Latest Cycling News for August 28, 2007
Edited by Gregor Brown
Pozzato ready for Worlds responsibility
Filippo Pozzato is making the top-form push for the upcoming World Championships. He will form part of Italy's Squadra Azzurra that will seek to defend its 2006 title won by Paolo Bettini. The 25 year-old from Sandrigo (Vicenza) knows that there will be shared leadership but he is "ready to take responsibility."
He is stationed at 1800 metres elevation in Livigno for a training camp that will lead him on to the GP Plouay, the Tour of Poland and then the big day in Stuttgart, the World Championships, September 30.
"It is going very well. I am doing a lot of training to arrive for the Worlds at 100 percent," he confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I am very content with my rhythm. The motivation and desire are there; I am very concentrated. ... I started coming here during the junior national training camps. I go to the same place, Hotel Bivio. There are some riders that come to this hotel because of the discotheque but after dinner I am in my room sleeping; however, I see a lot of them down there [at the discotheque]."
Pozzato wanted to ride the Vuelta a España, like Paolo Bettini, to prepare for the Worlds but he will ride another programme to respect the wishes of Roberto Amadio. The Liquigas Team Manager did not want his riders pulling out of the race after two weeks of racing, preferring that Pozzato uses the Plouay (this Sunday) and the Tour of Poland (September 10 - 16) as 'training.'
"I respect the decision of Liquigas but what about the riders like Bettini, Cunego and Rebellin that will stop at the Vuelta? ... All the same, I will be ready for Stuttgart."
Pozzato will race the World Championships along side Bettini but he will likely be given his own chances. National Directeur Sportif Franco Ballerini and Bettini both have faith in the rider that won the Tour de France stage to Autun.
"Franco knows that if he gives me a chance I will not let him down," Pozzato continued. "I am ready to take responsibility. I have always been faithful to the national squad – at Madrid and at Salzburg. I have always done my work because I am a professional.
"Di Luca, when he saw the course, he said, 'it is made for you. Hard climbs and a sprint on a light, powerful rise.'"
There should be no difficulties between 'Il Grillo Livornese' and Pozzato as the two share an optimum friendship. "Paolo is the best in the world when it comes to one-day racing. We are very friendly. ... He always sends me an SMS when I win. I took him to the finale in Salzburg and he gave me a gift from his heart – he gave me the rainbow jersey that he wore while winning the Giro di Lombardia. It has a huge value to me.
"Paolo is very honest; if he is not at the top he will give you the possibility to play your cards."
Burghardt to Stuttgart
Third year professional Marcus Burghardt is preparing for his second nomination to the World Championships, but this year he expects to start the race. He was nominated in 2005, but was a reserve and he did not ride.
The 24 year-old of T-Mobile had a good neo-pro year in 2005 but a knee injury last year hurt his season. He had to fight to get a contract for this year but promptly rewarded his team when he came into his own and won Gent-Wevelgem, establishing himself as T-Mobile's new hope for the Classics. 'Burgi' rode the Tour de France this year for the first time, finishing 127th, nearly three and half hours down.
His last race was the Regio Tour, where he finished 46th. Nevertheless, he was satisfied with it. "Overall, the Regio Tour was successful for me because I need this preparation for the next races. The legs are good and I never had the feeling that I was in difficulty," he wrote on marcus-burghardt.blog.ch.
"Now I'm off to my next races, first in Brittany in northern France, and then to the Hessen Rundfahrt. I want to get a stage win there. Well, and then comes Stuttgart. Yes, you read it right, I will start for Germany in the world's road race the end of September."
Milram confirms Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel for Vuelta
By Iker Rioja
Team Milram have confirmed sprinters Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel for the upcoming Vuelta a España. The Italian sprinter will be at the start in Vigo even though the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has asked the Italian cycling federation (FCI) not to allow so.
Matej Jurco, Martin Müller, Alberto Ongarato, Elio Rigotto, Fabio Sabatini, Marco Velo and Niki Terpstra will complete the team. 23 year-old Terpstra completed a good Deutschland Tour recently.
The main goal of this team is, once again, stage wins. Last year, veteran Erik Zabel obtained two victories, including the final stage in Madrid.
