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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 10, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Dauphiné Libéré stage 5 wrap-up

Ludovic Turpin (AG2R)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The riders battled it out in the fifth stage of the Dauphiné Libéré against the alien backdrop of the col d'Izoard, which was situated just before the finish in Briançon. The winner of the 155 km stage was French domestique Ludovic Turpin (AG2R), who made an early breakaway with Thor Hushovd and Jérôme Pineau stick, but was the only rider to survive the 2360m Izoard. The best of the rest was Iban Mayo, who had a great day to finish second, despite a crash early on in the stage. He finished 26 seconds behind Turpin, with AG2R's Francisco Mancebo in third.

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) rode strongly in the leader's jersey, and even played with second overall Denis Menchov (Rabobank) on the Izoard, taking him out the back of the GC group and forcing him to ride in the wind. In the end, Leipheimer finished eighth at 48 seconds, in the company of Menchov, George Hincapie and Christophe Moreau.

Tomorrow's sixth stage from Briançon to La Toussuire features more climbing, with the Galibier, Croix de Fer, Mollard and La Toussuire on the menu. It's also a dress rehearsal for the 16th stage of the Tour de France.

Click here for full results, report & photos

Gerolsteiner satisfied

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Team Gerolsteiner had all the reason to be satisfied with the outcome of Friday's fifth stage over the famous Col d'Izoard in the French Alps. American team leader Levi Leipheimer defended his yellow jersey of leading rider in General Classification, as he finished in eighth position behind stage winner Ludovic Turpin from AG2R. Leipheimer's advantage remained 28 seconds over runner-up Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

"We kept it together over the first 50 kilometres," commented Gerolsteiner DS Christian Henn. "Nobody got away who could have been dangerous. That was a great performance of the team." Once the climb to the Col d'Izoard was near, the captain took over. "Levi did it on his own in the finale. He rode very strong and didn't show any weaknesses," Henn added.

Post-race quotes

By Jean-François Quénet in Briançon

Ludovic Turpin (AG2R, 1st)

"I can't say I believed to be racing for the win before I was alone three kilometres away from the summit of Col d'Izoard. Initially, it was Thor Hushovd who accelerated in our group of three, where Jérôme Pineau didn't look good. Then I accelerated myself in the steepest part of the Izoard. I knew I was able to win something big. In six years as a pro, I never lost confidence in my abilities to do that. I think this gives me a slot to start at the Tour de France."

Iban Mayo (Euskaltel, 2nd)

A bloodied Iban Mayo
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

"After two years, this is my first time with good sensations. I crashed in the early part of the stage but I felt okay on the Col d'Izoard. I attacked to win the stage but maybe I tried too late. Anyway, it's important for my morale to come second here. Tomorrow, if I can, I'll try again. I was good at the time trial, not on the Mont Ventoux, but my condition is good, that's important."

Pietro Caucchioli (Crédit Agricole, 4th)

"Finishing fourth here isn't a bad result, considering that I'm not at 100 percent yet. I'm here for trying on the climbs and getting ready for the Tour de France, where I'll be the main rider of Crédit Agricole for GC, since Christophe Moreau has left the team. Some work above threshold is still missing. I'm not among the favourites for the Tour. I won't start with the intention of winning but I'll do my best for the overall classification."

Shootout in the Tour de Suisse

Valuable pointer to Ullrich's form

By Shane Stokes in Baden

Last year's winner Aitor Gonzalez
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Strong in the time trial, but considerable improvement to be made in the mountains: that was the assessment of Jan Ullrich's Giro d'Italia. His prospects of taking a second Tour de France victory should become easier to assess when he heads into the high mountains of the Tour de Suisse.

Twelve months ago, Der Kaiser was third overall here behind a storming Aitor Gonzalez and the disappointed runner-up, Michael Rogers. Rogers came out of the race with high hopes for July but found that he had gone a bit too deep in scrapping for the win. This was an echo of Jan Ullrich's 2004 experience, the German winning in Switzerland but then showing some fragility in the mountains of that year's Tour.

The race finishes a week later than the Dauphiné Libéré and, for some, this means they have to be careful with their effort. Although Lance Armstrong won the race on his way to his most dominant Tour victory in 2001, you have to go right back to Eddy Merckx and 1974 to find the previous time a rider completed the Tour de Suisse/Tour de France double. Conclusion: those aiming for yellow in July may be advised to keep something in the tank for now.

