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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for May 15, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ullrich looks to the time trial

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Jan Ullrich is showing signs of improvement towards Tour form in the Giro d'Italia, although after losing 16 minutes in Sunday's mountain stage, it's clear that he's not going to go into the red too many times during this race. But he has already declared himself satisfied with the way things are going so far, with a solid performance in the team time trial last week, and a fair showing in Saturday's first really hilly stage. "It's going with me as expected, after many training kilometres," Ullrich said. "I have built a base, the proof of which I got in the team time trial. In the mountains, I'm still a bit short. There's still a bit of work to be done there."

The next target for Der Jan is the 50 km time trial on Thursday. "It's flat and long and is therefore something for Jan," said T-Mobile's team director Rudy Pevenage to "Of course we have ambitions."

Ardila disappointing for Rabobank

Colombian climber Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank) did not have a great weekend in the Giro, losing over half an hour in the two hilly stages. On Saturday, he finished 13 minutes behind Rik Verbrugghe, while on Sunday he was 19'33 down on winner Ivan Basso, in 145th place.

Rabobank's team director Frans Maassen was disappointed in Ardila's performance. "The battle for the overall classification is over for us," he told ANP. "We will have to change our strategy. [Ardila] gave such a good impression in the previous days, and said himself that he had form. But yes, unfortunately that didn't mean much."

More ProTour action in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

By Jeff Jones

2005 winner Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

The 86th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya one again forms part of the UCI ProTour calendar, and for the second year in a row is being run in May, at the same time as the Giro d'Italia. 25 teams will take part in the race: the 20 ProTour teams plus the Continental Pro outfits Comunidad Valenciana, Relax-Gam, Kaiku, Andalucía Paul Versan and 3 Molinos Resort. The clash with the Giro means that not all the top riders will be available, and by the looks of the field, the shift from June to May seems to have decreased its importance as Tour de France preparation. Nevertheless, there are more than enough good riders to make it an interesting race.

Last year's winner Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) is missing from the line up, and his young teammate Trent Lowe will wear number one instead. Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (2004 winner) and Santiago Botero will be Phonak's main men, while Joaquín Rodríguez and Isaac Gálvez will be in action for Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears.

Rabobank has an interesting line up with Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov, along with the experienced Michael Boogerd and Erik Dekker. T-Mobile is only taking six riders, including Tour candidate Giuseppe Guerini. Team CSC has its classics crew in Spain, with Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady, who is looking to rebuild his form after a bad crash earlier this year.

AG2R's grand tour man Francisco Mancebo will be showing himself in Catalunya, as will Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer and Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans. Euskaltel will bring Samuel Sánchez and Dauphiné 2005 winner Iñigo Landaluze to the party, while Liberty Seguros has its young talent Luis León Sánchez back in action after a break. Filippo Pozzato is another rider to watch, while among the sprinters, Erik Zabel (Milram), Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Àngel Edo (Andalucía-Paul Versan) will all line up.

Unlike last year's team time trial kick-off, this year's "Volta", as it's known, commences with a 12.6 km individual time trial in Salou. It's flat, and will serve to seed the riders for the coming week of racing in the mountains of north eastern Spain. Stage 2, 156 km starting and finishing in Cambrils, includes three category 2 climbs, and with the last one at 33 km to go, a bunch sprint is unlikely.

The third stage, 176 km between Salou and Sant Carles de la Ràpita, is definitely one for the sprinters, who have to do a lot of climbing this week. Apart from the Cat. 2 Coll de Fatxes after 65 km and the Cat. 3 Alt de Som, the rest of the stage is fairly flat. But stage four between Perafort and Vallnord (Andorra) is another matter. The queen stage of the race is 225 km in length and finishes with the special category ascent up to Vallnord Sector Arcalís. This climb is 2220m high, 17.1 km long, and averages 6.7% with a maximums of 8.8%.

The following day is another sprinters' stage between Llívia and Manlleu over 161.5 km, but the Cat. 2 Alt de Sant Agusti with 23 km to go might throw a spanner into the works. Stage 6 between Manlleu and Lloret de Mar starts with a long uphill section, then a descent from 810m almost down to sea level, before the Cat. 1 Alt de Sant Grau (6.3km at 6%) may split things up with 39 km to go. The final stage is from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona over just 121 km. Once again, there is a Cat. 2 climb in the finale, with 20 km to go, and the sprinters will have to survive this if they are to triumph in Barcelona.

