First Edition Cycling News for August 2, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones
Petacchi okay for Benelux
Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team has confirmed that the Italian sprinter will start the Eneco Benelux Tour on Wednesday.
Team doctors say that Petacchi does not need surgery to the hand injury he sustained in a crash in Sunday's HEW-Cyclassics-Cup in Hamburg. Petacchi fell 15km from the finish as the peloton descended the Waseberg and fractured a bone in his little finger..
Kroon to leave Rabobank
Rabobank rider Karsten Kroon is to leave the team at the end of this year, according to a report from the Dagblad van het Noorden newspaper. The 29-year-old told team manager Theo de Rooy of his decision on Sunday, and says that he has three offers of berths on other teams.
Kroon turned professional for Rabobank in 1999 and has three significant victories on his palmarčs: the GP Gippingen in 2001, a stage of the Tour de France in 2002 and the Rund um den Henninger Turm in 2004. However, he feels Rabobank has not provided him chances to go for his own victories. "I always hoped I would become a good racer," he said. "Rabobank apparently doesn't see that, others are happy to put their trust in me."
Rabobank's tactics in 2005 have centered around supporting Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker and Oscar Freire and Kroon says he found himself constantly being held back. "I have just become a domestique," he said. "Everything I hear when there is a breakaway is 'do not follow, do not follow.' I have heard those words enough. I think I can do it, Rabobank thinks I can't. As a result we will go our separate ways."
The Tour of Hungary/Tour de Hongrie, the country's national tour, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. The race started on August 1 with the official opening ceremony, and ends on August 7 in Budapest. The tour starts in Veszprém and loops around the country in an anti-clockwise direction, covering a total of 700 km. There are 96 riders from 10 countries in the field this year.
The 32nd Tour of Hungary was to be a 2.2 classed event on the UCI calendar this year, but due to a misunderstanding between the organisers and the UCI over financial requirements, it will not be on the calendar. Last year, it was ranked as a 2.6 race in 2004 and met its requirements, gaining praise from the UCI and ASO director Jean-Marie Leblanc.
Stage by stage
The Tour of Hungary follows a route similar to recent years. It starts with a prologue in the Queen's town of Veszprém (West-Hungary). The riders have to go through the historic downtown and through one of the symbols of the town, the Viaduct. The stage includes difficult sections with cobbles. Its aim is to introduce riders, and define the first cyclist to wear the yellow jersey of overall leader during the first stage.
The first stage is a circuit in downtown Balatonfüred, which allows the spectators to see the field several times. After this short, but spectacular stage, a real test is going to come. On August 3, the caravan crosses Lake Balaton by ferry, and starts the second stage in Balatonföldvár. The stage finishes in Kecskemét after 169km.
The destination of the Stage 3 is Békéscsaba, where the riders will complete finishing laps. On August 5, the race heads northward to Mezokövesd for Stage 4. The fifth stage is the hardest: the cyclists will ride up to the highest peak in Hungary, Kékesteto. In the afternoon on the same day, there is a mountain time trial.
The last day also covers two stages: 70km from Vác to Dunakeszi, and a circuit race in Budapest. The last stage is organised on the streets of Budapest, where the Tour of Hungary started 80 years ago.
Zabel heads T-Mobile at Benelux
Erik Zabel may have decided to leave T-Mobile to seek other opportunities elsewhere for the last year or two of his career, but the popular German sprinter will still lead T-Mobile's efforts at the ProTour Eneco Tour of the Benelux, which starts tomorrow, Wednesday August 3 and runs until August 11.
The team will be going for stage wins in the eight-day tour, which divides its time between Belgium and the Netherlands. The parcours is mostly flat, but does include some of the terrain used for the Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege Spring classics.
T-Mobile is therefore fielding a team of sprints and Classics specialists. "That's why we have a strong and fit Erik Zabel on board," said Frans van Looy who will manage the team for the tour.
Zabel will be accompanied by Dutch riders Bram Schmitz and Bas Giling, who are expected to be well motivated for their de facto national tour.
André Korff, Eric Baumann and current Russian champion Sergey Ivanov will also be there to support Zabel, as well as taking their chances in breakaway groups. Van Looy is confident that Baumann can follow up on his stage win at the recent Tour of Luxembourg. "Maybe Eric Baumann can finally bag a ProTour stage win for himself," he said. 2005 Tour of Flanders runner-up, Andreas Klier, and Christian Werner complete the team.
Gerolsteiner, Illes Balears for Eneco Benelux Tour
The Gerolsteiner team has announced its line-up for Benelux. The team will field René Haselbacher, Frank Hoj, Andrea Moletta, Sven Montgomery, Uwe Peschel, Davide Rebellin, Marco Serpellini, and Thomas Ziegler.
The Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne team will field J.L. Carrasco, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Joan Horrach, Cayetano Juliŕ, Pablo Lastras, Mikel Pradera, and Vicente Reynés.
Konecny makes comeback at Tour of Denmark
T-Mobile rider Tomas Konecny will return to racing on Wednesday at the Tour of Denmark. The 31-year-old has been out of action since last November when he broke his femur in an ice hockey accident at home in the Czech Republic.
