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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 4, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Paolo Savoldelli confirmed with Astana

Paolo Savoldelli
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Paolo Savoldelli, who had been linked with Davide Boifava, confirmed that he will be staying with Astana even though the possibility of it getting a ProTour license is doubtful. "I will stay with Astana. I have signed a one year contract with them," said the rider Bergamo to Cyclingnews Saturday in Milano during the Giro d'Italia presentation.

Il Falco Bergamasco was also happy with the Giro's parcours. "It will be a Giro suited for me," continued Savoldelli, winner in 2002 and 2005. "We will be able to play out the race on the climbs, like the Zoncolan.

"The big climbs will shape the classification, but I don't see a lot of separation. I will have to prepare well for the mountain time trial, which I have never raced at the pro level. If you make an error, only if a minute, you won't be able to pull it back."

Stefano Garzelli remembers Briançon

"It will be a beautiful Giro," confirmed 2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli. "It is not very hard, and it will be open. The Zoncolan will be spectacular."

The bald-headed climber, who was one of the selected few to sit on stage during the unveiling of the 2007 parcours, had a pleasant flash-back when the organizers showed stage 12, from Scalenghe to Briançon. The route will be almost identical to stage 19 in 2000, when Marco Pantani helped his teammate Garzelli advance towards the overall win.

"It gave me goose bumps to remember that incredible day," said Garzelli to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It was the rhythm of Pantani up front, after a year of torment. That Giro I won thanks to Marco because he made himself available to help me."

Gilberto Simoni: "tremendous suffering"

Gilberto Simoni
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni was astonished by the 2007 parcours presented Saturday in Milano. After having viewed the overall map on the large television screen in the auditorium, il Trentino said, "It appears very open."

But what really caught his eyes were the inclusion of two mountains, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Monte Zoncolan. "There are less climbs but the Tre Cime and Zoncolan are very hard. Never have I thought that these two monsters would be included in the same Giro," continued Simoni.

Zolcolan was last used when it was scaled up the easterly slope in 2003. Then Simoni took the stage on the way to winning the Giro d'Italia. From Ovaro, the 10.1 kilometre climb, along with a long, narrow tunnel, contains sections of 22, 20 and 18% gradients, with an overall of 11.9%.

Simoni noted, "It will be a very open Giro. The arrival on Zoncolan is one I like a lot. ... I have already tried this on my mountain bike; it will be 45 to 50 minutes of tremendous suffering."

Maglia bianca returns to Giro d'Italia

The Maglia Bianca
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

The white jersey, or maglia bianca, for best young rider is making a comeback in the 2007 Giro d'Italia by replacing the blue Intergiro jersey. Similar to the Tour de France's maillot blanc, the jersey is awarded to the rider with the lowest time on the general classification and who is 25 years-old or younger.

The maglia bianca was first introduced to the Giro in 1976 when it was won by Italian Alfio Vandi. The organizers continued to incorporate the jersey for 19 years, through 1994. It was mostly an Italian affair, like the Giro itself, but in the last three years of existence it was won by Russians; Pavel Tonkov (1992 and 1993) and Evgeni Berzin (1994).

Evgeni Berzin won the race's overall jersey, the maglia rosa in the same year, and only two others went on to take the pink jersey after winning the white version; Roberto Visentini in 1978, with the maglia rosa in 1986, and Pavel Tonkov won the race three years after taking his second maglia bianca, in 1996.

Past winners:
1976 Alfio Vandi (Ita)
1977 Mario Beccia (Ita)
1978 Roberto Visentini (Ita)
1979 Silvano Contini (Ita)
1980 Tommy Prim (Sui)
1981 Giuseppe Faraca (Ita)
1982 Marco Groppo (Ita)
1983 Franco Chioccioli (Ita)
1984 Charly Mottet (Fra)
1985 Alberto Volpi (Ita)
1986 Marco Giovannetti (Ita)
1987 Roberto Conti (Ita)
1988 Stefano Tomasini (Ita)
1989 Vladimir Poulnikov (USSR)
1990 Vladimir Poulnikov (USSR)
1991 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita)
1992 Pavel Tonkov (Rus)
1993 Pavel Tonkov (Rus)
1994 Evgeni Berzin (Rus)

