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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for August 25, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vuelta circus comes to town

By Shane Stokes in Granada

With just two days to go before the start of this year's Vuelta, the 20 ProTour teams and two wild card selections have made the journey to historic Granada, where the 60th edition of the Tour of Spain will get under way on Saturday. Most of the teams arrived yesterday to the area, with some staying in the town and others in the surrounding areas.

Euskaltel Euskadi, Illes Balears, Liberty Seguros, Fassa Bortolo, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole, Francaise des Jeux, Lampre, Gerolsteiner, Rabobank, Saunier Duval and Phonak, plus the wild card selection of Relax Fuenlabrada, will be based in Granada for the next few days. Meanwhile, Cofidis, Liquigas, T-Mobile, CSC, Davitamon Lotto, Quick.Step, Discovery Channel and the second wild card, Comunidad Valenciana, are staying a short distance outside the town.

After making the journey, riders headed out yesterday to stretch their legs and check out some of the roads that will be used over the first two days of the race. Things get underway on Saturday with a 7 kilometre prologue starting and finishing in Granada and taking the riders up 830 metres past the site of the incredible Moorish Alhambra palace. While there is little sign of pre-race publicity around the town, the status of the Vuelta and the nature of the Spanish as a sports-mad public means that the route should be lined with passionate spectators, further heightening riders' motivation.

Granada will also be the focus for day two of the race, with the 189.3 kilometre stage to Cordoba beginning there. The peloton will take in three hot spot sprints along the way, with the flat nature of the route making a bunch gallop quite likely.

Before then, the riders will continue their pre-race preparation. That is, getting in the miles, talking to the press and, for those based in Northern Europe, adapting to the heat that they will face over the next three weeks. The weather in the South of Spain has been scorching of late, with daily temperatures between 30 and 36 degrees.

Gerolsteiner for Vuelta

With its GC stars Levi Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig resting after their efforts this season, Team Gerolsteiner will start its first ever Vuelta a España with a team of mostly all-rounders. Sprinter René Haselbacher and time trialist Uwe Peschel are the only specialists within the team, while many of the others will be using the Vuelta to gain experience.

Two riders, Matthias Ruß and Heinrich Haussler, both 21, will be in their first grand tour, and 24 year-old Thomas Ziegler is also relatively light on experience. But team director Reimund Dietzen believes that all his riders have a good chance of stage wins, and that will be the main focus of their strategy.

The full roster: René Haselbacher, Heinrich Haussler, Sven Montgomery, Volker Ordowski, Uwe Peschel, Matthias Ruß, Torsten Schmidt, Marcel Strauss and Thomas Ziegler

Australian nominations for Road World Championships

Cycling Australia has announce the riders who have been nominated for selection to the 'Cyclones' team to contest the 2005 Road World Championships being staged in Madrid, Spain from September 21-25. The final team will be selected from the following list by September 9.

Elite Men

From the following team list of 16 riders, nine riders will be selected for the road race and up to three riders for the time trial. The remaining riders will be listed as reserves.

Baden Cooke RR (Francaise des Jeux)
Allan Davis RR (Liberty Seguros)
Cadel Evans RR & TT (Davitamon-Lotto)
Simon Gerrans RR (Ag2r-Prevoyance)
Matthew Hayman RR (Rabobank)
Aaron Kemps RR (Liberty Seguros)
Brett Lancaster RR (Panaria)
Robbie McEwen RR (Davitamon-Lotto)
Brad McGee RR & TT (Francaise des Jeux)
Stuart O'Grady RR (Cofidis)
Luke Roberts RR & TT (CSC)
Michael Rogers RR & TT (Quick.Step) [2003, 2004 Time Trial World Champion]
Rory Sutherland RR (Rabobank)
Henk Vogels RR (Davitamon-Lotto)
Matthew White RR (Cofidis)
Matt Wilson RR (Francaise des Jeux)

Elite Women

From the following team list of eight riders, six riders will be selected for the road race and up to two riders for the time trial. The remaining riders will be listed as reserves.

