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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for October 12, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones and Les Clarke, assisted by Susan Westemeyer

Simoni heads Lampre for Lombardy

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Gilberto Simoni, winner of the Giro dell'Emilia last Saturday, will lead the Lampre-Caffita team in the Giro di Lombardia this coming Saturday. "Gilberto Simoni is in a great moment and he will be naturally the only leader of the team for Lombardy. I hope Damiano Cunego will be on a good day to help Gilberto," commented Lampre's DS Giuseppe Martinelli.

Full roster: Gilberto Simoni, Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan, Marco Marzano, Gorazd Stangelj, Sylvester Szmyd, Andrea Tonti, and Patxi Vila. DS: Giuseppe Martinelli

For the Giro di Piemonte on Thursday, Lampre-Caffita will line up: Alessandro Ballan, Salvatore Commesso, Oleksandr Kvachuk, Marco Marzano, Evgueni Petrov, Morris Possoni (stagiaire), Sylvester Szmyd, and Andrea Tonti. DS: Maurizio Piovani.

Phonak for Lombardy

The Phonak Hearing Systems Team has been named for this Saturday's final classic of the season, the Giro di Lombardia. The team includes Ignacio Gutierrez, Martin Elmiger, Victor Hugo Pe˝a, Miguel A. Perdiguero, Gregory Rast, Sascha Urweider, Tadej Valjavec, and Steve Zampieri.

Pevenage: Giro is an "option" for Ullrich in 2006

Rudy Pevenage, future director sportif for the T-Mobile team, confirmed that Jan Ullrich may ride the Giro next year as part of his preparation for the Tour de France. "It's an option," he told the German BILD magazine, and noted that "Ivan Basso rode the Giro this year and then was second in the Tour."

Pollack successfully operated on again

T-Mobile sprinter Olaf Pollack underwent a successful operation on Monday. "As far we can tell at this point, everything went just fine," he said. Doctors at a special clinic in Aalst, Belgium, operated on the veins in his right thigh, to increase the circulation. Pollack underwent a similar operation on his left thigh in July.

"I will be ready to go all out in 2006. My health problems should finally be over with, " he said. "I can hardly wait to start preparing for next season."

"O Brother, Where art thou?" - "At Gerolsteiner!"

Gerolsteiner is continuing its tradition of hiring brother pairs - Beat and Markus Zberg, Markus and Thomas Fothen, Davide and Simone Rebellin - and has hired Christian Wegmann, brother of Fabian, as directeur sportif for one year.

Wegmann has been studying medicine at the University of MŘnster, and is taking a one year leave of absence from his studies. He is also directeur sportif for the U23 section of the German Team Sparkasse. Wegmann, 29, is a former pro rider who rode for Saeco for three years. In 2002 he was tested positive for caffeine. He received only a warning for the violation, but did not receive a new contract from Saeco at the end of that season.

Wegmann said, "I am cyclist, body and soul, and can well imagine to make my passion my profession. I have the opportunity at Gerolsteiner to use my experience in an absolute world-class team and I am eager to see how the first year goes.

Team leaders Hans-Michael Holczer and Christian Henn also have Udo B÷lts, Reimund Dietzen and Gianni Faresin as DS's.

Ratkovic shot while riding

Former professional cyclist and current professional triathlete/duathlete, Andrea Ratkovic, was shot on Monday October 10 while riding her bike. Ratkovic, who rode for The Bicycle Store team in this year's Redlands Classic was on a bike path when a car in the road lane closest to her opened fire with a small calibre (lead pellet) gun, firing several shots but only hitting her once in the lower back. "All I heard was TAT, TAT, TAT, TAT, and I knew what was coming. I was hoping I wouldn't get hit, but then I felt the fire and sting, and I knew that I'd been hit," said Ratkovic.

From that point on she tried to monitor her bodily functions. "Afterwards I felt like I was going to be okay and not pass out or something; I prayed for a red light up ahead, and I got it." Ratkovic then jumped off the bike path and rode up to the passenger side of the car which was stopped at the red light. "I was afraid I might get shot in the face, but at the same time I felt that I had to be able to identify the shooter." She said she yelled at the boys inside who were around 16 or 17 years of age. "I asked them why they shot me, and they said they didn't know. They apologised. I told them I was going to report them to the police."

Ratkovic got the car's registration number and filed a police report before being transported to the Norman Regional ER where she was treated and released. "Everyone there was so wonderful because my roommate told everyone what had happened. She works in radiology there, and so do I. We're like a big family up there, so when something like this happens it's pretty traumatic."

Ratkovic was told that her clothing helped to keep the bullet from entering her body. "I have a hole in my back over my left kidney, but the bullet itself I think glanced off of my jersey, plus I also had another shirt under that. If the bullet had hit an inch lower then it would have been a straight on shot - and there could have been problems as it may have penetrated me pretty good," said Ratkovic. "I'm just glad they didn't hit my neck or my eye!"

Ratkovic is expected to make a full recovery, and although she rides hard, she says, "It's funny because everyone was so surprised that I didn't yank those kids out of the car. I might race aggressively, but I'm not that way in my every day life."

