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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for June 25, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

An interview with Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden

The point men

Andreas Klöden
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Click for larger image
Alexandre Vinokourov
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Click for larger image

With the Tour's two biggest favourites seemingly neck and neck coming out of the Dauphiné Libéré and Tour de Suisse respectively, will it come down to the strength of the team that decides the ultimate winner of the 2005 Tour de France?

We know a lot about Discovery and their riders, but what about T-Mobile, and can they unite to derail the inexorably successful Blue Train who have made it six out of six so far? Anthony Tan gets the low-down from Jan Ullrich's point men, Andreas Klöden and Alexandre Vinokourov.

It's hard to say which team is strongest on paper - T-Mobile or Discovery Channel. However, both have a former Tour winner leading their team, and eight other men willing to sacrifice all personal ambitions for one objective and one objective only: to win the Tour de France.

In T-Mobile, as well as 1997 champion Jan Ullrich, the Bonn-based team boasts two riders who have finished on the podium in Paris: last year's runner-up, Andreas Klöden, and third place overall in 2003, Alexandre Vinokourov. This trio alone makes a formidable team in itself, and with each one approaching their best form, it's becomes apparent that this could well be the toughest title defence Lance Armstrong will ever undertake.

Just before the team's Tour launch on Wednesday, we managed to find out a little more about Ullrich's two most valuable lieutenants, whose personality and style are often in complete contrast with one another - but will hopefully lead to a recipe for success as 'Der Kaiser' embarks on what will be his eighth Tour de France campaign.

Click here for the full interview

IOC denies asking for track events to be cut

The dispute over the removal of the kilometre and 500m time trial from the Olympics in Beijing is getting more complex, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) denying claims by the UCI's Pat McQuaid that it specifically asked for track events to be culled.

Yesterday, McQuaid was quoted by BikeBiz.com as saying, "They [the IOC] came to us 18 months ago asking for the inclusion of BMX. We agreed to that and knew we'd have to drop two medals to accommodate BMX. We didn't make any decision at the time. We tried to brazen it out with the IOC, hoping they'd forget about events having to be excluded. It was the IOC who told us to exclude track events, not road, because the women's 500m, for instance, was only introduced [into the Olympics] at Sydney [in 2000]."

But an IOC official denied this was the case to Sportcal.com: "Requests for changes to the Olympic programme come from the federations, in this case the UCI. They came to us wanting to put BMX on the schedule," the official said.

BikeBiz.com, which handed its 10,000 signature petition arguing for the reinstatement of the kilo and 500 to both the UCI and IOC, claims that in January, 2005, "the UCI had already discussed it would be track events culled from the Olympics, not road. But, in the March survey to the 24 national cycle federations, the list of events which federations could vote on to cull, road events were included. National federations were not told any vote for a road event would not be counted.

"It's believed the majority of federations voted to exclude the road time trial with only a small proportion voting for the exclusion of the kilo. However, once the UCI removed all the votes for the road time trial the next highest events to be culled were the kilo and the women's 500m track time trial," wrote Carlton Reid of BikeBiz.com.

Morelon wants the time trials in

French national coach and former Olympic Sprint Champion Daniel Morelon is strongly in favour of keeping the two events, which are considered by many to be equivalent to the 100 metre dash in athletics. "I ask the UCI officials not to take the Kilometre and the 500 metre time trial out of the Olympic program," Morelon wrote to Cyclingnews. "These 'races of truth' have always, since numerous Olympiades, crowned formidable men and women's champions. These disciplines: the ability to push one's limits to perfection and beyond, courage, and strength in character, have all that we look for in the Olympic ideal."

More problems for Figueras

Lampre-Caffita's Giuliano Figueras has been diagnosed with a micro-fracture of his left shoulder blade, following an accident on Monday June 20, while he was training with some friends in Naples, Italy. Figueras will therefore not be able to participate in Sunday's National Championships, but according to his team is continuing training as he does not want to throw away the last few months of hard work. Figueras was coming into form again after his terrible crash in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, where he suffered several broken bones.

Figueras will probably get back to racing in a few weeks time and might be ready for the Tour of Austria which will take place from July 4-10.

German Nat's news

Stefan Schumacher (Team Shimano Memory Corp), winner of two German stage races as well as the Dutch Ster Elektrotoer in 2005, has cancelled his participation at the National Championships in Schweinfurt (TT) and Mannheim (RR). After a crash on the first stage of the Ster Elektrotoer, the rider's right knee is infected and badly swollen. Schumacher was one of the favourites for this year's German National road race title.

