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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, January 21, 2008

Edited by Sue George with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Mixed day for American cyclo-crossers at World Cup

By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide

Jonathan Page (Sunweb Pro Job) racing 'cross in Spain
Photo ©: Oskar Matxin
(Click for larger image)

At the World Cup in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands, Sunday, Jonathan Page, the runner-up at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships last year, was pleased to see his form heading in the right direction after a tough start to his 2007-2008 cyclo-cross season.

"This is a hard race, where strong guys do well. It was a good race for me today and I'm happy," Page said to Cyclingnews. The American was battling for seventh place and eventually sprinted to eighth place after a demanding race. "In our group switching bikes was the deciding factor in the ultimate laps. Kevin Pauwels didn't switch bikes in the last lap; he played it well," Page reflected after the race.

Meanwhile, fellow American Jeremy Powers kept his head up in Hoogerheide which wasn't easy after riding backwards in the mud of Zonnebeke on Saturday. "Having a good race in the mud is a great accomplishment for me. I can do well on every other type of course, but since I'm going 100% for cyclo-cross I need to be good on this type as well," Powers said to Cyclingnews while riding his rollers after the race.

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Powers' travelling buddy Tim Johnson gave him some advice which worked out well. The US National champion didn't have a great day in Hoogerheide himself though, as he was bothered with a cold.

"I hate to be the guy who pulls out of a race, but I didn't have anything in my legs. I pulled out to save whatever I have for next week," Johnson said to Cyclingnews after he abandoned Sunday's race. "It's too bad that I missed out on the opportunity to race on a course like this one," Johnson said the day's course suited him very well, as he captured his US national title on a similar swampy course in Kansas.

Ryan Trebon, who will also be participating in the World Championship next weekend, didn't start in Hoogerheide. The 2007 US National Champion had said earlier that he hasn't been racing that well since his spectacular crash at the American nationals. Trebon, who has been suffering from a back injury, was likely saving what form he does have for next week's showdown in Treviso, Italy.

See full coverage of the elite men's or elite women's World Cup race in Hoogerheide.

Meares watches as her world record is threatened

By Laura Weislo in Los Angeles, California

Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Australian Anna Meares was at the Home Depot Center velodrome in Los Angeles on Saturday for the women's 500m time trial. Instead of being on the bike, however, the Olympic gold medallist and World Champion in the event was sitting on the sidelines watching as Cuban Lisandra Guerra Rodriquez came within a half second of her world record on her way to gold. On a relatively slow track like the one in California, the time of 33.955 was quite remarkable.

"I think I was more nervous watching than racing!" Meares exclaimed. Meares set the record in Mallorca last year, pounding out an astounding 33.588, but is skipping the event this year to focus on the sprint. She only raced the time trial in Sydney in order to wear her rainbow jersey in front of her home crowd. Since the 500m time trial is no longer an Olympic event, if the gold medal winner from Athens wants to add to her trophy case in Beijing, it will have to be in the match sprint.

"I've had to put all my focus into becoming a match sprinter, which has been really hard," Meares explained. The 24 year-old had the unfortunate luck to be paired against World Cup leader Natalia Tsylinskaya in the 1/8 final in Los Angeles, and then was eliminated in the B quarterfinal by German Dana Glöss.

The road to becoming a sprinter hasn't been all bad, as Meares took silver to Dutch woman Willy Kanis in Sydney, and then fourth in Beijing after being sent to the bronze medal final by World Champion Victoria Pendleton in Beijing. But Meares is still angry that her signature event, the 500, has been removed from the Olympic Games to make room for BMX events.

"It was the only event that truly selected the best rider on the day," Meares said. She is still undecided as to whether she will race the 500 at the World Championships in Manchester.

Clearly watching Guerra come close to her record was a bit difficult for the Queenslander, but she was philosophical in light of her decision. "Records were made to be broken, and I've broken a few," she said. Upon hearing that Guerra named her as the inspiration to take up track racing, Meares was flattered. "That's nice; you don't always hear something like that from a competitor."

Read full coverage of the UCI Track World Cup in Los Angeles.

Compton faces doubts over World Championships

By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide

Katie Compton (USA) racing to second at the 2007 World Championships
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)

Last year Katie Compton captured a silver medal at the UCI's Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium, and this year she is again a favourite for the podium in Treviso. The American rider was present in Hoogerheide on Sunday for the final World Cup race of the season, but she didn't start the race.

