First Edition Cycling News for August 8, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson & John Kenny
Leipheimer: Voigt now Tour of Germany favourite
Defending Tour of Germany champion, Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), said that Jens Voigt (CSC) should now go on to win the overall Deutschland title after Voigt's stage win yesterday.
"I have never seen Jens as good as today," said second placed Leipheimer. "He is now of course the big favourite for the overall, because he is not bad at time trialling. For me, it will be a matter of defending my place on the podium in the time trial. I don't think Jens can be displaced from his position on top any more."
Voigt looked to be struggling on the last climb of the stage yesterday when Leipheimer and Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) rode away from him and Evgeni Petrov on the first category climb with two kilometres to go. But Voigt clawed his way back with one kilometre to go and held on to win the stage by two seconds from the American. The small time gap combined with his stage win bonus gives him a 24 second lead over Leipheimer going into tomorrow's decisive 40-kilometre time trial in Bad Säckingen.
Dekker calls premature end to career to become Rabobank director
Erik Dekker (Rabobank) has called time on his career after failing to recover from injuries sustained on stage 4 of the Tour, he announced at a news conference in Zwolle, The Netherlands, yesterday. The 'Gouden Pijl' criterium, raced later today in Emmen, will be Dekker's last race. Dekker had planned to retire at the end of the season.
Dekker said that his injuries also made it difficult to find the motivation to return to the top level, "Besides the obvious physical injuries I sustained, it mainly became a mental struggle. I could not find the strength and will to continue on for just a couple more months. Whatever I do, I always want to give hundred percent, but my motivation was gone. There was nothing inside me that told me to continue," Dekker said.
Rabobank manager Erik Breukink was convinced that he would continue on after his fall in July, "He doesn't want to leave the sport like this, I thought back then. I underestimated the mental impact of it. I fully understand his choice, but I still think it is a shame that a cyclist who dominated the world of Dutch cycling with Boogerd for the last ten years, must retire like this. Dekker to me is one of the best cyclists Holland has ever known," said Breukink.
Rabobank directeur sportif Theo de Rooy said that he knew that Dekker would struggle to come back after his fall, "I knew it from the moment I saw Dekker lying in the hospital. I know what it takes to get back to this international level. There was nothing left for him to win on a bike," he said.
Dekker will begin his role as a team director earlier than expected, "We are glad that Dekker will stay with us [as a director]. We might lose a top-class cyclist but we'll get a very motivated team leader in return. Someone who can play an important role and is a strengthening of our technical staff," said De Rooy.
Dekker has recorded 72 victories as a professional rider - 59 of which were for Rabobank. Dekker is one of four riders - the others are Michael Boogerd, Jan Boven and Richard Groenendaal - who have been with the Rabobank team since its inception.
The year 2000 was Dekker's best as a cyclist with a total of 14 victories. He won three stages in the Tour and the overall in the Tour of Holland. He also won the San Sebastian classic World Cup race and backed up with a second Dutch national title in the individual time trial.
Ford dealers decline 2007 Tour de Georgia
By Mark Zalewski, North American editor
The Tour de Georgia is once again shopping around for a new title sponsor after the Atlanta District Ford Dealers Advertising Association decided to not renew their title sponsorship for next year's race. "I think the indicators were out there," said Jim Birrell, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the owner of the race. "The state of the economy is a factor. They closed down a plant here right before the Tour, so that was an indication that their interests were changing."
Birrell said that the decision by the Ford dealers association was made before the Tour de France, and that the situation with Floyd Landis, the winner of the 2006 race, was not a factor. However, Birrell acknowledged that the Landis question is out there as he and his partner court new potential sponsors. "The questions is certainly being asked, but I don't think it will affect the participation. They know the event is not built off of one individual. The effect it has on the spectators and media is great."
Birrell said that he is optimistic about finding a new sponsor, and that talks are already under way. "We are building some options for the 2007. We have had some very engaging conversations with some new title sponsors."
Cavendish to ride for T-Mobile in Tour of Britain
Mark Cavendish will ride as a stagiaire for T-Mobile following his fine showing at the recent Tour de Berlin. Cavendish, the World Madison champion, will also compete for the team in three other European pro-cycling events.
Cavendish has been part of T-Mobile's Development Program since 2005, and will now be given the chance to make his mark during this test period with the Pro Team. The Tour of Britain will provide an opportunity for Cavendish to make an impression on home turf as the first British rider to wear the famous T-Mobile magenta jersey.
Toby Hester, Head of Sponsorship & Events for T-Mobile UK, said, "T-Mobile's cycling development program supports talented young riders with their training and development, with a long-term goal to integrate them into a pro team. We are delighted that our own UK rider Mark Cavendish is an early beneficiary of this scheme, and that The Tour of Britain will be one of his first challenges with the T-Mobile Team. We look forward to seeing him make the most of this great opportunity."
The Manx-born rider is a sprinter who can also hold his own as a climber, which should make him well-suited to the Tour of Britain's gruelling 2006 route.
Stage 1 - August 29: Scotland, Glasgow to Castle Douglas
German announces preliminary Worlds squad
By Susan Westemeyer
The Bundes Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR, German cycling federation) has announced its preliminary squad for the upcoming World Championships in Salzburg, Austria, September 19 to 24. The list of 21 riders is led by Tour de France third place finisher Andreas Klöden. Nine riders will go to the start for Germany in the road race, and two in the time trial.
