Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Asia’s fastest sprinter joins Champion System

By Steve Thomas/Champion System

The man widely considered to be the fastest road sprinter in all of Asia, Anuar Manan of Malaysia, has signed up to ride with the new Chinese based Champion System Professional Continental Team for 2012.
The all-new multi-national roster team will officially set their wheels rolling just a few weeks time, when they will ride out as the first ever Pro Continental level team to race out of China, and with the addition of Anuar Manan to the Anglo-Chinese team roster will be a great boost both to Anuar’s own career ambitions and to the team’s long term mission – to lead Chinese and Asian riders to the forefront of the international pro peloton.
For some time now the Malaysian sprinter has been blazing a trail few can follow in Asian races, and has mopped up a long chain of successes in most of the major UCI Asia Tour stage races, as well as scoring an outstanding stage victory and overall points title in the 2010 Tour de Langkawi, his home race, and an event renown as a hunting ground for the best aspiring sprinters in the world.
Hailing from the cycling crazy east coast Malaysian state to Terengganu, Anaur’s first ventures into bike racing were on a borrowed mountain bike, and he rapidly earned a reputation in the mud. But it wasn’t long before he hit the hard ground and found his niche as a road sprinter.
It was back on 2007 when Anuar first made his first major mark on the Asian scene, by scoring a stash of stage victories in major Asian tours under the colours of the Malaysian Le Tua team. From there he went from strength to strength, and following his Tour de Langkawi stage win in 2010 (The first ever by a Malaysian cyclist) he was elevated to the status of “national hero”, and is now a household name in Malaysia.
His long list of successes, combined with those of fellow Terengganu track sprinter Azizul Hasni Awang, have lead to a huge boom in cycling in the country, and almost every young racer wants to be like Anuar Manan.
The “Anuar” effect has made its biggest ripples in his own home state, which has a major cycling development system in place, and this year sponsored its own team – Terengganu Pro Asia, which was inspired by and lead by Anuar, and both he and the team are happy he now has the opportunity to go further, as he explains; “I really want break my level and go further. I’ve been in the same place for long enough now. I think that Champion System have a very strong team, which will help a lot. I’d like to get the chance to make it to the World Tour.”
In joining the new Champion System team Anuar will finally get the opportunities he’s be searching for – those being a chance to pitch his skills against the best riders in the world, and on their home turf.
With a mixed trans-continental program of racing ahead in 2012 he’ll get the chance to show off his fast finish in the USA and in Europe, as well as on familiar Asian ground; “I’m really excited, and look forward to getting him to the USand seeing how he performs in the NCC criteriums, they should really suit his style. But of course it’s Europe that will be the real test, it will be interesting to see how he adapts.” Enthused team manager Ed Beamon, who has witnessed first-hand the firepower of the Malaysian’s sprint as an opposing team manager.
There’s no doubt that the 25-year old rider has come a long way in a short period of time, but he’s always lacked the experienced resources back up to take his show to a bigger stage; but given the support and guidance he will now have at his disposal from the likes of Jaan Kirsipuu he could well cause a few surprises in the big leagues of bike racing, as he explains; “I’ve raced a lot with Jaan, he has a very strong will and mind. I think together we will have no problem winning races, and I think I can learn a lot from his experience.”
Having recently taken a stage victory in the Tour of Hainan Anuar’s season currently is winding down some, and he’s already setting his early season sights on the next Tour de Langkawi, which for the first time ever will finish outside of Kuala Lumpur – in his home state of Terengganu, adding a little extra fire to his cause; “I’ve just finished the Jelajah Terengganu, my last race with my current team. Next year LTdL will be a big target. I want to win the stage into my home state, and also take the points jersey (which he did in 2010).”
Another huge target for Anuar in 2012 will be to lay claim to one of the two Malaysian starting slots for the London Olympic Games Road Race, an honour the country has not earned since 1992. As things stand he is an odds-on favourite to make it to London, although the road to get there is still a long and tough ride away; “I’m training very hard already, and hope that I can get the best results early in the year to qualify for selection. I’m quite confident I can do it.”
With a home-ground kick off to 2012 and a whole new team in support it looks set to be a great and victorious year ahead for Anuar Manan, who will start his new season as the first Malaysian rider ever to race on a Pro Continental team.

Othman also to join Champion System?

