Latest Edition Cycling News for May 2, 2006
Edited by Les Clarke
CSC lineup strong for Giro
CSC's Carlos Sastre will ride the Giro d'Italia in support of team leader Ivan Basso with the Spaniard a designated lieutenant to the Italian in the mountain stages according to team director Bjarne Riis. "It was Carlos who said he'd like to ride - he is willing to be a worker in the mountains with Iván, and his help could be decisive," said Riis.
Sastre and Basso are part of a very strong lineup for the loop of Italy, which starts with an individual time trial in Seraing, Belgium, this Saturday. With Bobby Julich, Jens Voigt, Volodimir Gustov, Giovanni Lombardi, Iñigo Cuesta, Michael Blaudzun and Nicki Soerensen completing the roster, it's a gun squad which will try and deliver their man Ivan to overall victory in Milan three weeks later.
Speaking of Sastre's participation and what it means to the team, Riis said, "It is a gift to include a rider such as Sastre in the Giro, but I only decided to do it because we agreed that it fits into his preparation for the season." Riis also said that he believes Basso is in "perfect form to win his first grand tour, and the team behind the Italian was "exceptionally strong".
Sastre, who took second overall in last year's Vuelta a Espana and turned 31 almost two weeks ago, said he decided to ride because he wanted to "return something to the team", and knew his help could be vital in continuing CSC's great season. "I will take it easy in the first part of the race and will put the bulk of the work in during the mountain stages," said Sastre. "Ivan has worked very hard to be ready for the Giro, something that I respect a lot. It was logical for me to offer to help him and the team," he added.
Quick.Step for the Giro
Quick.Step-Innergetic has announced their roster for the Giro d'Italia, which begins on home soil this Saturday in Seraing. Included in the team is Paolo Bettini, who's a perennial favourite to take a stage or two and Spanish national champion Juan Manuel Garate, who showed some good form in the mountains during the recent Tour de Romandie. With a solid team unit built around these riders, team management are confident of a good showing during the three weeks around Italy.
Quick.Step-Innergetic's squad for the Giro d'Italia: Serge Baguet, Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Ad Engels, Juan Manuel Garate, Jose Antonio Garrido, Leonardo Scarselli, Jurgen Van De Walle, Remmert Wielinga. Directeur Sportif: Serge Parsani, Rik Van Slycke.
Weening struggles with illness
Like Paolo Savoldelli in last week's Tour de Romandie, 2005 Tour de France stage 8 winner Pieter Weening has struggled with illness over the past few weeks, and has found it hard to gain a little early-season form. He finished a disappointing 81st overall at the Tour of Romandie, more than 36 minutes behind winner Cadel Evans.
That worries Rabobank team manager Adri van Houwelingen more than the Weening himself. "The performances of Pieter weren't really what he and the team had expected," said van Houwelingen. And that's worrying, especially for himself."
Weening countered that claim, and said that, "You can quickly assume that my spring [preparation] has failed a bit, because this part of the season for me only depends on a few races." He explained that his form is progressing, and things aren't as dire as they seem. "But look at how I was later in the spring; at Amstel Gold Race I had a bad day, but by the Fleche Wallonne I finished in the first 25, which is normally good. And during Liege-Bastogne-Liege, I got an appalling sickness in my stomach - I had diarrhoea and was feeling really down."
"With this type of sickness, I didn't go to Romandie in the best shape," he continued. "If you're days and nights are spent sitting on the toilet, then it's logical you aren't going to ride well," he explained.
Weening won stage 8 into Gérardmer during last year's Tour the France, then followed that with a stage win and second overall in the Tour of Poland, but for van Houwelingen, the past few lacklustre weeks have prompted him to think of the cause of Weening's poor results. "You get this sometimes...has his training technique, for instance, been any different to last year? Pieter posted a big win last year in the Tour, but he's not content just with that win, and certainly hasn't trained any less," he said.
"The body is not a computer," said the Dutchman, adding that, "I now have time to rest a bit which can repair the body, which is good. I will probably ride at the end of the month in the Tour of Luxembourg, and after that hopefully the Tour de Suisse."
