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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 31, 2007

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Contador: "I have done my work"

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Alberto Contador sealed the overall classification at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon on Friday after getting over the Santa Inés and Piqueras climbs without difficulties while Fransisco Ventoso won the fifth and final stage.

"Thanks to my teammates for controlling the race," Contador said after the final stage. The most pressure came for Contador and Discovery on the second climb of the day. "It was complicated to defend my leadership in this last stage because Koldo Gil and his teammates, mainly Juan José Cobo, attacked us. But I felt very well, and Leipheimer does not allow any complications."

The Spanish Discovery Channel leader is "very happy" and says he must now "decide on my presence in the Vuelta al País Vasco," explaining that he has held his form for a long time already this season and may need a break. "I fulfilled the goals I planned for this first part of this season. If I take part in the Vuelta al País Vasco, it will be different from other years (where Contador contended for the overall - finishing eigth in 2006), because, although I like the race very much, I have already done what I wanted."

Hammer repeats as world champion

Sarah Hammer
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./Ouch Pro Cycling) successfully defended her world title in the women's three-kilometer individual pursuit Friday at the 2007 UCI Track World Championships. Hammer recorded a time of 3:30.213 to lower her own national record for the third time since January as she beat Rebecca Romero of Great Britain for the gold medal and rainbow jersey.

"I couldn't be happier," explained Hammer after her victory. "The first one, of course, is always special, but I didn't want to be non-world champion this year. I mean, I lived it out all year, so I didn't want to go another 365 days without the rainbow."

Earlier in the day, Hammer clocked a then-personal best time of 3:31.359 in the qualifying round to secure the top seed and a spot in the gold-medal final for the second consecutive year. The second-seeded Romero surprised everybody but Hammer with a 3:31.894 in qualifying to set the stage for an evenly-matched competition for the world championship.

Hammer's time in the final was just over three seconds faster than Romero, who clocked a 3:33.409. "I was not surprised about Rebecca," explained Hammer. "I follow everybody and respect all my competitors. I never doubt what they can do. I was more surprised about Katie than anything. I didn't expect her to be that far off the pace, but Rebecca wasn't a surprise. She was flying under the radar maybe a little bit, but I definitely knew who she was."

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Remarkably, Hammer posted a faster time in the final compared to the qualifying round just hours earlier - a feat that is rarely seen.

"We said that tonight I was going to throw it all the way down," said Hammer. "This morning I threw it down completely too, but was somewhat safe once I heard my splits and knew where I was at. I knew I was on pace to make it to the final. But once you're in the final against one other person going for that rainbow jersey, you can really kick it."

Hammer's back-to-back world titles marks the first time an American woman has won consecutive world championships on the track in over 20 years (Rebecca Twigg captured pursuit titles in 1984 and 1985).

Hammer now turns her focus to Sunday's points race as she looks to become the first American woman to win two world titles on the track in the same year. In 2006, Hammer competed in both events but an unfavorable schedule provided little recovery time between races This year though, a day off in between competition could be the deciding factor.

"I get tomorrow to relax, which is awesome. Last year I had to go straight into the points race the next day and it was a lot harder on me. I was mentally and just totally flat. I'm a little more prepared for it now and having a day off in between is going to be key."

Tour of Utah postponed

The Board of Directors of the Tour of Utah bicycle race announced Friday that this year’s event will be postponed.

The management team announced problems securing a major sponsor for the event. "While enthusiasm and support for the Tour of Utah continues to be high, after several months of aggressive sales and marketing efforts, the management team was unable to secure the required level of sponsorship support needed to produce the multi-stage race they had planned," said a press release from the promoter. "Based on initial feedback from potential sponsors, the race organizers believe that postponing the race will allow the time necessary to secure sufficient sponsor support to produce the race."

Chairman of the Board, Greg Miller, said in the release that he is hopeful that the combination of the new management team assembled in January 2007, general interest from the business community, and excitement from cyclists will result in a strong community event in the future. “In assessing our current staff, meeting personally with community stakeholders and business leaders, and observing the Tour of California bicycle race, I believe that we have the foundation in place to build a well-respected and successful event,” Miller said. “We hit the ground running in January and after getting up-to-speed, realized that we will better serve the community by postponing this year’s race. We need to get an earlier start in order to time our fundraising efforts with annual corporate budget cycles.”

