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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for August 10, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

Tour of Germany final stage wrap-up

Brown on a roll, as Voigt triumphs at home

Graeme Brown (Rabobank, L)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Graeme Brown (Rabobank) has sprinted to his second stage win of the Deutschland Tour, winning the final leg in Karlsruhe ahead of Erik Zabel (Team Milram) and Danilo Napolitano (Lampre-Fondital). As expected, the stage finished in a bunch sprint, with Brown showing superior speed again. Tour leader Jens Voigt (CSC) finished in the same time as Brown in 106th position, and carried home the final overall victory in his national tour.

"It has of course been a fantastic race for me, where everything has worked out brilliantly," said Voigt to team-csc.com. "I finished the Tour de France in great shape, and in the period in between then and here in the Deutschland Tour I did some criteriums to keep me going. I stayed serious and focused instead of partying. I've really just made sure I kept focus on this particular race, because I badly wanted to do well in front of my home crowd. It's always fun to win a race in Germany and especially a big one like this."

Click here for the full results, report and photos.

"Expectations more than met" at Gerolsteiner

German team Gerolsteiner can be satisfied with the outcome of the Deutschland Tour. Certainly, last year's winner Levi Leipheimer could not repeat his feat this year as an almighty Jens Voigt (CSC) stood in the way, but the American finished second. His teammate Sebastian Lang conquered the mountains jersey, and also the team classification went to the German squad.

"We have achieved more than we had hoped for," said team manager Hans-Michael Holczer in Karlsruhe after the ultimate stage. "This was maybe the best Deutschland Tour that we have ever raced." In 2005, both Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig were on the final podium, but "this year also everything was in place. We have made a great performance."

The Gerolsteiner director was especially pleased with Lang securing the mountains jersey. "That's really a great story," he continued. "Sebastian has shown that he can do more than just being a very fast time triallist."

The topping the team's classification certainly felt good to Holczer as well. "Right after the Tour de France, we have made an excellent team performance," he added. "Jens Voigt certainly was the dominant rider here, but we were the strongest team."

Zabel satisfied

Erik Zabel (Milram)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Even though evergreen sprinter Erik Zabel (Milram) missed out on the much-desired stage win in the Deutschland Tour, the German is still satisfied coming out best sprinter of the race. He took the red jersey of the points classification all the way to Karlsruhe, where he finished second once again behind Australian Graeme Brown (Rabobank). Zabel was still able to score two second placings, two thirds and one fourth in his home country race - despite his now 36 years.

"Of course I would have liked to finish this Deutschland Tour with a stage victory," said Zabel. "But winning the points jersey, and having held the yellow jersey of the overall classification - even only for a day - are enough reward for all the sacrifices."

Rodríguez ready for Vuelta

Illes Balears' Joaquím Rodríguez is very optimistic for the last part of the season. Just over two weeks before the start of the Vuelta a España, the Deutschland Tour gave him the possibility to know where he stands.

"I came here especially to prepare for the Tour of Spain," he explained after the German ProTour stage race ended, in the town of Karlsruhe. "This Tour of Germany enabled me to work as I wished to do to find the shape which I still lacked, especially in the mountain stages. The race also enabled me to find the rhythm of the competition, which you can't do in training. The team left me free and respected my preparation without asking me to suffer with excess in any stage, except the ones in the mountains, of course, since climbing is my speciality."

Rodríguez, who started out fine in the season, had a little setback to overcome when he wasn't selected for the Tour de France in July. "I'm satisfied with my season until now, most of all with the job I did to help Alejandro Valverde at Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Romandy. Later on it is true that I was at first disappointed for not being selected for the Tour de France, but I immediately decided to concentrate on the last part of the season instead.

When asked if he was satisfied with his Deutschland Tour preparation, the Spaniard replied, "Yes, very satisfied indeed, because I feel physically very well. It is very important with the Vuelta being so close. I hope to be at the start in the shape it needs, and that Valverde will be at 100 percent again to be able to win it. For my part, I hope to be again the last man on who he can count in the final climbs of the mountain stages. Maybe I can also claim a stage victory..."

