First Edition Cycling News for June 15, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Tour de Suisse stage 4 wrap
Technical finish suits McEwen
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon Lotto) found the technical finish of the Tour de Suisse's longest day to his liking as he carried the white green and gold Australian champion's jersey across the line in first place in Bad Zurzach yesterday. McEwen beat out Daniele Colli (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Aurelien Clerc (Phonak) for the win, with other top sprinters such as Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Baden Cooke (Francaise de Jeux) not far behind.
"It was a technical finish; it was something that suited me with a few corners and a little bit uphill," said McEwen after the stage. "Just at the end, before the last corner, I got a little bit caught, had to brake slightly and then go again. But I was able to wriggle my way out of the first two guys through the corner, and the last 50 metres, I was able to enjoy my sprint... it was a nice day out (smiles)."
McEwen said he was especially pleased to win here because of the quality of the field. "I think if you look at what races are on in June, most sprinters have chosen this race because the sprinters get a few opportunities, he said. " [At] the Dauphiné, you got one chance and the rest was in the Alps, so most of the good sprinters have chosen here.
"If you look at the list, there's myself, there's Boonen, there's Cooke. Eisel already won a stage and he's a fast guy. Freire, of course, who's more looking to test himself to see how he's going; I was talking to him the other day and I don't know what we'll call it, but his 'undercarriage' is not too good.
"But I think the list of sprinters here is quite impressive, and this close to the Tour, everybody's going pretty good. So I think a stage win at the Tour de Suisse with this field is pretty worthy."
McEwen doesn't intend this to be his last win of the week either. Today's stage is also one for the sprinters. "I think I've got another chance [on Wednesday] and perhaps on stage seven as well," said McEwen.
And then, of curse, there's the Tour de France. "It's good to keep winning and it's great to test my legs with a win ready for the Tour de France," he said. "As ever I'll be going for a sprint win in the first week of the Tour and then I'll keep an eye on the points competition."
The long stage was animated by a three-rider break that included McEwen's team-mate Bart Dockx along with Allan Johansen (CSC) and Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo). The trio got away with 136km to go and built a maximum lead of 7 minutes 20 seconds with 66 kilometres to go. The peloton was reluctant to chase in earnest and it looked like they might stay away until Quick Step powered the pursuit to try and set things up for Boonen. When it became obvious that the gap was going to close, Davitamon Lotto contributed and the escapees were caught with 4km to go.
Race leader Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) and second-placed Bradley McGee (Francaise des Jeux) both finished in the pack, so there was no change in the overall lead.
A two-pronged Tour strategy for Davitamon-Lotto
By Anthony Tan in Bad Zurzach
After their successful 'experiment' at the first Grand Tour of the year, the Giro d'Italia, Davitamon-Lotto directeur-sportif Hendrik Redant has said the team will follow through with a similarly balanced line-up of riders at the 2005 Tour de France.
Speaking with Cyclingnews at the Stage 4 start of the Tour de Suisse in Vaduz, Redant, team manager at the race, was quietly confident about the team's two-pronged race strategy come July. After all, it worked in Italy, where super-sprinter Robbie McEwen won three stages in the first two weeks, and 26 year-old Belgian revelation Wim Van Huffel rode into Milano as the 11th best rider in the race.
"Yeah, for sure, Robbie winning three stages is perfect, of course", said Redant, "and it was a mixed team."
"Normally, if we go to Italy, we make a team especially for Robbie, but this time, we had a mix with some general classification riders in Wim Van Huffel, [Mauricio] Ardila and [Christophe] Brandt. In the beginning, they even worked really hard to get Robbie in front, so it was nice to see that - and we also won the Super Team classification, as well as Wim Van Huffel being one of the revelations of the season. I think we can look back on a really special Tour of Italy for us."
Click here for the full low-down on Davitamon's Tour plans.
Serguei Gonchar (Domina Vacanze) is out of the Tour of Switzerland with a suspected respiratory infection. The Ukrainian was coughing the morning of yesterday's fourth stage, and showed showed signs of bronchitis the previous night, according to race radio, leading to his withdrawal from the race.
Tour set for German stages in 2006 too
As well as a start in Strasbourg, the 2006 Tour de France have road stages in Germany, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has confirmed during a visit to Europapark Rust.
"The 2006 Tour will start in Strasbourg," he said. "There are also more stages in Germany planned."
According to Tour de France boss Jean-Marie LeBlanc, seven German cities have applied to host stages of the 2006 Tour, including Freiburg which played host to the Tour five years ago. A decision is expected in the autumn about which cities the Tour will visit.
This year's Tour will also spend a couple of days the other side of the German border, passing through Rastatt and Ettlingen to Karlsruhe. The following day the race will start in Pforzheim and ride through Bad Herrenalb, Bühl, Achern und Offenburg before returning to the Alsace.
T-Mobile targets Asturias and Naranco
While Jan Ullrich maintains a slender lead in the Tour of Switzerland (a race which he says he's not focusing on winning but using as Tour de France preparation) other members of T-Mobile are aiming for victory in Spain over the next few days.