In connection with Friday’s announcement, Ted Wilson, Executive Director of the Tour of Utah, is stepping down to pursue other opportunities. “Ted did a great job getting us to where we are today,” Miller said. “We will miss his leadership and wish Ted the very best in his endeavors.” A replacement will be named in the near future.

In addition, the Utah Sports Commission announced it will work with USA Cycling and Medalist Sports, LLC, one of the leading cycling event planners, to create and develop a broad-based, comprehensive cycling strategy for the state of Utah, including the Tour of Utah.

“This strategy will allow the state to explore cycling in greater detail to the benefit of the sport and the Tour of Utah,” said Jeff Robbins, President and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission.

Inaugural US Open announces course & teams

Organizers today announced the inaugural U.S. Open Cycling Championships racecourses, to be held on Saturday, April 7, 2007. The 112-mile professional me'¹s race, a stop on the international UCI Americas Tour (UCI 1.1) and the national USA Cycling Pro Tour, starts in historic Williamsburg at 8:10 a.m. on Francis Street in front of the colonial powder magazine. The course will then head past Jamestown, which this year is commemorating the 400th anniversary of its founding, and follow the first westward expansion into the New World by the English settlers. The James River Plantations, the Charles City County Courthouse, and the Civil War Malvern Hill Battlefield are all among the historic sites touched by the scenic course.

After 65-miles of racing the course enters Richmond where the pro men will begin an arduous 5.5-mile circuit that they¹ll traverse 8 times. The circuit includes a steep climb over cobblestones in Libby Hill Park, a passage by the Governor¹s Mansion, and an uphill finish at the Library of Virginia.

Tour de France veteran and television commentator Frankie Andreu stated: "the climb up Libby Hill is brutal. This race is a true test and with this course, only a real champion can win." The men will finish around 12:00 noon in front of The Library of Virginia. Live television coverage of the race will be broadcast on Jumbotrons set up both at the finish line and at Libby Hill Park.

The women's circuit race starts at 9:00 a.m. in Richmond in front of The Library of Virginia, and will finish at about 10:15 a.m. The women will race nine laps on a challenging 3-mile circuit that shares the western section of the men¹s course.

On Friday, promoters also announced some of the confirmed teams for the US Open as well. "It's no secret in professional cycling that North American racing is among the most aggressive, and dynamic in the world," Eustice said. "There's good reason that eleven out of the past twenty Tour de France's have been won by U.S riders and that the ranks of European pro teams are peppered with athletes formed in the rough and tumble of our racing."

Toyota-United will bring Ivan Dominquez and Henk Vogels into the event as pre-race favorites. Dominquez, known as the 'Cuban Missile,' has proved himself one of the fastest men in the world with his Stage 7 win at the Amgen Tour of California, beating a host of top European sprinters. Henk Vogels, the tough-as-nails Australian with years of European racing experience, will think himself back in Belgium on the eight climbs up Libby Hill's cobblestone path.

Team Symmetrics Sven Tuft, recent winner of the Tour of Cuba, will lead the Canadian challenge. Mexico's Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara racing team, currently in a dog-fight for the leadership of the UCI Americas Tour Team classification will be led by Fausto Marcelino Muñoz - overall winner of the UCI-ranked Univest Grand Prix in 2006.

Former World Champion Danny Pate (US) heads Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle, who will be just back from a very successful European campaign.

Cuban Frank Trevisio and 22-year old Keith Norris (US) lead the dominant team from the South, AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork, a team with twenty wins already in 2007.

The same-day national broadcast on NBC Sports will be broadcast at 2:30-5:00 p.m.

Wong's win boost for Asian Cycling

By Shane Stokes in Palma

He may have started out in the scratch race final on Friday evening as one of the lesser known riders, but Hong Kong’s Kam Po Wong showed great timing and strength to take the gold medal in the event. Sensing the moment was right, he jumped inside the final ten laps, going clear at a point when the bunch stalled after a succession of hard laps. The 34 year old quickly built a half-lap lead and came in well ahead of Wim Stroetinga (Netherlands), Rafal Ratajczyk (Poland), plus the rest of the field.

“I came to the world championship for the points race but my coach said to me that I could also do the scratch race,” he told Cyclingnews after his win. “I said okay, there will be no real pressure there and in the end, I raced very well.”

Finding the right moment to go was crucially important to his success. “I had a meeting with my coach before and he said to me that I will only have one opportunity to get a real gap. The timing will be very important, and that worked out well. In the last three laps I felt like I was running out of power, I was slowing down, but I looked across to the side of the track and saw the riders over there and thought that maybe I still had a chance. I said to myself that I would keep trying, and it worked out perfectly.”

