- Article published:
- July 14, 2009, 12:55
- Greg Johnson
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- Article published:
- July 14, 2009, 21:57
- Kirsten Frattini
State funds necessary for race budget will be released
Governor Jay Nixon announced today that the Department of Economic Development will release the previously frozen 1.5 million dollars in state funds needed for the Tour of Missouri to continue as planned. The seven-stage event is set to begin on September 7 in St. Louis.
"Missouri currently faces tremendous financial challenges, and the state must find ways to reduce spending," said Nixon in a statement released this afternoon. "Even as my administration continues to tighten its belt, I believe that the 2009 Tour of Missouri should go forward. The race will go on this year, and Missourians deserve to know that state funds for the event are used transparently and accountably. They should know precisely how money for the Tour of Missouri is being spent, and that the event is being run in a way that minimizes the cost to taxpayers."
A letter was sent to the State's budget and planning office that outlined a spread of cutbacks totaling 10 million dollars last week. The 1.5 million dollar portion frozen for the Tour of Missouri was nearly half of the total cost of running the event. The race costs 3.3 million dollars to go forward and according to Medallist Sports, under contract with Tour of Missouri Inc, a not for profit organization, the funds had already been spent and contracts signed for hundreds of thousands more. There was fear amongst the event's organizing committee that the state issues cut backs would force the Tour of Missouri to be cancelled.
"To ensure transparency and accountability, I asked the Office of Administration to seek a full and fair explanation of all expenditures connected with the Tour of Missouri in 2007 and 2008, and of budgeted expenditures and contracts for 2009," Nixon continued. "A representative from the Office of Administration met today with representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Division of Tourism and Tour of Missouri, Inc. Because of assurances from the Division of Tourism and the Tour of Missouri, Inc. that they are now willing to share records regarding spending on previous races and planned spending for this year's race, the Office of Budget and Planning will immediately begin to provide state funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri."
- Article published:
- July 14, 2009, 22:36
- Kirsten Frattini
Restrictions on foreign riders and mandatory health insurance among changes
USA Cycling and the USPRO Board of Trustees have implemented some changes to the policies and procedures in 2010 for teams wanting to register as a UCI Continental Team within the US. Changes include tougher restrictions on the number of foreign riders allowed per team, mandatory health insurance for all riders and clearer contractual agreements between rider and management.
"Non-European countries were given the option of having a phasing period to introduce the new rules to the teams last year then implement them in 2010," said Shawn Farrell, USA Cycling's technical director. "It is no surprise to any of our teams."
Unique to the USA, in January of 2010 USA Cycling and the USPRO Board of Trustees will implement a 'majority rule' whereby all teams registered as a UCI Continental Team must have the majority of its riders as US citizens. This will change again in 2011 whereby 60 percent of riders must be US citizens. Furthermore, all foreign riders must be licensed with USA Cycling, listed in the USA Cycling database and enrolled in the no advanced notice pool for drug testing with USADA. The team is responsible for providing up-to-date addresses for all riders.
"We occupy an interesting position in cycling because we are a huge country with a large number of teams but we also don't have other countries to race in nearby," Farrell said. "Our Continental teams play a more important role in the development of our riders than in Europe. Here, they really are a place to go and be for a long time, almost as though they were Professional Continental but without some of the extra requirements.
"You would be hard pressed to find a foreign rider on a Continental team in any other country," Farrell continued. "We noticed that our teams were looking more like foreign teams than American, meaning there was no place for young Americans to go and no bridge or stepping stones anymore. We decided we needed to look at what Continental teams ought to be and make a change to reflect that, to make room for young Americans on these teams. If a team needs to be 20 riders with all of them foreign, they should be Professional Continental and there is that option."
The already existing rules mandated by the UCI include team size requirements at a minimum of eight riders and a maximum of 16 riders, the majority of the riders must be have a racing age of under 28, the allowance of two U23 riders to be added as stagiaires as of August 1 and the allowance of up to four "specialists" in other endurance cycling disciplines provided they're ranked by the UCI in the top 150 of their respective disciplines. The newly introduced changes listed below have already been implemented overseas for European registered Continental teams at the start of the 2009 season.
