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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for June 5, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Dauphiné Libéré prologue wrap-up: all-Anglo podium

David Zabriskie (CSC)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Not entirely unexpectedly, the English-speaking riders dominated the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, with David Zabriskie (Team CSC) winning in a time of 4.35.84 for the flat, non-technical 4.1 km course in Annecy. In second place, just under 2 seconds behind Zabriskie, was fellow American George Hincapie (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team). Both riders hadn't raced at the top level for a while, while third placed Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) is also on the comeback trail after a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this year.

"I've been training hard back home in Utah, but I have to admit I'm still a bit surprised I could take the victory today," said Zabriskie to But the route was perfect for me and I had a good feeling from the beginning, so I knew I could make a great result.

"It's a tough race, but of course I'll try to hang on to the leader's jersey as long as I can. I've improved my climbing skills, so now we'll just have to wait and see how far I can go."

Team CSC's director Alain Gallopin was more than happy with the performance of his boys. "It was a beautiful victory for Dave and a very impressive third place for O'Grady. Dave is incredible on a completely flat time trial, but I also think he can do well in the mountains. There's no doubt he has hit top form for this race, which also promises well for the upcoming races."

Click here for the full results & report and photos.

Hushovd aiming for Monday

Credit Agricole sprinter Thor Hushovd finished 14th today at 9 seconds, and is hoping that tomorrow's first stage ends in a bunch sprint. "I'm happy with my performance, I didn't finish very far behind the best specialists," he told Cyclingnews' Jean-Francois Quenet in Annecy. "Now I hope for a bunch sprint tomorrow, then everything can happen. My form is very satisfying these days."

Lang the best for Gerolsteiner

Levi Leipheimer
Photo ©: Russell Standring
(Click for larger image)

German Sebastian Lang was the best rider for Gerolsteiner in the Dauphiné prologue, placing fourth at 6.91 seconds and missing the podium by under a second. "Seppl can be very satisfied with his result, however," said team director Christian Henn. "That was a start, we can all live with that."

The same applied to captain Levi Leipheimer, who lost 16 seconds and finished in only 48th place. But Leipheimer remains one of the favourites for the overall victory. "This is in no way dramatic," said Henn. "Levi lies with his people" (referring to the positions of the other GC riders).

Henn further explained the time loss: "There were technical problems with his handlebar during the race. That cost him some seconds. But in any case, it should go ok now."

Gerrans on his way to the Tour de France

By Jean-Francois Quenet in Annecy

At the prologue of the Dauphiné, AG2R's team manager Vincent Lavenu was adamant that Simon Gerrans will be lining up for the Tour de France this year as well. "He was the last man with Francisco Mancebo on the climbs at our training camp last week", he said. The only question concerns a plate that is still in his shoulder since he got operated on after crashing heavily in the bunch sprint of GP La Marseillaise in early February. As it got infected again, the Victorian was forced to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico and withdraw from the Commonwealth Games. He stayed for a month and half in Australia, still working hard and came back with good shape and great fighting spirit. He came 6th in the Schwarzwald GP in Germany on Saturday. His next race is the Tour de Suisse. He'll get his plate taken out either after Tour de Suisse or after the Tour de France."

CSC continue success in Luxembourg

In addition to taking first and third in the prologue of the Dauphiné, Team CSC also finished first and third in the final overall classification of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg. Christian Vandevelde came away with the win, while teammate Allan Johansen finished third. Team CSC was well represented in the front group of 15 riders that fought out the final stage (won by Stefano Garzelli), and Vandevelde and Johansen were both there.

"I was a bit nervous before the stage, but as soon as we started, I was ok," said Vandevelde to "Right from the beginning of this race I've been supported by some fantastic teammates and today they made sure everything was under control. I'm very happy to have won and it really boosts my motivation for the upcoming races."

"We were on top of things today and it was great to seal Christian's victory," commented sports director Tristan Hoffman. "Very often he's the one, who's pulling hard for the other guys, so he really deserved to be on top of the podium. We've had an extremely strong team and all our riders worked very hard so we could dominate the race. With two riders on the final podium and a stage victory, we couldn't really ask for more."

Garzelli rebuilds form

Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) gained some confidence for the upcoming races by winning the final stage of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg in a 15 rider group sprint. Garzelli was aided by the young riders Eros Capecchi and Roman Kreuziger for his lead out train, and he finished off the job with the victory, his second of the season after the Rund um den Henninger Turm.

"This victory gives me confidence in view of the most intense phase of the season," said Garzelli. "First to the Tour de Suisse, then the Tour de France, where I want to take care of the general classification without neglecting any opportunities each day."

Philly Week 2006: Triple Crown Instead of Stars and Stripes

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Chris Wherry (Health Net) wins Philly in 2005
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

The last time the triple crown concept was in place for the Philly week of races, a guy named Lance defied the odds and took home $1 million and a national championship for his efforts. A lot has changed since then - Lance is now retired, a new title sponsor has stepped in, the USPRO championship is no longer available to the first American across the line in Philly and a triple crown winner will drive away in a new car instead of as a millionaire.

But regardless of these changes, the conventional wisdom is that it is good to see Philly Week still up and running after a year of uncertainty and races such as San Francisco falling off the calendar. Will it compare to the races of the past two decades, such as Lance's win or last year's all-American podium? Only time will tell.

Another noticeable change this year is the lack of some ProTour squads, who previously made the trip in an effort to allow their American riders a chance to win their national championship. Without this incentive, most ProTour teams like Discovery Channel are spending their first week of June in Europe, preparing for the pre-Tour races. CSC is the only ProTour squad to make the trip, mostly to support their own race the Saturday before in Arlington, Virginia.

This does increase the chances for the usual contingent of top American teams. In addition, with more room on the starting line, a few more American teams will get the chance to start and gain valuable exposure for their sponsors as well as experience for their younger riders..

A positive change to the racing this week is the increase in professional women's racing opportunities. In addition to the Liberty Classic, the women will be racing criteriums that coincide with the men's racing in Lancaster and Reading. In a time that is seeing the shrinking of the professional women's calendar, the addition of races is a good sign no matter where and how they come.

Click here for the full preview, Races, Start list (Lancaster) and Past winners

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)