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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 19, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Van Huffel rates the Rettenbachferner

Belgian climber - and these two words are rarely seen together - Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon-Lotto) found the 2670 metre high Rettenbachferner hard going in Stage 4 of the Deutschland Tour yesterday. The highest summit finish in European racing this season, the Rettenbachferner averaged 10.7 percent for 12 brutal kilometres, and there were several sections of 16 percent. For Van Huffel, who rode well in the Dolomites in the Giro and on the Ventoux in the Dauphiné Libéré, the climb was even harder than those.

"This is tougher than the cols in Italy and Le Mont Ventoux," said Van Huffel to Sporza TV after the finish yesterday. "At the base it exploded and I had to recover. I immediately settled for my own tempo. When I came back, there were more attacks and I didn't push it any more. But I didn't go over my limits and didn't slow down. The tempo that I found was still relatively high. I even caught a couple of guys.

"I'll try on the Feldberg on Sunday one more time. What I learned today is that the condition isn't like it was in the Giro and the Dauphiné."

Cunego leads Lampre in Veneto

Damiano Cunego
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

The Lampre-Caffita team will be led by the returning to form Damiano Cunego at the Giro del Veneto in Italy on Saturday. Team manager Giuseppe Saronni has assembled a strong line up for the HC ranked race, also including Matteo Bono, Salvatore Commesso, Giuliano Figueras, Paolo Fornaciari, Eddy Mazzoleni, Alessandro Spezialetti, and Andrea Tonti. The team will be directed by Giuseppe Martinelli

"On paper we have a very good team," said Martinelli. "Damiano has good condition and the team is ready to work for him. Then we also have Commesso who is very strong and deserves a win. I hope we will also be lucky."

The race will start from Padova and finish in Tiene. On the finishing circuits in Tiene, the riders will have to do the Cà Vecchia climb twice.

Fast Times at Criterium Nationals

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Jonas Carney wins in 2004
Photo ©: Ken Carl
Click for larger image

While the majority of residents in the Chicago area will be hearing the jets and airplanes of the annual Air and Water Show this weekend, those in the know will be headed to the western suburb of Downers Grove to watch the fastest cyclists in North America battle for bragging rights at the U.S. Criterium Championships. Three national championships are on the line - USPRO men, USCF professional and elite amateur women and USCF elite amateur men.

USPRO Men

As in Philadelphia, the stars and stripes jersey goes to the first American over the line, but that does not stop the usual North American based contingent of foreign riders from trying for a part of the $22,000 purse. Since 1991, when the race was first run in Downers Grove, an equal number of foreign and US riders have won the race, with the most recent being Jonas Carney in a spectacular final turn duel with veteran Robbie Ventura. However, both Ventura and Carney retired after last year's race, leaving the champion jersey out of competition this year.

Click here for the full preview. Also see Schedule & results, Map, Past winners, Start list.

An interview with Susanne Ljungskog

Being the best in the world

Photo ©: Klas Johansson
Click for larger image

To be the best in the world you've got to do the hard work - just ask Swedish dual World Champion, Susanne Ljungskog. She's hungry for another world title, and caught up with Cyclingnews' Gabriella Ekström to discuss world titles, safety and riding with the men.

Sunday's category 1.2 Scandinavian Open in Sweden saw Team Mälarenergi's Christofer Stevenson take home the victory, but the 194 kilometre event also offered the spectators as well as competitors a rare sight. Alongside the 130 elite riders, one female rider took to the start, and when the peloton came in for a massive final sprint, she was right up there battling it out for tenth. "I guess there were UCI points for the tenth spot," Susanne Ljungskog said after the race. "They sure wanted it bad. Ah, I wasn't last though!"

With the winner's average speed of 45.1 km/h, Susanne clocked 44.5km/h for the whole race, and finally ended up in a 33rd place, with one hundred of the male starters behind her.

Ljungskog rode the same race with the men last year as well, and finds it excellent preparation, but when asked if she'd recommend it to other women she says that it's up to each and every rider to decide. "This is something I have chosen myself. Other riders will have to see what suits them, but I race with the guys to improve my strength and stamina for the upcoming races I'm aiming at. I don't race with them in order to win, I don't stand a chance of doing that!"

Click here for the full story

Dajka on assault charge in South Australia

By Gerard Knapp

Jobie Dajka
Photo ©: Russ and Nancy Wright
Click for larger image

Suspended Australian track sprinter Jobie Dajka has plunged further into crisis after being remanded in custody in Adelaide today.

Yesterday, Dajka was charged with assault and property damage by South Australian Police, who set bail conditions as part of his release. But in the early hours of the morning, Dajka allegedly breached his bail conditions when attempting to contact the victim of his alleged assault. Today, he appeared in court before a magistrate who refused further bail and he was remanded in custody until his next hearing, which is understood will be held next Tuesday.

This court appearance is the latest incident in a sequence of events since the sprinter was disqualified from the Australian track squad and banned from competition in the Athens 2004 Olympics for misleading an official enquiry into the 'Mark French affair'.

He was suspended until January 1, 2005, by Cycling Australia for lying to a doping inquiry headed by Justice Robert Anderson, although Dajka was not convicted of any doping offence. His suspension was imposed for a code of conduct breach.

Dajka then returned to competition in time for the 2005 Australian track cycling national championships, winning gold in the sprint and selection for the Australian track team for the 2005 World Championships held in Los Angeles. It appeared he was seemingly back to his competitive best, even beating Holland's Theo Bos in a round of the sprint competition.

Dajka rolls with the impact
Photo ©: Russ and Nancy Wright
Click for larger image

But it didn't last, and on June 8 he assaulted Martin Barras, Australia's national track cycling coach in the offices of the Australian Institute of Sport when he was being counseled for temper outbursts.

Following that incident, Dajka received a three-year suspension from competitive cycling. However, the suspension allowed Dajka to re-apply for his racing licence on June 16, 2006, if he had met requirements of completing anger management courses and counseling.

But the latest alleged incident is not the only matter that has brought Dajka to the attention of authorities in South Australia. He was caught driving under the influence of alcohol and had his licence suspended, but he was then involved in a motor vehicle accident while his driver's licence was suspended.

Dajka has required psychiatric assessments following his outbursts and counseling for substance abuse. He is expected to appear in court next Tuesday.

Piil extends with CSC

Danish rider Jakob Piil has signed a new contract with Team CSC for the 2006 season. Piil has previously won a stage in the Tour de France and the Paris-Tours classic, but has been well below his best this year because of injuries.

Fantasy Vuelta is go!

The provisional start list for this year's Vuelta a España has been uploaded to the Cyclingnews Fantasy game site. We will be adding additions to the start list on a daily basis. You can begin building your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com/

We will shortly be announcing this year's sponsors and the details of this year's prizes.

Join in for free

You can play the first five stages for free! The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these riders to race each day throughout the Tour. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Tour. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Tour.

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