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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for October 7, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

Paris-Tours: to sprint or not to sprint?

By Hedwig Kröner

2004 winner Erik Dekker (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Chris Henry
Click for larger image

Paris-Tours, a long event of over 250 kilometres is one of the last prestigious races of the season calendar. Known as being a race for final bunch sprints thanks to a rather flat course and a long last straight on the avenue de Grammont, this tradition has witnessed a bit of a twist in recent years. In the last nine editions, victory was only decided twice in a sprint finish, with the triumphs of Nicola Minali in 1996 and Erik Zabel in 2003. Meanwhile, quite a few adventurers saw their audacity rewarded, like Jacky Durand in 1998, Richard Virenque in 2001, Jakob Piil in 2002 and Erik Dekker in the last edition.

All kinds of scenarios are therefore possible after 253.5 kilometres, when the race ends on the three-kilometre finish straight in front of the Tours City hall on Sunday afternoon. Victory could come from the CSC team with strong motors like Lars Michaelsen or Paris-Bourges winner Lars Bak, but also in the shape of riders like Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha and Liquigas' Danilo Di Luca - the peloton will indeed not lack big-name competitors.

In case no breakaway attempt proves to be the winning card, the famous final velocity test promises to honour Paris-Tours' surname: the "Sprinters' Alpe d'Huez". Robbie McEwen, winner of three stages in the Giro and in the Tour de France respectively will be surrounded by quite a few candidates to the last few metres, especially Thor Hushovd, Jean-Patrick Nazon and Erik Zabel, for whom it is the last race in T-Mobile colours: the German is changing to newly-created Milram squad next season.

Click here for the Full Preview, Map, History, and Start List

More team line-ups for Sunday

Several teams have announced their rosters for Sunday's ProTour event Paris-Tours. German T-Mobile will attend the race with Erik Zabel as captain, who's won in Tours twice already: in 1994 and in 2003. For the sprinter, Paris-Tours will be the last ever race in T-Mobile colours after 13 years. Flanking Zabel across the plains of Northern France will be Steffen Wesemann, who placed sixth last weekend in the Züri Metzgete.

"Strong winds in the Loire Valley can influence the outcome of the race," team director Mario Kummer believes. "But Steffen is in good shape, he showed that in Switzerland in the extremely harsh weather conditions." But the main focus of the squad remains Erik Zabel, who could sign out on his T-Mobile career with a "farewell victory" added to the 191 wins he already achieved for the German team.

"We will be setting out our stall to get Erik in the best position for a likely bunch sprint," Kummer added. In 2003, 'Ete' notched up his second Paris-Tours win, edging out Italian speedster Alessandro Petacchi and racing with an average speed of 47.685 km/h, the second fastest in the race's 110 year history.

The complete T-Mobile roster in Paris-Tours will be: Rolf Aldag, Eric Baumann, Marcus Burghardt, Andreas Klier, André Korff, Daniele Nardello, Steffen Wesemann and Erik Zabel.

The second German team, Gerolsteiner, has announced Robert Förster, Rene Haselbacher, Heinrich Haussler, Frank Hřj, Sebastian Lang, Michael Rich, Peter Wrolich and Markus Zberg to depart in the race. Hřj is a classics specialist, Förster and Haselbacher sprinters, and 21 year-old Haussler just finished seventh in the Züri Metzgete.

Spanish team Saunier Duval-Prodir also attends the event and sends the following riders: Francisco Ventoso, Angel Edo, Juan José Cobo, Manuel Quinziato, Marco Pinotti, Chris Horner, Ángel "Litu" Gómez and Tino Zaballa.

Belgian squad Quick.Step will do without World Champion Tom Boonen in the second-to-last ProTour race. Instead, Wilfried Cretskens, Kevin Hulsmans, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato, Guido Trenti, Stefano Zanini and Wouter Weylandt will participate.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has named an all-Belgian roster: Maxime Monfort, Nico Sijmens, Gregory Habeaux, Sven Renders, Mathieu Criquielion, Jurgen Van Loocke, Johan Verstrepen, James Van Landschoot.

UCI appoints independent expert for 1999 Tour samples

The UCI has appointed Emile Vrijman, the former director of the National Anti Doping Agency in The Netherlands (NeCeDo), and his law firm Lamsma Veldstra & Lobé attorneys, to be independent investigators in the 1999 Tour de France urine samples case. According to the UCI, Mr Vrijman and his team will attempt to "clarify facts" related to the analysis of the samples, which have implicated Lance Armstrong and several others, who have not been formally identified, in an EPO-related doping affair.

"As WADA has informed the UCI of its intention to open an investigation, the UCI is concerned that such an investigation from WADA as an involved party, would be based on aspects out of its competencies," the UCI said in a statement. "The UCI's decision to appoint an independent investigator is supported by numerous authorities, both in sports, as well as in Anti – Doping. The UCI expects all relevant parties to fully co-operate with the investigation.

