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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for October 4, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Di Luca: "It's good to be the king"

McQuaid and Di Luca
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi), who wrapped up the inaugural ProTour yesterday with his fourth place finish in the Züri-Metzgete, commented that it was one of the hardest races he's ever done. "It was a terrible race, the toughest one of my life. The weather conditions were terrible but it was worth it: at last the Pro Tour is mine!

"The consistency during the season was very important: I won the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Amstel Gold Race and the Flèche Wallonne; I raced as a protagonist in the Giro d’Italia taking fourth and today, in October, I'm still with the best riders. Behind me in the Pro Tour ranking there are great champions that, on the contrary, preferred to aim at specific goals limited to a particular period. Or athletes, like Boonen, very consistent, but not present in the grand tours' overall rankings."

Di Luca doesn't even have to race Paris-Tours or Giro di Lombardia to win the ProTour, but he says he won't miss either of them. "No, I won't. I can't do without the 'Lombardia': I've already won this charming race in 2001. Moreover the Pro Tour victory is an advantage for me: I can race the "Classic of the falling leaves" concentrating on the win. Of course, Paris-Tours doesn't suit me like Lombardia does, but I believe the ProTour leader can't do without racing such a prestigious race in front of such a passionate public like the French."

Di Luca dedicated the victory to "...the people that stayed at my side last year, in the most difficult period of my life. Above all my wife Valentina."

In action
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Asked to comment on the points system, which discriminates against stage winners compared to GC riders, Di Luca said, "The structure is all right. I would only increase points to stage winners: three points for a stage win in a grand tour or only one for the win at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco is really not much."

Next year, Di Luca will shift his goals a little, with the ProTour becoming less of a focus. "I've fought with all my strength to conquer this edition of the ProTour, the first one," he said. "Now I have other goals: however if on the way, I also have the second white jersey at hand, I will try not to let the opportunity slip, of course. But it isn't one of my main goals: in 2006 I will aim at the Giro d'Italia and World Championships."

To achieve these goals, Di Luca said he'll start training at altitude in January, but won't reach his peak in April like he did this year.

Basso and Voigt finish seasons

Ivan Basso and Jakob Piil
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Team CSC's Ivan Basso and Jens Voigt are done racing for this year and can look forward to a break before starting training again ahead of next season.

"It has been the plan all along, that if Ivan wasn't able to sit up front in the last big races - especially Tour of Lombardy - there was no point in continuing," said team manager Bjarne Riis on "He's had a long tough season and he has really made some great results. He deserves great respect for attempting to do well at the very end of the season. This is solely thanks to his professional attitude towards his work. Not many riders are capable of going fast more or less from the beginning of the season as well as in the Giro and the Tour, and then at the same time having ambitions about winning the last race of the year. He has fought hard to stay in shape after a brilliant summer, but now we've made the decision together for him to call it a day for 2005. He needs a good break so he can start again, feeling refreshed and ready for the year ahead.

"The same goes for Jens. He has been full steam ahead right from the beginning of the year and he's starting to get tired now. The idea was for him to finish the season after Paris-Tours this week, but now we've come to the conclusion that he's done all he can for this year. He's had yet another great season with us, and there's no reason to wear him down completely. Just as Ivan, he's been one of the main profiles on the team, and he definitely deserves a break."

Basso agreed, having finished 2005 with a second overall in the Tour de France, two stage wins in the Giro d'Italia, and total domination in the Tour of Denmark (four out of five stages plus overall victory). "It has been a long and fantastic season for me, and I can feel that Bjarne and I have made the right choice with me finishing now," he said. "2005 has been my best season ever as a professional rider, and I have a lot of great moments to look back on along with the team. After such a brilliant season it's good to withdraw and be able to reflect and analyse everything. For me it's also about finally having time with my family, because I haven't seen much of them through the summer. I'm looking forward to being at home more, and then slowly starting to look towards next year."

Jens Voigt won eight races this year and also wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. The powerful German also finished with 25 top-10 spots in 2005, with second place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège as his best placing.

"After my illness during the Tour I haven't felt completely on top, even though I did manage to ride quite fast in August," said Voigt. "I can feel that I'm spent, and luckily I can look back on a great season for the team and for me also. I think it's the best thing for me to start my break now. As a rider I'm probably the 'All or Nothing Type', and when my body is telling me, it's got no more to give, then it's got a point."

Piil wants to come back strong

From his hospital bed in Zürich, Jakob Piil said that he has high ambitions for 2006. The tragic ending to this season has only increased his motivation, and the Danish rider is planning a comeback after a year which has been very much uphill for him.

The crash in Züri-Metzgete resulted in two fractures on his left hip, and Piil is having surgery later on this week in Zürich. "They opened and cleansed the two deep wounds yesterday, so they won't get infected," said the Dane. "Now the doctors want to leave it for a couple of days, before they start operating. The idea is to place a piece of metal around the bone to keep one of the fractures in place. I feel that I'm in good hands here and I'm very optimistic regarding a full recovery.

