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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for May 3, 2006

Edited by Les Clarke and Jeff Jones

Cadel's looking good for July

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

It's been a roller coaster of a month for Cadel Evans, the winner of the Tour de Romandie last weekend. He went from being told he may have developed a severely debilitating and career-ending condition through to posting a ProTour win with a storming final time trial. Cyclingnews' Gerard Knapp caught up with Evans as he enjoyed a short break in Trieste, Italy, with his wife, Chiara.

"Like I said last year, I have two goals [in 2006]; April and July. So when things didn't go well at Fleche and Liege, you could say I was concerned," admitted Evans.

The Australian climber had targeted the lumpier Spring Classics towards the end of April - Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege - but under the stress of hard racing, he began to suffer from bad head-aches and actually lost vision in his left eye.

An early [mis] diagnosis initially indicated he may have been suffering from a debilitating condition called 'Hunter's Syndrome', but this later proved false. "At some point during training before Fleche, I got something in my eye, and it stayed there and it got aggravated when I had to race hard. I wasn't even aware of it until I was racing," he explained.

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Di Luca poised for Giro

No Garzelli in Liquigas line up

Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

With four days to go until the prologue of the Giro d'Italia in Seraing, Belgium, Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) has taken stock of his form. After Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the 2005 Pro Tour winner decided to return to Italy to spend his last training period with a mixture of hard workouts and rest.

"I will start in Seraing, well aware that I did all I could to race the best Giro of my life," said 'the Killer'. "That will be like a kind of first time for me, in a sense. I will face a new challenge and, for that reason, it will be very exciting."

Di Luca's goal this year is the overall victory in the Giro, one that is not out of reach after he finished fourth last year. "I'm not afraid," he continued. "In 2005, I proved myself to be ready to win a great tour and I know myself enough to say that I can fight for the overall win. I gave up my traditional goals of the beginning of the season to face some months of very hard training starting with a long camp at altitude in Mexico.

"Now, I definitely think I've matured as an athlete and also psychologically. There are all the essential ingredients: that won't be easy at all, but I will take my chance."

Liquigas will line up in the Giro with a strong squad, although it lacks the 2000 Giro d'Italia champion and recent Rund um den Henninger Turm winner Stefano Garzelli. "That is one more reason to be sure of ourselves. We are in no way inferior to our opponents," added Di Luca.

In the team time trial, Di Luca is confident: "Only CSC and Discovery Channel could perform better than us. As for me, I trained especially for the time trials: also today I've trained on the time trial bike that Bianchi has prepared for me especially for the Giro. A monocoque carbon frame I like very much indeed."

As for the route, Di Luca doesn't have any doubts. "There isn't a 'decisive stage': the whole last week will be decisive." As for his rivals, "I'll watch out in particular for Basso and Simoni, but I'm not going to be conditioned by anyone and anything."

Meanwhile, Liquigas has announced its full team for the Giro: Dario Andriotto, Patrick Calcagni, Dario Cioni, Vladimir Miholjevic, Andrea Noè, Franco Pellizotti, Alessandro Spezialetti, and Charles Wegelius.

Team manager Roberto Amadio explained that Pellizotti's role will be "a fundamental support for Di Luca in the most difficult stages. Moreover, he will be our second attack man. His help may be determining for our strategy." Besides the general manager Roberto Amadio, the squad will also be directed by Stefano Zanatta and Mario Chiesa.

Quick Step for Dunkirk

Quick.Step-Innergetic has confirmed its lineup for the Four Days of Dunkirk, which starts on Wednesday and concludes Sunday. Quick.Step will be represented by Francesco Chicchi, Steven De Jongh, Servais Knaven, Sebastien Rosseler, Ivan Santaromita, Kevin Van Impe, Geert Verheyen and Wouter Weylandt. Wilfried Peeters and Luca Guercilena will direct.

