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First Edition Cycling News for August 10, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile's continued survival assured

T-Mobile team general manager Bob Stapleton
Photo ©: Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Deutsche Telekom's announcement that it would honour its sponsoring contract for the T-Mobile Teams through 2010 has met with approval around Germany, from riders to management of T-Mobile and other teams. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer covers the nature of T-Mobile's renewed commitment.

"I am very pleased that T-Mobile remains a committed partner," said T-Mobile men's team manager Bob Stapleton. "We are sharing the same goals, and now we are redoubling our efforts to build a solid future for the sport."

"The challenge for us as a team is twofold – to do the very best we can to be a clean and successful team; and to push for real and credible change within the sport in order to restore credibility to it," he continued. "Both of these challenges have been bigger than I could have ever possibly imagined. I think the state of the sport right now, and the events surrounding the Tour, make that clear."

When Stapleton took over last fall as general manager of the team, T-Mobile announced that it would extend its sponsorship through 2010. The "new" team prided itself on its antidoping program, but was caught by surprise this summer by Patrik Sinkewitz' positive testosterone doping test. At that point, the sponsor announced that it would have to reconsider its position.

The American noted that "This is a critical time for the sport right now. The need for change is undeniable. Change in the sport is really only possible with partners like T-Mobile. T-Mobile's long history in the sport, its credibility, its resources and the power that it has built in the sport are fundamental to create change. So I am very excited to continue the challenge with T-Mobile and wish to thank the Board and everyone who supported that decision."

Sport Director Rolf Aldag noted that the decision will allow the team to continue its work in developing young riders. "We have a young team, with athletes that have signed up for a clean and transparent programme - and wish to continue in that direction," he said on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "It is now our task to develop young talents Linus Gerdemann, Gerald Ciolek and Mark Cavendish and give them the best tools, coaching and environment to reach their full potential."

Read the rest of the feature here.

Milram holds true, too

Two thumbs up
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image) Two thumbs up  - both Petacchi and Zabel say two sprinters are better than one.

Following T-Mobile's announcement that it would continue its sponsorship of its pro cycling teams, Nordmilch AG said that it would follow suit and continue on with Team Milram. Company director Martin Mischel told the Thüringer Allgemeinen that it would continue its sponsorship through the 2009 season.

Milram was rocked this season by Erik Zabel's admission that he used EPO in 1996 and Alessandro Petacchi's 'non-negative' test for an asthma medication during the Giro d'Italia. In addition, team manager Gianluigi Stanga was named by Jörg Jaksche in his doping confession. Despite the negative press, Nordmilch AG decided to continue supporting the cycling team.

Milram's team will go into its next events with renewed motivation at the news, and will be seeking stage wins at the Deutschland Tour. On Sunday, the team will send two stagiaires to the Trofeo Matteotti. The youngsters Salvi Efrem and Luca Barla will join experienced pro's Mirko Celestino, Sergio Ghisalberti, Matej Jurco, Mirco Lorenzetto and Marco Velo in the 188.5 km race, which consists of a demanding 14.5 km circuit which is to be covered 13 times.

German public TV to air Worlds

German public television, which had turned its back on cycling following the doping scandals of the Tour de France, did an about-face today, and announced that it would air the World Championships from Stuttgart in September. ZDF, the company which walked away from the Tour following news of the positive doping control of T-Mobile's Patrik Sinkewitz, said that it was satisfied with antidoping measures set up for the German event.

The organisers of the event have put into place hundreds of doping controls which will be carried out before and during the event. The move came in response to threats by German politicians to axe funding for the World Championships because of the doping problems in the sport.

Markus Schächter, director of the ZDF, says his company will make sure things go as specified. "We will very persistently examine if what was agreed upon is actually set up," he warned.

Elk Haus to start Deutschland Tour

Team Elk Haus-Simplon, which had its wild card invitation revoked earlier this week, will get a start in the Deutschland Rundfahrt after all. The team was denied a start this week after organisers complained that the team did not submit the correct paperwork to enter, and had also failed to sign the UCI antidoping charter. A German court issued a preliminary injunction forcing the race to allow the Austrian Professional Continental team to start.

"It looks like we will be able to start," team manager Bernhard Rassinger told the German television website, ARD.de. "I have just been informed that we were successful with our request for an injunction."

Tour spokesman Reinald Achilles confirmed the news, saying "The riders from Team Elk Haus Simplon will be at the start tomorrow."

The race had revoked the team's participation on the grounds that it had not fulfilled a variety of paperwork requirements. The team said that it had no understanding for the "flimsy grounds for this decision."

UCI nags managers to sign charter

Pat McQuaid holds the gun
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

UCI president Pat McQuaid appears to be meeting with some resistance to the organisation's antidoping charter, after most of the UCI ProTour and Professional Continental team staff and management missed the August 5 deadline to sign the document. Only seven of the 20 ProTour teams met the deadline to sign the 'Managers' and other team staff's commitment to a new cycling': Ag2r, Bouygues Télécom, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile, with Pro-Conti team Skil-Shimano being the only other team to have both riders and staff ink the document.

