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First Edition Cycling News for February 3, 2007

Date published:
February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
  • Aussie track champs

    Ben Kersten has the taste
    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    The 2007 Australian Track Cycling Championships kick off on Monday at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome,...

    The 2007 Australian Track Cycling Championships kick off on Monday at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome, where nearly 200 of Australia's most talented cyclists will contest a full program of events in elite, junior U19 and AWD (Athletes with a Disability) categories.

    The senior ranks will see dual Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion Ryan Bayley line up, along with 2006 triple junior World Champion, Cameron Meyer, who recently graduated to the senior ranks. Meyer has made the transition successfully, and at the recent Los Angeles round of the World Cup, the 19 year-old Meyer claimed gold in the points race.

    Commonwealth Games kilometre time trial champion and World Championship silver medallist, Ben Kersten, (NSW) continues his comeback from back surgery, and will be out to defend the four titles he won in 2006 (kilometre, sprint, keirin and teams sprint) and add the omnium to his resume.

    2007 will mark the first time the omnium will be a part of the programme, after it was added to this year's World Championships schedule by the UCI (International Cycling Union). It is designed for the most versatile track cyclists and consists of five events held on the one day, the 1km time trial, flying 200m time trial, 5km scratch race, 3km individual pursuit and wrapping up with a points race over 15km.

    Victoria's team will boast newly crowned Australian road race champion, Katie Mactier, aiming for her fifth straight title crown in the 3km individual pursuit. Mactier, an Olympic silver medallist, Commonwealth Games champion and 2005 World Champion, wants to reclaim gold in the event next month at the World Championships in Majorca.

    Olympic and Commonwealth champion Anna Meares will be back in Sydney in a bid to add to her already impressive collection of 13 Australian Titles on the track. In November, she set the Dunc Gray Velodrome alight with a World Record ride for the 500m...

  • Fuerteventura Canarias

    The Fuerteventura-Canarias team
    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Monika Prell The team Fuerteventura-Canarias was presented officially this week in Madrid, only...

    By Monika Prell

    The team Fuerteventura-Canarias was presented officially this week in Madrid, only one week after the team's Professional Continental status was reinstated by the UCI after a Swiss judge ruled in favor of the team. The UCI had initially refused to give the squad a license on grounds that they hadn't followed the application procedures, but the team argued that they had met all the deadlines.

    The team director, Oscar Guerrero, described the tense weeks to Noticias de Guipuzcoa, saying, "It's true that during this time everything crosses your mind, most of all that the cyclists could have to stop riding. Luckily, everything came out well and we are have a year to demonstrate that we deserve this."

    The team consists of 17 riders, nine of them from Comunidad Valenciana, three from Kaiku and, of course, the only Canarian professional, Dailos Díaz. Guerrero, who directed Kaiku during the last two years, is confident about the upcoming season now that the legal battles are behind them.

    He sees promise in David Bernabeu, but indicated that the uncertainties surrounding the team have had an effect on him, and predicts that Iker Flores, a former Euskaltel rider, will be able to win. "I will have to try that he believes again that he is able to win. If he has a good head, without pressure and anxiety, I believe that he must return to be all that we hoped of him."

    The team's main objective is clear - getting an invitation to the Vuelta a España - and victories are important for getting such notice. However, with such a young team, Guerrro is taking things one step at a time. "I would like to go day-to-day, without saying if we will win four races, eight or ten." He added, "Perhaps you reach six second places and win none or, on the contrary, you have two opportunities, like Aranaga two years ago, and you win both. If we win a race, we will...

  • T-Mobile in France

    Roger Hammond (L) (England) and Mark Cavendish (Isle of Man)
    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    T-Mobile Team is prepared for its first races of the European season, sending a team to the GP La...

    T-Mobile Team is prepared for its first races of the European season, sending a team to the GP La Marseillaise and Etoile de Bessege in France next week. The races will see the T-Mobile debut of three new riders, including the two British sprinters Mark Cavendish and Roger Hammond.

    The GP La Marseillaise is a one-day race, February 6, followed by the Etoile de Bessege, Feb. 7-11, which runs over 734 kilometers in five stages.

    The races will also mark the T-Mobile debut of Directeur Sportif Allan Peiper, who said, "The lads have put in the hard work in training in Mallorca. Now I am keen to see how the training efforts pay off when the races begin."

    The two British sprinters will be riding in support of Andre Greipel. "We can count on the likes of Greipel, Cavendish or even Hammond to make their presence felt in sprint situations," Peiper noted.

    Marco Pinotti will also be making his T-Mobile debut, and Axel Merckx will ride his first race in magenta after a pause of many years - he started his career with the then-Team Telekom.

    T-Mobile for GP La Marseillaise and Etoile de Bessege: Lorenzo Bernucci, Mark Cavendish, Scott Davis, Andre Greipel, Roger Hammond, Axel Merckx, Marco Pinotti, and Frantisek Rabon.

  • Wet sand makes a mess in Qatar

    Marcel Sieberg before Milram
    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer Milram had their fair share of second places in Qatar, but on the fifth stage,...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Milram had their fair share of second places in Qatar, but on the fifth stage, it wasn't the big name Alessandro Petacchi, but the big newcomer, Marcel Sieberg. He was part of the group that got away shortly after the beginning of the race and held its lead until the end.

