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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for April 14, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner & Laura Weislo

Quickstep predicts an unusual Paris-Roubaix

Boonen and team-mate
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
As expected, 2005 Paris-Roubaix champion Tom Boonen has been named to lead the Quickstep-Innergetic team in the 'Hell of the North' this Sunday. Boonen will have the help of a strong team, including 2003 winner Peter Van Petegem and Gert Steegmans. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown caught up with Steegmans after the pre-ride, and he indicated that the 2007 edition will be most unusual.

"It will be dusty in the race," he noted, still cleaning the dirt from the corners of his eyes. "Today, it was okay because there were only eight riders." The weather is expected to be hot, near 26°C. The lack of rain recently has made the pavé very dry and dusty, which, on Sunday, will create a huge dust-storm atmosphere around the groups of riders.

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"I don't remember a Roubaix like this," summarised Steegmans, as he sat in the shade of the team bus. "It is really hot and that will make a strange Paris-Roubaix; I have never done one like this. It feels like summer." He then added his own personal forecast for the race; he believes there will be strong winds. "I think it will be a headwind on Sunday, which will make for a hard race. We will have to wait for Sunday to see how it goes."

Quickstep-Innergetic Paris-Roubaix roster: Tom Boonen, Steven De Jongh, Sebastien Rosseler, Gert Steegmans, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe, Peter Van Petegem and Wouter Weylandt.

For the full interview with Gert Steegmans, click here.

Van Petegem relaxed and ready

Van Petegem
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Tom Boonen was making sure his back was covered while being interviewed by multiple TV crews and simultaneously dealing with the crush of local fans begging for his autograph, but at the same time, one rider stepped away from the scrum and into the sun. Characteristically tan, Peter Van Petegem stepped out to bask in the rays while being interviewed by some Belgian journalists, and Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé was there to find out how one of the most experienced riders is feeling about this year's 'Hell of the North'.

Van Petegem radiates experience, and it was impossible to make him worried about Sunday's appointment in the North of France. "What can you say? Everything depends on how the race develops," Van Petegem said to Cyclingnews. Fortunately, it isn't just about luck in a race of 259km. The Belgian former winner of the double Tour of Flanders / Paris-Roubaix is known to enjoy longer distances.

Current star Boonen had just called Van Petegem the fastest man of on the cobbles of the past decade, referring to the moment where Van Petegem blasted past him and George Hincapie after puncturing in 2004. "Ah, Boonen and Steegmans can do it as fast as I can," Van Petegem remained modest. "But it's true that some can pedal a bit faster than some others after that distance; the adrenaline of the moment helped as well, that's probably the 1% which can make the difference in Paris-Roubaix."

When asked about favourites for the 2007 edition of Paris-Roubaix Van Petegem picked some less expected names. "Who did well in those dry editions? [Magnus] Backstedt, Steffen Wesemann, Roger Hammond... in the present it's more about the teams; I expect CSC and Lampre to be strong," the 'black one from Brakel' explained.

Read the full feature here.

Bäckstedt and Hushovd make comebacks in Paris-Roubaix

By Katharina Shulz

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image
Swedish giant Magnus Bäckstedt, who won the 'Queen of the Classics' in 2004, is finally ready for the road again. After having to fight with several injuries and problems resulting from surgery on his shoulder after a training crash, he is back for his favourite race. And he's not overly modest either: "My form is good, even though I have only taken part in two races this year. I'm not planning on hiding myself this Sunday. Cancellara, Ballan and Boonen are the favourites, together with me," Bäckstedt told Danish CyclingWorld.

Fellow Scandinavian Thor Hushovd is less enthusiastic about Paris - Roubaix. He has just recently recovered from the intestinal troubles that forced him to skip Milano - San Remo, and although he is confident about his form, he doesn't count himself among the favourites, he told Nettavisen. "But I will always have an outsider's chance in races like this. If I manage to hang on in there and make it safely to the last pavés, my chances are really good."

