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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 13, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vuelta enters final week

After its second rest day on Monday, the Vuelta a España enters its final phase this week, starting with today's 162 km flat stage between León and Valladolid and culminating with another sprinters' stage in Madrid on Sunday. But in between, there are several more chances for the GC riders and opportunists to go for glory, with two fairly hard climbing stages on Wednesday and Thursday, and the 39 km Guadalajara to Alcala de Henares time trial on Saturday.

After his devastating performance in the 15th stage on Sunday, Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) is on track to win an unprecedented fourth Vuelta, as his nearest rival Denis Menchov is now 4'30 behind. Carlos Sastre (CSC) is at 4'50, and will likely push Menchov for the second podium place.

Lefevere questions Belgian selection

Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere hasn't got too many good words to say about Belgian selector José De Cauwer lately. "De Cauwer's on his own; we'll make the bill in Madrid, after the finish," Lefevere was quoted in Het Laatste Nieuws.

Tom Boonen will only have two teammates - Nick Nuyens and Wilfried Cretskens - on his side in the World Championships race, and Lefevere thinks that is not enough. It is feared by some in the Belgian camp that the three Davitamon-Lotto riders in the selection, who are teammates of Australian Robbie McEwen, will benefit more from seeing their sprinter win. McEwen had said after winning Paris-Brussels that it would be good to have his Belgian teammates with him in Madrid, as they are the best in leading out a sprint. "We'll see who works for who," Lefevere commented.

Lefevere openly questioned the selection of Björn Leukemans and Mario Aerts (both Davitamon-Lotto). "It's a huge disaster," he said. "On which basis has De Cauwer made his selection? In Overijse, he was present, but we didn't see him in the Vuelta at all. There was no communication with Boonen. Just on Monday morning, a few hours before the selection was made public De Cauwer called him. What good does that do? De Cauwer just wanted to cover his arse!"

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

Hamilton case heard, but not finalised

Tyler Hamilton's appeal to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was heard last week between September 6-8 in Denver, USA. However, according to a CAS statement, "The arbitration was then adjourned with the agreement that it would be resumed at a later date for the presentation of additional evidence and closing arguments. The date and location of the second hearing have not been fixed yet. The parties have agreed that they would not make any public statements concerning this matter until the final decision of CAS."

Hamilton is appealing his two year suspension for homologous blood doping after he tested positive for it at the Vuelta a España last year.

Pereiro to Illes Balears

Although several other "contractually freed" Phonak riders, including Floyd Landis, Victor Peña and Santiago Botero, have renewed their contracts with the Swiss team recently, Spaniard Oscar Pereiro will be changing squads next year. The Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne team has announced that it has signed Pereiro for the next two seasons, as it continues to strengthen its roster. Pereiro, a winner of a Tour stage this year, joins Francisco Pérez, Joaquín Rodríguez (Saunier Duval), Tino Zaballa (Saunier Duval), Florent Brard (Agritubel), Nicolas Portal (FDJ) and Mathieu Perget (Neo-pro).

Iannetti to LPR

The LPR team has announced the signing of Massimo Iannetti, a 22 year-old climb from Naturino-Sapore di Mare. A native of Nereto (Teramo) but resident in Floriano di Campli (Teramo), Iannetti turned pro last year with Domina Vacanze. His results included a third place in a stage of the Brixia Tour and 10th in the Trofeo Matteotti, won by Danilo Di Luca. This year, things didn't so so well when he crashed on the Passo delle Siepi during the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia. But he has recovered from that and has made the Italian national U23 team for the World Championships.

"I am very happy with this agreement with the LPR team," said Iannetti. "I've known the team manager Piscina since I raced with the dilettanti, but above all, I know the extraordinary atmosphere that I breathe in this squad. The fact that the management has decided to opt for me, despite a so-so year with Naturino, makes me proud and I don't see how I can repay the trust that they've placed in me with results. I'm young, but I believe I'm already ready for certain races. I only need somewhere that believes in my chances and that puts me in the ideal condition to do my best. As far as that goes, when I got the call from team LPR, I didn't think about it for one second."

Valkenburg makes preliminary preparations for Tour

Although it hasn't yet been finalised that next year's Tour de France will visit the Dutch town of Valkenburg, the local council has already set aside money to cover some of the organisational costs. According to ANP, the council has allotted €150,000 that would be used to set up the finish of one stage and the start of the next. This will not be enough to meet the total estimated cost of €700,000, but the province of Limburg and the Libéma company are also likely to provide a significant contribution.

It's already known that the Tour de France will start in Strasbourg on July 1 in 2006, but it's probable that the July 4 stage will finish in Valkenburg. The cycling friendly town is also putting a bid in to host the 2008 World Road Championships, 10 years after hosting it previously. Valkenburg will be up against the Italian towns of Lucca-Viareggio and Varese, and a decision on where to host the 2008 World's will be made next Tuesday in Madrid.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for GP Wallonie

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team will race Wednesday's GP Wallonie with the following riders: Nico Sijmens, Bert De Waele, Maxime Monfort, Geert Verheyen, Jurgen van De Walle, Johan Verstrepen, Sergey Lagutin, Mathieu Criquielion, and Jean Claude Lebeau. DS: Claude Criquielion, Gérard Bulens.

Tim Johnson returns to 'cross at Star Crossed

Tim Johnson, the 2000 US National Cyclocross Champion, will make his return to cyclocross after a two year absence at the Clif Bar/FSA Star Crossed Cyclocross in Redmond, WA, USA on October 1, 2005. Johnson has spent the last three years focused on road racing, including a stint in Europe with Saunier Duval-Prodir in 2004.

Accompanying Johnson at the race will be his wife, Lyne Bessette, an accomplished road and cyclocross racer. The Quebec native will renew her rivalry with Anne Knapp of Seattle, WA at the event. Knapp and Bessette have been the top two female riders in the North American cyclocross since the late '90's.

Star Crossed festivities will feature the Toña Cerveza Beer Garden, free spectator raffles from Chef'n, Osprey, MSR, and Giant Bicycles, including a TCX cyclocross frame as well as a Simple Single Cruiser, the Sliderule ride-over bridge, and global cooling by Clif Bar. All categories of racing will be catered for, with the top riders attacking the challenging course at twilight to the accompaniment of a live DJ and professional announcer. Zoka Roastery will offer food and espresso throughout the event.

Races for beginner and intermediate riders start the day at 3:15 pm with the Elite Men's race at 8:00 pm, October 1 at the Group Health Velodrome in King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA.

More information: www.starcrossedcx.com

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