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First Edition Cycling News, July 4, 2008

Date published:
April 20, 2009, 20:38
  • Evans hoping for top form in second week

    Cadel Evans is hoping to reach peak fitness by the second week
    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Brest, France

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Brest, France On Thursday morning the Silence-Lotto team of hot favourite...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Brest, France

    On Thursday morning the Silence-Lotto team of hot favourite Cadel Evans was woken up by a visit from the French 'vampires'. After the blood tests the team rolled out for a short training ride and Cyclingnews grabbed a few moments with the team's leader just before he hit the road. With several camera crews in the hotel car park it seemed like the Tour had already started for the Australian. "Until this morning we had quite a relaxed Tour," Evans joked. "No, now there's not too much stress, for two more days."

    In contrast to previous years, the Tour de France doesn't start with a prologue, and so riders will not be separated during the road stages in the first week, a change welcomed by Evans. "First when I heard there was no prologue I thought 'good, less stress for us', as prologues are a lot of warming up and a lot of preparation for a short distance. I think without the time differences from the prologue we're going to see a lot close times.

    "It's going to encourage much more aggressive racing, more attacking racing. Hopefully it will mean more work for the sprinters' teams – Team High Road for example – but also more nervous racing. We don't want to spend a lot of energy and I don't want to ask the guys to work unnecessarily during the first week. Personally, I hope to be good in that nervous first week, but I should be at my top from the second week onwards."

    One thing Evans isn't looking forward to, however, is the narrow, winding Breton roads. "It will be constantly turning left and right on those small roads, and the wind will play a role as well, but it's always like that I guess," he said.

    The former mountain biker has been criticised in past Tours for his passive style of racing, but insisted winning stages is not something he's afraid to do. "People think I sit on and run second because I like to, but that's not the case at all," laughed Evans, adding that the absence of any time bonuses will change how the favourites contest stage finishes. "No time bonuses for sure will change the way the race will be ridden in a positive way, from your point of view," Evans smiled, " and nervous from our point of view."

    In the absence of defending champion Alberto Contador, Evans sees 2007 Vuelta winner Denis Menchov as the rider to watch this year. "I'm interested to see Menchov," he said. "I think he's one who's been quietly building up to riding a good race over here. Cunego, the Schleck brothers are very interesting riders, and of course Valverde; if he's in the form he was at the Dauphiné he'll be a force to be reckoned with."

    On paper, Evans' Silence-Lotto squad doesn't have the strength of several other big teams, but the Australian hopes his men can ride a smart race, saving their legs for when it matters most. "This year we have a much more focused, motivated and concentrated team. I asked all riders to concentrate 100 percent on the Tour. It's true that we're not the strongest team of the Tour, but maybe we are the most intelligent team.

    "There's one major change as [Chris] Horner has been replaced by [Yaroslav] Popovych. I'm really happy to have him in the team. He might be the difference between winning and losing the Tour at end of the month; he's a very key part of the team."

    Evans shares a room with Belgian Mario Aerts, who's known to be a quiet buddy. "He's good. A perfect room-mate. All I ask from a room-mate is that he's quiet and goes to bed early," Evans laughed. It seems like Silence-Lotto have tried hard to please Evans this year – there's a team cook with his own kitchen in a special truck, and even a bodyguard. "I asked for a chef because that is very important I think. I didn't ask for the bodyguard, that's something the team wanted to have. I asked for the small things, not the big things... I hope to do the big things on the bike."

    Serge is back!

    The Silence-Lotto team has a new bodyguard specially for its Australian general classification rider to protect him from unwanted media attention. Serge Borlée, who worked for Lance Armstrong and Alexandre Vinokourov in the past, didn't walk out with Evans this morning. "That's nothing compared to what it will be," smiled the former Belgian policeman. "If things go right then it will be completely different, and I don't think Cadel has an idea of what it will become, or at least what it should become."

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  • Tactical advantage for battle-ready Garmin-Chipotle at the Tour de France

    David Millar was looking lean in the new Garmin-Chipotle jersey.
    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Brest, France

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Brest, France Addressing a packed media centre in Brest on Thursday afternoon,...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Brest, France

    Addressing a packed media centre in Brest on Thursday afternoon, team manager Jonathan Vaughters presented his re-branded Garmin-Chipotle squad and its new jersey at the Tour de France. A clearly proud Vaughters was joined by Garmin's vice-president of marketing Jon Casset and Scotsman David Millar, who is also a part-owner of the team.

    "We have an agreement with Garmin for the next two years," began Vaughters. "It was a long search for us to find a fitting partner. In the next three weeks we are bringing in the new technology and it will be exciting for us to make use of it."

