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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for March 8, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, assisted by Susan Westemeyer and Sabine Sunderland

Long time between drinks for World Champion in Paris-Nice

World Champ on top
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Before Tom Boonen's victory in the first stage of Paris-Nice on Monday, it was 26 years since a world champion last won a stage in Paris-Nice. His win in St-Amand-Montrond is a rarity in the 'race to the sun'; In 1980 - 26 years ago - was the last time the rainbow jersey came across the finish line in first position. It was then worn by Jan Raas, world champion in '79 who won the stage from Nemours to Auxerre.

With nine wins already this season, Tom Boonen has already shown that the rainbow jersey is not cursed for him.

Niermann and Scholz reflect on "Race to the Snow"

"Bang Bang, I hit the ground... When you start a race with this song running through your head, it's probably a bad omen. It worked out that way for me in the 'race to the snow' (but isn't Paris-Nice actually called the race to the sun?)" wrote Grischa Niermann on his website, www.grischa-niermann.de. "My somersault with two twists and a little wobble at the end actually came out well for me. But not for my brand-new Colnago C-Extreme, which is now to be trashed."

After stage one's rain and cold temperatures, stage two was slightly warmer and dryer, "but when you looked left and right from the road, you would have been better off with a pair of cross-country skis."

Finally, Niermann says, he hopes that he will appear in the European TV coverage of the race at some point this week, "because my son Finn always sits in front of the TV and calls out, 'my papa, my papa!' when he sees a Rabobank jersey."

Gerolsteiner's Ronny Scholz also has his doubts about the name of the race, as he wrote on www.ronnyscholz.de. "That this is 'the race to the sun', is hardly noticeable. It's just not getting warmer." And in trying to stay warm, he learned a lesson - the hard way. "Since I froze yesterday, I rubbed myself with a warming salve. Unfortunately I overdid it and did my feet, too. I regretted that very quickly. I felt as if someone had cut my feet off."

Kohl instead of Greipel to T-A for T-Mobile

Bernhard Kohl will be replacing Andre Greipel at Tirreno-Adriatico for Team T-Mobile, the team announced Tuesday. Greipel, who is recovering from the 'flu, "was still on a course of antibiotics for his sickness until Monday last, and the race has come a little too soon for him as he works on returning to full fitness," the team said.

Kohl had been planning to use the time to train alone "and tank up some strength for the long season," he writes at www.bernhardkohl.at. But he has been a pro cyclist long enough to know that things rarely work out as planned, and the phone call telling him to pack his bags for Italy "was a little surprising, but I am looking forward to the next racing days."

He is also looking forward to meeting his "old friend" Levi Leipheimer again, who has announced that he "absolutely wants to win the race. When someone like him says something like that, then it means something. That makes it look good for me, because I wasn't so far behind him in California," said the young Austrian.

Scheirlinckx out

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) will not take part in Tirreno-Adriatico due to a kidney problem. Scheirlinckx had traces of blood in his urine on Monday, and flew back home to Belgium from Italy on Tuesday. Scheirlinckx had similar problems just before Het Volk, but they passed. Cofidis has substituted Fred Bessy in his place.

Gilbert likes winning solo

All mine
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Omloop Het Volk winner Philippe Gilbert proved over a week ago that he's already in good shape, and that he would like to continue that winning form during the race to Nice. In the Belgian VUM newspapers, Gilbert pointed out that he likes arriving solo at the finish line, early in the season.

"It is indeed a habit to go for a win early in the season; that's so I wouldn't start to doubt myself," he said. "The Omloop, that was a big bang right away of course. It made me think back to the days of my first win, a provincial championship with the juveniles. I went to the finish line by myself also there. That day I discovered the great joy of winning. It's an emotion I don't want to go without anymore."

Gilbert likes being the only one in the picture while crossing the line; and that solo game is inherent to his temperament. "That's why I don't play soccer. You depend too much on the other players. It's possible to play a great game yourself but lose anyway. As a cyclist your team is important also, of course, but you carry more responsibility yourself. Also for the result. You know, I didn't have any idols when I was young, I just loved every aggressive rider, riders who attack tout court. So really, I had a different hero every race!"

Armstrong wants Simeoni lawsuit dropped

An Italian court has been asked by Lance Armstrong's lawyer to drop the litigation started by Filippo Simeoni against Armstrong, according to an Associated Press report. Simeoni sued Armstrong for defamation in 2003 after an article in Le Monde, where Armstrong called him a liar with regard to his testimony in the investigation of Dr. Michele Ferrari.

