Latest Cycling News for February 23, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
Tour of California stage 3 wrap up
Landis takes a big chunk of time
Floyd Landis (Phonak) has vaulted into the lead in the Tour of California, after putting in a powerful performance in the 27.4 km stage 3 time trial in San José. Using his unconventional time trial bar angle, Landis beat several of the world's best testers to win the stage by 26 seconds over CSC's David Zabriskie, with Bobby Julich (CSC) third at 35 seconds. Overnight leader George Hincapie (Discovery) lost nearly a minute to finish fourth, while prologue winner Levi Leipheimer was 1'16 back in ninth.
The stage shook up the general classification, and put Landis in a relatively comfortable position with 29 seconds lead on GC to Zabriskie. However, he will likely face a tough challenge from the CSC team and others over the next few days.
"I wasn't expecting big time gaps," Landis said afterwards. "But twenty-six seconds is not as big in a race like this. I didn't know what the other times were in the race, so at the end I was a little surprised. But the guys in the front at the end were the guys I expected. Now we go forward from here and see what happens."
Levi Leipheimer diary: Everything catches up with you
Floyd was super fast today, although it was pretty unexpected - what Zabriskie and Bobby Julich did was to be expected, but it was a big day for Floyd. I didn't feel that great today and when I woke up I could feel I wasn't having my best day - I just didn't have any spark at all. Even after my warmup I just felt like I couldn't get going; and that, combined with the fact that the course at the end was very flat with a headwind made it very hard for me to match the bigger guys.
I gave it everything I had considering how I was feeling - I went 100 per cent and didn't back off at all, but it wasn't my best day and definitely not what I could do under normal circumstances. But on the other hand, I think in all fairness I couldn't have been as fast as Floyd today. I spoke to him at dinner, but there wasn't much to say other than congratulations on how fast he went...you know how it is. Of course I'm disappointed, and I don't think it was a matter of me making a mistake anywhere.
I guess the other day in Santa Rosa was so big for me; I was emotional, and I had a lot of things in my head so when I tried to sleep that night my head was racing - I couldn't really sleep. I think that caught up with me today - something that could happen to any of us! All it has to do is knock you off by a percent or two, and that's what happens...I was 30 seconds slower than what I should've been.
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Strong ride puts O'Neill in 5th
Nathan O'Neill (Health Net Presented by Maxxis) finished fifth in the time trial stage of the Tour of California, 56 seconds behind winner Floyd Landis (Phonak). The ride also elevated him from 18th to 5th overall. "I knew it would be decisive for the overall classification," said O'Neill, who is a seven-time and current Australian national time trial champion
"I had a pretty good ride today," O'Neill continued. "Given the level of talent here, it was about where I expected to be. It would've been a bit of a surprise to do better, but a disappointment to come in farther down. I'm never satisfied with fifth place, but taking everything into consideration, it was good.
"The wind was definitely a factor. The first part of the course was about power. With a block headwind for the last 12 km, the last part was about aerodynamics. I think my time in the wind tunnel in January helped out a bit today. It showed me some things I suspected and gave me more evidence of some small things that I needed to change. But those small changes, with a second here, a second there, add up after a while."
With Levi Leipheimer dropping down to 6th overall after his 9th place finish in the ITT, he now sits only two seconds behind O'Neill on GC. "I'm sure he'd like to finish top-five in his home state tour," O'Neill said. "It's definitely going to be on tomorrow. CSC will try to light it up, but I expect Phonak to take a lot of responsibility with Floyd in the lead. The race isn't over, but it's definitely getting narrowed down."
Health Net's guest rider, Scott Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, did a respectable 48 minutes for the course, 12 minutes behind the winning time. "I don't think my time is going to hold up for too long," he said afterward.
"I didn't get much of a warm-up in, so that first hill on Bailey Road was a bit tough," he said. "It took me until the last stretch coming up Santa Teresa to really get my legs cleared out and start feeling good."
Stewart leads the Kodakgallery.com charge
Two days after earning the Most Aggressive Rider prize in the Tour of California, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Jackson Stewart again spearheaded the team at the Amgen Tour of California, this time finishing 30th with a time of 38'27 in the 27.4 km individual time trial in San Jose, 2'29 behind stage winner and new overall leader Floyd Landis (Phonak).
A native of nearby Los Gatos, Stewart said, "I didn't expect to go that fast, but I know the course and I had Robin Zellner coaching me from the team car. I was planning just to use today's stage as a learning experience, but to get that kind of result is awesome for me."
Riding later in the day under windier conditions, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Ben Jacques-Maynes finished 43rd in 38'55. "I've ridden this course at least once a week on my time trial bike for the last few months, and I've never gone this fast," the San Jose resident said. "I was able to hit my peak wattage and keep it there, so I can't complain about my ride."
With the race moving on to central California for tomorrow's 210 km stage from Monterey to San Luis Obispo, Jacques-Maynes reflected on his performance in today's time trial and in a 100 km breakaway during yesterday's stage from Martinez to San Jose.
"There were people all along the course cheering for me yesterday and today," he said. "To have that kind of personal support makes me ride that much harder. Everyone that I see out there that I know is one more person that I can't let down."
Kohl "very satisfied"
T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl is happy to be wearing the mountains jersey in the Tour of California, especially since he thought he would lose it on Tuesday. "Gerolsteiner controlled the field and I picked up points at the first mountain top," he wrote on his website, www.bernhardkohl.at. "After several attacks, a group of three riders achieved a lead of about 5 minutes and I saw my chances for the mountain jersey disappearing. 30 km before the Cat. 1 mountain, Discovery Channel really opened the race and with the help of my team I was in perfect position going up. I felt unbelievably good, simply stayed by Leipheimer and to my surprise we were alone. I was able to secure the points with a short sprint."
