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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 19, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tour de Suisse Stage 8 wrapup

Lastras leads the Spanish push, Rogers keeps yellow

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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Spanish rider Pablo Lastras (Illes Baleares) took an impressive victory in stage 8 when he outsmarted Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) during the tough finale to Verbier. Lastras, who underwent an operation in March was thrilled to have regained his form so fast, purely from training. He was the strongest survivor of the 13 man breakaway that had stayed away for most of the stage, with Quick.Step keeping an eye on things for race leader Mick Rogers.

In the battle for the general classification, Rogers maintained his 20 second lead over Jan Ullrich and 22 to Brad McGee, who are his closest rivals going into tomorrow's final stage. But Euskaltel's Aitor Gonzalez made a great bid for the GC today by attacking Rogers with 6 km to go, finishing fourth in the stage and putting 1'02 into Rogers.

Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan spoke to Rogers post-stage, where he explained that he was riding at his limit. "Oh yeah - I was going as hard as I could. Aitor [Gonzalez] was just so strong - I couldn't go with him today... tomorrow's going to be a hard day."

Later on, in the press conference, Rogers seemed a little more confident: "Tomorrow should suit me better; the climbs are longer and a little less steep; I mean, everyone's tired...I expect a lot of attacks tomorrow. Everyone's still really close, so they're going to try their best to attack. Tomorrow will be the hardest day of the race: it's going to be short, it's going to be hot, it's going to be fast - so don't expect too many finishers tomorrow."

Another couple of kisses
Photo ©: Sirotti
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With the Tour de France looming, was Rogers worried about spending too much energy here? "No, there's still 10 days [till the Tour], and more than ever, I think it's a good test... I think it's perfect."

Rogers predicted a group of 20 to fight it out to the finish in tomorrow's big mountain stage. "We could see a [front] group of 20 on the first climb and that's it, and another 20 fighting it out till the finish. I'd prefer a flat day (smiles), but the organisers want the best race possible, and the most exciting race right till the finish line."

Who's the favourite to win tomorrow? "Me," concluded Rogers.

Also see:

Stage 8 - Full results, report & photos
Live report
Main & preview
Start list

Past winners
Map
Stages
Photos

McGee in the hurt bag, though still optimistic

By Anthony Tan in Verbier

Bradley McGee (Franšaise Des Jeux)
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In today's eighth stage of the Tour de Suisse, La Franšaise des Jeux team leader Bradley McGee kept his hopes of a high overall finish alive. Finishing in 12th position, 1'21 behind stage winner Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) and in the company of race leader Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), who occupy the two places above him on the overall classification, the 29 year-old retains his third spot overall going into tomorrow's final stage in Ulrichen.

When Cyclingnews caught up with him at the finish line in Verbier, the Sydneysider was satisfied with his efforts, but was understandably in plenty of pain.

"Oh, you don't know what to expect, although with a finish like that, you expect a lot of pain - that's one thing - and we got that," he said when asked whether the stage met his expectations. "They put the squeeze on early; some guys tried to go with it, then got dropped, and it came back. I was just confident enough to let it go a little bit and thought it would come back in the last few k's.

"Though I was in the hurt bag," admitted McGee.

"I was getting dropped, coming back on... but I was still thinking if it came back and it was flat at the finish, I would have a go in the sprint", he said with a chuckle, almost having trouble comprehending what he was saying. "So something must be going alright."

So far, McGee has enjoyed a brilliant tour to date, finishing 15 seconds off Ullrich in last Sunday's time trial and winning the following day's stage in St. Anton. McGee also added his change of training program to accommodate his transformation to a stage race rider has seen him recover much better each day.

