First Edition Cycling News for March 7, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke
Paris-Nice stage 1 wrap: Boonen runs hot despite the cold
Time to soar - again
Photo ©: Sirotti
In what could be a sign of things to come for the ProTour in 2006, Tom
Boonen (Quick Step) has won stage 1 of Paris-Nice after a bunch sprint
in Saint-Amand-Montrond. Although happy to get the win, Boonen was riding
hard at the finish in part to get out of the cold as well as take win
number eight for the year so far. "The bunch wasn't riding fast and I
was cold; I was so cold that I asked the organisers to cancel the last
lap," he said after the stage.
In the first ProTour race of the season, Boonen showed that he's got
the best form in the world right now by taking yet another win. "Today
the team was perfect," explained the Belgian. "The stage was hard, because
of the cold and the rain. Everybody waited for me and I'm happy to have
been able to win first up. It's important for the morale and for the next
stages. Besides this is the first victory in the first 2006 ProTour competition.
I'm very satisfied," he added.
Overnight leader Bobby Julich finishing safely in 48th place, now seven
seconds behind Boonen in second on general classification, but CSC boss
Bjarne Riis knew today would be one for the sprinters, and isn't worried
about Boonen as a GC threat. "It went according to plan for us today.
As expected Quick Step had ambitions for Boonen to win the stage and the
jersey and this means we can leave it up to the sprinters' teams to keep
the peloton together and instead try to control the race as far as rivals
for the overall victory are concerned," he said after the stage.
Tomorrow's stage takes riders from Cerilly to Belleville, covering 200km
and several cat 3 climbs. Boonen said after today's stage that, "Tomorrow,
it will be a stage for someone else. We're here to get ready for the classics."
He's happy to get the win but anything else will be a bonus. "I also came
with the goal of a stage win, that's done now. If I win two stages, it'll
be even better but I'll have to lose the yellow jersey first."
Teams line up for Tirreno-Adriatico
Several teams have announced their rosters for the first major Italian
stage race of the year, Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts in Tivoli on Wednesday
March 8 and finishes in San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday, March 14.
T-Mobile will be looking to its Classics specialists for success
in Italy, and using the race as final preparation for the big Northern
European one day races which start April 2 with the Tour of Flanders.
Steffen Wesemann will lead the T-Mobile Team and the team focus will
be on stage wins. "We are bringing an aggressive and committed approach
to this race," says T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer. "We are not
candidates for the overall standings, in that regard we are outsiders."
Supporting Wesemann will be Stephan Schreck and the two Flanders residents
Andreas Klier and Sergey Ivanov.
Alongside those four, T-Mobile newcomer Lorenzo Bernucci is looking forward
to a ride on home turf, while the Dutchman Bram Schmitz gets his season
rolling after recovering from a broken foot. However, "We can't expect
much from Bram. After his injury he is just here to get race miles into
his legs", says Kummer.
The final two members of the team will be Andreas Klöden and André Greipel.
Klöden is using Tirreno-Adriatico as part of his early-season build-up
towards what T-Mobile calls "bigger prizes to come" while Greipel will
be looking for sprint victories after his podium places at Vuelta ao Algarve
and the Tour of California.
Quick Step-Innergetic isn't as talkative about the how and why
of its team line-up for Tirreno-Adriatico, but has simply announced that
its team will comprise Serge Baguet, Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Steven
De Jongh, Servais Knaven, Filippo Pozzato, Bram Tankink, Kevin Van Impe.
Bettini will no doubt be going for stage wins and that line-up is very
much a group of seasoned campaigners, several of whom are also capable
of taking a stage win if things go their way, and all of whome3 wil provide
solid support for the Olympic champion.
Barloworld is looking to former world champion Igor Astarloa to
continue the strong form he displayed when he won Milano-Torino at the
weekend. Tirreno-Adriatico also provides Astarloa with a chance to fine-tune
his form ahead of Milano-San Remo (March 18) where the team says he is
"determined to be in the action".
In the sprint finishes, Barloworld is pinning its hopes on Enrico Degano,
who so far this season has won two stages of the GP Costa Azul, where,
the team points out, "he even beat Robbie McEwen of Australia" (McEwen
nevertheless took the general classification). Barloworld will also field
Pedro Arreitunandia, Gianpaolo Cheula, Mads Christensen, Alex Efimkin,
Mauro Facci and Hugo Sabido.
