Latest Cycling News for April 3, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Kroon's virtual podium
Team CSC's Karsten Kroon came very close to making the break with Tom Boonen and Leif Hoste on the Valkenberg in Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen, but the Dutch rider couldn't quite bridge the gap. "I was really close to making it and that would probably have meant a podium spot," he said on team-csc.com. "When Boonen opened up right after the climb there were strong headwinds and it seemed like they had an advantage because of the motor bikes in front of them. I exploded and didn't have that last bit left in my legs to bridge up. It was a big shame because the whole thing had worked out perfectly for us up until then and I felt very strong. I would have liked to sit up front with Boonen and Hoste, but it wasn't meant to be this time. I choose to look at it from a positive angle though, and I'm very motivated for the Amstel Gold Race and Ličge-Bastogne-Ličge, both of which suit me better than the Tour of Flanders.
Fabian Cancellara commented, "This time last year I wasn't as strong as I am now, and that makes me feel secure in relation to the next two races on the cobblestones. The most important thing for me right now is Paris-Roubaix, where I would really like to make a top result. The legs are there, but you also need a bit of luck. Of course I'll try to play a major part in Roubaix even though it's a tough race where anything can happen. Today the race was decided early on and that means only the strongest are able to sit up front. Hopefully the same thing will happen on Sunday, which would definitely be to our advantage."
Finally, team CSC's sports director Scott Sunderland summed up his team's performance: "We did well and it could have amounted to a very big result if Karsten had made it when Hoste and Boonen escaped. Once again Boonen was in a league of his own, and there's no doubt he was the strongest out there today. We were positioned right where we should be and as expected it turned out to be a tough race. I think we confirmed the optimism we had regarding our performance and we did manage to influence the race a bit. After having seen Cancellara today, we should definitely be feeling positive about a big result in Paris-Roubaix."
Gerolsteiner looks back at RvV
Gerolsteiner was happier with its results at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, as one might expect. The reason: it collected enough team points to push it up to second place in the Pro Tour team rankings. "Because of the strong wind and rain, it was a super difficult race," said directeur sportif Christian Henn, "and everyone is happy that we are now in second place." Another reason for happiness was that none of the Gerolsteiner riders were involved in any of the crashes.
"Actually, my legs were good. But I didn't pay attention one time - on Koppenberg. Then it was all over," said David Kopp, who finished 16th. Teammate Stefan Schumacher (19th) said, "Too bad that I had to get off the bike" and walk up Koppenberg. One who had especially hoped to do well didn't even make it to the finish, but youngster Heinrich Haussler refused to let it get him down. "The ride today gave me a lot of experience. You really have to pay attention every single second. But at any rate I have learned a lot for the future."
Landbouwkrediet's injury list
Following the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago finished with five of its riders injured. Sven Renders has a very sore wrist, but managed to finish the race; Johan Verstrepen has bruises on his thigh; Jurgen Van Loocke has a painful wound on his hip; Andy Cappelle has bruises on his calf; and Sjef De Wilde has various bruises that aren't too serious.
Ullrich "actually optimistic" despite knee problems
T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich is still "actually optimistic" that he will be in good form to ride the Tour de France, despite knee problems. In an interview on German television Sunday evening, he said that he is "top motivated", although his training is suffering at the moment.
Last week Ullrich announced that he would not be starting in the Circuit de la Sarthe, where he had expected to open his season. Now even his start in this year's Giro is in question. He plans to test his knee at the Tour de Romandie, he said. "If I can ride there without pain, then maybe I will start on May 6 as planned at the Giro d'Italia."
Meanwhile, he is riding about four hours a day "just rolling, with a low wattage," followed by several hours of physical therapy. He is not concerned that he will lose his basic conditioning that he has been working on since November. "That doesn't go away, even if I couldn't train properly the last four weeks.
"The final reckoning will be in Paris," Ullrich said. "You shouldn't write Ullrich off quite yet."
Henn and Ludwig: Rominger doesn't need to call about Hondo
Danilo Hondo can cross Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile off his list of potential employers for the remainder of this season. "As long as the case is not closed, his manager Tony Rominger doesn't even need to call. The risk is too great," Gerolsteiner's Christian Henn and T-Mobile's Olaf Ludwig told the German press agency sid.
Gerolsteiner spokesman Jörg Grünefeld clarified the team's position to Cyclingnews. "A rider like Danilo is always interesting to a team, but one of the many requirements for signing Danilo to ride for Team Gerolsteiner would be a written statement from the UCI saying that it would not violate the Code of Ethics." The UCI last week declared that Hondo was eligible to ride again, but that no ProTour team could sign him under the voluntary Code of Ethics the teams had signed.
Gerolsteiner at Sarthe and Gent-Wevelgem
Gerolsteiner is hoping that the omens will be in its favour this year in the Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe, which starts on Tuesday. Ronny Scholz finished third there in 2004, and Markus Fothen 2nd in 2005. Which Gerolsteiner rider does team manager Hans-Michael Holczer hope to see standing on top of the podium at the end of the race?
"Maybe Stefan Schumacher could play a role in the GC," Holczer said. The team has enough candidates for possible wins: Paris-Nice stage winner Markus Zberg, for example, or Tour de France stage winner Georg Totschnig, of whom Holczer says, "In looking forward to the Tour, he will probably want to prove how his condition is now."
