First Edition Cycling News for February 16, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
CSC and Phonak announce Tour of California rosters
On Tuesday, February 14, at the training camp in Solvang, California, Team CSC announced the names of the eight riders who will compete in the inaugural Tour of California.
The international squad includes: Lars Bak (Denmark), Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), Bobby Julich (USA), Karsten Kroon (Holland), Stuart O'Grady (Australia), Christian Vande Velde (USA), Jens Voigt (Germany) and David Zabriskie (USA).
Bjarne Riis, owner and manager of Team CSC, also announced the squad's great ambitions for the UCI-rated 2.1 stage race from February 19-26. "I'm sending a very motivated group of riders who can win the Tour of California," Riis said. "And since the race finishes in Southern California, near the headquarters of CSC, our title sponsor, it's a race we'd clearly love to win."
Swiss team Phonak has also communicated its rider line-up for the American stage race. Team managers John Lelangue and René Savary will take the following riders: Martin Elmiger, Robert Hunter, Nicolas Jalabert, Floyd Landis, Patrick McCarty, Alexandre Moos, Miguel A. Perdiguero and Steve Zampieri.
Wind tunnel tests for Phonak
As the event approaches, the Phonak Team is busy conducting tests in a wind tunnel in San Diego - a first for the outfit. Several tests have already been carried out in the so-called low-speed wind tunnel, and over the course of three days Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero and Miguel Angel Perdiguero will be pedalling against the wind.
Particular focus will be laid on seating positions and components like clothing and helmets. The team leaders Landis, Botero and Perdiguero might not be the only Phonak riders to be examined in this way. "It’s possible that we’ll test with the other time-trial specialists in the wind tunnel, too," said René Savary.
Cavendish confident after near-misses
By Shane Stokes
The world Madison champion had previously showed his road speed against the professionals in races such as the Tour of Britain, and finished sixth overall in the Langkawi points competition.
Cavendish showed his growing self-belief when he spoke to Cyclingnews after stage eight of the race. "It is quite good, I am quite consistent but it is so frustrating that this kind of thing could happen," he said. "My chain came off near the finish. It happened on the second-to-last corner. I wanted to be first around that because whoever did that would win it, but when I was going around my chain came off and my foot slipped out. I got going again and still finished second, but he [Hinault] was able to win the stage.
"I was pretty confident... I am the fastest sprinter here. I have known that from day one, but I just bottled it on a couple of stages. I am not used to people being at the same level as me in the sprints. I’ll do everything I can to win on Sunday - I have a great group of guys helping me out here [the Great Britain team] and like criteriums, so hopefully it will work out."
Torrential rain prevented that happening, but Cavendish will have further opportunities in 2006. Judging by how he has performed against the established professionals thus far, a big win isn’t far off for the Team Sparkasse rider.
Cavendish’s team-mates also impressed in Malaysia. Edward Clancy rode strongly in the mountains and the time trial, finishing 19th overall, while Russell Downing was second on stage seven of the race. Geraint Thomas and Matt Brammeier are, like Clancy and Cavendish, big hopes for the future and they too played a good part in the Malaysian Tour.
Shorter distance for 2006 Road World's?
The organising committee of the 2006 Road World Championships in Salzburg, Austria, have asked the International Cycling Union to be able to organise the men's elite road race on a shorter parcours than initially planned. The original distance being 280 kilometres, the secretary general of the Salzburg World's, Wolfgang Weiss, has asked Hein Verbruggen, former president of the International Cycling Union and now in the function of president of the IOC evaluation commission, to reduce the itinerary to 220 kilometres.
By shortening the distance, the organiser hopes that the event will become more exciting as participating teams will have to play their cards sooner in the race. At the press conference held last Monday, February 13 in Olympic Winter Games location Sestrière, UCI vice-president Verbruggen was also present, and promised to support the proposal within the World's governing body of cycling. The elite road race is scheduled for September 24, 2006.
Austrian cyclist 'Paco' Wrolich (Team Gerolsteiner) was also in favour of the idea. "A shorter distance will make the event more thrilling and attractive," Wrolich commented. "We participated in the Tour of Qatar recently, where the stages didn't exceed 140 or 150 kilometres - the racing was fast and exciting."
Rabobank for upcoming races
The Rabobank team has communicated its race schedule and rider selections for the next few weeks of the 2006 season start. For the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana in Spain, slated for February 21-25, the management announced the participation of the following riders: Michael Boogerd, Bram de Groot, Erik Dekker, Thomas Dekker, Juan Antonio Flecha, Grischa Niermann, Alexander Kolobnev and Jukka Vastaranta.
The next event will see the team back up in the North of Europe at the Omloop Het Volk (February 25): Jan Boven, Graeme Brown, Mathew Hayman, Marc Wauters, Niels Scheuneman, Joost Posthuma, Pedro Horrillo and Marc de Maar will represent the Dutch ProTeam in the first of the famous Belgian Classics.
At the same time, a second team roster will line-up in Spain at the Clasica de Almeria in Spain, scheduled for the very next day. Tour de France Mountains Jersey winner Michael Rasmussen is planned to make his return to racing at the event, alongside Theo Eltink, Jukka Vastaranta, Denis Menchov, Pieter Weening, Thorwald Veneberg and Alexander Kolobnev. The team will change only slightly for the following Spanish stage race, the Vuelta a Murcia from March 1-5, where Marc Wauters, Niels Scheuneman and Marc de Maar are appointed to replace Jukka Vastaranta and Alexander Kolobnev.
