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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for August 23, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Deutschland Tour stage 8 wrap: Kaiser rules time trial

Jan, happy.
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Jan Ullrich rebounded from the illness that has plagued him for the last week to prove he is still emperor of the time trials by winning the penultimate stage of the Tour of Germany, a 31.1km test between Ludwigshafen and Weinheim.

Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer retained the overall lead despite finishing third to Ullrich, 54 seconds down. CSC's Bobby Julich was second, 12 seconds behind Ullrich.

It was obvious from the first time check that Ullrich was on a scorcher, passing the 10km mark seven seconds faster than Julich. When Leipheimer reached the same point a couple of minutes later he was 13 seconds slower, but on track to retain enough of his 1:26 margin to hang on to the lead.

Ullrich and Julich were almost neck-and-neck at the 18.8km time check, with just two seconds separating the faster German from the American TT specialist. Leipheimer was 26 seconds down and by the 25.5km mark Ullrich had gained another 19 seconds. A powerful ride, but not quite enough to take the lead.

"Today we finally had a little luck with the weather!" said Ullrich, who has clearly not been enjoying the cold and rain that have marked this Tour of Germany. "I wasn't able to get Leipheimer in the end, but I'm still very happy."

Today's final stage is an almost-flat 168km from Bad Kreuznach to the former West German capital of Bonn and Ullrich conceded that he would not be able to wrest the lead from Leipheimer on the final day. "I'm not the sprinter who can get all the intermediate time bonuses," he said. "Tomorrow, Gerolsteiner will control the race - they're very strong so today was my last chance."

Full results, report & photos
Main, Stages & results, Map, Start List, Photos

Petacchi & Zabel to new German/Italian team?

Erik Zabel and Alessandro Petacchi will ride together for a new German team in 2006, according to the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. The team will incorporate the structures of the current Domina Vacanze and Wiesenhof teams, with German dairy company Nordmilch replacing Wiesenhof as a sponsor under its 'Milram' brand.

As always at this time of year, though, initial reports may be slightly optimistic. Nordmilch spokesman Harald Schomacker told Germany's, "I can confirm that we are in negotiations but the contracts and amounts are not yet decided. Basically a cyclesport sponsorship with Erik Zabel would fit with our new mid-price 'Milram' product range."

Zabel is reported to be bringing long-time team-mate Rolf Aldag and Jan Schaffrath to the new formation, while former Fassa Bortolo riders Alberto Ongarato, Fabio Sacchim and Marco Velo will follow Petacchi. Velo has just been confirmed as signing for Domina Vacanze, but T-Mobile clearly believes Aldag is planning to stay put (see below).

The deal - if it comes together - is reported to give Erik Zabel a job for the next three years, with a guaranteed start in the Tour de France. Zabel was disappointed not to be selected for T-Mobile's Tour team this year, and subsequently decided to move on from the team.

Wiesenhof manager Jörg Strenger isn't saying much about his team's involvement in the new arrangement. "I can't confirm anything," he told "I am still looking for a sponsor to succeed Wiesenhof and will be taking out a Continental pro license with the UCI."

Aldag and Steinhauser move sideways

The T-Mobile team has announced that Rolf Aldag and Tobias Steinhauser plan to end their racing careers in mid-2006 and the end of 2005 respectively, but will remain with the team in other roles.

The 36-year-old Aldag will be active in the firm's cycling sponsorship activities, and from the middle of next year he will work within the team, while Steinhauser (33) will also continue to work with the team.

T-Mobile also announced one-year contract extensions for Giuseppe Guerini, Bram Schmitz, Daniele Nardello and André Korff

"We are delighted that we can continue to work closely with Rolf on this new dimension," said team manager Olaf Ludwig. "With his solid performances on the bike Rolf has been an invaluable servant to the team and to German cycling. His openness has also made him a fan favourite in pro cycling." Aldag has recently worked as a Tour de France co-commentator for Germany's ZDF TV station.

Aldag has ridden for T-Mobile since 1993, when the team was known as Telekom. His racing achievements include stage wins at the 1997 Tour de Suisse and at the 1991 and 2001 Deutschland-Tours, plus a stint in the polka-dot mountains jersey in the 2003 Tour de France, as documented in the movie Hell on Wheels. In 1999 Aldag won the Bayern-Rundfahrt outright, and last year he won the Dortmund Six Day race for the seventh time.

Tobias Steinhauser's exact role in the team has yet to be determined, but Ludwig has hinted at it by saying, "his linguistic skills made him a valuable contact person for our international riders like Oscar Sevilla and Daniele Nardello, and it helped them to integrate." T-Mobile has historically struggled to get the best out of its non-German signings and it may be that Steinhauser will be responsible for improving relationships with T-Mobile riders from outside the team's heartland.

Six more years for Gunn-Rita Dahle

World and Olympic mountain bike champion Gunn-Rita Dahle has signed a six-year extension of her contract with long-time sponsor the Multivan Merida Biking Team in a deal that will see her thought to the end of her racing career and beyond.