Of course, that doesn't devalue the Tour de Suisse one bit. Regarded by many as the fourth biggest stage race in cycling, maillot jaune contenders will hope to show some of their increasing strength here while other strong riders will be very much scrapping it out to take a different yellow jersey to Bern on Sunday week. Stage victories are also very highly regarded and consequently some of the world's best sprinters will be at the start in Baden, flexing their muscles in anticipation of July. It's going to be a very competitive race.

Click here for the full preview

Commerce Bank Liberty Classic preview

Who can knock Teutenberg off her throne?

By Kristy Scrymgeour

Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

Back on the streets of Philadelphia this Sunday is the 11th annual women's Liberty Classic. Won seven times by German sprinter Petra Rossner, the race was taken over last year by Rossner's former teammate and fellow German, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, who is back this year with her T-Mobile teammates to defend the title. This year for the first time the Liberty Classic is part of a three race series called the Triple Crown Series, which started with two criteriums earlier in the week in Lancaster and Reading. Teutenberg is off to a good start in the series, winning the first two rounds and leading the Triple Crown by 56 points. Sunday however, is the race of prestige and the one everybody wants to win.

The women's race consists of four laps of the course which is 14.4 miles/23 km long for a total of 57.6 miles/91 km, which means four times up the famous Manayunk Wall. Traditionally the race has ended in a bunch sprint but there has been the odd occasion where a breakaway did succeed. In 1997 Clara Hughes broke away to take the win and in 2002, the Saturn team forced the pace the last time over the wall taking only seven riders to the line, with Rossner winning the sprint out of the break. In 2003 a group also went away on the wall, with Lyne Bessette attacking out of the group on Lemon hill to solo to the finish. Last year again, there was a break of 14 riders, but all the top sprinters were up there, with Teutenberg taking the win from current World Champion Regina Schleicher.

Click here for the full preview

Mayor of Philadelphia welcomes race back

By Mark Zalewski in Philadelphia

The Honorable John Street
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

The Honorable John Street spoke at the official Commerce Bank Triple Crown press conference today, expressing his support for the return of the annual race in his city. "World class cities are home to world class events," Mayor Street said. "This event has become more than an event. The event touches the nerves of so many people in so many ways. We look forward to years and years of this events and its contribution to the city."

The Mayor also acknowledged the support of the new title sponsor, which stepped up in time to make the entire event possible. "We are very grateful to Commerce Bank. In our community we expect more than just good financial support. We also want responsible corporate leadership that allows them to give back to the community, and I believe this is a four year commitment."

"[The race] is great for those of us amateurs who try to maintain our health through bike riding. It gives us inspiration, seeing these great athletes perform in ways that we can only imagine. It is great for the thousands of people who line the sides of the roads and enjoy their community."

Leukemans still out for a while

Bjorn Leukemans of team Davitamon-Lotto will still have to wait five more weeks until he can come back to competition. The Belgian rider suffered a complicated fracture to his shoulder in the recent Tour of Belgium and is still not able to move his arm. After further examinations on Thursday, Leukemans was told that the fast comeback he had hoped for would not be possible.

"My doctor says I will have to wait at least five weeks until I can come back to competition," Leukemans said. "That is disappointing. I know it's going to be difficult, but one thing's for sure: that I will be back there!"

Leukemans hopes to come back at the Tour de la Région Wallonne from July 24-28.

Cretskens extends with Quick.Step

Wilfried Cretskens (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Belgian team Quick.Step has announced that Wilfried Cretskens has prolonged his contract with the outfit for the next two seasons, until 2008. The 29 year-old Belgian reached an agreement with team manager Patrick Lefévère on Friday, June 9.

Landbouwkrediet for upcoming races

Belgian team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has announced its line-ups for the next-up races. At the Cras Avernas taking place in Belgium on Sunday, June 11, the Continental squad under the guidance of Claude Criquielion is sending Nico Sijmens, Bert De Waele, Jean Claude Lebeau , Fréderic Amorison, Kevin Neirynck, Johan Verstrepen, Jean Paul Simon and Mathieu Criquielion to competition.

At the Ster Elektrotoer stage race in the Netherlands, scheduled a few days later from June 14-17, Landbouwkrediet will be represented through Filip Meirhaeghe, Nico Sijmens, Bert De Waele, Sven Renders, Fréderic Amorison, Jean Claude Lebeau, Steve Cummings and Johan Verstrepen. DS: Marco Saligari.

