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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 30, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

An interview with Michael Rogers

Just before the World Championships Time Trial, Michael Rogers was upbeat about his chances of adding a second gold medal to the title he won in 2003 but didn't actually receive until the morning of the 2004 race. He spoke to Shane Stokes about the imminent test and his year so far.

The victory salute
Photo ©: AFP
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"Winning this time trial is the only thing I have been thinking about since the Olympics," Michael Rogers told Cyclingnews a couple of days before rolling out of the start gate in Bardolino and winning a second World Time Trial Championship. "Last year's experience is a big motivation for me. I think it is certainly possible to do it. I just hope that everything goes right for me on the day. I will be certainly getting off my bike saying that I couldn't have gone any harder, whether I end up with first or last place."

Rogers had worked hard in the run up to the race and felt he was in good shape. "My form is good... I am quite confident," he said. "I had a really good build-up. I know the course really well. I have been training on it at least once a week for the past month. I think my training and racing have been right up to standard the last few weeks so I am really looking forward to it.

"I like the tough course here. For me I don't have the strength of the Germans in a flatter time trial. But it is a different story when there is a few climbs in the race."

Since then, Rogers went on to make history by becoming the first rider to win consecutive pro world time trial championships, and only the second rider to win the title twice (Jan Ullrich won in 1999 and 2001). It was the high point of a year that by his own admission has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the 24-year-old from Canberra, Australia.

Warming up before the TT
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
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Cyclingnews: How do you feel the year has gone for you?

Michael Rogers: It has been a bit up and down. I will cut straight to the Tour, my whole year is based around that. The first week didn't go too well for me, I had three crashes and a few punctures and a heap of bad luck. But towards the end I was a lot better - in the Alpe d'Huez time trial I was twelfth. I didn't have the expectations to go and win it but twelfth was pretty good.

Then obviously the Olympic games - they were quite good again, I was quite happy with my ride but to be so close to podium was a little frustrating.

CN: What is your reaction to the situation with Tyler Hamilton?

MR: I have heard about it but now is probably not the right time to comment on it. I will let it run its course and then it is probably more appropriate to comment after that.

Click here for the full interview

Rich happy with strong finish

Michael Rich (Germany)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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German rider Michael Rich won his third silver medal in an Elite Men's World TT Championship when he finished 1'12 behind Michael Rogers yesterday. Rich, who also won the bronze medal last year, had a relatively slow start - he was only 19th at the first time check - but rode a very strong final 40 km to push Vinokourov out of the top spot until Rogers bettered it again, 20 seconds later.

"I wasn't very fast at the first split. The gap to Michael was big...he is a good rider uphill and also on the flat, so I knew it would be very hard to bring it back," explained Rich. "The first few kilometres weren't very good for me but in the second half was much better. This is where I made up the time to get the silver medal."

Vinokourov surprised

Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)
Photo ©: AFP
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Alexandre Vinokourov scored his first medal at an Elite World Championship by placing third in the time trial yesterday. The Kazakh, who showed some good form during the Vuelta despite suffering from stomach problems early in the race, was the fastest rider at the first time check, but was surpassed by both Rich and Rogers in the next 40 km.

Vinokourov credited his good form to the Vuelta, where he abandoned with a few days to go. "The Tour of Spain was a really good preparation," he said. "Today I am surprised about my result, but it was very good training for Sunday. I am very happy with how I did."

Bruseghin satisfied

Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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The best Italian rider in yesterday's time trial was Marzio Bruseghin, better known as one of Fassa Bortolo's tireless workers, and responsible for helping Alessandro Petacchi to many victories this year. When given the opportunity to ride for himself in a time trial, Bruseghin is rarely too far off the pace. His sixth place in the World's was a good performance from the 30 year old, even if he played it down a little.

"I'm satisfied with my sixth place because I really couldn't do much more than that," said Bruseghin. "I found my rhythm after the first kilometre and even though I finished 12 seconds out of the medals I'm calm. In the World Championships, the most important thing is to win the rainbow jersey, the rest doesn't count for much. You saw how Rogers went, I think there's nothing more to say."

McCann 15th but disappointed

By Shane Stokes, in Bardolino

David McCann
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
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Irish rider David McCann had a very solid ride in yesterday's elite men's time trial at the World Championships in Verona, finishing 15th of 47 starters in the 46.75 kilometre test. The result was probably his best performance to date as a rider, but the Irish time trial champion was disappointed afterwards, ruing what could have been. He was just over 16 seconds off a place in the top ten and feels he certainly would have been quicker had he not had a disruption before the start.

"Before the race a UCI commissaire told me that my aerodynamic chainrings were against the regulations," he said. "They have been used by riders in the Tour and the Olympics without any problems - Hamilton won in Athens using them - but for some reason the guy objected today. The crazy thing is that some of the other riders in the time trial got away with using them, so it seemed like there were two rules out there, one for the Irish guy and one for everyone else."

McCann had to use a bike belonging to one of the Irish juniors to do his warm-up while the team mechanic John Keegan tracked down and fitted a replacement 55 tooth chainring. The effect of the disruption was clear when McCann was just 32nd at the first time check, improving from there to 18th at the next checkpoint and then 15th. He actually posted the third fastest time inside the final sector to show what could have been.

"Only Rogers and Rich were quicker inside the final sector - it is pretty frustrating as I think I would certainly have cracked the top ten without all that messing around. A month ago I was targeting a top fifteen in this time trial but then had a big crash before doing the Tour de Hokkaido. I felt pretty bad afterwards and so missed some training time, yet the legs were very good today. It's just a pity that the guy gave me so much hassle before the really messed things up."

Clerc ready for consensus

Patrice Clerc, president of Tour de France organisation ASO, declared in Bardolino yesterday that he is willing to negotiate with the UCI in order to come to an agreement about the Pro Tour.

