First Edition Cycling News for August 24, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Deutschland Tour stage 9 wrap
Leipheimer bags his biggest; Bennati bounces to third stage win
The final day of the Tour de France is traditionally a procession into Paris and the Tour of Germany unofficially adopted a similar mode yesterday as Gerolsteiner and Lampre-Caffita controlled the race to protect leader Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and set up Daniele Bennati (Lampre - Caffita) for a third stage victory and the points title.
The finale unfolded to Lampre's specification, as Bennati beat Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux) and Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) to the line. Leipheimer rolled across the line with the main bunch, his 31-second margin over Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) safe.
Despite the weather conditions, which have covered the full range between bad and atrocious, Leipheimer has enjoyed his time in the leader jersey and what he described in his diary as, "the biggest win of my career."
"It's been some epic racing," Leipheimer wrote. "At one point I was wearing three rain jackets at once on top of other layers of clothing. We've had our share of cold and rain here at the tour of Germany, but the cool thing is that the Germans still come out in full force to cheer us on, rain or shine."
He repeated the sentiment after yesterday's overall victory. "It's great to win here," the 31-year old said. "The race has matured, and it's one of the best races in the world now. It's very well organised, the roads are safe, and the spectators are incredible - for example, the Tour of Spain never has that many crowds. It's truly a great race."
Accusations against Armstrong rock cycling
Yesterday's accusations against Lance Armstrong by French sports newspaper l'Equipe have generated a storm of reaction from within and outside the world of cycling. Reactions have ranged from calls for Armstrong to explain himself, and claims of vindication, to statements of support for the seven-time Tour champion.
At this stage it seems unlikely that either the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the UCI intend to take any action against Armstrong in the light of l'Equipe's claims that retrospective testing of his urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France showed indicators of the use of EPO.
WADA head Dick Pound, told Gazzetta dello Sport, "It will be interesting to see what the UCI and the American cycling federation will do and what Lance Armstrong has to say. If the tests are credible, Armstrong is obliged to give explanations, above all because he has always denied taking doping substances. If something is revealed, we can't do anything because we didn't exist in 1999. It is, however, important that the truth be established."
In an interview with the International Herald Tribune, Pound added, "If the report had come out about this year's Tour de France, I'd be on the phone right now asking what they were doing about this and demanding documents. This shows why we want to save samples for eight years. Athletes and coaches who cheat should know they will live in a state of uncertainty for years as testing methods improve."
UCI president Hein Verbruggen is taking a wait-and-see approach, telling Gazzetta dello Sport, "Before I pass judgements it's necessary to wait and see if all this is true. It's all unpleasant, but now it pertains only Armstrong and France: we could intervene only in the presence of legal actions. As far as those are concerned, it's only words at the moment."
Tour de France director Jean-Marie LeBlanc said it would take a decision from the UCI for Armstrong's 1999 victory to be downgraded. "We are very unsettled and shocked by the revelations in L'Equipe," he said. "We must wait for the answer from Lance Armstrong, his doctors and advisers before making a judgements. But indisputably I feel disconcerted and disappointed like many other sports people.
"I guess if there was a sanction from the UCI, somehow the Tour directors could work with the ruling body to sanction Armstrong and ask for a downgrading."
Armstrong's long-time friend and mentor Eddy Merckx isn't putting his faith in the press. "Armstrong has always assured my that he has never doped," he told Sportwereld. "If I have to choose between what a journalist writes and Lance's word, I hold my faith in Armstrong. People also have to give him the chance to defend himself."
Jan Ullrich, who perhaps has most to gain -in terms of 'moral victories' at least - if any of Armstrong's Tour victories become marked with an asterisk, heard the news over breakfast yesterday, and wrote in his diary, "I had already filled up a bowl with muesli and fruit and had sat down at the breakfast table with Matse Kessler, when Luuc [T-Mobile press office Luuc Eisenga] came in and broke the news to us. The Gerolsteiner riders were at the table beside us, and they were of course, just as surprised with the report as we were."
"The news spread like wildfire and it was the big topic of conversation in the peloton during the day. Everybody heard something about it and we discussed it among each other. Right now, I, like everyone else, am not fully informed on the situation so I am not going to make any hasty judgements on what is just speculation. But it is clear that I would be very disappointed if there was truth behind the reports."
But on the other side of the divide, long-time adversary Filippo Simeoni, the rider who sued Armstrong for libel after Armstrong accused him of being a liar over his evidence in the case against sports doctor Michele Ferrari, is claiming vindication. "This is the proof that I've always told the truth," said Simeoni. "I have taken my responsibility in this case."
O'Grady out of Vuelta
Stuart O'Grady will not participate in the Vuelta a Espana, according to a report from www.cyclismag.com. He will be replaced by Hervé Duclos-Lassalle, who says he will ride in support of team leader Luis Perez, and is aiming just to finish. "It seemed important to me to ride one big tour this season," said Duclos-Lassalle.
