First Edition Cycling News for May 7, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
Simoni the leader, says Cunego
At a press conference in Reggio Calabria on the eve of the 88th Giro d'Italia, defending champion Damiano Cunego has pointed to two-time winner Gilberto Simoni as the team leader of the Lampre-Caffita team. Cunego, who is perhaps not in as great a condition as he was last year, said that he will not be riding against Simoni.
"The important thing is that one of us wins the Giro," Cunego was quoted by Reuters as saying. "We all get on and I definitely think we're united as a team and that we're friends. I'm happy with that and I think it's fair to say that in the team we believe in Simoni's chances a little bit more than we do in mine.
Cunego added that he plans to ride this year's race differently, as he is also down to do the Tour de France in July. "This Giro is going to be harder than last year. With the introduction of the ProTour there are more foreign teams there. you have to expect a race with more aggression. For me, it is a different year. Last year, I had the factor of surprise on my side. The pressure is greater today. I had difficulty to train in peace in winter. But I believe I am in form. In the Tour de Romandie I felt good and I won a mountain stage."
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Cipollini to kick off prologue
The recently retired Mario Cipollini will add his usual colour to the prologue of the Giro d'Italia, as he has accepted an invitation by the organisers to ride it, five minutes before the first rider officially sets off at 18:45. Cipollini has 42 Giro stage wins to his credit - an all-time record - but is not expected to upstage the rest of the field too much.
"I was happy to accept the invitation from the Giro organisers, it's a very nice way of saying goodbye to everyone," said Cipollini.
Ribeiro fired from Liberty
A day after recording a hematocrit level of 52 percent at the pre-Giro medical tests, and earning himself a 15 day suspension, Portuguese rider Nuno Ribeiro has been fired from the Liberty Seguros-Würth team. The team made the decision after meeting with its management company and sponsors, and Ribeiro did not contest it. He will now undergo anti-doping tests and other medical controls at the UCI to determine whether he has a naturally high hematocrit, like some other riders.
Raisin hit by motorcycle
Saul Raisin (Crédit Agricole) was hit by a motorcycle at the first stage of the French race Four Days of Dunkirk on Wednesday. The American was forced to abandon the race with an injured hip and collarbone. The 22 year-old Raisin had finished the Tour de Georgia 13th overall and runner-up in the young riders jersey.
Meanwhile, the Four Days of Dunkirk has unfolded like a young talent contest, with stage winners and GC leaders all possible major race contenders for the future. Philippe Gilbert, who took stage two and the overall lead yesterday, is a promising 22 year-old Belgian rider from Francaise des Jeux, and Linus Gerdemann, who surprisingly took the first place on GC today, has been described by his team CSC's manager Bjarne Riis as the biggest German talent since Jan Ullrich.
See also: Four days of Dunkirk stage 3
Illes Balears to Alcobendas
Spanish squad Illes Baleras-Caisse d'Epargne has announced its rider roster for Clásica Alcobendas, a two-day stage race coming up this weekend. The team will depart with the following riders: David Arroyo, Francisco Mancebo, Iván Gutiérrez, Imanol Erviti, Iker Leonet, Jonathan González, Mikel Pradera.
Wachovia Cycling Series announces 23 men's teams
The organisers of the USA's Wachovia Cycling Series have announced that a record 23 teams will be in Philadelphia for the 2005 Wachovia Cycling Series and USPRO Championship. 200 riders will be competing in what will be the largest field in the 21 year history of the race.
16 American professional teams and seven international teams will take part, including six ProTour teams: Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, Davitamon-Lotto, Team CSC, Lampre-Caffita, Liquigas-Bianchi, Saunier Duval-Prodir. In addition, the teams list will include Advantage Benefits-Endeavour, Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, HealthNet p/b Maxxis Jelly Belly-Pool Gel, Jittery Joe’s Kalahari, Kodak Easy Share Sierra Nevada, McGuire-Langdale, MG-XPOWER/Litespeed, Monex, Navigators Insurance, Nerac.com, SeaSilver, Subway, Symmetrics, Team Snow Valley, TIAA-CREF and Webcor Builders.
The Wachovia series starts with the Wachovia Lancaster race on Tuesday, May 31, followed by the Wachovia Trenton race on Thursday, June 2. The series concludes on Sunday, June 5 with the 21st Annual Wachovia USPRO Championship in Philadelphia, that will crown the 2005 USPRO Champion.
The Wachovia USPRO Championship covers 156 miles (250 km) on a 14.4-mile loop through Philadelphia. The race starts on The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. Riders will follow Kelly Drive out towards Manayunk and up the 17 per cent incline of the "Manayunk Wall" before descending through Roxborough for their return trip to Center City. Then, they will ride through Strawberry Meadows and Lemon Hill before going around Eakins Oval and through the Start-Finish area.
Continental teams spice up FBD RÁS
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Intense competition is anticipated from professional teams in this year's FBD Insurance RÁS. It has soared in recent days with the news that Continental teams from Canada, Netherlands and Britain are to join those of the Czech Republic, Estonia and Norway when the eight day international cycle race gets under way from the GPO in a fortnight's time.
