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First Edition Cycling News for January 29, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown and Sue George

Cyclo-cross World Cup heading for US

Race to be organized during the first weekend of October

By Brecht Decaluwé in Kotrijk

Sven Nys
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

During the presentation of the next cyclo-cross world championship in Treviso, Cyclingnews talked to Peter Van den Abeele about next year's World Cup. Van den Abeele, UCI cyclo-cross coordinator, said that the UCI certainly plans to have a World Cup event in the US. "We've left space during the weekend of October 6 and 7 but it's still unsure where the race will take place," Van den Abeele said.

Cyclingnews previously reported the news about the World Cup, but the Belgian confirmed the race will be held in Providence. "It's 70% sure that the organization will be held in Providence, Rhode Island. The European top riders agree with this as the World Cup race will be combined with another big UCI-race during that week. The top 25 of the UCI will fly together to the US on a flight chartered by Sven Nys," Van den Abeele said.

Many American riders have stated they would love to see the World Cup coming abroad. Sunday, Katie Compton, who finished second place at the world cyclo-cross championships, said to Cyclingnews, "We need to have the World Cup in the US." Compton is one of three Americans who earned silver medals at the worlds this year. The improved American performances may be the inevitable result of the increasing popularity of cyclo-cross in the US.

US champion Ryan Trebon (Kona) was delighted to hear the news but warned the organizers. "The course in Providence is way too fast, it would end up in a bunch sprint," Trebon said.

Both riders participated in the world cyclo-cross championships, held in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium, this weekend. Read Cyclingnews' complete coverage, including race reports, full results, and photos of the elite men's and elite women's races.

Riccò starts early in Argentina

Riccardo Riccò put an early score on the board with stage 4 of the Vuelta a San Luis, in Argentina. The young Saunier Duval-Prodir rider (23 years-old), who also won the 2006 season-ending Japan Cup, took the 170.2 kilometre stage after 3 hours and 39 minutes of racing. Teammate Manuele Mori finished in sixth and Gilberto Simoni in the group at 56th.

"We needed to win a stage, we are very happy in being the first foreign team to win a stage in San Luis," said the rider from Modena to "The stage was the hardest one of all and we felt the 170 kilometres."

Of the team start in South America, Riccò noted, "Overall it is a great tour; the organization is very good and the level of riders is high. And tomorrow, I expect that my teammates will do something."

The race continues to be led by Jorge Giacinti, with 37 seconds over Fernando Antogna and 55 over Francisco Mancebo.

MNCF meets Tour de Langkawi creditors

Some debts from 2005 and 2006 editions linger

By Shane Stokes

With just days remaining before the start of the 2007 Tour de Langkawi, officials from the Malaysian National Cycling Federation have met creditors still owed money by First Cartel, 2005 and 2006 organisers of the race. The MNCF has reportedly been instructed by the UCI that it must pay off the creditors as the national cycling federation is organising this year's event.

According to Sunday's New Straits Times newspaper, a winding up order against First Cartel was issued against in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Thursday. The action was taken by Syarikat Malacca Straits Inn Sdn Berhad and supported by Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad over unpaid hotel bills amounting to RM177,741.30 [approx €39,322] plus interest and costs.

Instructions by the UCI that the MNCF should settle the debts are, according to the NST, in conflict with the Malaysian law which states that an appointed liquidator will take over all affairs, including creditors, once a company is wound up. In this case the Official Receiver of Malaysia is thought to be the liquidator concerned.

"We will allow justice to take its course and we've advised the creditors to immediately register themselves with the Official Receiver of Malaysia," MNCF deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad told the New Straits Times.

"As I've said before, the debts made by First Cartel are not ours and we won't be bailing them out. First Cartel is responsible for its debts. But since there are those who have suffered as a consequence of us sanctioning a race, we have a responsibility to assist them in solving their problems."

The Malaysian paper is claiming that First Cartel owes RM7.9 million, of which RM2.8 million are race related [approximately €1,747,745 and € 619,454 respectively] and has been ordered to be settled by the UCI. Naim has said that he has been given guarantees by creditors that the race will not be disrupted in protest. It will run from February 2 to 11.

Last month Cyclingnews was contacted by 2006 race winner David George and Irish road race champion David McCann over the non-payment of prize money to the South Africa and Giant Asia teams. Both said they were planning to protest to the UCI over the matter, but the prize money was finally issued by the MNCF in early January.

Cyclingnews understands that other creditors were also contacting the UCI around that time, including those involved in providing TV coverage for the 2006 event. It is unclear as to whether these complaints have since been settled.

