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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for August 24, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Breschel shines in Ireland

Matti Breschel (Team CSC)
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Danish talent Matti Breschel (Team CSC) has been scorching the pavement this August, and his form continued to shine in the Tour of Ireland on Thursday when won the second stage of Tour of Ireland. Breschel out-sprinted the equally formidable Norwegian Edvald Boassen Hagen (Team Maximo Bianchi) and T-Mobile's speedster Bernard Eisel at the finish of the 167-kilometer route from Clonakilty to Killarney.

"It was a tough day, but it ended perfectly," said Breschel on his team's website, "I wasn't feeling all that great this morning, but got better as the day went on and the other guys on the team did brilliantly for me at the end. During the final kilometer there were attacks from other teams, but no one was allowed to get too far and then I opened up the sprint about 200 meters from the finish line," Breschel explained.

The winner of a stage in his home country, the Post Tour of Denmark, has been scoring top ten after top ten in the past month – four in the Tour of Denmark and two in Ireland to go along with a third and fifth as well as ninth overall in the Sachsen Tour at the end of July.

"I still feel on form after Tour of Denmark and of course I'm using that to the maximum," Breschel admitted. "I'm on a roll right now and I want to take advantage of that as long as I possibly can," he added.

Breschel won't be fighting for the overall classification, since he was behind the break of ten which gained 13 minutes on the peloton on the first stage of the Irish Tour, but instead will be working for his Swedish team-mate Marcus Ljungqvist, who moved up from fourth to second place in the general classification thanks to two three second time bonuses he picked up along the route on stage two.

"We kinda felt the need to retaliate after yesterday and we managed to do so with style," said sports director Kim Andersen in reference to the unusual stage one breakaway. "We tried to make it in different breaks at first, but we weren't allowed so instead we had to try and reduce the peloton as much as possible and line up Matti for the sprint. Our guys did really well out there today and Matti was totally brilliant at the end. He won very convincingly and at the same time Markus Ljungqvist moved to the top of the general classification."

Philippe Gilbert doubtful for the Vuelta

By Jean-François Quénet in Rochechouart

Gilbert is happy in yellow
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

Philippe Gilbert returned to Belgium with mixed feelings on Thursday after pulling out of the Tour du Limousin, a race that had started perfectly for him. Gilbert claimed his first win of the year in La Souterraine on stage one, but on the same day, his directeur sportif Marc Madiot warned that Gilbert was still suffering from a stomach bug. The infection, which prevented him from finishing the Tour de France, was identified, but in order to treat it, "I'd have to take very strong antibiotics for one week at least," Gilbert explained. "I don't want that. I want to finish the season well because the races at the end of the year suit me really well."

With the rest of the season in mind, Gilbert headed home to try to cure himself in order to start his preparation for the World Championships. He has never missed a Worlds since he was a junior, and while he admits, "I know I don't have many chances to win it myself," he remembers the joy of helping Tom Boonen to capture the rainbow jersey in Madrid in 2005.

For a 25 year-old Walloon, his record is one of exceptional consistency on the Belgian national team. Gilbert will get some more medical advice from Française des Jeux team doctor Gérard Guillaume before he decides whether or not he'll start the Tour of Spain next week, something he wanted to do with the Worlds in mind. Should he gives up his intention to go to Spain, he would ride the ProTour event, the GP Plouay, on September 2nd instead.

Petacchi's case sent to CAS

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) wins at the Giro
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Milram's Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi may have gotten back to his winning ways in the minor German stage race, the Regio Tour, but he still faces the possibility of losing the biggest battle of his career – the case of his 'non-negative' doping test from the Giro d'Italia. Petacchi was cleared by the Italian Cycling Federation of a doping violation and allowed to begin racing again in July, but the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

CONI reiterated its wish to see the rider sanctioned for what it views as a doping offence. "CONI's antidoping prosecutors have lodged an appeal to the CAS in Lausanne against the decision of the Italian cycling federation to close the case concerning Alessandro Petacchi," read a CONI statement, according to AFP.

Petacchi, an asthmatic, has a medical use exemption to take the drug in competition, but was found to have 1320 ng/ml of the the asthma drug Salbutamol (Ventolin) in his urine – more than the 1000 ng/ml acceptable limit – in a Giro doping control after his win on stage 11. The drug is said to have anabolic effect in high doses.

Petacchi's case was one of three non-negatives along with Saunier Duval rider Leonardo Piepoli (also for Ventolin) and Iban Mayo (for a too-high testosterone ratio) from the Giro d'Italia, and the UCI has been hoping to cut down on the number of medical exemptions given to riders for this very reason.

