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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 27, 2007

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Bradley McGee to miss another Tour de France

By Jean-François Quénet

McGee in the 05 Tour
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

For the second year in a row, Française des Jeux will start the Tour de France without Bradley McGee.

The Australian, who has been suffering from a recurring back problem, had shown that he was on the road to recovery during the Tour of Picardy, where he launched an impressive attack before a bunch sprint finish, but he has pulled out of the Tour de Lorraine.

The problem, a herniated disc in his spine, is severe enough that the popular Aussie will not be able to simply rest through the middle of the season and return for post-Tour racing as he did last year. "He has to undergo an operation because of the disc hernia," team manager Marc Madiot said.

Sevilla feels redeemed by Catalunya win

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Oscar Sevilla (Relax-GAM)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

It may have been seen by some as a risk for the Spanish Professional-Continental team Relax GAM to sign Oscar Sevilla at the beginning of this season, as he was originally linked to the Operación Puerto scandal at the beginning of the 2006 Tour de France, but Sevilla has re-paid the team's confidence by taking the 'queen' stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Thursday.

After sitting out most of the 2006 season, Sevilla feels that he has returned to full form and is confident that his cycling career has not yet finished. Sevilla said he wants "to contribute to improve cycling, that is very wounded".

The leader of the Volta a Catalunya assured that nobody in the peloton has hassled him for his supposed inclusion in Operación Puerto, nor anybody has criticized his return to competition, "although I do not know if anyone talks about it behind my back," he said.

Sevilla was grateful for the team giving him the opportunity to "feel like a professional cyclist again". Commenting on the doping scandals dominating the sport, he said, "I wish there was a solution because people are only interested in bad things in cycling at the moment and nobody trusts in cycling."

Sánchez needs a rest

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Sanchez in last year's Championship of Zurich
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Euskaltel-Euskadi leader Samuel Sánchez claims to be in need of a break to properly prepare for races in the latter half of the season. Sanchez, who is currently racing in the Volta a Catalunya, said, "I feel well, but we have to take into account that there are many strong rivals here who are preparing the Tour".

The Asturian rider said he's "a bit tired" after contesting the Vuelta al País Vasco, in which he won the time trial, and from his participation in the Spring Classics season, "in which I was ill, and did not do as well as I had hoped".

The reason for the rest period would be to prepare himself for the latter half of the professional cycling season, since the Tour de France does not appear on his calendar. "It has been a personal decision to not attend the Tour," he said. "You have to sacrifice many other races thinking about being in the best form as possible in the Tour."

His ambition instead is on September's Vuelta a España. "I will be there to win. The Vuelta could be seen as less difficult than last year, but it is not true; the long time trial in Zaragoza will be a very hard test. I don't know who the remaining rivals will be yet but it doesn't matter; the most important rival is me".

Triple Crown releases men's team rosters

CSC's Greg Henderson in Health Net colors at the 2006 race
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

As the 2007 Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling draws near, a deep list of international team rosters were finalized this week. The three race series stops in Lancaster on June 3rd and Reading on June 7th with the racers finishing up in Philadelphia on June 10th at the Commerce Bank Philadelphia International Championship which over its 23-year history has developed into the biggest one day road race in North and South America.

ProTour team CSC will be sending ace Argentinean sprinter Juan Jose Haedo. "JJ" has proven he is the man to beat in the US this year when the race comes down to a group sprint by taking two stages of the Tour of California as well as a stage of the Tour of Georgia. ProTour team T-Mobile has committed Kiwi sprinter Greg Henderson as well. Henderson knows what it feels like to taste success on Ben Franklin Parkway and he will surely be hungry for more.

As strong as these two sprint specialist are, there will be no shortage of pressure from the rest of the field of racers. The caliber of riders confirmed by their teams to compete ensures no gifts will be given with over $130,000 in prize money on the line over the three events. The new and tougher Reading course will be one great opportunity for teams to send their climbing specialists on the attack in an attempt to steal the win from the fast finishing sprinters. Look to the Mexican Tecos De La Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara and Team Caico from Colombia to be on the attack. Both teams are loaded with diminutive climbing specialists that will be highly motivated to crack the race wide open. Team Jelly Belly will be returning this year with Andy Bajadali who was in the race's main breakaway last year and has been showing excellent form on the climbs this year.