Barloworld to South Africa
The Barloworld team will also be racing in South Africa this month, as
Ryan Cox, Tiaan Kannemeyer, Giosuč Bonomi, Felix Cardenas and Rodney Green
head south for the Giro del Capo, March 8-12. The team describes this
event as a "major objective" and is likely looking for a repeat of last
year's domination in which Kannemeyer won two stages and the general classification
and Cox was second overall.
Barloworld will face opposition from an interesting source: the pairing
of Dutch riders Robert Slippens and Danny Stam, better known as stars
of the Six-Day Madison racing circuit on the track. Slippens and Stam
will be joining local Team CVT/CSC for the Giro del Capo.
"Stam and Slippens will be using the Giro del Capo as preparation for
the World Championships, to be held in Bordeaux in April. They're hoping
for gold this year after winning silver last year and bronze in 2004,"
says CVT/CSC team manager Chris Willemse Snr.
Slippens and Stam will be supported by Chris Willemse Jnr, Konrad Siebrits
and Mark Degenaar.
Selle Italia - Serramenti Diquigiovanni for Chile
As part of its build-up to the 2006 Giro d'Italia, the Selle-Italia will
tackle the Vuelta Chile, March 9 to 19. The team will be represented by
Alberto Loddo, Sergio Barbero, Vladimir Belli, Jose Serpa, Edgardo Simon,
Power gets going again
By Shane Stokes
Following a recent operation to treat endofibrosis, Navigators Insurance
professional Ciarán Power got his return to training underway with some
off-bike work on Monday. The Waterford rider went under the knife last
month to correct a blood flow obstruction in his external iliac artery,
which led to the symptoms of numbness and a loss of power.
"Everything went well," he said in recent days. "I start back in the
gym on Monday. I can do half hour of swimming and half hour of running
every day for two weeks. Then I can get back on bike for an hour a day
for a week. After that, I will do 40 kilometres a day the next week, then
progress to 60 kilometres a day. I can also do the hour a day in the gym,
Power says that he can ramp up his training in mid-April. He is looking
at racing in Ireland in order to build his fitness, before returning to
international competition. "I am looking at possibly doing the Tour of
Ulster as my first race back, to test myself," he said. "I will then talk
to the team and decide what the best plan is in order to return to my
highest level as soon as possible."
The 29 year old had been struggling with the leg problem ever since he
took thirteenth place in the Olympic Games road race in Athens. He is
hoping that he will make a complete recovery and get back to that kind
of form later this year. Other professionals such as Stuart O'Grady have
undergone similar treatment in the past and returned to full strength,
giving Power considerable encouragement.
Sean Yates to ride Archer GP
Discovery Channel directeur sportif Sean Yates may be nominally retired,
but the one-time wearer of the Tour de France yellow jersey has always
kept himself in shape. He's in good enough condition to have decided to
ride the Archer GP on April 9, one of the UK's most prestigious one-day
He's unlikely to be going for the win, though, as that would put him
in the awkward position of presenting the trophy to himself. Organiser
Stuart Cook says, "I was delighted that Sean accepted the presentation
invitation and surprised and even more delighted when he said he wished
to compete in the event."
Yates was a member of the co-promoting Archer club when he was a junior,
but his rapid elevation to the professional ranks in Europe meant he never
actually rode the Archer GP. Now, he's correcting that omission, though
his comeback is unlikely to follow the path of Malcolm Elliott's 2003
Archer GP ride, in which he finished fourth and went on to win the overall
UK Premier series.
Cook says there will be strong competition for inclusion in the 100 man
field for the Archer GP. Selected riders will face a 118 mile course in
the Chiltern Hills that incorporates probably more climbing than any of
the whole Premier Series.
The race starts in Rose Avenue, Hazlemere., before heading through Hazlemere
and descending Cryer's Hill. The route then ascends Hughenden Valley as
it starts its first circuit. A climb of Longdown Hill is closely followed
by the major climb of Whiteleaf Hill. The race then goes through Naphill
before starting another circuit.
After five circuits the race then heads over to the finish circuit but
not before a climb of the infamous Cryer's Hill! The route retraces itself
back through Hazlemere before completing a circuit based around Penn Street
and Winchmore Hill.
USA Cycling stipend programme announced
USA Cycling announced it has allocated more than $50,000 for the 2006
Elite Mountain Bike Performance Stipend programme, which aims to provide
off-road athletes with incentives and support to compete at international
mountain bike events.
