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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for March 14, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

Tirreno-Adriatico stage 6 wrap

Bertagnolli comes home free all

Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Leonardo Bertagnolli was a long suffering gregario for Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego at Team Saeco, but eventually took his leave to sign a good contract with rich French squad Cofidis. In 2005, Bertagnolli had a pretty lousy year with Cofidis with the exception of one stage win in Cordoba during last year's Vuelta Espana, as he suffered all season with irregular form due to thyroid problems. But today Bertagnolli held his cards close to the chest and made just the right move at the right time to take his second win of the 2006 season in Torricella Sicura.

The stage was animated by a lengthy breakaway but the Rabobank team of race leader Thomas Dekker worked hard to control and eventually neutralize it. With 6km to go the peloton was back together. On the last steep climb with 800m to go, Bertagnolli made his move and no one could bring him back. Behind, a brilliant Petacchi was runner-up in the uphill sprint, followed by neo-pro Riccò, Pozzato and Astarloa.

See also:
Full results & report
Photos
Stages
Start list

Cofidis for Milan-San Remo

Clearly the man in form after his win in Tirreno-Adriatico, Leonardo Bertagnolli will be one of two designated team leaders when Cofidis lines up for Milan San Remo on Saturday March 18, along with Cristian Moreni.

The two Italians will be supported by Jimmy Casper, Sylvain Chavanel, Arnaud Coyot, Thierry Marichal, Staf Scheirlinckx and Bradley Wiggins.

Barloworld for Milan - San Remo

The Barloworld team has announced its line-up for Milan - San Remo, March 18. Team leader and former world champion Igor Astarloa has already said this race is one of his season targets, and he will be supported by many of the riders currently taking part in Tirreno-Adriatico.

Despite Astarloa's current good form, manifest by his recent win in Milan-Turin and top five stage finishes in Tirreno-Adriatico, Barloworld directeur sportif Alberto Volpi recognises the team will have its work cut out in Milan - San Remo. "We're not short of both enthusiasm and determination even if we know we'll be up against the biggest teams in the peloton," Volpi said.

"Right from the start of the season we've known how to show ourselves in races and I'm sure we'll play our part on the road to San Remo. Courage and initiative are two of our best characteristics and that's why everybody has been impressed by what we've done so far this season."

The Barloworld team for Milan San Remo will comprise Igor Astarloa, Giosuè Bonomi, Gianpaolo Cheula, Mads Christensen, Enrico Degano, Alexander Efimkin, Mauro Facci and Hugo Sabido.

Ullrich to open with Circuit de la Sarthe

Jan Ullrich is opening the hunt for his second Tour de France victory by beginning his season with the Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe, starting April 4, the T-Mobile Team announced today. The decision was reached jointly by Ullrich, team manager Olaf Ludwig and directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage, at a meeting at Ullrich's training camp in Tuscany. "Jan has had good experiences opening his season with Sarthe the last few years," said Ludwig. "The race goes partially over hilly terrain. Plus there is a time trial included, so that Jan can get used to the pressure of competitive racing."

Ullrich raced Sarthe in 2003 and 2005. "It's a good 'starter' race," Ullrich said. "It's not too hard, but you have to be pretty fast to be able to keep up. I can try a few things out, particularly during the time trial." He will be accompanied by, among others, teammates Serhey Honchar and Michael Rogers, both of whom will use the race to build up their form.

The team and Ullrich have also decided that he, "will not ride any of the spring classics," Ludwig added, but further race planning has not been decided. Until the Sarthe starts, Ullrich will continue to train in Tuscany. He is training alone at the moment, but expects to be joined by teammates Giuseppe Guerini and Honchar.

Courtesy Susan Westemeyer

Sanderson aims to prove himself

By Les Clarke

Talented young Australian sprinter Nic Sanderson says he's keen to prove a point in 2006 after parting ways with Davitamon-Lotto last month. Returning to this year's Bendigo Madison as reigning champion, Sanderson took second in the race with partner Sean Finning and displayed the kind of speed and talent that drew the attention of the Belgian team prior to being signed to ride for them in 2006.

