First Edition Cycling News for June 13, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke
Tour de Suisse stage 3 wrap: Nuyens takes control
Nic Nuyens (Quick Step) has taken his second win of the year and Quick Step's second of the Tour de Suisse with victory on stage 3 to Arlesheim. A very happy Nuyens also took the leader's yellow jersey in the process and said after the finish it has provided him with the motivation to do well during the week and into the Belgian national championships. "I'm in good form at the moment. At the national championships I'll be giving my all for Boonen but if the occasion arises, I'll certainly go for a victory," he said.
Earlier in the day the stage script had been written by a breakaway after 56km, as Marcel Strauss (Gerolsteiner) and Alan Perez Lezaun (Euskaltel) went clear before being reeled in with subsequent ascents of the Ziegelschüren. It was then time for Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) to go clear after good work from Jan Ullrich. The young German was then joined by Ullrich, David Canada and Koldo Gil (both Saunier Duval), Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), Fränk Schleck (CSC), Giampaolo Caruso and Jörg Jaksche (both Würth) and Cadel Evans (Davitamon). Out of this group Gerdemann and Jaksche emerged to lead with 18 km to go before they were soon joined by Gil and Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step).
With the scene set for an interesting finale, it was Nuyens who best read the conditions and used his superior strength to dominate in the final kilometre to take the win. "I am really pleased with this win," said the Belgian after the finish. "It certainly wasn't a dull race today; during the last section, about 20 kilometres from the finish line, Bettini made a move taking with him a group of nine riders, then Gerdemann and Jaksche made a move getting away from the other seven," he explained. "After a short while myself and Gil caught up with them - we were able to pull away from the others, gaining about 30 seconds, and this advantage enabled us to get to the finish line and battle it out for the win."
An interview with Linus Gerdemann: The next German wunderkind?
At the 2005 Tour de Suisse, a young CSC rider had his first big moment. Linus Gerdemann, then 22 years-old, won the seventh stage by attacking out of a highly-experienced, six-man breakaway group. Bjarne Riis' model student gave a flash of his talent for the first time in his career as a pro. Björn Scheele believes there's plenty more to come.
Everyone was thrilled, most of all his team manager. For Riis, Gerdemann is the greatest talent since Jan Ullrich. So far so good. But Linus Gerdemann showed that not only his legs can create surprises. His sudden change to T-Mobile this season was totally unexpected to most.
After a mediocre spring, Gerdemann is now getting back into gear and showed great tenacity at the Volta a Catalunya, still relishing his sixth place overall. "In the first quarter of the season, my results didn't really reflect my form," he says. "After Rund um Köln I got very ill. The Volta a Catalunya was pretty important to me because it made me realize that I can actually keep up with the Tour favourites in the mountains."
Comunidad Valenciana ready for Tour despite scandal
Despite one of its staff being implicated in the Operation Puerto doping scandal, the Comunidad Valenciana team has travelled to the Alps for some high mountain reconnaissance of the most decisive stages of this year's Tour of France. The squad concentrated on climbs that were easily accessible for riders who contested stage 6 of the Dauphiné Liberé last Saturday, such as Alpe d'Huez, Galibier, Croix de Fer, Joux Plane and Toussuire.
Providing the Spanish squad remains invited, Rubén Plaza will captain Vicente Belda's team in France, with Eladio Jiménez, David Bernabeu and David Blanco his main supporting riders. Julián Sánchez Pimienta, Juan Gomis, José Luis Martínez, José Adrián Bonilla and David Latasa will complete the roster.
The team will return Spain for the Subida al Naranco, June 14 before the start of the Vuelta a Asturias, June 16-20 which will provide a stiff test going into the Tour. Manager Vicente Belda is confident that his team will be in France this July, but team trainer Ignacio Labarta was one of four people arrested by Operación Puerto police and Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc has implied that he reserves the right to withdraw Comunidad Valenciana's Tour invitation.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Wegmann says, "First the fun, then the work"
By Susan Westemeyer
Gerolsteiner took the first and the final leader jerseys at the Dauphine Libere, splitting the duties of race leader between two riders. Levi Leipheimer won the race with an advantage of over a minute and a half, but it was his teammate Fabian Wegmann who first wore the yellow jersey after winning the first stage. "My motto is: First the fun, then the work. And there has been enough of that the last few days," the cheerful German wrote on his homepage, www.fabian-wegmann.de His personal review of the race was, "it could have gone better. It's okay that I couldn't wear my jersey another day. I would have lost after the time trial anyway, and besides it was worth it because we were able to save our strength for our captain."
