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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for September 18, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Anthony Tan, with assistance from Sabine Sunderland and Susan Westemeyer

Boonen: "Vuelta was camouflage"

"I didn't go to the Vuelta to win stages, but to work on my form. The Vuelta hasn't lessened my self-confidence... you can call it camouflage," said World's favourite Tom Boonen in the VUM newspapers.

"Anyway, I'm not that certain that it will finish in a mass sprint; [Alejandro] Valverde is going to drop some bombs. And if it ends up being a sprint, I'm not sure that Petacchi will get his Italian train going."

Boonen also believed the road race in Madrid will be a big lottery where a whole lot of luck will come in handy. "I have to confess: I prefer the double win of last spring [Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix] above a world title.

"The rainbow jersey would turn an already successful into a dream-season. But, the World Championships is a race everyone wants to win. I'm only 24 and will get more opportunities; but you can't start early enough... I do want to become World Champion one year, though."

On another note, the 24 year-old finds the reactions to changing his home base to Monaco surprising. "I don't understand the reaction here in Belgium. I just want to retain my sanity, don't want to get destroyed by success. It's not going to change who I am; people will still see me race as much... what difference does it make to anyone wether Tom Boonen's hanging in the couch watching tele in winter in Belgium or Monaco?"

The Belgian 'playboy' sprinter also lashed out to the sensation-seeking press in his country: "Hey, I'm considering a sex change after this season. I just haven't made up my mind yet about my new name..."

Vuelta diary watch: Time Trial: The musical

Gerolsteiner's Thomas Ziegler found a way to make yesterday's time trial interesting: "I wired myself up with my MP3 player. Then I started. When you're not riding for results in a time trial, it can get pretty boring. That's why I took my musical accompaniment with me today - house music, techno. Something stimulating - after all, music isn't on the doping list!"

It didn't help his concentration, though. "At the 5 km sign - I was going 60 km per hour - a banner suddenly flew on to the street. I was able to avoid it, but a motorcycle came by and got caught up in it. I had just recovered from that shock when I came in the direction of the finish. A traffic guard stood in the curve to direct the accompanying cars off the route. It was all so unclear, that, idiot that I am, I rode along with the autos. After 300 meters I realized my mistake. So I turned around ... Of course I lost a lot of time, but whether I was four minutes back or three didn't really make a lot of difference. If you're riding to win, you really ought to check out the course first..." (

T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl had a different kind of problem on Friday. The stage itself was fine, but, "The stress began for me after I crossed the finish line. I was selected for doping control. I wasn't able to give a urine sample for three hours and didn't get to the hotel until 10 p.m." In the time trial, he also planned "to wear my I-Pod and ride the 38 km in a relaxed manner." (

Klöden ends season

"I will definitely not ride any more races this season," T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden has announced. "I will concentrate totally on building up my form for the coming season."

Klöden broke a bone in his hand during the Tour de France. The cast was finally removed last week and he is able to do some light training again. "It's not perfect, but it's a great feeling to be able to hold the handle bars with both hands again."

Big changes for T-Mobile?

By Susan Westemeyer

There are going to be some big changes in the Team T-Mobile management - according to German tabloid BILD. The BILD am Sonntag is today reporting that Rudy Pevenage is returning to the team "immediately" as Director Sportif. Pevenage was previously DS for Team Telekom, but left the team to join Jan Ullrich at Team Coast in 2003. When Ullrich rejoined T-Mobile, Pevenage was not welcomed back by team manager Walter Godefroot, and Pevenage has since been Ullrich's personal advisor.

Godefroot is retiring at the end of this season, and has selected former team spokesman Olaf Ludwig as his successor. According to BILD, Ludwig and Mario Kummer, "who becomes co-ordinator in the team management", want to "put together a pure Ullrich team for the Tour de France. All power to Jan! Just like Armstrong did at Discovery Channel and US Postal. Ullrich will be more involved in the planning. As captain he is, along with the others, responsible for the joint training camp and preparations."

"We are in the process of restructuring the team and Olaf Ludwig, the new team manager, has a very clear vision," T-Mobile's press officer Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews. "In the next couple of days we will finalize those changes, and afterwards those structures will be communicated."

Rudy Pevenage did not deny the story, telling the dpa, "There have been discussions about this, and in the coming weeks there will be more discussion about my future activities." He added, "If it happens, then it would be the best for Jan. All this in-fighting has bothered him. To win the Tour again, he needs quiet and a team that stands 100 percent behind him."

In addition, Pevenage also announced that Ullrich, who had planned to ride the Meisterschaft von Zürich, has decided to end his season now. "Jan wouldn't have had any chance anyway against the riders who come fresh from the Vuelta and the World's. So there's no point in him forcing himself to train right now." He also said that Ullrich would probably start earlier with his training for the next season.

McEwen to greener pastures?

After losing Belgian champion Serge Baguet, it looks like Davitamon-Lotto could see their kangaroo sprinter Robbie McEwen hop to other pastures. "Not everyone is seeing my true value" said McEwen to Gazet Van Antwerpen. "I miss their enthusiasm in the current ongoing negotiations. They play hard-ball."

Although McEwen's wishes have always had a big impact on the team's line-up, it is believed that he now wants to see his value tag equalled to the other sprinters, Boonen and Petacchi. "I win in January, February, April, May, June, July, August, September and October. In March I'm usually sick. But who equals my results? I'm one of the three quickest sprinters. To keep someone like me, I would consider a smart deed," he said, convinced of his worth.

Zárate to Saunier Duval for two

According to a press release from the team, young Spanish rider Carlos Zárate has signed a two-year deal with Saunier Duval-Prodir for the 2006/07 seasons. The 25 year-old is only in his second year as a professional, but has already proven himself when he won a stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco as a neo-pro, dropping none other than Jens Voigt and continuing on his own for 35 kilometres to win the third stage on his own.

Brooks to Navigators

26 year-old Australian Benjamin Brooks has signed a one-year contract with the Navigators Insurance Cycling Team for the 2006 season. Next year will be mark his third year racing Stateside, after two strong seasons with the Jelly Belly-Pool Gel Cycling Team.

"It's a bit bigger opportunity and with their program in Europe, I'll get to do some bigger races as well," said Brooks to Cyclingnews, having recently returned from the U.S. last Tuesday and competed in the Grafton to Inverell classic over the weekend, where he was part of the early selection before finishing in 12th place.

Navigators' program will hopefully allow the New South Welshman to further realise his potential as a gifted all-rounder, who spent his earlier professional years racing for the ill-fated Linda McCartney cycling team in 2000 and 2001. "I've got one more race with Jelly Belly, the Herald Sun Tour in Victoria, so I want to go out on a good note," he added.

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