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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 29, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan, John Stevenson & Les Clarke

Basso ready for 2006 Tour challenge

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Ivan Basso in the final TT of the 2005 Tour
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

With Team CSC's annual survival camp looming at week's end, 2005 Tour de France runner-up Ivan Basso is rested, relaxed and ready for the yearly ordeal that runs from December 2-10. During his November training, Basso has followed the advice of Marco Pantani's former physical therapist Fabrizio Borra to aid some back pain by following a program of exercises carried out in the swimming pool to strengthen his back muscles.

"I've never done this type of program before," he explained, "but this has helped me improve my coordination and increase the strength in my back muscles." Basso's November training program also was on the bike, as the CSC rider who just celebrated his 28th birthday last Saturday has also included cycling. "I've already started doing some riding, but nothing that's worth putting in my training diary yet. But I notice that my training in the pool has helped me to maintain some strength in my legs."

Rather than the traditional road outings, Ivan Basso also enjoys riding in the woods on the trails near his home in Cassano Magnano, Italy. "To ride through the woods is another alternative to riding the road at this time of the year, but I prefer to do this kind of riding on my cyclocross bike rather than on a mountain bike," he said.

Basso was even approached to ride for the Italian national cyclocross team at the upcoming Superprestige race in Milano on December 8, but had to opt out because of his commitments at the Team CSC's survival camp in Denmark. Basso will start his 2006 season at Milano-Torino on March 6, but his primary focus for '06 is clearly the Tour de France, where he was runner-up to Lance Armstrong last July.

After looking carefully at the 2006 Tour de France parcours, Basso declared: "I don't like the Tour course. There's no doubt that it's perfect for Ullrich. But I will also have my possibilities in the Pyrenees and the Alps."

And although it's not currently on his race program, Basso likes what he sees of the 2006 Giro d'Italia. "It seems like a spectacular course; harder than this year's edition and I like the team time trial, too. Sure, some people have complained about the five mountain-top finishes, but that's a nice contrast to the Tour where there are only three."

Once he returns to Italy after Team CSC's annual survival camp, Basso will begin his three month build-up to his first race in early March 2006, but his sights are surely set on the top rung of the Tour de France podium next July in Paris.

Almost $5m for Rhodes and Brown

Australian riders Alexis Rhodes and Katie Brown, two of the five Australian Institute of Sport riders hit by an out-of-control car in July, have been awarded payments of almost AU$5 million, according to the West Australian. The crash killed Amy Gillett and seriously injured Lorian Graham, Alexis Rhodes, Katie Brown, Louise Yaxley and Kate Nichols.

Rhodes and Brown settled their court actions against the car's driver Stafanie Magner and owner Stefan Magner last Thursday, according to court documents seen by the West Australian. Katie Brown will be paid AU$2,318,790 plus AU$352, 604 in costs while Alexis Rhodes will receive AU$1,659,100 and costs of AU$471,076.

Brian Sierakowski, the lawyer who represented the German insurance firm that will make the payments, said he expected the company would soon instruct him to settle another three cases arising from the crash.

Related stories

April 3, 2006: Mark Webber cautions motorists to watch for cyclists in Amy Gillett's name
February 21, 2006: AIS survivors tell of crash and recovery
February 7, 2006: AIS crash verdict: "German law was applied"
February 4, 2006: AIS crash: driver sentenced
December 25, 2005: An interview with the survivors of the German tragedy
December 23, 2005: An interview with Warren McDonald
December 13, 2005: Emotional conclusion to Amy Gillett Charity Ride
Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride diary
October 28, 2005: AIS women at charity luncheon in Sydney
October 20, 2005: Yaxley making solid progress
October 6, 2005: Investigation in Gillett's death almost complete
August 24, 2005: Graham vows to return
August 22, 2005: Yaxley and Rhodes home
August 18, 2005: Rhodes and Yaxley bound for home
August 14, 2005: Yaxley and Rhodes continue to make progress
August 11, 2005: Brown vows to return to cycling
August 8, 2005: More support for Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation
August 3, 2005: Rhodes and Yaxley out of intensive care
July 29, 2005: Amy Gillett's life recalled in moving service
July 28, 2005: Rhodes and Yaxley recovery 'amazing'
July 24, 2005: Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious
July 21, 2005: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19, 2005: Unprecedented carnage in Germany
July 18, 2005: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

