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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for April 13, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

An interview with Tom Boonen

Keep the pressure down - and the beer flowing

Victory in today's Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen looked all too easy for Tom Boonen, but according to him, that's his problem: "I make it seem easy." Anthony Tan learns a little more about the world champion's winning formula to keep the pressure down.

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
(Click for larger image)

Today may not have been his biggest win, but it was by far the most popular. In Belgium, he is a hero. In the province of Antwerp, he is idolised. And in the region of Kempen, Tom Boonen is god.

So when the seven out of an eight-man Quick.Step team forged the winning break no more than 20 kilometres in the 94th edition of Flanders' oldest race, the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen, the ever so anxious crowd in Schoten had already decided who would win - and Boonen knew it.

"I think everybody saw me on the podium 100 kilometres before the finish line, so yeah, there was some pressure - I couldn't fail," he admitted to Cyclingnews, despite the fact that, before the start of this race, he already added another 12 victories to his fast-growing palmarès so far this season.

Click here for the full interview.

Bordeaux ready for 2006 Track World's

By Mal Sawford in Bordeaux

Last year's Track World's
Photo ©: Greg Descantes
Click for larger image

The pinnacle of track cycling returns to France for 2006, with the fast Bordeaux track to host the event after the last two years were held in Los Angeles (2005) and Melbourne (2004). Racing promises to be fascinating, with virtually all the defending champions returning. Close to 300 riders from 38 countries will participate across the four days of competition, with fifteen gold medals to be awarded.

Racing kicks off on Thursday with the first medal the women's 500 metre time trial. Australian World record holder and Olympic champion Anna Meares showed signs of a return to her 2004 form with a win in the Commonwealth Games, but will have to overcome not only her older sister Kerrie, but Russia's defending champion Natallia Tsylinskaya.

Katie Mactier, another of the Australian women, will be hard to beat in the individual pursuit, which will also be decided on day one. Since claiming the 2005 world title, Mactier has not been beaten over 3000 metres - but compatriot Kate Bates came within two seconds of an upset at the recent Commonwealth Games. English speaking riders will be hard to keep out of the medals in the pursuit, with Wendy Houvenaghel (Britain) and Sarah Hammer (USA) the top ranked riders in the World Cup standings after Mactier sat out most rounds.

Click here for the full preview, schedule and start list

Pound talks anti-doping with UCI

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid has said he is satisfied with the meeting on Wednesday between the UCI and WADA chief Dick Pound, who was visiting the cycling organisation's headquarters in Aigle.

Describing the tone of the meeting as friendly and very businesslike, McQuaid told Cyclingnews that Pound was given detailed information about the anti-doping procedures within the sport and the measures taken by the UCI in order to limit the use of performance enhancing drugs.

"We made presentations to him on the UCI's fight against doping, historical and current," McQuaid said on Wednesday. "We gave him the historical background into our activities in the fight against doping, right up until the modern day. We showed him all our activities including where and when we have anticipated things and where and when we have introduced tests in advance of other federations. He took note of it and has gone away with the hard copies of the presentations made, as there was a lot of information in them. He is going to study them and then come back to us on it.

McQuaid, former President Hein Verbruggen, director-general Dieter Schellenberg, lawyer Philippe Verbiest and Dr. Mario Zorzoli represented the UCI at the meeting. Also present were Jens Voigt and Michael Rogers, who were speaking for the riders. McQuaid complimented them on their contribution. "They were both excellent representatives of their profession," he said. "They were talking about the issue and explaining how it was from their point of view, talking about how they do the controls and how the [anti-doping] guys come knocking on the door at six o'clock in the morning for tests.

"Rogers gave an example of where he had a control at an event by the UCI and then he walked out the door and the Australian agency was waiting for him there to do a second control. They gave a very practical viewpoint of the situation and also how they feel the doping situation is within our sport. They told him [Dick Pound] that it is a lot less prevalent than has been stated."

Pound has been outspoken about doping in cycling in the past. McQuaid is hoping that the presentation today plus any other such meetings in the future will lead to a better relationship between the UCI and WADA. "I would hope several things come out of it," he said. "But the most important thing that I would hope for is that he will in the future refrain from making malicious and derogatory comments about doping within cycling, and in particular, about the UCI's approach to the anti-doping fight."

Petacchi preparing for the Giro

Alessandro Petacchi has finalised his race program before the Giro d'Italia, where he hopes to be in top sprinting form. The Italian turbo will race in the Rund um Köln in Germany on April 17, then the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, between April 19-23.

"I will ride in Germany because these races are in the neighbourhood of our sponsor," said Petacchi. "Besides, in doing so, compared to previous years when I have participated in the Tour de Romandie, I will have more time to rest before the Giro d'Italia. In Germany, we will try to achieve some good results and even help Zabel to win in Cologne.

Rund um Köln, April 17 (1.1): Erik Zabel, Alessandro Petacchi, Daniel Becke, Ralf Grabsch, Enrico Poitschke, Christian Knees, Bjorn Schröder, Martin Muller. DS: Jan Schaffrath

Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, April 19-23 (2.1): Alessandro Petacchi, Daniel Becke, Volodymyr Dyudya, Ralf Grabsch, Enrico Poitschke, Elia Rigotto, Martin Muller, Marco Velo. DS: Jan Schaffrath, Antonio Bevilacqua

Ben Berden's advice to dopers: "Keep lying!"

Belgian cyclo-crosser Ben Berden's suspension has been lengthened by nine months, until January 12, 2007, by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. And although Berden will be out of competition for a long time, he's still planning on returning to the pro peloton.

"My new employer is not only letting me combine my daily job with my training on the bike - the day I'm allowed to race again, he's also guaranteed a sponsorship." Berden told HLN. "I keep on training, motivated."

In the meantime, he'll have to pay the €60,000 that his court case cost. "I've had enough of the whole affair. What has the honest and spontaneous confession brought me? Nothing but misery. Some good advice for future doping sinners: keep on lying, tell them you didn't do anything wrong."

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

Degasperi to Flaminia

Italian pro continental team Ceramica Flaminia has engaged Ivan Degasperi to its lineup for the 2006 season. Degasperi, 25, will take part in the Giro d'Oro and Giro del Trentino for the team.

"Degasperi has always shown himself to be an important team man," said team manager Roberto Marrone. "He is a climbing rouleur who can strengthen the team."

Degasperi commented, "Up until now I've participated in grand fondos, but I am ready to return to the peloton. LAst year I had a good end of season and hoped to get a new contract. I almost gave up hope. I am very happy with the call up from Team Ceramica Flaminia; I will not disappoint the expectations of the diesses Borgheresi and Podenzana."

Degasperi replaces Mario Rovaletti, who was sacked last week.

Riders wanted for cardiac drift study

Mid Sweden University and Dalarna University are engaging in research regarding the phenomenon of cardiovascular drift during cycling competitions. Cardiovascular drift is the physiological reaction where the heart rate increases over time relative to the workload, in this case power output in watts. To do this, researchers will gather information on the relationship between power output and heart rate.

The researchers are asking for road cyclists of all levels and abilities that use a power meter and heart rate monitor during competitions (road, criterium, time trial and stage races) and are willing to submit the power and heart rate data, as well as some additional information.

Interested participants can contact Fredrik Ericsson via e-mail (h03freri@du.se) or telephone (+46 707 797169).

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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