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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 19, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Australians predict toughest-ever Olympic Games road race

The riders took off
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

After contesting the Beijing Test Event Saturday, Australians Cadel Evans and Michael Rogers said the road course was harder than they had expected.

"It goes up, goes up some more and comes down then you go up again," said Evans after the race. "It's ten kilometres of climbing with some steep sections in it and not much recovery and then one big long downhill but even then it was a headwind all the way down and not so easy."

"It (the climb) was a little bit harder than I'd expected," said Rogers. "It's not super steep but it's quite constant and there is no actual recovery."

Rogers predicted the Olympians would have their work cut out for them in 2008. "Next year the field will be 100 percent better than today and I'm expecting a very, very tough race of attrition," said Rogers.

In the Olympics, racers will cover an additional three laps of the 23.8km circuit for a total distance of 245 kilometres. Saturday's four-lap, 174km event was won by Italian Gabriele Bosisio in 4:27:14.

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The race began at Yongdingmen Gate at the southern end of Beijing's north-south central axis and travelled past several Beijing landmarks including the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Yonghegong Palace, Temple of Earth Park and the Yuan Dynasty City Wall Relics Palace to the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall.

Evans finished fifth, 47 seconds down and Rogers was in 17th, 9'55" back. 34 of the 88 starters did not finish. Sunday's Stage 2 of the combined race continues with a 23.65 km individual time trial along the Juyongguan and Badaling Great Wall. Racers will contest one of the two total laps of the Olympic time trial. Event leader Bosisio has opted not to ride Sunday, which leaves Evans among the favourites for victory.

Gathering intelligence

The Australian team's key aim this weekend is for riders and sports scientists from the Australian Institute of Sport to gather intelligence.

"We gained valuable information and we know for certain the course is for good mountain climbers but apart from that we'll sit down with the scientists who can hopefully put all the data into English and give us even more detailed information."

AIS Sports Scientists Dr Dave Martin and PhD student Laura Garvican were collecting a range of course profiling data as well as studying the way the riders coped with the different environment. The studies included sleep patterns, travel stress, hydration, lung function, body temperature, and power output.

In fact, despite predictions that the Beijing air quality would have a significant impact the, riders said it was the day's 70 percent humidity and 30 degrees Celsius temperature that really affected them.

"My lungs hurt to breathe but it's not the dirtiest place I've raced," said Evans. "Racing in an Italian city you get dirtier from diesel fumes but it's the humidity here that surprised me and the combination of pollution and humidity makes it a bit harder."

"Definitely quite heavy conditions but personally I had no problems with breathing," said Rogers. "I spend a fair bit of time near Milan so I'm used to riding with the pollution.

"It's also better here (at the finish line) than at the start when we had to ride through the city," he said. "We're about 60 kilometres out of the city here but it's still relatively humid and hot so it's tough conditions."

For complete coverage of the test event, click here.

History repeats in Deutschland

Jens Voigt (CSC) won
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Following his second overall win at the Deutschland Tour, Jens Voigt (Team CSC) said to, "Every win is great. But winning such a big race in Germany makes me doubly happy." Voigt became the first rider in history to win the Deutschland Tour twice

"It was more difficult this year than last year," reflected Voigt. "I wasn't as strong and was under a lot of pressure. In addition, I had the advantage last year that nobody thought I would win."

Voigt secured his win after finishing with the bunch on the final stage, which was won by Gerald Ciolek (T-Mobile) in a bunch sprint.

"This was a great race for us and the outcome was perfect," said Team CSC's sports director Kim Andersen on the team's website, "We worked together with T-Mobile in reeling in the break today and in the end we decided to help them all the way home to repay them for helping us during the last three stages after the mountains. It was brilliant to see "JJ" up front. He's approaching his top form, so he'll be making some results of his own soon, I reckon."

For complete coverage of the Deutschland Tour, click here.

T-Mobile bus involved in accident

Crashes involving cycling teams don't always involve bikes and their riders. The T-Mobile bus was involved in a crash Saturday morning during the long transfer to the start of the last stage of the Deutschland Tour.

