First Edition Cycling News for May 14, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo and Steve Medcroft
Giro bunch sprint round one: McEwen gets his twelfth win
By Shane Stokes in Bosa
Another Giro, another stage win. Robbie McEwen was back on top today, bringing his Tour of Italy stage win tally up to a dozen.
Coming into the Giro d'Italia, Robbie McEwen said to himself that if he won a stage somewhere along the way, he'd be happy with his race. The Australian didn't have long to wait; at the end of day two, the first possible day for a bunch sprint, he thundered home half a length clear of World Champion Paolo Bettini and comfortably ahead of Alessandro Petacchi, scooping what is his twelfth career victory in the race.
The win came after what was a tough finale, with the peloton tackling several climbs towards the end. The final one of these saw a number of attacks being fired off and while nothing stuck, it did end the chances of many of the sprinters. However McEwen and Petacchi got over the top okay and, together with world champ Bettini, fought it out for victory in Bosa.
"I was pretty far back on the climb, there were maybe another 20 riders behind me going over the top," a very satisfied McEwen told the press. "But I was maybe 15, 20 positions behind Petacchi, so for me it was just important to come back to the Milram riders by the bottom of the descent. After that, the tactic was simple – I followed Petacchi and his team. They did a really good job to pull the sprint. Today I was stronger and I managed to pass Alessandro. I knew that Bettini was there on my wheel, looking for an opportunity, but there were no problems making it to the line."
When asked how tough the final climb was for the sprinters, McEwen said that it was just the last in a series of stingers. " I think the whole stage affected the sprinters legs, because it was a really tough stage. If you looked at the profile it looked like there was quite a lot of flat, but I knew from being here since Wednesday that there is no flat on this island. It was like riding Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and I think the hard course plus the pace set by Liquigas wore down most of the sprinters. When we got to the final climb, a lot of the sprinters just got dropped immediately. I think the only two sprinters left were myself and Petacchi.
"I expected it to be very hard and was telling myself all day, 'don't think it is going to be easy to get to the finish.' I had to work really hard. Although with [Dario] Cioni doing a lot of work in the final for me, he rode on the front all the way until the final climb, it meant that I could start the climb in the very first positions and have the chance to drop back through the peloton going up the climb and still be there at the top."
For the full winner's press conference report, click here.
Brutt launches Tinkoff's 'Sunday rides'
By Jean-François Quénet in Bosa
On a stage where Robbie McEwen nabbed the first bunch sprint win of the 2007 Giro d'Italia, and Danilo Di Luca took the pink jersey over from Enrico Gasparotto, bringing the Liquigas team hierarchy back to normal, one of the unsung heroes in the results of the second stage of the 2007 Giro D'Italia is Tinkoff Credit System's Pavel Brutt.
Brutt had been away in a break for 187 kilometres, most of the time with two Italians (Mauro Facci and Simone Masciarelli) and two Frenchmen (Arnaud Labbe and Frédéric Bessy). "It was a long, long way," Brutt said after the race. "But I'm happy with it. I knew I wouldn't make it though. Today was a day for the sprinters."
So why did the Russian pour his heart and legs into the long breakaway so early into the Giro? His directeur sportif Dimitri Konyshev explained, "Because it's Sunday today. Haven't you noticed how many more viewers there are on Sunday in the TV ratings? We also wanted to do well today because our boss Oleg Tinkov was here with us. The attack wasn't planned though. For now we don't have the status of a team to go for attacks. Pavel followed the move, as instructed prior to the stage."
Brutt was the last rider away from the original breakaway group. "He really impressed me today," Konyshev added. When he got caught by a pure climber like Emmanuele Sella in the last hill, he managed to keep his wheel with ten kilometres to go. This guy has one hell of a grinta. Before giving up, he'd die!"
Brutt got his first real pro win this year at Le Tour de Langkawi on the second to last day, although he hadn't slept the night before that stage after suffering up the Genting Highlands. On his return to Europe, he won the GP Chiasso. He took a bit of time off at home in St-Petersburg and trained for ten days for the Tour of Georgia where he made a few breakaways as usual.
"Pavel has been a great help during the team time trial as well," Konyshev added. "Had Mikhail Ignatiev not dropped off in the last climb, we would have come 6th, and if we had done the ideal ride, we would have finished 5th, that was our golden place."
