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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 3, 2006

Edited by Laura Weislo

Damiano Cunego gets wind tunnel testing

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) watching the results
Photo ©: Mike Gladu
(Click for larger image)

Last Saturday, October 28, Damiano Cunego traveled to Texas for an aerodynamic position study with John Cobb. The occasion was historic and possibly career changing; during the day, Gianmarco Cilli had a chance to sit down with Cunego to discuss 2006 and his upcoming goals.

Damiano Cunego first came to the attention of the cycling world in 2004 when he upstaged his Saeco team leader Gilberto Simoni and won the Giro d'Italia. He was only 22 years-old. He then soared to the top of the UCI rankings to finish the 2004 season at number one. He was the youngest rider ever to do so. His second real attempt at a Grand Tour (a virus ruined his 2005 season) was the 2006 Giro, in which the Lampre-Fondital rider was easily defeated by Ivan Basso. What became clear was that though Cunego has exceptional climbing ability and recovery powers, he lacks the time trial skills to compete in the modern day Giro d'Italia, which has become less a climber's race and more like the Tour de France. Cunego was still only 24 years-old during this year's Giro, and it must be noted that he still has some maturation as a rider ahead of him.

A similar story unfolded at the 2006 Tour de France; Cunego lost large amounts of time to the top GC contenders in the time trial stages. More encouraging though, was his performance in the final TT, in which he defeated specialist Markus Fothen of Gerolsteiner to secure his win the young rider's competition.

Encouraged by this victory, Cunego announced his goal of winning the 2008 Tour de France. Eager to help young Cunego achieve this goal is Velo Imports, the USA importer of Wilier Triestina frames, the same ones that are used by Lampre-Fondital. Though the USA connections, Cunego was put in touch with aerodynamics guru John Cobb for wind tunnel testing near Houston, in College Station, Texas.Cobb, after studying photographs of Cunego in the Tour de France time trials, knew he could make changes to his position that would save him significant time.

Read the full feature here.

Bruyneel Talks: DNA Tests, Basso & Lance Armstrong, Marathon Man

By Tim Maloney-European Editor

Reached at his home in Madrid, Discovery Channel director sportif Johan Bruyneel was asked by Cyclingnews for his point of view about the recent polemics over DNA testing for riders as proposed at the recent AIGCP (International Association of Pro Cycling Teams) meeting in Paris. Bruyneel explained that "I wasn't present at the meeting, but I can say that I don't believe that it's up to the teams to come up with new rules. The intentions are good, but I'm a team manager, not an attorney, and when certain decisions are taken, sometimes the further consequences have to be considered. The teams really don't have a specific competence in this area; it's really the place of the governing body of cycling, [the UCI]."

Discovery Channel has yet to announce their 2007 roster, and in recent weeks the rumor-mill has been churning out links to the team that Bruyneel has had to respond to. One rider that is frequently mentioned is Italian Ivan Basso. Bruyneel wasn't revealing much when we asked him about the possibility of Basso coming to Discovery Channel, saying "It's true that we have always said when Basso's case is resolved, we will talk to him, but we still haven't gotten together on this [with Basso]."

As of yet, nothing is definite from either side. Currently in Japan representing Full Speed Ahead at a bike show, Ivan Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport's Luca Gialanella that "Discovery Channel has been the only ProTour team with the budget and room for me. But I'm not afraid to ride in a smaller team that can grow with me. When I went to CSC in 2004, it wasn't such a big team, and there are a lot of good racers available [like his friends Nardello and Peron - ed.] who will come along to create a winning squad."

We then asked Bruyneel if he had give Lance Armstrong any advice about running his first marathon next Sunday at the New York Marathon. Bruyneel laughed and said "yes, I have. I told Lance to take it easy at first, to pace himself and he would finish well. I know Lance and even if he hasn't been able to prepare himself exactly the way he wanted to for the New York Marathon, he can do well."

Armstrong has said that he hasn't been able to run longer than 15 miles to prepare for the 26.2 mile marathon distance and that he has been feeling some pain in his left hip flexors. We asked Bruyneel if he though that the hyper-competitve Armstrong would be able to stomach being passed by more experienced marathoners if he started at a gentle pace in New York, and Bruyneel just laughed again as he thought of Armstrong's competitive drive and said "he knows he has to."

Casper and Popovych at Revolution

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Jimmy Casper and Yaroslav Popovych are among the latest Pro Tour riders to take to the track. The two Tour de France stage winners will team up with Bradley Wiggins and Roger Hammond, respectively, at the next round of the Manchester Velodrome's Revolution on November 18th.

