The Week That Was...

News & Results

01/16/2006| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Zabel and Petacchi. Photo copyright Team Milram.
Zabel and Petacchi. Photo copyright Team Milram.

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

In what could prove to be the first step towards an Australian professional road team, the South ? AIS squad was officially launched last week.  Through the joint venture between the Australian Institute of Sport and the State of South Australia, the team will compete in such events as the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Britain.


"These riders will be like mobile billboards traveling around the world - in France, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain and Italy - they'll be maximising the exposure of South Australia," said State Premier Mike Rann at the launch. "We think that what we're doing with South is a way of building on the growing strength of the Tour Down Under, and we think its continuous publicity for South Australia."


"The Tour Down Under gets bigger and better each year; the international interest keeps growing, the number of people coming here keeps growing and South Australians have taken cycling to their hearts in a short time...we think it's the perfect fit."


The squad is to be run on a budget of AUS$2 million.  The team will ride Bianchi's FG Lite bikes and will be supported by companies such as Vittoria and Shimano.


The squad is littered with a host of current and former world track champions and medalists and the team hopes that they can be used as a spring board to prepare and launch them into the ProTour.


The 2006 South squad is:

Jonathon Clarke (VIC), Simon Clarke (VIC), Peter Dawson (WA), Sean Finning (VIC), Michael Ford (VIC), Matt Goss (TAS), Shaun Higgerson (NSW), Ashley Hutchinson (QLD), Matthew Lloyd (VIC), Daniel McConnell (VIC), James Meadley (ACT), Miles Olman (QLD), Wes Sulzberger (TAS) and Stephen Wooldridge (NSW)

Two press conferences scheduled for next month, one in France and the other in London, are a sign that the 2007 Tour de France will start in the British capital according to The Independent newspaper last week.  The story claims that the city would be unlikely to be called upon to host a conference if it had nothing to do with the event.

If successful, it would be the first time that the British capital has ever hosted the Tour de France.  The prologue is expected to be held around the city streets, taking in a number of the major attractions.  Stage two would then run south towards the coast and the Channel Tunnel for the transportation of the race back to France.

At the official team launch last week in Bremen, Germany, Team Milram were still trying to convince their doubters that having Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel in the same team could work and that they could manage the pair.

To most people?s surprise, Petacchi announced he would be riding all three Grand Tours and that Zabel and he would share the spoils.  "It's not the first time I will participate in all three Grand Tours," Petacchi said. "I look forward to this adventure. My other goals include Milano-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours at the end of the season."

"I will aim for the Green jersey at the Tour," said Zabel. "Between Alessandro and me there won't be any problems as we are both professionals and honest people." The German went on to concede that "if we are both on the finishing straight together, we will not ride against each other. A victory by Petacchi would also be a victory for me.?

"Prior to the finishes, we will discuss which one of us will go for the victory and who will prepare the sprint. What counts is that one of us is in front in the end," Zabel added before Petacchi concluded that "if Erik and I give our very best and agree with each other, we will have quite an advantage over other sprinters - we will be very unpredictable."

Be sure to visit our latest sponsor Thomson Bike Tours. Right now you have the chance to win a free cycling vacation in Europe!

As always, keep your thoughts, views and opinions coming in to me ? and post them in our forums.


Until next week




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