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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for March 26, 2007

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Post-race comments from Milan-San Remo

By Hedwig Kröner

A little bit of champagne for Boonen, too
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

One day after the legendary Italian Spring Classic Milan-San Remo, the best riders in the World have travelled back to their homes from the Mediterranean coast - some delighted, others disappointed.

Belgian Tom Boonen, who placed third in a tight photo finish between Alan Davis (Discovery), himself and Robbie McEwen (Predictor), complained about ongoing back problems that me him feel like an old man after the Classicissima. "I feel like I'm 85 years old after such a demolishing race," the Quick-Step rider told news agency belga. "But I felt great during the whole day. On the Cipressa and the Poggio, I wasn't very far behind the best. The team also performed perfectly for the task. I think we were the strongest team in the finale, but in the final sprint, Oscar Freire jumped ahead. Oh well, the best guy won."

Boonen wasn't too upset about his defeat against Spaniard Oscar Freire - to the contrary, he improved his placings in San Remo compared with the last two editions of the race. "If my back had been okay, maybe there would have been a different result, but that's not an excuse," he continued. "Also, I hesitated when Reynes and McEwen passed me on the right and the left just when I was about to start the sprint, but that's not an excuse either. There was nothing I could do against Freire, and I'm glad that after a fourth and eighth place I stood on the podium for the first time. That shows me that I'm ready for the rest of the spring season."

Petacchi knew it would be hard from the start
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

One of Boonen's rivals, Milram's Alessandro Petacchi, was defeated in a more bitter way in the final bunch sprint. The Italian favourite finished only eighth, two placings behind his teammate Erik Zabel, who was the last man to lead him out on the Via Roma. "I wasn't up to it today," Petacchi had to admit after the race. "I'm still lacking power. My left leg, the one where I broke my kneecap, still hasn't the same power than my right leg. I didn't put any pressure on it for so long..."

'Ale-Jet' broke his kneecap during the starting stages of the Giro d'Italia in Belgium last year. "I don't know how long it will take for both legs to have the same power again, but I feel that I'm not far away anymore," he continued. "I'm fine during the race - the only problem is the sprint itself. It demands enormous power of my leg, which is not used to that anymore."

Even though Petacchi had made a return to racing at the Vuelta a España in September, he had to abandon the second Grand Tour that year as he unfortunately broke his hand when hitting a team bus out of frustration for the lack of results. His teammate, four-times Milan-San Remo winner Erik Zabel only had one comment when asked about the sprinting hierarchy at the famous Italian Classic: "It's part of my contract," he told Radsportnews, certainly disappointed about the team's results as well.

The last minute escape of Riccò and Gilbert
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

But not only sprinters had their say in San Remo. Together with new Italian climbing prodigy Riccardo Riccò, Belgian Philippe Gilbert escaped in the ascent of the Poggio just a few kilometres away from the finish. But the pair could not fight off the sprinters' teams in the end, and the Française des Jeux rider finished 21st in the bunch. "I did everything in my power to obtain a podium place, but in the end I failed by a hair," Gilbert commented. "I rode a strong race, though. because I feared crashes, I told [teammate] Detilloux that we would race in front the whole day.

On the Cipressa, I was with the best for three or four kilometres, but when I saw that there wouldn't be any gap, I recovered my strengths and placed all my bets on the Poggio." As soon as the ultimate climb was reached, Gilbert took off with Riccò, and the pair had a 10 seconds lead at the summit. Still, the gap was too small to make a difference. "I had to crunch my teeth hard to be able to follow Riccò's expected attack, but I made it," Gilbert added. "The Italian was the strongest in the climb, and I was the strongest after that. We both gave it a 100 percent, but nothing came out of it. We gambled and lost, but that is the rule of the sport. A pity."

José Enrique Gutierrez breaks scaphoid

LPR rider José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna suffered a fracture of the scaphoid bone of his right hand in a crash which put an end to his racing in Milan-San Remo on Saturday. The Spaniard flew back home in the evening and underwent x-rays on Sunday which revealed the injury, the team announced. The 2006 Giro d'Italia second-placed will not be able to race for one month. After that, Gutierrez will begin a series of rehabilitation exercises to recover the full functionality of his hand. It is not known yet when he will be able to resume competition.

