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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, March 7, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

CAS may not be competent in Paris-Nice dispute

Racing to the sun: hopefully, as of Sunday, only the sport will make headlines
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has been called upon by the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) to decide whether or not the teams and riders could race Paris-Nice without risking heavy sanctions by the International Cycling Union (UCI). But with only three days to go before the start of the French stage race, neither the UCI nor the organiser of the event, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) had recognised the Court's competence to rule on the matter.

"The CAS informed all the parties concerned that an arbitration hearing could take place on 7 March 2008 on the condition that all the parties agreed to accept the jurisdiction of the CAS to decide the case in question. However, neither the UCI nor the ASO have accepted the jurisdiction of the CAS to decide this dispute," a press release by CAS read. "In these circumstances, the CAS must rule during the day of 7 March 2008 on its competence to decide this dispute and, if necessary, on the request for provisional measures filed by the claimants."

Already yesterday, ASO declared in an official communiqué that "because the request made to CAS by the IPCT concerns a dispute between the UCI and the teams as regards the ProTour licences, with which ASO has no ties whatsoever, ASO cannot be associated to this judicial action."

Judge Jacques Leu will thus have to decide on the competence of the CAS to rule in this matter first and foremost. If he decides positively, he will communicate his ruling today, Friday March 7. The decision will be opposable for all parties, meaning that both UCI and ASO could opt not to comply with it. In that case, the teams could turn to civil justice if prejudiced by participating in the race.

Cycling Australia alerts riders

In response to the critical situation that has developed due to the conflict between the UCI and ASO, the Board of Cycling Australia today expressed its support of the governing body of the sport, and urged its riders "take heed of the UCI directives with regard to participation in the Paris-Nice and other events not sanctioned by the governing body."

In an official press release, Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks warned that "the UCI ... will uphold its responsibilities and apply the regulations. This could have a significant impact on the riders." Australians planned to take part in the event starting this Sunday include 2007 Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans, Matthew Lloyd, Mathew Hayman, who could as a consequence be suspended for a period up to six months if he takes the start of the race owned by the Tour organiser ASO.

Still, Fredericks found it important at this point to state his support of the UCI. "It is crucial for the sport to remain under the control and direction of the UCI - the governing body elected to represent all constituents," Fredericks continued, while also expressing his approval of the resolution adopted by the European Cycling Union (UEC) Congress last weekend, which recommended that a review of the ProTour be undertaken.

"While we remain a supporter of the ProTour as the 'elite league' of international cycling competition, it is evident it needs to be reviewed to consider the interests of all the key stakeholders," he added.

Gerolsteiner signs on

The second-to-last missing rider roster has been confirmed to Paris-Nice organiser ASO, with German team Gerolsteiner announcing race favourite Davide Rebellin to participate in the event starting this Sunday. The team told Cyclingnews that the Italian, who placed second last year, will have Austrian Bernhard Kohl and German Stefan Schumacher at his side, as well as Carlo Westphal, Oliver Zaugg, Andrea Moletta, Matthias Russ and Tom Stamsnijder.

The Liquigas team was planning to submit its roster on Friday morning during the race technical meeting, which only leaves Silence-Lotto to officially communicate its line-up to the organiser. The Belgian squad has nevertheless already published its rider list on the team website: Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Dario Cioni, Cadel Evans, Matthew Lloyd, Yaroslav Popovych, Jurgen Vandenbroeck and Johan Vansummeren.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Di Luca asks for hearing date to be moved up

Danilo Di Luca hopes he will be able to defend his title at this year's Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Danilo Di Luca has asked the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) to move up the date of his hearing from April 1, so that he will be able to ride the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda which starts on that date. The hearing is to consider a two-year ban resulting from abnormal test results from the 2006 Giro d'Italia.

Di Luca also served a three-month suspension over the winter for his involvement in the "Oil for Drugs" affair.

The 2007 Giro d'Italia winner signed a one-year contract with Team LPR this season, and has already appeared at races for the team a few times.

Argentinean outsprints the field in Murcia

JJ Haedo on the podium in Murcia
Photo ©: Susanne Goetze
(Click for larger image)

The sprinters battled it out again Thursday in the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, with CSC's Juan Jose Haedo taking his fifth victory of the season. The fast man from Argentina finished clearly ahead of Euskaltel's Koldo Fernandez and Graeme Brown of Rabobank in stage three.

