The Week That Was...

News & Results

02/14/2006| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Roberto Heras with mascot. Smile for the camera! Photo copyright
Roberto Heras with mascot. Smile for the camera! Photo copyright

The Week That Was...

Ian is back from vacation!

The new United Pro Cycling Team was officially launched last week in New York City with the announcement that car manufacturer, Toyota, is the title sponsor.

The US' latest professional team, United Pro Cycling, unveiled its title sponsor in New York Tuesday morning, revealing that car maker Toyota would be backing the new squad. The team will also be funded by support from fans, team owner Sean Tucker announced.

"The problem with the existing structure is that after a couple years of building a great team, a sponsor will fold and the team will disappear. Not anymore," says Sean Tucker, the man behind the team.  In the past, teams have always pursued naming sponsors, only for the organization to fold within a handful of years when the company decides to change its marketing strategies.

"I wanted to create the cycling dream team and bring the enthusiasm for cycling found in Europe to the United States," Tucker says. "So I created a model that's been 11 years in the making from the influence of the NBA and the NFL. And we're hoping other teams will follow suit."

Fans will be given the chance to add to the success of the team by subscribing to varies levels of membership entitling them to e-mailed newsletters with team race results, rider interviews and photos, exclusive team merchandise discounts, and special offers from team sponsors.

"We're very excited to support the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team because they bring so much passion to the sport," said Jim Farley, Toyota's vice president of marketing. "Cycling is about always moving forward and improving on everything you do. At Toyota we can absolutely relate to that."

The team will be directed by former pro?s Frankie Andreau and Harm Jansen.  The full roster is as follows:

Chris Wherry (USA), formerly of Health Net-Maxxis
Tony Cruz (USA), formerly of Discovery Channel
Chris Baldwin (USA), formerly of Navigators Insurance
Bobby Lea (USA), formerly of Team Northwestern Mortgage
Ivan Dominguez (Cuba), formerly of Health Net-Maxxis
Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina), formerly of Colavita-Sutter Home
Ivan Stevic (Serbia), formerly of Aerospace Engineering
Justin England (USA), formerly of Health Net-Maxxis
Heath Blackgrove (New Zealand), formerly of Beveren, Belgium
Jose Manuel Garcia (Mexico), formerly of Mexican national team
Mariano Friedick (USA), formerly of Jelly Belly-Pool Gel
Stefano Barberi (Brazil), formerly of TIAA-CREF
Sterling Magnell (USA), formerly of Team Monex
Derek Wilkerson (USA), formerly of Colavita-Sutter Home
Josh Thornton (USA), formerly of Neptune-Fuji
Sean Sullivan (Australia), formerly of Team Barloworld, South Africa
Chris Stockburger (USA), formerly of U.S. national team

American component manufacturer SRAM last week announced a major break through for them in the world of European professional cycling.  SRAM?s commitment to the road continues with the announcement of its sole European program, Team Orbea. This follows the release of SRAM?s U.S-based program, Nevada.

Orbea is a technologically advanced frame manufacturer based in Northern Spain who has enjoyed great success in the growth of its brand over the past several years with key wins under several Top Level professional teams. Team Orbea, one of the few brand-based teams in Europe, is only in its second year but is not short on accomplishments. Orbea won the team competition, as well as a stage at the 2005 Tour de l?Avenir, which remains a goal for 2006 along with the Sea Otter Classic and the Euskatel Bicicletta.

Top talents include Alan Perez and Gustavo Dominguez. The only non-Spanish rider is an American from Texas named Armstrong. Brad Armstrong is a 19 year-old State Champion (pic) from Burleson and ?a terrific talent,? according to Orbea?s Global Marketing Director, Joseba Arizaga. He is no relation to the seven-time Tour de France winner.

The Team?s professional level SRAM componentry will include the full complement of shifters, front and rear derailleur, cranks, bottom bracket, chain, cassette and brakes. Last October SRAM introduced DoubleTap technology that allows for both up and down shifts to be executed from the same inward pivoting shift lever. Additional priorities of the component group will be advanced materials, exceptionally light weight, superior function, and sensible ergonomics.

