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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for September 7, 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 Hedwig Kröner

Vuelta stage 11 wrap-up

Martinez wanted it - and got it!

Egoi Martinez (Discovery)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel) was one of the first to attack the bunch from kilometre zero on today's stage 11 of La Vuelta, taking the riders from Torrelavega to Burgos. And he was also the first to reach the finish line, even though his attempt had not looked like it would be successful for most of the race. After many kilometres of solo riding and continuous efforts, Martinez reached Burgos on his own, beating Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Volodymir Gustov (Team CSC) by getting rid of them just at the right time, with 10 kilometres to go.

The sprint for fourth place was won by Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) out of the day's main breakaway, initiated by the tall Norwegian at km 27. The group of 13 riders first included Martinez, but then the Spaniard took off in the stage's second climb, the Puerto del Escudo, with more than 100 kilometres yet to race. Later, Landaluze and Gustov joined him for the final - and flat - 50 kilometres, but Martinez proved to be the strongest and most determined today and outsmarted them all.

The peloton including race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) got in 15 minutes later, with none of today's protagonists being a threat to the maillot oro.

Full results, report & photos, Live report

Valverde: "Rain will increase pressure"

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The announced rainy weather on the Vuelta a España stages on Thursday and Friday, as well as the rain also felt during the last kilometres of today's stage 11, does not seem to preoccupy the current GC leader, Alejandro Valverde, "because my teammates are reacting perfectly." Nevertheless, the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider recognized that, "rain could complicate the race, on top of the increasing pressure." As a result, Valverde said in Burgos today, "we have to pay more attention, because some dangerous rival could be included in a breakaway."

The 33 kilometres against the clock in Cuenca will be "distinctive facing the last very hard week of competition," the Spaniard continued, but he remained optimistic about the crucial stage to maintain the maillot oro: "The climb located in the first section of the stage is very good for me; the route profile adapts to my characteristics."

Bettini: "World's don't suit Boonen"

The current World Champion's teammate Paolo Bettini doesn't think that Tom Boonen will be one of the candidates for victory in Salzburg, Austria, on Sunday, September 24. "The parcours in Salzburg is too demanding for Tom," the Olympic champion told Het Laatste Nieuws. "Even if he has won the Tour of Flanders twice, first we have to see how his form is. I fear foremost the Kazakhs, Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrej Kashechkin."

The Belgian, meanwhile, has a different point of view. "I don't agree with him," he countered. "Of course I'd like to defend my world champion title. Time flies when wearing the rainbow jersey..."

Astarloa to Milram

Italian team Milram has announced the signing of former world champion Igor Astarloa, currently riding for Barloworld, as well as classics specialist Marcel Sieberg from continental team Team Wiesenhof-Akud. The squad directed by Gianluigi Stanga will have 11 German, 11 Italian, and six riders from other nations in its roster next year.

Further additions to the team will be: Brett Lancaster, Niki Terpstra and U23 talent Sebastian Schwager. "Until now, we were a pure sprinter's team," said Erik Zabel, who welcomed the new signings. "Now, we will be more versatile. Every one of the five new riders will be valuable - on a sporting but also on a personal level."

Leaving team Milram after this season will be: Daniel Becke, Maarten den Bakker, Simone Cadamuro, Giovanni Visconti, Michele Gobbi, Alessandro Vanotti and Maxim Iglinsky. Astarloa has reportedly been contracted for two years.

Bahati injured in hit-and-run

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

TIAA-CREF had the biggest representation at the USPRO road nationals with fourteen starters - but they were supposed to have fifteen. Rahsaan Bahati was unable to make the trip to Greenville when he was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run near his home in Los Angeles.

"This woman tried to race me to the corner," Bahati told Cyclingnews. "It's just a two-lane highway ending at PCH, and I'm in the right hand lane where you can only go right and she's in the left hand lane where you can only turn left. But she turns right and I t-boned her right over the hood. Once I got to my feet she looked at me and she just took off!"