Slipstream gets Catalunya nod after Paris-Roubaix pass

Vaughters Slipstream team is earning worldwide respect
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
(Click for larger image)

Behind the scenes, it looked like American Pro Continental squad Team Slipstream, headed by former pro and U.S. Postal team member Jonathan Vaughters, had a solid chance at being awarded one of the available wildcard slots for the 2007 Paris-Roubaix classic. But when the announcement was made earlier this week, the team was passed over. "We were hopeful for getting the nod, Especially after Tour of California and West Flanders," Vaughters said over the weekend.

Vaughters is philosophical about the missed opportunity, consoled by he fact that the team has been invited to the prestigious Critérium International (Saturday, March 31st). "(Paris-Roubaix) would have been a good experience for our guys, but the teams they picked are still better than our team, so the decision is a just one," he said.

Another consolation is the recent news that Slipstream has been invited to the Tour of Catalunya in late May. "This is a great stage race for our climbers," Vaughters said. "It will be our first ProTour wildcard, and probably one a bit more suited to our team than Paris-Roubaix."

Jacob Rosenbarger Interview; a ready Rosenbarger

American Jacob Rosenbarger is a member of the BMC Pro Cycling Team. John Wikswo caught up with him for Cyclingnews on a flight that was taking Rosenbarger to his first race of the season in Fresno, California. The Colorado-based rider was happy to be escaping the clutches of a tough Front Range winter for some California sunshine, and he looked forward to the chance to race with his new team:

Jacob Rosenbarger
Photo ©: Mark Adkison
(Click for larger image)

Excited about his place on the BMC squad, Rosenbarger said, "It's a new team, it's their first year. It's important to start the season with a good showing - especially with a new team. All the other guys want to see how it shapes up, how good the equipment is, how fit the guys are."

Rosenbarger has been racing for ten years, with the last five as a professional, but his career got off to a rough start when he was involved in a life-threatening accident during his first pro race. "I got hit by a car in a race six years ago, broke my femur, and stopped breathing during surgery. I was at a pretty low point. It was a big success the first time I rode my bike after that accident."

"My break was high, near the head of the femur, but I was back on my bike in six weeks. My problem was that I stayed conscious the whole time. The race was a big road race in Riverside. I laid on a gurney for seven hours before they took an x-ray to see that the neck of my femur was broken. Lots of road rash. Three days in ICU after surgery."

Ironically, the car he hit was a police car. "I dented a quarter panel. I went across the hood, and my leg hit the metal frame above the bumper."

The accident was a twist of fate that impacted his personal life, too. "From that, I met my future wife. That made this a most positive experience. She's the soigneur for that team (Jittery Joes Coffee Company) and waited by my hospital bed for three days. That shortened my recovery by months. Now she is the soigneur for our BMC team."

Read the entire Jacob Rosenbarger interview here.

Redlands Hand Cycling race launches US HC series

David Lee
Photo ©: US Handcylicng Assn.
(Click for larger image)

In between elite road-racing stages at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the first-ever PossAbilities Hand Cycle race showcased the talent and dedication of some of that sports’ top riders. The strenuous 5 km Time Trial course was the season-opener for the U.S. Hand Cycling Series. David Lee, Cardiff by the Sea, CA, took first place, followed by Australian-born Todd Philpott, NY, NY; and Keane West, Lake Placid, FL.

“This race was a great kickoff for the series; it sets the bar for the rest of the season,” said Ian Lawless, executive director for U.S. Hand Cycling. “It’s our mission to create integrated hand cycling opportunities. This race creates awareness and blurs the line between people with disabilities and those without.”

The steep grade of the course proved to be one of the athletes’ more difficult events. David Lee, race winner, described the race in two words, “Uphill. This was the hardest handcycle race I’ve competed in. It was an awesome challenge.” Lee finished in 20:21.23.

Todd Philpott echoed Lee’s sentiment. “I wish I had my bike set up for the hill, but these things happen; I’m still happy with the race,” said Philpott, who finished second with a time of 24:30.69. “I’ve been competing for five years and this is the best atmosphere People look out for you. The integration is what it’s all about. There are some of the best male and female riders out here. Being a part of this is like coming of age.”

Tyler Blackwelder, director for the Hand Cyle race and PossAbilites volunteer helped the inaugural event take place. “This was a big success,” says Blackwelder. “We’re excited it went so well, especially for as tough as a race as it was. All the racers were an inspiration, showing the true spirit of the sport. This year was a building block for years to come.”

