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Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 20, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan

Rogers hoping to be on song

Less than 24 hours from his title defence, defending champion Michael Rogers understands it all must come together for him on the day if he's to pull off what would be a historic fourth consecutive time trial world title.

"The world's is a very different kind of race from any other time trial," Rogers told AFP. "You can get guys who aren't in form two weeks before it making the podium, and guys who two weeks ago were in great shape just falling out of contention."

"I've been doing the time trial for years and it's still really hard. I've gone over the course about 15 times," he said of the 50.83 kilometre-long parcours. "This kind of course is tough, but to be honest I wouldn't mind it being a bit tougher, more hilly.

"In saying that, the first third of the course is going to be quite hard. And from what I can gather the weather might be a factor on Thursday, especially the wind conditions. But my plan is to go out as fast as I can from the start. You've got to go out there fast and at the end just try to hold on."

Lang dreaming of bronze

"My dream is a bronze medal," says Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang, one of Germany's hopes for a medal in the time trial at the world road championships. "Rogers, Cancellara, Millar, Lang and Klöden - those are my favourites for the podium."

Lang rode the Tour de France for the third time this year, with excellent results in the time trials, finishing fourth, third and fifth, though Lang said "time trials in a stage race and as a world championship race are two different things".

This summer, Lang did his first altitude training in his career - and it worked. In his next race, the 3-Länder Tour, he used a win in the time trial to propel himself to the overall win. There, he beat Andreas Klöden in the time trial, but doesn't expect that to happen again this week.

"I think Andreas will be much stronger in Salzburg than he was in the time trial in Griesheim," Lang told German press agency dpa, "especially the race profile with three climbs is good for him."

Lang and Klöden will both be riding only the time trial in Salzburg. "Our federation tried to convince me [to ride the road race as well], although at first, I was only nominated for the time trial. The UCI should consider shortening the road race - then there would probably be more big names at the start."

Pound singles out cycling and football

"The athletes and the federations are on our side and that's essential. If I take out cycling and some elements within [world football's ruling body] FIFA, all is well," World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound said in an interview with L'Equipe on Tuesday.

"Our enemies are clearly identified," added Pound, who recalled a visit to UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, this spring to meet with president Pat McQuaid's predecessor, Hein Verbruggen: "[I] was told that [anti-doping] controls were too expensive... it still makes me smile.

"[The] UCI were even thinking about reducing the number of tests. A few weeks later, the Puerto case broke out."

However, somewhat ironically, Pound appeared largely satisfied with the UCI's compliance with WADA: "They have changed their rules and now comply with the [WADA anti-doping] code, barring a few details," he said.

Lissavetzky calls for swift action

The Spanish Secretary of State for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, has asked his national cycling federation to deal immediately with cases pending in Operaciòn Puerto.

"I told them that it is not good to keep the [Spanish] cyclists implicated in legal limbo," said Lissavetzky in an article published in Tuesday's edition of As. "The cases have to be dealt with so they are either sanctioned or cleared."

To date, 58 cyclists have been named in the investigation that began on May 23 this year; and so far, only the names of Alberto Contador and Sergio Paulinho have been cleared.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operation 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 Operation Puerto

Schumacher captain for world's; extends contract

Stefan Schumacher has extend his contract with Team Gerolsteiner through till 2009, the team has announced. "Stefan has had a fantastic season," team manager Hans-Michael Holczer noted.

"Nine wins, including two ProTour stage races, two Giro stages and wearing the Giro's leader jersey for two days - and we still don't know everything he's capable of. We're only sure that Gerolsteiner and German cycling will be happy with him for a long time."

Said Schumacher: "It is naturally an honour when an existing contract is extended with such a class team. I have had a lot of success and also a lot of fun with Gerolsteiner. I can develop myself here - but this special hand for young riders has long been a part of the team. I look forward to my next years with the team."

In fact, the 25 year-old has done so well this year, he has been named one of the captains of the team for the world championship road race this Sunday.

Full-on for neo-pro Rabon

Frantisek Rabon's first pro year, with T-Mobile was supposed to be a learning year, a chance to slowly gain experience and get to know the ProTour circus by riding smaller stage races and one day races. But, as so often happens, it didn't work out that way.

Rabon, a 23 year-old Czech, got a last minute call to replace ailing team-mate Bram Schmitz in the Giro d'Italia, where he was also the very first rider to start the opening stage time trial.

