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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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First Edition Cycling News for April 30, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Valverde the best; moves closer to jersey

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Tour de Romandie is set for an exciting finish in tomorrow's time trial in Lausanne, with the top four on general classification separated by 28 seconds. Although the lead stayed with Liberty Seguros' Alberto Contador, a stage win by Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) closed the gap to just six seconds. Valverde beat Alexandre Moos (Phonak) and Cadel Evans (Davitamon) in the sprint to the line in Sion, after the lead group had chased down a dangerous solo move by Andrey Kashechkin (Liberty Seguros) inside the final two kilometres.

The 127 km stage started and finished in Sion, and feature three category 1 climbs. The summit of the final climb to Crans Montana came with 27 km to go, and the final run into Sion was a descent followed by 11 km of flat. The early attacks in the opening kilometres saw 11 riders eventually get clear: McCarty (Phonak), Peron (CSC), Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner), Engels, Garate (Quick.Step), Iglinsky (Milram), Parra Pinto (Cofidis), Charteau (Credit Agricole), Albasini (Liquigas), Moreau (AG2R) and Muraglia (LPR). The group never gained more than two and a half minutes, with Liberty Seguros keeping things under control.

On the final climb to Crans Montana, Garate, Parra and Moreau dropped the rest, while Andrey Kashechkin (Liberty Seguros) bridged across to them from behind and crossed the summit alone. The Kazakhstani had over 1'30 on the yellow jersey group at the top, but a headwind on the flat and some hard work by Valverde, Rodriguez, Moreau, Evans and Horner saw him hauled back just before the end. In the sprint, Valverde was baulked by Ghisalberti with 250m to go, but recovered to take the win comfortably.

Click here for the full results, report & photos.

Savoldelli withdraws

Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) didn't start in Saturday's fourth stage of the Tour de Romandie, still suffering from a bad case of diarrhoea that weakened him during stage 3. The prologue winner and defending champion in the Giro d'Italia required three roadside stops in the final 25 km yesterday, and decided together with the team doctor and team director Dirk Demol not to continue today.

Astarloa in Frankfurt

After the spring classics in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, where Barloworld showed its strength without netting a win, the team will front up in Monday's Rund um den Henninger Turm in Frankfurt. Directeur sportif Valerio Tebaldi will manage a competitive group of riders led by Igor Astarloa, who is looking for a new success after winning Milan-Turin. During the German classic, the Spanish rider will be supported by sprinter Giosuè Bonomi, Mauro Facci, Rodney Green, Jeremy Maartens, James Perry, Diego Caccia and Alexander Efimkin.

Saul Raisin to be flown back to US

Saul Raisin's parents will be taking him home to the US, they announced on his website, "Saul is strong enough to move home and we have started the ball rolling." They have a medical air ambulance lined up to bring him to a rehab centre in the Atlanta area. They try to look to the future optimistically, saying, "Saul is improving every day. He is sitting, walking with help, eating, and whispering. All the people here in France have been great to us and especially to Saul. Saul still has a long hard road to travel, but we all know he can do it."

Earlier they reported that the respirator has been removed, hopefully permanently, and that "Saul is sitting in a chair for short times and talking a little. He told us he does not like it here and he is hungry. Saul is still very confused and will be for a while." Because of the coma, he had an infection in his left lung, which is now "a lot better."

Revised Lincoln GP looks for a new star

By Gerry McManus

Russell Downing (
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

This year's Lincoln GP could see a new name emerging from the peloton to stand on the top level of the winner's podium on Sunday 7th May 2006.

Many of the names which have become familiar to those following British Cycling's Premier Calendar are missing from the 51st running of the top class event that sweeps through the city centre of historic Lincoln. Russell and Dean Downing (DFL-Cyclingnews), Mark Lovatt and John Tanner (Planet X) are all elsewhere as 129 riders battle it out in the shorter race distance of 84-miles. More importantly to some, the race ascends the cobbled climb of Michaelgate 11 times instead of the usual 13.

You would be wrong in thinking that the field lacks quality as nine out of the ten top riders in the British Cycling rankings feature here, including London's Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven RT) who has a clear lead over second placed Matthew Stephens (Sigmasport RT). Policeman Stephens also sits second in the Premier Series overall so far, and lest we forget his talent, he once finished seventh in the last ever running of the Amateur World Road race Championship a few years back.

Former world silver track medallist Gibb has a taste for winning this season with six road wins under his belt to add to his track victories. His PCA team have just lost the top BC team ranking to, despite Malcolm Elliot's two road victories and second place in the Archer event.

Kristian House ( dominated the recent Premier Calendar Girvan 3-Day event and now leads the Premier Series after three counting events. Team mate Ben Greenwood's points tally gives him third in the series after winning the Tour of the Reservoir and gaining sixth spot in the Archer GP. Recycling has clearly benefited from its early season foray in the Tour of Langkawi, and Chris Newton showed he is still sharp on the track when he took fourth place in the points race in the world championships. Rob Sharman continues to improve in stature and he has already shown confidence in a top professional field finishing 9th in the final stage in Langkawi in February.