The bus was headed north on the autobahn when a car drove into it from behind, according to the team's website, The car left the road and rolled over several times, slightly injuring the driver. The team bus driver was deemed not to have any responsibility for the accident and was eventually allowed to continue on his way.

There were no riders on the bus, as they were to travel later in the morning in team cars. However, Director Sportif Alan Pieper and soigneur Dieter "Eule" Ruthenberg were on board, and hitched a ride to the race with the Euskaltel bus

American wins Route de France Féminine

Amber Neben and Mara Abbott at Redlands
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

American Amber Neben won the Route de France Féminine Saturday after finishing with the pack on the final stage.

Going into the last stage, the American held a 1'04" over Russian Svetlana Bubnenkova (Fenixs - HPB). Although Bubnenkova did win the final sprint finish and would win the mountains classification, it wasn't enough to take the overall. Frenchwoman Maryline Salvetat (French National Team) finished third in the final classification at 1'34".

Neben's path to victory was set Wednesday, when she raced to a win in the Stage 4b time trial 1'07" head of Bubnenkova. Her team-mate Mara Abbott, was rewarded for her ongoing support of Neben during the eight stage event with a second place in the best young rider's classification.

For full coverage of the Route de France Féminine, click here.

Soler and Kiryienka celebrate wins in Burgos

By Gregor Brown

Mauricio Soler in the Tour de France
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The overall of the five-day Vuelta a Burgos went to none other than the Tour de France's mountain man, Mauricio Soler (Barloworld). The Colombian, who claimed the Maillot Blanc à Pois Rouges in July showed he hasn't lost any form since July. He claimed the 29th running of the Spanish event.

Byelorussian Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems) launched a decisive attack in the final stage to collect the stage win. It was a win similar to the effort and result logged by team-mate Mikhail Ignatiev on stage 1.

"It went well for me," noted Kiryienka after the win. "The other escapees had made it possible to win and when it was my turn I decided to stretch it out and they were not able to respond. I am happy to rise another level on the podium and this also is thanks to my team-mate. They were near me in this wonderful moment and the results are a confirmation."

For full coverage, click here.

Vino calls anti-doping procedures "a clear violation of human rights"

Kazakhstan's Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) tested positive for blood doping
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

33 year-old Alexander Vinokourov said he would fight for his name and lamented the treatment of cyclists by authorities after deplaning from a flight from Frankfurt to his home country of Kazakhstan with his wife and three children. Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping last month during the Tour de France and faces a two-year ban from competition.

"In cycling nobody respects human rights," said Vinokourov in an exclusive interview with Reuters. "The situation is now worse than any other sport. I hope the truth will be found and I am going to fight for it."

Greeted by his father and about 20 supporting fans who were decked out with flowers and banners, Vino said, "I am not going to end my career like this so we will fight on."

Vino denounced cycling's current anti-doping procedures, calling them "a clear violation of human rights." He added, "You have to say three months in advance where you are planning to be, at what hour and minute. It's not possible."

After his positive test following two stage wins in the Tour de France, Vino was fired by his team, Astana. Due to the positive tests of Vino and other riders on the team, Astana will not be contesting the Vuelta a España.

Gil not exonerated in Operación Puerto

By Monika Prell

Koldo Gil (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Koldo Gil (Saunier Duval) corrected news of earlier this week by clarifying that he has not been exonerated of any implication in Operación Puerto. The rider's name does not appear in the new list of the Guardia Civil, leading to a misunderstanding, caused in part by the fact that the UCI sent a communiqué in French to the Federación Española de Ciclismo, who translated it incorrectly and erroneously communicated to Gil that he was off the list of suspicious cyclists.

The clearance would have meant that Gil could do any race on the UCI calendar, so he had targeted the Vuelta a España; however now he will not be allowed to participate.

Gil, who received the same letter as his Federation, is not an expert in the French language, so he trusted the Federation's translation. The letter said that the UCI has no right to remove any cyclists from the Operación Puerto list and that the teams and the organisers of the races themselves are those authorized to veto a cyclist from participation in a race.