"I've been pulling up really good in the mornings. Yesterday [Stage 7], the squeeze was on early - 17 guys up the road and we had no one in it, but it had [Patrick] Sinkewitz and Giuseppe [Guerini], so I had to go across by myself. And that was straight out of the block, so it shows I'm pulling up pretty good. Still hurts, though... "

Going into today's inevitably decisive stage, half of which is uphill, there's still plenty more hurting left, and it appears he isn't thinking about victory just yet. "You can only do what you can do. Again, a lot of climbing; you have your limits - you can only do what you can do," he repeated.

Julich playing a supporter's role

CSC's Bobby Julich has already had a solid season, winning Paris-Nice and Criterium International this spring, and racing well in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. The American is sitting in 21st overall but hasn't targeted the Tour de Suisse; neither is he aiming to do well in the Tour de France.

"Honestly, I have to be realistic," Julich said after stage 8. "I did such a good spring - I've just got to be there for Ivan [Basso] in the Tour. And then once the Tour's over, it's up to Jens and I again to take the leadership roles."

Boonen a DNS on Sunday

Sunday's brutal final stage of the Tour de Suisse will not be graced by Quick.Step's top sprinter Tom Boonen. "He gets an extra day of rest with an eye on the Tour," said team director Wilfried Peeters to Sporza today. "With three cols it's probably not a stage for him. He is the only one who will not start. The rest must help defend the leader's jersey of Michael Rogers."

Bui bounces back in 2005

Bad luck stymies Italian mountain biker's World Cup bid

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Marostica, Italy

Marco Bui
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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Winner of this year's UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XC #3 in Houffalize, Belgium Italian Marco Bui had a training crash last week where he smashed his right ankle and won't participate in the upcoming rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

Barely able to walk when he limped into the Full Dynamix offices in Marostica, Italy, Bui winced when he rolled up his pants to show Cyclingnews his spectacular technicolor bruise on an ankle swollen to twice normal size. Know for being an "osso duro" (hard man) Bui told us that "I crashed hard on a downhill and it didn't seem like (my injury) was too bad, so I kept going for another hour. But when I got off the bike, it was hurting bad!"

Bui first burst on to the international mountain bike scene when he took the World U23 XC championship in ┼re, Sweden as race leader Cadel Evans crashed on final lap. Bui had battled Evans all season in the U23 World Cup but had only won Italian national races until his Swedish victory. But Bui's career hasn't been all good luck as the 27 year old who was born in Mestre, near Venice and lives in Trento, Italy has had plenty of ups and downs in his career.

In 2000, Bui was sporting a rainbow jersey, but was feeling overshadowed on his Full Dynamix trade team by Miguel Martinez, who dominated men's cross-country mountain biking. Bui left Full Dynamix in 2001for the Marin squad and took the Italian championship in 2001, but never quite seemed to find his legs there and eventually came back to the Full Dynamix squad in 2003.

Selected for the Athens Olympics to represent Italy, Bui was out front with Absalon and Brentjens, but eventually faded in the brutal late August heat to finish 10th. Bui was 19th at the 2004 MTB World championships in Les Gets, France and finished the 2004 season with a lowly final World Cup ranking of 51st, something that Bui wasn't content with at all. "This winter, I really focused on my preparation and did some good work", explained Bui when Cyclingnews caught up with him last week. At the 2005 World Cup XC# 1 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium on April 24, Bui's '04 ranking gave him a bad start position, but the Italian managed to stay out of trouble and finished a respectable 21st.

At World Cup XC# 2 in Madrid, a few weeks later, Marco Bui was in the race all day and ended up a solid 5th, and then went back to Italy to clinch the overall win in the Italian national MTB series Liquigas Cup. "I won two of the four races in the series", explained Bui, "so this gave me extra morale for the World Cup."

