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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for October 5, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Demol will not join Bruyneel at "new Astana"

Astana team denies Contador's signing

Discovery's Bruyneel
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Discovery Channel's outgoing director sportif Johan Bruyneel confirmed that he is near to signing a three-year deal to manage a "new Astana" team, but the deal is still complicated by the team's contract with its current director, Marc Biver."Astana will become a new team," Bruyneel told "A completely different team in all areas." While he will most likely be joined by several riders on his current team, he will not be joined by his second in command, Dirk Demol.

Bruyneel confirmed that his Tour stars Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer were in negotiations with the team, and added that four others will come as well - "[Benjamin] Noval, [Sergio] Paulinho, [Janus] Brajkovic and [Thomas] Vaitkus as well." However, Bruyneel said that Demol will not be among those joining him. The announcement by Bruyneel may, however, be premature as the Astana spokesperson Corinne Druey denied any such negotiations. "Astana cycling team 2007 did not and won't ask Alberto Contador to be a rider on the team next year," Druey told AP. "We're only seeing this in the media. ... The riders of the Astana cycling team don't know what their futures will be."

Bruyneel indicated that he would not act as the director sportif on the new Astana squad, but rather take a more managerial role. "I have nothing more to prove," he said of being the director. "I cannot do better than eight Tour victories in nine years," he continued. Moving up into the ranks of management was something he already had planned to do had the Discovery Channel team not folded, and had already offered the driver's seat to Demol at the Tour de France. He reiterated the offer to Demol after inking a three year deal with the Kazakh squad, but Demol has decided to keep looking.

Demol explained to that he had discussed making the move with Bruyneel, but decided to keep looking. "I was eager to keep working with Johan, but as an assistant-director sportif." He said he did not feel comfortable moving into the role of DS on the new team, and will keep weighing other offers. "I have contact with a few teams. I can't give names, only say there is nothing concrete," said Demol.

With the season wrapping up in less than two weeks, Demol's decision will be made quickly. "Before Paris-Tours (October 14) I want to know where my future lies," Demol declared.

Cavendish unlucky in Franco-Belge

T-Mobile (Ger)
Photo ©: Stijn Vercaemer
(Click for larger image)

The T-Mobile team was all ready to deliver its sprinter Mark Cavendish to his 11th win of the season in the first stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge, but bad luck that plagued the Manxman in the Tour de France returned in Belgium, and Cavendish crashed with two kilometres to go, and had to watch from behind as Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom) got his first win of the season ahead of Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) and Belgium's Wouter Weylandt (Quick.Step) in the bunch sprint.

T-Mobile had worked hard along with the Rabobank team to bring back the breakaway of Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) and Marco Marcato (Team L.P.R), but their work resulted in only a 9th place finish by Roger Hammond. "Mark crashed around two kilometres from the line," said T-Mobile Team sporting director Tristan Hoffman on the team's website, "Fortunately, he wasn't injured but the chance had gone."

"These things happen," continued Hoffman. "The most important things was that Mark was uninjured." The team will have few opportunities to win with the season drawing to a close next week, but Hoffman was happy with its performance despite the crash. "The team were impressive in the chase and in driving the bunch to the finish. That is great to see from the lads at the end of a long season."

Eisenmann defends Stuttgart's actions

Stuttgart's Minister for Sports, Susanne Eisenmann
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

The organizing committee of the World Championships in Stuttgart made more news headlines than normal for a host city when they fought to exclude all riders even remotely associated with doping from attending the championships in September. Committee president Susanne Eisenmann defended the organization's actions in an interview with the Spanish news agency

Eisenmann justified the fight to exclude Alejandro Valverde, defending World Champion Paolo Bettini and even long-retired champion Eddy Merckx from even attending the event by saying that the event had to mark a "new, clean era". She explained that the snub of the much beloved Belgian legend was because doping was widespread in his time, and this "was not compatible with the clean image which we wanted to transmit in the championship."

The strong-willed German staunchly defended the decisions, saying, "Our objective was that with this World Championships a new time began, clean, not made for cyclists who cheat - but we were not able to prevent people like Bettini from competing." The organization lost its fight to exclude Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, who appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and won the right to compete. "The Court dictated the sentence and we did not have any other option than to accept it," Eisenmann explained.

Bettini drew the ire of the Stuttgart organization because he refused to agree to all the terms of the UCI's rider agreement. "We tried to prevent him from racing because he had not signed the UCI's ethical charter, as did Danilo Di Luca. We took both to the Courts of Stuttgart." The case was ultimately dismissed, and Bettini allowed to ride - and win - the title of World Champion for the second year in a row. "We did not share the decision, but there was no way to appeal the sentence in less than 24 hours. With respect to Di Luca, CONI was the one that did not let him participate."

