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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for June 9, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Jeff Jones

Favourites show their cards in Dauphiné TT

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: AFP
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The Dauphiné Libéré's third stage time trial in Roanne today saw many of the Tour favourites show their cards in what was considered an important pre-Tour test. Not only Lance Armstrong, but also Santiago Botero, Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis, Alexandre Vinokourov, and Roberto Heras all tested their form against the clock. It was a windy stage, with the Mistral blowing the riders from all directions as they negotiated the tough 47 km course.

At the end of the stage, it was 2002 World Time Trial Champion Santiago Botero (Phonak) who claimed his second ever Dauphiné time trial win - he also won a similar stage in 2002. But Botero's margin of victory was only 1 second over American Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), who again showed the benefits of his wind tunnel testing earlier this season to ride into the yellow and blue leader's jersey, with a 12 second buffer over Botero.

Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) had a tough day, conceding 26 seconds to Botero, but clearly showing that he is right on track to defend his title in the Tour de France. He was third in the stage and sits in third overall, and with the mountains to come, eyes will be on him and the other Tour favourites to see how they are climbing.

Speaking of other Tour favourites, Floyd Landis (Phonak, 4th at 39 seconds) and Alexandre Vinokourov (5th at 1'00) had good rides in Roanne as well, while Roberto Heras (38th at 3'32) still needs to tighten up his riding against the clock if he is to challenge for the Tour de France title.

Also see:

Main & preview
Start list
Past winners

Cunego down with mononucleosis?

Winner of the 2004 Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
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Young Italian super talent Damiano Cunego (Lampre Caffita) may be ill with mononucleosis, which would explain his poor performances at this year's Giro d'Italia, where he was initially counted among the favourites. After finishing the Grand Tour 24 minutes behind the victorious Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), the 2004 Giro winner underwent some blood testing to determine the state of his health. The examination revealed an abnormally important reaction to certain viruses, namely the Epstian-Barr virus (EBV), which causes mononucleosis infection.

According to a team statement, further testing will take place between today and June 20, 2005. In the meantime, Cunego's training schedule has been rearranged until the examining doctors are able to conclude on his health. Lampre-Caffita has not made any amendments to Cunego's racing schedule - yet. The illness usually lasts for four weeks, but fatigue from it may persist for a few months, and it could endanger Cunego's Tour de France participation, or at least his preparation for it. Mononucleosis is a viral infection whose symptoms include fever and tiredness. It is most common among people 15 to 35 years old, and cannot be treated except by rest.

Fassa and Balears line-up for Tour de Suisse

Italian team Fassa Bortolo has announced its roster for the upcoming Tour de Suisse from June 11-19. The following riders from the Italian ProTour team will travel over the Alps to its neighbouring country to take the start in Schaffhausen: Lorenzo Bernucci, Fabian Cancellara, Dario Frigo, Andrei Hauptman, Kim Kirchen, Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Sacchi and Matteo Tosatto. The 'Silver team' will be directed by Directeurs Sportifs Alberto Volpi and Mario Chiesa.

As for the Illes Balears-Casse d'Epargne team, the following riders will accompany Alessandro Valverde on his pre-Tour de France test: Joan Horrach, Toni Colom, Jonathan González, Unai Osa, José Luis Arrieta, David Navas and Pablo Lastras.

T-Mobile ambitious for Switzerland

Defending champion Jan Ullrich spearheads the T-Mobile roster in the 69th edition of the Tour de Suisse, starting this Saturday. As planned, the team captain will use the nine-day race through the Alpine nation as the penultimate competitive warm-up before his last chance to beat Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France in July.

"Defending my title is not on my mind, this is all about a measured build-up to the Tour de France," the 31 year-old said. Lining up alongside Ullrich in Switzerland are fellow Germans Tobias Steinhauser, Stephan Schreck, Steffen Wesemann and Rolf Aldag, as well as the Italian duo of Giuseppe Guerini and Daniele Nardello, with the latter's form and fitness back on track after recovering from the back injury that forced him to abandon the Giro d'Italia. Russian Sergey Ivanov rounds out the eight-man roster.

The Italian climber Guerini finished eighth overall in 2004, and was runner-up to teammate Alexandre Vinokourov on GC in 2003. "We are using this race first and foremost as part of our Tour preparations. But maybe Giuseppe can also etch out a good overall placing," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer on the team's plans at the Tour de Suisse.

