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Latest Cycling News, December 7, 2007

Date published:
December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI officials visit Brindabella Challenge

    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Three high level officials from the International Cycling Union (UCI) will visit the Brindabella...

    Three high level officials from the International Cycling Union (UCI) will visit the Brindabella Challenge event at Stromlo Forest Park this weekend, Australia's largest variety cycling event which started November 30. They will inspect the mountain bike course that will host the 2009 World Championship and 2008 World Cup events.

    The UCI's Helen Mortimer, Beat Wabel and Melanie Leveau will spend the weekend visiting Stromlo Forest Park's world class facilities at the invitation of the hosts of the 2009 World Championships; Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC) and governing body Mountainbike Australia (MTBA).

    They will be inspecting the courses and be able to see some racing action during the Brindabella Challenge that this weekend includes all MTB events that will be in the Worlds program - cross country, downhill and mountain cross.

    The Brindabella Challenge's second week of cycling action will also feature a criterium, held for the first time ever under the lights at the Stromlo Cycling Circuit. Australia's largest variety cycling event, funded by the ACT Government, will continue through December 9.

    Weekend Event Schedule

    December 8: Brindabella Epic Point to Point Challenge (100 & 50 km events)
    December 8: Stromlo Forest Park Mountain Cross
    December 8: Stromlo Forest Park Criterium Cycling Circuit
    December 8: Kids (5-15) fun ride at Stromlo Forest park criterium circuit
    December 9: Tuggeranong BMX Track (morning) and Canberra BMX Track (afternoon)
    December 9: Brindabella Challenge Handicap
    December 9: Brindabella Challenge MTB Orienteering at the Kowen Forest Homestead

    For more information, visit www.brindabellachallenge.com.au

  • Giling to Pedaltech-Cyclingnews

    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch pro Bas Giling will be joining the new Pedaltech-Cyclingnews team next season, which is...

    Dutch pro Bas Giling will be joining the new Pedaltech-Cyclingnews team next season, which is currently awaiting confirmation of its Continental Pro status from the UCI. The 25 year-old comes from German team Wiesenhof, whose sponsor stops at the end of 2007 - the same squad than his team leader, Steffen Wesemann, who also signed for Pedaltech-Cyclingnews.

    "I'm happy to have found a team for next year," said Giling, who lives in Geraardsbergen, Belgium. The 2004 Dutch U23 road champ had been riding for the Continental Rabobank team before changing to T-Mobile last year.

  • Schur confesses "informer" background

    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    By Susan Westemeyer Former East German cyclist and Olympic gold medal winner Jan Schur has admitted...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Former East German cyclist and Olympic gold medal winner Jan Schur has admitted that he was an "inoffizieller Mitarbeiter" (IM, unofficial collaborator) for the German Democratic Republic's Security Service "Staatsicherheit" (Stasi) from 1981 onwards. IMs for the Stasi were expected to spy on their colleagues and inform on them back to the government.

    Many prominent athletes of the GDR were IMs, the majority involuntarily. The GDR sought out those athletes who were most successful and who travelled out of the country. They received compensation in various forms for their cooperation. Other well-known sports names of Stasi IMs are said to be track's Heike Drechsler and figure skater Kati Witt.

    Schur said that he worked for the Stasi under the codename "Reinhold" in the 1980s. He was approached by two Stasi officers in the summer of 1981, he told the Leipziger Volkszeitung. He said that at the time he felt "proud" to be selected, but that he soon found out that it dealt with "sounding people out. I was supposed to tell on other athletes. It was embarrassing, but I didn't know how to get out of it."

    He only met with Stasi officers a dozen times in seven years, he said. "I said some things that I maybe shouldn't have said, and I'm sorry for that. But on the whole I don't have to apologize to anyone." His last meeting with them was in September 1988, and the program ceased to exist in 1989, following Germany's reunification.

    Schur, 45, is the son of Täve Schur, also a cyclist and arguably East Germany's most popular athlete. The younger Schur won the 100 km team time trial in the World Championships in 1985 and 1989 and at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. He ended his career in 1994, after suffering severe injuries in a soccer game.

  • Irish Postal Service main sponsor of Sean Kelly Team

    Sean Kelly at the 2006 team launch of his squad
    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Shane Stokes The Irish-registered, Belgium-based Sean Kelly squad is moving forward with plans...

