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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 28, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Simoni skips Tour

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Cafitta)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

The Lampre-Caffita team has announced its final line-up for the Tour de France - without 2003 Giro winner and 2005 runner-up Gilberto Simoni. No detailed explanation has been forthcoming from the team, which simply said in a statement that its technical staff had acknowledged, "Simoni's request not to participate in this year's Tour de France."

In Simoni's absence, Eddy Mazzoleni will lead the Tour team, which will consist of GianLuca Bortolami, Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, David Loosli, Evgeni Petrov, Daniele Righi, Alessandro Spezialetti, and Gorazd Stangelj.

Simoni will return to racing at the Brixia Tour, July 22-24 and the Tour of Portugal, August, 5-15. He will treat the latter as preparation for the Vuelta a España and the end of season classics.

Fassa reveals Tour line-up

The Fassa Bortolo team has announced its final line-up for the Tour de France. The team will field Lorenzo Bernucci, Paolo Bossoni, Fabian Cancellara, Claudio Corioni, Juan Antonio Flecha, Dario Frigo, Massimo Giunti, Volodymir Gustov, and Kim Kirchen.

Scanlon to miss Tour

By Shane Stokes

Almost twelve months after lining out in his first Tour de France, Mark Scanlon has confirmed that he will miss this year's race. The Sligo man performed solidly in the 2004 event, helping to set up team-mates Jaan Kirsipuu and Jean Patrick Nazon for stage wins, but has been hampered by illness and injury problems this season.

Scanlon had been a possible starter after the withdrawal of AG2R-Prévoyance team-mate Cyril Dessel due to appendicitis but, because of his disturbed race programme this year, stated yesterday that he would prefer not to do the Tour this year. He was somewhat relieved to hear the news today that this would indeed be the case.

"When you haven't the preparation done, you haven't the preparation done," he said. "It is a very tough event and there are no miracles. If I did it, I might go okay for seven to ten days but then after that, there would have been a very, very slim chance of finishing. And even if I did that, the chances are that my season would be over."

"The start of this year was a bit messy," said Scanlon. "I had a problem with a tendon earlier this season, which was caused by the ratchet system on a new pair of cycling shoes. Then, more recently, I had tonsillitis and was on antibiotics for ten days."

With the first half of his season a bit of a write-off and the Tour off the agenda, Scanlon is now looking forward to the second half of the year which he hopes, "will be better. I'll do the one day Tour du Doubs next weekend and after that, would like to give the Tour of Denmark a rattle and the Tour de la Région Wallonne. If I prepare well enough, there is no reason why I can't get up in a couple of French classics such as the GP d'Isbergues. And doing a good ride in the Worlds is definitely an objective."

Brixia Tour 2005

The fifth edition of the Brixia Tour "G.P. San Michele Prefabbricati" (July 22-24) was launched yesterday. The short but sharp Italian race, ranked 2.1 in the UCI Europe Tour, is expected to contain a wealth of talent as riders who are not taking part in the Tour de France return to racing after a July break.

Notably, the Brixia Tour should see the return to racing of Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita), provided the 2004 Giro winner has recovered from his current problem with mononucleosis. Cunego's team-mate Gilberto Simoni will also ride, setting up a 'return match' with Giro revelation Venezuelan José Rujano (Colombia - Selle Italia).

Other top riders scheduled to compete in the Brixia Tour include Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Mirko Celestino (Domina Vacanze), Ivan Parra (Colombia - Selle Italia), Giuliano Figueras (Lampre - Caffita) and Igor Astarloa (Barloworld). The Brixia Tour will be the first race in his national tricolour for new Italian champion Enrico Gasparotto (liquigas-Bianchi) and Francesco Casagrande (Naturino - Sapore di Mare) is also rostered to ride, according to the organisers, despite having announced his retirement last month.

With four stages over three days, the Brixia Tour balances the abilities of all-rounders and sprinters. Cadel Evans won the race's first edition back in 2001, while last year Danilo Di Luca took the honours, implying that climbing talent is useful, but the second edition in 2002 went to Igor Astarloa, not known as a mountain specialist.

The climbers will nevertheless like this year's edition with its second half-stage time trial hill climb from Pisogne to Val Palot. It's only 12.8km, but the time difference gained here could be enough to clinch the race for an uphill specialist.

Giuseppe Bresciani, president of organizing body Team Brixia is understandably upbeat about this year's race and the event's future. "This year could put the final seal on the Brixia Tour," he said, "Because of the quality of participants and routes we are approaching a standard worthy of the Pro Tour. This is already a great event but it isn't enough yet: our race can still improve."

Teams

Seventeen teams will take part in the Brixia Tour. Of ProTour squads Domina Vacanze, Fassa Bortolo, Lampre - Caffita, Liquigas - Bianchi and Gerolsteiner are confirmed and organisers expect to see Quick Step - Innergetic too. Continental Pro and Continental teams scheduled to race include Selle Italia - Colombia, Team LPR, Naturino - Sapore di Mare, Acqua&Sapone - Adria Mobil, Ceramica Panaria - Navigare, Team Barloworld - Valsir, Tenax - Nobili Rubinetterie, Miche, Ceramica Flaminia, Team Androni Giocattoli - 3C Casalinghi and Team Universal Caffè - Styloffice.

