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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for October 11, 2006

Edited by Laura Weislo & Sue George

Valverde to race Giro di Lombardia

Alejandro Valverde
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Caisse d'Epargne has announced that Pro Tour leader Alejandro Valverde will ride this weekend's Giro di Lombardia. Valverde has already wrapped up the Pro Tour title, and did not start the Züri-Metzgete or Paris-Tours, but he says he considers it a duty to start in the last Pro Tour race of the season. The 26-year-old Spaniard's last race was the World Championships in Salzburg, where he finished third.

Lampre for Italian races

Lampre-Fondital will be sending strong teams to the last two Italian races of the season. The following riders will take part in Giro del Piemonte: Daniele Bennati, Matteo Carrara, Claudio Corioni, Enrico Franzoi, Ruggero Marzoli, Danilo Napolitano, Mauro Santambrogio and Sylwester Szmyd. Director sportif Maurizio Piovani explained the team's ambition: "In the team we'll have riders that raced very well in the previous weeks. Some of the team had great performances in Paris-Tour, while Carrara and Marzoli had very good results in the Italian races."

The Lampre-Fondital squad for the Giro di Lombardia will be Alessandro Ballan, Matteo Carrara, Claudio Corioni, Marco Marzano, Ruggero Marzoli, Morris Possoni, Mauro Santambrogio and Sylwester Szmyd. Martinelli's commentary: "The whole team owns the qualities to relaize a good race; if I have to underline some names, I can say that you have to pay attention to: Marzoli, because he's in a very good fit; Ballan, since he began to win in February and he's still riding up with the best cyclists in every race; Santambrogio for the growth that he showed in the last months".

Barloworld for the season's end

Team Barloworld’s final race of the 2006 season will be the ‘94.7’ race in South Africa on November 19 but like all the major ProTour teams, Barloworld is getting ready for the Giro del Piemonte on Thursday and then the 100th edition of the autumn ProTour classic the Tour of Lombardy. “We want to end the season well and not only because the Tour of Lombardy is a prestigious race and part of the ProTour,” Team manager Claudio Corti says. “We know it’s a tough race but we’re sure some of our riders, including Efimkin and Cardenas, can do well.”

Team Barloworld will field the same team for both Piemonte and Lombardy, with the only change being the directeur sportif: Valerio Tebaldi will be in charge for Piemonte, while Alberto Volpi will take over for Lombardy. The eight riders are: Pedro Arreitunandia, Diego Caccia, Felix Cardenas, Alex Efimkin, Mauro Facci, Tiaan Kannemeyer, James Perry and Hugo Sabido.

“It’s a good team that can end a good season on a high,” Corti says. “We’ve been in the action and results in lots of races this year and we want to end the season with another good result so that we’re motivated to work hard through the winter ready for 2007. We want to do even better and hope to be part of the ProTour.”

Milram for Lombardy

Team Milram has announced their line-up for the Giro di Lombardia. The team will consist of Mirko Celestino, Alessandro Cortinovis, Matej Jurco, Andriy Grivko, Alberto Ongarato, Fabio Sacchi, Alessandro Vanotti, Giovanni Visconti, with director sportif Gianluigi Stanga.

Bruyneel denies interest in Ullrich

Johan Bruyneel has adamantly denied the recent news reports that the Discovery Channel Team is signing Jan Ullrich. Bruyneel said, "I am currently not in any negotiations with Jan Ullrich to become a part of the Discovery Channel. Although I believe Jan is a world-class rider, our roster for 2007 is nearly complete and Jan will not be a part of our Team." The denial may be moot, as Ullrich will most likely be unable to race next season. UCI president Pat McQuaid has said that he would seek to block Ullrich and any other rider involved in the Operation Puerto investigation from racing.

Anti-doping labs seek test for EPO masking agent

Could this be the culprit?
(Click for larger image)

Recent news reports reveal that scientists from the Lausanne anti-doping laboratory think they've detected attempts by athletes to mask the presence of the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO). They hypothesize that a protease enzyme was introduced into the urine while the athlete was giving the sample in order to destroy traces of the drug. Is this possible, and can the scientists develop a test to detect this method? Laura Weislo reports.