"This is a rest day," she said trying to look positively at a recent setback she has been suffering. "I hoped I could be optimistic, but now I'm realistic. I have some muscle disorder. I don't exactly know what it is."

Wishing she could be out there racing, too, Compton said, sighing, "It's hard to watch a race, it's more fun to actually ride it." To be sidelined only one week before the world championships is poor timing and Compton realizes she will not be 100% in Italy.

"Normally I would be out for three weeks, and now I'm trying to get ready in one week," Compton said she's doing all she can to pull off a decent performance in Treviso. "And if I'm not going to be ready, then you'll find us along the course with a bottle of wine," said Compton, who was determined to have fun in Italy, no matter what her form is like on race day.

McEwen to tell how to win sprints

Robbie McEwen will not be sleeping in on the one rest day separating the Tour Down Under Classic from the start of the official Tour Down Under. Instead, on Monday morning at 9:00 am he will team up with announcer Phil Liggett and the Australian Institute for Sport (AIS) cycling support staff when he presents at the AIS High Performance Cycling Sport Science Conference.

After Liggett opens the conference, McEwen will deliver a presentation entitled "Winning Sprints in the Tour de France: Combining Power and Tactics." AIS experts will also give talks outlining their perspective on topics including carbon fibre bikes, bike position, power output demands of competition, preventing overuse injuries, hydration for tours, racing in the heat and monitoring training with power meters.

The conference is open to the public and support staff of the ProTour Teams participating in the Tour Down Under. Registration for the conference costs $50 and takes place at the Hilton in Adelaide from 8:00 to 8:45 am. Attendance is limited to 100, but proceedings of the conference will be made available following the conference on Cyclingnews.

Further information is available on the sit official website.

UCI Pro Tour manager sees TDU as an opportunity for cycling's globalization

By Jean-François Quénet in Adelaide

William Walker leads the Rabobank train getting ready for the Tour Down Under
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf made his way to South Australia to see how the world's top competition can make its globalization concept a reality. "Four months ago it took only 72 hours for the organization of the Tour Down Under to sort out a budget for flying the 18 ProTour teams to Adelaide - it was an even 20 at the time," Rumpf said. "It was an opportunity not to be missed by the UCI in the process of globalization."

In January 2006, being a guest of the Tour Down Under, President Pat McQuaid stated that the ProTour could not go outside Europe and it was impossible to fly 20 teams overseas. "A few things have happened that we couldn't imagine three years ago," Rumpf said in response. "It's not been us at the UCI contacting [Russian president Vladimir] Putin but rather he is saying 'I want a big bike race in Russia and I want to do it via the ProTour.' That means the concept of the Pro Tour isn't too bad."

Although the ProTour doesn't include all the world's biggest races anymore, the Tour Down Under is the first on an agenda that could see the Tour of California and new races in Russia and China being a part of the series as soon as in 2009. The concept guarantees the participation of the 18 Pro Tour teams who are supposed to be the best in the world but it doesn't mean the best cyclists are obliged to do it.

Beside the Australian stars (but not Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers and Bradley McGee), the start list of the Tour Down Under doesn't feature the biggest names of the cycling world. "With only a four month's notice since the inception of the Tour Down Under on the ProTour calendar, the riders who have the Classics and the Grand Tours in mind haven't had time to change their program," said Rumpf.

"We won't draw any conclusion about the participation until after the 2009 Tour Down Under. We think the teams will modify their views in the future. This race is only the first of a four-year deal," he said. "We believe strongly in the capacity of organizers like Mike Turtur to bring new ideas in cycling. It's a logical evolution for the ProTour to go global. We are in a competition against other sports worldwide so we cannot allow cycling to be restricted to the four historical countries (France, Italy, Belgium and Spain)."

Rumpf was enjoying seeing some racing in Adelaide as a break from a few steady months of cycling politics at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland.

Gerolsteiner Down Under

Action from the 2008 Down Under Classic
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Team Gerolsteiner was happy at the end of the Down Under Classic on Sunday, bringing home a top-ten finish and a special jersey – even if there was a bit of confusion near the end of the race.

"It was a good start today in Adelaide," Peter Wrolich said on his website, The Austrian sprinter came in 10th in the race. "I was looking after Heinrich Haussler in the finale, but he lost my wheel in the last curve. I didn't really sprint, just held my position and came in as tenth."

