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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for September 25, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

If Zabel had won...

Zabel contemplates
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The World's road race on Sunday was very nearly one of Erik Zabel's last races as a pro. Had he won the race, he would have upheld his promise to his wife and 12 year-old son, and retired at the end of the season.

"I had the dream of becoming World Champion, and promised my son: If I get the title, then it's your turn. I will have more time for you. I couldn't have imagined to keep on riding. But now I will fulfil my contract through 2008," the German press agency dpa reports him as saying.

"Maybe I did too much in the last few kilometres in order to get to the front. I had to go for all or nothing," he said, adding, "It is brutal when when you see the finish line 50 meters ahead of you, see that you are leading and then you lose anyway." He isn't letting it get him down, though. "But runner-up World Champion isn't bad." Zabel also finished second in 2004 and third in 2002.

Boonen ran out of legs

Tom Boonen (BEL)
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
(Click for larger image)

Tom Boonen's ninth place in the world championships yesterday caused the outgoing title holder some disappointment at the finish, as he did want to keep hold of the precious rainbow jersey. Boonen rode a smart race, but cursed himself for not drinking enough at the end. "I think I made an error in not drinking quite enough through that lap," he told Sportwereld. "It was warmer than expected. I had reckoned that I needed a bidon every lap. I drank twice from it and through it away. That was not sensible of me."

Boonen, like most of the rest of the field, saw the world title ride away with 500 metres to go when Bettini, Zabel, Valverde and Sanchez gapped everyone. But even in the sprint for fifth, he was not up there. "At the end I didn't have the legs to succeed myself," he said. "When I realised that it wouldn't be me, then better Paolo than someone else. It stays in the team...Paolo is a nice world champion." Quick.Step will now have the benefit of the world champion in its ranks for a second year in a row.

Boonen praised his teammates on the Belgian squad, even if he did not have anyone to lead him out in the finale. "Yes, maybe [it would have helped], then maybe I could have been with the four that suddenly surprised the pack. Of course it makes it easier to handle the last 25 efforts that you've made. Still, I think that the team worked perfectly for me; you can only speak of a perfect tactic if you have the world champion in your camp.

"This is not a disappointed man," added Boonen. "I think that I rode quite a good World's. The most important thing was that my own result had nothing to do with condition. Actually, the whole championship unfolded until the last seven hundred metres just as I wanted. We tried to keep the pack together. I was good enough to become world champion, but the circumstances dictated otherwise."

Kohl's race "didn't go according to plan"

Austrian Bernhard Kohl had hoped to shine at the world championships in his homeland, but "unfortunately it didn't go according to plan. I had to leave the race, totally exhausted, after seven laps," he said on his website, The Austrian team didn't have a rider in the main escape group. "We waited a long time and discussed whether we should lead the peloton to go after them. When they got a 14 minute advantage, we had to. The advantage would have been too large otherwise. Together with Paco Wrolich I went to the front. The Swiss helped us, but we had to do most of the work. I rode at full speed for a long time, until I just couldn't any more," he says. "I fell back and saw that I couldn't even keep up with the field any more. My strength was at an end, and I dropped out.

"Despite everything, we can be satisfied with our performance, even without a medal. We cut down the advantage to four minutes and did the ground work that allowed the peloton to eventually catch them," he noted. "That gave our sprinters the chance for a podium spot. It's too bad that it didn't work out that way, but the others were simply too strong."

Sieberg satisfied with the World's race

Weisenhof-Akud's Marcel Sieberg did his best to help future teammate Erik Zabel win the world championship, but he ended up watching the unsatisfactory end of the race on the TV in the team bus. He stepped out of the race with two laps to go. "After 200 km, my battery was simply empty," he told "My legs just didn't want to do it anymore." He was satisfied with his day, though. "I am not at all disappointed. The whole team worked well and did everything they could to bring Erik Zabel to the front." Sieberg was the only non-Pro Tour rider on the German squad. He will ride for Team Milram next year.

For the first part of the race, the German tactics were to see that "every time one of us is in the leading group." That worked out well, with Stephan Schreck in an escape group that led for a long time. Sieberg himself made one big appearance, as he attacked on the Gschaiderberg climb, but was quickly caught. "That wasn't a real escape attempt, but tactics," he admitted.

Hesjedal DNF for Canada

Ryder Hesjedal (Victoria, BC) was the sole entrant for Canada in the elite men's road race, but he did not finish the 265.8 km event. "I was doing okay, I felt pretty good," commented Hesjedal about his race. "The conditions have been good, I tried to stay quiet and conservative, and I just realized at three laps to go that I was be going to go the distance." Hesjedal added that he was satisfied with the experienced he gained at the Salzburg World's.

Basso to be cleared

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will likely not be sanctioning Ivan Basso in relation to the Operacion Puerto affair, reports De Telegraaf. According to the article, CONI has not found enough proof to proceed in the case.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said that if Basso is cleared by CONI, the UCI would take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. "It's ridiculous that CONI is closing the case, because the investigation of the Guardia Civil is not yet finished," he said.

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

Forde given two year ban

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has given Barbadian cyclist Barry Forde a two year ban after he tested positive for a high level of testosterone in October last year. Earlier this year, the Barbados cycling federation had decided not to sanction him, finding no evidence of deliberate wrongdoing. However, the UCI appealed to CAS, who banned Forde until December 2007.

Forde won a silver medal in the keirin at the Track World's in Los Angeles last year. He also won two gold medals at the Pan Am Games in 2003, but these were stripped from him after he tested positive for ephedrine. He was not given any further sanction for that offence.

Barry confirms move to T-Mobile

Michael Barry is leaving Discovery Channel after five years and will be riding for the T-Mobile Team next season, he confirmed on his website,

"I have spent five great years with the same team and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to race at the highest level where we accomplished a lot together," he said. "I made a lot of good friends, have many fond memories and was able to pursue my dreams and progress."

But he decided it was time to look at new opportunities, and says he is looking forward to the "new" T-Mobile team. "The team will be diverse, international and English speaking with a revamped roster, new goals and objectives, and one that I am honoured to be a member of."

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