Lasest Cycling News for May 2, 2007
Edited by Gregor Brown
Savoldelli adds another Romandie prologue win
Italian Paolo Savoldelli flew over the 3.5 kilometre Tour de Romandie parcours on Tuesday to claim victory. The win on the streets of Freiburg was the fourth time that he had won the Swiss race's opener. He won by five seconds over Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).
The two-time Giro d'Italia winner, known as Il Falco Bergamasco, is in Switzerland merely to reach his top form for the upcoming Giro. "I didn't come here to win, but to test and do the best I could," Savoldelli said to AFP after the win. The 2007 Giro starts May 12 on the Island of Sardegna. "If the race allows it, we will hold on to it, because the Astana team is capable of controlling the race."
He reckoned the last kilometre required the most energy. "You needed very good legs to win today and to negotiate the last kilometre well."
American Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) finished third, at seven seconds. "My legs weren't too bad already in Liège-Bastogne-Liège," noted Horner, who won a stage in the 2006 edition. "Here it's getting better and better."
His teammate and last year's Romandie winner, Cadel Evans, finished outside of the top ten. "Cadel's doing well too and we're both aiming for the final podium."
"My preparation revolves around the Tour de France," said the Australian to L'Impartial newspaper. "I want to be in my best form in July. The Tour de Romandie is the first big event of the season."
Evans and his Italian wife live in Switzerland, and he vowed not to take the race lightly. "I'll do my best to defend my title," he added.
The race will get down to business today in stage one, which runs 157.8 km from Granges-Paccot to La Chaux-de-Fonds. The riders will face two category one and two category two climbs.
Sinkewitz nearly missed his own victory
By Katharina Schulz
As Patrik Sinkewitz rolled across the finish line at yesterday's Rund um den Henninger Turm as the winner, there was none of the usual cheering. It looked like he hadn't even realised he had won the race. As it turns out, he really didn't know. "At first I wasn't sure whether I had another lap to go, but then our physiotherapist called me to a halt," Sinkewitz told t-mobile-team.com.
Last year, Sinkewitz was at the front of the race for a very long time together with CSC-rider Jens Voigt, but they were caught on the final laps through Frankfurt's city centre. "After having been caught at the end of the race last year, this victory makes me very happy," 'Sinke' said.
Sinkewitz, who comes from the town of Fulda, which lies in the region, was especially motivated. "I just feel great. This is my home race, which I really wanted to win one day, and now I've done it. I wasn't very successful this year in the Spring Classics, but this is a very good conclusion for the spring season, which makes me even happier," the winner of the 2004 Deutschland Tour stated.
T-Mobile had originally thought that no group without a rider from Milram or Gerolsteiner would be allowed to get a substantial lead. "But this was not the case, and on the final kilometres I knew that my only chance was to attack."
Sinkewitz will now take a short break and return for the Bayern-Rundfahrt which takes place from May 30 till June 3.
Holczer not amused with Henninger Turm
By Katharina Schulz
Yesterday's Rund um den Henninger Turm was one of the few races where an attack was actually rewarded. Usually, a group of attacking riders is caught just before the finish line and there's a mass sprint if it's a flat race.
In the race around Germany's banking capital, a group got away from the peloton quite early after an attack by Maint Berkenbosch (Team Regiostrom-Senges) and René Obst (Team Lamonta). They were joined among others by Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas) and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) and the group gained over four minutes' lead at one point. Later Patrik Sinkewitz, who was to win the race, caught up with them from a large pursuit group.
However, there was no-one from Gerolsteiner or Milram in any of the groups, even though David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) launched an attack at one point. Gerolsteiner's boss Hans-Michael Holczer was not amused that Milram didn't join the chase very enthusiastically. "One gets the impression that only Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile have a real interest in winning the race," he told radsport-aktiv.de.
Milram's spokesman Stefan Schwenke responded that the milkmen simply were too tired to work any harder. "We were at the front during the whole of the Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt. The riders simply were completely exhausted," Schwenke said. Thus, the field could not decide whose job it was to lead the hunt, and the group was never caught up with, making it possible for soloist Sinkewitz to win the race.
Mikel Gaztañaga comments on Vendée win
By Monika Prell
Mikel Gaztañaga (Agritubel) has won the Tour de Vendée for the second consecutive year. The Basque rider imposed himself in a sprint against the Australian Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole) and Frenchman Mathieu Drujon (Auber) and is now second in the Coupe de France, behind Sylvain Chavanel (Française des Jeux).
