Latest Cycling News for May 11, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
An interview with Charly Wegelius
Riding shotgun for Liquigas-Bianchi
British rider Charly Wegelius has carved himself a solid career as a reliable domestique for Italian teams, but he recently showed a hint of something greater when he finished third on GC at the Vuelta a Aragon. Right now, he's at the Giro supporting Liquigas-Bianchi's triple threat Stefano Garzelli, Dario Cioni and Danilo Di Luca, and - Aragon notwithstanding - that's just how he likes it, as he tells Shane Stokes.
With 2000 champion Stefano Garzelli, Dario Cioni and Danilo Di Luca providing a potential triple-whammy for the general classification, Liquigas-Bianchi heads into this year's Giro as one of the strongest squads in the race. Backing their three captains along the way will be the 27 year old British rider Charly Wegelius, who will use his hill climbing talents to set them up for what the team hopes will be a victorious campaign.
Wegelius took what was probably the best result of his career in the recent Vuelta a Aragon in Spain, finishing second to Comunidad Valenciana's Ruben Plaza in the uphill time trial on day four and ending the 2.1 ranked event third overall. Since then he has prepared methodically for the Giro, completing a tough block of racing in the Giro del Trentino and the Giro dell'Appennino and then training hard and resting well in order to ensure he began the Italian tour in the best possible shape.
Despite Wegelius's good showing in Spain, he remains very much committed to his role as a domestique. "I feel that I have found my space in the sport and I am trying to my job as best as I can," he told Cyclingnews in recent days, stressing that his ride in Aragon wasn't going to change anything. "I didn't think that I was capable of doing a thing like that. Taking a stage race like that would be nice, at some point in the future, but it is not going to change the focus of my career. Winning riders who don't win much are not much good to anybody. But a helper who wins every so often, that is always good."
With that in mind, Wegelius has a clear idea of what he would like to achieve in the sport. "I would like to be part of a team which wins a three-week race. I think for someone who does what I do, that is the biggest thing you can hope for. I'm aiming to achieve something like that."
If things work out as he hopes, Wegelius could achieve that goal sooner rather than later. He pinpoints Simoni, Cunego, Basso and Scarponi as dangerous riders for the Giro, but believes that Liquigas's strong line-up and excellent team spirit could see the team end up on top.
"I think we have a really good chance of winning, precisely because the atmosphere the team is so good," he explains. "Going into a big race with two leaders isn't easy, but it is when you have two people like Garzelli and Cioni. They are both really good riders and they are also really smart. I think the fact that everyone gets on so well is going to be our strongest point when things get hard. Besides, if you look at the line-up that we have got, this is a pretty good team! I think we have got a really good chance."
Click here for the full interview
Cycling hooliganism hits the Giro
Although hooliganism in cycling is much rarer than in football, it still takes place from time to time, especially in the grand tours where there are hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the roads each day. With 40 km to go in yesterday's third stage of the Giro between Diamante and Giffoni Valle Piana, there was an incident involving two "spectators" who ran into the middle of the peloton and harassed the riders. Quick.Step's Davide Bramati had his number torn from his back and was nearly brought down by one of the hooligans. Bramati's teammate Paolo Bettini wanted to throw his bidon at the assailant.
"I saw that one of the two pushed Davide and took the number off his jersey," Bettini told De Telegraaf after the stage. "Then he came towards me, but I could just avoid him. At that moment you are certainly scared. It's a pity that something like this happened, but I see it as a single incident."
Rabobank's team director Frans Maassen commented, "I've never seen this before and also hope that it's the first and last time. You know that there is always a chance that something will happen, because the public can stand freely along the road, but you don't count on it."
Police haven't managed to apprehend the two hooligans.
45 riders tested
On the morning of the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia, the UCI's medical inspectors blood tested 45 riders from five teams: CSC (including Basso), Quick.Step (including Bettini), Rabobank, Credit Agricole, and Ceramica Panaria. All riders were declared fit to start.
Steels out with urinary tract problems
Belgian champion Tom Steels had a bad start to the Giro because of a urinary tract infection, and was forced to abandon after 65 km of stage 3. "It was bad for a few days already, I am in a lot of pain," Steels was quoted by VRT as saying. "The infection is healing very slowly."
