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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 7, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

Rhodes caps off incredible comeback

By Mal Sawford in Geelong

Dreams can come true, and a large and supportive crowd witnessed something special in Geelong tonight, as Alexis Rhodes soloed to an emotional win on Round 3 of the 2006 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic. With the stage doubling as the Australian Criterium Championships, Rhodes has earned the right to once again wear the Australian Champion's Jersey, only six months since she was fighting for her life in a hospital bed in Germany, and on the eve of Amy's Ride, the official launch of the Amy Gillet-Safe Cycling Foundation.

A surprisingly composed Rhodes told the large media contingent, "It's been awesome. Those last five laps, I didn't want to celebrate too early, but I was nearly in tears. It's really amazing! I mean I had a lot of help today, not only from my team mates at Pitcher Partners, but also the support of Lou (Yaxley) and Katie (Nichols) and Lorian (Graham) and all the girls, it's been amazing. And of course my biggest supporter, Amy, I'm sure she'd be pretty stoked today. It's pretty emotional, I had all my family here and my boyfriend, it's a great afternoon."

Click here for the full results, report and photos
Feature: AIS riders on road to recovery

Gent-Wevelgem organiser suspended

The organiser of the Belgian ProTour classic Gent-Wevelgem, taking place on April 5 this year, has been suspended for four weeks during that period of time (April 1-30). The Belgian, Luc Gheysens, will therefore not be able to assume his role during the race.

The disciplinary commission of the UCI announced its decision in the light of the events leading to the victory of Nico Mattan last year. The Lotto-Davitamon rider had been able to chase down Juan Antonio Flecha in the final kilometre by riding behind support cars, including the one of the race director. At the time, Mattan was granted the race victory on the grounds that the jury "did not want to penalize the rider for the organiser's fault", but a complete report was filed to the UCI, which has now decided on the consequences.

Gheysens will be replaced by Hans De Clercq.

Roche happy with early form

By Shane Stokes

Cofidis professional Nicolas Roche has expressed his satisfaction with his current fitness, saying that he is in good shape starting the build-up to the new season. "My form is better than at this point in previous years," the 22 year old Irishman said. "I haven't put on a kilo, my condition is good and my motivation is high."

The second-year pro will begin Cofidis' second training camp in St. Aygulf beside Nice this coming Monday. The team will train together for ten days, then travel together to Paris on January 19th for the team presentation the following day.

Roche is due to race in the Tour de Qatar (January 30th – February 3rd) and then the Tropheo Luis Puig in Spain on February 19th.

Problems with Aldag's appendix

T-Mobile's Rolf Aldag had his appendix removed in emergency surgery on January 1, and went home again January 5. But it turned out that this was too soon - he had to check back in on Friday. "Complications arose which necessitate another operation," said his wife Eva, who gave birth to the couple's first child on December 27. Aldag had been scheduled to ride the Six Day races in Bremen (January 14) and Berlin (January 26), but his participation is now questionable.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Neo-pro Klostergaard ready to learn

Kasper Klostergaard, who started his career at Danish Team CSC last year as stagiaire, will be one of the neo-professionals in the European peloton this upcoming season. Having signed a one-year contract with Bjarne Riis, the Danish youngster is looking forward to prove his worth in 2006, but he knows that his ambitions have to remain humble at this point.

"I would like to learn as much as possible [during 2006]," the 22 year-old said. "My ambition is to do well and not 'fall through'. If I can be up front a couple of times during the season, I would consider my first year as a professional rider a success." Klostergaard will be aiming to earn a spot on the Danish national team again for the 2006 World Championships in Salzburg, Austria. "I've tried it four times now and it's always special to be a part of. Everything is bigger, and I've always been very proud of being selected," he continued.

The Dane has been racing since he was 14 years old. "In Denmark we have something called 'Young Riders' Race', which is open for everyone," he recalled. "I remember the first prize was a box of cookies, and I went all out for them. I got my cookies and afterwards someone asked me if I was interested in joining a club." Although Klostergaard has never raced on cobbles, winning Paris-Roubaix would be his greatest dream.

"It's spectacular to watch and I'd really like to try it sometime," he said. "I look forward to finding out if it's my kind of thing."

Team FRW announces roster

UCI Women's team FRW has announced its 2006 composition. The Italian squad, which will start into its racing programme at the Geelong Tour in Australia from February 21-23, will be headed by sprinter Giorgia Bronzini this year. Last season, Bronzini took 12 victories in international road races such as the Giro d'Italia Femminile and the Giro di Toscana. The Italian is also a strong track racer, winning one World and two European Championships in the points race until now.

The rider hoping to score at the classics and stage races will be Lithuanian Modesta Vzesniauskaite, helped by the experienced Martina Corazza who enters her fourth year as a member of the team. The roster is completed by track and road riders Kettj Manfrin and Laura Pisaneschi as well as Ukranians Nina Ovcharenco and Tetyana Petrovna, Ombretta Ugolini and Lithuanian Indre Januleviciute.

Quaranta to sign with Universal Caffé

Italian sprinter Ivan Quaranta will sign a deal with Continental team Universal Caffé next week. The Domina Vacanze rider, who celebrated his biggest successes from 1999 to 2001, did not get a contract in the ranks of the ProTour teams for his 12th season as a professional.