"It was very hard, 206 back-breaking kilometres," the 27 year-old commented the race to Diario Vasco. "At times there was rain. A break-away was chased down by our team, and in the finish I was the fastest one of a group."
He admitted that his competition form was quite good until Paris–Roubaix "When I finished, I was totally exhausted," Gaztañaga continued. "I had an important physical unwinding. The weekend passed and I began to compete again but I did not feel well.
"Now, I am better. I am a cyclist who always has to suffer a lot to reach a good competition form, but when I have it, I can win."
This season, he has already competed for 33 days, and he has still many more ahead. "Next week I will go to Portugal, then [Clásica a] Alcobenas. We are doing a lot of races, last year I only had 28 days of competition."
Gil and Mancebo after Subida al Naranco
By Monika Prell
After his impressive victory in yesterday's Subida al Naranco, Koldo Gil commented to Diario Vasco. "In fact, there was a moment, at less than one kilometre before the finish, when I thought that I would not be able to reach Mancebo, but in the end, he paid for his effort."
The 29 year-old Saunier Duval rider affirmed that he had little hope when he tried to capture Mancebo. "in the last 300 meters I saw that Mancebo sit down and was not able to further his advance," continued Gil. "I managed myself well and at the end I was able to win."
Francisco Mancebo admitted that he overestimated the final kilometre of the Naranco. "The last kilometre seemed to be very long," noted Mancebo. "The day was very hard and we already spent a lot of energy before the finish.
Gil saw his victory as a sort of compensation for his "bad luck" he had during the Vuelta al País Vasco, when he fell down together with his team mate José Angel Gomez Marchante in the penultimate stage. "I am very content. It was a spectacular race and the team was perfect. We know that Relax was the big rival and we conquered them."
Tomorrow the Vuelta a Asturias begins and Koldo Gil will be a favourite for the Spanish race. "It will depend a lot on how I will feel with my allergies, because last week was disastrous for me. If I have no problems, I think I could do a good race and fight for the victory."
He thinks Relax will be the toughest rival. "It's the most potent team with [Ángel] Vicioso, [Francisco] Mancebo, [Oscar] Sevilla and Santiago Pérez, they have four riders that will have to be controlled." "
Scarponi continues with DNA offer for CONI
"I confirmed in front of the [CONI] lawyer that I am available to give my DNA," said Italian Michele Scarponi to Adnkronos news agency after coming out of a two-hour meeting with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome.
Scarponi was called in for questioning by anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri and his assistant, prosecutor Franco Cosenza, regarding his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto. The meeting started at 9.00 AM in room 208 of CONI's headquarters. The cyclist was accompanied by Paolo Viviani and Cristina Lancellotti.
"Nothing new came about," he continued. "I gave all the information that I had and I am very calm.
"I was heard in Italy because this year I took out an Italian racing license," said Scarponi, who joined Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo for 2007. "Last year I raced in Spain and they had also heard me there, but there are no new elements.
"Now it is up to the team to draw up the plan for the Giro d'Italia. Tomorrow, I will be back on my bicycle, seeing is how the Giro is coming near. I have not been suspended by my team and I expect to be selected for the [Giro] team."
Ivan Basso will be re-questioned this afternoon in light of new evidence that has been made available for the case that was shelved in October.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Aldag responds: "We all have to get more transparent"
By Katharina Schulz
T-Mobile directeur sportif and former Team Telekom rider Rolf Aldag has commented on the serious allegations raised by ex-soigneur Jef D'Hont. In his book, Wielerverzorger, D'Hont claims that there was systematic doping in the Telekom Team during the Tour de France in 1996, which was won by Bjarne Riis with the help of Jan Ullrich and Rolf Aldag.
Rolf Aldag, however, states that he didn't and doesn't know about any such doping system. "In order for me to notice anything there would have had to be something for me to notice in the first place. There are some concrete allegations, and we have to take a close look at these. On my own behalf, I can say I didn't notice anything. Even today, twelve years later, I cannot say that there was something suspicious," Aldag told fr-online.de.
Aldag also said it was impossible to judge by appearance alone whether someone was using banned substances. D'Hont claimed that during the 1996 Tour de France, Bjarne Riis was doped so much that it showed, whereas Aldag said that even though everyone can see how the riders' bodies change under the strains of the mountain stages, one cannot tell from this whether they doped themselves or not. "D'Hont is seeing things very simply. If you could really tell whether someone was doping or not just by looking at them, there would be no need for us to do all those tests," Aldag continued.