In January 2006, the Paris civil court decided not to go forward with Simeoni's case, saying that the statute of limitations had already expired in the case against Armstrong and that Simeoni's lawyers had misinterpreted French law. The case was heard again in Latina, Italy on March 7, and Armstrong's lawyer, Enrico Nan, argued that Simeoni's lawsuit should be dropped "because a foreigner should not be held responsible in Italy for comments made to a French newspaper 'even if the Internet can be read anywhere,'" according to AP.

The other Simeoni vs. Armstrong case related to an incident in the 2004 Tour de France, where Armstrong personally marked Simeoni when he was trying to bridge to a breakaway, effectively dooming Simeoni's chances of staying away. Simeoni accused Armstrong of intimidating and insulting him (in relation to his testimony at the Ferrari trial), but the charges were dropped last year by a court in Lucca, Italy.

Wiesenhof-Akud to Giro del Capo

The German Continental Team Wiesenhof-Akud is off to South Africa and the Giro del Capo, "where the riders will find not only better weather than in Germany, but also a strong international field." According to sports director Jens Heppner, who will be accompanying the team, "This race is exactly perfect to help us get in shape for our first German highlight, the Rund um Köln on Easter Monday. We want to do more than just roll along. We are well prepared for the sprints with Steffen Radochla, and the other four all go well over the mountains. I know that it won't be easy, but we want to battle for the top places in the GC."

Wiesenhof-Akud for Giro del Capo: Steffen Radochla, Robert Retschke, Thorsten Schmidt, Corey Sweet, Gerhard Trampusch.

Wildcards announced for Amstel Gold Race

The 25 teams have been finalised for the Amstel Gold Race on April 16. In addition to the 20 ProTour teams, five Pro Continental teams have received wildcards for the Dutch classic. Skil-Shimano, Barloworld, Unibet.com, Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen and Landbouwkrediet-Colnago.

Australian long team for Track World's

Cycling Australia has named its national squad from which the Cyclones team to contest the 2006 Track Cycling World Championships will be selected. The Championships are being staged in Bordeaux, France, from April 13 to 16, and the final team will be named after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games.

"At the time originally scheduled for naming the team (7 March 2006) the National Track Squad will be announced from which the world championship team shall be selected," said Cycling Australia in a statement. "However, the final naming of the selected team will be postponed for two weeks to enable consideration by selectors of the form of athletes in the Commonwealth Games track competition. The same period of time thereafter will be allowed for an appeal process for non-selected athletes."

The team size is also subject to UCI allocated quotas governing the number of cyclists Australia has qualified for each event. The UCI has not yet released the final quotas.

The team

Sprint group

Ryan Bayley (WA 09.03.1982)
Shane Kelly (VIC 07.01.1972)
Ben Kersten (NSW 21.09.1981)
Joel Leonard (VIC 22.07.1981)
Anna Meares (QLD 21.09.1983)
Kerrie Meares (QLD 04.09.1982)
Shane Perkins (VIC 30.12.1985)

Endurance group

Katherine Bates (NSW 18.05.1982)
Simon Clarke (VIC 18.07.1986)
Peter Dawson (WA 04.02.1982)
Sean Finning (VIC 22.01.1985)
Rochelle Gilmore (NSW 14.12.1981)
Matthew Goss (TAS 05.11.1986)
Ashley Hutchinson (QLD 09.05.1979)
Mark Jamieson (TAS 04.05.1984)
Katie Mactier (VIC 23.03.1975)
Miles Olman (QLD 23.02.1986)
Stephen Wooldridge (NSW 17.10.1977)

Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team

Canadian club Steamer Racing has announced the formation of the Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team. The team has planned an ambitious road racing program for the upcoming race year with a mix of seasoned athletes and emerging talented riders.

The team will be riding the new top of the line Masi 3VC Volumetrica full carbon frames. Anyone who has seen the movie Breaking Away, the movie that launched thousands of cyclists, knows Masi bikes. With the 2006 relaunch of Masi in Canada, Masi-Adobe will be riding the latest offering from the Italian born brand. Adobe digital solutions continues its long association with Steamer Racing as a main sponsor for the team.

Click here for the full release and roster.

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