Archive for December, 2008
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin was among
the guests earlier this week as the country’s first fully professional cycling
team, Katusha, convened in chilly Moscow.
Run by former Paris-Roubaix winner Andrey Tchmil, Katusha features some of
cycling’s elder statesmen like Australian Robbie McEwen and Filippo Pozzato of
Italy, as well as younger talents such as former Olympic points race champion
It is the first Russian-owned team to compete in European cycling’s elite,
and will do so as of January 2009 with a 27-man roster.
According to a press statement Wednesday Putin, Moldovan president Vladimir
Voronin and Giro d’Italia director Angelo Zomegnan were in attendance Tuesday
as the team made its official presentation in Moscow.
Held at the headquarters of oil and gas firm Itera, the company’s
president, Igori Makarov, said he was hoping the team’s existence would spark
a golden era for cycling across Russia.
“Finally, Russian cycling has stepped into the professional realm. We have
waited a long time for this moment, and it was necessary to overcome a lot of
barriers, problems and resistance on the way,”
He added: “Katusha is a combination of the social, economic and political
components expressed in sports and is a powerful project supported by serious
partners aimed at developing cycling in Russia, creating possibilities for
young riders and a representation of the glory of our native land.”
AFP – Australian Robbie McEwen says he hopes a change of team can help him return to Tour de France glory next year.
McEwen, a 12-time Tour de France stage winner and three-time winner of the green jersey for the Tour’s leading sprinter, has switched from Belgium’s Silence-Lotto team to Russian-backed Katusha for 2009.
It is a move the 36-year-old Australian hopes can get him back into serious Tour contention after a 2008 season he described as “mediocre.”
“It wasn’t consistent enough and it came down to my off-season last year – it was a complete disaster,” McEwen told reporters here on Monday.
“I had some real problems with injury and I couldn’t have a solid off-season of training – I only got really going mid-season.
“This time things are going a lot better and I can have a better start to 2009 than I did this year.
“I’m confident I can reach the level I’ve been at – I’m feeling just as good if not better than other years.”
Apart from McEwen, Katusha has also recruited Russian Vladimir Karpets, Italian Filippo Pozzato and Belgian sprinter Gert Steegmans.
McEwen said he is competing in two events — madison and derny — at a track cycling meet in Melbourne on Wednesday.
The Katusha Team jersey for the 2009 cycling season has been presented on the 11th of September.
The main inscription is for the russian for Katusha: КАТЮША–russian global cycling project.
Main team sponsors such as Gazprom(Газпром), Russian Technologies (РосТехнологии) and ITERA are also among the most visible words on the jersey.
The image under the team name is the Moscow symbol: the Kremlin.
Two new UCI ProTour team – Team Katusha – will make its ProTour debut at the 2009 Tour Down Under.
Mike Turtur, Tour Down Under Race Director, is pleased to see the UCI ProTour continuing to expand to include teams from all corners of the globe.
“It is great to see two new teams joining the UCI ProTour. And I am pleased that Team Katusha is being spearheaded by Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen,” said Mike Turtur.
Robbie McEwen has had 12 stage wins in the Tour de France in his decorated professional cycling career. He also has the most individual stage wins in the Tour Down Under’s history, with 12 stage wins.
“McEwen has a successful track record at the Tour Down Under, having also won the overall SA Lotteries sprinter classification twice. 2009 may be his time to take an overall event victory,” said Mike Turtur.
Garmin Slipstream’s Team Manager, Matthew White, is a previous Tour Down Under stage winner, having won Stage 4 of the 2005 event.
“It will be great to see Matt back at the event, now on the other side of the competition,” said Mike Turtur.
“We are also looking forward to seeing Julian Dean perform as New Zealand’s current national road race champion.”
The Team Katusha line up for the 2009 Tour Down Under, led by Team Manager, Dmitri Konyshev (RUS), is: Robbie McEwen (AUS), Geert Steegmans (BEL), Kenny De Haes (BEL), Juan Horrach (ESP), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL), Sergey Klimov (RUS) and Nikolay Trusov (RUS).
The Garmin Slipstream team competing at the 2009 Tour Down Under includes: Julian Dean (NZL), Trent Lowe (AUS), Timmy Duggan (USA), Chris Sutton (AUS), Ryder Hesjedal (CAN), Cameron Meyer (AUS) and Christian Meier (CAN). Decorated Australian cycling identity, Matthew White (AUS) will lead the charge as Team Manager.
The main goal for the team is, no doubt, to lead Robbie McEwen to his first wins in the colors of the Katusha Team.