Mini-Phinney, Huff set to face off in men's pursuit final

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Carson, California

Phinney at Jr. Worlds.
Photo ©: Davis Phinney
(Click for larger image)

Curtis Gunn was the odd man in for much of the individual pursuit qualifiers at the USA Cycling track nationals in Carson, California. The veteran racer was the first rider of the day and had to race his heat alone, as there were an uneven number of starters. Gunn set the fast opening time that lasted for fifteen heats, until Taylor Phinney (TIAA-CREF-5280) blasted into a new fastest time. Mini-Phinney, as his ad hoc Slipstream team-mates call him, held the lead a few more heats until the business end of the day, with riders like Dan Harm (Rubicon-Chinook) as well as Slipstream-Chipotle's Brad Huff and Mike Friedman taking to the track. In the end only Huff was able to overtake the seventeen year old junior world time trial champion by half a second, setting up an exciting evening final.

"I was a bit nervous at the start, I didn't have any expectations of myself," said Phinney. "I was just ready to get it rolling. But once I started I felt great the whole time."

Taylor's parents, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney, were both on hand to cheer their son on. Davis, camera in hand, was on the track playing the proud parent. "I'm the proverbial soccer dad," he said. "It's been fun, we are just happy to get him onto the track. I never did this, so it's virgin territory. But he has a great coach, Roger Young, who has been really helpful for the one month of track riding he has done!"

Even though Taylor has only been on the track a dozen times in his life, he feels he is ready for the finals against Huff tonight. "It didn't feel like it was too hard, so I feel like I can go faster the next time." When asked if Huff should be scared, he laughed and said, "Yes!" before looking over both shoulders to see if Huff heard him.

Huff, who finished second last year to another team-mate, feels that he is already at a disadvantage going into the final. "It's really unfair, he has all those hormones!" he said jokingly. "He'll recover way faster than I will. There really should be some mitochondria handicapping," referring to Phinney's Olympian parents. But Huff is still going to try to best his runner-up position from last year tonight. "When you have a 17 year old junior screaming down your neck you've got to pull something off!"

In the women's pursuit, Dotsie Bausch (Colavita-Sutter Home) showed no mercy as she roared to an impressive qualifying time, twelve seconds faster than the rest of the field.

Ignatiev: Winning and developing

Russian Mikhail Ignatiev
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Mikhail Ignatiev came just nine seconds shy of claming another gold medal in the Under 23 Time Trial World Championships. The 22 year-old Russian could not match the time of Dutchman Lars Boom, and he had to settle for silver. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews visited the promising talent at the Russian team's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, to review the season and look ahead to 2008.

The Waldhorn hotel in Stuttgart was an unassuming place near the site of the 2007 Road Worlds, but walking inside we were greeted immediately by the man in charge of some of the most promising riders coming out of the land of ballet and caviar, Oleg Tinkov. The 39 year-old Russian businessman is the owner of Tinkoff Credit Systems and the motivator to many of the young Russians who were racing in Stuttgart, like Ignatiev, but also Nikolai Trusov and Ivan Rovny. The latter went on to animate the finale of the Under 23 road race.

Tinkov flew in specifically from Moscow for Ignatiev's time trial, arriving just minutes before the rider rolled out. Immediately after the run, he was zipping back to his home country. "I arrived five minutes before his start," said Tinkov, who was looking over the team's season's winnings on the internet, which was currently at 16. "He had already taken his place in the start house. I said 'go Misha,' and he looked down and saw me, and said 'cool, you are here!'"

The 38.1-kilometre race was hard-fought two-man duel between Boom and Ignatiev, with third place going to Jerome Coppel of France at 46 seconds out. Boom posted the quickest times through all the checks (14'18" at km 11.7, 23'28" at 19.3 and 39'29" at 31.1), but he was forced to sit down and wait as Ignatiev tried to better his time.

Ignatiev's first time check must have scared Boom as he was watching on television; Ignatiev was eight seconds up. But he could not hold, and faded by six and ten seconds at the following two checks (km 19.3 and 31.1). He had made up two more seconds by the finish, but that was not enough to add to his gold of 2005.

Read the full interview here.

Transfer news: complete Euskaltel-Euskadi 2008 roster, Hunt to Crédit Agricole

The Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi has completed its roster for the 2008 season, the team announced Thursday. New acquisitions Egoi Martinez from the Discovery Channel, Josu Agirre (Orbea-Oreka), and Francisco Javier Aramendia (Orbea-Oreka) will join the current team of Beñat Albizuri, Igor Antón, Lander Aperribay, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Jon Bru, Koldo Fernández de Larrea, Aitor Galdos, Dioni Galparsoro, Aitor Hernández, Markel Irizar, Iñaki Isasi, Andoni Lafuente, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Juan José Oroz, Alan Pérez, Rubén Pérez, Samuel Sánchez, Amets Txurruka, Iván Velasco, Gorka Verdugo and Haimar Zubeldia.

British rider Jeremy Hunt has found a replacement job after his team folded. The winner of the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise will ride for Crédit Agricole for 2008 season, giving the team needed firepower for Thor Hushovd's lead-out train after the departure of New Zealander Julian Dean (Slipstream).

