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First Edition Cycling News, December 23, 2008

Date published:
December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
  • Mad about 'cross: New videos from USGP Portland

    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    For those of you who can't get enough of cyclo-cross, we've just added a whole slew of video...

    For those of you who can't get enough of cyclo-cross, we've just added a whole slew of video interviews of the top racers from the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross from Portland done earlier this month. Tim Johnson, Ryan Trebon, Georgia Gould and more of the best finishers from that weekend give us their thoughts on the race.

    Check out the action on the Cyclingnews Video Player!

    (Additional editorial assistance by Bjorn Haake.)

  • British Cycling helps members to save money

    Useful gifts for the British Cycling members
    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    British Cycling is helping its members to enjoy their cycling for less, thanks to a suite of...

    British Cycling is helping its members to enjoy their cycling for less, thanks to a suite of exclusive new deals and discounts for members. The offers, which are available to all British Cycling and Everyday Cycling members from January 2, help members to save cash for all things bike-related – from tempting new bikes to events to travel.

    Special discounts are available from the AA, Alternative Promotions travel, British Cycling Bike Insurance, Chilli Video, Future magazines, Halfords, Ordnance Survey and Wattbike.

    In addition, British Cycling and Everyday Cycling have linked up with online retailer Wiggle to create a special online shop for members. Set to launch in during January 2009, the shop will give members 10% off Wiggle's standard prices.

    Ian Drake, British Cycling's deputy chief executive, was happy with the news. "All of our members, whether they compete, ride for recreation or commute can now get the best cycling discounts available in one place by joining British Cycling through our Gold, Silver and Bronze or Everyday Cycling membership packages."

    Websites for more info are www.britishcycling.org.uk or www.everydaycycling.com.

  • CSF Group-Navigare holds team camp

    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    CSF Group-Navigare holds its first team concentration for the 2009 season on Monday, December 29,...

    CSF Group-Navigare holds its first team concentration for the 2009 season on Monday, December 29, and Tuesday, December 30, 2008. The camp will be held in the province of Reggio Emilia. The riders undergo the routine medical check-ups for the beginning of the season, led by Dr. Benini. The riders also receive their clothing by Giordana and their Colnago training bikes.

    All but three riders will participate in the camp. The South American section with Ruben Bongiorno and Mauro and Maximiliano Richeze is expected back on January 27.

    The first proper training camp is scheduled for February third to 12, at the resort "Il Cicalino" in Massa Marittima. Even in that camp not all riders will be present, as some head to the first race, the Tour de Langkawi. Those who will race in Langkawi fly to Malaysia on February fifth. Other early season goals for the team are the GP Costa degli Etruschi and the Giro della Provincia di Grosseto.

  • Euskaltel aids in kids' camp

    The third annual kids camp for Basque children is presented by Euskaltel
    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    The third edition of the Kirol Kanpusak Euskaraz will take place in the Basque Country in December....

    The third edition of the Kirol Kanpusak Euskaraz will take place in the Basque Country in December. The activities are split in two sessions in December. The first takes place December 22 and 23, the second on December 29 and 30. 50 children per camp will be attending.

    The presentation of the event was held on the premises of the Fundación Ciclista Euskadi headquarters. Miguel Madariaga, the foundation's president, and Joxean Rodríguez, who heads the Política Lingüística department, hosted a press conference to explain the objective of the camps.

    The children are aged eight through 12 and will participate in a variety of activities, including bike maintenance and mechanics. There are also bike rides planned, as well as a different games. Riders from the professional team will assist with the event, which is held in the Basque language.

  • Specialized teams up with London-Paris

    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    Specialized, a bicycle manufacturer from the USA, has signed a deal to be the official bike sponsors...

    Specialized, a bicycle manufacturer from the USA, has signed a deal to be the official bike sponsors for London-Paris 2009. Specialized is based in California and will become the main jersey sponsor for eight team captains and supply them with helmets, race shoes, gloves and eyewear. Specialized riders will be equipped with Tarmac Expert or Roubaix Expert bicycles.

