First Edition Cycling News for September 15, 2005
Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Jeff Jones
Vuelta stage 17 wrap up
Garcia Quesada with a long range attack
Comunidad Valenciana capitalised on its strong presence in the main breakaway in today's 17th stage when Carlos Garcia Quesada soloed to victory in La Granja de San Ildefonso. The 5th placed rider on GC attacked on the Puerto de Navacerrada with around 30 km to go to ride away from a group containing Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) and Santos Gonzalez (Phonak). He kept the two eventual chasers at bay by 46 seconds at the finish, with Mancebo taking second ahead of Gonzalez. Roberto Heras was not threatened by the break, and finished 9th at 1'40, still safely in the golden jersey.
The 165 km stage was marked by numerous attacks, with a big group of 24 riders getting away after 38 km. Blanco, Jimenez and Rodriguez were all there for Comunidad Valenciana, as was Alessandro Petacchi for a while. On the first climb of the Navacerrada after 95 km, Mancebo and Garcia Quesada tried to bridge up as the group in front thinned down. The Liberty Seguros team wouldn't let them go, and caught them before the summit, before Garcia Quesada attacked on the descent and made his way up to the break with the help of a few dropped riders. On the Cat. 2 Puerto de la Morcuera, Mancebo got across and the peloton fell back to 1'45.
The break stayed together until the second climb of the Navacerrada, when Garcia Quesada countered a move by Aitor Gonzalez and built up a 1'40 lead over Mancebo and Santos Gonzalez at the summit with 22 km to go. The rest of the break was caught and dropped by the leader's group, which was another 40 seconds back from Mancebo. On the descent to the finish, Mancebo made up good ground on the leader and saved his fourth place on GC from Garcia Quesada, who nevertheless took a fine stage win.
The family man
By Hernan Alvarez Macias
Carlos Garcia Quesada couldn't have been happier after achieving his first stage win at the Vuelta a España - it was a goal the Spaniard had in mind since the first day. "Today, I thought about the stage win," said the Comunidad Valenciana rider at the post-stage press conference. "The fifth place on the overall classification wasn't much for me. I'm not a person who likes to take chances on a descent. I really am not. I think about my family and I don't like to end at the side of the road just to go a bit faster.
"I consider myself a combative rider and I try to attack every time I can. I wanted to have a nice memory and a nice memory for me is a stage win," the cyclist from Granada added.
Professional Continental team Comunidad Valenciana is not among the top 20 teams inside the ProTour. Referring to that, Garcia Quesada noted, "We demonstrated this year that we deserve to be there in the top [division], that we are a ProTour team, that we have good riders. We are part of a good team." He also thanked his teammates that struggled a lot in order to see him prevail.
Garcia Quesada wears a religious medal that he kissed when he crossed the line at first place today in La Granja de San Ildefonso, and which has a particular story. "My grandmother gave it to my little son," he said. "It was his, but I took it from him for good luck. My grandmother is very religious, like most elderly Spanish. I actually don't know the medal very well, but it has the image of the Holy Mary. It reminds me of my family."
Garcia Quesada has not renewed his contract with Comunidad Valenciana yet. Today's victory should increase his future salary and bonuses in this team - or in another, as he doesn't know which outfit he will defend in 2006. "I don't have a clear idea about next year. I think that, together with my brother Fito [Adolfo] who also races, we won't have problems to find a team to ride," the 27-year old commented, while leaving the door open for a new contract with his current squad.
"If they [Vicente Belda team] want us [Adolfo and him] and they make a good offer, it will be alright. We would like to stay and race with them," he concluded. Carlos Garcia Quesada has been with team manager Vicente Belda for five years.
Agritubel signs Mercado and two others
French professional Continental team Agritubel has signed three additional Spaniards. Quick.Step's Juan Miguel Mercado, CSC's Manuel Calvente and Moisés Dueñas from Relax-Bodysol will ride for the squad during the next two seasons. The 'biggest' of these, Mercado who is currently ranked 9th in the Vuelta a España overall standings, will of course act as the team's captain. Along with José Alberto Martínez, Agritubel will count four Spaniards on its roster.
David Fornes, Agritubel's team director, said that the signing of the three riders was "a great effort", and that "Mercado insisted a lot on being surrounded by the other two riders."
Berthou fourth Frenchman at Illes Balears
By Jean-François Quénet
Eric Berthou of RAGT who recently finished 6th in the Tour de l'Avenir, will be the fourth Frenchman picked by Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne for the two coming seasons. He reached an agreement early this week with the Spanish team now also sponsored by a French bank.
The former Banesto team has had a long history of French riders since Dominique Arnaud, Franck Pineau, Stéphane Guay and Marc Gomez joined Reynolds in the mid-80's. After working as a domestique for Bernard Hinault, Arnaud also helped Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain to win the Tour de France. He welcomed on board a young French hope called Armand De Las Cuevas, also hailing from the Bordeaux area, close to the Spanish border, in 1989. When the team became Banesto, Jean-François Bernard and Fabrice Philipot rode together with Arnaud and De Las Cuevas. In 1993, they had five Frenchmen with the addition of Gérard Rué and Stéphane Heulot to the trio Bernard-Philipot-De Las Cuevas after Arnaud's retirement. In the mid-90's, Thomas Davy and Damien Nazon also rode for Banesto, which makes a total of 11 French riders under the guidance of José Miguel Echavarri and Eusebio Unzue in the past. But for the last six years, there was no Frenchman on that side.
