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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for April 12, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke, assisted by Sabine Sunderland

An interview with Ryan Cox: Where I want to be

A change of management was thought to bode well for Barloworld's chances to finally participate in one of the three Grand Tours in 2006. But that didn't happen, and as the door closes in on wildcard invitations at the rest of the ProTour races, Ryan Cox tells Anthony Tan he knows exactly what he needs to do to be exactly where he needs to be.

A contemplative Cox
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

"The last two years, I've had two good years early on but maybe raced well too early in the season. I just said [to myself] I can't afford to have a good early season and do nothing the rest of the year, and that is what's pretty much happened."

These two sentences basically sum up how Ryan Cox was feeling at the end of the 2005 season. Second overall in 2004 then victory in last year's Tour de Langkawi made a name for himself, but after a number of years training to reach peak performance at the start of the year, he says it's time to move on.

"I've restructured the whole year [based] on what I want to do and I have plans in my mind on what I want to achieve," says Cox, as ominous-looking skies gather intensity in downtown Kuala Lumpur, threatening to disrupt the final stage of this year's Tour de Langkawi. "I won this race the year before and won the king of the mountains, so it's like a little tick [in the box]; it's ticked and now I've got to move on to something else. I'm not getting any younger and I've got to do something at the bigger races."

Click here for the full interview.

Ullrich to ride Tour de Romandie

Having recovered from a recent knee injury, T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich will start the Tour de Romandie, beginning in Geneva on April 25. Currently training in Tuscany, Ullrich recently increased the intensity of his training and team manager Olaf Ludwig has said he's pleased with Ullrich’s recovery.

"Jan is pain-free now and will progressively intensify the training load in the coming days in order to be prepared for the Tour de Romandie," said Ludwig, adding that the Swiss race is "no easy entry" into the season. After saying he would start his season at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France, the 32-year-old German was forced to pull out of last week's race when the irritation to his right knee flared up.

Ullrich then had tests at Freiburg’s Uni-Clinic where team doctor, Dr. Andreas Schmid, prescribed him a reduced training workload as well as intensive physiotherapy before T-Mobile's big hope for July resumed training in his Swiss home town of Scherzingen. Ullrich is now joined in Tuscany by sporting director Rudy Pevenage and physiotherapist Birgit Krohme, something team boss Ludwig is pleased about. "Jan is going to be perfectly taken care of in Italy and the weather conditions are ideal, too," he said.

The aim for Ullrich will now be making it to Lausanne injury-free when the Tour de Romandie finishes on April 30 before his attention shifts to preparations for the Tour de France, where he'll start as one of the favourites for the overall crown.

Bodrogi aims for hour record

Credit Agricole's Laszlo Bodrogi will attempt the world hour record at the end of this season, beginning his preparations for the ride with trials in Burgundy next Thursday under the supervision of French national team medical staff. He'll have to beat 49.7km, set by the current hour record holder Ondrej Sosenka, who made his successful attempt on July 19, 2005 at Moscow's Olympic velodrome.

Pound in Aigle today

By Shane Stokes

WADA chief Dick Pound and the UCI will seek to mend bridges when the latter visits the cycling body's headquarters in Aigle on Wednesday.

The WADA chief has been outspoken against doping in cycling since taking up the position in 1999, going as far as to accuse the UCI of complacency in an interview with the Guardian newspaper in October. "Cheating goes on under the supposedly watchful eyes of cycling officials, who loudly proclaim that their sport is drug-free and committed to remaining so," he said then. "Based on performance, they should not be allowed outdoors without white canes and seeing-eye dogs."

Pound and the UCI president at that time, Hein Verbruggen, had previously been described as friends but their relationship became increasingly tense in the final months of Verbruggen's presidency. However the two spoke at the Winter Olympics in Torino and there Verbruggen extended an invitation for Pound to visit the UCI in Aigle and see first hand the organisation's anti-doping measures.

It is expected that the WADA chief will spend time speaking to UCI medical officers, as well as discussing the issue with Verbruggen and his successor Pat McQuaid.