"Reason has to prevail," Clerc said. "It is good to examine the reform of professional road cycling. With that in mind, and everybody truthful and willing, there is no reason why we shouldn't come to an agreement about the reform. If it is consensual, it will be durable." In Bardolino, Patrice Clerc and his Vuelta and Giro colleagues met with Vittorio Adorni, president of the professional cycling Council, and Manolo Saiz, president of the Sporting Teams Association.

An interview with Georg Totschnig

When one says "Austria", one thinks of mountains or classical music, not bicycles. This country is nowhere near the big three like France, Italy or Spain. However, the cycling universe is expanding, and as Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez Macias writes, it has made a place for veteran Georg Totschnig.

Georg Totschnig on his way up L'Alpe d'Huez on Stage 16 of this year's Tour de France
Photo ©: Jon Devich
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Considered by many to be the most famous cyclist in Österreich (Austria in German), Georg Totschnig's achievements include the 2000 Tour of Austria, two top-10 finishes at the Giro d'Italia and numerous national championships, where he has won the time trial on four occasions and the road race twice.

Totschnig is having a very good year. "I was very happy this season. I trained the whole year for the Tour de France and I am happy with the result at the end of the Tour," he says.

In fact, in his 11 years as a pro, it's his finest season to date: "This is my fourth year in my team [Gerolsteiner]. In the last four years, I became better every year because the team helps me in the way I want to ride races. And this is the best year of my career," admits Totschnig.

Born in a small town called Kaltenbach in the mountain region of Tyrol, Totschnig still lives in this special and gorgeous environment that inspired him to start riding and competing in road cycling races and big tours. However, the mountainous countryside becomes less of an benefit because "the problem is that here we have a long winter."

"There's much snow," he says, "that maybe it's better to live in Italy or in Spain in winter for training. But if you have good motivation and you like the sport, it's also possible to train well in the Austrian roads too."

Click here for the full interview

Hermida negative

The analysis carried out on a urine sample of Spanish mountain biker José Antonio Hermida has returned a negative result for banned substances, according to the UCI. Hermida, who finished second in the Olympic Games in Athens, was prevented from starting in the World MTB Championships three weeks ago due to having a hematocrit of over 50 percent. Although that did not count as a positive drug test, Hermida was suspended from competition for 15 days and also had to supply a urine sample for further testing.

Hermida argued at the time that he has a naturally high hematocrit, but because it fluctuates above and below 50 percent, the UCI has not given him any special dispensation to race with a high level. However, in the light of his recent protests, the UCI has given him permission to carry out the necessary tests in order to determine whether he can race at close to 50 percent.

Yates sacked

Jeremy Yates will not be part of Crédit Agricole's team roster in 2005. The New Zealand rider, stagiaire at the French team, had to explain high testosterone levels to the Belgian cycling federation, and it is still unknown whether the rider has done this satisfactorily or not.

The 2000 Junior World Champ now risks a two year suspension. Roger Legeay, directeur sportif at Crédit Agricole, has decided not to keep Yates on his team roster for next season, while he is willing to hear the rider's version of facts, according to

Aitken a daddy again

Sydney Olympic Madison gold medalist (and Cyclingnews fitness panelist) Brett Aitken became a father again on September 30. Aitken's wife Natalie delivered twin girls, Brianna Rose and Cadence Skye at 11.30am. The 5lb 2oz and 5lb 8oz pair are "gorgeous and healthy" according to Aitken, who decided to concentrate on his family commitments when he learned the twins were on the way back in April.

Giro 2005 starts in Calabria

The South-Italian town of Reggio in Calabria has announced yesterday that it will host the start of the 88th Giro d'Italia in May 2005. The race will stay in the region for two days, during the prologue and the first stage.

Mountain Bikers support US Lands Day

Nearly 900 volunteers from 32 IMBA affiliated clubs in 26 states of the U.S. participated in the IMBA/BOB Trailers Trailwork Challenge on National Public Lands Day on September 18. In its 11th year, one of the nation's largest outdoor volunteer efforts supported 600 projects leading to an estimated $9 million in public improvements.

Participating IMBA clubs included:

Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Club, Austin, TX
Backcountry Trail Patrol Association, Robbinsdale, MN
Camino Real Cycling Club, San Marcos, TX
Central Iowa Trail Association, West Des Moines, IA
Central Idaho Mountain Bike Association, McCall, ID
CNY DIRT, North Syracuse, NY
Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association, Grand Junction, CO
Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol, Fort Collins, CO
Earth Riders, Lenexa, KS
Eastern Virginia Mountainbike Association, Lanexa, VA
Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition
Great Divide Cycling Team, Helena, MT
Helena Bicycle Club, Helena, MT
Highlands Cycling Club, Butte, MT
Laramie Bicycling Network, Laramie, WY
Michigan Mountain Biking Association, Waterford, MI
Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts-Richmond Chapter, Disputanta, VA
Moab Trails Alliance, Moab, UT
Molalla River Watch, Molalla, OR
Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association, Moscow, ID
New England Mountain Bike Association, Acton, MA
New Orleans Metro Area Mountain Biking Organization, Metairie, LA
North Country Mountain Bike Club, Potsdam, NY
Northern Indiana Mountain Bike Association, South Bend, IN
Outback Trail Commission, Portage, IN
Portland United Mountain Pedalers, Portland, OR
Quimper Trails Association, Port Townsend, WA
Sacramento Area Mountain Bike Association, Sacramento, CA
Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers, Santa Barbara, CA
Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association-Central Savannah, Martinez, GA
Trails Have Our Respect, Lincoln, NE
White Pine County Trails Committee, Ely, NV
York Area Mountain Bike Association, Jacobus, PA


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