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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for April 7, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

All hopes on Wesemann at T-Mobile

German T-Mobile Team has announced its line-up for Paris-Roubaix next Sunday, where it will be counting on 2002 second-placed Steffen Wesemann for the victory. However, Wesemann’s build-up has been far from perfect: A viral infection forced the 35 year-old to miss out on this week's Belgian classics, the Tour of Flanders and Gent- Wevelgem.

Instead of racing, Wesemann has been training at his home in Switzerland. "It was better for Steffen to stay at home and get himself fully fit for Paris- Roubaix," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Valerio Piva, who added that 'Wese' is over "the breathing difficulties that have been holding him back."

Wesemann is scheduled to link up with his teammates in France on Friday. Joining him on the mythical race from Compiègne to Roubaix in France's bleak North-East are Andreas Klier, Sergey Ivanov, Stephan Schreck, Marcus Burghardt and Andre Greipel, as well as Dutchman Bram Schmitz and Italian Lorenzo Bernucci, who were both injured at last Sunday's 'Ronde', but have recovered enough to face the cruel demands of the 'Hell of the North'.

"Our medical team has doing great work," said Piva. "It was pre-scheduled that Lorenzo would abandon Gent-Wevelgem early. He badly gashed his shin when he took a spill at the Tour of Flanders. Bram has been experiencing back pain since Flanders, so with one eye on Paris Roubaix, we decided to make him rest on Wednesday."

The full T-Mobile roster at Paris Roubaix will be: Lorenzo Bernucci, Marcus Burghardt, André Greipel, Sergey Ivanov, Andreas Klier, Bram Schmitz, Stephan Schreck and Steffen Wesemann.

Team Milram for Paris-Roubaix

Italian-German merger Milram has also announced its rider selection for the Queen of the Classics finishing in Roubaix's famous velodrome: Erik Zabel, Simone Cadamuro, Alessandro Cortinovis, Ralf Grabsch, Martin Müller, Alberto Ongarato, Enrico Poitschke and Sebastian Siedler will defend the team's colours on Sunday, April 9, 2006.

Urweider's B probe positive

Sascha Urweider's B probe has also come back positive for testosterone, a Swiss television station has reported. The Phonak rider came up positive during a training control on February 14. The team suspended him when the positive A result was announced in March. Urweider has been blaming a nutritional supplement.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Monfort breaks collarbone

The Vuelta a Pais Vasco has increased its number of rider accidents resulting in injuries. On Wednesday, Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) crashed together with Fränk Schleck (see separate story) and, like the Luxembourger, was taken to hospital. In Estella, Monfort's head wound was being cared for, and a collarbone fracture was diagnosed. The 23 year-old Belgian therefore will not be able to participate in the upcoming Ardennes Classics. After returning home on Thursday, he will receive surgery on Friday in Liège.

Gómez Marchante looks to the Tour

Angel Gomez Marchante at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco 2006
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Madrid-born rider José Ángel Gómez Marchante has a well-defined goal for 2006: the Tour de France. To accomplish it, the Spaniard chose to return to racing a little later this season. "I was told that I should take it easy for the beginning of the season, and that´s what I´m doing!," said Gómez Marchante before the Vuelta a Pais Vasco, where the Saunier Duval rider is currently in eighth position on GC. "I´m lucky because in winter I don´t put up weight and I keep fit. Thus, I´ll be perfectly able to follow the training they have prepared for me."

Gómez Marchante added, "We´ll have a good squad at Pais Vasco, and we are all intend to be in good shape for the race. It's very important because it´s part of the UCI ProTour and also because our team wants to make a good impression from the very start. After the Basque Country, I´ll ride in the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It´ll all be new to me, as I´ve never participated in any of these classic races."

The Saunier Duval rider will continue his pre-Tour programme at the Dauphiné Libéré, where he hopes for a good result. "[At the Dauphiné] I hope my performance will be at least as good as last year [second place on GC, stage results]," he continued. "Then, I really expect to have a good Tour de France, so that I can finally erase those bad 2005 memories, when I fell and broke my collarbone."

As for the end of season, Marchante said he preferred not to think too much about it now. "Last year, I´d planned to ride in the Vuelta and couldn´t because of my collarbone injury," he added. "It´s better not to make long-term plans. My focus is on the Tour right now."

Anderson has collarbone surgery

T-Mobile's Kim Anderson had surgery on her broken collarbone this week. She broke it in a crash in the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday. Team doctor Olaf Schumacher operated on the 38 year-old Tuesday afternoon at the University Clinic in Freiburg, Germany. Anderson did not stay in the hospital and rejoined her teammates that evening. The operation went so well that she is expected to start with light training in the next few days.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Rasmussen lines up in Giro d’Italia

Michael Rasmussen will be part of the nine man squad of the Rabobank Cycling Team for the Giro d’Italia. The Danish climbing specialist sees the Italian stage race as a good preparation for the 2006 edition of the Tour de France.

With this program, Rasmussen will repeat the same the same preparations which last year led to a stage win in Mulhouse, from where he brought the polka dot jersey to the Champs Elysées in Paris. "My goal hasn’t changed," said Rasmussen. "Once again, my season totally focuses on the Tour de France. Last year, this program has proven to be successful. There is no reason to do it any differently this year."