"They reckon it'll be about six weeks before I'm able to train again, but I could be lucky and recover quicker than that. I only have one thing on my mind now, and that's a comeback with a vengeance for next year. This whole thing hasn't destroyed me, I've been through so much this year and I've always been able to move on. I know I'll be able to ride fast next year and my ambition is to reach the level I was at for the World Championships - if not higher. There I saw, what I'm capable of when I'm at my best and the others will have to ride really fast to beat me."

Piil is still finding it difficult to come to terms with the circumstances surrounding the crash during yesterday's Championship of Zurich, and would like to see more responsible driving in the peloton.

"I've no problem accepting the occasional crash, which can happen to anyone, but it's totally unacceptable when it happens because of reckless driving by one of the service cars. The safety of the riders should always come first, and there are no excuses to jeopardize this. Imagine if it had been Bettini in that crash, because some sports director wasn't paying attention. And I even took precautions yesterday, because I was actually sitting there thinking that the driver in question wasn't paying much attention and was acting a bit reckless, when he all of a sudden drove through the group we were in. Suddenly he just hit the brakes, and with the streets being wet with rain I never stood a chance. The decisive break was already well under way and there was no doubt that it was in our group the winner was to be found. I had lots of energy left and knew I had the chance of winning. This of course only makes it even harder to bear.

"Even though things went wrong I actually feel quite lucky, because I landed right next to some very sharp stones, and it could easily have been a lot worse. Now I'll have to look forward - towards starting my training again and towards next season. I would like it to be a very different one to this year," finished the determined Piil.

No Tour in Zeeland next year

The 2006 Tour de France will not be visiting the Dutch province of Zeeland, according to Omroep Zeeland. Instead, for the Dutch part of the 2006 Tour, there will likely be a stage starting in Valkenburg and finishing in Neeltje Jans, with the following stage starting from Terneuzen. The Tour's director Jean-Marie Leblanc has asked Zeeland to submit its candidacy for 2007, but the organisers want more assurance that it will be successful.

Miche to Coppa Sabatini

The Miche team will ride the Coppa Sabatini this Thursday with a seven man line up: Slawomir Kohut, Seweryn Kohut, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Fabio Borghesi, Leonardo Caneschi, Pasquale Muto, Antonio d'Aniello. Directeur sportif: Marco Tozzi.

Transfer news

French website reports that Emilien-Benoit Bergès (RAGT) will ride for Auber93 next year. Also, two young riders from Entente Sud Gascogne will turn pro: Fabien Patanchon will ride for Française des Jeux and Russian Denis Kudashev will ride for Relax Fuenlabrada.

Also, according to, Dutch rider Dennis Martens (DGR-Cyclingteam) will race for continental team Diametal-Colnago next season. Martens had a strong season in Spain this year, particularly in the Circuito Montanes.

Another Dutchman, Rik Kavsek, will race for Wilfried Nelissen's Espoirs team next year.

Peaceful Tribe raises over $10,000 for CAF

A cheque for US$10,323.99 was presented at Interbike in Las Vegas last Wednesday, September 28 to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The money was raised from the sale of Peaceful Tribe branded clothing through the combined efforts of the members of the triathlon forum, Cervélo Cycles and Headsweats.

"I am deeply touched that the opportunity to help out and give back was greeted with such enthusiasm by our online community," said forum member Stephen Perera, who started the ball rolling to support the CAF. "It restores one’s faith in people when you experience the groundswell results one small suggestion can make."

After it was decided that the Peaceful Tribe would sell clothing to raise money, Mr Perera designed a logo for the Tribe. At the same time another forum member stepped up to the plate: Gerard Vroomen, the co-owner of Cervelo Cycles. He offered to have Cervelo’s apparel manager Heather Travis, coordinate the production, ordering and shipping of the apparel with all proceeds going to the charity.

"Years ago when my former competitor Dan Empfield started, Cervelo was one of the first to support his new venture and I was one of the first forum members," commented Vroomen. "It is pretty amazing to see how the forum has grown since, and what a nice community it has become."

Alan Romick from Headsweats agreed to produce running heads with the Peaceful tribe logo and once all apparel was sold to the Peaceful Tribe members, the initial goal of US$ 10,000 was surpassed.

The presentation to CAF board member Bob Babbitt was the culmination of that initial suggestion. "The money raised, which we are extremely appreciative of, will be used to provide funding for one or more of our athlete grants," said Virginia Tinley Executive Director, CAF, "

Funeral arrangements for Allan Butler

Funeral services for Allan Butler, the U.S. cyclist who was killed by a taxi last week, will be held on Wednesday, October 5, 2005 at 11 am at the West Jordan 29th Ward, 6695 S. 2200 W, West Jordan, UT. Family and friends may visit an hour prior to services at the church and also Tuesday evening from 7-9 p.m. at Redwood Memorial Mortuary, 6500 S. Redwood Road. Interment will follow the services at Redwood Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be sent for Odessa to Elizabeth Lockette at Morgan Stanley, 2645 E. Parleys Way, SLC, UT., 84109.

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