And they needed that strength, too. The stage Saturday "was really hellish." On the long preliminary ascent to the Galibier, "we had to react again and again to attacks. Levi went over the Galibier with the leading group, of course, while we suffered over it behind him in the large group. After the descent we had about 20 km time on the flat stretch up to the Col de Telegraphe to close that hole. That means riding all out, giving everything. At the next mountain, it was the same thing: mountain, hole, Levi alone in front, we try to close the hole. It went like that all day." But it was worth it. That evening Leipheimer "made an extra point of thanking the team for their support. It's natural that we do our work to ride in the wind for him, but of course it doesn't hurt the morale and mood in the team when the captain honours our work."
Caucchioli to lead Credit Agricole at le Tour
After taking ninth overall at the Dauphiné Libéré, Credit Agricole's Pietro Caucchioli will lead the French team in this year's Tour de France. After the departure of Christophe Moreau to AG2R, the Italian takes over the role of leader on what is home turf for his team.
"Victory in a stage of the Tour is a huge dream for me, even if it's difficult to achieve," he said. "A year ago I finished third on the stage to Saint Lary Soulan which was won by Hincapie, but I know the teams riding won't be letting any escapes away for the win." He added that his form is good but there's room for improvement in the weeks leading up to the start of the year's biggest race.
Tour de Beauce set for open racing
It's just one day until Canada's biggest men's road race, the Tour de Beauce, begins in Lac Etchemin, and already it appears as though this year's race will be a very tight contest. Running from June 13-18, the Tour de Beauce has attracted a quality field of riders, with teams travelling from Germany, Australia, Canada, United States, Netherlands, New-Zealand, Ireland, Mexico and Japan to compete.
Last year's winner Nathan O'Neill won't be defending his title after switching teams in the winter, but his former team, Navigators Insurance, will be riding, and with a couple of tricks up their sleeve they'll definitely be the driving force during the five days of racing.
Other teams competing include American squads Jittery Joe's - Zero Gravity, TIAA-CREF and new squad Priority Health, plus German outfit Sparkasse, Canadian crew Symmetrics, Australian teams SouthAustralia.com-AIS, FRF-Caravello and the DFL-Cyclingnews.com squad. Without one dominant team in the race, chances are that some new faces may make their way to prominence throughout the week after some tight racing.
The Tour de Beauce begins in Lac-Etchemin with a 155km stage before heading to the towns of Saint Joseph, St Georges, St Jean de la Lande, Québec and back to St Georges for a total distance of 821km.
Stage 1 - June 13: Lac Etchemin, 155 Km
Irish riders aim for Beauce wins
Ireland's Murphy & Gunn / Newlyn Group team will start the Tour de Beauce tomorrow with an eye on honing their form for the Irish national road race championships in two weeks' time. The team will be led by Galwayman Simon Kelly who finished seventh overall and took second on the final stage of this year's FBD Insurance Rás. Kelly will be assisted by Ireland's top-ranked domestic rider, Paul Healion. Healion has won six races this year, including the Ras Mumhan and two stages of the recent Tour of Ulster, but crashed four kilometres from the finish of stage one of the Ras. He completed the race despite his injuries, but was unable to contest for wins. Healion has made a full recovery and will be aiming for stage glory in the Canadian event.
Morgan Fox will act as team captain and hopes to figure in the shake up of a stage finish or two. Stamullen Grand Prix winner Connor Murphy and under 23 star Derek Burke complete the squad.
Two other Irish riders will also take part, Navigators pros Ciaran Power and David O'Loughlin. Both riders have won stages in the Tour de Beauce event in recent years and O'Loughlin used the race in preparation for the successful defence of his national title last year.
Murphy & Gunn / Newlyn Group rider Simon Kelly has been picking up tips on the Tour de Beauce from his compatriots. "I've heard a bit about the Canadian race from David and Ciarán," he said. "They've both won stages there and it's a bit like the Rás here. The weather last year was very bad but it's like Ireland, changeable. We'll take it as it comes, I'm a small bit tired after the Rás, but I'm looking forward to it."
Landis & Merckx join fund-raiser
Phonak riders Floyd Landis and Axel Merckx will take part in Wheels Of Wonder, a weekend of fundraising events in La Jolla, October 21-22, 2006 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Southwest Region of Canine Companions for Independence (www.cci.org). Other cycling celebrities taking part include 1984 Olympic gold medalist Steve Hegg and Race Across America speed record holder Pete Penseyres and his wife and RAAM support crew star Joanne.
The riders will be guests of honour at a gala dinner party and live auction at a Southern California resort and then lead a ride along the Pacific Coast the next day.
For more information contact Davielle Huffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milram for Ster Elektrotoer
The Milram team has announced its line up for the Ster Elektrotoer, Netherlands, June 14-17. Guided by directeur sportif Antonio Bevilacqua, the team will field Alessandro Cortinovis, Michele Gobbi, Elia Rigotto, Maarten Den Bakker, Fabio Sabatini, Matej Jurco, Carlo Scognamiglio, and Martin Müller.