Loyalty doesn't pay at Rund um den Henninger Turm
It appears as though loyalty cost Milram victory in yesterday's Rund um den Henninger Turm, with team manager Gerry van Gerwen questioning the tactics employed by Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel in the finale. Petacchi, who showed great speed in the closing stages, led out his veteran teammate, but 'Ete' couldn't convert that work to a win, something which would have undoubtedly disappointed team management.
"Did we have to be well so loyal?" asked van Gerwen out loud after the finish, adding, "Zabel missed the power [to win today] or maybe the others were just better - it depends how you look at it." No prizes for guessing, then, that Milram will be looking to make amends when Petacchi lines up for this month's Giro d'Italia - the Italian sprinter has an impeccable record at the race, and will feature in the sprint finishes again in this year's edition.
Discovery happy with youth brigade
Discovery Channel team manager Dirk Demol is happy with the performances of his young charges at the recently-completed Tour de Romandie. With Leif Hoste taking second and Jurgen Van den Broeck ninth in the final time trial, the experienced Belgian DS said to sportsworld. be, "Leif has the capacity to be one of the best [time triallers] in the world...and watch for Jurgen when he's a year older and stronger."
"He [Hoste] had neglected that [time trialling] a little bit," said Demol. "His performances against the clock earlier this year (a win in De Panne, second in Tirreno-Adriatico and Romandie) prove that he's found that aspect of his riding again. That's why he's making of the world championships an important target."
"Leif probably won't ride the Tour, and most likely won't ride the Vuelta either, unless he really wants to," continued Demol. "He can prepare for the world championships perfectly with a ride in the Eneco Tour and the Tour of Poland," he added.
Van den Broeck, who made quite an impact in Romandie, will make his grand tour debut in the Vuelta a Espana, where the team (and its previous incarnation as US Postal) has enjoyed success through the likes of Roberto Heras, Floyd Landis and Tom Danielson. "Jurgen is teh type of guy that we constantly have to slow down," said Demol. "In the future, that will pay dividends, and he realises this also."
Van den Broeck pulled up slightly worse for wear after Sunday's time trial in Lausanne, but Demol said that the young Belgian is feeling ok, and is looking forward to the Tour of Belgium, where the team hope he can gain more valuable experience.
Arndt pleased with win in Czech Republic
T-Mobile's Judith Arndt, who recently won the Gracia Orlova stage race in the Czech Republic says she's pleased with the win, but the focus is now very much on the upcoming Tour de l'Aude (May 12-21). "Gracia was actually meant to be a preparation for Tour de l'Aude," said the German star, who moved to the women's T-Mobile team in the winter. "But when you have the yellow jersey once, you try to defend it of course..." she said.
Arndt has been in great form so far this season, taking regular podium places at world cup events and women's tours, with her latest world cup top three being a second place at La Fleche Wallonne. "It feels nice to win, and I'm happy about the first tour we've won together with the new team," said the former world champion. "It was really hard conditions the last two days, with 7 degrees and rain, and it was the first time I rode the new tt bike, but it turned out to fit me perfectly and that means a lot for a material-freak like me," she said.
Arndt praised her new team and is confident of both the team and herself performing well at the French race, a highlight of the women's calendar. "The team work was again really professional, and I'm looking forward to Tour de l'Aude; my form is there and now I only hope we get a good hotel this time in l'Aude."
Memorial Ride of Silence announced
A memorial ride to honour the memory of all cyclists killed whilst riding their bicycle will take in Melbourne on May 20, beginning at 10am, riding from Federation Square to Parliament House. The ride aims to gather media, celebrities and cycling advocates to raise awareness and respect of cyclists, and as a result, ride protocol is that riders should ride two abreast, stop at red lights, obey all traffic laws, with no corking and to move slowly at the speed of a funeral procession.
The ride is held as part of The worldwide Ride of Silence, which takes place in the US on May 17. Riders should meet at Federation Square footpath on the corner of Flinders St and St Kilda Rd, facing the Flinders Street Station for a 10am departure, with the ride taking in approximately 5-8km of CBD streets, plus several loops of Swanston, Collins, Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street.
More information is available at www.rideofsilence.org
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)