What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Early Week

Sometimes there’s just so much Trash to pick up, you just can’t collect it all in one day. Today, weary and wasted, the Trashman returns. Though a day late, I come bearing gifts: TEN rotten stories to satiate the cyclist’s appetite for the news that matters most.

Winter Training
If you’ve ever spent a winter in Europe, you will most definitely understand why any soul wishing to do anything more than 10 hours of cycling a week, sees hope and solace in climes to the far south. The boys at T-Mobile are no different. The T-Mobile team website reports that a portion of the team is training in the hot hot heat of South Africa, and another group is training on the lovely island of Lanzarote.

Jan Ullrich is enjoying his return to training, though starting out a bit slow after sickness laid him low a couple weeks ago. While his teammates are putting in 5-7 hour (150-200 km) rides, Ullrich is easing his way into his winter training with rides between 3 and 5 hours (100-150 km).

Danilo Hondo of Gerolsteiner is also enjoying the South African sun with his German friends, and points out what the main goal is: “We are riding between 150 and 200 kilometres per day. Some days we follow the flat terrain along the coast and other days we head into the hills. The focus is on endurance rides, rather than speed work”, says Gerolsteiner sprinter Danilo Hondo.

New T-Mobile recruit Olaf Pollack is enjoying the training camp with his new team mates: “They are a good bunch of guys. They look after me,” says Pollack, who is also putting in some additional training rides with Eric Baumann. The two sprinters do not seem to be content with long, boring distance, and instead are keen to get the Magenta Train in gear for next season. “We are doing some speed work, and working on lead-out techniques.”

More Details On The ProTour
The UCI is slowly but surely releasing the all-important details on next year’s inaugural ProTour. Procycling reports on the UCI’s recent release of the points system that will be used next season for the ProTour events. “This new ranking system will replace the World Rankings and the World Cup standings,” in other words, sorry Damiano Cunego and Paolo Bettini.

The points will be issued as follows:

– Tour de France: 100 points to the winner, then 75, 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 for 20th place.

– Giro and Vuelta: 85 points to the winner, then 65, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 26, 22, 19, 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 for 20th place.

– The ‘Monument’ Classics (Milano-San Remo, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Liиge-Bastogne-Liиge, Giro di Lombardia) and other stage races (think Paris-Nice): 50 points to the winner, then 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 and 1 for 10th place.

– Other one-day races: 40, 30, 25, 20, 15, 11, 7, 5, 3 and 1 for 10th place.

– World Championship: 50, 40 and 35 for 3rd place.

– Stage results: 3, 2 and 1 in the major tours; 1 point for a stage win in the other multi-day events.

In more interesting news, the leader of the ProTour Classification will “wear a white jersey with a blue neck and sleeves.” What takes precedence over what though? If Oscar Freire as World Champion at some point leads the ProTour, the ProTour leader’s jersey will be worn in lieu of the World Champion’s jersey. Classification of the Grand Tours will wear their respective jerseys, even if they lead the ProTour.

It is interesting to speculate on the implications of this points system. The Tour de France reigns supreme over all others, but 100 points is still not good enough for an entire season. There is indeed (as there should be) an emphasis on the year-round racer – a Paolo Bettini or Rebellin for instance (Cunego if he doesn’t fall into the Tour or Die vortex).

Notice the measly points allotted for Grand Tour stage victories or another smaller Tour – 3 points to the winner of a Grand Tour stage and only ONE point to someone that wins a stage in Paris-Nice for example. Ale Jet will need to start winning 15 stages per Grand Tour to have much of a chance at the Overall.

More Details On The Pro Tour, Part II
One week ago, the 19 teams that will partake in next year’s ProTour, signed a “15-point ethical code that has since received the endorsement of International Cycling Union president Hein Verbruggen,” not to mention that coveted signature of Jean-Marie Leblanc.

Procycling reports some of the main points:

– Agreement to place health and sporting ethics above all other considerations (sounds like it’ll be very effective)

– Respect for the principles of fair play and respectful conduct towards the public, riders, race organisers, teams and national and international authorities (that’s 2 out of 15 points that have already been more or less wasted, is this stuff not common sense?)

– Exclusion of all types of remuneration within the sporting and medical sides of a team that are based on the results or performances of riders (excellent)

– Each rider must give written details to their employer about their personal trainer(s), doctor(s), and any other person outside the team set-up who is involved with their physical, medical or psychological preparation

– The establishment of an advisory system that will inform riders of the dangers involved in the use of doping practices (because it’s a huge mystery)

– Riders must provide precise details on their location at all times as laid down by the World Anti-Doping Code, so that a random doping control can be conducted on them at any moment

– No rider who has been sacked as a result of anti-doping disciplinary procedure will be employed by any team (has this ever happened?)

– No rider can be employed who is the subject of an inquiry or criminal procedure based on facts related to their sporting performance, or because of an incident which constitutes an infringement of the UCI’s anti-doping regulations, or because of an intentional criminal act . (This should cause some interesting situations, is this a guilty until proven innocent clause?)

