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Thursday, June 19, 2008
  Frank Schleck crash video
By Yokota Fritz 
Team CSC cyclist Frank Schleck took a turn a little wide and went over a guard rail and down a ravine today during the Tour of Switzerland. After watching the video, you'll be amazed to know that Schleck escaped with only minor injuries to hop back on his bike to finish the race.

Props to my co-worker Pete for this.


Monday, June 16, 2008
  Collaborative marketing: USA + France
By Yokota Fritz 
Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and AEG announced a marketing partnership to cross promote each other's events. ASO owns the Tour de France and other European races, while AEG is the US based sports presenter that owns the Tour of California.

Beginning with the upcoming 2008 Tour de France and 2009 Amgen Tour of California, the multi-year agreement calls for the organizations to develop and initiate comprehensive cross-promotional platforms for the Tour de France and Tour of California.

ASO believes AEG's success marketing their American sports teams and venues will benefit Tour de France marketing. “AEG’s success in developing and promoting properties like the Los Angeles Galaxy team with David Beckham as well as, among others, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, will greatly benefit the Tour de France in the United States,” says ASO deputy director Yann Le Moenner.

In a related move, AEG has named Matthieu van Veen to the newly created position of Vice President, AEG Sports Europe. Prior to joining AEG, van Veen directed the NBA's media distribution in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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Monday, April 28, 2008
  Kanstantin Sivtsov
By Yokota Fritz 
Who in the world is Kanstantin Sivtsov? How many spellings of that name have you seen? And how do you pronounce Siutsou / Sivtsov / Sweet Sue? And is it Konstantin or Kanstantin?

For those who don't know, Kanstantin Sivtsov is the young cyclist on Team High Road who won the Tour de Georgia this last weekend. Sweet Sue hails from Belarus, for whom he dreams of riding for the Olympic cycling team.

Frankie Andreu caught up to Kanstantin in this video interview. Sivtsov is obviously very proud of his Team High Road jersey, and he doesn't look or sound anything like Belov from "American Flyers."

See also Kanstantin Sivtsov's page at Team High Road website.


Friday, April 25, 2008
  Tour de Georgia 2008 photos
By Yokota Fritz 
Watch Dave Z zoom by in his Captain America outfit during the Team Time Trial at the Tour de Georgia in this fantastic photo by Ken Conley.

Slipstream TTT - (c) Ken Conley

Ken Conley got to ride the media motorcycle yesterday and captured several excellent photos before, during and after yesterday's stage at the Tour de Georgia. The TTT event took place, unusually, on the Road Atlanta road track, which features a number of sharp turns and steep hills. I've heard a couple of suggestions that the Tour of California should incorporate a similar event using the Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, which I think is a splendid idea.

James T posted about his fun at the TTT to his Bicycle Design blog and I just noticed that he uploaded his Tour de Georgia photos to a Flickr TdG set.

If you don't know the story behind this "Just Go Harder" sticker, Just Go Harder is the name of an online journal by Slipstream cyclist Tim Duggan and Team Type 1 cyclist Ian MacGregor. Tim Duggan crashed badly during a 45 mph decent during Stage 3 and was hospitalized with head injuries. The Slipstream squad applied the Just Go Harder stickers on the seatposts for their team mate. Duggan is expected to recover, but it was pretty scary for a little while.

Frank Steele (of TdFBlog) is an east coast guy and he also has his Tour de Georgia photo set on Flickr.

Remember, you can always visit Steephill.TV for a good collection of links to more media, race results and coverage. Steven there is currently covering Tour de Georgia Stage 5 which is now in progress. You can also watch live video of the Tour de Georgia on WCSN.com (free registration required).


Wednesday, April 23, 2008
  Team Type 1
By Yokota Fritz 
One of the more interesting teams competing at the Tour de Georgia this week is Team Type 1. When the Tour de Georgia teams were announced I gave team founder Joe Eldridge a call for an interview.

