First Edition Cycling News for August 5, 2007
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Klöden racing despite self-imposed team 'break'
By Susan Westemeyer
Team Astana may not be riding right now, but Andreas Klöden is -- and not only riding, but winning. He won the 16th City-Nacht von Rhede in Rhede, Germany, Friday night, beating out countrymen Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and Marcel Sieberg of Milram.
"I was angry when I rode, because I have such good form and am not allowed to start," said Klöden. Astana had announced that it was removing itself from racing for the month of August in light of recent doping problems. Klöden, who wore Astana kit and rode a team bike, had special permission to appear in the race. "The mood here was so great that it just makes it that much harder for me, that I can't ride any more races," he told the press agency dpa. "My morale is at the bottom."
Klöden did not know what will happen with the team in September after its break from racing, or whether he would ride the World's in Stuttgart the end of that month. He plans to train for the World's just in case "but a one month racing break is of course not the ideal preparation."
Valverde hungry and motivated
Arguably the strongest rider in Saturday's Clásica San Sebastián, Alejandro Valverde was afforded little freedom in the finale - the Caisse d'Epargne leader eventually finishing third behind breakaway duo Leonardo Bertagnolli (Liquigas) and Juan Manuel Gárate (Quick.Step Innergetic).
Valverde insisted afterwards that his post Tour de France form is still strong, and with the Vuelta a España now less than a month away, the 27 year-old Murcian is clearly a strong favourite to capture the title snatched from his grasp by Alexandre Vinokourov last year.
"I felt very good," he said in a team statement. "In the [penultimate] climb of Gurutze, I was the first who bridged the gap with the three breakaways [Arrieta, Albasini and Van de Walle]. Then I immediately attacked, but the bunch reacted and gave me no possibility to go.
"When Bertagnolli and Garate broke, I tried to go for them but I received very little collaboration as nobody wanted to bring me in the sprint," he added.
Caisse d'Epargne directeur sportif Eusebio Unzúe recently told Cyclingnews that Valverde's condition would be evaluated after San Sebastián, and a final decision made regarding his participation in the Vuelta. But with Alexandre Vinokourov fired from his Astana team and refused any possibility of starting by race organisers, Valverde is unlikely to get a clearer shot at his home Grand Tour.
"I feel very good only a few days after the end of the Tour de France," said Valverde, who managed his first Tour finish after three attempts. "I am really motivated and hungry for races in the final part of the season."
Tankink to Rabobank
By Susan Westemeyer
Bram Tankink will leave Quick.Step-Innergetic and ride for Team Rabobank in the coming two seasons, he has announced.
He said he based his choice on the fact that "I like to work in Dutch surroundings and as a Dutchman, I feel a certain affinity with Rabobank."
Tankink had also received offers from Quick.Step and T-Mobile. "What luxury, to have offers from three top teams," he wrote on his website, bramtankink.nl.
'The Tank,' 30 years old, started as a mountain biker but switched to the road in 1999.
Sick Boonen donates start fee to charity
By Susan Westemeyer
Tom Boonen is suffering from intestinal problems, but he isn't letting his illness prevent him from doing good. He is giving his starting money from the Herentals Criterium, about 30,000 euro, to various charities.
"It was Tom's idea," said race organizer Filiep Bataille to SportWereld. "He said that he didn't feel right accepting he money when he couldn't ride." Boonen dropped out of the race after only two laps. He said that he had developed severe intestinal problems since the end of the Tour and would now have to rest.
Part of the money will be given to the "Move to Improve" project, which helps paralyzed children.
Toyota-United DS Willett moves on
Kirk Willett will trade his responsibilities as Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team Director for a backpack full of books following this weekend's races in North Carolina.
Willett, 37, begins medical school at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland after he directs Toyota-United Saturday at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte and Sunday at the Hanes Park Criterium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"It's always exciting to move on to new things and new challenges," Willett said. "But at the same time, I've spent so much time investing and learning in one aspect of my life that I'm saying goodbye to something that's been a part of me for 20 years."
His plan to become a physician dates back to his pursuit of a career in medicine in the late 80s and early 90s. But he put the schooling on hold to start a career in racing that included time with the U.S. National Team (both domestically and abroad), as well as stints with the Nutra Fig, Mercury and Prime Alliance cycling teams.
Cyclo-cross in Las Vegas?
Boulder-based event organizer DBC Events has announced details about Excel Sports CrossVegas scheduled for September 26 in Las Vegas. The UCI Category 2 race will be held at Desert Breeze Soccer Complex, a Clark County facility in western Las Vegas 6 miles from the "Vegas Strip." Fully lighted, the park features grassy slopes and paved pathways. "The location is a short distance straight out Desert Inn Road from the Strip," says promoter Chris Grealish,
Elite Women are scheduled to race at 7:30 pm and Elite Men at 9:00 pm. The later start times are intended to permit attendees of the Interbike Show ample opportunity to complete their business and head to the race says Grealish.
Planned activities at the event include a beer garden. "We've got a full moon that night, great competition, food, drink and Elvis working the lap board," Grealish said.
Top U.S. Cyclo-crossers will be making appearances at the race. Grealish explained, "We have some great athlete announcements planned in the next few weeks. The quality of the field will amaze people."
Excel Sports CrossVegas will be taped for broadcast on Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network later in the fall reaching over 5.2 million households in 10 western states. Complete race details for Excel Sports CrossVegas are available at www.crossvegas.com
Page to open 'cross season in US event
The "Double-Cross" weekend - a pair of UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross races in Springfield Oaks Park in Davisburg, Michigan the weekend of September 23rd and 24th - announced this week that 3-time US Cyclo-cross National Champion and 2007 Cyclocross World Championship silver medalist, Jonathan Page (Sunweb-Projob), has committed to race both days.
The event has been a mainstay of the Midwestern Cyclocross season since it started. With dates around the end of September each year, this event has served as a season opener for the regions elite cyclo-cross racers.
"We're extremely fortunate to have Jonathan attending our event," says promoter Jeff Noftz, owner of Kinetic Systems bike shop in Clarkston, Michigan. "Since we started to promote a UCI sanctioned cyclo-cross race in Michigan 4 years ago, our goal has been to attract the highest caliber of athletes. This year with Jonathan and others, we're achieving that goal." As the first and only U.S. Cyclo-cross racer to earn a full-time contract to race professionally in Europe, "Double-Cross" may be one of only two or three events Page will race in the U.S. during the 2007/2008 season and a chance for fans and U.S. 'crossers to see Page in action.
"My commitments to race in Europe don't allow me to race in the U.S. often," Page said. "So I'm taking the opportunity to bring the sport to the Midwest and attend what I am sure will be an exceptional weekend of racing."
The Michigan "Double-Cross" UCI C2 cyclo-cross weekend also serves as the first two events in the 2007 Tailwind Enterprises Cyclo-cross series. For more information, visit the promoter's website at www.tailwind.net.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)