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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 8, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Dekker the Younger going for top five

Rabobank's Thomas Dekker has had a good Eneco Tour so far, as despite the fact that he has been working for his namesake Erik, he sits in eighth overall, just 25 seconds off the pace. With a time trial to finish the tour on Wednesday, he has every chance of moving up a few places on GC.

"In the coming two stages, I shouldn't lose any time," wrote Thomas in his column in De Telegraaf. "Wednesday there's the 26.3 kilometre closing time trial in Etten-Leur. A distance that suits me perfectly. As a time trial specialist, I should be able to count on myself. Erik Dekker is our man for the classement, but he will have a few rivals like Julich and Verbrugghe in the time trial. I hope to do a good time myself, so that I can gain a few places in the classement. At this point, a top five classification is my goal, but you never know. I hope to earn my first ProTour points, in any case."

Dekker also commented on the events that happened in Stage 4, when the peloton accidentally went the wrong way with around 60 km to go. The race had to be stopped and restarted again with 42.7 km left, but the existing three man breakaway was handicapped by another 2 minutes and was caught with 15 km to go.

"This was perhaps the strangest race in my career," wrote Dekker. "It was a strange experience that we rode the wrong way on the descent of the Cote de Wanne. And actually it only made the stage harder. We had to ride 232 kilometres through the Ardennes in any case. Now we rode an extra eight kilometres, and got extra climb dished up to us. You're never really happy about that. And if you have to stop once because of such an incident, the rhythm is completely gone. It was therefore not only a strange day, but also really hard."

Rebellin and Montgomery out

Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin and Sven Montgomery will not start in the fifth stage of the Eneco Tour, the team has indicated. Both riders are getting colds, and team DS Reimund Dietzen believes it's safest for them not to race. "With Monty it already hasn't been going smoothly in the last few days. With David, a light cold has been diagnosed, and with the weather here, it's understandable that we don't want to take any health risks."

Up until now, Rebellin has been riding well in the Eneco Tour and was sitting in 11th overall. He was a part of a dangerous breakaway yesterday with Julich, Ivanov, and Gutierrez, but even then it was clear that he wasn't at his best.

Sore neck for VDB

Frank Vandenbroucke ( pulled out of the Eneco Tour during the fourth and toughest stage in the Ardennes. "Frank is suffering from a blocked neck and to ride further in such circumstances would have been irresponsible," his sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren told Gazet van Antwerpen. "Perhaps the blockage is a consequence of all the days of racing that Vandenbroucke has done up until now. Still, the injury is not something to be too concerned about. With a bit of rest, everything will be OK again."

Peña "happy to be back"

In April, Phonak's Victor Hugo Peña fractured one of his thoracic vertebrae during Paris-Roubaix. The 31 year-old Colombian is returning to competition at the Eneco Tour of Benelux. In the meantime, he had a four-month break from racing, put in some hard training time and celebrated the birth of his son Matteo.

Peña is over his injury now, in more ways than one. "It was very difficult to come back," he said. "But now I'm happy to be here again. I need a few races to get back into a similar shape that I was in this past spring. But I'm doing fine."

In the Eneco Tour, Peña is sitting in 107th overall after suffering through the hilly stages on the weekend. "Of course I'd like to keep up with the best riders," he said. "But after four months of not racing that isn't possible. Especially now with many riders coming from the Tour de France and being in very good shape. In addition, the Belgian and Dutch riders are specialists on these special roads, and then there's the special weather. Today [Stage 4, 46th at 3'54] was actually a good day for me. I was able to keep up with the first group. The fact that I fell back in the end due to a puncture is just bad luck."

Peña said that he would continue to test his physical condition in the coming days, and is looking towards the final part of the season. He is also bearing the responsibility of becoming a father 10 days ago. "My wife, our families and I are very happy about Matteo's birth," he said. "Unfortunately, so far I've only been able to be with him one night and one morning. Then I had to travel to Europe. My wife sent me photos today. I'm looking forward to flying home and spending some time with my son after the World Championships."

Deignan happy with debut season

By Shane Stokes

Following a good display of form in recent weeks, first year pro Philip Deignan is hoping to build up to a strong ride in the Tour de l'Avenir next month. The young Irishman impressed his Ag2R Prévoyance bosses when he won the Tour du Doubs in early July, placed fifth in the European road race championships in Moscow and then finished seventh overall in the Tour de la Région Wallonne. Deignan had a day's break, rode the Polynormande and then, two days later, started Paris-Corrèze. Despite feeling tired from the block of racing, he finished third on stage two and eighth overall, showing that he is coping well in his first season in the peloton.

Still just 21 years of age, Deignan is increasingly regarded as the best Irish talent on the block. He's pleased with things so far. "I wasn't sure how I was going to go in the first year," he told Cyclingnews. "But starting from the Route du Sud (where he was 20th overall) and the Tour du Doubs, it's been going well. I was little bit surprised to win the Doubs race but when the form is good, that is the way it goes.

"I definitely feel that I am a lot stronger than last year. For the last three or four seasons, I have progressed very steadily. Last year I was just a climber, but this year I seem to be a lot stronger on the flat as well. For example, the Region Wallonne wasn't particularly hilly. There were three or four kilometre climbs all right, but they were all real big-ring climbs. They weren't like the Pyrenees or the Alps.

"I think that is probably a big thing which has changed this year. I am a lot better on the flat. It's not down to special training or anything, I think it is just natural progression. I seem to get stronger as the years go by."

Deignan showed his ability last season with good rides against the pros in the Tour of Britain and the Tour de Langkawi, as well as victory in the under 23 world cup Ronde de l'Isard d'Ariège stage race. Two third places on mountain stages of the Baby Giro and eighth in the under 23 Liege Bastogne Liege also showed his class.

This year, he had problems with a knee strain during the spring but has recovered well. With his form on the up, he's looking to do a good ride in the Tour de l'Avenir. "Provided the form stays good, I will hopefully go for a stage win or a top five place overall," he said. "I haven't really thought too much about what I hope to achieve there, but it would certainly be nice to do a good ride."

Stay tuned for a full interview with Philip Deignan later this week.

Moerenhout to Phonak

Koos Moerenhout (Davitamon-Lotto) will follow Axel Merckx to Phonak next season, according to Algemeen Dagblad. "When Axel came in contact with Phonak, he immediately asked if they could use me," Moerenhout said. "After that, the ball rolled quickly. I'll ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix for the first time next year. In a Belgian team, that was difficult each year."

Ten Dam to MrBookmaker

Dutch rider Laurens Ten Dam will join the team for the next two seasons, his management company ACSO has confirmed. Ten Dam, 24, has ridden for the Rabobank youth team, BankGiroLoterij and Shimano-Memory Corp. His best result so far is third overall in the Ster Elektrotoer this year.

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