Latest Cycling News for May 4, 2007
Edited by Gregor Brown
Bang-up finish in Romandie
By Susan Westemeyer
It was a crash-bang finish in the Tour de Romandie Thursday, as the unorganised and chaotic sprint tore down the narrow street to the finish line. The most visible and prominent 'victim' was Saunier Duval's David Millar, who hit the ground in the mass pile-up and then watched the rest of the peloton trickle in while he sat on the road, leaning against the barriers. There was no damage done, though.
"He is OK and will be at the start today," team spokeswoman Virginie Ducrot Geinoz told Cyclingnews. "He will do this stage and tomorrow's stage 'tranquil' and will do his best on Sunday's chrono."
Gerolsteiner came away with mixed results in the stage. The previous day's stage winner Markus Fothen was able to make his way through the crash zone without too much difficulty. "Markus was lucky, he came through well and unharmed," said Directeur Sportif Reimund Dietzen on the team's website, gerolsteiner.de. Fothen's only fall was from third overall to fourth overall.
His teammate Bernhard Kohl wasn't so lucky. It wasn't enough that it started raining again at the end of the stage, but also "the road was quite narrow, especially in the last 100 metres, and after all, we were going about 65 km/h. I tried to stay relatively far forward in the field to stay away from any possible crashes," he wrote on his website, bernhardkohl.at.
"But that was the wrong bet. Two riders crashed directly in front of me and I couldn't avoid them. Nothing happened to me except for some scrape wounds on my arm."
T-Mobile had one rider involved in the crash, too, Michael Barry, who ended up with multiple scrapes on his left side and a cut on his forehead. "Michael looks pretty banged up, but I think he'll be back on the bike Friday," Directeur Sportif Tristan Hoffman told t-mobile-team.com.
The team lost another rider, though, not to a crash but to illness. Captain Michael Rogers, who lost more than 13 minutes on the first stage, did not start the stage. He started coming down with a cold on Wednesday. "We had hoped that Michael's condition would improve overnight. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred," said team doctor Stefan Vogt.
The team's best finisher on the day was sprinter Greg Henderson, who came in sixth. He said that he was "too often alone in the wind", and "couldn't find the right wheel" to follow in the sprint. "It didn't go perfectly, but I can be satisfied with my placing."
Rabobank's Jan Boven dropped out about three-quarters of the way through the day. "Jan needs one of those 25,000-kilometre services," said Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker on rabobank.nl. "He participated in nearly all races during the first part of the season. Jan was not exactly in perfect shape. He was still in the pack, but notified us that it did not make sense to continue."
Dekker is still hoping that his riders Thomas Dekker and Robert Gesink can do well in the race, but he may not be around to see how they finish up. He has been sick for several days and during Thursday's stage, had to let a team mechanic take over control of the team car because he did not feel well enough to drive.
Zomegnan asks McQuaid to clarify
Angelo Zomegnan, events director of RCS Sport, is asking for clarification of the decision made by the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) on April 27, in Liège. Two days before the start of the 93rd Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the race organizers sided with the Tour de France organizer ASO by asking teams not to include its riders who have been named in Operacíon Puerto in races.
Zomegnan explained in an open letter to UCI President Pat McQuaid that there is confusion in regards to that Liège meeting. "The directive of the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers [AIOCC - ed.] that confirmed its fight against doping by inviting the teams to not include implicated riders is still not clear. But now it is the turn of the UCI, the entity which supervises cycling, to take suitable responsibility and make it known who can race and who can not," wrote the Italian, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
RCS Sport is the organizer of the Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Giro di Lombardia and the Giro d'Italia, which starts in eight days, and it is concerned which riders should not line up for its biggest event.
The organizers issued a statement after the meeting. "The AIOCC calls on all persons concerned with cycling for solidarity in the doping question and for the necessary recovery of the credibility of the discipline," read the statement, according to AFP.
The immediate fallout of the April 27 decision was the excluding of Koldo Gil (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Giampaolo Caruso (Lampre-Fondital) and Constantino Zaballa (Caisse d'Epargne) form the Liège startlist, which already excluded riders like Ivan Basso (Discovery Channel).
No Scarponi for Giro
Masciarelli pulls rider to avoid problems
Michele Scarponi has been pulled from the Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo team for the upcoming Giro d'Italia. Team Manager Palmiro Masciarelli and the the rider decided to avoid problems for his Italian Professional Continental team in the race that starts May 12, in Sardegna.
"I don't want to create problems with the other teams or for our team," said Scarponi to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Masciarelli wishes to wait for rider, who was signed in February, to clarify his relationship with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and the associated Operación Puerto investigation.
Scarponi's time to defend himself will come Tuesday when he returns to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome. After his first meeting two days ago, he will return to answer to CONI anti-doping prosecutors Ettore Torri and Franco Cosenza.
The 27 year-old rider from Le Marche, winner of the Coppi e Bartali, has given his availability to DNA testing. The catch is that there are not any bags of blood from Fuentes' Madrid offices for comparisons. However, CONI allegedly has other elements that testify to his relationship with the Spanish doctor, in particular the phone number of Scarponi in found in Fuentes' agenda.
