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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for March 18, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones

Milram milkmen ready to deliver in Sanremo

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Milano, Italy

At a pre Milano-Sanremo press conference Friday, Team Milram riders Alessandro Petacchi, the 2005 winner and four-time Primavera champ Erik Zabel exuded confidence for Saturday's first classic of the season.

Ale-Jet Petacchi is a man of few words; the super sprinter from La Spezia preferring to speak with his afterburners, but telling the assembled media: "I feel even stronger this year than last year... sure, there are a lot of challengers, but I'm starting with the #1 on my back. My team is good and I'm sure we will be up to the challenge."

Petacchi's lead-out man for Milano-Sanremo will be four time winner Erik Zabel, and the German rider seems perfectly happy with his role as set-up man for the Italian, even if he's already won La Classicissima four times. Zabel explained that "the main point is that Milram is a new team and we want to win Milano-Sanremo. I know Alessandro is stronger than last year and even then, no-one could beat him.

"We know Boonen is very strong too and very fast uphill. And Bettini will be attacking, so we have to watch Quick.Step. Then there is Freire and Rabobank, Astarloa and even Allan Davis from Liberty Seguros." Affirmed Petacchi, "We know Bettini wants to do well in Milano-Sanremo and he's certainly a man to watch. I'm sure he will attack, but we don't know how effective he will be."

Zabel continued evaluating the competition for Team Milram, saying: "We know that Alessandro [Petacchi] is absolutely strong uphill; his sprints in the uphill finishes [at Tirreno-Adriatico] were amazing to see. So our plan is to stay together from the Cipressa on and see what happens."

Cyclingnews also spoke with experienced Dutch rider Martin Den Bakker as he spent some time loosening up on the home trainer outside the Team Milram hotel. Den Bakker started his pro career sixteen seasons ago in 1990 on the vaunted PDM squad and recently ended eight seasons with Rabobank. "This is a good team and the vibe is positive," he said. "I'm learning Italian too! Tomorrow, our strategy is to keep it together; I don't think we're going to let a break go with a Quick.Step or Rabobank rider. Then my job is to be there with Petacchi on the Poggio, then it's Velo, Sacchi and Zabel's turn."

First M-SR for Cunego

Yesterday at the Lampre stand in Fiera di Bologna, young Italian stage race talent and 2004 Giro d'Italia champion Damiano Cunego, in the company of Lampre-Fondital team managers Giuseppe Saronni and Giuseppe Martinelli, met with his many fans, signing autographs and taking pictures with them.

While he was there, the 24 year-old Cunego spoke about his inaugural outing at Milano-Sanremo: "This debut is important for me for two reasons," he began by saying. "It will be good to live the race atmosphere after some weeks from my last race, but it will also important for to prove myself for the first time this particular race, in sight of possible aims of a future victory."

Health problems for Bennati

Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital) will not be on the start line tomorrow in Milan, due to health problems, he reports on his website He was to be one of the team leaders, but instead will try to recover for the upcoming northern classics.

Davis replaces Bernucci for T-Mobile at MSR

Scott Davis will ride Milan-San Remo in the place of Lorenzo Bernucci, Team T-Mobile announced Friday. Bernucci, who recently finished Tirenno-Adriatico as 22nd overall, has the 'flu. Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva said that the substitution will not change the team's tactics. "We will have to have a rider in every escape group after the Cipressa. No matter what, we have to prevent a mass sprint if we want to have a chance to win."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

La Primavera Rosa replacement brings new hope to women's cycling

Coppa dei Laghi set to become part of 2007 World Cup

By Anthony Tan in Maastricht, Netherlands

The Coppa dei Laghi will start in the town of Salò,
Photo ©: Egidio Event
(Click for larger image)

Despite the inconspicuous cancellation of the women's version of Milan-San Remo, La Primavera Rosa, in late January, the first edition of the Coppa dei Laghi classic scheduled for March 25 brings renewed hope to elite women's cycling, and according to race organisers Egidio Event s.r.l., it is set to become part of the women's World Cup in 2007.

"This is the only race of Italian women's cycling season that is classified 1.1 by UCI," proudly stated Carmine Castellano, ex-race director of the Giro d'Italia and now organising coordinator of the Coppa dei Laghi.

Continued Castellano: "Starting from next year this appointment will be an event of the World Cup. We are very happy because we managed to arrange this great event for women's cycling in Italy despite the short time at our disposal."

The race profile
Photo ©: Egidio Event
(Click for larger image)

The inaugural Coppa dei Laghi will be 105 kilometres in length and start in the town of Salò, a lakeside town on the western side of Lake Garda. From there, the race will take a clockwise route through Brescia before finishing on the southern banks of Lake Idro, no more than 30 kilometres due north of the race's starting point. 600 metres is the difference in altitude between the two towns, with the most difficult and quite possibly decisive section of the race to occur 25 kilometres from the finish on the climb of Lodrino, measuring 6.5 kilometres long.