Ivan Basso back with Discovery Channel

Not without controversy

Ivan Basso
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Ivan Basso, last seen in action in Milano on May 28, will be back in the peloton in 2007 riding for his new team, Discovery Channel. On Saturday, December 2, in Milano, Italy, the rider from Varese was officially introduced by Johann Bruyneel just hours before the presentation of the 2007 Giro d'Italia. The 29 year-old is out of the red and white colours of CSC, distanced from former manager Bjarne Riis and allowed to resume racing after Operación Puerto, an investigation which consumed the latter-half of 2006.

In the blue colours of American squad Discovery Channel, Basso will point towards a come-back of sorts; redeeming himself in the Tour de France, where he was not allowed to start in 2006.

Bruyneel has the know-how to deliver a rider to the Champs-Élysées in the Maillot Jaune; he did it seven years with Texan Lance Armstrong. But just how will Basso fit in to the Discovery system? "I feel very well, because I just spent the month of November in vacation," lightly noted Basso, dressed in a dark blue shirt with the Discovery Channel logo. "After many month difficulties, this is a relaxed start and with a new team. It gives me great sense of security. Now I will be able to face the objectives that I was not able to face this year [2006]."

Lance Armstrong, the team's ex-leader, originally announced Basso's arrival to the team on November 8, saying "It's done". With the Italian, the team had signed a bonafide winner of the Tour de France; Basso had finish third in 2004 and second in 2005 edition. "[The team] always gave me respect. It felt right to join Discovery Channel. I have the guarantees to win the races that I want win. I wanted to sign with them back when Armstrong was on the team, but for other reasons I stayed with CSC and continued my work with Riis.

Read the complete Ivan Basso back on the road - with Discovery Channel news feature.

Ridley's big day out

Chris Horner in the Corvette
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Earlier this year, the Ridley bike company hosted a day for riders and media to get together at Belgum's Zolder, the famed race track that claimed the life of Gilles Villeneuve, posting in a couple of laps in race cars in addition to a short time trial. Shane Stokes was a late substitution for Cyclingnews, and here he gives an account of what was an unusual, but extremely interesting, day on the track.

The two may be entirely unconnected, but back in April the high speeds reached at the Ridley riders/media day at the 41 year-old circuit appeared to have transferred to both the Davitamon-Lotto and teams.

Davitamon-Lotto had come under fire in their home media after a somewhat disappointing spring campaign. However, a matter of days after they had hurtled around the circuit, both Chris Horner and Cadel Evans won stages in the prestigious Tour of Romandie. Robbie McEwen missed the day at Zolder but he too topped the podium, taking the first road stage of the race. Best of all, Evans’ stage victory saw him blitz the field in the concluding time trial, seizing the yellow jersey from the shoulders of previous leader Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros-Wurth) with a high-octane display.

Read the complete Ridley Trophy article.

87th Volta a Catalunya parcours

The Volta a Catalunya organizer has announced the parcours of its 2007 race. For the 87th edition, held from May 21 to 27, the "Volta" will take travel outside of Catalunya to visit Andorra for two stages.

Thursday, May 24, will be the queen stage; taking the peloton to the ski resort of Vallnord-Arinsal. For the first time the race will tackle the Alt del Port, followed by the Sierra del Cadi, Port del Solsones, Port del Compte, la Comella and la Massana, before finishing on the Vallnord-Arinsal. The climb tops out at 1,950 metres, with an average gradient of 9%.

Friday, May 25, a mountain time trial will be held to Arcalís. It will be the same parcours that were used in 2005 when Iñigo Cuesta won for Saunier Duval-Prodir.

Of note is the clashing of two ProTour events; the Volta a Catalunya will be contested while in Italy the Giro is being raced. This has been the case for the last two years (2005 and 2006), causing teams to be spread thin.

Landis regaining fitness

By Shane Stokes

Back from his new team Phonak’s training camp
Photo ©: Jonathan Devich/CN
Click for larger image

Although Floyd Landis must wait a few more weeks before he finds out if he will be able to race competitively in 2007 or not, it appears that his physical condition is fast returning after his hip replacement operation on September 17th.

