TechPowered By

More tech

First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Date published:
February 17, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Carving a new notch in a young career

    Australian riders Scott Law (l) and Alex Carver took out the first night of UIV Cup racing.
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 20:00 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Alex Carver anticipates years of firsts in 2010

    The story of young Australian riders making the transition from track racing to the elite road ranks is nothing new, but the latest batch of juniors from down under is travelling a slightly different path these days.

    The practice of sending Australian juniors to UIV Cup races - the three-day, 'amateur version' of Six-Day races - is a fairly recent development, and one of those riders who has passed the short-track test is Alex Carver.

    The 18-year-old from Sydney made a name for himself racing in the Memorial Noël Foré after he and fellow New South Welshman Scott Law won the event last year on the 166m Kuipke Velodrome in Gent.

    Countrymen Leigh Howard and Glenn O'Shea won fans in Belgium thanks to their performances in this style of racing, with the pair returning to the senior Six-Day ranks this past European winter to hone their speed ahead of a busy road schedule as Howard embarks on a professional career with HTC-Columbia.

    Now in his ninth year of riding, Carver is looking to follow a similar path, and his initial foray into the world of European racing was a significant and successful step in that direction. "The overseas racing was a great experience and it got me some exposure - it showed me what racing's like over there [Europe] as I progress in my career and what I can look forward to," said Carver.

    His state and Memorial Noël Foré teammate Scott Law took out the scratch race at the recent Australian track national championships; Carver was pleased with the result and admitted that he was far from securing it himself, although he helped set up the victory in the early stages of the event.

    "Coming back here to Aussie nationals I haven't returned in the best form but I've tried my best this week and I've seen my teammate getting up for a pretty big win, the biggest win of his career. That's an outstanding effort after coming back from injury the way he has," Carver added.


  • Risi has his curtain call in Copenhagen

    Kurt Betschart and Bruno Risi ride for Switzerland at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 9:26 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Swiss rider retires after season-long send-off

    Swiss Six Day specialist Bruno Risi called a final end to his long and storied career on the track in Copenhagen today. The 41-year-old was given a special send-off by his long-time partner, Kurt Betschart, who surprised Risi by attending the ceremony in Denmark.

    Risi and Betschart raced the Six Day circuit together for 15 years, amassing some 37 Six Day victories and a European championship as a pair.

    As much of a force Risi and Betschart were on the Six Day circuit, they never managed to win the World Championship race. Risi claimed four rainbow jerseys in the points race, in 1992, 1994, 1999 and 2000 before finally taking the title in his specialty, the Madison, with a young new Swiss partner named Franco Marvulli. They also took the silver in the Madison for Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

    When Betschart retired in 2006, Risi and Marvulli began racing the circuit together full time, and the two went on to win a second world title in 2007. Risi and Marvulli have combined for 20 victories in Six Day events.

    Risi has been a popular rider in the Six Day races since 1992, and had a reputation as being a tactically shrewd racer who raced fair but hard on the track, but was always smiling and joking off-track.

    The retirement ceremony in Copenhagen was just one of many such moments to honor the Swiss rider. He has been feted in Amsterdam, Munich, Gent, Zurich, Rotterdam and Bremen this season.

    Danish Madison world champion Michael Mørkøv paid tribute to Risi at the Copenhagen ceremony, showing a photo of himself with Risi when the Swiss rider was a pro and the Dane a young junior. "We are from different times, but it has been a great honor for me and Alex [Rasmussen, his partner] to race against you.

    "Since 2006 when we started, I've always tried to learn from you," Mørkøv continued telling Risi, "but even after these years you still surprise me, and you can still...

  • Team pursuit sure to scorch at worlds

    (l-r): Australian teams pursuit gold medallists Cameron Meyer, Luke Durbridge, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn on the podium in Melbourne.
    Article published:
    February 11, 2010, 1:45 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Copenhagen could host fastest Australian pursuit ever

    After the sensational times set by riders at the recent Australian track titles in Adelaide, Australia, one of the country's rising stars believes the national team pursuit selection could be the fastest ever at the upcoming UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Michael Hepburn (pictured, right) says the 4:14.427 recorded by Jack Bobridge and Rohan Dennis' 4:15.764 for the 4000m men's individual pursuit could lead to the fastest time ever ridden by an Australian men's team pursuit at the world titles next month.