With performances like this, the Tinkoff Credit Systems team doesn't appear to need Tyler Hamilton and Jörg Jaksche to justify their wild-card inclusion in the Giro; their young Russians have a great potential. "I hope that Pavel will stay quiet in the bunch tomorrow and be able to give a hand to Evgeni Petrov in the first uphill finish on Wednesday. It's not easy to recover from what he did today under such a heat. But we'll try to go for breakaways again. We'd like to do it every Sunday, we'd become the team of the Sunday's rides!"
Crashes for Klinger, Ordowski and Barry out with virus
By Susan Westemeyer
He was about 20th in the leading group with about 1.5 km to go. The 22-year-old felt good and was ready to go for his chance. The fast-moving peloton went around a left-hand curve, only to discover barriers on the right-hand side. Riders in front of him rode right into the barriers, and Klinger had no choice but to follow them, he wrote at radsport-aktiv.de.
"When I finally got back on my feet, I saw that my elbow was bleeding pretty heavily and hurt. A bottle of water poured over my arm cleaned it. Then I sat on my bike and rolled the last few meters to the finish. After a short visit to the team bus, I went directly to an ambulance, where my wounds were properly cleansed and then stitched at two places. I had a real hole in my elbow, plus a deep cut," he said.
He also has bruises on his chest, hip and thigh, plus a swollen knee. Klinger expects to start on Monday and is looking forward to the first rest day on Tuesday.
"It was not our day," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Christian Henn. The team lost domestique Volker Ordowski, who had been suffering from intestinal problems since Thursday night. "He was kaput. The stomach problems made it so difficult for him, that he couldn't ride any further." Ordowski was last in Saturday's team time trial, just barely avoiding the cut-off time limit.
T-Mobile was also hit by the intestinal troubles. Michael Barry, who joined the Giro squad at the last minute as a replacement for Serguei Gonchar, came down with fever and chills overnight and didn't start on Sunday. "It looks like an intestinal virus that he brought form home. His wife came had the same symptoms five days ago," team doctor Stefan Vogt said on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "A start today would have been too great a risk to his health."
Hoy misses record on second kilo attempt, gets 500m record
By Susan Westemeyer
British cyclist Chris Hoy just missed in his second attempt at the kilometre world record at altitude by a mere five thousands of a second on Sunday.
Hoy holds the sea-level record of 1.00.711, and is trying to break the altitude record of 58.875 seconds set by Arnaud Tournant in 2001. Hoy's first attempt on Saturday was .228 seconds slower that Tournant's record.
The 31-year-old was ahead of the record on his first two laps Sunday in La Paz, Bolivia, but fell behind on the third and final lap. The time was so close that fans thought he had broken the record, but when the news came that he was just above Tournant's time, Hoy was crushed.
Reports from Hoy's personal website, www.chrishoy.com described the agony the race inflicted upon the British track star. "Chris had given everything he had and he was really hurting [as] he rode round two warm-down laps, and the suddenly collapsed on the back straight. He came down on the grass and within seconds help was there getting him out of his pedals and onto oxygen. He took a full 10 minutes before he got up and was rolled on his bike back to the pits."
He may try again. "He'll just go and sit in his room and focus on getting that five thousands of a second," technical assistant Ken Farnes told the BBC.
Later in the day, Hoy succeeded in breaking the 500 metre flying start record previously set by Frenchman Arnaud Dublé in La Paz in 2001 of 25.850 seconds. Hoy smashed the record by more than a second with a time of 24.758.
CSC's antidoping screens find 'irregularities'
Rasmus Damsgaard, the man who is responsible for Team CSC's antidoping programme has discovered irregularities in two of the CSC riders' blood profiles. The programme, which involves frequent examinations of the riders' blood profiles along with screens for doping products and blood transfusions is designed to detect changes in the riders profile which could indicate illegal practices.
"I can say that much about my preliminary results of the CSC riders, that by far most of their blood profiles show very little variation and are more or less identical to the normal population, but there are some that display deviations, and these we are keeping a close eye on. If something crops up that I don't like, I discuss it with other experts around. I'm never alone on these decisions," Damsgaard told the Jyllands-Posten.