Petacchi back to racing

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Alessandro Petacchi is back in competition. The Italian sprinter, after recovering from his knee fracture from the Giro d'Italia, participated in his first race after the injury today, at the GP Castelfiardo. Nevertheless, Petacchi decided to end the race prematurely, after 100 kilometres.

"I thought the race wouldn't be as hard," he declared after stepping off the bike. "There were another two climbs in the course, so for people like me who just wanted to stay inside the bunch it would have been hard. Nevertheless I'm satisfied with my test: I have done 100 kilometres of racing, that was my minimal objective, I worked and I found the taste of competition again. My knee was okay during the race, and it's important. I know that I don't have to hurry now, but if the course wasn't as hard, I would have liked to finish it."

Freire and Veelers renew with Rabobank

Team Rabobank has announced that Oscar Freire has now officially extended his contract for another two seasons. The new deal between the Dutch squad and the Spanish triple world champion will expire at the end of the 2008 season.

During this year's Tour de France, Oscar Freire and general director Theo de Rooij had already reached an agreement in principle. In France, Russian GC specialist Denis Menchov also signed for another two seasons with Rabobank.

Freire, who made the switch to Rabobank in 2003, recorded 32 victories in his Rabobank jersey. Since 1998, the year in which he became a professional rider, his total number of victories stands at 60.

With 10 victories in 2006, this season has been his most successful season. Amongst others, Freire won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Flèche Brabançonne, a stage in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and a stage in the Tour de Suisse. However, his three best victories were sprints: two in the Tour de France, as well as one in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany.

The winner of the U23 version of Paris-Roubaix this year, Tom Veelers, has also renewed his contract with Rabobank. The winner of Olympia's Tour has now been signed until the end of the 2008 season.

There is a chance that Veelers will make the switch from the Continental squad to the Rabobank ProTeam in 2007. At the end of the current season, Veelers will have to undergo surgery to his stomach. With the operation, the not always perfect functioning valve between the stomach and the oesophagus will be fixed.

"For Tom himself a complete recovery is important," said De Rooij. "After the operation, Tom needs to prove that he is able to return at the top level of this season. Otherwise Tom will stay with our Continental Team. But of course we hope that Tom will make the same progress after his operation. The team will fully support him."

Despite being hindered by his stomach problems, Veelers had his best races this season. In May, he dominated Olympia's Tour, winning three stages and the overall classification, and in April, his showed splendid form again by beating Kristoffer Nielsen from Denmark in the sprint at the velodrome in Roubaix.

Dufaux to join Astana as DS

News from the successor team of the dismantled Liberty Seguros: Not Mario Kummer, who was new team advisor Walter Godefroot's favourite, but former pro Laurent Dufaux will become one of the directeurs sportifs at the Kazakh team Astana. The 37 year-old Swiss, who will join a team managed by former race director Marc Biver, has much experience in the Tour de France as he finished fourth overall in 1996 and in 1999. He also was one of the riders that were expelled from the Tour in 1998, together with his other Festina teammates.

Petty chief operating officer at USA Cycling

USA Cycling has appointed Sean Petty to the position of chief operating officer effective immediately, the national governing body announced Wednesday. Formerly chief of staff, Petty assumes the role left vacant by Steve Johnson after his appointment to chief executive officer in April.

As chief operating officer, Petty will be responsible for the day-to-day management of USA Cycling and will assume all operational responsibilities.

"Sean's appointment to the position of chief operating officer is an important step in the continuing evolution of USA Cycling," commented Johnson. "His vast experience, knowledge and success are a tremendous asset to the organization across the board and his leadership abilities and diverse skill set further define the type of person we needed to fill this role."

Petty's history with USA Cycling dates back to 1994 when he was hired as the managing director of the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (USPRO). In 1997, Petty was promoted to the position of managing director of athlete performance - a post he held until 2001. From 2001 to 2004, Petty was the vice president of marketing before becoming chief of staff in January of 2004.