The stages

Stage 1 - May 15: Salou - Salou ITT, 12.6 km
Stage 2 - May 16: Cambrils - Cambrils, 156.8 km
Stage 3 - May 17: Salou - Sant Carles de la Ràpita, 176.7 km
Stage 4 - May 18: Perafort - Vallnord (Sector Arcalís) Andorra, 225.0 km
Stage 5 - May 19: Llívia - Manlleu, 161.5 km
Stage 6 - May 20: Manlleu - Lloret de Mar, 166.4 km
Stage 7 - May 21: Lloret de Mar - Barcelona, 121.6 km

Saunier Duval at Catalunya

Saunier Duval scored two stage wins in last year's Volta a Catalunya, with Leonardo Piepoli (also second on GC) and Iñigo Cuesta, and is optimistic of more success this year. Team director Joxean "Matxin" Fernández is returning similar goals in mind. The roster for the race is Riccardo Riccò, Christophe Rinero, José Alberto Benítez, Juan José Cobo, David de la Fuente, Luciano Pagliarini and David Cañada.

No Catalunya for Kohl

T-Mobile will apparently be riding the Volta a Catalunya with only six riders instead of the previously announced eight. No explanation has been given for the fact that Thomas Ziegler doesn't appear on the official start list, but Bernhard Kohl explains his absence. "T-Mobile actually wanted me to ride Catalunya. But I didn't know until today (Sunday) whether my physical condition would allow me to. Now it is sure: I won't be on the start tomorrow. I caught a very bad cold in Romandie, which still isn't totally cured. And I have only very recently started training again. After talking to the team and my personal trainer I decided the risk was too great." He is now looking to be in shape and good health to ride the Bayern Rundfahrt next week.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

A daughter for Nardello

After three Gerolsteiner babies so far this spring, T-Mobile is doing its part to provide for future riders. Daniele and Ilenia Nardello became the parents of Rebecca on May 12, "an unequalled joy," according to the proud papa. He rather promptly had to depart for Catalunya, and says, "This time it is more difficult to leave. I would much rather remain with Rebecca and Ilenia."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

CSC Invitational announces men's teams

16 teams have confirmed participation in the 9th CSC Invitational, scheduled for Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 in Arlington, VA, USA. The field will include nine former podium finishers of this event as well as dozens of current and former US and overseas national champions. This year's Pro race promises to be one of the most competitive races in 2006, with every team bringing a full complement of eight riders.

16 Pro Teams and one amateur team have confirmed, including: Team CSC, Toyota-United, Jelly Belly, Navigators Insurance, Health Net Presented by Maxxis, Jittery Joes-Zero Gravity, Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Wines, TIAA-CREF, Priority Health, Targetraining, - Sierra Nevada, Rite Aid, AEG Toshiba- Jetnetwork, VMG, Calyon-Litespeed, Nerac-Outdoor Lights and amateur team Rockville Harley – Davidson.

"With all the sprinting firepower this year, teams will looking more than ever to find the right combination of riders to form a break and avoid rolling the dice on a bunch sprint." said Robert Laybourn, CSC Invitational Race Director. "With the depth of the teams coming, there are scores of riders that will animate this year's race."

Defending champion Ivan Dominguez (Cub) will be on hand with his talented Toyota-United team, including 2005 USPRO Champion Chris Wherry. Team CSC's Lars Michaelsen (Den), winner of the 2004 edition, will be joined by American teammate Christian VandeVelde. Vassili Davidenko (Rus) of the Navigators Insurance team will look to add to his win and two third places finishes on the famous 1K course in Arlington, VA. Health Net Presented by Maxxis will have a powerful one-two with Kirk O'Bee, former USPRO Crit Champion, and Gord Fraser (CAN), former Canadian National Champion. This duo has three second place finishes between them at the CSC Invitational.

Racing begins at 8am with two amateur men's races, followed by the women's race. The Kids' race (free to all children 9 and under) begins at 11:35 am. Then, the CSC Invitational Men's Pro race will begin at high noon, and will feature 100 laps on the 1km, five turn course.

More information:

CLIC24 2006: 22,500 miles ridden and £40,000 raised for charity

The UK's only charity 24hour event happened this weekend, and each year it continues to grow in terms of miles ridden by the riders and the amount of money raised for children's cancer and leukaemia charity CLIC Sargent.

Set on a challenging 10 mile course over the Mendip Hills in Somerset, CLIC24 features over 300m of vertical ascending per lap and the equivalent in exciting downhill singletrack. It's been compared to a cross between a mountain bike race and a garden fete and with live music, all night bonfire party and a weekend of riding in spectacular English countryside, the event is now attracting riders from all over the UK.

The serious side to the event is the big donation that it gives to CLIC Sargent. When all the rider sponsorship has been collected from this year's CLIC24, the total raised by the event will pass £110,000.

More information:

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