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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for September 11, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer

Cancellara, Boogerd, Dessel out of Vuelta

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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After stage 15 to Almussafes, three riders are already known to drop out of La Vuelta prior to its last week of racing. Team CSC's Fabian Cancellara, Rabobank's Michael Boogerd and AG2R's Cyril Dessel will not take the start of the next stage following the rest day on Monday, as the riders are focusing on the World Championships instead.

"Long before the race started, we talked about me not going all the way to Madrid, as it's better for me to train on a time trial bike ahead of the World Championships," explained Cancellara. "Still it was a difficult decision to make. First of all there's been a great atmosphere among us down here, secondly all that hard work up front has been good for my form and last but not least I really wanted to help Carlos [Sastre] as much as I possibly could. The problem is that now there are so many mountains and I wouldn't be much help anyway."

Sports director Kim Andersen and the rest of the team supported Cancellara in his decision. "Fabian has worked really hard, but like he says the terrain over the next few days is probably not his thing, so it's the best solution."

Rabo rider Boogerd also left the race, staying on the Valencian coast instead of taking the plane down to Almeria with his teammates. "I could test myself here," said Boogerd, who will stay in Spain for a few more days to train, and to completely cure his bronchitis. "I don't feel super yet, but I confirmed to myself that the form is already good. I hope I will get better soon with these temperatures."

Frenchman Dessel, who wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France earlier this year, had already planned to return to his country on the rest day to further prepare for the World's, too, and is taking a plane from Almeria today.

Sprinting to a win

The wind up:
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

What's it like to take a sprint victory in the Vuelta a España? German Robert Förster knows, as he was victorious in Sunday's bunch sprint in Almussafes - saving Gerolsteiner's race appearance in Spain - and described how it went down: With eight kilometres to go, his teammates Heinrich Haussler and René Haselbacher took him onto their wheels, leading him and keeping him out of the wind. "With 2 km to go, Haussler fell back and Hasi wanted to go to the front, but I kept calling him: 'Not yet, Hasi! Take it easy, it's too early, it's too early,'" Förster wrote in his daily Vuelta diary on Radsportnews.com.

"At 1200 meters he couldn't wait any longer and I stopped to hold him back. Okay, let's go for it, I thought. He brought me into position behind Napolitano. A good wheel to be on: Napolitano and one of his helpers and Petacchi in front of me. Milram comes with four men. At 700 meters I had the feeling we were slowing down and I was worried that riders would come left and right and pass us. But that kind of feeling can be misleading.

"Napolitano waited and waited," he continued. "Suddenly Petacchi makes a scene, pushes Napolitano, although there was lots of space. 'What are they doing there?' I thought. I look forward again - hey, the race is almost over... Finally Napolitano goes for it, and I pass him. 25 meters and I'm in front. 10 meters, 5 meters, I'm still in front. 'No one else is going to come round now,' I think, and raise my arms. It all went through my head like a movie."

Schumacher's double victory

Stefan Schumacher had a brilliant weekend: The Gerolsteiner rider, recently victorious in the Eneco Tour of Benelux, won the last two stages of the Tour of Poland and thereby the overall title as well. "I'm just happy, it's a great feeling," he said.

The German team was over the moon with the victory on Sunday, as just two hours before, Robert Förster scored in Spain. "It couldn't have gone better," commented directeur sportif Christian Wegmann. Together with teammate Robert Förster's stage win in the Vuelta, the wins bring Gerolsteiner's total for the year up to 36 victories.

Schumacher attacked in the race finale at an uphill finish, crossing the finish line two seconds ahead of his nearest chasers, Liquigas' Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans (Davitamon). "It's a great feeling when you realize in the last 300 meters that you are going to win," he said. The 25 year-old moved up to seventh on the ProTour rankings, as he also won the Eneco Tour in August . "Stefan is about to become a really great rider," Wegmann added.

ProTour: Valverde still number one; Evans, Schumacher big movers

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears) has retained his ProTour number one ranking after the latest points were awarded at the conclusion of the Tour of Poland. Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) moved from sixth to second and Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital) moved from seventh to third after their strong showing in Poland.

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) was the biggest mover from outside the top ten. He moved from 25th to seventh after his overall win in the Tour of Poland. Evans and Ballan respective second and third places overall was enough to displace Franck Schleck and Tom Boonen from third and fourth spots.

Valverde's ProTour lead is set to increase when points are calculated after the Vuelta Espana, which he is currently leading. The overall win in the Vuelta is worth 85 points and his stage 6 win will add eight points to his tally.

Team CSC retained the lead over Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears in the teams ranking, although CSC's 11-point lead could be easily eclipsed by Caisse D'Epargne's Valverde when the Vuelta points are tallied. Similarly, Italy's lead in the nation's ranking could change after the Vuelta, with Spanish riders lying first and third overall.

ProTour rankings as at 10 September, 2006

Individuals

1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Esp) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears     200 pts
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                    162
3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                              155
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic                             154
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                         150
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                            138
7 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 133
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance                              118
9 George Hincapie (Usa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team             117
10 Levi Leipheimer (Usa) Gerolsteiner                                  114

Teams

1 Team CSC                                                             317 pts
2 Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                                       306
3 Rabobank                                                             299
4 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                                   275
5 Phonak Hearing Systems                                               267
6 Lampre-Fondital                                                      266
7 T-Mobile Team                                                        263
8 Gerolsteiner                                                         237
9 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                               237
10 Astana-Würth Team                                                   234

Countries

1 Italy                                                                594 pts
2 Spain                                                                546
3 Germany                                                              473
4 Belgium                                                              289
5 Australia                                                            281
6 United States of America                                             274
7 Netherlands                                                          239
8 France                                                               231
9 Russian Federation                                                   208
10 Switzerland                                                         171

Full rankings: Individuals, teams, nations.