EPO is so effective at improving performance that athletes have continued to risk scandal, sanctions or even death in order to gain its benefits. The introduction of an EPO urine test in 2001 should have reduced the prevalence of the abuse of the drug, but methods for avoiding positive tests have always stayed ahead of the anti-doping laboratories.

When the test was first introduced, it could only detect EPO within a few days of its administration. As the test was made more sensitive, athletes switched from using the normal therapeutic doses to "micro-dosing". Using this method, the drug is only detectable within a day of its use. But as the test continues to be refined, several high-profile EPO positives may be inspiring athletes to find new ways to continue to use the drug without being caught.

Click here to read the full feature.

Michele Gobbi getting better

Michele Gobbi, who has been hospitalised since suffering a cerebral hematoma and skull fractures in a crash on the final lap of Sunday's GP Beghelli, is reportedly making improvements. He is still in a drug-induced coma, but has begun breathing on his own. His prognosis is still reserved, but his condition continues to improve.

Gerolsteiner signs a Gerolsteiner

by Susan Westemeyer

Team Gerolsteiner has signed a real live Gerolsteiner, Johannes Fröhlinger, who was born 21 years ago in Gerolstein, Germany. He has been a stagiaire for the team this year, finishing sixth in the 3-Länder Tour, and impressing Team Manger Hans-Michael Holczer. Holczer called the youngster "a strong climber with outstanding race instincts." Fröhlinger, who signed a two-year contract, previously rode for the U-23 French team FC Sarreguemines. He said, "I grew up with Gerolsteiner mineral water. Now I'm happy to represent my hometown in cycling."

Danish team signs a Dane

Team CSC has announced the signing of Danish neo-pro Chris Anker Sørensen. The 22-year-old had previously been a stagiaire on the team, and impressed the team. Manager Bjarne Riis said, "For a long time we have planned to get Chris on the team, because we've never doubted his potential. He has delivered some solid results as an amateur and last year, when he was with the team, he showed us enough to get a contract with Team CSC. Of course he needs some time to develop, but I wouldn't be surprised if he already as a neo-pro made some good results."

The young Dane is happy to get a chance to develop in an environment where he feels comfortable. "It's a dream come true for me and I'm really looking forward to turn professional at Team CSC. After having been on the team for a short period last year, I had no doubt this was where I wanted to be."

British stars shine in National Track Championships

By Gerry McManus

The British National Track Championship showcased the best of British track cycling last week in Manchester. The British Nationals preceded the first World Cup event in Sydney, Australia, in November; however, some top performers may race again in Manchester in February for the final of four rounds of the UCI World Cup series.

Britain’s Victoria Pendleton (ScienceInSport) showed she is great form by taking home four gold medals. The 26-year-old from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, struck gold in the 500m time trial, keirin, 200m sprint, and the 15km scratch race. On the first day of racing, she also set the championship record for the 500m TT with a time of 34.621, only a fraction of a second behind the British record of 34.614 that she set at the UCI World Championships in Bordeaux earlier this year with her silver medal winning ride. For Pendleton, it's déjà vu; she won the same four medals at last year's championships.

Edinburgh’s Chris Hoy climbed on the podium top spot after he exploded around four laps of the 250m Manchester track to complete the 1km time trial in 1.02.725. Hoy also teamed with fellow internationals Jason Queally and Craig MacLean to win the team sprint event in which he hopes for an Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008. MacLean took the sprint final, but relative youngster Ross Edgar defeated all the senior riders in men's Keirin. The 23-year-old Edgar from Newmarket, Suffolk, fought off a challenge from Matthew Crampton ( the final to become the new British men's Keirin champion.

Senior road professional David Millar (Saunier Duval) made a fleeting visit to the championships and showed his style by winning the 4,000m men’s individual time trial. Millar may now make the selector's checklist when British Cycling personnel are discussing track medal prospects.