"I'm happy to be back on the podium - it's great here in Bendigo," said Sanderson after the finish on a very blustery night in the Victorian town. In terms of what's in store for 2006 he's not too sure, but knows one thing's for certain - there's plenty to prove this year. "I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing yet, nothing's concrete at the moment," he said, before adding, "I'm definitely keen for a big year and it's time to go out there and prove a point, I suppose."

With the European road season kicking into a bigger gear this month, Sanderson knows he won't be back in the pro peloton straight away, but remains confident of doing so soon. "At this stage it's going to be hard to get back into a pro team for this year. I'm certainly looking for a few big results and hopefully I'll be in the pro peloton in 2007," he said.

Leaving Davitamon-Lotto was a bitter pill, but Sanderson says, "I'm not ruling out riding for a Belgian team again - but I'm certainly disappointed I didn't get the chance to show what I could do as a pro cyclist." Nevertheless, Sanderson is staying positive. "Things would be a lot different if I was older, but I'm 21 and still have my whole future ahead of me," he says.

That future could be in Spain, where Sanderson has previously ridden for the Liberty Seguros under 23 squad. He would be keen to ride with Liberty Seguros again, having developed a rapport with team manager Manolo Saiz. The roster is complete for 2006 and so a ride on the team wouldn't be possible, but after enjoying the services of another talented Australian, Allan Davis in the senior squad, they may just have some room for this fast Aussie in 2007.

Phonak suspends Urweider

Team Phonak Hearing Systems announced Monday that it has suspended Sascha Urweider, who tested positive for testosterone on February 14. The team said that after Swiss Cycling notified it of the positive A test, team general manager John Lelangue suspended the rider pending the results of the B test, as set forth in the UCI ProTour code. The team reiterated its support of the ProTour code of ethics, as well as the UCI's anti-doping codes. Urweider is a 25-year-old Swiss, who placed second in the 2004 national road championships.

Renäng returns

Promising young Swedish rider Petter Renäng (Unibet.com) will return to racing at the Critérium International, March 25-26, according to his agent Olivier Onderbeke. Renäng underwent a knee operation in January and will ride Critérium International as a way of returning to the rhythm of racing; neither he nor his team have any great expectations.

Renäng is currently training in Malaga and if his rehabilitation continues well, he hopes to be fully fit by June.

Aldag trades bike for running shoes

Former T-Mobile rider Rolf Aldag has retired from professional cycling, but he hasn't given up sports. He announced yesterday that he will run the marathon in Hamburg, Germany, on April 23. "A professional cyclist, who rides in about 100 races a year, ought to be able to come in with a time under 2 hours and 45 minutes, with a little training," said Aldag. He is currently running between 100 and 140 kilometers a week.

Courtesy Susan Westemeyer

Operation for Frédéric Amorison

Landbouwkrediet - Colnago rider Frédéric Amorison, who was the victim of a crash in last week's GP Wanzele, underwent an operation Friday to help heal his injured hand and prevent future complications, according to his team.

Disappointed French looking ahead to good times

By Les Clarke

After a long layoff due to the much-publicised 'shooting galleries' drugs scandal, Australian track sprinter Mark French is getting on with the job of training and racing, and believes that he's capable of being among the world's best again. Racing at the Bendigo Madison carnival last weekend, French said he's been extremely busy over the last few months, and it appears to be paying off.

"I believe in myself," French told Cyclingnews. "Hopefully I can get back on the dias at world's in 2007, and at the moment I'm racing and training better than I ever have," he said.

Australian selectors didn't choose French for the team that will travel to the world championships in Bordeaux, France, April 13-16, but French seems undaunted. He said it was "extremely disappointing considering the time I did," to miss out on a place in Bordeaux, "but we've worked out my year with Cycling Australia where I'll just basically come back into training. I'm going to go to France to race the grand prix in June, and Prague as well - I'll race there for three weeks and the spend all of July here. In August I'll join the AIS boys and do some grands prix in America and Europe again."