Speaking to Cyclingnews two weeks ago, McQuaid said that he hoped the meeting would be a productive one. "We feel that we probably do the biggest job of any international Federation in that [anti-doping] fight, but he has made public statements contrary to that. So he is coming to Aigle, we will show him around, explain to him what we do, and ask what we can do better, if anything."

Davitamon boss Coucke happy

Marc Coucke, owner of the Davitamon company that sponsors the team of the same name, has said that he is not unhappy with the way Classics star Peter Van Petegem's season has unfolded so far.

"I can't say it wasn't good," Coucke told the Belgian VUM newspapers. "I think Peter [Van Petegem] rode a very successful spring. He has taken a big risk by concentrating on two races. We gave him permission to do so and we would judge him on his performances in those. Van Petegem was there. When the best went, Peter was always with them."

"Of course we would have preferred to win", team PR man Filip Demyttenaere said. "But we haven't come off much worse than we did in 2005. Our placings are better, the only thing we miss is that victory of Mattan in Gent-Wevelgem."

Van Petegem uncertain about Amstel

Peter Van Petegem will start in the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen today. "We absolutely want to win something. All opportunities we get to do so, we'll grab," team director Herman Frison told HNB. But it's not yet certain whether Van Petegem will also be on the start line of the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.

"The pain, caused by a cyst on my buttocks hasn't got less because of the bumpy ride over the cobbles," said Van Petegem. "I'll decide after riding the Scheldeprijs if I'll stretch my spring campaign a bit longer. If not, I'll get operated on right away."

Brad Lewis dies

Washington state racing community and bike industry figure Brad Lewis died Sunday April 9 of an apparent cardiac arrest during the Boat Street Criterium Pro 1/2 race. He was 38 years old.

Lewis was riding for the Recycled Cycles team, of which he was a founder member. He was one of the Northwest's most prolific racers over the last 10 years. He worked for component maker Full Speed Ahead in Woodinville, WA and had previously worked for Raleigh USA.

He is survived by his wife, Emily Westbrook, a professional bike racer riding for Team Tamarack. Well over 200 people attended an evening vigil at Recycled Cycles on Monday evening to honor Brad's memory. Funeral services will be in Seattle on Monday, April 17.

A memorial fund is being established by Raleigh USA to help the family.

Everyone at Cyclingnews extends their condolences to Brad's family, friends and colleagues.

Team Milram for Amstel Gold

The Milram team has announced its line-up for this weekend's Amstel Gold classic. The team will field Maarten Den Bakker, Andry Grivko, Maxim Iglinsky, Matej Jurco, Daniel Musiol, Fabio Sacchi, Björn Schröder, Giovanni Visconti. Gianluigi Stanga will be directeur sportif.

Australian team for track world's

Cycling Australia has announced the riders who will wear the green and gold national team strip at this weekend's Track Cycling World Championships in Bordeaux, France, April 13-16. The team will include six riders who recently won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Australia's head track coach, Martin Barras believes the team has maintained the form that put them at the top of the Melbourne medal table. "We're quite happy with the way everyone has been performing in training here and I think we did the smart thing in letting them back off and have a bit of a break after Melbourne," said Barras.

The Commonwealth Games was the team's main objective for the year, and Barras is unwilling to predict how his riders will perform at the world's. "We overachieved [in Melbourne] so in that sense we are in a comfortable position where we can come in to the Worlds with minimal pressure," he said. "But our athletes are ambitious people and several of them have experience with backing up for major competitions with little time in between."

Australia's effort at Bordeaux will start with Anna and Kerrie Meares riding the 500m time trial on the first night of competition. The pair, who achieved gold and bronze respectively in Melbourne, will have to contend with a strong European challenge in Bordeaux. Start lists are yet to be finalised but Natalia Tsylinskaya of Belarus is the defending champion and Dutch rider Yvonne Hijgenaar demonstrated good recent form at the Sydney World Cup round a month ago.

"I'm quietly confident," said Barras of Anna Meares' chances. "The big question will be how she has pulled up physically after Melbourne but so far we haven't seen any recurrence of the back injury problems that plagued her Commonwealth Games preparation."

The team sprint trio of Shane Perkins, Ryan Bayley and Shane Kelly will also race on day one of competition but will start as underdogs behind reigning world champions, Great Britain whilst Germany and the Netherlands are also tipped for podium places.

