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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 22, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Cunego to skip Tour

The Lampre-Caffita team has announced that Damiano Cunego will not ride this year's Tour de France as he is recovering from mononucleosis. Cunego's diagnosis was confirmed shortly after the Giro and a blood test on June 17 indicated he still has antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus which causes the disease.

"The levels are now showing (170 U.A.) compared to the 580 U.A. which was taken immediately after the Giro d'Italia, so we can see that the levels are getting to there normal stage," said a team spokesman. "However it is still a long way to go until it gets to the normal levels of between 0-20 U.A."

Team management and medical staff therefore decided with masterful understatement that, "it would not be a good idea" for Cunego to take part in the Tour, and he will not return to racing until he is fully recovered.

Robbie McEwen: The psyche of a sprinter, Part II

A short stint in yellow
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

In the second part of our interview with the Davitamon Lotto sprint star, Robbie McEwen tells Anthony Tan about his expectations and ambitions leading up to the world's biggest bike race, and the struggles he's had with the now very heavily-contested points competition - as well as a few thoughts on the departure of Lance Armstrong.

CN: For the Tour, your goal is obviously to win as many stages as you can and to worry about defending your green jersey. Is the green something you aspire to win again - you've won it twice now - does it still motivate you?

RM: Still love to win it, but the brutal honesty is that it's the most over-rated points competition in cycling. It's not always won by the best sprinter, but having said that, in 2002 and 2004 when I won it, I was the best sprinter of the Tour.

Click here for the full interview

Liquigas-Bianchi for the Tour

The Liquigas-Bianchi team has announced what it describes as a "four-wheel drive" squad for the Tour de France, built around Stefano Garzelli, Dario David Cioni, Franco Pellizotti, and Magnus Backstedt. The team believes these four will be stage win contenders in all situations, with Garzelli and Cioni also going for general classification honours.

"I'm sure we will leave a mark on the Tour," said general manager Roberto Amadio who will lead the team together with Dario Mariuzzo and Roberto Damiani. "Indeed, the group is well-balanced and is ready to fight for victory in all the stages. Moreover, Stefano Garzelli and Dario David Cioni are going to climb the overall ranking. The rider from Varese, who is back from an unlucky Giro d'Italia, is especially longing for revenge."

The full Tour line-up is: Stefano Garzelli, Dario David Cioni, Franco Pellizotti, Magnus Backstedt, Luciano Pagliarini, Michael Albasini, Kjell Carlström, Mauro Gerosa, and Marcus Ljungqvist. Patrick Calcagni is the first reserve.

Davitamon-Lotto finalises Tour team

The Davitamon-Lotto team has also finalized its line-up for the Tour de France. The team's nine-man squad will comprise: Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Axel Merckx, Wim Vansevenant, Johan Vansummeren, Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen, Leon Van Bon and Fred Rodriguez.

Surgery for Freire

World champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has undergone a minor surgical procedure to remove "irritated subcutaneous epidermis", from the body area Robbie McEwen recently dubbed the 'undercarriage', according to his team.

Freire has been having difficulties with his undercarriage for several months and last week abandoned the Tour of Switzerland because of the problem. However, Rabobank's medical team is now confident that they have got to the bottom of the trouble and Freire is expected to be able to resume training in two weeks' time.

Ulmer to ride women's Giro

World and Olympic pursuit champion and world record holder Sarah Ulmer recently made a low-key return to racing at the Tour Féminin de la Drôme in France, where she nevertheless finished fifth overall behind Priska Doppmann and won the sprint classification.

Ulmer's next step in carving out a second career on the road will be to join the Danish-based SATS team for the 16th Giro Donne, the women's Giro d'Italia, July 1-10. Ulmer, who took a long break after winning Olympic gold in Athens last August, said in April that she would now target the road time trial discipline, though she did not expect to be competitive for this year's world championships.

The seven-woman SATS team for the Giro Donne will consist of: Sarah Ulmer, Trine Hansen, Dorte Lohse Rasmussen, Mette Fischer, Melissa Holt, Meredith Miller and Rachel Heal.

Agritubel adds sponsor

The Agritubel Continental Pro team has announced that a new sponsor has joined the team for the remainder of 2005 and 2006: Sport 2000. A large chain of sporting goods stores, the Sport 2000 logo will appear on the team's jerseys starting with this week's French national championships.

Malaysian rider to Liberty Seguros

Malaysian cyclist Ng Yong Li is on his way to Spain to spend three months riding the under-23 squad of the Liberty Seguros team, according to the Malay Mail.

The gold medalist in the time trial at the Malaysian Games, Yong Li is making the trip thanks to financial assistance from family and friends and hopes to prove himself to the Spanish team. "I am determined to make the stint a success and hopefully convince the Liberty Seguros-Wurth management to give me a break," he said at a press conference at Balai Berita on Monday.

Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president, Datuk Naim Mohamad and Yong Li's coach, Lee Yok Lian were also present at the conference. Naim said the MNCF was grateful to Malaysia Airlines for financing Yong Li's return ticket.