    "A year ago the Australian teams at the world cups were riding 4:02, 4:03, 4:04 [for the team pursuit]... and now we're consistently riding sub four minutes or around that four-minute mark," said Hepburn. "In Beijing we did a 4:01 and we stuffed up in the last kilometre. If we hadn't, we would have done a four [minute] flat.

    "I think the Brits are still the top seed at the moment - they've done a 3:54 in the past few months - they've gone quickly before and they've definitely got the riders to go low 3:50s. So who knows? Worlds this year should be interesting. I think that it could be one of the fastest times by an Australian team," he added.

    Hepburn himself rode a 4:22.163 for the individual pursuit at the national titles in his first year as a senior rider and was part of the Australian team that broke the four-minute barrier at last November's UCI Track World Cup round in Melbourne. He believes the recent performances of his teammates from that squad put the team in good stead in Copenhagen.

    "Jack did a 4:14, Rohan did a 4:15... they're world class times," said Hepburn. "It's hard to have someone as fast as Jack; they've got Geraint Thomas, who's been rumoured to be riding around those times but Jack took second in the event at worlds last year and he's only gotten better since then. Who knows what he'll do this year at worlds?"

    He's quick to moderate his sentiments however,...

  • US gets national track series after 7-year hiatus

    Track racing has been immensely popular at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in T-Town, PA
    Article published:
    February 11, 2010, 14:28 GMT
    Scott Patton

    Former World Champion looks to bring new series and face to ATRA

    In 2010, American track cyclists will have the first opportunity to compete in national track racing series in 7 years thanks to the work of Jeff Hopkins, the new American Track Racing Association (ATRA) director. The 11-race series will begin in May at the Superdrome in Frisco, Texas and continue at seven other velodromes around the country, ending back in Texas for the National Championships.

    In his new role, Hopkins put together the series to try and unify track racing in the USA. Some of the races will be run under an ATRA permit, others will be raced as USA Cycling races, but all of the tracks are members of ATRA.

    Hopkins is hoping to use the inaugural National Championship Series as a seed to grow the concept. "If just one person from another track travels to race at each event, the series will be a success. We have to start small and manageable, bring some awareness and then continue to grow the series every year," Hopkins said.

    The series is just one of the ways Hopkins is revamping the image of ATRA. Earlier this year he was approached by the organisation to provide promotional assistance and to manage their media relations. Hopkins, a former junior world champion and retired professional cyclist, was ready to take on the challenge.

    In addition to the new race series, Hopkins intends use internet social media networking to help member tracks promote their races. "We have to use everything! The internet is changing. The ATRA website is now bringing in a news feed from every member velodrome that has one, and is automatically integrated with Facebook and Twitter so that we have another vehicle to disseminate news items from each velodrome. We are also exploring ways to work with the member tracks to promote their racing outside of the NCS."

    The new initiative should help enlighten racers in North American to the role of ATRA, which has functioned under the radar of most racers. Without a cohesive national...

  • Jamieson pleads guilty to child sex charges

    Mark Jamieson (Australia)
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 11:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian World track champion voluntarily left national team last year

    Mark Jamieson, a former world track champion and Olympian, has pleaded guilty to multiple child sex charges in his Australian homeland on Monday. The 25-year-old pleaded guilt to four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and one count of gross indecency with another girl under 16 years old.

    Jamieson also pleaded not guilty to another count of gross indecency. All the alleged conduct occurred in Adelaide between November 2008 and January 2009.

    According to the AAP news agency, the case has now been adjourned until March, to allow prosecutors to decide how to deal with the charge to which he pled not guilty. They could drop the charge or go to trial.

    Jamieson excused himself from the Australian national track team last February, shortly after being nominated for the World Championships. He cited personal reasons.

    He won gold in the team pursuit at the World Championships in 2006. Last year he won the Australian national pursuit title, and was second in the points race. He was 2002 junior World champion in individual pursuit.

  • Australia names long squad for track worlds

    Jack Bobridge (Australia) takes to the top step on the World Championship podium.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2010, 8:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Competition fierce for final endurance places

    Cycling Australia has announced the 19 riders who are eligible for selection in the final squad for the UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, from March 24 to 28.