It's a busy schedule for French, but being overseas means he'll be out of the spotlight, something he doesn't mind one bit. He said the possibility of appealing the selection decision for the world championships team existed, but even if his appeal was successful he ran the risk of sitting out the racing. He said he'd prefer to get on with the hard work. "I've been guaranteed a spot in the squad for next year's Sydney round of the track world cup as long as I get some results in the grands prix," he said.

The young Victorian also said the reaction to him racing in Bendigo was excellent, something he was genuinely pleased about. "It's been unbelievable - the riders have been extremely good to me," he said.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Australian doping allegations & Mark French's comeback

January 26, 2006: Mark French in last-minute qualifier
January 21, 2006: Mark French misses Commonwealth Games qualification time - just
January 18, 2006: Mark French returns
July 12, 2005: Mark French cleared
November 18, 2004: Anderson report clears all but French
August 13, 2004: Dajka loses final bid
August 4, 2004: Witch hunting in the 21st century, part 2

August 3, 2004: Dajka appeal will be heard
August 2, 2004: Dajka misses deadline to appeal
July 30, 2004: Kersten in, Dajka out of Australian Olympic squad
July 29, 2004: Dajka's spot in Athens squad faces new threat, Selective leaks or reporting designed to defame?, Growth hormone test is go
July 29, 2004: Dajka's spot in Athens squad faces new threat
July 21, 2004: Australian Olympic Committee selects Eadie and Kersten
July 19, 2004: Eadie wins appeal
July 19, 2004: Eadie considers legal action
July 16, 2004: Dajka cleared by Customs
July 14, 2004: Eadie out, Kersten in, pending appeal
July 13, 2004: Eadie lodges appeal
July 12, 2004: Eadie hit with doping notice - from 1999; French saga rolls on
July 10, 2004: AOC 'withholds' Dajka from Australian Olympic team
July 9, 2004: Pound comments 'ill-informed', says ASC
July 2, 2004: Anderson report clears named riders; full Australian Olympics cycling team nominations
July 1, 2004: The high cost of controversy
June 26, 2004: Accused rider hits back: 'I was never in Adelaide'
June 25, 2004: One week for French inquiry
June 24, 2004: Mark French makes statement
June 23, 2004: Pound weighs in
June 22, 2004: Cycling Australia welcomes inquiry; Riders deny involvement in doping
June 22, 2004: French gets life, but still offers to assist new enquiry
June 21, 2004: Lifetime Olympic ban for French
June 19, 2004: French faces blowtorch from sports authorities
June 18, 2004: Opposition calls for inquiry into AIS track cycling program
June 9, 2004: French suspended two years
June 1, 2004: Horse hormones found in French's room

Subaru Urban Assault Race kicks off in LA

The first Subaru Urban Assault Race for 2006 will take place in Los Angeles, CA, on March 26. A cross between a bike race and scavenger hunt, the race involves riding to check points and taking part in various challenges. The race benefits local and national charities that promote an active, healthy lifestyle such as the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Now in its fourth year, there'll be seven races held in cities across the US - Los Angeles, CA (March 26), San Diego, CA (April 30), Dallas, TX (May 28), Ft. Collins (June 17), Austin, TX (June 25), Denver, CO (July 30), and Boulder, CO (August 27). According to organisers, the race has grown due to its popularity among first-time racers. "Although we created this event to be a cool change of pace from the same old road and mountain bike races, the Subaru Urban Assault Race has become huge, with 99% of the riders having never raced before", explains race director, Josh Kravetz. The race is run in pairs, with Co-ed, Male, Female, or "Family" categories racing 20-25 miles through 10 checkpoints, with the top team taking home a pair of fat-tyre cruisers.

Registration and race information is available at www.urbanassaultrace.com.

2006 ISCorp Cycling Team

Nova Cycle Sport, Inc. has announced the 2006 ISCorp Cycling Team. Nova Cycle Sport, Inc. prides itself on supporting young riders and has once again announced a large junior roster, supported by the club's sponsors and vast network of master cyclists who provide opportunities for young cyclists to strive to the best of their abilities both on and off the bicycle.

Full announcement & roster

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