    Casset, who will be following the Tour for the entire three weeks, explained what his company stood for and how its technology could benefit a cycling team. "We are a technology brand with our specialty being GPS-equipment, and actually we are the world leader in car navigation," he said. "Next to that we are focusing on fitness, and cycling in particular. We had to take a deep dive in how the team is run, because it's all new for us.

    "But I'm convinced that with our GPS-enabled cycling computers we can bring a new level of technology to the sport," he added. "It's a unique opportunity to use the technology for us, but also for the fans."

    Asked about the specific advantages of the technology to his team, Vaughters explained: "When we are in the team car behind the riders, all we are doing is conveying a map, warning for sections where the course turns into the wind and the race will be torn into pieces. Due to poor radio quality and language barriers, there is a lot of error. I know people tend to think we are playing with joysticks and that we are ordering the riders what to do when we want, but you can't take good tactical decisions when you're driving one mile behind the race.

    "The Garmin 705 allows riders to make effective decisions themselves. If we can cut down on radio, it will be better for everybody. The riders can focus on the race because radio distracts."

    To read the complete feature, click here.

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  • Cofidis won't renew ProTour licence

    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Mark Zalewski

    There was more damaging news for the UCI's ProTour on Thursday when Cofidis announced it would not...

    There was more damaging news for the UCI's ProTour on Thursday when Cofidis announced it would not renew its ProTour licence in 2009. The French team will instead apply for a Continental Professional licence next year, a much cheaper alternative which still allows it to appear in most major races across Europe. Cofidis said it wanted to concentrate its racing in countries where it had a commercial presence.

    "Today, having a ProTour licence means making big investments which are not always financially viable because it takes the Cofidis team to more and more countries in which it has no operations," read a team statement according to AFP. "The French and European races on the Continental Pro calendar provide sufficient opportunity for us to achieve our commercial aims."

    Since its launch three years ago, the ProTour has been forced to change shape considerably after disagreements with organisers of the three Grand Tours forced the UCI to re-think the concept. Despite the addition of Australia's Tour Down Under, this year's series contains just 16 events compared to 26 the year before, and even smaller races, such as Malaysia's Le Tour de Langkawi, have said openly that being part of the ProTour calendar is not important for them.

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  • ASO vs. UCI: Condemned to repeat history?

    Can cycling avoid becoming a total wreck?
    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    As the Tour de France prepares to make its depart under the governance of the French Federation in...

    As the Tour de France prepares to make its depart under the governance of the French Federation in defiance of the UCI's rules, the sport's political problems are as far as ever from being solved. Cyclingnews' former motorsport journalist Greg Johnson finds some parallels in the world of auto racing that can serve as a warning to cycling's power brokers.

    There is a very sad reality to the current political climate of international cycling – it's all been done before. I'm not talking about the barrage of threats in the UCI Vs. Grand Tours battle which is annually followed by an 11th hour truce before the Tour de France starts each July. No, this battle – from beginning through to resolution – has been fought within other sporting frameworks for many years.

    Founded in 1900, cycling's international governing body – Union Cycliste International – is by no means a young organisation. It has lived through each and every one of these battles, yet shortsightedness has seemingly prevented it and Grand Tour organiser Amaury Sport Organisation from learning from others' experiences.

    At the heart of cycling's political bickering is money. Television rights from events such as ASO's Tour de France, and its newly acquired stake in the Vuelta a España, is a multi-billion dollar industry. While UCI's claim of wanting to protect the rights of those employed within the industry is true to an extent, its desire to gain a share of the financial windfall of television rights has long been one of the sticking points in negotiations with the sport's biggest promoter.

    If we look outside of our two wheel, pedal powered sport to the four wheeled world of motor racing for a moment, we will find some of the strongest parallels with the UCI/ASO situation in the world of sport: Should cycling follow the path of the first, it could suffer a steep decline, while the second path could yield a much more positive outcome.

    Continue to the full feature.

    Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

    October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
    September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
    August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
    August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
    August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
    August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
    August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

    Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

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  • Rasmussen will appeal to CAS

    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Following the news that Michael Rasmussen was handed a two-year suspension by the Monaco cycling...

    Following the news that Michael Rasmussen was handed a two-year suspension by the Monaco cycling federation on Tuesday, the Dane has announced his intention to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the hope of having the suspension reduced. Rasmussen's former team, Rabobank, was recently ordered by a court in The Netherlands to pay him 665,000 euro in compensation after he was sacked during last year's Tour de France for lying about his whereabouts prior to the race.

