Latest Cycling News for August 30, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
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After being questioned by the anti-doping commission of Italian Olympic Committee for two hours on Tuesday, Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso will return to be heard by prosecutor Francesco Cosenza on September 12, at 12.30 pm, as the meeting has been adjourned.
"I'm satisfied with the outcome," said Cosenza to the Italian press. "Basso responded exhaustively to the allegations." The suspended Team CSC rider, along with his attorney Massimo Martelli, had to answer questions on his alleged link to Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, which led to the rider's exclusion of the Tour de France this year.
But Basso yesterday was positive about returning to racing soon. "I would like to salute my fans and tell them to stay calm as everything will go as planned," the Italian said after the hearing. "I will soon continue to race, and I don't see why I shouldn't do this with CSC [team manager Bjarne Riis recently distanced himself from Basso - ed.]. I continue to train, and I feel well. It's obvious that I never used doping and I'm absolutely innocent. I'm unhappy about not doing the Tour de France this year, but I'm still young and I have plenty of time."
Meanwhile, the UCI has announced that Spanish investigators will send it more information on the doping affair, which will in turn be transmitted to the national cycling federations concerned.
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McEwen "not as strong"
The Vuelta a Espańa 2006 has not brought Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen any luck yet. The Australian sprinter was unable to score a victory in the early, flat stages of the race, and seemed by far not as fast as in the Tour de France or in the Giro d'Italia this year, where he won six stages altogether.
"I'm not as strong as in the Tour," said McEwen to Belgian media after stage four, before the race headed towards its first mountains on the 2006 menu. "What I had in excess in France, I miss now. It's harder to sneak into the right position to begin the sprint."
And one difficulty leads to another, according to Murphy's Law. "On top of that, I was unlucky again. Two kilometres before the line, I had to brake hard which made 20 or 30 riders pass me - it was all over then. But I'll keep on trying," the Australian added, faithful to his objective at the beginning of the season to win stages in each of the Grand Tours this year.
No love lost between Klöden and Ludwig
By Susan Westemeyer
Andreas Klöden and Olaf Ludwig are both leaving the T-Mobile Team, but not before they first both have their say, in what seems to be turning into a public mud-slinging match.
"I would have won the Tour if (Ludwig and Mario Kummer) hadn't been so incapable," Klöden said recently. Ludwig's response was now published on sport1.de: "That's right: Klöden could have won the Tour, if he himself and Matthias Kessler hadn't tried to follow their own interests. The action in the Pyrenees wasn't planned with the sporting directors. The riders did that themselves."
The action in question was the second Pyrenees stage, when Klöden and Kessler used team colleagues Michael Rogers, Eddy Mazzoleni and Patrik Sinkewitz to force the tempo on the next-to-last mountain. It was no use, though, as Klöden himself lost power on the last climb, conceding 1.31 minutes on the leaders, and the others lost their good placings, too.
But the lack of communication between Klöden and Ludwig doesn't seem to be anything new. The last time the team manager spoke with Klöden "about the Tour de France and the situation afterwards, was in May," Ludwig said.
Klöden denied that he was leaving T-Mobile because he didn't want to accept the responsibility of leadership. "I want to go to the Tour de France with a strong team and I will have that at Astana," he told Radsport-news.com at the Tour of Britain. "I know what kind of a team I will have there. That wasn't the case at T-Mobile.
"I had requested that the Tour de France team 2006 stay together again next year. That was a super team and they couldn't give it to me again, so I had to make the cut and change."
Doesn't it bother him to have changed to a team where there is very little chance that he will be the captain for the Tour? Apparently not. "I think that two strong riders are good for a team. There are many, many more races in the year than just the Tour."
Klöden may have already ridden his last race for T-Mobile. He started the first stage of the Tour of Britain on Tuesday, but dropped out at its first feed zone at km 93, claiming a cold and bronchial infection. It can't be too bad, though, as he plans to be back training "in one or two days".
Kessler repays friendship with team change
Klöden's teammate, Matthias Kessler, is also looking forward to working with an old friend in coming years. "Alexander Vinokourov is my friend," he commented his team change to Astana. "He took a lot of trouble with me, he recruited me, and asked if I would like to come with him. It was simply the right step, after having ridden with him for six years with Telekom." He noted that after his Tour de France stage win, he had "several offers, including one from Discovery."
