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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 1, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan

10th HEW-Cyclassics-Cup wrap-up

Quick.Step show their side-step

Paolini and Pozzato
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

In what was ostensibly a two-team battle in the end, Patrick Lefevre's Quick.Step riders showed the smarts to take an emphatic 1-2 victory in today's 10th edition of the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup. Benefiting from strength in numbers and perfect teamwork, 23 year-old Italian Filippo Pozzato took the biggest win of his career, pipping team-mate Luca Paolini and young Liberty Seguros rider Allan Davis at the line, and leaving Fassa Bortolo floundering in what could have been theirs, with best-placed rider Fabian Cancellara only good enough for fourth.

"Today the tables were turned", said a delighted Pozzato, "but to be honest, my success needs to be shared with the rest of our team and in particular with Paolini and Tankink. I've done a lot of work over the past few weeks to get myself in top condition, even doing some intense altitude training in the mountains surrounding Livigno. At last it seems like all of my hard work is starting to pay off."

"I think we can say we worked in the other teams' favour and could of set up the race differently," said a disappointed Cancellara. "But I felt strong and my team-mates showed their confidence in me. Unfortunately, it didn't go as I wanted and for this reason I'm unhappy."

The day's action began after 25 kilometres or so, when Domina Vacanze's Jorg Ludewig broke away from a disinterested peloton. Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) and André Greipel (Team Wiesenhof) formed a two-man chase that was to last until km 105, at which stage the three came together shortly before the race's midway point, enjoying a 12-minute advantage.

On the first of four ascensions of the Waseberg, Greipel was dropped, leaving just Ludewig and Hoste, who stayed together until roughly 30 kilometres to go. The penultimate climb of the Waseberg then saw Ludewig falter, but with the gap down to a minute and a half and 25 kilometres remaining, neither rider lasted too much longer out in front.

With Hoste caught, a group of 15 riders formed the final time over the Waseberg, the teams of Fassa Bortolo and Quick.Step best represented. In the end, it was Quick.Step who rode smartest, sending Bram Tankink out on his own with two kilometres to go and leaving the rest to chase, before Pozzato and Paolini made a winning double-dash to the line.

Said Paolini: "I was feeling really good throughout the race; Pippo and I were riding the race in parallel and we were able to rely on the help of all of our team, especially Paolo Bettini, who did everything possible to keep himself as near to us as possible. Shortly, I'll be taking part in the GP di Camaiore and the Tour di Lazio - both races are suited to my way of riding, so I'll be looking for a victory."

Full results, report & photos
Live report

Gusev good in Hamburg

Vladimir Gusev's ambitious breakaway attempt with 25 kilometres remaining before finishing eighth in a 15-man sprint left the Russian disappointed, but Team CSC director Scott Sunderland was more than satisfied. "Gusev has good eyes for a race like this and was excellent all day, so he was actually a bit disappointed with his result. However, in a finish like this with 15 riders in the sprint, we can't really ask for more," he said on the team's website,

"He did good in the spring classics and seems to continue in the fall. It also promises well ahead of the Benelux Tour, where we have a really strong team with Gusev, Julich and Schleck in top shape. [Jakob] Piil and Matti [Breschel] had to abandon the race early, as they weren't feeling very well."

Sunderland then gave his take on the rest of the team's performances: "Lars Michaelsen had a very unfortunate puncture at a bad time and didn't make it back to the peloton. Kurt-Asle also had a flat tyre, but he was able to rejoin the peloton just in time for Petacchi to take him out when the Italian sprinter crashed. Allan Johansen was in the second group with Linus [Gerdemann] and [Michael] Blaudzun, but he crashed with 500 meters to go in the last turn."

Fractured hand for Petacchi

Crashing heavily on his side with around 15 kilometres to go in Sunday's HEW-Cyclassics, Fassa Bortolo sprinter Alessandro Petacchi was immediately taken to hospital in Hamburg, where doctors revealed he had fractured his right hand. As a consequence, the 31 year-old will require an operation, although at the time, it was yet to be decided whether it would be conducted in Germany or in Italy.

Zabel separates from T-Mobile

Erik Zabel (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
Click for larger image

After 13 seasons and 191 victories in the same colours, Erik Zabel has decided to leave T-Mobile, citing an inability to reach an agreement with the team where he began his career back in 1993.