"Finally, the UCI wishes to express its full confidence in both the capabilities, as well as the integrity, of Mr. Vrijman and his law firm to conduct the investigation in a thorough and proper manner and is looking forward to the conclusions of their investigation."

Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations

June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation

Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.

Gerolsteiner signs Hiekmann

Torsten Hiekmann (T-Mobile) is changing teams next season and will join the ranks of Gerolsteiner, team manager Hans-Michael Holczer confirmed on Thursday. "Thorsten has signed a contract with us yesterday," Holczer said. "With us, he will be able to focus on his qualities as a time triallist and maybe be able to play a part in a stage race or two."

The 25 year-old Hiekmann was happy about his career changes. "I want to develop my sporting capacities further and Gerolsteiner, a German team with highest international reputation, gives me the best condition to do that," Hiekmann said.

Record field for Sun Tour

144 riders from 17 countries, including a record 72 international riders, line up for Australia's Jayco-Herald Sun Tour this Sunday with a team time trial in Williamstown. Last year's winner Jonas Ljungblad from Sweden returns, joined by pre-race favourite, American Danny Pate, riding for the US-based Jelly Belly team.

National teams from Australia, Japan, and Ireland along with teams from the USA, Britain and Japan will also feature in the 18 team start list that includes European professional teams such as Davitamon-Lotto, AG2r Prevoyance, Amore & Vita, and the French powerhouse FDJ. Australian continental team will also be riding the race for the first time.

The Australian assault will be led by 2002 winner Baden Cooke, Athens Olympic gold medalist Brett Lancaster and 2005 Tour de France debutant Simon Gerrans. All three grew up in country Victoria and have watched countless 'Sun Tours' pass through their town as they developed their passion for the bikes.

A feature of this year's Tour will be the community celebrations in each host city, featuring sports carnivals, celebrity bike races and health expos. Mitchelton winery in Nagambie will feature a charity concert for Very Special Kids featuring James Morrison.

The final day of the Tour will be broadcast live around Australia and will be followed by 'Celebrate on Lygon', a colourful and exciting festival that salutes the diversity of people, culture and creativity throughout Victoria on three entertainment stages along Lygon Street.

The stages

Stage 1 - October 9: Williamstown - Team Time Trial, 9.6km
Stage 2 - October 10: Bendigo - Bendigo via Maldon and Castlemaine, 150.9km
Stage 3 - October 11: Bendigo - Shepparton, 153km
Stage 4 - October 12: Nagambie's Mitchelton Winery - Marysville, 172.6km
Stage 5 - October 13: Healesville - Healesville, 140.9km
Stage 6 - October 14: Monbulk - Mt Dandenong, Individual Time Trial, 11km
Stage 7 - October 15: Lygon St criterium, 1 hour

More information:

Cookson continues with British Olympic Association

Brian Cookson, British Cycling's President has been elected to the Executive Committee of the British Olympic Association for a third term. Others elected were Di Ellis (Rowing), Lynne Evans (Archery), Brian Stocks (Gymnastics), Mark Armstrong (Luge) and Paul Pruszynski (Bobsleigh). At the same time, Colin Moynihan was elected Chairman of the BOA by 28 votes to David Hemery's 14.

Brian Cookson commented: "I would like to congratulate Lord Moynihan on his election and assure him that British Cycling will continue to do everything in its power to support the BOA in the quest for more medals, and in the massive efforts involved in organising what we all intend to be the best-ever Olympic Games, in 2012. I would also like to thank my fellow members of the National Olympic Committee, for their confidence in again electing me to serve on the BOA Executive Committee, for a third three year term".

Technocycle BRC/Dynaflo wants riders

U.S. amateur team Technocycle BRC/Dynaflo Racing is looking for two riders for its men's category 1/2 team for 2006. The team is looking for two consistent riders to participate in the Pennsylvania Cycling Association best all around rider series, as well as the following NRC events: Bike Jam/Kelly Cup, Tour of Somerville, Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Tour de Toona, Chris Thater Memorial and the West Chester Twilight Crit.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Maryland residents preferred. Interested riders should forward a resume to Nick Price at Selected riders will be notified by November 30, 2005.

Dutch rider to attempt hour record...without saddle

In the Masochistic Cycling Feats Dept., news has filtered through to us that a 49 year-old Dutchman will attempt to break the World Hour Record for riding without a saddle (or a seatpost). Maas van Beek, a former tandem pilot of Jan Mulder, will attempt to better the mark of 45.848 km set by none other than Fausto Coppi on the track in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, on Saturday, October 8. He's doing it for a good cause: to raise money for the Polar van de Donck foundation, which helps children in Africa who have AIDS.

Van Beek has been averaging 43 km/h during training, and says that it's quite possible to hold a position out of the saddle for three hours, provided the muscles are used to it. He'll be using a bike with a massive 68 x 11 gear and 205 mm cranks, but no particular aerodynamic equipment.

More information:

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