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Cycling News Roundup 21 January 2004 - 2nd Edition Updated
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 1/21/2004
Cycling News Roundup 21 January 2004 - 2nd Edition Updated
 

The Dick Lane Velodrome Will Continue! Simoni ready for 2004, Congratulations to Johan and Eva-Maria, Women's Prestige Cycling Series, Complete Streets, 2004 US MTB Champs, The Cape Epic, RAGT Semences-MG Rover Team Pic!

 

The Dick Lane Velodrome Will Continue!

Last week we published an editorial by Stephen Hill of the East Point Velodrome Association asking for support in convincing the East Point, Georgia, City Council to allow the Dick Lane Velodrome to be repaired and re-opened. That editorial is here.

Last night The East Point City Council, before a packed house, voted to approve the long term lease sought by the East Point Velodrome Association. After about 25 minutes of debate, one friendly motion to amend the measure was made, and then a voice vote was taken. No council members opposed the measure, and the EPVA now has full operating rights to the facility.

The EPVA wishes to thank all of you for your support, which has been invaluable - the City Council members mentioned that they received a lot of mail and email regarding the velodrome.

The EPVA will be announcing its fundraising measures within the next two weeks, and are looking to raise a minimum of (approximately) $150,000 it will take to get the track back into operating condition. The EPVA will also be looking to raise additional money for resurfacing projects as well as replacing the boards that rim the track.

To date, the EPVA has raised just over $20,000. The organization believes that one of the main reasons donation have been slow has been the tenuous status of the lease with the City. Now that the EPVA has this lease, and the track will be here for the long term, it is expected that the fundraising will move much more quickly. In any event, it must move extremely rapidly if to be riding by June, as repairs will take 6 to 8 weeks.

For more information on the Velodrome and the EPVA, please visit the Dick Lane Velodrome website here: Dick Lane Velodrome

Team Saeco launch their challenge on 2004 from Turin

Simoni: "I'll be back at the Tour de France because I never give up"

It might be because of the colour of their jerseys, but the bright red jersey is not the only reason why the Saeco cycling team is often compared to the legendary Ferrari car company. The two have many things in common: a successful team, huge support from the public and a strong impact in the media. And it was proved yet again at the official presentation of Team Saeco held today at the Basic Village in Turin.

The team created by manager Claudio Corti and which has Gilberto Simoni as team leader dominated the 2003 season -including the team prize in the World Cup, and they intend to do even better in 2004.

The presentation was fired up by the participation of Elio and Faso of the well known Italian comic pop group Elio e Le Storie Tese with the trophies already won and the objectives for 2004 the central topic of the "vernissage'".

Gilberto Simoni is never afraid of a challenge and so naturally played his part: "It's obvious that I want to win the Giro d'Italia for a third time but it's not as easy as it sounds and as many people think. However because I'm stubborn, never give up and because I've learnt a lot from last year, I'm also going to ride the Tour de France yet again, in the hope of giving Armstrong a few problems. I hope and believe that this time things will go a lot better."

Simoni is clearly ambitious and so that he can be up to it all not only in the major Tours but also the Olympics and world championships in Verona if he is selected he will start off his season very gradually, knowing that the rest of the Saeco team will make sure he is not missed in the first part of the season.

This will be the role Danilo Di Luca, who just a few weeks after getting married, spoke clearly about his ambitions for 2004: "I can't put things back any longer, I've got to win a World Cup race," he said. Mirko Celestino was just as motivated: "Milan-San Remo inspires me and last year I went really close". Dario Pieri is a potential Mr Paris-Roubaix and was as ironic about his chances as he was determined: "They say that dreams always come true I once dreamt I'd lose Paris-Roubaix in a sprint and it came true last year. Now things are going to get difficult."

Team Saeco is even stronger for 2004 with a more robust team structure (24 riders) thanks to the signing of several important riders who will help the team leaders, and some young riders with promising futures: as well as Cunego and Glomser there is also the talented Andreas Matzbacher from Austria. Several new companies have also entered the world of cycling as sponsors of the team for 2004: Kappa the official sports clothing sponsor, and Laghetto and Casse Rurali Trentine. "They're what we needed to increase both our prestige in the sport and our budget," Corti said.

