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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 23, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Petacchi has a headache

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Alessandro Petacchi's first outing in the Belgian classics did not exactly go to plan, as he pulled out of today's Dwars door Vlaanderen with 75 km to go. Suffering from a headache and unable to stay in contact with the main peloton, Petacchi was forced to stop.

"Today I did not feel that good," he said. "First with this headache that was annoying me since the early hours of the morning, then with a general bad feeling that left me with empty legs since the first kilometres. I hope it is only some leftover fatigue and tension from Milan-San Remo, and not the start of the 'flu. Now, all things permitting, I will go and look at the key parts of the Tour of Flanders tomorrow and the day after with [Gianluigi] Stanga, before returning on Saturday for Harelbeke."

UCI to announce Hondo opinion this month

The UCI expects to issue an announcement stating its position on the Danilo Hondo case no later than the end of the month, spokesman Enrico Carpani told the German press agency dpa. Hondo's two-year doping ban was set aside by a Swiss civil court last week. Hondo has applied for a new licence, and the Swiss federation has indicated that there will no problem with it. Hondo would thus be able to ride as soon as he gets the licence, and hopes to be able to ride as of April 1. "I would like to be at the start of the Flanders Tour on April 2," he said.

However, the 32-year-old sprinter must first find a team. He said that his manager Tony Rominger is considering offers from various teams. The dpa notes that the Pro Tour teams are reluctant to commit themselves in light of the uncertain legal status, and are awaiting word from the UCI as to their standing.

But Carpani has previously told Cyclingnews that the ProTour ban may be up to the teams association to enforce: "The four years additional ban comes from the code of ethics decided on and accepted by the teams, and not by the UCI rules," he said. "The UCI has no power over that, so the decision to maintain and respect this agreement will be an exclusively 'internal affair' for them."

Hondo indicated that it must not necessarily be a ProTour team. "The important thing is to ride again, regardless of whether it is first or second division." One Continental team has already signaled possible interest. Wiesenhof-Akud's manager, Raphael Schweda, said, "If he doesn't find a Pro Tour team, then we could talk. But first we'd have to increase our budget, if the sponsor would be willing."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Klöden optimistic after operation

Only hours after the operation on his right shoulder, Andreas Klöden said that the operation "went well and I'm looking forward to training on the rollers again soon." Klöden injured his shoulder when he crashed in training Tuesday.

T-Mobile team doctor Carsten Temme said, "The ligaments in the right shoulder that hold the collarbone in place were torn. Right now, we expect that Andreas will be able to return to intensive training on the road the end of April. If the healing process goes as expected, we think there will be plenty of time for him to prepare well for the Tour de France." Meanwhile Klöden can expect to stay in the hospital five more days and wait two weeks before starting training on the rollers.

He hasn't been forgotten by his teammates, Klöden said on the team's website. "For example, Jan called from his training camp in Tuscany and asked how I was doing. That helps a lot."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile for E3-Prijs

The T-Mobile Team is sending its classics specialists into action at Saturday's E3-Prijs in Harelbeke, with last year's runner-up Andreas Klier spearheading the eight-man roster. Klier and Tom Boonen escaped with with 55 to go last year and were unable to be caught by a four man group that contained Peter Van Petegem, Nico Mattan, Erik Dekker, David Kopp, and Klier's teammate Steffen Wesemann.

"The race is a perfect warm-up and form-tester for the tough spring classics in Belgium," said T-Mobile Team sporting director Valerio Piva.

Klier, who showed at Milan-Sanremo that he is in good shape, lives and trains in Belgium so he will be able to count on a certain amount of 'local knowledge' Saturday: "The race practically passes by his front door, so he is particularly motivated for this one," added Piva.

Sergey Ivanov is another T-Mobile rider who has left his mark on Harelbeke in the past; the Belgian-based Russian won the event in 2000, and he will be aiming for a high placing again this year. Meanwhile, 2003 runner-up Steffen Wesemann, hopes that come Saturday he will be fully recovered from the cold that forced him to abandon Milan-Sanremo at the base of the Cipressa. "I am felling better again, even if I am still not at 100 percent," said Wesemann.

Rounding out the magenta roster at the E3-Prijs are Lorenzo Bernucci, Marcus Burghardt, Bas Giling, André Greipel und Stephan Schreck.

The semi-classic (UCI 1.HC), which starts and finishes in the West Flemish town of Harelbeke, takes the riders over 209 km through the Flemish Ardennes and features 12 of the famous Flemish bergs that will be used in the Tour of Flanders, with the last climb coming at 16 km to go.

"The many cobbled passages take their toll," said Piva from experience. "You need patience and a bit of luck. If you suffer a mechanical at a critical moment, you've lost your place at the front."

New co-sponsor for Team CSC

Team CSC has a new co-sponsor: German engineering equipment company MAN Aktiengesellschaft. A sponsor for several years already, MAN has provided a team coach and a service truck for the team, but will now up its involvement. The MAN logo will now be displayed four times on CSC jerseys and shorts.

