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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for June 12, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

Vandenbroucke: "I want to make a fast comeback"

Frank Vandenbroucke (Acqua & Sapone)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Frank Vandenbroucke wants to return to racing as soon as possible after trying to take his own life last week. The rider from Italy's Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo spoke to Italian media outlets TV La7 and Gazzetta dello Sport from his hospital bed in Magenta.

"I will return because, as long as there is life, there is hope," declared Vandenbroucke.

The Belgian was admitted to hospital last week having made an attempt on his life after suffering depression due to a breakup with his wife Sarah. "My family means everything to me," he said. "I want to get back on the bike now to show my wife the man that she married."

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During the interview Vandenbrouke also admitted for the first time that he tried to take his life, having previously denied all claims. "I did it because I was desperate, my family was everything," explained Vandenbrouke, who is still struggling with a knee injury. "Cycling is and will be the first reason for life and soon I'll put everything back to normal. I want to get myself better and return to training, to return to the levels that should still be mine."

Haussler to go all out at Tour

By Jean-François Quénet in Roanne

Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

German Heinrich Haussler will go all out at this year's Tour de France, the Team Gerolsteiner rider declared after taking victory on the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré's first stage. Haussler out sprinted some of the ProTour's biggest names, including Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank) to take one of his biggest victories to date.

"I'll go 100 percent for the Tour," he said. "It's really hard to expect anything. It's new to me. I've never ridden the Tour before. I guess it's very different from the Vuelta."

His sprint victory in Roanne, at the end of a 219 kilometre stage, has given the youngster some ideas about focusing on sprinting at this year's Tour. "I didn't see myself as a big sprinter," he said. "I don't do specific sprint training. But even at the Tour de France this year I might go in that direction. I think Petacchi is gonna be the man for the bunch sprints this year."

But the youngster warned against expecting to much from him in what will be his Tour de France debut. "I can't compete with these guys already," he confessed. "I'm only 23 years old. I'm sticking my nose in and getting a bit of a sniff of what it is like."

Rabobank signs Gesink to 2012

Rabobank has re-signed young Dutch climbing talent Robert Gesink, who hails from Varsseveld in The Netherlands, through to the end of 2012. Never before in the history of the team has it signed a rider for that length of time.

“It is very simple,” Rabobank's general director Theo de Rooij explained. “We have a lot of confidence in Robert Gesink's qualities. Not only is Robert an outstanding rider, he is also an outstanding personality. We, at the Rabobank Cycling Team, feel we can offer him the right circumstances. Robert has the same belief. It didn't take long to reach an agreement. I am extremely pleased to keep a rider with the qualities of Robert Gesink aboard for such a long time.”

Gesink has had an impressive start to his first season in the ProTour ranks. He was crowned best young rider at the Tour of California in February and came in an impressive ninth in his first ProTour race, La Flèche Wallonne. He crowned those results off just last week with a win in the hardest stage in the Tour of Belgium, a stage which took in the famously hard La Redoute, only two days after his 21st birthday.

Gesink himself is very pleased with his renewed contract. "I am very happy the team shows so much confidence in me," Gesink explained. "The decision wasn't very hard. Everything with the Rabobank Cycling Team feels good. It's fantastic to sign with such a team for such a long time!"

Robert Gesink joined the Rabobank Continental Team, run by Nico Verhoeven and Piet Kuijs, in 2006. Victories in the difficult Settimana Ciclista Lombarda and Circuito Montañes stage races made the Continental team's ProTour division stand up and take notice of the youngster. The youngster has left well known ProTour riders behind on climbs in his debut year with the squad's ProTour division this season.

Gesink is shaping up to be a well rounded rider. Along with his ability to climb mountains with the best in the world, he is also a handy TT rider, having twice won the Dutch National TT championships, once in the debutante’s category, and once as a junior in 2004. That same year, he showed his talents at the World Championships, finishing eighth in the individual time trial and sixth in the road race.

Rous hangs up his wheels

Ex French road champion Didier Rous has decided to hang up his bike for good. the 36 year-old decided to stop due to physical problems. "It is not a decision that I made with pleasure, but it has been decided: I'm stopping!" explained Rous to French newspaper L'Equipe while visiting his team mates at the Dauphiné Libéré on Monday.

Rous turned professional in 1992, and was French champion in 2001 and 2003. He was a member of the Festina team at the 1998 Tour de France, and since 2000 he has been a member of the team run by Jean-René Bernaudeau.

As well as two tri-color titles, Rous also won some prestigious one day races including Paris-Camembert in 2000, GP Ouest-France in 2004, the Trophée des Grimpeurs in 2001, 2003 and 2006, as well as the Midi Libre stage race in 2000. He also took a stage in the Tour de France in 1997.

Rous has decided to stop racing immediately due to a hernia, but is expected to remain with Bouygues Telecom in some capacity.