"I was absolutely nervous. All cameras were pointed at me - unbelievable," he said. He had one advantage, though - roommate Serguei Gonchar helped the youngster cope with the pressures of his first Grand Tour. Against expectations, Rabon finished the Giro, ending up 147th out of 150, over four hours down on winner Ivan Basso.

The Giro experience was then followed by a full schedule of racing: GP Triberg, GP Kanton Argau, the Eindhoven team time trial, the Tour of Austria, Rund um die Hainleite, the Sparkassen-Giro Bochum, the GP Ouest-France and the Tour of Poland.

But his season is still not finished, as he has two more races to ride: the time trial and the road race in Salzburg.

"Of course, the competition in Austria will be fierce," said Rabon, who had ridden the world's twice as a junior and once as an under-23 rider. "Riders like Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini or Alexandre Vinokourov are the favourites for the road race. For me, it's about gathering experience.

"I will give it my best in the time trial," said Rabon, who picks team-mate Michael Rogers as the favourite. "He's a fantastic rider and a great guy to boot. I'd like him to win yet again. Though, of course, you shouldn't count me out as a serious contender either!" he joked.

T-Mobile women looking well for world's

The T-Mobile Women's Team believes its riders stand a pretty good chances to win a medal in the women's world championship road race. After all, six of their riders will be on the startline: Judith Arndt and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg for Germany, Amy Moore for Canada, Kim Anderson and Kimberly Baldwin for the US, and Magali Le Floch for France. Arndt is also riding the time trial.

This is Arndt's 11th world championship participation, but she only has modest goals this year: "I want to do a good job, not matter what my assignment is," she said.

She won't name a favourite for the race, saying, "It's hard to say who the favourites are. I think our chances aren't so bad." Teammate Teutenberg considers Arndt one of the favourites, along with Trixie Worrack, Nicole Cooke, Nicole Brandli and Suzanne Ljungskog. Teutenberg, however, sees her own chances as relatively slight. "The course is a little too difficult for a rider like me," she said.

Records tumble at Canterbury Velodrome re-opening

By Greg Johnson

French, McCulloch and Wooldridge
Photo ©: Greg Johnson
(Click for larger image)

Three new records have been set at the re-opening of Canterbury Velodrome in Sydney today to promote the venue's upcoming Sydney Thousand race. Kaarle McCulloch toppled Rochelle Gilmore's top velodrome speed of 74kph setting a new benchmark of 75kph.

Former Junior World Champion Mark French also claimed a record by shaving 0.16sec of Martin Vinnicombe's 22-year-old lap record at the venue - setting a new time of 18.62sec. French's effort secured the Victorian a $500 contract and guaranteed start in the upcoming Sydney Thousand to be held at the velodrome.

Olympic gold medalist Steve Wooldridge was unable to conquer Ben Kersten's highest recorded speed, set on an indoor, with Wooldridge hampered by the gusty conditions. Wooldridge did however manage to set a new outdoor record at 84kph.

$40,000 later
Photo ©: Greg Johnson
(Click for larger image)

"The track has been transformed over the past two months with considerable help from Canterbury Council," explained co-organiser John Scott. "Outdoor competition still has a lot to offer," added event manager Phil Bates. "I've seen huge crowds here in the past. The beauty is you have a railway line just 100 meters away."

The facility's $40,000 makeover, carried out specifically for the Sydney Thousand, includes cleaning and smoothing of the existing surface, new grandstand seats, safety rails and repair of a collapsed pier underneath the track's eastern end.

"Compared to other outdoor circuits I've competed on it's world class," noted French. The Sydney Thousand, which will be held on Sunday, October 29, is one of Australia's most historic cycling competitions. The event's first running attracted a crowd of 54,000 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1903.

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Greg Johnson/

O'Neills welcome new child

Health Net/Maxxis rider Nathan O'Neill had a good reason to politely decline an invitation to contest the world time trial championship for Australia this weekend.

O'Neill and his wife Karen became first-time parents when they welcomed 10lb 1oz Lydia Elaine O'Neill into the world last Sunday at 9:44 p.m. ET, at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I thought I was prepared for the moment for when she was born, but in truth, I wasn't," said the reigning Commonwealth Games time trial champion, who also holds a record seven national titles to his credit. "There's just no way for anyone to prepare you for that moment and for how it feels. It was just the most incredible thing I have ever experienced."

The team says both Karen and baby Lydia are doing well.

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