First Edition Cycling News for March 25, 2007
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Former cycling champion dies in Melbourne tunnel accident
The 1994 Commonwealth Games road cycling gold medallist, Australian Damian McDonald, was killed last Friday in a car accident in Melbourne's Burnley Tunnel.
The accident started when a semi-trailer loaded with paper blew a tyre and pulled to the inside lane to wait for assistance. A chain-reaction collision of four cars and three trucks behind the stalled truck and subsequent fire left three confirmed dead. The accident occured just after 10am on Friday, March 23. Other drivers in the 3.4-kilometre tunnel were immediately instructed via the tunnel's emergency notification systems to evacuate while emergency crews worked to reach the accident location.
Cycling Australia released a statement of condolence on Sunday morning, Sydney-time, after the cyclist's name was released on Saturday.
"The board and members of Cycling Australia were saddened to hear of the tragic death of 1994 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Atlanta Olympian, Damian McDonald, in Friday's accident in the Burley Tunnel in Melbourne. "We offer our sincerest condolences to Damian's family and friends," said Cycling Australia CEO, Graham Fredericks. "Our hearts go out to his wife Bree and the couple's young son as they try to cope with the loss of a wonderful husband and father.
"Damian played a prominent role in Australia's road cycling high performance program in the 1990's and was a valued member of the Australian road cycling team in World Championship, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games competition," said Mr Fredericks. "He will be sadly missed by his many friends within the cycling community."
McDonald, along with Brett Dennis, Henk Vogels and Phil Anderson, won gold for Australia in the road team time trial at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada and in 1995 his 42nd placing in the road race at the World Championships in Colombia secured for Australia the maximum number of riders on the start line for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Other highlights of McDonald's cycling career include his overall victory in the inaugural staging of the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia in 1996, fourth overall in the Rapport Tour in South Africa in 1993 and a sixth place in the road team time trial at the 1993 World Championships in Norway. He retired from international competition in 1997.
Cyclingnews extends its sincere condolences to his family and the many friends he made in the professional road cycling.
Two Gerolsteiner riders injured in Milan-San Remo crashes
By Susan Westemeyer
Team Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher finished 16th in Milano-San Remo despite a heavy cold, but Directeur Sportif Christian Henn could hardly think about the good result. Instead, his thoughts were with his two seriously injured riders who were spending the night in the hospital.
"I've never experienced anything like that. The results today are of minor importance," Henn said, and team manager Hans-Michael Holczer called it the worst "that I have ever seen."
The most seriously injured was Andrea Moletta, who was one of three in an escape group when he somersaulted into a lamppost and low stone wall. He was taken to the hospital with a broken thigh. He was to be transported later to a special clinic for the necessary operation, Henn said. Although the doctors have said that his season is over, the Italian told his team manager, "Hans, I'll see you at the Vuelta."
An earlier crash took out David Kopp, who lay terrifying still on the pavement for a long time. After he was put in an ambulance, the German TV announcers were informed by the team that Kopp was awake and could move all his limbs. In the end, he was diagnosed with a broken nose and an extremely swollen face.
Davide Rebellin, Heinrich Haussler and Fabian Wegmann also crashed during the race, but without grave consequences. "I hope that we have had our fill our crashes now for a while and that things will quiet down," said Henn hopefully.
Dominguez eliminated while leading Redlands Sprint competition
Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team sprinter Ivan Dominguez said he is very disappointed that race officials decided not to allow him to start Saturday afternoons Centennial Bank/KWB Wealth Managers Criterium at the 23rd Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic. Dominguez finished 39 seconds outside the time cut designated for Fridays Stage 1, 93-mile (156.6 km) Redlands Ford Oak Glen Road Race. The time cut was equal to the winners time, plus 10 percent, or four hours, 29 minutes and 34 seconds.
Dominguez, cramping from a big effort that saw him in a breakaway for 75 km, crossed the finish line in 4:30:13. He was one of 17 riders who finished outside the time limit. In all the big races, the officials make exceptions, Dominguez said. At the Tour of Georgia, they make exceptions. At the Tour of California, they make big exceptions to keep the more prominent riders in the race.
Dominguez figured prominently in the early going of Fridays stage to Oak Glen, attacking at the 52 km mark and taking three riders with him. Eventually, the four gained a maximum three minutes lead before being caught on the second-to-last climb of the day. During his escape, Dominguez won one of three intermediate sprints and finished second in the two others. His 17 points earned him the sprint lead and race officials presented him with the green jersey after the race.
I was the one who made the break go and made it a show for everybody, Dominguez said. Thats kind of what racing is, its a show. People want to see riders racing aggressively and thats what I was doing. I wasnt just sitting in the group. I was driving that breakaway.
Dominguez said confusion reigned at the finish line, as race officials first told him he didnt have any points so he could not have been the sprint leader. Then they came back and said they made a mistake and gave me the jersey on the podium, he said.
