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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for April 21, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones and Les Clarke

Moerenhout to miss Liege

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Dutch rider Koos Moerenhout (Phonak) is recovering well from his crash in Le Fleche Wallonne, but will not be allowed to ride Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Moerenhout lost consciousness when he crashed in the neutral zone at the start of the race, and doctors have ordered him not to ride for at least three days. He was to have taken a break after Liege anyway, so he'll be racing again in the Vuelta a Catalunya on May 15.

Ardila back in Europe

Colombian Mauricio Ardila will do his first race for Rabobank in Europe next week in the Tour de Romandie. Ardila has been preparing in Colombia up until now, but is returning to Europe in time to race in the Giro d'Italia.

World champ Carrara looks to Beijing

Vera Carrara (Italy)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Dual track world champion Vera Carrara will be aiming for Olympic glory in 2008 after recently securing another world champion's jersey in the points race at Bordeaux. In the meantime, a ride with the Bianchi-Kookaï team in the women's Giro d'Italia and a crack at the world championships in Salzburg beckons for the talented rider from Bergamo.

Speaking to the press at the headquarters of sponsor Bianchi, Carrara said that the Athens Olympics taught her the valuable lessons needed to succeed in the last two world championships. "The Olympic Games in Athens was the impetus for the last two years of hard work. I realised I had to learn how to control myself and reach new goals; to compete courageously is a good thing, but always with control. These qualities helped me to win the races both in Los Angeles and in Bordeaux," she said.

She was quick to point out, however, that there are a few things to get done before Beijing calls, including some road racing, where she's a good chance of performing well in either of her big goals. "Before thinking to the Olympic Games, however, I'd like to test myself in road racing, at the Giro d'Italia and (why not?) the World Championships in Salzburg," she said.

Polish riders back for more at FBD Insurance RÁS

By Shane Stokes

As the countdown continues to the start of this year's FBD Insurance RÁS (May 21), race organiser Dermot Dignam has announced the identity of yet another strong foreign team to compete in the UCI 2.2-ranked race.

Following their successful showing in the 2002 edition, the Poland Legia - Bazyliszek team are returning and hope to take up where they left off four years ago. Then, they had an impressive campaign, with Hubert Nowak winning the best young rider competition, taking third place overall, third in the points classification and recording four top five placings on stages.

His team-mate Dariusz Rudnicki won stage five into Midleton, was third on the final stage in Dublin's Phoenix Park, fourth into Castletownbere and fifth in the final points rankings. The squad were best international team on stages four, five and eight, and finished third overall in that classification.

This time round, the team are bringing four new faces. Matysiak Bartlomiej, Milewski Lukasz, Modzelewski Lukasz and Pietrzak Przemyslw are all under 23 riders new to the FBD Insurance RÁS, while 28 year old Jaroslaw Welniak is the sole returning member from that 2002 team.

Directeur sportif Zbigniew Ludwiniak is confident they will perform well. "My team are all up and coming young riders with the exception of Jaroslaw Welniak who is an experienced multi-stage racer," he said. "With this blend of youth and experience we are confident we can make our visit to Ireland a winning one"

Dermot Dignam also expects another fine showing this time round. "The Poland-Legia squad were a good, strong team and I expect them to be fighting it out for the prizes once more," he said. "Its our intention to present the Irish riders with the strongest possible challenge and in addition to the four teams already announced there will be at least another three pro teams in the line-up."

The four international teams already confirmed are the GB - Recycling.co.uk team of defending champion Chris Newton, the USA - TIAA-CREF squad, Norway – Sparebanken Vest and Canada – Symmetrics.

This year's FBD Insurance Rás will begin in Dublin on May 21st and finish eight days and over 1200 kilometres later in Skerries on Sunday May 28th. The world-ranking race will also feature exciting stage finishes in Enniscorthy, Cobh, An Daingean, Listowel, An Cheathru Rua, Westport and Clara.

The event is once again sponsored by FBD Insurance and receives support from the Irish Sports Council.

Joe Martin Stage Race ready for 2006

The 29th edition of the Joe Martin Stage Race (May 12-14) is on again in 2006, this year being a part of the NRC and USA Cycling's Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Series (LAJORS).

