What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Thursday!

It’s one week today until the Worlds TT kicks off in Germany and consequently this is a World’s themed trashcan today. How will the UCI fight their drugs battle in Stuttgart? Is Valverde in or out? What champions have been left out of their teams and which US team is taking on Phonak’s main man? It’s all here and more in ET Thursday!

BUT FIRST: Webinar On 5 Core Skills!
Direct from Marvin Zauderer, PEZ’s own mental skill expert, ToolBox contributor, and a USA Cycling Level 2 coach, comes this online seminar to train your 5 core mental skills for cycling.

I’m pleased to announce a “Webinar” — a one-hour presentation that you can see and hear from the comfort of your favorite armchair — on Thursday, October 4, at 5pm Pacific time. The subject: The 5 Core Skills of Mentally Fit Cyclists.

Strong mental skills often give amateur and professional cyclists an edge over competitors. In this seminar, you’ll learn:
— Why be interested in Mental Fitness?
— What are the 5 Core Skills?
— How can they improve your (or your athletes’) cycling?
— How do you assess proficiency for each skill?
— How can you strengthen the skills on and off the bike?
The mind is as important as the body in a complete training program.

The cost is $25 for USA Cycling and USA Triathlon coaches, $30 for (other) USA Cycling and USA Triathlon members, and $35 for all others. USA Cycling coaches receive 0.1 CEU for attending.

Here’s how you participate:

Step 1: Payment —
— PayPal the fee to ([email protected]), OR
— Send a check, made out to Marvin Zauderer, to me at: PO Box 150394, San Rafael, CA 94915, and email me that the proverbial check is in the mail.
In either case, send me an email with your membership number if you want the member discount. Note that you *cannot* pay through MYUSACYCLING.

Step 2: Registration —
— After you pay, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to register on the Webinar website. Note: If you pay but don’t register, you can’t participate, so please make sure to do both.
— After registering, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to log in to the Webinar via your computer, and how to call in to the teleconference (an 800 number, or a 605 number if you’re outside the US/Canada). It’s easy. You may use Mac or Windows — the system requirements will be listed.

Step 3: Attending —
— Once you log/call in on October 4, you’ll see each slide of my PowerPoint presentation on your computer as I move through them, and you’ll hear my presentation on your phone. You can also use a Chat function on your computer to ask questions. I’ve already been in the audience for a USA Cycling webinar and it works great! Thanks to Sam Callan of USA Cycling for launching the Webinar program and encouraging me to do one.

For those of you who want more background on me, you can go here: WholeAthlete.com/psychology.htm

Again, the Webinar is Thursday, October 4 at 5pm Pacific Time, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern.

Menchov Still In Charge
With no changes, or even challenges in the GC at the Vuelta in the last few days, Denis Menchov is still looking extremely well placed as the race heads into its’ final days. With over 2 minutes to Efimkin (Caisse d’Epargne) and Evans (Predictor-Lotto) most pundits believe that the top spot on the podium is virtually wrapped up.

Second and third positions are very much undecided though with Cadel Evans only needing to pull back 27seconds on Vladimir Efimkin in Friday’s mountain stage or Saturday’s time trial if he is to complete a unique double of 2nd overall in the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the one year.

General classification after stage 17
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 66.40.49
2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d’Epargne 2.01
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor – Lotto 2.27
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.02
5 Samuel Sбnchez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 4.01
6 Ezequiel Mosquera Miguez (Spa) Karpin Galicia 4.35
7 Manuel Beltrбn (Spa) Liquigas 5.15
8 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d’Epargne 6.17
9 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quickstep – Innergetic 6.22
10 Igor Antуn (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 7.41

Guerini Finishes On A Low Note
Racing his last race as a professional, T-Mobile’s Giuseppe Guerini was hoping to leave the Vuelta with some good performances or even a stage win, but alas it just wasn’t to be.

