PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Het Volk to finish in Ghent in ’08? The Omloop Het Volk, the first race on the Belgian calendar, could revert back to its Ghent-Ghent format next year. The race has finished in Lokeren, 20 km east of Ghent, since 1996. “The contract for our finish in Lokeren is up this year, just like the one for our starting place in Ghent,” organiser Wim Van Herreweghe told Het Nieuwsblad. “Ghent let us know that it was interested in hosting the finish in future too. But also Lokeren wants to continue with us. We will negotiate with both parties soon. What’s most important is: what is the best for the Omloop?” This year’s race, on March 3rd, will move from the Citadelpark to the newly refurbished Sint-Pietersplein in Ghent. The 200 km parcours features 10 climbs, starting with the Kluisberg after 38 km and ending with the Molenberg at km 137. The key climb early on will be the Oude Kwaremont after 51 km, which usually forces the first major selection Teams: Predictor-Lotto, Quick Step-Innergetic, Unibet.com, Team CSC, Astana, Ag2r, Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Credit Agricole, La Franaise des Jeux, T-Mobile, Liquigas, Milram, Rabobank, Discovery Channel, Landbouwkrediet, Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen, Palmans-Collstrop, Jartazi, Agritubel, Elk Haus, Team Wiesenhof, Acqua Sapone, Skil-Shimano and DFL Cyclingnews. Bessges 3: Nuyens takes lead Belgian Nick Nuyens (Cofidis) has won the third stage of the Etoile de Bessges, between Cendras and La Grand Combe over 138.6 km. Nuyens beat Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Preben Van Hecke (Predictor-Lotto), and took over the leader’s jersey in the five day race. Five debut for T-Mobile in Mallorca Five T-Mobile riders will make their season debut in the five day Mallorca Challenge, which starts this Sunday, February 11 on the Balearic island. Linus Gerdemann, Giuseppe Guerini, Andr Korff, Patrik Sinkewitz and Thomas Ziegler will be testing their winter training in the races, which traditionally kick off the Spanish season. Another eight riders will take part in the races, some of whom have competed in Qatar, and others who are doing the Etoile des Besseges: Eric Baumann, Marcus Burghardt, Bernhard Eisel, Bert Grabsch, Andreas Klier, Servais Knaven, Lorenzo Bernucci and Scott Davis. Mallorca will also mark the debut of Jan Schaffrath as a sports director. The 35 year-old retired from cycling in 2005 after having raced for nine years, all of which were with T-Mobile (Telekom). He will join the more experienced Valerio Piva as a team director. “The race’s main purpose is to get our classics specialists fitter for their upcoming tasks,” said Piva. “After riding at high speeds on the flat course in Qatar, the different terrain in the tour stages will offer the best pre-conditions to test out their form for the spring.” Overall placings will not be the main focus for T-Mobile in Mallorca. “We have a large contingent of pros and want to give everyone the chance of showing what they’re capable of,” said Piva. “That means ‘Die Mannschaft’ will always be able to show a new face.” The tour, which is actually a collection of five one-day races, kicks off with a flat stage starting and finishing in Palma, Mallorca’s capital. The Trofeo Alcudia on Monday is a showcase for sprinters, before Tuesday’s Trofeo Pollena takes the 21 teams to the mountains for the final three days. Here the peloton will have to conquer a 880 metre climb up Coll de Puig Major, which also features in the Trofeo Pollena and Trofeo S¢ller that follow. Piva predicted that it will be the Spanish cyclists again that will have the best chances of claiming overall victory. Twelve Spanish teams will be competing this year. The last time a non-Spaniard won was back in 2001 when Australian Matthew Hayman was crowned overall winner. Race list February 11: Trofeo Mallorca (Palma – Palma, 100 km) February 12: Trofeo Alcudia (Cala Millor – Cala Bona, 159.4 km) February 13: Trofeo Pollena (Pollena – Mirador Des Colomer, 149.6 km) February 14: Trofeo S¢ller (S¢ller – Port de S¢ller, 150.6 km) February 15: Trofeo Calvia (Magalluf – Palmanova, 149.3 Km) Brad v Brad at Manchester World Cup The clash between Bradley McGee and Bradley Wiggins in the men’s 4,000m individual pursuit will be a highlight of the Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester, February 23rd-25th. McGee, a gold medalist in the team pursuit at the Athens Olympics, has won gold in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games, but never at the Olympics. McGee is also very accomplished on the road, having led all three grand tours and won stages in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. Wiggins is the reigning Olympic individual pursuit champion, and was also the first Brit in 40 years to win three medals at the same games. On the road, he is targeting the Tour de France prologue in London this year. Wiggins has been training in Manchester and Newport for the World Cup, and feels that his preparation is going well. “I think once you come here on race day and you have someone on the other side of the track and the crowd behind you, that everything will come together,” Wiggins told British Cycling. “I have put a lot of emphasis on doing this round of the World Track Cup because I can see it is such a big event. I was commentating on it last year and I was sitting there wishing I was riding. So I am looking forward to it being as big as it was last time.” The men’s individual pursuit starts with qualifying on the afternoon of Friday, February 23rd with the head-to-head medal rides in the evening. Chris Hoy will also be in action for Great Britain on Friday night in the men’s kilometre time trial. The three-day event will be shown live on British Eurosport. More information: www.worldtrackcycling.com. Yates forum chat a hit Procycling’s first live forum chat was an unprecedented success, if you will forgive the tautology. Discovery Channel sports director Sean Yates (www.seanyates.co.uk) joined us for an hour on the forum to answer reader questions. The forum thread has attracted over 4000 views so far, with plenty of interesting reading. As an example, Dave1 asked Sean whether he was a pupil of the Rudolf Steiner school, and if so, how did it shape him? Sean’s response: “I hated school, the Steiner school made life easier for me because there was less pressure, no exams and stuff like that. The most important trait for a pro bike rider is a lot of determination and a strong constitution.” Brian S asked and commented, “Where is your favourite part of the world when in the saddle? Mine was never on your wheel.” Sean’s response: “That’s because you are soft. My favorite spot for riding the bike is Nice, were I lived for 8 years. You got the mountains, the sea, great food and roads.” We will be having regular guest chats on the forum from now, so keep your eyes peeled on Procycling.com, the forum, and Procycling magazine for information. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
The Omloop Het Volk might finish in Ghent next year, as Lokeren’s 12 year contract is finishing. Als