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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 4, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones

MTB World Cup moves to Germany

By Rob Jones

Sir Bart Brenjens signs a young fan's arm
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Click for larger image

Round four of the cross-country World Cup takes place Saturday in Willingen, Germany, followed on Sunday by the second stop on the Downhill / 4-Cross circuit. Willingen is a new host to the World Cup, however, the ski village at the foot of the Ettelsberg is home to the BIKE-Festival, now in its eighth year. The Festival attracts some 3000 participants for the marathon event, and boasts that it is one of Europe's biggest bike expos.

So far, reviews of the courses have been mixed. The downhill and the 4-Cross runs are drawing rave reviews for their big air jumps, although there is a concern that the downhill is beyond the skill level of all but the top riders. On the other hand, cross-country riders are saying that their course is short, tough but not technically demanding. "Boring" was the term used by one former world champion.

The 5.1 kilometre circuit features a number of short and very sharp climbs (up to 20 percent). The course is mainly on loose gravel double track and through bumpy grass meadows, with only two short single track sections. Since the circuit is short, the women are scheduled to do seven laps (plus a start loop) and the men nine (plus a start loop). This means LOTS of times up those leg burning little climbs...

"With all those woods at the top of the course, I wish that they would have cut some more single track." lamented world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida).

Riders meet the fans
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Click for larger image

In the 76 rider women's field, the main name missing is Marga Fullana. The favourite, without a doubt, is Dahle, who has two wins and a second place so far. Since the heat is not as intense as last week at Houffalize, or three weeks earlier in Madrid, expect to see Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) to be more of a factor (although the lack of technical riding will hurt both Sydor and her team mate Marie-Helene Premont). Sabine Spitz (Specialized), second last week, and impressively strong in the latter half of the race, will be hoping to score a victory also in front of the partisan German crowd. Spitz has finished 4th, 3rd and 2nd in the first three races, and hopes to continue the trend.

The men have 188 on the start list, so expect to see riders at the back getting lapped fairly quickly with the short laps.

The evening brought a brief but intense thunderstorm through the area, after sun all day. While the rain has moved through, it remains overcast, and locals say that there is a good chance it will rain again tomorrow.

Zabel to Spain, not Switzerland

From Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile sprinter Erik Zabel will not be starting the Tour de Suisse, as originally planned, but instead will contend the Vuelta a Asturias in Spain (June 17-21). Team Manager Olaf Ludwig says this is not a reflection of whether Zabel will be nominated for the T-Mobile Tour de France squad. "During the Tour de Suisse we will sit down together and put our Tour de France team together," he said.

Quick.Step-Innergetic for Dauphiné Libéré

The Quick.Step-Innergetic squad will ride the 57th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré with a team based around its climbers. Juan Miguel Mercado, José Antonio Pecharroman, and Jurgen Van Goolen will all be part of the team, along with Bram Tankink, Rik Verbrugghe, Luca Paolini, Nick Nuyens, and sprinter Dimitri De Fauw. The team will be directed by Serge Parsani and Rik Van Slycke.

Rogers and Sinkewitz recon Tour's Alpine stages

Not all of Quick.Step's climbers will be riding the Dauphiné: Michael Rogers and Patrik Sinkewitz are in the middle of carrying out a reconnaissance of two of the most difficult stages of the Tour of France. Yesterday, the pair rode Stage 10 of the Tour, from Grenoble to Courchevel, while today, Saturday, June 4, they will ride the tough 11th stage from Courchevel to Briançon which includes the traditional Alpine giants, Col de la Madeleine, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier.

Liberty recons Tour stages

Riders from the Liberty Seguros team have been reconnoitering stages of the Tour de France in preparation for the year's biggest race, which starts July 2.

Roberto Heras and Alberto Contador yesterday inspected the parcours for the Tour's second individual time trial in St Etienne. This 55km test is the second-last stage of the 2005 Tour's 21 days of racing, and may be the race's decider if things are still close in the final week. Heras and Contador pronounced themselves satisfied with the route, and noted that it has two uphill sections that should favour the climbers.

Before visiting St Etienne, Heras and Contador, along with team-mate Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, also checked out the two alpine stages (Stage 10 on July 12, Grenoble - Courchevel and Stage 11 on July 13, Courchevel - Briancon). The trio rode stage 10's ascent of the Cormet de Roselend and the climb to Courchevel, and the from stage 11 took in the final kilometers of the Col de la Madeleine before continuing up the Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier to the finish.

