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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, June 5, 2008

Edited by Ben Abrahams & Laura Weislo

McQuaid reacts to Tour de France moving outside UCI

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

UCI President Pat McQuaid has expressed strong dissatisfaction to the news that ASO and the French cycling federation (FFC) will combine to hold the Tour de France outside the aegis of the governing body this July. Speaking from the IOC meetings being held in Athens, McQuaid told Cyclingnews that he was not impressed by the decision, and that he felt it posed a great danger to the sport.

"My overall reaction is one of great anger that they have decided to take this route," he stated. "They have consistently refused to accept decisions taken by the UCI management committee, and it is obvious that they are out to create another international federation. The contract which they have put out to the teams is a Draconian one, and one which is only going to get worse because it is a one-sided contract and it will be written into their rules as and from next year.

"It is very disappointing that the biggest player in the sport refuses to respect order, refuses to respect regulations. I am here in Greece at a conference with all of the federations from the summer and winter Olympics, and many of them are discussing what is going on with me. Every one of them is in complete agreement that as an international authority, our role is to lay down the rules and regulations of the sport. Yet these guys refuse to respect that."

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At a press conference held in Paris on Tuesday, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme faulted the UCI's stipulation that the 18 ProTour teams must be allowed to take part in the race. This is being highlighted as one of the main reasons for ASO's decision to go outside the UCI, but McQuaid rejects that this is a valid reason. He states that the teams agreed amongst themselves that all the ProTour squads should be allowed compete, and that the UCI is following on from that decision.

"They are using the excuse of the 18 teams, but that is not the issue at all. Remember that when we talked about the ProTour last September, the 18 teams came out afterwards and had a meeting with the AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Teams). At that meeting, these races were discussed, plus the fact that they are going onto the Europe Tour and going outside the ProTour calendar. There was a decision taken by the AIGCP that the 18 teams in the ProTour should have the right to participate in the Tour de France.

"That went to the CUPT (UCI ProTour Council) via the two representatives there - at that time they were Roger Legeay and Patrick Levefre - and this was discussed and agreed at the council there. It then went to the management committee of the UCI which has the ultimate responsibility for rules and regulations, and it was discussed and agreed there. That to me is a democratic process, in terms of putting a regulation into place. But ASO refused to respect that regulation.

"This isn't really a question of the 18 teams, they are putting that forward as an excuse. What they want to do is make their own rules. They are talking about having their own rules about radios, they are talking about having their own rules about anti-doping, and the contract that they have given to teams is one-sided and Draconian. For example, if the team has a doping problem in the Tour de France, they have to pay the French federation 100,000 euros. So it is obvious that the French federation are in cahoots with ASO."

To read the complete feature, click here.

Gilbert to Silence-Lotto?

Philippe Gilbert
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

According to reports in the Belgian press, Philippe Gilbert will leave Française des Jeux at the end of this season and is on his way to Silence-Lotto. The winner of this year's Omloop Het Volk has spent his entire career with the French squad since turning professional in 2003, but reportedly informed team manager Marc Madiot of his decision on Wednesday afternoon.

"Philippe has decided to move to one of the teams from his country," Française des Jeux directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud told SportWereld. "It's very unfortunate for us, but rarely in cycling does a rider remain with one team for his entire career."

Silence-Lotto is expected to make the news official at a press conference on Thursday, with the likely announcement of a three-year contract with Gilbert. However, team spokesman Filip Demyttenaere remained cautious about the transfer. "Last year we thought we had Stijn Devolder and a year before that Gert Steegmans," he told Sporza. "Until they were offered more money by Quick Step."

Contador back in August

Alberto Contador
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

After the final word from Tour de France organiser ASO that the Astana team has no chance of competing in the 2008 edition, defending champion Alberto Contador will take a break from competition before returning in August. Since winning the Giro d'Italia, the Spaniard has expressed a desire to claim the Vuelta a España and become only the fifth rider to win all three Grand Tours.

But before that there is also the small matter of two Olympic medals on offer at the road race and time trial in Beijing. "In theory his next race will be the Clasica San Sebastian in the beginning of August and then the Olympics," Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told AP.

"Of course Contador wanted to go to the Tour, but it is difficult," added Maertens. "We said we will try to do as good as possible in other races so that the Tour de France will regret what they do, so that they will be the loser in the end. That is what is happening now."

Astana will now turn its attention to the Dauphiné Libéré from June 8-16 with former winner Levi Leipheimer and the Tour de Suisse from June 14-22 with Andreas Klöden.

