First Edition Cycling News for October 7, 2007
Edited by Sue George
Cavendish takes 11th season win
By Susan Westemeyer
T-Mobile's Mark Cavendish knew what he wanted to accomplish in his first pro year: win races, and as many as possible. He didn't start out with any specific goal but at some point during the season, he decided 11 wins would be his target. He reached number 10 on September 10, in the first stage of his homeland race, the Tour of Britain. Since then he has come tantalizingly close, most recently finishing second in the second stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge after crashing in the first stage. But the third time proved lucky and he took his long-awaited 11th win Saturday in Poperinge, Belgium, when he out-sprinted Gert Steegmans (Quick.Step-Innergetic) and Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto).
"I am totally happy, that I have reached my self-set goal of 11 season victories," the 22 year-old said on the team's website, t-mobile.com. "After a few miscalculations yesterday, today it went perfectly."
Fellow sprinter Eric Baumann should have been one of Cavendish's sprint preparers, but he had to do his share of the work earlier. A four-man escape group had up to an eight-minute advantage before T-Mobile and Rabobank started the move to catch them. "That was hard because there was a strong wind. First (T-Mobile stagiaire) Ian Stannard rode at the head of the field. Then I took over. Now I'm exhausted but we were all happy at the end."
Quick.Step opened the sprint for Steegmans, who had won the previous stage. "Then Roger Hammond, with 'Cav' on his rear wheel, made his move at the right moment. And everything worked out perfectly," Baumann said.
Cavendish started the World Championships road race for Great Britain, but he did not finish it. While at the Worlds, he told Cyclingnews that while he hoped for the 11th win, "I am not optimistic about it. I am feeling the effects of a long season now. I could perhaps pick one up in Franco-Belge but I am not going to risk life and limb for it either." The young Manxman must have changed his mind after being so close and yet so far from his goal.
Bertagnolli dedicates win to team-mate
By Gregor Brown
After following team orders to sit on, Leonardo Bertagnolli (Liquigas) made the winning move at the Third Memorial Cimurri GP Bioera on Saturday. The 29 year-old Italian, winner of the Clásica San Sebastián, finished first in the sprint which included his mates in the four-man break.
He finished ahead of Luca Mazzanti (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir), with Russian Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) in fourth. Bertagnolli's team-mate Filippo Pozzato led a small group of chasers home, taking fifth over Alessandro Petacchi (Milram).
"It was a team victory because the presence of the green-blue jerseys at the escapees' heels; they permitted me to maintain a passive role," explained Bertagnolli of the races tactics. Bertagnolli dedicated the win to team-mate Pozzato whose grandmother, who died Friday morning.
Bertagnolli is now looking ahead to the Giro di Lombardia.
Michael Rasmussen ready for UCI hearing to resolve his status
It may seem like all the pro riders are in the process of renewing or signing new contracts, but one racer has put his future plans on hold. Michael Rasmussen, who withdrew from the Tour de France in July after questions about his whereabouts and missed tests surfaced, said on his website, www.feltet.dk/michaelrasmussen, that he has backed out of new contract negotiations this week while awaiting a meeting with the UCI to sort out his status.
"Actually, I was invited to negotiations for a new contract this week, but I politely turned it down, because I don't want to look like a clown in two months, if I signed a contract that I couldn't meet," said Rasmussen, who rode for Team Rabobank earlier this season.
"I'm the one to wait what happens with the UCI. They are doing some investigations, and everything depends on how that turns out.
"On the whole, it looks quite muddy in terms of the conditions for me in order to be riding next year. I mean, which teams are going to be a possibility, and where the different teams will be riding. It doesn't make it easier that all the structural changes are not yet sorted out," said Rasmussen referring to the ongoing conflict between the UCI and the organizers of the Grand Tour and other European monument events.
"I have an appointment with the UCI in which we have to find out what will happen next. As it is right now, it is not satisfactory for the UCI and neither for me and for cycling in general. We have to sort out what the consequences should be of it all."
Rasmussen added that times are trying for him now and that he would have liked to ride the UCI Road World Championships last weekend; he considered himself a medal contender for the event.
Thieves steal Bettini's bike
On Friday night, thieves broke into the Hotel Classic car park of Reggio Emilia, where team Quick.Step-Innergetic was staying just before the Memorial Cimurri race. After forcing the lock, they stole 21 bikes, including the one used by Bettini last weekend when he won the men's elite road race at the UCI Road World Championships.
"This really saddens me," two-time World Champion Bettini said. "That bike had a particular significance for me. My mechanic left it exactly how it was after the World Championships with the number still attached to it. I know this is a long shot but I just hope someone will come forward with information leading to the return of my bike."