Numerous champion cyclists will take to the start on Saturday week, and the teams confirmed include Buitenpoort-Flexpoint, Univega, Bigla, Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas, Fenix-Colnago, As F.R.W. and Bianchi Aliverti Kookai, with five Italian elite category teams also participating.

The race will commence Saturday, March 25 at 9.30a.m. from Via Provinciale, Località Campoverde. An expected finish time is approximately 12 noon in Idro, on the road n.58.

Landuyt 11 to go before criminal court

Eleven people involved in the Jose Landuyt case have been referred to Belgium's criminal court by the court in Kortrijk. The names include veterinarian Jose Landuyt, soigneur Herman Versele, ex-professionals Johan Museeuw, Mario De Clercq, Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers, amateurs Nico Henderickx, Olivier Penney and Birger Donie, and Georges Windels and Freddy Walraevens. They are charged with possession and/or use of illegal performance enhancing drugs, including EPO and Aranesp.

The decision comes as a surprise, as the cyclists have already been given suspensions by the Belgian cycling federation, and therefore could be punished for the same offence twice. The same happened with Frank Vandenbroucke, who managed to successfully appeal against his second sentence.

It's not known yet whether any of those charged will appeal against this decision, as they can only do so on procedural grounds. However, it remains to be seen what the criminal court decides.

Boogerd's outlook better

Michael Boogerd's return to racing may be sooner than first expected, after he broke his foot yesterday. He was taken to Amersfoort hospital on Friday morning, where he had the cast replaced by a tape. According to his Rabobank team, doctors believe he will make a quick recovery, and he will be able to ride again soon.

"Until Tuesday, I can't put any pressure on my foot," wrote Boogerd on his website. "On Tuesday I will try to put on my race shoes and try to ride again. I hope that gives hope again. I'll certainly not race the Ronde van Vlaanderen but I'll try to be ready for Amstel and Liege."

Boogerd broke the bone in his right foot on Thursday while playing with his son Mikai at home.

Montgomery is lactose-intolerant

No chocolate, no cafe au lait, no cheese - that's part of Sven Montgomery's new diet. The Gerolsteiner pro has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, which the US National Institutes of Health defines as "the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar of milk." It is not a condition that can be cured, but the symptoms can be controlled through diet.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Only hours left to join the Fantasy Milan - San Remo game

There are only hours left to enter you team for this year's Fantasy competition. All teams for the Milan - San Remo race must be submitted before Saturday 18th March, 10am Central European Time. There is still plenty of time to enter your teams and there are some great prizes on offer this year.


We are pleased to confirm that this year, Craft, fi'zi:k, Giro, HED, Maxxis, and Speedplay among others will be providing some fantastic prizes this year. A pair of beautiful Bastogne wheels worth over $600 USD could be yours if you win. Giro and Speedplay are once again continuing their support and are offering some of their finest products. There are ten sets of Maxxis tyres on offer to the lucky winners. Craft are giving away ten of their Pro Cool Mesh Sleeveless Baselayers.

You can win prizes for each of the individual races and for competing in all seven races. Remember you don't need to enter all seven races to win prizes. Have a look at the tactics and prizes of last year's winners.

Rider points update

A pair of beautiful Bastogne wheels worth over $600 USD
(Click for larger image)
HED's Bastogne wheels are named in honour of the Belgian town of Bastogne
(Click for larger image)
Craft are giving away ten of their Pro Cool Mesh Sleeveless Baselayers
(Click for larger image)

Once again you will have 4000 points per team to select your eight riders with. This year, in the light of the new UCI ProTour points system, we have had to make some changes. We have taken the final 2005 rider rankings from the UCI ProTour and have multiplied them by ten. Riders that did not score UCI ProTour points have been awarded nominal points (lower than those of the scoring UCI ProTour riders).

We appreciate this might not best reflect some of the skills of the non-scoring UCI ProTour riders in the coming races, but we hope that this will set us up better for the future as the scoring system becomes more accepted. We have also limited the number of teams people can enter in this year's Spring Classics game to five per manager. We've done this to ensure the competition is open to all, spreading the prizes to an even wider range of players.

How to play

Be a professional team manager for the 2006 Spring Classics. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with fantasy managers from around the world. All you need to do to take part in the latest of the Fantasy Games at Cyclingnews is register and, once the provisional race list has been announced, select eight riders for each of the following races:

Milan - San Remo, March 18th 2006
Ronde van Vlaanderen, April 2nd 2006
Gent-Wevelgem, April 5th 2006
Paris - Roubaix, April 6th 2006
Amstel Gold Race, April 16th 2006
La Flèche Wallonne, April 19th 2006
Liège - Bastogne - Liège, April 23rd 2006

Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. For more details on how to play go to the rules section of the site for more info. To register your teams for the game go to

It's a great way to follow the Spring Classics.

Good luck!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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