Petacchi was heard by CONI at the end of June, and CONI's antidoping prosecutor Ettore Torri recommended a one year ban for the Italian, but the federation rejected this and allowed Petacchi to return to racing.

CONI appealed the rejection of the recommendation, but they went to the wrong place – the Italian federation stated that they cannot hear appeals, and suggested that CONI take the case to CAS, which they have now done.

Cycling federations discuss the state of cycling

The cycling federations of seven countries, Austria, Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain met on Thursday to brainstorm for solutions to the biggest issues facing the sport in preparation for the UCI congress in September. The federations view doping issues and the ProTour as the issues which need immediate attention.

In a joint statement, the federations supported the efforts of the UCI in their efforts to clean up the sport from its doping problems, but indicated that more needs to be done. "We want to accentuate the fact that the biggest problem affronting the sport is doping," statement read, according to AP. "We support the UCI and the institutions in their efforts and we hope that the antidoping rules are applied with the maximum rigor. "

The statement called on the teams as well as all of the national federations to "reinforce their efforts to battle this problem."

Issues surrounding the ProTour and its conflict with the Grand Tours was also high on the list of priorities. The federations are hoping for reform of the sport's largest series. "We recognise that the ProTour presents some positive aspects, but it must be altered from its current state," the statement read.

Dekker to skip Worlds TT

Rabobank's young Dutch talent Thomas Dekker has announced his intentions to focus his sole attention on the road race at the World Championships in Stuttgart and to skip the time trial. The Dutch national team coach Egon Van Kessel said that Dekker had discussed the options with his more experienced team-mate Michael Boogerd, who recommended that he focus on the road race only. "I would have gladly had him in the time trial, but nevertheless, it's a good choice,'' said Van Kessel.

Dekker confirmed his decision before the start of the first stage of the Eneco Tour on Thursday, according to ANP. "It is definite," Dekker declared. Dekker's decision was made in part due to problems he has experienced with his hip while riding in the time trial position. However, his decision has larger implications than for just himself and the Dutch Worlds team. The team needs a rider to place top 15 in order to get an extra spot at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, but without Dekker, this has become more of a remote possibility.

UCI 'cross World Cup gets sponsor

Cyclo-cross has gotten a vote of confidence in the form of a title sponsor for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The Belgian shoe brand Safety Jogger has signed on as presenting sponsor of the 2007-2008 'cross World Cup series. The first round of the series kicks off in Kalmthout, Belgium on October 21, and the ninth and final leg will be in Hoogerheide, Netherlands on January 20, 2008.

UCI President Pat McQuaid hopes the sponsorship will help the sport grow. "This will bring additional support to cyclo-cross, a sport with a magnificent history, and will help develop cyclo-cross outside the countries where it has been traditionally popular," he said in a statement.

The Safety Jogger brand touts 'fashionable' safety and outdoor shoes, and was launched by the Belgian company Cortina NV in 2001, selling 600,000 pairs of shoes per year.

The first leg of the 2007-2008 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup presented by Safety Jogger, will be held in Belgium in October. The Netherlands will host the 9th and final leg of the 2007-2008 season in January.

2007-2008 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup presented by Safety Jogger calendar:

October 21 – Kalmthout (Belgium)
October 27– Tabor (Czech Republic)
November 11 – Pijnacker (The Netherlands)
November 24 – Koksijde (Belgium)
December 02 – Igorre (Spain)
December 08 – Milan (Italy)
December 26 – Hofstade (Belgium)
January 13– Liévin (France)
January 20– Hoogerheide (The Netherlands)

For more information on the 2007-2008 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup presented by Safety Jogger, please visit

Contador guest of honour in Clásica a los Puertos

By Monika Prell

Even if Alberto Contador won't compete the Clásica a Los Puertos de Guadarrama (August 26), he will be on hand as the guest of honour for the event. The winner of this year's Tour de France will have cut the ribbon at the start and he will also be one of the dignitaries to hand over the awards.

The race will be held near Madrid, with the start and finish in Guadarrama. While only one ProTour team, Caisse d'Epargne, will take the start, its stars Oscar Pereiro, Alejandro Valverde and last year's winner Rubén Plaza have confirmed their presence, according to todociclismo.

Aside from Caisse d'Epargne four Spanish Professional teams will compete at the event: Fuerteventura-Canarias, Relax GAM, Karpin Galicia and Andalucía-Cayasur, and three Continental teams: Grupo Nicolás Mateos, Viña Magna and Extremadura – Spiuk, as well as the Portuguese Benfica squad.