The 32-year-old Dahle will continue to race for the team for the next three years before taking up a three-year position for the Merida bike company as an "international ambassador."

"This was the final piece of the puzzle for us. The contract is both solid and gilt-edged, with much better conditions than we've had previously," said Dahle in a statement which did not divulge details of the deal. The new contract rewards Dahle for her total domination of women's mountain biking over the last couple of years, a period in which she has won the Olympic Games, the World Cup, the Norwegian championships, the Nordic championships, the European championships, the 'standard' and most recently the longer-distance marathon world championships.

As an athlete approaching the end of her career, Dahle knew what she wanted from her final contract. "It was important for me to focus on security, since this is probably the last contract I [will] sign as a professional cyclist," she said.

Dahle will have to learn how to fit he role as the face of Merida around her determination to continue to win races. "Obviously, with the results I've been having, Merida is interested in using me to a greater extent as a face for the company," she said. "So I have to be prepared for more travel, both in Europe and to the rest of the world. It's going to be a challenge, combining this with full concentration on top results in cycling, but we [Dahle and fiancée/coach Kenneth Flesjå] have the necessary experience to be able to tackle such things."

See also: An interview with Gunn Rita Dahle, October 19, 2004: The victory junkie and the 24-hour coach and On top of the world: The Gunn-Rita Dahle diary.

WADA allows Bouyer to race

Franck Bouyer nods off during the 2005 Bouygues Telecom team presentation.
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
Click for larger image

French rider Franck Bouyer (Bouygues Telecom) will rejoin the peloton in the Tour du Poitou-Charente today after finally being granted permission to use restricted drug modafinil to combat his narcolepsy, according to Reuters.

The 31-year-old Bouyer has been sidelined since being told in June 2004 that he would not be allowed to use modafinil, even though he had a documented condition. Bouyer had previously been told that he would not be granted a racing licence if he did not use the drug, which prevents him from falling asleep in the middle of everyday activities.

Bouyer appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but his appeal was rejected in March on the grounds that it was impossible to determine the dose necessary to restore normal health without enhancing performance. But now WADA has granted him permission to use the drug, he says.

"It's the most beautiful victory of my career," Bouyer told Reuters. "It's also a sign that you're always rewarded for your honesty."

Discovery for Vuelta

The Discovery Channel team has announced its roster for the Vuelta a Espana which starts Saturday, August 27 in Grenada and finishes Sunday, September 18 in Madrid-Madrid. The team, which has won both grand tours this year, will field Jose Azevedo, Michael Barry, Manuel Beltran, Tom Danielson, Stijn Devolder, Leif Hoste, Benoit Joachim, Benjamin Noval, and Max van Heeswisjk.

Saunier Duval Prodir for Vuelta

The Spanish Saunier Duval Prodir team is aiming high at the Vuelta a espana. "We want the yellow jersey and our riders will do their best to get it," says team manager Joxean Matxin. Wether they succeed or not, the team's strategy should liven up the race; Matxin says they plan on "attacking all the time!"

The team had originally planned to field Ángel Gómez Marchante for it's assault on the Vuelta, but Marchante has not fully healed from a fractured clavicle sustained in a crash during the Tour de France and so will be replaved by Rafael Casero.

The Saunier Duval Prodir roster for the Vuelta is therefore Constantino Zaballa, David Canada, Inigo Cuesta, Angel Gomez Gomez, Leonardo Piepoli, Rafael Casero, David de la Fuente, Joaquim Rodriguez, and Francisco Ventoso.

Skil-Moser for Zottegem & Druivenkoers - Overijse

The Skil-Moser team has announced its rosters for two races this week.

At the GP Stad Zottegem, August 23, the team will field Jan van Velzen, Bert Hiemstra, Bart Voskamp, Arkadiusz Wojtas, Dariusz Rudnicki, Jehudi Schoonacker, Andy de Smet, and Christophe Stevens.

For the following day's Druivenkoers - Overijse the team will field Wilant van Gils, Bart Voskamp, Bert Hiemstra, Arkadiusz Wojtas, Marek Wesoly, Dariusz Rudnicki, Christophe Stevens, and Andy de Smet.

Another velodrome for the UK?

By Carlton Reid,

Somerset newspaper The County Gazette reports that a farmer has received planning permission to build a velodrome in his "40-acre field at junction 25 of the M5," near Taunton in Britain's West Country.

The newspaper first talked of the plans last year but they were dismissed as fantasy, but that fantasy is closer to reality, reports the paper. Farmer Steve Ling from Nyne-head near Wellington is now confident he will build the velodrome on his farm and the County Gazette reports that he is in discussions with a developer.

A spokesperson for the London 2012 Olympics told the newspaper "we welcome the proposal". A West Country velodrome could be used as a training base for track teams at the London Olympics.

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