Diabetic pro athletes

Team Type 1 was created in 2004 by Type 1 diabetes racers Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge to inspire people living with diabetes to take a proactive approach to managing their health and overcoming the obstacles often associated with the condition. In 2006 and 2007, the team won the eight-rider corporate team division of the Race Across America. Of the 15 members on the Team Type 1professional squad, four have Type 1 Diabetes, including Tour de Georgia racer Fabio Calabria of Australia. As of the end of Stage 3 in the Tour de Georgia, Calabria is in fifth place in the "Best Young Rider" classification, less than a second behind Best Younger Rider Tyler Farrar.

Goals crucial for athletic competition and health

"Our goal is to inspire people with diabetes around the world to take control of their health through diet, exercise and proper health care," says team co-founder Phil Southerland. "As a professional team, racing against the world's best cyclists, we'll be able to deliver that message to a much wider audience."

"Setting goals are critical to athletic success," says Joe. "For a diabetic to be successful at achieving an athletic goal has to remember they have to set a diabetes goal as well. The key to is blood sugar management. The only way to perform at 100% is to be prepared physically this includes having your blood sugar where it needs to be not just for the event but during training, resting, and daily activities. The steps that you take to manage your diabetes will help you achieve your athletic goals."

Team Type 1 made their professional racing debut last February as the only U.S. team in the Tour of Langkawi stage race in Malaysia, where the team finished 2nd overall. They also recently completed the Tour of Taiwan, where Team Type 1 cyclist Shawn Milne won a stage victory for his team and placed 2nd overall.

Team Type 1 founder Southerland is especially unusual because he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 7 months. Both Southerland and Eldridge were encouraged to be athletic through high school and college. They met at a collegiate bike race as competitors -- besides a love for competitive cycling they discovered they had Type 1 Diabetes in common. They decided to participate in the Race Across America
together, and in their second year of RAAM in 2007 took first place by more than 3 hours.

Challenges of diabetic athletes

Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder where the body does not produce enough insulin. To manage blood sugar, diabetics must test their blood sugar a few times per day. Team Type 1 diabetics check their blood sugar up to 20 times per day on a race day, pricking their fingers for a blood sample 4 or 5 times just in the hour before the race. During the race itself there is no opportunity to check blood sugar, but from training rides the athletes have a sense of low blood sugar and know to consume a little more sugar. In a non-diabetic athlete, the athlete who consumes too much carbohydrate, the body is able to store the sugar in the liver. But in diabetic athletes, the hormones to do that conversion aren't there, so the kidneys work to remove the extra sugar from the blood. Diabetic athletes have the challenge of extra bathroom breaks because of the extra urine produced when they consume that Clif Bar.

Joe tells me that the main challenge for the diabetic athlete is to keep his blood sugar under control. As long as he carefully monitors his blood sugar and his diet, he can compete at the level of other world class athletes. His endocrinologist supports his endeavors.

Bound for the Tour de France

Eldridge and Southerland have shown their sponsors and fans that "we're here to race and we're here to win." Their goal is to race in the ProTour and win an invitation to the Tour de France in five years. "To the best of our knowledge, no type 1 diabetic has ever competed as a professional cyclist in Europe," says Eldridge. "We intend to be the first diabetic ProTour cyclists."


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Monday, April 21, 2008
  Tour de Georgia 2008
By Yokota Fritz 
The 2008 Tour de Georgia started today, with Stage 1 already complete. In the blogosphere, Steephill.TV has probably the most comprehensive collection of links to Tour de Georgia coverage. Ken Conley is there to shoot photos. James T plans to be there shooting photos starting this Thursday.

I spoke with Joe Eldridge a while back. Joe and Phil Southerland started the Team Type 1 pro cycling team, which is racing in the Tour de Georgia. They and several other Team Type 1 athletes have Type 1 Diabetes. Their goal is to win an invitation to the Tour de France in five years and to become the first team in a ProTour event with a diabetic athlete. I'll post the full interview later.

Dave Z is known for his stupid interview questions, so Ken Conley turned the tables on him with this YouTube video.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008
  Inaugural Tour of America rescheduled for 2009
By Yokota Fritz 
Tour of America organizers decided this week to postpone the inaugural coast-to-coast race until September 2009.

