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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 2, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan

August preview: The summer heats up

The ProTour schedule for August means that all teams will be racing for almost every day of the month. Les Clarke takes a look at what's in store for the ProTour and the Women's World Cup, both of which will keep riders and teams busy right throughout the remainder of summer.

ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Frank Rud Jensen
Click for larger image

After a tiring July for ProTour teams as they battled their way around France, August is upon us, and with it the ProTour and Women's World Cup get right back into the swing of things. With five ProTour events, plus two women's World Cup rounds, it's one of the season's most demanding periods as the season is far from finished.

The calendar for August ProTour races:

August 3-10: Eneco Tour of Benelux
August 13: Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
August 15-23: Deutschland Tour
August 27 - September 18: Vuelta a Espana
August 28: GP Ouest France-Plouay

Women's World Cup schedule:

August 20: Grand Prix of Wales
August 27: GP de Plouay

Five ProTour events fill the four weeks, with two being one-day events (Clasica San Sebastian and GP Ouest France-Plouay), two shorter stage races (Tour of Benelux and Deutschland Tour) and a Grand Tour (Vuelta a Espana) thrown in for good measure. Some observers make the point that August is no busier than April, when there are eight ProTour events, including the cobbled classics of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. The difference, however, is that April's races are mostly single-day events, with the longest race being the Tour de Romandie, which lasts six days. The total number of days racing in April is 17, whereas in August there are 24 days spent slugging it out against the world's best over half a dozen countries.

In April, riders are relatively fresh and working into some form - in August they are either carrying form over from the Tour de France or coming out of mid-season races and training blocks. It's sure to stretch riders to the limit both physically and mentally, and potentially causes plenty of headaches for team management.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Will Gerrans get his chance?

By Anthony Tan

"I'm bloody proud of you!" said Anderson to Ag2r's neo-pro Simon Gerrans after he finished third on Stage 17 of the Tour de France
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

With Ag2r-Prevoyance unable to compete in the bidding war against teams like Discovery Channel, T-Mobile and Liberty Seguros when it comes to recruiting new blood, combined with the perennial lack of results from French riders, Australian neo-pro Simon Gerrans is likely to get more chances to shine after his performance at this year's Tour de France.

Vincent Lavenu's team, along with Crédit Agricole, was said to be in the running for the Alexandre Vinokourov's signature in 2006. But in the end, it came down to a question of money - which both teams don't have a lot of - and the overall capabilities of a team that could support the Kazahkstani in his bid to win the Tour de France.

"I've had the guarantee I will be able to fully focus on the Tour de France," said Vinokourov of his move to Liberty Seguros for the next three seasons. "I chose the team with the best arguments. It's the most organised and the most experienced team. They have the best riders in the mountains and are among the best in the team time trials. It was a natural choice."

For Ag2r, some consolation was the recent signing of Christophe Moreau, the best-placed Frenchman at this year's Tour in 11th place overall, but still, Vino was an opportunity lost. But what can you do with a budget of four million Euros a year?

One thing is to rely more heavily on promising foreigners like Simon Gerrans, Mark Scanlon, Yuriy Krivtsov and Tomas Vaitkus. On the Tour's seventeenth stage from Pau to Revel, which came after a difficult final day in the Pyrenées, Gerrans proved to be one of the four strongest riders in what was originally a 17-man breakaway, and eventually finished third to winner Paolo Savoldelli, this year's Giro d'Italia champion.

"I thought it could be a good stage for me, so I just played my cards," said the 25 year-old Gerrans. "Tried to make the early break and look after myself in that group until the attacks starting going with about 40k to go, and managed to get into the front group and once again look after myself on that last climb. Unfortunately, I had nothing left in that last kilometre."

Said his proud mentor Phil Anderson, still Australia's best Tour de France rider and who hails from the same area of Victoria as his protégé: "Simon just blew me away. The hairs on the back on my neck were standing up and it was just like I was there with him! You could see he was really stuffed, but geez, just to get a placing like that, just to finish in that front of the field was great.

"I still remember Simon when he was still in nappies," chuckled Anderson. "My wife and I spent quite a bit of time with Simon and his family back in the high country, back in Victoria. It's just awesome to see a young, snotty-nosed kid from Goughs Bay be up there and be at the top of world cycling."

However, with the divide between Professional Continental and ProTour teams ever-widening, Lavenu will need to find more money or Gerrans a new team to realise his full potential in years to come.

Quick.Step for upcoming races

Quick.Step-Innergetic will send the following teams to the upcoming races, all starting this week:

Eneco Tour of Benelux (August 3-10)

Riders: Dimitri De Fauw, Kevin De Weert, Ad Engels, Servais Knaven, Kevin Hulsmans, Nick Nuyens, Jurgen Van Goolen, Rik Verbrugghe
Directeurs-sportifs: Rik Van Slycke, Serge Parsani

GP Camaiore (August 4)

Riders: Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Mads Christensen, Davide Viganò, Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato, Stefano Zanini, Ivan Santaromita
Directeur-sportif: Luca Guercilena

Giro del Lazio (August 6)

Riders: Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Mads Christensen, Davide Viganò, Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato, Stefano Zanini, Ivan Santaromita
Directeur-sportif: Wilfried Peeters

Liquigas for upcoming races

Liquigas-Bianchi will send the following line-ups to this week's upcoming races, which sees Danilo Di Luca at the GP Camaiore and Giro del Lazio, the ProTour leader making his return at the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup last weekend in Germany. Italian champion Enrico Gasparotto will be at the Benelux Tour, while stagiaire Mauro Da Dalto from Marchiol IMA Famila Site, the feeder team for Liquigas-Bianchi, will test himself at Camaiore and Lazio. Two more stagiaires, Eros Capecchi (GS Mastromarco) and Alberto Di Lorenzo (Bottoli-Artoni-Zoccorinese), will make their debut with the team at the Due Giorni Marchigiana, from August 9-10.

Eneco Tour of Benelux (August 3-10)

Riders: Patrick Calcagni, Enrico Gasparotto, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi, Matej Mugerli, Marco Righetto, Gianluca Sironi, Marco Zanotti
Direttori-sportivi: Stefano Zanatta, Mario Scirea

GP Camaiore (August 4)

Riders: Kjell Carlström, Dario Cioni, Mauro Da Dalto, Danilo Di Luca, Oscar Mason, Miholjevic, Devis Miorin, Andrea Noè, Franco Pellizotti, Charles Wegelius
Directtore-sportivo: Roberto Damiani

Giro del Lazio (August 6)

Riders: Kjell Carlström, Dario Cioni, Mauro Da Dalto, Danilo Di Luca, Oscar Mason, Miholjevic, Devis Miorin, Andrea Noè, Franco Pellizotti, Charles Wegelius
Directtore-sportivo: Roberto Damiani

Lampre & Gerolsteiner for Eneco Tour

General Manager of Lampre-Cafitta, Giuseppe Saronni, has confirmed the following line-up of riders to the Eneco Tour of Benelux ProTour race, which begins in Mechelen, Belgium tomorrow and continues until August 10.

Riders: Alessandro Ballan, Daniele Bennati, Gianluca Bortolami, Giosuè Bonomi, Enrico Franzoi, Samuele Marzoli, Paolo Fornaciari
Directeur-sportif: Fabrizio Bontempi

Gerolsteiner will send the following eight riders to the Eneco Tour:

Riders: René Haselbacher, Frank Hoj, Andrea Moletta, Sven Montgomery, Uwe Peschel, Davide Rebellin, Marco Serpellini, Thomas Ziegler

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