Time to catch up with some of the news.
QuickStep and Eddy Merckx to Quebec. According to veloptimum, at their team presentation, Quick Step committed to racing the two new ProTour races, le Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and le Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. And that the one and one only Eddy Merckx will join the team in their visit, 36 years after winning the Montréal World Cup.
Speaking of new races in Canada, La Chrono Gatineau is a new UCI race in America on June 12. Held three days before the UCI stage race, the Tour de Beauce which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, it should bring some heavy hitters to the Outaouais region which last held a UCI race eleven years ago. The preliminary course is one loop of 16 km for the women, and 2 loops for the men.
Rock Racing is not dead but merged with Murcia and is renamed Rock Racing-Murcia, a UCI Continental registered team in Mexico, according to esciclismo. They also report that Paco Mancebo, Oscar Sevilla, Victor Hugo Pena and Glen Chadwick are still with the team, and the addition of Floyd Landis. Of note, as a continental team, the majority of its riders must be Mexican. No official release from the team at this point.
Ride with the pros. Many teams have started to provide opportunities for fans to ride with the squad during training camps.
For the very first time, Team TIBCO is inviting up to twenty people to its training camp in Carpinteria, CA from February 19-21. Fans can join with the NRC team winner along with the regional team, TIBCO Bay Area Cycling, for a weekend of riding and hanging out. The experience includes a welcome wine and cheese with pro riders and team presentation, ride with team on both Saturday and Sunday followed by a massage, team dinner and a team jersey and socks.
Registration cost for the Team TIBCO training camp experience is $2,100 and can be filed as a charitable donation. Checks should be made out to Silicon Valley Cycling Foundation (SVCF), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization formed to foster the development of international cycling competition. Registration must be received by February 1st, 2010. Read more here
UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis is offering a chance for fans to join the team as a fundraising initiative for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation, for which the two most generous donors until January 31, 2010 will be awarded a VIP spot at the training camp over the weekend of Feb. 13-14. Hotel stay, two training rides with the team, dinner and seat at the team presentation hosted by Dave Towle, etc. More info here
Or you can attend the team presentation, again a benefit for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation. Tickets are $175 a piece with proceeds benefiting the Foundation. Limited number available to public. More info here
As many teams, UHC is embracing social media with a facebook fan “race to 100K”. The team is inviting cycling fans and their friends to become fans of the team on Facebook and are giving away some big prizes, such as a team-issue Kuota frame/fork, Edge carbon wheelset, SRAM Red gruppo – prizes that are awarded when the reach certain milestones in the number of fans following us on Facebook. More info here
Wine, dine and train with the Colavita/Baci Professional Women’s Cycling Team. The annual three day event is retruning March 4th through the 7th and includes flights, hotel accommodations, meals, winery dinners, and spa package for a total cost of $3500.00. Guests will have the choice to bring their own bicycle, or use one of the bicycles provided by JAMIS Bicycles. More info here
Canada’s flag bearer. Speedskater and cyclist Clara Hughes was chosen to be Canada’s flag-bearer for the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
“This is without a doubt the greatest honor of my sporting life,” said Hughes at the press conference.
Hughes is the only Canadian an one of only four athletes to win a medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. With five medals she is Canada’s second most decorated Olympian and is the defending long-track champion in the 5,000 metres and a silver medallist in the team pursuit.
“For 20 years I’ve had the privilege of representing Canada around the globe in the world of sports, first on the bike and then on my blades, the experiences have shaped me into who I am today.”
The Vancouver Games will be her fifth Olympics. She won two bronze medals at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games in the road race and time trial and also competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Hughes is also involved with Right To Play, an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that uses sports to encourage the development of youth in disadvantaged areas.
American Amber Rais signed with the Austrian based UCI team, KUOTA Speed Kueens, and will now be racing full-time in Europe. She will also be part of the U.S. National Team at many races this season starting with the Tour of Qatar this week.
“These are the top races in the world, with the strongest fields and best competitors. This is where I need to race in order to achieve my goals of representing the United States at the Olympics and World Championships.” said Rais.
Rais is asking for help to fund essential expenses not covered by her team or by USA Cycling this season; in particular, raising enough money to be able to fly to the US to race US Nationals in June.
She added “I have excellent support from USA Cycling and from KUOTA, but these organizations cannot cover everything and won’t cover such expenses as those required to race US National Championships or World Championships.” A donation page has been set up on SportsBaseOnline.
B Sample positive. Tom Zirbel announced on his blog that his B Sample also tested positive for exogenous DHEA.
On December 27, Tom Zirbel announced that his A sample from the USA Professional Time Trial Championships tested positive for exogenous DHEA. (Read more here) The 31-year old who has proclaimed his innocence is probably looking at a two-year suspension.