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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for June 30, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Noirmoutier, a windy place

By Hedwig Kröner

The island of Noirmoutier off the Vendée coast in North-Western France has had a reputation for its windy Atlantic weather. But who would have known, especially in these days of canicular heat that has set off French social security alarm bells - in 2003, thousands of elderly people died of the heat because they weren't looked after properly - that the wind, the rain, and moderate temperatures would return just in time for 'Le Tour'?

They have, at least in the region of Fromentine, where the first stage of the Grande Boucle will take place on Saturday. The small town is bustling with Tour tourists, but all they can do at the moment is wait in their camping cars for the rain to stop. Temperatures are up to a maximum of 20° celsius during the day, and the Atlantic wind has been blowing with gusts up to 55 km/h.

Cyclingnews spoke with CSC's directeur sportif Scott Sunderland about the difficult conditions the riders will have to face. "It's hard doing time trials and team time trials in weather like that," he said. "In a team time trial, it's a fair bit of work, and you have to lay off the wheel a bit more." Team CSC has had a training ride on the team time trial course on Wednesday. But stage one of the world's biggest cycling race will be an individual time trial on a fairly flat and straight course (see the stage's map and profile). Because it won't take the famous 'Passage du Gois' like in 1999, when a crash involving half the peloton on the slippery low-tide road paved the way for Lance Armstrong's first overall victory, the riders will cross a bridge over to the island.

"Zabriskie in Firenze after his first Giro stage win"
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

CSC's Dave Zabriskie, after winning the first time trial in Giro d'Italia this year, is looking forward to the 19 km-task. "It's not a bad distance for me. We'll go look at it on Friday, but it should be OK," he said. Hopefully, the rain will have stopped for the reconnaisance of the course. The wind, nevertheless, might not have ceased until then. "Actually I hope for headwinds," he added. "That would be perfect for me. I aim for a place in the top 10, but winning the stage would obviously be the best."

After the Giro d'Italia, Zabriskie stayed in Italy training with teammates Ivan Basso, Giovanni Lombardi and Jakob Piil under the guidance of Bjarne Riis, which meant that he missed out on the US time trial championship. "It would have been much too stressful to do the US championship, flying back and forth in the middle of my Tour preparations," he explained. The Tour de France 2005 will be his first, and he's impatient to race it. "I'm not nervous, but of course I'm excited about doing the Tour. Basically I just want to get going, get in the rhythm of the race, instead of doing all these other things."

Medical check-up, press conferences and missed out traing rides because of bad weather isn't exactly what the Tour de France riders like best. But the Tour will get underway soon enough, and Scott Sunderland is optimistic about CSC's team leader Ivan Basso. "He's been doing some very good training before and after the Eindhoven team time trial," Sunderland said. "He feels quite good on the bike, mentally fresh and confident, and ready to be there for the Tour."

Basso finished the first Grand Tour of this season, the Giro d'Italia, with two stage wins but without a high placing on GC, which he would have been up to had it not been for a stomach bug. "It's not like he's been flat after the Giro. We'll just have to see how it is. The crucial part is the third week, and it will probably be a bit more important for Ivan because he was sick in the Giro, so we'll see how well he has recovered," Sunderland added.

"Bjarne is quite confident though, and we still have Jens Voigt, Bobby Julich, and Carlos Sastre. That gives us a few cards to play with. But in principle, the team will be working for Ivan and protecting him," he concluded.

Fassa: Bossoni out, Facci in

Paolo Bossoni (Fassa Bortolo) will not be able to take the start of the upcoming Tour de France. The Italian rider suffers from gastroenteritis with a resulting low potassium blood level. The team's management has announced that Mauro Facci will take his place in the roster.

Beloki "close to Heras"

Joseba Beloki is back on the roads of the Tour de France, two years after his fatal fall down the slopes of the Col de la Rochette, which immediately shattered the hopes of the second-placed at the time. Since then, the three times podium-finisher has not been able to get back to that same level. The accident still haunts him, he told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"The crash is still on my mind because it has left a mark in my life," he said. "Every day, comments or images of that day return. I need to clean my slate because after three podiums at the Tour I don't want to be remembered for that crash."

Beloki has a lot of respect for the Tour de France, which has given him everything, and taken it all away again according to the Spaniard. "That's why I need to be in front again," he explained, "If I succeed, I will have paid homage to myself." For this year's Tour, the 31 year-old has set himself realistic goals. "I want to stay close to Heras [the team's leader for GC - ed.] and, if I can, use the opportunities that will unfold. If I can stay with Heras, I could also be in front in the general classification."

Although the Liberty Seguros rider is hopeful that his form will return, last season's experiences have made him cautious. "I've never felt this good since I had the accident. I really want to get my back number now, which wasn't the case at, let's say, the Giro. But last year before the Vuelta, I also felt good and my form lasted only ten days."