Since the original announcement of the Tour of America in September 2007, Aqu executives and staff members have met with cities along the proposed route, potential sponsors and race teams, as well as staff members of USA Cycling and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport"s governing bodies.

"After we announced the Tour of America last fall, we hit the ground running to make the event happen in 2008," said Frank Arokiasamy, president of event organizer Aqu Inc. "We want to work with USA Cycling and UCI to establish this event as a compliment to the major international races, and at the same time not conflict with established races in the United States. Overall, we want to make sure the Tour of America strengthens the sport of cycling and the race calendar. In addition, potential sponsors and route cities have expressed strong support for a fall 2009 race."

Exact dates for the fall 2009 edition of the Tour of America has not been finalized. Tour of America staff are currently finalizing route details, sponsorship agreements and proposed dates to comply with USA Cycling"s race application process. Once the application is submitted, USA Cycling will review it and submit the 2009 Tour of America"s dates, along with all of the races on the national calendar, to the UCI for approval.

Aqu plans a 21-stage, 2,200 mile (more than 3,500 km) professional bicycle road race spanning the United States, making it the largest spectator event in the history of U.S. sports. The event will include close to 200 riders, from 21 of the world's elite cycling teams in the world to participate and will boast a prize purse currently pegged at $10 million, the largest purse of any international cycling event. The Tour of America will start in New York's Central Park and finish in San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, visit the Tour of America website.

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Friday, March 21, 2008
  Tour de France: Slipstream/Chipotle is in!
By Yokota Fritz 
Yesterday's news: I forgot to hit the "PUBLISH POST" button on this yesterday!

I've got to run, but here's the news. It's not entirely unexpected, but this is a really big deal.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008
  Tour de Georgia teams announced
By Yokota Fritz 
The Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T announced the all 15 teams that will participate in the six day stage race this year beginning April 21. The UCI ProTour teams to participate will be Astana Cycling Team,
Saunier Duval-Scott, Team CSC, Team High Road, Team Gerolsteiner. Of the eight UCI Continental Teams invited to the race, two are from outside the United States -- Symmetrics Cycling is based in Canada, and the Continental Asia team GE/Marco Polo Cycling Team presented by Trek is from China. The remaining continental teams from the United States are Bissell Pro Cycling, Health Net presented by Maxxis, Jelly Belly Cycling Team, Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling Team, Team Type 1, and Toyota-United Professional Cycling Team.

Michael Ball's Rock Racing was not invited to the race. Rock Racing has a full racing schedule for 2008, but fans, unfortunately, will not be able to see the famous Mario Cipollini who announced his retirement from professional cycling, this time apparently for real. Cipo expressed disappointment at his performance in the Tour of California.

While I'm writing about pro cycling, I guess I should pass on the old news that California-based Computer Sciences Corporation has decided not to continue their sponsorship of Team CSC after the 2007 season. This will be the third UCI ProTour team without a title sponsor, after Astana and High Road.

Visit Steephill.TV for more details on the Tour de Georgia.


Saturday, February 09, 2008
  Team High Road now American
By Yokota Fritz 
The pro Team High Road cycling team officially relocated its team headquarters to San Luis Obispo, Calif., inheriting Team Discovery's mantle as the sole United States-based UCI ProTour team for the 2008 racing season. The move, officially approved on Monday by the UCI, brings the number of U.S.-registered professional cycling teams to 18.

“We are an International team and proud of it,” says team owner Bob Stapleton. “We are open to committed athletes from wherever they come from. One of the simple pleasures of this team is the international diversity and personal character each athlete brings to the team.”

Team High Road’s 2008 roster currently includes three Americans including George Hincapie (Greenville, S.C.) and USA Cycling National Development Team alumni John Devine (Dixon, Ill.) and Craig Lewis (Spartanburg, S.C.). The three athletes are part of an international roster than includes 29 riders from 15 different countries.

Team High Road also operates a UCI-registered women’s team which includes U.S. National Champion Mara Abbott (Boulder, Colo.) and fellow American Kim Anderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

No change in the European operations is anticipated. “We remain committed to our European operations centre in Germany and our excellent staff located there,” adds Stapleton.

