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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for May 19, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

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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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Ullrich gains morale

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

Jan Ullrich's win in the 11th stage Giro time trial yesterday gave another boost to the German's morale. It's now clear that his form isn't as disastrous as his last three results against the clock have indicated: 90th/163 in the prologue of the Tour of Romandie, 69th/120 in that race's final stage time trial, and 80th/198 in the opening time trial of the Giro. Time trials are Ullrich's specialty, and yesterday's flat 50 km stage was tailor made for the powerful T-Mobile rider from Rostock. But even he was surprised at winning, as well as beating race leader Ivan Basso.

"To beat Basso gives me a lot of morale," Ullrich was quoted in Algemeen Dagblad after his win. AD also noted that Ullrich has never lost a long time trial to Basso in a grand tour. But there was no doubt that it was a big improvement, and it would be unwise for anyone to write off Ullrich for the Tour de France, which is still six weeks away from starting.

Still, it's in the mountains where Ullrich has always lost time in the Tour, and it's not yet known what his climbing form is like. In Romandie, he rode below his 'red zone' and finished 115th/120 on GC in the end. In the Giro's first real mountain stage last Sunday, he lost 16 minutes, also not choosing to push it. But with a feast of mountain stages to come in the final week of the Giro, he will test himself again in at least one of them.

"The most important thing is that he finishes the Giro," said Rudy Pevenage to De Volkskrant. Ullrich followed a similar program in 2001, where he rode the Giro and finished 52nd, including two third places in mountain stages. He then went onto finish second at the Tour de France, behind the now retired Lance Armstrong.

Rogers impressed

Michael Rogers (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

World time trial champion Michael Rogers was impressed with his teammate Jan Ullrich's winning ride in the Giro time trial yesterday. In his diary on, Rogers wrote, "I'm deeply impressed by what Jan did today! I think he surprised a lot of people."

As for his own performance, he did not blame his dental problems on his 21st place. "My teeth didn’t bother me anymore today, the pain was gone. So that wasn’t the reason why I didn’t live up to my own expectations in the contre la montre. It just wasn’t my day."

Rogers said that he'd reconnoitred the parcours two months previously, as well as doing it again the previous day. "Either way, I couldn’t quite put my 'keep on your bike and go at full throttle' strategy into practice - guess I lacked the gas today. However, I’m happy for my team mates: Great to see Serhiy moving up into third place on the GC thanks to his fourth place in the ITT. And the fact that Jan did so well today, shows everyone he’s coming into form just at the right time. That was terrific!"

Rasmussen out

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) will not start the 12th stage of the Giro. The Danish climber is suffering from a sore back, and does not want to risk injuring it further in light of the Tour. Last year, Rasmussen also pulled out of the Giro with a foot injury, but went onto capture the mountains jersey in the Tour de France.

Don't criticise the hotel?

There were unexpected visitors at the Gerolsteiner's hotel on Thursday. First came the doping control at 6:45 am, and fortunately, writes Robert Förster, he was able to get back to sleep after giving his donation. But the other visitors were even more unexpected.

"Apparently an Italian journalist published my criticism of the hotel and it has become a police issue. Three policemen were standing at the reception desk and as I walked by I heard 'Robert Förster...interview...giornale.' I disappeared as unobtrusively as I could. Our Italian speaking masseur kept us calm. But I still don't know what it was all about."

In his diary at, Förster noted, "The hotels are booked by the Giro organisers and the team has no influence on the decision. During the whole Giro we really don't have any worse hotels that any other team. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. Surely the organisers don't do it on purpose."

But after dinner last night, the team spent the evening in the bus again. "Why, I won't say - otherwise the police might come again!"

An interview with Stuart O'Grady

Target: Tour team in July

Big pothole, snapped fork, five busted ribs and a broken collarbone; Stuart O'Grady's accident earlier this year looked set to rule him out for quite a while but, as the Australian tells Shane Stokes, he's raring to go once again.

Returning to racing
Photo ©: Michael Gernaa
(Click for larger image)

Stuart O'Grady has shown a remarkably quick return from injury this spring. On March 9 he crashed on stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico, breaking five ribs and his collarbone. Five and a half weeks later, he made his return to competition in the Rund um Köln and now, just over two months after hitting the deck, he is riding the ProTour Tour of Catalonia. The Australian has had a solid showing thus far, placing 16th in the opening time trial, then sprinting in eighth on stage two and fourteenth on stage three.

