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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for June 6, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown and Bjorn Haake

Banking on Brown

Graeme Brown (Rabobank) wants to go into bat for Australia
Photo ©: Steve Thomas
(Click for larger image)

Following an impromptu exit from the Giro d'Italia, Graeme Brown headed north-west to contest the Tour of Belgium. Steve Thomas caught up with the Australian sprinter to discuss his year to date.

A whole lot of personal hopes for Graeme Brown's season had been placed on performing well in this year's Giro d'Italia. Just a few days before the Sardinian start of the Grand Tour, Rabobank's key sprinter had set his heart on clashing with the best in the Giro, and was hoping to walk away from the three week race with a stage win.

His Giro master plan was far from well executed, with his campaign going pear shaped just three days into the event. "I'd been feeling good before the race," he reflected. "Then on the second night I began to feel a bit sick, but didn't worry about it. We drove down to the race that morning, and I felt worse, but I figured maybe it was a bit of car sickness."

But car sickness it was not, and as the stage rolled on it was clear that he was in some distress. Teammate Leon Van Bon had reportedly already seen the Tour doctor to get some medicine for Brown, but things continued to go downhill. "I was kind of vomiting a little bit, and suffering," recalled Brown. "There were some solid climbs in there. I went off the back, and started seriously vomiting. I really wanted to get through the stage as I knew there was a rest day ahead, which would allow me to recover some."

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Read the entire Graeme Brown interview, Banking on Brown.

Gianetti speaks of four Saunier aces

Saunier at Giro
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Spanish-Italian team Saunier Duval-Prodir went into the 2007 Giro d'Italia with the idea of being a protagonist, specifically with its ace, two-time Giro winner Gilberto Simoni. The 35 year-old was unable to keep control on the time gap to Danilo Di Luca but he did come away with a magnificent stage win.

"In the team we have climbers of great value. Simoni was tremendous, he demonstrated that in spite of his age he is still one of the strongest Italian cyclists," said Team Manager Mario Gianetti. "A podium finish [in Milano] would have been a 'small cherry' but what he did on Monte Zoncolan will be remembered for years."

Simoni's victory was obtained first with the help of young protege Riccardo Riccò and then trusted domestique Leonardo Piepoli. "In certain moments, Piepoli's performance was touching," continued Gianetti. "His dedication to the cause and his faith to the captain should be a example for the new generation. He demonstrated that, even arriving in second [on Zoncolan], you can can obtain the support of fans and the media's attention." Piepoli secured his win on the Santuario Nostra Signora Della Guardia.

23 year-old Riccò took his first Giro win (at Tre Cime Di Lavaredo) in his first go at the Italian three-week race while keeping faithful to the team's order. "Riccò kept the trust that was expected of him at the start of the race, and he confirmed that he is one of the most talented youngsters in modern cycling. He made some errors but I think they did not come into play. If he has patience and grows slowly in the sport then he will have a future filled with success."

Gianetti noted his satisfaction with the fourth ace, Iban Mayo, who won the rain-soaked stage to Comano Terme. The Basque is a new member for the 2007 team and he was anxious to prove his strength in his first go at Italy's tour. "We are very happy with Iban Mayo's rise in form that we had followed in recent months with great attention. He had avoided pressure and maintained his cool. We stayed calm, we knew that, sooner or later, we would be repaid."

Manzano provides information to CONI

Ex-teammate of Valverde talks

Jesus Manzano, ex-rider for Kelme who has spoken out about alleged doping practices within the sport, will be in Italy today to supply information regarding Operación Puerto.The Spaniard will be heard by Paolo Ferraro, the Italian magistrate who is helping on the Italian side of the Spanish investigation that began over one year ago when the Guardia Civil raided the offices of Eufemiano Fuentes and Merino Batres.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ferraro called Manzano for his collaboration, similar to what the Spaniard is offering to the Spanish investigators. Ferraro, probably at the request of NAS (Italy's Anti-Narcotics Group), needs to clarify if there is a relation between the Operación Puerto and 'Oil for Drugs' investigations and if they involved criminal actions committed against Italian citizens or on Italian territory.

Yesterday, in an interview with L'Equipe, the 29 year-old Manzano talked about Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde. "We want to believe that maybe he was the only Kelme cyclist that raced on lettuce alone; it is clear that he is up to his neck in the Fuentes event," said Manzano of his former Kelme teammate.

Valverde is allegedly linked to Operación Puerto, under the code name 'VALV. (PITI)' and the number '18' but he has steadfastly denied any involvement.