Other acquisitions are Eric Berthou (Caisse d'Epargne), Simon Gerrans (Ag2r) and neo-pro's Ignas Konovalovas (VC la Pomme Marseille), Gabriel Rasch (Maxbo-Bianchi), Maxime Méderel (Auber) and Julien Simon.

Departing the team are Francesco Bellotti, Anthony Charteau, Julian Dean, Christophe Edaleine, Mads Kaggestad, Christophe Laurent, and Benoît Poilvet.

Bertolini leads Europe Tour

Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni Selle-Italia's Alessandro Bertolini is in command of the UCI's Europe Tour after taking victories in the Coppa Agostini, Giro del Veneto, Coppa Placci, Giro dell'Appennino and a stage of the Coppa e Bartali back in March. The Italian sprinter leads Dutchman Martin Maaskant, Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen his compatriot Luca Mazzanti.

The 36 year-old racked up 232 points in September alone to move into the lead of the series with 585 points to Maaskant's 449 and Boassen-Hagen's 400.

The team of Gianni Savio will have to split its activities between defending Bertolini's lead in Europe with racing in South America, where they have earned many wins, in the Clasico Banfoandes in Venezuela.

Rabobank riders stack best Dutch cyclist nominees

As the country's largest professional cycling organisation, it's no surprise that the Dutch Rabobank team's riders have dominated the list of nominees for Dutch cyclist of the year, Retiring rider Michael Boogerd will have his last chance to win the Gerrit Schulte Trophy. He will face stiff competition from track World Champion Theo Bos, U23 World Champion Lars Boom and Thomas Dekker. Elite men's World time trial bronze medallist Stef Clement (Bouygues Télécom) is the non-Rabobank nominee in the competition.

The Gerrie Knetemann Trophy for espoirs is also dominated by the Rabobank riders. Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema and Martijn Maaskant will be up against Rudi van Houts and Tom Stamsnijder.

On the women's side, DSB Bank team-mates former World Champion Marianne Vos and Ronde van Drenthe winner Adrie Visser will be up against T-Mobile's Chantal Beltman, the winner of the Swedish World Cup round, Dutch 'cross champion Daphny van den Brand and BMX World Champion Willy Kanis.

Petacchi, Di Luca to Memorial Cimurri

Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi will contest the 198.3 kilometer Memorial Cimurri on Saturday. He will bring the majority of his lead-out train, including Mirko Celestino, Andrey Grivko, Niki Terpstra, Alberto Ongarato, Fabio Sabatini, Carlo Scognamiglio, and his final lead-out, Marco Velo.

The Liquigas team will surprisingly be able to field Danilo Di Luca, who was refused a start by the Italian Olympic Committee for the World Championships after coming under investigation for alleged doping. He will be joined by Vincenzo Nibali, Filippo Pozzato, Murilo Fischer, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Dario Cataldo, last year's winner Enrico Gasparotto and Franco Pellizotti.

Petacchi will have to fight against a strong Gerolsteiner squad, with Bernard Kohl, Fabian Wegmann, Johannes Fröhlinger, Tim Klinger, Andrea Moletta, Ronny Scholz, Oliver Zaugg and stagiaire Mathias Frank under direction of Christian Henn.

Saunier Duval covers the globe

The Saunier Duval team will spread itself around the globe for upcoming races from Italy to Mexico and even as far as Japan. Six riders will head to Mexico for the 2nd edition of the Vuelta a Chihuahua which begins Sunday: David de la Fuente, Arkaitz Durán, Rubén Lobato, Iker Camaño, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, and Javier Mejías with director Joxean Fernández Matxin.

The team has announced rosters for all of the races in October. For the Italian Memorial Cimurri, Saunier Duval will line up Riccardo Riccò, Manuele Mori, Luciano Pagliarini, Jesus Del Nero, Alberto Benítez, Guido Trentin, Raivis Belohvosciks, and Rubens Bertogliati will race.

In the Monte Paschi Eroica, Gilberto Simoni, Riccardo Riccò, Mori, Pagliarini, Del Nero, Benítez, Trentin, Belohvosciks, Bertogliati, Alarcón. 11: COPPA SABATINI (1.1) Riccò,Manuele Mori, Luciano Pagliarini, Alberto Benítez, Guido Trentin, Raivis Belohvosciks, and Rubens Bertogliati and Raul Alarcón will represent the team.

For the 1.HC Giro dell'Emilia, it will be Riccò, José Angel Marchante, Leonardo Piepoli, Bertogliati, David Cañada, Trentin, Daniel Wyss and Rafa Serrano. In the GP Beghelli, Riccò, Marchante, Piepoli, Bertogliati, Cañada, Trentin, Wyss, and Serrano will again represent the team.

For the last ProTour event, the team will be Mori, Del Nero, Pagliarini, "Litu" Gómez, Benítez, Rinero, Belohvosciks and Alarcón.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)