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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 7, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson

Dean enters Slipstream

Credit Agricole's Julian Dean will join Slipstream in '08
Photo ©: Steve Thomas
(Click for larger image)

New Zealand's Julian Dean will leave his French ProTour squad Crédit Agricole in 2008, following the announcement of his signing with Jonathan Vaughters' Team Slipstream Professional Continental squad. The Kiwi rider is the latest rider in a string of high-profile moves to joins the American squad, which is aiming for a Tour de France wildcard next season.

"I can now officially let you all know that I'm up for a change of scenery next year," Dean revealed on his website, juliandean.co.nz. "The 2008 season will see me heading to the ever-expanding American team, Slipstream, along with ex-teammates, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde. Also heading in the same direction is Dave Millar."

Zabriskie, Vande Velde and Millar were all announced as signings of the squad at an exclusive post-Tour de France announcement in the European nation following the final stage of this year's race. The quartet will add more clout to the squad's lineup, and all support Vaughters' strong stance against performance enhancing drugs.

"For me it's just all about tackling a new opportunity and a new environment and I'm really looking forward to it all," he said. "I enjoyed my time on Credit Agricole and it wasn't an easy decision to leave but I feel ready to move on."

Vaughters revealed to Cyclingnews that he has also signed a former Paris-Roubaix winner for 2008, although he refused to name which of the six active winners, which include Stuart O'Grady (2007), Fabian Cancellara (2006), Tom Boonen (2005), Magnus Backstedt (2004), Peter Van Petegem (2003), and Frederic Guesdon (1997), he has signed. The American squad is expected to apply for a ProTour licence for 2009.

Rasmussen returns to racing

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Makoto Ayano
(Click for larger image)

Michael Rasmussen has returned to competitive racing for the first time since his Rabobank ProTour squad withdrew him from the Tour de France, while he was leading the Grand Tour, and fired the rider. The Dane contested the Tour de Charlottenlund in Denmark on Monday, in front of some 20,000 spectators.

The 33 year-old said he's continuing to keep his form as he 'juggles options' on signing with a new squad. "I'm juggling a few options, and we'll see what happens," Rasmussen told Ritzau. "Hopefully this is a new beginning."

Unlike his final days in the Tour, where he was booed by the crowd when signing on for a stage, his compatriots applauded the rider, with some reportedly sporting shirts claiming him as the real Tour winner. Rasmussen's Tour campaign was derailed after weeks of intense media pressure, following revelations the rider failed on multiple occasions to file his whereabouts to anti-doping authorities. While his Dutch team stood by the rider originally, it learned that the Dane allegedly lied to it about his whereabouts at those times, prompting his dismissal.

Rabobank's team manager Theo De Rooy has since stepped down from the team, while the Dutch banking conglomerate has launched its own investigation into the events that transpired.

Evans: Contador is "innocent until proven guilty"

Cadel Evans waves
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

While on holiday in Venice, Italy, 2007 Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans took time out to conduct an interview on the Australian talk show, Enough Rope. Evans was interviewed on Monday, August 6, 2007, via satellite by the show's host, Andrew Denton, while the cyclist's mother and grandmother were present in the Sydney ABC-TV studio. Indeed, even at the end, Evans' wife Chiara made a cameo by being invited into the shot.

Denton's method is to use his humour and knowledge to have his subjects relax and open up on camera. Denton started the interview by asking the cyclist's mother and grandmother about Evans as a young boy, while screening shots of a diminutive cyclist pulling 'wheelies' on a tiny BMX bike. Across the globe, Evans sat in a Venice TV studio and while looking relaxed, he still offered measured answers to some probing questions, asked with an almost-innocence by the interviewer. After discussing Evans' childhood and life growing up on a remote Northern Territory settlement, Denton moved into the hot topic following this year's Tour: losing by 23 seconds and doping.

He was specifically asked if he believed that Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) deserved this year's Tour de France victory, especially in light of comments made by German anti-doping activist, Werner Franke, that the Spaniard's victory was "the greatest swindle" in sports history.

Evans said: "I think, like everyone, there is a bit of a shadow over his winning and his reputation. For me, innocent until proven guilty is always my attitude.

"Just because you win the Tour de France doesn't mean you are a cheat. People have to remember that. If something comes out... solid evidence, yes... but 'til now, no solid proof has come out. So I'll leave him innocent until proven guilty," he said.

Evans also admitted to Denton that the issue of doping in cycling had made him consider quitting the sport, "but that would be giving up. I don't want to do that.

