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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 2, 2007

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Taylor Phinney featured on US Sydney World Cup team

A chip off the old block(s)

By Karen Forman

Taylor Phinney with mom and sister
Photo ©: Karen Forman
(Click for larger image)

When it comes to genetic predisposition for the sport, the United States track team's youngest competitor at the Sydney Track World Cup this weekend, Taylor Phinney, could hardly wish for a better deal.

The 19 year old pursuit hopeful is the son of one of America's original pro riders, two times Tour de France stage winner and US pro champion, Davis Phinney, and 1984 women's Olympic road race and 1983 World Cup pursuit champion, Connie Carpenter.

Phinney's mum and 13 year old sister Kelsey (who, for the record, is a soccer player and Nordic skier, not a bike rider), have come Down Under to support him riding in his first major senior event (still as a junior) after winning the individual pursuit at the Junior Worlds last summer. He was also a junior road time trial champion.

Riding with Team Slipstream Chipotle Powered By H30 in Sydney, he will contest the Beijing World Cup with the US team and although both he and his mum concede he has a long way to go to qualify for the Olympics, it is possible.

He ran ninth in qualifying on Friday - not bad considering his age and the fact he only started riding two years ago, after giving up soccer. With such genes, why did it take him so long? Simple answer: "Because it had to be my own decision. I decided I wanted to ride, instead of my parents pushing me into it. It took a while to figure it out."

That said, Phinney is yet to ride a "proper track race", meaning anything involving more than two riders on the track at once. "I think I will start at a lower level in those, eventually," he said.

Meanwhile, Carpenter, who says she uses her maiden name alternatively with her married name, is enjoying her first trip to Australia and reacquainting herself with a sport which she says has changed "massively" since she hung up her bike on the day she won her Olympic gold medal - July 29 1984.

"I had pretty much done all I could in women's cycling at the time," she said. "I had been an elite athlete for 12 years - four as a speed skater and eight as a cyclist. These days, eight years is nothing in a career, but back then, things were different."

Davis retired in 1994, the year their daughter was born, and the couple set up a bike camp business. Phinney is accepting of his heritage, saying it's "definitely nice" to have parents who had achieved so highly in his now chosen sport. "I guess I know what potential I have in cycling, based on my genetics," he said.

See full coverage of the 2007 Sydney Track World Cup here.

Reactions to 2008 Giro route

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

At the presentation of the 2008 Giro D'Italia at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Milan, RAI-TV color commentator Davide Cassani described the 2008 Giro d'Italia as "a nervous course in the first stages, for the first half, then in the second part there are hard stages with climb after climb, from Stage 14 to Stage 20, then a final time trial on the last stage to Milano that may decide it all."

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) at the 2007 Giro
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

World Champion Paolo Bettini said that "The early stages of the Giro look good for sprinters and have the kind of nervous finishes I like. Last year I tried to win a stage with the World Champions jersey but didn't make it so I hope to do that next year, especially the stage in San Vicenzo, near my home."

2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli explained that "This Giro is clearly divided in two parts; the first part is nervous, while the second part of the Giro is hard, especially the final week, so you have to start well and not use up too much energy in the final to win."

37 year old Gilberto Simoni has two Giro wins under his belt and even as the tough Trentino mountain approaches 40, he will be a contender in 2008. Gibo explained that "This Giro will be a really hard race with all the very tough mountain stages. I like what I see, especially the stage to Alpe di Pampeago, where I won before wearing the Maglia Rosa."

See a complete preview, stage list and map of the 2008 Giro D'Italia here.

Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil injured on training ride

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Promising young Caisse d'Epargne rider Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil was hit by a car Saturday afternoon in Murcia. The driver, who reportedly has no license and was driving a car that he didn't own, struck Rojas on Avenida Ramón y Cajal of Cieza just five hundred meters from his home. Rojas was returning home from a four-hour mountain-bike training ride when the driver is reported to have turned left into Rojas' lane without signaling.

Dazed by the impact, Rojas told how his bike was trapped under the car while the driver tried to escape. "He tried to leave," Rojas said, "but he could not do it at first because my bike was trapped beneath his car." The driver did eventually leave but Rojas says the driver later reported to the local police office with the owner of the car.

The young cyclist suffered contusions on the left side of his body, according to hospital sources, where he was attended. "Thanks to the helmet I am here now," he said. "Because of the impact on my head, as well as my shoulder, neck and ankle on the left side."

Rojas says he is not certain of the extent of the injuries and will follow up with the same doctors who attended to injuries he suffered in a crash in March, 2007 this Monday. Rojas says his focus is on recovery and has to put all his racing and training plans on hold for the moment.

Tyler Farrar comes home; sort of

A flamboyant winner:
Photo ©: Jean-François Quénet
(Click for larger image)

After riding strong with the U.S. development program, and sprinting to a U.S. criterium championship in 2005, Tyler Farrar made the jump to the ProTour with the French Cofidis team. And despite injury for some of that time, he has continued his development into one of America's top future professionals. Now for 2008, Farrar comes home to an American team just as it makes a transition to full-time European racing. Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski sat down with Farrar during the team's first camp in Boulder, Colorado:

If there is a text book out there to show young Americans the best way for progressing as a professional cyclist, Tyler Farrar probably read it. He was first noticed as a junior and amateur, winning both junior and espoir national championships while racing for the U.S. team in Europe – winning races such as the Three Days of Axel and Tour L'Abitibi in 2002. He then turned pro with the Jelly Belly team in 2003, followed by two years of racing and learning with top American team Health Net-Maxxis. This acted as a springboard for him to the top level in Europe, racing with Cofidis in the ProTour the past two seasons.

