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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for May 24, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

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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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Basso supports decision to shorten stage

Ivan Basso
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Maglia rosa Ivan Basso (CSC) agreed with the organisers decision (which was prompted by a rider protest) to change the route of stage 17 due to the bad weather conditions. "I think the race organizers made the right decision in rerouting the stage, and I also think we were better off with a short version of the last mountain," he commented on "Of course I'm upset on behalf of our fans that we weren't able to climb all the way to the top of Plan de Corones, but there are two spectacular stages this weekend, so we still get to climb some big mountains."

Basso was also satisfied with the way the day turned out, as he put more time into his rivals and finished second behind Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval). "The team did a great job to set the pace, and I did my job by keeping up with Piepoli when he escaped. He's faster than me on steep climbs like today, and I was focusing on keeping up and keeping a pace, which would increase the gap to our pursuers."

Giro diary watch: Fans, money, surviving...

Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster knew what kind of day it was going to be when he looked out the window Wednesday morning and saw the heavy rain. And this is how the race started: "At the start was a big discussion. Jens Voigt was in the front row. The flag waved for the start - and nobody moved. 'Voigte' came back to us. 'What's happening?', I asked him. 'Every team should send a spokesman to the front, it's about the race course', he said. 'The Würzjoch has 0 degrees and sleet. If we ride over that, we'll all catch our death,' he said. Of course I have absolutely no objection if they want to eliminate a mountain."

Once underway, Förster managed to stay busy. His chain kept slipping off and he had to have it repaired. It was warm at the start but then got colder. "Pick up the rain jacket, gloves. No, that's too warm. Pick up the vest. No, too cold. The jacket again. I think we were back at the autos today more than in the field."

And how did he get up the final mountain - and with whom? "A big grupetto went up the mountain at the end, including Jan Ullrich. I rode together with him pretty long...He is very natural and easy-going, there's nothing about him to mark him as a 'Star'. As I rode next to Ulle, I heard how almost every fan called to him. 'Ulle, super.' 'Ulle, go!' 'Ulle, you will win the Tour!' Or even, 'Ulle, go faster!' I'm sure they mean it nicely, but after about a kilometre it started driving me crazy. 'Now you can see what I have to hear every day,' laughed Ulle." (

T-Mobile's Jörg Ludewig didn't have such pleasant experiences with the fans. "I can understand that our sport has financial roots. That means: the ruble has to roll. But I don't have to put up with everything. I don't have to let myself be called a wimp or an idiot. And that from overweight people who couldn't even push a bike up a climb like this."

It is obvious from the rider's reactions that the end of the race is approaching. "I note that I have been away from home for three weeks and have ridden more than 2000 km here. I'm slowly starting to notice the first warning signals. The worst is that I have less and less hunger. That's always a bad sign. You have 15 kinds of muesli here for breakfast - but no appetite. But we will survive until the last day." (

Grischa Niermann is also thinking of money and the end of the race. "My finish line was at the intermediate sprint 6 km before the finish. Since I'm pretty well up in the sprint ranking, that is one of our few remaining possibilities to earn some money," writes the Rabobank rider. "For three more days we have to bear down, then we'll be in Milan." (

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Hondo doesn't start

By Susan Westemeyer

Danilo Hondo will not be at the start of the second stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt today, after a new court ruling overruling his successful appeal of his two-year ban. Spokesman Henry Fecherolle told Cyclingnews, "He is really frustrated, but doesn't give up."

Lyne Bessette retires

By Mark Zalewski, North American editor

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

Canadian cyclist Lyne Bessette (T-Mobile) announced her retirement Wednesday, just after pulling out of the Tour de l'Aude last week. 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 as well as crashing in January at the Geelong Tour in Australia.

The 31 year-old native of Knowlton, Quebec excelled in many facets of cycling, winning national titles in road, time trial and cyclo0cross 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.

Two national road titles on offer in UK

By Gerry McManus

The British men's junior and espoir road race titles will be decided in Buckinghamshire roads over the weekend of May 27-28 in events organised by Doug Collins and the Twickenham CC on behalf of British Cycling. Both events are based on the same course on the edge of the Chiltern Hills at the town of Long Crendon near Thame, which will ensure that the winners are deserving of the title of national champion. However, the weather for the races is likely to be different, with heavy rain forecast for the juniors on Saturday but the espoirs are expected to see a little sunshine on Sunday.


77 starters in the junior event will compete on the undulating 121 km course on two circuits. The short 8 km circuit is completed 11 times with a tough climb of nearly a mile to the village of Chilton making it tough for the riders, but excellent for spectators, who will undoubtedly be clad in wet weather gear. The riders then move on to the larger finishing circuit, hearing the bell as they go through the finish for the first time. They will have already climbed up the mile-long climb to the village of Ashendon, descended at over 40mph into Dorton and struggled up the long drag to the finish at Camp Farm near Chilton, and the strong riders will have identified themselves at this stage. The final lap will be the stern test that many have encountered before.

Glendene CC/Bike Trax has entered a team of nine riders with Alex Dowsett and Andrew Griffiths among the favourites in the event where previous winners like Steve Cummings, Yanto Barker, Matt Brammeier and Adam Norris have progressed successfully into the pro ranks.

Griffiths and Dowsett finished first and second overall in the opening round of the 2006 Reynolds/Michelin Junior Road Race Series in the two-day Martyn Ashfield Junior Classic in April with teammates Peter Kennaugh and Matthew Rowe winning the stages for an impressive team result. And let us not forget Jonathon Bellis' emphatic win in the Junior Tour of the Peaks at the end of April, showing his climbing and endurance abilities over a similar distance.

Click here for the full preview.

Macedon Ranges teams classic

The Australian state of Victoria is staging a European-style teams race in Newham this Saturday, May 27. A total of 20 teams of seven riders will compete over four laps of a 30 km circuit in the inaugural Macedon Ranges teams classic.

In the Sponsored/Corporate section, it will be hot competition amongst the 13 teams. On paper, the Victorian Institute of Sport team looks a tough outfit to beat with three recently named team members for the upcoming 2006 Junior World Championships included. Leigh Howard, William Ford and Nicholas Walker, brother of Victorian sensation William, will headline the team which also includes former U23 Australian rider David Pell.

Former Australian Road & Tattersall's Cup Champion Robert Tighello will lead the Richmond Cyclery Team with fellow well performing Victorian Daniel Braunsteins. Other riders entered include Tim Decker (Decked Out Coaching), Ashley Baines (Barry Bros), champion deaf cyclist Reece Emerson Van Beek (Freedom Machine), who will join an array of new and young riders, many of whom are entering their very first open.

On the club scene, five of the biggest clubs in not only Victoria, but Australia - Carnegie, Bendigo, Footscray, Blackburn and Brunswick - have entered and the seven teams will battle it out for the unofficial bragging rights of best Victorian club team.

The event will also feature two support events: A 60km masters graded scratch race, plus a 60km women's scratch race.

The CEO of CycleSport Victoria Ian Maher commented, "This could be the beginning of a exciting new concept which will allow riders of ranging abilities to participate in high quality events against the best riders in the country. It will also allow sponsors to become more involved in cycling which will only help the sport grow in the future."

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