ANUAR Manan has completed his step up by signing for what is now Asia’s  biggest cycling team, China’s Champion System Pro Cycling Team.
The team, Asia’s only UCI Professional Continental team for the 2011-2012  season, have already made waves with announcements of American Ed Beamon as  their new team manager along with a host of star riders.
Anuar, 25, will be joining the team in January after his contract with  current team Terengganu-Pro Asia ends on Dec 31 and he looks likely to be joined  by compatriot Adiq Husainie Othman, who currently rides for Australian outfit  Drapac Pro Cycling.
Anuar will be joining a team that is based in China and will have a race  programme which includes North American and European races, while looking good  to finally break Iran’s Tabriz Petrochemical and Azad University’s stranglehold  on the UCI Asia Tour rankings.
Champion System have already made some big name signings in Estonians Jan  Kirsipuu and Mart Ojavee, along with Australians Aaron Kemps and Will Clarke,  and American Craig Lewis — transferred in from UCI Pro Team HTC-Highroad.
Anuar said it was a tough decision but something that offered him the best  chance to pursue his dream of making it onto a roster of a team to race in the  Tour de France.
“It is a second tier team, a step up from where I’ve been racing the past  five years. I will have very experienced teammates, some big names who have  raced at the very top level,” said Anuar.
“This is my chance to race in Europe and America and show what I can do.  Hopefully from here, I will be able to move up into a UCI Pro Team and  eventually make it to the Tour de France, which is what I’ve always dreamed  of.”
As yet, there hasn’t been confirmation from Adiq Husainie on whether he has  signed with Champion System, but word has it that the team have been eyeing the  Malaysian duo with  keen interest.

Awang, Cali bound

THE second round of the UCI World Cup in Cali, Colombia this weekend will  give Azizul Hasni Awang a chance to regain his confidence in his comeback.
  The 23-year-old still holds on to his World No 1 spot in the keirin  despite a lacklustre return to racing in the opening round of the World Cup in  Astana, Kazakhstan on Nov 4-6.

  In his first competition since  recovering from a  career threatening calf injury sustained in the final  round of last season's World Cup in Manchester, Azizul went out in the first  round repechages of the keirin.

  Josiah Ng won the repechage heat  in which Azizul was eliminated and went on to finish fourth in the final. Though  Josiah has only a  slim chance of qualifying for an individual spot in the  Olympics, the points did add to the nation's rankings.

  Fatehah  Mustapa is also in Cali, having delivered on her three-gold medal target in the  Sea Games in Jakarta last week and will now look to cement her spot with  Malaysia currently 12th in the women's keirin rankings.

  National  team manager Datuk Naim Mohamad said there was no particular concern with  Azizul's poor showing in Astana and expectations are that he will produce  improvements in Cali.

  "It was a good warm-up for Azizul in Astana  and Josiah also showed that he is still able to step up a gear and rank among  the best," said Naim.

  "It is still early days and our sights are  on the Olympics in London. Cali is Azizul's favourite hunting ground and he has  many admirers among the cycling fans there, so he won't be short of supporters  there.

  "At the same time, we're not pressuring Azizul to quickly  start producing  results. He has time and he's not in danger of losing the  Olympic spot and neither is his ranking threatened."

  The  squad  arrived in Cali on Saturday to  acclimatise and prepare for the  meet.

  Naim said Azizul is  expected to be back at his best  when he heads to the third round of the World Cup in Beijing, the scene of  his  first ever World Cup gold medal in 2008, on Jan 13-15.

   "We expect that Beijing will be where we will see Azizul back at his best. After  that, we head to London for the final round of the World Cup which will be held  on the same velodrome that hosts the Olympics," said Naim.

  "The  World Championships in Melbourne will be his first big target, before we take a  break and prepare for the Olympics."

mncf tq

Le tour, or not Le Tour? that is the question...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Cycle Passion 5