    By Shane Stokes

    The Irish-registered, Belgium-based Sean Kelly squad is moving forward with plans for 2008 after a trio of backers was announced on Thursday for the Continental team. Ireland's national postage service An Post will come in as the main sponsor on a one year deal, with an option to continue after that. Accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton and powertool distributor M. Donnelly will be secondary backers.

    "We have a one year deal with An Post, with the possibility of it extending afterwards," said manager Kurt Bogaerts to Cyclingnews. "We are in the process of finalising the team and should be signing more riders this week."

    Four Irish riders have been retained from this year's Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group/M. Donnelly lineup. Paídi O'Brien, Mark Cassidy, Isaac Speirs and Stephen Gallagher signed contracts on Wednesday and will be once again based at the Sean Kelly Academy in Merchtem, Belgium. Bogaerts said that there is a possibility of taking another Irish rider on the 12-man squad, which will also include cyclists from Belgium, Germany and Sweden next season. The team will also have a development wing that will enable younger Irish competitors to race abroad and to aim for professional careers.

    "In our view it is crucial that young Irish cyclists have access to international competition and training," said An Post Chief Executive Donal Connell on Thursday. "This is an essential element of their career development and an integral part of the development of this sport across the country. We will be announcing a number of other sponsorship initiatives in cycling in the coming months."

    The future of the team had been uncertain after the decision of 2007 sponsors Murphy and Gunn and The Newlyn Group not to extend their backing. However, the new arrangement means that the budget will be similar in the coming season.

    Kelly emphasised the importance of the setup. "One of...

  • Scott new partner of Saunier Duval

    Saunier's Juan José Cobo and Riccardo Riccò (r)
    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    The team formerly known as Saunier Duval-Prodir has changed one of its title sponsors and will next...

    The team formerly known as Saunier Duval-Prodir has changed one of its title sponsors and will next season be named Saunier Duval-Scott, the well-known American bicycle supplier has announced. Scott has been providing its carbon bikes to the Saunier Duval team since 2003. With this expanded sponsor role, the company plans to cooperate more actively with the team in order to improve its technologies.

    "We've made progress together, as the athletes' valuable feedback is a key factor to the evolution of our products. We're happy we can develop our accessories further and support the young riders recruited for next season," said Scott Vice-President Pascal Ducrot. "We entirely trust Mauro Gianetti and his men, and we've done so since 2003, when he showed us his project."

    Saunier Duval-Scott riders will be equipped with the Scott Addict road frame as the weapon of choice for the 2008 ProTour schedule. The team will continue to be managed by Mauro Gianetti and Joxean Fernández "Matxin". Next year, the Scott logo will be in a prominent position on the team's jersey, which can be seen in the picture above, featuring Leonardo Piepoli, José Ángel Gómez Marchante, Juanjo Cobo and Riccardo Riccò.

  • Milram on Mallorca

    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer The roads on Mallorca are filling up with pro cyclists. ProTour team Milram is...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    The roads on Mallorca are filling up with pro cyclists. ProTour team Milram is holding a mini-camp on the island, as is Team High Road. LINK: /news.php?id=news/2007/dec07/dec03news2 A group of Germans from the soon-to-be-German-team Milram have joined forces this week to run up the kilometres on the Spanish island.

    Christian Knees, Björn Schröder, Ralf Grabsch, Martin Müller, Dennis Haueisen, Sebastian Schwager and Erik Zabel have been joined by team newcomers Christian Kux and Artur Gajek on their winter training rides. "Here it is 20 degrees and the sun is shining, while at home it is cold and rainy," explained Müller, adding that there was another reason for not training at home. "Training camps are important in the pre-season preparations, because there is nothing else to do but train and recover. When you train at home, there is always something to do, so it is not so effective."

    The riders will be joined on Friday by new directeur sportif Jochen Hahn. There will be another training camp in Italy before Christmas.

  • Soler Colombian Sports Man of the Year

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) gets the award
    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The best climber of the 2007 Tour de France, Barloworld rider Mauricio Soler, has won the Sports Man...

    The best climber of the 2007 Tour de France, Barloworld rider Mauricio Soler, has won the Sports Man of the Year award in his home country, Colombia, on Thursday. The ceremony hosted by the El Espectador newspaper, who has been honouring sports men for the past 47 years with the help of its readers, was held in the Sheraton Hotel in Bogotá.