2006 UCI MTB calendar released

The UCI has released its MTB calendar for 2006, which features six downhill and cross country rounds, with the marathon discipline having five rounds. The Dutch Antilles hosts the first round, the tiny island off the coast of Venezuela offering idyllic conditions for racers coming out of the northern winter.

There are three rounds where all three disciplines are competing, with the world championships to be held in the southern hemisphere for only the second time in 10 years. The town of Rotorua in New Zealand's North Island will host the world championships in a country that is renowned for its mountain biking and adventure activities.

The calendar for 2006:

April 1-2: XC #1 - Curašao (AHO)
May 6-7: DH #2 - Vigo (Spa)
May 6-7: Marathon #2 - Naoussia (Gre)
May 13-14: XC #2 - Spa Francorchamps (Bel)
May 20-21: XC #3 - Madrid (Esp)
May 27-28: XC #4, DH/4X #2 - Fort William (Sco)
June 3-4: DH/4X #3 - Willingen (Ger)
June 17-18: Marathon #3 - Mont-Sainte-Anne (Can)
June 24-25: XC #5, DH/4X #4 - Mont-Sainte-Anne (Can)
July 1-2: DH/4X #5 - Balneorio Camboriu (Bra)
July 8-9: Marathon #4 - Villabassa (Ita)
July 15-16: National Championships - XC, DH, 4X
July 29-30: Marathon #5 - Bikepark (Swi)
August 13: Marathon World Championships - Oisans (Fra)
August 22-27: World Championships, XC, DH, 4X - Rotorua (NZl)
September 9-10: XC #6, DH/4X #6 - Schladming (Aut)
September 23-24: National Championships - Marathon

First Australian BMX High Performance Squad

Cycling Australia and BMX Australia have announced the 11 cyclists selected as members of the inaugural BMX High Performance Program (BMX HPP).

"The partnership between Cycling Australia and BMX Australia means elite level BMX has now come under the current high performance programs section within Cycling Australia," said Graham Fredericks, CEO of Cycling Australia. "This means it will benefit from the management, direction and administration support already established for our highly successful road, track, mountain bike and disability programs."

The BMX HPP caters for athletes in the elite and junior elite categories and predominantly for the '20 inch' class. "This is an Australian Sports Commission funded program with the primary aim of providing the best possible training and competition opportunities for athletes to help them deliver medal winning performances at the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012," said Mr Fredericks. "In other years the athletes will focus on World Championships competition.

Newly appointed National BMX Coach, Sean Dwight, will be responsible for the planning, day to day management and implementation of the BMX HPP.

Full squad

Elite Men

Michael Fenwick (Happy Valley, SA)
Jamie Grey (Eagleby, QLD)
Luke Madill (Cranebrook, NSW)
Michael Robinson (Greenbank, QLD)
Warwick Stevenson (Minto, NSW)

Elite Women

Nicole Callisto (Beechboro, WA)
Krystal Cranfield (Gladstone, QLD)
Renee Junga (Capalaba, QLD)

Junior Elite Men

James Dixon (Safety Bay, WA)
Todd Pascoe (Kelso, QLD)

Junior Elite Women

Melissa Mankowski (Moranbah, QLD)

Charity begins at the U.K. Cycle Show

The U.K. Cycle Show in London this week will feature several charity organisations promoting themselves in different ways.

Action Medical Research is the official charity for the show and they will be offering the press a Parisian breakfast on Thursday 13th October (press and trade day). The charity will be looking for people to sign up to its London to Paris bike ride - the only charity ride that ends in the French capital in time for the Tour de France. Action Medical Research is funding research into many serious diseases and conditions, including premature birth, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, osteoporosis, sickle cell disease, Parkinson's disease and stroke.

Former politician Edwina Currie will also be at the show on behalf of her chosen charity Marie Curie Cancer Care - a charity that provides care to around 25,000 cancer patients and their families, free of charge, every year. A keen cyclist, Edwina will be encouraging people to join her in Marie Curie's Great 500 ride, through which the charity is hoping to raise £1million.

The Great 500 ride is made up of five routes each starting in a different European city and ending in Warsaw, Poland. 500 people will take part and Edwina and her husband will be cycling from Vilnius in Lithuania to the finish in Warsaw.

Leukaemia Research will be represented at the show by former England footballer and current cycle star Geoff Thomas. Having suffered from the disease himself the charity is close to Geoff's heart. The sports star will be taking part in the TRI UK celebrity duathlon on Friday, October 14, alongside athlete Iwan Thomas, cyclist Rob Sharman, trials champion Ben Slinger, rugby player Phil Greening and former Olympic cyclist Bryan Steel. They will be cycling 6km on a stationary bike before taking to the treadmill for a 2km slog - pitching their respective fitness levels against each other to reign as the show champion.

All of the sports stars will be at the show on Friday allowing visitors the chance to meet some of their sporting heroes.

The Cycle Show takes place at ExCel in London between October 14-16 for visitors and for press and trade on Thursday, October 13. Tickets cost £12 on the door and £10 if you book in advance and kids go for a quid with a paying adult.

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