Team High Road opened the 2008 UCI ProTour with an overall victory at the Tour Down Under in Australia last month where German Andre Greipel won the overall classification. The team is next scheduled to compete at the Amgen Tour of California, Feb. 17-24.

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Friday, January 04, 2008
  Frankie Andreu and Rock Racing
By Yokota Fritz 
In spite of their flash, publicity and high profile, I've boycotted mention of Rock Racing on this blog until now. The team cars and podium girls are something else and I like part of what Rock Racing does with their flair, excitement and showmanship, but cultivating the bad boy image and signing dopers to their roster is the antithesis of what pro cycling organizers are trying to do. Maybe they're all clean, but these days image and perception counts for a lot.

This news that Rock Racing team director Frankie Andreu ended his contract with Rock Racing caught my attention. Andreu was team captain of the USPS cycling team with Lance Armstrong from 1998 to 2000. In 2006, Andreu attracted controversy when he and his wife revealed that Lance Armstrong admitted in their presence of doping with EPO. He was fired shortly afterwards as director of the Toyota-United Team. After that, Andreu came clean himself and admitted to doping with EPO before the 1999 Tour de France.

I have no idea of Andreu's motives here. Reading between the lines, it might be a personality conflict between him and team sponsor Michael Ball. It must be frustrating when the sponsor makes team decisions without the team director's input. Or it could be that Andreu is standing up for principles and clean sport, as this cycling fan proposes.

What do you think? Did Frankie Andreu quit because of principles? Or was he ticked for being bypassed on decisions that belong to him? Maybe he understood what Rock Racing stood for, thought he could handle it but then found out he was in over his head?


  17 USA pro cycling teams
By Yokota Fritz 
16 professional mens cycling teams and one womens team have been sanctioned by the UCI for road racing in the United States. Two of these teams -- BMC Racing and Slipstream/Chipotle -- will compete in Europe as Professional Continental teams, while the other teams will compete primarily on the NRC circuit and the USA Cycling Professional Tour.

The 14 Continental teams are Team Health Net presented by Maxxis, The Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team, Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, The Bissell Pro Cycling Team, The Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling Team, The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling Team, The Time Pro Cycling Team, The Successful Living Pro Cycling Team, Rock Racing, The DLP Professional Cycling Team, The Rite Aid Pro Cycling Team, Team Type 1, and the AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork Professional Cycling Team.

Webcor Builders Women’s Professional Cycling Team
will be the lone UCI-sanctioned squad in 2008.


Thursday, January 03, 2008
  2008 USA Cycling Pro Tour
By Yokota Fritz 
USA Cycling announced its season-long professional road cycling calendar for 2008 on Thursday. USA Cycling is the governing body for pro cycling in the United States recognized by the UCI and US Olympic Committee.

With 16 races on tap for 2008, this season’s USA Cycling Professional Tour features three more races than its predecessor, including a pair of brand new events, several traditional incumbents and some recently revamped or renamed properties.

The 2008 Pro Tour features five major multi-day stage races across the country, giving spectators around the nation an opportunity to witness the sport at its highest level of competition. With Tours of California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Missouri on the calendar, cycling enthusiasts from the West Coast, the Deep South, the East Coast, the Rocky Mountains and the Midwest can follow world-class athletes as they race through local communities across America.

In addition to the five stage races on the 2008 Pro Tour, road cycling athletes will also compete in 10 single-day events, including seven road races, one circuit race, one criterium and one time trial. Additionally, one omnium-style event will be included on this season’s calendar. Collectively, the calendar offers 44 race days compared to 32 days of racing in 2007.

“This season’s Pro Tour calendar epitomizes the continued growth of professional cycling in America,” commented Sean Petty, USA Cycling Chief Operating Officer. “After a record number of internationally-sanctioned events in the United States last season, the expansion in 2008 in terms of events and race days provides affirmation that world-class cycling is continuing to make significant strides in this country.”

