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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 5, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Track World Cup Day 2 wrap up

Capacity crowds captivated by stunning sprints and endurance galore

By Les Clarke in Sydney

Gregory Bauge (France)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

In a fantastic display of sprinting and endurance riding, France and Holland shared the night's honours on day two of at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. With Gregory Bauge and Arnaud Tournant on song for the French and Holland taking wins in the women's 500m time trial and men's points race through Yvonne Hijgenaar and Niki Terpstra respectively, there was a feast of speed on offer for the excellent capacity crowd that really got behind all the riders.

Men's sprint

In the semi finals of the men's sprint, Polish rider Damian Zielinski showed even more speed than his display in the keirin last night to secure his position in the men's sprint final with a win against Malaysia's Josiah Ng. In two carbon-copy races, Zielinski beat Ng by hitting out early over the final lap and never being headed to win with excellent leg speed that carried him home first in both races. It was a little more of the same for Gregory Bauge in the other semi final, leading countryman Arnaud Tournant into the final lap in both their races to come out on top in each. In the second of their showdowns, former world champion Tournant conceded defeat going into the second-last bend and Bauge cantered to victory.

In race one of the final for gold, Gregory Bauge played with his Polish opponent in the opening stages with the confidence of a rider who knows he's got speed on his side, leading from the front to defeat Zielinski by half a bike length at the finish. In their second encounter it was more of the same from Bauge, with the Frenchman giving Zielinski plenty of room heading into the back straight before zooming by the outside as though he were standing still - Bauge's speed was amazing, something he attributes to more gym work in the off season.

Greater experience also plays a vital role in his dominant win, saying through a translation after taking race two that, "I feel more mature on the track now; every race is different, and with the experience I have now I can read a race a lot better. This was the case in the second race when I felt I could get around the Polish rider in the back straight." This he certainly did to devastating effect to win the world cup overall title as well as tonight's race.

Click here for the full results, report and photos from Day 2.

Liberty Seguros prepares in the cold

In order to get them used to what will be a very chilly week of racing in Paris-Nice, Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz ordered his boys to train outside in the snow on Saturday. Apart from this, the riders also did some indoor work to complete the day, and Andrey Kashechkin and Aitor Osa used the time trial bikes to familiarise themselves with the BH machines they will use this season.

The race will begin tomorrow in Paris with a 4.8 km prologue, the only time trial of this edition. Liberty's Luis Leon Sanchez says he is looking forward to it, but is a little unsure of his form. "I have trained very well, but I have not raced since Australia and that is not the best way to confront a 4 kilometre prologue like this one," he said.

Sanchez added that he weighs two kilos less than he did a year ago. "I feel better climbing and I am more focused and also calmer, because I already know what I am going to confront." To lose the weight, Sanchez actually reduced his training volume in winter, but also his calorie intake. "Well, instead of going out to train for five or six hours at top level, this year I made it easier, but with some intervals. Also, I went out training the first few hours without eating, and I trained on the climbs with a higher pedal cadence."

Besides Paris-Nice, Sanchez said he will aim for the Vuelta a Castilla-Leon "and then I will do the Three Days of the Panne to help Koen de Kort. Then I will start again with Alcobendas and Catalunya to be as good as possible in the Tour de France, but without thinking of winning anything, only to help Vinokourov."

George psyched for the Giro del Capo

By Shane Stokes

Three time winner David George will be hoping another strong ride in the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Giro del Capo will help him cement a good pro deal for 2006. The Tour de Langkawi victor is still on the hunt for a contract after being let go by Barloworld last Autumn.

The 30 year old showed the best form of his career in winning the 2.HC ranked race in Malaysia and told Cyclingnews this week that he is feeling good in advance of the South African tour, which begins on Wednesday in Wellington.

"All is going well and my form seems to be good since Langkawi," he confirmed. "We have put a team together for the Giro del Capo, sponsored by Nedbank, which is one of South Africa's biggest banks. I hope to ride well there."

George's performance in Malaysia opened up discussions as regards a pro deal for the remainder of the season. He says that talks are ongoing. "I am in negotiation with one or two teams and hope to be back in Europe soon after the Commonwealth Games. Watch this space."

A full David George feature will follow soon on Cyclingnews.

UCI to appeal Forde case

The UCI has said it will lodge an appeal against the decision of the Barbados Cycling Federation not to sanction sprinter Barry Forde, who showed a high level of testosterone at the Six Days of Grenoble in October last year. The Barbados Cycling Federation nevertheless dropped Forde from the country's Commonwealth Games team recently in light of the result.

"Having studied the case, the UCI Anti-Doping Commission does not agree with the arguments raised by the Barbados Cycling Federation," said the UCI in a statement. "Consequently, the International Cycling Union will lodge an appeal against this decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne."

If found guilty of a doping offence, Forde faces a ban of four years, as he has already tested positive in the past.

Fair weather for NZ World Cup

There's good news for the riders and the organisers of Sunday's women's World Cup race in Wellington city, New Zealand, with the strong winds that have battered the region in the last few days forecast to die out in time for the big race tomorrow.

