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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for March 1, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, assisted by Susan Westemeyer

An interview with Kristin Armstrong

Time for a tea break

Kristin Armstrong starts 2006 with a lot of changes. For the first time in her professional career she has switched teams, and looking ahead to Beijing 2008, there's a few other changes in store. Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski spoke with Armstrong about this new chapter in her career, how it affects her goals and the state of women's racing in the US.

Looking satisfied at world's
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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Kristin Armstrong has had a relatively compact career as a professional cyclist. Forced into cycling out of triathlon in 2001 after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both hips, Armstrong turned pro and landed a spot on the T-Mobile women's team. In 2002 she survived the menacing La Grande Boucle Feminine and finished seventh in the HP Women's Challenge. She went on to a successful 2003, including 13th at the world championships in the time trial, and in 2004 she won the national road championship.

Late last year the fate of the T-Mobile women's team was quite uncertain, and Armstrong was faced with either waiting out to see if the team would make or finding another ride. "I started talking with them [T-Mobile] a little, and wasn't sure what was going to happen; we all wanted to keep the doors open," Armstrong explained. "I had heard of TEAm Lipton as a regional team, but didn't hear of it becoming bigger until last August."

"Finding sponsors, sometimes it's like a job!" Armstrong says with a chuckle. "I try to pretend it's not a job. Your friends that don't race professionally say, 'Yeah, you have a rough life - got to go for a ride.' But they have no idea, especially when you wake up and there's snow on the ground."

Click here for the full interview.

Arno Wallaard dies

26 year-old Dutch professional Arno Wallaard (Skil Shimano) has died on February 28. Wallaard felt sick on the way home from track training, and died in the evening. Skil Shimano stated that, "The team is speechless and shocked and our thoughts are with his family and friends."

Wegmann: "I had fun in America"

Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann has returned from the California spring to the German snow, and although he says, "I had fun in America," he didn't really enjoy all of it. Shortly before the start of the Tour of California, he came down with a fever and stomach bug. "How can a little fever weaken you so much, I thought to myself on the first stage as I fell behind with the three Mexicans after only a few kilometres and had to fight to catch up. To be honest, I have to thank those guys for taking me with them to the finish line."

Wegmann, who won the mountain jersey in the 2004 Giro d'Italia, struggled until the time trial ("which was more or less a rest day for me") and then began to feel better. In the fifth stage "there was unfortunately one faster to the finish in Santa Barbara than I: George Hincapie won the sprint against me and I had no chance.

"And now comes a little cyclist's logic: I had much better chances to win a day later, when I finished fifth! I attacked one kilometre before the finish. I looked back: 50, 60 meters, nobody jumps, nobody can come with me. But the finish is only at the finish line. Unfortunately, four sprinters were there before me. In the end I was short by only 20 meters - that bugged me and I was very upset."

Overall though, Wegmann was pleased with the race itself. "A good public turnout made this first edition of the tour a successful cycling event with perspective. Most of the viewing public didn't have any idea of the rules, tactics, teams or European riders...but they were nevertheless very enthusiastic and always said that we had done a 'good job!'"

T-Mobile to "keep up the hard work"

The T-Mobile men's team has gotten off to a far better start this year than last, when they didn't have their first win until Liège-Bastogne-Liège the end of April. Two Tour of California stage wins by Olaf Pollack and various podium places by Andre Greipel, Kim Kirchen and Lorenzo Bernucci "helped us to achieve what we failed to do last year: keep our focus during the season's opening races and nail some good results," said the team's Sport and Technical Director Mario Kummer on He noted that although the team's Classics squad "worked hard" over the weekend, "it wasn't enough for a good race placing...Anyway, with Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders in mind we need to keep up the hard work."

Kummer also noted that they were looking forward to the upcoming Paris-Nice, saying, "We have also set ourselves some high targets for Paris-Nice. For us the race is an indicator of where we stand. In Patrik Sinkewitz, Kim Kirchen and Linus Gerdemann, we have three riders capable of aiming for the GC. I am anxious to see how we get on."

Wiesenhof-Akud for Belgian races

The German Continental Team Wiesenhof-Akud is heading to Belgium for four days of racing in two races. The young team will tackle the Le Samyn (1.1) race on March 1, and the Record-Dreidaagse van West-Vlaanderen (2.1) from March 3-5, with basically the same team for both races. The last stage of the latter race features the Kemmelberg with its 23% incline and cobblestones - which could be interesting if the snow in Belgium continues through the weekend.