    As the group neared the finish line, there were many attempts to break away and score a win, with riders shooting out and chasing each other down. "As Wilfried Cretskins made his move 400 meters before the finish, I thought to myself, not another one from Quick Step," Sieberg said on his team's website, www.team-milram.de. Handicapped by gear problems, he was able to only bring in a second place behind Greg van Avermaet. "Sure you think about winning. It could have happened. But I can work up to it."

    T-Mobile's Bernhard Eisel lost his podium spot on Thursday's stage, dropping from third overall to fourth. But the sprinter was happy that the stage didn't come down to a mass sprint. ""With this weather it would have been even more dangerous with a hectic finale than it usually is. It rains in Qatar only two days a year, and this was one of them," he wrote at www.eisel.com. "There were an unbelievable number of crashes, which was only to be expected by this water-sand mixture."

    One team which suffered from the weather was Rabobank, or as the team put it, "The Rabo team was not very fortunate ... with six crashes and various flat tires." Rick Flens was the unluckiest of the crew, going down twice and suffering a flat tire. The worst injury, however, was to Graeme Brown, who hurt his hand in a crash, the team noted on its website, www.rabobank.nl. He received medical treatment after the stage but raced Friday's stage..

  • Lamour asks AFLD to delay Landis hearing

    Lamour with Dick Pound
    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Speaking in his capacity as vice-president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Jean-Francois...

    Speaking in his capacity as vice-president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Jean-Francois Lamour asked the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) to delay the hearing of the case of Floyd Landis until Landis has appeared before the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) positive testosterone test during Stage 17 of last year's Tour of France.

    Lamour is also the French Sports Minister but indicated that he was not wearing that hat when he said to AFP, "It's wiser to await the hearing of Landis by the USADA. It's not a recommendation but an opinion. It's more productive to focus on the American hearing (scheduled for March) rather than maintaining a summons to France which the concerned party will not attend."

    Landis was summoned to attend a hearing before AFLD on February 8, but both WADA president Dick Pound and Landis himself have requested the hearing be postponed until after the USADA arbitration.

  • Opinions divided on Paris-Nice

    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    The ProTour teams and its riders may officially stand behind the International Cycling Union in the...

    The ProTour teams and its riders may officially stand behind the International Cycling Union in the fight between the Grand Tour organisers and the world governing body of cycling over the ProTour - still, opinions diverged when team managers and pro cyclists were asked to comment on the latest round of the battle. French L'Equipe, in its Friday edition, gathered reactions on the latest turn of events, which saw the UCI threaten action against French spring stage race Paris-Nice, owned by Tour de France-organiser ASO.

    The UCI holds fast to its stance that the organisers of UCI events must follow the UCI rules. In refusing to invite the ProTour team Unibet.com to Paris-Nice, the ASO has, in the mind of the UCI, violated the rules. "The UCI will not budge on a matter of rules and the legitimate rights of teams and riders," McQuaid told AFP. "I hope the Paris-Nice will take place in the right conditions, but the organizers are violating international cycling rules. It is ASO and not the UCI who are putting the race at risk."

    ASO director Christian Prudhomme followed the party line of the Grand Tour organisers in denouncing the ProTour, saying "The ProTour system is a closed system, an economic system we have denounced since our departure." Earlier this month, in an interview with Cyclingnews ASO president Patrice Clerc also called the ProTour a closed system, and added "Even before the ProTour was officially launched, since 2004, we have always said that we would not adhere to this system."

    Prudhomme declared his organisation's intention to run the race regardless of what the UCI says. "I want to reassure the teams. We are always going to organize Paris-Nice. We are organizing Paris Nice with respect for sporting and technical rules as well as French law. Our work, our calling is to organize races for athletes. I...

  • McQuaid: UCI doesn't want to stop Paris-Nice

    UCI president Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    February 03, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    By Shane Stokes Responding to a series of quotes from Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme...

    Organisers are putting their own race under pressure

    By Shane Stokes

    Responding to a series of quotes from Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme which appeared in Friday's L'Equipe, Pat McQuaid has stressed that the UCI wants Paris-Nice to go ahead without problems, but that it is crucial for the organisers to respect the regulations which are in place.

    "There are stories stating that the UCI wants to prevent Paris-Nice from happening; this is not the case," he told Cyclingnews by phone from Malaysia, where he is attending early stages of the Tour de Langkawi. "What was communicated to team managers is that the UCI is examining its options at the moment and that it will, at all times, stay within the regulations. We ask everybody to do the same. We haven't actually stated yet what action is liable to happen. But if necessary, we will apply sanctions... there are lots of sanctions that we could take."

    "The UCI wants Paris-Nice to take place under good conditions. However we would like to make it clear that the organisers who violate the rules of international cycling are putting themselves out of the running. In the case of Paris-Nice, it is ASO, the organiser of the race, who puts its own race in danger because it doesn't respect the rules of the UCI... not the UCI itself. They are the ones who are leaving their own event open to possible sanctions."

    When asked what these sanctions might be, McQuaid declined to elaborate. He instead stressed that neither he nor the UCI wants that things will go that far.

    "We hope it doesn't get to that point, but it is crucial that the regulations which are in place are followed. We would like to remind that it is the UCI ProTour Council who determines the participation conditions of the UCI ProTour events, and absolutely not the organisers."

    "ASO has the sole goal of killing the UCI ProTour"

    McQuaid stated earlier...