Marco Bui (Full Dynamix)
Photo ę: Rob Jones
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Bui's World Cup breakthrough finally came in round 3 of the UCI series at Houffalize, Belgium. Houffalize is a monument of mountain biking and Bui prepared specially for it. "I've always like the course and all the fans at Houffalize...it's really special." Bui explained "I in training that there was a compression dip on the course that would make the tubeless tires puncture if you were not careful; it happened to me a couple of times. So when the race started, Sauser and I were out front after the first climb and I let him go first into the (dip). I eased off and he didn't, then he flatted and I was out front all alone. I just cruised along, thinking 'the chasers have to catch me'. It was a really hot day, the first hot day of the year and I stayed at about thirty seconds ahead until the fourth lap. I realized that the other riders weren't catching me so I just went full gas for a lap and got a good lead which I held until the finish. It was really something special to win at Houffalize."

A week later at World Cup XC #4 in Willingen, Germany it was again Bui and Sauser up front, but the Swiss rider didn't puncture and dropped Bui on the penultimate climb of the day to win, with Bui second, 20 seconds back. "The course at Willingen wasn't hard enough for me, but Sauser was really good that day and I was cramping at the end."

Marco Bui's performance was good enough for him to move into third in the overall World Cup standings after Round with 635 points, but Bui's injury will force him to miss the next three rounds in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, Balneario Camboriu, Brazil and America's Angel Fire Resort. "That's really too bad; I thought I had a chance at the World Cup this year but now it's gone," lamented a disappointed Bui. "I'll have to focus on the World Championships (Livigno, Italy September 4th) but it's not the same."

But Bui can also look forward to the World Cup XC #8 finale in Scotland to try and rack up some points to improve his final UCI XC World Cup ranking. "At least I won't finish 51st this year", Bui laughed philosophically as he realized his 2005 World Cup chances had now disappeared.

Galletti's funeral on Monday

The funeral of Italian rider Alessio Galletti, who died of a heart attack last week in the Subida a Naranco, will be held on Monday at 16:30 in the church of Abadia in San Savino, Italy. Galletti's body will be transported back to Italy on Sunday, arriving in Rome in the mid-afternoon. It will be accompanied by his wife Consuelo and sports directors Antonio Salutini and Fabio Becherini.

RAAM riders to raise more money for charity

The 2005 Insight Race Across America (RAAM) kicks off on Sunday in San Diego, CA, with a final destination that is 3050 miles eastwards in Atlantic City, NJ. The ultra-endurance race will be contested by a record field of 158 riders in various categories, and this year a number of them are going to be raising funds for 18 different charities - also a record.

The soloists and teams, and the causes they are supporting are as follows:

1 Urs Koenig (Seattle, WA) Cancer Lifeline
2 Patrick Autissier (Boston, MA) HMS Division of AIDS, RAAM for HIV Vaccine
3 Bob Breedlove (Des Moines, IA) National Osteoporosis Foundation
4 Alessandro Colo' (Rome, ITA) Mensa Dei Poveri (restaurants for the poor)
5 John D'Elia (Middletown, CT) The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund
6 Team Endorphins (Lubbock, TX) Boys & Girls Club of Lubbock TX
7 Team Citta'Della Speranza (Borso del Grappa, (ITA) Citta' Della Speranza Hospital
8 Team Roaring Fork / Volvo (Vail, CO) Border to Border
9 Team Give Life (Arlington, VA) The Give Life Foundation
10 Team Making Cancer History (Houston, TX) M D Anderson Cancer Center
11 Team Beaver Creek ľVail (Vail, CO) Shaw Cancer Center
12 Team JDRF VeloKraft (international) Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
13 Team ALS Bacchetta (San Francisco) ALS March of Faces
14 Team Dry Heat (Litchfield Pk, AZ) United Way; Habitat for Humanity, ADA, LAF
15 Team Donate Life (Davis, CA) Donate Life Foundation
16 Team Mucho Gusto (Denver, CO) Children's Hospital, Denver
17 Team JMI Rookies (San Diego, CA) Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
18 Team Swami's/Raceplan (San Diego, CA) Susan Komen Breast Cancer Fndn
19 Team Kaiser Permanente (San Diego, CA) Ride 2 Remember
20 Landis Team Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ) Lance Armstrong Foundation

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