News for December 6, 1999

Oceania games news

Courtesy of Gennie Sheer

Sydney's Olympic test event, the Oceania Games, is due to start on December 8 with the track competition, held at the recently opened Dunc Gray velodrome in Bankstown. The competition runs for eight days and encompasses road, track, and mountain bike events.

After her victory in her defamation court case last week, Kathy Watt has withdrawn from both the road and track events at the Grand Prix. The 35 year old Victorian had planned for Oceania to be her final competition for the year but the recent case hampered her preparation.

"The court case took up a lot of time and energy which prevented me from training for two weeks," said Watt. "As a results, my fitness is not at a level I think is good enough to race."

She will now take a break until early January when she begins preparing for the Compaq Australian Open to be raced in Port Arlington, Victoria on January 16th.

"I'm disappointed to not be able to defend my Oceania title in the road time trial but I'm looking forward to getting back into racing in 2000," said Watt.

In other news, World sprint champion, Laurent Gané of France, has been involved in an accident in Noumea and badly cut his foot. As a results, he will not race in Sydney. His place in the French team has been taken by his brother Herve. Also, Australian 1 km time triallist, Josh Kersten will not be able to ride as a result of a pulled back muscle.

The Australian men's road team raised a few eyebrows earlier this month with several surprises on the start list. However, has been assured that "super-vet" Robert Upton for one is intent on giving it his all in the men's road race and we hope to see him place well.

Ullrich rides for Zabel

German Jan Ullrich (Telekom) announced on Sunday that next year he will do his utmost to help teammate Eric Zabel win the first season Classic, the Milan-San Remo. He also stated that he would not dispute the Olympic Games in Sydney unless he had "a chance of a medal".

"I want to take part in some races in spring, but not necessarily to win," said Ullrich to TV station ZDF. "During the Milan-San Remo, I want to support Erik Zabel who wants very much to win again".

As for the Olympic Games of Sydney, "I will take part there only if I have a chance of medal. I would like to experience once the atmosphere of an Olympic village. Also, as the World Championships begin one week later, I can kill two birds with one stone," he added.

The past season was "my most beautiful professional year," said Ullrich. "I had difficult moments. After my fall in the Tour of Germany, the injury and my withdrawal from the Tour de France, I got out of a hole and I won the Vuelta and the world title," he said.

"I must recognize that the Tour goes on even without me. All of that made me maturer, and I learned much. I believe that each famous sportsmen must learn hardship. It is too easy to win all the time," he finished.

Race organisers support superleague

The association of race organisers, the AIOCC, have given their support to the UCI's proposal of the professional cycling council, a.k.a. the "superleague", to be formed in 2001.

At their annual general meeting in Paris on December 3, the AIOCC voted in favour of the idea of having two representatives out of twelve on the council. The two will probably be Frenchman Jean-Marie Leblanc, director of the Tour de France and president of the AIOCC, and Italian Giro director and AIOCC vice-president, Carmine Castellano, according to AFP.

The two member nomination must be before the end of the year 2000, whereas the creation of the Council of professional cycling has to be voted by the management committee of the UCI by the end of January next year.

In addition, the AIOCC supported rearranging the calendar in order to reduce pressure on riders, but did not give any specifics. "The reorganisation of the calendar is desired by all of the organizers," said Jean-François Pescheux, the secretary-general of the AIOCC. "However there is a substantial difficulty in carrying out significant changes because it could compromise many races and teams," he said. Also, The AIOCC did not support a strict reduction in the difficulties of races - for example reducing the number of first category climbs.

Finally, awards were given to the Spanish team Kelme, for being in the peloton for 20 years, and Luxembourgian Fernand Conter, who is the current directeur sportif of the UCI and was the former head of the FICP.

US Jnr Nationals to Trexlertown

Courtesy of Rich Wanninger

The United States Cycling Federation (USCF) Junior National Championships will be held in Trexlertown, Pa., it was announced on December 2. The junior road championships are scheduled for July 5-9, while the EDS Junior National Track Championship is slated for July 10-15.

Trexlertown also hosted the 1993 and 1997 EDS Junior National Track Cycling Championships at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, in addition to six elite national track cycling championships (1981, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1996 and 1999). The USCF Junior Road Cycling Championships in 1988 were also held in Trexlertown.

In addition, 'T-Town' will also serve as the site to one of three world championship events in the United States in 2001 when they host the Junior World Track Cycling Championships.

Galván continues with Kelme

Rubén Galván, who rides for the Spanish Kelme Costa Blanca team has signed for season 2000 for at least another year. This will be his fourth season as a professional, all of which he has spent with Kelme

He is the sixth rider to renew their contract with Kelme, along with Fernando Escartín, Jose Angel Vidal, Franceso Leon, Paschal Javier Llorente and Francisco Cabello. In addition the team has signed the following new riders: Isaac Gálvez, World madison champion (with Juan Llaneras), Ricardo Otxoa (from Videoporteros Tegui), and Juan Miguel Cuenca and Jesús Manzano from Kelme's development squad.