Starting in Fayetteville, AR, there will be more than $50,000 in cash and merchandise on offer, attracting a high quality field in both the pro men and women's categories. Teams such as Colavita Cooking Light, Webcor and Victory Brewing will be present to continue what has been tight competition in both categories during 2006.

In the men's field, Jelly Belly will be bringing an experienced squad to compete against the likes of Toyota-United Pro, who have enjoyed a great start to the year, which looks set to get better. "The Joe Martin is an important stage race on the NRC calendar," said Toyota-United Pro team director Frankie Andreu, who will be bringing 2005 USPRO champion Chris Wherry to compete in a strong lineup. "It gives our riders an opportunity to get in a good stage race leading into June."

"It's just a good race," said Jelly Belly team director Danny Van Haute. "It's big points and we like to race in Arkansas. It's a good course and good preparation for the races in Philadelphia."

Riders can register for the Joe Martin Stage Race through Sportsbaseonline.com or through the SportsBaseOnline registration portal at www.joemartinstagerace.com. Most fields are limited to 100 riders. For more information, visit www.joemartinstagerace.com.

Athens Twilight bigger in 2006

The Athens Twilight Criterium (April 29) is just one week away and already the city is set for a party around a race that has become an internationally-recognised event. The weekend will feature events for bike enthusiasts young and old, with the Saturday night race preceded by a number of attractions that make for a real festival of cycling.

The weekend kicks off with Movies by Moonlight and the Twilight Coaches' Training Conference on Friday night before the WBL 150 on Saturday morning is followed by mountain bike, hand cycle and BMX races take place on Saturday afternoon, making it a busy weekend of cycling in Athens.

Visit www.athenstwilight.com for a full calendar of events and more details, with registration information and forms also available on the site.

Colombia es Pasion: a new Colombian pro team

By Luis Barbosa in Bogota, Colombia

The Colombia es Pasion
Photo ©: Luis Enrique Barbosa
(Click for larger image)

The new pro team "Colombia es Pasion Coldeportes" is a Colombian cycling project that aims to go as far as the Café de Colombia and Postobon teams did in the '80s, with great riders such as Lucho Herrera and Fabio Parra. The team is being supported by two big sponsors: Proexport, the national export association, and Coldeportes, the Colombian sports institute. It will consist of 17 riders: 10 elite and seven under 23, who will represent the new face of Colombian cycling. The aim of the team is to show the real face of the Colombia as a country, and to open its doors through sport.

The team will race the UCI America Tour calendar and some European races. The first race is the Tour of El Salvador and the Vuelta de la Juventud for Under 23 riders in Colombia.

The team presentation in Bogota was graced by the Colombian president's wife, Lina Moreno de Uribe, and the presidents of the most important companies like Avianca airlines, Café de Colombia and Bancolombia, and the general manager of the Colombian sports institute, Daniel Garcia. Colombian cycling greats such as Martin Rodriguez, world champion on the track, Fabio Parra, 3rd place in the Tour de France in 1988, Rafael Niño, the most prolific Colombian winner, and Phonak's Santiago Botero, who was in Medellín but made his presence felt via a video conference, all wished the new team good luck.

Team roster

Elite

Jairo Hernández Montoya
Juan Pablo Forero Carreño
Alexis Rojas Diaz
Carlos Eduardo Alzate
Darwin González Palomino
Francisco Colorado Hernández
Olmedo Capacho Pulido
Yovanni Torres Castro
Diego Montoya Montoya
Gerardo Rodríguez Chitiva

Under 23

Omar Rodríguez Parra
Oscar Sánchez Guarín
Andrés Follador Hinostroza
Jairo Salas Atehortua
Wilson Marentes Torres
Andres Diaz Corrales
Robison Chalapud Gómez

Sports managers

Jairo Monroy Gutiérrez
Luis Saldarriaga Gaviria

General manager

Antonio Arias Chaparro

Doctor

Alvaro Cortes Rincon

Sponsors

Specialized
Polar
Suares Clothing
Totto Bags and Sport Wear
Gatorade

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Luis Enrique Barbosa

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