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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for February 27, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tour of California final stage wrap up

Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Olaf Pollack gave the T-Mobile men's team its second victory in a row in the seventh and final stage of the Tour of California, a circuit race around Redondo Beach. Pollack beat double stage winner Juan Jose Haedo (Toyota-United Pro Cycling), with Pollack's teammate André Greipel taking third in the bunch sprint.

"It was a nice feeling to win here in L.A. - so many people!" Pollack told Cyclingnews after the race. "What can I say, second one! [My team] made a big effort today. It was unbelievable."

Phonak's Floyd Landis cruised around Redondo Beach to become the first winner of the Tour of California - sitting at the front of the field with his teammates in control, as they have been for the last four days. "Our guys are pretty tired with the amount of work they have done, so we didn't have any plans for a stage win," Landis said. "We rode on the front because it is easier and safer - there was no plan for a lead-out. I had a strong team, but the field didn't make it easy on me. The days following the time trial were more difficult. I think that after a few days the peloton realized our team was stronger than they expected."

The first and only break of the day went at just three kilometres into the race when Glen Chadwick (Navigator's Insurance) attacked, and was joined by Aaron Olson (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Davide Frattini (Colavita) and Scott Zwizanski ( Nevada). The quartet built a lead of nearly eight minutes, making Chadwick leader on the road for a lap, before Phonak, Davitamon-Lotto and T-Mobile pushed the pace and closed it down on last lap.

Also see: Stage 7 full results, report & photos, Live report and Photos.

Zwizanski shines for Nevada

Scott Zwizanski was the standout rider for Nevada on the final stage of the Tour of California, which finished in a bunch sprint. Zwizanski was part of the four man breakaway that led for most of the race. "When we had over seven minutes and the gap was still going up, I though we might actually make it," Zwizanski said.

But when the Davitamon-Lotto started to ride for Fred Rodriguez, the gap came down quickly. It was 45 seconds at the start of the final lap, so team manager Jonas Carney instructed Zwizanski to try for the Most Aggressive Rider jersey. "I went about a mile before the final climb and I was by myself until the hill, but they caught me at the top and that was it. I'll rest up a couple days and I'll be rocking and rolling for next weekend," said Zwizanski, who was denied the jersey thanks to Glen Chadwick's efforts in initiating the break.

Levi Leipheimer's diary: Time for a little vacation

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

My morning didn't start off too well. Someone stole my laundry bag and it had my king of the mountains jersey in there and some other things. I think that's totally lame, and if it ever shows up on eBay or something, I hope somebody will report it to my Web site. I don't want someone to buy it, thinking it was me doing it and that I had it for sale.

It's good the race is over but it's a little bit said, because it was such a nice race - great weather, great hotels, great courses.

Today in that crash, we had Sebastian Lang come down pretty hard and had to abandon. He went over his bars and smacked on his back, so he has a haematoma on his back. His bike was broken into three pieces... I was in front, but I think somebody hit a hole and lost their grip and crashed, and that just triggered a pile-up. It's not that weird seeing these sprinters take two stages apiece - when you have so many sprint finishes, the fast guys can usually win multiple stages and it's happened before, y'know.

I'm happy to see Floyd win. He's a good friend of mine and to see him win, I think it was important we had a worthy winner, because that really defines how good of a race it is; to have a well known rider win the race really helps the race and shows the calibre of the event, and Floyd definitely showed he was the best on the day that it mattered [for the overall classification].

Click here for the full entry.

Gerolsteiner's Lang: "one man alone"

In the penultimate stage of the Tour of California, all that Gerolsteiner's Sebastian "Seppel" Lang really wanted to do was attack and form a new breakaway group, but evidently the rest of the peloton didn't understand what he was planning. "Somehow I ended up alone and fought a long time against the endlessly long and wide road. Then when I had a flat tire 45 km before the finish and had to wait nearly a minute for the change, my motivation was entirely gone. So I kept on going but it was clear to me that it wouldn't be enough. Because in the meantime the sprinters teams had started working, and what can one man alone do against them?

"As a reward I got the jersey for Most Aggressive Rider. So somehow it was worth while to ride out there alone with the feeling that I wasn't getting anywhere."