Barras isn't putting much pressure on his team sprint riders. He has longer term goals. "For the team sprint this week is very much the first step in the two year rebuild for the Beijing Olympics," he said.

Ryan Bayley will also ride the sprint and keirin, events in which he is now reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion. "The Commonwealth Games gave me a lot of confidence and since then I've had some good training," said Bayley. "I'm a rider that when my legs are good my head's good and my tactics are good and my legs are pretty good at the moment."

The aftermath of his Olympic success left Bayley flat for a while, but this time round he says he is still motivated. "I knew Bordeaux was coming and I had a goal to reset for," he said. "The sprint will be hard because the French will have a home crowd advantage and Dutchman Theo Bos (2004 sprint World Champion) is always fast and getting faster but I know I can beat him because I've done it before."

In the endurance events reigning world and newly crowned Commonwealth Games individual pursuit champion, Katie Mactier and team mate, Kate Bates, the pursuit silver medallist in Melbourne and at last year's World Championships are hoping to again go one-two for Australia.

"Physically I'm in peak condition but certainly I'm feeling emotionally tired from the overwhelming experience of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games," said Mactier. "But putting that aside nothing could be more motivating than lining up to defend my world title."

Victorian, Sean Finning, who decimated his opposition to claim gold in the points race in Melbourne will find the competition stiffer in Bordeaux but comes into the event still brimming with Commonwealth Games confidence.

Sprint riders: Ryan Bayley; Shane Kelly; Ben Kersten; Joel Leonard; Anna Meares; Kerrie Meares; Shane Perkins
Endurance riders: Katherine Bates; Simon Clarke; Peter Dawson; Sean Finning; Matthew Goss; Ashley Hutchinson; Mark Jamieson; Katie Mactier; Miles Olman; Stephen Wooldridge.

Lincoln GP ready for action in 2006

The 51st Lincoln Grand Prix is expected to attract a field containing Commonwealth Games and world championship medallists to race 86 miles around the tourist areas of Lincoln and surrounding countryside on May 7.

Riders will do 11 laps of a circuit that features the 1 in 6 cobbled climb at Michaelgate, which as always will test the legs of competitors during a tough day of racing. A total prize purse of £3000 is on offer, with the first East Midlands rider receiving the JB Harvey Trophy and a prize of £50.

Van Hout to miss calendar opener due to illness

Australian national road champion, Russell Van Hout, has been fighting a case of conjunctivitis lately, forcing him to miss the recent Tour of the Southern Grampians, a four-stage tour held in country Victoria. Van Hout was the star attraction of the race, and although organisers were disappointed the national champion's jersey wasn't on display for fans, they wished him a speedy recovery.

Riding for new Continental team Savings & Loans, Van Hout will now miss the opening round of the Australian road series, the Canberra Tour, to be held on April 21-23 due to a lack of fitness associated with the forced layoff, but returns to racing in the Mt Gambier 100 Mile Classic that same weekend. Meanwhile, team management are pleased with the performance of Olympic gold medallist Brett Aitken, who made his comeback at the Tour of the Southern Grampians and showed good speed during the event.

Amstel Gold Fantasy riders ready

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

The latest rider list has been uploaded to the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game. You can start building your dream teams now. Managers Dr Ernesto Crankarm with team Disco Fever and Sonja Ståhle with team DandyHorse44 have each already won a pair of Reactor Max Team CSC replica eyewear from Smith Optics in the Paris - Roubaix and the Gent-Wevelgem races.

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 four races run and won, there are still three races to be held: 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 tyres and 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 tyres and 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 fantasy.cyclingnews.com.

How to play

Be a professional team manager for the 2006 Spring Classics. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with fantasy managers from around the world. All you need to do to take part in the latest of the Fantasy Games at Cyclingnews is register and, once the provisional race list has been announced, select eight riders for each of the following races:

Amstel Gold Race, April 16th 2006
La Flèche Wallonne, April 19th 2006
Liège - Bastogne - Liège, April 23rd 2006

Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. 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 fantasy.cyclingnews.com.

It's a great way to follow the Spring Classics.

Good luck!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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