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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for June 5, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Breaking out of the Giro

Adam Hansen (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Adam Hansen went into the Giro d'Italia with high hopes, but his hopes came crashing down on the second stage. Cyclingnews Susan Westemeyer caught up with the Australian to discuss his Grand Tour debut.

The Giro d'Italia wasn't on Adam Hansen's schedule for 2007. In fact, there were no Grand Tours on the Australian's radar when he donned the magenta jersey for the first time this season, but that changed quickly when the Giro's route was announced. "After hearing about the course and the limited amount of sprint stages, T-Mobile wanted to change its roster a little," he explained. "So I had a choice of starting."

Despite having ridden a steady block of racing since February's Tour of California, the former Crocodile Trophy winner stepped up to the challenge. His late drafting into the roster, in addition to it being his Grand Tour debut, meant Hansen had to be reasonable with his goals. "Number one, to become stronger from it," he pointed out prior to the race. "I want to walk away healthy and not dead. I want it to bring me on to the next level. It's a long way from the Tour of California to the Giro with no rest for a first year pro, so I will take extra care."

While survival is a good starting point for any athlete entering battle, Hansen did have greater hopes for the three-week stage race. "Number two is to get in a breakaway that comes to the finish before the main field," he added. "If I choose to go for a win, then it will be a discussion with my legs, and I hope we can come to a nice conclusion."

While Hansen didn't benefit from the months of preparation dedicated towards the event that other riders endured, he was certainly relaxed having just celebrated his 26th birthday with his teammates the day before the event opening Team Time Trial from Caprera - La Maddalena. "[The TTT is] pretty funny sometimes," he said, "as it creates a bit of stress during and after the race. But after a few hours we all love each other again."

Read the rest of how the Giro broke Adam Hansen.

Schleicher leading it all in Montreal

Regina Schleicher (Nürnberger) had no time
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

Regina Schleicher of Equipe Nürnberger now has the leader's, sprinter's and points jerseys in the women's Tour of Grand Montreal, after winning the first stage Monday.

She gives the credit for it all to her teammates. Schleicher, the 2005 World Champion, won a mass sprint against T-Mobile's Oenone Wood and Georgia Bronzini of Safi Pasta.

Nürnberger's Trixi Worrack, second in the World's 2006, prepared the sprint for her teammate and finished ninth. However, she had picked up enough bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints to reach fifth place overall. "Trixi did a perfect job," Schleicher said. "She rode at the front on the last curve and coming out from behind her, I could use all my speed. All our riders today did a lot for this win."

Rabobank changes for Tour of Luxembourg

Thomas Dekker and Max van Heeswijk will not start the Tour of Luxembourg this Wednesday due to injury, according to reports on Rabobank’s website.

Thomas Dekker has been suffering with an irritation on a bone in his left leg for some time, and will begin treatment immediately; a fast recovery is expected. Dekker reacted last week to speculation about his involvement with Luigi Cecchini in his column for Dutch news site, stating that Cecchini writes his training programs and nothing more.

Dekker also pointed out that the recent admissions from riders involved with Cecchini, including Basso and Riis, had made it clear that their doping had nothing to do with Cecchini, and that he had not advised them to do so.

Dekker, who will be replaced by Jan Boven in the Tour of Luxembourg, will now focus on the Tour de Suisse and the national championships before his debut in the Tour de France.

Another Rabobank rider who will also miss the Tour of Luxembourg due to injury is Max van Heeswijk. Van Heeswijk has not fully recovered from deep lacerations and strain on the back of his left knee that he sustained in a crash in the Nacht van Hengelo. He will be replaced by Thorwald Veneberg.

The full roster of riders for the Tour of Luxembourg is Jan Boven, Thorwald Veneberg, Juan Antonio Flecha, Sébastian Langeveld, Kai Reus, Léon van Bon, Mathew Hayman and Rick Flens. Erik Dekker will be the director of the team.

Godefroot denies Telekom doping

"I neither organized nor financed doping in our team," former Telekom Team Manager Walter Godefroot said at a press conference in Gent, Belgium, Tuesday. He denied having encouraged or introduced doping within the team.

The 63 year-old Belgian was responding to charges made by former soigneur Jef d'Hont, who claimed that Godefroot had organized doping, including EPO, at Telekom during the 1990s. Seven riders on the team at that time, including Erik Zabel, have since confessed to using EPO and other doping products, and said that the team doctors were also involved in the scheme.

Godefroot said that he had considered d'Hont a friend, and was surprised by the charges against him. He noted that he will go to court over the matter. "I have decided to start a process against Jef d'Hont. It will be filed soon."

"I have consistently denied these charges and will not tolerate them," he said. "I know that I have the support of our personnel, from co-workers to more riders."

He refused to make any comment about any specific riders, especially his former star. "If you want an explanation from Jan Ullrich, you will have to ask Jan Ullrich. I won't talk about other people."

Godefroot, rode professionally from 1965 to 1976 and had 155 wins. He was team manager at Telekom/T-Mobile from 1992 to 2005, when he went into retirement. He made a surprise comeback to the scene in July 2006 as an advisor to Team Astana, at the request of Alexander Vinokourov.

Colnago bikes cross line in first at Colnago factory

Team Tinkoff Credit Systems technical sponsor is Ernesto Colnago and it was only fitting that on the Giro's final stage practically the whole squad had lined up to make sure their teammate Mikhail Ignatiev would win the Trofeo Garibaldi, the special sprint prize, with its "line drawn right in front of the gates of my factory - it was a pleasure to see three Tinkoff rider's on my bikes taking all the points," said Colnago to Tinkoff's Press Officer Sergey Kurdyukov.

