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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for October 11, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones and Gregor Brown

Falling leaves to finish season in Como

By Gregor Brown

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

The time has flown by and here we are at the end of the season, the last classic of the calendar, Giro di Lombardia. Starting with the Milano-Sanremo in March, also in Italy, the one-day classics have come and gone, leaving us with the romantic special. Lombardia is synonymous with the changing of the seasons and plants changing to a golden hue, hence the nickname 'race of the falling leaves' (or Classica delle foglie morte in Italian).

This year, like Paris-Tours, marks the century edition of the Giro di Lombardia. 99 editions of this autumn classic have been run which have provided the tifosi with epic battles and heroic winners. Riders from Fausto Coppi to Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck to Damiano Cunego have won this classic, climbing over Lombardia's famed Madonna di Ghisallo and etching their names in the annals of this "Monument."

Initially called the Milano-Milano in 1905, it became the Giro di Lombardia in 1907; rapidly rising to "classic" status, especially considering the addition of the Madonna del Ghisallo in the 1920s. Then a dirt road is now paved but the climb is still an epic. Rising 511 meters in 8.6 kilometres; the climb hits percentages of 14% before reaching the Sanctuary at top.

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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The parcours of the 100th Giro di Lombardia, like the last two years, will start in Mendrisio, Switzerland and finish in Como, Italy. Almost all of the 245km are completely in the Lombardia region. From Mendrisio the riders will travel towards Como, going up and around Lake Como, a small section of climbing around Lecco, before heading to the main attraction. The riders will snake their way north towards Bellagio turning left, starting the famed ascent of Madonna del Ghisallo; topping out with 45km to go.

Cyclingnews will be covering the Giro di Lombardia live, with coverage starting at 15:00 CEST (Europe)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Australia East).

Click here for the full preview, map and past winners.

T-Mobile for Piemonte and Lombardy

T-Mobile has announced its teams for this week's Italian double-header. The same eight riders will contest both events in the north part of the country, and fittingly, the team has a strong Italian flavour.

Eddy Mazzoleni and Daniele Nardello will lead the German team in the hilly semi-classic on Thursday and again in the season's final ProTour race on Saturday, the centenary edition of the Giro de Lombardia. As in the past two years, the race will start in Mendrisio, Switzerland, before crossing over the border to Italy after 17km, following a looping course around the twin lakes of Como and Lecco before winding it up in downtown Como.

"Both riders are still in good form at this late in the season and they have prepared well for the season closers," said T-Mobile sporting director Valerio Piva.

Nardello, in particular, knows the region around Lake Como like the back of his hand. "I live in the area and often train in the mountains around here," said the veteran who has previously scored second and fourth place finishes in the 'race of the falling leaves'. "It is an extra motivation to perform well at big races that pass my own backyard," added the Tour de France stage-winner.

The T-Mobile squad is: Eric Baumann, Lorenzo Bernucci, Scott Davis, Kim Kirchen, Eddy Mazzoleni, Daniele Nardello, Michael Rogers, and Thomas Ziegler.

Four Star Liquigas team for Giro del Piemonte

Italian team Liquigas is prepared for the end of the 2006 season and promises of a grand finale. Tomorrow, Thursday October 12, the green team will line up for the 92nd Giro del Piemonte captained by four stars: Enrico Gasparotto, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini and Franco Pellizotti.

Filling out the remaining four spots in the eight-man team will be Roman Kreuziger, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè and Stefano Zanini. The boys will be directed from the team car, driven by Mario Scirea.

Sastre says no to three Grand Tours

Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) will not repeat the feat of 2006, riding and finishing all three grand tours. The Spaniard, like teammate Giovanni Lombardi in 2005, rode the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta a España; a total of nine weeks of racing.

But, according to Spanish paper Marca, the 31 year-old Spaniard will focus on only one grand tour in 2007. "I am thinking of another grand tour but I don't want to race three tours next season."

Commenting on the 2006, Sastre said that the season "was very important, above all on a personal level." Sastre helped teammate Ivan Basso win the Giro d'Italia, then pushed on in the Tour when his captain was kicked out, finishing a high fourth, and capped off the season with another fourth in the Vuelta.

Sastre points to the breaks in between the tours and family time as the way in which he dealt with the three races. "[It was] being able to pass time at home with the family."

Sastre will end his season this weekend in Spain. The rider from Madrid will line up in the Escalada a Montjuic on Sunday.

Mayo won't re-sign with Euskaltel

Saunier Duval likely option

Iban Mayo has officially broken off negotiations with Euskaltel-Euskadi, and could well sign with Saunier Duval-Prodir. The Basque rider told ETB television on Monday that he was not able to reach a satisfactory agreement with Euskaltel. The team confirmed this on its website, stating, "The reason given by the rider not to continue with the team was his disagreement with the internal code of conduct, a document that all Euskaltel-Euskadi riders must sign."

