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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for May 16, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Förster: "Listen to your body" - or maybe not...

Robert Förster is Gerolsteiner's fast man for the sprints in the Giro d'Italia - in theory, at least. It isn't quite working out that way, as his best finish has been 11th, and in Monday's sprint stage he finished eight and a half minutes back, at 165th. He started the Giro full of hope for doing well, but his mood is rapidly turning into one of "get through today any way you can and hope things get better tomorrow," a theme he mentions frequently in his Giro diary on

That best finish of 11th was in the 6th stage, and there was nothing good about it for him. "I am in an absolutely terrible mood. The sprint - forget it! When I look at the results and everybody who finished in front of me! I have to be ashamed of myself. In the last 5 km I rode in the wind a few times too may, and the team heard about that after the race, I must say. But that's not an excuse. I was simply bad and I am very upset over this lost chance," he wrote. "But you can't worry yourself with something like that for too long. You have to look forward. Tomorrow is a new day."

Stage 7 was a mountain stage, torture for the poor sprinters. "Oh, was that a hard day. That was one of the hardest stages that I have ever ridden," Förster recalled. "The next mountain. 7km, 18 percent. I haven't eaten enough, I have a headache from the heat, my (injured) shoulder hurts. Everything combined today to make me miserable. Cola was what saved me - quick energy and sugar. It was still 50 km to the finish. I forced myself over the mountain in the grupetto. McGee, who was also not having a good day, was behind me, but no-one else was. Ramps of 18 and 19 percent. All I could think was: Why the hell are you doing this and riding seven hours in the mountains? Somewhere I saw an advertising sign that said, 'Listen to your body'. What the hell does that mean? If listened to my body, I would have climbed in the car long before."

The next stage started out well enough. "We had a little more time before the start than usual," he notes. "I could relax a bit and watched the motorcycle races on tv." The day went better than the previous one had. He didn't fall back until 15 km before the finish and rode quite comfortably up the mountain with a group including Verbrugghe and Julich. "I rode up relatively relaxed with them. I mean, it was still hard, but I didn't suffer as much as yesterday"

Perhaps he relaxed too much, because the sprint on Monday left very much to be desired. "Oh, that was another stage to be irritated about! But what can you do? It doesn't help, you can' stew about such setbacks too long, you have to look forward, even when that's sometimes hard to do." He was in a group that "shot up the first mountain. I felt good. Not that I would win the mountain ranking or anything, but I did well." He hit the top at the end of the field, which stretched out over the descent, and when the next climb came, "I was already 500 meters back. Already a bad sign. By the 3 km marker it was over. I had to fall back." He came the rest of the way with a 30 man group, and says, "That was a long ride to the finish. You keep thinking, oh man, why didn't you force yourself to do better? But that's crazy, because on a stage like this one where I figured I had a chance, I would never voluntarily fall back. I have nothing to apologize for." Instead of being in at the sprint finish, he came in way down. And he wasn't looking forward to Tuesday's stage: "For me, it is only about coming in to the finish. Finish and look forward is my motto now."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Road to be completed just in time for Plan de Corones

The road to the top
Photo ©: Igor Tavella
(Click for larger image)
Packing the intermediate surface
Photo ©: Igor Tavella
(Click for larger image)

The Giro d'Italia's 17th stage promises to be one of the most spectacular of the race, even if some feel that the organisers have gone too far in putting the finish on the Plan de Corones, at the top of a steep, unpaved road. The climb itself is tough, averaging 7.5% for 16.9 km, with several sections of over 20%. The final kilometre averages 14% and includes 24% and 22% ramps. It reaches 2273m altitude, starting from 1012m. But it's more the quality of the riding surface that has had everyone concerned. Will it be necessary to use mountain bike tyres for the Giro d'Italia?

In true Italian style, the road is being resurfaced at the moment, as Igor Tavella, who visited the climb recently, reports. "Now they are working day and night to be able to finish the road. Due to the last snowfalls, they had to stop for some days, but now the work goes further. They will finish it in time. The weather forecast for the next days is good so there should be no delay in the pouring of the last hard surface.