Heras had previously reconnoitered the Pyrenean stages including stage 14's ascent of the Port de Pailhères and Ax-3 Domaines and the mountain monster of stage 15 which includes six categorized climbs: Col du Portet d'Aspet, Col de Menté, Col du Portillon, Col de Peyresourde, Col de Val Louron-Azet, and Saint-Lary-Soulan (Pla-d'Adet).

Heras, Contador and Galdeano are now in Chambery, France, waiting for Sunday's start the Dauphiné Libéré in which they will be joined by Allan Davis, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Marcos Serrano and Jörg Jaksche.

Second Memorial Pantani on Saturday

Saturday, June 4 will see the second running of the Memorial Pantani, a circuit race in Cesenatico named in honour of the deceased Italian climber. The riders will gather at the Tourism Centre of Cesenatico at 14:30, before moving to the cemetery where Pantani is buried to pay their respects, then returning to piazza Marconi where Emanuela Pierantozzi's monument to Pantani is located.

The race will start in Cesenatico, pass in front of Pantani's house, then proceed via Savignano, Sogliano sul Rubiconde, Longiano, Roncofreddo, Sorrivoli, Cesena, passing a plaque dedicated to Marco on the Gessi climb, then finishing at the Basilica del Monte di Cesena. The circuit will be completed four times for a total of 80 km, and 65 riders are expected to take part, including Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Fabio Sacchi, Giuliano Figueras, Emmanuele Sella, Luca Mazzanti, Paride Grillo, and Paolo Tiralongo.

Buitenpoort-Flexpoint not in Topcompetitie

The Buitenpoort-Flexpoint Team will not be at the start of the third round of the Dutch Topcompetitie, the Omloop door Middag-Humsterland, on Saturday, June 4. The Dutch federation (KNWU) has ruled that teams must start with a minimum of five riders, but as part of the Buitenpoort-Flexpoint team is currently racing in the Eko Tour in Poland, it cannot meet this requirement. Instead, Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel and Elsbeth Vink will race the Emakumeen Bira in Spain, starting June 9, as preparation for the women's Giro d'Italia.

Tuck into Tuscany for Phinney Foundation

On Sunday June 12, Lanci's Ristorante in Saratoga Springs, New York is hosting a fund-raising dinner for the Davis Phinney Foundation, which raises money for research into Parkinson's disease. Davis Phinney - himself a Parkinson's sufferer - was one of the US' most successful racers ever with over 300 victories include stages of the Tour de France. Phinney will be present at the dinner, along with local bike maker Ben Serotta and former Phinney team-mate Ron Kiefel, and a mouth-watering menu of Tuscan specialties is on offer.

Tickets are $200, with only 17 spots available. To reserve a seat call Lanci's Ristorante on 518.581.1973 or contact James Morrison at Serotta Cycles 584.8100 ext 101.

Australian study needs riders

An Australian scientific study into the effects of colostrum supplementation is looking for five riders who plan to take part in the Tour of Gippsland, August 3-8, 2005 to be involved in the study.

"Riders taking part will receive $100 towards their accommodation and there is the chance for one rider to win $500 in a random draw on completion of the study," University of Queensland researcher Cecilia Shing told Cyclingnews. "The study is non-invasive (i.e. no needles!) and requires minimal time from the rider. We are after high level cyclists that will be completing every stage of the Tour and are finalising riders on Monday 6th June."

Readers in Australia who are interested in participating, should contact Cecilia Shing at cshing@hms.uq.edu.au as soon as possible.

Latest doping sanctions

The following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences by their various national federations:

Oleg Ruban (Ukr), Spanish license, tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide during the Circuito Montanes (Spa) on June 18, 2004, sanctioned by Real Federacion Espanola De Ciclismo, suspension of 2 years from March 5, 2005 to March 5, 2007, disqualification of the race, fine of CHF 3,000

Abel Jochola Cancax (Gua), tested positive for a metabolite of chlortestosterone during the Vuelta a Guatemala (Gua) on November 1, 2004, sanctioned by Federacion Nacional De Ciclismo De Guatemala, life suspension, disqualification of the race, fine of CHF 1,000.

Nery Velasquez (Gua), tested positive for EPO, during the Vuelta a Guatemala (Gua) on October 23 and 26 October 2004, sanctioned by Federacion Nacional De Ciclismo De Guatemala, suspension of 2 years from January 21, 2005 to January 21, 2007, disqualification of the race, fine of CHF1,000.

Lizandro Roberto Ajeu Velasquez (Gua), tested positive for EPO and betamethasone, during the Vuelta a Guatemala (Gua) on October 27 and 31, 2004 and November 1, 2004, sanctioned by Federacion Nacional De Ciclismo De Guatemala, suspension of 2 years from January 21, 2005 to January 21, 2007, disqualification of the race, fine of CHF 1,000.

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