Katherine Bates RR (Van Bemmelen-AA Drink)
Natalie Bates RR (Van Bemmelen-AA Drink)
Sara Carrigan RR & TT (Van Bemmelen-AA Drink)
Rochelle Gilmore RR (Safi - Pasta Zara Manhattan)
Olivia Gollan RR (Nürnberger Versicherung)
Helen Kelly RR (Quark)
Emma Rickards RR
Oenone Wood RR & TT (Nürnberger Versicherung)

U23 Men

From the following team list of eight riders, four riders will be selected for the road race and up to two riders for the time trial. The remaining riders will be listed as reserves.

Jonathon Clarke RR (Brighton, VIC)
Mark Jamieson TT (Acacia Hills, TAS)
James Meadley RR (Canberra, ACT)
Joel Pearson RR (Warragul, VIC)
Nicolas Sanderson RR (Ararat, VIC)
Christopher Sutton RR (Sylvania, NSW)
David Tanner RR (Benalla, VIC)
William Walker RR & TT (Ivanhoe, VIC)

Healion on DFL Team for Tour of Britain

By Shane Stokes

Having made a good impression with the Driving Force Logistics team since joining them this summer, Paul Healion will join fellow Irishman Ryan Connor as part of the DFL squad for the Tour of Britain next week.

Healion got things off to a good start when he won a Goodwood gallop with them earlier this month. He then took part in the Surrey League Five Day, placing 3rd, 7th and 8th on stages and riding well in support of race leader Yanto Barker.

"I was down as a private member in the results but I was actually riding with them," he said. "I was very happy with my ride there. I was just a bit disappointed that our leader Yanto Barker pulled out while leading the race."

"The plan is now that I will be riding in the Tour of Britain with them, as is Ryan. He is going very well at the moment. I'll probably be riding for Yanto, as he is the strongest guy on the team. But at the end of the day, whoever is on form and does a good ride will be supported. I think I showed that I was quite strong, riding for Yanto for the first three or four days in Surrey and then getting a result myself."

Healion proved he has a good turn of speed with solid performances in Belgium earlier this year. He's hoping to put that to good use against the professionals next week. "I will try to do a good ride in the 4 kilometre time trial and the criterium. Anything else after that would be a bit of a bonus – if I can get up in a couple of sprints, that would be great."

The Dubliner will compete with DFL for the remainder of the season. "I'll should be doing the Tour of the Peaks, then perhaps the track season. Then hopefully I'll go back to Australia, as I did last year."

TEAm Lipton Brewing Big for 2006

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

With uncertainty always present from year to year in cycling sponsorships, a multi-year increase in a budget from a sponsor is rare - even more so in women's cycling. But TEAm Lipton is defying the norm with a huge step-up in budget and plans reaching far down the road, all the way to the next Olympics. TEAm Lipton's manager Julie Upton told Cyclingnews that the team will be expanding for 2006, and in a big way. "We have letters of intent from several really good riders and we have a multiyear deal from Lipton to build towards the Olympics," said Upton.

While the team has existed to date as a developmental team with several young riders, Upton says that was a test balloon of sorts for Lipton, and its parent companies Unilever and Pepsico. "We are starting with women - in a way testing the waters, so we are not opposed to starting a men's team [in the future.]"

So far the test has proven quite effective for the Lipton brand, according to Upton. "We've had so much interest from Lipton around the world saying thanks for putting this together, since it is so different from the tradition marketing of Lipton. We can't keep up with our supply of uniforms going to Germany and other countries!"

Though the brand is worldwide, the team will remain focused on the U.S. for the near future, with a purposeful intent to hire only U.S. riders in order to make an Olympics run. "We are only a domestic-based team," Upton explained. "The brand managers from the U.S. are on board, so we wouldn't do a European tour at this point. The only thing that makes sense for us would be theTour of Holland, since [Unilever] is headquartered in Holland, and it would be only a PR move."