Willo gets airborne in Allentown

Trent Wilson hopes to back on Sunday in Philly
Photo ©: Jason Spruill
(Click for larger image)

The Commerce Bank Triple Crown is a major goal of most domestic American professional squads, and the Jittery Joe's team is no different. But the opening race in Allentown didn't go the way of Cyclingnews diarist Trent 'Willo' Wilson. The nearly 200-strong field was heading into the feed zone midway through Tuesday's race when a typical touch of wheels caused riders to hit the brakes, as Wilson described, "Next thing i know i was flying over the top of Doug Ollerenshaw".

Rock Racing's Ollerenshaw and Wilson had to abandon the race, but for Wilson, the fall resulted in a broken wrist which puts a big damper on his season's peak. "I am absolutely devastated, I have based my whole season around the next two weeks. I have a broken hand and possibly a broken wrist, I have a cast on of course, but still have movement in my fingers."

All is not lost, as the hardy Australian will recover from the injury and then try to get back on the bike and use his hard-earned form this weekend. "I will have to sit out Thursday's race in Reading, but hope to take the line at Philly," said Wilson. "I have trained too hard to just go home, so I will try and battle on."

His plans also include the upcoming stage race in Canada, which starts June 10th. "Tour De Beauce worries me because of the rough roads, so I will have to see how the hand holds up, but hope to take the start. My goals may have to be changed from trying to win the race, to a more domestique roll; we'll wait and see.

Andreu, BMC to support women's Proman squad for Philly

The up and coming women's elite team Proman Racing has signed on two new partners for Sunday's Liberty Classic and next week's Nature Valley Grand Prix. Swiss bicycle manufacturer BMC has pledged its support to the California team, and former US Postal director Frankie Andreu has signed on to act as directeur sportif for the races.

The team features track rider Shelley Olds, who has been stepping onto podiums all spring and is a dark horse for a top showing in Sunday's Liberty Classic. Olds placed second in the Tulsa Tough criterium and Sea Otter circuit races, and has been honing her sprinting form on the UCI Track World Cup circuit this winter.

"In 2007 we were a young green team, with a stronger roster this time around and lots of racing under our belt we could spring some surprises" commented Olds.

The team also includes cyclo-cross and mountain bike standout Rachel Lloyd, Betina Hold, Megan Guarnier, Melodie Metzger, Virginia Perkins and Kristin and Helene Drumm.

"They have a great roster for these events, and as they continue to gain experience, they will gain on the world's elite," explained Andreu. "I'm sure I will learn from the team a side of cycling I don't know much about. In return, I hope to give them the knowledge I have gained during my years racing as a professional."

Team manager Nicola Cranmer explained the choice of Andreu to lead the team. "Apart from his vast experience as a professional racer, the media love Frankie, any way I can draw attention to women's cycling is a good thing. For our team it's not just about getting on the podium it's also necessary to apply energy to the broader vision of women's racing which is struggling."

Morini returns in US peloton

After being paralysed by a crash in 2001, former Gerolsteiner rider Federico "Fred" Morini is set to make a stunning return to racing in the US peloton this month for the domestic squad Richmond Pro Cycling. The 31-year-old Italian had a promising start as a neo-pro in 2001, but a tragic crash in December of that year left him seriously injured. His recovery and return to racing is nothing short of remarkable.

Morini crashed on a descent near his home in Umbria, falling into the ravine below. Without realizing the severity of his injuries, he struggled for an hour to pull his cell phone from his pocket to call for help; even then, it was over three hours before he reached the hospital. He had fractured several vertebra and suffered serious damage to his spinal column and shock to the medulla. IT was questionable if he would ever walk again, let alone ride a bicycle.

Morini, however, had other plans, and set about his rehabilitation vigorously. After several months of therapy he was back on the bike, but struggled to gain form despite his desire, and finally capitulated and retired from the sport. He spent several years working as a television commentator, events organizer, and cycle tour operator, and then found himself racing again for a small Italian team.

He decided to come stateside when he wanted to return to racing at a higher level but could not find a team. "In the past, I asked the European teams; but nothing good came up, so I started thinking about a new cycling world the USA. Richmond Pro Cycling is a chance to test me again finally. I am so happy to be racing for an American team soon," said Morini.

The developing team will benefit from Morini's experience and character, but will also gain something more, said team manager Craig Dodson, "Fred has strong ties to Virginia and his palmarès alone would be enough for this team, but Fred's natural rapport with youth make him an ideal addition."