"We have sent a reminder to those who have not signed yet," McQuaid told Reuters. "The reminder was followed by personal phone calls. We deal with the teams on a one by one basis." So far no punishment has been levelled against teams which have delayed signing the agreement.

ProTour riders were first presented with the charter in June, and pressured to sign or face exclusion from the Tour de France. The document states that cyclists will give up a years' salary if caught doping, but it has still yet to be tested after the positive controls of Alexander Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cristian Moreni or Iban Mayo.

The charter was then extended to Professional Continental teams and staff. Riders wishing to participate in the World Championships have been told that they will be required to sign the charter.

D-Land leader's jersey to sport antidoping message

The leader's yellow jersey in the Deutschland Tour will bear the antidoping slogan "Bleib Sauber - Live Clean" instead of the logo of its sponsor. Edeka, a grocery store chain, said that it would turn over its spot on the jersey to the antidoping campaign.

Edeka also said that it would honour its sponsorship contract, which expires this year, but that a further engagement "is being examined at this time," according to the dpa press agency.

T-Mobile women number one

Chantal Beltman (T-Mobile) celebrates as she takes
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The T-Mobile women's team moved its way up the UCI rankings on the same day that its sponsor confirmed that it would honours its commitment through 2010, giving the team a huge morale boost.

The team has achieved a number of wins in recent weeks - Chantal Beltman won Sunday's World Cup Race in Sweden, Judtih Arndt took the overall victory in the Thüringen Rundfahrt, and the team racked up three stage wins at the Giro d'Italia Femminile in July.

"This is a big achievement for all concerned in the team," team manager Kristy Scrymgeour said on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "The team has steadily built up momentum and we are very happy with how it has all developed. Thanks to everyone involved."

"The team set out with the goal of being competitive and winning races, but we knew it would take time. We started this year with many new riders and new staff," adds Scrymgeour, "so we didn't expect to start with a bang. It takes a while for things to click into gear."

"We have been racing well since the beginning of the year, everybody has been working hard, and it is now that things are really coming together and we are getting results. We have been close to this all year, but now it is happening."

Phinney gold in Mexico

Taylor Phinney (TIAA-CREF-5280) demonstrated that genetics are key in the 'race of truth' when he rode to a world time trial title on Thursday at the 2007 UCI Junior Road and Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Phinney, the son of American legend Davis Phinney and Olympic gold medalist and four time world champion Connie Carpenter-Phinney added another rainbow jersey to the family's closet with a time of 37:28.10 on the 28-kilometer course, besting Germany's John Degenkolb by 24 seconds. Nikita Novikov of Russia was third.

Phinney's world championship was the second medal for the U.S. National Team on Thursday after Jerika Hutchinson won the bronze medal in the 14-kilometer women's race. Hutchinson finished 26 seconds off the pace of world champion Josephine Tomic of Australia and just three seconds back from silver medalist Valeriya Kononenko of the Ukraine.

Lehigh Valley Velodrome heats up

Bayley wins gold
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Many of the best track cyclists in the world converged on the Lehigh Valley Velodrome today in preparation for tomorrow night's KNBT Festival of Speed. Ryan Bayley, Shane Kelly, and Mark French of the Australian Olympic team, Tim Veldt and Teun Mulder of Holland, Italy's Roberto Chiappa, British Olympic team riders Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton, Olympians Josiah Ng and Adam Duvendeck, along with USA's Andy Lakatosh, Ben Barczewski, and Ryan Nelman were among those who worked out in the midday sun.

"I don't think Mary [Nothstein] and I have been more excited about the quality of racing we're going to see over the three-week, four UCI event stretch," velodrome director Erin Hartwell said. "It's absolutely amazing to have the reigning Olympic champions in Ryan Bayley and Anna Meares…to have Roberto Chiappa back, who's absolutely on fire…It is the strongest sprint field I've ever seen in Trexlertown."

The riders will witness the unveiling of the velodrome's new corporate title sponsor at tomorrow night's race. This won't be the first name change the velodrome has undergone after it switched from being called Lehigh County Velodrome to the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in the late 1990s, but this will be its first corporate title.

Hartwell added that the strong international field that will be on hand "more than compares" to other International Sprint Grand Prixs. For getting such a high-quality group to the Lehigh Valley, he credits the riders themselves.

Why not put a roof T-Town to get a new name
Photo ©: Todd Leister
(Click for larger image)

"They know it's an awesome environment," Hartwell said. "Crowds fill the stands, there's a great prize list and we extend the riders as much hospitality as we can, so most of the riders have a great experience here in Eastern Pennsylvania."

He added that he and Nothstein know many of the riders, and through their own networks they were able to draw some of the best riders in the world.