As for his next team, Mayo told ETB, "Saunier Duval has made me a great financial offer. I am thankful and will be talking to them now. It is the team that is interested in me the most, and in addition, my friend Sabino Angoitia is there. That is very important for me. We will see what happens in the following days, but it is the team closest to me."

Joxean 'Matxin' Fernandez, Saunier Duval sports director, was aware of Mayo's declarations, and told El Faro de Murcia. "We think that he is a very charismatic and usable rider. In Saunier Duval, he can find the necessary motivation. But, we have not still negotiated with him."

Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón

Camaño to Saunier Duval-Prodir

While Iban Mayo is still deciding, Iker Camaño (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has definitely signed for Saunier Duval-Prodir for the next two seasons. Camaño rode for Euskaltel for the past three years, and now says he's reached a turning point in his professional career.

"I've defended the Euskaltel-Euskadi colours for three years, and I'm only too happy with the team, which I'll always fondly remember, but I feel it's time to make a change for the better, to start a new phase: sort of now or never. Saunier Duval-Prodir is an ambitious team and has all the aspects I need to reach the goals I've set for myself. Moreover, its sponsors are enthusiastic and supportive, and I know the sports directors Joxean 'Matxin' Fernández and Sabino Angoitia very well. It took me some time to make the decision and leave Euskaltel-Euskadi, but I needed only a few minutes to say yes to Saunier Duval-Prodir."

Rabobank adds Moerenhout and Gesink

Koos Moerenhout will return to the Rabobank Cycling Team next season, and will sign a one year contract with the Dutch squad. Moerenhout turned pro with Rabobank in 1996 and rode for four years with them before switching to Farm Frites in 2000, which eventually became Davitamon-Lotto in 2005. In 2006, he rode for Phonak. He is the third former Rabobank rider to rejoin the team for next season after Leon van Bon and Max van Heeswijk.

Rabobank also announced that 20 year-old Robert Gesink (Rabobank Continental) will be making the step up to the ProTeam in 2007. Gesink already signed a two year deal with Rabobank Continental in June, but team manager Theo de Rooij decided that he was good enough to move up. "Robert is an extraordinary talent," said De Rooij. "We have to be very careful with him. A Dutch climber, who can be as fast as the best: we have to cherish him. His development is going so fast, time has come for him to steadily learn the trade."

In 2002 and 2004 Gesink was Dutch national junior champion in the individual time trial. At the junior World Championships of Verona 2004 he finished eighth in the individual time trial and sixth in the road race. This season, Gesink won the general classifications of both Settimana Ciclista Lombarda and Circuito Montañes. In the Tour de l'Avenir he came second.

With Moerenhout and Gesink, the Rabobank ProTeam now numbers 27 riders: Leon van Bon, Michael Boogerd, Jan Boven, Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Rick Flens, Robert Gesink, Bram de Groot, Max van Heeswijk, Sebastian Langeveld, Gerben Löwik, Marc de Maar, Koos Moerenhout, Joost Posthuma, Kai Reus, Thorwald Veneberg and Pieter Weening (all Ned), Graeme Brown, Mathew Hayman and William Walker (all Aus), Juan Antonio Flecha, Oscar Freire and Pedro Horrillo (all Spa), Mauricio Ardila (Col), Denis Menchov (Rus), Grischa Niermann (Ger) and Michael Rasmussen (Den).

Phinneys ride for Parkinson's Disease Research

Davis Phinney and his wife Connie Carpenter Phinney will lead the Sunflower Revolution III ride on October 13-15 to support Parkinson's disease research. The third edition of the event raises funds for the Davis Phinney Foundation, which supports Parkinson's disease research at The Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cincinnati/University Hospital and Stanford University. The previous two editions raised $240,000 each.

Sunflower Revolution III includes a dinner gala and auction on Friday, October 13, at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza. The auction includes a limited edition, size large, 7-Eleven team jersey manufactured by Descente to commemorate the 20-year reunion of the 1986 cycling team in Palo Alto in June 2006. The 7-Eleven Cycling Team was the first U.S. cycling team to ride in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. The jersey is signed by Davis Phinney, Chris Carmichael, Eric Heiden, Doug Shapiro, Tom Schuler, Ron Kiefel, and Jeff Pierce.

A free educational Symposium & Expo for physicians, patients, and caregivers, a project of the Mayfield Clinic and The Neuroscience Institute, will be held from 8:00am until 1:00pm on Saturday, October 14, at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza.

Reservations for the ride or symposium can be made online at

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