First Edition Cycling News for June 18, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
Tour de Suisse stage 7
Rogers: "No saving any energy here"
By Anthony Tan in Lenk
After an audacious move on Stage 6, where he attacked a select group containing Jan Ullrich and Bradley McGee, Michael Rogers now finds himself the current leader of the Tour de Suisse. It's an enviable position to be in, but with two of the most arguably difficult stages remaining, it's also one full of pressure.
"I saw the opportunity to take the yellow jersey, and if the stage came, that was a bonus. But first and foremost, it was the yellow jersey," said Rogers to Cyclingnews on the rationale behind his move on yesterday's 33 kilometre-long climb to Arosa, which was won by Saunier-Duval's sole American, Chris Horner.
"Yesterday does give me a lot of confidence, but in saying that, there are two really hard days ahead. Not only tomorrow, but the day after. As you've probably seen, there's not much flat; it's only short, but it's hard."
The 25 year-old from Australia's capital city of Canberra is, along with fellow countryman Bradley McGee (Française des Jeux), a time-triallist-cum-climber. Rogers is more adept at longer TT distances, having won back-to-back world championship titles the past two years, while McGee is a former world junior pursuit champion on the track and was part of Australia's gold medal-winning squad in the teams pursuit last August, at the Athens Olympic Games. However, both have transformed their abilities against the clock to become stage racers in their own right, whilst retaining most of their raw power to still motor on the flat.
Out of the two and including another Australian, Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), Rogers has been tipped as Australia's biggest Tour de France hope. Much was expected of him at last year's Grand Boucle, but for one reason or another, he wasn't able to deliver on what many thought he could promise, though still finishing with a credible 22nd place in Paris.
Maybe it's a small part of the reason why Rogers says he's prepared to lay everything on the line in the next two days. And by that, he means everything
"I think I'm in a good opportunity here, and there's no saving any energy here... I'll hang onto the jersey till I drop. I think it's always a mistake to be saving your energy for down the road, because down the road might never arrive. When opportunities come, I'm the kind of person who likes to take them, and that's the way I'll race the next two days," he said.
"So..." he says to Cyclingnews, "we just have to play our cards right. I don't think we can go into the race hoping for Plan A; we have to have Plan B, C and D as well, you know. That's a part of cycling - anything can happen, and I have to expect that in the next few days."
Today, on the road to Lenk, his Quick.Step-Innergetic team simply did what it needed to do, only letting a break go in the early kilometres, with the stage won by Team CSC's Linus Gerdemann. In tomorrow's Stage 8, his team plans to do the same, although with another mountain-top finish in Verbier, the end result is certain to be different.
"I think tomorrow, a lot of people are going to try and make the break again, so I think we're going to control the race till the last climb. And then, whoever's the strongest, wins."
With the top 10 riders all within two minutes of each other, Rogers is experienced enough to know it's not over till it's over, rating the team from Saunier Duval-Prodir as perhaps his biggest threat. "There are three or four riders that can be dangerous, and they have some cards to play with those three or four riders," he said.
"But I'm not really considering anything till it's done; I think it's too early to say it's over," cautioned Rogers.
"I mean, if there were two flat stages the next few days, I could be quite confident with the team that I have that we could control the race - but there's two days which are probably the two hardest days of the race, and if I do go on to win, it will cross my mind when it's over."
Rogers to T-Mobile
Although he is enjoying good support from Quick.Step in the Tour de Suisse, Michael Rogers will ride his next season in the pro peloton in the colours of T-Mobile. The official announcement is due only after September 1, 2005 - the beginning of the transfer period - but Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad had the story already today.
"It's a pity," said Quick.Step's manager Patrick Lefévère. "But it's a reality. He's leaving us." Although Lefévère did not say whether he knew if Rogers was signing with T-Mobile, he said, "When I heard the price from his manager Paul De Geyter, I said 'Good luck'. The problem is that boys of his level get paid for what they are expected to achieve, not on the basis of what they've achieved in the past. But he will not be substituted for another big Tour hope. We simply cannot pay for that."
Hondo accepts suspension
German cyclist Danilo Hondo, who tested positive for the forbidden drug Carphedon this spring, has accepted the one-year suspension of the Swiss cycling federation and will not appeal. His attorney, Michael Lehner, confirmed the decision and said that it will be possible for Hondo to return to a ProTour team as it is stated in the judgment, "the intention [of an infraction - ed.] could not be proven."
In fact, the quantity of Carphedon found in Hondo's body was so small that it could not have had a significant effect on performance. Nevertheless, the substance developed in Eastern bloc labs in the 1980's is available in Europe only by purchase on the Internet. Hondo, who always maintained his innocence, could not explain how it came into his body. "I will be a different man after this," he said. "The whole affair changed my personality a lot. I hope to come back to cycling without wearing the stigma of a doper. One year is tough, but it also shows that the court made a step towards me. This judgment gives me the chance to reintegrate."