Up until recently, the 35 year-old sprinter was expected to retire from cycling and pursue a career as a directeur-sportif on T-Mobile, a concept that the team publicly embraced. But in the past few months, a future vocation with the Bonn-based team appeared less likely, rumours that were no doubt circumvented following his exclusion from the 2005 Tour de France line-up. However, Zabel denies the latter event had anything to do with his decision, nor alludes to where his future may lie.

"It [the exclusion] was difficult for me, but I was eventually able to put that behind me," said Zabel in a team statement. "Both sides had their ideas, but we could not agree."

"I regret the exit of the negotiations," said team manager and former team-mate Olaf Ludwig. "Erik was also the subject of other offers, which offered a new sporting challenge."

Continued Zabel: "Nothing is unusual in the professional world [of cycling]. I leave with many beautiful memories and as a friend [of the team]. Olaf is the right man to smoothly oversee the transition within the team; in Michael Rogers and Patrik Sinekwitz, the team has signed up two young riders with enormous potential and will ensure a successful future for the T-Mobile brand."

T-Mobile's managing director of marketing in Germany, Martin Knauer, said "we would like to have committed ourselves further to Erik Zabel", thanking him for representing the company so well over the years and wished him success for the future. Meanwhile, Zabel will ride out the rest of the season in the magenta colours he has become so familiar with, and will disclose his future whereabouts at a later date.

Crocodile Trophy rider James Grant dies in MTB enduro

By John Stevenson

James Grant riding in the 2004 Crocodile Trophy
Photo ©: Mark Watson
Click for larger image

Mountain biker, orienteer and adventure racer James Grant, 25, has died of a suspected heart attack in Sunday's Geelong MTB Club Ballan six-hour mountain bike race.

According to Geelong MTB Club president Mark Barends, James Grant was reported to have been hyperventilating on the second lap of the race and had carried on after recovering, but then collapsed a short time later. He was initially attended by paramedics who had been competing in the event, and was quickly reached by ambulance officers. Barends said he had called for assistance after the initial report of a rider in trouble and an ambulance had arrived from nearby Bacchus Marsh some 15 minutes later.

Paramedics and ambulance officers administered CPR for some time, but were unable to revive Mr Grant.

James Grant was competing in the solo category of the event - which had begun with a minute's silence for Amy Gillett - with a group of friends, including his wife. An enthusiastic competitor in endurance mountain bike races, mountain bike orienteering and adventure races, Mr Grant won the solo category at the 2003 Kona 24-hour and was a member of the Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort that team that won the teams category in last year's Crocodile Trophy, and had helped team-mate Adam Hanson to the overall victory.

A marine technician with the Royal Australian Navy, Mr Grant had recently moved from Cairns to Melbourne where he was studying mechanical engineering.

Armstrong vs. Times libel case set for November

After London's Court of Appeal overturned a High Court decision against The Sunday Times, Lance Armstrong's libel case is now set to go to trial on November 6 for a full hearing.

Last Friday, a three-judge panel that included Lord Justice Brooke allowed The Times to use the defence of qualified privilege when publishing an excerpt from the book LA Confidentiel: Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong, where it was argued the defendant had a moral or social obligation to print the material. Released in France shortly before the 2004 Tour, the book contained allegations that the now seven-time Tour de France winner had used banned substances to increase his performance. However, one of the co-authors, David Walsh, later admitted the allegations were based on circumstantial evidence, and that nothing was actually proven.

Said Armstrong's lawyer, Matthew Himsworth: "Our client remains confident that this defence will fail and that he will receive the vindication from the court which he has been entitled to since the publication of these false and damaging allegations in June 2004."

Upon overturning Mr Justice Eady's High Court decision made last December, Justice Brooke said that in the interests of fairness, the article in question should be subjected to a proper investigation. The full hearing in London's High Court is expected to take three weeks.

Kate Nichols safely back home

Following the tragic accident that killed Australian cyclist Amy Gillett and left two of her team-mates in a critical condition in hospital on July 18, Sydney's Kate Nichols has safely arrived back in Australia after being discharged from the University Clinic in Jena, Germany. Nichols required surgery to repair tendon damage to her right hand and fingers and sustained numerous cuts and abrasions when a teenage female driver lost control of her vehicle and drove into the six-member Australian women's team while training for the Thueringen Rundfahrt.