Colnago continued to stress the "good relationship with Russian cycling for decades. You can bet this new team will win a lot more in the future."

Team president Oleg Tinkov was also "happy with the performance despite the fact that a stage victory was not achieved."

His hopes are that his team earned some recognition and popularity due to their attacking style. With Ignatiev winning two prizes and Petrov finishing seventh overall they aren't quite empty-handed, either. Because "we live only 20 km apart, in Siberia," Petrov's successes carry special meaning for Tinkoff.

While the squad is young, eight out of nine riders made it to Milano. Only 19 year-od Ivan Rovny was excused after two weeks. "We didn't want to burn him out prematurely."

Tinkoff is hopeful that Mikhail Ignatiev will win a stage next year and points out that "even Mario Cipollini spoke highly about Ignatiev's and Trusov's turn of speed."

Of Pavel Brutt, who had a different focus this time around, Oleg Tinkoff thinks "he will develop into a good rider for stage races."

He expressed his satisfaction with the Italian and Spanish riders as well and already looks forward to the June racing, with the team time trial in Eindhoven and the national championships.

Dahle pauses due to sickness

(Click for larger image)
Gunn-Rita Dahle
Photo ©: Rob Jones

Gunn-Rita Dahle, mountain bike World and Olympic champion, will skip the upcoming World Cup race and return to Norway for medical tests.

She has been suffering from intestinal problems for several weeks and will get herself checked out in her hometown of Stavanger, according to

"This was a very hard decision for me, taking a break in the middle of the season," she said. "But with all my experience, I know that good health is the most important puzzle piece for success." She has 25 World Cup wins in her career and seven World titles. She hopes to come back to the second half of the season in top form again.

David Moncoutié's future uncertain

French climber David Moncoutié (Cofidis), has had to forfeit his place in this year's Tour de France. Moncoutié fell heavily at the Tour of Romandië in May earlier this season, and is only able to begin training again within the next month, but even then he must take it easy.

32 year old Moncoutié, who won stages in the 2004 and 2005 editions of the Tour, will not be able to compete for the rest of the season, and as of yet has not even decided if he will continue his career next year. “The decision is his,” explained Eric Boyer, manager at Cofidis, “his contract is up for renewal at the end of 2007, but we will keep a place open for him.”

Tom Steels will call it quits next year

Tom Steels will sit back soon
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Tom Steels of Team Predictor-Lotto has decided that 2008 will be his last pro season. "I can feel the wear and tear, especially mentally," the 35 year-old said.

"I have one more year, and then there will be enough kilometres on my counter," he told the Gazet van Antwerpen. Steels is a four-time Belgian champion but he has had to deal with many injuries.

In 2006 he broke his shoulder, damaged his kidney and hurt a knee. In this year's Tour of Qatar he crashed after bumping with Graeme Brown, breaking his collarbone.

His last win was two years ago, when he won the third stage of the Three Days of De Panne. The Belgian is already planning for his second career. He is studying sport management at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is considering a future in politics.

Klemme wins German national title

Dominic Klemme from Team 3C Gruppe-Lamonta has won the German national road race title in the U23 category. The 20 year-old from Bielefeld won the sprint of an eight-man strong front group.

The 171-kilometre race on Sunday was held in Stuttgart on the same course athletes will face during the World Championships in September.

According to German the winner called the 19-kilometre circuit "extremely difficult." Not that he is a stranger to mountains - he wore the climber's jersey for three straight days in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt in April and finished third in that competition overall.

"He has done everything right," commented coach Peter Rohracher on Klemme's sprint, which he started from third position to beat Christian Kux (Team Milram U23) and Simon Geschke (KED-Bianchi).

"I want to be on the podium," noted Dominic Klemme on Friday of his intentions to be one of the hot favourites. "This will be my season's highlight," Klemme had made clear even before the season got underway.

As expected the decisive point of the race was the "Herdweg" ("cooker way") with pitches up to 17 percent. In the sixth of nine laps three riders gained a maximum advantage of over two minutes.

It was during the pursuit of this front trio when the main field became reduced from 40 to an 18-man lead group, which later shrunk to 15. In the last kilometre a group of eight was able to get away and fought it out in a small group sprint.

Milram riders walk home

Team Milram reported on their website that after the first stage the team bus go stuck in Dillingen, where the team's hotel was located. To get to massage and dinner on time the riders decided to walk the rest of the way.

A public transit bus stopped and to the rider's surprise the driver wanted autographs. The Milram riders asked for directions and, realizing that their hotel was right on his route, the bus driver did not hesitate to give them a lift.

Everybody was happy as the riders were saved a long walk and the bus driver was able to have such prominent people aboard.

Odds are good for Vino

Alexander Vinokourov of Astana is the favorite of the English bookmakers to win the Tour de France this year, who see a 1 to 3.25 chance that he'll be atop the podium in Paris.

He is followed by Alejandro Valverde at 1 to 5 and teammate Andreas Klöden at 1 to 6, reported Further back are Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre at 1 to 12, Denis Menchov at 1 to 16, and Cadel Evans and Yaroslav Popovych at 1 to 20. The first Italian on the list is Damiano Cunego, who has odds of only 1 to 25.

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