Rich ends career

German Michael Rich has ended his career at the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt race on Sunday. "If everything goes as planned, this will be my last race today," he said prior to the start. The Gerolsteiner rider, who was national time trial champion five times throughout his nine-year career as a pro, can also look back on three silver and one bronze medals at the World Championships. The 36 year-old also became Olympic champion in Barcelona in 1992 in the 100 km team time trial, and won the Bayern-Rundfahrt three times.

Quick Step to next races

Belgian team Quick Step has announced its rosters for the next races in its native North European country. Tom Boonen will be the team's leader at the Desselgem one-day race on Tuesday, September 12, joined by Francesco Chicchi, Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Servais Knaven, Filippo Pozzato, Hubert Schwab, Cedric Vasseur, Wouter Weylandt, Remmert Wielinga and Maxim Vantomme (stagiaire).

At the GP Wallonnie (UCI Cat. 1.1) on the following day, Quick Step will participate with the following team: Serge Baguet, Tom Boonen, Juan Manuel Garate, Nick Nuyens, Filippo Pozzato, Hubert Schwab, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van De Walle, Geert Verheyen and Remmert Wielinga.

22nd Annual Greenville Cycling Classic

World-class bicycle racing will return to Greenville, South Carolina, on October 14 and 15 for the 22nd annual St. Francis Hospital Greenville Cycling Classic presented by Hincapie Sportswear. Hundreds of the country’s fastest professional and amateur cyclists will compete for the winner’s share of the $20,000 weekend purse of criterium racing. St. Francis Hospital and Hincapie Sportswear have returned as valuable sponsors of the event.

This year’s format will include a special $2000 purse for every different race on Saturday. "I wanted to do something extraordinary this year to really push the excitement to a new level," commented Rich Hincapie, longtime Greenville Cycling Classic race director. "By offering each category of racer an unprecedented $2000 purse, we should bring the best racers in the southeast to downtown Greenville."

Last year’s professional event saw four-time US Olympian and US national road race champion, George Hincapie and TIAA-CREF’s U23 national criterium and road racing champion, Craig Lewis battle it out in downtown Greenville. "We just hosted the US professional national road race championship and many of those riders will return for the races in October," added Hincapie.

The one-mile course will wind its way around the historic West End of Greenville, finishing near the Liberty Bridge at Falls Park. Races start at 9:00am on Saturday, October 14, with the day concluding in a 50-lap professional race at 6:00pm. The start and finish of all races will be located on Main Street between Camperdown Street and Augusta Street in downtown Greenville.

For more information, please visit www.hincapiesports.com.

"Best man" Korff

There are all kinds of reasons to drop out of a race: injury, illness, exhaustion, even using the race only as training... or because you have to go to your best friend's wedding.

T-Mobile's Andre Korff did not start the fifth stage of the Vuelta a España last week due to "stomach problems", the team said. But German Bild magazine reported on Monday that the rider actually dropped out with the team's permission, so that he could serve as best man at the church wedding of his best friend Jan Ullrich. Ullrich and Sara Steinhauser were married in the St. Nikolaus Church in Lech am Arlberg, Austria, on Saturday.

Braveheart Fundraising ride

Some of the stars of world cycling will be pedaling along the roads of Ayrshire, Scotland, on Saturday, October 28, as part of a fundraising ride for the Braveheart Cycling fund. Sean Kelly, the Irishman who was world number one for much of the 1980s, and Scotland’s Olympic champion Chris Hoy will lead the rides, over distances of 23 or 43 miles. They will be joined by Graeme Obree - the subject of a recently premiered feature film - as well as Allan Peiper, Ross Edgar, James McCallum and Kate Cullen.

Anyone can register to join in these rides, where the emphasis is on participation and fun rather than fitness and speed. Kelly, Hoy and Obree will not be at the front, leading the charge, but have instead promised to move around the groups of cyclists, sharing their experiences and passing on tips to all participants. Last year, the ride counted 400 participants, and organisers are hoping to break the 500 barrier in 2006.

For more information got to www.braveheartfund.com.

Pedal Queens host Bike-a-GoGo

On Saturday, November 11, 2006, women in the Southwest of the US will have a chance to see what bike companies have to offer those of the female persuasion. The Pedal Queens, a women’s cycling club in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be hosting Bike-a-GoGo - a Women’s Bicycle Demo Day and Expo, at the Santa Fe Community College. The club is inviting manufacturers of women-specific products, local retailers and other women-oriented businesses in the bicycle industry to attend. Major bike companies such as Specialized, Cannondale, and Trek have already signed on to showcase their products in the event, which will feature both road and mountain bike products, as well as nutritional goods and apparel.

Keeping with the fun-loving spirit of the Pedal Queens, there will also be contests, prizes, and an after-party for the ladies attending. The club, which currently includes 112 members ranging from complete beginners to professional racers, hopes to draw women from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas for the event.

For more information about the event, please contact jennifer@pedalqueens.com.

Cyclingnews online editing positions - applications have closed

Following on from the brief announcement in the News last week about openings for online production editors, Cyclingnews would like to thank everyone who applied for these positions.

The response has been overwhelming and we will attempt to contact all applicants this week. The standard has been very high and it's going to be a very challenging process to sort through the applications.

Please be patient as we attend to this over the next week, and thanks again to all who applied and expressed their desire to work for Cyclingnews.

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