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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for August 16, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Predictor-Lotto considers Leipheimer

Levi Leipheimer
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Belgium-based squad Predictor-Lotto is interested in having the signature of American Levi Leipheimer, third in the recent edition of the Tour de France. The 33 year-old is looking for a new team after it was announced that current team Discovery Channel will be folding its operations at the end of 2007.

Predictor-Lotto Team Manager José De Cauwer confirmed in an interview with La Dernière Heure that the team is motivated in having a strong general classification rider to help Australian Cadel Evans, second in the Tour. "We would like to have a second man at the side of Evans who has the capacity to ride for the classification in Grand Tours, and Leipheimer would be an ideal man," noted the Belgian.

"The negotiations are open but I believe there are good possibilities that we can find an agreement."

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Leipheimer spent three years with Rabobank and two with Gerolsteiner before signing with Discovery for 2007 and later being designated as a reinforcement to Ivan Basso. Discovery and Basso parted ways when the Italian was linked with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and this opened the door for Leipheimer to push for the podium in the Tour while helping younger teammate Alberto Contador vie for the eventual win.

Italians report from Beijing

A select Italian squad took its first glimpse of the 2008 Olympic parcours when it rode in Beijing yesterday, August 16, under the guidance of Franco Ballerini and Sandro Callari. Fabio Baldato, Gabriele Bosisio, Enrico Gasparotto, Raffaele Ferrara, Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Sabatini are in China to take part in the Good Luck Beijing Road events (August 18 - 19) and preview the Olympic Road Race and Time trial course to report back to the eventual Squadra Azzurra sent to next year's Games.

The team battled traffic to find the area, 70 kilometres from Beijing, where the road race will be contested in the shadows of the Great Wall. The parcours is composed of a loop of 23.8 kilometres with the climbs concentrated in the first part, while the middle there is a long, non-technical descent that utilizes part of a highway that leads to the final kilometres. The last kilometre contains a difficult, sharp rise.

"The first impression is that the there are difficult sections, in which tomorrow we will be able to make the selection in the first loop," commented Ballerini, directeur sportif of the road team. Saturday's road race will be 174 kilometres. "We will take this into consideration tomorrow but also for the Olympics next year that will have a greater number of circuits and to be determined by the difficulties of the route."

"Two circuits of this route will be difficult," said Callari, directeur sportif for the time trial. Sunday's time trial will only contain one loop, 23.8 kilometres. "When confronted during the Olympics it [the distance of two loops] could snap the spirit of the time trial that which, according to me, should be fundamentally a test of speed. Anyhow, the best indications we will have in the race."

The riders noted the presence of the strong winds that prevail in the monumental zone and that the direction could render the parcours even more selective. After the reconnaissance the Squadra Azzurra returned to Beijing, which is currently engulfed in humidity and smog, additional elements that will have to be confronted by the cyclists taking part in this weekend's race and next year's Olympics.

McEwen angry at not making Vuelta squad

Robbie McEwen at the Tour de France
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Robbie McEwen is not happy at being left off the Predictor-Lotto Vuelta a España squad and being told that he will instead ride such races as the Eneco Tour. "I am more angry than disappointed," he told "I am not yet thinking of the Eneco Tour. I assume I will ride in Spain. I know I'm not on the list, but the list can be changed."

The team announced earlier this week that McEwen would be riding "a more 'Belgian program,' with the Eneco Tour, Aartselaar, Paris-Bruxelles, where he will go for a hat-trick of successive wins, GP de Fourmies, GP d'Isbergues, Circuit Franco-Belge and Paris-Tours."

McEwen said that it would make sense for him to ride in Spain. "There are 11 flat stages in the Vuelta, and our team goes there with absolutely no sprinter. That is not good planning."

Greipel leads Ciolek to victory

Ciolek thanks to Greipel
Photo ©: AFP
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André Greipel is one of many successful young sprinters on T-Mobile Team, having won two stages of the Sachsen Rundfahrt last month. In the Deutschland Tour, though, the 25 year-old is working not for himself but for his more successful teammate Gerald Ciolek. U23 world champion Ciolek has won two stages of the Deutschland Tour, giving him six victories so far this year.

Ciolek thanked all his teammates but specifically mentioned that Greipel "brought me perfectly into position" on Thursday's stage. On the team's website,, Greipel explained how things worked out at the end of the seventh stage. "It was clear that we had to come out of the final curve in the lead, since there were only 600 metres to go to the finish line. We did everything we could. It was dangerous with the wet road and the 180-degree curve, but we did it, as Gerald's win shows. When I dropped off 200 metres before the finish, I knew that no one would catch him."

