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Cycling News Roundup - 4 December 2008
 
By Bart Hazen
Date: 12/4/2008
Cycling News Roundup - 4 December 2008
 

Cycling News Roundup - 4 December 2008

Saxobank 2009, William Walker, Angelo Furlan, Stefano Zanini, Alberto Contador, Kayle Leogrande, Rabobank for Tour Down Under, British Stars at Revolution 22, King of the Keirin, Cycling in US grows, Midwest Cycling Series and Satin blasts WADA..

Riis Cycling Introduces 2009 Team in Denmark
With 28 riders, sky-high ambitions and backed by a solid Danish company Riis Cycling's 2009 team was presented in Vedbaek earlier today. However the day took an unexpected turn as the news of IT Factory gone bust became a reality.

”Today's presentation was unusual as it turned out that IT Factory - our new main sponsor - has got problems meaning we probably wont be seeing their name on our clothes in future. We're already working on several different alternatives and hopefully we'll soon see another name occupying the vacant spot in stead.

We're about to embark on a new exciting season and there should be no doubt as to our ambitions. This is a new beginning for us but with a solid foundation already laid from all the positive initiatives of the past – both concerning the fight against doping as well as in the way we provide the riders with the opportunity to become a part of a truly unique team,” says Riis.

”I think these guys have the absolute highest potential in the history of the team and with these riders in mind it's pretty clear that we're in the middle of generation switch. This is only possible because both riders and staff have a fantastic know-how and a will to work together in the right way. We consider ourselves to be a flag-ship within professional cycling sport and we look forward to getting out there and proving our point,” continues Riis, who will soon be presenting a brand new visual identity in the shape of cycling clothes and bikes – both of which will be seen in competition for the first time, when the season kicks off in Australia at the beginning of 2009.

The team:
Lars Bak, Frank Høj, Jens Voigt, Jason McCartney, Anders Lund, Gustav Larsson, Matti Breschel, Nicki Sørensen, Jakob Fuglsang, Alex Rasmussen, Michael Mørkøv, André Steensen, Lasse Bøchmann, Dominic Klemme, Matthew Goss, Andy Schleck, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Fränk Schleck, Alexandr Kolobnev, Marcus Ljungqvist, Stuart O'Grady, Jurgen Van Goolen, Juan José Haedo, Karsten Kroon, Kasper Klostergaard, Chris Anker Sørensen, Jonathan Bellis and Fabian Cancellara.


William Walker joins Fuji-Servetto
William Walker (ex-Rabobank) is going to ride for the Fuji-Servetto team. The 23 year old was the Australian Road Champion in 2006 and the vice world champion U23 of Madrid in 2005. Earlier we mentioned already that 2008 U23 World Champion Fabio Duarte was announced as a new signing for the team.



Furlan with Lampre/NGC Directeur Sportifs Piovani, Fabrizio Bontempi and Vicino. Photo courtesy Lampre/NGC

Lampre signs Angelo Furlan
Lampre-NGC has added sprinter Angelo Furlan to it's team for 2009. The sprinter from Veneto, born in Arzignano (Vicenza) in 1977, signed a one year agreement with the blue-fucsia society.

Furlan is pro since 2001 and obtained 11 victories in his career: the most important are the two stages in the Vuelta a Espana 2002, Coppa Bernocchi 2004 and the Bialystok stage in the 2008 Tour de Pologne.

"Joining a top level team such as Lampre-NGC is for me a huge joy" - Furlan commented - "I think I'm in the right place where I can find satisfactions: I feel good and I'm sure I can obtain important results".

"We're happy to welcome a powerful sprinter with great feeling with speed - We noticed Furlan in the Coppa Bernocchi 2004: now the time he wears the blue-fucsia colours has come".


Stefano Zanini joins technical staff Fuji-Servetto
Italian former professional Stefano Zanini, now sport director with Silence-Lotto, will join the Fuji-Servetto team in 2009 as a sport-director. As a cyclist he won several stages in the Tour de France and the Giro and won also amongst others the Amstel Gold Race and Milano-Torino.


Alberto Contador Wins Golden Bike Award
Three time Grand Tour champion Alberto Contador of Spain won the 2008Golden Bike award for the second straight year on Wednesday. Alberto received 72 votes as he leaving his competition in the dust: Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland 25 points behind and Tour de France winnerCarlos Sastre at half of Contadors count in the poll of cycling media.