Samuel Sánchez's Vuelta goals
By Monika Prell
Samuel Sánchez will be the leader of the team Euskaltel-Euskadi for the Vuelta a España. The rider who finished fifth in 2006 declared that his "ambitions for this Vuelta are a place on the podium and to win a stage. If I could fulfil these two goals, I would be very satisfied."
The 29 year-old counts on a strong team. "We have a very strong squad, very composed. Haimar Zubeldia, Iñigo Landaluze, Iñaki Flores and I are very expert riders, meanwhile Igor Antón and Koldo Fernández are youthful. [Dionisio] Galparsoro, [Aitor] Hernández... it's a potent group that will be able to go for stage victories and a good general classification."
The Asturian believes that "the time trial of Zaragoza will be a point of change in the race. In addition, after this time trial of 50 kilometres there will be two stages that will finish on a mountain, Cerler and Arcalís. Judging only by seeing the profile, this is a very balanced Vuelta, and, from the beginning on, very attractive and entertaining for the spectators."
He sees Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), Carlos Sastre (CSC), José Angel Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) and Santos Gonzalez (Karpin-Galicia) as favourites for the overall victory. "Those are the cyclists with the most options."
Sánchez described his plan following the Vuelta a España. "I will ride Paris–Tours and the Giro di Lombardia, the two end-of-season Classics. In the  Giro di Lombardia, I finished second, we will see if I will have a similar level in this year's edition.
"And before these two races, I would like to compete in the World Championships. I hope to be in the final selection. Last year, I was among the best riders, and this season I would like to repeat this performance."
Strauss retires from Gerolsteiner
Team Gerolsteiner has announced that Marcel Strauss will end his career at the end of this season. "It is time for me to end this very fine phase of my life," the 31 year-old Swiss rider said.
"Especially, the seven years at Team Gerolsteiner will be unforgettable. But I want to do more than live out of a suitcase every day. It is time for a new challenge."
On the team's website, gerolsteiner.de, the Swiss rider noted that he is looking forward to working as a carpenter, a profession he practiced before turning pro, but he may also go back to school.
Strauss turned professional in 1999 with Post Swiss Team and joined Gerolsteiner in 2001. He does not have any wins in his career. He has started the Giro d'Italia three times and the Vuelta a España twice.
Millar confirmed for Newport Nocturne
David Millar of Team Saunier Duval-Prodir is interrupting his continental programme in order to ride this Saturday's Shropshire Star Newport Nocturne.
His presence will mean that all four British riders from this year's Tour de France will be taking part in the Shropshire event. Promoter Nick Jeggo said "It's been a fantastic year for British cycling with the Tour de France starting in London and more Brits than for many years taking part in it. Cycling in the UK is going from strength to strength so it's fantastic for bike fans that we have the top British pros coming to Newport."
Millar will take part in the "Battle for Beijing" a one lap time trial against the other Tour riders, plus Simon Holt, Newport's local cycling star and Olympic medallist and World Champion Rob Hayles. It is also likely that Millar will line up for the main Pro/Elite circuit race.
A daughter for O'Grady
CSC's Stuart O'Grady was still recovering from serious injuries he suffered in a crash during the Tour de France when he headed back to the hospital some three weeks later. However, this was for a very good reason – the birth of his daughter, Keira Rose.
Keira Rose was born on her father's birthday, August 6.
"It's the best present I could have got or been given by my wife," he said on teamogrady.com.au. "It takes some of the pain away that I have been suffering in recent weeks."
A collision with a guard rail in the eighth stage of the Tour de France left the Australian with eight broken ribs, a punctured lung and a broken shoulder.
"Thank God, the new one doesn't look like me at all," he jokingly added.
Cantele continues to lead Trophée d'Or
Noemi Cantele (Team Bigla) continues to lead the Trophée d'Or women's race in France, ahead of teammate Nicole Brändli and Joanne Kiesanowski of the New Zealand national team. The race featured two short stages on Monday, with Safi-Pasta's Giorgia Bronzini winning the early stage and T-Mobile's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg taking stage five in the afternoon.