Former race photographer John Pierce is also claiming to be owed money by First Cartel. Its managing director Simon Donnellan disputes that the latter is due to be paid, saying that no agreement had been undertaken by his company and that the monies paid to Pierce in the past were done so in accordance with a contract made with the previous organisers.

In response to this, Pierce counters by insisting that Donnellan was aware of the long-standing agreement and states that he has carried out the same role of official race photographer since Donnellan took over at the top. He also says that his photographs have been extensively used in the 2005 and 2006 race manuals and promotional materials, yet states he has received no financial compensation for this.

The Malaysian government has pledged its support for the Tour de Langkawi, saying that it will fund the race until new commercial backers get involved. During earlier editions the race was said to be one of the richest in the world in terms of budget; it is hoped that the government assistance will secure the long-term success of the 2.HC ranked event.

South Africa returns to Langkawi

Expect another strong showing in Le Tour de Langkawi, which begins this Friday, from the best performing national team in the race's 12 year history, as South Africa will return with an eye on both the overall individual and team titles. The ace in the six pack of riders is defending champion David George, but team captain Nic White could also prove to be one who gives South Africa the chance to register an unprecedented piece of history in Le Tour de Langkawi, where they could become the only country to have won the Tour for three consecutive years.

Ryan Cox started the ball rolling when he won the 2005 title, but the Barloworld rider is not part of team manager Tony Harding's line-up this time around. Instead, South Africa will bank on George, who last year topped both the general classification as well as the mountains classification last year, backed by White and Daryl Impey of the MTN Microsoft team, Rupert Rheeder and Hanco Kachelhoffer of the Harmony team and Konica Minolta's Tiaan Kannemeyer.

"Le Tour de Langkawi has always been a favourite for South African riders and we've had winners of the past two races. We've also been part of the race in each of the past 11 editions, so it is an important race for us. This year, the competition level is higher with the presence of five ProTour teams," commented White.

"As an early season event, Le Tour de Langkawi offers riders the opportunity to race in great warm weather, and get a head start on their form for the European season. As South Africans, coming from the southern hemisphere, there is the added advantage of being able to prepare well in a warm environment.

"Our team has been assembled with the defending champion, and a range of good tour riders and climbers, combined with strongmen for the flat days, all with a wealth of international experience."

Another South African, Ian McLeod will also be racing in Langkawi again, this time as part of the Française Des Jeux team who will be making their debut in Malaysia.

Landis: $150,000 for fund and asks French to wait

By Susan Westemeyer

The Floyd Fairness Fund was started in hopes of raising up to two million dollars for Floyd Landis' legal defence, but to date only US$150,000 in contributions has come in, according to spokesman Michael Henson.

Landis claims to have spent about $350,000 of his own money so far, and is living on his past earnings. In the coming months, Landis, Hanson and other members of the defence team "will hold town hall-style meetings in Southern California and across the nation where Landis will discuss his legal defence and raise money through auctions and by signing autographs," Hanson told the California newspaper Press Enterprise.

Landis was in California for the annual training camp that he hosts for amateur riders. 23 cyclists, from as far away as New Zealand and Great Britain, paid $3,000 to attend the week-long camp. His mechanic, massage therapist and physiologist all worked with the riders. Landis rode with the amateurs six times, for a total of about 300 miles.

Meanwhile, Floyd Landis doesn't want to have to fight doping charges on two fronts at once, and has allegedly asked the French anti-doping agency to hold off on its proceedings against him. His legal team has asked that the French cases be suspended until his WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) case is finished, the Los Angeles Times has reported.

The WADA made a similar request of the French anti-doping agency, the AFLD. Landis' spokesman said he expects the AFLD to announce its decision on February 8, the date it has scheduled to open the hearing. "We believe it's strongly in Floyd's interest to not have to defend two actions simultaneously in two different countries," said Maurice Suh of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who is defending Landis in the French case.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Monday, January 21 - Landis: $150,000 for fund and asks French to wait
Sunday, January 21 - Landis looks to return to racing with Vaughters' Pro-Conti team
Thursday, January 18 - Landis supports anti-doping code revisions
Saturday, January 13 - Landis called to Paris hearing
Thursday, January 11 - Landis speaks at town-hall style meeting
Tuesday, January 9 - Pound casts doubt on Landis; Tour winner hits back
Monday, December 18 - Landis: "I don't see myself as a bike racer"
Monday, December 11 - Landis considers cost of defence
Thursday, November 23 - Landis answers hard questions
Sunday, November 19 - Landis' friend Baker speaks regarding positive test
Friday, November 17 - French anti-doping agency "unprejudiced" in Landis case, Landis responds to hacking accusations

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Aune moves to Menikini Gysko team

By Tomas Nilsson

Karin Aune
(Click for larger image)

After some uncertainty, last year's Swedish revelation in the women's peloton, Karin Aune, leaves Michela Fanini Record Rox for Menikini Gysko.

