Latest Cycling News for August 4, 2005
Edited by Anthony Tan
Showers spoil Julich's chances
Yesterday's opening road stage of the Post Danmark Rundt (Tour of Denmark) produced a surprise winner, when almost everyone - except Team CSC's Ivan Basso - was ready for a sprint finish. As Jens Voigt was caught by the peloton nearing the finish, his team-mate Basso launched a counter and soled into Skive nine seconds clear of the front group of 45 riders.
"I'm happy to be able to finish off the nice work done by the team," said Basso on team-csc.com. "This isn't exactly my terrain, but I felt good and I can feel that I'm still on form after the Tour. This is an important race for my team, and it was a pleasure to win in front of this fantastic crowd."
Added team manager Bjarne Riis, "It was great to see Ivan win like this. It takes guts and class to attack on streets soaked with rain, but he's clearly in excellent shape and really has the energy to go the distance. The race is still open, but I think, we've had the perfect start with Ivan in yellow."
Over in the Netherlands, late-afternoon showers at the Eneco Tour of Benelux spoiled the chances of any of the favourites taking the leader's jersey on the opening day. With a number of sections of the 5.7 kilometre prologue on cobbles, pre-race favourite Bobby Julich decided not to take any chances and finished in 89th place, 25.56 seconds behind stage winner Rik Verbrugghe from Quick.Step-Innergetic. Michael Blaudzun was the team's best-placed rider in 11th place, just four seconds off the winning time.
Said directeur-sportif Scott Sunderland: "It was impossible to get around in the corners for both Julich and [Vladimir] Gusev, who were our two last riders. Already after 100 metres they'd lost about five seconds, and then there was no chance of catching up at such a short distance. Bobby was of course frustrated, but still feels in great shape and determined to retaliate later on in the race, while Gusev took quite a few chances in the rainy streets and ended up with a fair result."
Ludewig to T-Mobile
29 year-old German Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze) is the latest acquisition for the T-Mobile Team, where he will join new recruits Patrik Sinkewitz, Michael Rogers and Thomas Ziegler in the line-up for 2006.
"For me it is a dream come true," said Ludewig, who signed a two-year contract with the Bonn-based team. "I want to help Steffen Wesemann in his bid to win Paris-Roubaix and I want to ride my fourth Tour de France. Through my effort and performances, I will strive to repay Olaf Ludwig for the trust he is placing in me."
"We are rebuilding the team and the addition of Jörg is another piece in that jigsaw," said team manager Olaf Ludwig. "Jörg is a great team worker, who also possesses an attacking streak. In Jörg Ludewig, we are signing a pro who can pass on his experience to the younger riders in the team. As well as that, he is a rider with the potential to ride his own race and go for it," he said, which Ludewig showed in last weekend's HEW-Cyclassics-Cup.
Discovery Team update
Bruyneel on the Benelux Tour
The inaugural Eneco Tour of Benelux began well for Discovery Channel, which opened yesterday with a 5.7 kilometre individual time trial in Mechelen, Netherlands. Six riders made the top 20, where Stijn Devolder was the team's best-placed rider in fifth place.
Said team manager Johan Bruyneel to the Paceline.com: "I think we have a good team for the race, as some of the riders - Stijn [Devolder], Leif [Hoste], Benoit [Joachim] and Max [van Heeswijk] - are going to be racing in the Tour of Spain in a few weeks, so it's some solid competition for them after the break of July. I expect a good performance from the team. It's a ProTour race and the level will be pretty high, but I think we can win one or two stages."
Hoste in Hamburg
Bruyneel also said he was very satisfied with Leif Hoste's performance at the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup last weekend. The 28 year-old Belgian went in a day-long break with Domina Vacanze's Jörg Ludewig for almost 200 kilometres, and one stage looked like staying away, before the peloton got the better of them in the final 20 kilometres.
"It was a very good performance and shows he's back in shape," he said. "He has had lots of bad luck this year - the crash at Milan-San Remo and especially the bad crash in Paris-Roubaix that took him a while to come back from. He's ready for the second part of the season. We hope for a good Tour of Spain from him and the other races after that."
Best, worst and biggest moments of the Tour
Enjoying what was essentially a week-long retirement party with Lance Armstrong in the south of France, Bruyneel was asked to reflect on some of the key moments of the 2005 Tour de France.
The worst moments were obvious choices, said Bruyneel. Referring back to the day Armstrong found himself without team-mates on the Col de la Schlucht during Stage 8, he said: "That was a big surprise for me. I wasn't very worried, as Lance was never in any real trouble and nothing really happened, but I was still surprised. But the next day, you could see the team was back and on a good level and I wasn't really worried again."
Then there was the crash of Manuel 'Triki' Beltran four days later on Stage 12: "That was definitely a bummer," said Bruyneel. "He had done a very good ride the day before to Briancon and then crashed out. It was definitely a big loss."
Asked what was the best moment, Bruyneel described George Hincapie's win atop the Pla d'Adet as 'huge', saying that at first he was surprised., but then he remembered how Hincapie was climbing during the training camps leading up the Tour.
"George's win was a huge moment. Everybody knows he deserved a big win," Bruyneel said.
"He's been the leader in the Spring and without any problem in July, puts all of his personal ambitions away and does the job, and nobody can do it better than him. On the flats, in the final part of the stages keeping Lance in the front, in the mountain stages and in the TTT, he was one of the strongest guys. It's always difficult to win and George has had a super year - the win at Kuurne, two stages of the Dauphiné and then the Tour stage. He's always been chasing the big win and here he is winning a few of them in a few months."