Saturday morning, though, Domingeuz was informed he would not be allowed to start the Stage 2, 90-minute criterium and would have to return the jersey.
Quick return for Rojas unlikely
Caisse dEpargne rider José Joaquín Rojas will not likely return to racing as early as next week's Critérium International as hoped. Full evaluate after he was hit by a car after a training ride with teammates Alejandro Valverde, Francesco Pérez and Luis León Sánchez in Alcantarilla (Murcia, Spain) earlier this month.
According to team doctor Jesus Hoyos, Rojas is suffering from a fracture of the 3rd and the 4th vertebrae in his spine. The rider will have to wear a special belt and can start training again within two weeks.
Oceania Champs seeding canceled due to cold
Weather conditions at Thredbo caused cancellations of the Downhill seeding run. UCI Chief Commisaire, Derek McCarthy made the decision at 2.54 pm to cancel the ranking run for all the elite and Under 19 riders with the temperature at 8.3 degrees and with the wind chill factor or minus 3.
Already since we made the decision the temperature has dropped one degree. The decision was made on safety with a cold front coming through and they are predicting snow, he said, said McCarthy. By late afternoon the temperature plummeted to 2 degrees. Several elite riders had done practice runs in the rain but all agreed with the decisions.
See also: Cyclingnews coverage of the Oceania Championships.
Symmetrics re-signs sponsor
This week, they announced the re-signing of Coast Capital Savings, a Canadian credit union, as a co-sponsor for 2007 and beyond. The Canadian team said this sponsor's involvement has increased the team's budget and enabled more travel to major events. "The involvement... has been a major boon to the team," said team co-owner Kevin Cunningham. "We have been able to up our program allowing us to support our athletes and take them to a variety of races we simply couldn't budget for before."
After Redlands, Symmetrics will travel next to the inaugural US Open Cycling championships in Richmond, Virginia, on April 7.
52nd Archer Grand Prix set for April 15
"This years Archer Grand Prix promises to be one of the most competitive ever," says race organiser Stuart Cook of the classic 115-mile cycle road race to be held for the 52nd year on Sunday, 15 April. "Every major team in the UK has entered so it is likely to be very tactical with team attacking team, while a few star individuals have also been accepted such as Rob Hayles, Scot Gamble, Alex Dowsett, Mark Wordsworth and BC private members, Dave Clarke and Martin Ford. The race also sees the return this year of riders such as the Downing brothers, Dean and Russell riding for different teams."
One favourite for the race is likely to be New Zealander Gordon McCauley riding for the Plowman Craven/Evans team, which also sponsors the hill climbing competition for the leaders at the top of Whiteleaf and Longdown hills. He has just returned to the UK having won the Archer International GP in both 2000 and 2001. But John Tanner, also a double winner in 1997 and 2005, leads a very strong Sportscover/Planet X team which also features hard man Wayne Randle, while Malcolm Elliott, second last year in Plowman Craven colours, this time leads an equally strong Pinarello team which also features his ex-ANC partner Adrian Timmis.
Local hopes will rest on Karl and Martin Freeman from Thame, riding for the Team Corley Cycles, plus Steve Golla from the High Wycombe CC, their original club. A strong team presence from leading South East team, www.agiskoviner.com, is also included in the race and is headed by Joel Stewart.
The race starts at Hazlemere at 11am and covers five laps of a 15 miles circuit via Hughenden Valley, Butlers Cross, Longdown, the fearsome Whiteleaf (or Monks) hill, and Lacey Green back to Hughenden Valley.
The race then returns to cover just over five laps of a five-mile circuit via Winchmore Hill, Penn Wood, Penn Street and back to Winchmore Hill where it finishes on the village green at the 6th arrival.
Full details of the race, including the list of riders, can be found on the promoter's Web site (www.archergrandprix.com).
See also: 2006 Archer International GP results
Sánchez puts 2006 behind him
By Antonio J. Salmerón
León Sánchez says that last year was a year worth forgetting. His teams, Liberty and Astana, evaporated. His director, Manolo Sáiz, was implicated in Operación Puerto. But with 2006 behind him, Sánchez is in the midst of a strong return to racing with new team Caisse d'Epargne - which he joined at the beginning of this season accompained by his contryman and also team-mate in the Liberty and Astana, José Joaquín Rojas.
The Spanish teammates shone in the Challenge de Mallorca, in which they both wore the leader's jersey; Rojas at the end of the second stage, Sánchez for the overall.
In the Paris-Nice, when options of success in the General classification seemed to slip away, Sánchez scored an emotional victory in the fifth stage in Cannes and finished third. "It was great! I wanted to dedicate a prestigious triumph like this to my brother, who died last year. In the final stage in Mende, my legs did not work, but my teammates and my director, Jaimerena, convinced me that I was able to win. I felt great, so that, I tried it. Contador was sensational, as well as David López, my teammate," Luis León Sánchez explained to Cyclingnews.com.