Graham says she'll be back
Australian national champion Lorian Graham says she is determined to return to racing when she recovers from the crash that killed her team-mate Amy Gillett and put the remaining five team members, including Graham, in hospital with serious injuries.
Talking to the Brisbane Courier-Mail, Graham said she had "unfinished business" in cycling - including the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia in 2006 and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Graham said that she and and her four team-mates - Katie Brown, Louise Yaxley, Kate Nichols, and Alexis Rhodes - had made a vow in the Jena University Clinic hospital "to ride as a team again."
Graham was perhaps the least badly injured, but still suffered cracked ribs and sternum, a broken collarbone and a shattered knee in the crash, which she remembered in detail.
"I saw the car 40m away but there was no reaction time. I heard the biggest thud. I thought 'oh my god' and I was on the ground," Graham said. "I was hoping at that point someone would get up and no one did. I knew then we were in trouble. That we were in a bad situation."
Graham paid tribute to Amy Gillett who took a direct hit by the car, driven by an 18-year old who had lost control of the vehicle. "Amy was dear to us all, she was like a sister, she was an inspiring, talented and honest person," Graham said.
Amy Gillett's family and Cycling Australia have established the Amy Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation to honour her memory. The Foundation will assist with the recovery of her injured team mates, fund a sporting and academic scholarship program for promising female cyclists, and promote road safety awareness amongst cyclists and motorists. People wishing to donate to the Foundation should visit the Cycling Australia website at www.cycling.org.au and follow the links from the home page.
Condolences and tributes
Cyclingnews has four pages of tributes from cyclists and supporters from around the world who've been affected by this tragedy. Please see: Amy Gillett: Tributes, 1976-2005, Part 1, and Part 2, Part 3 (posted July 21), Part 4 (posted July 22), and Part 5 (posted July 29).
GP Tell cancelled
The GP Tell, one of the major under-23 races on the European calendar, has been cancelled because of landslides caused by ongoing bad weather in central Switzerland.
The five-day stage race was due to start today with a prologue in Lucerne, but the course had already been redesigned to avoid roads that were blocked or closed because of the danger of landslides. With no improvement in conditions over the last couple of days, organisers have been forced to abandon the race.
Lampre - Caffita for GP Nobili Rubinetterie
The Lampre-Caffita team will ride in support of Damiano Cunego at today's GP Nobili Rubinetterie in Italy. Team manager Giuseppe Martinelli said, "The team will all work for Damiano because he [is now in] good condition. He won last year here and, more than all, it is time for him to win now."
The team will field Damiano Cunego, Salvatore Commesso, Eddy Mazzoleni, Samuele Marzoli, Paolo Fornaciari, Oleksandr Kvachuk and stagiaire Francesco Gavazzi.
Kirchen to T-Mobile
Kim Kirchen, one of the many riders made homeless by the ending of Fassa Bortolo's team sponsorship, has reached an agreement to ride for T-Mobile. The 27-year-old from Luxembourg will sign a two-year deal with the German team on September 11.
Univest Grand Prix
This year's eighth annual edition of the Univest Grand prix takes place over the weekend of September 17 and 18 and will once again aim to showcase America's next generation of cycling champions, organisers say.
The race will begin in Souderton, Pennsylvania with a 100-mile road race on Saturday, followed by Sunday's 50-mile circuit event in Doylestown's town center. The race will host teams from Italy, Holland, France, the U.S., Canada, Central and South America and the Caribbean, with over 150 riders from 30 teams scheduled to line up.
In addition to elite men's and women's races, Saturday's International Cycling Festival hosts events for cycling enthusiasts of all ages and abilities from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A children's race will be held on Main Street at 12:30 in partnership with the Indian Valley Family YMCA and the Indian Valley Boy's and Girl's Club. Adults can participate by riding in the Cyclosportif 100K, a recreational 40 or 62 mile ride covering the same course raced by the Elite Men. The Cyclosportif starts at 8 a.m. at the Start/Finish line and will be led by 2001 Tour de France stage winner Jonathan Vaughters. All proceeds from the recreational ride benefit Indian Creek Foundation.
For more information or to register for the Cyclosportif, see www.univestgrandprix.com.
Fantasy Vuelta game is go!
This year's Fantasy Vuelta a Espana game is under way, and you can begin building your teams now! Be a professional team manager, there will be some great opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world. For more info go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
In conjunction with feedback and suggestions from players of the game over three years, we have developed a new points system for all the fantasy tour games. We've awarded more points to a greater number of riders and given back more emphasis to GC placings. Thanks to all of you who helped us develop the new points system. Have a look for yourself at the winners of this year's Tour de France game.
Join for free
You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first five stages for FREE! We will be making additions to the start list on a daily basis. The fantasy 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 Vuelta. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Vuelta. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta. Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)