PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Roger Hammond returns to the Southampton Sports Centre on January 7th not only to defend the national British Cyclo-Cross championship he won last year, but also to the venue where he took his first elite title 12 years ago. Hammond will also roll out in his new magenta T-Mobile colours for the first time on England’s South Coast. Having spent two years at Discovery Channel, Hammond is one of the key classics specialists drafted into the revamped 2007 T-Mobile line-up – and will be hoping that the team change will help him recapture the form that saw him place third in the 2004 Paris-Roubaix. His immediate goal is the national cyclo-cross championships, which he prepared for by racing four times in Belgium in December. “I’m going well, I have trained harder than last year and I’m looking forward to Sunday,” said Hammond. “In Diegem and Overijse I punctured at critical moments, and that left me no chance of getting back into contention, but in Middelkerke and Wachtebeke I had better placings than last year. Overall, I was pleased with how I went in Belgium.” On his chances in Southampton, Hammond reckoned, “The weather will play a big part. In cyclo-cross you need to be lucky on the day and avoid mechanicals. If it’s wet then I expect a real battle of attrition. “I will be relying on my endurance and playing it safe. In cyclo-cross, there’s always technical corners where if you’re prepared to take risks you gain 5 or 6 seconds. That really adds up if your consider that you are racing 9 or 10 laps of circuit. But it has its risks!” Hammond tipped Liam Killeen has his biggest rival, along with Dave Collins, who recently scored a top 10 placing in Belgium. After Sunday, Hammond will travel to the T-Mobile Team’s annual training camp on Mallorca to continue his build-up to the road season, which starts for him at Etoile des Besseges in February. Australian cyclist dies of heart attack 23 year-old Australian cyclist Daniel Bennett has died of an apparent heart attack while out training on the Gold Coast on Friday morning. According to his coach, Mark Brady, Bennett was riding in a group of around 20 when he “stopped to have a drink and slumped over his handlebars from what they believe was a heart attack brought on by an unforeseen and undiagnosed heart condition.” Efforts to resuscitate Bennett were unsuccessful and he did not regain consciousness. He was pronounced dead the Gold Coast Hospital at 8am. Born in Zimbabwe, Bennett emigrated to Australia’s Gold Coast with his family a decade ago and for the past two years has ridden in Europe with French amateur team Charvieu-Chavagneux based in Lyon. He won two races in 2006 and was a regular top 10 finisher. He was due to return to the team next month for the 2007 European season. Bennett’s friend Trent Summer was quoted by AAP as saying, “He didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody. He liked everybody and everybody liked him, that’s pretty rare these days. He was a dedicated athlete … he didn’t take any shortcuts. He was just an outstanding rider and an outstanding person. “He was anti-drug taking. He was adamant he was going to get there without it. He didn’t do anything that wasn’t written on his program. During the season they aren’t even allowed to eat dairy, so he had water on his cornflakes.” Bennett had been tested at the Australian Institute of Sport, but no health problems were revealed. Kroon breaks wrist Team CSC’s Dutch rider Karsten Kroon has broken his wrist while snowboarding over the Christmas break. But the team reports that he is already back in the saddle and expects to be ready for the team’s training camp in California later this January. “At first they gave me a cast on the lower part of my arm, but that was no good because I couldn’t ride my bike,” said Kroon. “I talked to the doctor about it and he said it was ok for me to remove the cast, but that it would hurt a great deal and I would have to wear something to stabilize my wrist. I’ve followed his instructions and I’m able to continue my training, but there is a lot of pain both in and around my wrist and also it wrecks my balance on the bike.” Despite the setback, Kroon is looking forward to the Tour of California next month. “For me Tour of California is mainly preparation for the spring classics,” he said. “They are my main priority this season and also I’m hoping to get to do Tour de France as well. The Tour is better for me this year, because we’re not building the entire team around one person like last year. The route seems perfect for our team and we should be able to snatch a couple of stages at least.” Cycling.TV launches home shopping In a first for cycling broadcasting, internet TV channel Cycling.TV has launched a home shopping programme: The Bike Basket. The show will kick off on January 18th at 7pm, and will be broadcast every Thursday. The 52 minute programme will allow viewers to buy cycling products in a similar way to standard television shopping channels. Cycling.TV has partnered with top UK retailer Evans Cycles to make it happen. “Shopping online can at times be a dull experience, what this show does is bring our products to life and at the same time offering cyclists a great deal on top quality kit,” said Evans Cycles Marketing Manager Ben Hart. Although Evans is UK-based, it does ship internationally. Customers outside the EU also won’t have to pay VAT on their purchases. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Roger Hammond will make his T-Mobile debut at the British cyclo-cross championships this Sunday. Als