Team FRW for Giro Del Trentino
Italy's FRW women's team has announced its line up for the 13 - 18 Giro del Trentino Alto Adige - Südtirol, Italy, June 13 - 18. Guided by direttore sportivo Fausto Tardozzi the team will field Giorgia Bronzini, Martina Corazza, Kettj Manfrin, Nina Ovcharenko, Tetyana Palchynska, Laura Pisaneschi, Ombretta Ugolini and Modesta Vzesniauskaite.
Nature Valley Grand Prix
One of the most important US domestic stage races, the Nature Valley Grand Prix kicks off this Wednesday, June 14, in Minnesota. The five-day event has been reconfigured for 2006 in an attempt to increase the drama of the battle for overall honours. The stages this year will be become progressively more vertical as the week wears on, changing the type of rider who will be in contention for the overall winner.
The men's field includes strong squads from Health Net, Jelly Belly, Toyota United, Navigators Insurance, and Kodak Gallery - Sierra Nevada. The women's field is equally strong, with squads from Colavita / Cooking Light, TEAm Lipton, Webcor-Platinum and Victory Brewing.
Organisers say the 2006 fields are the strongest yet in terms of individual riders as well as overall quality. The men's field will include current and former US national champions Dave McCook (Jelly Belly), Tim Johnson (Health Net), Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance), Frank Pipp (TargetTraining) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Kodak Gallery - Sierra Nevada) along with three-time Canadian national champion Gord Fraser (Health Net) and two-time Mexican national champion Jose Garcia (Toyota United). The women's field is equally strong, including Olympic gold medalist Sarah Ulmer (Jazz Apple) and current and former US national champions Tina Pic (Colavita / Cooking Light), Christine Thorburn (Webcor-Platinum), Laura Van Gilder and Kristin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton).
The NVGP starts on Wednesday June 14 with the Saint Paul Riverfront Time Trial, a new 4.5 mile event along the Mississippi River. This is a relatively flat, out-and-back course with a gradual climb as the riders approach the turnaround.
The first road stage is likely to be one for the sprinters as the 60-mile Cannon Falls Road Race on June 15 rolls through the Minnesota countryside. There is little shelter on much of this course and winds may play a major factor, but with no major climbs organisers are predicting a field sprint finale.
The midway point of the race is the Minneapolis Downtown Classic, in the heart of the entertainment district. This is definitely one for the sprinters, with a flat, fast L-shaped course. Technical corners and high speeds can favor small breakaways and the leader's jersey has changed hands here in the past.
The penultimate stage, June 17's Mankato Road Race starts in Mankato and then winds through Blue Earth County, with 80 miles of relatively flat riding in wide-open country where wind could be a major factor. The race goes vertical when the riders return to Mankato, entering a challenging 2.3-mile finishing circuit. This circuit includes Main Street Hill, a stair-stepping 0.6 mile climb that averages 14 percent. With four laps on this tough circuit, the Mankato Road Race will establish the riders to beat for the overall title.
The final stage is nominally a criterium, but the 's 1-5 mile circuit features two climbs, including Chilkoot Hill, the climb to the finish that averages 18 percent. This is likely to be the decisive stage as the brutal course rips the field apart on the last day.
Stage 1 - June 14: Saint Paul Riverfront Time Trial, 4.5 miles
NVGP kicks off women's series
The Nature Valley Grand Prix will also be the first event of the 2006 Women's Prestige Cycling Series, which also includes the International Tour de 'Toona and the Bermuda Grand Prix.
Webcor-Platinum returns as the team to beat in the 2006 series. Their roster includes 2005 series champion Christine Thorburn and 2005 series best young rider Erinne Willcock. Team scoring provides bonus points for riders under the age of 26, so Webcor-Platinum's early season acquisition of Alisha Lion, runner-up in the 2005 young rider competition, puts them in a strong position to repeat as the top Series team in 2006.
Thorburn may be challenged for the early lead by Colavita - Cooking Light's Tina Pic and TEAm Lipton's Kori Seehafer. Pic, primarily known as a sprinter, finished a close second in last year's tough Nature Valley Grand Prix and is currently ranked #1 on USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar. Seehafer, a product of the Minnesota racing scene, finished third at the Nature Valley Grand Prix last year.
Willcock will be tough to beat for the Series Best Young Rider competition. She's showing good form this year, as evidenced by her recent win at the Joe Martin Stage Race. Likely challengers include teammate Alisha Lion and Victory Brewing's Lauren Franges.
The sprinter's title is up for grabs this year. Ina Teutenberg appeared to have a lock on the title in 2005, but then dropped out of the running when her team failed to send a squad to the Bermuda Grand Prix. With Teutenberg racing in Europe this year, the sprinter's competition is likely to be a three-way race between Colavita's Tina Pic and Gina Grain and TEAm Lipton's Laura Van Gilder.
For more information see www.womencyclists.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)