The Navigators Insurance Team has slated Sergey Lagutin (last years overall "Triple Crown" winner) to lead their team. Sergey, who hails from Uzbekistan, proved he is a threat to win in all three races: he narrowly missed the top step of the podium in two of the three last year. Toyota United will be sending 2005 and 2002 Philadelphia International winners, Chris Wherry and Henk Vogels as well as the "Cuban Missile" Ivan Dominguez on their roster. Jackson Stewart, last year's winner in Lancaster, will be returning with a new team behind him in Team BMC.

As international as the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling has become, there will also be a strong showing of riders originally from the Philadelphia area. The Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid team will be sending Ryan DeWald, Stephan Kincaid and Bill Elliston. Scott Zwizanski will be back for his second year on the Priority Health squad. Mike Friedman, who last year set a high mark for local pros at the Philadelphia International with 8th place, will be riding for Team Slipstream. Also returning for his second year will be Princeton grad, Tyler Wren, riding for the Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light team.

See also: 2006 Triple Crown coverage

American moves into Ronde de l'Isard lead

USA Cycling National Development Team member John Devine (Dixon, Ill/VMG Racing) moved into the overall lead Friday at the Ronde de l'Isard, a UCI 2.2-ranked U23 stage race in France, with a victory in stage two.

Devine won the 170-kilometer stage from Arbas to Guzet Neige in solo fashion, 1:57 ahead of second-place finisher Daniel Martin of Ireland. The result moved Devine into first place overall with three stages remaining. In the overall standings, Devine holds a 2:01 advantage over Martin.

The Ronde de l'Isard continues Saturday with two stages – an 89-kilometer road race from Lezat to Saverdun, followed by a 24-kilometer time trial. Sunday features a 150-kilometer road race.

Devine held the lead through Saturday's double stages (road race and individual TT). Riding alongside Devine for the USA Cycling National Development Team in France are Chad Beyer (Anthem, Ariz./VMG Racing), Tejay Van Garderen (Fort Collins, Colo.), Caleb Fairly (Amarillo, Texas/VMG Racing), Chris Stockburger (Fort Collins, Colo/VMG Racing) and Kiel Reinjnen (Bainbridge, Island, Wash./Hagens-Berman).

Lefévère to receive the full Puerto file this week

By Jean-François Quénet

At the Giro on Saturday, the president of AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Groups), Patrick Lefévère, said to TV-2 Norway that he received an e-mail from his lawyer that he'll receive the 6,000 pages of the Guardia Civil inquiry in the Operation Puerto shortly. The UCI has also said that their lawyers in Madrid will have access to the file and therefore will begin to take action against riders based on the evidence collected within it.

Studying 6,000 pages of judicial language might take a long time before all the people involved in the case can be identified though. Asked for a reaction to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme's statement that he wants the team managers to be found responsible for what happened within their teams, Lefévère said with a smile: "Are they going to do the Tour with only two teams then?"

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Pendleton and Staff to lead Sprint School

Two time world champ Victoria Pendleton (GBr).
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Following in the footsteps of Craig MacLean- who fronted the school in May, women's Sprint World Champion Victoria Pendleton and BMXer turned track superstar Jamie Staff will be on hand to give tips, advice and inspiration to the young attendees Friday 1st June at Newport (UK) International Velodrome for what is being called Sprint School for promoters. The events aim to give young cyclists the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the world's greatest sprinters, as well as spending the day being coached by British Cycling Talent Team coaches.

The schools are designed to allow more young riders aged between 12 and 15 the opportunity to access World Class coaching in a fun and friendly environment. As well as track training, the DHL Sprint School aims to teach young riders about all elements of track racing and include workshops on subjects such as nutrition, bike maintenance and racing etiquette.