The new sponsors are also a sign that Team Saeco has an excellent image that is clearly identified with its main sponsor Saeco now in its tenth year of cycling sponsorship.

From tonight the first training camp of the year in Terracina for Pieri & Co.

After the presentation in Turin a part of the Saeco team travelled to Terracina south of Rome for a first training camp that will last until January 28. The day after the riders involved (Pieri, Commesso, Balducci, Glomser, Ludewig, Loosli, Stangelj and Petrov) will travel to Qatar for their season debut at the Tour of Qatar.

The other part of the team lead by Simoni and Di Luca will be in Terracina (Hotel Fiordaliso) from January 27 until February 7 with some of the riders arriving even before this date.



Pretty in Pink – Simoni by Fabio

Congratulations Mr Bruyneel!

US Postal presented by Berry Floor Director Sportif Johan Bruyneel has become the proud father of a daughter. Victoria Bruyneel-Perez was born on Tuesday January 20 in the Monteprincipe Hospital in Madrid (Spain) at 1.15 pm. Mother Eva-Maria and her daughter, who weighs 3.5 kgs, are doing great.

Congratulations to Johan and Eva-Maria!

New North American racing series puts spotlight on women

Women's Prestige Cycling Series ready to roll

In an effort to grow out of the shadows of men racing and bring more attention to the talents of women's teams and racers and the sponsors who support them, the Women's Prestige Cycling Series will debut in 2004.

The women's-only points series will feature some of the best race venues in North America, encompassing three of the top stage races already on the racing calendar and culminating in an end-of-the-season finale in Bermuda.

"Women's racing is almost always in the shadow of the men's events when they have to share the same spotlight," said Giana Roberge of Team Speed Queen. "The Women's Prestige Cycling Series is an outstanding opportunity to give the women the attention that they deserve. These women are amazing athletes and the series will help educate the public as to just how exciting women's racing - or just riding a bike - can be."

The four events to be included in the inaugural year of the series will be:
March 24-28 Redlands Bicycle Classic, California
June 9-13 Nature Valley Grand Prix, Minnesota
July 26-August 5 The International (Tour de 'Toona), Pennsylvania
September 23-26 CD&P Bermuda Grand Prix, Bermuda

The CD&P Bermuda Grand Prix will be a prize in itself, with the top 10 teams following The International receiving free airfare and housing for the event in one of the most desirable vacation spots in the world. The stage race, though, will also count towards points for all teams, leaving it an important part of the series championship.

The Women's Prestige Cycling Series grew out of meetings that began in Minnesota last year at the first Yoplait Women's Cycling Summit Conference hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The summit continued in October at Interbike, with an overwhelming number of women's team managers and riders requesting that promoters develop a race series that included most of the top women's races.

"I've been amazed by the energy of the women's racing at our event," said Nature Valley Grand Prix director David LaPorte. "We have some very tough courses and we had more women finish then men. This series will raise the level of our women's racing even further and we're thrilled to be part of it."

The series will be produced as a partnership between promoters and women's teams. Teams that have already committed include Quark Cycling Team, the Genesis Scuba Cycling Team, Team Basis, the Victory Brewing Cycling Team, the Velo Bella Cycling Team, the TDS-Schwalbe Cycling Team, Red 5 Racing, Athletes By Design, the Kenda Tire Cycling Team, the Webcor Cycling Team, the Worlddiff.com Cycling Team, the Verizon Wireless Cycling Team, 9th & 9th - SLC Women, America's Dairyland Squad, and the Aquafina Cycling Team.

More information will be available soon on the Women's Prestige Cycling Series page of www.WomenCyclists.com.

News from America Bikes.org

Help Save Safe Routes--Please call your Senators this week to support Safe Routes to School. Consider this a yellow level alert...we don't need to panic yet, but we do need to let Senators know the program is important. There's an action alert with details below. Thanks for making it happen.

Complete Streets--The America Bikes team is pleased to announce a new name for our push to insure that roads are designed and built to be safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. It's called Complete the Streets.

We've posted a two-page fact sheet at www.americabikes.org/bicycleaccomodation_factsheet_completestreets.asp.

