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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, January 18, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Rider Council asks for ADAMS amendments

Stéphane Augé is all for the improved whereabouts system, but wants greater flexibility
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

With the ProTour season ready to start in Australia at the Tour Down Under this January, the UCI's latest anti-doping tool, the biological passport, is also set to hopefully make 2008 one of the cleanest cycling years ever. One key element to the increased out-of-competition tests (7000 tests in 2008 as compared to 1000 last year) is the introduction of a reliable riders' whereabouts system, the ADAMS computer system (Anti-Doping Administration & Management System).

With ADAMS, ProTour but also Pro Continental riders will submit and update their schedules online, making known their whereabouts every three months. The data will then be available not only to the UCI, but also to WADA and the various national anti-doping agencies, resulting in a better coordination of the controls. While this represents a considerable progress, the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés, the Rider's association) has voiced its concerns over the feasibility of such a system, where every hour of every day must be determined three months in advance.

While being all for the improved anti-doping tool in principle, Stéphane Augé, member of the CPA council, explained to L'Equipe on Thursday that the new system still represented "a substantial intrusion into our private life. If, three months ago, I said 'today I'm going to be at home', and that I take a walk with my kids - wham! I may be in trouble. And if I had planned to go for a training ride one morning, and it rains, I can't decide to ride in the afternoon without notifying the UCI? It seems very difficult to me to state what I'm going to do every hour, every day."

While the UCI is currently working on the possibility of changing one's schedule with a text message sent from a mobile phone, riders have to available for testing every day from 7am to 9.30pm. Three unjustified missed controls within 18 months result in a disciplinary procedure. "A missed test can immediately have far-reaching consequences," Augé continued. "In my team (Cofidis), after the trauma we went through with Moreni last year [Cristian Moreni tested positive during the 2007 Tour de France, and the whole squad was sent home - ed.], if a guy misses a test he'd be under pressure for the whole season. On December 19, together with some other riders (CPA president Cédric Vasseur, David Millar, Benoit Joachim, Philippe Gilbert and Davide Rebellin), we met with UCI representatives and asked for the system to be more supple."

The riders proposed different ideas to make the system more acceptable for the peloton, yet without reducing its efficiency. "Some would like a time window of two hours every day for the controls," Augé explained. "For example, the riders would have to be available every day, without exception, from 8-10am. After that, they can do whatever they please. Being controlled at 8am or at 5pm doesn't change much. Another idea is to have two or three hours to reach the inspectors in the case of a test. That way, we wouldn't have to be exactly where we planned to be three months ago. And a doping drug doesn't disappear within three hours - at least, I don't think so."

The proposals made by the CPA are being studied by the UCI at the moment.

Australian Road Cycling aim for 2010 Tour

By Paul Verkuylen

An Australian based consortium, Australian Road Cycling, today announced their plans to develop a cycling programme that will hopefully see them field a team at the 2010 Tour de France. Founded by ex-professional beach volleyball player turned barrister, Benjamin Fitzmaurice and Dr Claudio Bozzi, the pair's aim is to develop a cycling programme that will see cycling grow at a grass roots level as well as provide a platform for an Australian-based professional team to compete at the highest level in Europe.

Still in its infancy, the project has the support of former professional cyclist and Giro d'Italia stage winner, David McKenzie, along with former professional team owner Susan Stewart, who has also worked on the Tour of Ireland.

"We are looking for Australian or international sponsors who have an interest in developing in the Australian/Asian market," Fitzmaurice explained. The group has yet to secure a main sponsor for the squad, which is planned to be up and running as early as the 2009 season.

"If we find a sponsor who is willing, we can start as a Continental or Pro Continental team in 2009. We have been talking to some talented riders who are currently riding in Europe, North America and Asia as well as some local riders," he added.

The squad aims to have riders competing on both the Australian scene as well as the European professional circuit. As a safe guard to protect potential sponsors and investors, Australian Road Cycling have set up an ethics committee, headed by Supreme Justice Gillard, to oversee the more delicate issues surrounding the conduct and performance of the athletes within the team.

Cipollini to come back with Rock Racing

Always up for some in-style glamour: Mario Cipollini at the 2005 Giro, where he had finished his career
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Mario Cipollini will return to the peloton this season after a three-year absence. The 40 year-old sprinter has reached an agreement with Rock Racing, managed by fashion label Rock & Republic owner Michael Ball, to become one of the squad's riders, but also a manager.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that "Super Mario" is currently in Santa Monica, California, for technical and administrative meetings. An agreement that he would join the team was reached Wednesday night after a five hour meeting with Ball, and the contract may be signed as early as Friday. The 2002 World champion may make his come-back next month in the Tour of California.

While the Italian has always been known for liking spectacular appearances, he may also have financial motives for the new job. Earlier this week the tax magistrate of the Province of Lucca announced that Cipollini must pay some 1.1 million Euro back in taxes, sanctions and interest.

