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This Week in Pro Cycling – January 3, 2008

Dear Readers,Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the world of competitive cycling by your friends at VeloNews.com. It's been a slow week in cycling, as most everyone - including riders themselves - has used the holiday season to take a well-earned break from work and use the time to relax a little. We hope you had a safe and enjoyable New Year's celebration and that you've managed to delay your return to work until at least next week.

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Dear Readers,
Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the world of competitive cycling by your friends at VeloNews.com.

It’s been a slow week in cycling, as most everyone – including riders themselves – has used the holiday season to take a well-earned break from work and use the time to relax a little. We hope you had a safe and enjoyable New Year’s celebration and that you’ve managed to delay your return to work until at least next week.

We had an interesting set of conversations with team directors over the holiday, speaking first with Toyota-United’s Len Pettyjohn [More] who returns to a position he hasn’t held since the Coors Light team ceased operations in 1994. Pettyjohn is one of the most experienced directors out there and we’re pleased to see him back. You might notice the major condition that he insisted upon before he took the job. Pettyjohn said he would not take the job offered by team owner unless “I had full authority and that’s really the only way a director can operate a team successfully.”

Interestingly, it was just two days after we posted that story that we heard from Rock Racing director Frankie Andreu, who said he was leaving his team. Among the reasons he cited was the fact that he’d not had any input on several – potentially controversial – hires made by team owner Michael Ball.

“It’s his right to decide, but as a director it’s very hard to run a team when you have no input in the hiring of riders,” he told us. “Often, I would find out when they sent out an email welcoming so-and-so to the team. That’s especially difficult when I am the one who is then responsible for handling and working with these riders.” [More]

Those two articles make for an interesting study in contrast.

We also took advantage of the week’s slow pace and called USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson to get his take on the coming year. (Yeah, yeah, we know… don’t give us your phone number unless you want to be bothered by one of us on a slow news day.) Johnson said he remains convinced that despite the recent storms of controversy that have hit cycling on the international scene, the sport is relatively healthy here in the U.S. [More]

Finally, we used the New Year as a chance to roll out a few selections from the editorial staff’s top awards for 2007. We’ve only put a few of those on-line and it’s worth taking a look at the complete rundown on the pages of VeloNews magazine itself. We did, however, put a few up on the site, including our pick for International Cyclist of the Year. Take a look and see if you agree: [More]

Have a good week and, weather permitting, try to get out and enjoy yourself on the roads or trails in your area.

All the best,

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