    Following their blistering performances in the individual pursuit at the recent Australian national track championships, Jack Bobridge heads the 'long team' of riders, with the man who took second in that event, Rohan Dennis, also featuring amongst the selection.

    Bobridge rode an incredible time of 4:14.427 in qualifying for the individual pursuit, the fastest time not utilising the now-banned 'Superman' position. Dennis was just as impressive, clocking 4:15.764, both times putting the pair in a good position to be selected for the final squad on March 13

    Meanwhile, sprint stars Anna Meares and Shane Perkins, who sat out the national titles courtesy of fatigue and injury respectively, were named in the long squad, with each expected to board the plane to Copenhagen in March.

    Talented Queenslander Michael Hepburn is the youngest rider to be selected for the long squad and stands a good chance of making the final cut, the 18-year-old impressing with his versatility at the national titles, in addition to his time of 4:22.163 for the men's individual pursuit, the first time he had ridden the longer distance of four kilometres in competition since moving up from the junior ranks.

    Competition for the men's endurance places will be fierce, with Luke Durbridge also making the long list for his first senior track world championships, having represented Australia at two junior worlds campaigns over the past two years.

    The Australian 'long team' for the UCI Track World Championships:

    Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, Daniel Ellis, Michael Hepburn, Leigh Howard, Cameron Meyer, Travis Meyer, Jason Niblett, Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Megan Dunn, Belinda Goss, Sarah Kent, Kaarle...

  • Mørkøv and Rasmussen tune up for track worlds

    Denmark's Michael Mørkøv (left), 2009 Madison world champion with Alex Rasmussen (right), was an outspoken critic of the changes to the Olympic track programme.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2010, 9:01 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Danish pair concerned Olympic decision will devalue Madison

    Despite their continued concerns over the withdrawal of the Madison from the Olympic track programme, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv will take to the Ballerup Arena in Copenhagen next month keen to defend their World Madison title in front of a home crowd.

    The two ended a strong six-day season with victory at the Six-days of Copenhagen last week, and the duo will take to the road with Saxo Bank in the lead up to the track Worlds, March 25-28. They will head into the event as hot favourites to claim back-to-back wins. However, outspoken critics of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) recent decision to remove the event from Olympic competition they told Cyclingnews that they expect a negative knock-on effect to the status of the World title.

    "It's not good and we hope they will bring it back into the Olympics. I think the prestige of the Madison at the World Championships will suffer as a result," Mørkøv told Cyclingnews in Mallorca, Spain on Monday. "The Omnium will draw riders away and the [Madison] peloton will be weakened; it won’t have the best riders."

    The IOC's decision could also have a devastating impact upon the quality of fields at European six-day events and, in turn, attendances. Rasmussen and Mørkøv have been one of the most formidable combinations throughout the 2009/2010 six-day season, taking wins at the Gent, Berlin and Copenhagen events. Though concerned about the future of the Madison format, the two are pleased with their strong season as World Champions.

    "We expected to be strong, we've been together for four years now and we expect to stay together for some time to come," said Rasmussen. "This year's World Championships remain a major goal and we hope to defend our title."

    We wanted to have a good six-day season. We were proud to be wearing the World Champion's jersey and to be able to show it off," added Mørkøv.

    The two...

  • Pollack to fight two-year doping suspension

    Olaf Pollack (Team Volksbank)
    Article published:
    February 17, 2010, 8:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Retired rider says B sample was not positive

    Olaf Pollack has officially retired from racing but will continue to fight to clear his reputation. The German cyclist announced Tuesday afternoon that the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (BDR) had given him a two-year suspension for doping, which he will appeal.

    The BDR announced last September that Pollack had tested positive on July 6, with the B-sample also being positive. The name of the substance involved has never been released.

    The suspension runs through September 13, 2011. It has not yet been confirmed by the BDR.

    Pollack stopped riding in mid-August due to an eye problem, and has since retired from the sport with a detached retina.

    In a statement issued Tuesday, Pollack said that he had given the BDR's disciplinary section “scientifically based and legal objections to the results of the A and B samples. It is regrettable that this contradiction was not given any attention.”

    According to his attorney, Marcus Holze, the A and B samples delivered different results, and the B-sample could not be interpreted as positive.

    Pollack, 36, rode for Teams Gerolsteiner, T-Mobile, Wiesenhof and Volksbank. His major successes came on the track, winning a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics and the World title in 1999.