South Australia celebrates to welcome ProTour

The Tour Down Under will be celebrated in South Australia
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

South Australia's Tour Down Under, which starts on Sunday with the Tour Down Under classic on Sunday night, is primed to become the focal point of the international cycling this week as it plays host to the first round of the prestigious 2008 ProTour. For the first time in its history, an event outside of Europe will play a role in deciding the overall winner of the ProTour series. Making it all the more special, the Tour Down Under - celebrating its tenth anniversary - will also be the first round of the year-long series.

Earlier this week, Premier Mike Rann joined with one of the State's greatest cycling legends, Stuart O'Grady, to call on South Australians to make this year's Tour Down Under a record breaker. "Never before in the ten-year history of the Tour Down Under have we broken the half-a-million spectator's mark. I'd love to see it happen this year," Premier Rann said.

"It would be the best possible tenth birthday present and a just reward for an event that has grown in stature every year to now become the first stop in world cycling."

The pair visited the revamped Adelaide City Council Tour Village with Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith to unveil the new village and preview the first-ever UCI ProTour race to be held outside Europe.

The village will be open to the public each day from January 22-26 between 4pm and 7pm. Fully air-conditioned, the village will act as a home base for the world's top cycling teams. It has nearly tripled in size this year and will include more exhibitors, interactive displays, Skoda car displays and merchandise sales.

"We are joining the world stage of cycling and this is our chance to show the world that our own Tour Down Under is up there with the best races in the world. I want us to give the Belgians, French, Germans and Italians a lesson in cycling and show that South Australia is an emerging force in the cycling world," Premier Rann added.

In an attempt to get the whole cycling community involved in the event, each year a series of three public cycling events have taken place. This year, the Skoda Breakaway Series has been enormously popular as it enjoyed its biggest turn out yet with over 4200 entrants. Along with the these cycling events, celebrations are scheduled to take place all over the State.

"South Australia will become party central, with events taking place everywhere from Adelaide city, Unley, Glenelg and Hahndorf to Victor Harbor, Willunga, Mannum, Strathalbyn and Angaston," Rann said.

O'Grady, a proud South Australian, has once again put his support behind the race. "This is the best cycling you'll see anywhere in the world and it's right here in our own backyard," he said. "If you've ever wondered what the Tour Down Under is all about, this is the year to find out. I would encourage South Australians to get behind this race and join in the fun."

As part of the celebrations, an official welcome parade has been scheduled for Tuesday January 22. Team cars, bikes and riders will take part in the parade which will make it's way down King William Street from 8am, with balloons, signifying the arrival of the ProTour being released at 9.20am.

Visit the official Tour Down Under website for more details on all the events taking place to coincide with the event.

Suspension "best thing" for Basso

Being suspended "was the best thing that could have happened to me," said Ivan Basso, whose career as a pro cyclist is currently on hold. "It gave me time to reflect and it has turned my life around." The Italian was given a two-year ban for his involvement in Operación Puerto.

"I feel ready for a come-back," he said in an interview with Italian website affaritaliani. "I feel like a better man." Basso has continued to train during his suspension, which runs through October of this year, and plans to not only race, but to win, the Tour de France at some point in the future. "That's my dream, but I don't want to think too far ahead. I prefer to take small steps."

Knee problems threaten Rosseler's spring season

Sebastien Rosseler continues to have problems with his right knee, which may put an end to his spring season this year, his Quickstep team has said. The 26-year old is not only an important part of sprinter Tom Boonen's "train", but was also expected to play an important role in the spring classics.

Because of recurring pain in his right knee, the team doctor has sent the Belgian to a specialist for further examinations. "He told me that he trained an hour and a half pain free," team manager Wilfried Peeters told sportwereld."But in the meantime he has lost six weeks of training. Nobody can find the cause of his problems. If this drags on for another fourteen days, then we can cross off the whole spring for him."

Baumann signs with Continental team

Eric Baumann has signed with the German Continental Team Sparkasse for the 2008 season. The sprinter was last with the ProTour T-Mobile Team. Sparkasse announced the signing at its team meeting in Dortmund this week.

The 27 year-old turned pro in 2003 with Team Wiesenhof. In 2007, he won a stage in the Sachsen Tour.

US Development team in training camp

USA Cycling announced today the 33 athletes named to the 2008 USA Cycling National Development Team - 23 of whom have gathered in Salt Lake City for the squad's annual training and testing camp at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) until Saturday, January 19.

Several women who are part of USA Cycling's Women's National Team program have joined the young men to participate in the medical, physiological and fitness tests and instructional seminars throughout the week.