The 2006 season will then really get under way with ProTour stages races Paris-Nice (March 5-12) and Tirreno Adriatico (March 8-14), where two separate Rabobank rosters will line up as the events overlap. The French "race to the sun" will see Erik Dekker, Mathew Hayman, Jan Boven, Graeme Brown, Joost Posthuma, Grischa Niermann, Alexander Kolobnev and one other rider on its roads, whereas its Italian counterpart will welcome Thomas Dekker, Michael Boogerd, Oscar Freire, Juan Antonio Flecha, Pedro Horrillo, Bram de Groot, Marc Wauters and Thorwald Veneberg.
Next up will be the Italian one-day Classic Milano-Sanremo. Oscar Freire, Erik Dekker, Thomas Dekker, Juan Antonio Flecha, Pedro Horrillo, Bram de Groot, Marc Wauters and another rider yet to be determined will give their all on the hilly roads towards the race finish at the Via Roma.
Future Stars this weekend
Another generation of 'future stars' will be decided at the Manchester Velodrome this weekend in the culmination of the Revolution Future Stars competition, which has nurtured some of Britain’s most promising new talent with last season’s top riders making significant progress as part of British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme.
Steven Burke won the competition, but on paper the biggest success has been runner up Andy Tennant, who went on to take the individual pursuit title at the 2005 Junior World Championships. Tennant and Burke have also enjoyed success in the Team Pursuit taking silver at the Junior World Championships and winning the Junior European Championships. Both riders are now part of the elite field.
"The Future Stars racing provided the step up to the level I’m at now and my track skills have improved significantly over the last year," commented Burke. "It's a great experience to now be riding against so many world class riders and I’m learning from them all the time."
In its third year, the sponsorship of UK's Raleigh has made it possible to set up the competition for both girls and boys, giving more riders the chance to show their talent in a competitive arena. The first girls Future Stars competition has shown the strength of Welsh cycling, with the Welsh trio of Lucy Richards, Katie Curtis and Alex Greenfield in first, second and third places respectively.
"I think I have raced well, it hasn’t been easy and the racing was hard but I really enjoyed it," said Richards, who dominated the competition and looks set to take the first female title. "It’s good experience to race in front of a crowd like that - they really get behind you and support you, creating a great atmosphere. It's the biggest crowd I've ridden in front of; it's been fantastic."
In the boys competition, Peter Kennaugh provided an great display of racing and track skill. "I'm obviously delighted with my performance," commented Kennaugh. "Riding in front of thousands of people who pack the velodrome once a month for the Revolution series is an amazing experience, I don't even have to psyche myself up before the races because the crowd get me so fired up."
Kennaugh has strong ambitions for his career and believes the Future Stars competition is just the starting point for the Manx rider. "This year I will be riding with the Glendene CC team on the road, I will be racing in Belgium and competing in the Junior Buckly series, however my main goals this season are the World and European junior track champs with Great Britain."
The Future Stars will be part of Revolution 12. For more information, please go to www.cyclingrevolution.com.
Simoni's voice wakens coma girl
Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the voice of Gilberto Simoni made a young girl come out of a coma in which she had been for four months after an accident. The 'miracle' dates back to 2003 but the story only found its way to the press this week. The girl, Chiara, was hit by a car while she was out cycling with her brother. The boy died and Chiara did not regain consciousness until her parents decided to play an interview with Gilberto Simoni which they had taped after his Giro d'Italia victory in 2003. Reportedly, "Bebo" was the first word the girl spoke - the nickname that she gave her great idol.
Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland
McLane Pacific Cycling Classic lifts 8-rider limit
The 13th Annual McLane Pacific Cycling Classic is the first non-stage race of the year for the United States Cycling Federation National Racing Calendar, scheduled for Saturday, March 4.
Breaking with tradition, the seasoned planning committee initially implemented the suggested eight-man rider limit for participating teams. After further discussions with team directors, the MPCC committee has decided not to cap the maximum number of riders eligible to race from each team for this year's event.
At the Downtown Grand Prix, internationally acclaimed cyclists will race around a 0.8 mile circuit in Merced, 70 miles southwest of Yosemite National Park. On the next day, the Foothills Road Race will take place on a 24-mile rolling loop.
"I call it the 'wake up race' because it's like the alarm clock going off after a season of training," said Brian Sheedy of Priority Health Cycling Team. "It always hurts going to McLane because it's really fast."
In all, over 1200 riders are expected to try their luck in Merced this year, which has many other spectator-attracting events planned for that particular weekend.
For more information about the race, please visit www.mclanepacificcyclingclassic.com.
Rare bike stolen in Australia
Police are appealing for assistance to find a rare racing bicycle and accessories valued at AU$14,000 stolen from Fitzroy between Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29. The bike is one of six in Australia, and was stolen from the front showroom of Brunswick Street Cycles at 433 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
Police believe the offender or offenders who removed the bicycle from a display stand also took two performance racing rims suitable for this type of bike from another area of the store. The bike is described as a Leggera Piuma, full carbon fibre frame, dark grey in colour, full Shimano gears and brakes.
The wheels are Stratus - Clincher, black with logos.
Police are appealing for anyone who has information about the theft to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Richmond CIU on +61 3 8420 3677.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)