An interview with Graeme Brown

2006: A year of reckoning

Graeme Brown made his mark at the Tour de Langkawi
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

After a promising first year as a neo-pro that saw him contest Grand Tour stage victories with Mario Cipollini and Robbie McEwen, Graeme Brown's career on the road has fallen off the pace. An obstinate Achilles, internal rivalry within his trade team and a poorly planned race schedule all contributed to his lack of success, but a chance meeting with a fellow Australian has led to a new team and new hopes. Story by Anthony Tan.

Driving is often the perfect distraction when interviewing bike riders. For a variety of reasons, but above all, the setting provides a more relaxed, less staid environment to talk, particularly if you need to ask some difficult questions. So when Graeme Brown and his wife Hayley - who was at the wheel, mind you - were on their way to a wedding in Margaret River, Western Australia's most famous wine-growing region, it was a good time to chat.

The last time I saw the 26 year-old sprinter was at Malaysia's Tour de Langkawi in February this year. On the final day in Kuala Lumpur, he sailed across the line to claim his fifth stage win for his Ceramica Panaria-Navigare team, the orange-clad outfit also winning another two stages courtesy of their Argentine sprinter Guillermo Bongiorno. The team's domination evoked headlines that included 'Brown leads orange crush', 'Panaria's B1 and B2 unstoppable', 'Panaria rules, OK!'... the list went on.

However, it was three years since Brown left his mark in Europe. As a neo-pro for Panaria, the Sydneysider backed up two stage wins in Malaysia with an excellent first-week performance at the 2002 Giro d'Italia, narrowly missing out on victory against none other than Mario Cipollini on the opening road stage and finishing fourth four days later. His promise set up a potentially interesting match between himself and Robbie McEwen, even though the Queenslander was well ahead of him in the performance stakes, McEwen coming off his best-ever season that saw him grab two stage wins and the points jersey at the Tour de France.

Saiz calls for get-together

Possibly a reactionary measure in the wake of the news concerning suspended rider Roberto Heras, whose counter-analysis returned positive last Friday and most likely created havoc in the team's plans for 2006, Liberty Seguros-Würth team manager Manolo Saiz has called for a four-day get-together with his riders contracted for the 2006 season from December 13-16, the meeting place yet to be decided upon.

"All the riders will be there except for the Australians, Allan Davis and Aaron Kemps, who spend the winter in their own country," said Saiz. "I want to be together with all my riders to start preparing and planning as soon as possible our aims for the next season."

Weekend workout for Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

On a cold weekend in Northern Italy, the Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team of Maurizio Fabretto got together for their first technical meetings and training camp with the 2006 season in sight. Although team leader Rochelle Gilmore was not present as she is preparing for the Commonwealth Games at home in Australia, and Nicole Cooke is no longer on the squad, Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan has plenty of new riders ready to brave the winter chill and snow on their new Opera bicycles. "We have four new Italian riders on our team", Team manager Fabretto told Cyclingnews. "Marta Bastianelli, Daniela Fusar Poli, Silvia Parietti and Luisa Tamanini will join our team, Rochelle (Gilmore) will be back with us and we also expect Diana Zilute to have a strong year in 2006."

Fabretto's new direttore sportivo for 2006 will be Rosario Fina, who is already national selector for Italian woman's road cycling. Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan's first race of the 2006 season will be the Woman's World Cup in Geelong, Australia next February.

As for Nicole Cooke, Fabretto confirmed that she will not be back with Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan in 2006. "We had three great seasons with Nicole and wish her well," he said. Although Cooke's 2006 squad will not be revealed until a December 9 press conference, informed sources believe the talented Welshwoman, second in the 2005 World Championships in Madrid, could end up replacing former World Champ Judith Arndt at the Nurnberger Insurance team, who has moved to the new T-Mobile women's squad.