All this early success is making Sánchez a happy man. "I am still learning. I know that I can do good things, but in the future. I am so young, so that I prefer go ahead step by step. The only thing worries to me is to train. Tour? I think I will be there, accompained by Óscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde. They are my leaders, and I have to learn more from them."
León Sánchez will take part in the Critérium International in France next weekend. After that, the Spaniard rider will ride in Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
UAE Federation seeks experienced advice
The cycling federation for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is working on ways to increase the level of the sport in their country. Thursday, the federation's President, Shaikh Faisal bin Humaid Al Qasimi, and the Secretary General Mansour Juma Bu Osaiba met with Belgium ambassador Philippe Dartois. According to the Khaleej Times, the two talked about how to promote cooperation between the two countries for cycling.
The meeting is an initial step toward collaboration. "This the first and introductory meeting, which I can say, is informal. We initiated this move as we know Belgium is a great cycling nation. There is the possibility of establishing a long term relation between the two countries in the field of cycling," said Osaiba to the Khaleej Times.
"There is no harm of entering into agreement with cycling bodies from Europe. We will learn from them and use their experience to improve on cyclists' technique," Osaiba said. He is also looking toward other future cooperation with manufacturers and dealers in the cycling industry.
The UAE cycling federation has struck similar deals in the past. Two years ago, they signed an agreement with the German Cycling Federation to exchange ideas to encourage development of the sport in the UAE. However, another attempt to engage the expertise of Eddy Merckx in 2005 did not work out.
FSA sponsors "Ride With the Champions"
Tour De France and Giro d'Italia winner Felice Gimondi, Hour record great Francesco Moser, Giro and Vuelta winner Giovanni Battaglin, recently retired pro Andrea Peron, recent Isoli die Famosi winner Claudio Chiappucci and even 2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso will be part of the FSA-sponsored "I Campioni Pedalano Con Te! (The Champions Pedal With You) on March 31st.
The event, which will be started mid afternoon by Italian Cycling Federation President Renato Di Rocco from Full Speed Ahead's European headquarters (via del Lavoro 56 20040 Busnago Milano, Italy) on Saturday, will follow a course through the a flat 8km loop through Roncello, Cavenago, Ornago and back to Busnago.
The event is open to the public.
What: "I Campioni Pedalano Con Te! (The Champions Pedal With You!)
Ride with Armstrong in RAGBRAI
While his former Discovery Channel teammates slug it out with the rest of the ProTour peloton in France this summer, Lance Armstrong will be heading up a LiveStrong team at the popular Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).
Lance Armstrong Foundation webmaster and occasional Cyclingnews contributor Chris Brewer said that "our Team LiveStrong for this years RAGBRAI will be comprised of 100 riders who will ride the 7-day, 472 mile bike ride across the state of Iowa from west to east. To join us, each rider must raise a minimum of $1,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And this amount includes the $125 entry fee for RAGBRAI and one LIVESTRONG cycling jersey."
Interested riders should check out www.livestrong.org/ragbrai but Chris advises that "there are limited slots remaining (and) all registration applications must be received no later than midnight central daylight time Tuesday March 27, 2007."
Custom bike raffled for Young Women United Against Breast Cancer
Charity organization Young Women United Against Breast Cancer (www.youngsurvival.org) is raiding funds by raffling a Zanconato Custom Cycles (www.zanconato.com) bicycle frame online. The Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the only international, nonprofit network of breast cancer survivors who promote action, advocacy and awareness to address breast cancer in women 40 and under. The YSC also serves as a point of contact for young women living with breast cancer.
The completed road or cyclo-cross frame will be equipped with a mixture of Shimano, Mavic, Thompson and Brooks components. The approximate retail value of the prize is US$2,700.
Available at www.bikereg.com, tickets cost $20 each or 6 tickets for $100. Raffle sales close March 31, 2007. On April 5, 2007, one winner will be drawn at random from all entries received. Organizers of the raffle and their families are ineligible.
Klöden's long way home
By Susan Westemeyer
After Andreas Klöden won Tirreno-Adriatico, he had a big celebration and a smooth journey home. Well, not really.......
"That same evening, I wanted to fly with some of my teammates from Ancona to Rome to Munich. Shortly before landing in Rome, the flight had to go back to Ancona because of bad weather," he wrote on his website, andreas-kloeden.com.
"The next flight wasn't until the next day at 6 a.m., so we had to spend the night in a hotel. When we got there at midnight, we found out, contrary to what they had previously told us, that there were no rooms available."
"At the next hotel, Mario Kummer, Matthias Kessler, Alexander Vinokourov and I were offered exactly two single rooms and a double room with one small double bed and only one blanket. I ended up spending the next three hours in that bed with 'Matze' Kessler, since we had to leave at 4 a.m. anyway."
"After being on the go for 17 hours - including five hours racing - and only three hours sleep, we all felt awful the next morning and also looked that way. Good thing that there were no photographers around!"
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)