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First Edition Cycling News for December 30, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Friedman sidelined with blood abnormality

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Mike Friedman
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Up and coming racer Mike Friedman, who races for Jonathan Vaughters' Slipstream-Chipotle team (previously TIAA-CREF) was recently diagnosed with a rare blood condition that will keep him from racing for the first half of the 2007 season. The condition, called Factor 5 Leiden, is a genetic variation present in about five percent of the population that causes hypercoagulability, which means the blood clots at a higher rate than normal. Friedman discovered this recently following a surgery to remove two saddle sores.

"I had surgery for a saddle sore this fall and formed a clot in my leg a few days later I was driving a long time home," Friedman told Cyclingnews. "A few days later I was out riding and the clot passed into my lung. I had to check myself into the hospital because I couldn't even breath. I had a pulmonary embolism! It seems crazy to be a 24 year old endurance athlete to develop a blood clot, and the first thing everyone jumps to is, 'he must be on drugs!' I don't even take a multivitamin, so it's hard to deal with that."

While in the hospital testing revealed the genetic variation, showing that one of the two genes involved is abnormal. "It goes back 40,000 years when it was better to have your blood clot easily, like when there were saber tooth tigers around," said Friedman. "Long story short I have to go onto anti-coagulants for six months, which means I can't race. Because I am on the meds it is dangerous to race in case I crash."

Upon hearing this from his doctor, Friedman worried for his upcoming season and future in cycling. But Vaughters and USA Cycling, where Friedman trains at the Olympic training center, have stood by their commitments to him. "It's a great thing that USA Cycling and Jonathan have showed a lot of faith in me," said Friedman. "They aren't kicking me out of the OTC, enabling me to attend school, and I'm still on the team. I was really scared that I was going to get fired and kicked out because they wouldn't want to deal with this - just say, 'Go home and get better, then come back.' It really made me cry, to know they are behind me like that. I owe everything I have to the team and the environment from this past year."

In some ways his six months from racing could have some positive outcomes. "I'll be able to train soon and I'll be back at the Olympic training center. I'll attend school this semester to get some of that out of the way. I think I might be able to come out of this with a different body style, by training at such a low intensity I'll be much leaner."

If nothing else, this experience will further ensure Friedman will never take his health for granted. "I went from being able to race for six or seven hours to not even being able to walk. That scares the shit out of you!"

No Armstrong for Leadville Trail 100

Armstrong in NYC marathon
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Thursday, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong announced that he has no intention of taking part in the Leadville Trail 100 on August 11, 2007.

"Lance had a scheduling conflict come up and he regrettably cannot participate in the event," commented Armstrong's manager Mark Higgins to

Earlier this month it was speculated that the Texan would take part in the 100-mile endurance event in Leadville, Colorado. The race received even bigger headlines when it was announced that Floyd Landis accepted an invitation to compete in the event; creating a "Landis vs. Armstrong" billing.

Landis also may have problems racing. Depending on the classification of the race, the organiser could be forced to reject the American. This last July, he tested positive for testosterone in stage 17 of the Tour, and depending on United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) hearings in early 2007, he may be facing a ban from the sport of cycling. (Complete Landis coverage.)

Nonetheless, the Leadville Trail 100 should be an exciting race, with approximately 14,000 feet (4,267m) of elevation gain. Organisers will accept registrations from January 3-31, 2007. A lottery will then select participants from the entries received. Typically, 750 racers start and about 500-600 finish.

Czech giant on the way up

Petr Dlask takes on good world cup result to move up in the UCI-rankings

Peter Dlask in Hofstade
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
Click for larger image

There was a new face on the podium of the world cup event in Hofstade - Czech giant Petr Dlask. The 30 year-old had a terrible start of the season where he just couldn’t deliver any decent results, but is beginning to find his good form. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwe spoke to the Fidea Cycling Team rider after the race.

Petr Dlask, the Czech cyclo-cross champion, lives near Loenhout, Belgium - a centrally-located hotbed of UCI 'cross racing where the GvA-trophy holds its fifth event on Thursday. It seems like the perfect place to camp for the season. But after a string of disappointing results in October and November, Dlask decided to return to the Czech Republic for a while.