Beginning in January of 2010, team management must provide documentation that assures USA Cycling and the UCI that each rider carries comprehensive health insurance, in addition to what comes with being licensed with USA Cycling. The team must make sure the rider's health insurance is maintained for the duration of the season. Furthermore, the UCI rules specify that it is the team's responsibility to provide supplementary coverage if the rider does not have it. USA Cycling offers an additional coverage package through Adventure Advocates.
The UCI introduced higher bank guarantees and the teams must pay a bank guarantee of 20,000 Euros or 15 percent of the total for all rider and staff salaries, whichever is higher, to be held in a neutral bank determined by USA Cycling at a later date. Once the guarantee is deposited it cannot be accessed without USA Cycling's approval. "The UCI's bank guarantee is much higher, where last year it was a minimum of $5,500 or 10 percent of the rider and staff salaries," Farrell said. "Over half of our teams are paying more than that now and there are probably four teams that pay the minimum right now. They will have to take it up or not be a Continental team next year."
Lastly, USA Cycling will also draft various types of guidelines to promote clearer and specific clauses that are deemed acceptable in rider-team contracts. This was designed to help prohibit teams from terminating contracts at any time and at their own discretion, which violates the principle of having a contract. According to the provision, an example is that it would be acceptable to terminate a contract in the case of a positive drug test or a serious breach of contract and unacceptable to terminate a contract for something as vague as 'not performing up to the team's expectations.'
- Article published:
- July 15, 2009, 01:50
- Daniel Simms
Ground control to peloton: you've lost your radio
Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - 48th on stage, 15th overall @ 2:52
"I thought that it was a really lovely, relaxed day, in which I had time to see a lot of things and I was able to speak with many team mates, which otherwise would not have been possible. We saw that in the end, the average speed is always the same, around 40 kilometres an hour on ground that was not at all flat, with constant climbs and descents on narrow and bare roads that prevent the bikes from gliding quickly.
"Today took place in a happy atmosphere, made more enjoyable by a breakaway. Behind, it was relaxed and the teams with sprinters were being controlled in order to reach the massive sprint that everyone wanted.
"It was a special day for me. Now I understand why riders in the days of Bahamontes lasted so long. On a personal level, I didn’t encounter any complications, I felt protected by my team mates simply because when a fall or puncture situation takes place, it's good to have everyone together to solve it as soon as possible. So we arrived at the finish line without any setbacks, but my team mates were close by just in case."
José Angel Marchante (Cervélo TestTeam) - 109th on stage, 43rd overall @ 12:32
"I am happy with the work that I've done in the first phase of the mountains. My job was to be with Carlos in the difficult moments and even though I would have liked to have been a little better, I am content."
"At first, it was a little nerve-racking to be at the side of the defending Tour champion, but once we hit the mountains, the nerves disappeared and now I am more confident that I can be there for him at all the key moments in the Alps. That is our next objective."
Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram) - 11th on stage, 140th overall @ 1:15:32
"Up until the crash I was in a good position. Then I lost some important metres and had to come forward again. At the end it was a very hectic race on an extremely turning and dangerous course. The stages on Wednesday and Thursday will surely be better for us."
Alberto Contador (Astana) - 40th on stage, second overall @ 0:06
"Riders are not satisfied with not using radios, especially for the dangerousness of the race. Already it is not a question of spectacle, because when there are no attacks like before it is because cycling has changed and teams are now more compact.
"To ride without radios means that a fall in an evil moment may rob you of victory or a puncture means that the strongest rider won't win."
"There was a degree of chaos because all the cars wanted to go forward. At the end it was a stage to demonstrate the dissatisfaction of all the riders. It's a pity that stages are so calm, though today there wasn't much of a chance to animate the race because it was completely flat.
"I think experiments are better in races other races than in the Tour de France."
Christian Henn (Team Milram directeur sportif)
"We controlled things in the race today. Towards the end we were very active in the chase work, catching the escape group. The finale was very hectic, however. Through another rider's crash, Gerald Ciolek lost 'Paco' Wrolich's rear wheel and fell out of the lead group."
Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) - second on stage, 121st overall @ 1:04:32
"I was in good position for the sprint, but in the last corner, I lost four or five metres to Cavendish and I had to fight really hard to close the gap and get back on his wheel. Because of this, I wasn't able to sprint at my best.
"I cannot be disappointed considering the circumstances. I was able to defend the green jersey, so I am happy about that."
José Joaquín Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) - fifth on stage, 63rd overall @ 28:07
"I am still feeling good in this Tour and today in Issoudun I absolutely wanted to take part in the sprint to try and win a stage. I was very well placed at one kilometre from the line, in the seventh or eighth position.
"The finale was very technical, with several difficult curves and at about 500 hundred from the line, Haussler tried the first attack and then Duque put in another one but they stopped their efforts so I was left 10 metres behind. I tried to come back but it was already impossible to come and sprint with the very first.
"It's a pity because I felt strong after a very easy stage and I hoped at least to get the opportunity to fight with Cavendish.
The finale was much more difficult and dangerous that what was written in the road book and the fact that we had no possibility to use the ear pieces today did not allow team managers to tell us about the danger. Fortunately only one rider crashed but this finish was not worthy of the Tour.
"We are lucky because the riders are already more tired and less nervous, but I don't want to imagine what could have happened if we had such a finish in the first week of the race."
Alex Sans Vega (Cervélo directeur sportif)
"The breakaway went very early in the stage and several teams worked together to control it, so it was a good day for a stage after the rest day. Sometimes it takes 80km for the break to settle and you can really burn a lot of energy."
"The break never got more than three minutes or so. We had a strong tailwind in the final 50km, so it was important to keep it close. Thor was there for the sprint; we have to fight day by day for the points to keep the green jersey."
Johan Bruyneel (Team Astana General Manager)
"I understand the reason for no radios was to have more attractive racing and that's obviously not what happened. If that's what they wanted to accomplish it's been a failure and I just think it's a bad idea to go back 20 years and do something like this in the biggest race of the year. It took away a tool that everybody uses everyday."
Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) - 70th on stage, 107th overall @ 55:39
"I don't understand why there's such a big fuss about the ear pieces. It's a rule and we will follow it. It's a safety question and we prefer to race with the ear pieces but it's not like we're unable to think on our own. We can make our own decisions."
Andreas Klier (Cervélo TestTeam) - 78th on stage, 168th overall @ 1:33:01
"The race was like years ago when I started as a cycling pro. Then they didn't have radios yet. It was a pretty relaxed stage from my point of view and we could have that every day."
Angelo Furlan (Lampre-NGC) - 20th on stage, 170th overall @ 1:43:42
"After the efforts on the mountains and the injuries of the previous days, my condition is improving and so I wanted to test myself in a sprint, even if the final part of the stage was not so good for my characteristics. I tried the sprint, but the road was tough and the finale was not so flat.
"Ballan guided me perfectly but when I found myself alone and I had to battle for the position, I felt that I haven't yet got the necessary stamina to be in the front positions. Anyway, I have ground it out and in the next stages I'll try to try my luck."
- Article published:
- July 15, 2009, 10:29
- Richard Tyler
Team will look for co-sponsor to ensure future
Bouygues Telecom will continue to sponsor their eponymous ProTour team until the end of the 2010 season.
The team, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, is currently competing in the Tour de France, where they have taken two stage wins through Thomas Voeckler and Pierrick Fédrigo.
French daily L'Equipe reported that the French telecommunications company would match its current 5.5 million Euro commitment to Jean-René Bernaudeau's squad next year.
Bouygues Telecom's contract had been set to expire at the end of the current season. Bernaudeau had begun the process of looking for a replacement for the company, who have sponsored the team since 2005. The team added 'BBox' to its name this year, BBox is a product provided by Bouygues Telecom.
A spokesperson for Bougyues Telecom indicated to L'Equipe that the team will look for a co-sponsor capable of ensuring the team's continuation. "Our priority remains finding a co-sponsor for 2010, which will ensure the future of the team into 2011"
The news follows the announcement, in June, that the sponsorship of fellow French ProTour squad, Cofidis, had also been renewed until the end of 2010.