Hondo may likely return to his previous squad Gerolsteiner when he will get back to pro cycling on April 1, 2006. Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer had declared previously that he wanted to examine the judgment to see "if we can give Danilo a second chance." Holczer insisted that this may only be possible if the judgment provided doubt about his guilt.
Cioni will defend national time trial championship
Dario Cioni (Liquigas-Bianchi) will take part in the time trial opening the Settimana Tricolore, the Italian Cycling National Championships next Tuesday, June 21. The 30 year-old is ready to defend his title of Italian time trial champion.
"I rested a little to recover after the Giro d'Italia," he said. "This week I started to train regularly again. The time trial championship is an important goal in my race season: I've grown fond of the Italian champion jersey and I'd like to hold on to it for another year. Also, the Tour de France is starting soon. This year after the time trial stage one, we have to wait until stage 20 to have another individual chrono. As for me, I'll try to do my best in the overall ranking and support the strategy of the team."
Domina Vacanze to Eindhoven
Italian team Domina Vacanze has announced its roster for the ProTour team time trial in Eindhoven next Sunday. The six riders participating will be: Alessandro Cortinovis, Sergio Ghisalberti, Andriy Grivko, Maxim Iglinskiy, Alessandro Vanotti and Matej Jurco.
Directeur sportif Oscar Pellicioli said, "The team is well-prepared, training all week with the conviction of getting a good result. Of course, we also race this team time trial to see where we stand for the Tour de France."
Reaching up: Agritubel
French Continental team Agritubel is gearing up to enter the ProTour, maybe as soon as next year. The budget of the squad will be increased from 2.8 million Euros to 4.5 in 2006. The team, which did not get a much-hoped-for Tour de France wildcard this year, plans to expand its roster to 21 riders, including "some big names," according to team manager David Fornes.
Pro cycling media coverage increased
At the recent Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, 185 journalists (written, radio-TV and photographers) were accredited, which is a significant increase in media presence compared to previous years, in which the average was around 100.
This positive trend was also recorded at the Tour de Suisse: 180 journalists (around twenty more than in 2004) covered the race, and TV channels from 9 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan) showed daily coverage. It should be noted that Danish, Japanese, and Norwegian TV broadcast the event for the first time. "Highlights", a selection of key moments in the race, were shown in 130 countries, including the US, Australia and South Africa.
Latest doping sanctions
The following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences by their various national federations:
Carlos Lopez Gonzalez (Mex), tested positive for EPO and had a T/E of 9.3 during the Vuelta a Guatemala on October 29, 2004, sanctioned by Federacion Mexicana de Ciclismo, suspension of 2 years from February 9, 2005 to February 9, 2007, disqualification of the race, fine of CHF 1,000.
David Estuardo Calanche Jerez (Gua), tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide, during the Vuelta a Guatemala on October 23, 2004, sanctioned by Federacion Nacional de Ciclismo de Guatemala, suspension of 2 months from January 28, 2005 to March 28 2005, disqualification of the race, warning, reprimand, fine of CHF 1,000.
Roland Green (Can), tested positive for prednisolone during the UCI MTB World Cup in Houffalize (Bel) on May 30, 2004, sanctioned by Canadian Cycling Association, suspension of 6 months from July 5, 2004 to April 4, 2005, disqualification of the race, fine of CHF 2,000.
Technocycle BRC/Dynaflo Racing seeking riders
Technocycle BRC/Dynaflo Racing, a USCF amateur team based out of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, is looking for two riders for its men's category 1/2 team. The team is looking for two consistent riders to participate in the Pennsylvania Cycling Association best all around rider series, as well as the Tour de Toona in July and a potential bid to the Univest Grand Prix in September. Selected riders will receive a rider allowance, housing for overnight races as well as uniforms and pro deals on various equipment. Interested riders should forward resumes to Nick Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cascade Classic offers women's teams travel grants
In an effort to bolster women's participation, the organizers of the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon are again offering $250 travel grants to qualifying women's teams. "This is a major women's event, but historically our numbers have been way down compared to our men's categories, to the point we've talked in the past about ditching the women's race in favour of another men's field," Assistant Race Director Brad Cockman said. "Of course we don't want to do this, but being that this is a fundraiser for the Mount Bachelor Ski Education Foundation, a not-for-profit entity, finances do figure in." The women's race takes place July 7-10 and offers a prize purse of $7500 thanks to contributions from the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund.
For more information, visit www.cascade-classic.org
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)