First Edition Cycling News for April 6, 2005
Edited by Anthony Tan
Hincapie can't wait for the weekend
Puts Flanders behind him and looks forward to Paris-Roubaix
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Cyclingnews caught up with Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team's classics leader George Hincapie on the Monday after his solid result in Sunday's Ronde Van Vlaanderen. It was typical of Hincapie, truly one of the most personable pro riders anywhere to give us some time, even though we weren't sure he felt much like talking after a "disappointing" Flanders.
Admittedly "exhausted" after his determined seventh place at Flanders, Mr. Nice Guy Hincapie took some time out from relaxing with his wife Melanie and baby daughter Julia Paris after dinner to chat about his Flanders flop and his coming cobbled classics quests.
Cyclingnews: George, we saw you shake your head yesterday as you crossed the finish line in Meerbeke at the end of the Ronde. What did that mean?
George Hincapie: I was just frustrated; since I got the flu just before San Remo, it pretty much wiped me out for eight days. So being sick, I lost some confidence about my form. Last weekend, I rode a race [Brabantse Pijl] and I was just trying to get to the finish line. I was in no position to win. [Hincapie was 6th-Ed]. But I hadn't done more than a three hour ride in weeks, so it was a pretty good sign. Then I just took it easy at De Panne and didn't make any all-out efforts.
CN: Where were you at Sunday morning in Brugge?
GH: I had good legs but I wasn't 100 percent. The team was strong and this year was the first time I didn't have to do a lot of efforts to cover the moves. Our plan was that I would stay back in the first 20 or 30 riders and make a big effort on the Muur. So when the move went on the new climb, the Valkenberg, I was too far back. With guys like that [Boonen, Van Petegem, Klier], it's tough.
CN: How would you say you felt Sunday compared to how you were in 2002 when you were fourth?
GH: Oh, I felt better then; even on Sunday I decent legs and got a result. But it's not the best situation to get sick three weeks before Flanders. I had a temperature and then some respiratory problems and felt really weak. But I think I'm getting better now.
Liquigas, Gerolsteiner for Gent-Wevelgem
The same Liquigas-Bianchi team that took part in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen will engage themselves in today's Gent-Wevelgem ProTour race, but the team's main focus is most certainly Paris-Roubaix this Sunday.
"In the Tour of Flanders, I was very close to my optimum fitness," said Magnus Backstedt, whose eyes are firmly fixed on the defence of his Paris-Roubaix title won last year. "Today, I will try to remain in the centre of the race without forcing too much; my first true goal is the Paris-Roubaix."
Team roster: Magnus Backstedt, Mauro Gerosa, Nicola Loda, Marcus Ljungqvist, Michael Albasini, Marco Righetto, Gianluca Sironi and Marco Zanotti. Team manager: Dario Mariuzzo
German team Gerolsteiner will most likely be relying on Frank Hoj and René Haselbacher for a good showing in Gent-Wevelgem.
Team roster: René Haselbacher, Frank Hoj, Robert Förster, Sebastian Lang, Sven Krauss, Marco Serpellini, Peter Wrolich, Thomas Ziegler
Saunier-Duval for Roubaix
In what will be 1999 Roubaix winner and former Italian champion Andrea Tafi's swan song, Saunier-Duval shall send the following team to contest the 103rd edition of Paris-Roubaix:
Team roster: Rubens Bertogliati, Angel Casero, Cobo, David De La Fuente, Manuel Quinziato, Ivan Ravaioli, Andrea Tafi and Francisco José Ventoso.
Illes Balears for GP Pino Cerami
ProTour team Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne, currently competing in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, will also field a team for Thursday's GP Pino Cerami, to held in Belgium on April 7.