Yesterday, Guerini pulled out of the race after being sick for the last few days and he was unfortunately unable to continue. Certainly a sad way for a rider to finish his career – especially for such a liked rider like Guerini who became somewhat of a cult hero amongst fans after winning the Alpe du Huez Tour de France stage in 1999, despite being knocked off his bike by a spectator.

Before the Vuelta, Guerini spoke of his hopes for his final race,

“I will try to give it my best shot, as always. And I am really determined to make my mark on the race so I can sign off in style.”

UCI Continues Its’ Tough Stance
The UCI’s number 1 priority these days is the cleaning up of our sport and it is with this goal that they announced their new, updated anti doping procedures for the upcoming world championships. The program will, according to the UCI,

“not only make it possible to detect instances of doping but should also dissuade riders from cheating.”

During the World Championships, the UCI will carry out the following actions:
• an increase of 25 % in the number of anti-doping controls compared to previous World Championships;
• anti-doping tests among the first 4 riders and 4 additional riders (compared to 2 last year), selected on a random or targeted basis at the end of each event;
• at least 30 blood anti-doping controls during the event, which is a new measure
• storage of blood samples to be in a position to detect whether growth hormones have been taken when the test becomes available (probably at the end of the year); this too is a new measure;
• around one hundred early morning blood screens (compared to 80 last year). The samples collected will make it possible to prohibit some riders from starting and will be used to improve the targeting of anti-doping controls.

The most notable increase in the procedures in my opinion is the fact that the UCI will now be storing the blood samples it takes and will be testing the blood, well after the competition closes for the presence of substances which are currently undetectable. Let’s all hope for a clean Worlds, sans controversy and even a 100% clean future for our sport?

UCI And GrandTours Part Ways
Still on UCI news, it was announced yesterday that the UCI is willing to concede that the three Grand Tours are no longer going to be part of the ProTour. Thus, the three most important stage races in the world will no longer be included in the race for the ProTour title.

At loggerheads for the last three years over the ProTour, the UCI’s concession should be a positive step to stop the public disagreements between the UCI and GrandTour organisers which at times degenerated into a public slanging match. Not being in the ProTour will now allow the GrandTours to do exactly what they want – ie, invite which teams they want to their races, instead of having to invite ALL the ProTour teams to their events. So this is a positive step for the GrandTour organisers but maybe not so positive for those owners of ProTour licenses who are now no longer guaranteed automatic entry in the three biggest stage races of the year.

Also what will happen to the ProTour points competition itself? Will it become like the old World Cup system just based on the one day classics, or will it still involve other smaller tours like the Tour of Poland as its’ ‘big’ stage races? As yet, no news or plans from the UCI have been released but when they are, you can be sure we’ll analyse them on Pez.

Spanish Federation Still Backing Valverde
The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) announced this week that they will take legal action against the International Cycling Union (UCI) with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in relation to Alejandro Valverde’s banning from the World Championships. The UCI has repeatedly stated that Valverde is not welcome at the race and that the RFEC should open a doping investigation against the rider based on information from Operation Puerto.

The RFEC however have consistently stated that there is no evidence against Valverde, so they won’t be opening an investigation and instead they have named him as team co-captain for the worlds along with Oscar Freire. This has led to an ugly stalemate between the two organisations with neither willing to back down – hence the upcoming court action. They’d want to get a decision quickly though as the road race is just over a week away!

The Spanish team as selected at the moment is: Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne), Уscar Freire (Rabobank), Samuel Sбnchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), Carlos Barredo (Quick.Step – Innergetic), Manuel Beltrбn (Liquigas) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank).

