First Edition Cycling News for June 8, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Low-key Dauphiné stage lays ground for time trial showdown
Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R Prevoyance) won the second stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré yesterday after he and three other French riders - Frédéric Bessy (Cofidis), Anthony Charteau (Bouygues Telecom) and Frédéric Finot (Française des Jeux) - escaped from the peloton early in the race.
With none of them considered a long-term threat for the general classification, and the race's big guns wanting to conserve their strength for today's crucial 47km time trial, the four were allowed to gain a 12 minute advantage before a somewhat desultory chase led by T-Mobile, Phonak and Fassa Bortolo limited the damage to just over three minutes.
The diminutive 24-year-old Dumoulin, who stands just 158.5cm tall (5ft 2.5in), said afterwards that he had always had to put up with remarks about his height. "I have always shrugged off the mockery, at school and when I arrived in the peloton," he said, "But, little by little, my competitors saw that I did not do so badly. Now, I am recognized."
Coming into the finish Dumoulin said he knew he had a chance of taking the race lead. "I thought about the yellow jersey," he said. "I was confiding and tense at the same time. I did not know if it was necessary [for me] to start the sprint. I then thought about last year, and to the four month break after my fall in the Tour because of a dog."
Dumoulin's win in the final four-up sprint gives him the leader jersey for today's time trial, though he is considered unlikely to retain it.
When the riders roll out of the start house in Roanne for today's time trial loop, none will be watched more closely than Lance Armstrong, for whom this will be the a chance to assess his fitness before the Tour de France.
"I'm cautiously optimistic," said Armstrong after yesterday's stage. "It is the first real test before the Tour. Fingers crossed. There are strong guys out there and I don't know if I can win. I'm looking forward to it as much as you can when you face an hour of suffering."
Armstrong's form in the Dauphiné is an unreliable Tour indicator at best. In 2004 he was soundly beaten here by Iban Mayo but went to dominate in the Tour de France. The previous year he won the Dauphiné handsomely but struggled in the Tour and while he eventually won, it was clearly his hardest Tour victory. You have to go back to 2002 to find a Lance Armstrong Dauphiné victory that was followed by an all-conquering Tour victory.
It's not surprising, then, that the American does not seem bothered by the final outcome when the Dauphiné rolls into Sallanches on Sunday. "What matters is to win the Tour in July," he said.
Nevertheless, Discovery Channel directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel is looking to the time trial as a form indicator. "He seems strong, but you can never tell before the race proper. We'll know a lot more after tomorrow's stage. It's obviously Lance's most important test before the Tour," Bruyneel said.
An interview with Juan Manuel Garate: 'Italy tastes like home'
After finishing fifth in this year's Giro and adding to his list of impressive performances there, Juan Manuel Garate looks set to take on the Tour and maybe a race that passes right by his door. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez Macias caught up with him while resting after this year's action-packed Italian festival of cycling.
Garate's fifth place Giro finish follows his 10th overall last year and fourth in 2002. He feels comfortable riding in Italy, having ridden for the Italian Lampre squad until his move to Saunier Duval-Prodir in the off-season. His 2005 has been a good one so far, after settling in easily to his new team and putting some strong results on the board.
Although quite content with his fifth overall, Garate was disappointed with his start to this year's Giro, and his determination could be seen on stage 13, where he tried gallantly to make as much time as possible on the leaders after a poor opening week. Although he didn't take that stage, his performance was a warning shot for July and his ability to make the big moves stick - a good sign only weeks out from the Grand Boucle.
Click here for the full interview.
Record crowds for Wachovia Series
Threshold's Casale becomes a state trooper
By Tim Maloney
After 21 years, the USPRO Championships has showed remarkable continuity that has brought the Philadelphia event worldwide status as one of the top one-day cycling events worldwide. One reason is that the sponsor has remained the same over the last two decades, first via local Core States Bank, then regional First Union, which merged with North Carolina based Wachovia, one of the largest banks in the United States. Robin Morton, Technical Director of race organizer Threshold Sports told Cyclingnews Monday, "We were thrilled to see that the Wachovia USPRO Championships enjoyed the largest spectator total in years. The Philadelphia Police Department estimated that there were 600,000 people watching the race along the course, not to mention the six hour live broadcast on WPVI-TV. Jerry Casale (Threshold co-founder) and I thought the great weather and super-competitive field of athletes with six ProTour teams really brought the crowds out. In fact, we had record crowds at our Wachovia races in Lancaster and Trenton and it was great to see an American team like Health Net make a clean sweep. And I must say that Chris Wherry has worked so hard during his career and he really deserved to win in Philly Sunday."