Paco Lara will spearhead the team's seven-man squad at the 49th Vuelta a Asturias (UCI category 2.1, June 17-21). Lara was 11th at the recent Tour of Catalonia and T-Mobile considers him to be a GC contender in the lower-ranked race. "Paco rode a great race [in Catalonia]," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer. "He was always at the front. That shows the good shape he is currently in."
Lara's GC aims will be supported by Matthias Kessler, Andreas Klier, Jan Schaffrath and Sergey Yakovlev while the team will also be going for stage wins with sprinters Eric Baumann and Erik Zabel.
Five of the Asturias team will also ride today's GP Naranco with Baumann and Kessler sitting out the hilly one-day race. Lara was ninth here last year behind winner Iban Mayo who set a record time for the final ascent of the Monte Naranco.
Van Bon may ride Tour after all
Leon Van Bon's knee problem may not keep him out of the Tour de France after all. His Davitamon Lotto team, which yesterday announced that Van Bon would not ride the Tour, now says he will start the Ster Elektrotoer today after a check-up at the team's training center at Mensana. During the Ster Elektrotoer the team will evaluate Van Bon's Tour de France selection.
Teams for Ster Elektrotoer
Several teams have announced their squads for the four-day Ster Elektrotoer which starts today in the Netherlands.
Quick Step-Innergetic will field Davide Bramati, Wilfried Cretskens, Mads Christensen, Dimitri De Fauw, Ad Engels, Josè Antonio Garrido, Filippo Pozzato, and Nick Nuyens
Gerolsteiner will be represented by Robert Förster, Frank Hoj, Sven Krauß, Andrea Moletta, Volker Ordowski, Michael Rich, Marcel Strauss, and Thomas Ziegler.
The Skil-Moser team, whose Dariusz Rudnicki recently won a stage of the Baltyk-Karkonosze Tour will field Arkadiusz Wotjas, Bert Hiemstra, Bart Voskamp, Jan van Velzen, Marek Wesoly, Andy de Smet, Dariusz Rudnicki, and Christophe Stevens.
Le Roc'h withdraws
In a e-mail sent to a Danish television station, the French journalist Gilles Le Roc'h, has withdrawn his accusations against the CSC team. Last week, Le Roc'h, the president of the International Association of Cycling Journalists (AIJC), alleged that CSC kept files on journalists, classifying them as 'friend' or 'dangerous' according to their likelihood of asking questions about doping. CSC strongly denied the accusations.
JCTDU joins Tour de France caravan
A promotional float for Australia's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under (JCTDU) will be part of the publicity caravan at the Tour de France next month, JCTDU organisers have announced.
South Australian tourism minister Jane Lomax-Smith has today unveiled the central character of the JCTDU's Tour promotion - a bike riding kangaroo character called 'Oppy', after Australian cyclist and politician Sir Hubert Opperman.
For the state of South Australia, the JCTDU is a major showcase event, providing a chance to show off the region whose attractions include the wines made by the race's title sponsor.
"People from around the world line the streets of France in July each year for one of the world's largest and most well-known cycling races," said Lomax-Smith. "It presents an unrivalled opportunity and the perfect audience to promote our state and our very own Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under."
Tour de France organizer Jean-Marie LeBlanc visited the JCTDU in January of this year (see report) and LeBlanc subsequently invited the race to be represented in the Tour's publicity caravan.
It's said the parade will be featured on TdFe broadcasts to two billion people worldwide through 78 channels in 178 countries. Items to promote South Australia will be distributed to the spectators who line the streets of France for the race. "People will receive a mini road sign featuring an Australian kangaroo on one side and details of a competition to win a trip to South Australia in January 2006 on the other," Lomax-Smith added.
Texas driver sentenced for hitting cyclist
A jury in Dallas County has sentenced a driver to five years of probation and two years of community service after finding her guilty of aggravated assault in hitting a cyclist. The jury found that Jane Dolkart, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, used her car as a deadly weapon when she drove into cyclist Tommy Thomas at White Rock Lake last May.
According to a report from the Associated Press, witnesses said Dolkart honked her horn as she followed Thomas along the lake. Thomas suffered cuts and bruises after Dolkart's car hit his bike and dragged him under the car.
Dolkart claimed she had not intended to him Thomas, but he had suddenly slowed as she drove behind him.
Harlem Skyscraper Classic
This Sunday June 19 sees the 32nd edition of New York's annual Harlem Skyscraper Classic. After the cancellation of the New York Cycling Championship, the Skyscraper is the only race to be contested on the public streets of New York City this year.
With the registration of top New York regional crit riders, the 2005 edition promises to be an exciting event for riders and spectators, say the organisers. A top contender to win this year's race is Argentine national champion Alejandro Acton. Acton has earned a reputation as one of the top crit riders in the US this year with a third place in the Athens Twilight Criterium and a fifth place finish in the New Haven Crit Stage in the Tour of Connecticut. Other favourites include Roselvert "Pollo" Marte (GS Mengoni), and Melito "Pulla" Heredia.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)