Sprinter Erik Zabel is among the nominees, although he is considered to have little chance on the hilly course.
The BDR nominees are: Robert Förster, Markus Fothen, David Kopp, Sebastian Lang, Michael Rich, Ronny Scholz, Stefan Schumacher, Fabian Wegmann (all Gerolsteiner), Linus Gerdemann, Matthias Kessler, Andreas Klier, Andreas Klöden, Olaf Pollack, Stephan Schreck, Patrik Sinkewitz (all T-Mobile), Christian Knees, Björn Schröder, Erik Zabel (Milram), Marcel Sieberg (Wiesenhof), Jens Voigt (CSC), Bert Grabsch (Phonak).
Bi-partisan support for Ride For Life
By John Kenny
Politicians and the members of the corporate world braved the rainy and cold weather to show their support for the Trust Ride for Life races in Sydney's Centennial park on Saturday.
"I'm really happy to be associated with this event," said event patron and Federal member for Kingsford Smith, Peter Garrett (perhaps best known as the former front man for rock group Midnight Oil). "I recognise that all people are in some way affected by cancer and I'm more than happy to lend my support."
Garrett spent time chatting to Malcolm Turnbull, who may sit on the other side of the House of Representatives in Canberra but is a fellow supporter of the event, "Peter and I in fact agree on most things, especially public transport and cycling," said Turnbull, the Federal Liberal member for Wentworth.
Other politicians who attended the event were the ALP member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek and Sandra Nori, NSW Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation. "It's great to get such broad support for the event," said event organiser Phil Bates. "It is good for cancer research fundraising and it's good for cycling," he said.
The event would benefit from more corporate support said Bates, "This event would not take place at all [in Centennial Park] without political and corporate support. The numbers were down a bit in the corporate race so next year we are going to try a more direct marketing approach to [increase participation]."
Event organisers have raised more money than last year, but there is room for more improvement according to Bates, "Trust [the main sponsor] have been fantastic but we need to get another big sponsor on board as well. We intend to this through direct approaches [to potential sponsors]."
Ride For Life race results, report and photos are here.
Yoplait Nouriche Women's Summit proceedings released
The Nature Valley Grand Prix, part of the Great River Energy Bicycle Festival, was the site of the seventh Yoplait Nouriche Women's Cycling Summit in June. Topics on the agenda included gaining recognition for women in male-dominated sports and entry level programming for women.
The keynote speaker was NASCAR driver Kari Miller. Miller discussed the challenges that she faces in a sport that has historically been the exclusive domain of men. She was then joined by Laura Van Gilder (TEAm Lipton) and Jim Williams (Colavita / Cooking Light), who discussed parallel challenges faced by women in cycling.
The second session of the Yoplait Nouriche Summit focused on grassroots programming for women. The leadoff speaker was Susy Pryde, the former professional racer who now coaches the New Zealand national women's development team sponsored by Jazz Apple. The panel discussion that followed included Pryde, Midwest Cycling Made Real's Paula Plant, Bethany Collins, manager of the Colorado-based Rio Grande/Sports Garage team and USA Cycling Level II Coach Fiona Lockhart.
Proceedings from the Summit can be found at www.WomenCyclists.com.
Barr to attempt to retake Irish end to end record
By Shane Stokes
In the wake of Paul O'Donoghue's capturing of the Irish end to end record, previous holder Joe Barr will attempt to retake the mark this coming weekend. The record involves a 380-mile (608km) ride from Mizen Head, Ireland's most south-westerly point to Fair Head, the most north-easterly point.
Barr set his record back in 1993, doing the trip in 19 hours and 3 minutes. O'Donoghue successfully covered the distance on July 23, going almost half an hour quicker to complete the gruelling solo time trial in 18 hours 37 minutes and 8 seconds.
O'Donoghue, holder of the Irish 12 and 24 hour records for many years, first went for the record in June of last year but was unsuccessful.
"After the very successful ride by Paul O`Donoghue a few weeks ago to capture the long standing record from Barr, Joe feels that he should give a one off effort at responding to the superb time set by Paul," stated organiser Marc Barr in a press release issued in recent days.
"The attempt has been put together very quickly by a very supporting group of people who have worked closely with Joe over the long number of years which he has been racing. Not having raced for along time Joe has no illusions of the task in front. As technology and route has changed over the past thirteen years Joe would like a crack at the record now. This is a one-off effort and is not to take away from Paul`s great ride, but to help draw focus and attention to this great race."
Barr's attempt will be dependant on weather conditions, with a final decision to be made on Thursday.
Top riders raise funds for canine assistants
A bevy of current and former top cyclists, including Floyd Landis, Axel Merckx, Robbie Ventura, Greg Demgen, Sarah Hammer, Steve Hegg, and Pete and Joanne Penseyres will roll out in La Jolla, California over the weekend of October 21-22 for Wheels Of Wonder, a weekend of fundraising events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Southwest Region of Canine Companions for Independence (www.cci.org).
Registration for the ride is $120,which includes a free jersey, and all registered riders are also asked to collect a minimum of $250 in donations to Canine Companions for Independence, a charity that provides assistance dogs for disabled people. Registration must be received by August 11, 2006 in order to receive your free jersey in your size.
To register and for more information see www.cci-wowfunbikeride2006.kintera.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)