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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for October 10, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Ullrich to Discovery?

In the light of the latest news coming out of Spain, according to which the information from the Operación Puerto investigation cannot be used for sports-disciplinary proceedings, Discovery Channel is reported to have made the first move on Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, who may be free to choose a new team if he is cleared. Spanish reports that Johan Bruyneel has made the German champ an offer to lead his team during the next season.

The German, affiliated to the Swiss cycling federation, is without a team and without a racing license at the moment, because of his presumed implication in the doping scandal around Eufemiano Fuentes. But the Swiss officials might issue Ullrich a new license for lack of evidence - the documents the Spanish Guardia Civil delivered to the UCI (and therefore to the national federations) might not be legally valid. The Spanish court investigating the case has ordered that the information cannot be used to open proceedings with any sporting bodies or to sanction the implicated riders until the trial has ended, presumably in June next year.

Wolfgang Strohband, Ullrich's manager, denied an official offer had been made to his client, as German Bild reporter Joachim Logisch told Cyclingnews. Bruyneel's interest in Ullrich, meanwhile, is no secret, but no contract negotiations may take place until the rider is officially cleared.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

An interview with the 'Crocodile Man'

Adam Hansen
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

Australian Adam Hansen certainly isn't one to turn down a challenge. After a few years riding for Continental Professional teams in Austria, the 25-year-old is ready to take the big step and ride for T-Mobile in the Pro Tour next year. But is the Pro Tour really a challenge to a young man who has twice won the Crocodile Trophy, which has been called 'the hardest race on the planet'? Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with him as he announced his signing with the German team.

First of all, just what is the Crocodile Trophy? "You can't explain the Crocodile Trophy," he says. "I wish I could, but there are no words to explain it. It's a mental race. It's hard as hell, physically and mentally. It's a race that takes you so far out of your comfort zones, you wish you'd never signed the start sheet. The only way to have a close idea is to race it, because there is no other race like it."

Indeed, there is certainly no European race like it. An earlier interview with Hansen describes the race this way: "It involves 15-days of slogging it out in bulldust, corrugated tracks and creek crossings in stifling tropical heat. When each stage is over, the riders pitch tents at night and hand-wash knicks before the next day's torture."

After not only riding that race twice, but actually winning it twice, the thought of riding around Europe in its genteel races must sound like a vacation. But the transition to the European racing scene was a bit more difficult than expected. In 2005 he rode for the Pro Continental Team Elk Haus, an experience he doesn't like to remember. "If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. That was my season at Elk Haus."

He could have continued with that team, but chose to transfer to the smaller APO Sport Team. "I had a better support and atmosphere there. It's a rider's dream to have a sports director like the one I did at APO Sport, Christoph Resl."

Click here to read the full feature.

Wiesenhof looks to the Classics

Team Wiesenhof-Felt is looking to make itself into a team for the classics next season, featuring newcomers Steffen Wesemann and Stefan van Dijk, as well as veteran Steffen Radochla. After losing riders such as young German prodigy Gerald Ciolek and Marcel Sieberg to the ProTour, team manager Raphael Schweda said, "It didn't please us or the sponsors to be represented in the media as a team that was losing its best riders. With our new riders we are giving the team a new picture, but we don't want to lose sight of our work with the younger riders."

Steffen Wesemann (T-Mobile) at the 2005 RVV
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Wesemann explained his transfer from T-Mobile: "I chose Wiesenhof-Felt primarily for athletic reasons. The young leadership around Jens Heppner, Raphael Schweda and Markus Schleicher, and with Ronny Lauke as directeur sportif, is a guarantee for me that everyone will be extremely motivated and that I will also have a lot of fun. I am very motivated and want to show those people who have written me off that I haven't forgotten how to win. I want to share my experience with the young team and put my mark on the team. The position as captain for Wiesenhof-Felt is an honour for me and an additional motivation."

The team also announced the signing of Stefan van Dijk, who rode this season for Unibet, after a sitting out a suspension for doping in 2005. The 30 year-old won a stage of the Eneco Tour this year, as well as a stage of the Tour of Belgium. In addition, 30 year-old Ronny Lauke will be a directeur sportif next year. He rode professionally from 1997 to 2004 in small German teams, finishing his career with Winfix-Arnolds Sicherheit, one of the forerunner teams of Wiesenhof.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Lloyd takes climber's lead in Sun Tour

Matt Lloyd took over the lead in the 'King of the Mountains' classification after finishing second on stage 3 of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. The 23 year-old Victorian was beaten in a two up sprint by Sydney's Trent Wilson (Jayco Australian National Team) who won the 158.5km stage from Bendigo to Nagambie, but Lloyd had done enough on the stage to secure the climber's jersey.

"There were a lot of attacks at the start of the stage but they were all quite large and a few of them potentially had guys who could challenge for overall honours, so there was a reluctance by the bunch to let them get away," said Lloyd. "At the first major climb I attacked a few times and then got clear with a bunch of around 15."

Lloyd picked up the maximum points over the climb and then settled in with a group of five others to increase their lead on the bunch. "We all worked together until about 20 kilometres from the finish when the attacking started," explained Lloyd. "Trent Wilson and I finally managed to escape to contest the finish and unfortunately I was beaten."