"We have gained an excellent partner and are very proud to be actively supported by such a major enterprise," said CSC's team manager Bjarne Riis.

"Team CSC is a perfect partner. It represents reliability and dynamic momentum at an international level and therefore ideally symbolises our corporate values," commented Hĺkan Samuelsson, MAN´s Executive Board Chairman.

CSC riders will travel to the starts of races in one of MAN's exclusive "Lions Coaches". Racing bikes and spares will be transported by two MAN trucks.

Audrey Lemieux to take Bessette's place

After Canada lost Lyne Bessette due to injury for the Commonwealth Games, the national federation has confirmed that Audrey Lemieux, of Alma, QC, will replace her compatriot in the road race this Sunday.

Bessette suffered from a shoulder dislocation following a training session last week. Lemieux, a member of the Colavita/Cooking Light Cycling Team, was selected as the first alternate by the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) High Performance Committee. Lemieux is the current U23 Canadian champion and winner of the road and individual time trial competition at the 2005 Canada Games.

Kris Westwood, CCA’s Director of High Performance Programs, reported, "We are thrilled that Audrey has been given permission by her Colavita/Cooking Light Cycling Team to join the Canadian National Team for the road race at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. She represents the next generation of young cyclists in Canada and this will be a tremendous opportunity for her to take part in her first major games."

Lemieux will arrive in Australia on Thursday, March 23.

Aust women's Comm Games road squad confirmed

The starting line up for Australia in the women's road race at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games has been confirmed following the clean sweep in the road time trial on Tuesday.

The team includes TT winner Oenone Wood (ACT), as well as bronze medallist Sara Carrigan (QLD), 2006 Australian road champion and Comm Games points race gold medalist, Katherine Bates (NSW), as well as points race silver medalist Rochelle Gilmore (NSW), supported by experienced professionals Olivia Gollan (NSW) and Natalie Bates (NSW).

Kathryn Watt (Australia)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Not included in the squad is Kathy Watt, silver medalist in the time trial on Tuesday. Watt has expressed her disappointment to reporters at the Comm Games about being left out of the road squad.

The Commonwealth Games Australian Team office recently issued a statement explaining its selections.

"The decision was not an easy one because Australia is in the enviable position of having more world class women cyclists than we can put on the start line," said Australian cycling team road manager, Shayne Bannan. "That means unfortunately some riders have missed out and their disappointment is understandable because they all want to ride for their country at every opportunity.

"You have only to look at the calibre of the three riders who missed out, Kathy Watt, Katie Mactier and Alexis Rhodes, to realise how tough this decision has been."

"Wood, comes into the race as the world ranked number one, while Carrigan, the Athens Olympic Games road race champion, is a proven big race performer," said Bannan. "Gilmore has impressive credentials in World Cup and one day race competition and Kate Bates, who was third in the recent Geelong World Cup and claimed the Australian road race two months ago, is well suited to the flat, technical circuit.

"Rounding out the six are Natalie Bates and Gollan who have consistently delivered as reliable and tactically smart 'domestiques' for both for their European professional road teams and for Australia in international competition," said Bannan.

"This is a team that can win gold and one which the rest of the Commonwealth, quite rightly, should respect and fear."

Two Nobili riders at World Uni Games

Emanuela Azzini and Rebecca Bertolo, both from Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas, will take part in the World University Championships, that will be held between March 23-25 in Belgium. There will be a 15 km time trial on Thursday, followed by a 90 km road race on Saturday. The pair attend the State University of Milan, where Bertolo (20) is studying international science and Azzini (25) graduated in administrative engineering.

San Carlos de la Rapita to host Catalunya stage

The town of San Carlos de la Rapita will play host to the third stage of the 86th Volta a Catalunya on May 17, the organisers have confirmed. The town also hosted stage finishes in 1966/67 and 1980, as well as the start of the Volta in 1992, a team time trial that was won by ONCE.

Tour of Ulster

This year's Tour of Ulster in Ireland will take place on bank holiday weekend, from Saturday, April 29 to Monday, May 1. It marks the 50th anniversary of the race, which was first run by Seamus McGreevey of Newry, from Newry to Bundoran and back. It's not going to Bundoran this year, but to mark the occasion, the 2006 event will start and finish in Newry. After 50 years, Seamus McGreevey is still very involved in cycles port, and will be on hand to help out at the 2006 Tour.

While last year's winner, David McCann (Giant Asia pro team) is in Australia for the Commonwealth Games, he is unlikely to make a decision on taking part for some time yet, but the organiser has already had enquiries from half a dozen top racing teams about the 2006 event.

The main sponsors for the 2006 event are Newry and Mourne District Council, Cookstown District Council and Omagh District Council. With stage finishes in Newry, Omagh and Cookstown.

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