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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 21, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

A little more Cadel

By Anthony Tan in Switzerland

Finishing in 14th place on the final stage of the Tour de Suisse, Cadel Evans can now go home content his form is on the rise in the lead-up to La Grand Boucle, the Tour de France.

The 28 year-old Davitamon-Lotto leader for the Tour de France rolled into Ulrichen in a small three-man group that also included Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, 4'17 behind stage and eventual race winner Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), with the result seeing him finish the race 15th overall.

"It's not normal for me to be getting dropped from these guys on the climbs, but all things considered, one month ago, I was lying on the side of the road with a fractured collarbone," said Evans to Cyclingnews. "[The form's] not too bad; I just have to be patient... I'm not there with the front guys at the moment, but it's coming."

"Originally, I had Dauphiné down and to do the [ProTour team] time-trial with the guys. But things happen; I had to change the program and I've been happy with it. [My form's] just good enough to race - I'm not competitive - but I can race, and use it for the Tour."

Asked about his plans for the next 10 days leading up to the La Grand Boucle, Evans had a similar answer to that of fellow Australian McGee: rest first, before a little fine-tuning later in the week.

"Yeah, first recover and then train a little bit, which is good," he said about the slight change in dates, which saw the Tour de Suisse moved forward a little in the 2005 cycling calendar. "You get nearly all bases covered in getting ready for the Tour here. It's good to sort of fine-tune a bit; just in training, fine-tune what you're missing out on before the Tour starts, so it works out well, it's good preparation."

Robbie McEwen interview - The psyche of a sprinter

McEwen has established himself as one of his generation's best sprinters, as seen in this year's Giro d'Italia.
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

He was once considered brash, arrogant and awfully quick, all at the same time. But after 10 years in the peloton, when one describes the best road sprinter Australia (and on some days, the world) has ever seen, Robbie McEwen seems to have lost those first two adjectives - though certainly not the third, as Anthony Tan saw with his own eyes on a stage of the Tour de Suisse this week, a race he's using as final preparation for his ultimate goal: the 2005 Tour de France.

For over three years now, ever since he won the coveted Australian Open road title and his first of two Tour de France points jerseys, Robbie McEwen has been at the top of his game.

And in his ten years since turning pro for Rabobank back in 1996, his palmarčs is one of the most impressive out of today's - and yesterday's - generation of sprinters. So is the 32 year old - who confesses that he's turning 33 in less than 10 day's time - simply getting faster and faster?

"I don't think I'm really faster, but I can do it more consistently; I'm a bit stronger, but also consistently stronger," he says to Cyclingnews, lying on his four-star hotel bed in Bad Zurzach the evening after winning the fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse. "I've found over the last three or four years, I'm better at building up to an event and knowing I'm going to be good there."

Click here for the full interview.

Di Luca targets ProTour

After a Giro d'Italia where he spent five days in the leader's pink jersey Danilo Di Luca says he will return to racing for the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup in Hamburg on July 31 with just one aim for the rest of the year: to win the inaugural ProTour series.

His stint in pink at the Giro has shot Di Luca to fame in Italy. "The pink race has made me more popular than I have ever been," he said in a team statement. "One month ago I was known mainly by cycling fans; now I am stopped in the street by children and housewives as well."

However, Di Luca doesn't seem to be letting it go to his head. "As far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed. I'm still the same man," he said.

Aside from a couple of showcase criterium races Di Luca has stayed off the bike since the Giro. He hasn't been idle though. "I couldn't disappoint those who asked for a little bit of my attention and time," he said, adding that he'd been to, "several parties (the nicest one in my town of Spoltore where the mayor invited 4,000 people to the main square), some evenings with my friends, a look at the latest adjustments to my new house in Pescara and, of course, all the time my wife deserves."

But now it's time to get serious again. Di Luca plans to devote the next six weeks to, "hard training and serenity. I'd like to stay at home, but if the weather is very hot, I'll spend a period in the mountains. Not in Mexico… Roccaraso would be all right."

While he'll return to competition in Hamburg, Di Luca says he doesn't expect to be a contender there. "I won't be in top form and it's pretty unlikely I'll fight for the win," he said. "Things wouldn't change very much even if I came back racing one week earlier: the riders coming back from the Tour would take their advantage. In Hamburg I'm going to score some useful points, maybe by entering the group of the first ten men. I need to be at my best in San Sebastian, in the Tour of Germany and in September's Tour of Poland. Scoring some points in those race could allow me to relax."

