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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 10, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Dauphiné stage 4 wrap up

Vino triumphs; Levi still on top

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), winner of the Dauphiné Libéré in 1999, has won the race's important fourth stage between Tournon-sur-Rhône and Le Mont Ventoux. On a day marked by strong northerly Mistral winds, Vinokourov was able to tame the Giant of Provence to beat Jose Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) and Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon-Lotto) to the top. The best of the rest was Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel), who yo-yoed off the back of the group containing leader Levi Leipheimer before surging in the final kilometre to finish fourth at 37 seconds. Landis, Kashechkin, and Leipheimer finished behind Armstrong, none conceding more than 10 seconds to the Texan.

"That was superb stuff," said T-Mobile's delighted director Frans van Looy on T-Mobile's website. "We have seen Vino's great ride in the context of his solid time trial yesterday. We were as surprised as anyone that It unfolded the way it did. It was a great day for us all round!"

In the overall classification, Leipheimer still holds a 21 second lead with Armstrong now in second overall at 21 seconds and Vinokourov third at 26 seconds. With one more tough mountain stage to come on Saturday, the race is still very much open.

"Thanks to our excellent teamwork, we were able to defend the yellow jersey today," said Gerolsteiner's director Reimund Dietzen. "[That] was more important than a good stage placing. The super time trial from yesterday was still in Levi's legs. But everyone in front was at their limits. At the end it made sense to stay in the four man group."

Also see:

Stage 4 - Full results, report & photos
Main & preview

Start list
Past winners
Stages
Photos

An interview with Lance Armstrong

Suddenly seven: Armstrong approaches final phases before seventh Tour challenge

Armstrong rides himself into form
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

After a gruelling four hours in the saddle on Stage 4 at the 57th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré that finished atop le Mont Ventoux, Cyclingnews European Editor Tim Maloney had the opportunity to grab a few moments with six-time Tour champion and two-time Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré winner Lance Armstrong, to talk about his quest for an unprecedented seventh consecutive Tour de France win next month. It was Lance's final rite of passage with the "bastard" of a mountain that is Le Mont Ventoux climb that still remains unconquered by Lance after his fourth place on the Dauphiné Libéré stage.

Cyclingnews asked Lance how it went on Ventoux and as usual, the Texan didn't skate around the facts, telling us, "Well, it was tough! Tough as usual (on Ventoux) and a tough day in general, because it was very, very windy. The climb is relentless; very steep at the bottom and just difficult at the top. There were a lot of attacks and a lot of rhythm changes so I just tried to ride my own tempo. But in the end I rode steady and was happy enough with the effort.

CN: So you felt good on le Mont Ventoux?

LA: Yeah, I felt OK, pretty good. Not super, but not bad...

CN: I hear you had a new bike today, the Trek SSLx climbing bike.

LA: It's the bike I've been using the whole time at the Dauphiné Libéré. Trek has done some special stuff to their SSL frame and we've added some special pieces, some nuts and bolts, stuff like that. It's a nice bike; it rides well and it's stiff and even on the descent (down the back side of le Mont Ventoux) it was good. (Trek told Cyclingnews that their SSLx prototype is stiffer and lighter than the previous SSL model via a special carbon composite that uses a OCLV Boron together with the OCLV 55 of the original SSL model).

Click here for the full interview

Pellizotti eager for the Tour

After a very good start to the season, culminating in his victory in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali, Franco Pellizotti will come back racing in the Tour de Suisse. The Liquigas-Bianchi rider has taken a break since Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and described himself as satisfied with his condition.

"I'm not at my best yet, but I feel my shape is getting better day by day," he said. "Unfortunately, an intestinal virus forced me to take a short break two weeks ago. However, I will be competitive in the Tour de Suisse, the Italian Championships and above all the Tour de France."

Besides the "Dolphin of Bibione", in the Tour de Suisse, Liquigas-Bianchi will include Michael Albasini, Kjell Carlström, Daniele Colli, Matej Mugerli, Luciano Pagliarini, Charly Wegelius and Marco Zanotti. The team will be directed by Stefano Zanatta and Mario Scirea.

Lampre-Caffita for Tour de Suisse

The Lampre-Caffita line up has been finalised for the 69th Tour de Suisse, which starts on Saturday, June 11 with a 170 km stage between Schaffhausen and Weinfelden. The riders are: Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, David Loosli, Marco Marzano, Andreas Matzbacher, Daniele Righi, Marius Sabaliauskas, and Patxi Vila. The team will be directed by Fabrizio Bontempi and Bruno Vicino.