"Yong Li's sojourn in Spain is a test case of sorts because if he makes an impression and lands a contract, it will help convince the National Sports Council to extend their financial support for the road team as well," said Naim. "We are certain the three month stint in Spain will greatly benefit Yong Li."

Skil-Moser for Noord-Nederland Tour

The Skil-Moser Pro team has announced its line-up for the Noord Nederland Tour, June 22. The team will field Bart Voskamp, Jan van Velzen, Bert Hiemstra, Christophe Stevens, Frank Kwanten, Wouter Mol, and Jehudi Schoonacker.

O'Donoghue misses out on record

By Shane Stokes

Irish 12 and 24 hour record holder Paul O'Donoghue missed out in his attempt to take the 390 mile Mizen Head to Fair Head record on Sunday. The Sorrento CC rider recorded a time of 20 hours and 5 minutes for the distance, 1 hour and 2 minutes off the mark set by Joe Barr in 1993.

O'Donoghue set off from Cork at 2 am on Sunday morning for County Antrim, riding strongly but gradually losing time as the ride progressed. "The conditions were okay and I didn't have any mechanical trouble or anything," he said. "But once I crossed into Northern Ireland with about 100 miles still to go, the wind picked up. There was a strong headwind in places and it was difficult to keep riding hard. I was only 30 minutes or so behind at that stage but I just didn't have enough power in my legs to get that time back.'

Current record holder Joe Barr was at the finish to congratulate O'Donoghue on his brave effort, one of the toughest tests in Irish cycling. "I know how hard this event is to ride, as it took me two attempts to set the current time. I wanted to say well done," he said.

O'Donoghue is undecided if he will try again in the future. "I haven't given it much thought yet," he said. "When I have had time to digest the whole preparation and record attempt, then I suppose I will give it more consideration."

Colne Town Centre Grand Prix

The second annual Colne Town Centre Grand Prix will be held in the Lancashire, England town of Colne on Wednesday, July 20. Last year, the inaugural event attracted 4,000 spectators and this year, organisers expect an even bigger crowd.

The line-up will include most of the UK's top riders who will race round 60 laps of an 800-metre circuit of Colne town centre. Organisers hope that multiple Olympic medalist Bradley Wiggins will be riding, as he did last year, plus other Olympic medalists Chris Newton, Rob Hayles and Paul Manning. There is also a race for club level riders and juniors, with a chance to see local junior star Stephen Burke of Colne, a member of the GB national junior squad.

The race is part of British Cycling's Elite Series and also part of the Pendle and East Lancashire Bike Fest 2005 - a series of cycling events in Pendle and Ribble Valley designed to encourage people to ride bikes.

The Fest 2005 includes a 100-mile race on Sunday, July 17 through the hills of Pendle and Ribble Valley which is part of British Cycling's Premier Calendar. On the same day, there will be a unique head-to-head sprint competition, the Science in Sport Sprint Challenge, featuring the country's best track sprinters. They will blast down the 500m finishing section of the 100-mile route at speeds of more than 45mph.

For more information see www.pendlebikefest.com.

Aston Hill Downhills 2005

The UK's Aston Hill Mountain Bike Area play host to the third and fourth rounds of the Aston Hill Downhill Series over the weekend of July 9 and 10 of July. The weekend's racing will see the four-cross track into DH3 being raced for the first time on Saturday and Aston Hill's infamous Black Run being used to crown the Southern Area Champions on Sunday.

For more information see www.astonhill.com

Northbrook Velodrome update

Racing at the Ed Rudolph Northbrook Velodrome is heating up "as fast as the Chicagoland weather" according to spokesperson Imelda March, with recent race evenings attracting healthy attendances. At this week's session on Thursday, June 23 the feature race will be the Master's Sprints Final. There will also be a Cat 1-2 points race.

Zipp has become the official wheel of Thursday night racing and racers will have the opportunity to win a new Zipp 900 disk wheel. Raffle tickets are currently $5 each and participants may enter as often as they like increasing their chances of winning.

On-site registration begins from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Riders are advised that in order to be on the track they must be registered prior to 5:45 p.m.

For more information see www.northbrookvelodrome.org

New coach for TIS

The Tasmanian Institute of Sport has a new head cycling coach in Paul Brosnan. Brosnan succeeds Kevin Tabotta, who recently moved back to the Australian mainland to become Cycling Australia's high performance manager.

Hell On Wheels coming to more cinemas down under

An unusual view of Rolf Aldag in Hell on Wheels
Photo ©: Aztec International
Click for larger image

Over the next few weeks, More Australian cinemas will be showing German cycling documentary Hell on Wheels, which follows the Telekom team through a very tough 20003 Tour de France.

Hell on Wheels has had positive reviews from ABC TV's At The Movies and the Sydney Morning Herald as well as on Cyclingnews, and as a result is now showing in Sydney's Valhalla Cinema; the Cinema Nova, Melbourne; Brisbane's Schonell Theatre and Palace Centro; the Warrawong Gala Cinema and Perth's Luna Leederville.

On June 23 the film will start at the Electric Shadows cinema, Canberra and a week later on June 30 at the State Cinema, Hobart. It will then get a short run (July 7-10) at the Star Cinema (Eaglehawk), Bendigo.

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