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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Edition Cycling News for September 30, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Les Clarke

Di Luca keeps his eyes on the prize

By Jeff Jones

Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) takes a surprise victory in the 2004 Züri-Metzgete.
Photo ©: Reuters
Click for larger image

ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) will go into this Sunday's Züri-Metzgete (Championship of Zurich) with a comfortable grip on the white jersey, and also as one of the favourites for the victory. Di Luca is coming back into form after a mid-season lull, and should have no problems keeping his grip on the ProTour lead, as most of his nearest rivals have called it quits for the season. On the provisional start list, Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) is the only other rider in the top 10 of the ProTour who will be in Zurich on Sunday.

Victory candidates are many for this race, which is often difficult to predict. Despite the severity of the parcours, last year a group of over 30 riders came to the finish, with Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha winning the bunch sprint ahead of Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step). Both those riders are in play again this year, with Bettini probably wanting some revenge after his good-legs-but-no-result World Championships last Sunday.

Looking at some of the other players, Lampre-Caffita is bringing a star-studded team to Zurich, with the likes of Giro winners Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni, sprinter Daniele Bennati, and classics man Alessandro Ballan. T-Mobile also has some firepower, despite lacking stars Alexandre Vinokourov and Jan Ullrich, with 2003 winner Daniele Nardello, 'Swiss' Steffen Wesemann, and Russian hardman Serguei Ivanov.

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the Championship of Zurich live, with coverage starting at 15:00 CEST (Europe)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Australia East).

Click here for the Full p eview, Map, History, Start List

Saunier Duval for Zurich

Spanish/Swiss team Saunier Duval-Prodir has announced its line-up for this Sunday's Championship of Zurich. Rubens Bertogliati, Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, Chris Horner, Juan Jose Cobo, Ruben Lobato, Ińigo Cuesta, Joaquin Rodriguez and Manuele Mori.

The team will be without Fabian Jeker, who had been training specifically for this race but was injured in a crash during the Tour of Poland. Jeker had a knee operation last week, and will not be able to ride on Sunday.

Tour of Hope kicks off in San Diego

Smiling despite recent troubles...
Photo ©: Mark Johnson
Click for larger image

A crowd of 2,000 people at the Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego farewelled Lance Armstrong and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Team as they set off on their trip across America in the name of cancer research. The Tour of Hope is a nine-day journey from San Diego to Washington, DC, by a team of 24 people affected at some point in their lives by cancer. The aim is to raise money and awareness of cancer, and members ride as a relay team in 100-mile segments, expecting to arrive in Washington DC on October 8.

It's a well-known fact that Armstrong himself survived the disease before going on to win seven Tour de France titles, and was instrumental in establishing the ride through the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He won't be riding the entire event with the team, but left with the crew today as they made their way through San Diego, rejoining the ride during the final stages in Washington.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com

Ratti to Naturino

Italian Eddy Ratti has signed a two year contract with Naturino Sapore di Mare. Ratti rode for Team Nippo this year, and succeeded in winning two stages and the overall of the Tour de Hokkaido in Japan. "I'm happy to ride in a team with big ambitions like [Vincenzo] Santoni's," said Ratti. "I hope to repay the confidence in me and to obtain some excellent results next season."

The Naturino team will also compete in the Memorial Cimurri this Saturday with Brazilian sprinter Antonio Murillo Fischer supported by Filippo Simeoni, Massimiliano Gentili, Cristian Gasperoni, Luca Pierfelici, Massimiliano Mori, Alessandro Bertuola and Antonio Quadranti.

"It's a selective race and very difficult," said the team's director Fabio Becherini. "We are aiming to win with Fischer, who is a rider in form after his excellent fifth place in the World's in Madrid; also Massimiliano Gentili has good physical condition and could try a breakaway from a long way out.

Schumacher to Gerolsteiner?

Stefan Schumacher (24) will probably ride for the German Gerolsteiner team next season. The German spent this season with Shimano-Memory Corp, and had some great results before he tested positive for the stimulant cathine during the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt. However, Schumacher was cleared of any doping charges because he used medicine containing the drug to treat an allergy, and was told that it was safe to use. His acquittal opened the way for him to sign for a ProTour team.

"I'm certainly negotiating, but there isn't anything concrete yet," said Schumacher to De Telegraaf. "What is certain is that I will leave Shimano."

Aitor Hernández to Euskaltel

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has signed Aitor Hernández to its squad for the next two season. Hernández (23) has been a pro since 2004, riding with Team LPR. His best results were in this year's Euskal Bizikleta, where he finished second and third in two stages, and ninth overall. He also finished sixth in the Giro d'Oro.

24 hour handcycling record

Dutchman Jan Kalden, a physically disabled top athlete, has established the world record for hand-cycling. The ex-commando, who lost both legs in an accident in 1998, completed 456.4 km in 24 hours on a course around The IJsselmeer (The Netherlands) on September 25. On Friday afternoon, the former Belgian international goalkeeper, Jean-Marie Pfaff, will present the world record trophy to Jan Kalden in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands.

For the record attempt, Kalden put together an international team, consisting of David Abrutat (United Kingdom), Nigel Barley (Australia), Guy Rappé (Belgium), Matt Updike (United States) and Thomas Schmicking (Germany). Kalden and his team were filmed over the 24 hours by a film crew led by Ruud van Gessel and Jan Pool, well known from the Dutch NCRV TV network series 'Veertig!' [Forty], in which Jan Kalden played a leading role.

"It was heavy going, but we made it," said Kalden. "I hope that through our triumph this weekend we can inspire people from all over the world. Anything is possible if you believe in it. It's priceless, being able to put in a performance like that with a team of friends and with my colleagues behind me for extra support."

The hand-cycling team was sponsored by MasterCard Europe. The money raised during this world record attempt will go to the development of special wheelchairs for disabled children. Jan's colleagues and supporters are supporting this campaign and are helping him with the logistical organisation. "We're supporting this because we greatly value Jan as a colleague, and his demonstration of the remarkable results that disabled athletes are capable of. We wish Jan and his team members many more Priceless moments", said Vanessa Didden, MasterCard Marketing Manager, Benelux.

Leen Demaré could eat Tom Boonen raw

Belgian RTL radio presenter Leen Demaré was very upset by the suggestions made by some publicity gurus during the latest wave of Tom Boonen mania. In an interview they had said that Boonen would be even more popular if he would exchange his lovely girlfriend Lore for a 'better-known girl'. "How dare they!? Lore is super-sympathetic!" said an outraged Demaré.

Inspired by Tom's T-shirt with the slogan 'Will f*** on first date' (which he wore during a short TV interview just before hitting the discos in Spain last Sunday evening), Leen launched her own designer competition during her morning program Leen. On Wednesday morning, Leen already posed with the winning slogan of Natasha from Mechelen: "Will eat Boonen on first date."

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

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