The riders battled gale force winds at times during the three days of the Trust House Cycle Tour around the Wellington region this week, as well as rain during Friday's time trial around the Miramar peninsula. But the forecast for Sunday is for a mostly fine day with a light northerly wind.

"The weather wasn't great on Friday - wet and cold - but the most important thing is that we get a good day for the World Cup race, and it looks like we will," event director Eddie Bright said.

German rider Ina Teutenberg leads the World Cup standings after taking out last week's first leg in Geelong. She's likely to face tough competition from world number one and defending champ, Australian Oenone Wood, who finished a disappointing 41st in Geelong and will be looking to improve.

The highest ranked Kiwis are Tamara Boyd in ninth place and Joanne Kiesanowski in 10th place, but there'll also be plenty of interest in Sarah Ulmer after her strong performance in winning the Trust House Tour.

The World Cup race starts at 12:30pm from outside Parliament with the riders completing 20 laps of a 6.2 kilometre course (total 124 kilometres) which includes a tough climb up the steep Boulcott Street and a thrilling descent down The Terrace. The winner is expected to cross the line just after 4pm.

Schedule announced for Athens Twilight

The Annual Athens Twilight Criterium races and festival will be held April 28-29, on the streets of downtown Athens, Georgia, USA. The races, which draw more than 25,000 spectators, include a variety of events from a 5K road race, Pro/Am cycling, mountain bike races, BMX flatland and street demonstrations, handcycling races and the KidsZone.

The weekend will kick-off on Friday night with the Computrainer Races, which are time trials to seed the riders for the top starting positions in Saturday's Criterium. On College Avenue, Movies by Moonlight will feature a free screening of Breaking Away (1979), before the criterium action takes over on Saturday. The final event will be the men's pro criterium, which starts at 9:00pm on Saturday.

Full schedule

Friday, April 28

CompuTrainers, Top level of the Hilton Garden Parking Deck: 9am-5pm
The Twilight KidsZone, 300 Block: 4pm-10pm
The Twilight Expo, 100 Block: 5pm-11pm
BMX Pre-competition demos, College Ave.: 6 pm
Movies by Moonlight, College Ave.: 9pm

Saturday, April 29

USCF Greenway Cycling Races/USCF Amateur Finals, Willow St.: 8am-3pm, finals at 5pm
Twilight 5K Road Race, Washington Street at College Ave.: 8:30am
The Twilight Expo, 100 Block: 9am - 9pm
Gambler fun ride, Washington St. at College Ave.: 10am
The Twilight KidsZone, 300 Block: 10am-5pm
The Twilight Kids Criterium, 300 Block and Washington Street: 11am
Big Wheel Race, 300 Block and Washington Street: 12pm
BMX Amateur Flatland 11am-12pm /Pro Flatland: 1pm-2pm
BMX Amateur Street 12pm-1pm /Pro Street: 2:30pm-3:30pm
Fat Tire Criterium, Start/Finish on Clayton St: 6pm
Handcycle Criterium, Start/Finish on Clayton St.: 6:40pm
$1,000 Mile, Start/Finish on Clayton St.: 7:30pm
Women's Criterium, Start/Finish on Clayton St.: 7:45 pm
Men's Pro Criterium, Start/Finish on Clayton St.: 9pm

Drapac Porsche goes Continental

Australia's Drapac Porsche Development Program is taking another step forward this year with the creation of a Continental team, becoming the fourth outfit in Australia to register as one. The Drapac Porsche continental team will provide the "natural next step" for its U23 development program riders, and will provide an environment for nurturing the professional aspirations of young riders such as Mitch Docker, who as a guest rider for AG2R finished 8th in the 2005 Herald Sun Tour.

DPDP principal Michael Drapac said, "For young Australian cyclists aspiring to a career in the European professional ranks, the most difficult time is the first year away from home. What we are providing with our Continental team is a bridge to Europe, with riders gaining invaluable experience of different cultures and the challenges of racing away from the familiar surroundings of home."

The team boasts the 2005 UCI Oceania tour winner Rob McLachlan, former Herald Sun Tour KOM winner Phil Thuaux, and Tour of Korea runner up Stuart Shaw. Each of these riders has been selected for the team on the basis of their fit with the Drapac Porsche philosophy of developing riders in various facets of their lives: McLachlan is a school teacher, Thuaux a final year engineering student and Shaw a draftsman, and each has been able to combine a successful athletic career with other interests.

In its first year, the team will contest races on the UCI Oceania and Asia Continental circuits, allowing team members to continue their studies while embarking on short trips overseas. Its first UCI tour will be this week's Tour de Taiwan. Raced over seven days, the tour will provide an opportunity for the team to test itself against leading Continental teams such as Health Net, Merida Europe and Giant Asia.

The team will also race the Tour of Chong Ming Island (Shanghai) at Easter and the Tour of Korea in May. DPDP will be targeting the National Road Series and Herald Sun Tour as major goals for 2006. .

Click here for the full roster

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