Wiesenhof-Akud for Le Samyn: Gerald Ciolek, Tim Klinger, Christian Leben, Felix Odebrecht, Marcel Sieberg, Lubor Tesar, Carlo Westphal and Gregor Willwohl.

Wiesenhof-Akud for Record-Dreidaagse van West-Vlaanderen: Gerald Ciolek, Artur Gajek, Tomas Konecny, Felix Odebrecht, Marcel Sieberg, Lubor Tesar, Carlo Westphal and Gregor Willwohl.

Brief respite for Capelle

Belgian rider Ludovic Capelle, who tested positive for EPO in June 2005, can race again, if only for a few weeks.

Last year, Capelle was initially given an 18 month suspension by the disciplinary commission of the Belgian cycling federation, who also rejected his appeal that he made a month later. However, in December 2005, the Council of State ordered that the suspension be dropped for technical reasons: the doctor performing the anti-doping control was judged to have gone beyond his competence level.

But Capelle is not in the clear yet: his case will start again from scratch in three weeks. In the meantime, he can race, although he doesn't have a team.

Armstrong hosting ESPY Awards

Lance Armstrong will host this year's ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) awards on July 16 this year. Armstrong - himself a multiple ESPY winner - is the first athlete to host the awards, and could win the best male athlete accolade again. The awards benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Lance Armstrong Foundation this year.

A girl for Aerts

The Davitamon-Lotto team members continue to reproduce, with Mario and Annelies Aerts now the parents of a baby girl. Nomi was born on February 28 at 15:40, measuring 48 cm and weighing 3.3 kg.

Late last week, Robbie McEwen's wife Angélique gave birth to the couple's second child, Elena.

Doctorate for Ilenia Lazzaro

Team Fenixs-Colnago rider Ilenia Lazzaro has gained her doctorate in the discipline of Arts, Music, and Performance from the University of Padua, with her thesis subject being "Eugenio Barba the Training of the Actor". Lazzaro received 106/110 for her work, the highest mark in her college.

The multitalented Lazzaro also works as a journalist, as well as doing PR work for Team Miche. She won the World Press Championships last year in San Marino, and will commence her 2006 season with Fenixs-Colnago on March 12.

Redlands Bicycle Classic schedule announced

Organisers have announced the details for the 22nd Redlands Bicycle Classic, which will take place between March 24-26 in Redlands, CA, USA. Kicking off on Friday, March 24, the first stage is the Centennial Bank Time Trial, which will be held on a new course starting on Highland Avenue at Redlands Boulevard in Redlands. Measuring 3.2 miles (5.1 km), the route goes from Highland Avenue to the top of Sunset Drive through the steep rolling hills of South Redlands.

The second stage on Saturday, March 25 is the Beaver Medical Group Criterium, held on a 1 mile (1.6 km) course in downtown Redlands with the Start/Finish Line on Citrus Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The course is almost flat with nine turns at all different angles including two corners in one intersection. The women will compete for an hour, while the men will race for 90 minutes. Local riders from toddlers to seniors will also participate in sprints and criteriums.

Sunday's final stage is the Sun Sunset Road Race. Riders start and finish on Citrus Avenue, and tackle a tough 6.2 mile (10 km) loop that climbs 500 feet per lap on the south side of Redlands overlooking the city. The race then descends back downtown for five criterium laps to decide the champion. The women ride eight laps for a total of 62 miles, and the men race 11 laps for a total of 88 miles. There will also be criteriums for USCF Categories, starting and finishing on Citrus Avenue in downtown Redlands.

In addition to the racing, there will be other events including an expo on Saturday and Sunday, located atop the parking structure at Citrus Avenue/Sixth Street and the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot; the Kiwanis Club of Redlands Pancake Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning from 7 to 11:30 a.m. in the expo area; the Redlands Bicycle Classic Rotary Ride, a public recreational ride (formerly known as the Tour of the Canyons) offering a variety of fun, scenic and challenging tours for every level of rider; and the Finish Line Party at the Boiler Room, 345 N. Fifth St., which starts at 5pm and goes through until midnight on Saturday.

More information:

New Zealand team for Track World Cup

The fourth and final round of the Track World Cup will take place from March 3-5 in Sydney, Australia. The New Zealand selectors have named their team for the meet, which includes: Justin Grace (Auckland), Nathan Seddon (Otago), Adam Stewart (Canterbury), Elisabeth Williams (Auckland), and Catherine Sell (Wanganui). The team will be managed by Tim Carswell.

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