Fred Morini is realistic with the opportunity, but also understands that his successes ahead are part of a team effort, "I want thank all the people of Richmond Pro Cycling as they had faith and trust in me. I know this may not have been easy, after my four years not racing, but I presume they understood all I have felt during this long time of recovery and desire to return to the sport. I also want to give special thanks to Doctor Fabbri, my physiotherapist and Dr. Ivol Pulcini, he's a doctor for the Giro d'Italia as well. They both always believed on me! I was tested and given a full doctors approval to race. I think I can be strong rider again."

Fred will arrive in early June and is scheduled to race the AT & T Austin Criterium on June 21.

World record holders at Smithfield Nocturne

Geraint Thomas of Barloworld
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Team pursuit world champions Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy will be among the star names at the Smithfield Nocturne criterium in London this Saturday evening. The pair's last appearance in the UK saw them break the team pursuit world record at the World Track Championships in Manchester and both have since been racing in Europe with their respective pro teams.

Welshman Thomas, who last raced in London at the 2007 Tour de France, is looking forward to an evening racing around the historic Smithfield Markets. "It will be great to return to London as it's not often we get the opportunity to race there," he said. "The Nocturne is obviously a different prospect to the Tour de France but I'm really looking forward to it. I've just come off the back of the Giro so I'm up for mixing it up in a crit race."

The Barloworld rider has been able to rest his legs since the Giro, where he finished 12th in the final time trial. "I was pleased with my form in the Giro, especially in the final time trial," added Thomas. "It bodes well for my preparation towards the Olympics. I've had some rest this week and have a free schedule so it was a perfect opportunity to race against some of my GB team-mates and enjoy some action on the streets of London."

The race will also feature the best of Britain's domestic talent, including Chris Newton and Rob Hayles, while riders from as far afield as Spain and Slovenia will compete against London commuters in the folding bike race.

"It is a long way to fly to race," said Enrique Casanovas from Barcelona. "We have been thinking of creating a folding bike race in Girona for several years so we are delighted to be able to join the event in London. The Brompton World Championships were hosted in Barcelona but we particularly like the format of the Nocturne and are looking forward to an exciting race."

Full details of the Smithfield Nocturne can be found at

Gerolsteiner for upcoming races

The season is in full swing and Gerolsteiner is sending its riders in a variety of directions this coming weekend. Fabian Wegmann and Heinrich Haussler will lead the hunt for stage wins in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré in France. Stefan Schumacher will lead the team in the GP Triberg-Schwarzwald, and the Swiss riders will look to do well in the GP Gippingen.

The Dauphiné Libéré is a seven-stage race over 1092 kilometres. Wegmann won a stage in the race in 2006 and Haussler did the same last year. The team will also have Bernhard Kohl who in 2006 finished third overall. Another team will head to the GP Triberg-Schwarwald on Saturday, led by Sefan Schumacher. The team's Swiss riders will take charge the next day at the GP Kanton Aargau.

Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré: Heinrich Haussler, Bernhard Kohl, Sebastian Lang, Volker Ordowski, Tom Stamsnijder, Fabian Wegmann, Carlo Westphal and Peter Wrolich.

GP Triberg-Schwarzwald: Mathias Frank, Johannes Fröhlinger, Tim Klinger, Sven Krauss, Matthias Russ, Stephan Schreck, Stefan Schumacher and Oliver Zaugg.

GP Kanton Aargau: Thomas Fothen, Mathias Frank, Johannes Fröhlinger, Tim Klinger, Matthias Russ, Stephan Schreck, Oliver Zaugg and Markus Zberg.

Your chance to win in the Cyclingnews-Rapha competition - competition extended!

You can win this!
Photo ©: Rapha
(Go to the competition page)

This is your chance to win a full outfit of team kit plus the official team bike as raced by Dean Downing, the joint leader of the British Rapha-Condor-Recycling racing team. The bike, valued at over US$5600, is the Team Leggero. This is a bespoke carbon frame and is the official 2008 Rapha Condor Recycling Team bicycle.

Featuring hand-cut tubes, rear-ends and carbon lugs, the frame is hand-made to Condor's unique specifications and is built up with tubing from the highly respected Italian company Dedacciai, one of only a handful of companies in the world capable of producing such quality tube-sets and forks. It also features a full Dura-Ace groupset (including Dura-Ace wheels) and components from Deda Elementi, Fizik and Continental.

But wait! There's more. Yes, a full set of of Rapha's high-end cycling clothing is also included, featuring a pair of bib-knicks, a short-sleeve jersey, a jacket and cap. Make sure you enter to go into the draw as the competition has been extended with entries open until June 6, 2008.

Our thanks to our friends at Rapha for providing such awesome prizes. Good luck!

(Additional research and assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer).

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