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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for August 12, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Big names to slug it out for Clásica San Sebastián crown

By Shane Stokes in San Sebastián

2005 winner Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Following the conclusion of the Deutschland Tour this week, the latest round of the ProTour will take place on Saturday in San Sebastian, Spain. Some of the world’s best one day riders will line up against the stage race specialists in this 225 kilometre classic, which is certainly tough enough to cater for both types of professionals.

With last year’s winner Constantino Zaballa and Joaquin Rodriguez both absent from the start list, 2005 third-place finisher Eddy Mazzoleni (T-Mobile) will be chasing the top step of the podium. However there are plenty of other riders who should be in the final shakeup, not least the likes of Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), who can shine on this type of course. Bettini can both climb and sprint, took top honours here in 2003, and therefore has the credentials to win this time round.

So too Alexandre Vinokourov, back racing and building form in the recent Deutschland Tour. He and Astana-Würth colleague Andrey Kashechkin – third in Germany – have the ability to figure, as does ProTour leader Alejandro Valverde. Valverde’s explosiveness plus his successes in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Fleche Wallonne mark him out as a potential victor, but as this is his first race back since crashing out of the Tour de France with a broken collarbone, he is likely to be short of full fitness. However he will nevertheless attract attention due to his gleaming white ProTour jersey and his natural aggressiveness.

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the Clasica San Sebastian live on Saturday, August 12, starting from 15:00 local time (CEST)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Aust East).

Click here for the full preview, Map, Past winners and Start list.

Changes for T-Mobile in San Sebastian

T-Mobile Team has changed its line-up for the upcoming Clasica San Sebastian Bernhard Kohl has withdrawn due to illness, and Matthias Kessler will also not be on the start. Michael Rogers will fill one of the spots, and the other will remain vacant.

The team has experience this year with sending seven riders to a race, even when it isn't easy. "Tactically we have one option less," says Directeur Sportif Frans van Looy. "But we saw at the Tour that you can do just as well even if two riders are missing."

Marcel Sieberg: Milram's new signing

By Susan Westemeyer

Marcel Sieberg got off to a good start in his first year with Professional Continental Team Weisenhof-Akud, but things suddenly went downhill, as he came down with mononucleosis and had to sit out most of his beloved spring classics. But the 1.98 m tall German is a fighter who came back with results good enough to recommend him for the German world's team. And good enough to recommend him to ProTour Team Milram, which has signed him for next year.

"Ever since my U-23 days, it has been my goal to get a Pro Tour contract," he told Cyclingnews. "I was very happy to get the offer from Milram, because I know a lot of the riders there well and the whole team pleases me very much." He is a good sprinter - does he plan to pull sprints for Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel? "It would be a great honour and also a sign of acceptance from the team if I would be allowed to play a role in the sprint train."

His real talent - and interest - though, is for the spring classics, and he wouldn't mind being Milram's man for those races. He has shown his talent there, winning the Ronde von Drenthe for Team Lamonta in 2005. Unfortunately he missed the season this year with his illness. "Naturally I want to develop myself further in the spring classics. In the long term, I hope I can ride to win one."

"Sibi" remains a good team player though: Wins would be nice, "but good work for the team makes me happy, because the good performance of the whole team is behind every success."

He sees his future "as a classics and one-day race rider, but also in smaller tours." His schedule this year reflects this, and he can point to good placings in the Record-Dreidaagse von West-Vlaanderen, the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of Luxembourg, among others. He can even claim one victory this year: in the Stadlohner Criterium.

The races for the remainder of the season fit exactly into this plan. "Now that the Deutschland Tour is over, there come a few smaller races, like the Sparkasse Giro in Bochum. In the middle of the month is a tour in France, then come the Belgian and Dutch one-day races on the program."

Sieberg could finish his last season before joining the Pro Tour with a special honour: representing Germany in the World Championships. He was the only one from Wiesenhof nominated, and proud to be on the long list. "I am very happy for the nomination for the road championship and it shows me that my accomplishments are being acknowledged, even though things haven't gone so well this year. After I came down with mononucleosis in the spring, I thought I could forget the season," and he concludes modestly, "But it seems to have turned out well after all."