CSC miss out in Flanders

Martin Pedersen
Photo ©: Michael Gernaa
(Click for larger image)

Due to illness and serious jetlag after their return from the training camp in California, team CSC rode almost anonymously on the roads of Flanders over the weekend, not scoring in the Omloop Het Volk or Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne. After missing the presence of the experienced Allan Johansen, who was off the bike due to a stomach 'flu since Friday, Team CSC also lost Lars Michaelsen to illness before the start of KBK.

To add to the bad luck the team had been experiencing since the return to Europe, a crash took out some more CSC riders on Sunday. "After 30 kilometres Marcus Ljunqvist crashed," said sports director Kim Andersen. "He got back on his bike but had to abandon later along with Matti Breschel who was suffering from back pain. We had Kurt-Asle and Kasper Klostergaard who finished in the peloton; those two are improving."

Casero blames equipment for health test failure

Rafael Casero, one of the three members of the 3 Molinos Resort team who was prevented from starting the Vuelta Valenciana for health reasons, has blamed a discrepancy in measurements as the reason his haematocrit was too high. He, along with Alberto Benito (haematocrit) and Antonio Tauler (reticulocyte count too low) were suspended by the team for 15 days following the tests, which are considered suggestive of blood manipulation, but does not constitute proof.

According to Europa Press, the team carried out internal controls on the riders, both before and after the UCI tests, and found them to be up to 2.5 percent lower than the UCI results. "I still doubt those results and it's difficult to understand, because I have never had those haematocrit or haemoglobin levels," said Casero, who maintained that he is healthy enough to ride in the Vuelta a Murcia this week. "Right now, I am fit to compete...They are not letting me do my job."

3 Molinos Resort said that it was standing behind its riders, and will continue its sponsorship of the team.

Milram and Davitamon for Paris-Nice

Team Milram has named its squad for Paris-Nice (March 5-12): Simone Cadamuro, Mirko Celestino, Maarten Den Bakker, Andry Grivko, Mirco Lorenzetto, Elia Rigotto, Björn Schröder, Sebastian Siedler. Reserves: Daniel Becke, Alessandro Cortinovis, Giovanni Visconti, Sergio Ghisalberti. Directeurs sportifs: Vittorio Algeri, Oscar Pellicioli.

Davitamon-Lotto will start the first ProTour race of the season with Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Chris Horner, Nico Mattan, Tom Steels, Gert Steegmans, Wim Vanhuffel and Johan Vansummeren. Reserves: Josep Jufré Pou, Preben Van Hecke, Leon Van Bon. Directeurs sportifs: Herman Frison and Eric Van Lancker.

Women's tour heads to New Zealand

124 of the best women's road riders in the world will be leaving New Zealand's Lower Hutt's Angus Inn at 11:45am on Tuesday, riding along State Highway 2 to Wellington, under police escort, on their way to Parliament. That will mark the start of a parade through the city to Civic Square at 12:30pm. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the riders will compete in the Trust House Tour in Wellington, Lower Hutt and Wairarapa. They have a day off on Saturday and then take part in the main event - the second leg of the World Cup series, around a circuit in Wellington's CBD.

Race Director Jorge Sandoval said the riders' journey into Wellington from Lower Hutt should be quite a spectacle. "They go everywhere on their bikes, so this is no different for them, but it should be quite a sight for anyone travelling on the motorway," he said. "We're hoping Wellington turns on another spectacular, sunny day for them."

The event launch takes place at the National Library Auditorium, 58-78 Molesworth Street, Wellington on Wednesday, March 1 at 11.00am.

Cyclo-cross contract news

Belgian rider Sven Vanthourenhout is set to leave the Rabobank team at the end of this year, signing a three contract with the new team managed by Jurgen Mettepenningen. Tom Vannoppen (Palmans) is also part of the team, which will be directed by Roland Liboton. Mettepenningen is aiming for a team of eight riders, and hopes to sign some big names.

On the women's side, Dutchwoman Daphny van den Brand has extended with for another two years. The team is managed by Frank Groenendaal.

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