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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for May 18, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Gonchar to Pollack to Gonchar

Go on, Serguei...
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
And back to Serguei
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile was playing the pro cycling version of "Button, button, who's got the button," except it was the Giro d'Italia's pink leader's jersey that was being handed around by the guys who usually wear magenta. The leader's jersey went from Serguei Gonchar to Olaf Pollack and back to Serguei Gonchar. How did it feel to pass it around like that?

"At first I apologised to Serguei, later he apologised to me for taking it from each other’s shoulders," said Pollack. " Other than that, it didn't feel too strange. I had the chance to wear it for a day – and I took it."

In a joint interview on www.t-mobile-team.com, the two teammates explained that they both like the colour pink. "It almost looks like magenta. So you've got to like it," said Pollack, while Gonchar said, "I really fancy the colour. I feel absolutely comfy in it."

Both noted that the entire team contributed to their success. According to Gonchar, "You could say, the team bagged the pink jersey. My own contribution was the good prologue. With this team, it was almost impossible not to move into the maglia rosa," and Pollack noted that, "They played a big part in it, because of the team time trial. But maybe even more so by the the work done for me on the next day. They closed gaps for me and kept the pace high. That was a good team performance, hats off to the lads!"

Looking to the rest of the Giro, Pollack wouldn't mind adding the sprinter's jersey to his collection. "It could be done, since there are still three or four flat stages yet to come. However, you have to wait and see who'll be scoring in the mountains. For me it would be best if different riders win. We'll see how things will look like ahead of the final stage."

Gonchar is placed high on GC with his specialty, the individual time trial coming up, and he says, "The ITT is most important for me. Other than that, I will see if I can be in a break once again."

Giro diary watch: Rest day in the bus

The Gerolsteiner team seems to frequently have bad luck with their hotels, and their latest is no exception. When they arrived Tuesday night, or perhaps Wednesday morning, "it didn't look so bad in the dark," says Robert Förster. But the next morning, "you should see it here! Ronny (Scholz) made the suitcase test on his carpet - lots of grey dust. My bathroom is disgusting. And we're here for two days and two nights!" Nor was there much to eat. The team's mood sank. "This afternoon we all moved into the bus. We watched German TV, played Play Station, chatted. After massage and dinner we went back into the bus and watched football on TV." (www.radsport-news.com)

But Gerolsteiner wasn't the only team unsatisfied with their hotel, which they are sharing with Rabobank. Grischa Niermann reports that legend has it that Fausto Coppi slept in their hotel on the night of his last Giro victory "...and since then not much has changed. Together with our fellow sufferers from Team Gerolsteiner, we have to hang around for three days in rooms with wallpaper out of the 1960s, a combined toilet-and-shower - which is really handy if you want to pee and shower at the same time! - and breakfast off plastic plates in a sort of hut." (www.grischa-niermann.de)

T-Mobile's Mick Rogers had other things on his mind. He got to bed at 1:00 am, and wrote, "It's hardly ideal. Add to that the fact that my teeth are still troubling me. I will see the dentist again at 6:00 pm. There must be more pleasant ways of spending your rest day!" After the dentist visit come dinner and interviews: "Hope I can still talk properly!" (www-t-mobile-team.com)

"Hasi's" happy day

Close...
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

There's a saying in German that the second-place finisher is actually the first loser, but Gerolsteiner's René Haselbacher doesn't see it that way. He finished second Wednesday in the Volta a Catalunya's third stage, behind Thor Hushovd but in front of Robert Hunter and Erik Zabel.

"I'm overjoyed with the result, although 20 meters before the finish line I saw myself as the winner!" he described the stage on his website, www.haselbacher.com. "The last 20 km were super hectic because of the strong wind. Yesterday we rode for Heinrich Haussler, today it was my turn. It worked out perfectly. At the 2 km sign, Phonak provided the right speed. I had a colleague at my side. 700 meters before the finish line I catapulted myself from position 25 over 20 positions directly on to Hushovd's rear wheel. 200 meters before the finish line the Norwegian opened the sprint. I waited until the 150 meter mark and shot by him. What a great sprint!"

Haselbacher thought he had won, when who shoots by him with 20 meters to go but Hushovd. "I was irritated. But Hushovd is a world-class sprinter who at 70 km per hour can still accelerate. I jumped forward but he beat me by a centimetre."

Haselbacher also noted, "I'm not superstitious, but lately I've been getting crazy start numbers: I had the number 13 in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, in the Rheinland-Pfalz number 1 and here the number 113. Crazy!"