English lessons for Ullrich & co

By Susan Westemeyer

The 2006 edition of Team T-Mobile features riders from 11 nations -- with nearly so many languages. How to solve the problem of which language to use? Easy, you just take English, the language that everybody speaks more or less. The problem is when it is "less" rather than "more." During the team's meetings earlier this month, the riders sat down and took an English test. "Nobody has to start learning English from ground zero," team manager Olaf Ludwig told the Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper. "Our aim is to speak English over the radio, and the test was more or less just to see where we stood. Everybody found out, what they have to work on."

The test was conducted by the Berlitz School. "Most of the Germans -- including Jan Ullrich -- came in between Levels three and five (note: out of eight levels)," said team newcomer Thomas Ziegler. The goal is for all riders to improve themselves two to three levels. The Berlitz school recommends at least 30 hours of individual lessons and up to 72 hours of group lessons to achieve the goal. Additional newcomers Michael Rogers and Scott Davis are excused from the lessons, though.

Ullrich and team-mates flee the snow

By Susan Westemeyer

Winter arrived in Germany this weekend, bringing with it lots of snow and cold and even electricity blackouts. What's a poor pro cyclist to do? Fortunately German cycling's biggest name and eight of his team-mates are scheduled to climb on an airplane today and fly to South Africa for a private training camp. Jan Ullrich and team-mates Eric Baumann, Bas Giling, Mattias Kessler, Andre Korff, Andreas Klöden, Patrik Sinkewitz, Steffen Wesemann and Thomas Ziegler are off to the sun for three weeks, according to the team. Danilo Hondo, currently waiting to hear the results of his appeal of doping conviction, has said that he will also join the group. Why are they going so far to train? Here are today's weather forecasts: Berlin, 1°, snow, and Johannesburg, 20° and cloudy. That's not a real hard choice!

Manchester world cup set for pursuit action

The Manchester round of the track world cup will feature team pursuit world champions Rob Hayles, Chris Newton and Paul Manning, and Magnus Backstedt, who will ride the individual pursuit. Britain's world champion team pursuit trio will be joined by Madison world champion Mark Cavendish in Manchester on December 9-11 to race against the the Dutch squad of Heimans, Mouris, Schep and Terpstra, who came second to the British squad in this event in Los Angeles last March.

Hayles is looking forward to riding in Manchester against quality opposition, saying, "It's always good to get on the podium in front of the home crowd. I've been racing lots of six days this season so it will be interesting to see how I go. It's a strong field but in front of the home crowd you always give it that little bit extra."

In the individual pursuit Swedish road star Magnus Backstedt has confirmed that he will ride. The 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner has been spending more time on the track recently and whilst not putting any pressure on himself he should still pose an interesting threat to the main contenders, saying, "This is not a switch from the road, just merely making the most of the abilities that I have. The pursuit is an obvious choice and hopefully will inspire more Swedish riders to take up track racing. This first outing is a fact finding mission and I am not putting any pressure on myself. I'll also ride the points and scratch race as part of my research, I'm on uncharted territory here".

The individual pursuit final will take place on Friday December 9 with the team pursuit on December 10. For full details of the UCI world cup race programme and to buy tickets go to

Australian four-cross series round 4 postponed

Ongoing bad weather has forced the organisers of round 4 of the Australian National Mountain Cross Series - originally scheduled for this weekend in Armidale, NSW - to postpone the event until early next year.

Armidale's race director, Dave Rugendyke, said although the race track is in good condition, due to the unusually high amounts of rainfall in the area over the past month, the rain soaked event site surrounding the four-cross course has unfortunately suffered badly.

Glen Jacobs from MV Australia flew into Armidale late yesterday afternoon for an urgent inspection, and recommended the event be postponed to a later date. "With event vehicles, trucks, lighting towers and work crews driving across the course and surrounding grasslands setting up the infrastructure for a major event, the site will become unusable," Jacobs said. MTBA chief executive officer, Tony Scott has agreed that this seems the best option for Armidale as well as the riders.

Rugendyke and Jacobs said they regretted the decision, but would use the time before the rescheduled event to improve the track. "Now that we have some extra time available to us, we can use this window to make some exiting new additions to the famous Armidale site," Jacobs said.

The new date will be announced in the coming week.

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