Team Champion System reflect on a globetrotting 2011

East meets west, a season in review

By Steve Thomas/

As the year slowly but surely edges towards a close it’s a time for reflection for many of us, including Team Champion System, who have already packed their kit bags and put on the winter woollies, marking the end of their racing season for 2011, and the end of the road for the current team.
Team Champion System set out on an ambitious and daunting ride earlier this year; following a road carved through vicious yet stunning mountains and peppered with hidden pot holes and twisted with blind and slippery bends, some of which are unavoidable – but being cyclists we all know that the best rides are often the toughest, on reflection that is.
This twisted and rewarding road was lashed with headwinds in Iran and snowy gales in Korea, and brightened by many amazing sunny patches in the USA, and was to lead the riders victoriously across three different continents.
The team’s opening manifesto was bring together both seasoned and aspiring riders from around the world, and to integrate some of Hong Kong’s finest raw talent in a bid to raise the levels of not only these riders, but to help raise the standards of the whole sport in Asia, leading by example – a bold quest in a sport and region where everyday life and cultures are so extremely varied, yet that was what we set out to do, or at least a process we hoped to set in motion.
During the past core months of the racing season Team Champion System have travelled the world, and have won races on all three continents that they’re competed on (North America, Europe and Asia) – which is an impressive feat in anybody’s books. It’s been an amazing journey for this ‘sweet and sour ‘ mix of oriental and western riders, and one that has taken them all into new and unfamiliar environments, a true cultural leveller.
All in the team’s riders have taken 18 solid and hard earned victories during the year, including a national road race title (Mart Ojavee, Estonia), and several major UCI ranked victories too. 
The lion’s share of the glory fell to the hands of Estonian Mart Ojavee, although his countryman Jaan Kirsipuu also scored multiple victories, while Mathias Friedemann and Joris Boillat, also both scored wins during the season. As for the podium finishes and other great rides, the list is pretty extensive (more than 20 top 3 finishes), and most of the team’s riders contributed to the final year-end score card.
As Hong Kong’s first-ever Continental level squad to take to the road the team and sponsors carried a heavy responsibility as pioneers, and duly made their presence felt, and delivered on their promises to take Hong Kong’s finest to the bigger leagues of bike racing, and to school them in the art of professionalism and racing, with the team’s HK contingents earning their spurs in some of Europe’s and America’s most respected races as well as in Asia – mission accomplished.

Team victories in 2011

27.02. OJAVE Mart, Hong Kong Road Cycling Race – Series 5 (nat.)
18.04. KIRSIPUU Jaan, Stage 4 Tour de Korea (2.2)
30.04. OJAVEE Mart, Pärnu National Criterium Championships stage 2 (nat.)
01.05. OJAVEE Mart, Estonian Cup Road Race stage 1 (nat.)
14.05. OJAVEE Mart, Elva National Criterium Championships stage 4 (nat.)
14.05. OJAVEE Mart, Overall National Criterium Championships (nat.)
15.05. OJAVEE Mart, Estonian Cup Road Race stage 2 (nat.)
20.05. KIRSIPUU Jaan, Jurmala GP, LAT (1.2)
28.05. BOILLAT Joris, Hills of Somerville Road Race, USA (nat.)
12.06. FRIEDEMANN Matthias, Tour de Pitman, New Jersey, USA (nat.)
13.06. KIRSIPUU Jaan, Saaremaa Velotuur Stage 1 (TTT), EST (nat.)
13.06. OJAVEE Mart, Saaremaa Velotuur Stage 1 (TTT), EST (nat.)
17.06. OJAVEE Mart, Saaremaa Velotuur General Classification, EST (nat.)
22.06. OJAVEE Mart, National Championship Road Elite, EST (NC)
Wins in special categories
28.03. OJAVEE Mart, Green jersey (best sprinter) Tour de Taiwan (2.2)
05.03. FRIEDEMANN Matthias, Sprint competition OCBC Criterium Singapore (int.)
23.04. OJAVEE Mart, Winner Dirt Road Sections GP Herning (1.1)
28.08. OIAVEE Mart, Estonian Cup Road Race, final (nat)

10 things I learned about mountain biking

Got some bike art, NAHBS could be the place


What is ArtBike! ?

ArtBike! is a street art/sculpture/installation art exhibition that is open to all. It celebrates the timeless design versatility of the bicycle and brings creative, progressive, and conservative people together through community, bikes and art!

When is ArtBike! ?

ArtBike! begins now. The official launch is Second Saturday, February 11th, but art works will likely start appearing around the city as of Feb. 1. The public exhibition of bike art runs through March 4th, marking the end of NAHBS 2012 in Sacramento.

Where is ArtBike! ?

ArtBike! is in Hot Italian, in galleries in the Downtown/Midtown areas, in galleries and on the streets around the liveliest areas of Sacramento, and in the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in Davis. Check back and we will give you more locations as they sign up! (Apply here to be an ArtBike! venue).
Each participating gallery can receive one handmade, custom painted bicycle from a North American Handmade Bicycle Show exhibitor.
We will have a venue for the headquarters and focus point for ArtBike! and we encourage artists to decorate the area with attractive and fun bicycle-themed exhibits. That’s right: all art has to have a cycling theme.
Then, in the NAHBS expo hall during the weekend of the show, there will be a 20’ x 20’ display area for contributing artists to display their work to a crowd of thousands.

How does ArtBike! work?

