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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for May 25, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

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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Stage 17 wrap-up: Piepoli wins shortened stage

Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) has recorded his second Giro stage win, beating maglia rosa Ivan Basso (CSC) in a two man finish on the Furkelpass, the ending point of today's weather-shortened stage. After his dominating performance in stage 16 yesterday, Basso seemed content to let Piepoli have the stage, while at the same time putting even more time into his nearest rivals on the general classification. The consistent José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) was the next best of these, finishing third at 15 seconds, while Gilberto Simoni's 8th place at 48 seconds moved him into third on the general classification.

The much anticipated 17th stage to Plan de Corones turned into a fairly tame affair, after most of the climbing was cancelled due to the weather. The riders protested against doing the Passo delle Erbe due to the cold and wet conditions on the descent, then a fresh snowfall at the top of the Plan de Corones forced the organisers into carving the last five, ferociously steep kilometres, off the finish. Instead, the finish was atop the Furkelpass at 1739m.

After Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole) and Dario Cioni (Liquigas) attacked after 33 km, they were able to gain 2'53 over the peloton with around 45 km to go. Saunier Duval did most of the chasing, and the pair were brought back before the foot of the final climb. An attempt by Illiano (Selle Italia) and Davis (T-Mobile) didn't go far, before the inevitable happened and the favourites' group split to pieces. Leonardo Piepoli and Ivan Basso were the strongest, moving away from Gutierrez, Pellizotti and Perez Cuapio in the final kilometres, with Basso not contesting the finish against the Saunier Duval rider.

See also: Stage 17 full results, report & photos and Live report.

Saiz released

Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz has been released on Wednesday, following questioning by the Spanish Civil Guard in matters related to doping. However, four others, including former Kelme doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, remain detained pending police questioning.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Saiz was arrested in Madrid yesterday with a briefcase containing €60,000. In addition to Saiz, Eufemiano Fuentes and José Luis Merino Bartres, who was allegedly carrying a bag containing doping substances, including anabolics, were arrested. The newspaper reported that investigators suspect that Saiz was on his way to meeting Fuentes and Merino to close a deal.

Two others, professional mountain biker Alberto León, and Comunidad Valenciana assistant director José Ignacio Labarta, were also arrested. Police searched the flats and lab of Fuentes and Merino, and doping substances and material for transfusing blood was found in Fuentes' two flats, which were not lived in and appeared to be specially set up for administering transfusions.

The arrests were carried out in the framework of an anti-doping investigation headed by the Court of Instruction number 31 in Plaza Castille, Madrid, and the Central Operating Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, which specialises in matters of drug trafficking. Spanish radio station Cadena SER reported that Saiz was released because police considered him a "client" of the doping network, and presented a "weak escape risk."

Also see: Spanish cycling speaks about Saiz.

Breschel comes back

Team CSC's young talent Matti Breschel is back in the peloton, following his crash with Robbie McEwen in the final stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. His original plan was to do the Grand Prix Herning and Colliers Classic at the end of April, but the broken bones in his back had not healed properly. Instead, the Dane came back to racing in today's Bayern Rundfahrt, where he finished 40th in the opening stage.

"I haven't recovered as fast as I'd hoped, but now things are looking up," said Breschel to "Actually it's gone more or less according to plan, but I had hoped for a faster comeback.

"It's hard to say what kind of shape I'm in right now, because I haven't raced for so long. I think it's going OK really, but it's very difficult to say for sure. Bayern Rundfahrt will be a test, which will give me an indication of where I'm at, and we'll just have to take it from there. I don't want to make too many promises for the near future, but I'm pretty sure I'll be in good shape for the Danish Championships."

Breschel realised that it could worse, as he had broken vertebrae. "I could've been paralysed, so it was a very serious injury. I've broken my hand before, but that was nothing compared to this. I'm keeping my chin up though and moving on."

Hondo - the never-ending story

By Susan Westemeyer

Danilo Hondo's attorney Michael Lehner has confirmed to dpa that the sprinter's ban is again in force. The WADA had announced the decision Tuesday evening. "I haven't experienced anything like this before in all my years in this profession," said Lehner. "The lifting of Hondo's suspension, which was announced on March 17, was struck down in a very quick hearing. We learned about it in a three-line statement from the court. There were no oral arguments." Lehner said the decision would be appealed to the next higher Swiss court.

Hondo finished 13th in the first stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt Wednesday. His only comment after the race was, "Leave me alone, I'm all in."

The WADA had said in its comment that Hondo was disqualified from racing as of May 16. When asked about Hondo's participation in the Bayern Rundfahrt Wednesday, race spokeswoman Dagmar Rohe told Cyclingnews, "We have no official UCI statement concerning Danilo Hondo. As long as the UCI does not give us any other instruction we cannot and will not exclude Danilo Hondo from the race."