Though his first year in Europe was complicated by a hard crash at the 2006 Circuit de la Sarthe, Farrar recovered and continued on. In 2007 he won a stage of the Correios de Portugal and finished fourth in the Eneco Tour prologue.

These results, combined with the fact he is an American, put him in the sights of Jonathan Vaughters, as he assembled his short list of ProTour riders to bring to the Slipstream-Chipotle team in 2008. In a way, Farrar is a hybrid of what the team will be next year – at only 23 years old he is young like many of the current Slipstream riders, but with two years of ProTour racing and European living, he is on his way to being a salty veteran.

But for Farrar, the move to Slipstream has benefits for him. "In general I am just looking forward to being a part of something that is a new direction cycling seems to be taking," he said. "And being a part of this team as it is making this jump into the big time is pretty exciting. Hopefully I can help the team make that jump."

See the complete Tyler Farrar interview here.

Rasmussen considered suicide after being pulled from Tour

By Susan Westemeyer

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) the day before being pulled from the 2007 TdF
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Michael Rasmussen considered killing himself on the night that he was withdrawn from the Tour de France, he said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper "De Telegraaf".

"I didn't know what had happened to me," he said. He had just won the final mountain stage and was unbeatable for the overall win, but now he had been pulled out of the race for reasons he didn't understand. He was sitting in the back of a team car, with Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker and a driver in the front seat. "I sat there crying. We drove on a country road, and on the other side there were constantly trucks driving by. It would have been easy to throw myself under their wheels. Then this terrible nightmare would have been over."

He didn't do it, and arrived at a hotel. "Dekker remained with me for half an hour. We were both silent and stared at the walls. After midnight, Erik left. Five hours after my victory, I sat alone. My entire world had collapsed. I was lucky that there was no rope in the room. If there had been, I wouldn't be here now," indicating that he would have hanged himself if possible.

He insisted that no one believed the reasons given for him being removed, and that everyone had always known the truth about his whereabouts. "On that evening (July 25), directly after Theo de Rooij had sent me out of the Tour, all the other riders in the bus indicated that everyone on the team knew that I had never been in Mexico. Just for this reason this decision was incomprehensible for everyone."

One of those who knew his whereabouts was Erik Breukink, Rasmussen said, noting that he had telephoned and sent text messages to his Directeur Sportif from an Italian phone which doesn't work in Mexico. "But there was also with soigneurs, mechanics and the coach. I still have some text messages with Breukink from June 15 to 24 in my phone."

He even met with Breukink in Europe, at a time he was allegedly in Mexico. "I had an appointment with Erik Breukink in Bergamo (Italy) on June 7. We spoke for two to three hours .... He knew that I would train in the Dolomites and the Alps."

During the interview, there was only one question which Rasmussen refused to answer: why did he lie about his whereabouts? "By the end of March I had become faced with personal problems, to be specific, in my relations. I wanted to train for the Tour undisturbed and not be confronted with the problems. For this reason it was better that the world thought that I was in Mexico."

"I have told the truth about the problems to the UCI and the Vogelsang commission. I am sorry, but I do not want this all become public."

Cavendish optimistic about High Road's future

By Cyclingnews staff

Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) winning Stage 1 of the Tour of Britain
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Speaking to Cyclingnews at the Sydney Track World Cup, British rising star Mark Cavendish says he was upset when T-Mobile chose to leave the sport of cycling but he is confident in Bob Stapleton's High Road Sports. "It's no different really," he said. "I think that we still have the best manager in the sport."

"T-Mobile was a massive publicity chain; at least the baggage is gone with that. It's a shame that the sponsors have gone out of the sport, but I mean as far as the team goes it's no different, but its still a shame for the sport."

Cavendish is competing in Sydney as a member of British Cycling's national team and says his form is snapping back after a stretch of intercontinental travel. "I have only been training for three weeks. Gent was ok, but on ten days training it wasn't ideal."

Cavendish says his next stop is Beijing, China next week. "I'm looking forward to riding in Beijing, especially riding the events that I want to ride in the Olympics."

Scott Sunderland to hold cycling clinic in Inverell

Scott Sunderland
Photo ©: Sabine Sunderland
(Click for larger image)

After another successful season with Team CSC, former Inverell resident Scott Sunderland, who retired from professional cycling in 2005 and is a director on the team, will be coming home for Christmas. While in Inverell Scott will be running a Cycling Clinic in cooperation with the Inverell Cycle N Tri Club on Saturday, December 22.

Fresh off the traditional team CSC 'boot camp' training this week, Sunderland's one-day Invernell cycling clinic will help cyclists with all aspects of their sport from positioning and bike setup, bunch etiquette and bike-handling skills, training programmes, race planning, goal setting and race tactics.

For more information, see

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)