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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 22, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

Levi Leipheimer's Tour of California diary - An overwhelming day

Stage 1 - February 20: Sausalito to Santa Rosa, 129.1km

An emotional day
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
(Click for larger image)

Today was such a big day! I can't even describe it... I don't know what to say. We've got this huge race here in America which comes through my home town, with one of the best pelotons in the world - eight Pro Tour teams that compete in races like the Tour de France and riders who compete in all the big races are here. We've got guys like Gilberto Simoni, Paolo Savoldelli and Michael Rogers - it's an amazing peloton, and for me to come into my home town and lead the race is just fantastic. It's indescribable.

When I got on the podium I just didn't know what to say; normally I don't have a problem speaking but today I was a little bit overwhelmed to see all the people standing there cheering me on - it was unbelievable.

I told my team-mates today that the finishing circuits were technical, and I just wanted to stay among the first 10 riders at all times; I think we ended up being in the first five at all times. The circuit wasn't actually too bad - it turned out to be not as tight and technical as I thought it would be. It was a big day for me and the team today. They were really motivated and they saw that I was motivated after winning the prologue - any bike rider knows how special it is to lead a big race into their home town, and as such the guys were very committed to making that happen today.

Click here to read the full diary entry

Stage 1 wrap up: Homecoming for Leipheimer, Haedo wins big

Levi retains overall lead as new team notches big first win

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Santa Rosa

Juan Jose Haedo (Toyota-United Pro)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Jaun Jose Haedo (Toyota-United) has taken the first stage of the Tour of California, excited at securing the first win for his newly created team, as well as the sprinter's jersey. "I won a couple of big races last year, but I guess this is a bigger one," said Haedo after the finish. "And it's the first win for the Toyota-United team in our second race of the year. I am so happy and want to thank all of the guys." His sprint win was even more impressive as he easily put a three bike-length gap between him and second place Stuart O'Grady (CSC). "It was pretty chaotic," O'Grady said of the finishing circuits.

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) was emotional on the podium today - understandably, as he rode into his hometown wearing the leader's jersey. Even better, he got to keep it. "I think the guys had to work pretty hard," Leipheimer said after the race. "It was pretty fast, a lot of attacks at the end and of course the circuits are pretty difficult. They did a great job. It wasn't a long stage but they had to ride pretty fast. I won the prologue, but they made it possible for me to wear the leader's jersey in my hometown."

Also see: Full results, report & photos, Live report, Main, Stages & results, Map, Start list, Photos.

Hondo defends suspended biathlete

Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva was stripped of her silver medal, thrown out of the winter Olympics and banned for two years, because she was found to have tested positive for Carphedon, a name unfortunately familiar to cycling fans. Sprinter Danilo Hondo, also suspended because of testing positive for the drug, has issued an emotional statement in support of Pyleva. Hondo blames the World Anti-Doping Authority itself for Pyleva's positive, saying the case, "could have been prevented, if the WADA would really fulfil its role in the fight against doping."

According to Hondo, "there is no drug with the name Carphedon. It would be more appropriate to say the chemical formula 4-Phenylpiracetam or the Russian product name Phenotropil." In the ruling on his case, Hondo says the Court of Arbitration for Sport, "URGENTLY told the WADA to correct the doping list in order to eliminate uncertainty and confusion -- but the WADA didn't feel this was necessary, even though they are interested in protecting athletes!"

Hondo also criticised the speed and manner in which Pyleva's case was conducted, saying, "The athlete is made responsible for everything. He has no more rights, the anti-doping organisations don't make any mistakes -- all in the interest of the Olympic spirit."

Three unfit to start Valenciana

Three Spanish riders with the 3 Molinos Resort team were declared unfit to start yesterday's first stage of the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana Calpe, Spain. Rafael Casero and Alberto Benito were found by UCI officials to have haematocrit levels above the permitted maximum of 50 percent, while Antonio Tauler had a too low reticulocyte count.

A haematocrit level above 50 percent is considered suggestive of blood manipulation, but does not constitute proof. Riders are not permitted to race for two weeks after returning a test above 50 percent.

T-Mobile ready for classics openers

T-Mobile's classics specialists Andreas Klier and Steffen Wesemann will get their first real form test under race conditions for the spring classics with Belgian half-classics Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this weekend (February 25 and 26). T-Mobile sport and technical director Mario Kummer expects his riders to "ride at the front and control the race tempo", adding that, "These race are an important indicator of how the rest of the classics season is likely to pan out."

