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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 22, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Pozzato to lead Liquigas at Milan - San Remo; Di Luca out

Last year's Milan - San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato will lead his new Liquigas team in the race's 98th edition on Saturday. Pozzato is ready, along with key teammates Luca Paolini, Enrico Gasparotto and Franco Pellizotti.

"I've trained well, Tirreno-Adriatico gave me the answers I hoped for," said Pozzato. "I believe I'm pedalling better than last year. Having strong and motivated teammates at my side makes me more serene."

Meanwhile, Milan-Turin winner Danilo Di Luca has withdrawn from the race, reportedly still recovering from the flu. That same illness caused him to sit out Tirreno-Adriatico.

"The contribution of Paolini, Gasparotto, and Pellizotti will be very important. Pozzato raced Tirreno-Adriatico in view of Sanremo," said Liquigas general manager Roberto Amadio who will direct the squad on Saturday. Amadio named Pozzato as the team's favorite, but also said: "Having more alternatives will play in his favour and makes Liquigas one of the strongest teams."

Liquigas for Milan - San Remo: Patrick Calcagni, Enrico Gasparotto, Luca Paolini, Franco Pellizotti, Roberto Petito, Filippo Pozzato, Manuel Quinziato and Alessandro Spezialetti.

New kid on the block; hosting the worlds in Palma velodrome

Spectators will sit here.
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

In just over a week’s time the 2007 world track championships will be held in the newly-constructed Palma Arena in Majorca. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes visited the site earlier this year and saw the scale of the work that was in progress to get the venue finished in time.

On February 16th, the day after the end of the Challenge Volta Ciclista a Mallorca, Cyclingnews had the chance to visit the location for the 2007 track worlds. Situated in the north of Palma, the island’s capital, the Palma Arena was still very much in the process of being built. Five hundred workmen were labouring day and night to get the velodrome and surrounding structure finished in time for the worlds, which will see riders from many different countries scrap it out from March 29th - April 1st.

It has, to say the least, been a considerable task. Construction began in November 2005 and on April 2 2006 - less than a year from the date of the worlds - the site was largely bare. As the photos show, in July there was still not a lot of above-ground construction, although this had improved somewhat three months later. From that point on things accelerated; by October 8th the walls were largely completed and the central structure which would support the roof was in place. The framework was finished by December and the roof was completed early in the New Year.

Read the full news feature.

Llaneras ready to stand on podium

Galvez and Llaneras
Photo ©: Emory Ball
(Click for larger image)

Spanish racer Joan Llaneras thinks getting gold at the World Track Championships will be difficult, but he is still aiming for the podium. "Personally, I intend to be up on the podium. We (the Spanish team) have possibilities of fighting for a medal in the individual and team pursuits," Llaneras told the championships' website The track worlds will be held in Palma de Mallorca, near his home.

In a press conference Wednesday with president of the Balearic Federation of Cycling, Andreu Canals, and with worlds director Jorge Moisés, the Olympic medallist said he may compete in the Madison with Carlos Torrens. While Torrens has been confirmed at a starter his partner is yet to be selected by the team's coach.

Llaneras is a former madison race partner of Isaac Gálvez, who passed away after a tragic accident in Belgium last fall. The pair won the world championships together twice (in 1999 and 2006), and Llaneras also won it in 1997. For this year's championships he named Swiss racers Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli and Argentineans Juan Esteban Curuchet and Walter Perez as top contenders for the madison title.

Llaneras said the track in Palma Arena is, "a unique setting in Spain, and one we should take advantage of," referring to the local advantage. As the days pass, the three-time world champion said he likes the track more and more because small details are being added to improve the facility.

"The level of the worlds is very high, and hopefully it is warmer in the next few days so that the track acquires more speed," Llaneras told

Critérium International invites Team Slipstream

ASO has invited Team Slipstream to compete in the Critérium International, March 31 to April 1, and the American squad is hoping a good performance there will increase the team's chances of being invited to other prestigious European events. Danny Pate, former U23 Time Trial World Champion, and Kilian Patour, former French Espoir Road champion will be among those competing.

"Criterium is certainly the most prestigious race we've done in Europe to date, so we're very keen on proving our worth," said team director Jonathan Vaughters. "I think we'll see Danny Pate somewhere in the top 15 on the GC - and I'm hoping for a breakthrough performance, worthy of his multiple French Championships, from Kilian Patour."

Team Slipstream for Critérium International: Danny Pate, Kilian Patour, Will Frischkorn, Steven Cozza, Huub Duyn, Ben Johnson, Taylor Tolleson, and Ian MacGregor

Rabobank signs Bos

Theo Bos (Netherlands)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Track racer Theo Bos has signed a contract with Rabobank through the end of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, according to his personal website.

