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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for April 7, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Ballan back on winning form

Alessandro Ballan
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
Fresh off a win in Three Days of De Panne, Alessandro Ballan is a marked man for Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen. The tall Italian has finished fifth and sixth in the past, and this year looks to be ready for something more. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews spoke with Ballan in Kortrijk before the running of Belgium's biggest race to find out what the fans can expect to see.

"Now after the win I have more confidence," said Ballan as we sat down in the Kennedy Hotel lobby. The 27 year-old rider from Castelfranco Veneto had just won the overall classification of De Panne the day before thanks to a second place in the first stage, and a solid time trial on the final stage where he claimed the overall lead.

The win was a much needed boost for Ballan, whose confidence took a hit when he crashed in the GP Chiasso at the beginning of February. After spending a few days off the bike and he was forced to slowly rebuild his winning form. "I had problems before Tirreno-Adriatico, after the crash in Chiasso. Even for me it was hard to believe that I would arrive in this condition. Yesterday, I had the confirmation that I really have good form."

It was in the 2005 edition of De Panne where Ballan marked the first victory in his palmarès; he won the first stage that year as well, but fell just short of the overall. "It was my first win as a professional. I don't remember if there was rain or not but I recall the great escape with Stijn Devolder. We came to the line and I was able to take the sprint but then he went on to win the overall in the final time trial."

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This year the roles were changed when Ballan, like Devolder before, came in and swiped the leader's jersey off the shoulders of Luca Paolini in the final time trial. "Yeah, in 2005 I had the jersey up until the last stage, when he took it by six seconds.

"I hope this allows me to be a protagonist also on Sunday," he modestly continued. Sunday is the 259-kilometre Ronde; the race is littered with 18 short and sharp climbs, perfect for a power-man like Ballan. "Today we went to see the climbs. We did the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and a couple other climbs, plus the small changes the organisers made to the course from last year's edition. We took a look at the zones where we think the selection will be made."

Read the full feature.

Puerto: Teams associations back DNA comparisons

Teams want DNA evidence to match up blood to riders
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)
In a joint statement, the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) and the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) have asked the governing bodies of the sport to pursue their efforts in the Operación Puerto case. Just days after it was made known that a DNA sample from Jan Ullrich matched the DNA of nine blood bags from the Spanish investigation into organised blood doping, the two associations are demanding that all riders implicated in the affair provide a DNA sample for comparison purposes.

"After the revelations by the Bonn, Germany public prosecutor that the DNA sample taken from Jan Ullrich indeed corresponded to the blood found in the offices of Doctor Fuentes [...], the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) and the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) ask all of the instances (UCI, national federations, sports ministries etc.) to do everything necessary for a generalisation of DNA comparison for all the riders mentioned in the Puerto case," the short communiqué read.

Many of the riders that had been implicated in the doping scandal are now under contract with ProTour of Professional Continental teams. It should thus be possible for the organisations representing the interests of these teams to influence the members of their associations to provide DNA samples.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación 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 Operación Puerto

Changes to Rabobank Flanders line-up

Due to injuries, Rabobank directors Erik Dekker and Frans Maassen will have to make changes to their roster for this weekend’s Tour of Flanders. Joost Posthuma, who finished second overall in the 3 days of de Panne, is suffering from a bruised knee, and will be replaced by Bram de Groot. Pedro Horrillo will replace Gerben Löwik, who injured his wrist.

The Rabobank squad for Ronde van Vlaanderen will now be composed of: Michael Boogerd, Oscar Freire, Juan Antonio Flecha, Bram de Groot, Jan Boven, Leon van Bon, Pedro Horrillo and Mathew Hayman.

Astana for the weekend races

Team Astana has announced its line-up for the races this weekend. Spanish riders Antonio Colom, Daniele Navarro and José Antonio Redondo will lead the team in the GP Miguel Indurain in Spain on Saturday, while Russian Classics specialists Serguei Ivanov and Guennadi Mikhailov will head things up Sunday in the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Astana for the GP Miguel Indurain: Assan Bazayev, Antonio Colom, Julien Mazet, Andrey Mizourov, Steve Morabito, Daniel Navarro, and José Antonio Redondo.

Astana for Ronde van Vlaanderen: Igor Abakoumov, Koen De Kort, Serguei Ivanov, Benoît Joachim, Aaron Kemps, Guennadi Mikhailov, Dmitriy Muravyev, and Gregory Rast

Sánchez ready for Pais Vasco

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Sanchez wins in Zurich
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Samuel Sánchez considers Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) to be his main rivals for the Vuelta al País Vasco, which begins on Monday, April 9th. "They carried out an important role in the last Paris-Nice and Vuelta a Castilla y León."

After a brilliant 2006 season, Sánchez' start of 2007 has been relatively quiet, but the Euskaltel-Euskadi team leader said that he has been training hard and is feeling good. Sánchez added, "Now what I must do is to demonstrate it on the road". While his goal is to win the overall Vuelta al País Vasco, he qualified that "it is always very difficult to win". Even so, he emphasised that all of his team-mates "want to play a brilliant role" at home.