The calendar will once again begin with the Amgen Tour of California – an eight-day stage race in the Golden State which has historically attracted the sport’s top international teams and athletes. Scheduled for Feb. 17-24, the 2008 Amgen Tour of California will feature several new stages, most notably the opening prologue in Palo Alto and the final stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena.

After the U.S. Cycling Open, which is tentatively scheduled for April 13, multi-day racing resumes with the sixth-annual Tour de Georgia, April 21-27. Billed as a tune-up for the Tour de France, the seven-stage race welcomes five first-time host cities as riders from around the world are expected to return to the U.S. for America’s longest-running UCI-sanctioned stage race.

The following weekend, the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic in Arlington, Va. (formerly the Crystal City Classic) will challenge the nation’s best sprinters in a single-day circuit race. Set for May 4, the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic offers one of the most spectator-friendly courses.

After its debut on the international calendar last September, the Tour de Leelanau in Traverse City, Mich. moves to the earlier date of May 24. The 109-mile race marks the first of four consecutive single-day events before the international peloton heads back East.

The traditional early June series of one-day races in Eastern Pennsylvania will feature the Commerce Bank Allentown Classic on June 3, the Commerce Bank Reading Classic on June 5 and the Philadelphia International Championship on June 8. Collectively, the races represent some of the most prestigious on the North American calendar given the history of racing in and around Philadelphia and a long list of winners which includes a who’s who of American cycling over the past 23 years.

Following the Philadelphia International Championship, the younger riders of the international peloton will remain in Pennsylvania for the inaugural American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania. Set for June 24-29, the six-day U-25 race will cater to competitors under the age of 25.

Expanding upon its traditional single-day format, the Rochester Omnium (formerly the Rochester Twilight Criterium) in upstate New York will feature three days of racing tied together by an overall points classification. Scheduled for August 8-10, riders will contest a time trial, a criterium and a road race as a final tune-up for the following week’s Pro Tour event – the USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championships. Returning to Downers Grove, Ill. on August 17, Americans will once again compete for a Stars-and-Stripes jersey and the title of national champion on the streets of suburban Chicago.

Next, the three-day Colorado Stage Race brings Pro Tour racing to the Rocky Mountains and the Vail Valley area August 22-24.

For the third consecutive year, Greenville, S.C. will welcome the nation’s top road pros over Labor Day Weekend for the USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships. Scheduled for August 30-31, the event will welcome home several Americans following the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as they next look to add a national title to their résumé.

Another long-time, one-day race, the Univest Grand Prix in Souderton, Pa., will offer 107 miles of racing on Sept. 6 as riders look to accumulate late-season points towards an overall Pro Tour championship.

Finally, after a successful debut in 2007, the Tour of Missouri will again close the calendar, Sept. 8-14, as many of the world’s top international teams are expected to return to America for the season finale. After racing from Kansas City to St. Louis in the inaugural edition, riders will again pass through many of the state’s major communities while hoping to secure the final points necessary for an overall USA Cycling Professional Tour title.

The USA Cycling Professional Tour was created in 2007 as Leipheimer and the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team claimed overall individual and team titles respectively. Leipheimer finished the season with 381 points over teammate George Hincapie (Greenville, S.C.), Germany’s Bernard Eisel, Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina and Slovenia’s Janez Brajkovic. The now-defunct Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team earned the team title with 810 points over Team CSC (DEN), Team Slipstream-Chipotle (USA), T-Mobile (GER) and Navigator’s Insurance (USA).

USA Cycling Professional Tour 2008 Calendar
Feb. 17-24: Amgen Tour of California
Apr. 13: U.S. Cycling Open – Richmond, Va.*
Apr. 21-27: Tour de Georgia
May 4: U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic – Virginia
May 24: Tour de Leelanau – Traverse City, Mich.
June 3: Commerce Bank Allentown Classic – Pennsylvania
June 5: Commerce Bank Reading Classic – Pennsylvania
June 8: Commerce Bank International Championship – Philadelphia, Pa.
June 24-29: American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania
Aug. 8-10: Rochester Omnium – New York
Aug. 17:USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships – Downers Grove, Ill.
Aug. 22-24: The Colorado Stage Race
Aug. 30: USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championships – Greenville, S.C.
Aug. 31: USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships – Greenville, S.C.
Sept. 6: Univest Grand Prix – Souderton, Pa.
Sept. 8-14: Tour of Missouri


Wednesday, September 26, 2007
  Transcontinental Tour of America
By Yokota Fritz 
A North Carolina sports management firm has announced preliminary plans to organize a 27-stage transcontinental "Tour of America."


