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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for March 28, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

An interview with Filippo Pozzato: A star is born

After his dramatic win in the 97th edition of Milano-Sanremo, 24 year old Filippo Pozzato is the new star of Italian cycling. Like his near neighbour in Verona, 2004 Giro d'Italia winner Damiano Cunego, Pozzato was born in 1981 and is seen by the tifosi and "i big" in Italian cycling as the next great Italian classics rider. Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney recently sat down with Pozzato at his home in Sandrigo, near Vicenza, Italy for an interview where the friendly, likeable Quick.Step rider told us about the big win on via Roma and his big plans for the rest of the 2006 season.

While Pippo finished an interview with SkyTV, we visited with his dad Carlo, mom Franca, who offered Cyclingnews warm Italian hospitality, as did friendly yellow lab Sandy who took advantage of the wait to have numerous pets and belly rubs.

Finally Pippo came into the cucina and we spoke to him before he sat down to a high protein lunch. We showed him a copy of photographer Roberto Bettini's win shot from Milan-Sanremo, with Pozzato's victory salute, runner-up Petacchi's clap of frustration just behind and teammate Tom Boonen's exultant salute of his own just behind in his distinctive World Champion's jersey.

Cyclingnews: Filippo, just what was going through your head at that moment?

The winning shot
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Filippo Pozzato: Well I didn't realize that Tom had done that... Petacchi, I don't care, but I really liked Tom's gesture. Above all, as a sportsman, as a person, he showed he's a great guy.

It was something spontaneous, something from his heart. Tom gained a lot of points with me as far as I'm concerned with that gesture. In fact, at the Tour of Flanders, I'm more willing than ever to help him win. To be up front with him and help him win again would be beautiful.

CN: Twenty meters before the finish line in Sanremo, you looked back of your left shoulder. What was going on then?

FP: Before that, I was looking back between my legs to see if anyone was coming around me. So when I looked around then and saw I was going to win, it was just a feeling of liberation. It was such a beautiful moment when I realized I was going to win... to explain it to someone who isn't a racing cyclist, who hasn't felt those emotions is really difficult. I think that it's only the athletes who can understand this feeling.

Click here for the full interview.

Windy pre-Flanders test at Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde

By Jeff Jones

2005 winner Stjin Devolder (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

This year looks set to be a very windy edition of the KBC Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde, Belgium's traditional midweek three-day stage race before the Ronde Van Vlaanderen on Sunday. With the strong south-westerly wind that has been blowing for the past few days set to continue, bringing with it the occasional thunderstorm, the racing will be hard and nervous. It's rare for this race not to claim a few victims, with their classics seasons ended before they really start. That's not a good thing, but it's part of racing in Belgium at this time of year.

The Driedaagse is run over four stages, with the first taking the riders from Middelkerke, on the west coast, to Zottegem, in the heart of the Vlaamse Ardennen. Held over 194 km, this will be a fast stage with a tail/crosswind blowing the riders most of the way and making it tough for those at the back. The stage reaches the finish line at Zottegem for the first time after 120 km, with the riders already having done four climbs, including the Leberg, Berendries and Stuivenberg. Then it's two laps of a 37 km circuit, with four climbs each lap: Leberg, Berendries, Kloosterbosstraat, and Stuivenberg, making it a little more selective than in previous years. The eventual overall winner can't afford to lose much time in this stage.

The Stages

  • Stage 1 - March 28: Middelkerke - Zottegem, 194 km
  • Stage 2 - March 29: Zottegem - Oostduinkerke, 227 km
  • Stage 3 - March 30: De Panne - De Panne, 119 km
  • Stage 4 - March 30: De Panne - De Panne ITT, 12 km

Click here for the full preview

Bill Corliss killed

Cycling industry figure Bill Corliss has been killed in a collision with a pickup truck while riding in Utah. Corliss, 49, was riding with a group of friends near Saratoga Springs when the group slowed because of gravel on the road shoulder, according to police reports made to the Salt Lake Tribune. As his riding companions braked, Corliss rode into another rider and fell into the path of the truck.

Bill Corliss was a long-time and well-respected bicycle industry veteran, having directed marketing and product development for many companies, including Schwinn, Raleigh, Vetta and Sports Instruments; and most recently as the Director of Electronic Development for Bell Sports.

Bill had also been serving as a mentor with the Park City Cycling Academy, a developmental cycling program that is unique in the United States.

Steven Sheffield contributed to this report.

Welsh Cycling pledges support for Cooke

Sunday's Commonwealth Games women's road race might have gone very differently if one of the strongest riders in the field, Nicole Cooke of Wales, had not been her country's sole representative. The five-rider break that escaped early contained a representative of every team that had a significant chance of victory - except Wales. Cooke eventually took the bronze and was the only rider attempting to chase down the break, at one point bringing its advantage down from over three minutes to about 90 seconds with a spirited pursuit.

Welsh Cycling chief executive, Peter Sommers says it won't happen again. In a statement yesterday, Sommers said Welsh Cycling was in a strong position to ensure that Cooke would not be the only female competing at the Delhi Games in 2010.

"I am confident that Melbourne 2006 will be the last Games where Welsh Cycling will only have one female cyclist that will meet the minimum selection criteria," said Sommers. "Thanks to the fine work being done by our cycling clubs and coaches across Wales and the resultant emergence of young female cyclists onto both Welsh Cycling and British Cycling performance programmes, Delhi 2010 should see a strong Welsh female cycling team."

Before the Games, Cooke had said she would not attend if she didn't have a team to support her, but she eventually relented and travelled to Melbourne for the road race. She was uncomplaining about what might have been, saying after the race, "It means as much to me to get a bronze medal as getting gold in Manchester. I'm happy with myself." However, she added a cheeky reference to the situation: "Five [more] Welsh cyclists needed!"

