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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for June 16, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo & Sue George with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Pereiro only thinks about the Tour

By Jean-François Quénet in Digne-les-Bains

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Caisse d'Epargne's director Eusebio Unzue didn't seem to know anything about Oscar Pereiro's attendance being doubtful for the Tour de France at the end of stage five of the Dauphiné. The runner up in last year's Tour had some trouble going up Mont Ventoux, but he finished less than two minutes behind the new race leader Andreï Kashechkin.

"Our plan for Oscar hasn't changed," Unzue said. "We want him to be at his best for the first mountain stage of the Tour de France."

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Pereiro himself said, "For me, it's clear, I'm here for training. I've improved my condition a little bit. I'm well. My goal is to be at 100% for the Tour de France." He also said in interview with newspaper Le Dauphiné: "There's no reason for the organization of the Tour de France not to be happy to have me start the race. I have nothing to do with Operación Puerto."

Farrar on the rebound

Farrar takes the leader's jersey
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)
23 year-old American Tyler Farrar confirmed his comeback from a fractured kneecap with a sprint win in stage two of the GP Internacional CTT Correios in Portugal. The Cofidis rider took a closely contested sprint from Barloworld's Robbie Hunter with a well-timed bike throw, and gains not only the stage win but the overall classification, the points classification and the lead in the best young rider competition as well.

The 196 kilometre stage contained three categorised climbs, with one category four and two category three climbs bunched in the middle of the parcours, followed by a long gradual descent to the flat finish. The day started with a break of three going clear, with Grupo Nicolas Mateos' Sergi Escobar, Russian Eduard Vorganov (Karpin-Galicia) and Luis Silva (Duja-Tavira) gaining a maximum of 7'38" on the peloton before the Barloworld team of leader Enrico Degano took charge of the chase.

After the breakaway was caught, Farrar, wearing the orange points leader jersey as second placed rider in that competition behind the overall leader Degano, was ushered to the front for the sprint by his Cofidis squad. "It was not an easy day today, but my team was perfect," said Farrar after the finish,"They did everything for me. When the team rides like that it makes things easier for me."

Farrar has had a bumpy start to his professional career since he began his two-year contract with Cofidis in 2006. His season was just getting started when he was involved a stage one pileup in the Circuit de la Sarthe that sidelined him with a broken collarbone. Farrar came back to gain a string of top ten finishes in minor races before starting the 2007 season with higher hopes. He looked to be on track after a 9th place in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but then was waylaid again by a crash in Gent-Wevelegem where he fractured his kneecap. Farrar quickly rebounded from the injury to take third on stage two of the Tour of Belgium at the end of May before enjoying his current success in Portugal.

Moncoutié happy with medical progress

By Jean-François Quénet in Digne-les-Bains

David Moncoutié couldn't help but remember that stage five of the Dauphiné, finishing in Digne-les-Bains, is the place where he won his second stage of the Tour de France on Bastille Day in 2005. He remembers breaking clear of the front group in the Col de Corobin, the same where Toni Colom and Alexandre Vinokourov formed a winning duo today.

"It brings back good memories," Moncoutié said from his home in Toulouse where he's recovering from the injuries he sustained in an accident during stage 4 of the Tour of Romandie this year on May 4. He broke his left femur and stayed at the hospital for one week. "I'm going much better now. If everything goes well, I'll be able to walk without crutches on July 10."

His 2007 season is over, but Moncoutié, 31, still wonders what his future should be. He hasn't decided yet if he'll continue racing. He has endured many crashes during his career since he turned pro with Cofidis in 1997.

No more knee problem for Voeckler

By Jean-François Quénet in Digne-les-Bains

French hope Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) is riding the Dauphiné but it wasn't planned in his initial program for the 2007 season. For the first time, he decided to double up on the Giro and Tour, but he had to withdraw from the Tour of Italy after only one week due to pain in one knee. After a rest, he resumed racing at the GP Plumelec and the Boucles de l'Aulne where he rode aggressively as he often does when uninjured.

He finished 19th in the time trial and 24th up Mont Ventoux, but he finished 10 minutes behind Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) in Digne-les-Bains. "It had nothing to do with the knee, so I'm happy to say that I don't have problems anymore," he said. "I'm not worried because I've lost some time today. I've passed the time to worry. When I came to the Dauphiné, I would have signed up for the good sensations I experienced at the beginning of the race. I'm right on track for the Tour de France."

The Frenchman knows it'll be difficult to repeat his 10-day-long yellow adventure of 2004, but he's determined to have an impact at the Tour again.

Julich, Valverde abandon Dauphiné

Bobby Julich (Team CSC) abandoned the Dauphiné Libéré Friday due to illness according to the team website, Friday's fifth stage was won by Astana's Antonio Colom, who was off the front in a break with teammate Alexandre Vinokourov.

"Bobby was already feeling ill yesterday, so unfortunately he had to abandon the race," explained sports director Alain Gallopin.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde has also been suffering from illness, and withdrew along with his team-mate Francisco Pérez.

Landis to embark on book tour

With his arbitration hearing still pending an outcome, Floyd Landis is preparing to take on a hectic schedule of public appearances to promote his new book, Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France, which is due in stores on June 26 but is currently available in online stores. Less than two weeks before the start of the Tour de France, where Landis will not be defending his 2006 title, he will embark on a cross-country book signing tour that will start in New York City on June 27.