20 year-old Nichols flew home accompanied by her parents, Kevin (a gold medallist from the Los Angeles Olympic Games) and wife Sylvia, with Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Psychologist Rosie Stanimirovic also on the flight. Nichols is the first of the five cyclists injured in the accident to leave the hospital and was reported to be in good spirits upon her arrival in Sydney over the weekend.

Counselling and rehabilitation services have been arranged for all the injured cyclists back in Australia to help them recover both physically and mentally from the trauma of the accident. In the meantime, doctors from the University Clinic in Jena believe South Australian cyclist Alexis Rhodes, 20, and her Tasmanian team-mate, Louise Yaxley, 23, will be out of intensive care within a week.

"Both are quite chirpy and in good spirits," said AIS Director, Professor Peter Fricker. "They are both looking forward to getting out of intensive care and everything going well they should be moved into a room together within a week. Alexis has been up and walking around and exercising but she will need to take it slowly because of the injury to her lung. But most of the tubes are now out."

Yaxley has been suffering some pain in the wake of the successful surgery she underwent last Tuesday, which involved skin grafts on both arms, the replacement of a fixator device for her right elbow and work on her injured left wrist. "The doctors are managing her pain, but they are really pleased with the way she's going and she is keen to get out of ICU and into the rehabilitation phase of her recovery. Neither of them are suffering any complications so far," said Professor Fricker.

27 year-old Queenslander Lorian Graham is continuing with physiotherapy and rehabilitation with enthusiasm. Said Professor Fricker: "She will have stitches taken out this week and doctors will conduct final checks before she is scheduled for a return to Australia." Sydney's Katie Brown, 21, has started getting around on crutches in preparation for her return home. "She is obviously having a little more difficulty as far as mobility is concerned because both legs were injured and she has a broken arm, but she is continuing weight-bearing exercises for her left leg and each day is getting more practice on the crutches," said Professor Fricker.

Amy Gillett's funeral and memorial service was held last Friday in Ballarat (see news story), while a public memorial service is planned for 11am this Friday, August 5 at Adelaide's Superdrome.

Condolences and tributes

Cyclingnews has now published four pages of tributes from cyclists and supporters from around the world who've been affected by this tragedy. Please see: Amy Gillett: Tributes, 1976-2005, Part 1, and Part 2, Part 3 (posted July 21), Part 4 (posted July 22), and Part 5 (posted July 29).

Cycling Australia has also established an email link for people who wish to send condolence messages to the family of Amy Gillett or to pass on their thoughts and wishes to those injured. Go to Cycling Australia's web site and follow the link on the home page.

Related stories:
July 29: Amy Gillett's life recalled in moving service
July 28: Rhodes and Yaxley recovery 'amazing'
July 24: Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious
July 21: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19: Unprecedented carnage in Germany
July 18: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

Bobby and Jens do the double

Last Saturday, Team CSC's Jens Voigt and Bobby Julich repeated their victory in the LuK Challenge two-man time trial in Bühl, Germany. The defending champions were clear winners in the event, one and a half minutes faster than the Gerolsteiner duo of Markus Fothen/Sebastian Lang and two minutes clear of another German pair from Gerolsteiner, Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel.

"Jens and Bobby were well prepared and extremely motivated to repeat last year's victory," said a CSC directeur sportif Kim Andersen. "Both riders are in great shape ahead of the upcoming races, where Jens is going to the Tour of Denmark and Bobby will be at the Benelux Tour." Speaking about the pairing of Frank Schleck and Luke Roberts, who finished last, he said: "Luke had a bad day, but Fränk showed us he is ready for Benelux Tour and most importantly Deutschland Tour."

Stay Scottish and British, says Hoy

Olympic kilo champion Chris Hoy has responded against calls from a Scottish member of parliament who said Scotland should be separated from other British nations when London hosts Olympic Games in 2012.

National member of Scottish parliament, Linda Fabiani, based her argument on the nation's sporting strength in recent years and the fact that Hong Kong, Guam and the British Virgin Islands were individually represented at the Olympics. However, Hoy cautioned against such a move, indicating a separation could remove access to facilities, coaching and financial assistance. It should also be noted that he regularly uses the indoor velodrome in Manchester for both training and competition.

"I think if we do that, it would dilute the resources and the expertise we've got in the British team." Hoy said to the "I'm a very proud Scot, but I'm also proud to be British and I think they don't have to be mutually exclusive. You can be part of a Scottish team and part of a British team."

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