While the names of the riders weren't given, CSC press officer Brian Nygaard told the Danish newspaper, "If Rasmus Damsgaard discovers such results, it is only natural that he takes extra tests, and they have all shown that there is no doping involved. This is what the whole programme is about, to react this way if there is something suspicious, and it shows that Rasmus is doing a good job."
No Tour of Belgium for Boonen
by Susan Westemeyer
Tom Boonen has announced his racing schedule leading up to the Tour de France, and he won't be riding the Tour of Belgium.
"In order to prepare himself optimally" for the Tour, Boonen will start with the Volta a Catalunya, May 21 to 27. According to his website, tomboonen.tk, he may then ride a kermese race in Gullegem on June 5, before probably going to the Dauphiné Libéré, from June 10 to 17.
His last race before leaving for London and the Tour would be the Belgian national championships.
This schedule does not leave him time for his homeland tour in Belgian.
Equipe Nürnberger's successful weekend
By Susan Westemeyer
It was "a successful weekend" for Equipe Nürnberger, the team said modestly. Edita Pucinskaite won the World Cup race in Bern, Switzerland, while Claudia Häusler won the German national road mountain championship.
Pucinskaite, who won the Giro d'Italia last year, won the World Cup race "Berner Rundfahrt" after a solo attack 12 km before the finish. Her teammates Andrea Graus and Eva Lutz finished fifth and sixth.
"That was a super weekend for us," said directeur sportif Jens Zemke. "The good form was hinted at in San Marino and we had all hoped for a podium place. Our girls dominated the race and Edita is a worthy winner of the Bern World Cup."
The Lithuanian, who is also former world champion and Tour de France winner, won with about 20 seconds advantage over Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) and Oenone Wood (T-Mobile).
The Equipe had its first success of the weekend on Saturday, as German road champion and defending champion Häusler won the road mountain title, for the fifth time. The 21-year-old beat Hanka Kupfernagel of TF Charlottenburg and Tina Liebig, of Getränke Hoffman.
"I was very nervous before the start and had an enormous amount of respect for the other pros, especially Kupfernagel," Häusler said. "Hanka can really go, and would have been unbeatable in a sprint out of the leading group. That's why I had to try to get rid of the other two riders on the last ascent. It was my only chance."
Jaksche expects to return to peloton
By Susan Westemeyer
Jörg Jaksche expects to ride again for his Tinkoff team. "I start training every day at 10 a.m. and put in my time. I'm just waiting now for what comes. I haven't been fired, you know," he told the dpa press agency.
Jaksche and Hamilton were suspended by Team Tinkoff after their names were associated with the Fuentes investigation, and the Giro d'Italia organiser pressured the team not to bring them to the race.
"We rode an internal qualification on Sardinia before the Giro, and we two [Jaksche and Hamilton -ed] had the fastest times on the team," Jaksche said. "Tinkoff was full of praise. Then suddenly came the news of the suspension."
Tour of South East UK announces route
With just ten weeks to go before the start, the route of the new Tour of the South-East has now been finalised. Promoted by British Cycling's South-east Region, the first stage of this four-day race starts in the Hampshire town of Petersfield on Thursday 19th July. Stage one immediately criss-crosses the South Downs before finishing some 94 miles later in the West Sussex town of Burgess Hill.
Day two takes the race through the leafy lanes into East Sussex, which disguise some very undulating roads before hitting the 24 mile finishing circuit around Rushlake Green and Battle which completes the day's 84 miles near the site of the former Royal Observatory at Herstmonceux. Next day takes the field into Kent, crossing the exposed expanses of the Romney Marshes on what could well be a very fast 78 miles to the finish just outside the seaside town of Deal. The fourth and final stage heads to the race's easternmost point at Sandwich before turning west and then north to the grand finale at Maidstone, some 90 miles later.
With separate awards for teams, climbers, sprinters and individuals on offer, there's plenty to go for among the overall prize list of some £3500. Open to elites, first, second and third category riders in teams of three to five, this event promises to provide an exciting four days of racing in some of south-east England's finest scenery.