Team Gerolsteiner is sending the following riders to the road race on Sunday: Markus Fothen, Sebastian Lang, Uwe Peschel, Robert Förster, Heinrich Haussler, Sven Krauss, Volker Ordowski, Michael Rich, Matthias Russ, Torsten Schmidt, Ronny Scholz, Fabian Wegmann and Thomas Ziegler. As for the time trial in Schweinfurt, Gerolsteiner succeeded in finishing first and second with Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel taking top honours. Jens Voigt (CSC) was third.

Fothen stays with Gerolsteiner

Young German Markus Fothen, who rode a brilliant Giro d'Italia and placed 12th in his first participation in the race, has renewed his current contract with Team Gerolsteiner and committed to the squad until 2008. The 24 year-old Fothen was U23 World Time Trial champion last year and is rated as one of Germany's major talents. "I'm happy that we have managed to sign this young rider on a long term basis, as he has exceptional potential," said team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "We will try to develop his talent for stage races accordingly."

Fothen himself also was pleased about the new three-year deal. "I feel very comfortable at Gerolsteiner, and the sporting perspective is outstanding, so I'm happy that it worked out. Now I can concentrate solely on the sport for the next three years," he said.

Van Gils on road with Skil-Moser

Cyclo-crosser Wilant van Gils (ZZPR.nl) builds the base for his European winter sport on the road during summer, and will do so in future with the Dutch team Skil-Moser. The individually sponsored rider has signed a deal with the Dutch continental squad, using the contacts of former Dutch Champion Frank Groenendaal, and will figure out a convenient road race schedule to build up his form for the next cyclo-cross season. Van Gils will be starting at the Dutch Nationals next Sunday in his new team's colours. Skil-Moser is hoping to become a Professional Continental team next year.

The International Cycling Classic (Superweek) 2005

America's International Cycling Classic (Superweek) will be held for the 36th time in Eastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois this July 8-24. The event will draw competitors from Europe, South America, Australia, and across the USA to compete for over $120,000 in prizes. The schedule features 17 consecutive days of racing.

Highlights for the 2005 event include the Superweek Pro Tour, in which the Pro/1/2 Men's field competes for more than $60,000 in prizes, as well as the Superweek Women's Pro Tour presented by Shaklee, which returns after a successful re-launching in 2004. Organizers anticipate even larger fields in this nine-day series from July 9-17.

At the Junior Men's races, Juniors from across the nation will vie for the chance to represent the U.S. at the 2005 World Championships. Four qualifying races will be held from July 11-14. The two nine-day Masters racing series for both Masters 30+ and 40+ will also be on the schedule again, as well as the racing series for Cat 3 Men (16 days), Cat 4/5 Men (16 days) and Cat 3/4 Women (5 days).

Both the Men's and Women's Superweek Pro Tour series are National Racing Calendar (NRC) events and the latest standings after the National Championships in Utah indicate that the competition is wide open. The International Cycling Classic will represent one of the few remaining opportunities to make a significant move up the standings.

Full event details are available at www.internationalcycling.com

Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Race Series #4

The 2005 Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Championship races are being held together with Round 4 of the 2005 Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Race Series this weekend at Contin near Dingwall. The schedule includes all the usual race categories through age groupings as well as the Senior Elite races, the Schools race program and fun races for beginners.

Directions: Take the A9 from Perth to Inverness. Continue over the Kessock Bridge to Tore Roundabout. Take the A835 to Ullapool. At the next roundabout continue on the Ullapool road and as you pass through and out of the village of Contin look out for a race sign indicating a right turn into Tor Achilty car park.

Full details and downloadable entry forms can be obtained from the website at www.sxc.org.uk

More Prizes - Fantasy Tour

 
Click for larger image

This year's Fantasy Tour is under way, and you can begin building your teams now! Be a professional team manager, with over 25 opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. You will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world. For more info go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com. Prize Update

The prize sponsors are being finalised.

First prize: a TREK Madone Discovery Team bike.

Stage by stage prizes: Specialized 21 pairs of sunglasses

Runnerup prizes:

- Bontrager - 2 pairs Bontrager Race X-Lite Aero wheels, 1 Race X Lite OS handlebars, 1 Race XXX Lite OS carbon stem, and 1 Race X Lite Pro saddle.
- DMT - 3 pairs of Flash shoes
- Speedplay - 4 pairs of CSC pedals
- CTS - Signature coaching package

More prizes will be confirmed shortly.

New Rules

In conjunction with feedback and suggestions from players of the game over three years, we have developed a new points system for the Tour games. We've awarded more points to a greater number of riders and given back more emphasis to GC placings. Thanks to all of you who helped us develop the new points system. Have a look for yourself in the points section.

How To Play

You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first 8 stages for FREE! We will be adding additions to the startlist on a daily basis. The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these riders to race each day throughout the Tour. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Tour. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Tour. Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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