Rabobank will soon announce the names of the eight other riders for the Giro d’Italia, which will be held from May 6-28.

Astarloa to Ardennes Classics

Igor Astarloa is reported to be participating at the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands on April 16, and the Belgian Ardennes classics Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 19 and 23 respectively. The 2003 World Champion, who finished a solid 11th at Milano-Sanremo three weeks ago, where he was very active in the last part of the race, will be leading his Barloworld team.

NZL team at Track World Championships

The eight strong New Zealand track cycling team have arrived in Bordeaux, France for the 2006 UCI Track Cycling World Championships which begin next Thursday, April 13. The eight member squad contains two members that did not compete at the Commonwealth Games, Junior World Track Champion Sam Bewley from Rotorua and National Time Trial Champion Dave Cresswell from Canterbury.

Most of the squad arrived from Auckland overnight, with Tim Gudsell and Joanne Kiesanowski already based in the Northern hemisphere. The Track World Championships will see over 260 cyclists from 37 countries compete during the four day event for the 15 World Champion titles available. New Zealand expects to enter cyclists in nine of the 15 events. Greg Henderson, who has been on the podium at the last three track world championships, along with Hayden Roulston, were unavailable for selection due to their road team commitments.

The New Zealand team in Bordeaux is: Joanne Kiesanowski, Alison Shanks, Jason Allen, Sam Bewley, Dave Cresswell, Hayden Godfrey, Tim Gudsell and Marc Ryan. The team will be directed by coach Terry Gyde.

NRC points on Saturday night

This weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, Pro teams will line up in front of "The Landing" on the beautiful St. John's River to race a twilight criterium for NRC points and a $6,000 cash prize list. The evening's racing on Saturday, April 8 starts as amateurs of many categories who qualified in their races earlier will race in the giant finals race for $1,000 cash. Afterwards, the elite women line up with the powerful SE Aaron's Furniture team in attendance.

Finally at 7:30 PM the Pros take the streets with the following teams already registered: ATG-Toshiba-JetNetwork, Cycle Science,, Toyota-United Pro and Vista Velo. The following teams are also slated to come into town: Jittery Joes Zero Gravity, Rite Aid, Target Training, VMG Racing, Navigators, Jelly Belly and Colavita-Sutter Home.

Comcast televised this race last year and is doing it again this year.

On Sunday the pros will do a 100 mile road race in a rural setting next to Penny Farms retirement village (who's most famous resident is the actor that played the Mortitian Munchcan in the Wizard of Oz). Other highlights of this area include the "Thunder Road" and brand new super smooth pavement on the stretch of road that last year was a bit rough near the finish.

Spring Classics Fantasy Game 2006 - check this booty!

Specialized's Roubaix Pro is the big prize
Photo ©: Specialized
(Click for larger image)

OK - are you having trouble keeping up with the awesome range of prizes on offer in the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game? Well, that's understandable, because it's a real booty of some of the finest cycling products on the planet. So, let's re-cap and help you decide whether you'd make a better directeur sportif than Patrick Lefevere or Johan Bruyneel.

We are offering a total of 19 prize packages for the Spring Classics, ranging from the super Grand Prize of the Dura-Ace and FSA compact carbon crankset-equipped Specialized Roubaix Pro bicycle (and a team replica Decibel helmet, plus funky Specialized eyewear), through to the per-race prize of Smith Optics Limited Edition Team CSC replica Reactor Max eyewear.

So with three races run and won, there are still four races to be held: Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold, La Fleche Wallone and finally, the oldest of them all, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The complete prize list is as follows:

A pair of beautiful Bastogne wheels worth over $600 USD
(Click for larger image)
HED's Bastogne wheels are named in honour of the Belgian town of Bastogne
(Click for larger image)
Craft are giving away ten of their Pro Cool Mesh Sleeveless Baselayers
(Click for larger image)

Grand Prize: One Specialized Roubaix Pro bicycle (complete), with a Specialized Decibel team replica helmet and your choice of one Specialized optics from their eyewear range. Total value - US$4700;

1st runner-up: One set (pair) of HED's 'Bastogne' wheels, worth US$600, plus a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer (yes, exactly like what the pros choose to wear), plus a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyres and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics, the original Team CSC racing glasses;

2nd runner-up prize packages: there are three '2nd runner-up' prize packages on offer. Each has the following prizes - a Giro Atmos Helmet in your choice of colour, a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer, plus a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyres and and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics;

3rd runner-up prize packages: and the goodies keep coming as there are three '3rd runner-up' prize packages on offer. Each has the following prizes - a set of Speedplay 'Zero' stainless steel pedals from the Californian company that equips ProTour teams like Team CSC and Phonak with their super-light, and super-adjustable pedals, plus a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer, plus a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyresand and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics;

4th runner-up prize packages: there also three '4th runner-up' prize packages on offer. Each has the following prizes - a ultra-comfortable yet high-performance fi'zi:k saddle from the team issue - limited edition range, such as the Di Luca Killer & Cunego Piccolo Principe, plus a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer, and a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyresand and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics.

So, in all, there are 19 separate prizes on offer in the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game. To find out how to enter your team, go the Fantasy Game's information page and get behind the wheel of your own team-car! For more details on how to play go to the rules section of the site for more info. To register your teams for the game go to

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)