According to Noticias de Navarra and following up on a request from the UCI, Gil informed, the media, after a phone call to the Federation, via the agency EFE that the previous news was an error of translation.

Fuentes had German assistance?

Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes allegedly cooperated in 2005 with a German doctor, Sddeutsche Zeitung reported according to an article in Saturday.

A German police source reported Fuentes maintained links with a doctor in Bad Sachsa in Central Germany; however an official spokesperson for the German police could not confirm the information. The same article reported that transfusions were carried out for the 2005 Tour de France in Hannover, and that Ivan Basso was one of the beneficiaries. Basso pleaded guilty to attempted doping in the spring soon after withdrawing from Team Discovery for personal reasons.

T-Mobile women's team not affected by additional anti-doping measures

By Bjorn Haake

The T-Mobile team
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile had recently announced that it would continue to support the team until 2010, but with some additional measures taken in the fight against doping. Most of the riders agreed with those additional impacts, even the financial ones.

The women's team is not affected by that but as Team Manager Kristy Scrymgeour pointed out to Cyclingnews, "We would definitely support any decision made by the men's team and we'd be willing to participate in anything that would help the fight against doping."

The women on the team were encouraged to continue to focus on their racing and to stay motivated, while the doping drama had been going on lately. The approach was to let things happen. "We have basically just been waiting to see what would eventuate and hoping that T-Mobile would decide to continue to back the team."

Scrymgeour added that "We are lucky in women's cycling that doping cases are rare." She admitted that there were cases in the past, "but never many," and her point of view is "now the peloton is very clean, and I think and hope it will stay that way, especially if the whole push against doping continues in the sport and in sport in general."

The women's team manager was not exactly sure what would happen if another doping case would come about in the men's team. Christian Frommert, Communication Manager, had indicated that this might spell the end of the sponsorship. "It is one team and therefore it is quite likely that if another case of doping occurs then it would also be the end of the women's team."

But she was hopeful that this might not be the case and "We can only think positively and believe fully that there will not be another case of doping and that there will not be a reason for the team to discontinue."

Scrymgeour was hoping things would continue, but also praised Bob Stapleton's approach through tough times. "The program Bob has started to build is excellent. The goals and intentions of everyone involved are very promising for the sport and it would be sad to see such a program disappear."

Caisse d'Epargne for Hamburg, Limousin & Vuelta

By Monika Prell

Team Caisse d'Epargne announced its roster of riders for Sunday's Vattenfall Cyclassics in the German town of Hamburg. The team includes the same riders who have competed in the Deutschland-Tour, where David López finished third.

Manager Eusebio Unzuè also announced the riders who will contest the Tour de Limousin from August 21-24 as well as 10 riders on the pre-selection list for the Vuelta a España. Eventually, the roster will be narrowed to nine riders. This list confirms the absence of Alejandro Valverde, who will instead prepare for the World Road Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

Caisse d'Epargne for Vattenfall Cyclassics: Vladimir Efimkin, Imanol Erviti, Joan Horrach, Pablo Lastras, David López, Alexei Markov, Joaquím Rodríguez and José Joaquín Rojas.

Caisse d'Epargne for Tour de Limousin: Eric Berthou, Florent Brard, Oscar Pereiro, Mathieu Perget, Sébastien Portal, Joaquín Rodríguez, José Joaquín Rojas and Xabier Zandio.

Caisse d'Epargne for Vuelta a España. Vladimir Efimkin, Imanol Erviti, Vicente García Acosta, Joan Horrach, Vladimir Karpets, David López, Oscar Pereiro, Joaquín Rodríguez, Luis León Sánchez and Xabier Zandio.

Hurricane Dean postpones Caribbean junior championships

The 2007 Juniors Caribbean Cycling Championships were postponed due to Hurricane Dean, now raging through the region. The event was set for August 18-19 in Barbados, with participants from 13 Caribbean Island. New dates for the race are expected to be determined within the next few weeks.

Keith Yearwood, President of the Barbados Cycling Union announced the decision in advance of the storm "due to impending weather approaching Barbados over the weekend, we have to cancel the championships for those dates," according to the Antigua Sun.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)