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Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for June 20, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Latest ProTour rankings

After the completion of the Tour de Suisse and the Team Time Trial in Eindhoven today, the UCI has issued a new set of ProTour rankings. There is very little change at the top of the individual rankings, apart from Mick Rogers (Quick.Step) moving up from 29th to 8th and Tour de Suisse winner Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) slotting himself into 21st, and CSC's Frank Schleck moving from 64th to 26th.

In the teams rankings, Phonak, a team that was initially left out of the ProTour, has now claimed the top spot courtesy of its second place in Eindhoven and consistency in the Tour de Suisse. Davitamon-Lotto and Rabobank occupy the second and third positions. The nations rankings see Italy, Spain, and the USA in the top three spots.

Rankings as of June 19, 2005

Individuals
 
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                      184 pts
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step                                112
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                    111
4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                           94
5 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems      93
6 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team   89
7 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                          86
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step                             80
9 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                              80
10 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team   77
 
Teams
 
1 Phonak Hearing Systems                                     230 pts
2 Davitamon-Lotto                                            224
3 Rabobank                                                   222
4 Team CSC                                                   214
5 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                     188
6 Fassa Bortolo                                              182
7 Credit Agricole                                            177
8 Liberty Seguros - Würth Team                               173
9 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                         161
10 T-Mobile Team                                             158
 
Nations
 
1 Italy                                                      540 pts
2 Spain                                                      337
3 United States Of America                                   243
4 Belgium                                                    223
5 Germany                                                    211
6 Australia                                                  173
7 Netherlands                                                112
8 France                                                      94
9 Colombia                                                    94
10 Ukraine                                                    86
 
Full rankings: ProTour, Teams, Nations

Valverde on track for Tour

Although he missed out on the last stages of the Tour de Suisse after abandoning because of a throat infection, Illes Balears' Alejandro Valverde has "good feelings about the Tour" according to Spanish newspaper AS. After stage four of the Swiss pre-Tour de France test, Valverde had a light fever. "It wasn't very important," he said, "but my team director Eusebio Unzué decided that it was better to take me out of the race. With my body working to fight off the infection, it was better not to make efforts that I might have paid for afterwards," Valverde explained.

The Spanish Tour de France hope has been getting back to training yesterday, and is hopeful his form will be satisfactory for July. "During the race, I felt better than I had actually hoped for. Of course, I still have to increase my level of fitness before the Tour de France," Valverde conveyed. "I thought that I would lack the rhythm of competition in Switzerland [season's break - ed.] but on Monday I found myself with the seven or eight best riders going flat out in front. I could have tried to win that stage, but there was a descent before the finish and I didn't want to risk anything. But being right inside the fight gave my the confidence that I'm doing well."

The young Spaniard would have liked to continue the race. "There were some stages with very hard stretches that would have been a good training for the mountains of the Tour. And people to measure up with, like Ullrich, who's already very lean. There will be great fight in France!", Valverde reckoned. In the meantime, besides training, the 25 year-old will compete in the Spanish Championships taking place in his home region of Murcia. "It is my dream to win it on home ground," Valverde continued. "Then, at the Tour, my intention is to get to know the race, gain experience, help our team leader Mancebo and try for a stage win."

Zabel contemplates his future

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile star sprinter Erik Zabel is contemplating his future, ranging from which races he will take part in next to which team he will be with next year. According to an interview in Sunday's edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the 34 year-old confirmed that he has contract offers for next year not only from T-Mobile but also from other teams, including Gerolsteiner. He plans to make his decision no later than the HEW-Cyclassics race on July 31.

It took him a while to accept the team's decision not to name him to the Tour de France team, Zabel admitted. "In the first two or three days I had to force myself to get on my bike again, for the first time in my career. I was already getting ready for the Tour. It was hard to screw my emotions back down. I had to come to terms with it and then find a new sporting challenge. Now I've found it," he said. His new season's goal is now winning the World Championship in Madrid in September.

Vino to leave Germany?

According to German news agency dpa, Alexandre Vinokourov is considering leaving the T-Mobile squad after this season. The winner of this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Dauphiné Libéré's stage to Mont Ventoux is reported to have "serious contacts" with a French team, and a previous report had him linked with Discovery Channel.