"I think [cheating is] human nature. It's not just the Tour de France. It's not just sport. It's the world as a whole. People will always look for an easier way, or ways to gain more or profit more from a situation. I can't change the world as a whole, but I can do my best and what I believe is right and I [will] continue doing that."

Evans had certainly counted the seconds lost and is now counting the days until next year's Tour. He said "every day of my life" leading up to next year's Tour will be focused on that goal.

The cyclist also thanked his family and wife, Chiara, who is a classical pianist. He said listening to his wife practice at home was one of the joys of his life, and he enjoyed attending her concerts and recitals, as it gave him a break from the cycling scene.

Arvesen makes Danish history

Norway's Kurt-Asle Arvesen etched his name in Danish cycling history books over the weekend, with the Team CSC rider becoming the first rider in the Tour of Denmark's 22-year history to stand atop the podium on multiple occasions. Arvesen claimed the 2007 edition by some 14 seconds over Italian Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas), while his Team CSC team-mate Matti Breschel took third place overall.

"It's a great feeling to be the first to win twice, but just like the last time I won it's more than anything a team effort," said Arvesen. "There's not a lot of opportunity for attack, when we have such strong people at the front of the peloton. Matti [Breschel], Nicki [Sørensen] and I were equally strong and they could just as easily have won this race. In the end it was decided by the time trial."

The rider claimed his first overall victory at the event in 2004, when he led a Team CSC one-two, with team-mate Jens Voigt taking second place by two seconds. In 2004 Australia's Stuart O'Grady, then a Cofidis rider, took third place behind the pair he now calls team-mates.

"Hardly anyone has the strength to attack, when you have strong tempo riders like Allan Johansen, Marcus Ljungqvist, Anders Lund, Nicki Sørensen and Michael Blaudzun setting the pace in the peloton, so we were in control the whole time," said Arvesen.

T-Mobile's sprint sensation Mark Cavendish took victory on the event's final stage, with Team CSC's Juan José Haedo in second place.

Barloworld readies for Swift debut

British rider Ben Swift will make his professional debut as a stagiaire for Professional Continental squad Team Barloworld at the GP di Camaiore. The event is the first of a five race schedule the Britain Cycling Team Olympic Academy rider will complete with the team.

"It's something you aim for, to be a professional and now its in my grasp, its all getting quite exciting," Swift told britishcycling.org.uk. "It would be amazing to get a ride in the Tour at some stage like G [Geraint Thomas] did. Just watching G on the tele and knowing we raced with him last year and train with him, we know it is within our reach if we do like him and put in the hard work."

19 year-old Swift should feel right at home with the British-registered Barloworld squad, with fellow Briton Thomas competing alongside the rider in his first professional race. Thomas completed an impressive feat last month, after starting the Tour de France and only expected to contest the first week, the Welshman made it all the way to Paris on his Grand Tour debut. "I do though feel much more relaxed having G in the team though as he knows how it all works," admitted Swift. "It's not as if I will be going into it not knowing anyone so that will be helpful.

"Its also exciting going to a team like Barloworld who are getting better and better," he added. "They showed at the Tour and in some races before that they can get decent results."

In addition to Thomas, Swift will be joined by Kanstantsin Siutsou, Alex Efimkin, Giampaolo Cheula and Paolo Longo Borghini at his first event. August will prove to be a busy month for Swift, with all five of his events with Barloworld scattered throughout the month. In addition to the GP di Camaiore, Swift will contest Giro del Lazio, Tre Valli Varesine, Coppa Agostoni and Trofeo Melinda later in August.

Indurain to visit Down Under

Miguel Indurain
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Five times Tour de France Miguel Indurain will be honoured at the 2008 Tour Down Under, South Australian Minister for Tourism Jane Lomax-Smith has announced. Affectionately named Big Mig, due to his 1.88 metre height, Spaniard Miguel will make his first visit to Adelaide and the Tour Down Under.

"Confirming the attendance of Miguel Indurain as a guest of the Tour Down Under, further strengthens our international credibility as a cycling force," Lomax-Smith said of the two time Giro d'Italia winner's appearance. "Throughout his Tour de France career Indurain achieved eleven successful stage wins, the first in 1985, going on to take out Tour de France honours for the first time in 1991.

Indurain was the first to win the prestigious Grand Tour five consecutive times from 1991 - 1995, relived in a recent Cyclingnews video, prompting then Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc to label him as one of the greatest champions in the event's history.

"It is the internationally recognised reputation of the Tour Down Under that persuaded Indurain to accept our invitation," said the Minister. "He will be honoured at the Tour Down Under's Legends' Night Dinner.