Please talk it up whenever you can. We want this phrase to become the shorthand for the vision of a transportation network that truly welcomes people on foot and bicycle.

Just last week, the Washington Post Magazine ran a fantastic cover story which is a great argument for completing the streets. It's available free through Jan 25: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60034-2004Jan6.html

What Will Happen with this Bill?--Good question, as always. We're seeing some action in both the House and the Senate. The Senate bill is supposed to come to the floor the first week in February, the House T&I Committee is talking about the second week in February for committee action. But the big question of how to pay for the bill is still unresolved. Just today at a luncheon, Congressman Petri said he's leaning towards a year and a half or two year bill. So the short answer to "when will TEA-3 pass?" is "we still don't know, maybe this spring, maybe 2005."

America Bikes sends big thanks, again, to Bikes Belong (the bike industry association) for funding America Bikes again in 2004. And we thank Interbike and the thousands of attendees at the big bike industry trade show who contributed $50,000 to America Bikes through the badge fee program.

Action alert from America Bikes--Call Your Senators - Safe Routes to Schools

In early February 2004, the US Senate is scheduled to vote on the new transportation bill. The bill currently contains language creating a national Safe Routes to School program, providing money to communities for infrastructure and education projects. But there’s a move afoot in the Senate to strip the program from the bill entirely.

Please call both your US Senators today. Say this:

“Please support Safe Routes to School in SAFETEA, S 1072, and fully fund the program at $250 million a year."

The Senate bill calls for only $70 million a year for Safe Routes, while the House bill calls for $250 million a year. Under the Senate funding level, some states would not receive enough funding to make more than a few infrastructure improvements, let alone develop a comprehensive program. $70 million would build an average of 9 miles of sidewalk in each state. And consider there are 90,000 schools in the US. (You can see how little your state would get at www.americabikes.org/saferoutestoschool.asp, click on "Senate spending chart.")

S1072, SAFETEA, is the Senate’s version of the six year reauthorization of TEA-21. Most of the $255 billion in the bill goes to states for highway construction, a bit goes to programs like Transportation Enhancements. The inclusion of a new Safe Routes to School program is an exciting development, but some who would build only highways are trying to eliminate it.

The full Senate is currently scheduled to vote on the bill in the first week of February. Senators need to hear that their constituents want Safe Routes to School. Call before January 30th, 2004.

America Bikes has a lot of additional information at http://www.americabikes.org/saferoutestoschool.asp. Click on "contact your legislators" at the top for contact info for your Senators.

Qualifying for 2004 US MTB Champs

Six Avenues to Qualify, Exciting New Disciplines on the Horizon for '04

USA Cycling announced today the qualification procedures and guidelines for the newly created 2004 U.S. National Mountain Bike Championships in Mammoth, Calif., Sept. 23-26. Announced last October, the one-day format will replace the traditional design of a season-long series to determine the U.S. National Mountain Bike Champion in several events and categories.

New in ’04 will be a stars and stripes jersey for marathon and single speed disciplines in addition to the traditional cross-country and short track events.In the gravity themed events, dual slalom makes its return to the national championship level and a super D discipline will be introduced to compliment the downhill and mountain cross competitions. Observed trials will also return in both the modified and stock bike classes and in honor of mountain bike pioneers and heroes, a legends category in cross-country and downhill will also make its national championship debut.

There are six possible ways for riders to qualify and compete in the 2004 United States Mountain Bike National Championships, including NORBA State or Regional Championship Series or Events, American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) events, NORBA National Series events, Alison Dunlap Junior Olympic Mountain Bike events, and USA Cycling Junior Development Regional Mountain Bike Camps.Also, defending U.S. National Mountain Bike Champions are automatically qualified to compete at the 2004 U.S. National Championships. If a particular discipline doesn’t require prior qualification, American citizenship and an annual NORBA license are the only requirements to participate.

Click here for the complete qualification procedures and guidelines for the 2004 U.S. National Mountain Bike Championships.

About NORBA--NORBA is the mountain bike member association of USA Cycling. Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 45,000 members and 2,000 annual events. For more information, visit www.usacycling.org.

Blue Wolf Productions and Team Big Bear are the series management and promotions company, and are recognized as the USA's leading cycling and events management group.

