The Week That Was...

News & Results

12/12/2005| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Erik Zabel and co. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Erik Zabel and co. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

Despite causing many an eyebrow to rise, Team Milram continues to highlight the positive and insist that the unusual pairing of Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel within the same team, will work.  German news agency DPA last week claimed that both riders would line up at the start of the Tour de France, one with a view to stage victories and another with a view to winning the Green jersey.

Gerry van Gerwan, team manager, said that, "Both Zabel and Petacchi will probably start the Tour which is a huge advantage for our team and our project. Petacchi offers the certainty of one, two or more stage wins. If that happens early [in the race] the team could then concentrate on working for Erik to take the green jersey."

It would appear though that Zabel would be the protected rider come the first goal of the season, Milan - San Remo.  While both have previously won the event, changes to the course this year might prove too much for the Italian sprinter.  "The race profile has changed," van Gerwen said. "Now there is another climb shortly before the finish. Perhaps that is too difficult for Petacchi."

Should he fall short at San Remo, Petacchi will not long after have the means to make amends when all eyes move to Northern Europe and the early season classics.  Highlighted as a goal for the year, he is eager to score a result in Paris-Roubaix.

Returning this year for the ?Hell of the North? is the famous Forest of Arenberg, omitted last year due to, in the eyes of the race organisers ASO, being deteriorated beyond the point of them no longer being safe to race over.

The cobbles are currently undergoing restorative work having received a council grant for ?220,000?just enough to cover the costs of asphalting the roads of the forest.

Former World Hour record holder, Graeme Obree, will finally get to view himself on the big screen when ?The flying Scotsman? is released in spring 2006.  After years of false hope and disappointments, the film is finally underway with Jonny Lee Miller playing the lead role of Obree, the man who built a record-breaking bicycle out of parts of a washing machine.

In a move that has shocked few, the organisers of the three grand tours have withdrawn their races and those others, which are organised by them, from the 2006 ProTour calendar.  These other races include such prestigious as Paris Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Fl?che Wallonne, Li?ge-Bastogne-Li?ge, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy.

The UCI chose to harden its stance against the ongoing dispute with the major Tours following the recent presentation of the 2006 Tour de France route.  New UCI President, Pat McQuaid, said that, ?unless the organisers come down off their fence and are willing to make some compromises, no progress can be made.?

The race organisers ultimately chose to make the decisions themselves and have ultimately chosen to form what will be known as a Grand Tour trophy competition. 

Entry into the events in 2006 will be granted to all ProTour teams with a further two wild card selections at the organisers discretion.  In 2007, a still to be decided ranking system will be used to automatically select the leading 14 teams with a further eight provided with wild card entries.

The GT trophy competition will have a total prize purse of ?2 million to be split between the top seven teams.  In order to encourage participation in the three major stage races, the race organisers will pay any team who competes in all three, an appearance fee of ?100,000.

Finally, this week, we would all like to pay our respects to Charly Gaul, former winner of the Tour de France and Giro d?Italia.  Gaul passed away in hospital last week having suffered a pulmonary embolism. 


The ?Angel of the Mountains? died just short of his 73rd birthday.


Until next week, send your thoughts to me at  Before sure to check out the latest views and opinions in our Forums. ? And check out a new advertiser coming to the site this Thursday. Our many advertisers make possible.




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