Stages

  • Stage 1 - July 22: San Vigilio di Concesio - Toscolano Maderno, 170.6 km
  • Stage 2a - July 23: Esine - Darfo Boario Terme, 112.7 km
  • Stage 2b - July 23: Pisogne - Val Palot ITT, 12.8 km
  • Stage 3 - July 24: Brescia - Manerbio, 180 km

Rabo riders & staff extend

Several members of the Rabobank team have extended that contracts with the squad sponsored by a Dutch bank. Michael Boogerd, 33, who has ridden for Rabobank since 1996 will ride for Rabobank for at least one more year, team manager Theo de Rooij announced at the launch of the team's Tour de France line-up yesterday.

The team also signed two-year contract extensions with Thorwald Veneberg, and team staff members Erik Breukink, Frans Maassen, Adri van Houwelingen and Nico Verhoeven.

Crédit Agricole extends

French bank Crédit Agricole has renewed its sponsorship of its eponymous cycling team, general manager Roger Legeay announced yesterday. Crédit Agricole will continue to sponsor the team through 2008. The company has been the team's naming sponsor since 1998.

Bellotti renews

In other Crédit Agricole news the team's Italian rider Francesco Bellotti has renewed his contract for 2006 and 2007. Belloti, 25, joined the team from Barloworld this year and said in a statement that he was very pleased to be renewing with Crédit Agricole.

Baguet to ride Diksmuide

He may not be getting a ride at the Tour de France, but newly-crowned Belgian champion Serge Baguet will still star in one of the post-Tour criteriums when he lines up alongside Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwen for the Natour Broker Criterium in Diksmuide on July 26. Organisers announced yesterday that they had signed baguette to ride in his first criterium contract as Belgian champion.

Winn appointed Welsh national coach

Commonwealth and Olympic Games cyclist Julian Winn has been appointed as the new Welsh Cycling national coach, Welsh Cycling announced yesterday. Winn has experience across many aspects of cycling. As a pro rider with the Fakta team, he completed the Giro d'Italia in 2003 and was 2002 British road race champion. Before his road career, Winn was a successful mountain bike racer, and has also raced cyclo-cross events in the off-season.

Winn's role as Welsh national coach will initially involve leading the Welsh team for the last time at the Tour of Britain in early September, before taking up his position behind the scenes to concentrate on coaching the Welsh team through to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, March 2006.

Speaking at the announcement of his new job at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport yesterday, 32-year-old Winn said he was delighted to have been appointed to the position. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me to use my experience and knowledge to coach Welsh cyclists to ensure they are performing at the very highest level," said Winn. "We have a number of extremely talented athletes coming through the ranks of Welsh cycling and I intend to ensure that they are given every opportunity to succeed with their goals - starting with the Commonwealth Games."

Winn takes over the job following the departure of Andy Reid. He will be supported in his efforts by coaches at British Cycling, who have also given their support to Winn's appointment. "British Cycling have set the benchmark with their performances in recent World and Olympic competition," aid Winn, "and with so many Welsh cyclists breaking through into British squads, I shall be liaising extremely closely with their coaches to ensure we are all working in the same direction."

New cycling laws in Colorado

Colorado Governor Bill Owens has signed into law the Bicycle Safety Bill which gives new rights to cyclists on Colorado's roads, bringing Colorado into line with other states.

Cyclists in Colorado may now legally: ride side by side if not impeding the normal and reasonable flow of traffic; ride across roads in safety crosswalks (obeying signals and traffic devices); and signal right-hand turns with a bent left arm or extended right arm. In addition, law enforcement agencies are required to file a bicycle injury crash report upon request, even if a car was not involved. Colorado cycling advocates say this will all better tracking of bicycling statistics which determine road safety improvement projects.

The bill takes effect July 1. For more information on the new rules see www.BicycleColorado.org/for/BicycleSafety.

Tactics for Fantasy Tour

 
Click for larger image

This year's Fantasy Tour Game is underway. You can begin building your teams now! There will be over 25 opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. Be a professional team manager for the 2005 Tour de France. Based on the live racing action, 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. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. For more info go to the fantasy site.

Tactics

Manager 'Suts the Mut' from the UK, who came third in last year's Fantasy Tour game, shares some of his tactics for this year's game:

"Keep an eye on as much cycling news as possible in the run up to the Tour de France, be it websites, magazines or TV coverage. This will ensure you're up to date with who's hot and who's not. If you want to do well in the competition you'll have to find a 'dark horse' who will score well. Picking Armstrong, Ullrich and McEwen is sensible but commonplace. For me last year, my dark horses were Andreas Kloden, who had convincingly won his national championship, and Jose Azevedo. Both were acting as 'lieutenants' to their team leaders, and were economical purchases.

"Unfortunately in this year's competition many of the 'lieutenants' are a little more expensive, but are still worthy of consideration. The balance of the team should favour GC contenders, as they'll also score well on the Points and Mountains competitions. Indeed, given that stage points go all the way down to 15th position this year its not inconceivable that GC contenders trying to stay out of trouble in the sprints may pick up a few points here as well.

"Finally, my secret weapon last year was lots of time to consider my selections. At the time I was stuck in bed with a triple fracture to my left leg. I wouldn't recommend going that far, but don't leave it till the last minute!" - Darren.

Darren is from Solihull, West Midlands, UK.

Prize list

These great prizes have been confirmed, with more still to come.

First Prize: a TREK Madone Discovery Team bike.

Stage by Stage Prizes : Specialized - 21x pairs of sunglasses

Runnerup Prizes:

Bontrager - 2x pairs Bontrager Race X-Lite Aero wheels, 1x Race X Lite OS handlebars, 1x Race XXX Lite OS carbon stem, and 1x Race X Lite Pro saddle.
DMT - 3x pairs of Flash shoes
Speedplay - 4x pairs of CSC pedals
CTS - Signature coaching package
fi'zi:k - 5x Team issue Arione saddles

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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