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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for June 6, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Bäckstedt using Dauphiné as Tour warmup

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Swedish giant Magnus Bäckstedt is leading the Liquigas-Bianchi squad in the 57th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, which began with a 7.9 km prologue time trial in Aix-les-Bains on Sunday. Bäckstedt finished 50th in the stage, losing 29 seconds to winner George Hincapie.

"The Dauphiné Libéré is an important race for me as I'm approaching the Tour de France," he said. "I aim at improving my condition without losing sight of the eventual goal of a stage victory."

Joining Bäckstedt in France are Enrico Gasparotto, Mauro Gerosa, Nicola Loda, Marcus Ljungqvist, Oscar Mason, Devis Miorin and Gianluca Sironi. Roberto Damiani and Dario Mariuzzo will serve as team directors.

Verbrugghe satisfied

Belgian Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step) described himself as satisfied with his ride in the prologue of the Dauphine Libéré, where he finished 13th at 16 seconds. "Three days ago the future looked gloomy because of my back pain," he was quoted by VRT Teletekst as saying. "I came here with not much heart. But this time trial has lifted my morale, especially because I rode during the last half an hour. Then there was a lot more wind than at the start. The wind gusts broke me. In the last three kilometres, it was a headwind, with 500 metres to go the light went out completely. Otherwise I would have certainly ended in the top ten."

Haussler "helped" by a gendarme

How did Gerolsteiner's neo-pro Heinrich Haussler end up being dead last in yesterday's Dauphine Libéré prologue? All Haussler wanted to do was cross the street to get the start on time - but a "helpful" Gendarme wouldn't allow him to go over the barriers. So Haussler had to go the long way around, and the detour made him two minutes late to the start.

"It's irritating, when you take away the stress and he lost two minutes, then he's pretty far forward in the GC! He may be in the last place right now, but he's still got pretty good chances," said Gerolsteiner spokesman Mathias Wieland.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Saunier Duval aiming for the top in Tour de Suisse

After Fabian Jeker came within one second of winning last year's Tour de Suisse, Saunier Duval-Prodir, which has a Swiss co-sponsor, is hoping to finish on the top step of the podium this year. 36 year-old Jeker will be back again as team leader, and is in good form after finishing 6th overall in the Euskal Bizikleta.

Jeker's teammates include Tour de France stage winner Rubens Bertogliati, a strong rider who has his sights set on a stage win; Oliver Zaugg, a 24 year-old climber who recently rode part of the Giro d'Italia in preparation for the Tour de Suisse; Leonardo Piepoli, a top climber who should be able to support Jeker in the mountains as well as go for his own chances in a stage win; Juan Carlos Dominguez, another motor who will act as Saunier's co-leader for the GC; Chris Horner, third place getter in the USPRO Championships and coming back to form after breaking his leg earlier this year; Joaquim Rodriguez, another good supporting climber who rode well in the Giro and Euskal Bizikleta; and Manuele Mori, a young Italian rider who had a couple of top 10 stage placings in the recent Giro.

Phonak for Tour de Suisse

The Swiss sponsored Phonak Hearing Systems team always has pressure on its shoulders whenever it races in Switzerland, whether it be the Tour de Romandie or the Swiss Championships. For the upcoming Tour de Suisse, will be looking at Alexandre Moos and Tadej Valjavec as its main GC men, with Niki Aebersold, sprinter Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, Gregory Rast, Daniel Schnider, and Steve Zampieri riding in support. The team will be directed by René Savary, Adriano Baffi, and John Lelangue.

