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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for June 1, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan

Comunidad Valenciana DS resigns

José Ignacio Labarta, assistant sports director of Comunidad Valenciana and one of five arrested by the Spanish civil guard in relation to the current doping investigation in Spain, voluntarily resigned from his post as of yesterday.

Labarta, however, maintains his innocence in the 'Operacion Puerto' affair. In statement from the team, his reasons for resigning were "to remove any suspicion from the Comunidad Valenciana team and the people involved in structure of the team, as well as to maintain a good reputation built over the last two seasons."

In the same statement, the decision to break ties with Jose Ignacio Labarta from the Comunidad Valenciana team avoids "manoeuvres [by the authorities] to darken the sporting activities of Comunidad Valenciana, that have always been made within ethical and sporting legalities."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Another fortnight off for Petacchi

After it was revealed Alessandro Petacchi fractured his kneecap on the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, forcing an early withdrawal, the Team Milram sprinter underwent further X-rays at the San Rossore hospital in Pisa yesterday. There, Professor Mario Spinelli, who carried out the diagnostic tests, told Petacchi his knee will need to be kept under observation for another two weeks.

"They said to me the position of the bones are perfect, but there still isn't sufficient new bone structure to shorten the recovery," Petacchi explained in a team statement. "I will therefore have to remain immobile for another two weeks and then undergo further X-rays in fifteen days' time. I clearly hoped for better news, but as I already said, the important thing is to have a full recovery so the remainder of my season is not compromised."

Breschel back on the mend

Although abandoning last week's International Bayern Rundfahrt due to recurring back problems, Team CSC's Matti Breschel says he's hopeful of a more successful return to racing at the end of this week, with part of his team heading Stateside to compete in the Commerce Bank Triple Crown.

The 21 year-old Dane broke his back in March with the Bayern Rundfahrt Breschel's first race since the accident, which may have been too much of a shock to his system: "My back started hurting and I had a talk with sports director Dan Frost about it. We agreed that it wasn't worth risking it so I abandoned," Breschel explained on team-csc.com.

"But now, I've been taking it easy for a couple of days, and I actually think it's going quite well again. I think maybe my back just needs to get used to being back in business again and it will be okay.

"I'm going to the States and then I'll just take one day at a time and see how it goes," he continued, who, along with seven of his team-mates, is doing the CSC Invitational, Lancaster Classics, Reading Classics and Philadelphia Int. Championship in the period between June 3-11.

The rest of the team going to the United States is: Kasper Klostergaard, Michael Blaudzun, Lars Michaelsen, Martin Pedersen, Andrea Peron, Bobby Julich as well as Luke Roberts, who is fresh off his third place overall in the Bayern Rundfahrt.

T-Mobile team for weekend

The T-Mobile Team is sending a six-man roster to this weekend's GP Triberg-Schwarzwald in Germany and the GP Kanton Aargau in Switzerland. On Saturday, Linus Gerdemann spearheads the magenta challenge in Germany's hilly Black Forest region.

The talented young German rider gave a demonstration of his climbing skills at the recent Volta a Catalunya where he finished sixth overall on a tough parcours, and he won't be short of a challenge when he lines up in Triberg on Saturday morning. The course takes the riders on seven 23.2 km loops, with a total 4,000 metres in elevation gain over a distance of 162.4 km; this roughly equals the demands of a tough mountain stage at the Tour de France.

Supporting Linus Gerdemann on Saturday are the experienced classics specialists Andreas Klier and Steffen Wesemann, all-rounder Thomas Ziegler and sprinter André Korff. Frantisek Rabon, fresh off riding the Giro all the way to Milan, rounds out the T-Mobile roster.

On Sunday, following the GP Schwarzwald, the same six-man roster travels south to the Swiss town of Gippingen, nearly 100 kilometres south of Triberg for the GP Kanton Aargau. Steffen Wesemann, who lives in nearby Küttingen, should have good memories of the 19.6 km race circuit and its two second category climbs; he won the prestigious race back in 2000.

The T-Mobile Team start in Switzerland without any designated leader, however, Andreas Klier, Thomas Ziegler and Linus Gerdemann are expected to go into the race all guns blazing, as should naturalised Swiss Steffen Wesemann. "We will wait to see how the race unfolds to work out our strategy and tactic," said directeur-sportif Valerio Piva in a team statement.

Riders: Linus Gerdemann, Andreas Klier, André Korff, Frantisek Rabon, Steffen Wesemann, Thomas Ziegler
Directeur-sportif: Valerio Piva

Jeremy Vennell diary: A weekend of Dutch Hell

By Jeremy Vennell

Jeremy Vennell (DFL Cyclingnews)
Photo ©: Dick Soepenberg
(Click for larger image)

Before starting this story of these two races I will just try and explain how unique racing in Holland really is from every other country.

Firstly, and possibly the most important factor in racing in the Netherlands is that there is always wind! As soon as you drive over the border, the trees start to sway. It doesn't matter if you are at the back or the front of the peloton, everyone gets it and everyone has to battle with it all day. Wind is fine if it is straight in your face or up your butt but the wind in Holland is the devil wind straight out of hell, and will always be trying its best to make it tough. When riders finally crack under the strain, they let go of the rider's wheel in front and then the other riders behind also get left behind with him. This normally happens when the wind is coming from the side.

When the wind is coming from that direction, there is no shelter at all except a tiny bit behind the rider in front. But the lucky ones will be in the front in a diagonal line across the road, this means for a short time you will get a rest from the wind as you rotate to the front and then back along the line to the back. This way you only get a short spell in the wind and then a respite from the effort (this is called an echelon). The problem is the road is only so wide and the smaller the road, the fewer riders can fit in the rotating line. The doomed riders that are out of the line cannot sustain the effort of the other riders working together and thus crack and fall off the back.

This is called riding in the gutter, and you are normally trying to ride about an inch or less on the side of the road to get as much shelter as possible from the rider in front who is also trying to do the same. Things can get worse if you're really unlucky you can be behind a little Italian rider that barely come up to your knees and gives about half the slipstream as a big Dutchy. But being behind a Dutch rider can also be tough because they have been riding in the gutter before they can talk, making them very good at riding stupidly close to the edge of the road.

Click here for the full entry

Ten Dam courted by ProTour teams

According to Laurens Ten Dam's agent, Olivier Onderbeke, the 25 year-old Dutchman is currently being courted by several ProTour teams. Ten Dam, currently riding for Unibet.com, was the best non-ProTour athlete in the Amstel Gold Race and La Flčche Wallonne, where he finished 42nd and 55th respectively.

Onderbeke adds Ten Dam wishes to ride one of the three Grand Tours in 2007, and his Unibet.com team hopes to retain the rider's services in the coming years, with the team looking towards a ProTour licence.

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