Participation is free! It’s a volunteer-run project.
Gallery owners will receive bicycles to be displayed for the better part of the month of February.
The installation art on the street must be photographed, and pictures and precise location sent to us for our geo blog. The photos can be sold too! NAHBS and City of Sacramento will have reproduction rights to these images to promote the show and the city of Sacramento through magazines and websites. The artist will always receive a name credit.
Artwork can be sold at the NAHBS exhibition or other gallery venues. 30% from each sale will be donated to a charity/non-profit of your choice in the Arts and Cycling industries. You split the other half with the gallery (Items sold at the NAHBS show hall will be 40% to artist, 40% to charity, 20% handling fee if artist is not present to arrange the transaction. If artist is present, it’s a 50-50 split).

Party on…

On the night of Thursday March 1st there will be The ArtBike! Party at Hot Italian where artists, friends and media will gather to celebrate the unity of… Art! and Bikes!
A raffle at this party will raise funds for cycling and art non-profits.

Why is ArtBike! happening?

ArtBike! is an effort to create a community buzz about just how cool it is to be creative, healthy, and into bikes.
It is a collaboration of two of the most positive and progressive communities in the world!
It amplifies the effect of NAHBS and will help leave a lasting impression on the city of Sacramento and its neighbors about how fabulous life can be when filled with Bikes! and Art!
When the city, the community, local galleries, NAHBS, artists, bike advocates, and visitors collaborate on a project, the positive energy generated is astounding and resounding.

Great! How do I get involved?

1. Contact Paul at O2 Active and let him know your plans.
2. Get to work on producing your BikeArt!
3. When it’s finished, send us a picture! With larger pieces we may be able to allow you to leave your art in (Venue) and along the (Trail Venue). We will have to get this approved with the right folks, but thus far everyone is into it!
4. We will notify you whether or not your work has been selected to exhibit in the NAHBS show hall.
5. Come to the awesome ArtBike! party on March 1st! And check back here for more info.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Champion System confirm Asian roster for 2012

The Chinese registered Champion System Pro Cycling Team has announced the heart of its Asian based roster and begins the task of helping develop Asian competitive cycling and presenting the continent's best athletes on the world stage.

Leading the group is 2008 Olympian Kin San WU. The Hong Kong rider has had a taste of the international peloton having been a 'trainee' for the Italian based Lampre team in 2006. He is the only 'Chinese' rider to have ever finished an Olympic road race and was the 2007 National Champion.

Countryman Steven WONG begins his 1st full season as a professional road rider with the new Champion System team. Wong is a 7 time continental BMX champion and decided early in 2011 to make the career switch to road cycling after attending a team training camp in January and realizing the challenge of pushing his limits to another level was an inspiring motive. Wong brings explosive speed to the CS roster and as his endurance develops he should become a major threat to the established field sprinters.

Adding proven speed to the roster is Malaysia's legendary sprinter Anuar Manan. Only 25 years old, Manan is arguably Asia's most recognized sprinter and has been largely responsible for the great growth in Malaysian cycling over the last half decade. He'll step up to a larger stage with the international Champion System squad, but should add to his 3 professional victories in 2011 as he now finds a team of experienced riders around him.

Highlighting the roster will be four talented riders from the People's Republic of China. Leading the group is former National Champion Xu GANG. GANG is also a former Lampre recruit and hales from the cosmopolitan region of Shanghai. The 27 year old was a 2011 stage winner at the difficult Tour of Korea.

2011 Tour of China's top Asian rider, Jiao PENGDA also comes to the team from the Max Success squad. PENGDA comes from the Gansu Province and has extensive experience throughout Asia.

Kun JAING made history in this year's Tour of Beijing making the decisive breakaway of the World Tour event's opening road stage and in winning the most aggressive rider jersey became China's 1st world Tour podium earner.

Also joining his country's 1st Professional Continental team, Biao LIU comes from the highland city of Xining in the Qinghai Province. The region has been developing an active cycling community over the last several years and their UCI HC rated Tour of Qinghai Lake put China on the international calendar as the mainland's 1st major cycling event.

"This is what the team is all about" commented Champion System Sport General Manager Ed Beamon. "We're going to provide an opportunity for these guys to integrate into the world professional cycling arena and hope they can become inspiration for the aspiring riders in their countries and provinces. We've selected riders from a variety of regions and cultures and I expect we will all learn a great deal from each other. China is a huge and diverse country and with athletes from five different regions, in combination with our other Asian athletes and international roster we have a great opportunity to play a role in the growth of the sport there.