With 2006 marking the beginning of the two-year Olympic qualification
period in which countries accumulate points to decide how many start spots
a country receives at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, USA Cycling created
the stipend programme as one of several efforts to help America's international
ranking. The programme is specific to elite men's and women's cross country
disciplines and begins with the first UCI World Cup event on April 1 in
Following each World Cup event, USA Cycling will pay cash incentives
to men and women finishing in the top four in the following day's UCI
rankings. To be considered for the cash incentives, athletes must participate
in the applicable world cup events. If an athlete fails to compete in
a world cup but is still ranked as one of the top-four American riders
in the following edition of the UCI rankings, no stipend will be provided.
Additionally, riders must be ranked in the top 60 overall for men and
top 40 overall for women to be eligible for the funding.
"The benefit of this programme is really twofold," said Gerard Bisceglia,
CEO of USA Cycling. "By providing funding for athletes to compete internationally,
we're creating a platform that supports more participation in World Cups
and other internationally-sanctioned events."
USA Cycling 2006 Mountain Bike Performance Stipend Programme qualifying
April 1-2: UCI World Cup #1 Curacao
May 13-14: UCI World Cup #2 Madrid, Spain
May 20-21: UCI World Cup #3 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
May 27-28: UCI World Cup #4 Fort William, Scotland
June 24-25: UCI World Cup #5 Mt. Sainte Anne, Quebec
September 9-10: UCI World Cup #6 Schladming, Austria
Ullrich: Where? When? Why?
Some light hearted speculation by Susan Westemeyer
The avian flu is spreading across Europe, south Germany is being buried
under unprecedented amounts of March snowfall, Germany is still enduring
its coldest winter in years, its national soccer team is struggling only
months before the World Cup is held in Germany - but how important are
these things really? For German cycling fans there is only one topic of
discussion: Jan Ullrich. Where is he? How is he training? How much does
he weigh? Is he healthy? And when will he finally start his season?
"All top favorites racing except Ullrich" trumpets one headline. He's
still merrily training away and will decide sometime this month when his
first race will be, according to a report from DPA, which also
quotes T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig relaxedly saying he has "No problem!"
with this indefinite planning. Ullrich is only his star and Tour de France
contender, why should he worry?
But it is already known where he will first race! That same DPA
article says it will be the Circuit de la Sarthe, starting April 4. No,
no, no, the Italians know better! Not a French race, but an Italian one!
He is absolutely going to start with the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi
And then there was the rumor that he was going to make his season debut
in a two-day race on the Adria - but unfortunately no one has been able
to track such a race down.
By the way, the Italians also know that Ullrich is going to ride the
Giro. In fact, it has been officially announced and confirmed - at least
according to a Spanish report of some unnamed Giro officials. But the
fans quote Olaf Ludwig and say, "No Problem!" Of course Jan will ride
Of course it will happen that way - just ask the fans! There is a definite
lack of concrete information about Ullrich's present condition, so they
have to speculate. And boy, do they speculate! There's no news because
he's sick, it can only be the avian flu (nothing else is good enough for
Der Kaiser!), he has gained lots of weight, he is at his perfect weight,
he's home training (or home eating and not training), he is training in
Tuscany with Andreas Klöden or was it Matthias Kessler? He's not in shape,
or he's in better shape than ever and trying to hide it from everyone.
Daily come the cries from the fans: is he in Tuscany? Who is he training
with? And is there a recent picture of him?
Doesn't matter, the fans know what he is capable of. So we start the
season winning Sarthe, just to get things off to a good start and everybody
who's who. Then there's not much until he wins the Giro, (because what
would be the point of riding it without going for the win?). Of course
he'll win the German Championship so that he can take his long-awaited
second Tour de France (who can possibly doubt it?) while wearing his national
colors. The Deutschland Tour naturally follows - good grief, he can't
let another American beat him twice! And then there's the World's, where
the road title is waiting for him.
After which he will probably be totally exhausted and victoriously retire
from the sport, leaving T-Mobile in the good hands of the man carefully
chosen to take his place: which is either Andreas Klöden, Michael Rogers
or Linus Gerdemann, depending on which report you read.
There's just one question that's left to be answered: Are T-Mobile and
Ullrich aware of any of this "news"?
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)