MTB World Champion and World Cup winner to participate in

The Cape Epic

Greg Minnaar and Liam Killeen confirm entry

The reigning UCI World Champion Downhill, Greg Minnaar (RSA) of Team G-Cross Honda, and the reigning World Cup U23 Cross Country Champion, Liam Killeen (GBR) of Subaru Gary Fisher, have announced their participation in The Cape Epic presented by Adidas today. The two friends are excited to start as team 23 Degrees in this new African mountain bike stage race, which runs from 28 February through 6 March.

"The Cape Epic is a major event on the world stage and to have it here in my home country is really exciting”, says Greg Minnaar. “As soon as I was aware of it I decided that I'd like to give it a try. My coach is very supportive and believes this race will be great for me. My fitness level is good right now, and even though there are many qualified marathon and endurance riders in the event, I'm hoping to do well with my team mate!"

Greg and Liam first met at the 2000 World Cup Cross Country Finals in Lausanne and have known each other ever since. Since their schedules are very different they only see each other at triple World Cups or World Championships, but both Greg and Liam have been supportive of the other's career, always checking in to see how the other one is doing. When Liam was racing for the Under 23 World Cup title in Kaprun 2003, Greg was at the side of the course cheering him on.

Greg, who has recently been awarded the international Velo News award for Best Downhiller, is thrilled that Liam is ready to race with him. "I'm really excited that such a top international cross country rider like Liam is coming to South Africa to race this event, it's great for the sport here and for me personally.” Then he jokes about their potential team work. "Well if he promises to pull me up some of the hills, I'm ready to drag him down some of the downhills!"

After winning the Under 23 British Cyclo Cross Championships 2004 in January, Subaru Gary Fisher’s Liam Killeen is now looking forward to his next challenge in South Africa. "As soon as I knew about this race, I was hoping we could fit it into my early season schedule”, he says. “Then to have the chance to ride with South Africa's most famous mountain biker, who is also a friend of mine, well it couldn't have worked out better!"

Liam’s team camp in USA recently changed dates, which then allowed him to be able to race side by side with Greg. "My fitness level is good right now. I've been on the bike through December and January, and even though it's winter here, I've been getting the miles in, and I'm looking forward to working with Greg to do the best we can. Some may consider that I'll be using this race as a training ride, and in a way some races are critical for training, but I don't enter a race without racing, so I'm really looking forward to it."

For Greg Minnaar The Cape Epic is not only his first major race in his home country after the Africa Cup in 1999, it is also his first stage race ever in his mountain bike career. "I can think of no better way of show casing the amazing scenery in our country, not that I'll have much time to look at it.. but I'm hoping this event gets bigger and bigger every year. Due to the clash of national and international calendars, I don't get to race in South Africa as much as I would like, and even though this is not what I am known for, it will still be great to be racing in front of a home crowd.”

How can a downhill racer possibly finish one of the toughest mountain bike stage races on the planet one may ask. Greg Minnaar’s coach Stephane Girard, who also coached Nicolas Vouillouz to a record 10 Downhill World Championships, says he can. "Endurance is an important part of training, even for a downhill racer, but a lot of riders don't really like it and have a hard time to go out for long rides at a high tempo, so this is where a race like The Cape Epic helps you and the excitement of competition keeps your pace higher than if you would be training by yourself.”

Greg rides approximately 4,500 kilometres per year on his cross country and road bike, his annual training sums up to 600 hours. "Racing a stage race is a perfect way for any rider to build up a strong base of endurance”, says coach Girard. “The only problem that can be involved with this is recovery, but the Cape Epic is in early March, so there is plenty of recovery time before the start of the DH race season." Now Greg’s focus is on finishing The Cape Epic. "Of course we will adapt Greg's training to the length of the stages he will have to race, so he hasn't any problem finishing those”, says Girard. “It will be important for him to do a few long rides in February."

Visit Cape Epic, the Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race website here: Cape Epic

RAGT Semences- MG Rover Team!

Clement Pinget has sent us a photo of the RAGT Semences-MG Rover team from their presentation today. Full story with more photos tomorrow.

Clement's new photo site, Cycling-Photos, will be online at the end of this month.


Photo courtesy Clement Pinget.

 
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