The inclusion of French bank Caisse d'Epargne as a co-sponsor for now and as the title sponsor from the 2006 Tour de France onwards has brought some French flavour back in the squad that has kept the same management for 20 years. Florent Brard from Agritubel, Nicolas Portal recruited at Ag2r and neo-pro Mathieu Perget of VC Roubaix will share the new adventure with Berthou, 25, a Breton cyclist who started his pro career with Team Barloworld at the 2003 Tour of Egypt. He's no stranger to foreign teams.
"Some people told me I was crazy to join a South African new team but I don't regret it," he said. "It's been the starting ramp of my career." For the last two years, Berthou rode for RAGT and won a stage in Paris-Corrèze in 2004 before facing some physical problems. "To join Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne is a more exciting challenge for me than racing for any other French team," he added. "If I had been able to chose which team to ride for, it would have been that one."
Berthou is the fourth rider from RAGT - a team folding at the end of this season - to join the Pro Tour after Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), Yoann Le Boulanger (Bouygues Telecom) and Olivier Kaisen (Davitamon-Lotto).
Bruun Eriksen quits
Team CSC rider Thomas Bruun Eriksen has decided to end his professional career after this season.
"I've had some exciting and educational years as a professional rider, but I feel there are other things I'd like to do as well," said the 26 year-old Dane. "I haven't quite been fit enough nor had the motivation to continue at this level, and that is why I've made the decision to quit. I became a professional shortly after I'd finished my education and now I want to return to a regular job," added Bruun Eriksen, who has had two victories in his four years as a professional rider.
"It hasn't been an easy decision for Thomas, but I respect it because I know it's well thought through," commented his team manager Bjarne Riis. "Thomas has always delivered a solid effort for the team, at the same time as he's won some races on his own. I hope he's learnt something valuable to take with him in his future ventures. On behalf of the team I would also like to wish him the best of luck for the future."
Professional cyclist Stefan Schumacher, who delivered positive test results for the doping substance cathine (norpseudoephedrine) in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt this year, while he headed the UCI Continental Circuit ranking in Europe, was acquitted in court this week. The German Cycling Federation BDR announced that the rider had asked several sports Federations if the medication against his pollen allergy was permitted. Schumacher's mother, who's a GP, had prescribed him the medication.
Chinese rider banned
Zeng Liqing, a female rider from southeastern China's Fujian province, tested positive for the blood booster EPO in an out-of-competition control on March 25, 2005, and has now received a two-year ban according to the Chinese Olympic Committee.
In the light of the 2008 Olympic Games, China has enforced its anti-doping measures to restore a reputation damaged by the 1990s doping scandals. It has vowed to ensure upcoming National Games will not be tarnished by such incidents.
Jelly Belly headed to Sun Tour
The Jelly Belly Pro-Cycling Team, which rarely competes outside the US and is currently ranked third in the US National Racing Calendar, announced this week that it has accepted an invitation to compete at the internationally sanctioned Herald Sun Tour, October 9-15, 2005, in and around Melbourne, Australia.
Riders scheduled to compete are Australians Ben Brooks, Caleb Manion and Matty Rice. Joining them will be Kirk Albers, Alex Candelario, Brice Jones, David McCook, and Danny Pate.
"The Herald Sun Tour is one of the premier cycling events in Australia, so the boys and I are keen to make a good showing in our own country," said Ben Brooks, team member from the Sydney area. "The race actually suits us well, there will be a few bunch kicks and a tough day in the hills, but it should come down to the uphill time trial to decide the overall winner. I hope that either I or Danny Pate has the legs on that day to bring home the win for Jelly Belly."
While in Australia, the team plans to make several promotional appearances including: autograph signing sessions at Jelly Belly retailers in Melbourne, bike safety clinics at local schools, and a group "Ride with the Team" event.
Gord Fraser to host Cycling Camp in November
Professional cyclist and three-time Olympian Gord Fraser will hold his first cycling camp from November 13-20 in Tucson, Arizona.
Fraser will be joined by his Health Net Presented by Maxxis teammate Scott Moninger, as well as pioneering coach Allen Lim of Powertap. Lim will be on hand for evening presentations and camp rides, group analysis and instruction on power training. All bikes will be outfitted with Powertap wheels and the exclusive option to purchase at the end of camp.
In addition to fully supported daily riding with Fraser and Moninger, who between them have more than 450 career victories, this all-inclusive camp will feature instruction on technical skills and provide essential training tips.
Fraser has created six days of riding in the picturesque landscapes of the Sonoran desert for intermediate to advanced level cyclists. Accommodations, catered meals, massage and nightly presentations from Fraser and other professionals will also be featured.
Additionally, the camp date will concord with the famous El Tour de Tucson on Saturday 19. The event brings riders from around the nation to ride together in a single day ride for charity. Although it is not affiliated with the Gord Fraser Cycling Camp, campers may participate in this event for free. Transportation to and from the 109-mile start/finish of El Tour will be available. To find out more about El Tour de Tucson go to: www.pbaa.com
For information and registration on the Gord Fraser Cycling Camp, visit www.gordfrasercycling.com or call 1-800-659-0360.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)