USA Crits leader out for the season

Mark Hekman gets a call-up in Charlotte
Photo ©: Emory Ball
(Click for larger image)

Abercrombie & Fitch's criterium strong man Mark Hekman, winner of this year's Athens Twilight criterium, looked like a shoo-in to win the USA Crits series until a broken heel smashed his shot at stepping onto the top of the final podium in Las Vegas next month. Hekman was leading out his team-mate Marco Aledia in the US Elite Criterium Championship when the rainy, slick conditions spelled his demise.

"I was leading out Marco on the last lap – with two corners to go we were looking good. I was taking the outside line on the last turn to move up when I slid out – my heel smashed into the curb, my bike shattered into pieces. It hurt so much, I thought I was going to die." Aledia took sixth in the race, while Hekman watched his chance at winning the USA Crits series wash down the storm drains in Downer's Grove.

"I broke my heel in two places," he told Cyclingnews. "I'll have surgery tomorrow in Cleveland – they'll screw it back together, and then it will be ten weeks before I can put weight on it. I'm not sure when I can get back on the bike," he lamented. Hekman only had to ride out the last two events of the eight-race series and score a few points to clinch the win, but now stands a chance of falling from the overall lead which he holds by 146 points over AEG-Toshiba's Frank Traveiso and 182 points over Traveiso's team-mate, Yosvany Falcon.

"The worst I can get is third [overall], so for sure I'll still go to Vegas to watch. We're still first in the team competition," so Hekman will certainly get some podium time despite his injury. His win in Athens Twilight was a career and life-changing event – something that saw him give up his partying days and adopt a more serious attitude towards training and racing. But now that he's off the bike, he joked, "I'm looking forward to drinking beer for a while."

The break comes nearly one year to the day that he hit a dog while out training and broke his wrist, but he was philosophical about the bad luck. "I had a good run – it was a really good year," he said. "$#!& happens. I'm definitely racing next year -and I'll be back with a vengeance!"

Australia tops medal count at Para-Cycling Worlds

Australia's AWD (Athlete's with a Disability) cyclists have wrapped up their track campaign at the UCI Para-Cycling World Championships in Bordeaux with an impressive seven gold, five silver and seven bronze medals for a tally of 19, the most of any nation. Great Britain topped the medal table with nine gold, one silver and 1 bronze for a total of 11 medals.

On the final day of track racing South Australian Angela Fleming produced a world record time in her win the LC2/CP4 women's 3km pursuit. It was clear the 39 year-old was in form when she slashed six seconds off her personal best to post the fastest qualifying time in the event she hasn't raced since 2005. Then in the final against American Jennifer Schuble, Fleming posted another world record in her gold medal ride, bringing the new mark to 4:12.851, half a second faster than that set by China's Ji Rong Wang at last year's Championships.

"I have absolutely no idea where that ride came from," said Fleming who earlier in the week claimed silver in the 500m time trial. "I haven't even been training for the pursuit because my focus has been on the time trial."

In the women's tandem category, defending 3km pursuit World Champion's Sydney's Lindy Hou and pilot Toireasa Gallagher took silver behind Great Britain's Aileen McGlynn and Ellen Hunter, while in the men's tandem sprint Newcastle's Ben Demery and pilot Shaun Hopkins collected silver with fellow Australians Kieran Modra and pilot Tyson Lawrence placing third.

Claire McLean took bronze in the LC1 women's 3km pursuit finals and newly crowned LC4 - CP3 500m time trial World Champion, Jane Armstrong, added bronze in the pursuit to her tally.

Attention now turns to four days of road events which begin on Friday.

Australian Team Track Results Summary:

Gold medals: Michael Gallagher individual pursuit (WR) and kilometre time trial (WR), Jane Armstrong 500m time trial, Chris Scott 4km individual pursuit, Greg Ball kilometre time trial, Kieran Modra and pilot Tyson Lawrence tandem pursuit (WR), Angela Fleming 3km individual pursuit (WR)

Silver medals: Angela Fleming 500m time trial, Felicity Johnson and pilot Katie Parker tandem sprint, Ben Demery and pilot Shaun Hopkins kilometre time trial and sprint, Lindy Hou and pilot Toireasa Gallagher tandem pursuit

Bronze medals: Lindy Hou and pilot Toireasa Gallagher tandem sprint, Chris Scott kilometre time trial, Trent Deacon kilometre time trial and individual pursuit, Kieran Modra and pilot Tyson Lawrence tandem sprint, Jane Armstrong 3km individual pursuit, Claire McLean 3km individual pursuit

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