If Scarponi, who is allegedly linked with the code name 'Zapatero' (or 'shoe maker'), is not able to defend himself he will be referred to the Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission.
Acqua & Sapone is acting upon the request made by the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) in Liège, April 27, that asked teams not include its riders linked to Operación Puerto in races.
Dutch check out Worlds course
The Dutch crossed the border into Germany this week to check out the course for the World Championships in Stuttgart. Protected from the usual traffic by police cars, Michael Boogerd and Thomas Dekker took their fist ride on the course.
They were accompanied by national trainer Egon van Kessel. Boogerd is "our most important rider. The course is good for him, because it is difficult," said Egon van Kessel, according to a press release from the race organizers. The Dutch rider announced earlier this year that he would retire at the end of the season.
After an unsuccessful Spring Classics season, he is now taking a one-month racing break before beginning his preparations for the Tour de France and later the Worlds.
Van Kessel doesn't see his riders as favourites in the Worlds, saying that would more likely be "Stefan Schumacher, Paolo Bettini or Oscar Freire." However, the Dutch team will hope for a lot of fan support along the road.
"After all it's only a few hours' ride from Holland to Stuttgart!"
Petacchi has to win
"I have to return to win at the Giro. And I have to win the first sprint to take the Maglia Rosa," said Alessandro Petacchi in a recent interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 33 year-old Tuscan sprinter had just come out of a successful Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, where he won three stages, to close a hard year.
"This would be a great emotion and a way to close with the past," he continued, referring to the past year that first involved a left knee injury in the 2006 Giro d'Italia and then a wrist injury in the Vuelta a España. If he were to don the pink jersey it would mark four years sine his first time, when he won against Mario Cipollini in Lecce to take the leader's classification.
"I did specific work in the winter. I am now able to put a load on my left leg, with the same weight that I was able to use when I was healthy. That was as important as a win to me."
Petacchi knows it won't be easy to win in the Giro. His first chance will come after the stage 1 team time trial, on stage 2 to Bosa. "I have always considered him [McEwen] the most difficult sprinter to confront, even when there was Cipollini," Petacchi said of his rival, Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto). "He knows how to surprise me every time."
He is also concerned of his other sprint rivals. "This year there will also be [Thor] Hushovd, who won a stage at the Tour and the Vuelta. While the most gifted Italian is [Danilo] Napolitano. The important thing is that I battle everyone."
For the sprint fights he will have to due without Marco Velo and Volodymyr Dyudya, both of whom are injured. "Missing Velo for a second year will be felt. But [Alberto] Ongarato will be at his best, like [Fabio] Sacchi and [Brett] Lancaster. In the train there will also be [Mirco] Lorenzetto, who is learning the trade.
"We will aim to do well in the opening team time trial in order to take the Maglia Rosa."
Wegmann looks back at the spring
The sunny and warm weather in Europe has had an effect on the Spring Classics, according to Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann.
"It's crazy, that so many riders are still together in the final kilometre" of the races, he wrote on his website, fabianwegmann.de. "When there is rain, cold or snow, then naturally more riders drop out along the way and the groups at the end of the race are smaller."
In Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Wegmann had to work for captain Davide Rebellin and defend the ProTour leader jersey. "Since we accomplished that, my 29th place finish is rather unimportant. If I didn't have good form, I couldn't ride so well or support my teammates so actively. So I'm satisfied with my race."
Henninger Turm didn't go the way he hoped, either. "I'm the first to say that I'm not one of those riders who bounces back 100% after a one day pause," he wrote.
He would have preferred a quiet day to recover from a stressful Liège, but the team went directly to Frankfurt, Germany, where their hotel was not only in the middle of downtown, but also the site of many race meetings, press conferences and so on. "There was no recovery. I was constantly being spoken to and since I can never say no and always want to be polite ... You know what I mean. With that kind of hubbub, you naturally can't concentrate on the next race."
That showed when it actually came time to ride. "As our team manger Hans Holczer says, it just doesn't work out every time. That's the way it was."
Like others who rode the Classics, Wegmann is now taking a racing break. He will stay home in Freiburg, Germany, for the next week and a half before travelling to France the middle of May with teammates to check out the Tour de France course. He will back in action May 17 with the GP Buchholz, to be followed by the Bayern Rundfahrt.
Formwerks Westside Cycling Classic 2007
BC Provincial Road Race Championship
The 2007 edition of the Formwerks Westside Cycling Classic will be raced this year on the 20th anniversary celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day, Sunday, June 3, 2007, and will be an important fundraising event.
Set in the Pacific Spirit Park and on the edge of the Point Grey Village, the race will be a hard fought battle on a 10.5 kilometre loop which will include roads very familiar to cyclists.
"This year, once again, we are anticipating that riders will come from all over British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest to take part in this great event, and race for more than $6,000 in prize money", said Race Director Jonathan Wornell. "Being the BC Provincial Championships on this exciting new course is a big draw for riders and their families."
For information on registration and the exciting new course please visit www.teamwedgewood.com.
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