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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 25, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Van Petegem to retire

By Brecht Decaluwé in Knokke

Peter Van Petegem
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The faces of the Spring Classics have been slowly changing over the past few years, and now the start line of the Tour of Flanders in Brugge will be without another of the hard men of the past decade as Peter Van Petegem has announced that he will retire in two weeks. The Belgian veteran confirmed rumours that have been circulating for weeks when he made the announcement on Friday in Knokke, Belgium.

"My career is due to end this year," Van Petegem confirmed to the gathered press in a quickly organised press conference in hotel La Reserve after stage two of the Eneco-Tour where Van Petegem is taking part in the ProTour event. The Classics specialist will compete in his final race on September 11 at the GP Briek Schotte in Desselgem.

"It wasn't an easy decision, particularly because I'm already retiring after only one year at the Quick.Step - Innergetic team," Van Petegem explained. The 37 year-old Belgian joined the biggest Belgian team last year, but functioned mainly as lieutenant for team leader Tom Boonen in the Spring Classics and never approached the form which made him one of only nine men to in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders in one year in 2003. Still, he said "I had a super year with Patrick [Lefevere] and I prepared to perfection for the Spring Classics, but I had bad luck in the Tour of Flanders and in Paris-Roubaix there was maybe more possible."

His 16 season-long career may have peaked in the early part of this decade, but Van Petegem denied that poor performances led to his decision. "I'm not retiring because I'm riding bad or because I'm riding with a bad grace. There are many small factors that brought me to my decision, but I'm afraid one more year would be too much," Van Petegem explained, adding that he still enjoys the bike, training and hanging around with the team.

When asked why Van Petegem will retire in that particular 'kermiskoers', Lefevere explained it had to do with a promise he made to Flandrien Briek Schotte. "A few years before he died I promised him that I would keep his race in honour. Richard Virenque already retired there and now Van Petegem and Serge Baguet will do the same," Lefevere explained why the choice to end at the race in Desselgem was made.

Read the rest of the feature here.

Danielson to Slipstream, Duyn extends

Danielson won Tour de Georgia in 2005
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

The Discovery Channel team may be gone at the end of this season, but its best riders are starting to find safety nets. The latest rider to secure a job for next season is American Tom Danielson who will ride for Team Slipstream/ Chipotle, team director Jonathan Vaughters told the Denver Post on Thursday.

Vaughters had hinted that he would be lending some more firepower to the team's stage race squad, and Danielson has shown his abilities time and again, winning the 2003 Tour de Langkawi, the 2005 Tour de Georgia, the 2006 Tour of Austria, as well as playing a supporting role in the Grand Tours.

His early career win in Langkawi put a lot of pressure on his shoulders, and his move to the Discovery Channel team in 2005 had many asking if he was America's next superstar. "He's a big natural talent," Vaughters told the Colorado paper. "He went to Discovery and got caught up in the whole 'next Lance Armstrong' thing, which he is not."

Vaughters said that the Colorado native would be a better prospect for winning one day races or stages in Grand Tours. "I don't know whether he'll be able to recover from day to day like Lance did," Vaughters said. "In a one-day race, it's not important. He can win a stage of the Tour de France without a doubt."

Danielson will join an impressive list of riders heading to the Professional Continental team which has aspirations of joining the ProTour in 2009. Also on the team are fellow Americans David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, Brit David Millar, Irishman Daniel Martin, New Zealander Julian Dean, Frenchman Chrisophe Laurent and Dutch riders Huub Duyn and Martin Maaskant.

Duyn revealed on his personal website that he has extended with the team for two years.

Fédrigo rides to Limousin overall

Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) continues to lead
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

Frenchman Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Télécom) succeeded in winning the 40th edition of the Tour du Limousin on Friday one year after he missed out on the overall victory by just one second. Fédrigo cruised to the finish of the final 184.8 kilometre stage from Rochechouart and Limoges in seventh place behind stage winner Alexander Usov (Ag2r), having held the leader's jersey since the second stage.

Fédrigo took the overall classification by six seconds over Spaniard Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), gaining his first win of the season and, after winning the event in 2004, becoming the third Frenchman to win the event twice after Bernard Hinault (1976, 1977) and Patrice Halgand (2000, 2002).

Fédrigo took the lead in the race on the rainy second stage when he attacked the final climb with Pereiro and Clément L'Hotellerie, unseating another Frenchman, Philippe Gilbert (FdJ) who later abandoned the race. "I'm always motivated when I come to this race," Fedrigo said. "It's a big satisfaction to win it again and it's my first win of the year. I was kind of sick of getting second or third - it's a relief to be a winner again. I've proven to be able to win again. Pereiro has tried to beat me but I stayed focused and I never lost his wheel."

Pereiro will move on to the Clásica de los Puertos to finish his preparation for the Tour of Spain that starts next Saturday in Vigo, and was satisfied with his performance even though he did not win. "It is a fact that I would have liked to win. It was nothing impossible, but our adversaries were very strong and very well prepared and it was not possible for us to win. Anyway I am really satisfied because my condition is very good before the Tour of Spain and that is what really matters to me right now."