Rodríguez studies Tour's mountain finishes

By Monika Prell

Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

After a Caisse d'Epargne training camp in the Pyrenees to study the mountain stages of the Tour de France, Joaquím Rodríguez talked about the knowledge he gained to Spanish publication

Rodríguez believes that the hardest stage will be the sixteenth, with start in Orthez, the Puerto de Larrau and the mountain top finish on the Col d'Aubisque. "On Monday we came back from the Pyrenees and it was really great. We spent four days to see some finishes of the Tour: the Plateau de Beille, the stage to Le Louron and, above all, the one of Larrau, which seems to me the hardest of the three," suggested Rodríguez, who is happy to ride the Tour de France for his first time.

'Purito,' as he is called, is very content about the training, stating that "it's very important to learn those mountains by heart." He likes the stage of the Plateau de Beille, "because it seems to me a mountain that will be very hard, with a first kilometre that is very steep and then it becomes easier, but it has a constant ascent that can cause big gaps." He believes that the following stage will be won by a breakaway group. "From the last mountain, the Port de Bales, which is harder than the Peyresourde, until the finish line there will not be any flat kilometres."

The stage of Larrau "will be even tougher. It's the biggest Pyrenees stage. It will be ridden the day after the rest day, a fact that could be good or bad, and we will have to compete a stage of about seven hours and a mountain top finish," concluded Rodríguez.

T-Mobile boss knocks University Clinic

T-Mobile Team Manager Bob Stapleton has harshly criticized the University Clinic in Freiburg, which withdrew its doctors from working with the team following disclosures that former team doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich had been involved in doping with the team in the 1990s. Stapleton called the Clinic's actions "irresponsible" and said that he would take them to court.

"I find that to be a total overreaction," he told the sid press agency. "Our attorneys are already on the case." Three weeks ago the Clinic broke its ties with the team, leaving the team without medical help. "The doctors had a contractual and ethical duty to our riders and left them having without any warning."

After the Clinic withdrew its doctors from the team, T-Mobile riders rode half of the Giro, the Bayern Rundfahrt, the Volta a Catalunya and the women's Tour de l'Aude without their usual medical support. Michael Barry's case of pneumonia was a result of this, Stapleton said. He told Cyclingnews that he was also worried about the post-surgery care for Adam Hansen's injured hand.

"Who will look after his hand? It should be the doctors who did the surgery. If it is not properly handled, he could suffer from severe arthritis in the next few years - and he is only 26. It is irresponsible," said Stapleton.

The team will be working with two other doctors in its preparations for the Tour de France, and two more doctors will be added by the time the Tour starts. Stapleton noted that he had received offers from other clinics to take over the medical care for next year.

In a related matter, the team's Director of Sports, Rolf Aldag was questioned for five hours Monday by the Bundeskriminalamt (federal police) in Wiesbaden about the role of doctors Schmid and Heinrich in the doping scandal. He told the sid that he did not name any other riders who might have been involved.

First riders for German nationals announced

Team Gerolsteiner, Team Milram and T-Mobile's Women's team have announced their starters in the German national championships, to be held July 1 in Wiesbaden.

Erik Zabel will lead Milram, which is sending all 10 of its German riders. Stefan Schumacher will head up the Gerolsteiner squad, which also features all of their 16 German riders.

Judith Arndt and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg are registered from the T-Mobile women's team.

"That's a great feedback for us, when two big pro teams officially register their top German riders so early," said Udo Sprenger, vice president of the German cycling federation. "I am also happy that we can announce Judith Arndt and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg as the first two top women riders. I think that we will be able to present absolutely top class men's and women's races here in Wiesbaden."

Team Milram: Erik Zabel, Ralf Grabsch, Dennis Haueisen, Christian Knees, Martin Müller, Enrico Poitschke, Björn Schröder, Sebastian Schwager, Marcel Sieberg and Sebastian Siedler.

Team Gerolsteiner: Robert Förster, Markus Fothen, Thomas Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Heinrich Haussler, Torsten Hiekmann, Tim Klinger, David Kopp, Sven Krauss, Sebastian Lang, Volker Ordowski, Matthias Russ, Ronny Scholz, Stefan Schumacher, Fabian Wegmann and Carlo Westphal.

T-Mobile Women: Judith Arndt and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg.