And although the public saw a less attacking Armstrong on the climbs this year, Bruyneel said the biggest moment of the entire Tour was a 500 metre effort from the Texan on the hors categorié Port de Pailheres, towards the end of Stage 14. "You could see T-Mobile had a big plan and did a big attack at the bottom and isolated him with some other guys who had the same intentions. Then Vino attacked and Ullrich went with him, Basso went with him and I think maybe Floyd or Kashechkin went as well," Bruyneel began by saying.
"But Lance stayed with the other favourites and you could see him estimating the difference and looking around, and when he saw he didn't have any team-mates that were going to come back, he decided to go. And it was that effort, that attack of 500 metres to bring them back with relative ease; for me, that was the key moment of the Tour de France where he was able to show the others how strong he was. I think after that, the others understood how hard it was going to be to try and beat him."
Next on the hit-list for Ullrich: Deutschland Tour
Having completed the first round of post-Tour criteriums, T-Mobile leader Jan Ullrich has now switched his focus on the Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany), which runs from August 15-23. "I am preparing intensively in Switzerland for this race; I still have my good form from the Tour and hope to maintain it between now and the Deutschland Tour. It is a very important race, both for me and for the team," said Ullrich on t-mobile-team.com.
"The Deutschland Tour will be really tough this year," he added. "The mountain stages look really demanding - the climb to Sölden is even steeper than the Galibier. That will be a hard test."
Before that, Ullrich will ride one more criterium at the TEAG Hainleite on August 13 in eastern Germany, and will also ride in a farewell race to former team-mate Jens Heppner the day after the finish of the Deutschland Tour on August 24. Round two of Ullrich's post-Tour criterium schedule starts on August 27 in Essen, followed by another criterium in Ravensburg six days later.
Finally, Der Jan is still undecided as to his participation at the World's in Madrid. "I am not looking that far ahead. I am taking things step-by-step and I will consider my options after the Deutschland-Tour," he said.
In other news, Dutchman Bram Schmitz rode a very good prologue to finish eighth on the first day of the Eneco Tour of Benelux, just three seconds off the winning time set by Rik Verbrugghe. "It was a solid ride from him, but somehow I was expecting Bram to do well," said directeur-sportif Frans van Looy. "He has come to this race very motivated."
Mr. Bookmaker interested in Bortolami
Lampre-Caffita's Gianluca Bortolami is being courted by Mr. Bookmaker.com-SportsTech. The experienced 37 year-old is a classics specialist, and MrBookmaker's Hilaire Van der Schueren said that he would happily have him in his team. Bortolami, who has a Belgian girlfriend, said: "I'm aware of the interest but there have not been any concrete discussions."
USA Cycling hands down suspensions for bad conduct
By Mark Zalewski
The Morning Call of Allentown, PA reported on Wednesday that Andy Lakatosh, Marty Nothstein and Leigh Barczewski have been suspended by USA Cycling resulting from a June 10 incident during a keirin race at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. Lakatosh reportedly grabbed Jame Carney's handlebars, causing Carney to crash following the final race of the KidsPeace Bicycle Racing League Finals. It was observed that Lakatosh's actions were retaliation for earlier actions by Carney that caused another rider, Ben Barczewski (Leigh's son), to crash.
At the time, race officials disqualified Carney and Lakatosh from the event. However, Carney filed grievances with USA Cycling against the four race officials, as well as against Ben Barczewski, his father/coach Leigh Barczewski, Marty Nothstein and Mike Grabowski. The officials, along with Nothstein, were charged with collusion for disqualifying Carney because of the crash. Nothstein serves as the velodrome's COO and Director of Cycling Operations. The charges against the officiating crew and Grabowski were eventually dismissed.
USA Cycling CEO Gerard Bisceglia told the Morning Call that Lakatosh's suspension is until January 2006 and that Ben Barczewski was issued a reprimand for a verbal confrontation with Carney. Nothstein received a two-month suspension, beginning in September, for violating USA Cycling's Code of Conduct.
"It was probably the strangest hearing we've ever had," said Sean Farrell, the technical director for USA Cycling. "I've never seen that many complaints go out at once, and all in one direction. Most of it came up as insufficient evidence. The majority of the people had their charges dismissed for lack of verifiable evidence." Lakatosh filed a grievance against Carney for physically confronting him after the initial incidents, but that charge was dismissed, according to Farrell, because of Lakatosh's prior transgression. Leigh Barczewski and Nothstein were cited for a section of the USA Cycling code of conduct that includes verbal and physical abuse.
USA Cycling investigator Randy Shafer did not review the video tape of the Ben Barczewski crash. No grievance was filed by Barczewski against Carney for that incident. "The video wasn't being used for Carney/Barczewski... as part of the investigation as to whether or not the officials' call was right that night," Farrell explained. "The video was used for Carney/Lakatosh. I think, regardless of what anyone thinks about what happened on the track with Carney/Barczewski, USA Cycling cannot let retaliation be allowed."
Shafer originally suggested a three-month suspension for Lakatosh, but Bisceglia lengthened that suspension. "I want to make sure that everyone understands that behavior of this type, to intentionally pull down a rider, is not tolerated by USA Cycling, no matter what the reason," Bisceglia said.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)