The woman was appropriately driving a Chevy Suburban. A witness did get a partial plate number and police are searching for the driver. Bahati meanwhile suffered three broken ribs, a separated shoulder and a concussion. "I had some bad headaches and I had to go back to the hospital to get a cat scan." Luckily the scan came back normal and Bahati is recovering at his home.

But like all bike racers, sitting at home is not an easy task. "I actually rode my bike on Monday and it was bad idea because I have to go over a hill to get out my house, and with broken ribs it hurts so much to breathe. I'll take two more weeks and then hopefully start training for track nationals."

Bahati has had a month of bad luck, crashing while riding in the winning break at the Bank of America Invitational, flatting in the closing laps at USPRO criterium nationals and now this. "My morale was already low and then I get hit by a car! And this is when my form is always good. But I'm not too down on myself though, it's part of bike racing."

Goss motivated for World's

Talented young Australian rider Matthew Goss, who last week signed with Danish team CSC after wearing the leader's jersey in the Tour of Britain, is especially motivated to do well in the World Championships later this month. Goss, who has won the world championship in team pursuit earlier this year, a stage in U26 Giro d'Italia and two stages in the Vuelta Navarra so far in his career, had to drop out of the Tour of Britain but is hopeful that his form will be there in two weeks' time.

"Unfortunately I had to abandon the race due to pains in my knee," he explained. "I'm in pretty good shape at the moment, so to not make the injury worse, I chose to leave the race, even though it was a difficult decision being in the leader's jersey and with a good chance of the overall win," Goss said. "Still, it's more important for me to be in great shape for the world championships, which is my biggest priority this season. I'm not doing the time trial, only the U23 road race."

The 19 year-old, who will be in his second year as a pro in 2007, hopes to improve his skills as a time triallist with the squad directed by Bjarne Riis. "I'm probably best in one day races, when I make the decisive break in a small group," explained Goss, who would later like to do well in races like Het Volk and Milano-Sanremo. "I'm decent in the mountains, but not super, and probably not so strong in stage races. I'm okay in time trials, and I think I can be even better. So far it's mostly been time trials up to 25 kilometres, but I'm sure joining CSC will improve my time trial skills a lot."

In any case, the young Aussie is ambitious. "I hope to be at the top in my sport or on my way there," he responded to the question as to where he saw himself in five years' time. "I don't want to be just another rider; I want to be a rider who wins a lot of races and makes a difference."

Barloworld up North next weekend

Team Barloworld will start their autumn racing programme in Belgium and France on the weekend. On Saturday, September 9, the Continental Pro team will take part in the prestigious Paris-Brussels race in Belgium, and then on Sunday, September 10, will ride the GP de Fourmies in Northern France.

After recovering from his health problems that affected his form during summer, Igor Astarloa hopes to be back to his best as he will be leader of the Barloworld team. He will be joined by Giosuè Bonomi, Diego Caccia, Ryan Cox, Enrico Degano, Alex Efimkin, Mads Christensen and Hugo Sabido. The same team, with Alberto Volpi directeur sportif for both races, will ride the GP de Fourmies the next day.

"We’re going through a difficult moment because several important riders have been affected by health problems, but we’re hopeful of having a successful end of season that could start with these two important classic one-day races," Volpi said.

Italian Revolution revives past masters

Track cycling event Revolution returns on October 14 with a distinct Italian flavour as the Manchester Velodrome will play host to some top road names from recent years. Classics specialist and Italian road star Andrea Tafi makes an early return from retirement to lead the Italian Revolution. With four classics victories under his belt including the 1999 Paris-Roubaix, which he won as the Italian National Champion, Tafi retired from racing last year after a final season with the Saunier Duval team.

He will be joined by former Mapei teammate Franco Ballerini, who was also a Paris-Roubaix winner taking victory in the cobbled classic the year before in 1998. Completing the Italian group will be Silvio Martinello, who is certainly no stranger to track racing having won the Olympic points race gold medal in 1996.

These riders will feature in a special pursuit event as well as riding against British stars such as Rob Hayles, Chris Newton and Tony Gibb in a selection of other endurance events. The Italian theme will continue in the sprint racing as Roberto Chiappa is one of the first names confirmed in what promises to be the most star studded sprint field at any Revolution.

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