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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for December 12, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Burghardt's knee injury

By Susan Westemeyer

Marcus Burghardt is dealing with another knee injury.
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Marcus Burghardt missed most of the 2006 season with a knee injury, which resulted in surgery, and he came back in 2007 to emerge as T-Mobile Team's star in the Spring Classics, winning Gent-Wevelgem. Now, with the newly named Team High Road, he is once again recovering from a knee injury, suffered in a training accident.

While at an unofficial team training camp on Mallorca last week, the chain slipped off the chain ring at full speed and he rammed his right knee into the handlebars. After being checked out a local hospital, he flew back to the mainland, where he got the complete diagnosis.

High Road spokesman Stefan Wagner told Cyclingnews, "he feels better but his injury is still aching and he can't ride his bike at the moment. It will take approximately three weeks in total until everything is 100% okay again."

"I bruised the quadriceps tendon and have a light haemorrhage on the bone," he announced on his website, marcus-burghardt.blog.ch. "I will have to cut down on training for at least 10 days. After talking to our team doctor, I will do a lot of work in the water, so that I don't strain the knee too much. Plus I will have daily physiotherapy."

"It's too bad, because I was doing so well in training. That sets me back," the 24 year-old said. "But as you know, I won't give up, especially not because of this injury. Santa Claus doesn't need to bring me any motivation as a present; I have enough of that already."

This injury was to his "good" knee, as his 2006 surgery was on the left knee. For more on Burghardt read Only thing that counts is the team's success.

Celestino retires from professional cycling

Mirko Celestino waves good bye to professional cycling
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Mirko Celestino has decided to retire from road racing after 12 seasons as a professional, staring as a stagiaire with Polti in 1995. The 33 year-old Italian has one more year left on his current contract with ProTour Team Milram, but will not continue into 2008.

"Definitively, at least in regards to professional cycling," confirmed two-time winner of Milano-Torino of his decision to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Celestino, who is from Liguria and lives in Almé (Bergamo), competed in his last race was the Giro di Lombardia, where he finished 74th at 12 minutes back – eight years prior, 1999, he had topped the podium.

"One time I battled for victories, but this year I was battling to make it within the time cut. I lacked the stimulus and the desire to arrive at the front and fight for the win. One thing after another, I started to become worn out, terribly so, even to remain in the gruppo. I always sought to have objectives, but I could no longer concentrate."

Mirko Celestino in the 2006 Lombardia
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

Certainly, some of the changes in the last year at Milram have helped make Celestino's decision easier. He started his career with Gianluigi Stanga, the same team manager who has now been replaced by Gerry Van Gerwen at Milram. "It was made clear to me that I did not enter into their plans, so we reached an agreement, for now only verbal. I have looked around; there have been lots of possibilities but nothing concrete. Then I thought if there is so much difficulty in finding a place even in a second tier team then it is the appropriate time to stop."

Celestino, concerned about the current climate in road cycling, sees his future on two (fat) tires. "Cycling is worse then from when I started," he continued. "There is no longer respect for anyone. To this day I still look to a rider like [Gilberto] Simoni with respect, while the younger riders, if you try to give them advice they look at you like you are a moron. The cycling environment makes me nauseous.

"There are too many rules and certain things are exaggerated and amiss. Whereabouts 24 hours of the day, or almost; it is like Big Brother [TV programme].

"I am not [Paolo] Bettini or [Davide] Rebellin," he commented on his career. "I have made my place. Bettini said, 'you have to stay on the ball.' It was him who bettered me in Sanremo [2003] and the Tricolore [2006 Italian Championships]. ... I have closed the door on a certain part of cycling, but not on the sport. I need to define the details, but I will dedicate next year to mountain biking, in a team from my area. The stimulus that I have lost, I will refind it there."

Milram announces 2008 roster

Team Milram will go into the 2008 season as a German team with 27 riders, it announced Wednesday morning. It has signed seven new riders, six of whom are 22 years old or younger.

The biggest name of the new riders is U23 World Champion Peter Velits, 22. Six riders left Milram after the 2007 season.

Former business manager Gerry Van Gerwen is taking over as General Manager from Gianluigi Stanga. The team's ProTour license will be changed from Italian to German.

Milram for 2008: Igor Astarloa, Luca Barla, Volodymyr Dyudya, Markus Eichler, Artur Gajek, Sergio Ghisalberti, Ralf Grabsch, Andriy Grivko, Dennis Haueisen, Matej Jurco, Christian Knees, Christian Kux, Brett Lancaster, Martin Müller, Alberto Ongarato, Alessandro Petacchi, Enrico Poitschke, Elia Rigotto, Dominik Roels, Fabio Sabatini, Björn Schröder, Sebastian Schwager, Niki Terpstra, Martin Velits, Peter Velits, Marco Velo and Erik Zabel.

Online whereabouts system to replace fax

An online whereabouts system is set to replace the current method where riders are required to send their location to the International Cycling Union (UCI) via faxes. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the new procedure will start January 1, 2008.

The online whereabouts system, known as Anti-Doping Administrative Management System (ADAMS), will enable riders to enter login with a username and password and then enter their location. The system, already implemented by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in other sports, will only be available in English, French, Spanish, German and Chinese – the current UCI athlete location form is currently available in Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese versions.

Lampre visited by UCI controllers

Lampre's riders were visited by UCI anti-doping controllers yesterday during the team's training camp in Darfo Boario Terme (Brescia), Italy. Fifteen of 22 riders (including Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan and Danilo Napolitano) were submitted to blood and urine checks as part of the surprise visit.

In the second day of the camp, yesterday, Cunego and Ballan rode in the morning for two and a half hours near Lago d'Iseo. The captains, along with the other riders, spent the rest of their time performing fitness checks, reviewing gear and discussing their 2008 programmes with Team Manager Giuseppe Saronni.