With his CSC team-mate Ivan Basso handing out a butt-kicking thus far over in Italy, O'Grady is building form in the hope of being on the winning team in the Tour de France. He told Cyclingnews earlier this year that he was on the shortlist for the team and was so committed to the cause of helping Basso that he would give up any ambitions he still had about winning the Maillot Vert in France. And while he's had a spring spoiled by injury, he is nevertheless hoping to make it into CSC's all-important selection for July.

"Nothing is 100 percent, I would need to do a good ride to be absolutely certain of it, but I am in the squad as it stands and I will obviously try to ensure that my form is good enough," he told Cyclingnews this week. "Ivan has shown that he is in fantastic form and I think he is not only capable of winning the Giro, but that he is capable of winning the Tour as well. Bjarne is obviously going to want to take a team with that goal in mind and so I am going to make sure that I am worthy of selection."

O'Grady is encouraged by the speed that he has returned to racing, something even he didn't expect. "It is incredible how fast the body can recover," he said. "To be back racing five weeks after breaking the bones that I did is pretty remarkable, I think. I was definitely happy to be able to finish 200 kilometre races, to come straight back into it. I am pretty surprised, to be honest; I thought I would struggle a lot more than I did. But I think the amount of base training I did in December, January and February has paid off.

Click here for the full interview

Gunnewijk breaks collarbone

Loes Gunnewijk (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint Team), who was leading the Tour de l'Aude up until stage 5, is out of the race after crashing in the sixth stage time trial, breaking her collarbone. Gunnewijk had slipped to third overall before the stage, but any chances of another assault on the leader's jersey were dashed when she fell.

TEAm Lipton for Montreal

TEAm Lipton has named its rosters for two of the biggest women's cycling events in North America: the Montreal World Cup on May 27 and the Liberty Classic on June 11 in Philadelphia. The squads will be led by 2004 Olympian Kristin Armstrong. She will be be supported by Kori Seehafer, who has been posting several top finishes this year in both one-day and stage races; Grace Fleury, who will have just returned from a U.S. National Team project at Tour de l'Aude; Meredith Miller, who completed a U.S. National Team project racing World Cup events in both Belgium and Switzerland; and Liza Rachetto who is one of the TEAm's most dedicated domestiques for her leader.

The team's Liberty Classic squad will be similar that that of Montreal, but with the addition of top sprinter, Laura Van Gilder. Van Gilder is no stranger to podium finishes at the Liberty Classic. She has been on the podium, taking third place, in both the 2004 and 2005, and is looking to best her second place finish at Philadelphia in 2002. "I have been fortunate to have been on the podium several times in Philadelphia, but winning would be the ultimate experience," said Van Gilder.

Added Armstrong, "I couldn't be happier with the riders that have been assembled in this program," said Armstrong, who had spent several years with the T-Mobile Professional Women's Team. "The TEAm environment is very positive and the camaraderie among the riders has allowed the riders to feel that they are part of our total success.

"Racing in the Montreal World Cup and the Liberty Classic gives us a chance to race against the best women in the world. The energy the fans release is incredible, especially up Manayunk. It is the largest one-day race for women in North America - one that every team dreams of winning each year. TEAm Lipton is ready for the challenge."

Montreal World Cup: Kristin Armstrong, Kori Seehafer, Grace Fleury, Meredith Miller, Liza Rachetto.

Liberty Classic: Laura Van Gilder, Kristin Armstrong, Grace Fleury, Kori Seehafer, Lara Kroepsch, Meredith Miller, Liza Rachetto, Sarah Caravella.

UPS Freight Corporate Challenge for CapTech Classic

The CapTech Classic (Richmond, VA, USA) has announced that the UPS Freight Corporate Challenge will be held on June 1. The event will follow the same format as last year, with corporate teams competing on 20-inch mountain bikes provided by Giant. Each team will be 'issued' one bike, which will be used by the entire team, in effect using the bike as a riding relay baton. Each team member will complete one lap around a portion of the course (approximately 6 blocks per team member) commencing on Cary Street in front of the James Center. The UPS Freight Corporate Challenge will begin at 5:00 p.m., and will feature two heats followed by a finals to determine the overall champion.

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