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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 6, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones, Hedwig Kröner, and Shane Stokes

Fignon rings alarm bells

"There's a time to say how things truly are. I don't care how I come across in saying them, but enough excuses have been made." The man to speak up is Laurent Fignon, organiser of Paris-Corrèze and two-time Tour de France winner, and he's fed up with looking for excuses on why French riders cannot measure up to their international rivals any more. The state of French cycling is an almost national debate in France, as the nation is desperate for some victories on home soil, especially at the Tour de France.

"The sports directors don't do a good job any more," he was quoted in today's L'Equipe as saying. "They lack competence and don't have any authority over their riders. The non-results of French teams are not only the consequences of doping," he continued, alluding to the wide-spread theory that French cycling is less competitive because it is supposedly 'cleaner'.

"You have to stop talking about the two speeds of cycling. There will always be guys who cheat. In France, there are valuable riders, but there are not exploited like they should be. We might not have great champions, but we do have riders who can do a top ten placing at the Tour." By that, Fignon probably did not only refer to Christophe Moreau, who seemed to be the only one up to the challenge this summer.

But the man with the round-shaped John Lennon glasses, who used to be called the 'professor' in the 80s peloton, doesn't blame the team management only. "The riders have the wrong concept of their job. They have to learn to train 7-8 hours a day, and learn how to win even less important races in order to reproduce the same performance on a higher level."

On the long run, Fignon is scared that this situation will have an even bigger impact on French cycling than disappointed spectators. "The level of international cycling is increasing, whereas ours is getting lower and lower. The gap between our cycling and the other's will continue to grow. If this trend continues, there won't be French teams on the Tour de France any more. That's mind-blowing for one of the founding countries of the sport. In France, we have great team sponsors, but we'll end up disappointing them and losing them eventually."

Moreno aims for presidency role

Up against Pat McQuaid and Seri Darshan Singh Gill in the UCI election this September, Spaniard Gregorio Moreno has said that he is hopeful of taking over as president when Hein Verbruggen stands down from the position. In a lengthy interview with the Meta 2Mil publication, Moreno admitted that McQuaid was currently the favourite to succeed the Dutchman, but said that he also can count upon some strong support.

"Within European cycling there are many people who have shown open preference for my candidacy," he stated. "We will work hard over the next few weeks to get the support of the 42 countries that have to vote.

"I have the support of a very significant part of those in professional cycling. I can also state that all the organizers are on my side, beginning with those from the three Grand Tours and also those from the other races. I have the support of the teams that are not part of the UCI Pro Tour and also a significant part of those that do belong to this group", he declared.

Moreno, director of the Vuelta a Burgos and president of the Associación Española de Organizadores de Carreras (Spanish Association of Race Organisers) declined to comment on the allegations made by former UCI member Sylvia Schenk that Hein Verbruggen has provided improper support for the candidacy of his preferred successor, McQuaid.

"What I must do is to present my candidacy to the voters and who they represent. After that, I will accept whatever result they decide," he said

Eneco Tour: Petacchi abandons

Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Alessandro Petacchi had to abandon the Eneco Tour of Benelux on today's second stage, the pain of his fractured little finger causing him too much of a discomfort. "The pain and my physical weakness resulting from the fracture were just too much," he said. "When I got out of the saddle I forced more on one side of the body, which resulting in an imbalance on the back. I'm also feeling weak because of the antibiotics I'm taking to prevent inflammation.

"I need to recover fully at home, and in a couple of days I'll see my orthopedist. I want to try and return to racing at the Lombardian Triptych [Tre Valli Varesine, Coppa Agostoni, Coppa Bernocchi] from August 16-18, but I really want to see how it goes first, without putting too much pressure on myself time-wise."

Hulsmans breaks rib

Quick.Step's Kevin Hulsmans was taken to hospital in Hasselt, Belgium, today after crashing on his left side in the second stage of the Eneco Tour of Benelux. The rider suffered one broken rib and will not be able to take the start tomorrow.

