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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 30, 2006

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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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Edited by John Stevenson & John Kenny

T-Mobile's new beginning -- but with whom?

New T-Mobile team manager Bob Stapleton, right, at the team's 2006 launch with women's team manager Andrez Bek.
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

T-Mobile has a new manager, a new four-year extension of its ProTour license and several new faces in the management team. As the top German squad attempts to move on from the Jan Ullrich years after its former star's ignominious departure under the cloud of Operacion Puerto, Susan Westemeyer looks at who is likely to ride for T-Mobile in 2007.

The T-Mobile Team has received "an important signal" for its new beginning and fight against doping in pro cycling, says incoming team manager Bob Stapleton. The UCI granted the team an extension of its Pro Tour license through the 2010 season. "The UCI immediately recognized the value that T-Mobile brings to cycling and respects the team management's commitment to clean and fair sport," the team said proudly.

The Pro Tour license is "a first step in the ongoing restructuring of the team," Stapleton said. The next official step will be taken on November 1, when Stapleton takes the team over from Olaf Ludwig. Ongoing problems with Ludwig evidently came to a head during the Tour de France this year, and may well be related to Operation Puerto and the alleged involvement of Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage. The team has said that "the determining factor" in discontinuing its relationship with Ludwig "was a lack of confidence in the team management, as well as many radically differing ideas on the future strategy and direction of the T-Mobile Team and the handling of the current doping problem."

It seems that part of that "future strategy" is a "cleansing" of the team's roster: riders who are were associated with Ullrich and those with any hint of suspicion of involvement in doping, even rumoured, are apparently being let go.

Andreas Klöden and Matthias Kessler have sought refuge with former teammate -- and potential Tour rival -- Alexander Vinokourov and his new Team Astana. Klöden and Kessler were both good friends with Ullrich and both have made no secret that they remain in close contact with Ullrich, and feel that he has not been treated well by T-Mobile. In addition, both have publicly criticized the Ludwig regime.

Click here for the full story.

Tour of Britain stage 1 round-up

Pedersen takes opening stage

Denmark's Martin Pedersen (CSC) won the opening stage of the Tour of Britain in Castle Douglas yesterday. Pedersen out-sprinted his breakaway companions Luis Passamontes ( and Mathew Goss (South after four hours of racing over the Scottish countryside.

The breakaways were still together on the top of the climb at Shiel Hill and battled together to hold onto the lead that had been over 10 minutes on the road at around half distance. When they rounded the final corner it was Pedersen that had the strength to win the gallop on the uphill drag in front of hundreds of spectators lining the last 300 metres.

Pedersen's 10 second time bonus gained from the stage win saw him take the leaders yellow jersey with a margin of just two seconds over Goss, who had won all three hot spot sprints on the day.

Quick Step took fourth and fifth places via the bunch sprint with Francesco, Chicchi beating Filippo Pozzato. Russell Downing (DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed) came home in sixth place to keep alive British hopes for a stage win later in the week.

"I was pleased to get into the break really early," said Pederson. "All three of us worked really hard. When we built the lead up to 10 minutes 40 seconds we realised we had a chance of winning the stage. We were getting time checks from the manager and we knew the gap was coming down but I was feeling really good and I was determined to try to take the stage win. It's a great performance for me and the team. I am delighted to take the yellow jersey and we will be very keen to keep it for the rest of the week."

Hoffman delighted with Pedersen's first win

CSC director Tristan Hoffman is delighted with the first professional victory of his young Danish rider Martin Pedersen, who won his first victory as a professional when he opened the Tour of Britain by winning the 162.6-kilometre first stage from Glasgow to Castle Douglas.

Pedersen was in a break early in the stage along with Spanish rider Luis Pasamontes (Unibet) and Australian Matthew Goss (South

"Apparently the pursuers couldn't agree on who was to close the gap, so they got a 10-minute lead and finished two and a half minutes ahead of the peloton," said Hoffman.

"It was fantastic. [It's] wonderful to see a young Danish rider step up and win a race like that. Martin looked very strong right from the start and on the last part I was positive he was going to win. The Australian looked strong as well and he's a fairly good sprinter, but the final part of the route was uphill a bit and Martin had most energy left over."

Hoffman was confident that CSC would be able to win the stage if Pedersen was caught. "At one point a group of 12 riders formed behind the front group and here we had three riders: Jakob Piil, Luke Roberts and Karsten Kroon. So actually we did quite well in today's stage," said Hoffman.

Russell Downing best of British

Team DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed leader Russell Downing confirmed his good pre-race form with a strong finish in Stage 1. Downing will go into tomorrow's stage 2 as the best placed British rider on the general classification, having placed sixth in the opening sprint at Castle Douglas.

Downing was supported by team-mates Dean Downing, Kane Oakley and Cameron Jennings who remained near the front of the bunch as the speed quickened with around 40 kilometres to go.

Downing, spotting the Unibet team forming the lead-out train on the right of the road for Baden Cooke, jumped to the left into clear space with one kilometre to go. He showing a good turn of speed and sprinted head to head with Quickstep's Pozzato, winner of Milan-San Remo this year, coming over the line third in the bunch sprint.

Cavendish off to a good start

T-Mobile stagiaire Mark Cavendish enjoyed a solid performance on today's first Tour of Britain stage, where he finished seventh.

The 21 year-old from the Isle of Man was the best placed T-Mobile rider on the first leg between Glasgow and Castle Douglas in Scotland. Cavendish wasn't satisfied and said, "I was a bit unlucky in the sprint; I got boxed in and ended up only going at 50 percent in the last 100 metres".

Cavendish's promising start will give the T-Mobile Team a welcome lift after Tour de France podium finisher Andreas Klöden had to pull out of the Tour after coming down with bronchitis.

The stage win was decided among a group of three riders who jumped clear of the main field after just 18 miles of racing and stayed ahead until the finish in Castle Douglas where Dane Martin Pederson edged out his two fellow breakaways.

Christophe Brandt in induced coma after crash

Christophe Brandt's (Davitamon-Lotto) had a life-threatening crash yesterday at the Schaal Sels, suffering four broken ribs, a lung perforation and a pneumothorax.

Operating on him almost immediately, surgeons have been able to save his spleen but they had to remove a kidney. Brandt's upper arm is also broken. His abdominal haemorrhages have caused his condition to be rated as serious and the rider will be kept in an induced coma for three days.

More Operacion Puerto information given to UCI

Spanish authorities will hand over more information to the UCI in connection with the police investigation into alleged widespread doping in the sport.

The UCI indicated on its website that it would use the information to help national cycling federations "take the necessary decisions" concerning riders linked to Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish sports doctor at the centre of the scandal.

"The UCI reiterates its determination to fight against doping as severely as possible," the UCI said.

UCI organises conference on Asia Tour

Federations and the development of the UCI Asia Tour calendar will be the key subjects at a conference organised by the UCI on September 15 during the Asian Continental Championships.

The working of UCI Continental Circuits, rankings, UCI teams and the qualification system for the World Championships and the Road races at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will be discussed.

Mr Choi Boo Wong, Secretary General of the Asian Cycling Confederation, will take part in the conference along with the UCI President, Pat McQuaid, the Road Sports Coordinator, Philippe Chevallier and the UCI Asia Tour Adviser, Jamaludin Mahmood.

McQuaid will also go to Southern China for the presentation of a new race in Asia, the Tour of Hainan Island, which will take place in November. McQuaid will have talks with the Governor of the province of Hainan, Mr Liucheng Wei.

The province of Hainan, also known as Qiong, has a population of about 8 million and is situated in the Southern China sea, off the furthest point of Southern China.

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