Gerolsteiner names 11 for Tour de France

The Gerolsteiner team has named its "long list" of 11 riders for the Tour de France. Nine will be chosen from this list following the national championships on June 26. The riders are: Robert Förster, René Haselbacher, Sebastian Lang, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rich, Ronny Scholz, Georg Totschnig, Fabian Wegmann, Peter Wrolich, Beat and Markus Zberg

Teams for Tour de Beauce

The organizers of the Tour de Beauce Bell in Canada have announced the final list of 15 teams that will take the start of the 20th edition of this race next Thursday, June 14, in St. Georges:

Symmetrics (Can)
Italpasta Transport Belmire c.c. (Can)
Volkswagen-Trek (Can)
Canada (Can)
Québec (Can)
Yéti-Procycle (Can)
Navigators insurance cycling team (USA)
Health Net pro cycling team pres. by Maxxis (USA)
Jittery Joe's - Kalahari (USA)
NERAC.com (USA)
CRCA / SAKONET technologies (USA)
Paged-MBK-Scout (Pol)
Stevens racing (Ger)
Cyclingnews.com (Aus)
Amore & Vita Beretta (Pol)

NORBA #3 includes downhill events

Gravity racing will make its 2005 debut at the Shimano NORBA USA National Mountain Bike Series at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, June 16-19. After a two month interruption, the series returns with the third round of cross country disciplines as a strong field of Olympians and World and National Champions returns to Park City for a NORBA National for the first time since 2001.

In the traditional Olympic-style cross country events, a deep collection of elite-level riders is expected and is led by current series leaders Sue Haywood (Davis, W.V.) and Geoff Kabush (Can). Haywood kicked off her 2005 campaign with two solid results: an overall win at the NORBA opener in Boerne, Texas, and a second place effort in round two in Phoenix. Challenging Haywood will be Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Katerina Hanusova (CZE), Willow Koerber (Pisgah Forest, N.C.), Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Kerry Barnholt (Boulder, Colo.) and Dara Marks-Marino (Flagstaff, Ariz.).

Noticeably absent at Deer Valley will be 2004 U.S. Olympic Team member Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, Calif.). She will be preparing for the following weekend's World Cup race in Canada. Currently ranked third in the world, McConneloug is sitting fifth in the overall World Cup standings after three events thanks to top-10 finishes in all four events thus far, including two fifth-place finishes. McConneloug's absence could open the door for a relatively new face to grace the podium.

A former world champion and two-time Olympian, Dunlap also has six U.S. national mountain bike titles to her credit and her talent is further complimented by arguably the strongest team. Riding for the Luna Women's Team, Dunlap is backed by teammates Hanusova and last season's NORBA series points leader Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.), both threats to victories in Park City in their own right.

On the men's side, Cyclingnews diarist Geoff Kabush has been the dominant rider on the domestic circuit so far in 2005 and is the favourite heading into Park City. Kabush claimed wins at the NORBA stop in Phoenix and at the Sea Otter Classic earlier this season. The current series leader in both the cross country and short track disciplines is on his way to repeating both of the NORBA titles he captured in '04.

2008 Olympic-hopeful Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.) already has a win on the NORBA circuit this year and has consistently been the top American this season in world cup events. His eighth place finish at last weekend's world cup in Willingen, Germany puts him on pace for a win at Deer Valley.

2004 U.S. Olympic team members Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.) will also be on hand. Horgan-Kobelski, the defending U.S. national champion in both cross country and short track disciplines, will saddle up for his first major event since breaking seven ribs and fracturing his sacrum on a high speed descent at the Sea Otter Classic in April. Wells is coming off of a successful road campaign that included a second place finish at the Tour of Connecticut before heading into the heart of the domestic mountain bike season.

Under the rising star category, 21-year-old Australian Trent Lowe represents the next generation of world-class cyclists. Sitting second in the overall NORBA standings behind Kabush, Lowe also captured the best young rider jersey at April's Tour de Georgia on his way to placing 11th overall in the major international stage race. With loads of potential on pavement or dirt, Lowe will also compete for a spot on the podium against the veterans.

Canadian Olympic team member Seamus McGrath is also likely to land on the podium giving Canada a powerful 1-2 punch along with Kabush.

In the stage race format, cross country riders will compete in three events - the Olympic bobsled time trial and the cross country and short track races - for an overall cumulative time that will determine the event winner.