He adds: "Things are rarely boiled down to a mass sprint in Paris - Roubaix, and if they are, it is a group of 15 riders at the most. In that case I would have an extremely good chance of being successful."

Austrians in Paris-Roubaix

By Susan Westemeyer

Bernhard Eisel was fifth last year
Photo ©: Hedwig Kröner
(Click for larger image)

Three Austrians will tackle the "Hell of the North" Sunday, each of them with a different team: Bernhard Eisel, T-Mobile; Rene Haselbacher, Astana; and Paco Wrolich, Gerolsteiner. The three sprinters have different goals, ranging from winning to simply finishing.

Eisel finished fifth in the race last year. "I am convinced that my T-Mobile team is the team to beat," he said confidently, noting that the squad will also feature the first and second place finishers from Gent-Wevelgem, Marcus Burghardt and Roger Hammond. And there's another reason the winner will come from his team, he said. "We have the best support staff. With Brian Holm, who was sixth in Roubaix, and the former second place finisher Tristan Hoffman,we have top people in our team car."

Astana's Rene Haselbacher is starting the race for the fourth time, and hopes to finally reach the Roubaix velodrome for the first time. "The conditions weren't optimal at my other starts, I was usually sick. Two weeks ago I was sick in bed, but now my form is better. I'm not at all one of the favourites. It is my goal to go into the first cobblestones with the leading group and to stay forward as long as possible. And naturally, by my fourth start I want to see the goal!"

Like the others, Peter Wrolich and his team-mates have ridden the most important passages this week. He is not happy with the weather forecast for Sunday, though. "Sunday it should be 25° or warmer. That is not exactly my wish for Roubaix. I would rather have it slick and wet. The reason is that I prefer a technically challenging Paris-Roubaix." As to what he expects to do, the Gerolsteiner rider said, "I have always ridden well in Roubaix, but never very well. My form is not bad, but Roubaix also requires a lot of luck. If I can stay free from mechanicals, then a good result is possible."

Astana for Paris-Roubaix

Koen De Kort will lead Team Astana in Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. De Koert won the U-23 race there in 2004. Astana for Paris-Roubaix: Koen De Kort (Ned), René Haselbacher (Aut), Benoît Joachim (Lux), Aaron Kemps (Aus), Alexey Kolessov (Kaz, Gennady Mikhailov (Rus), Gregory Rast (Swi) and Michael Schär (Swi).

Women's World Cup heads north

Climbing the Vam in 2006
Photo ©: Kristy Scrymgeour/CN
(Click for larger image)
The women's UCI World Cup heads to the Netherlands for its third round on Saturday, offering up a challenging 139.8 kilometre parcours around the Dutch town of Hoogeveen. The circuit includes the typical flat, narrow, wind-swept roads of the area, but also hits the riders with one main difficulty three times - the 'Vamberg'.

This man-made hill is a former landfill, and though the climb is less than one kilometre in length, it kicks up to nearly a 20% grade in parts. With sprint bonuses on the line at the top, and more thrown in for good measure, the course will be worthy of the World Cup moniker.

World Cup leader Nicole Cooke (Raleigh Lifeforce Creation) will battle German sprinters Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile), Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nürnberger) and Australian Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini - Gysko) to try and gain her third consecutive World Cup victory of the season.

Preview - Start list - Map

Injury report part three

Injuries continue to plague the men's peloton, with many riders being hurt in a massive pile-up in stage five of the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. One of the crashes occured when a lead motorcycle suddenly slowed, taking down Discovery Channel's Egoi Martinez. On, Sean Yates confirmed that Sergio Paulinho and Jurgen Van Goolen are both out of the race, but Martinez will continue.

Saunier Duval-Prodir riders Koldo Gil and José Angel Gomez Marchante both went down on a slick descent, with Marchante being the worse off than his team-mate with a deep contusion to the hip. Gil went on to place third in the stage, and Marchante finished the stage, but will need x-rays to be sure there aren't any fractures.