With the possibility that Valverde will not be riding, Spanish selectors have also named Josй Ivбn Gutiйrrez (Caisse d’Epargne) as a replacement for both the road race and time trial, should an injury or unforseen circumstance affect one of their riders…

America Looking Strong
The American team is looking strong for Stuttgart with a team that includes last year’s silver medallist in the time trial, David Zabriskie (CSC) for both the time trial and the road race. Joining Zabriskie in both the time trial and road race will be recent Vuelta stage winner, Jason McCartney (Discovery). McCartney is rumoured to be signing with Zabriskie’s team for next year, Slipstream after his impressive solo victory at the Vuelta in Spain last week – Apparently there have been a few teams interested in signing McCartney though since that day, so nothing has been confirmed yet. A strong showing at the Worlds would undoubtedly make an even stronger statement for signing the veteran.

USA team for the worlds, George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), David Zabriskie (Team CSC), Bobby Julich (Team CSC), Christian Vande Velde (Team CSC), Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel), John Devine (Discovery Channel), Tyler Farrar (Cofidis) and Danny Pate (Slipstream-Chipotle).

Defending Champs Keep Their Options Open
Defending champions, Italy get to take 11 riders to the Worlds and if Valverde doesn’t ride, then they will have the number one favourite on their team in Paolo Bettini. The reigning World and Olympic Champion has finally come into form at the Vuelta after a long and frustrating season and is 100% motivated to defend his World Champion’s jersey.

Technically, the course in Stuttgart is well suited to the punchy little Italian, but Bettini will find it difficult to get away as he will be heavily marked by all the other countries. It is for this reason that Italian national selector, Franco Ballerini has selected a number of potential victors in his ranks to try and cover every possibility that the race could throw at them.

With riders such as Fillipo Pozzato, Danilo Di Luca, Alessandro Ballan, Davide Rebellin and Paolo Bettini, who’s going to do the domestique work?

Italy for world’s: Paolo Bettini, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Filippo Pozzato, Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan, Alessandro Bertolini, Marzio Bruseghin, Andrea Tonti, Vincenzo Nibali and Giovanni Visconti.

McEwen Left At Home Again
After being left out of the Predictor Lotto squad for the Vuelta and being none to happy about it, sprint star Robbie McEwen has once again been left at home – this time by his national team.

Australian selectors for the upcoming World Championships in Stuttgart decided that Robbie wasn’t the man for them as they felt that the course was too hard for his capabilities. This is despite other teams like Germany (Zabel), Belgium (Boonen) and Spain (Freire) feeling that the race could still come down to a sprint. McEwen’s recent excellent form in winning the Paris Bruxelles was also not enough to sway their decision and Australia will now be looking for a breakaway to win the title, or if it does come down to a sprint they will support Allan Davis.

The team for the road race will be: Allan Davis and Trent Lowe (Discovery Channel), Cadel Evans and Matt Lloyd (Predictor-Lotto), Simon Gerrans (AG2R), Matthew Hayman and William Walker (Rabobank), Bradley McGee (Franзaise des Jeux) and Michael Rogers (T-Mobile).

Another Champion Left At Home
Another national team has decided to leave one of their champions at home and this time it’s the French who have made the decision to not select their current national champion, Christophe Moreau in their squad. Unlike McEwen though, Moreau has shown no recent form, in fact he has shown a real lack of form, so the decision by national selector, Frederic Moncassin was quite an easy one to make.

The rest of his decisions in selecting the team haven’t been so popular though, especially with Ag2r’s Dircetor sportif, Julien Jurdie who had this to say, after only one of his riders (Ludovic Turpin) was selected in the team,

“Frederic Moncassin mustn’t have Eurosport at home (in reference to his riders good form at the Vuelta.) It’s a big surprise (non selection of in-form John Gadret and Stephane Goubert) and a big disappointment.”

Meanwhile those French riders that were selected include the recent Tour of Britain winner, Agritubel’s Romain Feillu and Tour de France stage winner, Sandy Casar. Who will be the team leader though? Most likely the French, like the Australians will be hoping for a successful breakaway with a back up plan of Feillu if it comes down to a sprint.

French Team: Sylvain Chavanel, Stйphane Augй et Amaлl Moinard (Cofidis), Pierrick Fйdrigo et Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Sandy Casar et Benoоt Vaugrenard (Franзaise des Jeux), Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Ludovic Turpin (AG2R).

