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Latest Edition Cycling News for December 19, 2006

Date published:
December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
  • The lines are open... It's time to vote!

    Tom Boonen: Cyclingnews 2005 rider of the year
    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    Each year, Cyclingnews gives its readers the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments,...

    Win the latest set of HED wheels

    Each year, Cyclingnews gives its readers the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so.

    From male and female cyclo-crosser and mountain biker of the year, to best product, best team bike, most improved rider, best one-day and stage race, male and female track and road riders, best moment, legend of cycling - soon you'll discover who each of these winners are. But what many of us are really itching to find out is our 'Big Daddy' award: Cyclingnews' 2006 Rider of the Year.

    In 2005, then newly-crowned world champion and winner of 14 races, Tom Boonen, ran home a winner with almost 50 percent of the votes, while runner-up Lance Armstrong could only muster the hearts of a mere 20 percent of our readers. This time round, Boonen lost his rainbow stripes to the ever-consistent 'Il Grillo' Paolo Bettini in Salzburg, but the popular boy from Balen won seven more races than he did last year. Has Tommeke done enough to pull it off again?

    Bettini's not the only guy he's up against, though - the names of Valverde, Zabriskie, Zabel, Cancellara, Landis, Ullrich, Voigt, Leipheimer, Vos, Pereiro, Bettini, McEwen and Ekimov are also in the mix - and this year's race to become Cyclingnews' Rider of the Year is set to be the closest ever.

    And just to keep things interesting, we'll be giving away a set of the latest Kermesse road wheels from HED to one lucky entrant.

    The survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete - you'd be mad not to participate!

    Click here to cast your vote in Cyclingnews.com's 2006 readers' poll.

  • Champion returns to defend title

    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    Three of the biggest names in New Zealand cycling have today been confirmed for next month’s Tryst...

    Three of the biggest names in New Zealand cycling have today been confirmed for next month’s Tryst House Cycle Classic around Wellington and the Wairarapa. Commonwealth Games medallists Hayden Roulston and Gordon McCauley and legendary coach Ron Cheatley have all announced they will be involved with the Trek-Zookeepers Café Team for the event.

    Roulston, who won the 2006 event before going on to grab a silver medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March is sure to be one of the front runners for the 2007 event, but he is bound to be pushed all the way by McCauley, who won a bronze medal in Melbourne. Cheatley, who has overseen many New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games cycling campaigns will manage the team.

    Roulston defied his doctors to win the New Zealand road title two months ago after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. The 25-year-old claimed he was "100 percent cured" but refused to reveal details of his treatment. Roulston was told by his cardiologist to quit riding after he was diagnosed with the incurable heart disease arhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia.

    "I wanted to prove a point and show everyone that I was back," Roulston said after the race.

    McCauley, who is a four times New Zealand road champion and current UCI Oceania Champion will be looking to win the tour for the first time. He will also have a point to prove to New Zealand selectors for leaving him out of the Kiwi team to compete in next month’s Tour Down Under in Australia.

    McCauley, whose goal is to ride at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, has a long list of wins in his cycling career, in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA. Known for his aggressive racing style McCauley has always been regarded as a battler...

  • Successful Living for 2007

    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    Successful Living pro cycling team announced the roster for their second season under that title....

    Successful Living pro cycling team announced the roster for their second season under that title. The team is directed by Olympic gold medallist Steve Hegg and Gianluca Caliari. Caliari selected Alessandro Bazzana from Team Zalf Desirè Fior, a leading amateur team in Italy which has groomed Pro Tour talents such as Damiano Cunego, Paolo Savoldelli and Ivan Basso. Also selected are Argentinean Ricardo Escuela, who will be the team’s main sprinter. Escuela has over forty victories in his career, including stage seven in the 'Baby Giro'. Serbian National team member Dusan Ganic will offer his strong solo and time trial skills. "Only a few racers in the US will recognize these names at first but by the end of the season, these guys will be the ones to keep an eye on" said co-director Gianluca Caliari.

    Returning riders include Curtis Gunn who earned his first NRC win in the last stage of Tour de Nez in 2006. Alexi Martinez returns stronger than ever in his sophomore year with European racing experience this past summer in the Cycling Center program based in Belgium. Daniel Ramsey earned an impressive tenth place finish at Nationals Championships in the individual time trial and will be instrumental in all the major stage races. Ryan Yee, also serving as 'rider manager', will bring his leadership skills and riding talent to every major race in the US.

    For the full roster, click here.

  • Dajka convicted, but wants to compete

    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    2002 world keirin champion Jobie Dajka was convicted this week of assaulting the Australian cycling...

    2002 world keirin champion Jobie Dajka was convicted this week of assaulting the Australian cycling coach Martin Barras, but escaped any jail time after being charged with thirteen separate offenses, including assault, theft, and driving while disqualified. Dajka pled guilty and was given a three-month suspended jail term, fined over $2600 and was ordered to write a letter to Barras expressing his remorse.

    Dajka's troubles began when he was implicated in a 2003 Australian doping scandal along with teammate Mark French, which led to his expulsion from the 2004 Athens Olympic team. The scandal led only to Dajka being found guilty of lying about injecting himself with legal vitamin supplements. Dajka was attempting to re-start his career in June of 2005 when Barras informed him he was being kicked off the AIS team for 'discipline problems'. An angered Dajka grabbed Barras by the throat and threw him to the ground.

    After this incident, Dajka crashed his car three times while driving disqualified, leaving the scene and failing to report the incidents within 24 hours, stole cigarettes and violated terms of his bail by leaving South Australia. Dajka expressed frustration last year after the assault, calling the sport "corrupt and drug ridden" and threatening to quit altogether.