    Sven Thiele, director of the London-Paris '09 Pro-Am Cycle Tour, was looking forward to the partnership. "This is an exciting move for our event. London-Paris has established itself as one of the world's leading cyclosportives and to have endorsement from a big player like Specialized is a key moment in our development."

    Former Tour de France winner, Stephen Roche, has announced that he will be riding next year's event and other big names are expected to follow.

    London-Paris '09 runs from June 25 – 28th, 2009. It is a unique three-day "Tour de France" style endurance event for amateur and cyclosportive riders. Like a pro event it has full support, rolling road closures and covers 550 kilometres in three days followed by a rest day in Paris.

  • Italian ProTour teams will race Tour Down Under

    Chicchi hopes to win a stage or two for Liquigas
    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    Italian UCI ProTour teams Liquigas and Lampre-N.G.C. have confirmed their places on the 2009 Tour...

    Italian UCI ProTour teams Liquigas and Lampre-N.G.C. have confirmed their places on the 2009 Tour Down Under start list. Mike Turtur, Tour Down Under Race Director, reasoned with the 2008 results for the inclusion of the Italian squads.

    "Liquigas finished fourth overall in the Team Classification at the 2008 Tour Down Under, so we expect them to be tough competition in 2009." In 2008, Liquigas' Francesco Chicchi won stage seven of Tirreno-Adriatico and stage 1a at the Settimana internazionale di Coppi e Bartali.

    "Chicchi's strengths are in the sprints, making him one to watch for SA Lotteries Sprint jersey points," said Turtur.

    Lampre-N.G.C.'s Matteo Bono will bring invaluable Grand Tour experience to the Tour Down Under, after competing in the 2008 Tour de France. "Bono turned professional in 2006 and his first pro win was stage 6 of the 2007 Tirreno-Adriatico," Turtur said.

    Both Italian teams have a strong supporter base in Australia, with the South Australian Italian community adopting these teams as their own. "We all know how passionate Italians are, and we have come to expect good performances by both the Lampre-N.G.C. and Liquigas teams," said Turtur.

    Lampre-N.G.C. plans to race with Matteo Bono, Emanuele Bindi, Andrew Grendene, Mauro Santambrogio, Vitaliy Buts, Volodymyr Zagorodniy and David Loosli. Bruno Vicino will be the directeur sportif. Liquigas:

    Liquigas will travel to Australia with Macieji Bodnar, Cladio Corioni, Gianni Da Ros, Jacopo Gaurnieri, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Francesco Chicchi and Frederick Willems. Directeur sportif is Dario Mariuzzo.

  • Clarke excited by Down Under start

    Australia's Hilton Clarke managed to secure a contract with Fuji-Servetto
    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    By Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia Australia's Hilton Clarke is delighted that his first ProTour...

    By Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

    Australia's Hilton Clarke is delighted that his first ProTour event will be on home soil when he lines up at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide next month. Clarke will contest the South Australian race after securing a one-year contract with Fuji-Servetto last week.

    "It's just unbelievable," said Clarke. "I was trying to get a spot in the national team at the same time to do Down Under, when I had no team. There's just so many good riders that want to do that, that I crossed my fingers as well, whether I was going to get into that.

    "So now not to have to worry and be able to focus my training on the start of the year, especially with how huge Tour Down Under is going to be next year, is great."

    Clarke will be amongst a handful of Australians to contest the ProTour's opening round next year. Australian riders have one of two ways to ride their nation's largest tour – either hold a contract with a ProTour team or vie for a national team spot, as it's the only local team permitted in the race.

    "I guess now that it is ProTour not so many Australians get to do it anymore, so it really is a thrill," he said.