The next few years of his career are important, the 27 year-old Kessler said. "The next four years are decisive for me personally. Between the ages of 27 and 31 you have the best chances in cycling."
Liquigas to Trofeo Melinda
Italian team Liquigas has announced its roster for the Trofeo Melinda, taking place on August 31 in Val di Non. The squad has included Stefano Garzelli, Vincenzo Nibali - who has just won the GP Plouay - and Franco Pellizotti in the line-up with a clear objective of victory. The roster, led by Stefano Zanatta, also features Eros Capecchi, Roman Kreuziger, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noč and stagiaire Emanuele Fornasier.
Milram to upcoming races
Team Milram has announced its rider selection for upcoming Italian races as well as the Tour of Poland. At the Trofeo Melinda (August 31), Mirko Celestino, Michele Gobbi, Giovanni Visconti, Fabio Sabatini, Alessandro Vanotti, Andry Grivko and Mirco Lorenzetto will participate for the German-Italian squad under the guidance of directeur sportif Vittorio Algeri.
For the Giro di Romagna and the Coppa Placci on September 2 and 3, the team will make do without Sabatini, Vanotti and Lorenzetto (on their way to the Tour of Poland), but instead include German Daniel Musiol and Elia Rigotto. Jan Schaffrath will act as DS for these races.
At the Tour of Poland from September 4-10, Team Milram will thus be represented by: Simone Cadamuro, Alessandro Cortinovis, Mirco Lorenzetto, Matej Jurco, Martin Müller, Fabio Sabatini, Alessandro Vanotti and Giovanni Visconti. Directeur sportif Algeri is the appointed manager at this race.
Slippens also severely injured
Not only Christophe Brandt (Davitamon-Lotto) was badly injured in a crash at the Schaal J.C. Sels in Merksems, Belgium - also Robert Slippens, the well-known Sixday track rider was hurt. Slippens is under intensive care in the hospital in Brasschaat, as his diagnosis involved ten broken ribs, multiple fractures to his collarbone and a perforated lung. He will remain in hospital at least until the end of the week.
With these injuries, Slippens will surely miss the start of the Sixday season, and his usual partner, Danny Stam, is now being linked to Peter Schep for the first few events. But another Sixday rider, Iljo Keisse, also lost his usual partner Matthew Gilmore in a recent crash, and also hopes to partner up with Schep.
VDB to Acqua&Sapone
Frank Vandenbroucke, who has been spending most of his time in Italy this summer, is reported by the Belgian press to have signed with Italian Continental Pro team Acqua&Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, directed by Palmiro Masciarelli. The eccentric cyclist made the headlines recently for participating in Italian amateur races with a false license (under the name of Francesco Del Ponte, and with a photo of World Champion Tom Boonen), after being fired by his former team Unibet.com for a lack of racing appearances.
But Masciarelli decided to give VDB another chance. "He's not as crazy as they say," said the team director. "He admitted that he did stupid things in his life, but also that he needed support when things get bad. Do you think that's weird? All top sportsmen know that feeling. When things do well, everybody acclaims you, but in less good times you're on your own. That was his problem."
Vandenbroucke will debut in Acqua&Sapone colours on September 16 at the GP Misano-Adriatico, to be followed by the GP Prato, Memorial Cimurri, Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell'Emilia, GP Beghelli, Giro del Piemont the Giro di Lombardia. His contract runs through the end of 2007.
Van Poppel to Rabobank Continental team
Reigning junior cyclo-cross world champion, Boy van Poppel, will make the switch to the Rabobank Continental team led by Nico Verhoeven and Piet Kuijs. As of October 1, Van Poppel will join the cyclo-cross team for the upcoming season, and will ride full road programs in 2007 and 2008 as well.
Last season, the son of Jean-Paul van Poppel was a class of his own in cyclo-cross. On January 8, he defended his Dutch junior national champion title in Huijbergen, Netherlands, only to add the world championship in Zeddam to his list of honours twenty days later.
Also in road racing, Van Poppel is a splendid performer. In 2004, being a novice, Van Poppel won the Dutch national title in the individual time trial. This year, he became second both at the junior edition of the Tour of Flanders and the Dutch national road championship for juniors.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)