Tour contenders at LuK-Challenge

The LuK-Challenge, a pair time trial in Bühl, Germany, on July 30 will feature several international riders that will line up at the start of this Tour de France. Of the 20 pair teams that will compete against the clock in Germany, more than half will have participated in the Tour de France. The organisers of the Challenge have announced Alexandre Vinokourov/Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) at their event, as well as Jens Voigt/Bobby Julich (CSC).

Further Tour riders also racing the time trial in Bühl are: Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), Luke Roberts (CSC), Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner), Axel Merckx (Davitamon-Lotto) and Michael Rogers/Patrik Sinkewitz (Quickstep) and Paolo Savoldelli/Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery).

At the women's event, Judith Arndt (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung), Sara Carrigan (Van Bemmelen-AA Drink) and Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand) will be amongst the starters.

Marchiol-Ima-Famila suspends Del Puppo

Italian team Marchiol-Ima-Famila has suspended its rider Nicola Del Puppo after a pre-competition control by the Italian Cycling Federation. Del Puppo was due to leave Italy for Spain and take part in the road race of the Mediterranean Games in Almeria, Spain.

Viktor Renäng signs for continental team

Swedish time trial specialist and upcoming European U23 championships favourite Viktor Renäng has signed a contract with German continental team Comnet-Senges. In Aachen, Germany, he will join his older brother Petter, who is already in the squad. The younger Renäng's contract lasts until the end of 2005.

Johansson stagiaire with Barloworld

Fredrik Johansson, who finished fifth at the National Championships in Sweden will join Barloworld-Valsir as a stagiaire as of mid-August 2005. Johanson is one of the most aggressive athletes in Swedish cycling and has a reputation as typical "classic"-cyclist.

Courtesy of www.acso.be

Broken ankle for Fenwick

Michael Fenwick, Australian and World Junior BMX champion, broke his ankle while training in his home town of Adelaide on June 29. Fenwick was due to start at the World Championships in Paris, France, from July 29-31, and has received surgery to his ankle. Whether he will be able to compete with the Australian team is yet unknown.

Breedlove honoured

The Executive Committee of the UMCA has elected Bob Breedlove, who died while riding RAAM, posthumously to the Hall of Fame and also is naming the Ultracyclist of the Year award after him.

Details at: www.ultracycling.com/about/hof_breedlove.html

Dick Evans Memorial race in Hawaii

On Sunday September 11, 2005, the Hawaii State Cycling Association will be hosting Hawaii's premier annual bicycle race, the Dick Evans Memorial Road Race. The course is a 112-mile loop around the beautiful island of Oahu, passing through Waikiki, Honolulu and along the famed surf breaks of the North Shore. The Dick Evans Memorial is an event rich in history and competition, routinely contested by Hawaii's best as well as top amateurs and pros from California, Japan and elsewhere. Triathletes also know that this race was once combined with the Honolulu Marathon and Waikiki Roughwater Swim to become the first ever "Ironman" triathlon competition (and now you know why the cycling leg of any Ironman-distance competition is 112 miles!).

Registration online at www.active.com (keyword: Dick Evans); field limited to 150 riders.

Win a TREK Madone - Fantasy Le Tour

 
Click for larger image
The Trek Madone 5.9
©: Zapata Espinoza
Click for larger image
A very Bontrager-esque front end
Photo ©: Zapata Espinoza
Click for larger image

We are pleased to confirm that TREK will be offering the lucky winner of this year's Fantasy Le Tour a Madone 5.9 team Discovery bike worth US$7,700.

When Lance Armstrong challenged TREK to create their fastest bike ever, they answered with the Madone. The Madone family combines TREK's Tour-proven road geometry with the Time Trial aerodynamics to create the ultimate performance package. It's a fantastic prize packed with some of the best features that will be featuring in this year's Tour bikes:

Made in America - The frames raced by Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Team are handcrafted in Waterloo, Wisconsin, alongside the one they build for you.

Performance Design - Proprietary "A-Stay" seatstays offer greater strength and stiffness when pedaling out of the saddle or descending at high speed.

Rigid Thinking - One-piece, bonded dropouts make every pedal stroke more efficient - creating a structure that's up to 50% stiffer than more commonly used two-piece dropouts.

Madone 5.9 Components

* OCLV 110 Carbon Frame
* Bontrager Race XXX Lite, OCLV 110 Carbon Fork
* Bontrager Race X Lite Aero Wheels
* Shimano Dura-Ace 53/39 or Bontrager Compact Drive 50/36 Crankset
* Shimano Dura-Ace Rear Derailleur

This year's Fantasy Tour de France 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.

Prize list

As well as thefirst prize TREK Madone Discovery Team bike detailed above, the following great prizes have been confirmed, with more to come.

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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