Go Big or Go Home!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Friday, 25 November 2011

RIP Dane Searls

90 minutes till work

Australian teams for Cali World Cup round

Cycling Australia is pleased to confirm the riders selected to contest the second round of the UCI Track World Cup Series being staged in Cali, Colombia from 1 to 3 December.
The four women, five man team of endurance riders will contest the teams pursuit and omnium events.
Four of the five men heading to Colombia are reigning world champions with Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn members of the victorious 2011 world championship pursuit team. Michael Freiberg is the reigning omnium world champion.
For the women Sarah Kent and Josephine Tomic were team pursuit world champions in 2010.
"Cali is an important World Cup for the continued exposure and development of our team heading towards the Olympic Games," said Cycling Australia Track Endurance Head Coach, Ian McKenzie.
"We were very pleased with the results for the men in the team pursuit in Astana (silver medal) but in Cali we're planning on winning," said McKenzie.
Both coaches believe this week's impressive performances by New Zealand's top pursuit teams at the Oceania Championships in Invercargill will have a positive psychological impact on the Australians. The Kiwi men clocked the fourth fastest time in history with their winning time of 3:55.295 over 4000m while the women's trio was only 19 hundredths of a second off world record pace with their 3000m time of 3:19.759.
"It sharpens the focus of our riders and I think that's a good thing," said McKenzie.
Women's Track Endurance Coach, Gary Sutton, says he expects the women to finish in the top four in Colombia.
"What New Zealand's women have done is throw down the challenge as they have now recorded the fastest time in the world this year," said Sutton. "Cali is a chance for our women to put their hands up to make the short squad. The pressure is building on riders vying for places in London but if they can't handle the pressure now they won't handle it next year."
Freiberg and Melissa Hoskins will contest the omniums in Cali.
The series began last month in Astana, Kazakhstan. Round three will be raced in China (20-22 January) before the fourth and final round is raced at the London Olympic Games velodrome from 17 to 19 February. The final round is also official London Prepares track cycling test event.
After the World Cup Series the world's greatest will head to Melbourne to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championshipswhere the Australian Cyclones plan to capitalise on their hometown advantage.
The Australian team for the Cali World Cup round is listed below:
Australian Team
Anna Meares, missing from the all-star cast

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Locke out

Locke Released From Team Champion System

Taifun Sports Group announced today that effective immediately, Deon Locke, a member of the Swiss based Champion System continental team, has been suspended from the team following an Adverse Analytical Finding in the analysis of a sample taken at the Tour of Hainan. 

Markus Kammerman, the director of the Taifun Sports Group which manages the team, stated “We were not aware of Deon’s actions prior to this doping announcement and we are extremely disappointed in his apparently irresponsible and selfish actions. We have informed Deon that he has been immediately suspended without pay and his contract will be terminated in accordance with our zero tolerance anti-doping policy”

Mr. Locke, who rode for the Taifun Sports team in 2010 & 2011 has admitted his complicity to management and has taken full responsibility for his actions.  We have been advised that he will inform the UCI and will not request an analysis of his B sample and will accept whatever sanctions are levied.

BMC confirmed for Tour Down Under

BMC Racing Team Full Rider Line Up Confirmed

2008 road race world champion Alessandro Ballan will lead the BMC Racing Team at the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under next January with the seven man roster being announced today.
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director, Mike Turtur, said he was happy to welcome Ballan back to the race, complimented by a strong team line up that includes South Australia's own Tim Roe.
"The race is always honored to have a past world champion ride amongst the peloton. Ballan is one of the true gentlemen within our sport, always conducting himself as the consummate professional at all times.
"It is great to welcome Tim back to the race for the second consecutive year with the BMC Racing Team giving him the opportunity to perform well in front of a home crowd," said Turtur.
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Rik Verbrugghe, who will be travelling with the team to Australia, said the six-stage race that begins in January might play out differently than in past years.
"It's always been more of a sprinter's race, but this year could be different because Stage 5 finishes at the top of Old Willunga Hill," Verbrugghe said.
Belgian cyclist Greg Van Avermaet will be making his first appearance in the race.
"Australia is becoming a big cycling country," the winner of the Tour de Wallonie said. "I'm looking forward to starting my season there. Hopefully, I can start the new season like I finished 2011."
Van Avermaet had a strong 2011 with a stage win at the Tour of Austria in addition to his overall win in Paris-Tours and the Tour de Wallonie.
Roe said he was also excited to be in the BMC Racing Team's seven man line up.
"It's not only my home race, but I train on many of the same roads in the race and it's always fun to ride in front of big crowds," Roe said. "They really get behind the race and make it a special welcome home."
The BMC Racing Team for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under will be led by Team Manager, Rik Verbrugghe (BEL) and include riders:
  • Alessandro Ballan (ITA)
  • Adam Blythe (GBR)
  • Marcus Burghardt (GER)
  • Martin Kohler (SUI)
  • Manuel Quinziato (ITA)
  • Tim Roe (AUS)
  • Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
The 2012 Santos Tour Down Under will be held in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 15-22 January 2012. For more information, race routes and results visit the official website at

I cant helf falling in love

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Locke down

Deon Michael Locke provisionally suspended
The UCI advised Australian rider Deon Michael Locke that he is provisionally suspended. The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Beijing indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of Phentermine in a urine sample collected from him in an in competition test (Tour of Hainan) on 23 October 2011. 

