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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for March 21, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Top sprinters to race Dwars door Vlaanderen

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen will be graced with the presence of more than a few stars, as riders get ready for the northern classics. World Champion Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) will be there, backed by a strong team, as will Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), who finished second in Milan-San Remo. Top sprinters Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) will also be presented.

The race, which will be held for the 61st time, starts in Kortrijk and finishes in Waregem. Totaling 204 km, it includes 12 climbs. It should be dry but cold weather on Wednesday, with a maximum temperature of 7 degrees and a moderate north east wind blowing.

Everything "according to plan", says Ullrich

Everything is going "according to plan," says T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, noting that, "It's not so important when I start racing. I have to be ready for it. And now I am." In an interview with the German Bild tabloid, he said that when things continue to go so well, then the Giro "would be a theme. But I would not be looking at the overall win."

Apparently not really everything is going as planned, though. "Every now and then, my knee twitched a little. I put some strength elements into my training, maybe a few too many. I took it easy for a couple of days. Now there is no more pain." Team spokesman Luuc Eisenga downplayed the knee problem, telling Cyclingnews, "It's very common for every athlete to be have some small pains sometimes; it's nothing to worry about."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Sponsor Gerolsteiner refuses to commit itself to Hondo

Danilo Hondo would like to go back to Gerolsteiner, but does Gerolsteiner want him? Hondo's manager, Tony Rominger, has said that Hondo's former team is his first choice. Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer has stayed in contact with Hondo during his doping suspension and has made no secret of the fact that he would like to have Hondo riding for him again. However, sponsor Gerolsteiner has repeated over the last year that it will not accept riders who have doped, and would consider re-signing Hondo only if he was cleared of all charges.

Stefan Göbel, Director for Corporate Communications, told Cyclingnews this morning, that while the company is of course aware of the latest development in the case, it does not have any information over the details or the reactions of the parties involved, and could not comment on the merits of the case, and "we do not see any reason to make a decision at this time."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

An interview with Emma Colson

Pretty special being in Melbourne

Emma Colson will be representing
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Emma Colson is one of three Australian representatives for the women's cross country mountain bike race to be held at Lysterfield this Thursday, and as Cyclingnews' Mal Sawford finds out half the fun for this 37-year-old physiotherapist is the fact she'll be racing on home turf, which is something pretty special. He caught up with her at her inner-city Melbourne terrace after a tough Sunday morning training session.

Cyclingnews: Tell us about your training session this morning

Emma Colson: Mountain bike starts are my weakness. I dragged Dave [husband and local MTB guru David Olle] out of bed - we had to get going early because he had to work. We went down and sort of found something that approximated the start at Lysterfield [the Commonwealth Games MTB venue]; a bit of gravel rise then across the grass. He gets me over the first 30 seconds every time but after two minutes I'm past him.

CN: Did you do a few repeats of that?

EC: Yeah, I did six of them this morning and then I went out motor pacing on Beach Road [the popular training route for local cyclists and venue for the road time trial].

CN: Did you bump into Kathy Watt?

EC: No I didn't see her; I didn't see her this time. I see her quite a bit down there. She's quite recognisable - her and Carey [Hall, Watt's coach and partner]. My motor pacer had a nicer bike than Carey has though! The real upright old Vespa, a cool looking thing. I was meant to go motor pacing on Thursday but he didn't turn up - he ended up getting a puncture on the way down there and had to get the thing towed!

Click here for the full interview

No medals for England in Comm Games TT

Rachel Heal (England)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Although a country with a strong time trialing culture, England failed to medal in the men's and women's time events at the Commonwealth Games, which were dominated by the local cyclists. The best placed English riders were Rachel Heal and Wendy Houvenaghel, who finished fourth and fifth in the women's individual 29 km time trial. Heal (32) from Manchester, crossed the line in 39:26.37, while 31 year-old Houvenaghel, from Bodmin, was nearly 20 seconds slower in 39:46.02.

"I'm pleased with my race," said Heal. "It's a new start for me doing the time trial. I've been spending my time before today road racing."

"I thoroughly enjoyed that," said Houvenaghel. "Time trialing is something I do a lot domestically so to be out there competing for England was a great privilege. "You can only go as hard as you can. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't."

The medals went to Australia. Oenone Wood took the gold in 37:40.87 as the host nation swept up again. Kathryn Watt and Sara Carrigan won silver and bronze.

"It's unfortunate that these Games coincide with the start of the British season, whereas the Aussies are in peak season," Houvenaghel pointed out.

In the road race on Sunday, Heal will be aiming to repeat her medal-winning performance from four years ago. "I've now got a bronze from Manchester to live up to," she said. "I'll be going for that as fast as I can."

In the men's 40k race Stuart Dangerfield from Willenhall in the West Midlands failed to gain a medal in his fourth Commonwealth Games. After being disqualified from this event in Manchester, Dangerfield was keen to make amends in Melbourne but had to be satisfied with sixth place after riding 50:57.00. The gold went to Australia's Nathan O'Neill in 48:37.29. Another Australian Ben Day took silver in 49:01.67, with New Zealand's Gordon McCauley third in 49:50.70. Paul Manning's pursuit of a third Games gold also ended in disappointment. The Stockport cyclist was ninth in 51:42.85. Merseysider Stephen Cummings was 14th in 52:10.58.

Seven years asked for Otxoa driver

Spanish prosecutors have requested that the driver who killed Ricardo Otxoa and permanently disabled his brother Javier in 2001 be given a jail term of seven years and pay €210,354 in compensation to Ricardo's family, as well as an additional amount to Javier.. The prosecution is asking for the maximum penalties for the offences of imprudent homicide (four years) and imprudent injury (three years), and has further requested that the driver, Sebastián Fernández, have his licence taken away for nine years.

In his defence, Fernández claimed that "the cyclist that was going to the left moved into my line suddenly, and as a result, fell over the hood of my vehicle. I tried to brake a little to avoid skidding off the road. I was travelling at a prudent speed."

Ruano takes over from Gollan in women's CPA

Spanish cyclist Dori Ruano will take the place of Olivia Gollan as president of the Women's Association of Professional Cyclists (CFHN). Gollan claimed a lack of free time to devote to the position, as she is still a full time professional cyclist. Ruano is in her last year as a pro, and is expected to have more time available. Edita Pucinskaite was elected vice-president of the CFHN.

The CPA and the CFHN will meet on Saturday, April 1 in Aigle. On the agenda, among other things, is the analysis of the joint agreement and of the minimum prize money grid for 2007, and matters pertaining to the Solidarity Fund, which helps riders who are not being paid by their teams.

Quick.Step-Innergetic for upcoming races

Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (March 21-25): Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Francesco Chicchi, Juan Manuel Garate, Jose Antonio Garrido, Ivan Santaromita, Leonardo Scarselli, Hubert Schwab. D.S.: Serge Parsani.

Dwars door Vlaanderen (March 22); Tom Boonen, Steven De Jongh, Kevin Hulsmans, Servais Knaven, Bram Tankink, Kevin Van Impe, Wouter Weylandt. D.S.: Wilfried Peeters.

Retired German pros go "Ironman"

"The Ironman Battle of the Ex-Pro-Cyclists" is what the Ironman race on the island of Lanzarote could call itself this year. Two former Telekom/T-Mobile pros will be taking part, Rolf Aldag and Kai Hundertmarck. Aldag, 37, retired after the 2005 season and has already announced that he will run his first marathon in April in Hamburg, Germany. Now he has announced that he will participate (in the appropriate age group) in the Ironman triathlon on the Spanish island on April 23.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

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