Jean-Francois Quenet contributed to this report.

Boasson Hagen cruising Norwegian style

Edvald Boasson Hagen
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)
Edvald Boasson Hagen is fast becoming the most watched under 23 riders in the peloton. Just two years into his career he has 19 wins, a contract with T-Mobile, and is a hot favourite for the U23 World title in Stuttgart. Cyclingnews' Paul Verkuylen caught up with the Norwegian native from Rudsbygd in the Lillehammer Fylker a few days before he was due to travel to the inaugural Tour of Ireland.

Edvald Boasson Hagen stormed onto the scene in 2006 at 19 years of age, and during his first season in the under 23 ranks he racked up eight wins including three stages of the Tour de L'Avenir. This year, the Norwegian champion topped that performance, scoring a dominating win in Paris-Corrèze, which saw him take both stages and the overall, as well as overall wins in the Ringerike GP and Istrian Spring Trophy and stages in the Tour de Normandie and Tour de Bretagne.

Boasson Hagen's performances have not only gained the eyes of the T-Mobile team, which he will join for the 2008 season, but also the attention of his countrymen in Norway.

If you were to ask any Norwegian in the street 10 years ago who their most famous sports person was, 9 out of 10 would have said eight time Olympic gold medallist in cross country skier, Bjørn Dæhlie. Although that name is quite possibly still the best known sports person in the country today, cycling has fast become one of the main summer sports in the country, thanks to the success of riders such as Thor Hushovd and Kurt Asle Arverson.

During the month of July, most Norwegians are out celebrating the summer months drinking ute øl (beers outside) and eating prawns after a long and cold winter, but these days, many of the 4.6 million inhabitants of the Northern European country are also glued to their TV screens willing their favourite rider to a stage win or two of the Tour.

Thanks in part to the attention brought to the sport by the Tour successes of Hushovd, a new crop of youngsters began cycling, and one new talent stood out from the pack. Edvald Boasson Hagen hails from Rudsbygd, a small town 200km from the nation's capital, Oslo, in the Lillehammer region. It's an area better known for hosting the winter Olympics in 1994, where the aforementioned Dæhlie took two gold and two silver medals.

Click here to read the full feature.

Valverde on long list for Worlds

By Monika Prell

The Spanish cycling federation's national team coach Francisco Antequera released a list of preselected cyclists on Friday for the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany on September 27-30. Antequera proved unafraid to name Alejandro Valverde to the list, even though Worlds organisers have declared that he is not welcome at the event due to (vigorously denied) rumours of his involvement in Operación Puerto.

Also on the list are Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne team-mates Oscar Pereiro and Joaquím Rodríguez, Oscar Freire and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Egoi Martínez, Chechu Rubiera and Benjamín Noval (Discovery Channel), Francisco Ventoso and Juanjo Cobo (Saunier Duval), Carlos Sastre and Iñigo Cuesta (CSC), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel), Luis Pérez (Andalucía-Caja Sur), Xavier Florencio (Bouyges Telecom) and José Manuel Gárate (Quick Step) for the road race.

For the individual time trial, José Iván Gutiérrez and Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Santos González (Karpin-Galicia) and Iker Camaño (Saunier Duval) were named to the long list.

The selected riders will have to undergo the obligatory antidoping controls which are established by the Superior Sport Council, and which are held before every big international event.

The cyclists who will participate in the Vuelta a España will undergo those controls in the days before the start of the Vuelta, the others will undergo testing later.

Jaksche's hearing in Austria scheduled

Jörg Jaksche has been invited to meet with the Austrian cycling federation's antidoping committee on September 19, the Federation announced Friday. At the cyclist's request, the hearing will be closed to the public, and no details other than the verdict will be released, although the verdict may not be announced immediately.

The German rider lives in Kitzbühel, Austria, and therefore rides with an Austrian license. The beginning of July he admitted to having doped for many years, and added that he hoped to reduce any suspension he might face because of his confession. (SW)

Rund um Köln to continue

Hans-Martin Fraas, co-organizer of the German one-day race, Rund um Köln, announced Friday in an interview with Challenge magazine that the race would take place again in 2008. The race's future had been put into question when two main sponsors dropped out this year in light of the many doping scandals in the sport.

"The sponsoring question is still open," Fraas said. "We are holding discussions with various partners." He did not name names, and indicated that there were alternative plans for a smaller budget. (SW)

An international field for Univest

Borrajo is well suited to the US racing style.
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
(Click for larger image)

The streets of Pennsylvania will see a top international field for the 10th annual Univest Grand Prix on September 8-9. The Univest Corporation and Sparta Cycling, Inc., organisers of the Univest Grand Prix, have named several Professional teams who will take part in the 107.3-mile road race in Souderton, and the criterium in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The Navigators Insurance and Slipstream-Chipotle squads will help fill the 180 field. Also invited are top UCI pro teams from Mexico, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Columbia, and Canada.

