Latest Cycling News for June 13, 2005
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
By Hedwig Kröner
After the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, in which Lance Armstrong finished fourth at 0'59 behind winner Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) and where the six-time Tour de France winner described himself as not being "explosive and able to make a selection", his biggest opponent, 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), was very happy with his yesterday's Tour de Suisse individual time trial win, which earned him the Yellow leader's jersey. "The victory in front of all of these fans was great," Ullrich said post-stage. "I wanted to reach my limit, and that worked out perfectly for me, even if my form isn't at Tour de France level yet."
Ullrich, who was well ahead of other specialists Bradley McGee (Francaise des Jeux, at 0'15), Michael Rogers (Quick.Step, at 0'18), Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo, at 0'39) and Serguei Gonchar (Domina Vacanze, at 0'40), also said that the settings of his Giant time trial bike had been improved since the Vuelta a Aragon. Armstrong, on the other hand, lost a few seconds to the Dauphiné time trial winner Santiago Botero (Phonak), 26 to be precise, to place third in that important pre-Tour test, and said he wasn't "overwhelmingly pleased" with his result, but nevertheless "on schedule". Armstrong now plans to recon some Tour stages and further build up his form by specific training, as he told Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney in an exclusive interview.
Meanwhile, at the Tour de Suisse, "Jan made a good and powerful impression," T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer said about his rider after the time trial yesterday, which admittedly included less climbing than its Dauphiné counterpart in Roanne. "It's important that his form increases steadily. The Tour de Suisse has a high status, but whether we will defend the Yellow jersey remains to be seen. I'll see what Jan can do once he reaches his limits."
Today's stage three of the Tour de Suisse will take the riders up the Arlberg-Pass at 1,793 m to finish in the famous ski resort St. Anton. Look out for Cyclingnews' live coverage of the event, starting at 14.30 pm CET.
Phonak confident for Tour de France
Swiss team Phonak's manager Andy Rihs is looking forward to the Tour de France as Santiago Botero, Floyd Landis and Oscar Pereiro proved to be in good shape at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, where especially the Colombian made a superb come-back after two unsuccessful years at T-Mobile. "The members of our team are able to dominate the race," Rihs replied when asked what had impressed him most about Phonak's riding at the French event. "They never ceased to influence the outcome of this very hard stage race. Santiago Botero is in the same shape as in 2002, when he won the Tour's time trial as well as a similar mountain stage. He placed fourth on GC that year, and is on the same level again now."
Asked if he thought if a podium placing was within reach at the 2005 'Grande Boucle', Rihs replied, "In cycling, hoping is a rule. But I don't want to overestimate his magnificent performances. Lance Armstrong took part in the Dauphiné, but Jan Ullrich, as well as a number of other Top Ten contenders, was missing. But today, we are probably one of the three best teams in the world."
Bittersweet Dauphiné for Leipheimer
Team Gerolsteiner's recap' of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, where front man Levi Leipheimer placed third on general classification, is an overall positive one. The management of the German team was happy about its captain's placing and its rider's general performances, but nevertheless had some regrets as the result could have been even better. "Today, it was like in the other stages: The other teams let us do nearly all of the work," sport director Raimund Dietzen said after the race. "The boys did a marvelous job for their captain Levi Leipheimer."
In the final part of the stage, the top GC riders increased the rhythm of the race and Yellow jersey wearer Inigo Landaluze wasn't able to follow. In the end, the Spaniard won this year's Dauphiné with an advantage of only 11 seconds to second-placed Santiago Botero (Phonak), with Leipheimer only 38 seconds off. "We couldn't have possibly beaten Botero today, but if the race had lasted one more lap, Levi could have moved up to second for all his hard work," Dietzen continued. "On one hand, the third place is great; on the other, it's a little disappointing to be that near to a victory and not make it. You shouldn't forget that Levi missed out on a stage win only by one second [the time trial on stage three - ed.] and that he beat Armstrong and Vinokourov! Overall, I'm happy that Levi prepared himself so thoroughly here. I'm looking forward to the Tour de France!"