Though no names of new riders have been disclosed, the hints at money indicate that the new team could afford some of the better U.S. riders. "Our budget is signed off, but I don't want to talk specifics, but it's good! And there are incentives and increases over time." Regardless, the team is not abandoning its roots as a developmental team. "We did have more a developmental program, and some riders were clearly on the radar in terms of ability, so we are retaining two or three of them - Kristen LaSasso, Liza Rachetto and possibly Katherine Lamden.

Velocity Sports Management, the management company of the men's cycling team Navigators Insurance, will manage the team, with Michael Engleman in talks to be the team director.

One key idea Upton plans on seeing though for next year is the team's mainstream media success. "Luckily our media impressions with our current team have far exceeded our hopes. That is as important to us as winning races - keeping up with the media exposure - and we hope to do more grass roots events next year."

Hincapie and Basso headline Barclays Global Investors Grand Prix

The Barclays Global Investors Grand Prix in San Francisco, USA, will feature a very strong line up of US and international riders when it kicks off on Sunday, September 4 at 10:00 am in San Francisco.

George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), the only rider to ride with Lance Armstrong in each of his seven Tour de France victories, will lead the field. Hincapie won the inaugural SF race in 2001, and finished 14th overall in this year's Tour while winning Stage 15, the Tour's toughest mountain stage.

Ivan Basso, who has finished second to Lance Armstrong in the 2005 Tour de France, and third in 2004 will lead Team CSC. Basso's American teammate David Zabriskie will also compete, after wearing the yellow jersey in the early stages of this year's Tour.

The Canadian superstar Charles Dionne and only two-time winner of the San Francisco race, will be back in full force to lead team Webcor Builders, which is based in the San Francisco area. Chris Horner, another 2005 Tour de France competitor (finishing 33rd) and winner of the 2003 San Francisco Grand Prix, will represent Saunier Duval Prodir. Horner placed third in the Wachovia USPRO Championship in Philadelphia in June.

California will be represented by Levi Leipheimer, who finished sixth in the Tour de France, won the Tour of Germany, and will ride for his German-based Gerolsteiner team. "Fast Freddy" Rodriguez, three-time USA National Champion and Tour de France finisher, will also be on the start line as a key member of the United States National Team.

"These are seven of the top bike racers in the world right now," said David Chauner, president of race organisers Threshold Sports. "And with the exception of Ivan Basso, they are all Americans who have proven that our country produces some of the finest athletic talent in the world. To see them race in San Francisco on a world class course is truly awe-inspiring."

Chris Wherry, the current USPRO Champion and current NRC (National Racing Calendar) leader, will compete on the HealthNet Maxxis team. Wherry will be joined by his teammates who won all three races of the Wachovia Cycling Series in June.

The Barclays Global Investors Grand Prix will be held over a very challenging 108 mile (173 km) course, featuring 18 laps, nine of which include both the formidably steep Fillmore and Taylor Street climbs. A purse of $50,000 will be awarded to the top finishers.

Grafton to Inverell attracts home-grown talent

The Eastmon Digital Photo Stores Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic, scheduled for September 17, is heading for its 45th consecutive edition this year. The race is regarded as Australia's toughest one-day cycle race is already attracting some home-grown talent in the A grade field: Brendan Jones, who now rides for the Parramatta club in Sydney, has confirmed his entry after finishing 25th in his first attempt at the Grafton to Inverell last year. Jones will be out to improve on this effort in the September 17 race.

Andrew Wyper has indicated to organisers that he will return from overseas to ride his first Grafton to Inverell. 20 year-old Wyper has been racing in Germany with the Cottbus Cycling Club and is currently training in Italy with former Inverell rider Heinrich Haussler, who is in his first year as a professional with the German Gerolsteiner Team. Wyper will then compete in a four-day tour in Cologne before returning to Australia around the September 9 to complete his preparations for the Grafton to Inverell.

The B Grade section will be sponsored by the Inverell and Grafton Telstra Shops. The race sign on will be held at the Grafton Telstra shop in Prince Street on Friday, September 16 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The B Grade section will start at 7:30am from Prince Street in Grafton.

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