Rock Racing statement regarding Kayle Leogrande
“Whenever a rider is suspended – be it for doping or any disciplinary issue – it brings negative attention to the sport that so many of us are working hard to cast in a positive light.”

“In Kayle’s case, knowing that several of the sport’s governing bodies were also conducting their own investigations, we felt it was not appropriate to prevent him from racing until a verdict was reached. USA Cycling and the UCI did not deny him the right to race. Rock Racing absolutely and unequivocally does not condone doping, but we do respect due process."

“The decision to not re-sign Kayle for the 2009 season had nothing to do with this case. It was based on performance."


Rabobank to content race honours at Tour Down Under
An Australian and Dutch line-up from the Rabobank team aims to make their mark at the 2009 Tour Down Under.

Lead Rabobank rider Graeme Brown has a long history with the Tour Down Under and race Director Mike Turtur tips him as a cyclist to look out for in the peloton with his strength as a sprinter.

“Graeme Brown will be one to watch in the sprints, after finishing fourth overall in the sprint classification in the 2008 Tour Down Under,” said Mike Turtur. “He will aggressively chase all the points he can for the SA Lotteries Sprint jersey.”

Fellow Australian, Mathew Hayman will return to the Tour Down Under after a crash on Stage 4 of the 2008 event left him with a broken collarbone.

“Graeme and Mathew performed very well at the 2008 event and I am sure they will travel to Adelaide with the aim to win with the Rabobank team,” said Turtur.

Graeme Brown has a long list of cycling achievements and one that links him to Turtur is his gold medal win in the 4000m Team Pursuit at the 2004 Olympic Games. Mike Turtur won gold in the same event at the1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The Rabobank team line up for the 2009 Tour Down Under, led by Team Manager, Adri Van Houwelingen (NED) is:
Graeme Brown (AUS)
Bram De Groot (NED)
Mathew Hayman (AUS)
Jos Van Emden (NED)
Rick Flens (NED)
Tom Leezer (NED)
Kai Reus (NED)

“The experience of Dutch riders such as Bram De Groot and Rick Flens on the international cycling stage will add to Rabobank’s presence,” said Turtur. “We also look forward to welcoming Kai Reus to the Tour Down Under as part of his return to international competition.”

More team announcements and rider start lists for the 2009 Tour Down Under will be issued over the coming weeks.

For more information, race routes and results visit the official website at www.tourdownunder.com.au


British Stars out in force at Revolution 22
The second Revolution of the current season will welcome another sell out crowd to the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday night (6th December). The main attraction will be the return to racing for Chris Hoy who will line up against his British team mates as well as international challengers Tuen Mulder, Roberto Chiappa and Itmar Esteban.

Complimenting the sprint racing will be a world class endurance field with CSC’s Luke Roberts taking on the cream of British talent including Geraint Thomas, Ed Clancy, Steve Cummings, Chris Newton and Rob Hayles.

One of the highlights to the programme will once again be a head to head between Team Sprint and Team Pursuit. This time with Chris Hoy back on the team, the sprinters will be looking for retribution after defeat at the last Revolution. Over a longer course of 1km and without the flying start, they are determined to triumph in this unique competition.

In the other racing Lizzie Armistead, Jo Rowsell, Katie Colclough and Alex Greenfield will be taking on some of the best British women in an action packed programme.

Lizzie’s currently leading the World Cup Scratch and Team Pursuit events, she said: “I'm really looking forward to racing at revolution it is a fantastic opportunity to ride with some strong girls and get even more experience to take into world cup events.”

Completing the fantastic line up will be Bradley Wiggins. Giving his legs a pre- Christmas rest, the double Gold medallist will be in the Track Centre Expo area from 7-9pm signing copies of his new book, In Pursuit of Glory.

For more information on the event go to www.cyclingrevolution.com


DHL Sprint School: King of the Keirin
On Saturday 6th December, 60 DHL Sprint School riders aged 12-16 will take part in the finale of the 2008 DHL Sprint School at the Manchester Velodrome. A fantastic day of racing is planned and will include Keirin heats and Team Sprinting. Beijing Olympic Gold medalists Chris Hoy, Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Silver medalist Ross Edgar will be there to add a touch of glamour to the event!

