Shorts: Manchester, Barca, Barthe

Latest news on the Manchester track World Cup event, Barcelona looking to move up and tackle pros, B

Latest news on the Manchester track World Cup event, Barcelona looking to move up and tackle pros, B
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE BRITAIN'S Emma Davies will be aiming to complete her collection of medals when she contests round three of the UCI Track World Cup at Manchester on January 7-9, 2005. "Last season I had placings of second, third and fourth in the World Cup. Now I would love to add a gold at Manchester," said Davies. The omens are good for the 26-year-old from Knutsford, Cheshire. "Earlier this year, I achieved my best World Cup result of the season when I took the silver in the 3,000-metres pursuit at Manchester. "As double national champion I would expect to be riding both the pursuit and points race in the Manchester round," she added. "Predicting the likely results is difficult at this stage because we're not certain about who the opposition will be. But whoever's in the field, it's sure to be a very high standard." Davies has just signed a contract to ride for Belgium's Vlaanderen-Interim team next season. "I'm very excited about the prospect. I'll be based in Belgium from April until September," she said. "One advantage of the revised UCI calendar, with track racing becoming a winter sport, is that I can concentrate on the track in the winter months and on the road during the summer," Emma explained. "For the next few months I'll be fully focussed on the track. I missed the Moscow round of the World Cup but now I'm back in full training. I expect to ride round two in Los Angeles on December 12, followed by the Manchester round, which will be my main hit." For Ticket information on the Manchester World Cup event contact Ticketmaster on 0871 230 2621 or go to www.ticketmaster.co.uk For racing information go to www.worldtrackcycling.com - The birth of the Pro Tour may not be universally popular but some smaller elite teams are set to take advantage of the introduction of the new continental calendar system below the top level Pro Tour events by tackling races that have hitherto been closed to them. One such outfit is the Barcelona elite squad backed by the world famous soccer team and the Catalan regional government. "With the birth of the Pro Tour we have a unique opportunity that we must take advantage of," Barcelona team manager Melchor Mauri has told Spanish sports daily Marca. 1991 Vuelta winner Mauri took advantage of the presence of the Barcelona club president Joan Laporta at a cycling event last week to plug the cycling team's aspirations. "He told me that the club board like the project but don't want to take on the whole budget themselves." The total budget for the project which could see the team racing nationally rather than focusing almost exclusively on events in Catalonia is 600,000 euros. "This year, our first in cycling, we won about 20 races and finished in the top 10 of the Spanish federation's standings. Now we want to take things a bit further and compete against the pros in some events," said Mauri. Among the riders Mauri works with is world pursuit champion Sergi Escobar, and the highly-experienced team manager is afraid that if the next step is not taken he will lose Escobar and more of his better riders to teams that can offer them tougher racing opportunities. - Former French champion and US Postal rider Stphane Barthe has opted to drop down to the Elite 2 level in France rather than retire from racing after spending the last season with the Oktos-St Quentin team. Barthe, who will be 32 next month, is a seasoned sprinter and rouleur who won the Tour of Poitou-Charentes this last season.
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