Friday, August 17, 2007
  Disco's last hurrah
By Yokota Fritz 
Discovery Channel Cycling's last event will be participation in the inaugural Tour of Missouri which starts September 11, 2007 in Kansas City and finishes up 600 miles later in St. Louis on September 16. Discovery Team members participating in the Tour of Misery include Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, 3rd place finisher Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Yaroslav Popovych, Tony Cruz, Jason McCartney, John Devine, and Fuyu Li.



Friday, July 06, 2007
  Tour de France 2007 television video coverage
By Yokota Fritz 
For 2007 Tour de France live streaming video and audio options, see this page for info.

2007 Tour de France English-language television schedules:
Click here for complete Tour de France 2007 coverage, news and daily updates.

The Tour de France begins in London in just a few hours. Steephill.tv has a collection of Tour de France 2007 videos, including this nice prologue preview from Cycling.TV.

Steephill.TV promises continuous updates and coverage with videos, photos and race results.

Sign up to Cycling.TV to watch TdF race coverage live.

In the United States, Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen will once again provide live commentary on Versus (the old Outdoor Life Network), while Bob Roll and Al Trautwig will provide prime time coverage.

le Tour organizers have also created the le Tour de France channel on YouTube, with a number of short videos already posted.

Tour de France television schedules (mostly from TdF blog):

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Sunday, May 13, 2007
  Landis: Dick Pound must go
By Yokota Fritz 
"Floydinator" by Eric Reagan.
Floyd Landis's much-anticipated ten day hearing to appeal his positive drug test results begins tomorrow in Malibu, California. While preparing for his appeal, Landis also continues his aggressive campaign against World Anti Doping Agency chair Dick Pound by asking the International Olympic Committee to strip Pound of his members and remove him from his duties as chief of the WADA, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The complaint charges that Pound violated the basic principles of the Olympic Charter by making derogatory remarks about Landis in the media; and that Pound has threatened to interfere in Landis's appeal hearing.

Pound remarked once on Landis's 11 to 1 testosterone to epitestosterone level by saying, "You'd think he'd be violating every virgin within 100 miles. How does he even get on his bicycle?" The International Olympic Committee ethics commission rebuked Pound, telling Pound he had "the obligation to exercise greater prudence consistent with the Olympic spirit when making public pronouncements that may affect the reputation of others."

Read more in the Mercury News.

Also briefly mentioned at Trust but verify.

See also "Landis accuses US Anti-Doping Agency of dealing to 'out' Armstrong."

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Monday, May 07, 2007
  Ivan Basso confesses to doping
By Yokota Fritz 
VeloChimp: Basso Fesses Up to Operation Puerto Involvement.

TdFBlog: Basso admits Puerto involvement in face of DNA test.

Spinopsys: Crisis of confidence.

VeloNews: Basso admits involvement in Puerto scandal.

Road Magazine Blog: Discovery Team reaction.

Pez: Basso confesses: "Let's hope that Basso comes completely clean and pulls out his whistle and starts pointing at everyone involved."

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007
  2007 Sea Otter Class videos
By Yokota Fritz 
There's some great video coverage from the 2007 circuit and road races at the 2007 Sea Otter in Monterey, California this past weekend, much of it up close from the Pacific State Bank/Anderson Homes team car. Watch the Women endure nasty weather at Sea Otter, Daniel Ramsey win the mens circuit and Kodak/Sierra Neveada dominate in Santa Cruz.