Italian team Kio Ene-Tonazzo, a feeder team for top European pro team Acqua Sapone, the German Team Sparkasse team, P-Nivo Betonexpressz 2000 from Hungary, Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara from Mexico, Caico Cycling team from Colombia, and Equipe Vallee de 'Laluminium de Vinci from Canada will add an international flavor to the event.

Slipstream will be led by Pat McCarty, who took second at the 2007 U.S. Open Cycling Championships in April, and former world U-23 time trail champion Danny Pate. "Pate is a heavy favorite," said race director John Eustice. "This race really suits him. But it's not a given that Navigators or Slipstream will win. We have 12 or 13 power teams coming. That's a lot. Any one of them could win the Univest Grand Prix."

"This is an event very much focused on a North American cycling class," said Eustice. "We have the best racers in all of North America coming. That includes Mexico and Canada, with racers like Canadian Martin Gilbert, from the Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast team who just won the US pro criterium title, Fausto Munoz from the Mexican Tecos team, who won the most aggressive rider award at last year's Univest Grand Prix, and Dominic Rollin, a powerful French Canadian sprinter who races for the Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada Brewing Company team. The race roster is loaded. It's going to be a good race."

Other invited teams include Martin Gilbert's Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast team and Dominique Rollin's Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada Brewing Company team. The Rite Aid team, in ninth in US Pro Tour standings just three points behind Slipstream, brings Argentinian Alejandro Borrajo to the race. Eustice describes Borrajo, an excellent sprinter who finished fifth overall in the points competition in the 2004 Giro d'Italia, as "the most dangerous rider in the race."

The Univest Grand Prix is a stop on the prestigious UCI America Tour and USA Cycling Pro Tour. Modeled after the one-day classics of Europe, the 107.3-mile road race opens with a 68-mile loop traversing 18 municipalities throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties before hitting the decisive finishing circuits in Souderton. The next day's circuit race, the Univest Grand Prix of Doylestown, will be held on an expanded 1.4-mile course that encircles the historic Victorian town and highlights its arts festival. Both races feature gruelling but exciting uphill finishes.

The races will be complemented by a broad array of community events and activities. The popular Cyclosportif 100K recreational ride will return on Saturday, September 8, giving participants an opportunity to challenge themselves on the racecourse of the Univest Grand Prix.

2007 Univest Grand Prix Team Roster

UCI Professional Continental teams:
Navigators Insurance (USA)
Team Slipstream (USA)

UCI Continental teams:
Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (Mexico), Kio Ene-Tonazzo (Italy), Team Sparkasse (Germany), P-Nivo Betonexpressz 2000 (Hungary), Caico Cycling (Colombia), Equipe Vallee de 'Laluminium de Vinci (Canada)
AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork (USA), Colavita-Sutter Home (USA), Jittery Joe's (USA), Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast (USA), Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada (USA), Rite Aid (USA), Team Nerac (USA), Toyota-United (USA)

International Amateur teams:
CRCA/Sakonnet Technology (USA), Fiordifrutta (USA), TIME Factory Development Team (USA), CRCA/Empire (USA), GS Mengoni (USA), Cycling Center (Belgium), CCB/Volkswagon (USA), Meredith Group-GPOA-Cannondale (USA), PA Lightning (USA), Jet Fuel Coffee (Canada)

Fantasy Vuelta a España Game has started!

The first provisional start list has been uploaded to the game site. You can start creating your Vuelta teams now. If you've not taken part already in this year's games you'll find it's a great way to follow the Grande Tours in more detail. Be a professional team manager for the 2007 Vuelta and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's race. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Manager Hansemann
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Not sure who to pick? Manager Hansemann from Oslo, Norway won the 1st place runner-up prize last year (a pair of HED's Limited edition "Bastogne" wheelset and a pair of Maxxis Courchevel road tyres. Total value - US$884). Here's what he had to say about his selection strategy:

"Before the start of the Vuelta I did a lot of research into which riders that had done well in the last weeks. I also looked at last years results and studied the scoring system in detail to better know the distribution of riders (GC contenders or stage winners/sprinters). After the last 'free' stage I did my final team selection based on the above criteria and the results so far in the Giro. My team ended up with 8 overall contenders and 7 sprinters/stage hunters."

How to Choose your Mountains and Sprints Riders

If you are relatively new to the Grande Tours it can be a daunting prospect choosing your 15 riders. Fear not! The new ranking system can tell you some of the answers you need to know. Here's some direct links to last year's high scoring riders:

Go to the Top Pro Riders page and click on the "How to find top climbers/mountains and sprinters/points riders..." link at the top of the page to find out more.

Try the game for free!

Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Grande Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Vuelta start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters and general classification riders. For more details go to the rules section of the site. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta.

There's plenty time to join in the fun at this year's Fantasy Vuelta game at Cyclingnews . You can join until stage 4 begins on Tuesday 4th September.

Good luck from everyone at Fantasy

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