Aune had a strong early season last year with a stage win and sixth overall placing in the Tour of Poland (Dookola Polski). After a strong ride in the women's Giro d'Italia, she made the mistake of not getting enough rest and finished the season with mixed results.

"I hope that this season will be better than the last [one], which was my first as a pro. It will be fun and exciting to ride for a top team," she said.

Aune's cycling career started late when she rode the 310 kilometer touring ride Vätternrundan in 2002 and was the fastest of all female starters. She then decided to race. After three seasons, she took a break from her PhD studies in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Umeå, where she is researching viability models for forest cryptogams. Her research relates to the risk of extinction for some fungi which live on dead wood. Prior to cycling, Aune competed in division one volleyball and cross country skiing. But now 32, she's fully committed to cycling.

Menikini Gysko, formerly Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini-Cogeas, is the highest ranked team in Italy. Aune joins Australians Rochelle Gilmore and Olivia Gollan, four time Giro winner Fabiana Luperini, Japanese champion Miho Oki, Danish racer Dorte Lohse Rasmussen , Spain's Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria Mazag , France's Elodie Touffet, and Italians Carmela Massaro, Milena Pirola, Marina Romoli, Silvia Valsecchi and Sigrid Corneo.

The team’s first training camp will be held February 6-13.

A complete team listing can be found on Cyclingnews' teams database.

Very Italian - Tenax

Tenax-Salmilano is indeed a very Italian squad; the Professional Continental team departs for the 2007 year with 13 out of 16 of its riders from the land of Coppi and Bartali. Three foreigners will ride for the team, actually registered in Ireland, Ruslan Pidgornyy, Honorio Machado Perez and Jure Golcer.

Yesterday in Viareggio, the team managed by Fabio Bordonali was presented to the public. "We will aim with the young riders," said Bardonali to La Gazzetta dello Sport, "in the hope to discover new talent. [Roberto] Ferrari, with l1 victories in the under 23 ranks in 2006, could be one of the best sprinters in the new generation." The 23 year-old makes his professional debut this year on the team in the GP Etruschi, February 10.

Team: Alessandro Bertuola (Ita), Christian Murro (Ita), Claudio Cucinotta (Ita), Cristiano Salerno (Ita), Daniele Pietropolli (Ita), Fabrice Piemontesi (Ita), Gabriele Bosisio (Ita), Giairo Ermeti (Ita), Honorio Machado Perez (Ven), Jure Golcer (Slo), Luca Sabatino (Ita), Mauro Santambrogio (Ita), Miculà De Matteis (Ita), Roberto Ferrari (Ita), Ruslan Pidgornyy (Ukr) and Sergio Lagana (Ita).

A complete team listing can be found on Cyclingnews' teams database.

Ceramica Flaminia readies for 2007

Riders and the new bike
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Professional Continental team Ceramica Flaminia will take on 2007 with 16 riders under the guidance of Director Sportifs Simone Borgheresi and Massimo Podenzana. The Italy-based team was presented Saturday in Rome along with its Campagnolo-equipped Daccordi bikes.

Team Manager Roberto Marrone guides the team for its third season. "In the first two seasons we have shown our sponsors name with seriousness and always ready to confront any obstacle," he said.

Marrone went on to blast the ProTour structure. "We entered cycling in the worst of moments; the ProTour imposed a barrier that is difficult to overcome," he noted. "We hope the mechanics of this organization is reviewed soon. It one that penalizes everyone, large to small teams, organizers and federations. The story of cycling is a testimony to the fact that we need to construct a modern sport on a diverse basis than which has already been done by the UCI. We hope the Italian cycling federation defends the Italian heritage; a mark of quality known in the world."

The team will be tackling some of Italy's big races. Borgheresi and Podenzana have their gaols; "This team is robust and has depth in all terrains. There is no doubt that we will point to be protagonists in every situation. ... Our experience and enthusiasm towards the young and ambitions riders is paid back in trust and optimism; we are all motivated.

"Our recent camp underlined our capacity; the riders have respect for their proposed programs ... They all know that this will be a decisive season."

2007 team members are Adriano Angeloni, Andrus Aug, Stefano Boggia, Antonio D'Aniello, Vladimir Duma, Cristian Gasperoni, Gianluca Geremia, Raffaele Illiano, Mikhaylo Khalilov, Hubert Krys, Tomasz Marczynski, Domenico Quagliarello, Michele Scotto D'Abusco, Manuele Spadi, Maurizio Varini, Adam Wadecki.

See Cyclingnews' teams' database for full listings.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

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

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