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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 2, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Alternative big guns for Murcia

2004 winner Alejandro Valverde will miss this year's Murcia
Photo ©: AFP

Spain's Vuelta a Murcia (Tour of Murcia), which starts today, has traditionally been the first stage race of the season for many top riders, with Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich both starting their preparation for the Tour de France last year in a race that was won by local hero Alejandro Valverde.

The 2005 edition, however, will lack all three of those riders. Ullrich is out of action with flu, while Valverde and Armstrong have both chosen to start Paris-Nice, a ProTour event.

Nevertheless, 16 teams will start in Murcia today, and the field is not bare of top riders, with Lampre-Caffita fielding young gun Damiano Cunego, Joseba Beloki lining up for Liberty Seguros, climber Michael Rasmussen leading the charge for Rabobank and Gerolsteiner tipping sprinter Danilo Hondo for stage wins and a tilt at the general classification. Gerolsteiner will also field American Levi Leipheimer, but team spokesman Udo Bölts says Leipheimer has bigger fish to fry this season.

"For Levi it is the first race of the season," said Bolts. "He is still building his form and certainly has other goals. He is preparing for his season high point to be the Tour de France. Therefore we are not going to raise our expectations of him too high right now."

Murcia's first three days present no major difficulties, with third category climbs in stages one and three and a 22km time trial making up stage two. Stage four's 152km trip from Águilas to Collado Bermejo should shake things up, though, with a third category climb at the halfway point to warm the climbers' legs, and a finale atop the 1150m, category one Alto de Collado Bermejo.

The race finishes with a 150km final stage that begins and ends in Murcia.


Acqua & Sapone, Barloworld, Bouygues-Telecom, Chocolates Jacques, Comunitat Valenciana, Gerolsteiner, Illes Balears, Kaiku, Lampre-Caffita, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Liberty Seguros,, Rabobank, Relax-Fuenlabrada, Saunier Duval, T-Mobile


Stage 1 - March 2: Murcia - Molina de Segura , 162 km
Stage 2 - March 3: Alhama de Murcia - Alhama de Murcia , 22 km
Stage 3 - March 4: Mula - Fortuna , 155.8 km
Stage 4 - March 5: Águilas - Collado Bermejo , 152.3 km
Stage 5 - March 6: Murcia - Murcia , 150.6 km

Green suspended for asthma inhaler slip-up

Canadian mountain bike racer Roland Green has been retroactively suspended for six months after testing positive for prednisolone, a synthetic corticosteroid, at the UCI MTB World Cup in Houffalize in May 2004.

A hearing was recently conducted through the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada with the participation of Green and the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA). The hearing found that an infraction of UCI anti-doping rules had occurred, but there were mitigating circumstances: the prednisolone came from Green's asthma inhaler and Green had failed to keep up the necessary paperwork to use it.

The panel ruled that Green should serve a six-month suspension, the minimum for this offence, from July 4, 2004 to April 4, 2005, a period that includes the normal mountain biking inactivity period from November 1 to January 31. The UCI Anti-doping Commission has accepted the ruling.

Through the CCA, Green offered the following statement. "At the Houffalize, Belgium round of the World Cup on May 30, 2004 I tested positive for the medication in my asthma inhaler. Normally, this would not be a problem, since I have been cleared to use this medication for the past five years. However, last spring I failed to have my paper work completed before leaving for Europe, which meant that I was not officially cleared to use it. This was completely my fault and, as a result, I have received a six-month suspension, and will not be allowed to compete until April 4. All of my sponsors, friends and family have been very supportive under these trying circumstances. My first race back will be Sea Otter Classic on April 14. I am really looking forward to racing again."

According the CCA, "prednisolone is a substance commonly found in medication used in the treatment of asthma. In this particular case the substance was contained in a prescription product known as Symbicort. The use of this medication cannot be considered performance enhancing, and Green has a documented history of exercise induced asthma."

The suspension will not affect Green's status as a member of the Canadian national team.

Discovery Channel for Paris-Nice

The Discovery Channel team has announced its line-up for Paris-Nice which runs from Sunday March 6 to Sunday March 13. As previously announced, Lance Armstrong will be part of the squad, along with Tom Danielson, Paolo Savoldelli, and Yaroslav Popovych.

This will be Armstrong's first start in Paris-Nice since 1999, when he used the race as a training run on the way to returning to Paris in July as winner of his first Tour de France. He finished second to Laurent Jalabert in 1996 when riding for Motorola and won a stage in 1995.

The full Discovery Channel line-up for Paris-Nice is: Lance Armstrong, Jose Azevedo, Manuel Beltran, Tom Danielson, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych, Chechu Rubiera.

Voeckler & Pineau head Bouygues Telecom at Paris-Nice

Thomas Voeckler and Jérôme Pineau will lead the Bouygues Telecom team at Paris-Nice (March 6-13), while Laurent Brochard heads a second squad at Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-15), the first instance of ProTour teams having to operate on two different fronts simultaneously.