Lloyd had hoped to be contesting overall honours but a crash on the opening criterium stage on Sunday saw him lose time and he has now refocused on stage and climbing goals. "Obviously I would have like to have won the Tour but you have to be realistic and after the crash I had to reassess," said Lloyd who is still sporting a sore hip from the crash. "Now I'll concentrate on the mountains and any stages that suit my style."

Lloyd recently signed a contract with ProTour team Davitamon-Lotto to begin in 2007. The deal came after his success with in 2006 which included third overall in the U26 Giro d'Italia and fifth overall in the Tour of Japan.

Caisse D’Epargne for next Italian races

José Luis Jaimerena will direct the Spanish team Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears in the Giro del Piemonte (Thursday, October 12) and in the Giro di Lombardia (Saturday, October 14) in Italy this week. The team has confirmed its line-up for the two races: Vladimir Efimkin, Marco Fertonani, Iván Gutiérrez, Pablo Lastras, Mikel Pradera, Vicente Reynes, Joaquín Rodríguez and Alejandro Valverde.

O'Grady in 2007 Tour Down Under

South Australia’s own cycling champion Stuart O’Grady is coming home to take part in the 2007 Tour Down Under. O'Grady will lead his CSC team, the first confirmed team for next year’s Tour Down Under, announced Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith.

"We are thrilled that the winner of the inaugural Tour Down Under will be returning to the event with an all-star team," he said. "I expect Stuart will have a home-town win on his mind as he sets out to defend his 1999 and 2001 Tour Down Under victories."

Fellow South Australian and Olympic gold medallist Luke Roberts, as well as former team young gun Matthew Goss will be joining O’Grady as part of the CSC’s Australian contingent. The squad will participate in the Tour Down Under with team manager, Scott Sunderland, former professional cyclist, and Australian cyclist of the year. Team owner Bjarne Riis is making the trip to South Australia with the team as a VIP guest of the Tour Down Under.

Further teams and riders competing in the Tour will be confirmed as they become available.

Top Juniors in Tassie Tour

Cycling Australia has entered its crack junior team in the Jayco Tour of Tasmania scheduled to take place later this month. The Australian federation usually sends a seven-man junior team to the New Zealand national road championships in late October, but this year the squad will tackle the Tassie Tour instead.

"Most of these boys are aged 18 or 19 and the Tassie Tour will be a big step up for them," Cycling Australia’s chief executive officer Graham Fredericks said. "These are the riders of the future - they will find out a lot about themselves in Tasmania and will benefit from the experience."

The Jayco Tour, first held last year, will be raced in 11 stages from October 24-29. Competitors face 82 intermediate sprints and 18 testing hill climbs during the 594km event, which will be the final round of the 2006 Tattersall’s Cup series.

The Australian junior team, managed by Launceston’s Ron Bryan, will include Ricky Peoples, Stuart Grimsey, Daniel Braunsteins (Victoria), Reuben Young, Christos Winter (South Australia), Tim Guy (NSW) and Matthew McDonagh (Tasmania).

Tour de France star Kjell Carlström, of Finland, and England’s Kristian House, winner of the 2006 Tour of Ireland, will be among the junior squad’s experienced overseas opponents. Carlström, 29, finished second in a Tour de France stage this year and won Finland’s national road championship in 2004. Queensland’s David Kemp, winner of the road race at Ballarat’s Australian Grand Prix meeting in August, is also among the early entries, which close on October 16.

Interbike celebrates record figures

Interbike has announced that its five-day 2006 OutDoor Demo and International Bicycle Expo, which ended September 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada, were the largest in its 25-year history. Square footage for both events included more than 370,000 square-feet of occupied exhibit space with total attendance close to 22,000 individual international bicycle and accessory buyers and exhibitors.

This represents a 12 percent increase versus 2005 attendance. Buyer attendance was close to 10,400 individuals, which equates to a six percent increase versus 2005, and represents a little more than 3,100 stores.

The 2006 edition of OutDoor Demo occurred September 25-26, equating to 61,400 square feet of outdoor exhibit space filled with more than 130 bicycle and accessory manufacturers. Three thousand five hundred individual buyers and journalists tested bicycles and accessories on cross country mountain bike trails, downhill-specific courses, a professionally built BMX track and a closed road course. Total overall attendance for the two-day demo was more than 6,000 individuals. In terms of square footage and attendance, it was the largest OutDoor Demo since the pre-indoor expo was started 11 years ago.

The indoor portion of Interbike, the International Bicycle Expo, ran September 27-29 and consisted of displays from 735 individual bicycle and accessory manufacturers representing more than 1,000 brands covering approximately 15 acres of the Sands Expo and Convention Center. With a total of 310,000 square-feet of occupied exhibit space, this year’s event had the largest footprint in Interbike’s history.

Looking forward to 2007, the dates for next year’s Interbike events are September 24-25 for the OutDoor Demo, once again in Bootleg Canyon, and September 26-28 for the International Bicycle Expo in Las Vegas.

"We had a great year celebrating our 25th anniversary," said Lance Camisasca, Interbike’s group show director. "Given the positive feeling at this year’s show and economic conditions favouring the positive impact bicycles can have by helping reduce gas usage and helping people live healthier lives, 2007 will be a great year for bicycle retailers and manufacturers. We look forward to getting everyone together for next year’s show."

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