O'Loughlin re-ups with Navigators Insurance

David O'Loughlin has re-signed with the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team for 2007. O'Loughlin, who is the reigning Irish National Time Trial and Criterium Champion has also recently shown promise on the track, where broke the ten year old Irish 4 km pursuit record. Navigator's director Ed Beamon says "for sure, O'Loughlin will set his sights on the Olympic Games in Bejing. His time-trial skills have continued to improve, and he could potentially have the opportunity to ride the pursuit [for Ireland]."

Belgian federation views 2008 worlds course

The organizers of the 2008 World Championships in Varese, Italy, held the first site-visit from a national cycling federation to the city and the race routes. The Belgian cycling federation, Royale Ligue Vélocipédique Belge, spent some time in Varese to view both the hotels of the city and the race routes.

In technical director Jos Smets’ opinion, "The race routes are quite tough. That will be an exciting challenge. The road race is tough, featuring two steep climbs. I guess this route will be selective. A rider with Paolo Bettini’s qualities may emerge. Italy and Belgium will go head-to-head. I expect the riders will battle it out in the time trials too, especially in the women and U23 races, the favourites will be riders with climber’s qualities."

Hunter teaches kids in hometown

South Africa’s Tour de France star Robert Hunter recently took some time out to introduce West Rand school children to cycling as part of the Kidz on Bikes project. Kidz on Bikes is an initiative that promotes cycling in schools in South Africa. The program teaches children basic cycling skills and bicycle safety.

Hunter visited Kenmare Primary school in his hometown of Krugersdorp. After a hero's welcome, Hunter shared some wisdom on the sport and rode with the excited kids. Hunter said, "Discipline, respect and commitment are three aspects positively influenced by the program."

Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Tuesday's day three of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour saw another escape stay clear, resulting in a stage win for NSW's Trent Wilson while the GC stayed in the hands of Tasmanian Menzies. CyclingNews reporter John Trevorrow caught up with the key riders at the finish line.

Robbie Mcewen (Australian National Team)
Q: What does this win mean for the team?
A: It's great. When you come into a tour, first you aim is for a stage win and then the overall, and so far in this race we've played our cards just right. We had Trent Lowe in the move yesterday with Gerro and Henk. That gave us a good lead in the teams' class and gave our put our two GC guys up there. And we've put someone up there today and he's won the stage so it's gone perfect so far. I said after the first day that this is the best I've seen Willo (Trent Wilson) ride. He worked all race in the first crit, he was the big mover in the chase, and I said to him "I've never seen you ride better and I reckon you can win one this week," and there you go, stage three and he's got one. I felt better today. It was pretty easy back in the bunch. I seem to be getting better each day, so maybe by the last day I may be ready to do something.

Simon Gerrans (Australian National Team)
The day panned out alright for you?
The day panned out perfectly for us. We said this morning that it would be perfect to let a break go that didn't have any serious GC dangers in it and with one of our guys in it. That's exactly what happened. The HealthNet guys just sat on the front and set a good pace and we had a trouble free day. Henk Vogels (Australian National Team) Big Karl is stompin'. He is definitely up. He will do a big ride in the time trial and he can climb alright. I reckon 500 to 600 meter climbs are his limit, 1400 may be a bit much for him. He would need to get another minute to win the tour.

Matthew Lloyd (
A tough day out there?
A: Yeah it really was. I'm shattered actually. I really want to win one day this week and after crashing in the crit, it's disappointed my whole ambition for the tour. But to come second to someone like Trent who has shown me the way initially when I started out, well I can't complain. Sprinting, well it's interesting. Potentially, the hips still a bit sore but today it started to come OK and a bit of a rest tomorrow and come Thursday I'll give it a crack I suppose.

Karl Menzies (Health Net Presented By Maxxis)
Q: How was it today in Yellow?
Pretty good actually. I didn't have to do anything, the guys did a great job, the whole team got on the front and they just kept everything in check and made sure that it didn't blow out. It was perfect and there's not much else you can do. Once you're in yellow that's the race you've got to ride. I didn't have to touch the wind all day so it was actually a bit of a recovery day. Save it all up for Lake Mountain on Thursday.


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