Di Luca believes he can land the ProTour title without winning another race this season, as long as he can maintain the form he has displayed so far. "After all, I scored six prestigious wins this year. I'd be very happy if the seventh win was the Pro Tour leader's jersey at the end of the Giro di Lombardia," he said.

As for other races this year, the world championships is not a goal. "The National team should support Petacchi," said Di Luca. "I'd be very glad to help Alessandro, if Ballerini wanted. If not, it wouldn't be a problem."

Less far away is the Tour de France, which Di Luca sees as a two-horse race this year. "Lance is the favourite rider but I [would] bet on Jan Ullrich too, though he made a false step in the Tour de Suisse, " he said. "I think this year the German will make things difficult for Armstrong. It will be a great challenge."

But Di Luca thinks his countryman Ivan Basso may have taken on too much by riding the Giro and then the Tour. "I hope he will perform excellently but I'm not sure about it. Fighting against opponents who aim only at the Tour is not easy at all."

Di Luca also paid tribute to his team-mate Alessio Galletti who died suddenly of a heart attack on June 15. "We have been team-mates for two years. He was such a joyful and lively guy, a true team-man and an indispensable rider for the strategies of the team. I'm sad about his death and I [feel for] his wife Consuelo, their little son, their relatives… I know them all and I can just imagine how much they are suffering."

Carmichael on Armstrong: "100 percent ready"

Lance Armstrong's coach Chris Carmichael believes the six-time Tour de France winner will be "100 percent ready" to win a seventh and last Tour de France when the Grand Boucle rolls out on July 2.

Carmichael's confidence comes from many years of monitoring Armstrong's form in the lead-up to the Tour. "I typically see a 2-3 percent increase in Lance's sustainable power between the days prior to the Dauphine and the days immediately prior to the Tour de France," said Carmichael in team diary entry looking back on Armstrong's performance at the Dauphiné. "As a confirmation of his condition, he'll perform one more performance test about 10 days after the Dauphiné. I'll never forget looking at the results of a similar test seven years ago, just four days before the 1999 Tour de France began. He had reached the level where he was capable of winning the Tour de France, and he consistently returned to that level every year since."

Armstrong's performance at the Dauphiné always leads to speculation about his condition going into the Tour de France, but Carmichael says, "It's not necessary to win the Dauphiné en route to winning the Tour de France. Rather, the race serves to apply stress that leads to adaptation. Lance will take almost a week of rest following the Dauphiné, in order to allow his body to recover and adapt."

Armstrong has been concentrating on his time trialling in the last several weeks, after initially focusing on climbing. "Following the Tour of Georgia, where he was relatively disappointed with his time trial performance, Lance began working out on his TT bike at least twice per week," said Carmichael. "One of the benefits of a long career as a professional cyclist is the ability to rapidly adapt to training stimulus. Where it used to take 5-7 weeks early in his career, I've found that Lance's sustainable power can now move from a relatively under-trained state to race-ready within about three to five weeks."

The final performance test before the Tour will show where Armstrong's form stands, says Carmichael. "With his recent performance at the Dauphiné Libéré as a prelude, I'm confident the results of this last performance test will again show he's 100% ready to pursue a seventh and final Tour de France yellow jersey," he said.

Kilo petition nears ten thousand

The on-line petition to request the UCI to reconsider its decision to drop the kilometre and 500m time trials from the Olympic Games has almost reached ten thousand signatures. Commentator Paul Sherwen added his name to the list earlier today and over the weekend British former pro Tony Hoar signed. Hoar was one of the first British riders to finish the Tour de France, taking home the lanterne rouge for last rider on the general classification in the 1955 Tour.

The petition closes at midnight today, and organizer Carlton Reid of hopes to reach ten thousand names before then. "I reckon 10k will be a tough number for the UCI to argue with," says Reid. "It's confirming to national cycle federations that there's opposition out there and they should lodge their own, official complaints."

Reid has also recently spoken to top British track rider Jamie Staff, the 2004 world keirin champion, and like reigning Olympic kilo champion Chris Hoy a rider who came to track racing from BMX.