Voeckler is beginning to find his form, team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau told France's l'Equipe, adding that the team's aim was to make its presence felt in "one good stage."

For Paris-Nice, Bouygues Telecom will field Pierrick Fédrigo, Laurent Lefèvre, Rony Martias, Jérôme Pineau, Didier Rous, Matthieu Sprick, Thomas Voeckler, and Unai Yus.

At Tirreno-Adriatico, the team will be: Walter Bénéteau, Olivier Bonnaire, Laurent Brochard, Anthony Charteau, Sébastien Chavanel, Anthony Geslin, Maryan Hary, and Franck Renier.

Rabobank for Paris-Nice & Tirreno-Adriatico

The Rabobank team has announced its line-ups for Paris-Nice (March 6-13) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-15).

Rabobank's best performance in Paris-Nice in recent years came in 1999 when Michael Boogerd won the general classification ahead of team-mate Markus Zberg, and the team also took the team classification.

This year, the team will be headed by Erik Dekker, with Thomas Dekker, Jan Boven, Mathew Hayman, Steven de Jongh, Grischa Niermann, Joost Posthuma, and Roy Sentjens.

Team riders Oscar Freire (stage 7, 2003, stage 2, 2004) and Michael Boogerd (stage 7, 2001) have both won stages of Tirreno-Adriatico in recent years with Freire taking stage 7 in 2003 and stage 2 in 2004 and Michael Boogerd winning stage 7 in 2001, while Erik Dekker won the general classification in 2002.

For the 2005 edition, Rabobank will be represented by Maarten den Bakker, Michael Boogerd, Oscar Freire, Pedro Horrillo, Alexandr Kolobnev, Karsten Kroon, Gerben Löwik, and Marc Wauters.

Euskaltel-Euskadi for P-N & T-A

The Basque Country's Euskaltel-Euskadi team has announced it's riders for the first two ProTour stage races of the year, Paris-Nice (March 6-13) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-15).

For Paris-Nice, the team will field Igor Anton, Mikel Artetxe, Camaño Iker, Gorka Gonzalez, Alberto Lopez De Munain, Egoi Martinez, Peña Aketza, and Gorka Verdugo.

At Tirreno-Adriatico, Euskaltel-Euskadi will be represented by Iker Flores, Aitor Gonzalez, David Herrero, Isasi Iñaki, Roberto Laiseka, Landaluce Iñigo, David Lopez, and Josu Silloniz.

Nazon in doubt for Paris-Nice

AG2R sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon may not start Paris-Nice because he is ill. Nazon has hardly ridden since the Tour Méditerranéen, only returning to training on Friday after a course of antibiotics was required to shift a particularly stubborn case of bronchitis.

The team will decide Thursday or Friday whether Nazon is fit to ride, and Alexandre Usov will step in if Nazon is insufficiently recovered.

At the moment, however, AG2R plans to field the following riders for Paris-Nice: Mikel Astarloza, Inigo Chaurreau, Cyril Dessel, Andy Flickinger, Stéphane Goubert, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Nicolas Portal and Ludovic Turpin.

Petacchi targets Milano-Sanremo

Alessandro Petacchi will spend today reconnoitering the final kilometres of the parcours of the Milano-Sanremo.

Petacchi, who will be accompanied by team-mates Marco Velo and Fabio Sacchi and sport director Alessandro Giannelli seems to be determined to land this year's Primavera. This is, after all, the race every Italian wants to win.

Petacchi made the selection in 2002, finishing 17th in a race won by Mario Cipollini. He failed to finish in 2003, feeling the after effects of a flu, but came close in 2004, crossing the line in fourth place as Oscar Freire stole victory from Erik Zabel in the final metres.

Petacchi will practice the climbs on the approach to Sanremo and scout the finish area. "We will do the Cipressa and the Poggio twice," said Petacchi. "I don't want to leave anything to chance."

Teams for Milano-Sanremo

Organiser RCS Sport has announced the 25 teams that will take part in Milano-Sanremo on March 19. The line-up includes all 20 ProTour teams, as it must under the UCI's ProTour framework, plus five additions from the ranks of the Continental Pro peloton.

With four of the five invited teams hailing from Italy, they can be expected to animate the early stages of the race as they vie for a little airtime for their sponsors before the big guns take over on the final approach to Sanremo and the climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio.

ProTour teams for Milano-Sanremo: Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Credit Agricole, Davitamon - Lotto, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, Domina Vacanze, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Fassa Bortolo, Francaise Des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, Illes Balears, Lampre - Caffita, Liberty Seguros Team, Liquigas - Bianchi, Phonak Hearing Systems, Quick Step, Rabobank, Saunier Duval - Prodir, Team CSC, T-Mobile Team

Additional teams: Acqua&Sapone - Adria Mobil, Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare, Naturino - Sapore Di Mare, Team Barloworld, Team LPR

USA's under 23 hopefuls assemble

The entire USA under 23 team
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
Click for larger image

The USA's under 23 road and mountain bike teams got together in Chula Vista, California recently for a team presentation and some fitness testing. Mitch Friedman was there to meet the riders and take the pics.