Di Luca out for more points

Danilo Di Luca
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

ProTour points leader Danilo Di Luca is positive about the one of the next ProTour races, the Clasica San Sebastian. "My ambition is increasing as my condition is improving," he said. "I wanted to go to San Sebastian in peak form, and I'm doing pretty good in reaching that goal. I like that race and I'm going to throw myself into it! The presence of Garzelli, Pellizotti and Noè make me even more confident." Di Luca will certainly aim to score more points to consolidate his lead in the UCI classification.

Before that, the Liquigas-Bianchi rider will prepare at the Due Giorni Marchigiana in Italy (August 9-10). Lining up at this event are: Danilo Di Luca (August 9 only), Luciano Pagliarini (August 10 only), Dario Andriotto, Capecchi (stagiaire), Di Lorenzo (stagiaire), Oscar Mason, Vladimir Miholjevic, Andrea Noè and Charles Wegelius.

The Liquigas team then heads off to Spain for the ProTour race, where Di Luca will count on the support of the following of his teammates: Patrick Calcagni, Kjell Carlström, Stefano Garzelli, Vladimir Miholjevic, Andrea Noè, Franco Pellizotti and Charles Wegelius.

Quick.Step to Tour de l'Ain

The Quick.Step-Innergetic Team will compete in the upcoming Tour de l'Ain in France (August 7-10) with the following riders: José Antonio Garrido, Juan Miguel Mercado, Josè Antonio Pecharroman, Wouter Weylandt, Cristian Moreni and Kevin Neyrinck.

Liberty and Saunier for Spanish races

Liberty Seguros-Würth has announced its team roster for the next Spanish races. At the Vuelta a Burgos (August 7-11), the squad directed by Manolo Saiz will be represented by: Dariusz Baranowski, Giampaolo Caruso, David Etxebarria, Jesus Hernández, Dani Navarro, Javier R. Abeja, Jose Antonio Redondo and Michele Scarponi.

As for the Clasica San Sebastian (August 13), Dariusz Baranowski, Giampaolo Caruso, Allan Davis, David Etxebarria, Dani Navarro, Javier R. Abeja, Jose Antonio Redondo and Michele Scarponi will be the team's line-up. Koldo Gil, who was initially planned to compete at the Clásica de San Sebastian, had to be replaced with Dani Navarro as he still has not recovered from his knee tendonitis.

Another Spanish team, Saunier Duval-Prodir, has also revealed its respective line-up. At the Vuelta a Burgos, the Yellow team will be composed of: Angel Casero, Iñigo Cuesta, David De la Fuente, Juan Carlos Dominguez, Angel Gomez, Joaquin Rodriguez, Ruben Lobato and Constantino Zaballa.

At the Clasica de San Sebastian, Saunier will line up the following riders: Joaquin Rodriguez, Leonardo Piepoli, Constantino Zaballa, Ruben Lobato, Juan Manuel Garate, David De la Fuente, Francisco Ventoso, Manuele Mori and Chris Horner.

Engoulvent to CA

Jimmy Engoulvent has signed a two year deal with Crédit Agricole, joining Anthony Charteau et Christophe Edaleine in a move from Cofidis to the rival French team.

Cross Country Fireworks and a Marathon Showdown

By Steve Medcroft

The NORBA National Series moves to Brian Head Resort in Utah this weekend. Although Brian Head has hosted 12-hour endurance races and downhills before, this will the first stop for the NORBA series in Utah’s scenic canyon lands.

With only three races remaining in the cross country series, the men’s title is still up for grabs between Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis). The lead has changed hands twice during the season with Kabush holding the most points heading into the weekend. JHK says he would love to unseat the defending series champion and this may be the race for it to happen; Brian Head sits at 9,600 feet, a similar elevation to JHK’s Colorado home.

But after a win in Aspen, Kabush said he’s finding great form at altitude too; fitness he hopes to hold through these final three NORBA’s and take into the Livigno, Italy World Championships at the end of the month (also at altitude). And let’s not count out the fact that riders like Adam Craig (Giant) and Todd Wells (GT Hyundai) would love to stand on top of a NORBA podium this year. It should be an aggressive race.

In the women’s cross country, Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix) will be trying for her fifth NORBA cross country win of the season. If she pulls it off, she all but control the series, which as defending series champion she says cares a great deal. "I think winning the NORBA series is a great accomplishment for any racer. It truly shows who’s been the best, most consistent rider all season long."

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