Posted by Editor on 01/2/06
2005 - A Year in Review
This is our first installment of a review of the year that just finished. Being a post-Olympic year there is always a bit of a let down, with budgets cut and retirements. However, cycling still went through a tumultuous year - both in Canada and abroad.
The year began with the horrific tsunami in South East Asia. Along with the rest of the world, the cycling community pitched in to raise funds to assist those in need. The organizers of the BMX world championships donated advertising funds from the sale of banners to tsunami relief, numerous manufacturers and distributors pitched in, and Vancouver's own The Cove Bike Shop helped to raise $10,000 (which was matched by the federal government) with a sale held at their store. People were lined up outside the door before the sale started at 10 am to get the good bargains. No one knew what to expect for prices but came for the cause. North Shore Pro Riders, local industry companies like Roach Clothing, Race Face, The Cove Bike Shop, WTB & readers of NSMB.com website all donated new & used gear for the sale.
The UCI and Gestev announced (January 21st) that the Quebec-based event organizers would be taking over the running of the World Cup series. This announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by the cycling community, however, as the year ended, the sides had still not finalized the agreement...
On January 26th the CCA announced that the long and protracted process of hiring a new COO (Chief Operating Officer) had finally been concluded with the appointment of Steve Lacelle. Lacelle moved quickly to hire new staff and begin to sort out multiple crises the organization has been facing. In mid-February (20th), we published an interview with Lacelle.
The month ended with the Cyclo-cross World Championships, where Wendy Simms finished a very strong 12th, Ryder Hesjedal's first full season on the road with Discovery (at the Tour of Qatar) and the start of the Tour de Langkawi. For the first time in the history of the race, Canada was not invited to send a team (Michael Barry (Discovery) and Mark Walters (Navigators) were the only Canadians in the race). The race organization recently announced the route for 2006, however, they have still not paid out prize money or expenses to a number of teams from 2005...
Finally, Roland Green began his comeback by signing with Kona, and Cam Evans suffered a terrible accident while training in Australia when a car turned in front of him. There are no head or spinal injuries, but he struck his knee on the curb and his patella was split in the middle. There was also a small fracture on the side. Evans had surgery immediately following the accident and the patella was wired together and the tendons were reattached. At this point, it appears that he is still undergoing rehab. We hope to see him back racing in 2006.
The month began with the announcement that Canadian ex-Olympian Jacques Landry had been hired by New Zealand as national road coach. The hiring ignited a protracted discussion on the Forums over the loss of Canadian talent abroad. A second blow to Canadian cycling was the announcement by Tour de l'Abitibi director Claude Pagé that he held out little hope for the event to take place in 2005.
2005 would be the 37th edition of l'Abitibi, considered to be one of the premier Junior road stage races in the world. Val d'Or, the host city for the past six years wanted a break from hosting duties, but Rouyn-Noranda refused to take over. "If Rouyn-Noranda does not accommodate the 37th edition this year, the Tour is dead," said Pagé. "The regional capital must show leadership, it can't let go of a competition of this stature." Luckily, an agreement was reached mid-month that Val d'Or would continue to host l'Abitibi.
Michael and Dede Barry announced that they were expecting (and had a baby boy, Liam, on August 2nd).
In Ontario, Rob Good made the announcement that an indoor track would be coming to London, to be situated in a disused hockey arena. Construction started February 18th, and the track was operational by April 22nd. Since then, the Forest City Velodrome has put in a strong season of events. It is also being watched carefully by interested clubs across North America, who will hopefully use it as a model for more tracks.
Internationally, Phonak won an arbitration hearing and was admitted to the ProTour. The UCI had been blocking the application, in part, due to the ongoing controversy over Tyler Hamilton and his alleged use of banned substances - a situation that is still not resolved...
Roland Green's comeback suffered a serious setback when he received a six month suspension for testing positive at the Houffalize World Cup in the spring of 2004. His asthma medication was detected in the random test, however, unfortunately, Green had not completed the necessary paperwork for an exemption. The retroactive suspension ran until April 4th.
Canadians opened the North American season with a bunch of wins - Geoff Kabush and Alison Sydor dominated the Norba opener (both winning the cross country and the short track events), and Gord Fraser took the McLane Pacific Classic.
Also in March it was announced that Steve Bauer would be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, an honour long overdue. The ceremony took place April 18th
The Track World Championships took place in Los Angeles at the end of the month. Top Canadian finishes were Lori-Ann Muenzer with a pair of 7th places in the 500M TT and Sprint, and Mandy Poitras with a 7th in the Points Race. Poitras was on track for a top-5 in Scratch Race, when a crash in the final turn took her out of the race.
Tomorrow - April and May
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