"I'll continue to race because I believe in it and I want to end my career well," the 31 year-old said. "I own a beauty centre in Treviolo; my wife manages it. I don't have to race but I want to do it for myself and those who believe in me." Quaranta has achieved 34 victories in his career to date.

Continued aggressive rider category for Tour de Georgia

By Mark Zalewski, North American editor

Organisers of the Tour de Georgia have announced the continuation of a jersey category that was started during last year's race - the Most Aggressive Rider jersey, again supported by the Atlanta-based Aaron's Corporate Furnishings.

"It makes sense to align our company name with the most aggressive and assertive pro cyclist in the peloton," said Don Lange, Vice President of Marketing. "And we are very proud to support such a prominent cycling event that takes place in our home state."

Last year's competition consisted of a vote at the end of each stage by a select group of journalists following the race, including Cyclingnews.

Randwick-Botany to honour McEwen

Robbie McEwen (Volvo Team T5)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image) Robbie McEwen (Volvo Team T5) leans into a corner at Portarlington

Robbie McEwen will host four activities east of the Harbour Bridge on the eve of his departure for the European racing season. On Monday, January 23, the Davitamon-Lotto rider will attend a breakfast for NSW Institute of Sport budding star riders at Centennial Park Restaurant and then lead them on a ride through the historic layout.

At 4pm, the schedule of the former Australian BMX junior champion foresees his departure for Heffron Park, Maroubra, where he will be involved with local BMX kids as well as the more serious riders in the ranks of the Randwick Botany and Eastern Suburbs Cycling Clubs and the Bondi Racing and Triathletes' Club (BRATs). The 33 year-old Queenslander will talk rider safety with the BMXers and show some of his style in riding demonstrations.

The Randwick-Botany cycling club will then make McEwen an honorary member and name the Heffron Park raceway's 400m long finishing straight "The Robbie McEwen Straight". McEwen will even leave imprints of his feet in wet cement and sign his name on the surface.

Afterwards, McEwen will meet with 200 guests at Souths Juniors Leagues Club for dinner - tickets for the event are now on sale at Cycling NSW. Each dinner guest will be treated as a member of McEwen's Tour de France team and revealed the preparation for one of the Tour's stages.

LA Track World Cup back at Home Depot

The UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics will return to the United States from January 20-22 at the ADT Event Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The third event of four in the 2005-2006 season will provide riders and countries the opportunity to qualify for positions in the upcoming World Championships April 13-16 in Bordeaux, France.

"The World Cup in Los Angeles is back for a second year and a record number of Americans will be featured," said Gerard Bisceglia, chief executive officer of USA Cycling. "It will be exciting so see so many of our own athletes go head to head against the world's best track cycling athletes on our home soil." More than 200 athletes from 35 countries, including the United States, will participate in the three-day event in California.

Cyclist killed on Isle of Man

One of the Isle of Man's most promising young cyclists has been tragically killed in a freak accident. 13 year-old James Berry was returning home to Douglas from a training ride with a group of cyclists on Thursday, December 29 when he was struck by a wheel which had come loose from a heavy goods vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. He was rushed to hospital, but never recovered from his injuries.

James, who was a member of Team Scottish Provident Isle of Man, had recently been co-opted onto British Cycling's 2006 Talent Team, despite being officially a year too young.

His list of achievements include overall victory in the 2004 Kerry Youth Tour, a silver medal in British Cycling's 2004 national youth circuit race championships, a bronze medal in British Cycling's 2004 national youth track championships, a second place overall in British Cycling's 2004 national youth circuit race series and top 13 year-old in the national final of the 2005 GHS 10 mile-time trial championship.

James attended the Scottish Provident Youth Cycling League staged each summer at the National Sports Centre in Douglas. Organiser Dot Tilbury said, "We are all devastated over James' very tragic death and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time. He will be greatly missed by everyone."

Willamette Valley Classic

The Willamette Valley Classic, a three day/four stage race taking place in Eugene, Oregon, USA, will take place from April 21-23, 2006. Located in the Willamette Valley between the Coastal and Cascade Mountain Ranges, courses range from a flat sprinters' course to a true test of the climbing legs. Added for a complete overall classification test are a 25km time trial and a rolling circuit race.

The event offers a multitude of categories for women, men and juniors. Registration is open at www.willamettevalleyclassic.com

Berrecloth in Discovery Channel stunt

Darren Berrecloth
Photo ©: Specialized
(Click for larger image) Robbie McEwen (Volvo Team T5) leans into a corner at Portarlington

Specialized Factory rider and BMX stunt envelope-pusher Darren Berrecloth was selected to be one of the first athletes to be featured on the Discovery Channel's new series "Stunt Junkies." Each 60-minute episode of Stunt Junkies takes viewers behind the scenes of an unimaginable stunt, for a close look at what it's like to push the limits of personal expression and defy danger.

During the filming of Berrecloth's episode, the Discovery Channel paid a visit to Specialized and got an inside look at how the rider's latest bike, a 2006 Specialized Demo 8, was engineered, tested and built. With the Discovery Channel cameras rolling, Berrecloth also took the time to launch from a two-story high loading dock into the Specialized warehouse. "We've had a lot of interesting things happen around the office in the past thirty something years, but nothing that crazy," said Specialized founder and president, Mike Sinyard.

Berrecloth's episode of "Stunt Junkies" will appear on February 1, 2006 at 10pm on the Discovery Channel.

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