In a special ceremony post-race, the likeable Casale became an honorary Georgia State Trooper as Lieutenant David Cody of the Georgia State Patrol awarded the Philly native Casale the seldom awarded honor. "I met Jerry when he and the Threshold people came to Georgia and we hit it off right away. I'm proud to award this [honorary Georgia State Trooper certificate] to him and he's the best bike race organizer in the 'States." A choked up Casale jokingly asked if he could now get out of speeding tickets in Georgia, then replied with gratitude to Lt. Cody, saying that the Georgia State Patrol had done an exemplary job and he was proud to work with them again anytime. Both Casale and Morton also told Cyclingnews that despite rumours to the contrary, they were now focusing on making the upcoming San Francisco Grand Prix on September 4th a major success. "We've reached an agreement on police services costs with the City of San Francisco and hope to announce a title sponsor soon for San Francisco," said Casale.
Tour de Nez roster hots up
more teams and riders have been announced for the 13th annual Tour de Nez, June 16-18 in Reno, Nevada and Truckee, California. Previously a relatively minor stop in the US National Racing Calendar series, Nez has added races and prize money over the last couple of years and this year has signed up teams including Health Net-Maxxis, Sierra Nevada/Kodak Gallery, Webcor, SeaSilver and Subway to compete for its total $35,000 purse.
Health Net-Maxxis, the number one ranked NRC team, is bringing Wachovia Trenton winner and Canadian national champion Gord Fraser and Scott Moninger. Sierra Nevada/Kodak Gallery's five rider team will include Ben Jacques-Maynes, winner of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in 2004 and Tour of the Gila winner Bourke Swindlehurst will lead the Seasilver team.
The race kicks off with a five mile time trial at 10am June 16 in Verdi, and resumes later that day with a 60-minute criterium in historic downtown Truckee. The following day sees the 108 mile Tahoe/Truckee Road Race on a 36-mile circuit that starts on Donner Pass Road in Truckee, CA and heads up toward Tahoe City and then East to Kings Beach. The race then proceeds over Highway 267 to Brockway Pass and West River Street in Truckee.
Finally, the Mighty Tour de Nez Criterium starts at 6pm on June 18 in downtown Reno's Wingfield Park, and uses a tough 0.8 mile loop with 10 turns and steep climbs. The pros follow the course for one and a half hours and the master race for one hour.
As well as three days of racing, other attractions at the Tour de Nez include live music, belly dancing, unique food, mint juleps, bike decorating contests, face painting and - in the words of the organisers "a world full of bike madness and mayhem." There will also be an bike, outdoors and adventure sports expo at Wingfield Park on June 17 and 18.
For more information see www.tourdenez.com.
Tour of Britain Stage 4 route revealed
The route for the fourth stage of the Tour of Britain (August 30 - September 4) was unveiled yesterday at Loughborough University. The east Midlands stage from Buxton Derbyshire to Nottingham takes in many of Derbyshire's picturesque villages and towns including Bakewell, Matlock, Cromford, Wirksworth, Belper, Duffield, Derby, Swarkstone, Ashby-de-la Zouch, Loughborough, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Ab Kettleby and Upper Broughton.
The 2005 Tour of Britain starts in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday, August 30 and finishes in Westminster, London on Sunday, September 4.
Ottawa race weekend
The Ottawa Bicycle Club, BikeRace Ottawa, and Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs have joined forces to present a weekend of racing in Ottawa and the National Capital area on July 16 and 17. The weekend will include events for 19 categories from Minime to Master 60+ with medals and prize money for all categories.