Team roster: Daniel Becke, Imanol Erviti, Isaac Gálvez, Chente García,
Cayetano Juliŕ, Iker Leonet, Mikel Pradera
Mercado and Paolini still injured
Quick.Step riders Juan Miguel Mercado and Luca Paolini are still out of action as a result of ongoing knee problems. After undergoing a MRI-examination at Belgium's Leuven hospital yesterday, Mercado will be out for approximately one month after riding over a piece of metal that hit his right knee while training on March 18. Meanwhile, 28 year-old Paolini underwent an sonogram at the same hospital because of recurring problems with his right knee, with the results indicating an inflammation of the ilio-tibial band. Paolini has been advised to rest for two weeks before resuming normal training.
Teams finalised for Tour de Georgia
Organisers of America's premier stage race have confirmed the 16 teams that will participate in this year's Dodge Tour de Georgia, scheduled for April 19-24, 2005. Six ProTour teams, two Professional Continental teams and eight Continental teams comprise the 128 rider line-up that boasts a truly international field, with cyclists from 18 different countries.
"The caliber of teams, matched with Georgia's beautiful yet challenging terrain ensures the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia will be the best yet," said Stan Holm, executive director of the race.
"While we're an invitation only event, we had teams from around the world reaching out to us, looking to make their mark in front of an American audience. And, as many are predicting, this just might be the last time fans can see Lance race here in the U.S."
In defending his title, Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel team will face formidable opposition from the five other ProTour teams that include Credit Agricole, Team CSC, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Phonak and Gerolsteiner, the most recent ProTeam addition to this year's race, where Levi Leipheimer will lead the charge for his team.
"We are looking forward to returning to the Tour de Georgia and will be racing to defend last year's title," said Armstrong. "The field of competition is very deep and the course is tougher than last year."
The highly-competitive Professional Continental classification will be represented by the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team, one of America's oldest and most active pro cycling teams, who will be joined by Swiss-registered outfit, Team LPR.
On the domestic side, the Continental classification will be represented by: Jelly Belly-Pool Gel, Kodak EasyShare Gallery/Sierra Nevada, Jittery Joes-Kalahari, Canada's Team Symmetrics, Health Net-Maxxis, Colavita-Sutter Home, and two developmental teams, TIAA-CREF and USA Cycling's Stars & Stripes.
Said Australia's Ben Brooks of team Jelly Belly: "Being a Continental Team, we don't get to race against the ProTour level teams very often. We're ready to test our mettle against many of the world's best cyclists and show the ProTour teams just how strong and fast American racing is right now. As a team, we finished well in 2004 and we're always in the thick of it. However, this year we will be giving the overall classification a serious go while playing a major role at each sprint line and King of the Mountain competition."
Last year's sprint classification winner, Health Net-Maxxis rider Gord Fraser, anticipates a battle from start to finish. "The course is tough, the flats will be fast and the climbing will be difficult. Considering we'll be racing alongside many of the world's best cyclists, it's exciting and motivating to be racing in the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia."
The final roster of the 128 athletes participating in the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia will be confirmed shortly before the race, with each of the 16 teams designating their eight-man line-ups once several early season races conclude.
Hoy asks for local action to prevent obesity
After a national study conducted by Cycling Scotland revealed certain local councils were not providing adequate facilities to encourage participation in cycling, nor sufficiently promoting the sport, local resident and Athens Olympic gold medallist in the Kilo, Chris Hoy, fears a growing obesity problem within the country if proper steps are not taken.
"Our children are becoming obese and our roads are choked with cars," Hoy was reported to have said to UK newspaper Evening Times. "But we have an opportunity to change that."
"We need to do more to convince everyone to get on their bikes - and local authorities are key to that. This national assessment should serve as a wake-up call to local and national government, and shows there is a long way to go if we want cycling take-up anywhere near as high as our European neighbours," he added.
32 local authorities agreed to take part in the year-long study. Glasgow City Council was one of the more proactive councils in terms of its provision of infrastructure for cyclists, with Cycling Scotland commending the city for its innovative schemes used to promote cycling.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)