Koldo Gil's left knee injured

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Since injuring a tendon in his left knee last year, Saunier-Duval's Koldo Gil has had a hard time recovering completely. He has been training during the last few days but, as the bad weather increases his tendon problems, he will not participate in the Euskal-Bizikleta, a race he won last year.

He feels horrible not being able to train. He said that "yesterday, I hadn't even been riding for an hour when the pain came back."

His physiotherapist, who helped Gil to overcome from similar problems last year advised him "to take a few days of complete rest." The medical opinion was that "the recovery hadn't been as smooth as expected" and that it seems "related to an old injury resulting in torn fibres and tendon sheath inflammation," which causes the pain.

Koldo Gil feels he has no luck, remembering that "last year, I had to take a break for half a month with the same problems."

At the same time Koldo Gil lamented the fact that "I can't take part in any ProTour events for other reasons. I sent the UCI a letter in which I expressed to them the necessity to solve my problem as soon as possible."

The Spaniard was referring to his alleged implication in the Operación Puerto.

Deja-vu in Montreal

Equipe Nürnberger's Regina Schleicher out-sprinted T-Mobile's Oenone Wood and Safi Pasta's Giorgia Bronzini to win the first stage of the Tour of Grand Montreal.

Equipe Nürnberger's Regina Schleicher out-sprinted T-Mobile's Oenone Wood and Safi Pasta's Giorgia Bronzini to win the second stage of the Tour of Grand Montreal.

That's not a misprint. "Two wins in two days -- the results couldn't be better," said Jens Zemke, Nürnberger Directeur Sportif. "Our riders have given everything for this success."

Schleicher and Wood are one-two in the GC, with Bronzini in fourth. T-Mobile's Kate Bates and Nürnberger's Trixi Worrack both picked up enough time bonuses in the process to move into a tie for third place.

"It will be all or nothing for Trixi Thursday in the time trial," Zemke said. "She is in a good position, like the other favourites and will go to the start highly motivated to do better than her second place overall from last year."

Tuesday's stage took place in bad weather conditions, with cold temperatures and heavy rain. In addition, it was an evening stage which didn't end until after dark.

Boogerd may miss his last Tour

Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Michael Boogerd of Team Rabobank is afraid he may have to skip the Tour de France in his last year as a professional cyclist. A persistent knee injury is making it difficult to train and ride. He had some problems with the knee before, but it got worse at the Volta a Catalunya.

"I was very scared," he told "Rather than go through that, I would scrap the Tour." The Dutch rider does not think that the problem stems from overwork. "That is impossible," he said. "I had four days of rest, then went to Catalunya, where the pain started after two days. It hurt so badly going uphill that I could no longer pedal." He dropped out during the fourth stage.

Caisse d'Epargne announces rosters

Spanish team Caisse d'Epargne has announced its rosters for upcoming races in Spain (Euskal Bizikleta) and France (Dauphiné Libéré).

The Euskal Bizikleta, which will take place from June 8 to 10, will be contested by Vladimir Efimkin, Imanol Erviti, David López García, Alexei Markov, Aitor Pérez, Ruben Plaza, Vicente Reynes and Constantino Zaballa. The directeur sportif will be Alfonso Galilea.

For the Dauphiné Libéré, which starts this Sunday, the lineup consists of Florent Brard, Vicente García Acosta, Oscar Pereiro, Fran Pérez, Nicolas Portal, Luis León Sánchez, Alejandro Valverde and Xabier Zandio, with Eusebio Unzúe as the D.S.

Drapac Porsche off to Europe

The Drapac Porsche Development Team has been invited to compete at two elite road events on the UCI European Calendar, the Tour of Austria and the Brixia Tour. With seven ProTour teams, including T-Mobile and Discovery Channel, participating in those races, the Drapac Porsche outfit will certainly get exposure to some quality racing.

"It will be a great learning experience and opportunity to race alongside cyclists whom I've looked up to for the last 10 years," commented 2007 Australian Road Champion Darren Lapthorne. The Drapac Porsche team is comprised of eight of Australia's top cyclists, who are in heavy preparation right now. Their scheduled departure is in late June. Europe will provide an unsurpassable learning experience for those who are looking to move onto European teams as they near completion of university and graduation from the Drapac Porsche Development Program.

Drapac Porsche's Team Manager, Scott McGrory O.A.M., will be on hand to provide his expertise arising from years of experience on the European circuit. "It's a whole new ball game over there, but the program is ready to make the step up. Several of our riders certainly have the talent required to go all the way as professional riders, so it's now time to give them a taste of what to expect."

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