Three separate races will form a points series and include:
1. The 8th annual Ottawa Bicycle Club Grand Prix in the Gatineau Park
on Saturday morning, July 16.
Riders may enter any of the 3 events they choose but must enter all 3 to be eligible for the overall prizes. Combined prize money for all 3 races, including the overall points series will be greater than $15,000, however if there are more than 450 entries in the criterium, total prize money will exceed $20,000.
For more information see www.ottawabicycleclub.ca
M Donnelly Junior Tour goes west for July
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Going into its 27th year, the M Donnelly Junior Tour (Castlebar, Co Mayo, July 12-17) continues to rise in stature and is now regarded as a benchmark event in Irish cycling. True to its motto "like wine it matures", this year the event has a new date and a new location.
Martin Donnelly's company has been involved as sponsor for the last several years and he also has been instrumental in keeping the event ticking over. "Particularly where there is a reservoir of talent that is not being supported, I like to help their cause," said Donnelly. "The Junior Tour fits the bill and to see the juniors engage in the sport is very fulfilling. Invariably the seniors get all the kudos, but this tour is important for the development of the sport here at home and abroad. It is indeed great to see the number of visitors, which has increased, hopefully with my input. To see the amount of juniors and their supporters that come here to race is flattering. At least Alice and her team are the best in the business and as along as they are around, the sport will flourish. The new location in the West will in my opinion bring the JT will benefit the sport in this country."
For the last few years the junior tour has based itself in Waterford, but the organisers under the stewardship of Alice Sherratt have decided that the time was right for a change of location. They now move on to Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
"Moving to Mayo will reinvigorate the Junior Tour," said Sherratt. "You can become lethargic in your approach to everyday matters. The structures were in place in Waterford and it was becoming clockwork. My team needs to be motivated and the challenge we will face in Castlebar will be a welcome innovation."
As in Waterford, there is a team in place here in the West and when you look at the map of cycling in Ireland, Connacht seems to be doing all the right things. Three professionals in the ranks of world cycling must say a lot.
The Junior Tour has a new date because of changes to the junior world championships, which will not be held alongside the senior races in September this year, but in mid-August. Sherratt therefore decided that July would be an ideal time and would bring new teams to the event.
Recent Junior Tour winners include two riders who went on to be junior world champions, Mark Scanlon (1998, Holland) and Kai Reus (2003, Canada). The inaugural winner was Martin Earley who later went on to win stages in the Tour de France, and Giro d'Italia as well as making a name for himself as one of the best domestiques in the professional peloton on Sean Kelly's team.
The Junior Tour has also acted as a springboard to later professional success in Ireland. Dual winners' of the Junior Tour and the FBD Milk Ras include Tommy Evans, Paul McCormack, and Ian Chivers.
Training bunch knocks over pedestrian
The behaviour of large group training rides in the Melbourne area is in the news again after a large group of cyclists allegedly knocked over a man on a pedestrian crossing last month. According to a report in the Mordialloc Chelsea Leader, Mark Vawdrey, 53, said he was crossing Main St, Mordialloc at a pedestrian crossing at 6.30am when he a group of up to 100 riders ran a red light. Two collided with him and failed to stop afterwards.
"They bowled me over and left me lying in the road covered in blood," said Vawdrey.
It's not the first time group rides in the area have given ride to complaints. In 2002 a Code of Conduct was drawn up after Melbourne's Beach Road Hell Ride (which passes through Mordialloc) caused numerous complaints of riders ignoring road rules including running red lights. At the time, police threatened to stop the ride.
Senior Constable Dave Eadie of the Victoria Police State Bicycle Co-ordination Unit, said the incident involving Mr Vawdrey was "unfortunate." Eadie, a cyclist himself and one of the police representatives responsible for the Hell ride code of conduct added, "This sort of incident is the reason [cyclists] have to get respect back from other road users."
Florit supports Right to Play
Former pro mountain biker turned adventure racer Jimena Florit has announced her involvement with Right To Play, a humanitarian organization that seeks to improve the lives of underprivileged children through sport.
For more information see www.righttoplay.com.
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