First Edition Cycling News for August 29, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson and Paul Verkuylen
McQuaid reacts to Lemond, rejects criticism
By Shane Stokes
UCI President Pat McQuaid has responded to Greg LeMond’s recent criticism of the governing body, stating that the American’s claims are unfounded and that his suggested course of action is misguided. Speaking to the Colorado Daily Camera in an interview published on Saturday, the former Tour winner and world champion blasted the UCI, saying that it had been negligent in the past on the doping issue. He urged ASO to divorce itself from the UCI for this reason.
"Greg LeMond would need to be very careful," McQuaid told Cyclingnews in response. "I refute completely any allegations of corruption in the UCI, either now or in the past. We have always fought 100 percent in the fight against doping.
"If Greg LeMond was so sure, if he knew so much about the activities that were going on at the time he was racing, why did he not come forward to the UCI then with that information instead of talking about it now?" asked McQuaid.
In July ASO said that it would split with the world body over the Michael Rasmussen affair at this year's Tour. The organisation backtracked on this a few days later, but in the Colorado Daily Camera interview, LeMond recommends that this is the correct way forward. McQuaid, however, said that this would be utterly counterproductive.
"Making a suggestion such as that ASO should divorce itself from the UCI is, to my mind, ridiculous," he said. "The new Minister for Sport in France recently told ASO that they cannot avoid the UCI, they must work with the UCI, and she encouraged them to go and do just that.
"I think that everybody in the sport should be working together in the fight against doping," added the Irishman. "It [doping] is the biggest problem within the sport at the moment and all of these stakeholders, all of those involved in the family of cycling should work together to ensure that we overcome this scourge and get cycling back on the proper path."
Acqua & Sapone: Rasmussen too expensive
Former Rabobank rider Michael Rasmussen hasn't found a new home at Italian Professional Continental squad Acqua & Sapone, with team director Palmiro Masciarelli saying that while the squad is still assessing the possibilities it feels employing the Dane would be too expensive. The pair came together last week to discuss the possibility of Rasmussen, who was spectacularly dumped by Rabobank while leading the Tour de France, riding out the season with Masciarelli's team.
"We're still looking into it, but it seems difficult," Masciarelli told AP. "It's not like we can get him for free."
Having defended him to the world's media the previous day, Rabobank made the painful decision to dump its Tour-leading rider after former professional Davide Cassani alleged that Rasmussen was in Italy at the time he claimed to be in Mexico, one of Rasmussen's reasons for not properly filing his documents to assist out-of-competition dope testers.
"It would be too much for a team like ours," said Masciarelli, adding that Rasmussen wanted a contract for 2008 as well. "If we sign Rasmussen we would have to get another five or six riders to support him in big races."
The Danish rider looks set to rider criteriums, as he has done over the past few weeks, for a while longer with Tinkoff Credit Systems quashing rumours it was also interested in the rider. "There hasn't been any contact," Tinkoff team manager Omar Piscina stated. "With the cases we've had this year - [Tyler] Hamilton and [Danilo] Hondo - we're going to be very attentive to which riders we sign in the future. It taught us a lot. Things have changed. We're focusing on our younger riders."
Nuyens crashes out of Eneco lead
Belgian Nick Nuyens (Cofidis) has crashed out of the Eneco Tour while leading the general classification. The crash occurred while the peloton was descending the Cauberg climb. Nuyens was taken to a hospital in Herentals for treatment where it was found that while he sustained no fractures he has a crack in the radius of his right elbow. "We were riding in an echelon, someone swerved out causing everyone behind to do the same and brake. Through the chain reaction that followed I crashed into the bike of the guy in front of me and hit the ground hard," explained Nuyens to HLN.be.
"I tried to continue but it wasn't happening, especially while climbing," he said. "It’s never easy to decide to give up, especially while leading the race but I had no other choice. I had a lot of pain in my right arm and my back is all ‘out of position’ I realised quickly that it was over. I am extremely disappointed. Today I should have been able to defend the leader’s jersey, and tomorrow I would have been able to finish with a high GC place. It is especially disappointing for my team-mates who have worked so hard for this week."
Nuyens right arm was placed in a plaster from his shoulder to his wrist. Although Nuyens will miss the GP Plouay this weekend he's hopefully of returning to the trainer on Thursday and wants to make a full return as quickly as possible. "But it could also be that the pain stays and that my season is over," confessed a dejected Nuyens.
Nuyens’ retirement from the race leaves Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) as overall leader. It's the second consecutive year that a crash has caused the race leader to relinquish the leader's jersey to second overall after George Hincapie lost the race on the final stage last year after crashing in the final sprint.
Lastras happy with Eneco win
By Monika Prell
Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) was delighted with his victory on Stage 6 of the Eneco Tour. It's been two years since the Spaniard's last victory of this level, with him taking victory on Stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse in 2005. "It was a long time that I tried to win and today I finally managed it," beamed the two times Vuelta a España stage winner. "It's really a big joy and I hope that I showed that I am able to have a great end of the season."
