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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for August 9, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Valverde may miss Vuelta

Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) winning stage 10 of the 2005 Tour de France
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

Spanish star Alejandro Valverde, who dropped out of the Tour de France last month with a knee injury, may not be recovered in time for his country's national tour, the Vuelta a España (August 27-September 18).

Valverde's Illes Balears - Caisse d'Epargne team believed his recovery was going well until a training session last week.

"He was training in the high mountains with a view toward preparing for the Vuelta," team manager Esebio Unzué told As. "The first climbs went well, with a good rhythm. But when he tried to go harder in the final climb the knee became painful again. Not as badly as during the Tour, but enough that he had to stop."

Unzué added that the problem only shows up when Valverde attempts to ride hard - he can walk and even ride gently perfectly well and so has continued moderate training.

Nevertheless the August 27 deadline is looming. "We are now going to have him undergo some x-rays to confirm that the situation has not been aggravated," said Unzué. "W are going to let him rest the knee and recover this week, then we will carry out another test in the mountains and decide [whether he will ride the Vuelta] based on how he responds to that."

Pichon retires

Mickaël Pichon (Bouygues Telecom) has decided to end his career at the end of the 2005 season, according to Pichon was the victim of a serious crash in last year's Dauphiné Libéré and says he has never really recovered his confidence after that. "In the French Cup races it is necessary to be able to follow when the race speeds up and I was finding this difficult," he told the site.

Pichon hasn't ruled out remaining in cycling in some way, but says he is unlikely to reconsider.

T-Mobile for Regio Tour

The T-Mobile team has announced its roster for the Regio Tour which starts tomorrow, Wednesday August 10 and runs until Sunday, August 14. Veteran rouleur Rolf Aldag will lead an otherwise relatively inexperienced seven-man team for the 728km journey through the rolling hills of south western Germany.

Aldag will have one other T-Mobile veteran at his side in 29-year-old 29-year-old Sergey Yakovlev who was recently second in the queen stage of Tour de la Region Wallonne.

Otherwise, though, the roster shows T-Mobile wheeling out some of its younger riders and stagiaires. Torsten Hiekmann (25), Austrian climbing specialist Bernhard Kohl (23) and Marcus Burghardt (22) are the younger T-Mobile team members for Regio. They will be joined by stagiaires Carlo Westphal (19), and Paul Martens (21).

Martens, with a background mostly on the track, showed that he has successfully managed the transition to road racing by winning the German U23 time trial championships in June. Westphal, a 1.81m all-rounder, currently leads the German national rankings for amateurs.

"The duo will be there, first and foremost, to gain experience of pro cycling. They won't be integrated into our tactical plans, so they will have a free hand to ride their own race," said T-Mobile directeur sportif for the Regio Tour Valerio Piva.

Piva will be looking to Torsten Hiekmann to contend for the general classification. "The profile suits him," said Piva. "It offers him a chance to show what he can do." T-Mobile won two stages of last year's race, with Alexandre Vinokourov taking the overall. This year Piva says he will be "satisfied with a stage win".

T-Mobile believes the crux of this year's Regio Tour is likely to be stage 4's 12.3km mountain time trial from Waldkirch to Kandel, with 1,000m altitude difference between start and finish. "This climb will prove crucial," says Piva.

Final team line-up for Newport women's World Cup

The final roster of teams has been announced for the eighth round of the women's World Cup series in Newport, Wales on Saturday August 20 with riders expected from 18 countries to tackle the three-lap, 114km course.

The British team is expected to make a strong showing on home turf, with team leader Rachel Heal tipped for a podium spot in the absence of countrywoman Nicole Cooke who has had to withdraw due to injury.

"If the home support is anything like it was at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, it will be a great experience," says Heal.

However, Heal and the British women will have to defeat the mighty Nurnberger team, who will be aiming to strengthen 2004 World Cup champion Oenone Wood's lead in the series. With world champion Judith Arndt, German ace Trixi Worrack and former Australian champion Olivia Gollan on the team, Nurnberger looks very very hard to beat.

They will nevertheless be put under pressure by Buitenpoort-Flexpoint with Sweden's double world champion Susanne Ljungskog and Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel of the Netherlands both keen for a win. The Buitenpoort-Flexpoint duo are second and third respectively in the World Cup standings. Ljungskog is just 19 points behind Wood, so a win in Newport would put her in the series lead, though with three rounds to go after Newport and double points for the final in Germany next month, the series would still be wide open.

Teams for Newport World Cup: Equipe Nurnberger, Van Bemmelen-AA Drink, Elk Haus-Tirol Noe, Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas, Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T Interim, PMB Fenixs - Daccordi, Buitenpoort-Flexipoint, Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan, Great Britain national team, Raleigh-ERV, Belgian national team, Canadian national team

Lampre-Caffita for Due Giorni Marchigiana

Damiano Cunego will head the Lampre-Caffita team for the two races of the 26th Due Giorni Marchigiana, which starts today. The events consists if two days of racing, starting with today's Trofeo Fred Mengoni-Immobiliare Italia, which starts and finishes in Castelfidardo and covers a 199.7km loop in between. Cunego is the defending champion having won last year ahead of Daniele Nardello and Cristian Moreni.