There is no communication possible in those last few hundred metres, he noted. "The tension is too big, when we are all shooting towards the finish at such a high speed. But I am also a sprinter and know what I have to do."

The two also are sharing a room during the race. "It's easier when you get along personally with each other. But that goes for the whole team. When you see how Andreas [Klier] and Marco [Pinotti] worked hard today to pull back the escapees — that's team spirit. And that's what brings success."

Rasmussen hacker confesses

The 30 year-old Dane who hacked Michael Rasmussen's e-mail system has given a partial confession, according to He has been released from custody but faces a jail sentence of up 18 months. His computer, which was confiscated as part of the case, remains in the custody of Danish law enforcement.

Earlier this month it was announced that the Danish newspaper B.T. was contacted by a hacker who had gained access to the former Rabobank rider's e-mail account and who offered to sell them copies of the e-mails, including allegedly his termination notice from Rabobank.

German teams for homeland ProTour race

Gerald Ciolek has won two sprint stages in a row in the Deutschland Tour and will look to continue his winning ways Sunday in the Vattenfall Cyclassics race in Hamburg — if it comes down to a sprint finish. And if it doesn't, T-Mobile Team has other riders who might take a place on the final podium.

"Ciolek is our trump card in a sprint situation but he's not our only option in the race," said Directeur Sportif Jan Schaffrath. "In Adam Hansen, Lorenzo Bernucci and also Thomas Ziegler, we have riders who can inject the necessary tempo and are capable of getting into the right breakaway groups."

Ciolek, Bernucci, Marco Pinotti and Ziegler will travel north together from the Deutschland Tour for the race. They will be joined there by Marcus Burghardt, Bernhard Eisel, Hansen, and Stephan Schreck.

The other German ProTour team, Gerolsteiner, will look to Davide Rebellin and German national champion Fabian Wegmann. Both have done well there in the past, with the Italian finishing in the top six from 2002 to 2005.

Gerolsteiner will send Johannes Fröhlinger, Heinrich Haussler, Tim Klinger, David Kopp, Volker Ordowski, Davide Rebellin, Fabian Wegmann and Peter Wrolich.

Henderson hit by motorbike

New Zealander Greg Henderson was hit by a motorbike and knocked off his bike while on a training ride in Spain. The T-Mobile rider visited the hospital and is reported with only bumps and bruises.

Henderson reported to New Zealand's RadioSport, the motorbike came around the corner on the wrong side of the road and took him out. After a visit to the hospital he noted there was nothing broken and that he only has bruises and a swollen knee.

Schleck brothers to contest Tour of Ireland

The Tour of Ireland received another boost with the announcement that Team CSC riders Andy and Fränk Schleck will both be travelling to the inaugural event.

22 year-old Andy has enjoyed his best year in 2007 when he impressed many by finishing second overall to Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) in the Giro D'Italia and won the best young rider classification. The talented Luxemburger finished third on three tough stages in Italy.

27 year-old brother Fränk has the Amstel Gold Race and the L'Alpe d'Huez stage of the Tour de France in his palmarès.

The Failte Ireland sponsored five-day race runs from August 22 to 26, covering 864 kilometres of Irish roads. Starting in Kilkenny, the race travels along some of the best of the Irish countryside in many counties before finishing in Dublin on a circuit based on Merrion Square.

Besides CSC, there will also be teams T-Mobile,, Colavita/Sutter Homes, Navigators and Slipstream-Chipotle.

UK's best to Newport Nocturne

The promoters of Britain's floodlit bike race have managed to attract three of the UK's best professional riders to its event. Tour de France heroes, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas will ride at the Newport Nocturne on Saturday, September 1.

The riders will take part in a special one lap time trial called the "Battle for Beijing." Also taking part will be KLR/Parker International's Rob Hayles, an Olympic medallist, plus local youngster Simon Holt of Recycling.

Promoter Nick Jeggo said "It's fantastic to have Bradley riding at the Nocturne. He's not only a brilliant rider, but an example to aspiring cyclists in the UK.

"I have to say the pressure has been on us over the last few weeks to come up with something big for this year's event. In 2003 we had Sean Kelly here and in 2005 we had the Olympian Challenge Time Trial with the likes of Jason Queally and Paul Manning. Attracting Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas to Newport was a big achievement but now with Bradley coming it's the icing on the cake. It's fantastic to be able to bring top riders to our little town."

The evening will begin with the "Past Masters" race for ex-pros. This event is in aid of the Dave Rayner Fund which sends young riders abroad to develop their talent. This will be followed by the "Battle for Beijing" and then the main elite race, part of the National Circuit Series.

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