The 31 year-old, who is looking for a new squad in 2008 after Caisse d'Epargne said it wouldn't renew his contract, confirmed that he had focused on this stage from the beginning of the eight stage event. "I liked the course, with the Cauwberg which makes the Amstel Gold race famous," he said. "I knew that today was the day to try it. It was very important to go with the breakaway groups, and I tried it already when there were still 156 kilometres to go. I was lucky, this was the good group."
"Later on when I formed part of the group of 12 riders I had to try to escape," he added. "I accelerated together with [Anders] Lund at a bit less than 50 kilometres to Landgraaf. We worked well together and this was my fortune. I felt that I had the legs to accelerate again and I attacked at nine kilometres before the finish. In the last kilometre, I only had 10 seconds of advance, but I wanted absolutely this victory and I gave all, so that I could resist until the finish line."
Caisse d'Epargne's Vuelta roster
By Monika Prell
Caisse d'Epargne will start the Vuelta a España with a strong team this Saturday, despite the absence of the Spanish squad's star Alejandro Valverde. Under the supervision of Eusebio Unzué and Alfonso Galilea, seven Spaniards and two Russians make up the squad's nine-man Vuelta line up. Team leader Oscar Pereiro will be supported by his strong team-mates Vladimir Karpets, David López and Luis León Sánchez, all of whom will be looking for a top 10 positions on general classification.
Veterans Vicente García Acosta and Joan Horrach will work for the quartet and could also aim for stage victories during the 21 stage event. Youngsters Imanol Erviti and Vladimir Efimkin will be riding for experience and hope to continue their good season, which has brought Efimkin victory in one stage of the Euskal Bizikleta, amongst other races.
The Vuelta will be the second Grand Tour of the year for Xabier Zandio, who rounds out the squad's roster. The rider from Pamplona fell down and broke his collarbone at the Tour de France, but is hopeful of being in a strong position when the Vuelta reaches Spain on September 23.
Gerolsteiner announce young Vuelta roster
By Susan Westemeyer
Some 23 years after his third place in the 1984 Vuelta a España, Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Reimund Dietzen will lead a squad at the Spanish race featuring three youngsters not even born at the time of his accomplishment. Tim Klinger was born in September of 1984, while Johannes Fröhlinger and Tom Stamsnijder didn't appear in the world until the next year. The three youngsters will be joined by three 26 ear-olds in Stefan Schumacher, Oliver Zaugg, and Markus Fothen, who turns 26 on September 9. The team will be filled out by 27 year-old Torsten Hiekmann, 28 year-old Andrea Moletta and 36 year-old Davide Rebellin.
"We will be looking for stage wins," declared Dietzen. "We were able to do that the last two years. Why not again?" His two stage winners from, Heinrich Haussler in 2005 and Robert Förster in 2006, aren't riding the Vuelta this year, but Dietzen will be looking to Schumacher and Rebellin to fill the void. "Davide and Stefan are always good for a win. But why shouldn't one of the others pull off a surprise?" he asked.
Two of the riders are coming back from injuries and surgery. Zaugg had to drop out of the Giro d'Italia with knee problems and underwent surgery in June while Moletta broke his femur in a dramatic crash in Milano-Sanremo, at which time he swore he would return to ride the Vuelta.
Gerolsteiner for the Vuelta a España: Markus Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Torsten Hiekmann, Tim Klinger, Andrea Moletta, Davide Rebellin, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Stamsnijder, and Oliver Zaugg.
Bouygues confirm Spanish lineup
French ProTour squad Bouygues Telecom has unveiled its Vuelta a España lineup, headed by a sole Spaniard with the support of six Frenchmen a Swiss and Estonian rider. Last year's Clásica San Sebastián winner Xavier Florencio will lead the squad on his home soil, and is hopeful of a mountain stage victory.
Châteauroux Classic de l'Indre Trophée Fenioux runner-up Aurélien Clerc will be joined by Saïd Haddou in representing the squad in sprint finishes. Similar to German ProTour squad Gerolsteiner, Bouygues Telecom will feature a large contingent of youngsters with the squad sending five riders under the age of 25 to the Spanish Grand Tour.
Bouygues Telecom Vuelta a España roster: Julien Belgy (Fra), Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra), Dimitri Champion (Fra), Mathieu Claude (Fra), Aurélien Clerc (Swi), Xavier Florencio (Spa), Saïd Haddou (Fra), Vincent Jérôme (Fra), Erki Pütsep (Spa)
Vandenbroucke still welcome at Acqua & Sapone
Frank Vandenbroucke is still welcome at the Italian team Acqua & Sapone despite mounting speculation over the relationship, following the rider's removal from the team's list of riders on the UCI's website, which list the riders on every UCI registered team. The 1999 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner was rushed to the Red Cross hospital in Fornaroli di Magenta, Italy in June after attempting suicide, but is hopeful of making a comeback.
"Vandenbroucke is still welcome," Acqua & Sapone team manager Palmiro Masciarelli told Sportwereld.be, before going on to outline certain conditions. "I have bluntly made it clear that he must first let a doctor examine him and guarantee that he is not risking himself or other riders by racing."