Milram for Giro d'Italia

Not surprisingly, Alessandro Petacchi will be the leader of the Milram team for the Giro d'Italia. The Italian has been in good form of late, winning all five stages and the overall of the recent Oddset Rundfahrt, and he'll be expected to shine at the Giro, where he enjoys an excellent record. Petacchi will be supported by lead out man Alberto Ongarato and a host of domestiques. The team's GC chances lie with Sergio Ghisalberti, who finished ninth in the Tour de Romandie.

Full team roster: Alessandro Petacchi, Alessandro Cortinovis, Sergio Ghisalberti, Christian Knees, Alberto Ongarato, Fabio Sacchi, Alessandro Vanotti, Elia Rigotto, Mirco Lorenzetto. Directors: Gianluigi Stanga, Antonio Bevilacqua.

Gerolsteiner replaces Montgomery with Scholz

Gerolsteiner will be sending Ronny Scholz to the Giro d'Italia in place of the injured Sven Montgomery. The Swiss rider crashed in the Tour de Romandy and broke his collarbone. "So far this spring, Paris-Nice is the only longer tour that Ronny has ridden," said team Sport Director Christian Henn, "so the Giro fits right in with his preparations for the Tour de France." Scholz is looking forward to the Giro: "I feel good and the Giro is a great race."

The change in the Giro team actually makes it something special, the team notes. Five of the nine riders live within 30 km of each other: Scholz, Sven Krauss, Stefan Schumacher, Volker Ordowski and Matthias Russ. "Sure, we all train together as often as we can," said Scholz, "but we've never all ridden together in one race before."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

2006 US MTB national championships relocated

After a record 664 inches of snow fell on Mammoth Mountain this winter, USA Cycling will be relocating its 2006 mountain bike national championships scheduled for July 20-23.

“Looking at our snowpack today, I can confidently say we are unable to host a mountain bike event to the quality we are all accustomed to,” said Bill Cockroft, senior vice president of operations at Mammoth Mountain. “It was a difficult decision, but ultimately we believe we owe it to the mountain bike community to make sure the event continues at the level and standards expected by USA Cycling,” he added.

The original event dates remain unchanged, and USA Cycling is currently negotiating with several venues to replace Mammoth Mountain; a decision will be made in the coming weeks.

Yates and Danielson prepare for the Giro

Discovery Channel directeur sportif Sean Yates has accompanied Tom Danielson on a reconnaissance mission through the mountain stages for this year's Giro, according to the latest diary entry on his site In it he speaks about the Plan de Corones and the difficulties riders will face come race day.

"Yesterday we went to look at the finish on Plan de Corones. You can see from the pictures that they are still building the road, if that's what you could call it. It is really bad, we're going to use 33-28. It will be interesting to see how they manage to get up it; not so much the leaders, it's the rest of the peloton that I am worried about.

The stage is only 130km long, it also climbs the 30km long Passo di Erbe, and that means that the non climbers are really going to suffer big time if they want to get to the finish inside the time limit. Mind you, the Giro is not the Tour, and pushing riders is rife, plus hanging on cars, motorbikes, in fact anything that is going faster than themselves," says Yates.

Yates says that America's great white hope for the Giro, Tom Danielson, is looking forward to the challenge thrown up by the difficult Italian climbs. He says that, "Tom is really excited by all this, and is looking forward to it all going off in that last week. He can climb fast, really fast, it's amazing to watch him when I am following in the car.

I will give you an example; stage 16 finishes just outside Trento on top of an 17.6 km climb, the Monte Bondone. The average gradient for the climb is 7.7%. There is an altitude gain of around 1,300 metres. In training riding at around 170 beats per minute which for him is a medium tempo he got up it in one hour dead. I rode it early in the morning, using the 39x27 virtually the whole way and did the climb in one hour and eighteen minutes. That was with an average power output of 294 watts.

Look out for Tom Danielson's diaries during the Giro, exclusively on Cyclingnews.