The Olympic silver medalist and four-time world champion will continue to concentrate on the track and will not partake in any road racing. In 2006, at the World Track Championships, he achieved a triple crown of victories with wins in the sprint, kilo, and keirin.

Bos' signing adds to the list of top riders already re-signed by Rabobank. Among them are Spaniard Oscar Freire, Dutchmen Michael Boogerd and Thomas Dekker, Dane Michael Rasmussen and Australian Graeme Brown. In addition, Rabobank will be counting on Belgian cyclo-cross ace Sven Nys for another dominant season.

Rojas injured in car accident

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Caisse d'Epargne
(Click for larger image)

Promising Caisse d'Epargne rider José Joaquín Rojas was hit by a car after he had finished training with teammates Alejandro Valverde, Francesco Pérez and Luis León Sánchez in Alcantarilla (Murcia, Spain).

The Spaniard was accompanied at the time of the accident by Bernardo Joaquín Juliá, the brother of ex-Caisse d'Epargne rider Cayetano Juliá, who called the local police and ambulance.

Following the crash, the 21 year-old was treated at the scene after experiencing a temporary loss of consciousness, according to the local police. Rojas was then examined in a local sports trauma clinic by the Doctor Esparza, who told to Cyclingnews: "We hope to know by morning which injuries have been done to his spine, but at the moment, we've not observed anything really serious."

Rojas will not participate in Milan - San Remo as a result of the accident which also puts his start at the Criterium International in question.

Sirotti presents Cancellara with winning photo

By Gregor Brown

"To Sirotti, with love"
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Fotoreporter Sirotti won the 2006 Cyclingnews reader poll for best photo with his image of Fabian Cancellara hammering over he Forêt d'Arenberg cobbles on his way to winning Paris-Roubaix. Understandably proud of his accomplishment, one of three times he has claimed top honours in this category, Italian Emanuele Sirotti presented the World Time Trial Champion with a printed photo of the shot taken on that epic day in early April.

Sirotti garnered 19.5% of the readers' votes, twice the amount of votes for second place, with his image of crowds cheering a modern day gladiator in conditions that resembled years past.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Nanaimo withdraws Canadian 'cross nationals bid

Multi-Sport Promotions, the organizer behind the 2006 Canadian National Cyclo-cross championships in Nanaimo, British Columbia, has withdrawn its bid to host the 2007 championships. The company cited, "growing and mounting challenges in communication with the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA), constant delays in 2006, and continuing delays in 2007," as the motivation behind the withdrawal.

Multi-Sport Promotions sent the CCA a letter following the 2006 event outlining concerns such as hidden costs, a lack of communication leading up to the event, and delays in receiving communications from the CCA, a pre-defined, non-user-friendly registration process, and increased costs for officials due to a doubling in its numbers from three to six.

Organizers withdrew the bid after being frustrated with three and a half months with no response from the CCA. The event lost money last year due to what Multi-Sport Promotions called: "costs and fees that were never outlined or communicated."

Spokesperson and race director Normon Thibault said in a statement to the press that the company was originally told it would also host the 2007 championships, but was later told that decision was subject to review. "It is now 17 months after the 2007 bids had to be submitted, we are still waiting to hear who is hosting this event. How are we supposed to get sponsors for our event when most companies' budgets have already been done months ago? We had a title sponsor lined up for the national championships to help keep the event in the black and the entry fees reasonable but the CCA is still dragging their heals on this so they have put their money elsewhere…out of the sport of cycling."

Thibault summarized his thoughts on the withdrawal, saying: "We simply cannot host an event in such an unprofessional administrative environment. We were proud to host in 2006 and would have loved to do so again but no business model can survive in the context of lack of communication between partners, undisclosed fees and ongoing uncertainty. This is an incredibly unfortunate, upsetting situation we are being forced into and we think it is the riders that will ultimately continue to suffer."

Multi-Sport Promotions will continue to host the Vancouver Island Cyclo-cross Series which ran in 2006 for the first time.

Homage for José María Jiménez

By Monika Prell

El Chaba, a Vuelta man
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

A tribute to José María Jiménez, who died in December 2003, will be held on Saturday, March 24, in Ávila, Spain. His brother, Juan Carlos Jiménez, created a monument that honors the sportsmanship and human values of 'el Chaba'.

According to, the sculpture is seven meters high and is a larger reproduction of the monument located in El Barraco, where the cyclist was born.

The Asociación Abulense de la Prensa Deportiva has invited all fans and fellow countrymen of Jiménez, who was an aggressive rider and top Spanish climber, to participate in the memorial.

After the memorial, young cyclists from different clubs throughout the province and the Spanish capital Madrid will participate in various activities in the Plaza de toros de Ávila.