London roads to close for Nocture Smithfield
For the first time, the Corporation of London will be closing the roads around Smithfield Market on a Saturday night for the Smithfield Nocturne. Scheduled for just 14 days before the Tour de France Grand Depart some of the stars of cycling will take on the best of Britain in the heart of the capital. As the only London-based cycling event in advance of the Tour, the Nocturne will provide a stylish taster for the racing two weeks later.
With the historic Smithfield Market as a backdrop, the Smithfield Nocturne (a criterium-style event) will feature an entire evening celebrating all things cycling. The route for the course will take in the famous Charterhouse Street, West Smithfield Snow Hill and the start finish will be outside Grand Avenue, making for a 900-metre, highly technical course.
Not only is the event expected to showcase ProTour stars from the upcoming Tour de France, and the cream of UK cycling talent, there will also be events to capture the interest of everyone from the hardened cycling fan to the passing tourist. With a multi-point messenger race involving checkpoints, challenges and intricate route plans, a le mans start folding bike race, a junior race and an all-star race, there is plenty of action building up to the main event.
The Smithfield Nocturne is free to the public and will take place between 5pm and 10pm on Saturday June 23rd. The event is supported by the Corporation of London and Transport for London with Smiths of Smithfield the official catering supplier for the exclusive hospitality area. Full details of the programme, course and hospitality can be found on www.smithfieldnocturne.com.
Bettini auctions jerseys and glasses for cancer research
Paolo Bettini will be playing the main part in a fund raising event at the Giro dItalia. During the three weeks of the race, the World Champion will be auctioning on ebay (www.ebay.it) three rainbow jerseys and three pairs of glasses that have been specially made for La Corsa Rosa.Monies raised from the auction will be going to the European Oncological Institute of Milan that is directed by Professor Veronesi.
The three rainbow jerseys made by Vermarc are part of a limited series of just ten, and will have a picture of Italy and Paolo Bettinis autograph on the front of them. Paolo chose the picture of Italy as a thank you to all of his Italian fans that have supported him both during the Giro and other races.
The glasses, produced by Quick Step - Innergetic Teams official supplier BBB, are also a limited, numbered edition of just five pairs. The frames of the glasses will be all of the colours of the rainbow and the arms will be gold colour to represent his Olympic victory of 2004.
The fund raising auction will take place three times during the Giro dItalia. Each week from 12.00 on Monday until 12.00 on Sunday (CET) people will have the chance to bid on the jersey worn by the World Champion during that weeks race along with a limited edition and numbered pair of glasses.
Id like to thank everyone that has helped make this event possible," Bettini said. "First of all the UCI who immediately allowed me to make a slight change to my jersey in light of the extremely good cause. I have already collaborated with the Oncological Institute a few times - back in 2004 and again in 2005 at the Giro dItalia thanks to the help of Manager Flavio Nascè.
"Id also like to show my appreciation to BBB and Vermarc who are official suppliers to the Quick Step Innergetic Team and to the Gazzetta dello Sport that is also supporting the event. Thanks to everyone involved and in particular those fans that take part in the auction, well be able to do our little bit towards cancer research.
The first auction will start at 12.00 oclock on Monday, 14th May with a starting price of just 1 Euro. You can take part in the auction by visiting: www.ebay.it or via the following websites: www.ieo.it, www.qsi-cycling.com, www.paolobettini.it.
It's not too late - enter the Fantasy Giro game!
Even though the race has already started, there's still plenty time to join in the fun at this year's Fantasy Giro game at Cyclingnews. You can join until stage 6 begins on Friday May 18 and you can compete equally with players that have joined earlier in the tour.
You can play for free for the first five stages!
Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Grande Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Giro start list. Then each day, pick nine riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters, and general classification riders. For more details go to the rules section of the site. It's a great way to follow the Giro.
Tifosi Optics for Daily Stage Prize
The Tifosi Optics "Forza" glasses feature High Speed Red Fototec lenses. These shades are a favorite of Toyota-United sprinter Ivan Dominguez. The lenses turn from the red color pictured here to a deep red,nearly smoke when in contact with UV rays. Red lenses are key for increasing contrast on the road pavement. The Forza is constructed with a durable Grilamid TR-90 frame and impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses for the ultimate in race performance.
- Grande Prize Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle
To register your teams for the game go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)