"We will be very ambitious, because it is our race", Sánchez warned. His director, Igor González de Galdeano, insisted that "the Vuelta al País Vasco is one of the most important competitions in our calendar" for this season. "We want to do as well as we can", he emphasised. The ex-professional tipped Unai Etxebarria, Mikel Astarloza, Iñigo Landaluze or Gorka Verdugo and promising young riders such as, Azanza or Hernandez as strong prospects for stage wins.

Astarloa leads Milram in Spain

Team Milram is sending Spanish captain Igor Astarloa to lead the team in the fifth ProTour race of the year, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The six stage race runs April 4 to 9 over 863 km and 35 classified climbs, topped off with a final day individual time trial.

Milram for Vuelta a Pais Vasco: Igor Astarloa, Mirko Celestino, Sergio Ghisalberti, Carlo Scognamiglio, Sebastian Schwager, Andrey Grivko, Matej Jurco, and Björn Schroeder.

Schulze out of the hospital

Andre Schulze of Team Wiesenhof-Felt is out of the hospital and hopes to be back training on his bike by the middle of the month, the team has announced. The sprinter crashed at 55 km/hour in the Ronde van het Groene Hart on March 25. He was subsequently operated on for a quadruple fracture of his cheekbone and a broken jaw.

"After the four-hour long surgery last Friday I was totally exhausted, but now I'm pain-free," he said. "It is of course doubly bitter for me. Not only is the injury painful, but it hurts even more that I won't be able to help my team in the highlights of the spring season."

Kodak Gallery Pro for US Open

The Kodak Gallery Pro cycling team will take on Richmond, Virginia's tough cobbled sections with a team that is experienced in racing on some of Europe's most fabled cobbles in Saturday's US Open Cycling Championship. Veteran "cobbler" and first year Kodak Gallery - Sierra Nevada professional, Ben Raby noted, "the cobblestone climb will be very challenging on the final laps of the race, but that's good for our team, we have a lot of really strong, tough guys."

Kodak Gallery - Sierra Nevada Roster for the US Open Cycling Championships: Jesse Anthony, Cody O'Reilly, Ben Raby, Dominque Rollin, Josh Thornton, Dan Timmerman, Ryan Trebon, and Mark Walters

Boulder-Roubaix postponed

Boulder-Roubaix on dirt roads
Photo ©: Rob Karman
Click for larger image
The 'epic' Colorado road race, Boulder Roubaix, which was scheduled to run April 7th has been postponed due to unsafe weather. Race promoters announced a new date of April 14th for the race, which is held on a 8.6 mile course consisting of 75% hard-pack dirt roads designed to simulate the challenging conditions faced by European professionals in the infamous 'Hell of the North', Paris-Roubaix.

Race officials were concerned that low temperatures and snow or freezing rain would cause large numbers of riders to get hypothermia, and that they would not have the medical resources to deal with such a scenario. Race director Derek Nichol said that a recent Boulder race held in warmer temperatures had a few riders coming down with hypothermia, and that it was too risky to hold the event in temperatures just barely above or at freezing.

Nichol was disappointed with the change, which will mean several big names missing out on the race now that the date overlaps with Sea Otter and the days right before Tour de Georgia. "The top finishers from last year were all going to be there - Scott Moninger, Chris Baldwin... and Tom Danielson was going to race. It's a shame - I was hoping to see them all going for it out there... we'll still have 500-600 riders next week, though."

For more information including schedule and directions visit

Boston Beanpot sets records

The Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference 'Boston Beanpot' event became the largest single-conference collegiate bike race in the country this past weekend when more than 515 collegiate riders from 63 schools and two countries took part in the event. The Boston University Team Time Trial and the Harvard Road Race were held in Grafton, Massachusetts on Saturday, March 31.

Mark Abramson, the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference director, was pleased that the event went off without a hitch. "The Beanpot has a long standing tradition as one of the largest and most smoothly running bike races in the country. This year was no exception, and it serves as a prime example of what can be achieved by inter-school collaboration. This was, hands down, the best run Beanpot ever."

Beanpot director Caitlin Thompson joked that "The hardest part of the weekend was getting over 500 riders checked in before the 7am start of the TTT; there were over 150 riders that raced for the first time this season."

The University of New Hampshire claimed top honours overall with 718 points, reclaiming the historic Beanpot trophy from the University of Vermont who finished third with 564 points. Dartmouth came in second with 631 points, but was the first Division II school. MIT finished second in Division II, the best finish for the host schools.

The Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) includes colleges in Delaware, New England, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. As they compete from early March through April, ECCC teams vie for the top of the season-long team points standings, Collegiate Nationals qualification team spots, and the Ivy League trophy. The inexpensive races feature team-oriented bicycle racing for all abilities with team pride, glory, and honour as the only prize list.

The full 2007 ECCC schedule and results can be found at

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