UCI President Pat McQuaid said that the win was very significant for Asian cycling, and also for the general globalisation of cycling.

“It is wonderful for me to see Kam Po Wong win a world title,” said Pat McQuaid, currently attending the Majorcan event. “It is very significant in terms of the development of the sport, that an Asian rider can come to the world championships and not only compete, but to win at this level.

“I first encountered him when I was organising the Tour of the Philippines over ten years ago and have seen him at many times during his career, at the Tour de Langkawi and other races. He has had a very good career and he is close to the end of that now, being 34 years of age. It is wonderful that he has taken a world title at this stage.”

Wong seemed almost unable to believe what he had achieved. It is an unexpected victory and one which will be savoured for a long time. “I am very happy with this because although I have won a lot in Asia, taking a stage of the Tour de Langkawi and in other races, I found it very hard to win at world level. But this time, at 34 years of age, it has worked.

“I have been cycling for 15 years and in the last two seasons I felt at times that I wanted to stop. But I decided to continue on until next year's Olympics, as they are so important for my country. I will try once more for the Games and then after that I think I will retire.

“These last two years have been very good because I don't feel any pressure. I won the Asian games road race and won stages in many Asian races in the past. The GC is not possible any more because my climbing is down but I have taken stages in the Tour of South China Sea, Hong Kong, the Tour of Thailand and others. I recently took a stage in the Tour of Taiwan and felt that perhaps my form was okay [prior to the worlds]. It has all worked out very well.”

Wong will line out in the points race tomorrow but is taking nothing for granted. “I must try first to qualify for the final, the world championships are very hard. If I qualify I will try to do something in the race.”

Wiggins savours second win, targets third gold

Bradley Wiggins took his second gold medal of the championships on Friday when the Great Britain riders scorched to a dominant win over the Ukraine in the team pursuit final. The quartet of Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas squad recorded a time of 3’57.468, beating the new national record time they had set this morning and going within 0.878” of the world record currently held by Australia.

“You try to control it for two kilometres but after that you are just racing for the line,” he told Cyclingnews after their podium presentation. “The time is irrelevant to me, I just wanted to win the world title. Once I saw them [the Ukrainian team] in front of us, I knew we had won it so it was just easy then, we were really relaxed. It was only afterwards when we were doing the interviews that I realised what time we had done. It just makes it more special, really, to do that.”

Australia won last year but didn’t figure this time around, placing sixth. They have placed a greater emphasis on youth and long term development this time round. Wiggins said that the Great Britain team were not thinking about who their opponents would be, but instead concentrated on their own performances. “We have just been so focussed on what we need to do, really, it didn’t matter who was in the final.”

GB performance manager Dave Brailsford and team rider Geraint Thomas both said that they felt that the world record was now in reach, but Wiggins was being more cautious.

“The record was set in unusual circumstances, and they will never be repeated again,” he said. “That world record is very tough but we will see. There are two rides now in the team pursuit but when they [Australia] did it, there was four. They did it in a semi final when you had to go past the team to record the time in a final. At the worlds now, if you catch a team you are not going to worry about that.”

After winning the individual pursuit on the opening day of the Games, Wiggins said that his big target was three golds. He is still aiming for that, but says that nothing is granted. “The madison is a lottery, really. We have got the legs to win it but whether we do or not is another thing. There are crashes and all sorts of things. We have got a day off to relax tomorrow and soak it all up, then will get going again for the madison.”

Vinokorourov: "this year or never" for Tour

By Jean-François Quénet in Charleville-Mézières

After finishing 3rd in Tirreno-Adriatico, Alexandre Vinokourov would be a logical favorite for the Critérium International in the French Ardennes this weekend. But he doesn't put any pressure on himself: "There's only one race I want to win this year, it's the Tour de France," he said on Friday. "I've already won everything else I wanted - except from the World Championship."

Vinokourov says he'll use the French event as a test. "I hope to do a good time trial on Sunday afternoon. I did some testing in a wind tunnel and I know that I have to improve my position yet. Maybe I'll do the hill climb stage with the best riders. With the condition of Tirreno-Adriatico, I can make a top 10 here."

Vinokourov says that although he'll share his team's leadership role for the Tour, "for me, winning the Tour is this year or never. Here at the Critérium International, I have the opportunity to race against Damiano Cunego, Alejandro Valverde or Luis Leon Sanchez but they might be in a different state of form as me because everyone has a different programme. Cunego might be in form earlier because of the Giro. I only focus on building my condition and my team for the Tour de France."