T-Mobile ready for Flanders

With the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, the Three Days of De Panne (March 28 - 30) starts Tuesday as the lead-up event to de Ronde. Now in its 30th year, this race normally attracts a solid field and as such is one of the highlights of the Flemish cycling week that culminates in Sunday's 'Ronde'. T-Mobile sees the three-day, four-stage event as a key warm-up race for Flanders, and sporting director Valerio Piva has stuck with the same riders that contested last Saturday's E3-Prijs Vlaanderen - Marcus Burghardt is the only change, with Bas Giling slotting in for the young German.

Last year's Tour of Flanders runner-up Andreas Klier is team captain after an aggressive race on Saturday, where he featured in the early break and chased hard in the latter stages - though it wasn't good enough to prevent Tom Boonen taking the win. Klier feels he's in good shape and is looking forward to the week ahead, saying, "My fitness is as it should be. During the coming week, I'll try to keep my fitness at this level." Steffen Wesemann and Sergey Ivanov are the other experienced campaigners in the T-Mobile line-up, and Piva will be looking to them to be in the mix during the three days, saying, "Our goal is to keep a rider at the front, make the selections and fight it our for stage wins."

The parcours features hilly terrain and cobbled sections, while the proximity of the race route to the North Sea coastline means that crosswinds are also likely to play a role, something Piva is well aware of. "The strong winds will splinter the pack for sure. Anyone who misses the splits can say goodbye to their GC chances," he said. He's looking to the locals to provide the strongest competition on home turf. "As usual the Belgian teams will be all fired-up to make an impression on home turf. It's not going to be easy to nail any stage wins, but if we get a sniff of a chance we'll take it," said Piva.

For the Three Days of De Panne T-Mobile will field Lorenzo Bernucci, Bas Giling, André Greipel, Sergey Ivanov, Andreas Klier, Bram Schmitz, Stephan Schreck, and Steffen Wesemann. Directeur sportif will be Valerio Piva.

Liquigas for De Panne and Flanders

Liquigas will be without the services of Magnus Backstedt for the classics season, and so the team will be looking for Luca Paolini to fire in this week's Three Days of De Panne and Sunday's Tour of Flanders. After a strong third place in Milan-San Remo, Paolini has proven he's capable of a good result and has settled into his new squad well.

The Italian also took seventh in last weekend's Harelbeke and has shown he's a rider to contend with this spring. Backstedt will be replaced by Alberto Curtolo, who is entering the cauldron of Flemish cycling as a neo-pro - a tough task indeed. The team will be directed by Dario Mariuzzo and is a mixture of youth and experience, although the absence of Backstedt will be felt.

Liquigas' squad for De Panne and Flanders: Michael Albasini, Daniele Colli, Alberto Curtolo, Mauro Da Dalto, Marco Milesi, Luca Paolini, Marco Righetto and Stefano Zanini. Directeur sportif: Dario Mariuzzo

Wiesenhof for De Panne

Wiesenhof's squad for the Three Days of De Panne: Gerald Ciolek, Artur Gajek, Tomas Konecny, Felix Odebrecht, Robert Retschke, Torsten Schmidt, Lubor Tesar and Carlo Westphal.

Boogerd to return in Pais Vasco

Rabobank's Michael Boogerd will make his comeback from injury in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (April 3-7). The broken bone in his foot has healed enough for him to begin racing again. "I have spoken with Erik Breukink (Rabobank's team manager) this morning. At the moment nothing stands in the way of participating in the Basque Country," said Boogerd. It was feared that the experienced Dutchman would have to miss the entire classics season, but after resuming training it seems all is not lost. "Yesterday I rode for six hours in Limburg... it's going well," he said.

Communidad Valenciana for GP Miguel Indurain

Communidad Valenciana's squad for GP Miguel Indurain (April 1) will be Javier Pascual Rodriguez, Vicente Peiro (neo-pro), Claudio Casas (neo-pro), Vicente Ballester, José Luis Martinez, Manuel Lloret, Javier Cherro, Eladio Jimenez, David Latasa, and David Bernabeu

Llivia to host Catalunya stage in 2006

The fifth stage of this year's Volta a Catalunya, held on May 19, will finish in the locality of Llivia. The town has held Volta a Catalunya stage finishes in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and in 2006 the finish will be situated in the old capital of the County of the Cerdanya, where the oldest pharmacy in Europe is located.

Boston Beanpot ready to roll

The 2006 edition of the Boston Beanpot Collegiate Cycling Classic is set to be run in Grafton, Massachusetts on Saturday, April 8, with organisers expecting close to 500 riders.

Touted as America's largest collegiate race, Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, Tufts University, Wentworth, Northeastern University and MIT are the organising institutions, with the three race event consisting of a team time trial and road race on Saturday and a criterium on Sunday.

The team time trial is hosted by Boston University early Saturday morning while the midday road race will be hosted by Harvard - both races will be run from the historic Grafton common. The criterium is hosted by Tufts University and is held just outside Boston in Medford and Somerville on the traditional 6/10th's mile downtown course next to and through the campus of Tufts.

Indiana race weekend

In only its second year, the Anderson Mayor's Cup Stage Race, April 28-30, has become the biggest race in the State of Indiana, according to organisers. It offers a total purse of cash and prizes totaling over $6,000 along with incredible community support, beautiful venues, and competition from across the United States.

Highlights of the weekend include a 66 mile road race, 6-mile time trial, criterium on Anderson University campus, free kid's helmet give-away, free kid's races, and race party at Real Hacienda in downtown Anderson

For more details see

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)