In Northern France, Milram's Volodymyr Dyudya crashed during a training ride as he was taking off some clothing due to the warm weather. The Ukrainian suffered various facial injuries and had to be taken to hospital in Lille, where he received some stitches to his chin, left eye orbit cheek bone, lower lip and fingers of both hands. His team announced Dyudya will probably be able to be released from the hospital on Friday evening.

Meanwhile, his team-mate Marco Velo, who crashed severely in Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday, is on his way to return to Italy. Petacchi's lead-out man broke not only his right collarbone and two ribs, but tore the ligaments in his right knee as well, and will be operated on in the hospital of Brescia.'s Matt Wilson, who was also a victim of the crash on the Kemmel, has been diagnosed with a broken hand. The Australian has three separate fractures in the hand, sending Wilson to the sidelines for four weeks.

Landis wants samples split

By Shane Stokes

Charging that there is a clear vested interest at stake, Floyd Landis and his defence team have outlined the precise reasons why they are dissatisfied with the news that French lab LNDD in Chatenay Malabry will be doing the tests on his B samples.

Listing their objections in a press release circulated late on Thursday, they say that the principle of sample blinding will be disregarded, due to the fact that the lab will know whose urine they are testing. In turn, they say that this raises several areas of concern.

According to the Landis camp, the testing "will take place at a laboratory with a documented history of ignorance to the scientific rules and protocols designed to protect athletes; with full awareness of USADA's desire to obtain a positive result from additional specimens; and with knowledge that a second positive result would validate their own flawed results from Landis' stage 17 sample."

Claiming that there is a lack of objectivity with this scenario, Landis has asked for the 'B' samples to be split so that he and his defence team can have them tested in another lab.

"If USADA refuses to test the samples at their own laboratory at UCLA, then in order to protect my rights and to preserve evidence that may be valuable to my defence - evidence that USADA is willing to destroy in order to attain a result that they desire - I will request half of the samples so that we can have them tested in a lab that is beyond reproach."

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Team doctor denies T-Mobile doping

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile team doctor Lothar Heinrich has denied claims by former Telekom soigneur Jef D'hondt that Bjarne Riis won the Tour de France on EPO, and that the drugs were supplied by "our doctors at the University of Freiburg. "

"These comments are inexplicable," Heinrich said in an interview with press agency dpa. "I can only confirm the statement from the University Clinic Freiburg that there is no basis for these claims." He also noted that the medical team found no irregularities in Riis' blood values in 1996, saying "everything was in the normal range".

Turning to the current T-Mobile team, Heinrich noted that blood volume tests have been carried out four times so far - on all riders at the team meeting in October and the training camp on Mallorca, as well as unannounced tests at the Mallorca Challenge and Omloop Het Volk. The riders were tested by Professor Schmid of Bayreuth, Germany. "As an independent expert, he decides who and when to check."

Heinrich also commented on reports that he, Dr. Andreas Schmid and Jan Ullrich may be called to speak before the German parliament. "So far I have heard of the invitation only through the media," he said. "But I would be glad to have a discussion with the Sports Committee. I welcome every action taken to fight doping."

Finally, the doctor denied that the extensive drug testing within the T-Mobile Team would lead to a lack of results this year. "I hope it doesn't work out that way," he said. "We have not seen any drops in performances. A good indication is the one-two win in the important one-day race Gent-Wevelgem."

Slipstream heads to Georgia

Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle has released their final roster for the upcoming Tour de Georgia on April 16-22. The team will feature a roster of climbing and time trial specialists: Danny Pate, Tom Peterson, Jason Donald, Pat McCarty, Lucas Euser, Timmy Duggan, Mike Lange, and Craig Lewis.

According to director Jonathan Vaughters, "The team will be working for Tom Peterson as far as the GC is concerned. He's been producing around 400 watts at his 30min max power, so that should have him climbing with the leaders. It's a big step up from where he was at California. Of course we'll also be hoping for a stage win from either Jason Donald or Pat McCarty - and I imagine Lucas (Euser) will try to snag the Mountains jersey again."

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