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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for April 16, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vicioso looks forward to Amstel Gold

Liberty Seguros-Wurth has several options for tomorrow's Amstel Gold Race, including sprinter/all rounder Angel Vicioso. The Amstel is one of Vicioso's favourite races, and he is hoping to use his condition to good effect. "I am good, I've been training a lot, doing a lot of hours behind the car and I believe that I am in the condition to do a good race," he said on the eve of the race. "It is not a question of saying that I've come to win, but I have confidence in my possibilities."

Vicioso will be one of the team leaders for the race, a rare opportunity for the rider who is often working for others. "The Amstel is the best for me, because it's a race of elimination, people are there without attacking, and the selection always just comes about naturally. It is a style of racing that I love, to always be in front. On the other hand, the Fleche Wallonne is different. It is played out on a narrow road where you finish where you start. Finally, Lige is more demanding, with longer climbs, though it's not bad for me."

He hopes to have better luck than last year, too. "I punctured with 15 km to go when we already had a very select group of approximately 25 riders. Jrg Jaksche gave me his wheel, and unfortunately, we could not chase back on."

This year, Vicioso is more optimistic of a good result: "Yes, because I'm 29 years old and I'm sure that I am the right age to won one of these races. If I am good, I don't have to be afraid of anybody. Besides, this year I finish my contract, although for sure I have never raced thinking about it. I don't want to say that I am in my best period, but I believe that I have never climbed so well."

As for riders to watch, Vicioso is picking the usual suspects."The most important are Bettini, Rebellin and Boogerd, who transforms in the Amstel. Manolo Saiz always has said to us that in this race, it is necessary to look at Boogerd, because he knows it very well and knows where the selection is made. The key to ride well is to save your strength and not to spend anything up until the decisive moments.

"We have a big team, better that we have ever had. Last year already it was very strong, and we put three riders in front in the last 20 kilometres, but this year we are stronger."

Liberty Seguros-Wrth for Amstel Gold Race: Alberto Contador, Allan Davis, David Etxebarria, Jrg Jaksche, Andrey Kashechkin, Koen de Kort, Marcos Serrano and Angel Vicioso.

Live coverage: Cyclingnews will be covering the 41st Amstel Gold Race live, beginning at 10:00 local time (CEST)/04:00 EDT (USA East)/01:00 PDT (USA West)/19:00 AEST (Australia East).

Australians record narrow victory in team pursuit

The Aussie train
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Australia is back on top in the 4km team pursuit after posting a narrow victory against Great Britain in the final on Saturday evening. The Australian quartet of Mark Jamieson (TAS) 21, Peter Dawson (WA) 24, Matthew Goss (TAS) 19, and Stephen Wooldridge (NSW) 28, stopped the clock at 4:01.491 to defeat Great Britain (Stephen Cummings, Rob Hayles, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas) by 0.036 of a second (4:01.527) in one of the closest fought gold medal finals in this event in world championship history.

The Australians were half a second up after one kilometre but the Brits fought back to within a tenth of a second by halfway. Australia rallied to stretch the margin to 0.4 of a second with one kilometre remaining and from there both teams laid it all on the line. The Brits edged ahead with two laps remaining but the Australians refused to say die and clawed back the lead to secure the gold medal. It's the first senior World Championship gold medal for Jamieson and Goss but for Dawson and Wooldridge the win brings them their fourth team pursuit rainbow jersey (2002, 2003, 2004 & 2006).

Cyclingnews' Mal Sawford was trackside in Bordeaux, where he interviewed the winning quartet.

CN: Was there one thing you can put the win down do?

Mark Jamieson: To me it just felt like we'd finally got it all together.

Stephen Wooldridge: Since the Olympics obviously we've had a change, it's the new generation. Last year we got the bronze medal with new riders, with Pete and myself, and also Ashley Hutchinson who's been here the whole time, the last five years, didn't get a ride tonight, but this victory is as much for him anyway. What you see is we're just getting better as a team, as a unit, and the unity and the technique is coming together, and that's what you saw today. I think that was a great time tonight.