Knee problems for De Weert

Kevin De Weert (Quick.Step) is not taking part in the Tour of Belgium, which runs between May 24 and 28. He is still having problems with his left knee, which has been hampering him in training. He will undergo and operation next Wednesday to remove a small cyst. De Weert's place has been taken by Kevin Van Impe.

Reading gets UCI nod to complete Triple Crown

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

For the past few months, Cyclingnews has followed the progress of the Philadelphia week of races. Now known as the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, factors such as a title sponsor, team payments and other hurdles have all been overcome. However, one important factor remained - UCI classification of the new race in Reading that replaces the Trenton race. But as of Wednesday, that final hurdle seems to be in the past.

"This was not a simple matter of switching the Thursday race from Trenton, NJ to Reading, PA," said Pro Cycling Tour's Chief Operating Officer Jerry Casale in a statement. "The UCI needs to be certain that road closure approvals and adequate safety precautions are in place. We worked closely with Reading city officials to make sure they were completely pleased with the plan before we submitted it. Considering that we confirmed Reading as the June 8 venue late last month, this was done in record time."

With UCI status of 1.1, the ProTour teams that have confirmed to attend the other two races, Saunier Duval-Prodir and Team CSC, will now be allowed to participate in the Reading race.

While many a sprinter will undoubtedly shed a tear when comparing the flat course profile of the former Trenton race to the new Reading course, the racing will still appeal to a variety of racers. "The Reading course will favour the strong power climbers," said Pro Cycling Tour technical director, Ron Ruggiero. "Add Lancaster as a tough technical course and Philly as the one that favours good all rounders who can go the longer distance and you have three very different races."

Lyne Bessette retires

Lyne Bessette
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

Canadian cyclist Lyne Bessette (T-Mobile) announced her retirement Wednesday. Bessette has has a rough 2006, suffering a shoulder injury on March 15 while training on the mountain bike course of the Commonwealth Games and subsequently not competing. Bessette crashed in January at the Geelong Tour in Australia, and last week pulled out of the Tour de l'Aude .

The thirty-one year old native of Knowlton, Quebec excelled in many facets of cycling, winning national titles in road, time trial and cyclocross as well as the gold medal in the 1998 Commonwealth Games road race. Before racing for the T-Mobile team this year, Bessette rode for the Quark and Saturn teams. It was on the Saturn team where she met her husband Tim Johnson.

The Canadian Press reported that Bessette is retiring mostly because of her recent injuries. "I wanted to go until 2008, but I always said I'll go step by step and if one day I don't feel like it, I'm going to stop," she said. "Of course, the injuries in the last couple of months accelerated my decision. I'm really thinking about my body now and I've crashed a lot and I'm scared. Once you've crossed that line, it's impossible to keep going."

Bessette will not take part in the upcoming Le Tour du Grand Montréal or Montréal World Cup this weekend. She said she plans to work on a cycling program for a Quebec-based health club chain before deciding on a long-term career plan.

Book review: Quäl Dich, Du Sau! by Udo Bölts with Klaus Dieter Kullmann

Life during wartime

German former pro Udo Bölts is a veteran of the Telekom team's long battle to win the Tour de France and then to repeat that victory during the Armstrong era. In his auto biography, Quäl Dich, Du Sau! he looks back on his days with Jan Ullrich. Susan Westemeyer has a précis for those of us that don't speak fluent German.

Quäl Dich, Du Sau!

"Quäl dich, du sau," is not only the title of Udo Bölts autobiography but also the saying that made him famous. It's what he shouted to Jan Ullrich when he weakened near the end of the 1997 Tour de France. Literally translated, it makes no sense at all, but it means something along the lines of, "Goddamnit, move your arse, you son of a bitch!" Stronger language than the mild Bölts usually uses, but it was "a simple attempt to dig the very last bit" out of his captain that day. Ullrich claims not to have heard it, by the way, but he did, of course, go on to the win that Tour.

Bölts was a chubby 12-year-old with allergies and asthma, and a five-year-older brother who was actively involved in cycling. This combination of circumstances invariably led to his own involvement in cycling. His career did not get off to a promising start. In 1979 he rode the race Rund um Frankfurt as a 13-year-old. "Afterwards, two of my competitors were talking in the shower. 'Did you see number 111, that fat pig, and what a big arse he had?', said one of them loudly and clearly. I soaped up, showered, and dried myself off. Back in the locker room I dug my number out of my bag. Indeed, I was 111."

Click here for the full review

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