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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for August 21, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner satisfied with Regio-Tour

Both German ProTour teams have reason to be satisfied with their performances in the Rothaus Regio Tour, which ended Sunday. They each won two stages, and T-Mobile took first and second overall, with Gerolsteiner claiming fourth.

Andreas Klöden finished second in the third stage, in the same time as breakaway partner and teammate Michael Rogers, to take over the leader's jersey. He cemented his placing by dominating the fourth stage time trial, where he finished 26 seconds ahead of who else but a Gerolsteiner rider, Marcus Fothen, and 45 seconds ahead of world time trial champion Rogers.

In Sunday's queen stage, which included a Cat. 1 climb that was tackled four times, Klöden and Rogers finished safely in the middle of the first large following group. "The whole team worked really well today," said Valerio Piva. "They controlled he race on the last difficult climb and so insured that Andreas and Michael could take the top two podium places."

Torsten Hiekmann, who won the final stage, is in his first year with Gerolsteiner - having been previously, of course, with T-Mobile. His win Sunday was his first for the sparkling-water team, and the team's 30th on the season.

"Torsten rode a great race. He was at the front for a long time and then was able to drop those with him," noted directeur sportif Reimund Dietzen, who added that it was "a perfect finale, which we had hoped for."

Gerolsteiner also won the second stage of the race, in the person of youngster Mattias Russ, who also won the young rider competition. "That was a great performance by Mattias, who did exceptionally well for such a youngster," said Dietzen.

Kleynen crashes

Steven Kleynen (Landbouwkrediet-Colango) has suffered a bad fall during the Regio Tour in Germany. The Belgian crashed on a descent at 70 km/h during Saturday's fourth stage to Bahlingen, hitting a flower pot. He lost consciousness and was helicoptered to hospital in Freiburg, where he was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder and double collarbone break. He will be operated on on Monday and will not race again this season.

Kleynen's teammate Steven Cummings also crashed on the same descent after puncturing, but was not seriously hurt. He will still be able to take part in the Tour de l'Avenir.

Petacchi to Vuelta

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) has decided to take part in the Vuelta a España, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The sprinter, who broke his kneecap during the early part of the Giro d'Italia, has started to come back to form, finishing the Regio Tour with a fifth place in the final stage. Petacchi is hopeful that the Vuelta will give him the necessary condition to start in the World Championships in Salzburg.

Triple world champion Oscar Freire is not sure of his program, however. The Rabobank rider has been suffering from dizziness, and did not take part in the Clasica San Sebastian. He hopes to do the Vuelta as he considers it the best training for the World's, but is undecided at the moment.

Moncoutié out of Vuelta

David Moncoutié will not take part in the Vuelta a España for Cofidis. The 31 year old is suffering from knee tendonitis, and has called it quits for the season. It will be at least six weeks before he can ride again.

Comunidad Valenciana finishes with a victory

In its last UCI race, the Comunidad Valenciana team finished with a victory in the Clásica a los Puertos, courtesy of Rubén Plaza, who won a four man sprint against Jon Bru (Kaiku), Eladio Jiménez (Comunidad Valenciana) and Pablo Lastras (Caisse d'Epargne).

The team has been in existence under a few sponsors (namely Kelme) for the last 26 years, but was forced to stop after being implicated in the Operacion Puerto affair. One of its former directors, Ignacio Labarta, is under a legal investigation, while several of the riders will likely face disciplinary action by the Spanish cycling federation.

Wintry World's gets started with sheep trial!

2005 XC champion Gunn-Rita Dahle (Norway)
Photo ©: Marek Lazarski
Click for larger image

The 2006 Mountain Bike World Championships will get underway in Rotorua, New Zealand on the afternoon of August 22 with the Team Relay. Teams from over 35 countries have registered for the world championships, with 12 scheduled for the Team Relay.

It is the end of winter in New Zealand, so the weather is still on the chilly side, with regular downpours sweeping through the area. The south island had snow scheduled for today, so a little rain doesn't seem too bad on reflection!