In 2005, Texan Petty was also selected by UCI President Pat McQuaid to serve on the seven-member UCI Road Commission.

Women's Prestige series Bermuda bound

Following the Tour de Toona, the top ten teams in the USA's Women's Prestige Cycling Series are headed for the grand finale, the CD&P Bermuda Grand Prix, held from September 7-10. The teams are: TEAm Lipton, Webcor - Platinum, Team Biovail, Colavita / Cooking Light, Victory Brewing, Team Cheerwine, TRIA Orthopaedic, PABW Powered by TIBCO, CPT - Colnago and Advil / Chapstick.

TEAm Lipton widened their lead over Webcor - Platinum, from 32 points after the Nature Valley Grand Prix to a daunting 123 points. These gains were the result of strong performances by Lipton riders and by the absence of Christine Thorburn, Webcor - Platinum's stage race star. An impressive second place finish at Altoona by Alex Wrubleski moved Team Biovail into third for the Series.

After winning both the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the International Tour de Toona, Kristin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton) has solidified her hold on the Series individual competition. TEAm Lipton holds three of the top four spots, a string broken only by Webcor-Patinum's Erinne Willock in third.

The Tour de Toona may also have been a glimpse into the future, with U26 riders Alex Wrubleski (Team Biovail) and Erinne Willock (Webcor-Platinum) taking second and third respectively. Willock retained a strong hold on the BYR Series jersey, with Katharine Carroll (Victory Brewing) in second and Wrubleski in third.

Brooke Miller (PABW Powered by TIBCO) held onto the Series Sprinter's jersey despite a charge from Colavita / Cooking Light's Tina Pic that vaulted Pic from sixth to second. Although Pic won the Tour de Toona's sprint competition, Miller garnered enough points from a stage win and intermediate sprints to take third in that race's spring competition and retain the Series lead.

For more information, visit www.WomenCyclists.com

Verge MAC reveals 2006 campaign

USA's Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series has announced its 2006 campaign. Verge MAC, the East's largest cyclocross series, will once again span New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC in the upcoming cyclocross season. An exciting new venue is the arts and tourism Mecca of New Hope, Pennsylvania, where races will be held on two consecutive days on a private estate. The series also returns to the 'Amphitheatre of Pain' in Bridgeton, NJ.

MAC will this year introduce the "Elite Masters" class, one of 14 amateur and professional individual championships (and one team championship). According to Verge MAC Series Director Mike Hebe, "At any race last year, there were nine different riders in the Masters field who had won at least one event in the greater Mid-Atlantic region in the previous year. With that high level of talent, we as a series want to recognize and highlight what is a very deep and fast field and hopefully the addition of a deeper prize list for the fastest 35+ racers will meet that end. We are also running a B Masters race. This category should allow a better racing experience for beginner riders, or those who race for fun and may not be up to the speed of an Elite Masters class that is laden with top five and top ten National level finishes. We are trying to meet the needs of two groups of riders that have very different goals and fitness levels."

2006 The Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series:

October 21, 2006 - Wilmington, DE (Philadelphia Media Market): Cyclocross on Granouge Estate, UCI C1
October 22, 2006 - Ludwig's Corner, PA (Philadelphia Media Market): Wissahickon 'Cross, UCI C2
October 28, 2006 - Bridgeton, NJ (Philadelphia and Atlantic City Media Markets): Beacon 'Cross, UCI C2
November 11, 2006 - Camp Hill, PA (Harrisburg Media Market): Lower Allen Classic, UCI C2
November 12, 2006 - Highland Park, NJ (New York and Central New Jersey Media Markets): Highland Park Cyclocross, UCI C2
November 18, 2006 - New Hope, PA (Philadelphia and Trenton Media Markets): Guy's Bicycles Cyclocross, USAC
November 19, 2006 - New Hope, PA (Philadelphia and Trenton Media Markets): EVO Cross (Verge MAC Series), USAC
December 3, 2006 - Reston, VA (Washington, DC Media Market): Capital Cross Classic, UCI C2

For more information, see www.midatlanticcross.com

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