Latest Edition Cycling News for February 1, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones & Les Clarke
Gerrans could miss Commonwealth Games
By Les Clarke
Following a crash at the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise on January 31, AG2R's Australian rider Simon Gerrans may miss the Commonwealth Games through injuries sustained in the accident. Gerrans, whose overall victory in the recent Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under made him a favourite to represent Australia in the men's road race at the Games in Melbourne, to be held from March 15-26.
A full update on Gerrans' condition is expected later today, said AG2R spokeswoman Magalie Lavenu, but after fracturing his left collarbone, rupturing his acromioclavicular ligaments and sustaining head injuries that required several stitches, Gerrans may miss up to five weeks of racing, according to initial medical reports from the hospital in Nice where he's staying.
According to the latest Cycling Australia release, Gerrans said, "I remember sitting in second wheel with 300 metres to go and that's the last thing I remembe.
"I hadn't even kicked off the wheel or anything and then there I am in the back of an ambulance. I wouldn't mind asking some of the guys who were around me what happened because I have no idea," he said.
"I have definitely broken my left collar bone and it seems I have some damage to the ligaments in my right shoulder," he said. Gerrans who also needed stitches in his head, but, "My head's as hard as nails so that's not a concern.
"I will see the specialist later today to try and resolve the mystery of my right shoulder injury." Gerrans is hopeful surgery to pin his left collar bone will be the worst of it but admits he won't know anything more until the specialist has a look at him.
"Maybe my right shoulder will just need strapping and the ideal scenario would be that I'm back on the home trainer within a week or so and back to racing as soon as possible," he said. "The team will need to adjust my racing program now as well because I was due to line up in the Tour of the Mediterranean next week and that's not going to happen."
The injuries would put him out of the running for a Games berth; and with Australian team selections submitted to Cycling Australia for approval today, changes may be forced to occur before the team is even announced.
Santa Rosa and Leipheimer looking forward to Tour of California
By Odessa Gunn in Santa Rosa
Leipheimer, who was described by Mayor Jane Bender as the 'Hometown Hero'. described the TOC as a miniature Tour De France. "It has the climbs, the long stages, the weather and the time trials," said Leipheimer, who noted that although this is the best shape he's ever been in at this time of the year, he's not in Tour de France form just yet. "It's early in the season and this will be my first race." When asked who his race favourite will be for the TOC, Leipheimer tipped time trial specialist David Zabriskie.
Mayor Jane Bender spoke of the impact the race will have on the city of Santa Rosa and how much the city is looking forward to an opportunity to celebrate as a community. "This race is a chance for Santa Rosa to show off the gorgeous roads we have for premier cycling. Santa Rosa is the place to cycle."
Bob Colarrasi, the managing director of the Amgen Tour of California made one point very clear. The Tour of California is first of all, for the athletes. Colarrasi stressed the importance of the athletes having a great experience racing in California. He and the other organizers are rolling out the red carpet for sixteen of the finest cycling teams in the World.
The Tour of California will run from February 19-26, starting in San Francisco and finishing in Redondo Beach.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Odessa Gunn
Getting things rolling in February
After a winter break and some racing for those in the southern hemisphere, the European and US racing circuits get back into the swing of things during February. By the end of the month it's time for the classics [and the pain] to begin in Belgium as the season begins to take shape. Les Clarke takes a look at the racing highlights of February.
In France the season opens with GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise on January 31, followed the next day by Etoile de Bessèges, held from February 1-5. This normally attracts the cream of French cycling - riders such as Christophe Moreau, Patrice Halgand, Jean-Patrick Nazon and Sylvain Chavanel make the trip to open proceedings for the year, with last year's race won by La Française des Jeux's Freddy Bichot. Against the likes of Tom Steels, Jens Voigt and veteran Jaan Kirsipuu, a win is very sought after. Look for young pros out to make a name for themselves early in the season to remind the old hands they'll have to be on top of their game during the year.
Nature Valley Grand Prix schedule released
The schedule for the 2006 Nature Valley Grand Prix has been released, with organisers expecting even more interest from competitors and fans than in 2005, when the event hosted more than 300 national and international competitors and drew more than 50,000 spectators.
Nature Valley Grand Prix 2006 schedule:
June 14: Saint Paul Riverfront time trial
"The 2006 schedule has been designed to increase competition for the leaders' jerseys," said race director David LaPorte. "Last year's time trial was won by US national champion Chris Baldwin, and we expect to host national, world and Olympic cycling champions again this year." Past competitors in the Nature Valley Grand Prix have included 2005 pursuit world champion Katie Mactier of Australia, and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Marty Nothstein.
Eddy Merckx bikes for Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada
Gita Sporting Goods announced today that the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada cycling team will be racing on Eddy Merckx bicycles in 2006, marking the return of the brand to US Professional peloton. Merckx's bikes were last raced professionally in the US by the Motorola team in the 1990's.
Speaking about the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada programme, Merckx himself said, "I'm very excited about having a top US team on our bikes again. We have been looking to develop a relationship with a US team for some time now but wanted to make sure it was a good team and a good organisation. With Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada we have found the right partner."
The team will be aboard Merckx's Premium model, a full scandium aluminum bike made with a special edition Easton Flare tube set. Having taken delivery of their race bikes at the team's training camp, which starts on February 5 in Sonoma, California, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada will debut the new machines at the Amgen Tour of California. According to team member Dan Schmatz, "I've been on a Merckx for about a month now and it's the best transition to a new bike I have ever had. After the first ride, it felt like I had been on it for years."
TEAm Lipton to the Daytona 500
TEAm Lipton will kick off the season on February 19 on a track more familiar to four-wheeled vehicles than two-the Daytona 500. TEAm Lipton will be participating in trackside events with Kasey Kahne, driver of the Evernham Motorsports Dodge. TEAm Lipton riders will be in the FanZone leading up to the Daytona 500 and take part in the celebratory parade lap prior to the start of the Daytona 500 on.
TEAm Lipton riders Kristin Armstrong and Grace Fleury spent the day with Kasey Kahne recently at the Everham Motorsports training centre in North Carolina.
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Images by Team Lipton
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)