It is not only the riders that have now come under attack, but also Team Telekom doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich and the University Clinic in Freiburg, Germany. "Those are serious allegations that should not be taken lightly. In the book, a lot of situations are described and a lot of people are being named. We can talk to these people and try to find out what's true."
"There is no doubt that T-Mobile will react if something went wrong. But it won't be today and it won't be tomorrow. The clinic's reputation has been seriously damaged, and I'm sure they have a vital interest in not letting the accusations go uncommented but to shed light on the matter. This is also in our interest," stated Aldag.
Asked whether he agreed with D'Hont's impression that cycling showed the same structures as the mafia, where only the omerta, the law of silence, keeps the system running, Aldag pointed out that he doesn't consider it silence not to comment on every single rumour. "Yet cycling definitely has a lot to reappraise."
Cycling needs to take care of the doping problem if the sport wants to regain credibility. "Of course cycling has a problem with its image. We all need to be more transparent. This season, T-Mobile stands for clean sports with its fight against doping and a renewed medical programme and training routine."
The new transparency also includes that T-Mobile are willing to take all of their 29 riders to Madrid for a DNA sample, if it should be necessary. Aldag thinks "everyone should take this step, for it is a very important step."
T-Mobile to investigate d'Hont charges
The T-Mobile team will investigate charges that two of its team doctors who supplied team members with EPO in 1996, as alleged by former soigneur Jef d'Hont.
In a book published this week, d'Hont claimed that doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich injected team members with EPO during the 1996 Tour de France, which was won by Bjarne Riis for Team Telekom, as it was then called.
"We are going to ask the two doctors questions and to discuss with them to know what is true in what Mr d'Hont has alleged. We are going to look into the matter and then make a decision," T-Mobile spokesman Christian Frommert told the AFP press agency. "We are also going to try to speak with Mister d'Hont."
Frommert noted that the Freiburg University Clinic has announced that it will also investigate the charges against its two doctors. "I am pleased with the Freiburg initiative. I would advise team doctors Heinrich and Schmid to hold themselves back and consult with their lawyers and families," he said, according to the dpa.
Ceramica Panaria-Navigare names Giro squad
Ceramica Panaria-Navigare Team Directeurs Bruno and Roberto Reverberi have named their nine men to contest the 2007 Giro d'Italia. Amongst the line-up are riders Emanuele Sella, stage winner in 2004, and Julio Pérez, three-time stage winner and 2002 mountains competition winner.
The complete team for the Giro, starting May 12 will be, Fortunato Baliani, Paride Grillo, Luis Felipe Laverde, Luca Mazzanti, Andrea Pagoto, Julio Pérez, Domenico Pozzovivo, Maximiliano Richeze and Emanuele Sella.
No Giro for Vandenbroucke
Frank Vandenbroucke will not ride the Giro d'Italia this year, he has told Sportwereld. After riding in Tuesday's Subida al Naranco, the Acqua e Sapone rider decided he wasn't ready for the Giro, which starts in 10 days.
"You have to be one hundred percent for such a hard three-week race. And I am not at that point," he said. "Certainly not with a knee that still acts up."
VDB only made 50 km in yesterday's Spanish race. "Five big climbs were too much of a good thing."
Success in the SouthEast
With three rounds of the eight-round SouthEast Criterium Series run and won, Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins sat down with the series' masterminds to discuss its success.
Swagger's Ravi Rajcoomar and Gene Dixon have been producing and managing America's premiered cycling events for over 20 years. Amongst those is the highly ranked San Francisco Grand Prix, Tour de Georgia, and the former USPro Championship event held in Philadelphia. They have spent the last two years focused on building the South East Criterium Series to become the eight-race points event that it is today.
"Our vision at Swagger is to produce crits across the country because we believe it's the historic US style of racing," Rajcoomar said. "Our future is focused on that: big money, big crowds and just plain 'rock and roll' style entertainment."
Last year marked the inaugural year of the SouthEast Crit Series, were fans saw a battle between America's top professional men and women's teams in a series of six races, beginning in Georgia with Athens, and Roswell, heading into South Carolina's Walterboro, Greenwood, and Spartanburg before finishing in Alabama's Anniston. This year the race has increased its schedule to include two more events in Beaufort, South Carolina and ending in Decatur, Alabama.
Read entire Success in the SouthEast article.
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