    In 2005, Dajka was handed a three-year suspension for the assault by Cycling Australia, which Dajka blames on problems with alcohol. "I was going through a tough period in my life and every bad thing that I have done in the last two years has been due to being intoxicated, so taking care of that has basically been the turning point in my life," Dajka said outside court, according to The Australian.

    Especially disturbing, in light of...

  • García Quesada's struggle with Unibet

    Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana)
    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Monika Prell All cyclists involved in the Operación Puerto are living through a hard time, but...

    By Monika Prell

    All cyclists involved in the Operación Puerto are living through a hard time, but Carlos García Quesada seems to be having an even harder one. The 28 year old turned pro in 2002 with the Kelme team, and in 2006 rode for Unibet.com. Because of his implication in the scandal, the Spanish rider was suspended on June 30, but the suspension was lifted only two weeks later, because the team had no official information that their cyclist was really involved in the case. So García Quesada, who this year won the Vuelta a Andalucia and one stage of the Vuelta a Murcia, completed his season like any other cyclist. However, according to the Spanish newspaper El País, he has not received any pay since August 1.

    In September he wrote a letter of complaint to the team and indicated his willingness to undergo a DNA test to prove his innocence. The team's answer was short and hard: According to El País they did not pay him since August with the objective of forcing an end of the contract.

    In October, the team invented a new strategy - they made Garcia Quesada, whose contract runs through 2007, undergo not only a series of medical analyses, but also psychological tests. They said they would evaluate the results and use it to further process of the selection, which, according to El País, means that they intend to use it as a basis to cancel the contract.

    However, the rider is fighting back. Unless García Quesada can come to an agreement with the team, he intends to sue the squad in a court in Granada, and request that it freeze the team's guarantees with the UCI, a total of 532,000 Euros. Unibet, who only last week

  • Valverde not sure about Vuelta

    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Alejandro Valverde told the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo that he is not sure if he will...

    Alejandro Valverde told the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo that he is not sure if he will participate at the Vuelta a España 2007. It will depend on his performance at the Tour de France and he will decide after the Tour whether he will ride the Vuelta. "This year I had not thought in riding the Vuelta, and after my abandon of the Tour, caused by my fall, everything had to be re-organized, so it is still very early to say if I'll be at the start of the Vuelta", confirmed the cyclist.

    Valverde said that he feels content about his results this year, because "I was the first in the UCI- ProTour and, in addition I won really prestigious competitions." He wishes 2007 to "be a good season and that cycling will not be polluted by scandals like the Operación Puerto".

  • Ale-Jet keeps a positive outlook

    Petacchi and champagne
    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell

    Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) had a bad 2006 season. He had 'only' 13 wins - ten of them...

    Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) had a bad 2006 season. He had 'only' 13 wins - ten of them stage wins, including all five stages of Oddset Rundfahrt and the overall GC. For most riders, this would be the ride of a lifetime, but for a sprinter who took stage wins in all three Grand Tours in 2005, not getting a single tour stage was a big disappointment. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez talked to the dapper Italian to find out how he plans to overcome the setbacks of 2006.

    Alessandro 'Ale-Jet' Petacchi started out the season on a good note by continuing his winning form from 2005. He came out flying, winning the GP Costa degli Etruschi , and taking two stages at Vuelta a Andalucia in a 'clash of the titans' against Tom Boonen. Petacchi followed this by bagging two stages at the Comunidad Valenciana Tour, then went on to win the Giro della Provincia di Lucca, one stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, before going on to simply demolished the competition by winning all stages and the overall at the Oddset Rundfahrt. But things quickly went south in Petacchi's first major goal of the season, the Giro d’Italia.

    Early in the tour, on stage three in...

  • Former Astana riders find teams

    Article published:
    December 19, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Monika Prell and Antonio J. Salmerón

    By Monika Prell and Antonio J. Salmerón After a year spent under the scrutiny of the Operación...

    By Monika Prell and Antonio J. Salmerón

    After a year spent under the scrutiny of the Operación Puerto investigation, and the cancellation of the ProTour licence of Active Bay last Friday, many of the young riders from Manolo Saiz' team are still without contracts. Some, like Alberto Contador, Carlos Barredo, Luis León Sánchez and José Joaquín Rojas are reported to be in negotiations with ProTour teams. But there are still many young cyclists who don't have a contract, such as Carlos Abellán, José Antonio Redondo, Eladio Sánchez (all neo-pros in 2006) as well as Daniel Navarro and Iván Santos (second year pro's).

    The signing of Contador to the Discovery Channel seems to be definitive - in Johan Bruyneel's words, "Alberto Contador is lucky because he has got a team for the next season." Carlos Barredo owes his contract with Quick Step to his good results in the spring classics like the Tour of Flanders and Milano-San Remo. Contador and Barredo reportedly signed pre-contracts while waiting for formal dissolution of their contract with Manolo Sáiz and Active Bay.

    The situation is not quite as certain for Luis León Sánchez and José Joaquín Rojas. Rojas made his debut last January in the Tour Down Under, where he contributed to the second place reached by his teammate and countryman Luis León Sánchez. The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears manager, Jose Miguel Echávarri, has contacted both riders, but there are other ProTour squads that desire to draft these riders. T-Mobile, Discovery Channel, and Marc Biver's Astana team were all reportedly in contact with the two riders. Astana and Discovery Channel's inquiries didn't go far. "At the moment, [Astana] has not got a Pro Tour licence", Rojas told Cyclingnews. Discovery...