The provisional suspension of Mr. Locke remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Australian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules. 

Mr. Locke has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample. 
Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time. 

The story of cyclo cross - part 2

A brief anthology of cyclo-cross

The sport of cyclo-cross came about towards the end of the 19th century. There are many theories as to how; but it is largely attributed to a cycling French solider named Daniel Gouseau. During the cold northern winter months he used to ride his bike around the local forest and farm trails, hopping over obstacles along the way, all in the name of keeping fit. It is said that the French army witnessed this and took to training their soldiers the same way.
Many other road riders of the day used to race each other from village to village for winter training, cutting across fields and through woodland to try and make the shortest route, it was an obvious training solution. The running element was added in to get the blood circulating in frozen feet.
The first official French National Championship was organised by Gouseau in 1902, and over the next decade many other nations added their own Championships. In those early days the leading road riders all competed in cyclo-cross, hoping to maintain their fitness and improve bike-handling skills, much as many top riders have done ever since. Many of the early Tour de France winners were also great cyclo-cross champions.
In 1924 the first ever “Critirium International” was held. This was then recognised as the ultimate cyclo-cross race - and considered to be the World Championship of the sport. In 1949 Roger Rondeaux (One of the early greats of the sport) won the last Critirium International. The following year the event became the World Professional Cyclo-Cross Championship; the first winner was 1947 Tour de France Champion Jean Robic. The sport has grown considerably since then, with 24 nations lining up for last years World Championship.
Many ask what about adding the sport to the Winter Olympics? The chances of this happening are very slim; firstly it’s still a fairly Eurocentric sport, and secondly it does not require snow or ice to happen. However, they are trying to introduce cross-country running to the Games – so, never say never!

The all time great riders

The first nine World Professional Cyclo-Cross Championships were all won by French riders; Robic (1 time) Rondeaux (3 titles) and Andre Dufraise (5 titles). From there German Rolf Wolfshohl and Renato Longo of Italy shared the next 8 titles between them.
Breaking the rein of Longo was perhaps the greatest “crosser” of all time – Eric de Vlaeminck, whose 8 professional titles have never been bettered.
Eric was also the first Belgian to take the title in a sport they now dominate. The 70’s and 80” was the domain of the next greats – Albert Zweifel of Switzerland (4 titles) and Belgian Roland Liboton (4 titles). There have been many great Champions since then, although Belgium have taken 8 of the last 13 Championship titles, with the likes of Erwin Vervecken (3 titles), Mario De Clercq (3 titles), Bart Wellens (2 titles) and current supremos Niels Albert and Sven Nys taking one a piece. Although his World’s record is not the best, Nys is widely considered the best rider of his generation.

The cross over effect

Although many European pro’s have managed to combine road and cross successfully, it has become harder and harder to do so in recent years, with extended and heavier road season overlapping the traditional cross season.
Some of the “modern” greats who have achieved great success in both disciplines include; Pascal Richard (Olympic RR and Pro CX Champ), Roger de Vlaeminck (Amateur CX Champ and classics legend), Adri Van der Poel (Pro CX Champ and top road pro), Klaus-Peter Thaler (multiple World CX Champ and top road pro) and Dominique Arnould (Pro CX Champ and top road pro).
Of the current top line road pro’s many still compete regularly at cross; Roger Hammond (Cervelo) is a multiple British and former Junior World CX Champ, while Enrico Franzoni (ex Liquigas) and Jean Gadret (Ag2R) are both top all-rounders. And of course – lets not forget Mr Lance Armstrong, a regular cross racer in the US, and our own riders – many of who mix booth with great success (Like Tim Johnson. Phil Zajicek and Bjorn Salander).
There is also a very strong band of neo-pro’s who have achieved World Championships in the mud and on the road. Dutch riders Lars Boom and Boy Van Poppel (Rabobank) being the most notable.
On the woman’s side of the sport there is a lot more cross over, with Marianne Voss being the current World Champion, adding to her Olympic track titles and road World titles.