Gravity pulls riders to Deer Valley

The first of six series events throughout the summer for gravity riders, the Deer Valley NORBA National will also feature some of the world's top downhill and dual slalom athletes as riders begin their quest for an overall series title in Park City.

Leading the list of featured competitors are several distinguished entrants including current U.S. national champion Brian Lopes (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and reigning world champion and '04 NORBA series overall winner Eric Carter (Temecula, Calif.). Lopes and Carter's consistent appearances on the podium in mountain cross and dual slalom events, along with their history as two of the sport's most decorated riders, set the scene for a competitive men's dual slalom event on Friday afternoon. Carter's participation may ultimately be a game-time decision however as he is recovering from a broken ankle recently suffered in training. If Carter's unable to go, other notable riders like Mike King (San Diego, Calif.) and Brian Schmith (Lancaster, Pa.) will have one less man standing in their way of success.

The women's dual slalom field also boasts notable talent as U.S. national champion Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and last season's overall NORBA series champion Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.) headline the start list.

With downhill racing also making its '05 debut, current national champion Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and last year's NORBA series winner Greg Minnaar (RSA) highlight the men's field, while Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif.) opens up defense of her NORBA crown from a year ago.

The NORBA event begins 17 days of competitive cycling in Park City, as USA Cycling will also hold its annual national road championships at the Park City Cycling Festival June 21-July 2. In all, 125 national championship jerseys will be up for grabs in elite, master, U23, junior and paralympic categories in road, time trial and criterium events.

For more information, visit www.norbanationals.com and www.parkcitycyclingfest.com.

Killeen hoping for another Commonwealth Games medal

British mountain biker Liam Killeen aims to repeat his Commonwealth Games bronze medal winning performance in Melbourne next year. Killeen was 20 when he finished third in the cross country race at Manchester in 2002, his first medal at senior international level. Three years later he has gained experience on the international circuit, including a fifth place in the cross country event at the Athens 2004 Olympics and a string of top-10 World Cup finishes.

Liam has fond memories of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and believes his extra experience will help him achieve another podium finish at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, subject to selection. "I was expecting to be in the top five, but I had an exceptionally good race on the day," he recalled. "I felt very good and had prepared really well.

"I'm sure I can repeat that level of performance. I'm definitely going for a medal and I'm pretty keen for it to be gold, but I know it won't be an easy race."

Although a podium position has eluded him in the World Cup - his highest finish to date was a fourth at Fort William last year - he believes it is only a matter of time until he medals in the World Cup. "I feel the podium is where I should be. There are about 10 guys who are on a fairly similar level and it's just about who is having a good day," said the 23 year-old after his sixth place finish in the fourth round of this year's cross country World Cup in Willingen, Germany.

Liam's latest performance in Germany followed a 12th place and two eighths in the 2005 World Cup series, pushing him up a place to eighth overall as the series reached its half way mark.

He will have an opportunity to check out some of his potential Commonwealth Games opposition at the next round of the World Cup in Canada later this month. Canadian riders took the gold and silver medals at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. They haven't raced in this year's World Cup but are likely to be out in force on their home territory. But Liam believes the Australians will provide his main opposition in Melbourne. "The Australians will be very competitive," he said. "They will be in good shape because it is there racing season. I would prefer to race a bit later in the year, but I know I'll be able to get my head around it."

Before the Commonwealth Games come around, Killeen will compete at his first senior World Championships in Livigno, Italy in August - he won silver at last year's Under-23 World Championships at Les Gets, France. British fans can see him in action in the final round of this year's World Cup series, which takes place at Fort William in Scotland on September 10.

Evening racing in Ireland

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Taking advantage of the long summer evenings, the Lucan CC, which has a long history with the 'Stagg Cycles', will stage three evening events beginning next Monday, June 13. Batterstown, Co. Meath, will stage the first event, where it is intended to use the Mullagh Circuit. Then it's back to the Phoenix Park for round two, and the final round on Wednesday evening will be in Batterstown with the more difficult Grange Circuit coming into play. The scheduled start time is 7:30pm for each race with the prize presentation taking place at Cafferys Pub in Batterstown.

All categories are welcome to participate, but the Lucan club would be obliged if stewards from the clubs in Leinster could be hand to help out.

This event is a welcome addition for the juniors who are gearing themselves up for the MDonnelly Junior Tour, which goes ahead in Castlebar for six days next month. The tour has opted out of Waterford and gone Westford for the first time in its 27-year history.

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