The team also has two top candidates for stage wins: Michael Rich will carry the team's hopes in the 8.8 km time trial Wednesday, while sprinter Robert Förster is eager to show that he has recovered from the concussion he suffered last week in a training crash.
Gerolsteiner for Sarthe: Robert Förster, Volker Ordowski, Michael Rich, Stefan Schumacher, Georg Totschnig, Markus Zberg.
Kopp and Haussler lead in Gent-Wevelgem
The team is looking to David Kopp and Heinrich Haussler to bring in top results in Wednesday's Gent-Wevelgem. "A place in the top ten is possible and would be great," said directeur sportif Christian Henn. "Above all, we can't let ourselves be dropped." As a key point he named the Kemmelberg, which is climbed twice shortly before the end of the race. If his riders are still in the leading group, then they should have good chances to win. Sprinters have often won Gent-Wevelgem, he noted, and both Kopp and Haussler are not only good classics riders but also good sprinters: "maybe the combination will bring success!"
Gerolsteiner for Gent-Wevelgem: Thomas Fothen, Rene Haselbacher, Heinrich Haussler, Frank Hoj, David Kopp, Sebastian Lang, and Peter Wrolich.
Milram and Davitamon-Lotto for Gent-Wevelgem
Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel will continue their classics campaign in Gent-Wevelgem this Wednesday. They will be joined by Simone Cadamuro, Alessandro Cortinovis, Christian Knees, Maarten Den Bakker, Enrico Poitschke and Marco Velo. The team will be directed by Gianluigi Stanga.
The Davitamon-Lotto squad, which won Gent-Wevelgem last year with Nico Mattan, will include him again in its starting line up in Deinze on Wednesday. Along with Mattan, sprinter Robbie McEwen will be in action, as well as Bert Roesems, Gert Steegmans, Tom Steels, Leon Van Bon, Wim Vansevenant and Henk Vogels.
Mark Webber cautions motorists to watch for cyclists in Amy Gillett's name
Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber has urged motorists to look out for cyclists when driving. Speaking at the launch of the Amy Gillett Foundation in Melbourne on Sunday, Webber revealed he accepted the position as a Patron of the Foundation after being profoundly affected by Amy Gillett's death in Germany last year.
"Like many Australians, I was affected by the death of Amy and injuries to her five teammates, so the chance to support the aims of the Amy Gillett Foundation means a lot to me," Webber said.
A professional driver and enthusiastic cyclist, Webber said he was committed to the Foundation's message that the road belongs to everyone. "If we are to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists on our roads, then all road users must respect each other's rights, whether they have two wheels or four," he added.
Lorian Graham, one of Amy's injured teammates attending the launch said, "It's not such a big ask for everyone to be more considerate. Cyclists should obey the rules and drivers should be aware of cyclists and exercise caution. What's more important - a couple minutes of your time or someone's life?"
Webber is joined by Australian Tour de France legend Phil Anderson as co-patron of the Foundation. Melinda Jacobsen was announced as the first General Manager of the Foundation.
Former world junior pursuit champion, Jessie MacLean, was announced as the first recipient of the Amy Gillett Scholarship, The Amy Gillett Scholarship, a joint partnership between The Amy Gillett Foundation and Cycling Australia‘s AIS High Performance Program, helps talented female cyclists achieve their sporting and academic goals.
"The ability to pursue my cycling and academic career and help people to remember Amy is a special privilege for me," said MacLean.
Simon Gillett was very happy with the selection of Jessie for the inaugural scholarship. "Jessie shows many of the qualities that made Amy such a great competitor," Simon said. "She is very aggressive on the bike and she has wonderful nature off the bike. She is also studying for her degree which is very important."
Senator, the Hon Rod Kemp, the Minister for Arts and Sport, commented that cycling was not only "one of Australia's truly great high performance sports...but it's a very popular sport and a growing sport amongst Australians in the wider community. Every day, every morning you will see increasing numbers of cyclists out on our roads and this is a good thing. The Amy Gillett Foundation, I think, is playing a very important role in highlighting these reports of various aspects of this behaviour and promoting safety consciousness amongst cyclists and drivers.
"The Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian Sports Commission has provided strong support for our athletes and of course to their families who were affected by this tragedy.
"I must say I was very pleased to hear that Kate Nichols and Alexis Rhodes have returned to competition and I wish the other girls well in their recovery. I had the privilege of seeing Alexis Rhodes ride in the Commonwealth Games and I was asked on the radio to recount some of the things that impressed me most and to think back to last July and to see Alexis riding is quite remarkable," Senator Kemp finished.
The Amy Gillett Foundation has been established to promote safe relationships between cyclists and motorists. With bike sales outnumbering cars - Australians have bought over 1.1 million bikes each year for the last five years - and 35 deaths and 2,500 serious injuries involving cyclists each year, the majority involving a motor vehicle, this road safety message is becoming increasingly important.
Established in memory of Amy Gillett, the Foundation aims to:
The Foundation will achieve its cyclist/motorist safety objective by conducting marketing awareness campaigns and ultimately education campaigns and research. For more information, visit: www.amygillett.org.au.
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Images by Allen Lang
April 3, 2006: Mark Webber
cautions motorists to watch for cyclists in Amy Gillett's name
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