CN: How confident were you going into the final?

SW: After this morning, the two teams very close, a betting man would say it was going to be a very close final and it was. It was just who cracked first, and I don't think anyone really cracked, it was just all the way to the line.

MJ: It wasn't confidence coming into the final so close, it was just belief in ourselves and our teammates that made the difference.

CN: Did anyone pull out a huge effort, or did you all contribute equally?

Peter Dawson: Jamo did some very strong turns, to win a team pursuit like that, it was close; it was one of the closest won at a world championships for a lot of years and it takes four guys. Jamo had an awesome ride, Steve had an awesome ride, Gossy had an awesome ride, and I'm going to say I had an awesome ride as well! We put that down to Aussie guts I guess. Me and Steve have now won four and the boys have now got their first one at the same age as I was back in 2002, so Australian cycling's got bigger and better things to come coming to Beijing.

SW: One thing I would like to say is that it's team pursuit, and that's the word - team. There's four guys here, but there's really five involved in this so that's a shame that they don't award five medals anymore, I think it's a bit of a joke to tell the truth. I think the UCI really should look at how they're adopting that policy, because it's a team sport and without five or six riders it's just not possible to win these events. All credit to Ash Hutchinson who's been there the whole way through.

MJ: It is a team, and no-one's stronger than the next man. You finish with three guys and that's how it is.

CN: Are you able to tell just how close it is during the race?

SW: The coach gives us that indication, but we knew it was close the whole way. When you can't see the other team you a have a pretty good idea!

CN: Matt, you've let the other guys do all the talking. How do you feel right now?

Matthew Goss: It's great. I'm so young to win a world championship, I can't ask for anything more.

Napolitano gets a taste of the track

Lampre-Fondital sprinter Danilo Napolitano competed in his first Track World Championships this weekend, racing in the men's 15 km scratch race. Napolitano finished fifth in the event, which was won by Jrme Neuville (France), who led a breakaway of four riders clear in the closing stages.

"My first experience in the World Championships has been good," commented Napolitano from Bordeaux. "I'm satisfied with the result, even if I think that with more experience I could do better and obtain something important. However, I repeat that I'm happy and that I would like to race again on the track in future: I will be able to gain experience and become stronger."

"The racing and especially the training on the track gives you the opportunity to improve the efficiency of your pedaling, which is also important for sprinting on the road. When I return to Italy, I will decide with Martinelli the program for the next races, after the first part of season during which I raced a lot."

USA report from Track World's

The United States team faced a light schedule on Saturday evening at the 2006 UCI Track Cycling World Championships as Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./Toyota-United) was the only athlete in action. Lea competed in the men's 15 km scratch race but succumbed to the blistering pace, dropping out with 10 laps remaining in the 60-lap event. With a breakaway off the front of the main pack throughout most of the race, Lea spent most of his time in the chasing peloton before retiring. Jerome Neuville of France took a close sprint from Angel Colla of Argentina to win the world title.

Earlier on Saturday, the U.S. fielded its first team pursuit squad at the world championships since 2000. The foursome of Michael Creed (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Danny Pate (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Mo.) and Michael Friedman (Boulder, Colo.) placed 12th in the qualifying round, setting a new personal best time of 4:14.952. The squad consisting of young pros from the TIAA-CREF team shaved over a second off their previous record.

Entering the world championships, the major goal for the pursuit team was to gain experience at the international level. "We're not experienced enough to make a mistake and make up for it," Creed said. "Yesterday we were great in training, we rode our fastest ever at a flying start, but we know things are different with a standing start."

In the finals of the team pursuit, Australia beat Great Britain for the world title and The Ukraine beat The Netherlands for the bronze medal.