The American rider is now back to regular training and one week ago, he and his personal physician Dr. Brent Kay took part in a Sunday group ride north of Los Angeles. "Over 60 miles, nearly four hours and 4500 feet of climbing - this was to be Floyd's longest, most difficult training ride yet," Kay wrote on

"Like a true professional, Floyd had a perfect 'day at the office.' The ride was beautiful, first heading southwest to the coast, winding down the Pacific Coast Highway before turning up the famous Yerba Buena Road. Yerba Buena is a very tough climb. It is almost eight miles of climbing at varied gradients. Decent pavement and scenic views are the reward as you climb. The descent that followed was another illustration of how confident Floyd is with his new hip. He literally flew down the mountain. If you didn't know it, you'd be hard-pressed to believe that Floyd was on crutches about a month ago."

Kay provided PowerTap data from the ride and it shows that Landis is quickly returning to decent physical condition. He averaged 250 watts for the 3 hours and 48 minutes ride, maintaining 380w on the Yerba Buena climb. His max wattage there was 500w.

"Floyd is now at the point where he has no physical limitations related to his hip," Kay continued. "Soft-tissue healing continues as the muscular strength in the area returns. He still has some work to do on his flexibility and range of motion and has specific drills for this, but most of his continuing rehab work will be on the bike. On the bike, his training hours will be going up. Looking ahead, there are many of his regular training routes that he will be working towards revisiting.

"It's been very cool to see Floyd get some bike time with the new hip. Not only because it symbolizes Floyd resuming his training but also because we have one of the greatest athletes in the world who now has addressed a physical issue that had been limiting his potential. With his new and improved hip we have yet to see the best performances from Floyd."

In early 2007 Landis faces a USADA hearing relating to his positive test for testosterone from this year's Tour de France. The outcome of that will determine whether or not he keeps his Tour title and is able to compete again next season. If Landis is found guilty, he faces a two year ban from the sport plus a further two year ban from competing with a ProTour team. He has the right to appeal any such decision to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Northern Rock Cyclone festival

Big time cycling returns again to the northeast of UK in 2007 with the launch of the Northern Rock Cyclone festival of cycling, held over the weekend of June 15 to 17. Peter Harrison, the organizer Newcastle Leazes Criteriums last June, is very happy to announce that the event in 2007 will be expanded into a whole weekend of cycle events due to a sponsorship deal with Northern Rock, which secures the event for the next three years.

Secondary sponsorships have also been secured with Ultimate Pursuits/Shimano, Newcastle City Council, Jennings and SIS. There are also partnerships with Northumberland County Council, Air Cadets, Newcastle University and other organisations all of whom will ensure that the whole weekend flows smoothly.

The weekend starts with the successful formula of 2006 with Criterium racing for all ages and abilities in Leazes Park, Newcastle. The prize fund for the elite category race is being increased for 2007 to ensure that it remains a rich evening. There will be refreshments, trade stands and music plus commentary on the racing from Mike Smith, the Eurosport Commentator. The youth races were one of the early evening highlights in 2006, and the organiser is expecting an increase in entries for 2007.

On Saturday morning the whole event moves to Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, Kingston Park on the outskirts of Newcastle. This will be the start and finish for three rides of 31 miles, 62 miles and 100 miles that designed to suite all ages and abilities. Included in the days events will be a "Go ride" event organised by coaches from British Cycling and Newcastle City Council. This will be a skills competition for all ages and it is hoped there will be an inter schools competition with a trophy awarded to the winning school.

The finale of the whole weekend's events will be the Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar road race based 11 miles from Newcastle City Centre, in the village of Stamfordham. The cream of British riders will contest a race of 105 miles, with 3 primes and 5 hot spot sprints throughout the race. The first three circuits include the ascent of the Ryals, just outside Ryal village, before going onto a smaller finishing circuit. In total the race will pass through the start and finish of Stamfordham six times.

The prize fund is expected to be in excess of £6000.

Details of the whole weekend can be found on including entry forms, news, maps and local information about the event.

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