    Soler was accompanied by his family, including his father Manuel, his mother Maria and his wife Patricia. Also present was his team manager, Italian Claudio Corti.

    The Lifetime Achievement award went to the Tour de France mountains champion in 1985 and 1987, Luis Herrera. Herrera, former Colombian champion, and Soler, the current champion, both felt very grateful to receive the awards.

    Courtesy of www.ciclismohoy.com

  • Sastre to ride Giro?

    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spanish stage race specialist Carlos Sastre may be shifting focus next season, changing his usual...

    Spanish stage race specialist Carlos Sastre may be shifting focus next season, changing his usual Tour de France/Vuelta a España racing programme to also ride the Giro d'Italia, which could see him skip the Spanish Grand Tour. As the Tour de France will be the CSC rider's main goal in 2008, team management is yet to decide if Sastre needs to include the Giro in his season schedule in order to improve his preparation for the big event in July.

    "Carlos needs to participate in more races to be in top form," CSC team manager Bjarne Riis told Danish newspaper BT. "With that objective, the Giro is the best preparation for the Tour." Sastre has been a regular podium finisher in both the Tour and the Vuelta these past two years (he finished fourth in both Grand Tours in 2006, second in the Vuelta and fourth in the Tour this season) and is therefore a serious contender to overall victory. It remains to be seen if the Spaniard will replace the Vuelta with the Giro in 2008, as team staff will decide on the question soon.

  • Beijing Track World Cup: Olympic test event set to sizzle

    The Dutch are the team to watch
    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Paul Verkuylen

    By Paul Verkuylen The second round of the Track World Cup moves to the brand new Laoshan Velodrome...

    By Paul Verkuylen

    The second round of the Track World Cup moves to the brand new Laoshan Velodrome and venue of the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, China, this week. After a successful opening round in Sydney which saw a record, 395 cyclists take part in the event, 376 cyclists have entered the Olympic test event.

    Forty-four nations and a total of 69 teams have entered the weekend of racing, all with the hope of qualifying for next year's Olympics. An important aspect of the weekend will be getting to know the track. Not much is known about the track as even photos have been scarce. For all the national teams and rider, bar the Chinese presumably, this will be the first time that anyone will ride the new boards that have been specially laid for the Olympics.

    The Sydney World Cup brought about a number of surprises and Beijing should be no different as many of the riders are coming off a heavy road season, using the races to build form and fitness.

    For the track racing super powers like Great Britain, the Netherlands and Australia, the racing may be more about building knowledge for the bigger goal of Olympic gold next year, although in order to win gold, the teams and riders still need to qualify.

    To read the full preview of the Beijing Track World Cup, click here.

  • GT organisers' races outside of UCI calendar?

    UCI president Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    December 07, 2007, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    By Hedwig Kröner The battle between the Grand Tour organisers, the national federations and the...

    By Hedwig Kröner

    The battle between the Grand Tour organisers, the national federations and the International Cycling Union (UCI) is moving into the next round. In a letter dated November 28, 2007, from the six most important European cycling federations (Austria, Belgium, Spain, Italy, France and Luxemburg) to the head of the UCI, Pat McQuaid, the national federations have made known their plans to let the 11 races owned by the Grand Tour organisers ASO, RCS Sport and Unipublic take place "simply on the basis of a convention acting in liaison with the Federation having territorial authority." The national federations would therefore collaborate with the Grand Tour organisers, effectively taking their side in the conflict, following a meeting with them on November 22.

    At the end of September, the UCI decided to put all of these events except the Tour de France (Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Giro di Lombardia, Flèche Wallonne, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Tours) on the UCI Europe Tour calendar, which was perceived as a downgrade by the organisers, even though they were the ones that wanted to organise their races outside of the ProTour. (Read more about the decision's details in our Cycling News of September 28.)

    In his response letter dated December 7, Pat McQuaid has refuted claims by the national federations. They stated that "the surprising combination which consists in maintaining a regulatory link between the Tour de France and the UCI Pro Tour, while at the same time downgrading the ten other events at European level, does not provide an appropriate or even a comprehensible solution to the conflict," noting that the present situation was of "extreme gravity".

    "You must admit that the rights granted for example...