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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for September 10, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Les Clarke

Vuelta stage 13 wrap-up

Sam's the man

Following on team-mate Roberto Laiseka's gutsy win last Tuesday, Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez made it victory number two for the orange crew, taking advantage of a misjudged sprint by Mauricio Alberto Ardila (Davitamon-Lotto) and outsprinting breakaway companion Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) to earn his first professional career victory.

The 196 kilometre stage from Burgos to the far northern Spanish town of La Bien Aparecida had most of its major obstacles in the latter half, with a Cat. 1 and three Cat. 3 climbs in the final 75 kilometres, and the finish atop the Cat. 3 ascent of Ampuero. Naturally, the day provided plenty of encouragement for the breakaway specialists, and the winning break came from a large group of 32 men, which eventually found itself just eight riders strong with around 20 kilometres to go.

Approaching the finish line, Pereiro appeared to have the strongest legs, but then Ardila jumped with less than a kilometre to go, taking Sanchez with him. Thinking the mountain prime was also the finish line, the petite Colombian raised his arms prematurely, before realising his mistake as Sanchez flew past him for a comfortable win.

A high-speed crash at the 22 kilometre mark took down a number of riders, including third-placed on the overall, Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), who turned out to be unhurt. However, the same couldn't be said for Belgian Tom Steels (Davitamon-Lotto), who was taken to hospital in an unconscious state but was later reported to be in a stable condition.

Also see:

Stage 13 full results, report & photos
Live report
Stages & results
Start List

Roberto Heras resists

By Hernan Alvarez Macias

The big question of today’s stage at the Vuelta a España was Roberto Heras' condition. The Liberty Seguros Würth team leader had suffered a bad crash during yesterday’s stage and everyone wondered how he would respond to racing with 15 stitches in his left leg. "My knee hurt me," said Heras to the press post-stage. "It was a crazy stage because when Liberty doesn't take command, the stages go wild." Heras said that he was in pain during the whole day, but that he also felt a lot of support by his team. "I passed another day, even though it wasn't my best one," commented the Spaniard.

The three-times Vuelta winner complained about the wind and about the hard time everyone had when the race went out of control. He believed Lagos [de Covadonga, tomorrow’s stage number 14 mountaintop finish] is a mountain for climbers like him, and that it’s worth to follow somebody's wheel because there are parts with up to 14 percent gradient and others with 10 percent that one should climb alone. He hopes that Dariusz Baranowski recovers from the hit he suffered today.

"In Lagos we will try it. I think the most dangerous man is [Francisco] Mancebo because [Vuelta leader Denis] Menchov just stays in my wheel," he added. Liberty team director Manolo Saiz hoped that Heras will be in better shape tomorrow. "I'm sure it will be a big show on that climb," concluded Saiz.

One last race for Wood's World Cup defence

Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt preview

By Kristy Scrymgeour

2004's double celebration
Photo ©: Mario Stiehl
Click for larger image

In almost a repeat of the situation in 2004, Oenone Wood, this year riding for Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, will start the final World Cup race of the series on Sunday September 11 in the team's home town of Nürnberg with a relatively good lead, but not enough to be totally sure of the overall win. Also like last year, the final round holds double points, making it that little bit harder to retain the lead.

However, apart from her teammate Judith Arndt, the only riders who can possibly move ahead of Wood in points are Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel and Susanne Ljungskog of Buitenpoort-Flexpoint. Melchers-Van Poppel was in a similar position last year when she sat second in the standings. This year she sits in third, 73 points behind Wood and Ljungskog sits in second, only 25 points down. Buitenpoort will have to go on the attack to unhinge the Nürnberger team, with Wood's sprint too good for them to risk a bunch finale.

Cyclingnews talked to Ljungskog this week, and she is looking forward to the challenge. "The world cup so far has been good for our team, we have two victories and we are in the position that we can win it, both me and Mirjam," she said. "It's always nice to have the chance of winning and we will certainly try our best. Wood is a great cyclist and if she wins it she well deserves it."

Ljunskog added that she is also looking forward to the rest of the season that includes Giro della Toscana and World Championships. "This year has been so nice and I'm really proud to be a part of Team Buitenpoort-Flexpoint. The girls and the staff work together 100% therefore we have a great atmosphere in the team."

Click here for the full preview.

Vuelta sick bay: Steels and Piil

Belgium’s Tom Steels (Davitamon-Lotto) was involved in a tough crash today at the stage 13 of the Vuelta a España. He was reported to be unconscious after it happened. He was then taken to hospital with a deep wound at one of his knees, but could leave again on the same evening to travel back home to Belgium.

The accident took place at kilometre 22 of the stage, when the peloton was riding downhill at around 80 km/h. According to Hendrik Redant, team manager of Davitamon-Lotto, the injury will heal well but the question of Steels' selection for the World Championships remains under these circumstances.

Meanwhile, team CSC's Jakob Piil has left the hospital in Burgos, where he was examined on Friday morning. The Danish rider crashed on yesterday's stage and was diagnosed with a broken left thumb. Piil still believes in making a comeback later this season.