Rotorua, close to the eastern coast of the north island, and two and a half hours south of Auckland, is known for its sulphur hot springs, and the scent of sulphur and clouds of steam are pervasive in the town, along the south shore of Lake Rotorua.

The world championships themselves are just north of the city, on the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha - literally, "To drink from a calabash". A calabash is a fruit similar to a gourd, and the Maori legend is that the explorer Ihenga ascended the mountain and met a fairy woman. The woman gave him a drink from her calabash.

The organization has purpose built most of the cross-country and downhill courses, trying to take advantage of the natural terrain while doing as little damage as possible to the ecosystem. The 5.9 kilometre cross -country begins with a long switchback climb to the highest point of the course. The climb is wide enough for much of its length that passing shouldn't be a problem.

Click here for the full preview, schedule & results, map, and past winners.

4 Jours de Dunkerque to go back to six days

The 4 Jours de Dunkerque, which takes place in May, is looking to go back to a six day format in 2007. The French stage race had this format for over 20 years up until 2002, when the UCI decided that it should be shortened to five days as part of an overall calendar reduction in the context of the fight against doping. Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné Libéré and Midi Libre were also cut down by a day in 2002.

The organisers of Dunkerque have asked each year for their race to be reinstated to six days, and in 2007, that request has been granted by the UCI. The race will be held between May 8 and 13, with the full route of the 53rd edition to be unveiled in mid-October: "A parcours that will again be composed of traditions, novelties and of surprises."

The organisers will also push for the race to become a ProTour event, as the Tour of Romandie's ProTour licence expired this year.

The Trust House Cycle Classic turns 20

New Zealand's Trust House Cycle Classic (Tour of Wellington) will celebrate its 20th anniversary in January, with what organisers say could be "the biggest and best field in its history."

The race route and dates for the tour have now been finalised, and race director Jorge Sandoval is confident that the hill stages will be challenging and all stages of the tour will provide excellent racing and spectator opportunities. The 2007 event will commence on January 24, 2007 with a time trial in Hutt City and will finish five days later with the traditional Petone circuit.

"Next year’s is the 20th version of the tour and we are looking forward to a great celebration," said Sandoval. "The tour is now recognised overseas as the best cycle race in this country and I expect the biggest number of national and international riders ever."

In its 20 year history, the Trust House Cycle Classic has had riders such as Robbie McEwen, Nick Gates, Henk Vogels, Matthew White, Michael Rogers, Julian Dean and Chris Jenner all take part. One of the biggest names to take part in the event was four times (and then current) world champion Danny Clark, giving the race a valuable focus.

For the fifth year, the Tour of Wellington will be sponsored by Trust House Charitable Trust. "We are delighted to support this international event, which will showcase the Wairarapa to a wider world," said Brian Bourke, Chairman of the Charitable Trust.

More information:

The stages

Stage 1 - January 24: Avalon TTT, 7 km
Stage 2 - January 25: Featherson - Masterton, 94.4 km
Stage 3 - January 25: Masterton Criterium, 40 km
Stage 4 - January 26: Masterton - Pahiatua - Masterton, 158.5 km
Stage 5 - January 27: Masterton Circuit (Finish Top Admiral Hill), 125.3 km
Stage 6 - January 28: Wellington City ITT, 12 km
Stage 7 - January 29: Petone Criterium

Ferrari stagiaire with Tenax

Irish team Tenax Salmilano has signed Roberto Ferrari as a stagiaire for the last part of the season. The 23 year-old will race in the GP Nobili Rubinetterie and GP Carnaghese on August 23 and 24, along with the more experienced Gabriele Bosisio, Paolo Bossoni, Massimo Codol, Micula De Matteis, Ruslan Pidgornyy, Cristiano Salerno and Rigoberto Uran.

Ferrari rode for Trevigiani Dynamon this season, winning nine races and gaining another 10 placings.

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