5 km before the finish line the two were swallowed up by a larger group which included eventual George Hincapie. "But I am very satisfied with my performance."
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Altig criticises Ullrich - again
German cycling legend Rudi Altig, noting that T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich has said that he absolutely wants to ride the Deutschland Tour, said, "Jan has often enough wanted something absolutely and it hasn't always worked out. But it's good that he said it. If he comes and takes it seriously, then he will have to be in good shape. Let's wait and see."
In an interview with the Retulinger General-Anzieger, he was asked whether T-Mobile would attempt to win the race that rival Gerolsteiner won last year. "The problem is obvious: T-Mobile is Jan Ullrich. Everything depends on him. If he wins the Tour de France, I would be happy. I think it all depends on his head. Right now he is training in South Africa. Instead of that he should be racing like his rivals."
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Liquigas in Belgium and Switzerland
The Liquigas team will be racing on two fronts this weekend. One part of the team will be in Belgium for the Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne; the other will be in Switzerland for the GP Chiasso and GP Lugano.
Magnus Backstedt and Luca Paolini will captain the squad for Belgium under the guidance of Dario Mariuzzo. The team will also include Michael Albasini, Daniele Colli, Mauro Da Dalto, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi, and Marco Righetto.
In Switzerland, the squad directed by Mario Chiesa will feature Andrea Noč, Vincenzo Nibali, Eros Capecchi, Patrick Calcagni, Kjell Carlström, Francesco Failli, and Charles Wegelius.
After crashing in the first stage of the Challenge Illes Balears, Backstedt's comeback to racing is eagerly awaited by his team. "It seems I've worked out the troubles I had in the tendons of my left knee," said Backstedt. "I've continued physiotherapy, but I was able to do a long ride without difficulties only yesterday. For the weekend, I hope to finish the races and help my team. My racing season is just starting."
Klöden comes back
2004 Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden kicks off his racing season at this weekend's Swiss double-header: Saturday's GP Chiasso and Sunday's GP di Lugano. The Swiss resident returns fresh from a three week camp in balmy South Africa, where he trained with Jan Ullrich.
"I am delighted to finally get my season underway. I have made huge strides in recent weeks towards building up my form. Now I want to see where I stand relative to the competition," said Klöden, who hasn't raced in the seven months since crashing out of the Tour with a wrist injury.
Despite Klöden's encouraging preparations, T-Mobile's Mario Kummer is keen to play down any high expectations. "Andreas is just coming out of training. He has trained well but racing is a whole lot more intense."
T-Mobile will look to its new recruit, Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen, for results on the weekend. Last year's GP Chiasso winner showed in the final stage in Algarve, that he is a force to be reckoned with on a lumpy race route. Linus Gerdemann, Patrik Sinkewitz and Thomas Ziegler also approach the Swiss weekend in good shape and, according to sporting director Frans van Looy, the trio are keen to "show what they can do".
Like Klöden, the Italian duo of Eddy Mazzoleni and Giuseppe Guerini, who also arrives from South Africa's Cape region, kick-off their racing season this weekend. Ukrainian veteran Serguei Gonchar rounds out the eight-man TMobile roster.
The GP di Lugano features one 174.3 km loop around the Lago di Lugano and along the Lago Maggiore in Switzerland's Italian speaking region, while the GP Chiasso is raced over two distinct circuits (12.7 km and 16.8 km long) in the same region.
"The routes are extremely demanding. These races are about much more than just rolling the legs in the bunch," says van Looy.
T-Mobile Team roster in brief: Linus Gerdemann, Giuseppe Guerini, Serguei Gonchar, Kim Kirchen, Andreas Klöden, Eddy Mazzoleni, Patrik Sinkewitz and Thomas Ziegler. D.S.:Frans van Looy.
More weekend selections
Davitamon-Lotto has made a slight change to its selection for Omloop Het Volk on Saturday, with a sick Wim Vansevenant being replaced by Bert Roesems.
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago will be fielding the following team for the Belgian opener: Bert De Waele, Andy Cappelle, Grégory Habeaux, Steve Cummings, Mathieu Criquielion, Johan Verstrepen, Filip Meirhaeghe, and James Van Landschoot.
For Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Landbouwkrediet will change its lineup to the following: Nico Sijmens, Steven Kleynen, Jurgen Van Loocke, Jean Paul Simon, Grégory Habeaux, Jean Claude Lebeau, Steve Cummings, Fréderic Amorison.
Finally, for the Beverbeek Classic on Saturday, Sjef De Wilde, David Verheyen, Paul Manning, Sven Renders, Jean Claude Lebeau, and Kevin Neyrinck will take part.
Simoni challenges for Human Rights in Milan
In a few days, the Mostra Convegno 2006 trade show will open its doors to the public in Milan, Italy. During the event, Saunier Duval is organising a cycling competition in which journalists and technicians can participate. After five days, the best journalist and Saunier Duval staff member will be selected for the grand finale, where they will compete against star rider Gilberto Simoni.
This season, Saunier Duval-Prodir will be ambassadors for Human Rights, and the team wants to campaign for the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, carried by Gilberto Simoni: "Free and equal". Saunier Duval will donate €10 per participant (450 to 500 are expected to take part) to the purchase of a racing bicycle for handicapped riders, which will be given to the Italian Paralympics Committee on Saturday morning, at an event that will be attended by the President of the Paralympics Committee and Gilberto Simoni.
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.
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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."
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