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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for September 4, 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).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Tour of Britain final stage wrap-up

Boonen triumphs in London finale while Pedersen wins overall

If the queen was watching from her balcony at Buckingham Palace on Sunday afternoon she would had seen Tom Boonen win the prestigious last stage in the Tour of Britain and Martin Pedersen (CSC) crowned the overall victor and rightful owner of the yellow jersey. The weather was an almost perfect at 23° Celsius and sunny but the blustery winds were causing havoc with the Italian style aluminium chairs that lined many of the cafes by the river Thames.

"I've recovered well from the crash suffered during the third stage," said the World Champion after the race. "I’m happy for my victory. The program I planned out for the World's is going well." Boonen powered down the finishing straight and took the victory sprint from Roger Hammond (GB) and Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile), who ensured he won the points competition with that effort.

Martin Pedersen (CSC) celebrated the biggest personal triumph of his career, as the young Dane won the overall classification.

"It was absolutely brilliant to be standing on the podium in London as the overall winner," said Pedersen. "I've won my two first victories as a professional in this race, and it's been a very special experience for me. It's been a great week and most of all I would like to thank the team, because they've really worked hard for me the whole time. The third stage was definitely the toughest, but both Andy Schleck and I were up front, so we had things under control. This victory gives me a major confidence boost, and I'll be taking advantage of that for sure."

Team CSC also won the team's competition and Andy Schleck made the podium in London as well, as he took the mountain jersey. Johan Van Summeren (Davitamon-Lotto) was king of the sprints.

A fantastic day for the Tour of Britain saw more spectators line London's streets than ever before. However, an incident early into the twenty-lap circuit took some of the shine off an otherwise superb spectacle.

Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of the Tour of Britain commented, "A collision between a police motorcyclist and a marshal motorcyclist occurred on the route ahead of the competitors. The race marshal motorcyclist collided with the barriers. It's believed that four spectators and the marshal motorcyclist were injured. Two have been discharged already and the other injuries aren't believed to be serious.

"London Ambulance service and St Johns Ambulance were on the scene immediately and the Metropolitan Central traffic garage are dealing with the investigation."

Click here for the full results, report & photos of the last stage of the Tour of Britain.

ProTour Americans pre-ride together in Greenville

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Greenville, SC

George Hincapie (Discovery)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Hometown boy George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) led a group ride from his home outside of town with some of his fellow ProTour riders - Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC) and Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) - showing them the course for Sunday's USPRO road championship. Also on the group rider was new Discovery DS Viatcheslav Ekimov, Steve Johnson (USA Cycling CEO) and Saul Raisin (Credit Agricole) who just last week got back out on the road from injury.

Hincapie said that the ride was just a friendly pre-race ride and that there are not any formal plans to work together tomorrow, but he did acknowledge that tomorrow will be a tough for them. "We are definitely outnumbered but we all want the jersey so much," he said at a pre-race event in downtown Greenville. He also gave his preference for how tomorrow should go. "We haven't had our meeting yet, but hope that there isn't a big breakaway without me in it!"

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Leipheimer said that working together with the other ProTour Americans might be a possibility for when the race makes its selections. "I think it definitely could be a possibility, maybe the middle part of the race," he said. "We kinda cancel each other out here -- it would be silly for us to take each other out of the race."

The sight of Saul Raisin back on the road in his Credit Agricole team kit was a marvelous sight. Saul was present at the pre-race event as well, with many fans cheering him on as he works his way back to racing. "I was a quadriplegic for about a week, and they said I might not get my balance back," he said. "But I was riding the trainer so much, and then the rollers, so I knew I could rider out on the road again at some point."

When asked who he thinks will win the stars and stripes jersey, Raisin replied, "Well, it will be me next year!"

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us

Luis León Sánchez to T- Mobile?

The German squad T-Mobile appears to be among the candidates to take over one of Astana's young hopes, Luis León Sánchez. According to El Faro de Murcia, the Spaniard aspires to ride for the German team as of 2007, although he still has an effective contract with Active Bay until 2008. The Spanish newspaper contacted a T-Mobile official last Wednesday, but he declined to comment on the matter. T-Mobile is in the middle of a deep reconstruction after letting go of Oscar Sevilla, Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden, among other riders, and seems keen to sign an up-and-coming talent to leave behind Operación Puerto.

Luis León Sánchez had several important offers from Discovery Channel, Caisse d'Epargne and T-Mobile. Johan Bruyneel talked to the young Spaniard before the beginning of the Tour de France, and Sánchez seemed willing to change to Discovery Channel, but, at the same time T-Mobile and Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears' offers persisted. However, his contractual commitment until 2008 with Active Bay, present manager and owner of the Astana ProTour team, still holds, and after the company was not sold to Astana, manager Manolo Sáiz is working on getting new sponsorships.

Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón

T-Mobile still plans to sign a big one

The T-Mobile team may have lost its top riders for the Grand Tours with the loss of Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden, but that doesn't mean the squad is now re-structuring with a view only for the Classics. "We're in the middle of some good negotiations," spokesman Luuc Eisenga told German TV. "You can assume that we will still sign a first class rider for the GC."

The team has many young riders already, and some of the newcomers for next season are also quite young: British sprinter Mark Cavendish, whom the team just offered a two-year deal after a successful time as a stagiaire, is 21 and Gerald Ciolek only 19. "Our team is young," conceded Eisenga. "But we are talking with experienced riders, too."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Boonen suggests World's team

World Champion Tom Boonen already has some fellow Belgian colleagues on his mind who could be able to help him defend his title in the upcoming World Championships in Salzburg, Austria. "(Belgian coach) Carlo Bomans can't afford to announce a pre-selection of 25 riders and reduce it afterwards - Belgium doesn't have the luxury to choose from so many riders," Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. "I leave the filling for Bomans to do, but I'm thinking of Gilbert, Vansummeren, Nuyens, Hulsmans, Cretskens, Baguet and Aerts."

However, Boonen was conscious about the fact that he might hurt someone's feelings... "I hope that Hoste will ride the road race, too, and I can make use of a good Devolder as well. I'm just naming a few names here; maybe I forget some of them now," he added.

Van Petegem to Quick.Step

It's official: Davitamon-Lotto's Peter van Petegem will ride for rival team Quick.Step as of next season. Team manager Patrik Lefévčre confirmed the deal on Saturday. "Peter doesn't win a lot of races anymore, but he is a very experienced rider who can be very important to our leader Tom Boonen at races like the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix," Lefévčre said. "Boonen was isolated in the finale of Paris-Roubaix this year - with Van Petegem, this won't happen again."

Quick.Step, who also signed Gert Steegmans to lead out the sprints for the world champion, is looking forward to completing its 2007 roster soon. "There will be more signings," added Lefévčre, who also managed to attract Italians Andrea Tonti (Acqua & Sapone) and Mauro Facci (Barloworld). "To strengthen the squad on the climbs."

Last tour for Phonak

On Monday, the Phonak team will begin competing in the Tour de Pologne, its last big tour. The seven-day race, which will cover a total of 1,221.5 km, will kick off in Pultusk near Warsaw. From there, the course will head in the direction of the Baltic sea, where the longest stage of the Tour will take place on the third day, starting in the port city of Gdansk.

Phonak is hoping for stage wins by Fabrizio Guidi, Robert Hunter or Gregory Rast, especially during the first four stages which will have mostly flat profiles. After that, the race will head into the high mountains, where Alexandre Moos' talents as a climber will be in demand. Phonak's list of starters will be rounded out by young riders Patrick McCarty, David Vitoria and Michael Schär. However, sports director Adriano Baffi will not be able to count on Martin Elmiger, who is suffering from a virus infection and therefore has not travelled to Poland, leaving the team with seven instead of eight riders.

Brandt transferred

Injured cyclist Christophe Brandt (Davitamon-Lotto) has recovered enough to be taken to a different hospital in Belgium, closer to his family and friends. Brandt's injuries are healing well and he will be transferred to Ličge soon, where he will stay in intensive care for a couple of days. Team manager Marc Sergeant, who has visited Brandt in the Jan Palfijn hospital in Merksem, has announced that if all goes well, the rider will be sent home within ten days.

McEwen at Sydney Thousand

Three-times Tour de France sprint champion Robbie McEwen will open his Australian summer season campaign by competing in the Sydney Thousand meeting at the Canterbury Velodrome, Tempe, on Sunday October 29. According to the organiser, this will be McEwen's only appearance on a velodrome in Australia during his annual three-month working holiday.

Meanwhile, the repairs and restoration of the Canterbury City Council's cycling velodrome are progressing well, and the full upgrade of the 20 year-old track will be completed for the running of the 2006 Sydney Thousand. Canterbury Council's Parks and Property Coordinator John Dodd has advised the promoters of the event that all the reconstruction work and the water blasting of the track surface to remove stains for better traction for the world class cyclists will be completed by September 20.

Organiser John Scott said yesterday, "We plan to stage two Australian record attempts on the track on Wednesday, September 20 at 11am to fully test the track and renovations. Steve Wooldridge, four times world champion and Athens gold medallist, will attempt to break Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ben Kersten's 80 kph Australian velodrome record and Sky-Lee Armstrong, former world junior women's champion, will attempt the women's speed record held by Rochelle Gilmore."

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