A new track for Scotland

Following many years of campaigning, Scottish Cycling has today announced that their new covered competition track will be built in Glasgow. This will form an important part of the City's bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The current track in Edinburgh forms part of the Meadowbank Sports Complex and was constructed over 20 years ago. Whilst the track surface is in remarkably good condition, the supporting infrastructure is showing signs of aging and the lack of a roof severely restricts racing to dry days from April to September. The chance of cancellation has restricted the growth of Track Racing and Race Promotions. Scotland's world class riders, Chris Hoy, Ross Edgar and Craig MacLean have had to move to Manchester to train and live in order to progress their careers. Glasgow Council has already appointed a design team and plans will be progressed immediately with a view to starting on site within 12 months. The track is due for completion in late 2007.

In a statement issued today by Edinburgh City Council, the council Leader, Donald Anderson committed the City too progress plans to build a new facility in Edinburgh to replace Meadowbank. It is likely to comprise a closed road circuit, BMX track and MTB Trails in addition to an outdoor, all-weather concrete track, similar to that built in Dunedin NZ.

"This is a huge boost to our sport in Scotland," said David Hoy, Competition Director for Scottish Cycling. "It allows the next generation of Trackies to look ahead with confidence. It also gives us a strong base for our development programme which is already showing signs of success with a huge increase in youth membership and participation. There will be nothing better than seeing home riders on their home track winning medals in 2014."

Ciolek not to Univest

Contrary to what Cyclingnews reported yesterday, young German champion Gerald Ciolek will not participate in Pennsylvania's Univest Grand Prix scheduled for September 17-18, 2005. Ciolek's team, Akud Arnolds Sicherheit, has informed the race organisation that the German Federation preferred to keep the young talent closer to home before the World Championships in Madrid. A replacement for Ciolek will be announced later.

Journo World's in San Marino

Andrea Agostini wins in 2004
Photo ©: Roberto Ronchi
Click for larger image

This Sunday, September 11, will see the World Cycling Championships for Journalists being held in the Republic of San Marino, one of Europe's smallest countries. The Championships will be run for Under 50s, Over 50s, Consultants, and Women's categories on a testing circuit of 6.6 km to be covered six times (39.6 km) for Over 50s and Women and nine times (59.4 km) for Under 50s and Consultants. The winner of each press category is awarded a special rainbow jersey on a green background, as green is the colour of accreditation at the Tour de France, and many other races.

The category winners last year were Andrea Agostini (Under 50), Peter De Groot (Over 50), Samantha Profumo (Women), and Francesco Moser (Consultants). Cyclingnews' Chief Online Editor Jeff Jones was third in the Under 50s category last year, and will be representing the site for the second time at the Journo World's.

"I'm super motivated," said Jones in a hastily concocted and poorly written press release. "In this modern era of specialisation, there is only one race that counts, and that's this one. Forget the Vuelta, the Journo World's can make or break your career, and I know everyone is keen for it.

"I've seen the course profile and I noted that it's a downhill finish. Normally that wouldn't suit me, but I've been trying to pack on the kilos in order to improve my weight to frontal area ratio. Power-to-weight is old school thinking. I mean, it doesn't take Einstein to figure out that the more you weigh, the faster you go. Or is it the other way round?

"I've modified my diet to include even more beer, chocolate, and ice cream, and I've also discovered how easy it is to eat a pack of Pringles in a single sitting. I'll be riding a special bike that's several kilos heavier than anything you'll see in the Tour de France. I'm even considering carrying a bidon full of lead shot, like they did in the old days."

Jones added that in the last eight months he has been using involuntary sleep deprivation to prepare himself mentally for the rigors of the 60 km race. He even toyed with the idea of taking up chain smoking, but balked at the cost. "Physically my condition is fine," he said. "I'm probably at 60 percent of my best shape now. I'm figuring on a 30-40 percent form improvement in the first few laps of the race, and hopefully I'll be able to hold that until the end. I don't want to peak too soon."

If the race comes down to a sprint, Jones will rely on his legendary finishing speed to try to secure fourth place. In June this year, he somehow finished third in a two man sprint, and is regularly beaten by pros in training. "I figure that's gotta be worth some virtual UCI points too, and thus a virtual bonus at the end of the season," he added.

UCI doping news

The following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences:

Daniele Bennati (Ita), tested positive with betamethasone during the race Gent-Welvegem (Bel) on April 6, 2005, sanctioned by the Italian cycling Federation, warning.

Eric Berthou (Fra), tested positive with salbutamol during the race Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire (Fra) on April 8, 2005, sanctioned by the French cycling Federation, warning and disqualification of the event.

Thomas Aberg (Swe), did not come to the anti-doping control during the World Masters Time Trial Championship (Aut) on August 25, 2004, sanctioned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, suspension of one year from October 5, 2004 to October 5, 2005, disqualification of the race.

Marc Lotz (Ned), sanctioned by the Belgian cycling Federation for admission of doping, suspension of two years from June 1, 2005 to May 31, 2007.

Oleksandr Onoshko (Ukr), tested positive with nandrolone during the Int. Presidency Turkey Tour (Tur) on May 7, 2005, sanctioned by the Ukranian Cycling Federation, suspension of two years from July 5, 2005 to July 5, 2007, disqualification of the race.

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