Cyclo-cross bikes

If you only ever have one bike, make sure it’s a cross bike! They are the ultimate in versatility and multi-tasking. Most major manufacturers include cross bikes in their ranges now – probably because these days they are considered very “cool”.
Apart from the full-on race bikes most ”crossers” now often come with bottle cage bosses, and even rack mounts – meaning that you can ride them off-road (on all but the most technical ground), you can tour on them, and put on a close cassette and narrow tyres and you have a comfortable road bike too.
Many riders (including Cadel Evans and Lance Armstrong) train regularly on cross bikes – riding dirt roads as well as road, opening up many more ride possibilities. You also see many of the top riders using cross bikes in Paris-Roubaix, and Thomas Frishknecht even used a cross bike in the Atlanta Olympics road race!
The first “true” top line cross bikes were made by Alan in Italy. They were soft Aluminium frames, with cantilever brakes, single front chain-rings, handle bar control gear levers, extra mud clearance, high BB’s and slacker angles.
Development in cyclo-cross terms has been comparatively slow in comparison to road and mountain bikes. For some years now STI shifters have become the norm – but some riders still chose to have the choice of bar-end controls for when things get really muddy. Single chain-rings are rare now, although on certain courses top riders will still use them, complete with double chain-guards. Compact chainsets have largely taken over at the retail end, while regular racers still like the 42-46 combo, often with a 9-speed rear cluster – as they don’t tend to clog too much as a 10-speed.
Tubulars are the tire of choice; 700c’s just don’t quite cut it from a flexibility and adhesive point – and they are more prone to impact punctures. Riders use a varying range of tyres, but running at low pressure is the way to go in sticky conditions. The UCI have just reduced the maximum tire width from 35-33mm, which will disappoint a few riders.
Brakes have always been old style – cantilevers have been used since day one – they are effective and allow for good mud clearance. They have evolved some and become sharper, and most riders also now have dual brake levers – with a second set on the top of the bars.
Progress in this are has always been a bugbear, especially for manufacturers. For years they have had to restrict their cyclo-cross bikes in the stopping department. But the UCI has just lifted the ban on disc brakes for cross – which will make a big change to the sport and industry, which is about time.
Until clipless pedals came along riders would use regular “rat trap” style pedals, usually with double toe clips (so they wouldn’t bend) and ride in adapted shoes – often creating tread from old tyres and football studs, with extra wide shoe plates to avoid clogging. These days MTB pedals and shoes are used everywhere – gone are the days of worrying about getting your feet in for a fast start.
Cross frames and their design have evolved over the years too. Cross has become bigger business, and the big brands rule the roost in presence terms – although that doesn’t mean to say that they’re the best! Cross bikes have always had longer wheelbases for stability, and more rear triangle and fork mud clearance.
The major change in recent years had been that they now have even higher bottom brackets – which give riders more chance to clear the obstacles that the UCI insist on adding to the courses. Many also now have bottle cage eyes – giving them a duel purpose. Cable routing now runs along the top tube to avoid the mud, and several manufacturers also add in a flattened top tube for carrying comfort (but maybe that’s just a gimmick?).
Carbon has become more popular, although many riders still use aluminium main frames, and some big manufacturers have also reverted back to steel forks on their new entry level models; it adds weight – but does give a safer feel on rough ground.

The great races

The main cyclo-cross season runs during the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere – from September through until February. There are three main race series in Europe, and a number of major one off races, in addition to a thriving domestic race scene in many countries. Here are some of the biggest events.

GVA Trofee – The Gazet Van Antwerpen Trofee series is hugely popular Belgian/borders based series of 8 races.

World Cup – the UCI World Cup takes place in various countries, and has 9 rounds this season.

Super Prestige - another major Belgian series, which has 8 races in all.

World Championships – The 2011 title race will be held in St Wendel, Germany, over the last weekend of January.

Cross Vegas – new kid on the block, but has become extremely high profile, even Lance rides (End September).

Three Peaks – A good old British classic; the longest and toughest cyclo-cross in the world (End September).

The Iron Cross – America’s answer to the Three Peaks. This is the longest cyclo-cross race in the country, even longer than the Peaks, but not so harsh on the body.

Euro Cross Camp

There is sweet a little slice of American pie right in the middle of Belgium – it’s known as Euro Cross Camp. The “camp” is basically a huge house that is one great cyclo-cross haven for American riders. It was set up 7 years back, and each winter many top, and aspiring, American “crossers” head to this place to cut their teeth in the frozen cabbage fields of Belgium.
The facility is fully geared up and committed to cyclo-cross. It provides a full pro team infrastructure which allows riders to develop, and it clearly works – judging by the results achieved by it’s interns.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

UCI Pro Tour team latest

At 2nd November, UCI had registered the teams already holding a current licence and whose  applications satisfied the registration conditions set out in the UCI regulations.

