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This Week in Pro Cycling – January 11, 2008

Dear Readers,Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the staff and editors at VeloNews.com. Despite it being the off-season, it's been an interesting week in cycling. Our own Neal Rogers had an unusual set of interviews this week, triggered in part by last week's report on Frankie Andreu's decision to leave his director's position at Rock Racing.

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Dear Readers,
Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the staff and editors at VeloNews.com.

Despite it being the off-season, it’s been an interesting week in cycling. Our own Neal Rogers had an unusual set of interviews this week, triggered in part by last week’s report on Frankie Andreu’s decision to leave his director’s position at Rock Racing.

Rogers contacted team owner Michael Ball for his reaction to that and reports that Ball was somehow wooing Floyd Landis to assume some form of advisory role on the team.

That, in turn, triggered a flurry of emails between Rogers and Landis, which resulted in a rather interesting “dialogue” between the deposed Tour winner and Steve Johnson, head of USA Cycling. I think you’ll find it worth a read.

Of course, the whole Rock Racing, Michael Ball, Landis thing proved a little too much for our editor at large, Patrick O’Grady, to resist. It was enough to make our resident crank produce one of his all-too-infrequent Foaming Rants. Enjoy.

In the world of actual bike racing, Sven Nys appears to be a favorite to snag the triple crown of cyclo-cross, with a seemingly insurmountable lead in the World Cup and his recent win at Belgium’s national cyclocross championship. What’s left is that elusive rainbow jersey, which will be contested in Treviso, Italy on the 27h of this month. Remarkably, it’s the Belgian championship that many observers see as the most difficult hurdle, since UCI rules limit the number of riders from any one country in both World Cup and world championship events. That means the Belgian race has more of what makes a cyclocross race brutally hard: Namely more Belgians. We’ll be in Treviso to report on world’s and Nys’s campaign to secure only the second elite world title on the 27th. Be sure to check in with VeloNews.com that weekend for updates and reports from both days of racing. [More]

On the tech side, Lennard Zinn seems to be recovering from the frustration he encountered when his laptop was stolen on a recent trip to Italy. Fortunately, he didn’t lose his camera and he’s back to writing up some of the interesting shop visits he made during that trip. We just posted a report on his tour of the workshop of Giovanni Pelizzoli, an artisan whose name you might not recognize as easily as the frames he’s produced.

Finally, as a subscriber to The Prologue, I thought you deserved an early look at a project we’ve been working on for the past few months. We’ve used the same format at VeloNews.com for several years now and although we’ve made minor changes and improvements here and there, we’ve long thought it time for a face lift. Well, the addition of coding-wiz’ Kevin Hankens to our staff proved to be even more of a boost than we had hoped for and we are close to rolling out an updated version of VeloNews.com. I thought I’d let you have a look, so why not click through to beta.velonews.com and tell us what you think.

Meanwhile have a good weekend and – weather permitting – have fun putting in a few early season miles over the next week.

All the best,

Charles Pelkey
Editor, VeloNews.com
CPelkey@insideinc.com