Floyd Verdict Due!
Well over a year since his positive test, Floyd Landis will finally know the arbitration panel’s decision by this coming weekend. In what was surely one of the longest deliberations in history, the verdict is finally ready to be handed down.

Will he be cleared? Will he be confirmed positive and banned? That’s what everyone in the cycling world is waiting to see, so let’s hope that the panel has made a good, fair decision – they’ve certainly had enough time to come up with the correct decision anyway!

If found guilty, Floyd will face a two year suspension and a loss of his Tour de France Champion title, not withstanding a lengthy appeal process to the Court of Arbitration for Sport of course. One thing worth noting before the verdict is handed down is that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who is seeking the guilty verdict, has never lost a case on appeal…

Pimping Your Brother Works!
After winning the fourth Stage of the Vuelta this year, Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d’Epargne), thanked his team, his director etc etc to the press as per normal, but then he did something a little different – he spruiked the talents of his brother to the world. He took the opportunity to announce to all the press that his brother is actually better than him and is currently without a contract for 2008. Just one of the quotes from Vladimir Efmikin at his post race press conference is as follows,

“My brother is the one who you will be hearing about in the coming years. He trains harder than me, he’s a better climber than me. He’ll be able to win big races in the future.”

Certainly a great time to get some publicity for your out of contract brother anyway! You’ve just destroyed the big favourites at the Vuelta, won the stage and are sitting in the leader’s jersey and all of a sudden your brother who was a little known rider, unwanted by his current team (Barloworld) quickly became the subject of various bids for his services.

It was the QUICK STEP-Innergetic team who won the bidding war though with the 25 year old Alexander Efimkin signing on to race for the Belgian squad next year. Quickstep director, Patrick Lefevere had this to say on his latest signing,

“Efimkin is a good athlete that we followed for a long time. With him, our team will be even more international (7 nationalities). The engagement of Efimkin is perfectly inserted in the process of globalization that is striking our sport and it also considers the presence of our sponsors in the Soviet market.”

No Second Team For Ag2r
It was only three weeks ago when I wrote about French insurance company, Ag2r thinking about starting a Professional Continental team next year with their decision still pending at that point.

Well the decision has come back from management and unfortunately for those young French hopefuls who were hoping to turn pro with Ag2r’s continental squad, the news was not good. Management decided that such a team wouldn’t be the most appropriate use of sponsorship money in the coming years, so the idea of turning Ag2r’s current sponsored amateur club, Chambery CF into a professional squad was squashed.

One of the riders who had hoped to turn pro next year with the team, Benoоt Ebrard had this to say,

“I am very disappointed. I counted on this structure for turning professional. Now, I don’t know what my future will be.”

Ex ProTour Manager For Team BMC
American team, Team BMC announced that they will be taking on ex Phonak director sportif, John Lelangue as a second director sportif for the 2008 season. Yes, I know a lot of bad things have been written about team Phonak and their doping reputation was not, uh….great, but John Lelangue was actually in the process of changing the way the team operated when the whole ‘Floyd’ affair destroyed the team.

LeLangue himself has an excellent reputation with both riders, media and with race organisers which will surely help Team BMC form a stronger presence on the European circuit as they race there next year as a Pro Continental team.

“I hope to bring a lot of experience to the team and a good structure. I had seen the BMC team working together in May over in Europe which is where we came in contact. It seems like a good project with a good vision for the future and that is what important to me.”

Along with signing LeLangue as a director the team has also been busy signing new riding talent to bolster the team’s strength. Amongst their most significant signings are, Nathan O’Neil and Jeff Louder from Health Net, Tony Cruz from Discovery Channel along with younger riders Brent Brookwalter from VMG Racing and Talyor Tolleson from Slipstream-Chipotle.


Chris Selden lives down under in Palm Beach, Queensland, Australia – but spends his summers riding, racing and guiding cycling trips in Europe.

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