Lorenzo Bernucci, Daniele Nardello, Sergey Ivanov and young talent Marcus Burghart will also spearhead T-Mobile's classics campaign, with Burghart showing solid form at the Ruta del Sol and Volta ao Algarve. Stephan Schreck and Jörg Ludewig round out the T-Mobile crew for this weekend's racing, and T-Mobile sporting director Valerio Piva rates Saturday's Het Volk as a particularly good indication of what's in store for the classics. "The demanding Muur and Oude Kwaremont climbs also feature in the Tour of Flanders and are sure to shake things up in the field," he said before adding, "Rain, cold, snow - the race is a real test of strength. There is nowhere to hide and it shows who has worked the hardest in training."

T-Mobile's line-up for Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Andreas Klier, Steffen Wesemann, Lorenzo Bernucci, Daniele Nardello, Sergey Ivanov, Marcus Burghart, Stephan Schreck, Jörg Ludewig. Directeur sportif: Valerio Piva

German champ Ciolek turns pro

German road champion Gerald Ciolek has turned pro. Team Wiesenhof-Akud announced that the 19-year-old has finished his educational training at Ford Motor Company and can devote himself to riding full-time. "Ever since I won the title, the staff at Ford knew that I was a cyclist," said Ciolek. "They made it easy for me to ride stage races and to train, but they didn't cut me too much slack, especially when it came to exams." Ciolek, who is now attending a training camp in Mallorca and preparing himself for his first race of the season, Het Volk, said he's happy to have successfully completed his education. "Now my head is free and I can finally devote all my passion to cycling."

Milram for Le Samyn and West Vlaanderen

The Milram team has announced its riders for h 'Le Samyn' (March 1) and the Record-Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen (March 3-5). For both events, the team will field Volodymyr Dyudya, Matej Jurco, Carlo Scognamiglio, Dennis Haueisen, Ralf Grabsch, Martin Muller, Fabio Sabatini, and Maxim Iglinskiy. Directeur sportif will be Jan Schaffrath

Kona Les Gets mountain bikers ready for another year

The Kona - Les gets mountain bike team has announced a 2006 roster that's largely unchanged from its successful 2005 squad. The team stars top downhiller Fabien Barel, the reigning world, European and French champion, and world number one female downhiller Tracy Moseley. Kona-Les Gets is known on the cross-country and cyclocross circuits for its tall trees pairing of Barry Wicks, and Ryan Trebon and they will again be joined by Kris Sneddon with Kamil Tatarkovic covering the four-cross category.

The team will focus on the World Cup and NORBA races, with appearances at other major events through the season, starting with the Sea Otter Classic.

Cycling features at Australian Sports Awards

Reflecting the growing prominence of cycling in Australia, the country’s leading riders plus cycling teams, media and events have been nominated in nine categories for tonight's Australian Sports Awards in Sydney (February 22).

Nominations have been achieved in the following categories: Female athlete of the Year (Oenone Wood), International team of the Year (Australian World Road Championship Team), Male athlete of the Year (Robbie McEwen), Masters athlete of the Year (Peter Barnard), Sports Media Award (Gennie Sheer), Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability (Chris Scott), Sports Tourism Award (Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under), Young Australian male athlete of the Year (Amiel Cavalier) and Young Australian team of the Year (Australian Junior Men’s Downhill Team)

SBS will broadcast the awards ceremony from 10pm (AEDST). For further information on the awards go to: www.australiansportawards.com.au.

International flavour for Clarence St Cup

This weekend's Clarence Street Cyclery Cup will have an international feel as riders from the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan line up for a final hit-out ahead of the following weekend's Sydney round of the track World Cup. And with just weeks to go to the Commonwealth Games, riders from Britain and New Zealand are also on Sydney for the two events, as they put the finishing touches to their build-ups for Melbourne.

The Netherlands will be represented by Nikki Terpstra, Geert Jan Jonkman and Jens Mouris. The Danish contingent comprises Daniel Kreutzfeld, Michael Christensen, Alex Rasmussen, Michael Morkov, Jens Madsen and Casper Jorgensen, while three of the British women's team for the Commonwealth Games will take on leading local riders including Australian representative Sky-Lee Armstrong.

New Zealand keirin champion Nathan Seddon will clash with four-times national champion Ben Kersten in at least four events.

Cyclingnews' WAP service delivers the Tour of California and more

As the Tour of California winds its way south from the San Francisco Bay area to the greater Los Angeles area, cycling fans don't have to miss the action thanks to Cyclingnews' free WAP service.

Just go to live.cyclingnews.com/wap on your handheld device or WAP-enabled phone and you can follow all the action of the 2006 Tour of California.

Cyclingnews publisher Gerard Knapp explained how the WAP service allows users to follow all the action. "All efforts have been made to ensure our Cyclingnews WAP service works really well, and after a lot of testing and research, we know it's far superior to SMS updates - we're the only web site in the world offering a free WAP service. Anyone with a WAP compatible handset or handheld device can get our WAP service link and watch live coverage free of charge from CN, although users may require a data package/browsing rate from their mobile phone company."

Any of Cyclingnews' live coverage can be followed via this free service.

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