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

Trebon, Compton set to defend USA 'Cross jersey

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Ryan Trebon rides towards last year's title
Photo ©: Russ & Nancy Wright
(Click for larger image)

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned..." or so the saying goes. If it is true, someone must always anger mother nature right before the USA cyclo-cross nationals every year – and this year is no exception. Strong winter ice storms combined with freezing rain and snow have hit the American mid-states hard in the past week, leaving many areas without electricity and hazardous conditions. Despite this, the course and surrounding areas of Kansas City, Kansas, are reportedly all systems go, with only one more day of winter weather on Tuesday before the racing begins on Thursday.

Ryan Trebon (Kona-YourKey.com) is having another strong season, winning the overall title of the US Grand Prix series. But it was a battle the whole way, with Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocross World.Com) taking the win in the final race and finishing second overall by only ten points . Trebon's teammate Barry Wicks finished third overall and could play a major role.

Other contenders include Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.Com) who won last weekend at the Verge Cup in Rhode Island. Powers nearly beat Todd Wells (Team GT) by a few inches there, and Wells will be looking for some redemption. Rounding out the field is seven-time Junior and Under 23 cyclo-cross champion Jesse Anthony (Jamis).

Read the full preview.

German prosecutor closes case against Jaksche

By Susan Westemeyer

The public prosecutor in Ansbach, Germany, has closed his investigation of Jörg Jaksche without taking any action against the cyclist. "There is no evidence of violation of prescription medicine laws or the law against unfair competition," said Ansbach prosecutor Ernst Metzger.

Ansbach is the hometown of 31 year-old Jaksche, who lives in Kitzbühel, Austria.

Jaksche confessed at the beginning of July to having used EPO (Erythropoietin), human growth hormone and other forbidden doping products throughout his career. He is challenging a one-year suspension handed down by the Austrian cycling federation so that he can ride as early as January.

The prosecutor said, basically, that it wasn't fraud because everyone knew what was going on, according to the dpa press agency. "If you take Jörg Jaksche's descriptions of doping practices as a basis, then it is – at least as far as I can tell – unlikely that all those concerned weren't aware of what was going on," Metzger said. "The only important thing was to bring in the best possible results, regardless of how."

Fabian Wegmann plots 2008 in cold of winter

By Susan Westemeyer

Fabian Wegmann in Japan
Photo ©: Makoto Ayano
(Click for larger image)

Fabian Wegmann says the off-season is going well – except for the weather. The German winter, "which isn't exactly wonderful," is making him alternate his training between the road bike and his mountain bike. The 27 year-old will train at both his home in Freiburg and his childhood home of Münster, before heading off to Team Gerolsteiner's training camp on Mallorca in January.

He already has the first part of his 2008 season planned, opening with the Tour of California and Tirreno-Adriatico. This year he will leave out the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which he rode last year. "It was good, but I would rather ride the Basque Country Tour as preparation for the Spring Classics," he wrote on his website, fabianwegmann.de

His biggest goals in the coming year are the Tour de France and the Beijing Olympics. "I think the course would suit me, at least I like what I have heard about it. But we'll wait and see, it's still a few months off."

After closing the 2006 season with a second place in the Japan Cup, he took a vacation in the sun and then started training again. In between, he also attended the Gerolsteiner team meeting, which he described as a chance to "meet the new team-mates, see the 'old' ones again, test the new material, talk about the planning for the next season and take photos for the new autograph cards and posters."

Team Relax doubtful for 2008

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Team Relax doubtful for 2008
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

This Friday – at twelve o'clock – is the deadline set by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for Team Relax to present guarantees and contracts for its 2008 professional staff. If by that time the Spanish team of Aragon has been unable to find a sponsor to provide up to 30 percent of its budget it will have to say adios to the peloton.

"The backlash of doping is to blame for Relax not finding a new sponsor," said the company's General Director Jesús Alegre to Equipo.

Only future star Daniel Moreno has a contract for 2008. If no new sponsor is found, the rest of the riders will be left without work. Riders like Ángel Vicioso, Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo and Santiago Pérez are being held in limbo.

Mancebo noted, "I am in the unemployment queue." Perhaps for that reason he has decided to open a brewery in Ávila. Vicioso added that "I am thinking of the worst, and I have the idea that I will not race next year." Jorge García agreed with his colleagues, "Cafés Baqué ended in a very similar way, and the team faded."

Team Manager Jesus Suarez Cueva does not see a bright future, "each passing day I see it getting worse."

Relax hopes that an Italian furniture company will cover the 30 percent, or, another option is a rumoured alliance with Green Cycle Associates, the Belgian company behind Unibet.com.

Verheyen to Mitsubishi-Jartazi

By Susan Westemeyer

Geert Verheyen will ride for the Belgian Professional Continental Team Mitsubishi-Jartazi-Protech in the coming season. "I am totally content. The uncertainty of the last few weeks was not pleasant," the 34 year-old wrote on his website, geertverheyen.be.

He was happy to be joining his former Lotto directeur sportif Jef Braeckevelt again. Braeckevelt was with Lotto from 1989 to 2002. "I have always wanted to work again with Jef and now it has come to pass."

The team has already announced the signings of Frank Vandenbroucke, Igor Abakoumov, Stefan Van Dijck, Janek Tombak and James Vanlandschoot.

Verheyen turned pro in 1994 with Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx before joining Lotto for the 1998-2000 seasons. Since then he has ridden for Rabobank, Marlux-Wincor-Nixdorf, Chocolade Jacques and Landbouwkrediet. He has been with Quick.Step-Innergetic the last two years.

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