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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 25, 2011

Date published:
November 25, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Fred Rodriguez hungry for success in 2012

    Fred Rodriguez (Team Exergy) in action during stage 4 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2011, 18:20 GMT
    Neil Browne

    American veteran eyeing outside chance of Olympic selection

    At 38 years of age Freddie Rodriguez has rediscovered his passion for the sport of cycling. In 2010 the California native had a contract with Rock Racing, only to watch the team implode in March of the same year leaving him and other marquee riders like Olympian and former Discovery Channel rider Tony Cruz without a contract.

    With a child on the way, a new house being built and a clothing company to manage, Rodriguez decided it was time to step away from the professional athlete side of the sport.

    However, he was asked to be part of the Specialized sponsored development squad as a mentor - helping the junior riders learn the craft of racing a bike.

    "I was no longer racing and the team was going to help me develop my clothing line - Prooff - but then we decided I'd come on board and race with the kids," explained Rodriguez.

    He was able to participate at many of the races in the Bay Area, including the Early Bird series, all the while developing the juniors riding skills - necessary for stepping up to the elite category.

    "That was the idea, having someone work hands-on with the juniors."

    As the race season continued Rodriguez started to realize how much he missed racing at the pro level. But it wasn't one instance that stood out to him which finally led him to Team Exergy, but a couple.

    At the Sea Otter Classic in April, Rodriguez was still racing as part of the Specialized development team. During the race he broke a rear wheel. Unsupported, he pulled into the wheel pit facing the aspect that his race was over. However, mechanics from Team Exergy ran over and loaned him a wheel - something that Rodriguez remembered months later.

    In May, Rodriguez participated in a Specialized Devo team donors ride which included riding the Sierra Road stage of the Amgen Tour of California just a few hours before the pro field would come by. As he was...

  • Specialized Women SA loom as favourites for NSW Grand Prix Series

    The Specialized Women SA team at the Noosa Grand Prix
    Article published:
    November 24, 2011, 21:47 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Speedsters Hosking and Bates join fledgling team in guest roles

    The fledgling Specialized Women SA team is firming in favouritism for the NSW Grand Prix Series which will be held Saturday and Sunday in just their second outing. The two-day criterium series held in Wollongong and Cronulla has again attracted a top class line-up with the women's field expected to produce some highly aggressive and competitive racing with the cream of current Australian crop set to take the start line.

    The Specialized Women SA outfit's manager and rider, Liz Phillipou told Cyclingnews that she was impressed by what the team managed to achieve in their first-up performance at the Noosa Grand Prix earlier this month, where they claimed a spot on the podium through Trudy Van Der Straaten who was second to Nicole Cooke ( Dream Team).

    "When I was writing that down I did think that is was maybe a bit ambitious but I was really impressed by the way the girls rode," Phillipou. "Trudy and Bec [Rebecca Werner] were our most consistent in covering breaks. They're really punch riders and they've both had a lot of experience racing crits in the US so that really helped."

    Van Der Straaten and Werner will again need to fire this weekend with Phillipou and Narelle Hards joined by former Australian Under 23 Criterium Champion Chloe Hosking and former Australian Road Champion and world champion on the track, Katherine Bates fresh from competing at the Oceania Track Championships in Invercargill. Both Hosking and Bates will be making guest appearances for the team at Sunday's race at Cronulla.

    Given the omission of Rochelle Gilmore and Nicole Cooke from the Dream...

  • Australian track stars to tune form for Worlds at Perth International GP

    Australians Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn on the way to winning gold in the final of the team pursuit in a time of 3:57:832
    Article published:
    November 25, 2011, 0:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    First category 1 event in Perth since 1997

    Cameron Meyer and Luke Durbridge will be able to give their home state a sneak preview of their pre-Olympic form before the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne, with the announcement that Perth will be hosting an international warm-up event in the lead-up to the London Games.

    The Chevron 2012 Perth International Track Cycling Grand Prix, set to take place on March 24 will welcome the Australian medal hopes in addition to a host of international stars.

    "More than 170 elite level riders from around the world are expected to compete, including two current world champions from WA - Cameron Meyer and Luke Durbridge," Tourism Minister Dr Ken Hames said.

    "This high-level competition will be track cycling at its very best, offering local audiences a truly international event in a world-class venue.

    "Local riders will pit themselves against world champions on the 250m track, which is recognised as one of the fastest velodromes in the world."

    Durbridge and Meyer are gunning to win a gold medal in the prestigious team pursuit discipline. Geraint Thomas recently said that the Australian team has the edge.

  • UCI/GCP move to scupper breakaway plans

    UCI chief Pat McQuaid is facing a challenge to his organisation's hegemony
    Article published:
    November 25, 2011, 9:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Potential domain names for proposed rival tour snapped up

    The UCI's Global Cycling Promotion (GCP) has made the first move in the anticipated battle between themselves and the potential breakaway cycling tour that is being drafted up by the Rothschild Group and the Gifted Group. The partnership between the latter pair has developed into a proposed new big money world tour called World Series Cycling that could revolutionise the sport, as Cyclingnews revealed earlier this month. The GCP has now moved to throw a spanner in the works by buying the internet domain names, and, so that their rivals can't use them.

    The GCP was set-up by the UCI to expand the sport's globalisation and at this stage it retains the crucial backing of ASO, which owns and organises road cycling's premier event, the Tour de France. When contacted by Cyclingnews on Thursday, sources at the GCP and UCI refused to comment on the development. But close inspection from Cyclingnews has revealed that the GCP's name appears on the ownership documents for all three domain names.