Saunier Duval will send Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni to team up with David Millar at the same event. Millar has recently honed his abilities on the track, taking the national pursuit title in early October. As to his fellow roadies' chances on the track, Millar said, "Jimmy [Casper] has some good experience on the track. I know him well from my time at Cofidis. He comes from the Picardie region of France which is the heartland of French track racing... I think he’ll be a bit nervous, but knowing Jimmy that will actually benefit him."

"Popovych I don’t know so well, but I respect his talent a great deal" Millar continued. "He has been hailed as the next big thing since he arrived in Italy as a teenager and deservedly so. It’s true that he is an unknown quantity on the track, but let's not forget he comes from the Russian school of cycling; this normally means as an adolescent riding around in circles in very cold velodromes, so I’m think he’ll be OK! It’s going to be a fun night, but also a little scary at first for us more used to brakes and freewheels!"

The influx of professional road stars could be intimidating to the national racers who make up the bulk of the field, but some riders are excited to ride on the boards alongside their heros. "Riding with all these professionals will be amazing; I can’t wait!" said Olympic development rider Adam Blythe. "I think some of the riders will be hard to beat such as Wiggins and Millar, as they both have some good experience on the track. The others don’t have as much experience but I can still imagine that they will kick everyone’s ass!"

These riders will have plenty to keep them busy with an action packed race program, including a devil elimination (miss and out), points and scratch race, and a few additional events to really put their track skills to the test. Tickets for Revolution can be purchased at or by calling 07005 942 579.

Eisel, T-Mobile and the millionaire

By Susan Westemeyer

Bernhard Eisel (Francaise des Jeux)
Photo ©: Christine Grein
Click for larger image

Sprinter Bernhard Eisel is taking it easy this fall - that is, if he's not renovating his home or doing some easy training with namesake Bernhard Kohl. But the T-Mobile newcomer will get away for a few days before starting serious training in the middle of November. "The body needs a little break, it doesn't matter if its one day more or less," he told

Eisel is impressed with his new team, T-Mobile. The recent team meeting was "just a team meeting, but we had a lot of fun." His overall impression of the team was "Outstanding. Every change is super. How it will really work out, well, we'll see at the start of the season. So far we all get along really well with each other. The T-Mobile Team is simply a little bigger than Française des Jeux."

The Austrian rider will start the season early. "I will give my T-Mobile debut in Qatar. After that come the spring classics. It's not yet set, how it will go beyond that, but my position with the team is good, so I'm not worried." He seems to have found his new boss, manager Bob Stapleton, interesting. "Bob is Bob. As rich as Croesus, but you can't tell it by looking at him. A really nice guy who brings a little American flair into the team, which makes the whole thing even more interesting for us riders. He didn't have so much to do with cycling before, he was just a millionaire, but that got too boring for him."

Halgand breaks collarbone - again

Crédit Agricole's Patrice Halgand hasn't had a lucky 2006 season. The French rider was unfortunate in January when he broke his right collarbone while preparing for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Now, tuttobiciweb reported that the 32 year-old, who won a stage in the Tour de France in 2002, broke that same bone once again while training for a cyclo-cross race in his home Vendée region. Halgand underwent surgery for the first fracture, and it is not known whether he will have to be operated on a second time.

Compton sticks with SPIKE

Katie Compton, the two-time US national cyclo-cross champion, will be a part of the SPIKE professional cycling team, along with three other US national champions in 2007. Compton raced for the amateur squad this year, and while the professional team focuses mainly on track racing, Compton will finish out the cyclo-cross season and then take to the boards for the US national track series.

Compton has a history on the track, mainly as the pilot for a blind paralympic athlete, and she took part in this year's US national championships in Los Angeles with some success, taking the silver medal in the individual pursuit, 10th in the points race, and 4th in the team sprint.

Returning to SPIKE are reigning US sprint champions Giddeon Massie and Jennie Reed, team sprint champion Michael Blatchford, Ben Barczewski, Ryan Luttrell, and Kevin Suhr. Departing are scratch race champion Becky Quinn and Andy Lakatosh. Kevin Selker and Jackie Simes will be new to the team, as will Shelby Allen and Justin Williams, both formerly of the Major Motion team, who will be part of the developmental team. The new squad will have their debut at the Los Angeles world cup race in January.

Team director Bill Ramsay said, "We plan on building upon the first year success by adding some new talent to continue toward our goal of the 2008 Olympic Games." Ramsay went on to say "We’ll start the new season with a focus on the UCI national track series events, select UCI world cup events, US national track championships and other large track events across the US."

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