Baumann: Cycling is easier than walking

Two and a half months after a nasty crash that broke both bones in his lower leg, T-Mobile's Eric Baumann is finally training on the road again. "I went out this week one time with my mountain bike to see if it works - and it works," he said. He is still receiving therapy on the injured leg, which is "still quite wobbly, but at least I can walk alone again," according to the German sprinter. Although he can walk, he notes that cycling is easier right now. He hopes to make his comeback soon. "I want to be available to the team as soon as possible, maybe even for the Sachsen-Tour in July."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

O'Loughlin to lead strong Ireland team in FBD Insurance Rás

By Shane Stokes

Chances of a home victory in the FBD Insurance Rás have been boosted by the news that national road race champion David O'Loughlin will lead a very strong Grant Thornton Ireland team in the eight day race, which begins less than three weeks from now. O'Loughlin has been released by his Navigators Insurance team for the duration of the Irish tour, enabling him to don the green jersey and try improve on his third place overall and stage win in the 2004 Rás.

Also returning from competing abroad are two other Irish champions. National under 23 title holder Paídi O'Brien and hill climb gold medallist Roger Aiken have been competing in Belgium as part of the continental Sean Kelly - ACLVB M. Donnelly Racing Team. Aiken won the first stage last May, while O'Brien showed promising form this week when he finished a fine eleventh in the Under 23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic.

Conor Murphy has also been released by his continental team for the event. He recently took third in the Shay Elliott Memorial and second in the Tour of Ulster, and has been competing this year as part of the crack Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group Continental squad. However the team management have agreed to release him for the FBD Insurance RÁS.

"Team Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group have the aim this year of trying to raise the standard of cycling here and have done that, with riders such as Conor taking several big results. He is a very talented rider and while we would have liked to have him on our team for the FBD Insurance RÁS, being selected to represent Ireland is a great honour," stated Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group chief sponsor Stephen Murphy.

The Grant Thornton- Ireland squad is completed by Ryan Connor, who won a stage in the Tour of Ulster and took overall victory in the P&O Irish Sea Tour of the North. He is a good climber and proven time trialist, the Ulster rider having won the British junior title in 2003.

Tamara O'Driscoll, CEO of Cycling Ireland pointed out the importance of the good lineup. "We were determined to enter a strong team into the RAS this year to properly reflect the high standard of racing that Irish Cycling is currently experiencing," she said. "We have to thank our sponsors Grant Thornton for their continued support of Irish racing, as it is with funding like this that we are continuously able to develop our sport."

This year's FBD Insurance RÁS will begin in Dublin on May 21st and finish eight days and over 1200 kilometres later in Skerries on Sunday May 28th. The world-ranking race will also feature exciting stage finishes in Enniscorthy, Cobh, An Daingean, Listowel, An Cheathru Rua, Westport and Clara

BMXer positive for THC

17 year-old U.S. BMXer George Joseph (Joe) Sowers III has tested positive for metabolites of cannabis or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at the NBL Silver State Nationals on March 25, 2006.

Sowers accepted a three-month suspension as a result of the positive. As part of his sanction, he agreed to participate in an anti-doping educational program. Because Sowers completed this program, he received a three-month period of deferment, allowing for an immediate return to competition.

As a result of the doping violation, Sowers has been disqualified from his event results at the Silver State Nationals.

Tour of Friuli Venezia Giulia

The 44th Tour of Friuli Venezia Giulia for Elite and U23 riders will begin on May 3. There will be 165 riders at the start, representing 33 teams. There are four stages, including tomorrow's leg from Gradisca d'Isonzo-Grado (84 km) and then another from Grado to Grado, as well as a team time trial
over 30 km.

Another little Gerolsteiner

It is a fruitful year for Team Gerolsteiner in more ways than one, as the "baby-blue" team has received another addition. Maxine Fothen and Josef Totschnig have now been joined by Manolo Wrolich. Papa Paco Wrolich rode the Henninger Turm and got home at 11pm that night, just in time to accompany wife Elka to the hospital, where the couple's first child made an appearance at 12:45 Tuesday morning. "I was there for the birth. It was the best experience of my life," said the proud papa. "He is 52 cm long, weighs 3.2 kilograms and has dark hair and big eyes."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

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