Appeal unlikely for Hondo

Danilo Hondo will probably accept his one year suspension handed down by the Swiss Cycling Federation and not appeal to the CAS, according to his attorney Michael Lehner. "That kind of appeal would take another three to four months and wouldn't help him get back on the bike any faster," said Lehner. However, he wants to make sure that Hondo will be able to participate in the Pro Tour again when his suspension ends in April 2006. Lehner is also optimistic that the UCI will accept the Swiss decision. "I'm not worried about that."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Rabobank doubles "Keep Supporting Asia" fund

The Rabobank team's drive to help the victims of the December 2004 Tsunami disaster has yielded € 20,000 so far, but that has just received a big boost with the announcement that Rabobank will contribute double that amount (€40,000) to the fund. "Keep Supporting Asia" was initiated on January 12 at the team's presentation, and the riders promised to donate a quarter of a euro for every kilometre that they raced. Most of that was raised in April, where 70,983 kilometres were raced by members of the team. In addition, Ebay auctions of jerseys belonging to Oscar Freire, Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, and Jan Boven, raised another €1,914.50 to bring the total to €19,660.25. Boogerd's jersey that he wore in Liege-Bastogne-Liege was the most popular, netting €650.

The money will be used for reconstruction projects in south-east Asia, particularly in India, Sumatra, and Sri Lanka, where Rabobank already has a presence.

South America gets a boost

The development of cycling in South America will receive a boost with the opening of a National Technical Centre in São Paolo, Brazil recently. The Centre was officially opened by the UCI's Training and Development Manager, Frédéric Magné, who also discussed the organisation of races in Brazil with acting federation president, José Vasconsellos. Brazil will play host to two of the most important competitions on the continental calendar, the 2006 Pan American Championships and the 2007 Pan American Games, which will take place in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, respectively.

Marathon World Cup in St. Wendel

The German town of St. Wendel will host the seventh and penultimate round of the MTB Marathon World Cup on the weekend of September 30-October 1. The races will be staged in the Saar-Hunsrück nature park with St. Wendel's sports centre serving as the base. It's expected that riders from 20 countries will be at the start, racing distances of 110, 60, and 30 km. Top riders such as Sabine Spitz (Ger), Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger), Massimo de Bertolis (Ita), Birgit Jüngst (Ger), Dario Acquaroli (Ita), Mauro Bettin (Ita), Andrea Huser (Swi), Carsten Bresser (Ger), Karl Platt (Ger), Marc Hanisch (Ger), and Hannes Genze (Ger) are expected.

Program

Friday - September 30

16:00-20:00: Issue of starting accreditation
19:00: Pasta party and show

Saturday, October 1

07:00-08:00: Issue of starting accreditation
09:00: Start of 110, 60, 30 km races
11:30: Expected winner of 60 km race
13:00: Expected winner of 110 km race
16:00: Prize ceremony
18:00: Close

Course details

110 km, 2500m altitude difference
60 km, 1200m altitude difference
30 km, 700m altitude difference
Tracks: Forest, fields, approximately 15% asphalt.

MTB Marathon World Cup series

Round 1 - April 10: Cyprus (Cyp)
Round 2 - May 1: Riva Del Garda (Ita)
Round 3 - June 18: Mont Sainte Anne (Can)
Round 4 - July 10: Bad Goisern (Aut)
Round 5 - August 7: Oisans (Fra)
Round 6 - August 13: Falun (Swe)
Round 7 - October 1: St. Wendel (Ger)
Round 8 - October 14: Roc D'azur (Fra)

More information: www.sankt-wendel.de

Kowalski Recruitment Canberra Junior & Women's Tour

Said to be the biggest junior tour in Australia, the Kowalski Recruitment Canberra Junior & Women's Tour will take place on the extended weekend of July 1-3 (clashing with another fixture in France). The race is being run for all junior grades from U11 boys and girls to U19 men and women. In addition, there will be an open women's event run in conjunction with the junior tour.

The formats are different for the different categories, with the Open/U19 Women and U19 Men riding a time trial on Friday, July 1, followed by road races on Saturday and Sunday. The remaining categories will ride a road race and criterium on Saturday, followed by a road race and time trial on Sunday.

The tour attracts entries from every state in Australia as well as New Zealand. This year a team of 36 riders is visiting from New Zealand which should add to the overall quality of the field.

The ACT Government is sponsoring an initiative that allows the organisers to offer a $20 rebate on the entry fee for the first 75 non-ACT registered U19 and Open Women competitors who enter this event online through the NSW Cycling website.

More information about the tour: www.act.cycling.org.au/new/events/events 202005.shtm

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