Malcolm Elliot
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Phil Dixon ( could produce the goods this time if he can convert his consistency into some winning form and victory would certainly move him up from his current fourth place in the year long race series.

And what else is there to say about the former Lincoln winner Malcolm Elliot (Plowman Craven RT)? The adjective "evergreen" is appropriate in describing the 40-something Sheffield rider but it could be replaced by "evertanned" or "everonthepodium" as he continues to beat the clock in more ways than one. His recent lone trip to Ireland resulted in second spot in the classic Shay Elliott memorial up against a number of strong Irish teams. Murphy and Gunn's Andrew Roche had the beating of Elliot in the event and the professional Irish squad field a five man team including comeback man Morgan Fox, who suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome when the West Meath man was riding for a pro Belgian team some years ago now.

"Beating the Poms" will be down to Team FRF Couriers/Caravello from Australia. Re-launched last year as a continental team, it is seen as a development squad in some circles. The Aussies arrive with a number of events completed this year including the Giro Del Capo in South Africa and the Tour of Caledonia, where they achieved victory with Peter McDonald. They will probably be whinging just like the Poms on the 1 in 6 cobble climb that twists up to the finish in Castle Square.

The shorter distance certainly opens the race up for more contenders. Don't rule out Kevin Dawson (Agisko-Dart) who has enough talent to manage without former team mates Tanner and Lovatt this season. It all starts at 11.45 from Yarborough Leisure Centre on the outskirts of the city and it could be all wrapped up by ten-past-three if last year's 25mph average is repeated. £600 first prize will be good compensation for one deserving rider.

No doubt another display of how to put on a cycle race by Ian Emmerson and a long list of supporters.

Landbouwkrediet for Henninger Turm

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team has been named for the Rund um den Henninger Turm, which takes place on Monday, May 1. Bert De Waele, Steven Kleynen, Sven Renders, Jean Claude Lebeau, Kevin Neirynck, Steve Cummings, Paul Manning, and Jean-Paul Simon. Directeur sportif: Marco Saligari.

Sunny King criterium to benefit American Cancer Society

There will be five amateur races as well as pro NRC men's and NRC women's races at the Sunny King Criterium on the evening of Saturday, May 6. The races will be held in Anniston, Alabama, USA, and will benefit the local Relay for Life American Cancer Society fund-raiser. Entry fees from all races will be donated to this charity. More than $7,500 was donated from the 2005 race.

"The Men's PRO race has a full field and registrations continue to roll in for the amateur races," said Bo Nolen, registration chairman. "With one week to go before the event, we are having a great rider response, which is necessary in order for us to meet our goal of raising $10,000 to fight cancer," Nolen added. All amateur races remain open to new registrants and day-of-race registration will be available until the fields reach their limits.

The 4th Annual Sunny King Criterium is the final race in the USA Crits Series and has been selected a Top 10 Event in Alabama. It is the main event of the Noble Street Festival,, which includes 25 local restaurants serving from tents in the streets, a street market for artist, a free concert, children's art, and the Mellow Mushroom Mad Dash 1K Run. The festival attracts more than 8,000 to downtown Anniston, a town of 25,000 residents. NASCAR-style bike racing is a local favourite, as Anniston is also home to the Talladega SuperSpeedway NASCAR track.

The 14th Annual Cheaha Challenge Century bike ride is early the next morning, May 7. More than 700 riders will tackle the almost 8,000 feet of climbing, traversing Cheaha Mountain, Alabama's highest point. This recreational ride benefits Alabama's longest rail trail, the Chief Ladiga Trail, having donated $16,000 to date. Registration for the Cheaha Challenge remains open and will be available at the festival and the morning of the ride. There is no rider limit. All events are organized by the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Club.

More information:,,, and

Garneau Optik team

The new Garneau Optik team
Photo ©: Louis Garneau
(Click for larger image)

Louis Garneau has announced its sponsorship of the Garneau Optik team. This cycling team has six racers from Quebec and New Brunswick, Canada. This new senior team was created to encourage young cyclists who want to participate in the 2008 Olympic Games and become pros.

David Veilleux is among these cyclists. David, an athlete from Quebec, has been sponsored by Louis Garneau since the beginning of his cycling career. He won the Tour de l'Abitibi in 2005 while racing with the Élicycle Sports-Experts Louis-Garneau Team. For his first year as a senior, David will be in good company with the other members of the Garneau Optik Team.

The Garneau Optik Team is managed and captained by Alexandre Lavallée. Together with Lavallée and Veilleux, Phil Cortes, Jamie Lamb, Mathieu Roy and Jean-Michel Lachance will form the line up. The team aims to win Canada's top races such as the Canadian Championships, the Tour de Beauce and the Classique Louis-Garneau Montreal-Quebec.

Click here for the release and roster.

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