"With our sights set on achieving ProTour status, the attendance of a cycling legend such as Miguel Indurain further cements our international standing within the cycling fraternity," she added. "We have worked hard to position the Tour Down Under as the premier cycling event outside of Europe and we're optimistic the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will reward our efforts when it meets in September."

Race director and former professional Mike Turtur described the announcement as a coup for the event. "Miguel is a legend of the sport, was always highly respected in the peloton, and his presence at our event will add further excitement to what is shaping up to be our best event yet," said Turtur.

The 2008 Tour Down Under runs between January 20 and 27 and features new race routes, racing across two weekends.

Lloyd beaten by "class act"

A happy Daniel Lloyd (DFL - Cyclingnews - Litespeed)
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

After finishing second at the weekend's British Elite Men's Road Race Championships, DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed rider Daniel Lloyd has said he was beaten by a "class act" in Saunier Duval's David Millar. Lloyd lead a DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed two-three at the title deciding event, with defending champion Hamish Haynes coming home in third place.

"David was incredibly strong when he launched his attack at the start and I was lucky to be able to go with him," said Lloyd. "Then the pace settled down and we worked well together. I got the feeling that as the race went on I was actually the stronger rider so I put in a big attack with about 1km to go and it took David a while to get back."

When the Scotsman had got back onto the wheel again however it was clear that it would come down to the sprint into the final corner. "David is a class act and he showed it by getting to that corner first…ah well!" lamented Lloyd.

It was Lloyd's second near miss in four weeks, with the British rider's result from the weekend mirroring that of his Tour of Qinghai Lake campaign in China last month. Lloyd finished second overall, again by just a single second, at the Asian race.

Lloyd will now concentrate on keeping his form for the inaugural Tour of Ireland, August 22-26, before returning to the United Kingdom to spearhead the DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed squad at the 2007 Tour of Britain.

Tour highlights: How the green jersey was won

Quick.Step - Innergetic's star sprinter Tom Boonen took a little longer to win a Tour de France stage than anyone, himself included, though he would, after Stage 2 victory was snatched from his grasp by team-mate Gert Steegmans. The disappointment of having his team-mate out-pace him on his Belgian home soil aside, it was a great Tour campaign for the green points jersey winner, as Cyclingnews' latest Tour de France highlights package shows.

Boonen did finally get that stage victory, on the 199.5 kilometre run into Stage 6's finish at Bourg-en-Bresse, which was followed by another on Stage 12 for good measure. Relive Tornado Tom's run into Paris, and the green jersey, by clicking here.

Toyota-United celebrate success

American squad Toyota-United has celebrated its victory Hanes Park Classic Criterium, the team's 12 National Racing Calendar win of the season, with Ivan Dominguez dubbing it as a present to outgoing team director Kirk Willett. The event was former professional Willett's last with the squad, after the 37 year-old announced last week he would part ways with the squad as he heads to medical school.

"I told him to take that as a present," Dominguez said. "I have been really happy to work with him this season. He's always very easy-going and he doesn't put pressure on you. He would just tell us what we needed to do."

Willett was pleased to finish off the weekend, and his time with the outfit, on a winning note. "It's always exciting to win and it's a little extra nice since it is my last race," Willett said. "I'm happy the guys came out with the win after the loss of Caleb [Manion] and the lows we had Saturday night."

Manion crashed out of the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational on Saturday night, breaking his collarbone and joining a list of injured riders at the squad. Manion is expected to sit out the rest of 2007 as a result of his injury. In addition to Manion's injury, the team is awaiting news on the return of both Ivan Stevic and Henk Vogels. Stevic is expected to find out from a doctor later this week whether he will be able to return to racing after more than a month rehabilitating sore knees.

When the Serbian rider returns to racing, which could be as soon as this weekend's Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove in Illinois Stevic will wear a blue and rainbow striped jersey instead of his normal Serbian National Champion jersey, after he won the 161 kilometre B World Road Race Championship in Cape Town, South Africa on July 1.

Australian Vogels is recovering from an impact with a pole during a race last month that broke the glenoid bone in his shoulder. Vogels is expected to undergo an X-ray on August 20 to determine whether his injury has fully healed.

"In two weeks time, they will tell me whether it is healed or not," Vogels said.

ValueAct Capital renews for '08

Katie Mactier (ValueAct Capital)
Photo ©: Matthew Moses
(Click for larger image)

American women's squad ValueAct Capital has announced the re-signing of its title sponsor for the 2008 season. The value-investing company's re-signing is a boost for the first-year squad, which has posted some credible results throughout 2007, including a podium finish at the Carrera de San Rafael criterium, in addition to podium stage finishes at both the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the Mt Hood Cycling classic.