The morning will focus on a Keirin racing session joined by Jamie Staff.
He’ll be in track centre with the competitors helping them warm up and prepare. After several Keirin focused sessions at the schools this year, the riders are expected to be on top form and will be showing their newly acquired skills.

After lunch it’s Team Sprinting on Watt bikes. Arriving for the afternoon, Ross and Jason will join Jamie to set the time to beat. Chris is also expected to attend to pass on his invaluable advice.

With some fantastic prizes on offer, the competition is sure to be fierce but as ever, the emphasis is on having fun!

Guy Elliott, CEO DHL Northern Europe, said: “I can’t wait to see how all the kids have progressed over the year and I’m delighted Chris, Jamie, Jason and Ross can come along too! To have four Olympic medalists working with our next generation of champions is just incredible!”

The massive success of the first two years of Sprint School has led to an increase in support from DHL and now there will be eight Sprint Schools in 2009. They will be split between Newport and Manchester Velodromes and dates will be announced in the new year.


Participation in competitive cycling in U.S. grows for sixth consecutive year
The sport of competitive cycling in the United States continues to grow according to the latest figures released today by USA Cycling.

For the sixth consecutive year, the number of licensed competitive cyclists has risen compared to the previous year, while the number of registered clubs and event sanctions also increased. Collectively, these categories represent the popularity of bike racing in America from a participation standpoint.

At the close of the 2008 license sales season on November 30, USA Cycling listed 63,280 licensees, a 2.9% increase over last year. In similar fashion, the number of sanctioned clubs rose 1.8% as USA Cycling listed 2,155 teams among its constituents. USA Cycling also sanctioned 2,551 events, a 3.1% jump from a year ago.

The growth in membership continues a six-year trend which has seen the number of licensed racers in America increase by 48% since 2002. Over that same period of time, the number of events sanctioned by USA Cycling has risen by 50%, while affiliated clubs have grown by 30%.

Many of the sport’s insiders point to the success and popularity of American athletes in cycling’s most notable events, such as the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, as a primary factor in the sport’s recent boom. The most significant growth occurred throughout Lance Armstrong’s dominant seven-year winning streak at the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005, while success by several other Americans on the sport’s biggest stage since then has encouraged continued interest. If history is any indication, cycling is poised for similar growth in 2009 following a five-medal performance in Beijing – the most successful ever for a U.S. Cycling Team at a non-boycotted Olympic Games – as well as a return to competitive cycling and the Tour de France by Armstrong. Factor in the 13 major internationally-sanctioned professional men’s and women’s races set to take place in the U.S. next year, as well as Armstrong’s commitment to race in February’s Tour of California, and the notoriety of the sport on U.S. soil next season is sure to reach new heights.

“Once again, we’re excited to witness continued growth in the sport of cycling,” commented Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. “The market for amateur sport in the United States is a competitive one with so many choices and opportunities available to athletes these days. That said, to experience another year of increased participation is very rewarding. Looking ahead, with the continued expansion of professional cycling opportunities both domestically and abroad, we hope and expect this growth trend to continue throughout 2009 and beyond.”

Broken down by specific disciplines and types of licenses, road, track and cyclo-cross grew by 3.2%, while mountain bike increased 1.2%. The number of professional riders in the U.S. rose 6.3% and the amount of student-athletes competing for collegiate clubs jumped 2.5%. Of all of its licensees, USA Cycling’s largest increase was in the number of licensed bike race officials, a figure that rose 17.6%.


Midwest Cycling Series Dates and Executive Director Announced
Jack Hirt, former executive director of the Bike Federation of Wisconsin (BFW), has been named Midwest Cycling Series Executive Director by founders of the new professional cycling series, which will showcase 10 Wisconsin cities in 11 days, June 18-28, 2009.

Midwest Cycling Series, LLC, organizers of the Midwest Cycling Series, comprises five avid cyclists and successful entrepreneurs including U.S. Cycling Team Olympian and Team Sports, Inc. President Tom Schuler, Olympic Road Race Trials qualifier and former Nova Cycle Sports Foundation President Bill Ochowicz, Milwaukee Junior Cycling Team co-Executive Director Bill Koch, National Senior Olympics competitor Jim Michler, and Paul Weaver, founder of one of Wisconsin's longest running multi-sport teams.

