emissions is a priority as we're planning team travel, but there is only so much we can realistically cut back," said Assistant Director Liza Rachetto. "From there, we'll purchase carbon credits in an effort to minimize our impact during the season."

To reduce climate impact, TIBCO racers and staff will donate prize money to offset the team's CO2 emissions during the season.

Cyclingnews reader poll - Best mountain biker racers

The figures are in and the bean counters have done there thing, which means we can now take the covers off who you, the supporters of, voted as 2007's best male mountain biker and female mountain biker.

The victors in each of this year's categories both won with a commanding margin, but we won't spoil it for you here; for results from this year's polls click here.

Thank you to all who voted, and look for the winner of the Zipp carbon fibre goodies: the 570g VumaQuad crankset, the SLC2 handlebars and Zipp's 145 stem, to be announced at the week's end.

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