The following teams were concerned:
-      Astana Pro Team
-      BMC Racing Team
-      Lampre - ISD
-      Liquidas - Cannondale
-      Movistar Team
-      Rabobank
-      Sky Procycling
-      Vacansoleil-DCM*

*UCI decision on November 9th

In accordance with the UCI regulations, the Licensing Commission was requested by the UCI administration to adjudicate on the refusal to register as well as the issuing of the UCI WorldTour licence to an applying team.
As a result of the hearings held on 15th, 16th and 18th November 2011, the Licensing Commission has ruled as follows:

The UCI WorldTour licence was issued to the following teams:    

Katusha Team  2012-2015
FDJ      2012-2014
Lotto Belisol Team 2012-2015
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team 2012-2014
Team Saxo Bank 2012

Team Europcar’s application for a licence was rejected.
In addition, the Licensing Commission acknowledged the withdrawal of the GEOX-TMC team’s application.
In accordance with UCI regulations, the applications of these two teams have been forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering these teams as Professional Continental Teams.

Finally, the Licensing Commission granted registration for the 2012 season to the following teams: 

AG2R La Mondiale

The decisions concerning the GreenEDGE Cycling and RadioShack-Nissan teams will be announced later – the Commission is currently waiting for the teams to provide additional documents.

Therefore, as it stands, 16 teams will take part in the UCI WorldTour 2012. In accordance with UCI regulations, a maximum of 18 UCI ProTeams may take part in the UCI WorldTour.
The full list of UCI Professional Continental Teams registered for the 2012 event will be announced on 12th December. 

Wade Simmons


The final race of the season and Johannesburg’s biggest cycle race with 25, 000 riders ended in 10 man sprint finish to the line. Arran Brown proved his love for the Momentum 94.7 by winning the small group sprint in front of his team mate Reinardt Janse van Rensburg who has been the man on form this last month.

Arran finished 2nd last year and was the winner in 2009.

How the race unfolded; the racing was fast on the M1 highway which normally sees the major Johannesburg traffic going into the city centre during the week but today it was closed for cyclists who were racing at 60km/h. At 18km’s, as the bunch got closer to the KOM on St. Andrews road, the bunch split into four groups with 11 riders going clear just after the KOM which was won by David Maree (Tasol GT) with Dennis van Niekerk (MTN Qhubeka) in 2nd. The 2 race favorites Arran Brown and Tyler Day (Team Bonitas) were the last 2 riders to make the front split as the race charged through the Johannesburg City Centre. The major challengers Nolan Hofmann (Tasol GT) and Herman Fouche (Cape Town Fish Market) missed the break and sent their team mates to the front to begin the chase.

The breakaway was literally flying with Team Bonitas riders Darren Lill (SA Road Champion), Johann Rabie, Jason Bakke, Tyler Day and Hanco Kachelhofer as well as Martin Wesemann, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Arran Brown (Team MTN Qhubeka) setting the tempo. The riders sitting on and without numerical advantage were Louis Meintjes (Team Toyota Academy), James Perry (Team Tasol GT) and Ian McLeod (Team Northcliff Cycles).

The chasing bunches eventually merged and that took the sting out of the tail as the breakaway riders built their lead to 3 minutes with 25km’s to go. James Perry (Team Tasol GT) attacked twice in the last 5km’s to try his luck but to no avail as the remaining 10 riders were set to battle a bunch sprint, Ian McLeod had punctured out of the break.

The SA Champion Darren Lill set the tempo up the final drag before the left turn to the finish before Martin Wesemann (Team MTN Qhubeka) took over, Reinardt was on his wheel and then Hanco and 2011 Cape Argus Cycle Tour winner Tyler Day. Arran sat behind Tyler and was in 4th wheel as the took the final right turn around the roundabout. It was a picture perfect finish for Team MTN Qhubeka as Arran and Reinardt powered away from their nearest rivals up the incline to the finish.

This was the men’s teams 32nd race win of the season.

In the women’s event, 4 riders rode clear in a similar fashion to the men’s race. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Jo van der Winkel (both Team Nashua Toyota), Cherise Taylor (Team USN) and Lise Olivier (Team MTN Qhubeka) maintained a lead of 2 minutes for the whole race. In the end it was Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio who got the better of defending champion Cherise Taylor in the sprint to the line with Jo taking the final podium spot and Lise in 4th.