With a break in the bad weather that has drenched California the last couple of weeks it was nice to have a clear day for USA Cycling's under 23 team presentation at the United States Olympic Training Center.

The presentation brought together riders from both the road and mountain bike teams. The two disciplines may have separate riders, but the squads will train together in Europe and the mountain bike specialists will get in some road racing both in the US and on the other side of the Atlantic.

Click here for the full article

Top women head for New Zealand

Trust House Women's Tour preview by Kristy Scrymgeour

After a week of racing in Geelong, Australia, many of the Worlds top women’s teams head across the Tasman this week and land in New Zealand’s capital of Wellington, on the southern tip of the North Island. There the riders will contest another three-day tour followed by the second round of the World Cup Series.

A 45km criterium around Fraser Park in Lower Hutt will kick off the inaugural Trust House Women’s Tour on Wednesday and will be followed on Tuesday by a double stage day. Day two features a 117km road race from Featherton to Masterton through the Wairarapa, followed by an eight-corner crit in Masterton. Finishing off the tour with a race of truth, the riders will complete a 12km time trial starting in Scorching Bay in the Mirimar Peninsula.

On the line will be a world-class field including current World Champion Judith Arndt and her strong Nurnberger team who come straight off a win at the Geelong Tour where Oenone Wood took the win for the second consecutive year.

Up against them will be strong international teams such Tom Van Bemmelen with the Bates sisters showing their excellent form in Australia joined of course by current Olympic Road Champion Sara Carrigan, as well as the Buitenpoort-Flexpoint Team featuring Mirjam Melchers who is always a favourite and her team-mate and two time Road World Champion Susanne Ljungskog. Susanne and Mirjam placed second and fourth in the Geelong Tour and will be hoping to move up the ladder a spot in this weeks tour.

Nobili Rubinetterie, Univega Pro Team, the German National team are also on the start list as well as the Australian National team with the new World Cup leader Rochelle Gilmore. In the mix will also be 11 teams from Australia and New Zealand demonstrating the growing strength in women’s cycling in the Southern hemisphere as well as the Japanese and Indonesian National teams.

Of the local girls, New Zealand’s Joane Kiesanowski who placed fourth in the Geelong World Cup last Sunday will be aiming to perform in front of her crowd, as will other local talent such as Hutt Valley based Susie Wood who placed fifth overall in the Geelong Tour.

5th BURN 24-Hour Challenge

The fifth Annual BURN 24-Hour Challenge mountain bike endurance race will be held again this year at Dark Mountain Trail in N. Wilkesboro, North Carolina, May 27-29.

In addition to the 24-Hour event, riders and spectators can compete in Big Wheel races, special contests and a kid's race. All events are open to anyone who wants to ride but registration is limited to 200 teams and 50 solo riders. Special team strategy prizes and the infamous Alien Abduction keep things interesting for all the teams, not just the top runners.

This year's race categories are: solo male; solo female; two-person open; male team open; female team open; coed team open. Teams may have from three to five members and entry fees are per team. +

"This year we've gone over the top to improve the race experience for participants and spectators," said Tyler Benedict, president of sponsor Source Beverages. "The venue will be filled with commercial-free music provided by SIRIUS Satellite Radio, spectators can cool off under fan misters in the expo area, riders' times will be determined using fast, accurate ChampionChip timing, and the trail is better than ever, thanks to the Brushy Creek Mountain Cyclists Club."

For more information see

Wind Del Velodrome renovation planned

The Brantford, Ontario Human Powered Transportation Association (HPTA) is appealing for funds to renovate the Wind Del Park velodrome at Windham Centre. HPTA recently obtained the lease on the facility, allowing it to apply for a grant from Ontario's Trillium Foundation, which funds community projects to improve quality of life. A collaborative was formed with the HPTA, Ontario Cycling Association and Wind Del to operate and maintain the track and park areas, and the first step will be the much needed resurfacing of the track.

The OCA is seeking support in two ways. A tax-deductible donation can be made by cheque or money order - for details see Alternatively, the organisation is seeking partners and sponsors to support the velodrome, and potential sponsors should contact Joe Mitrovic at

Gears Racing 2005

The Gears racing Institute has announced the Gears Racing Road Bicycle Racing Team for the 2005.

Joining the 2005 team will be 2004 Ontario Provincial Espoir Road Race and ITT Champion Ryan Roth. Ryan along with 5 wins and 10 top 5 placings was the top North American and top espoir finisher at the 2004 Univest Grand Prix. Matched along with Ryan will be three other espoir riders, 2004 World Championship participant Adam Thuss, 2004 Ontario Provincial Junior Road Race Silver Medalist Dave Vuket, and 2003 Junior Ontario Cup overall champion Matt Gusé.

Full roster & announcement

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