Watch the videos at DeltaVelo.com.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007
  Unibet sues Grand Tour organizers
By Yokota Fritz 
Cycling Team Unibet filed suit in Paris yesterday against ASO, the organizers of Paris-Nice.

The Unibet pro cycling team is at the center of a dispute between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), organizers of Paris-Nice and the Tour de France. ASO banned UCI member Unibet from participating in the French races, claiming that French law prohibits advertising of non-French gambling companies; Unibet is a large gaming operator in Europe. Belgium based Lotto, however, has been sponsoring cycling teams for nearly two decades.

UCI responded to this ban by asking all 20 ProTour teams to boycott Paris-Nice, but the UCI gave in to ASO's demands after all day negotiations on Monday. Unibet expressed extreme disappointment at this news and filed the lawsuit in response. We have invested €32 million to be a part of the ProTour to be able to take part in all ProTour events but now they're refusing us that right," team manager Jacques Hanegraaff said Tuesday. "It is obvious that Unibet was refused for arbitrary reasons because of the conflict between the UCI and the organizers of races. It's unacceptable!"

In other news, Astana made the cut on a wild card invitation to Paris-Nice.

More (in English) at cyclingnews.com.


Friday, February 23, 2007
  400,000 screaming, cowbell-clanging fans
By Yokota Fritz 
George Hincapie in Seaside, CA at the start of Stage 4 in the 2007 Tour of California. Photo by Freakishly Tall.
That's how Sal Ruibal described the first three stages of the Amgen Tour of California. Hundreds of thousands of fans lined the course to cheer on the fans. This in spite of drug scandals and Lance Armstrong's retirement.

Graham is puzzled about this Bizzaro world where cycling popularity increases with bad news. Chimp notes that cycling sponsorship is a great deal for corporate sponsors. "Ten Million is not much when you compare it any of the major ball sports here in the US," he writes. "The Indianapolis Colts are trying to restructure Payton Manning’s contract just to freee up Eight Million dollars extra. Petty cash in the NFL is ProTour team cash in cycling. Plus, fans do not have to purchase tickets to go watch the sport."

Traffic to Cyclelicious has increased substantially, with hundreds of visitors coming here for Amgen Tour of California updates though I have none to offer. For Amgen Tour of California news, visit Cycling News, Pez Cycling News, or VeloNews. I also like Spare Cycles and Velochimp. Local TV news coverage has been pretty good, too, which I try to keep updated on my 2007 Amgen Tour of California TV video coverage page.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007
  Team Slipstream: Dope-free pro cycling
By Yokota Fritz 
This New York Times article highlights Team Slipstream, an American pro cycling team that pledges to compete drug free, with weekly blood tests to prove their purity.

“It’s an absolute severe pain for us to do, but I’ll do anything to keep from being lumped with the guys accused of cheating,” said Danny Pate, 27, a former under-23 world champion and one of Slipstream’s top riders. “I’ll give DNA. I’ll post all of my information on the Internet. I’ll do anything to help save the sport.”

Some interesting tidbits from the article:
  • The team is having problems finding a title sponsor because sponsors are apparently skittish about being associated with doping in sports.

  • Regardging team director and formrer Postie Jonathan Vaughter: Throughout his career, he said, riders battled the ethical question of whether to use performance-enhancing drugs. In the 1990s, he said, the use of the blood-boosting drug EPO was rampant and teams felt pressured by sponsors to win at any cost. “I don’t have a halo over my head; I made some mistakes when I was a rider,” said Vaughters, who would not directly say whether he had used performance-enhancing drugs. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Team Slipstream was previously the TIAA-CREF development team. This year, they were established as a UCI Professional Continental Team. Slipstream is sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

VeloNews: Blood clots and doping innuendo darken otherwise impressive pro' debut.

Velochimp: Floyd talked with Slipstream about possibly joining.

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Friday, February 09, 2007
  Discovery Channel to drop cycling sponsorship
By Yokota Fritz 
After a major management shakeup at Discovery that included the sacking of company CEO Billy Campbell, Team Discovery managers were informed that Discovery would not renew its sponsorship of the pro cycling team after the 2007 season. Read more at Velonews.

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