– Any rider (bearing in mind the national laws applying to their contract) or any team member must be sacked if they are convicted of a violation of the UCI’s anti-doping regulations.

– No team can employ a rider who has been convicted of an intentional violation of the UCI’s anti-doping regulations for the four years subsequent to their conviction (Ouch)

The new ethical code will come into operation at the start of the 2005 season. Look for there to be some interesting debate throughout the season, especially when riders get caught red-handed. What do you mean I’m banned for four years?

How About Some History?
Frenchman, Maurice Garin, the inaugural winner of the Tour de France in 1903, might not have been French at all. Actually, it’s fact that Garin was born in Italy, but was evidently naturalized a French citizen at some point during the early part of his life, the only question is exactly when…

Eurosport.com reports that Garin was not naturalized until nearly 1902, not bringing his title of first French Tour de France winner in doubt, but making it possible for his Paris-Roubaix victories (1897 and 1898) to be attributed to Italy. Two things: yes, it is DEFINITELY the off-season now, and second, who says Italians are no good in the Hell of the North – that’s 2 more wins for Italia in Paris-Roubaix, creeping closer to the Belgians.

Sevilla Sets Plan
T-Mobile’s biggest recruit for next season, Oscar Sevilla, has his sights already set on late Summer 2005. At the unveiling of the Vuelta route this past week, Sevilla commented that he will be the team’s numero uno at the 2005 Vuelta, “The team management confirmed this to me, and I will present myself in top form.”

Sevilla noted, with no sense of disappointment, that it was at Lagos de Covadonga that he took the Gold Jersey in the 2001 Vuelta a Espana. He went on to hold the jersey for 12 days, only to lose it on the final day.

Sevilla’s role will be entirely different at the Tour de France though, where, as expected, he will be working for Jan Ullrich: “Jan is one of the top stars in the international peloton and has high expectations for the 2005 season. Especially at the Tour he wishes to once again contend for the win.”

Actually, where was there anywhere in that statement from Sevilla that he planned on taking up domestique duties for Ullrich? Actually, let’s ask the much more interesting question: What happens when T-Mobile sends Alexandre Vinokourov, Jan Ullrich, Andreas Kloeden, and Oscar Sevilla to the Tour de France? Entertainment baby, lots and lots of entertainment. Chaos? In-fighting? Excellent.

If Anyone Wants To Know What I Want For Christmas
I’ll take Mario Cipollini’s bike, we’re very similar in size, and I think the Lion King’s steed would look mighty fine under the auspices of my power. In an online auction benefiting the European Institute of Oncology, Paolo Bettini, Mario Cipollini, Damiano Cunego, Igor Astarloa, and Oscar Freire have all donated their team bikes to the auction, to raise money for prostate cancer research.

Cunego, whose hand must be getting very sore by now, signed another 100 Maglia Rosas for the first 100 people that pledge 350 euros to the fundraiser. If you’re interested in one of the bikes, you’ll have to start the bidding at 5,000 euros, and if you want Cipo’s bike, you better come loaded, because I’m going to sell the house I’m renting to get it. The auction ends Christmas Eve, the 24th – check out www.ieo.it for more info.

Winter Injuries Are No Good
Rene Haselbacher, after making a tremendous comeback last season from a career-threatening illness, is once again on his back. Haselbacher, along with every other Pro on the planet it seems (Mallorca is so last year), is in South Africa preparing, er, resting for next season. Radsportnews.com puts it well: “…on a descent, he suddenly collided with a car that appeared out of nowhere.” Yes, it does seem that those cars we often run into are normally airlifted in and dropped right in the path of 23 mm of rubber.

The following three stories presented to you by Pez’ French Liaison, Breckenridge Cartwright…

Drancourt Injured, Pichon Operational
Pierre Drancourt, the neo-pro on Boygues Telecom (the team which was last year’s Brioches La Boulangиre) has dislocated his knee last week during training. He will be tested to examine the extent of his injuries, but he is very uncertain about the opening of the season.

Concerning Mickael Pichon, victim of a crash as spectacular as it was serious at last June’s Dauphinй, he has finished his physical therapy. Therefore, he can begin training normally, even if his return to competition is still not planned.

Cafйs Baque Stops
After two years in the Peloton, the Spanish team Cafйs Baque, which had risen up to Div. II this season with leaders Felix Cardenas and Hernan Buenabova, both Colombian, has ceased their “high level adventure”. After and unsuccessful search for a co-sponsor, the directors have decided to continue in the amateur division. Cardenas, winner of the climber’s jersey in the last two editions of the Vuelta Espaсa, has moved on to the South African & Italian squad Team Barloworld for next year. Another Spanish team, Paternina-Costa de Almeria is also uncertain for next year.

No TDF Start In Quйbec
The TDF 2008 will not be starting in Quйbec due to numerous logistic problems related to distance. Of primary concern to the ASO were the transportation problems involving the caravan, staff and riders. Another huge factor was the time difference. Quйbec had hoped to host the prologue as part of the celebration of the 400th birthday of the city.

For all your coaching, entertainment, and picture needs: www.JeredGruber.com

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