In the men's sprint, Christian Stahl (Bethany, Conn./CKR Racing) fell to second-seeded Craig McLean of Great Britain in the single-elimination 1/16 finals after earning the 23rd seed. Stahl was the best American qualifier, posting 10.551 seconds for the flying 200m, and was the only rider from the USA to advance to the 1/16 finals.

The 2006 UCI Track Cycling World Championships conclude on Sunday with two Americans set to compete. Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash./Team Spike) will contest the women's keirin and Becky Quinn (Quakertown, Pa./Team Spike) will ride the women's 10-kilometer scratch race.

Roberts and Wiggins tune up on the track

With the Spring Classics in full swing, the last place you'd expect to find Olympic and world champions Bradley Wiggins and Luke Roberts is on the track - and especially not on Good Friday. But that's where these two track riders turned road pros were on this particularly holy Friday for the traditional Good Friday track meeting in the UK.

Cofidis' recent signing (Wiggins) and CSC's Australian flier were both competing in a busy schedule of racing that saw them race the Ed Taylor points race, the ten minute pursuit, the BPA Derny-paced race, the Neovite Elimination race and the SCCU Golden Wheel scratch race. Roberts took two seconds and two thirds, while Wiggins scored two wins (in the pursuit and the derny-paced), and an eighth.

The pair are extremely well-accomplished track riders, both having Olympic and world championship titles in the teams pursuit to their credit. For both riders the traditional holiday meeting gave them the chance to get some quality miles in the legs before the next phase of season 2006 begins and the hectic run of grand tours starts. bring new backing to Cycleways squad

By Shane Stokes

The team
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

As the countdown to next month's FBD Insurance Rs continues, the new-look team was launched this week in Dublin.

The property and homes portal has come on board as a co-sponsor for the 2006 season and with its backing, the prominent amateur team will aim for strong performances in events such as the Rs, the national championships and this weekend's Ras Mumhan in Kerry.

The team includes Philip Cassidy, who has been one of the most successful domestic-based riders for over 20 years. In that time he has been national champion and taken two Rs titles. Others who are expected to ride strongly include Eugene Moriarty, Brian Kenneally, Stephen O'Sullivan, Mehall Fitzgerald and Aidan Crowley, the latter an IT manager with who helped secure the new backing.

The team will also include those such as the promising young rider Tim O'Regan, plus Keith Bannan, Kate Rudd, Ian George and Paul Teahan, four who are likely to compete in track races during 2006 and also line up with the rest of the squad in road events.

The Cycleways team was originally founded in 2002, and since then has taken many important results including the team prize in the FBD Rs and the Irish road race championships. The new backing sees come on board, and the team hopes that this will coincide with even bigger success in the future.

Double FBD Milk Ras winner Philip Cassidy
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Team captain Philip Cassidy is pleased with the deal. "It is great to get backing this for the team," he stated. "It should work out well, because it will bring good awareness for MyHome. Cycling clothing is very brand friendly, it will promote their company and their web site quite well.

"They took it on for a year to see how it will develop. If everybody is happy, then next year we will go with it again. It is up to us to prove that it is a good medium for them."

With Cassidy sticking by his decision not to ride the FBD Insurance Rs this year, team leadership will fall onto the shoulders of Eugene Moriarty. He has proved to be one of the most consistent Irish riders in recent years, placing highly on several stages of the race and showing that he can mix it with the professionals and international riders who travel to Ireland for the race. That'll be the aim again this year.

"The major goal will be the Rs, of course," he said. "There are two stages in Kerry, so I will be motivated for that. The race seems to suit me each year; I think it is more like the international stuff, that I have got used to over the last couple of season. I probably switch on a bit more for it as well. With the added bonus of those two stages in Kerry, everybody is trying to say that there is going to be pressure on me as a result. But I gave up feeling pressurised about things like that years ago. Hopefully I will do well, though."

"The national championships will also be a big target for the team, and so too the Ras Mumhan this weekend and the Tour of Ulster a little later on."

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