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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for May 16, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Volta a Catalunya kicks off with TTT

A 19.2 kilometre team time trial will kick off the first stage of the 85th Volta a Catalunya, one of the oldest Tours on the calendar, and this year part of the UCI ProTour. The week long race runs from Monday, May 16, through Sunday, May 22, and contains a number of very challenging stages. Stages 2 and 3 already feature several Cat. 2 and Cat. 3 climbs, but Stage 4, from Perafort to the Pal ski station in Arinsal (Andorra) is 237.7 km long and finishes with two Cat. 1 climbs, both at over 1850m altitude. There will not be much relief the next day in stage 5, with a 17 km mountain time trial from Sornas to the Ordino ski station at Arcalís. This stage climbs from 1300m to 2220m, with 660m of that in the final 9.3 km.

Stage 6 from Llívia to Pallejà (199 km) starts with the Cat. 1 Collada de Toses (km 27.9), but contains only one other Cat. 2 climb, and that comes with over 80 km to go, which means there could be a fairly large group to contest the finish. The final stage is just 113 km from Pallejà to Barcelona, but is punctuated by three Cat. 3 climbs and another uncategorised one at the start.

Although many of the top ProTour riders are racing in the Giro d'Italia, the Volta will see the likes of Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), M.A. Martín Perdiguero (Phonak) at the start.

The stages

Stage 1 - May 16: Salou-Salou TTT, 19.2 km
Stage 2 - May 17: Cambrils-Cambrils, 186,8 km
Stage 3 - May 18: Salou-La Granada, 157,8 km
Stage 4 - May 19: Perafort-Estació d'esquí de Pal-Arinsal (Andorra), 237,7 km
Stage 5 - May 20: Sornàs (Andorra)-Estació d'esquí d'Ordino-Arcalís (Andorra) ITT, 17,1 km
Stage 6 - May 21: Llívia-Pallejà, 198,7 km
Stage 7 - May 22: Pallejà-Barcelona (Sants), 113,1 km


Gerolsteiner (René Haselbacher), Quick Step (Kevin De Weert), Davitamon Lotto (Mario Aerts), Fassa Bortolo (Lorenzo Bernucci), Credit Agricole (Alexandre Botcharov), Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne (José Luis Arrieta), Liberty Seguros-Würth (Luis León Sanchez, Carlos Barredo), Cofidis (Stéphane Augé), Liquigas-Bianchi (Magnus Bäckstedt), Discovery Channel (Stijn Devolder), Relax-Fuenlabrada (Daniel Moreno), Lampre-Caffita (Alessandro Ballan), Rabobank (Denis Menchov), Domina-Vacanze (Ruggero Borghi), Team CSC (Andy Schleck), T-Mobile Team (Jan Ullrich), Comunidad Valenciana (David Blanco), Bouygues Telecom (Laurent Brochard), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Iban Mayo), Française des Jeux, Phonak Hearing Systems (M.A. Martín Perdiguero), Saunier Duval (Leonardo Piepoli), Kaiku (José Antonio López).

Olaf's Big Adventure

Sunday's Giro time trial didn't exactly go as planned for T-Mobile sprinter Olaf Pollack, as he describes on his homepage,

"About halfway through the course, my rear tyre separated itself from the rim. So that the tyre didn't feel so lonely, I separated myself from the road and fell down a slope. I then proved the theory that humans are descended from apes: in front of me a 60 metre deep slope, to the right a cement bridge post, and to the left a tree, which I instinctively grabbed hold of. Unfortunately, the evolution of the human is now so far advanced that I lost hold of the tree and started sliding down the slope. At some point I was able to hold on and then crawled back up on all fours. My bike went the 'whole way' and was picked up a little later.

"It sounds a lot funnier than it was..."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

An interview with Trent Lowe

T-Lowe takes off

Trent Lowe
Photo ©: Bill Parsons
Click for larger image

After taking second overall at the Redlands Classic and Best Young Rider at the Tour de Georgia, Trent Lowe has blasted into orbit as an accomplished cross country MTB and road racer. The 20-year-old Victorian has combined ample talent with amazing physical capabilities and a controlled approach to become arguably Australia's most promising mountain biker. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke caught up with 'T-Lowe' at his base in Colorado.

Place Trent Lowe's palmares next to his birth certificate and you'd be amazed. Born in October 1984, Lowe only began competitive cycling at 14 years of age, and by the age of 18 had become junior World Champion. Last year he became Australian Under 23 national champion after heading to the US to race. He took second in NORBA #3 that year before moving to the Subaru-Gary Fisher team in 2005 to race with some of America's best mountain bikers in Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Willow Koerber.

At this year's Redlands Classic Lowe rode his first pro road race, as part of the Jittery Joe's-Kalahari outfit, taking a win on stage 1 and finishing second overall, against experienced campaigners such as Tim Johnson, Charles Dionne and Scott Moninger. After another strong performance at Sea Otter (taking a win in the short track stage before crashing out on the last day) Lowe was off to Georgia, where he was an important part of Jittery Joe's assault on the Tour de Georgia.

It was all a bit hectic; "I crashed pretty heavily on the last day of Sea Otter - I was concussed; I realised I'd hit my head after seeing that the stickers on my helmet were missing...I'd only got that helmet a couple of weeks before." That night it was time to jump on a three hour flight to Georgia, where a three-hour time difference awaited him. "I started Georgia pretty hungover from the travel, the concussion and the time difference - it was a bit weird."

Taking to the start with new teammate Geoff Kabush and riders such as Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong, Lowe surprised most people, not least of all himself, with his performances - taking the Best Young Rider's jersey and 11th overall by the end of some extremely tough racing miles. When asked whether he expected to perform so well, he's typically modest; "Not at all. The best young rider was great to get, but even more satisfying was seventh place on the Brasstown Bald stage. To do that was great, considering just getting through the race would have been an achievement in itself. Also, where else do you get such quality training miles?" It's this last statement that indicates Lowe's constantly got his eyes on the prize, even when most would sit back and just have a look at their recent success.

Click here for the full interview

Simoni talking to Domina

The Belgian VRT network is reporting that Gilberto Simoni is in negotiations with the Domina Vacanze team, which is interested in hiring a grand tour rider of his calibre for next season. Simoni currently rides for Lampre-Caffita, where he is sharing the leadership with young talent Damiano Cunego, even though Simoni is the nominal team captain for the Giro d'Italia. After stage 8 of the Giro, Cunego sits in fourth overall at 1'15, while Simoni is in 10th at 2'11.

Fassa in doubt for next season

The sponsorship of the Fassa Bortolo team is in danger of not continuing next season, according to Italian and Belgian news sources. Thus, speculation as to which team Alessandro Petacchi will ride for has already started, with Domina Vacanze and Liquigas possible candidates. The latter has lost star sprinter Mario Cipollini, and even though it has GC/hilly classics riders Danilo Di Luca, Dario Cioni and Stefano Garzelli, it still needs a sprinter. The Italian media also named Phonak and Discovery Channel, but both teams have denied interest in Petacchi.

Final Tour wildcard announced Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 17, the organisers of the Tour de France will name the final team that will take part in this year's Tour, together with the 20 ProTour teams and Ag2r-Prevoyance. It's unlikely that a non-French team will be invited, and of the remaining two French continental pro teams, Agritubel has so far had a better season than R.A.G.T. Semences.

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