Vandenbroucke initially denied the suicide attempt but later confessed he had made an attempt on his life after suffering depression due to a breakup with his wife Sarah. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport from his hospital bed in June, Vandenbroucke pledged to make a speedy return to the sport, saying: "I will return because as long as there is life, there is hope."
Vandenbroucke's contract expires at the end of this season, but the squad isn't dismissing the possibility of re-signing him for 2008. "He has thus the time still to prove himself on the bike," declared Masciarelli.
Remembering Amy: British rider Emma Pooley a deserving recipient of 2007 award
The life of Australian cyclist Amy Gillett ended abruptly at the age of 29 on a road in rural Germany in July 2005, shocking the cycling community around the world. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer talked to Amy's mother, Mary Safe, and to Emma Pooley, this year's winner of the award established to commemorate Amy Gillett.
"Amy's life and all that it means can still live on in all of our memories. As parents losing a daughter, that is so important to us," said Mary Safe, the mother of the Australian cyclist, still dealing with the tragic loss of her gifted daughter.
Following her death in 2005, the organizers of the Thüringen Rundfahrt introduced the Amy Gillett Award, which is given to the woman who best exhibits outstanding fairness and competitiveness in the race.
Amy Gillett was riding the course of the time trial for the Thüringen Rundfahrt on July 18, 2005, when a teenaged driver lost control of her car and ploughed into the Australian women's team, striking all six riders, killing Amy and seriously injuring the other five.
That tragic accident rocked the cycling world as it epitomized the daily dangers faced by every cyclist, and realized their worst fears: that of being hit in one's prime while riding with friends and fellow racers.
The organizers of the German race were equally traumatized by the event, as was most of the German public. So an award was established, among other initiatives, and this year it was presented to British rider Emma Pooley, of the new Team Specialized, who won the third stage of the 2007 edition of the race with a daring 80km solo attack, which also put her into the leader's jersey as she crossed the line almost five minutes ahead of the field.
Pooley eventually surrendered the lead to German powerhouse Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) as the German squad stepped up the pressure to take out the major German women's tour, but the British rider continued to make her presence felt, and eventually finished in fifth on GC and also with the mountains jersey.
After learning of this year's winner of the award, Mary Safe did some research - and was astonished by what she found. She had little doubt the right woman had won. "We noticed that Emma, like Amy, liked to ride in front for long distances alone, as well as trying hard all day and never giving up."
To read the full Amy Gillett Award feature, click here.
It is looking likely that Venezuelan climber José Rujano will be returning to the Selle-Italia team of Gianni Savio, as reported by Sportwereld.be. He has passed a year a piece with ProTour teams Quick.Step-Innergetic and Unibet.com.
Belgian national champion Stijn Devolder has also decided on his team for 2008, having commenced talks with several ProTour teams since his Discovery Channel squad announced its disbandment earlier this month. Devolder confirmed on his website www.stijndevolder.be that he has signed a contract to with Quick.Step-Innergetic, marking his return to a Belgian based team after four years riding for the American based Discovery Channel/US Postal.
Devolder will become co-captain of the team along with Tom Boonen in the classics and will make his first appearance at the Tour de France next season. Devolder signed his new contract on the August 28, one day before his 28th birthday.
Days left to join Fantasy Vuelta 2007
There's still time to join the Fantasy La Vuelta Game - create your teams now and win some amazing prizes! You can enter new teams until Stage 4 begins (10:00 UTC/GMT+2 Tuesday, September 4).
Choosing your Mountains and Sprints Riders
In what's set to be an interesting race following the events of this summer picking your team of 15 riders couldn't be more challenging. If you are relatively new to the Grande Tours it can be a daunting prospect choosing your 15 riders from Saturday's start list of over 200 riders. You need to choose your riders carefully for all four elements of the game. The new ranking system can tell you some of the answers you need to know based on last year's results. Here's some direct links to real life riders that scored well in the 2006 Vuelta Fantasy Game:
Rider list updated
The official La Vuelta rider list has been uploaded today with the latest additions so you can begin selecting your winning teams. You can see this list in full on the Top Riders page or download this list in Excel Spreadsheet format.
We've added some great improvements to the game this year:
We will shortly be announcing the major prizes in this year's game. So far we have announced some great prizes from from Speedplay, Giro, Udderly SMOOth, Maxxis, and 21 daily prizes from BBB. Keep an eye on the site in the next few days for the announcement of the Grande Prize, and the major runners-up prizes. Find out more here.
What is Fantasy Vuelta all about?
The online game allows you to assume the role of 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 Vuelta. 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. Remember you can still enter teams until Stage 4 begins. You can re-edit and re-enter teams for Stages 1-3 of the Vuelta 2007 competition up until Stage 4 begins. Unlike most Fantasy games, this gives you the chance to try out the game for free and experiment with different strategies without having to pay for mistakes. If you join the Vuelta after the start date you can still take part with just as good a chance of winning as a manager who joined before stage 1. Try out a team today!
Play for free
Remember you can play for free for the first four stages. Try your teams out and see which rider combinations work out best. We hope you enjoy this year's game and look forward to seeing your winning team online soon.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)