- Article published:
- July 15, 2009, 11:28
- Susan Westemeyer
Dutchman back on the bike a week after breaking wrist
Only one week after breaking his wrist in the Tour de France's fifth stage Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is back on the bike, planning a training camp and looking forward to the next Grand Tour.
The 23-year-old will go to St. Moritz for three weeks of altitude training, beginning on Monday. The training will fit in with his preparations for the Vuelta a Espana. The Dutchman's first races back are expected to be the Tour du Limousin (August 18-21) and the GP Ouest France – Plouay (August 23).
Gesink went for his first bike ride on Wednesday after receiving a new cast on his broken wrist. “I cycled for a few hours with my girlfriend,” he said on the team's website, rabosport.nl. “It was nice to be back on the bike and to see that things are going well.”
Gesink was coping well with the disappointment of crashing out of the Tour. “Of course it was shit, but it is not the end of the world.” Being able to look forward to the Vuelta made a difference, he noted.
He couldn't avoid watching the Tour now, despite his best efforts. He went to Brussels for two days with his parents, his girlfriend and her parents. “The TV was on in every store we went into. You just couldn't miss the Tour. But I'm handling it pretty well.”
Meanwhile, he has been in daily contact to a few teammates at the Tour, and said “My sports heart is still in France.”
Gesink joined the Rabobank Continental team in 2006, and the ProTour team in 2007. Last season he finished seventh overall in the Vuelta.
- Article published:
- July 15, 2009, 11:36
- Richard Tyler
Dutch team intend to stay active in France
Skil-Shimano continued its active and impressive debut at this year's Tour de France during stage ten of the race to Issoudun on Tuesday.
Frenchman Thierry Hupond was the last member of a Bastille Day breakaway to be caught by the peloton, 1.3km from the finish line. Dutchman Kenny Van Hummel finished seventh in a frantic finish after losing sight of the rider he had been tasked with leading out for the final sprint, Cyril Lemoine.
"It was hectic." Van Hummel told De Telegraaf. "I was tired with one kilometre to go and [Cyril] was to tell me when I had go, but I lost sight of [him]."
Van Hummel, 26, said that he was satisfied with his form after coming through the Pyrenees on Sunday.
Hupond will start stage 11 in Vatan on Wednesday with the red dossard of most combatitive rider on stage ten.
Skil-Shimano has been active in breakaways throughout the Tour de France. Team manager Ewan Spekenbrink said that the team has no plans to variate from their straightforward tactics.
"We will try to be active, yes" Spekenbrink told Cyclingnews. "As long as there is energy in the legs, we will try to be active, for sure."
- Article published:
- July 15, 2009, 15:40
- Gregor Brown
American sprinter learning sprints at Tour de France
American Tyler Farrar is learning what it takes to win a sprint at cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France. He is participating for the first time in the race and has achieved two top three finishes after the first 10 days.
"I think the speed is there for me to win," he said in Vatan Wednesday. "It is just a matter of everything else, if it all falls in place."
Farrar, 25, raced his first Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia stage race in May. He faced established sprinters Mark Cavendish and Alessandro Petacchi, finishing second twice.
The Tour is going just as well for Farrar. He placed second behind Cavendish on the first road stage to Brignoles and fourth, second in the group sprint, on last Wednesday's stage to Perpignan. He placed third behind Cavendish and Thor Hushovd on Tuesday in Issoudun.
"I don't think I could have changed much with yesterday -- Mark was certainly the fastest guy. It was a very technical run in and I think we were a little surprised by the turns.
"Looking at the profile of today's (Wednesday's) stage, it should definitely be a sprint. We will try to do the same thing and I hope the legs are better."
There are three more sprints possible in this year's Tour de France. Garmin-Slipstream has two men dedicated to Farrar to help him win: Dutchman Martijn Maaskant leads first and then New Zealand's Julian Dean takes over in the final metres.
"I watched all the sprints after the Giro, and I changed a few things for the Tour. Julian and I want to hit the front in the last 500 metres. If that works out it should be good."
Farrar managed to beat Petacchi and Cavendish for the first time earlier this year. He caught the two by surprise in stage two of the Tirreno-Adriatico in March.
"I have proven to myself it is possible, it is just a matter of doing it again."