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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 7, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

An interview with Joaquin Rodriguez

Always a protagonist

Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: Unipublic
Click for larger image

Currently leading the mountains classification of the Vuelta a España after stage 11, Joaquin Rodriguez represents one of the more modest overall hopes in this year's race within the Saunier Duval-Prodir squad. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez Macias spoke with Rodriguez out of the blistering heat in southern Spain, after stage 5 last week.

Rodriguez was a protagonist on Stage 5 while climbing the Category 3 Alto del Castillo together with Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana) close to the finish. In the bunch sprint over the closing stages he could do nothing against the power of Hushovd; nevertheless, he finished eighth in Cuenca and ended the day on the podium.

"Today [Wednesday] I did well - it was a nervous stage, and there were many junctions in the race," said Rodriguez about the stage that ended in Cuenca. "But that's the way the Vuelta is ridden. There were many nervous people inside the peloton. I was fourth or fifth on the descent and then I was able to end up eighth in the bunch sprint."

The Saunier Duval rider had a big chance for a stage win, and he admitted this, saying, "yes, it's true that I had a big opportunity today. But it's also true that there are many days to go in the Vuelta. I think tomorrow [Thursday] there will be a very demanding climb [the Category 1 climb to the ski station at Aramon Valdelinares], but we are going to try. We should keep on trying".

Click here for the full interview

Gonzalez de Galdeano to retire

Basque rider Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano will announce his end of season retirement today at a press conference during the Vuelta's first rest day. Gonzalez de Galdeano, who will be 32 on November 1, is currently riding the Vuelta in support of his Liberty Seguros teammate Roberto Heras. Highlights of his career include finishing second in the Vuelta in 1999 and fifth in the Tour de France in 2002 and the yellow jersey for several days that year, three stage wins in the Vuelta and the Spanish time trial championship.

He was also suspended for six months in France by the Conseil de prévention et de lutte contre le dopage after testing positive for salbutamol during the 2002 Tour. The positive test was not recognised by the UCI in this instance, as the UCI's limit for salbutamol differed from the World Anti-Doping Agency limit at that time.

Laiseka's prize

Stage 11 winner Roberto Laiseka didn't just win a bunch of flowers, a trophy, some euros and a couple of kisses on the podium yesterday - he also received a book. In fact, all the stage winners in this year's Vuelta are given books from the Spanish Editors Guild, with the aim of promoting reading habits among cycling fans.

Laiseka can spend the rest day curled up with La Casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), which was written by García Lorca shortly before he was shot in August 1936. The play tells of a family of women who lock themselves away to mourn for their dead father figure. It is full of conflicting emotions such as authority and freedom, reality and desire, and repression and rebellion.

Courtesy of Unipublic

Transfer news

T-Mobile beefs up with Gonchar, Mazzoleni and Scott Davis

The German T-Mobile team has acquired two very experienced riders to bolster its grand tour squads for next season. 35 year-old Ukrainian Serguei Gonchar (Domina Vacanze) for one year and 32 year-old Italian Eddy Mazzoleni (Lampre) for two years have been confirmed for Olaf Ludwig's squad. T-Mobile has also announced the signing of 26 year-old Australian Scott Davis (Tenax) on a one year deal.

There has been plenty speculation surrounding the addition of Gonchar and Mazzoleni in particular in recent weeks. "There were still a lot of contractual details to tidy up, so it wasn't possible until now to confirm the two signings", said Ludwig. "So many cycling experts reacted so positively to merely the speculation that these two riders would ride for us in the coming season". The additions are "without a doubt, a real strengthening of our 2006 Tour roster."

According to Ludwig, the 32 year-old Mazzoleni is a rider that is always improving. Mazzoleni finished 13th in the Tour de France this year, and said that he sees his role as "a helper for Jan Ullrich at the Tour de France. That's top of the agenda. It is both a challenge and a great honour for me to get the chance to assist T-Mobile's bid for a Tour win."

Mazzoleni's previous experience includes serving as a top gregario for Giro d'Italia winners Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego, but the Italian also has his own ambitions: "I see the Deutschland-Tour, San Sebastian and some Italian races as the kind of important events where I can bring top performances," he concluded.

2000 World Time Trial Champion Serguei Gonchar has the qualities to benefit T-Mobile's Tour roster. Last year, the Ukrainian impressed with a solid second place at the Giro d'Italia. "For me, the switch to T-Mobile is another forward step in my career," said Gonchar.

Olaf Ludwig also commented on Scott Davis, brother of Liberty Seguros sprinter Allan Davis. "With us, he will get the chance to learn the trade, and he will also link up with fellow Aussie Michael Rogers. Both of them can benefit from this," said Ludwig.

So far, T-Mobile has signed Patrik Sinkewitz and Michael Rogers (both Quick Step), Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Kim Kirchen and Lorenzo Bernucci (both Fassa Bortolo), in addition to the three latest.

Bates to LPR

Team LPR has announced its latest signing: Australian Gene Bates. The 24 year-old Italian based rider has spent this season with Zalf Desiree Fior, the breeding ground for riders such as Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego and Paolo Savoldelli. In recent years, he has shown plenty of promise, winning Parma-La Spezia in 2004 and finishing second in a stage of the Baby Giro and the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under that year. He was also second in stage 3 of the JCTDU in 2005 and winner of the mountains jersey, as well as taking out the Australian U23 championship in 2003.

"I'm very excited with this new adventure," said Bates. "In Team LPR there are some great champions like Tonkov, Pieri, and Konyshev. I hope to learn a lot from their incredible experience. I already had a sample of the professional world when I was a stagiaire with Saeco [in 2004]. I went well, but then there was the merger with Lampre and at that time, there were no more places for neo-professionals.

"On a personal level, I consider myself a very serious rider, one who lives very rigorously for the profession of a cyclist. I'm an Australian through and through: relaxed, always happy, and obviously, I love the surf. In cycling, I consider myself a rider for the big classics, someone who can give their maximum in the one day races."

Santaromita to Quick.Step

Italian rider Ivan Santaromita will ride for the Quick.Step team for the next two years, his manager has confirmed. The 21 year-old from Clivio is the brother of ex-pro Antonio Santaromita. He has ridden for the last three seasons as an U23 with Velo Club Mendrisio and won two races this year. He has been riding as a stagiaire for Quick.Step and did the Giro del Lazio and Tour of Britain, finishing the latter in 63rd position.

Crashes hurt TIAA-CREF

Although Team TIAA-CREF was off to a promising first week (7th on team GC and Will Frischkorn in 13th overall) in the Tour de l'Avenir, three very severe crashes have put an end to the team's performance. "It's just unbelievable the bad luck these guys have had," said team DS Jonathan Vaughters. "There will be a pileup of six riders, and five will be fine, but the one that has to go to the hospital is ours."

Stu Gillespie, who won the best young rider jersey in both the FBD Ras and the Tour de la Martinique, went out with a broken clavicle on stage 3, and now Craig Lewis, who was in 35th overall as one of the youngest in the race, went down on a wet descent and broke his scapula.

"Both riders are good bike handlers, and ride at the front of the bunch, so I'm at a loss as to why this happened to them. I guess bad luck comes in threes?" said Vaughters, referring also to Timmy Duggan's crash on the same descent as Lewis, which knocked Duggan unconscious. "We now have only three riders left, with Will (Frischkorn) having a good shot at top 10 overall. Hopefully things will turn around."

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