The British squad, Recycling.Co.Uk/MG-XPOWER/Litespeed, is particularly strong with the inclusion of two former winners of the race, Paul Manning, 2001, and Chris Newton, 2003, ably backed up by a nice blend of youth and experience in Rob Sharman, Shaun Snodden and Ben Greenwood. The Dutch Team B&E riders are seasoned campaigners competing with all the big names in races throughout Europe, and also have the added advantage of having competed in the RÁS a few years ago. David Butler, Directeur Sportif of the Canadian team, Jet Fuel Coffee, has built a solid, cohesive team of young riders around the experienced Stig Somme and Andrew Randell since their last appearances on Irish roads in 2002, when Randell notched up a stage win into Castletownbere. Somme and Randell will have the solid support of three of Canada's most promising young riders, Zach Bell, Kevin Miller and Mark Pozniak.
In addition to the six Continental teams, the record, and maximum field of 200 riders will also include France, Germany, Scotland, Wales, and Irish national teams, and seventeen county teams.
Team S.A.T.S. looking forward
Danish women's cycling team S.A.T.S. is looking forward to the Tour del'Aude starting May 12. Team manager Catherine Marsal is especially happy about the improvement of Trine Hansen, who finished 13th at La Flèche Wallonne World Cup in Belgium. "I've known Trine Hansen personally since I was still a rider, and I am amazed how she's changed," Marsal said. "Trine has been part of S.A.T.S. team since its beginning and she has improved a lot, gaining strength and experience year after year. She's a hard worker, committed to herself and her team. Step by step she's proved that she is one of the best climbers of the women's bunch. This year will give her the last self confidence to discover her limits, and she will perform on the world class level of the women's cycling scene!
"At Flèche Wallonne I told the girls before the race, that it was up to them to make this happen. Trine looked at me and nodded. Over the radio I advised her to attack at the last 6-7 km, but unfortunately she didn't get the chance. After the race she told me, 'I think I can do it now, I was so close' - so although she was very happy about her placing, she knew she could do even better. This positive thinking will make her take her chances next time she can. Trine's great abilities in time trial and in climbing are the keys to be a GC rider. This is one more step for Trine to the top, and I strongly believe that she is getting very close."
Colorado Excel race continues without Armstrong
Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong hinted he might compete at the Excel Sports Boulder Stage Race presented by Compass Bank, but in the end opted to train elsewhere. Armstrong mentioned the possibility during his press conference announcing his retirement. "We're disappointed he won't be here," said race promoter Clark Sheehan. "But it was a good exercise in thinking on that scale." Meanwhile, Colorado's premier bicycle stage race goes on, May 13-15, albeit with one less Tour champion...
Two-time national champion Kim Baldwin and her T-Mobile team return to Boulder for the event. The men's field is wide open, with defending champion and Boulder resident Scott Moninger missing this season's edition due to prior engagements. A strong juniors field will compete as well, as the race is part of the Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Series (LAJORS).
Cyclists tackle a time trial Friday, May 13, followed by the infamous Boulder-Roubaix road race the next day. Held on rutted, hilly dirt roads, the Roubaix is nationally known and has attracted world-class athletes like Henk Vogels in the past. Sunday will be the deciding day in the race, with a nine-mile morning hill climb to Gold Hill and an afternoon stage - the weekend's marquee event, the Frasca Food and Wine North Boulder Park Criterium. The Frasca criterium will cover a similar course as the one featured in the late '70s and '80s when cycling legends like Moreno Argentin, Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond and Andy Hampsten competed.
Registration for the event will be available exclusively online at the official website: www.boulderbikerace.com.
For more information on the LAJORS, visit www.usacycling.org/lajors/
Skil-Moser for Dutch races
The Skil-Moser Pro Cycling team will compete in two races in the Netherlands over the weekend, the Omloop der Kempen and Ronde van Overijssel. The teams are as follows:
Omloop der Kempen: Bart Voskamp, Bert Hiemstra, Jan van Velzen, Arkadiusz Wotjas, Marek Wesoly, Dariusz Rudnicki, Wouter Mol, Jehudi Schoonacker
Ronde van Overijssel: Bart Voskamp, Bert Hiemstra, Jan van Velzen, Andy de Smet, Christophe Stevens, Frank Kwanten, Roel de Vries, Arkadiusz Wotjas
New prizes announced for Fantasy Giro 2005 game
Brought to you by Wilier Triestina, this year's Fantasy Giro d'Italia game marks the third year of fantasy games at Cyclingnews. Wilier Triestina is offering a team Cofidis Le Roi bike valued at €6000 for this year's grand prize. Campagnolo is also offering its record component group to the first runner-up.
In this year's game you will be able to see a full ranking list and the details of who picked which riders and for which stage. You can use the search feature to find your friends teams and see what they have entered. We have also changed the GC points system this year to be in accordance to the UCI's changes to last year's points system. Now only the top 15 GC riders score points. We hope this will even up the points distribution further.
Join For Free!
You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first 5 stages for FREE! We will be adding additions to the start list 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 Giro. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Giro. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Giro. Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)