The next day, the Gran Premio Citta' di Castelfidardo starts in Loreto and finishes in Cerretano di Castelfidardo after 199.1 km. Emanuele Sella was the victor last year ahead of Bostjan Mervar and Gerrit Glomser.

The two races are tied together by a points competition, which Cunego won last year.

The full Lampre-Caffita line-up for the two races is: Matteo Bono, Damiano Cunego, Giuliano Figueras, Marco Marzano, Andrea Tonti, Alessandro Spezialetti, Patxi Vila, and Morris Possoni.

Discovery Channel for upcoming races

The Discovery Channel team has announced its line up for two races later this month, the Teag Hainleite (Germany, August 13) and the Tour of Germany, August 15-23.

For the Teag Hainleite, the team will field Volodymyr Bileka, Antonio Cruz, Roger Hammond, Jason McCartney, Pat McCarty, and Jurgen Van den Broeck.

At the Tour of Germany, Discovery will be represented by Volodymyr Bileka, Janez Brajkovic, Antonio Cruz, Roger Hammond, Jason McCartney, Pat McCarty, Jurgen Van den Broeck, and Pavel Padrnos

Sean Yates will be directeur sportif for both races.

More Tour of Britain teams

Three more teams have decided their line-ups for the Tour of Britain, August 30 to September 4, and organisers say one of them, CSC, is aiming for the overall victory.

"I strongly believe that we have the correct balance to make a serious impact on this year's race," said CSC team manager Bjarne Riis in a statement. "We have some great riders who will provide us with a whole host of talents."

Leading CSC's efforts in Britain will be one of the team's most experienced riders, and one of its most promising. Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Australian Luke Roberts will bring a mix of toughness and sheer speed to the British race that starts in Glasgow at the end of this month.

Arvesen and Roberts will be supported by 2004 Danish national champion Michael Blaudzun, Allan Johansen and Thomas Bruun Eriksen.

Also announced are the line-ups for the T-Mobile and Bridgestone teams. T-Mobile will field Eric Baumann, Bas Gilling, Torsten Hiekmann, Bram Schmitz, Tobias Steinhauser, and Steffen Wesemann.

The Bridgestone team will travelling all the way from Japan for the Tour of Britain, with an all-Japanese line-up of Koji Fukushima, Shinichi Fukushima, Kazuo Inque, Shinri Suzuki, Yasutaka Tashiro, and Junya Sano.

Den Bakker to Shimano?

Maarten Den Bakker is reported to be talking to the Shimano-Memory Corp team about a contract for 2006 after he was told recently that his contract with Rabobank would not be renewed. "We would be very keen to have him," Shimano team manager Arend Scheppink told Dutch news group GPD.

The Shimano team is also reported to be talking to Sebastiaan Langeveld, Piet Rooyakkers, Hans Bloks and Arno Wallaard.

New and old in Surrey League five-day

This year's edition of Britain's Surrey League five-day stage race, August 19-23, takes in some new terrain and some old favourites as the event winds its way through Surrey and East and West Sussex.

Around 100 of Britain's top riders will be taking part in the tough event. Each day they will cover around 100 miles - as well as climbing some of the steepest hills in South East England.

This year's route revisits some of the favourite spots from previous years such as the South Downs at Goodwood and the Ashdown Forest.

The first day is based on Milland in West Sussex. Organisers promise Pretty lanes and views - if riders have time to look around. But nasty little climbs in unexpected places should keep everyone's mind off the scenery.

The second day, at Wivelsfield in East Sussex, is another new area for the race, on the 'flat' roads of Sussex that aren't. Nothing steep but continually up and down on roads that are far from fast.

For day three the race moves to the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit for a time trial, followed by a road race that goes up to the Goodwood Race Course.

The fourth day returns to the race's classic stomping ground of the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. Based at Danehill on the edge of the forest, the stage has a slightly different course to stage 4 last year but it still has long drags on 'dead roads' and the hills have not been lowered.

The final stage, based at Crowborough in East Sussex, has everything you could ask for in a great stage - if you are a spectator! The stage offers long drags, steep hills, fast descents and beautiful scenery with not a bit of flat anywhere.

Previous winners of the event have gone on to represent England and Ireland in World Championships, the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Last year's 460 mile long race was won by Shaun Snodden ( who will be back to defend his title. Snodden leads a very strong team including Paul Manning and Russell Downing.

Also back is 2002 winner, Kristian House (Fujibikes UK). Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven) leads a new team including James Taylor and some talented South African riders. Yanto Barker leads a team from DFL that includes Ryan Connor and Ben Hallam. Last years points winner, Duncan Urquhart, is back leading a team from Vinerbikes Agisko. have also entered a second team that includes Rob Hayles, Dean Downing and Chris Newton.

For more information see

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