"On Sunday night they finished putting the intermediate surface down, and yesterday they started with putting the hard surface down. This is a special surface, as it is a mixture of rock debris and 4 percent cement, and will need three days to rest. So it should be all finished for Friday-Saturday."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Igor Tavella/

23 women's teams for Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling

The USA's Pro Cycling Tour has announced the final selection of elite women's teams scheduled to compete in the three race Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling. 23 teams from around the world will take part in the first ever all-Pennsylvania series, scheduled June 4-11.

This field includes teams from New Zealand, Canada, Germany and the U.S. European strength will be on display once again with German Ina Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile) returning to defend her title in the Liberty Classic as well as World Champion Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nürnberger), who placed a close second to Teutenberg last year. Looking to end a long drought by North American riders will be local favourite Laura Van Gilder (Team Lipton) who hails from nearby Cresco, PA. Also look for Van Gilder's teammate Kristin Armstrong, who is coming off an impressive victory at the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.

The women will face challenging 25 mile short circuit races in the Commerce Bank Tom Bamford Lancaster Classic, Lancaster, PA on June 4 and the Commerce Bank Reading Classic, June 8 then back to the 57.6 mile Commerce Bank International Liberty Classic in Philadelphia on Sunday, June 11.

For the first time ever there will be overall prize money awarded to the top point scorers in the combined three event series for both men and women. A total of $29,000 will be up for grabs for the women during the week.

The first two races in the Commerce Bank Triple Crown will be contested on downtown criterium courses using the same start/finish line as the pro men's circuit races to be held later in the day. The cities of Lancaster and Reading will host these races, with large crowds expected.

The final race of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling will be held in downtown Philadelphia on the 14.4 mile Liberty Classic loop, including the Manayunk Wall climb on each lap. The women will be completing four laps of this challenging course for a total of 57.6 miles (93 km). It will determine the final outcome of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown, and the winner will take home the lion's share of the $29,000 in prize money.


Aaron's Cycling Team
ADG / Joe's Bike Shop
Amoroso's Racing Team
Argon / Champion Cycling Team
Bike NZ (New Zealand)
Biovail (Canada)
Colavita Cooking Light
CRCA/Comedy Central-New Canaan Cyclery
East Coast Velo
Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung (German)
HPC / List
Hub Racing
Independent Fabrication
Team Advil - Chapsitck
Team Fuji / Bolt Brothers
Team Lipton
T-Mobile (USA)
TravelGirl Magazine / BMW-Bianchi
Verducci /Breakaway Racing
Victory Brewing Cycling Team
Webcor-Platinum Cycling Team

Cascade Cycling Classic increases field size

Registration for the 2006 Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, OR, USA, is well underway, and race director Brad Cockman is recommending that interested participants register soon. "We've increased our field sizes a little this year due to the fact that last year we had to turn away a lot of racers. We don't want that to happen again, but we're still encouraging people to register early," said Cockman.

The CCC, now in its 27th consecutive year, is scheduled for July 12th-16th and consists of six stages for the Pro/1/2 Men, five for the Pro/1/2/3 Women and four for the Masters 35+/45+ and Category 3s. "This year we've changed things around slightly by adding another road race in the place of criterium and we're having one big crit day for all categories in downtown Bend on Saturday," Cockman added. "It should be a lot of fun."

Registration for the race is available at and for more information visit

Independent Fabrication/Kempner Women's cycling team

The Independent Fabrication/Kempner women's road racing team has announced its roster and sponsors for 2006. This elite women's team was originally founded by Independent Fabrication President Matt Bracken in 1996 while he was employed at Merlin as VP of sales and marketing. Bracken left for Independent Fabrication (IF) in 1999 took his commitment to supporting elite women's road racing (and three of his original Merlin riders) with him, making this one of the longest running elite amateur road teams around.

"I started the women's team so that more outstanding female athletes would have a team and a company that supported them well in a male-dominated industry and sport," he said.

Click here for the full release and roster

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