The politicians and businessmen behind Astana have asked for 9 or 10 team members to take part in the championship of Kazakhstan, after which Vino and Kash will fly directly to London for the start of the Tour de France. "It's this year or never…", the boss repeats.

Klier recovering from collision with tractor

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile's Andreas Klier is recovering from his collision with a trailer attached to a tractor this week and hopes to salvage the Spring Classics season. The crash left him with a fractured right cheek bone and concussion.

Team spokesman Stefan Wagner told Cyclingnews Friday afternoon that the German rider "feels comparatively good, and the doctors are quite pleased with his current condition. He will start with a short training on Sunday and will test himself at the beginning next week. Afterwards he will decide if he will start at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but he won't start at de Panne. "

Euskatel for Critérium International

The Euskaltel-Euskadi ProTour team announbced its roster for this weekend's Critérium International. The team will be headed by Antton Luengo and includes Beñat Albizuri, Iban Mayoz, Markel Irizar, Joseba Zubeldia, Jorge Azanza, Dioni Galparsoro and Iban Iriondo.

Milram for Three Days of De Panne

Team Milram announced its roster on Friday for the upcoming Three Days of De Panne (BC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde). The four-stage tour leads through the typically west-flemish terrain with short climbs and cobbled passages. The race is the last test before the Tour of Flanders. The Three Days of De Panne are usually decided in an individual time trial over eleven kilometers on the last day.

Headed by director Antonio Bevilacqua, Milram's roster includes Volodymyr Diudia, Sebastian Siedler, Marcel Sieberg, Fabio Sabatini, Martin Mueller, Brett Lancaster, Ralf Grabsch and Alberto Ongarato.

Registration for SingleSpeed Worlds opens Saturday

Registration for the 2007 Singlespeed World Championships opens midnight Saturday (12:01am Sunday, April 1st BST). Places will be limited only if interest is extremely high. The full instructions will appear on

$10k up for grabs at Old Capital Crit

The Iowa City Cycling Club announced the prize list this week for the upcoming Old Capitol Criterium and Iowa City Road Race weekend April 28-29, 2007 in Iowa City, Iowa. This year's event will mark the 30th anniversary of the Old Capitol Criterium and features a combined prize list of $10,000, making it one of the Midwest's largest race weekends on the bicycle racing calendar.

The weekend's festivities kick-off on Saturday, April 28th with the Iowa City Road Race. Located southwest of Iowa City at the Iowa Mennonite Church, the road race offers a total prize list of $2500 - an increase of $1000 spread across multiple categories. The action begins at 9:00 am with the Women Open racing 39 miles, and culminates in the men's feature race - the Senior Men Pro/1/2 catgory - racing 65 miles starting at 2:30 pm.

The Old Capitol Criterium takes the main stage on Sunday, April 29th. Offering a total prize list of $7500, the criterium features a challenging 1-kilometer loop around the Pentacrest in downtown Iowa City, including repeated climbs up the Jefferson Street hill. Racing begins at 9:30 am with Junior riders aged 10-18 years of age and continues to the day's feature race - the Chris Lillig Memorial Cup - at 3:30 pm. Sponsored by River Products Company, Inc. of Iowa City, the Chris Lillig Memorial Cup honors the 11th anniversary of the death of Chris Lillig - a local bicycle racer and former River Products employee who was struck and killed by drunk driver while on a training ride.

"We are excited to continue our support of the Old Capitol Criterium and find it to be a fitting way to respect and honor Chris Lillig," says Tom Scott, President of River Products Company, Inc. "We also truly admire what the event has become over the years and what it brings to the community."

This year's Old Capitol Criterium also features an expanded set of free Kids races. Starting at 1:00 pm, youth under 10 years of age will have the opportunity to race the entire upper loop of the criterium course - including a finish across the same finish line as the senior racers.

For more race details, including online registration, please visit

Boston Bike Film Festival open for submissions

Organizers for the Third Annual Boston Bike Film Festival ask filmmakers with a cycling habit to submit their work to be shown October 19-20, 2007 at venues in and around Boston. Among the benefits available to acclaimed and amateur filmmakers, the Festival offers a chance to get their films in front of audiences who are intrigued and influential to the quality of cycling nationwide.

"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. For information on how to submit a file, see the promoter's Web site at

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