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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 1, 2006

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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Edited by Jeff Jones & Anthony Tan, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Vuelta stage 6 wrap-up

Thor prevails at last

A last-minute lunge
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

A powerful surge to move past André Greipel (T-Mobile) in the final 50m of today's stage has given Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) his first stage win in this year's Vuelta. Hushovd, who has placed second three times already, got it right today at the end of the flat 177 km stage into León. Third place went to Erik Zabel (Milram), whose teammate Alessandro Petacchi had his first proper go at a sprint today and finished fourth. The overall standings did not change and Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) remains the leader.

The day was fairly uneventful, as only one rider was able to get away: Mathieu Claude (Bouygues Telecom) attacked after 10 km and built up a 10'55 lead by km 43. He wasn't allowed any more than that, and the sprinters' teams were easily able to control it so that he came back with just over 20 km to go. Olivier Kaisen (Davitamon) and Enrico Franzoi (Lampre) tried their luck a few kilometres later, but it was not to be. Liquigas, Milram and finally Saunier Duval with David Millar led out the sprint, and although Milram looked to have the numbers, they couldn't hold off the charge from Hushovd and Greipel from behind.

Click here for the full results, report & photos and live report from stage 6.

Hushovd: Zabel is the biggest threat

By Shane Stokes in León

Following today's win plus three seconds places amassed earlier this week, Thor Hushovd is a comfortable 33 points clear of Erik Zabel in the best sprinter classification. He nominated the German as his biggest rival for that competition.

"I think Zabel is the main rival for the points jersey, and Ventoso as well," he told Cyclingnews on Thursday evening. "Robbie [McEwen] wasn't planning to finish this race, so his pulling out doesn't change anything as regards the points jersey. He wasn't really in good form, so I wasn't afraid anyway."

Hushovd is hoping for a strong ride at the world championships. At today's post-race press conference, he was asked his opinion on the fact that they are only allowed a very small squad. Surprisingly, he didn't object.

"It is normal that a small country like Norway gets three spots, instead of the big countries like Spain, France, Italy or wherever. If we had to field nine riders we would have to find amateurs in Norway! So with three spots it is okay. What we have to do is to try to profit from the work of the other countries in the worlds, do it that way."

Barry: Danielson has grown as a rider

By Shane Stokes in León

Michael Barry (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Discovery Channel's Michael Barry enjoyed some glory today when he and two of his team-mates were on the podium as the best squad. After collecting a nice trophy for their efforts, Barry gave his thoughts on the team's performance on yesterday's mountain stage and said that GC hope Tom Danielson is stronger mentally and physically than he was last year.

"Overall as a team we had a really good day yesterday," the tall Canadian said. "At the bottom of the last climb there were 60 guys and the whole team was still in the front. Janez [Brajkovic] did surprisingly well. Tom maybe didn't go as well as he might have expected, but it was the first day in the mountains and there is a lot of racing to do yet. He didn't lose that much time, and he can get that back.

"He is definitely more confident in himself than last year. He gained a lot of experience by doing so well in the race last year and being up the front the whole time. Also, I think doing the Giro with Paolo [Savoldelli] this year also helped him out a lot. He has a year more experience, he is a year stronger as well.

"I didn't race much with him in the run up to the Vuelta but he told me he was feeling good in training and he did a good race in the Tour de l'Ain, helping Triki (Manuel Beltrán) out a lot there. He seems confident, a lot more confident coming into the Vuelta this year. So overall he is doing well and I think it is looking good for him as regards a strong performance here."

Beltrán enjoying Tour of Spain

By Shane Stokes in León

Spanish rider Manuel Beltrán is currently lying 7th overall thanks to a strong ride on the first mountain stage of the race. He told Spain's radio Onda Cero after stage six that he was feeling good. "I am fine, like always, with the sparkle that I used to have. I hope that sparkle lasts longer than other times [other Vueltas].

The Discovery Channel rider was asked about his favourites for the final win, and highlighted a rider who is two minutes down as a possible danger man. "Iban Mayo is a combative rider and we should watch for him," he said. "He is able to surprise on Sunday as he can attack at the middle of the stage. I don't discard anyone. I am able to say that the race remains very, very open."