    The contract from Fuji-Servetto came as an early Christmas present for Clarke. Having enjoyed his most successful season to date in 2008, the qualified builder was facing the prospect of returning to the construction industry in 2009 until the former Scott-American Beef team threw him a lifeline.

    "From a personal standpoint, I never got this opportunity while I was younger but I can't think of a better time to get this opportunity than now," he said. "I'm more ready now than I would have been then.

    Clarke will focus on the Australian Open Road Championships in early January, then the Tour Down Under and February's Tour de Langkawi for the first part of his season. The remainder of Clarke's season is yet to be discussed with the team management, however the rider...

  • Chicago adjusts Olympic bid, cycling venues

    Christian Vande Velde rode Beijing and compared the difficulty with the proposed Chicago course
    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor The Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee said in a press...

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    The Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee said in a press conference recently that the worsening economy, combined with rule changes for hosting the Games, have increased the chances that the city will need to cover any budget shortfalls with its pledged $500 million USD guarantee. But committee chair Patrick Ryan said that taxpayers would still not have to absorb any costs.

    A side effect means both good and bad news for Chicago's cycling fans, as the changes could see a permanent indoor velodrome constructed. Unfortunately, early plans for the road racing and mountain bike courses within the Chicago metro area seem to have been replaced with a site nearly three hours to the northwest in western Wisconsin.

    John Vande Velde, a former US Olympic cyclist and father of current professional Christian Vande Velde, had designed a course close to downtown in the southwest suburbs. But he said an early review by the UCI deemed the courses unsuitable for Olympic competition.

    "It's very disappointing to me that the UCI has stepped in and said the courses we had in Lemont and Palos [Hills] were not hard enough," he said. "The rumor is it will be west of Madison [Wisconsin.] 95% of the events will be in Chicago and [the cycling events] will be three hours away. WIthout even seeing it they made the decision."

    The course was proposed near where the Vande Veldes live, in the town of Lemont. A river running past the town was to provide enough climbing to make the course challenging – not quite like the most recent Olympic course but definitely harder than some past courses such as Atlanta.

    "Christian said the course in Lemont was not easy at all. We worked hard on it to make it a good technical course. But the UCI wants the Olympics to be a classic race and the hardest race of four years. We would have had a million people on the road and it would have been great for spectators. It...

  • Fraser joins Team Type 1 as director

    Gord Fraser (Health Net)
    Article published:
    December 23, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor Team Type 1 announced Monday that former professional Gord...

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    Team Type 1 announced Monday that former professional Gord Fraser will be joining the management staff of the team as assistant director sportif with current assistant Vassili Davidenko. Davidenko has been promoted to director sportif to replace Ed Beamon who will not be returning for 2009.

    "We were very fortunate to have someone with Ed's experience to help guide us down the path of success in our first year," general manager Tom Schuler said in a statement. "With Vassili and Gord, we have two former pros who can also relate well to the challenges a rider faces on and off the bike."

    No details as to why Beamon would not be returning were given, and Beamon was not reachable for comment.

    While Davidenko has been working as an assistant director since he retired from the Navigators team (where Beamon was his director) Fraser has been away from cycling for a couple of years since retiring from the Health Net squad. But this year Fraser was seen 'guest directing' at the Tour of Missouri, with many thinking that he would be joining that team as a new DS. But Fraser told Cyclingnews that it was not in the budget. Still it showed him that directing was something he could see in his future.

    "It was in a very professional setting it was really nice to get that opportunity. It was an eye to helping in 2009 but it did answer my question as to if I enjoyed it as a profession. It was a hard decision, leaving my alma mater, but they just didn't have the budget to take on a second director. But I had been talking with Tom [Schuler] for a few months and the offer came out of the blue, but I decided to run with it."

    The pairing of Fraser and Davidenko is interesting as the two formally knew each other for years as sprinting rivals in the US peloton. "Yeah, we had a lot of good battles, that is for sure. But we always had a good mutual respect for each other. You can't...