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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 15, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Hansen happy with comeback

By Susan Westemeyer

Adam Hansen (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Adam Hansen is still coming back from hand injuries suffered in the Giro d'Italia, but is satisfied with how things are going. "The hand is doing well, not perfect, but well enough to ride. Getting back into the season is not the easiest thing to do," he told Cyclingnews.

The Australian, who rides for T-Mobile, crushed his right ring and little fingers in the crash, and they were put back together with a number of metal screws and plates.

Right now Hansen is riding the Tour de l'Ain, and doing quite well. "I'm very happy with my 13th today in the Queen stage. That was a good result for me on the mountain top finish."

He went into a bit more detail on his website, The entire race, he has been determined to get into a breakaway, and Tuesday was no exception. "I sat in and didn't do anything for a while till I saw a small break go, then came from the back and jumped across. It looked like it was too far to go, but when I made it I think it made the others in the bunch think, oh it's possible, so some of them went spastic and just launched attacks to chase us down. We didn't get too far..."

On the final climb, the "Crocodile Man" went to help stagiaire Marcel Beima. "There was a little fight to the base of the climb, and I stayed clear of it. I thought this time I wouldn't play the game, waste my energy for good position and just ride my own pace to Marcel and then help him out. We hit the climb and I think I was 50th or so. I rode my own pace to catch him and by the time I caught him, two kilometres into the climb he had already been dropped from the first group of about 30 riders or so."

"I was feeling good and since he [Marcel] wasn't going well so early [on the climb]I thought I might have a shot at it. I chased the first group and it took me until about the four-kilometre mark to be in the top group. There were attacks going on and I just sat at the back and rode past the guys getting dropped."

"I didn't really want to play the game of pace changing, but there was bit of headwind, so it was in my interest to stay with them as long as possible. I was going well and the group just got smaller and smaller," he noted.

At this point, a problem with Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva arose. "Valerio was always good in the car, telling me only four kilometres to go, but then turning a corner and seeing the five kilometre sign -- these are things that can crack a cyclist so easily! But I managed to still keep the pace high to the end of the race. Getting 13th for me on this mountain top stage is a really good result."

Looking to the rest of the season, he is scheduled to ride the Vattenfall Cyclassics ProTour race in Hamburg and the Eneco Tour, followed by a number of one-day races.

Hansen is also pleased that the team's sponsor decided to continue. "I'm grateful T-Mobile is staying. People look at a rider testing positive as a bad thing. I see it as a good thing. It means all these extra controls are working and the sport is getting cleaner. You can't complain about that."

Unibet stops at the end of the season

Unibet will stop its sponsorship for the cycling team, according to hln. The contract was supposed to run for another year. This was almost expected, as the exclusion of the team of the Vuelta a España, which was announced yesterday, meant that the ProTour team did not participate in any of the three Grand Tours, which was really guaranteed by its UCI status.

Gesink on his way up

Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Steve Cohen
(Click for larger image)

Robert Gesink is only in his first year as a professional cyclist, but the Rabobank rider is showing promise of great things to come. In Tuesday's Queen stage of the Deutschland Tour he finished third atop the Rettenbachferner, and moved into third place overall, as well as taking over the young rider's jersey.

Directeur Sportif Frans Maasen was pleased, and with more than just Gesink. "Honestly, we are not very surprised about this. We had expected a top-five ranking, but it is still a very special performance, though," he said on the team's website, "It was, after all, the highest situated arrival of the season. And also compliments for Laurens Ten Dam [Unibet]. The guy rode a very strong race. With regard to our team: they all made it to the finish in time. Koos's twentieth place was of course also a good result. But then again, we sort of had expected that as well."

The team called the finale "an exciting man-to-man battle", noting that "it was obvious from the efforts of the riders to maintain their position in the front ranks that it was a tough track. Gesink's body language at that time showed that he was having a top-day."

Uran on the mend

Rigoberto Uran of Team must stay in the hospital in Kempten, Germany, for a few days for observation after surgery. Uran suffered the injuries in a spectacular crash in the third stage of the Deutschland Tour.

"He has multiple fractures in both elbows," team doctor Andrei Mikhailov said on the team's website, The surgery lasted six hours, spokesman Manuel de Smet told Cyclingnews. "The complicated fractures were difficult to operate but the surgery was quite successful". The young Columbian also broke his right wrist.

Glomser forced out by injuries

Gerrit Glomser (Volksbank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Gerrit Glomser gave it his best Tuesday in the Deutschland Tour's Queen stage, but he was unable to overcome his injuries from the previous day's crash, and had to drop out of the race after 96 km.

The 32-year old Austrian, who rides for the Professional Continental Team Volksbank, crashed into a cliff Monday, suffering a broken rib and multiple bruises and scrapes on his shoulder, hand, abdomen, knee and heel.

"Having to stop was not a surprise," he said. "I was terribly nauseous and had a lot of pain, especially in my chest. It just didn't make any sense to continue the race under these circumstances." Glomser will now head home to recover and prepare for his next race. "I have another big goal this season, to participate in the World's."

Klöden's uncertain future

Andreas Klöden
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Andreas Klöden is facing an uncertain future. He left Team T-Mobile last year to join Team Astana, with prospects of both himself and Alexander Vinokourov on the Tour de France podium. Now three of his Astana team-mates, including Vinokourov, have been fired or suspended for having doped, the team has taken a one-month long break from racing, has been uninvited from the Vuelta a España, and may face the loss of its ProTour license.

Klöden has said that he must talk with his management about his future, which many have interpreted to mean that he wants to leave Astana, even if the team continues. Where would he go -- back to T-Mobile? The 32 year-old is "an outstanding cyclist," acknowledged Rolf Aldag, T-Mobile sports director.