Haussler, who was born in Australia, came in as 25th, but took one of the special jerseys, since he won of the intermediate sprints along the way. "Heinrich really rode very well," said director sportif Reimund Dietzen. "You could see that he was super-motivated. He can keep on like this!"

See full coverage of the Tour Down Under Classic.

Longo signs for another year

49 years-old is too young to retire for Jeannie Longo. The French woman has signed up for another year of racing in the women's peloton. The most successful female rider of all time has a contract with the French team Pro Les Carroz according to the team as posted on In 2007 the 13-time World Champion rode the Austrian Uniqa team.

Cipo said to have signed with Rock Racing

The on-again, off-again relationship between Mario Cipollini and Michael Ball's Rock Racing team seems to be on again. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported Sunday that the Italian sprinter had signed with the American Continental team and will ride the Tour of California next month.

The 40 year-old former World Champion has 42 stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and 12 in the Tour de France. He also has tax evasion fees of 1.1 million Euros from the Italian government.

"The Lion King" met last week with Rock Racing owner Michael Ball in Santa Monica, California, and it was announced that he would not only ride but manage a European edition of the team. However, on Saturday Cipolini said that he was waiting to get certain issues cleared up, and threatened to return to Europe without signing.

Sunday's announcement of the signing seems to indicate that negotiations for a pre-nuptial agreement were successful for this marriage made in heaven – or elsewhere.

Taberlay makes up for punctures at Wildside MTB

Sid Taberlay
Photo ©: Nic Deka
(Click for larger image)

Two punctures may have slowed down Olympian Sid Taberlay for a few stages in the Wildside MTB, but they didn't keep him from win Stage 4. The Australian finished stage four over one minute ahead of compatriots Adrian Jackson and Ben Mather. Sunday afternoon's leg took riders on wild tracks over some of the area's notorious, steep, mountain country between Rosebery and Zeehan, in Tasmania's remote west.

Not long after dismounting to cross the suspension bridge at the base of the 100 metre high Montezuma Falls, Taberlay broke away from the pack following the old tramway by himself to Confidence Saddle.

Jackson's second place in the stage earned him the status of overall leader for the event. Taberlay's flats have likely taken him out of contention for the overall win. Mather sits in second by just nine seconds and Daniel McConnell is about three minutes behind in third place overall.

Launceston's Rowena Fry leads the women by more than eight minutes ahead of her nearest competitor. Racing at the Wildside continues through Tuesday.

MacKinnon aims higher

Canada's Cam MacKinnon of posted a12th place finish in the men's keirin Saturday at a track cycling World Cup competition in Los Angeles in his keirin debut at the World Cup level. The rider from Calgary has previously raced other sprint events at World Cups. He was a member of the bronze-medal winning Canadian team sprint team at the Pan American Track Championships.

After qualifying fifth in his first qualifying heat, MacKinnon moved on to the repecharge where a win let him advance. In the second round, he needed a top-three finish in his heat to qualify for the final round. He took fifth for 12th overall.

"It was a big step for me to compete in this event on the World Cup," said MacKinnon. "For the first time out, I think it's a good result. I just wanted to do my best. I liked the way I finished the race but I know I can do better. I'm motivated to improve and to be more competitive."

MacKinnon qualified 22nd in the men's sprint on Sunday with a time of 10.62 seconds.

BMC to join the action in Qatar

A sprint finish at the 2007 Tour of Qatar
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Team BMC is going to the Tour of Qatar next week and they're not taking it for granted. After recent training camps in California, the team will head along with 16 other teams to the Middle East for a six-day stage race over 450 miles on relatively flat terrain.

"It's a big deal that we were invited. It's not easy to go," said Gavin Chilcott, director of BMC to the Marin Indepedent Journal.

The race is an opportunity for sprinters to prove their early season form and BMC's Stewart is no exception. "From what I hear from the race stand point, they are very fast, not too long, flat, windy races," Stewart said. "You just go in a straight line for miles."

Stewart will be up against some of the best sprinters in the European peloton. "(Belgium's) Tom Boonen is the fastest man alive and he's going to be there. They're just being tuned up now, too. So that they're not in full form, but, still, a 60-percent Tom Boonen is a challenge to beat."

Chilcott is looking at it as a chance to demonstrate his team's importance to the world of cycling. The team is in its second full season of racing and is still working on establishing itself.

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