Vino's teammate Matthias Kessler may also change squads, as the 26 year-old has been linked with the other German ProTour team, Gerolsteiner. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has also acknowledged the strong rumour that Michael Rogers will join the team next year. "The Bonn-based team confirmed its interest in the 24-year-old from Barham. Both parties have reached an agreement, although no contact has been signed yet," said a news article on T-Mobile's website.

CSC confirms eight for the Tour

Team CSC's manager Bjarne Riis has now selected eight of the nine riders that will race for the team in the upcoming Tour de France. The squad will be led by Ivan Basso, and contain several good time trialists in the form of Bobby Julich, Jens Voigt, and David Zabriskie, with Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Giovanni Lombardi, Carlos Sastre, and Nicki Sørensen able to provide further support for Basso. The final spot will go to either Jakob Piil or Luke Roberts.

Eight riders for Rabobank's Tour squad

Rabobank has also confirmed eight of its nine riders for the Tour de France, as chosen by Erik Breukink and Frans Maassen. The eight are: Dutchmen Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Karsten Kroon, Gerben Löwik, Joost Posthuma and Pieter Weening, Denis Menchov from Russia and Michael Rasmussen from Denmark. The ninth spot will be decided after the national championships this coming weekend. Löwik, Posthuma and Weening will make their debut in the Tour de France for the Rabobank team. Erik Dekker is the most experienced rider. The 2005 Tour de France will be his eleventh mission. For Michael Boogerd it will be his tenth Tour de France.

Bad crash for Wooldridge

Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Steve Wooldridge has had a serious crash in a tour race in France on Friday. The Australian was on a descent when he crashed and broke his jaw in five places. Wooldridge lost several teeth and was transferred from France to Cologne after seeking practical medical advice.

He will be undergoing a major surgery and will also require wiring of the jaw in a week's time. His wife Danielle is on her way to be with him as he will be laid up in hospital for some time.

Colavita/Cooking Light signs Christina Peick

Team Colavita Sports LLC, which oversees the Colavita/Cooking Light Women’s Cycling Team, today announced that Danish standout Christina Peick will be joining Colavita/Cooking Light for the remainder of the 2005 season. "I'm very excited about this opportunity," said Peick. "Colavita/Cooking Light is a team with several very promising young racers, and I hope to be able to help them develop."

The 31 year-old from Frederiksberg, Denmark was one of the founding members of Team S.A.T.S., a Danish UCI Trade Team. During her three years with Team S.A.T.S., Peick competed in most of the world’s top races, including the women’s Tour de France, finishing 37th overall in 2003. A natural all-rounder, Peick was normally cast in a supporting role for riders such as former World Champion Susanne Ljungskog. However, when given her own opportunities, Peick has performed well - a former medallist at the Danish National Championships, she is a favourite to win gold in the Danish National Time Trial later this month.

"Christina brings a lot to the table for this team," Colavita/Cooking Light director John Alsedek said. "On the bike, she’s a steady, intelligent racer who competes hard and makes good choices. Off the bike, she does a great job of representing the team’s sponsors in a positive light. We're very glad to have Christina on board."

Following the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Peick heads home to Denmark for the National Championships, but will return to compete in the Tour de Toona, Bank of America Invitational, San Francisco Grand Prix, Univest Grand Prix, and the other major races on the team schedule for July, August and September.

Colavita/Cooking Light will be announcing one further roster addition in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit the team website at www.colavita.com

Honolulu Century Ride on September 25

The Honolulu Century Ride, first established in 1981, will take place this year on Sunday, September 25. It will begin and end at Kapiolani Park, located just west of famous Diamond Head in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The untimed ride features a mostly flat course with the possibility to ride 20, 25, 40, 50, 75 or 100 miles.

In 2004 about 3,000 riders of all ages participated, with over half of them coming from outside of the United States, mainly from Japan. The Hawaii Bicycling League warmly welcomes riders of all ages and abilities from all over the world.

Click here to download entry form, complete entry and mail to HBL. www.hbl.org/Docs_and_forms/HCR_app_2005.pdf

Or, register online at active.com: www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1236553

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