Milram for upcoming races

German team Milram has named its lineups for four races this week. Alessandro Petacchi is in action again in both German races on the weekend, forming part of the team for the Rund um die Hainleite – Erfurt on Saturday and Sunday's Sparkassen Giro Bochum, which will also include the in-form Erik Zabel. The full teams are:

Rund um die Hainleite-Erfurt (Ger, August 12): Alessandro Petacchi, Elia Rigotto, Martin Muller, Ralf Grabsch, Dennis Haueisen, Enrico Poitschke and Volodymyr Dyudya. DS: Antonio Bevilacqua.

Sparkassen Giro Bochum (Ger, August 13): Alessandro Petacchi, Elia Rigotto, Martin Muller, Christian Knees, Ralf Grabsch, Enrico Poitschke, Erik Zabel, and Volodymyr Dyudya. DS: Antonio Bevilacqua.

For the Eneco Tour (August 16-23), the team will consist of Simone Cadamuro, Maarten Den Bakker, Matej Jurco, Dennis Haueisen, Mirco Lorenzetto, Martin Muller, Fabio Sabatini, Carlo Scognamiglio. DS: Vittorio Algeri.

Finally, for the Regio Tour (August 16-20), Milram will be represented by Alessandro Petacchi, Alessandro Cortinovis, Volodomyr Dyudya, Daniel Musiol, Alberto Ongarato, Elia Rigotto, and Alessandro Vanotti. DS: Antonio Bevilacqua.

Univest goes live

This year's Univest Grand Prix in Souderton, PA, USA on September 9 will be broadcast live on 69 WFMZ-TV from midday through 3:00pm. In addition to live TV, the professional men will race over an expanded course on Saturday covering four new municipalities including Hatfield, Towamencin, Upper Gwynedd and Lansdale. On Sunday, September 10, the Univest Grand Prix will return to Doylestown, Pa. for a flat, fast-circuit race in the center of town.

The broadcast will be hosted by nine-time Tour de France competitor and OLN reporter Frankie Andreu and cycling journalist Richard Fries. Spectators in Souderton race day will be able to follow the action from start to finish on an elevated giant screen television that will be visible from the downtown area. Internet viewers can tune in at .

The field includes teams from Germany, Canada, Poland, and Mexico, in addition to American professional teams. Riders will compete on a challenging course that covers 107 miles and 18 municipalities throughout Montgomery and Bucks counties. On Sunday, the riders will compete in a 50 mile, 0.9 mile circuit in the heart of Doylestown.

"The expanded race course allows us to include new communities and expose more children to the sport," explained race director John Eustice. "For the professional racers, the new addition ­ which comes at the beginning of the race ­ will allow the pros to 'stretch their legs' before attacking the hills, twists and turns that have made this such a renowned race-course."

More information:

Barr postpones record bid, Marrey plans attempt

By Shane Stokes

Previous record holder Joe Barr has postponed his plans to make an attempt on the new Mizen Head to Fair Head mark in Ireland set by Paul O'Donoghue last month.

Barr had planned to go for the record this weekend, but consultation with the Met Office has shown that wind conditions would not be favourable.

The Northern rider set his record back in 1993, doing the trip in 19 hours and 3 minutes. O'Donoghue successfully covered the 380 mile distance on July 23rd, 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 on that occasion was unable to match Barr's pace. However it paid off this time round, and this has prompted another go by Barr.

"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."

However Marc updated the situation yesterday, explaining why they had decided to put off the attempt. "After a final consultation with the Met office today at 11.00am regarding the forecasted weather conditions, which are such a large part of any record attempt, we have been advised that the wind direction will remain North to North Westerly at approx 12.5 miles per hour, making an attempt this weekend impossible.

"Paul`s new record deserves every respect and Joe wants to give the best he possibly can, which requires the correct weather conditions. Therefore the team have decided to wait over the coming weeks to see if a window in the weather gives us a green light to start. Joe would like to thank everyone for their patience and hopefully we get a start in the near future."

Meanwhile it has emerged that another rider will make an attempt on the record in the near future. Mayo rider Padraig Marrey is currently looking for sponsorship for his crack at the Mizen Head to Fair Head mark, which will take place on the weekend of August 26th and 27th.

"Long distance cycling relies 70% on mental capabilities which puts savage stresses on the body to even attempt a task like this. Both body and mind has to be at their fittest," he writes in a letter to prospective sponsors. "I believe I am in the best condition possible, I have ridden and finished 8 FBD Ras's, an 8 day stage race around Ireland covering 1200k. I have the right team with 10 people all assigned a job for the duration of the attempt."

Those interested in backing his bid can contact him at 0035387 7992857.

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