"I expected this season to be just as good as last year, but for some reason the results didn’t come. Mentally it started to be difficult and that’s why I returned to the Czech Republic. Even though my wife and child are staying with me in Belgium, I’m 30 years-old and it’s a bit harder for me to acclimate to the Belgian habits than it is for my younger compatriots like Stybar and Simunek," Dlask explained.

"At home, I have my whole family around me and I can train in the mountains" he continued, "I don’t like to train beside the flat canals in Belgium." The mountain training must have done Dlask a world of good, because last week, the results finally started to come. Dlask took a solid third place in Veghel-Eerde and a very strong second place in Hofstade behind world champion Erwin Vervecken.

"I hope this means a comeback for me; I’m currently 26th in the UCI-rankings and I hope to get back to the top five or at least top ten before the end of the season," Dlask said.

Read the complete Dlask interview.

Catching up with the stars

By John Michael Flynn in Launceston

Ben Kersten was hoping to add
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Where are the scratchies? One of the biggest questions arising out of the Tasmanian Christmas carnivals is, what has happened to the scratch markers? While Ben Kersten has been a standout with his diehard efforts from the back marks over the first three days of the carnival - those who know the sport best are concerned at the lack of quality in the back end of the fields.

When Cyclingnews bumped into Australian cycling great Danny Clark at a Lanceston Café this morning, he described the situation as "disappointing", but also reserved praise for the young riders at the carnival, in particular Perth's Meyer brothers.

The lack of quality scratch markers has created nightmares for the race handicapper - and last night was perhaps the best example, with none of the scratchmarkers making the final of the Launceston Wheelrace. "We've had a talk to the race handicapper and he might look at putting a few more scratchies together in the heats at Devonport," Clark said.

Read the full Catching up with the stars feature.

Mancebo and Hruska reinforce Relax-GAM

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Francisco Mancebo and Jan Hruska are both close to reaching a contractual agreement with the professional continental team of Relax-GAM. Both riders will meet with the Spanish team during the next days for signing.

Mancebo joined Ag2R Prévoyance at the beginning of 2006 but his season was cut short when he was linked with Operación Puerto. In late October, after a decision by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) to drop the disciplinary files opened, the 30 year-old was free to return to racing and search for a new team.

In May, before the first stage of the Volta a Catalunya, Hruska was declared to be unfit to race. The Czech rider, then with 3 Molinos Resort, was forced to stop racing for two weeks according to UCI rules.

Relax-GAM has already signed other riders such as Santiago Pérez, who tested positive for blood transfusions in the 2004 Vuelta a Espańa, and Julián Sánchez Pimienta, formerly with Comunidad Valenciana. With these riders the team hopes to build its chances of participation in the 2007 Vuelta, after having obtained a 'wild-card' last edition.

The 2007 Relax-GAM team will be presented in January in Huelva (south of Spain).

Papŕ Masciarelli confirms 2007 Acqua & Sapone

Vandenbroucke in Acqua e Sapone colours
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 team of Palmiro Masciarelli, Acqua & Sapone, has been confirmed with 18 riders, three of which are his sons. After Andrea and Simone, Francesco Masciarelli joined the professional ranks this last fall, riding along side his two brothers. All three Pescara boys will be under the guidance of their dad, Palmiro, famous gregario of Francesco Moser.

The Italian pro-continental team is a strong force, winning 13 races in 2006, and for 2007 they have even higher hopes after adding Italian Stefano Garzelli and Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke. The latter, has in fact been quasi-adopted by the Masciarelli family; Vandenbroucke has been living in their home in Abruzzo for the last month.

"He was here and lived in a hotel. He would eat with us and after he never wanted to leave," said Palmiro to La Gazzetta dello Sport regarding Vandenbroucke, who normally resides in northern Italy, near Milano. "The house is large; Simone and Francesco are married... Frank fixed himself here with the family.

"It is the best way to know a person, to see their personality. ... Frank is calm, relaxed. They said he was an alcoholic but he never drinks over a glass of wine with dinner. Liquor? He never wants."

Palmiro described his three sons, Simone, 26 years-old, Andrea, 24, and Francesco, 20. Simone is "a fast, all-around rider; a rider for the classics," continued Palmiro to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "You know who is his idol was? Vandenbroucke." Andrea? "He is the hardest of the family; he will never complain. He is also the most irritable. He is a climber who needs hot temperatures." Francesco? "20 year-old but already married. He is strong in the climbs but also pretty fast. I see him adapted for stage races."