Karpin Galicia for Castilla y León

By Monika Prell and Antonio J. Salmerón

Professional Continental team Karpin Galicia has announced its team roster for the Vuelta a Castilla y León taking place from March 26 - 30 in Zamora, Spain. Ezequiel Mosquera, who finished third overall in the Challenge de Mallorca, and the veteran Marcos Serrano are expected to lead the team.

Serrano and Mosquera will be supported by teammates Gustavo Domínguez, Gonzalo Rabuñal, David Abal, Ramón Troncoso, Santos González and Russian Eduard Vorganov who finished second in the Clásica de Almería.

Karpin-Galicia hopes to obtain a wild-card entry from Unipublic for the Vuelta a España. "For us it is very important, but not crucial," said Karpin-Galicia director Álvaro Pino. "We are aiming for victories, as much as possible."

AG2R for Milan - San Remo

Although he did not start on Tuesday's final stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, due to symptoms of bronchitis, Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) will be on the line for Milan - San Remo on Saturday. L'Equipe reported that Nocentini will be joined by his teammates Sylvain Calzati, Renaud Dion, Samuel Dumoulin, Lloyd Mondory, Martin Elmiger, Yuriy Krivtsov, and Alexandre Usov.

Jean-Patrick Nazon will not resume competition again until the Critérium International.

Ready to play - Fantasy Spring Classics 2007!

Spring Classics Fantasy Game

There's 10 boxes of
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

The provisional rider-list for the Milan - San Remo race has been uploaded to the Fantasy Cyclingnews Game site. You can enter your teams now! Why should you play? You can win a Specialized S-Works Roubaix bicycle worth USD$6,000! That's not all you could win in this year's Fantasy games. To celebrate our fifth year of Fantasy games the Spring Classics will also be featuring some top runners-up prizes.

New runners-up prizes

Play this year's fantasy
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Cyclists depend on good nutrition to meet the demands of the sport. That's why Nutra Fig developed the organic Cheetah Bar. It contains the right combination of carbs, protein and fiber to give you long lasting energy and it is moist and tastes great. Cheetah bars are loaded with potassium, sodium and calcium - all found naturally in the ingredients so no chemical additives are needed. Cheetah Bar is the official energy bar of the Colavita/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team. We have 10 boxes of Cheetah Bars on offer this year.

The proCOOL Mesh from Scandinavia's leading high-performance clothing company, Craft, is the professional's choice when it comes to base layers. The proCOOL Mesh is a warm weather base layer that combines the latest in fabric technology with Craft's signature fit. Even as temperatures soar, proCOOL keeps you dry and comfortable. For the 2007 Spring Classics Fantasy Game, we have 10 of these great base layers on offer.

Other runners-up prizes

Speedplay is back behind the fantasy game
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

The first runner-up prize this year is a Cycleops Powertap 2.4 (wireless) worth USD$1,499 USD. Cycleops upgraded the world's most accurate, lightest power meter to be the world's first wireless meter, meaning you can easily switch it between bikes.

A pair of BBB's "Winner Team" glasses are on offer for the highest scoring Fantasy team in every Classic. You don't have to take part in all seven races to stand a good chance of winning this prize. The highest score per classic wins a pair of the official sports-glasses of the Quick-Step Innergetic professional cycling team 2007. We are proud to announce the continued support from Speedplay in this year's game. We have three sets of Speedplay's Zero stainless steel pedals - the same style of pedal used by ProTour teams such as Team CSC.

The highest scoring Fantasy team in each classic
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

We are also pleased to confirm that Descente will be joining the list of runners-up prize sponsors. Produced in conjunction with Team CSC, the Descente Optima Bib Short is the culmination of hundreds of hours of research and testing. Constructed of two different textiles, the main body features Aero-X fabric, a dual-denier Nylon with spandex for great moisture-management, durability, comfort, and fit.

In the next few days, we will be releasing more details of the prizes on offer this season with 46 prizes available for 18 lucky winners, and some major improvements in the game engine coming soon, now is the time to sign up to the Fantasy Cyclingnews Games.

How to play

With a Specialized S-Works Roubaix bicycle up for grabs
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Yes, you too can be a professional team manager. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with fantasy managers from around the world.

All you need to do to take part is register and, once the provisional race list has been announced, select 8 riders for each of the following races:

Milan - San Remo, March 24, 2007
Ronde van Vlaanderen, April 8, 2007
Gent-Wevelgem, April 11, 2007
Paris - Roubaix, April 15, 2007
Amstel Gold Race, April 21, 2007
La Flèche Wallonne, April 25, 2007
Liège - Bastogne - Liège, April 29, 2007

For more details on how to play go to the rules section of the site for more info. To register your teams for the game, go to

It's a great way to follow the Spring Classics.

Good luck!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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