The German rider has never been involved in any doping scandals or even rumoured scandals, but has said very little about those scandals. According to the German news magazine Spiegel, he has not sufficiently distanced himself from friends who have doped, such as Matthias Kessler, or those who are under suspicion, such as Jan Ullrich. His silence on these matters is seen as a disadvantage. "It is important to take a clear position, said Christian Frommert, T-Mobile Sponsoring Communications director. "Andreas can do that, even during a Tour. But he didn't. That is something that we can't simply ignore."

Aldag did say that a potential return would "involve a lot of things to talk about," but he doubted that it would be easy to integrate Klöden back into the team, or any team. He said that he had problems with Klöden's statement that his manager would deal with his future. "I want to speak first with the rider, over his ideas and his attitude, not with the manager."

Heppner giving up hope

Jens Heppner
Photo: © Sirotti
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Jens Heppner has been involved in cycling since 1974, and has been team manager of the Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof-Felt since 2006. But now he says, "I have already started thinking about doing something other than cycling in the future."

Wiesenhof announced in May that it would stop sponsoring the team at the end of the season, because of "the current situation in professional cycling". Ironically, the announcement was made almost simultaneously with the press conference at which Heppner's former team-mates Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag admitted to having used doping products while riding for Team Telekom. Heppner, who rode for Telekom from 1992 to 2002, has consistently denied ever having doped.

"The pros who dope and the press, which hashes out the affairs over weeks without looking at other sports, are responsible" for the disappearance of sponsors, Heppner told dpa. "In two or three years, there will only be one top team in Germany, T-Mobile, with maybe only ten German riders. Then the infrastructure for junior riders disappears."

Fuerteventura wants to go to Vuelta

Spanish team Fuerteventura-Canarias has reacted strongly to the decision by Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic to not invite them to the race. The team called "completely false" the statement by the Vuelta's general director, Víctor Cordero, who declared that the team hadn't subjected themselves to the same controls as the rest of the pre-inscribed teams.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 16, but Fuerteventura has already released a statement, clarifying that "we want Unipublic to declare today which controls have taken place at the other pre-inscribed teams."

Furthermore the Spanish outfit emphasized that it was impossible for them to be subjected to out-of-competition controls in August, as they were engaged in races the entire month so far. "One half of the team was competing in the Volta a Portugal in the first fifteen days [the race actually runs from August 4 to 15 -ed.], and the other half was engaged in San Sebastián and Urkiola on the 4th and 5th and will be racing in Burgos from August 14 through 18."

Additionally the team claimed that they were subjected to controls during the Tour of Portugal and had more controls than any other team. They also reminded Unipublic that the Vuelta organisers had a list of riders that Fuerteventura wanted to send since June and "it is not our problem but their's [Unipublic's] that they didn't forward the list to the UCI in case of an opening, as has happened in the end [with the exclusion of Astana - ed.]"

Fuerteventura summarized four reasons why they should be included in the Vuelta. Firstly, they meet the ethics code, even according to Cordero, who said in June that "To those teams who subscribe to the Code of ethics we give guarantees. Karpin and Fuerteventura did offer those [the signing of the Code of ethics -ed.]"

Additionally they pointed out their good results as well as the fact that they wouldn't take away a spot from another team, as one team less meant it was a vacant space.

Lastly they summarized that Unipublic had given three reasons to exclude the team, but neither the code of ethics, the lodging problems nor the doping controls were a logical and responsible step. The team pleaded to Unipublic to include them.

Tre Valli Varesine previews Worlds course

The Italian race Tre Valli Varesine will be taking place next Tuesday, August 21, and it will give a first glimpse on the 2008 Worlds course. The road pavement work has been completed and the course will take in the exact circuit that will feature in the Worlds road race course in Varese in September of next year, with the exception of the horse track 'Le Bettole' that is currently covered with grass.

The race next Tuesday will go through the heart of Varese, pass the train station Ferrovie Nord and tears into the Montello and Ronchi climbs for five times before ending in the via Sacco after 198 kilometres.

As is tradition this race will be broadcast by RAI in Italy for more than two hours.

The start list contains important racers from Italy, with Damiano Cunego , last year's winner Stefano Garzelli and Daniele Nardello, as well as Colombian Mauricio Soler.

Gonzalez gets additional doping charges

Former professional and winner of the 2002 Vuelta a España Aitor Gonzalez, who was caught for doping in 2005 has faced courts for additional, non-cycling related 'doping' charges, stemming from 2002.

The court declared that he endangered other traffic participants while driving under the influence of of alcohol and cocaine. According to dpa he lost his driver's license for a year, in a addition to a fine of 1080 euro.

Only three weeks ago he ran two red lights and was stopped by the police only after a wild chase.

Gonzalez denied all charges, saying that "I had only two drinks and in my whole life I have never consumed cocaine." He did admit to celebrate with friends who took cocaine, and "maybe they put something in my drink."

The Spaniard also has always maintained that he did not dope during his career.

Milram's youngest

At Team Milram, everybody pitches in and lends a hand, no matter who or how young they are. The newest "helper" on the team is 13 year-old Mattia Besnati, son of team doctor Massimo Besnati.

The youngster is taking advantage of his summer vacation to accompany the team during the Deutschland Tour. During the third stage, he sat in the second team car, which accompanied Niki Terpstra in his breakaway. Mattia cheered the young Dutchman on as he went on to win the mountain jersey.

But he is also putting in practical work, too. His specialty has become washing the team cars. "He has everything under control," team mechanic Sven Grundmann told the team's website,

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