In Monday's second stage, Steels lost three minutes, after spending a lot of time near the front of the bunch protected by the chasing train. "Then I could stay out of the wind and it was flat," he said. "On Tuesday, the batteries hadn't recharged."
Steels has had a better start to the season this year, with four wins to his credit already, and was looking forward to the Giro. "I was going well again and then you come up against this. You can't do anything about it. It was a small miracle that the doctor brought me to the start of the Giro. It's a shame, because the Giro was one of my main goals of the season."
Steels added that he didn't think he would ride the Tour de France. "It is not on my program and I will need two or three weeks to recover. And that is too short for the Tour.
Christophe Detilloux (Francaise des Jeux) also abandoned the Giro in stage three after suffering from a right knee inflammation.
Rous asks to start in other races
French rider Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom), who abandoned the Giro on stage 1 with stomach problems, will ask permission from the organisers and the UCI to start in other races while the Giro is on. UCI regulations prevent a rider from entering more than one race at a time, unless they can show a good reason. Otherwise, Rous will be effectively out of racing for the next three weeks.
Pro teams reach agreement with Vuelta
The 20 ProTour teams have reached an agreement with the organisers of the Vuelta a España over the subject of start money, which the teams have asked for more of. Although the details of the agreement were not released, representatives from the teams confirmed that it was in place, and just lacked a signature.
Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt kicks off on Wednesday
With just one ProTour team present - Gerolsteiner - the 40th edition of the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt will kick off on Wednesday, May 11 in Koblenz, Germany. The five day race will travel 800 km in six stages around the Rhein and the Mosel, finishing back in Koblenz on Sunday. The 25 km time trial in Landau on May 14 will be an important stage for the GC riders, while the longest stage will be the second between Trier and Mainz, over 197 km.
Gerolsteiner will have the pressure on them as favourites, as this race is also on its home territory. But with Fabian Wegmann, Sebastian Lang, Heinrich Haussler, Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel as part of the line-up, Gerolsteiner has the firepower to realise its chances. There will be another 14 teams, with Ag2r, Barloworld-Valsir, Landbouwkrediet, Lamonta, Chocolade Jacques and Wiesenhof also favourites.
Stage 1 - May 11: Koblenz - Bad Marienberg, 158 km
Teams: Gerolsteiner, AG2R, Akud, Barloworld-Valsir, Chocolade Jacques, Comnet, Ed System-ZVVZ, Intel-Action, Landbouwkrediet, MrBookmaker.com, Naturino, Shimano, Lamonta, Wiesenhof, and a German national team.
Davitamon-Lotto back on top in ProTour teams rankings
A small error in the last release of the ProTour rankings (after the Tour de Romandie) has denied Davitamon-Lotto its place at the top of the teams rankings, equal with Rabobank. Christophe Brandt's 18th place in the Amstel Gold Race was not counted, meaning that the team lost 6 points. However, the UCI has now corrected this and the Lotto team is equal number one with Rabobank on 170 points.
Boucles de l'Aulne "Le Télégramme" cancelled
The 6th edition of the Boucles de l'Aulne, scheduled for August 29, has been cancelled for financial reasons. The race's naming rights sponsor, newspaper Le Télégramme, announced that there was a budgetary shortfall of €40,000 for the 2005 edition, and decided not to hold it this year. It was to be the 14th round of the Coupe de France, which has also lost A travers le Morbihan on May 21.
Cycleops 12 Hour Cycling Classic
The Cycleops 12 Hour Cycling Classic claims to be the first road endurance event of its kind to be held in Australia. It will take place at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway on May 15, 2005, starting at 8:00am and running through until 8:00pm. The event is open to everyone from competitive elite cyclists through to social riders and children.
Riders can enter solo or in relay tag teams of between 2 and 10 people. The race will follow the popular team arrangement employed at mountain biking endurance races. Each rider in a team will be able to ride as many laps as they choose before coming into the pit are to transition to the next rider in their team. Prizes will be given to category winners, and trophies will be given to all placegetters. There will also be dozens of spot prizes given away throughout the day.
Entries will stay open until midday Saturday, May 14. See www.endurancecycling.com for more details.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)