Orbea?s Arizaga went on to say, ?SRAM has taken a fresh approach to their new road products and we consider our approach the same, we are very proud and very excited.?

Orbea?s U.S. Marketing Director, Justin Slarks, added that, ?SRAM?s componentry will offer our riders distinct advantages and, combined with Orbea frames, will be the most advanced bicycle in the peleton.?

SRAM?s Global Marketing Director, David Zimberoff stated, ?This is an historic day as SRAM takes to the roads of Europe, where the racing tradition began.?

The Spanish Cycling Federation last week confirmed the suspension of former Vuelta champion, Roberto Heras.  Heras tested positive in the penultimate stage of the Spanish race last year for the performance enhancing drug, EPO.  Heras lodged an appeal but after deliberation, his two year ban was up-held.

The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) has suspended Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros-W?rth) for two years after his positive doping test for EPO, taken on the penultimate stage of the 2005 Vuelta a Espa?a. Thus, Russian Denis Menchov (Rabobank) who finished second in the Spanish tour, will be recorded as 2005 Vuelta a Espa?a champion, and Heras will remain with three victories (2000, 2003 and 2004).

"What we did was just to fulfil our commitment to apply the rules. It's not a positive or nice matter for sport or cycling but we applied the current rules,? said general secretary of the RFEC, Eugenio Bermudez to Spanish news agency Efe.

Following the announcement, Heras spoke of his disappointment.

"It's not hard to understand my complete disagreement with the decision of the federation, and the feeling of total defencelessness that I find myself in," he said in a statement. "I can't accept that my name, my dignity, and that of my whole family remain tarnished by a test that doesn't offer any guarantees."

"I have participated in nine editions of the Vuelta. I have won four; I have finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th on the general classification and spent 36 days in the leader's jersey, always with rigor and honesty. And I have passed more than 50 blood and urine controls during these years to prove it.?

"I don't understand the positive test, nor the sanction, and I cannot accept that my name remains damaged by something that I am absolutely certain I have never done...I am going to do whatever it takes to show my innocent and I want to clarify that, in spite of the fact that I will be far away from racing and the grand tours, I will continue riding with a clear conscience."

Tyler Hamilton, former US Postal and Team Phonak rider, last week also had his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld following doping charges.  Hamilton is accused of blood doping during the 2004 Vuelta a Espa?a.  His ban will end on 22nd September 2006.

The CAS released a statement outlining their ruling:

"On September 11, 2004, Tyler Hamilton won a stage of the Vuelta and underwent a blood test. The WADA accredited Laboratory in Lausanne/Switzerland reported that the sample provided by Hamilton was positive for the presence of transfused blood. On the basis of this report, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) initiated a disciplinary procedure which led to a hearing before the AAA [American Arbitration Association]. The AAA Panel found on April 18, 2005 that there had been a transfusion of a third person's blood to Hamilton and accordingly that an anti-doping rule violation had been committed by him. He was suspended from competition for a period of two years commencing April 18, 2005 and all of his competition results from September 11, 2004 including those obtained in the Vuelta competition were cancelled.

"Later, Tyler Hamilton filed an appeal with the CAS in order to request the annulment of the suspension. He challenged the reliability of the HBT [homologous blood transfusion] test which was applied to him on the basis that it was a 'brand new test'.  In a very detailed award, the CAS Panel has found that the HBT test as applied to the samples delivered by Hamilton at the Vuelta was reliable, that on September 11, 2004 his blood did contain two different red blood cell populations and that such presence was caused by blood doping by homologous blood transfusion, a prohibited method under the UCI rules. As a consequence of this anti-doping rule violation, the CAS Panel has confirmed the two years' suspension imposed on Hamilton."

Don?t forget, there is just one day left to enter the Thomson bike tours free European vacation giveaway.   Click on the link HERE to register. Best of luck.

Until next week


Your comments
Your comments
sign up or login to post a comment