"We're so pleased with the way the team has raced this year," said ValueAct Capital's George Hamel at the announcement. "We are excited to continue our support, and look forward to a long, successful association."

The team, which includes 2005 World Time Trial Champion Katie Mactier, will contest a the full National Racing Calendar in 2008 following the sponsor's re-signing. "It's been an exciting first season," commented team director Lisa Hunt, "and we're ready to step up the program for 2008."

Hunt will continue to head the squad in 2008.

Austrians to Deutschland Tour

Team Volksbank is ready and eager to ride its second Deutschland Tour, giving its Professional Continental riders a chance to measure themselves against the ProTour riders. The team will be led by all-rounder Florian Stalder and Gerrit Glomser, who finished eighth in the Tour de Suisse and won a stage in the Österreich Rundfahrt.

Special highlights for the Austrian team are Stage 5's finish in Rettenbachferner bei Solden, Austria, and the Stage 6, which takes place entirely in its homeland. "Our fellows are hot and burning to shine on the international stage," said team manager Thomas Kofler.

The team will look more for stage wins than for overall standings. "The team time trial is against us, because we don't have the experience with it that the ProTour teams have," Kofler noted. "We will look more to be active during the stages and try to bring in good results. "

Volksbank's Deutschland Tour roster: Gerrit Glomser, Harald Morscher, Philipp Ludescher, Werner Riebenbauer, Florian Stalder, Rene Weissinger, Sven Teutenberg, Mariusz Witecki

Quick.Step, Caisse d'Epargne for Deutschland

Paolo Bettini will come back from a minor injury to lead Quick.Step-Innergetic in the Deutschland Tour, which starts this week. The Italian was forced to miss the Clásica San Sebastián with tendonitis problems in his left knee.

Spanish ProTour squad Caisse d'Epargne has also announced its lineup for the German race. The squad will send riders like David López, Alexei Markov, José Joaquín Rojas and Luis León Sánchez

Quick.Step - Innergetic's Deutschland Tour roster: Paolo Bettini, Addy Engels, Kevin Hulsmans, Andrea Tont, Jurgen Van De Walle, Geert Verheyen, Davide Viganò, Maarten Wynants

Caisse d'Epargne's Deutschland Tour roster: Vladimir Efimkin, Imanol Erviti, Joan Horrach, Pablo Lastras, David López, Alexei Markov, José Joaquín Rojas and Luis León Sánchez.

Milram, Quick.Step to Tuscany

ProTour squads Team Milram and Quick.Step - Innergetic have announced their line-up for Thursday's Gran Premiuo di Camaiore, a one-day race in Italy's Tuscany region. The 193 km race, which starts and ends in Camaiore, is divided into two round courses, the first a five lap of a short course through Lido de Camaiore, followed by a return to Camaiore for another five 'tough' laps.

Milram's Gran Premiuo di Camaiore roster: Mirko Celestino, Sergio Ghisalberti, Andrey Grivko, Matej Jurco, Mirco Lorenzetto, Elia Rigotto, Carlo Scognamiglio, and Marco Velo

Quick.Step - Innergetic's Gran Premiuo di Camaiore roster: Mauro Facci, Dmitry Grabovskyy, Ivan Santaromita, Leonardo Scarselli, Hubert Schwab, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Giovanni Visconti, and Matteo Tosatto.

Plowman Craven, Recycling announce Ireland teams

European Continental squads Plowman Craven/Evans RT and Recycling.co.uk have announced their teams for August's Tour of Ireland. The event starts on August 22 in Kilkenney and finished five stages later on August 26 in Dublin.

Plowman Craven/Evans has recruited Richard Wilkinson as a guest ride for the squad, with Wilkinson competing with the team in Ireland and until the end of the season. Wilkinson finished in 13th place for his Rapha Condor team in the Wales GP/British road race championship on the weekend. Wikinson will be joined by Gordon McCauley, Tony Gibb, James Millard, Simon Gaywood, Freddie Johansson and James McCallum. Gaywood won his second race in the British Cycling criterium series in Abergavenny on Friday.

Recycling manager John Herety has named Ryan and Adam Bonsor, Tom Diggle, Simon Holt, Graham Briggs, Chris Newton and latest signing Rob Partridge in the squad's lineup. Partridge has been riding with his new team since he returned from racing in Italy in June and finished 10th in the Wales GP / British road race championships race on Sunday, while Newton is a former winner of the FBD Rás in Ireland.

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