    "The court ruling still gives me a positive turning point in my case," Rasmussen told Sporza. "I am more convinced than ever that CAS will reduce my suspension and I can start to compete again in 2009."

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  • Stuart O'Grady's Tour diary – Getting ready

    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team CSC-Saxo Bank's Stuart O'Grady will be writing an exclusive diary for Cyclingnews during the...

    Team CSC-Saxo Bank's Stuart O'Grady will be writing an exclusive diary for Cyclingnews during the Tour de France. In the first installment Stuey checks in from Brest where the team is fine tuning its preparations two days before the race begins:

    Just got back from a few days in the mountains with the family, rode up a few bergs and got some fresh air and now I'm ready for the Tour!

    The early season looked good and I was pleased with my ride in Paris-Roubaix. But after missing out on so much of the season last year, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a Grand Tour under my belt and get the engine back into gear.

    I thought riding the Giro as preparation for the Tour would help me get another step up before the Tour. Well, obviously that didn't work out. But after seeing the rest of the Giro on TV I think maybe everything happens for a reason. It (the broken collarbone) could have been a blessing in disguise.

    A couple of weeks later I was racing the Bayern Rundfahrt and I was pretty happy that my shoulder had recovered so quickly and it was an important race to be able to get right back into it and then straight on to the Tour of Luxembourg. After that a training camp and bang, straight into the Tour of Switzerland.

    As for the Tour, personally, my main job is to look after Carlos (Sastre), keeping him out of trouble, look after him at the start and finish. Use my experience in areas of the race where I can be of special assistance. Look after the tactics out on the road.

    CSC has a very strong team and we could have picked two Tour teams – our depth is so good. The Schleck brothers will be strong this Tour and Jens (Voigt) will be in every breakaway there is – you can bet on that one with the bookmakers!

    Read the full diary here.

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  • USA Cycling Trustee election candidates

    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Mark Zalewski The chance for USA Cycling license holders to exercise their voting rights is...

    By Mark Zalewski

    The chance for USA Cycling license holders to exercise their voting rights is approaching, with numerous trustee seats on the board of trustees up for grabs. The election starts on Tuesday, July 15 and all USA Cycling members are encouraged to vote online through their online account. Voting will remain open until August 15, 2008.

    Each sub-area of USA Cycling is represented on the board, including USCF, NORBA, BMX, NCCA (collegiate) and USPRO. Members must hold a license in the area to cast a vote. While most names might not be recognizable to the average member, the USPRO area has a few familiar names, including director sportifs Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Chipotle), Ed Beamon (Team Type 1), Ken Mills (Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast) and outspoken team owner Michael Ball (Rock Racing).

    Visit www.usacycling.org for more information and to vote.

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  • Manchester to host Track World Cup round one

    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Mark Zalewski

    The Manchester velodrome has been confirmed as the venue for round one of the 2008-2009 UCI Track...

    The Manchester velodrome has been confirmed as the venue for round one of the 2008-2009 UCI Track Cycling World Cup. It will be the first major international track meeting after the Beijing Olympic Games in August. The three-day event will take place from October 31 to November 2.

    There will be 17 different disciplines, all of which will feature as World Championship events. The other four events in the Track World Cup series will take place in Melbourne, Australia (November 20-22), Cali, Colombia (December 11-13), Beijing, China (January 16-18) and Copenhagen, Denmark (February 13-15).

    For a full listing of all major track races, see Cyclingnews' 2008-2009 track calendar.

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  • Detroit to host U25 Madison selection event

    Article published:
    July 3, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Mark Zalewski

    The Bloomer Park Velodrome in the Detroit, Michigan suburb of Rochester Hills will host a three-day...

    The Bloomer Park Velodrome in the Detroit, Michigan suburb of Rochester Hills will host a three-day race for under-25 riders to qualify for international Six-Day racing this weekend. The three-day "NAS-Track" event will break up riders into two heats of head-to-head racing, with the top 5 teams in each heat moving on to the next day of racing.

    According to race promoters, the UIV (Union International Velodromes) will be using the event as part of its selection criteria for the winter European under-25 Six-Day series, the UIV Talents Cup.

    Racing will take place on the world class 200m outdoor wood velodrome designed by Olympic track designer Dale Hughes. "The International Velodrome at Bloomer Park was specifically designed for Madison team racing. We are very excited to be hosting a world class Madison tournament featuring our future Olympians and our future Six Day riders.

    "Our spectators will be seeing the most exciting kind of racing anywhere in the world. My goal is to create a UIV Talent Pool of US and Canadian riders so the professional six-day organisers can select outstanding qualified riders to compete in their races," said Hughes.

    For more information, visit www.VelodromeAtBloomerPark.com

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