The book, co-written with Loren Mooney and published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, is expected to offer up typically frank anecdotes of Landis' upbringing, his time spent in the service of Lance Armstrong on the US Postal squad, his 2006 Tour de France victory and the turbulent year that followed it.

Much of the book details his year spent fighting test results from his stage 17 antidoping control that showed evidence of exogenous testosterone in his urine, and follows right up to the USADA arbitration that concluded last month.

According to the New York Times, Landis admits in the book to witnessing the threatening phone call that his then manager Will Geoghegan made to Greg LeMond, and admits to taking a shot of cortisone in his hip during the 2006 Tour, although Landis had an exemption from the UCI to use the normally banned substance for his condition.

The book can be ordered through Cyclingnews' Amazon bookstore for US$16.47/ £11/34 plus shipping. To order from Europe and the UK, just click here. For North America, Asia-Pacific and rest of the world, use this link.

Cascade forced to postpone women's race

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Kristen Lasasso (TEAm Lipton) at the 2006 Cascade Classic
Photo ©: Billy Cornelius
(Click for larger image)

The Cascade Cycling Classic, scheduled for July 11-15, announced today that it is postponing its women's event until 2008, due to a scheduling conflict with USA Cycling's elite nationals.

"We put our bid out for NRC calendar spot in October," race director Chad Sperry told Cyclingnews. "But we didn't find out until January when USA Cycling released their [dates for] nationals. We immediately contacted USAC, and they said they would absolutely not move their date. We were pigeon holed by our prize money and sponsors, so we could not do anything."

The USA Cycling time trial national championship race for the elite women falls on Friday, July 13, and the road race is scheduled for Monday, July 16.

Sperry said the decision to cut the women's category from the race was not made lightly which is why it is only being announced now. "We had two registrants as of yesterday -- and no pro teams were going to come."

"The year before the elite nationals were the weekend before, and we got a decent field," he said, adding that the race was looking to improve the women's category this year. "We actually added a day and boosted prize money for this year."

Sperry also said that a similar problem should not happen again in 2008. "We have talked with USA Cycling, and they have assured us that we have their support for next year and there will not be another scheduling conflict with elite nationals."

Despite the setback, the race for the men will continue and looks to be quite a battle with the overall individual and team NRC competitions closer than ever. Sperry said teams like Navigators Insurance, Health Net-Maxxis, Priority Health, Kodak Gallery, and Toyota-United, with defending champion Chris Wherry, will all be in attendance.

No Bettini, Russ for Suisse

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
World Champion Paolo Bettini has changed his plans and will not be riding the Tour de Suisse, Team QuickStep has announced. After speaking with team doctors, he has decided to take a break and let his injuries from a crash in the Giro d'Italia heal.

"I am sorry not to be at the Swiss race," he said, according to "But honestly, I had to take a break now in order not to endanger the rest of my season. I couldn't fully train the last few days, but I will do everything necessary to be in the Italian Championship race and to honour the jersey."

Bettini is defending national champion.

Team Gerolsteiner will start at the Tour de Suisse with only seven riders. A team spokesman told Cyclingnews Friday afternoon that Matthias Russ will not be able to ride because of a prostate infection.

Rogers "expecting" doubly

Michael Rogers
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Michael Rogers of T-Mobile is preparing for the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France, but he is not preparing for the World Championships in Stuttgart. That's because he is preparing for another big event in September -- he and his wife are expecting twins that month, he revealed on the team's website,

Leezer to Rabobank Pro team

Tom Leezer will make the jump from the Rabobank Continental Team to the Rabobank ProTour team, the team announced Friday. The 21 year-old will sign a two-year neo-pro contract.

Leezer was twice Dutch champion, as an U23 rider and as a junior rider. He joined the Continental team in 2005, winning the International Thüringen Rundfahrt that year. This year he won the Tryptique des Monts et Chauteaux, also winning one stage and the points jersey. The youngster took stages in the Olympia Tour and the Vuelta a Navarra.

"We have the feeling Tom is ready to make the switch to our pro team. His development in the Rabobank Continental Team over the past three years has been a positive one," said General Manager Theo de Rooij on the team's website, "Tom deserves a chance. We are confident that Tom can become a solid professional cyclist."

Surgery for Spinelli

Justin Spinelli (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) was one of the riders caught up in a dramatic crash 500 meters from the line in the Philadelphia International Championship. While others were able to get back up and roll across the line, Spinelli stayed on the tarmac until medical support could carry him away. It was later confirmed that he had suffered a broken collarbone.

Spinelli, who will have surgery to install a plate in his collarbone, is the third rider on the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast squad to suffer a broken bone in the 2007 season. Seasoned sprinter Dave McCook has been recuperating from a broken hand sustained at Visalia in mid-March, and Reid Mumford broke his tibial plateau the following month in April.

"We ride to win always and unfortunately sometimes that means trouble," said team director Jonas Carney. "But our athletes come first and we make sure everyone takes the time to look after themselves properly. Dave McCook is back from his hand injury with a great fitness level and Reid returns in July for Superweek. We're hoping Justin's surgery goes well and expect him to make a full and speedy recovery."

Meanwhile the team prepares to race on thier 'home turf' in Minnesota next week at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

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