Stage four started at 9:45 and the women went 75 kilometres from Sancoins to Orval over hilly terrain with two ranked climbs. Cantele got into an escape group, which T-Mobile helped to pull back. In the mass sprint Bronzini won ahead of Ludivine Henrion (DSB Bank) and Monica Holler (Bigla).
That was followed by a late afternoon stage of 70 kilometres from Chateaumeillant to St. Amand. No escape groups were able to successfully get away. Tuetenberg won the mass sprint for her tenth win of the season.
Tour of Missouri roster develops
Six elite cycling teams from around the world join nine previously announced teams to complete the elite field for the inaugural 2007 Tour of Missouri, the six-day, 600-mile (965.6km) stage race running September 11 to 16.
Currently ranking sixth in the world standings, Prodir-Saunier Duval of Spain leads the roster of international teams that will race the inaugural Tour of Missouri. The roster of teams rounds out with Team DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed of Great Britain, German Team Sparkasse, Canada's top pro squad Symmetrics Cycling, Mexico's Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and USA's Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada.
"For a first year event, we feel very proud to host this elite world-class field," said race director Jim Birrell. "As a North American race, it will be great to have the top Mexican and Canadian professional clubs competing alongside elite American and some top European teams. We will have teams from six different countries that will bring all-star teams of riders from an anticipated 20 countries; this is truly an international field."
ProTour team Saunier Duval, returns to the USA with third- and fourth-place Tour de Georgia overall finishers David Cañada and Rubens Bertogliati. Pro-Continental Team DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed will appear with Cameron Jennings and Gert Vanderaerden. UCI Continental Team Sparkasse from Germany, which scored 47 victories in 2006, will bring Timo Honstein and Christian Lademann to Missouri.
Current UCI America Tour leader Symmetrics Cycling is coming with a roster that includins USA Open Champion and 2006 Canadian Elite Time Trial Champion Svein Tuft, who is also the current leader of the American Tour Individual Rankings, 2007 Canadian National Champion Cam Evans and three-time Olympian Eric Wohlberg.
Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, originally founded in 1955 by students of the University, is a top UCI Continental team based in Mexico. Kodak Gallery presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will lead with 2006 Canadian National Champion Dominique Rollin, five-time Canadian National Road Champion Mark Walters and reigning U23 National Cyclo-cross Champion Jesse Anthony.
Discovery Channel, Slipstream-Chipotle, Health Net-Maxxis, Navigators Insurance, Toyota-United, BMC Racing Team, Colavita-Sutter Home-Cooking Light, Jelly Belly Cycling Team and the US Cycling National Development Team will round out the USA teams.
More Fantasy Vuelta tactics!
In the last few days we've featured a range of tactics for a prize winning strategy in this year's Fantasy Vuelta. Chris from Guernsey (Channel Islands, UK) won a daily stage prize in last year's Vuelta - a pair of BBB's BSG-23 Winner Quick.Step glasses. To win one of these you need a slightly different strategy. Here's what he had to say about his selection strategy:
"Having learned from my mistakes when choosing a team for the Tour de France, where I put far too many sprinters in my team, my first decision was to only have six sprinters, (despite the fact that there were not many mountain stages in the Vuelta this year and was potentially set up better for the sprinters). I tried to pick sprinters that would get a lot of stage points but also crucially who were likely to finish the race i.e. Hushovd.
"For the GC I chose riders who I felt were in form and more importantly who I felt had something to prove, i.e. Vino, Danielson and Valverde. I also looked back to see who had ridden well historically in the Vuelta, which ultimately led to me choosing Beltrán. Sastre and Kashechkin were always going to be in my team whatever and I stuck with Brajkovic after stage six which was my downfall in the end as he capitulated along with Mayo in the bigger mountain stages. Basically one rider made the differences in the end between me coming 27th and the say top five... oh, how I wish I had chosen Samuel Sánchez now! The key I believe is choosing all nine GC riders that place in the top 15, preferably top 10, and chose sprinters that finish, if you achieve this your probably guaranteed to do well."
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.
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 in stages one to four. 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 nine 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 Cyclingnews.com
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