Is the Tour de France in his future? "I'm not thinking about it right now, but in the next few days I will talk to the team management about a nomination. This year I want to stand out with success and performance instead of with big words."

Symmetrics to Ireland

After a successful week at the Vuelta a El Salvador, with four stage wins, multiple podiums and the points jersey, Symmetrics Cycling heads to Ireland for the FBD Insurance Ras this weekend. It's the first time that the Canadian squad has ridden the Ras, and it will be led by former Ras competitor Andrew Randell. Randell's experience will be valuable, as he scored a stage win and a top 10 in the 2002 edition.

Joining Randell will be fellow Ontarian Brandon Crichton, along with BC riders Will Routley, Jeff Sherstobitoff and Brad Fairall. This will be Fairall's second stint in Europe this spring – he was in France already with the Canadian national team where he scored a few wins.

Assistant Director Sportif Kevin Field will direct the team for the event, and looks forward to the challenges of the race. "This race definitely comes with a long history – there's been a ton of really accomplished riders, both past and present, who have raced here. It's notorious for some really tough steep climbs, and some fairly atrocious weather. But our guys are looking forward to it – we revel in the hard days."

The race begins this Sunday with a 121km stage from Dublin to Enniscorthy. The Ras ends the following Sunday with a 155km stage from Clara to Skerries. Be sure to check the Symmetrics site for daily reports and photos when available

New Zealand's first indoor velodrome

New Zealand's first indoor velodrome
Photo ©: Bruce Ross
(Click for larger image)

New Zealand's first indoor cycling velodrome is nearing completion and will be opened in Invercargill by the country's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, on Friday, May 26.

The $10 million multi-purpose extension to the successful Stadium Southland houses the wooden 250 metre board track, plus a further four netball courts. The facility also is the home to many of Southland's sporting codes who have made the 'ILT Velodrome' building their home.

A cycling carnival, featuring an Australian and New Zealand series, will be a feature of the opening celebrations. Cycling Southland's development manager said the sport loving public of Southland were in for a treat, with riders like Mark French and Nicholas Sanderson leading the Australian challenge.

The entire Stadium is now a flurry of activity as it gears up to the opening celebrations on May 26. Over 100 cyclists are expected to be competing on the opening night with the second session of the carnival being held on Sunday afternoon.

Phogography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Bruce Ross

Bike Chicks - Come and Try Cycling

The Bike Chicks 'Come and Try Cycling Day' will be held on Sunday, May 28 from 10am-4pm on the grounds of the Central Qld University. It's open to all women over the age of 9: all you need is your own bike and a helmet to take part and for $20 you will get lunch, presentations, guest speakers, goodie bag and bike skills sessions and games. A bike can be arranged if you do not have one.

Bike Chicks is aimed at increasing the number of women engaging in cycling for physical activity, and you don't have to be a cyclist or an athlete to come along. It is being run by two local female cyclists; Anouska Edwards and Alex Bright from the Rockhampton Cycling Club.

"This is a fantastic initiative developed for the region by two enthusiastic women," said Cycling Queensland state development officer, Skye Janovsky. "The 15 VIP Licenses were provided to Bike Chicks to support the implementation of the great program. Cycling is a male dominated sport and Bike Chicks provides a huge opportunity for women to become successful bike riders."

Registrations for the Bike Chicks Come and Try Cycling day can be obtained by emailing Bike Chicks (bikechicks@hotmail.com) or contacting Anouska (+61 (0)414603671) or Alex (+61 (0)411627182).

Bike The Drive in Chicago

The 5th annual Bike The Drive will be held on May 28 in Chicago, Ill., USA. Starting at sunrise at Columbus and Balbo avenues, participants will ride through Chicago's famous Grant Park, and past some of Chicago's most iconic structures including Buckingham Fountain, the Hancock building, Navy Pier and the Field Museum. Registration is 50 percent sold out, but there are still 10,000 slots available for the car-free bicycle ride.

Following the ride, there will be a festival in Grant Park until noon, featuring music, food, a bike rodeo and special activities for children, among other things. New this year is the Schwinn Air Show in which riders perform aerial manoeuvres 20 to 30 feet above the ramps and showcase technical stunts on the ground.

Registration is $35 for Chicagoland Bicycle Federation members. Children 13 and under pay $5, which does not include a T-shirt. For $55, receive a Bike The Drive registration and a year-long membership to the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. Non-members pay $40.

More information: www.bikethedrive.org

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