With every Track League in the country requested to nominate 2 girls and 2 boys per school the net has been spread wide, and there has been huge demand. And with Britain currently having so much success on the international stage, youngsters from across the UK will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of the sports great names such as Jason Queally, Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Jamie Staff and Victoria Pendleton – all of whom won their World, Commonwealth and Olympic Medals in sprinting.

MTB XC World Cup action returns to Offenburg

By Rob Jones in Offenburg

The Nissan cross-country World Cup starts up again on Sunday with round two in Offenburg, Germany, after an unusual one month gap from race number one in Houffalize, Belgium. The gap means that no one can really predict a winner for either the men's or women's races.

All the top riders are in attendance for both men and women, and clearly World Cup leader Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Julien Absalon (Orbea), Christoph Sauser (Specialized) and Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein) are all riding well. Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida) is unlikely to be a contender, since he has been sick recently and, after getting no points in Houffalize will start well back in 81st place. Only one North American has cracked the top-30; Canada's Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) is 12th in the World Cup, and is currently ranked number one in the UCI world rankings. Todd Wells (GT) is the top American in 36th place.

"It is hard, very unusual" agrees Hermida. "I think we all took a small break after Houffalize, and then started to build up, because now we have many races in a row. I think we have all been racing each other, but who has been holding back? I know that I have held back a little in some races. So, it will be difficult to say who is the strongest right now."

The women's field is in a similar situation. China's Chengyuan Ren holds the number one plate ahead of world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida). Dahle Flesjaa is coming back from illness, so it will be interesting to see if she can take her usual position at the front.

Another rider expecting to do well is Canada's Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Haywood). Premont finished in sixth at Houffalize, but it was her first race of the year, and she said a week ago after winning a Canadian race that she is much improved. Georgia Gould (Luna) will also be one to watch - her first ever European World Cup was Houffalize, and she had an impressive ride up from 40th to finish 8th. Starting on the front line, she could do well.

Read the entire MTB XC World Cup #2 preview here.

Chicago again hosts 'Bike the Drive'

The City of Chicago, in conjunction with and to support the nonprofit Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, is once again turning one of the busiest vehicle-only thoroughfares, Lake Shore Drive, over to cyclists only during the morning of Sunday, May 27. The honorary starter for this year's event is Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champion and regular bicyclist Gary Fencik.

In its fifth year, the event closes down the fifteen miles of outer, divided expressway from 5:30 a.m. to around 9:45 a.m. -- the only day of the year that this happens. Last year, an estimated 26,000 cyclists of all levels took part in the fundraiser, which aims at funding and improving many local bicycle-oriented programmes within Chicago.

Registration is still available up until the day of the ride. For more information, visit www.

Bike messengers rally in San Francisco

Bike messengers from all parts of North America and the world arrived in the San Francisco this weekend for the North American Cycle Courier Championships (NACCC). Now in its tenth year, over 200 participants already registered and hundreds more are expected for the three day festival of messenger culture.

In addition to the championship race, the weekend will include parties, live performances, track bike events, group rides through the city and a barbeque in San Francisco's Panhandle Park, complete with bike polo. The championship qualifier and final race will take place on a closed road course and will test three major areas of messenger skill: speed, creative package handling and navigation.

Current World and North American champion Sarah Torgrimson of San Francisco's Cupid Courier Collective is sure to be a race favorite while Mike Rabdau of Godspeed Courier, another independently-owned local messenger service, will be looking to improve on his second place result in last year's competition to reclaim the top honors he won in 2005 when the race was held in Portland, Oregon. Godspeed, which also supports a local road racing squad, placed three riders in the top ten at last year's NACCC in Philadelphia and are certain to make a strong showing on local streets.

Aside from fellowship and bragging rights, the NACCC provides an open forum for messengers to address a variety of industry–wide concerns ranging from safety to wages. The San Francisco Bike Messenger Association (SFBMA) is proud to continue this legacy. For the past ten years, the SFBMA has been at the forefront of messenger industry improvements and labor rights issues. It continues to honor this commitment by promoting unity and solidarity within the messenger community and raising the status of the courier profession.

For more information, please visit the SFBMA website: or the NACCC website at

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