Hayles aims to stay on top

By Gerry McManus

Rob Hayles at a track meeting in 2005
Photo ©: Nick Rosenthal
Click for larger image

Rob Hayles (Team KLR) currently leads the British Cycling Criterium series after the third counting event in Brentwood last Sunday, where he came sixth to winner Russell Downing (Team Health Net - Maxxis). Hayles had already secured victory in the Hillingdon GP race on the previous day. The series now takes a break but there is some good cash prizes on offer in non series counting events.

"I am quite happy with sixth at Brentwood," said Hayles. "The result was good for the series for me. There were certain moves that I couldn't let go and others that I could including the last one as it wasn't going to affect the series overall. I knew I had a good fifth or sixth place in me and in the end I can't do everything.

"I have just come to the end of an intensive block of training and racing and now I have got a couple of easy days ahead before I start again," he added.

Hayles is likely to return to Newcastle next weekend, still bearing the scars he received after crashing heavily and breaking his collar bone at an event there last year. The first prize on offer in the Elite/1st category event is £1,000 and Hayles still has time to confirm his entry.

The 34 year-old from Portsmouth has been unlucky with crashes in the past. He broke his collarbone in the Sydney Olympics while paired with Bradley Wiggins in the men's Madison. However he also has a strong record of bouncing back when it matters after he crashed heavily again in the Athens Olympic Madison event but remounted and the duo produced an amazing comeback to claim the bronze medal.

Hayles targets for this year include the National Criterium championship on June 20 in Otley, Yorkshire and the national road race championship in Beverley, East Yorkshire on July 1.

Liquigas and LPR head to Slovenia

Fresh from a break after Liquigas' Giro d'Italia-winning campaign Enrico Gasparotto and Vincenzo Nibali will lead the Italian squad in the Giro di Slovenia. Fellow Italian squad Team LPR will also contest the event, which commences today and runs through to Saturday, June 16.

Liquigas Giro di Slovenia roster: Eros Capecchi, Dario Cataldo, Francesco Chicchi, Francesco Failli, Enrico Gasparotto, Roman Kreuziger Vincenzo Nibali, and Alessandro Vanotti.

Team LPR Giro di Slovenia roster: Roger Beuchat, Borut Bozic, Andreas Dietziker, Raffaele Ferrara, Samuele Marzoli, Alessandro Maserati, Luca Solari and Nazareno Rossi.

Milram for Dutch race

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Milram has assembled a team around Alessandro Petacchi for this Wednesday’s Veenendaal – Veenendaal classic, gambling that the race will come down to a bunch sprint. The 1.HC Dutch race, which was an Amstel Gold race lead up event until 2005, is run in and around the hilly region of Veluwe, with the hardest climbs being those of the Emma Pyramide and the Grebbeberg.

Milram Veenendaal-Veenendaal roster: Alessandro Petacchi, Alessandro Cortinovis, Mirco Lorenzetto, Elia Rigotto, Martin Mueller, Niki Terpstra, and Brett Lancaster.

Entries called for Boston Bike Film Festival

The third annual Boston Bike Film Festival is accepting submissions from cycling filmmakers. The work will be shown October 19-20, 2007 at venues in and around Boston.

"The second annual festival was even more exciting than the first," said Cat Bryant, executive director of the BBFF. "I think we have found our niche; the Boston bike community has shown so much enthusiasm for this event."

Film concepts from last year's festival ranged from learning how to become a bike commuter in Boston to part two of a documentary concept that exposed the backlash of bias against cyclists in the aftermath of arrests after the Republican National Convention held in New York City in August 2004. The Harvard-Smithsonian-funded feature "POV Me" featuring "Turbo Tanya" Markham (for those in the know, she is the daughter of "Fast Freddy" Markham) engaged BBFF audiences with a scientific look at the machinations of Human Powered Vehicle speed.

Types of films shown at the BBFF include animated shorts, digitally enhanced clips, and feature length documentaries.

Early-bird submissions must be postmarked by August 17, 2007. All submissions must be received by September 21, 2007. Full festival information and details for submissions can be found at The site will also offer clips from last year's festival shortly.

48th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic

On June 28, nearly 800 cyclists are expected to roll into North Central Massachusetts for the 48th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic. The race is dedicated to the memory of Arthur Longsjo, the United States first same-year dual (winter and summer) Olympian. Riders from across the United States and around the globe will compete in eight different categories for a total prize pool of US$53,500.

The racing starts with a 6.2 mile race against the clock on June 28 with the Royal Plaza Time Trial. The TT is followed on Friday with the Fitchburg State College Circuit Race, a 3.1 mile loop through the hilly streets of Fitchburg, with the pro men racing 78-miles and the pro women racing 40-miles.

On Saturday, the racing continues with the pro men riding a total of 104-miles in the Wachusett Mountain Road Race, a grueling 11-mile course through Princeton center with a spectacular finish at the 2,000-foot summit of Wachusett Mountain.

The race will conclude on Sunday, July 1, with the Workers' Credit Union Criterium. This fast-paced, exciting race runs right past the Longsjo Memorial on a 0.9-mile loop through historic downtown Fitchburg.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)