The team will meet for its next camp January 10 to 20 in Cecina (Toscana). Their first race of the season will be GP Etruschi, with Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo being the "first big objectives. The participation in the Giro is the big dream and the big hope," concluded Palmiro.

2007 roster

Returning riders:
Andrea Masciarelli
Alessandro Donati
Alexandr Arekeev
Andrea Rossi
Frank Vandenbroucke
Gabriele Balducci
Giuseppe Palumbo
Simone Masciarelli
Stefano Cavallari

New signings:
Dario Andriotto
Giuseppe Muraglia
Massimo Codol
Stefano Garzelli

Andrei Kunitski
Aurélien Passeron
Branislau Samoilau
Francesco Di Paolo
Francesco Masciarelli

Basso receives 40th Premio Sport

Friday, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, Ivan Basso, received the 40th Premio Sport from the city of Camaiore (near Lucca, Toscana). The Italian from Varese was presented with a bronze sculpture by Enrico Morelli.

In attendance were Alfredo Martini, his successor Franco Ballerini, Alessandro Petacchi (last winner of the Premio Sport), Francesco Chicchi, Michele Bartoli and Andrea Tafi. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Basso will remain in Toscana until the New Year; like last year, he will stay and train near Pisa with Bartoli.

Cycling Ireland role for Evans

By Shane Stokes

Former Irish international Tommy Evans has confirmed that he will take up a new role with Cycling Ireland, acting as Talent Identification and Development Officer from January 2nd.

Evans won the FBD Milk Rás in 1996, has been national champion for both road race and time trial and has been one of the most respected international competitors in recent years. He narrowly missed out on a Rás stage win this year but made up for that when he briefly held the yellow jersey and finished 5th overall.

"I am very happy to get this new role," he said in recent days. "I will be working alongside [High Performance Director] Frank Campbell and Brian Nugent, the youth development officer. 50% of my job will be to do with talent identification and 50% will be to do with development. I will be working with the likes of under 14 teams upwards, probably from there to junior level. We will be dealing with what we already have at the minute, and then looking for talent beyond that.

"The role will be based throughout Ireland, but probably starting off in the North because we have the youth development officer here. I am going to need his assistance because we will be going to schools and other places."

Evans said that there will be clear steps for him and Nugent to take together in order to boost the grassroots level and thus improve the chances of more professionals coming through in future years. "We will be doing a few things. First of all, we have the kids who are already out there winning races so we will start to work more closely with them. Then we want to identify the kids that are racing well at present, the ones who are going like motorbikes but haven't come to full notice. The stage after that will be looking for the kids that aren't yet involved in cycling, trying to get them involved."

Evans is likely to visit the Sean Kelly Academy during the season, Irish cycling’s overseas base in Belgium, and says that there has been talk of him training the Youth Olympic team there. He feels that with his experience, he can increase the chances of young riders making it to a high level in the sport. "I have made mistakes the hard way over the years, so I will certainly advise them on things that can help. There are also so many more scientific developments than was the case before and people can make real use of this.

"They were not available when I was young... if they had been, everything could have been different. Now they have all those tests. During my career I have used every scientific method available and am pretty up to speed on that."

Evans will be giving direct guidance to the young riders and also to others in the sport. "The idea is that I will be doing some coaching as well. I have been doing some prior to this, but it will now be part of my job. I think it will be more or less trying to get a system in place... coaching coaches possibly, not just riders.

Southern Nevada stage race develops

Starting 2007 racing in North America will be the Southern Nevada Stage Race, January 26 - 28. Formerly know as Nelsons Landing, the race utilizes a new six-mile road race circuit which climbs 775 feet (236m) per lap.

The road race was changed due to the growth of this event and the tight nature of the old course. The parcours is located in the beautiful Anthem, Sun City residential area of Henderson, which is southeast of Las Vegas.

The time trial course was changed back to the 20km Underground course formerly used in Nelsons Landing. This moderately flat course now offers something for everyone and is said to be "ideal for all aero equipment." The criterium course will remain unchanged from 2006. There will be several time bonuses given during the criterium that will keep the overall classification uncertain until very end.

The scoring company has also been changed which will hopefully mean faster publishing time for results. Organisers hope that with these modifications their event will grow into one of the premier regional stage races. For more information see

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)

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