Second Edtition News for November 19, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Ambitious plan to revitalize track racing launched by UCI
By Tim Maloney in Aigle, Switzerland
At a November 18th press conference entitled "On Track Towards The Future", UCI President Hein Verbruggen presented a new template to revive track cycling at the UCI's impressive new World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland. Verbruggen said that "we plan to create media attention, attract new sponsors and fund new events. That's the way forward."
Verbruggen pointed out that because road and mountain bike events had reached a saturation point during the spring and summer months, it was hard for both potential sponsors and the media to focus on track cycling. "We are going to make track cycling a year-round sport," explained UCI President Verbruggen to the assembled cycling media in Aigle.
Due to the current challenges faced by track cycling (low level of funding, small rider participation base, lack of media attention), the UCI wants to now increase the number of UCI sanctioned track races on the approximately 800 velodromes worldwide and attract more young riders to track cycling.
Thus, between 2003 and 2005, the UCI will implement a number of changes to the international calendar by adding more races. In addition, to make track racing more attractive to Elite riders, who otherwise might only be interested in road racing, the current World Cup will change its name to World Cup Classics and have four key events in 2003:
Round 1 - February 14-16: Moscow, Russia
In 2004, the World Cup Classics will expand with both spring and fall events, leading up to March 2005, when the World Track Championships will be run in Los Angeles, CA.
Another new element to boost the level of competition at the World Cup Classics is that in order to qualify for the '04 World Championships, National Federations must compete in '03 and '04 World Cup Classics. Furthermore, to qualify for the '04 Olympics, National Federations must compete in the '04 World Championships, so this pyramid effect will enhance the level of track competition at the World Cup level.
"We need to have more track competitions at the national level and this will help us grow the pyramid, " explained Verbruggen.
To further enhance the package for cash-strapped National Federations, both the UCI and organizers of the World Cup Classics will provide most of the funding. All the Federations will have to provide is the funding for travel expenses. And to make these new World Cup Classics more attractive for sponsors and athletes alike, the UCI will have timing by Tissot and a professional level of TV production.
Despite some concerns by the assembled media that there might be some conflicts for top level elite riders who ride both the road and track at the 2005 World Track Championships scheduled for March, Verbruggen was confident that the new level of media attention and enhanced event profiles would continue to attract the best riders in the World to compete for the rainbow titles.
Durand to race in Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under
Two time French champion and 1992 winner of the Tour of Flanders, Jacky Durand, has been named in the FDJeux.com team to contest the 2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.
"I've been telling him for a few years that he should come out to Australia because he'll love this race," said teammate Brad McGee.
Durand, 35, made his professional debut in 1990 and in his 12 year career has won three stages of the Tour de France, twice taken out the overall Most Aggressive Rider category and worn both the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey and the Mountain Climber's polka dot jersey. In 1999 Durand also wore the Golden Jersey as leader of the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) for two days. In 1998 he won the Paris Tours World Cup round and in 1999 a stage of Paris Nice. He won the first stage of the Dauphine Libéré in June and last month Durand finished second in the Paris-Tours World Cup Race.
"We've going to have a really solid team in January with a rider for everything," said Brad McGee, who will captain the strong eight man line up confirmed for the 2003 event. "We've got sprinters, climbers, guys for breakaways and a couple of youngsters who have real talent as well."
McGee himself has enjoyed an amazing year which included a stage win in the Tour de France, victory in the 4km Individual Pursuit at the World Championships in Denmark and gold in the same event at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, a feat he accomplished less than 48 hours after finishing the Tour de France in Paris.
"I've had a bit of a break since the road World's and have been having my arms ripped out of my shoulder blades on the water skis for relaxation," McGee joked. "But my new bike arrives from France today and I'm actually itching to get on it."
The three time Olympic bronze medallist on the track has been keeping in shape by 'doing work around the backyard' in Sydney and is keen to go to Adelaide in good form.
"Last year I was with the decisive break on the day in the Barossa but had to drop back because I felt I needed an extra week or so of training in my legs," he explained. "This year I'm planning to have that so I can push for the overall."
Victorian Baden Cooke is also hoping to be up front flying the FDJeux.com colours when the pace hits in the final sprint. Cooke, who was third on Stage 6 of this year's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, made his Tour de France debut in July and scored seven top ten finishes including a third placing in Stage 3 and second on the final stage in Paris.
In the lead up to his ninth place at the World Road championships in Belgium, Cooke took out a stage and overall honours in Paris-Correze. He then headed home to Victoria where he finished his season with a stage victory and the overall classification in the Herald Sun Tour. His performances saw the 24 year old finish the season ranked 21st in the world.
Fellow Victorian, Matt Wilson, will also line up for the French team. Wilson last month claimed a victory and a second place finish in stages of the Herald Sun Tour. In September he won a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir to go with the one he won in 2001.
FDJeux.com team for JCTDU
Baden Cooke (Aus)
For more details, see the JCTDU website: www.tourdownunder.com.au
Giant signs Pearl Izumi and Jared Rando for 2003
Mountain bike team Giant has signed clothing manufacturer Pearl Izumi as a major sponsor for next season, as well as adding Australian downhiller Jared Rando to its lineup for 2003. It's also strongly rumoured that PI's Tara Llanes is making the step to Team Giant.
The ending of Pearl Izumi's relationship with Yeti means that the Yeti factory team will cease to exist for 2003. Yeti's Paul Rowney told Cyclingnews that he is hopeful of finding a new team for 2003, although he is disappointed at the dissolution of the Yeti-Pearl Izumi squad after "two great years being on one of the coolest teams going."
Yeti will still be racing with Keith Darner's RPM program which supports up and coming pros.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)