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Monday morning news – 17/01/05

T-Mobile feed their uber-squad
After a year in the sport T-Mobile have backed some young riders in the hope of bringing through promising talent from a variety of different countries. The GB team has clearly made a lasting impression on the set-up as three riders who have previously been backed by WCPP are on the list.

These riders will follow different racing programmes but will train and be involved with the main team, attending training camps and get togethers.

Heiko Salzwedel will act as trainer although he is currently responsible for coaching development with the international cycling federation (UCI) and is also consultant to the Danish and Chinese national squads. Salzwedel has coached top Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen and Jens Voigt in the past and he was national team manager of the British World Class Performance Programme – so he knows our system well.

Salzwedel will coach and guide the talented young riders from a distance; the riders will e-mail him their SRM system generated training data, such as heart rate and lactate values. Salzwedel will evaluate these values to formulate training plans that will guide and progress the riders. He will also collaborate closely with club or national coaches and follow the riders competitive performances. Intense scouting has already unearthed four talented young riders for the development programme: the three Britons Geraint Thomas (18 years old/Junior World Champion 2004 in Scratch Race), Ian Stannard (19 years old/National Junior Time Trial Champion, 2nd Paris Roubaix 2004) and Kristian House (24), as well as the Czech rider Martin Mares (22). The programme will initially run for a period of two years.

More young riders wanted for Team Sportstest
In a similar, but more local, way Dr. Garry Palmer is set to support and develop some UK talent. The aim of forming Team Sportstest is to provide both a cycle racing team and “educational” environment which can help the talents of a small group of junior (17 to 22 year old) riders, by offering sports science support, the education as how to develop as a rider, and a small amount of financial support towards race entries, apparatus, etc.

With the fitness testing and sports science support services that are offered through Sportstest Ltd, we have been fortunate enough to meet several very talented young cyclists, in the past six months. These riders are in a difficult position where they do not have the support of the British Cycling World Class Performance Plan, and yet, given the right opportunities, show the signs of having both the talent and desire to progress to a high level within the sport of cycling.

Previously, Sportstest founder and director, Dr Garry Palmer, was involved with a similar set-up (the Media Lab team in Cape Town, South Africa), where the riders were all 16 and 17 year olds. Of the 6 riders Dr Palmer worked with on that squad, 5 went on to represent South Africa at a junior level, and 3 at a senior level. Unfortunately, there appears to be no similar teams in the UK at the moment, and Sportstest Ltd feel that it is both a great opportunity to support some future riders in this country, and to put something back into cycling development. If you are 17-22 and think you’ve got what it takes:

  • Please e-mail Garry with your riding CV.
  • For more information on Sportstest Ltd. go here
  • Or call Garry on 01384 70099

Shimano donates $200k for tsunami relief
As reported on BikeBiz.co.uk The Japanese company, which has 6500 employees at 26 bases in 18 countries and all parts of the Shimano empire – known internally as Team Shimano, have contributed to the tsunami fund. Shimano’s SE Asian subsidiaries – in Singapor, Malaysia and Indonesia started the fund raising initiative and this spread to all parts of ‘Team Shimano’.

The global affiliates contributed about $50 000, matching the amount raised by employees. Shimano Inc. then matched this joint amount, realising about $200 000 in total. The cash is being sent via the Red Cross.

Paris-Roubaix less bumpy
The Wallers/Arenberg cobbles have been omitted from the 2005 Paris Roubaix first 200 metres has deteriorated, making the run-in onto the 2.4 km-long pavé section too dangerous for the riders. Last years winner Magnus Bäckstedt isn’t that impressed, he told CyclingNews.com:

“You don’t go into Paris Roubaix not thinking about the dangers, It is a dangerous race and that is what makes it the monumental classic which it is. You come out of the Arenberg section with the contenders generally in the group, you then lose two or three guys a section until you get down to the real potential winners.

The Welsh based super Swede continued by adding that;

“I would say that taking out the tough section of the race is like putting a gear restriction on bunch sprints to limit the speed we sprint at. There are many races including unnecessary dangers, like having the finish line 200 m after a corner that has just had a 2 km straight! As professional riders, we are all concerned about safety, but in the right place and context.”

Much of Paris-Roubaix’s course is cobbled in short sections, but the ‘pavé’ is under constant threat – with a lot of it having been repaired and retained specifically for the race, sometimes by local people who are keen to retain the heritage and prestige of the ‘Hell of the North’. The Organisers will work on the cobbles at Arenberg for re-inclusion in 2006.

The UK’s very own Hell of the ‘East Midlands’
Less cobbly but just as bumpy will be the latest inclusion to the Premier Calendar this year. Colin Clews is to promote a race on the 29th of May which takes in unpaved and rough roads ‘unsuitable for road vehicles’. Set on the East Leicestershire lanes around Owston, Somerby and Melton Mowbray it should be a cracking race with the final half of the race on very tricky terrain. More news to follow very soon.

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