"The UCI's decision knocked me for six," said Staff. "At least Chris [Hoy] will be the last kilo champion, but I feel for those riders who specialise in the kilo and won't now be able to get an Olympic title.

"The kilo is a unique discipline, with a long history," added Staff. "I don't know why the UCI came to that decision. I was shocked. Still am. Take a road discipline out. Lots of those guys don't even bother turning up [at the Olympics]. It's not the pinnacle of their career like it is for the track riders."

While amazed at the decision to drop the kilo, Staff defended the inclusion of BMX in the Games. "Most people don't realise how popular BMX racing is," he said. "There are just a few thousand track riders in the world but in the US alone there are 100,000 kids who race BMX."

Staff pointed out that BMX has produced many top track riders and that BMX riders had often surprised coaches and officials. He described British Cycling as having been "blown away" when his own power output was measured.

"You've got to realise that BMX racers are athletes," said Staff. "They train five to six times a week, many hours a day. They haven't had the back up or support before. With the sport's entry into the Olympics all that is changing."

Click here to sign the petition.

Van Bon to the Tour

The Davitamon-Lotto team has ended several weeks of uncertainty by announcing the Leon Van Bon will wide this year's Tour de France. Van Bon had a good Ster Elektrotoer, according to the team. Directeur sportif Marc Sergeant said, "Leon has told me he is not yet 100 percent, but we still have time. He is a racer who can improve spectacularly in a short time."

The team will announce its remaining two Tour riders today.

Bui to skip next World Cup

Mountain bike racer Marco Bui (Full Dynamix), winner of the third round of the world cup series in Houffalize, Belgium last month, will miss the fifth round in Mont-Saint-Anne, June 25 due to injury. Bui suffered a fall during a training ride 11 days ago and missed the past weekend's final round of the Europa Cup in Malé Val di Sole, Italy. He is still having problems with the muscles in his left leg, according to his team.

AG2R riders contest national championships

This coming weekend sees most countries holding their respective national championships in road racing and time trialling. That means many teams are unusually scattered as riders return home to try and win the right to wear national champion colours for the remainder of the season and the first half of 2006.

AG2R-Prevoyance riders will mostly be contesting the French national championships, with Sylvain Calzati, Andy Flickinger, and Nicolas Portal riding the time trial and the road race, and being joined in the road race by Cyril Dessel, Samuel Dumoulin, Stéphane Goubert, Lloyd Mondory, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Christophe Oriol, Christophe Riblon, and Ludovic Turpin.

Meanwhile, several other team riders will race their own national championships: Ińigo Chaurreau - Spanish TT and road championships; Mikel Astarloza - Spanish road championship; Philip Deignan and Marc Scanlon - Irish road championship; Yuriy Krivtsov - Ukrainian TT and road championships; Erki Putsep - Estonian TT and road championships; Aliaksandr Usov - Belarusian road championship; Tomas Vaitkus - Lithuanian TT and road championships.

Lampre for the nationals

The Lampre- Caffita team will also be strongly represented in its home national championships, the 259.4km race in Montesilvano, Pescara, Italy on Sunday. Twelve Lampre-Caffita riders will line up for the coveted jersey of Italian national road champion: -Alessandro Ballan; Giosuč Bonomi; GianLuca Bortolami; Salvatore Commesso; Giuliano Figueras; Enrico Franzoi; Marco Marzano; Eddy Mazzoleni; Daniele Righi; Gilberto Simoni; Alessandro Spezialetti; and Andrea Tonti.

Alessandro Ballan and Enrico Franzoi will also compete in today's Italian national time trial championships from Tortoreto to Tortoreto Lungomare.

The team's international riders will be competing in their respective national championships too, namely: Sylvester Szmyd - Polish TT and road championships; Oleksandr Kvachuk - Ukrainian TT and road championships; Juan Fuentes Angullo - Spanish road championship; Gerrit Glomser and Andreas Matzbacher - Austrian road championship; David Loosli - Swiss road championship; and Gorazd Stangelj - Slovenian road championship.

Polish Juniors & Espoirs for Moscow Championships

Just after the close of the Polish championships for juniors and under-23 rider held last week in Zerków, Central Poland, the Polish Cycling Federation (PZKol) has announced the representatives for the U-23 European Championships, which will take place between July 7-10 2005 in Moscow.