USA Cycling National Development Team athletes that are participating in the camp at TOSH include: Brad Armstrong (Burleson, Texas), Chris Barton (Ojai, Calif.), Chad Beyer (Anthem, Ariz.), Benjamin Bradshaw (Winchester, Calif.), Matthew Brandt (Sheboygan, Wis.), Austin Carroll (Orange, Calif.), Guy East (Indianapolis, Ind.), Caleb Fairly (Amarillo, Texas), Nolan Froese (Colombia, Mo.), Cole House (Oneida, Wis.), Max Jenkins (Berkeley, Calif.), Carter Jones (Maplewood, N.J.), Joseph Kukolla (Indianapolis, Ind.), Julian Kyer (Lyons, Colo.), Christopher Monteleone (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Christian Parrett (Macon, Ga.), Eric Riggs (Antelope, Calif.), Bjorn Selander (Hudson, Wis.), Taylor Shelden (Breckenridge, Colo.), Kevin Soller (Breckenridge, Colo.), Scott Stewart (Oxford, Mich.), David Talbot (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and Tejay Van Garderen (Fort Collins, Colo.).

Women's National Team members Katharine Carroll (Sausalito, Calif.), Alison Powers (Boulder, Colo.), Christina Ruiter (Bend, Ore.) and Carmen McNellis (Durango, Colo.) are also participating in the camp.

Athletes named to the roster but absent from the training camp are Thomas Peterson (Boulder, Colo.), Kirk Carlsen (Sandown, N.H.), Daniel Holloway (Morgan Hill, Calif.), Peter Stetina (Boulder, Colo.), Andrew Cornelison (Carlisle, Iowa), Peter Salon (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Walker Savidge (Frisco, Colo.), Benjamin King (North Garden, Va.), Daniel Summerhill (Centennial, Colo.) and Grant Van Horn (Bakersfield, Colo.).

For the second consecutive year, sports medicine researcher Dr. Massimo Testa and five-time Olympic gold medalist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Heiden are overseeing the examinations and baseline medical evaluations which include EKG tests, blood tests, and analysis of anaerobic capacity and lactate levels. ´

"Max and Eric know so much and we continuously rely on their expertise to provide us with insight into the things we can't necessarily see and predict with these riders," explained Noel Dejonckheere, USA Cycling's National Development Team Director, who runs the Belgium-based American U23 program. "Ideally, the progress these young athletes make are what we are trying to measure with these scientific activities."

USA Cycling's National Development Team will kick off its 2008 race campaign with the M&M Engineering Tour of Belize from February 13-17, where Armstrong, Barton, Beyer, East, House, Riggs, Selander and Stewart will compete in the 2.2-ranked five-day stage race on the UCI America Tour.

Following the Tour of Belize, the same eight athletes - along with Fairly, Holloway, Cornelison and Salon - will head to its base in Izegem, Belgium, where they'll prepare for their European season-opener, the single-day Brussel-Opwijk. Afterwards, the team will head towards warmer temperatures for a two-week training camp at the villa in Lucca, Italy, which serves as the home base of USA Cycling's Women's National Team program.

After a successful 2007 Women's National Team campaign in Europe that saw several first-time winners on international soil, the opening of its Tuscany-based headquarters and many breakthrough performances, American women are also preparing for another season abroad.

"I didn't realize until I got here and experienced everything that is available to us in these few days - the EKG, the blood work, bike fitting - the magnitude of the opportunity that is being offered," said Carroll, a new addition to the program early last year before winning a stage of the Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche in September. "The whole experience has gotten me pumped up and ready to train and show that we deserve the opportunity to be here. An activity like this gives us the opportunity to collect and analyze the data behind our performance, to show how much I've improved and where I need to get better."

The Women's National Team will begin its season Down Under with the Geelong Tour in Australia from February 21-22, the first round of the 2008 UCI Women's Road World Cup series, also in Geelong, on February 24 and the Women's Tour of New Zealand, February 27-March 2.

Pacesetter returns for eighth season

The 2008 Pacesetter Steel Service Cycling Team will be returning on the road for its eighth season. The elite amateur cycling team based out of Atlanta, GA, USA, is sponsored by Pacesetter Steel Service, the US leader in coated steel distribution, and will also be participating in a philanthropic partnership with the newly formed US based professional squad, Team Type 1, in efforts to disseminate knowledge and improve the lives of others with Type 1 diabetes.

This season, Pacesetter Steel Service Cycling Team will continue their primary focus of road racing throughout the Southeastern US, as well as focusing on the Maxxis Georgia Cup and select events nationally, including races on the NRC schedule. The team will consist of eleven elite riders competing in the Pro1/2 category on the road; a significant boost from last year’s roster, as well as a developmental squad of riders competing in categories 3 and 4.

After taking numerous wins, state titles, such as the Elite Time Trial, and two of the top 5 spots (Tyler Grahovec and Reid Peacock finishing fourth and fifth, respectively) on the Maxxis Georgia Cup series rankings, Pacesetter Steel Service cycling has strengthened its roster.

For the full line-up, click here.

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