The competition in Switzerland will be tough, with a number of top class riders using the ProTour race as part of their build-up to the Tour. They include Paris-Nice winner Bobby Julich (CSC), Spanish rising star Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears), Austrian climber Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner), mystery man Joseba Beloki (Liberty Seguros), Giro star Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) and German young gun Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step). The event kicks-off on Saturday, June 11, with a 170 km-long stage starting in Schaffhausen, in the north of the country. The first GC selection is expected as soon as Sunday, when the riders tackle a 36 km-time trial in and around Weinfelden.

While stages one, four and five will offer the sprinters a chance to flex their muscles, stage three, which finishes atop St. Anton (in Austria), and the summit finishes in Arosa (stage six) and Verbier (stage eight) will certainly test the climbing legs in the peloton. "These stages will give me a chance to test my climbing form. I want to showing myself in front on at least one or two stages," said an ambitious Ullrich before the race.

The ninth and final stage, starting and finishing in Ulrichen, will certainly be interesting, even if the final classification may already be determined: 50 km of climbing, and 50 km of descending, taking in the leg-breaking Nufenen, Gotthard and Furka passes. The severity of Sunday's crunch final stage should rule out any repeat of last year's freakish one second winning margin and keep the race leader on his guard.

The stages

Stage 1 - Saturday, June 11: Schaffhausen - Weinfelden, 170 km
Stage 2 - Sunday, June 12: Weinfelden - Weinfelden (ITT), 36 km
Stage 3 - Monday, June 13: Abtwil/Säntispark - St. Anton a.A., 160 km
Stage 4 - Tuesday, June 14: Vaduz FL - Bad Zurzach, 205 km
Stage 5 - Wednesday, June 15: Bad Zurzach - Altdorf UR, 176 km
Stage 6 - Thursday, June 16: Bürglen UR - Arosa, 156 km
Stage 7 - Friday, June 17: Einsiedeln - Lenk, 182 km
Stage 8 - Saturday, June 18: Lenk - Verbier, 165 km
Stage 9 - Sunday, June 19: Ulrichen - Ulrichen, 100 km

Total distance: 1,354 km

Loda not sure for Tour

Liquigas-Bianchi rider Nicola Loda is unsure as to his further racing schedule after a crash in the Dauphiné Libéré on Monday. In the first stage of the French stage race from Aix-les-Bains to Givors, the Italian tried not to run over other crashed riders and subsequently went off the road with 11 km to go. After examinations in the hospital of Saint Etienne, a lesion in his left calf muscle near the tendon was diagnosed.

Loda will undergo further tests in Italy tomorrow. "I hope to be able to ride again on Sunday," he said. "If my recovery is longer, my presence in the Tour de France will be definitely compromised."

BikeWales with Nicole Cooke

A new cycling participation event for all will take place on Sunday, August 21, 2005, In Wales, UK. BikeWales offers a day out in the beautiful Usk Valley and beyond and is part of a whole weekend of cycling based at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on August 20-21.

Also joining in on the ride on Sunday will be local 22 year-old Welsh cycling star and Commonwealth Champion Nicole Cooke, who will be fresh from competing in the UCI Women's Road World Cup race, where the world's top women's cyclists will compete for the first time on British soil at this level.

BikeWales offers riders a choice of three routes and distances, which all start and finish in The Celtic Manor. The 19-mile Bronze route is the one set to be most popular with anyone prepared to 'have a go' at cycling a longer distance ride, with the Silver and Gold routes ideal for the more experienced cyclists. There will be drink stations, mechanical support and first aid provision on each of the routes, and each finisher will receive a certificate to commemorate their day and a ranking relating to their category of ride.

For an entry form, please visit

Dolomiti Superbike with Bart Brentjens

On July 10, 2005, the 11th edition of the South Tyrolean mountain bike marathon classic Dolomiti Superbike takes place. The star of the event is the Dutch Olympic champion Bart Brentjens, who won his gold medal in Atlanta 1996. Participants can again choose between three tracks (28, 59 and 111 km). Not only the length of the tracks but also the difference in height makes the challenge interesting for beginners as well as for more experienced mountain bikers: 3000m for the 'long distance', 1500m for the 'middle distance' and 800m for the 'short distance' have been announced. A maximum of 3200 mountain bikers are admitted to the 11th Dolomiti Superbike, the deadline for registration being June 30.

The organisers have divided the starters into four blocks this year. Each one is marked with a colour, red, blue, green and yellow, and numbers 800 participants. The first red block will see the elite and U23, and the best riders of the last three editions on the long and middle distance, tandems, and all athletes participating in the series Eurobike Extreme, MTB Challenge and Prestigio. All other bikers start first in the blue, then in the green and finally in the yellow block according to their date of registration. The individual blocks start at a distance of ten minutes.

For further information, go to

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