Says Schuler of Hirt's appointment, "Jack brings his competitive cycling experience as well as his business acumen and passion for making a difference in the cycling world and local communities. He is a proven leader who will work with me and my partners as well as local race directors and volunteer crews to catapult what began a couple years back as a successful 2-day series to the professionally-produced 10-day Midwest Cycling Series in 2009 featuring top purses in best-of-class venues."

Hirt recently stepped down from his role as BFW Executive Director to lead and manage a new statewide BFW advocacy initiative aimed at making Wisconsin the most bicycle-friendly state in the U.S. by working with officials at the local, regional and national levels to institute stronger bike-friendly laws and law enforcement.

"Jack has a stellar reputation of tirelessly promoting cycling and cyclist rights in the state," says Ochowicz. "He shares our goal of promoting cycling as a healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyle, and with the new Midwest Cycling Series, the sport, athletes, host cities, sponsors and spectators all benefit…Jack will see to it; he gets the big picture."

Continues Ochowicz, "We will work with our host cities, athletes and sponsors to create fun, safe, family-friendly race days which will include a well-managed schedule of races across all categories, live entertainment and family activities."

The complete line-up of race cities, along with major sponsors, will be announced in early 2009; however, the historic Downer Avenue bike race in Milwaukee is a confirmed stop on the Midwest Cycling Series as are the Wisconsin cities of Fond du Lac, Manitowoc and Sheboygan.

Endorsed and supported by the Wisconsin Cycling Association and United States Cycling Federation, Midwest Cycling Series updates will be posted on www.midwestcyclingseries.com


Saltin blasts WADA and IOC, ... as Damsgaard prepares for legal fight
The "Aristotle of Human Physiology", Bengt Saltin, has launched a blistering critique against WADA and the IOC during the Anti-Doping Forum conference in Berlin accusing them of serious omissions and errors in the fight against doping.

"It's time to stop talking and start acting," Saltin declared. Using the extensive data available, he made it very clear that systematic doping is still a major problem in sports; where the existence of more than 80 different EPO variants (only a handful of which can give positive tests) demonstrate the seriousness of the problem.

Some highlights:
- He accuses WADA of not taking the problem of EPO seriously; pointing out WADA's lack of interest in working with leading bio-chemists and protein experts.

- He demands independent and competent specialists to oversee the control systems in order to improve the level of the laboratories used by WADA/IOC. According to Saltin, the labs are not good advisors to WADA/IOC, because the labs are in it for the money and anti-doping is a lucrative business for them.

- He derides the idea that the quantity of tests taken is some sort of quality stamp and points out that what matters is an effective control system of high quality. He calls the IOC stupid for claiming that the Beijing Olympics was better, simply because it had 1000 more tests than Athens.

He once again beats the drum for the importance of out-of competition testing; tests of skiers during the summer and other athletes during the winter. He says that if controls were consistently done in the off-season, they would be finding literally thousands of positive tests.

- Having said that, he warns against whole-sale labelling of athletes as cheaters; pointing out that the data he works with suggests that it is "only" a rotten core of 3-5% of athletes who dope.

- He points out that biopassports are the way to go, but points out that they are only useful if they are actually used for something. Here he points the finger at the IAAF (Athletics), which despite having a blood passport doesn't use it for anything - even when blood values are clearly abnormal.

- He praises Cycling, while lashing at WADA for not supporting the bio-passport program introduced by the UCI.

- He says it is absurd that the IOC is threatening to exclude Cycling, while rowing, swimming, and football refuse to do anything about their doping problem.

At the same time, Saltin's protegee - Rasmus Damsgaard - is losing patience with WADA. He has - as he has mentioned earlier - evidence against at least five athletes (in the latest article he implies that they are cross-country skiers), that clearly show use of doping products. However, FIS cannot use the tests to sanction the athletes under WADA rules, and WADA has so far refused to consider changing their rules or to support FIS in moving against the athletes.

"We are going to take action in January, if WADA will not support us," says Damsgaard. He expects that the cases will go directly to CAS where he will present the proof of foping, unless the athletes accept their sanctions. He is supported in his intention to "take the law into his own hands" by other members of the FIS medicinal committee.

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