Beltrán will change teams next year, despite being 35 years of age. He has signed for Liquigas and said he is still enjoying the sport. "You know, I have strengths to continue riding. I came from a non-rich family and one of the best things that happened to me was to be a cyclist. It is a pleasure for me being here, surrounded by the cycling friends I have in the peloton."

Vuelta diary watch: A hard day in the mountains

His new and unaccustomed role as captain lay heavy on Bernhard Kohl's slight shoulders, but the 24-year-old T-Mobile rider seems to bear the burden well. "It's been a long time since I was so nervous and tense before a start," he writes. "I think I fulfilled my assignment well. Tenth in the stage and ninth in GC after the first difficult stage are good results for me."

"I stayed with Sastre as long as possible, but 4 km before the finish, it was just a tick too fast for me and I had to find my own rhythm. I was able to hold the time loss within limit." (

Grischa Niermann reports that Rabobank had to accept some unwanted news after the stage. "Today in the first mountain stage of this Vuelta we unfortunately had to realize that Denis Menchov won't repeat his win from last year." Niermann won't give up entirely, though. "We won't stick our heads in the sand, but will try to win a stage or two." (

Needless to say, the mountain stage was not at all to the liking of Gerolsteiner sprinter Robert Förster. On the second climb he found a small group with "...the usual suspects, my homeboys like Bäckstedt and Renshaw." He even found an advantage in riding so far back. "The good thing when you ride alone off the back is that you never have a problem getting something to drink. In the field it's always a big thing until you've made your way through all the autos. You have to look at it positively!"

With 8 km left, he worried about making it to the finish within the time limit. "So I went to work: I rode up as if in a delirium," and made it with minutes to spare. His summary of the day: "If my body is my fortune, then today I am broke!" (

UCI expects more Puerto news

According to a UCI communiqué, the Spanish government has informed the UCI that it will supply more information in connection with the current Operacion Puerto affair. This information will be included in the files that the UCI has on the riders involved and will be sent to the national federations concerned to enable them to take the necessary decisions.

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

Dieppe ready to host Canadian track nationals

A refurbished Vélodrome Caisse populaire Dieppe will host the 2006 Tim Hortons Canadian Track National Championships from September 7-10, which will run under a new format for the first time.

"The last couple of weeks have been a bit stressful, but it's now looking really great. We are ready to welcome the best elite riders in the country," said event organiser Andrew Scott. "Among those riders, we can count on the presence of number one scratch rider in the world, Gina Grain; Commonwealth Games' silver and bronze medallist, Travis Smith, will also be present.

With increasing participation, a decision was recently taken by the Canadian Cycling Association to split the junior, master and Paralympic categories from the elite. Consequently, the Dieppe event will showcase the elite men and women exclusively.

Organised in partnership with the Mike's Bike Shop Cycling Club, events will run from 10am to 4pm each day, with most qualifying sessions in the morning and the major finals later in the afternoon. Spectators are more than welcome to witness the events at a rate of $2 a day, or 5$ for the whole event.

More information:

Irish cycling review & preview

By Tommy Campbell

There is no doubt that the promotion of competitive cycling on the domestic scene in Ireland has not abated since the start of the season and with three Sundays left, it is all go with six scheduled events.

Included in the listing is the Adare Two-day, which will based at the Woodlands Hotel in the village on Saturday and Sunday. The event is reserved for all bar the Senior A's, which will exclude the standard bearers from Co. Mayo, David O'Loughlin (Cong) and Padraig Marrey (Ballinrobe).

For the second weekend in August, O'Loughlin set the bar with another Irish title to his credit, the time trial in Derry, but surely Marrey's exploits in lowering the Mizen Head to Malen Head record by a staggering 49 minutes is mind boggling as it was a solo effort.

"I was finding the going hard, but my back-up team told me that Mayo were in the All Ireland Football Final! A real sense of urgency propelled me to go that little bit faster," said Marrey.

Spare a thought for Paul O'Donoghue, who only three weeks previous, had lowered the previous best by Joe Barr in 1993 with a time of 19hrs 3mins 16secs. The new standard is 17hrs.48mins, beating O'Donoghue's record by 49 minutes.

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