1 David Lee          20.21
2 Todd Philpott       4.09
3 Keane West         13.59
4 Seth Arseneau      14.57
5 Huan Nguyen        16.25
6 Ron Crawford       20.11
7 Patrick Cottini    22.05
8 Harold Bostick     43.00

Team Fuerteventura - Canarias training camp

by Monika Prell

Team Fuerteventura - Canarias
Photo ©: Team Fuerteventura - Canarias
(Click for larger image)

The team Fuerteventura - Canarias ended a one-week training camp on the island of Fuerteventura on Friday the team was using as preparation for the Vuelta a Castilla y León and as visit of the region of their main sponsor.

According to todociclismo, the Sport director Oscar Guerrero said he was satisfied with the camp. "It was an unique experience. We got to know the entire island, we had very good weather for our training, and everyone who lives in the island now knows us and has seen us up close," joked the ex-Kaiku Sport Director. "In reality we lived seven very intense days and hope we gave gave a very positive image of cycling."

Guerrero says his is looking forward to the Vuelta a Castilla y León: "We arrive after two races in which we have made it to the podium (Almería and Murcia) and we want to continue that success. For this race I trust specially in Manolo Lloret and David Bernabeu."

Milram and Gerolsteiner to Settimana Internazionale

The Milram and Gerolsteiner teams will send star contingents to the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali which starts Monday, March 26 and runs to Saturday, March 31. The tour through Italy opens in the holiday spot Riccione on the Adriatic coast with a double stage (a 95.2-kilometre road race and an 11.8-kilometre team time trial). In another four stages the race leads the riders through the Italian Region Emilia-Romagna.

Milram's team for Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali includes Alessandro Petacchi, Fabio Sacchi, Andrey Grivko, Matej Jurco, Mirco Lorenzetto, Elia Rigotto, Sebastian Schwager, Marco Velo.

Gerolsteiner contingent includes Robert Förster, Markus Fothen, Torsten Hiekmann, Tim Klinger, Volker Ordowski, Marcel Strauss, Carlo Westphal and Beat Zberg.

ProTour rankings after Milan-San Remo

On the attack
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Immediately following Saturday's Milan-San Remo, the UCI released the latest ProTour competition standings. Remaining at the top of the individual rankings is Alberto Contador of the Discovery Channel Cycling team. The rising Spanish star won the overall classification at Paris-Nice for to earn his 56 points; the most points on offer for the first four ProTour events of the 2007 season.

Despite having their best-placed rider only eight in the individual rankings, the Caisse D'Epargne team has earned the most cumulative points to lead the team rankings after Milan-San Remo.

ProTour top ten individual rankings after Milan-San Remo

1 Alberto Velasco Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team    56 pts
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana                                          53
3 Oscar Gomez Freire (Spa) Rabobank                                    52
4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                   42
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team                                      41
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                 40
7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana                                    38
8 Gil Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                         38
9 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic                             37
10 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                35
ProTour team rankings Milan-San Remo
1 Caisse D'Epargne                                                     53 pts
2 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                                   52
3 Team CSC                                                             49
4 Liquigas                                                             46
5 Ag2R Prévoyance                                                      39
6 T-Mobile Team                                                        36
7 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                               35
8 Team Milram                                                          33
9 Astana                                                               31
10 Predictor-Lotto                                                     29

For complete individual and team rankings, see our Milan-San Remo race report.

German Federation cracks down on doping

By Susan Westemeyer

The German cycling federation, BDR, has stepped up its war on doping at its annual meeting over the weekend in Stuttgart, Germany, requiring chaperons for doping controls and issuing restrictions on racing by riders who are under suspicion of or investigation for use of illegal doping products, according to the German press agency "DPA".

Under the chaperone system, a rider who must appear at doping controls after a stage or race will be accompanied by a neutral person from the time the rider crosses the finish line until he or she gives a sample. Riders under suspicion of having used doping products will not be allowed to start in German races. In response to the situation with Danilo Hondo, the federation now requires German-registered teams to continue suspend riders who have had positive A and B tests, the results of which have been set aside for whatever reason by a sports court.

The recent doping scandals have hurt German cycling, BDR president Rudolf Scharping noted. "One million Euros, that is the damage we can measure in our budget through the loss of sponsors.

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