Despite plenty of training kilometres during the latter phase of his rehabilitation, Konecny is not expecting much in Denmark. "After such a long break, I can't expect any miracles, but I am just happy that I will finally be back racing again," he said in a team statement.
Konecny will be part of a six-rider T-Mobile squad in Denmark, a race that doesn't throw much in the way of hills at the riders, but is notoriously windy. He will be joined by Bernhard Kohl, Jan Schaffrath, Daniele Nardello plus young German time trial specialist Robert Bengsch, and one more rider yet to be announced.
Ribert Bengsch, 22, currently rides for Continental team Akud and placed third in the German under 23 road championships earlier this year. "Bengsch is one of three riders that we want to watch at races in the coming weeks," said team manager Olaf Ludwig.
The Tour of Denmark runs concurrently with the ProTour Eneco Tour of the Benelux, and T-Mobile is one of only three ProTour teams competing, along with CSC and Rabobank. CSC is once again considered the team to beat. Bjarne Riis' outfit took the top two places in 2004 and this year will be led by Tour de France runner-up Ivan Basso.
Spiuk for Portugal
The Spiuk team has announced its line-up for the Volta a Portugal, August 5-15. The team will field Fernando Torres Martín, Aitor Pérez Arrieta, Jorge Ferrío Luque, Sergio Domínguez Rodríguez, Israel Pérez Rodríguez, Javier Ramírez Torres, Ángel Rodríguez García, Jesús Pérez Priego, and Alfonso Rodríguez García.
Portal to Illes Balears
French rider Nicolas Portal (AG2r Prévoyance) is to join the Spanish Illes Balears team for 2006 and 2007, according to Cyclismag.com.
Jens Lehmann retires
German track cyclist Jens Lehmann has announced his retirement. The 37-year-old has twice been a member of Germany's gold medal Olympic team pursuit squad (in Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000) and said on Monday that he would ride his final race on September 17.
Lehmann now plans to pursue a career in politics. Germany goes to the polls on September 18, and Lehmann will stand as a candidate for the Christian Democrat party.
New look for Herald-Sun Tour
The 2005 edition of Australia's Herald-Sun Tour, which was recently launched by Victorian state premier Steve Bracks, will have a different and, organisers hope, better format than recent editions of the race.
The race will now last just seven days, instead of the previous 11, and will have teams of eight riders, increased from five. There will be 20 teams instead of 16, making for a 160-strong peloton. The split stages of previous races are also gone, replaced with a more modern one-stage-per-day format.
The race will include a stage through the Yarra Valley, a dash up Mt Dandenong and a street circuit finishing in Melbourne's Lygon Street, with a revitalised 'Celebration on Lygon' festival.
"The Herald Sun Tour is more than a bike race - it's also a chance to display the best of Victoria's regions to the world," Mr Bracks said.
"Every town joins in activities involving the entire community, with the dedicated and the not so serious able to join the tour, finishing with a festival on Lygon Street.
"Organisers have sought the views of Australia's best cyclists to come up with a revised, seven-day Tour - the changes will ensure this year's race will attract a great line-up of riders and professional teams."
Top Australian riders set to take part in this year's race include Brad McGee and Baden Cooke. Cooke won here in 2002, a victory that is widely considered to have helped him gain a European contract the following year, when he won the green points jersey in the Tour de France.
The race will be sponsored for the next three years by Jayco, as well as being supported by Regional Development Victoriaand VicHealth's 'Go for your Life' program.
There will be four public participation events including a charity concert at Mitchelton Winery, a mass-participation 'Gran Fondo' ride around the Yarra Valley, a Dash for Cash up Mt Dandenong and the 'Celebrate on Lygon' festival on the final day.
The 2005 Jayco-Herald Sun Tour starts Sunday October 9 in Williamstown and will travel to Bendigo, Shepparton, Marysville, Healesville, Mt Dandenong and finishes in Lygon St, Melbourne Saturday October 15.
Three stagiaires for Gerolsteiner
For the latter part of the 2005 season, the Gerolsteiner team will take on three young riders as 'stagiaires' - the cycling equivalent of summer internships and often the first step toward a pro career.
Getting a taste of life as a pro will be 22 year-old Thomas Fothen (Team Sparkasse), Tony Martin (20, TEAG Team Köstritzer) and Christoph Meschenmoser (22, Hofbräu Radler Stuttgart).
Las Vegas cyclist dead after hit and run
Don Albietz, a Las Vegas police officer has died of his injuries after being hit by a truck on July 20, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Mr Albietz was hit from behind by a truck while riding though the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on state Route 159.
Witnesses told the Nevada Highway Patrol that the driver briefly got out of the cab before driving away. Highway patrol troopers traced the truck to Michael Reich, 27, a self-employed trucker with a felony conviction and numerous traffic violations.
Mr Albietz was taken to University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on Thursday, July 28. Mr Reich has been charged with felony hit and run and numerous misdemeanors and traffic violations, and will probably face additional charges as a results of Mr Albietz's death.
Tour of the Peak needs marshals
The UK's Tour of the Peak, September 11, is appealing for marshalls to help run the restored event, which makes its return to the UK calendar after being cancelled in 2004. The race will take place on roads to the south of Buxton in Derbyshire and should last for about four hours.
Volunteers should contact organiser Mike Taylor on 01298 813254.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)