  • Contador gives personal plea at CAS hearing

    Alberto Contador arrives at his CAS hearing with brother Fran and attorneys Adam Lewis and Mike Morgan
    Article published:
    November 25, 2011, 10:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    15 minute statement wraps up process

    Alberto Contador addressed the CAS hearing panel yesterday afternoon as WADA and the UCI's appeal against the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation's decision to clear him over a positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France reached its conclusion.

    Contador's 15-minute statement, in which he maintained the positive test came about as a result of eating contanimated meat, signalled the end of the four-day hearing in Lausanne. If the appeal is upheld then Contador faces being stripped of his victories at the Tour and the 2011 Giro d'Italia and will also receive a two-year ban. A decision is expected sometime in January.

    Contador did not comment as he left the hearing, but CAS general secretary Mattieu Reeb told the press: "Alberto Contador spoke last and for about fifteen minutes. He took the case very seriously and was present for the whole case and attended all the discussions."

  • The men behind World Series Cycling

    The UCI WorldTour, in which Philippe Gilbert finished top of the rankings in 2011, could face a serious challenge from World Series Cycling
    Article published:
    November 25, 2011, 11:32 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Heavyweight duo have a history of battling sporting administrators

    Though the reports of a potential breakaway league backed by the Rothschild financial group were quickly dismissed by the UCI as "unworkable" when Cyclingnews confronted it with them earlier this month, the details concerning the structure of the league demonstrate a well-thought proposal by people who mean serious business.

    In fact, the men behind the "World Series Cycling" idea, Jonathan Price and Thomas Kurth, have a history of battling sporting administrators. Price's Gifted Group specialises in bundling television rights and perhaps even more intriguing is Kurth, who is a former head of the G14 - a now defunct organisation that comprised of the richest European football clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal.

    Kurth's background

    While Kurth was in charge, the organisation came into direct conflict with the European administrator UEFA, as well as FIFA head Sepp Blatter over the way TV rights were being distributed.

    Amongst other things, Kurth was critical that revenue collected from international fixtures was not distributed by FIFA and UEFA to the clubs themselves, particularly when players would at times return from these games injured at the expense of the teams they were contracted to.

    Efforts like this were part of the grander objective of the group to increase the influence of clubs in what Kurth saw as an increasingly autocratic atmosphere of football governance.

    "We want to see the rights of all clubs, not just G14 clubs, actively recognized within the governance and management structure of the game," Kurth said to the BBC in 2006.

    "At the moment they are not. Decisions are in circles from which the clubs are locked out. The governance of the game needs to be modernised."

    The culmination of this conflict saw Kurth leading...

  • Armitstead and Cooke row rumbles on

    Nicole Cooke has come under fire from Team GB colleague Lizzie Armitstead this week
    Article published:
    November 25, 2011, 15:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Brailsford and Pendleton have their say on public spat

    The much-publicised row between Great Britain cyclists Lizzie Armitstead and Nicole Cooke has dominated much of the UK cycling press over the last couple of days. Earlier this week Armitstead revealed to Cycling Weekly that she blames Cooke for Team GB's failure to win a medal at the women's road race world championship in Copenhagen in September, accusing her colleague of "riding for herself and never working for a teammate" after Cooke finished in fourth place and Armitstead in seventh. Now multiple Olympic and World Championship gold medallist Victoria Pendleton and Team GB supremo David Brailsford have voiced their opinions on the matter.

    Pendleton, who won gold in the track sprint at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is a winner of eight Track World Championship golds, told the Daily Mirror that the rivalry between the two British women could work in their favour at the London 2012 Olympics.

    "Even if you can't be best friends, that doesn't mean you can't be teammates," she said. "The fact we have two girls jostling to lead the road race squad is a healthy sign and rivalry can be a good thing if they push each other on and it increases our chance of winning a gold medal. It must be really hard to decide who should be the leader of the pack that day. Nicole has the history, Lizzie has the current form. Do you go with experience or youth? Ultimately the fastest girl will get the nod. I don't know much about the situation involving Lizzie and Nicole, but I'm sure Dave Brailsford [British Performance Director] will sort it out."


  • Garmin women's team faces budget shortfall

    Emma Pooley leads the Garmin-Cervelo team
    Article published:
    November 25, 2011, 16:12 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Team looking for solution to loss of BigMat sponsorship

    Slipstream Sports is faced with potentially closing their women's team, or making financial cuts, due to the sponsorship fallout from losing BigMat sponsorship funds.

    BigMat was lined up to co-sponsor the America team's operations for multiple years but pulled out and aligned with FDJ. The matter is currently going through legal motions but the lack of funds means that Jonathan Vaughters could be forced to make financial cuts.

    "We spent 14 months aggressively searching for an independent sponsor for the women's team but we were unsuccessful in that mission. So, when we entered into a binding letter of intent with a potential sponsor, we made the decision to fund the women's team out of the WorldTour team. That potential sponsor withdrew from the deal. As a result, we are being forced to evaluate our women's program.

    "We are hopeful to find another solution and are back aggressively looking for a sponsor, but if we are unable to secure one, we will have to continue to make budget cuts. We are committed to doing everything we can for our athletes and staff during this time and they remain our priority."

    Vaughters would not comment on the exact money it takes to run a women's team but he told Cyclingnews that he would carry on the search. The American team has had to cut funds from the men's team.

    "At this point we're having to consider budget cuts," he told Cyclingnews. "This 50 percent rumour has not been determined. At the end of the day it's our intention to make sure that the value on their contracts is honoured and we need to find a solution to keep the team on the road."

    Vaughters also said that he would not stand in the way of any members of the women's team moving to another squad and that he would cover any financial discrepancy in contracts.

    "If one of them wanted to go to another...