"He was tremendous in that finish. He knew exactly where to position himself in relation to Graeme Brown and I actually think he's the strongest out of all the sprinters down here with both this victory today and the one on Sunday," said sports director Dan Frost on the team's website. "We'd actually hoped to be part of a break today, but six guys escaped early on and we had to do some hard work in the peloton instead. Things were pretty much under control though and when it came to the sprint the whole team did a great job of lining JJ up."

Brown, who won the race's first stage, won the third stage last year over a course that had the same final 50 km. "Of course afterwards, you can say that you probably started too early," Rabobank team director Frans Maassen said. "We have been beaten, something that can happen."

Roberts delivers in new role for new team

Luke Roberts (Kuota - Senges) with the bike that he used for his winning move in South Africa
Photo ©: René Penno
(Click for larger image)

Luke Roberts switched from ProTour team CSC to Team Kuota - Senges at the beginning of the season. And he quickly made use of his new role, which is more of a leader. That the Aussie track star can sprint, he showed on stage 3 of the Giro del Capo. He held off overall leader Christian Pfannberger, of Barloworld, to take a nice win in a sprint of a small group. Belgian Dominique Cornu finished third. Roberts used his performance to move up a few spots in the GC as well, and after three stages lies in seventh, 2'44 behind Pfannberger.

Roberts took the stage on a day that wasn't for weak riders. A hilly terrain and the scoring temperatures of up to 42 degrees Celsius made it a tough affair in the Boland region. A five-man break, including GC hopefuls Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld) and Ian McLeod (MTN), took of the first climb of the day, but their lead never got past 1'50. When they got caught at km 113, it was Barloworld again, with Robert Hunter.

But at the bottom of the final climb everything was back together and eventually a 12-man group formed, including Pfannberger and Roberts. They stayed away and gained a minute on the field. Roberts, who is still hopeful of making the Australian Olympic pursuit team, used his burst of speed to take the sprint with a comfortable margin.

The race ends on Saturday, with a 5.5-kilometre time trial.

Teams for Monte Paschi Eroica

More teams have announced their line-ups for the upcoming second edition of the Monte Paschi Eroica race in Italy, on Saturday, March 8. On the 181 km-course from Gaiole in Chianti to Siena, Italian squad Liquigas will file young promise Vincenzo Nibali as team captain. To support him, team manager Stefano Zanatta has chosen Maciej Bodnar, Francesco Chicchi, Alberto Curtolo, Mauro Da Dalto, Murilo Fischer, Matej Mugerli and Frederik Willems to participate in the event partly held on dirt roads.

German team Milram starts for the first time in the race, led by all-rounders Martin Müller and Enrico Poitschke. Directeur sportif Oscar Pellicioli will also look to Italians Marco Velo, Fabio Sabitini, Elia Rigotto and Alberto Ongarato.

"The race must be very special, from all that we have heard about it," said Müller. "Among other things it has 60 km of gravel roads and long, narrow forest passages. It sounds a bit like Paris-Roubaix. At any rate, such stretches are an important preparation for the upcoming races."

American Professional Continental squad Slipstream-Chipotle announced Magnus Backstedt, Steven Cozza, Michael Friedman, Will Frischkorn, Ryder Hesjedal, Martijn Maaskant, Kilian Patour and Chris Sutton to take the start in Gaiole.

Danish ProTour team CSC selected Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lars Bak, Matti Breschel, Fabian Cancellara, Matthew Goss, Marcus Ljungqvist, Anders Lund and Stuart O'Grady.

Nokere Koerse announces route and teams

The teams and course for the Nokere Koerse, to be held March 19, were announced on Thursday At least six ProTour teams will be at the start of the Belgian race which prides itself on its "popular character".

The race starts at the Grote Markt in Oudenaarde. After 49 km it reaches Nokere, where the riders will make two laps of a 14.8 km round course. "We will not leave this tradition," said race director Rony De Sloovere, according to the Belga news agency. "In spite of the fact that we are now a UCI ranked 1.1 race, we don't want to lose Nokere Koerse's popular character."