'Open de Nations' at Lehigh Velodrome

This Friday night, June 9, the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Pennsylvania, USA, will be hosting "’s Open de Nations", an internationally sanctioned race welcoming a field of both Olympic and World medallists from all over the globe. Among the well-known cyclists will be Jan van Eijden of Germany, 2000 world sprint champion and team sprint world champion, as well as Italy's Roberto Chiappa, Holland's Teun Mulder and Tim Veldt, Germany’s Sebastian Frey, Eric Weispfenning, Christian Grasmann, Stefan Loffler, Stefan Steinweg, and Christian Lademann. Also scheduled to ride are Australia's Pete Fitzpatrick, and America's Ryan Nelman, Dave Clinger and Jenny Reed.

Both a UCI and USA Cycling National Track Calendar event, the Open de Nations hosts a variety of races. This week, the men and women will have a mix of sprint and endurance racing. The feature events of the evening will be a men’s sprint, a women’s keirin and a 30k men’s Madison to help prepare the field for the Madison Cup on June 23.

Gates open at 6:30 and racing begins promptly at 7:30. In the event of rain the evening of the race, the event will be postponed to Saturday at 7:30 pm, with gates opening at 6:30pm. If the race is postponed, it will be posted on

2006 Skyscraper Harlem Criterium set

The 33rd Annual Skyscraper Harlem Criterium will take place this June 18 in New York, USA. A very fast 0.8 mile square course around Marcus GarveyPark, the race has been a Father’s Day cycling tradition since 1973. Recent winners include Jeff Hopkins and Jonas Carney among the men and Joanne Kiesanowski and Laura Van Gilder among the women.

Last year’s winner Roselvert 'Pollo' Marte of the G.S. Mengoni team returns to defend his 2005 title at the competition, which this year also serves as the New York State Criterium Championship. All riders are welcome and may register at or follow the old Harlem tradition and just show up to race.

Tickets up for grabs for Davis Phinney dinner

The Davis Phinney benefit dinner, to be held at the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club in Menlo Park, California, next week, June 16, is already sold out, with more than 50 people on a waiting list. However, a special pair of VIP tickets to the event are offered on eBay at the following link: . The eBay Item Number is: 6636357315, and bidding closes Tuesday afternoon, June 13.

The winner of this auction will receive a special VIP package and be part of one of the organizing committee members prime location donor tables. Seated at this table will be Phil Liggett as well as photographer John Pierce.

Showcased in the evening's program is a silent and live auction for some cycling items including a custom designed Merckx AMX bike, to be picked up at the Belgium factory and followed by a ride with the legendary Eddy Merckx himself. All proceeds to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's.

Race Against Time for AIDS orphans

This June 22, eight amateur riders, seven men and one woman, will be undertaking a tough cycle challenge timed to coincide with national cycling week in the United Kingdom. They will be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in five days. The event is the only Pro-Am cycle challenge of its kind in the UK. Most riders take at least two weeks to go End to End; but these cyclists say they have to do it faster to reflect the urgency of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.

The cyclists will raise £20,000 between them to support AIDS orphans and the terminally ill in some of South Africa’s poorest townships. Thanks to the sponsorship of the event by online bookmakers, 100 percent of funds raised will go to support the HIV/AIDS work in South Africa funded by the Bishop Simeon Trust who are organising the ride.

To get involved with The Race Against Time, please go to or call 0845 430 1214 in the UK.

Bob Aldridge dies

South African cycling journalists are mourning the death of colleague, acclaimed sportswriter and historian Bob Aldridge, who passed away on Wednesday evening after suffering a severe bout of asthma.

In his career, Aldridge managed great South African sporting personalities like show jumper Annelie Wucherpfenning and world motorbike champion Cork Ballington. As a writer, his uncompleted projects included the biography of former South African running great, Zola Budd, and a fact-based historical novel spanning fifty years from World War II. Aldridge started covering cycling four years ago.

Jane Higdon dies

On Wednesday, May 31, Dr. Jane Higdon (47) died while riding with three other cyclists South of Eugene, Oregon, USA on Territorial Road. The group of four experienced riders were riding single file when a logging truck pulled alongside them so close that one rider crashed into the ditch. Higdon was hit by the rear wheels of the trailer. The State Police are still investigating the accident.

A celebration of life was held at the McDonald theatre in Eugene on Thursday, June 7, and close to 1000 people attended. Higdon, who was a researcher and author at the Linus Pauling Institute in Corvallis, Oregon, finished seven Ironman competitions, including the one in Hawaii twice.

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