Meanwhile, Gerolsteiner's second Tour de France GC contender, Austrian Georg Totschnig, is racing the Tour de Suisse and placed 14th in the time trial. "This placing is all right," said team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "When you look at the time gaps, you can see how tight it is up there on the ranking. We are more than satisfied and look forward to the next days."
China bemoans UCI decision
China's cycling camp said it would be hard for them to rally to medal victory following a decision by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to take two time trials events out of the Beijing 2008 Olympics programme, namely the Men's Kilo and the Women's 500m time trial. (Also see: Killing the Kilo and the 500)
The move has dealt a hefty blow to the Olympic gold medal dream of Chinese cyclists who clinched the country's first ever Olympic silver in the women's 500-metre time trial at the Athens Games last year. "I was so surprised when I heard the events were removed from the Games," said Tian Junrong, vice-director of China's Administrative Centre of Cycling and Fencing, China's governing body of cycling. "I have to say the changing of events poses an incredible difficulty for us to win an Olympic gold medal on home soil," said Tian.
The time trial event, which made its Olympic debut at Sydney in 2000, is seen as China's sole opportunity to win an Olympic cycling gold at the 2008 Games. Jiang Yonghua had held the world record since the 2002 World Cycling Championships when she took a precious silver at the Athens Games behind Australian Anna Meares, who won the gold in a new world record time. "We have been working hard on the women's 500-metre time trial over the past years and our cyclists did make great improvements," Tian continued. "But now we will have to change the training plan in the coming three years and put more effort into other events."
The 32-year-old Jiang echoed Tian's sentiments, saying the new rules could possibly put an end to her professional career. "I don't know why they made such changes and this is certainly a disaster for me," she said. "I will have to switch to other cycling events or just to retire after the Tenth National Games this autumn, anyway, it's still too early to make the decision."
Courtesy of China Daily
Klöden Daddy again
T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden may have had a disappointing Critérium du Dauphine Libéré, but he had good news on the home front: Girlfriend Bettina gave birth to a baby daughter over the weekend, Leticia, the couple's second daughter. Both mother and child are well off.
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Val di sole Cup 2005
The XC Val di sole Cup, which will take place in Malè Val di Sole, Northern Italy from June 18-19 will see two of the greatest World cup 2005 contenders take the start next week: Olympic and World champion Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos) and the winner of the Liquigas Cup 2005 and the World Cup#3 in Houffalize, Marco Bui (Full Dynamix).
The XC race of Malé, which is organized since 1998, will also be the second and last event of the European Cup 2005. Furthermore, the second edition of the European Master XC Championship will also take place on the same track, which is described as traditional by the organisers. Located in the "Bosco dell'imperatore", it is quite technical with 70 percent on 2-3m large paths and the remainder on single tracks. There will be 7 km-long loop as well as a circuit of 3 km.
The Val di Sole Cup 2005 schedules as follows on Sunday, June 19:
09.30 a.m.: Junior M (4 laps, km 30)
There is still time for registrations until June 16, 2005 via e-mail: email@example.com or fax + 39 0463/900074 with all the required data according to the UCI rules. Racing fee is 15 Euros, including the obligatory pasta party on Sunday night. For more information, go to www.valdisolecup.it
Online registration open for BC Superweek
Riders can now register on-line for BC Superweek, Canada's richest week of bike racing from July 15-24, 2005. Based in and around Vancouver, Canada, BC Superweek features seven races in 10 days, including the Tour de Delta (July 15-17), the Tour de Gastown (July 20), and the Tour de White Rock (July 22-24).
In 2004, North America's top cycling teams, including Navigators, Health Net, Jelly Belly, Jittery Joes, Sierra Nevada, Symmetrics, Quark and Rona competed for $50,000 in cash prizes. At the Tour de Gastown alone, 30,000 spectators turned out to watch cycling greats Henk Vogels, Gord Fraser, Tyler Farrar, Marty Nothstein, Sarah Uhl and Alison Sydor race for a chance to add their names to a stellar list of past champions that includes six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
The early registration deadline for all races is July 1, 2005. For further information and registration, go to www.bcsuperweek.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)