The six ProTour teams taking part are Quick-Step, Silence-Lotto, Francaise des Jeux, Credit Agricole, High Road, and Rabobank. The organisers said that they may add another ProTour team to the list. They will be joined by Topsport Vlaanderen, Landbouwkrediet, Whirlpool, Mitsubishi-Jartazi, Skil-Shimano, Cycle-Collstrop, Josan,, Willems Veranda, Davitamon-Jong Vlaanderen, Race Pro, Designa Kokken, Team 3C-Gruppe, Kuota-Senges, An Post, Differdange, P3 Transfer, Van Vliet and another team to be named later.

Jennings' diary from the Giro del Capo

Pezula Racing training in South Africa before the first major race of the season
Photo ©: Cameron Jennings
(Click for larger image)

Cameron Jennings is back, writing his diary for Cyclingnews. After the DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed folded at the end of last year, Jennings scrambled to find a new team. Eventually, the Aussie hooked up with the Irish outfit Pezula Racing. He is now reporting from the Giro del Capo.

Hi all,

the racing season has started and our team is in full swing at the Giro del Capo. Here are the reports from the first two stages.

Stage 1: Wellington - Wellington

The Giro del Capo is under way with a 105-kilometre opening stage and it went ok for me and well for the team, with Ciaran Power getting into the front group. Was a quick start to the stage and was all together til on this straight stretch of road the wind started to blow and the race got torn into a number of groups. There was no turn left or right for the wind to come into play, just maybe coming down through a gap in the mountain? Who knows, but it did its job. Ciaran was there in the group and we chased and got close but...

After feeling a little dusty at the start I was feeling better towards the end of the race and the final climb. Only touch of bad luck for the team was a mechanical mishap going to Dave, with his rear derailleur getting damaged and he lost a fair chunk of time. He is in good knick, though and will be a force to reckon with on one of the stages.

To find out how the Aussie copes with the Irish accent, read the rest of the diary.

Richmond gets new pro cycling team

Richmond, Virginia, USA, has become home to a new professional cycling team. Working in conjunction with the non-profit People Cycle, the team, previously named Team Natures Path, will be branded Richmond Pro Cycling fueled by Natures Path (RPC).

The team's approach has drawn many community contributors, helping to create a sustainable organization whose mission is based on individual and community development, as well race results. As team founder and manager Craig Dodson said, "The next generation's leaders need to start somewhere. This team is about building good people on the bike, and then using them to help build strong communities off the bike."

In addition to its community work, the team will be represented at more than 80 events, including the USA Crit Series. As one of the leading U.S. amateur squads since 2005, RPC has taken a calculated path to the pro ranks. Returning to the team will be rider-manager Craig Dodson, former kilo-National Champion and Pan-Am Games athlete Gerardo Castro, top-10 finisher at U.S. Elite nationals, Paul Ward. Adding to the roster this year are Jeff Buckles, Stephen DeLisle, Ryan Mele, and most notably, Esteban Jukich. With podium finishes at several NRC races across the U.S. and internationally, Jukich brings to the team added criterium and road muscle.

The team will officially kick off their 2008 season with a four-day team camp from March 20-23, in Richmond, VA. Unlike most teams, including many U.S. Pro Teams, RPC has a dedicated support system for riders, including health insurance, paid housing, and a medical staff.

Team Roster: Jeffery Buckles (US, 21), Gerardo Castro (UY, 29), Stephen Delisle (US, 19), Craig Dodson (US, 29), Esteban Jukich (UY, 25), Ryan Mele (US, 24), Paul Ward (US, 24).

Cycling highlights on SBS

SBS Television, the Australian cycling network, will be broadcasting highlights from top international racing throughout March, April, May and beyond. Starting on March 8 with one hour of best moments of the UCI Women's Road Cycling World Cup in Geelong, Australia, the SBS channel has cycling programmes on its schedule almost every week-end. These do not only include road races, also track competitions and BMX events will be featured.

Moreover, the broadcaster announced a documentary on Stuart O'Grady's victory of the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, a race Australian TV viewers will be able to see live for the first time this year on Sunday, April 13. The Belgian Spring Classics Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are also included in its programme, as well as Paris-Nice.

In May, SBS will show daily updates of the Giro d'Italia. The full schedule can be viewed at

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