The two British Olympic team members, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton, say they like the weather in T-Town and the open roads for training. They added that the promise of training and racing with the best sprinters in the world coupled with a dearth of much going on in the Manchester area of England made the choice to come to T-Town an easy one.

"We're trying to build the quality of racing world-wide," Hartwell said. The new title sponsor is one of the first steps in the velodrome's five year plan. "The long term goal is an Olympic-style development center," he said. "The sky's the limit. There's no reason T-Town can't be the world leader in cycling."

Kelly Benefit has home field advantage in Elk Grove

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Dave McCook got back to work in Charlotte
Photo ©: Emory Ball
(Click for larger image)

The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team is prepared for this weekend's 'cash-terium' races at the Tour of Elk Grove, hoping that two riders returning from injuries will finally put them on the top step of the podium in a major race. Reid Mumford, who trained and raced in the area before becoming a professional, is back after being sidelined with a fractured tibial plateau from a run-in with a motor vehicle. Mumford used the Superweek races to build up his speed for the August criterium season. Also returning is veteran sprinter Dave McCook, back from a broken hand.

Canadian Keven Lacombe, a recent addition to the team after the Canadian nationals, will also be called on to bring a performance after finishing second on a stage at the Tour de 'Toona two weeks ago.

"We're really starting to hit our mark as a team," says performance director, Jonas Carney. "It's great to have Reid back after his injury earlier this season and to see him race on his home ground. Lacombe put in a tremendous performance in Altoona and the rest of our guys are putting it all out on the road now. We're excited to see how the line-up works in Elk Grove and then move on to the USPRO Criterium Championships in Downer's Grove next week.

Priority Health Classic seeks volunteers

The public will have a chance to get behind the scenes of one of the US's up and coming criteriums next month. Event officials have announced a number of volunteer opportunities for the first annual Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic taking place on Saturday, September 8 in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic will feature some of the nation's top elite athletes competing on a 1.2 kilometre circuit around Grand Rapids for $20,000 in prize money. Teams such as Priority Health, Colavita, Rock Racing, Health Net, Navigators, Kelly Benefits Strategies and Jelly Belly have all confirmed participation in the event which is part of the more general 'Celebration on the Grand' activities. However, plenty of manpower is needed to pull off a top criterium.

"We have already had a number of volunteers sign up to help with the event," says promoter Rob Laybourn. "But we are hoping to involve as many community members as possible in the unique opportunities associated with volunteering for the Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic.

"Course marshals, rider registration co-ordinators and a set-up/tear down crew are just a few of the areas available where volunteer assistance is required." Volunteers can access more information and sign up to assist with the Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic by visiting www.priorityhealthclassic.com. Volunteers will receive a 2007 commemorative t-shirt for their involvement. On-line participant registration for all events, including the free Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Kids Race, is also available at www.priorityhealthclassic.com.

Interbike takes more green steps

For the past three years, the Interbike International Bicycle Expo in Las Vegas has sought to offset the show's environmental impact by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and this year organisers are requesting that show attendees follow suit. The 'Carbon Neutral Travel Program' aims to encourage visitors to calculate their CO2 emissions produced by travel to and from the show, then purchase enough RECs to counterbalance that amount.

This latest initiative is part of Interbike's ongoing 'Green Steps' program, which, beyond offsetting energy used during the show, may also include steps such as using recycled aisle carpet and moving to recycled paper badges printed with soya ink.

"Going green can sometimes mean some sacrifice, but many times the sacrifice has rewards and benefits that ultimately improve one's lifestyle," said Interbike show director Lance Camisasca. "Through our Green Steps Program we purchase renewable energy certificates to compensate for the energy required to operate Interbike. That one step alone was the equivalent to taking 30 cars off the road for an entire year."

For more information about Interbike's Green Steps program, visit: www.interbike.com/ib/industry/green-steps.jsp.

Vardaros to Vanderkitten

The Vanderkitten, 'Clothing for Women Who Kick Ass' cycling team has announced the signing of US cyclo-crosser Christine Vardaros to lead its newly established women's cyclo-cross team. The Mill Valley, California native - who spends much of her season based in Leuven, Belgium - plans to compete in UCI World Cup, Superprestige and US National Series races.

Last year Vardaros finished 22nd in the UCI rankings, earning herself a place on the US National Team for the 2007 World Championships. She will also provide mentorship and support to other members of the Vanderkitten team, a grassroots outfit open to cyclo-cross racers of any level.

"I chose to ride for Vanderkitten particularly because of what it stands for - permission for women to be athletic while retaining their femininity," said Vardaros. "Vanderkitten not only encourages women like me to play rough and dirty, but also provides us with feminine clothing so we look sexy as we sprint through the mud. Vanderkitten sends the message to women around the world that it is possible to be powerful and athletic while maintaining poise and grace."

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)

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