The biggest star in the chosen riders is mountain biker Maja Wloszczowska (Lotto), the current European and World silver medalist, though at the moment she's signed as a reserve. Her trainer, Andrzej Piatek explained saying, "The situation is a little bit complicated and up to this time we don't know for sure if Maja will go to Moscow. She is preparing for the MTB European Championships now and this is the most important for us. We have to analyse the situation if it's useful for her to ride Euro Champs on road too."

Polish teams for Moscow

Junior women: Road race and time trial - Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Lotto); Natalia Fraczek (Górnik Walbrzych); Iwona Pytel (Piast Nowa Ruda). Road race - Barbara Galan (Agros Zamosc); Marta Paprocka (MKS EMDEK Bydgoszcz). Reserve: Kamila Wójt (TC Chrobry Glogów)

Junior men: Road race and time trial - Jaroslaw Marycz (Duet Goleniów);
Pawel Mikulicz (Pacyfic Torun); Maciej Ulanowski (TKK Kalisz). Road race - Tomasz Stepniak (Duet Goleniów); Tomasz Krupinski (LSKK Litynski Balchatów); Konrad Czajkowski (TC Chrobry Glogów); Kamil Zielinski (Korona Kielce). Reserves: Adrian Honkisz (Viktoria Kozy), Adam Sadlo (Azalia Brzóza Królewska)

Under-23 men: Road race and time trial - Blazej Janiaczyk (Androni Giocattoli); Mateusz Taciak (KTK Kalisz); Michal Pawlyta (Legia Bazyliszek). Road race - Krzysztof Kuzniak (LKS Trasa Zielona Góra); Tomasz Smolen (KTT Konin); Michal Golas (Pacyfic Torun); Pawel Cieslik (GKS Tarnovia Tarnowo Podgórne). Reserves: Adam Snidko (Stypopol Biskupiec), Pawel Wachnik (CR4C Roannes), Bartosz Pajor (KTC Konin), Tomasz Marczynski (Pacyfic Torun)

Under 23 women: Joanna Ignasiak (Górnik Walbrzych); Malgorzata Jasinska (Krokus Mazur Barczewo); Monika Krawczyk (Kolejarz Jura Czestochowa); Aleksandra Zabrocka (Flota Gdynia); Magdalena Zamolska (Kross Ziemia Darlowska); Karolina Konieczna (MKS Start Peugeot A.Kita Lublin); Monika Grzebinoga (MKS Start Peugeot A.Kita Lublin); Marta Kozakiewicz (Kross Ziemia Darlowska). Reserves: Maja Wloszczowska (Lotto); Katarzyna Jagusiak (Stal Ekobud Grudziadz).

Liggett and Phinney to speak at Parkinson's gala

Cycling announcer Phil Liggett and former pro Davis Phinney will speak and present awards at the second Sunflower Revolution gala August 19 at the Hyatt Regency, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Phinney, whose Davis Phinney Foundation is hosting the gala, will present Dr. John M. Tew, a neurosurgeon with the Mayfield Clinic and Medical Director of The Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cincinnati and University Hospital, with the Victory Award. The award recognizes a distinguished medical professional who has made a significant contribution to Parkinson's disease research or treatment.

Phinney also will present the Every Victory Counts award, which honours the contributions of a person or family touched by Parkinson's, to Peter and Kitty Strauss of Cincinnati in recognition of their courage, optimism, grace, and tireless efforts on behalf of others living with this incurable disease.

The Sunflower Revolution gala will feature a dinner and live and silent auctions. Phil Liggett will be the keynote speaker, and Local 12 anchor Rob Braun will serve as emcee. A Parkinson's Symposium & Expo for physicians, patients, and caregivers will follow on Saturday, August 20, at the Hyatt.

Bike rides of 25 and 62 miles in the Loveland-Morrow area will conclude the event on August 21. Riders will include Davis and his wife, Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter Phinney, Liggett, and the legendary bicycle frame builder Ben Serotta.

To request an invitation to the gala or bike ride, please contact Cindy Starr at 584-0879 or

28th Annual Hanes Park Criterium

Twenty-seven years of bicycle heritage continues on July 31 around Hanes Park in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with the 2005 edition of the Hanes Park Criterium. The race offers over $10,000 in total prizes with $1000 to the winner of the Pro/Am event. There will be events for both children and adults and all proceeds after expenses will be donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Brenner's Children Hospital.

For more information see

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