Only two of the team's bikes were not stolen: Andrea Tonti's spare bike that was in the boot of his own car and Paolo Bettini's brand new Specialized bike. "I decided to take my Specialized bike to my room last night," Bettini said, "as I wanted to get a better look at it as it is so beautiful."
All eight members of the Quick.Step team still took part in the Memorial Cimurri Saturday.
"This is force majeure," Team manager Patrick Lefevere said. "It is only right that we take part in the race. I'd like to thank the other teams that have lent us five of their spare bikes enabling us to take part today."
Even with his new bike, Bettini pulled out of the race after 100km and headed for home.
It was just the Quick.Step-Innergetic which suffered bad luck Saturday. Team CSC's Kasper Klostergård found himself having to abandon the Circuit Franco-Belge during the 188km stage three from Bray-Dunes to Poperinge.
"He doesn't quite know what's caused it, but it's been giving him a lot of pain during the last couple of days. He hasn't been involved in any crashes lately so it can't be that. If there's no improvement over the next few days Kasper will have to end his season a little earlier than originally planned," said sports director Scott Sunderland after the third stage according to the team's website, www.team-csc.com.
Scary start to final day at US track nationals
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Carson, California
With the men's keirin and madison scheduled for the final day of competition at the USA Cycling Elite National Track Championships, the possibility for incidents was high. But the incidents came early on in the day in the men's team sprint qualifier, when anchor rider Angelo Martorell (South Bay Wheelmen) struck a volunteer track marshall who was replacing a sponge in the sprint lane during the qualifying attempt.
Martorell's shoulder hit the volunteer's head as he was rounding the final turn of the final lap, but amazingly Martorell somehow managed to stay upright and complete his lap, qualifying his composite team "The A Team" of Adam Duvendeck and Michael Blatchford in second place behind T-Town Express' team of Giddeo Massie, Ryan Nelman and Ben Barczewski. However, Martorell's shoulder was noticeably injured as he exited the track, preventing him from racing in the final. And since T-Town Express put a time up nearly 1.5 seconds faster, The A Team conceded the victory to T-Town Express without racing the final.
Martorell stayed at the track with ice on his shoulder and walked up to the awards ceremony to receive his medal. Afterwards he told Cyclingnews that his shoulder was pretty bruised but not too painful. "I'll go to the hospital later to see if it's separated, but I don't think so," he said.
The volunteer, Jeff Goldman of Huntington Beach, appeared to be conscious and breathing and was treated on-scene by medics. He was put on a backboard and transported to a local hospital. Just before the incident, another potential disaster was barely avoided in the heat between T-Town Express and team Eddie Boyz. The T-Town Express suffered a mechanical in the start, neutralizing the race. But no gun shot was fired alerting the back stretch Eddie Boyz team who kept racing while the starting block for the T-Town Express remained in place. Luckily the first rider was alert enough to avoid the block as it was hurriedly pulled from the track.
Spanish refuse to turn over computers to Ullrich investigators
By Susan Westemeyer
Spanish authorities have refused to turn over five computer hard drives to German investigators in the Jan Ullrich case, the German news magazine FOCUS has reported.
The hard drives were taken into custody during the Operación Puerto. A spokeswoman for investigating judge Antonio Serrano said, "There will be no hard drives for the German investigators." The laptops which were taken in Puerto were not a part of the Spanish investigation, which has now been closed, and therefore Serrano "cannot authorize their use in further investigations."
The German investigators want to see the hard drives because they believe that they contain information on doping products supplied to Ullrich by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. "We have a legal assistance agreement with Spain. Until that is finished, we will not have any comment," said prosecuting attorney Fred Apostel of Bonn, Germany, who is leading the Ullrich investigation.
Cappelle extends contract
Belgian Andy Cappelle signed a one-year extension to his contract with Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner according to the team's website, www.landbouwkrediet-tonissteiner.be. The 28 year-old thereby put an end to rumors of possible transfers; he'd had offers from several other teams.
Other team members for 2008 include Frédéric Amorison, Bert De Waele, Nico Sijmens, Steven Kleynen, Kevin Neirynck, Wouter Van Mechelen, Bert Scheirlinckx, Rob Peeters, Filip Meirhaeghe, David Boucher, Ed Clancy, Paul Manning, Tom Steels, Dirk Bellemaekers, and Andy Cappelle.
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast signs new 2008 sponsor
Despite many sponsors reconsidering or even leaving the sport of cycling amid recent doping scandals, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast signed BioForce, Inc. as its first new sponsor for 2008. In fact, the team has 30 partner sponsors, 29 of which are expected to return for the next season.
BioForce makes an all-natural pain management system. "Cycling is such a natural fit for our brand. MyoMed can help alleviate some of the aches and pains of competitive cycling and the intensive training regime that is part of the pro athlete lifestyle," said Bob Shawgo, Vice President of Marketing for BioForce.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)