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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 12, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Feillu triumphs in Bourges

By Jean-François Quénet in Bourges

Romain Feillu (Agritubel) in Luxembourg
Photo ©: Florian Schaaf
(Click for larger image)

French rookie Romain Feillu took his fourth win of the season in the bunch sprint in Paris-Bourges, taking on some of the peloton's best sprinters Thor Hushovd and Aurélien Clerc by starting his sprint far earlier than anyone expected and relying on a little crafty teamwork.

"I knew I could achieve something interesting in the sprint," the Agritubel rider explained. "The team rode to perfection. In preparation for my sprint, I didn't let go of Bichot's wheel. He placed me exactly where I had to be before the last curve. I accelerated and he stopped pedaling completely. He created a gap for me. That's how I won."

Crédit Agricole's Thor Hushovd took fourth behind the speedy young Frenchman, and confirmed that they were surprised at his early jump. "One of Feillu's team-mate surprised us. I should have paid more attention," Hushovd said. "I should have been more aggressive in the sprint. I thought 300 meters were too long for Feillu but it wasn't."

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Feillu made his mark early on in his first year as a professional, going head to head with Tom Boonen in the sprints of the Tour of Qatar, and then making it into the top five of several sprints during the first week of the Tour de France. Paris-Bourges is his fourth win after the Boucles de l'Aulne, a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg and the overall classification of the Tour of Britain. "Before the season, I told my former team-mate Guillaume Levarlet (now with Auber 93 and next year with Française des Jeux), 'for my first pro season, I'll win between two and five races, I'll take part in the Tour de France and the world championship'. I've done all of that, it's fantastic. Now I say that I want more next year, although it might sound pretentious."

Feillu's season isn't quite done, as he will take part in Paris-Tours and the Chrono des Nations in Les Herbiers on October 21st, so he still has time to confirm his title as best French neo-pro.

Italian champ gets his wish

Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step - Innergetic) raises
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Quick.Step-Innergetic's Giovanni Visconti triumphed in the Coppa Sabatini on Thursday, coming back to the place where he took his first professional win to make it a double, this time wearing the tricolore as Italian road champion . The 24 year-old beat CSC's Fränk Schleck and Ukrainian Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ceramica Flaminia) to take his third win of the season. "A while ago I said that I would like to win one of these end-of-season races," Visconti said after the race, "and thanks to Paolo [Bettini's] help, I have done exactly that and I hope I'll be able to help him out in one of the next races. Maybe even at the Giro di Lombardia."

Visconti's win was his fourth professional victory, and he was quite happy. "Today's win was even better than last year's, as I was wearing the Tricolore jersey this year," he declared. And who wouldn't be happy if they had the reigning World Champion at his disposal? "Thankfully Paolo was alongside me today -- during the final lap Paolo looked me straight in the eyes and said 'now its all up to you'... I just had to win." Visconti will be joining Bettini again at the Tour of Emilia, the Beghelli Grand Prix and the Giro di Lombardia. refugees Rujano, Vandenbergh find jobs riders José Rujano and Stijn Vandenbergh have secured positions for the 2008 season on different ProTour teams. The promising pair of stage racers may now have the chance to demonstrate their true potential after a year of being excluded from many of the major races and all three Grand Tours because of conflict between the UCI and the race organisers.

Rujano secured a position with the Caisse d'Epargne team. The 25 year-old Venezuelan climber turned professional in 2003, and made waves when he placed third overall in the Giro d'Italia in 2005, winning a stage and the mountains classification in the process.

Vandenbergh, a neo-pro in 2007 will move over to the French Ag2r Prévoyance squad. The 23 year-old Belgian from Oudenaarde won a stage at the overall classification at this year's Tour of Ireland.

Holczer to trade water for gummi bears?

Hans-Michael Holczer may find it easier than expected to find a new sponsor for his team. According to the Kölner Express, the team may be wearing 'Gummi Bear' trikots next season.

The newspaper says that Haribo, the maker of Gummi Bears and many other candies, is interested in sponsoring the team after its sponsorship contract with Gerolsteiner Brunnen expires the end of 2008. However, Haribo spokesman Marco Alfter told the paper, "Cycling is not a theme for us. But Haribo France is very much involved in cycling." Haribo France sponsored the one-day race Haribo Classic from 1994 to 2006, and has one of the largest vehicles in the Tour de France's advertising caravan.

Another possibility is said to be SAP AG, the largest European software company, and third largest in the world. It is based in Walldorf, Germany, and sponsors the minor league soccer team TSG Hoffenheim and the Adler Mannheim ice hockey team.

Holczer would not disclose details, but said, "It is astounding how many requests have reached me, especially from outside of Germany. But we have to hold a lot of discussions, and then maybe we will have a contract in the end."

Two years for Muraglia

The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) has suspended Italian Giuseppe Muraglia for two years for testing positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) after winning the 22nd Clasica de Almeria. The 28 year-old Italian was sacked from Acqua & Sapone after the positive test in June.

Muraglia was also implicated in the "Oil for Drugs" scandal, and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) recommended a four year sentence for both offenses. The FCI chose to suspend the rider only for the positive test.

Frommert steps down from NADA post

Christian Frommert, director of Sponsoring Communications for Deutsche Telekom, the parent firm of the sponsor for T-Mobile Team, has withdrawn from the Board of Trustees of the German National Anti-Doping Agency, it was announced Thursday. He said that he wished to increase the independence of the NADA and remove its connection to the team.

"Deutsche Telekom will remain a supporter of the NADA and continue to support the work which it does, which has become and will continue to become very important," Frommert told the dpa press agency.

Deutsche Telekom is the largest contributor to the NADA, with a sum of 450,000 euro this year.

Teams unite to form British 'superteam'

British teams RaphaCondor and have announced that they will merge for the 2008 season, making a team which will have many of the country's top riders and led by one of the country's top directors, John Herety. The announcement comes just two weeks after British Cycling announced it would form its own professional team.

Herety, a highly respected director, has led the highly successful team for the past two years after resigning from his post as national team director. "After working for many years with Team GB and for the past two seasons with the successful team, I am looking forward to working with Rapha and Condor," Herety said. "Having met Dominique [Gabellini, RaphaCondor] and his colleagues during the course of the season their professionalism, competitiveness as well as their easy-going, honest and open nature makes the alliance feel good."

Teams announce Paris-Tours line-ups

Team Gerolsteiner is taking on three races this weekend, two in Italy and one in France. Davide Rebellin will lead the team in the Giro dell'Emilia on Saturday and the Gran Premio Beghelli on Sunday. Also on Sunday, the team will race Paris-Tours, where it will look to sprinters Robert Förster, Heinrich Haussler and Peter Wrolich.

Gerolsteiner for Italy: Johannes Fröhlinger, Tim Klinger, Bernhard Kohl, Andrea Moletta, Davide Rebellin, Ronny Scholz, Fabian Wegmann, Oliver Zaugg and stagiaire Mathias Frank.

Gerolsteiner for Paris-Tours: Robert Förster, Thomas Fothen, Oscar Gatto, Heinrich Haussler, Sven Krauss, Volker Ordowski, Tom Stamsnijder, and Peter Wrolich.

The Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner team will be missing two riders, both of whom who have fallen ill. Bert De Waele and Andy Cappelle will be replaced by Sjef De Wilde and Steven Kleynen.

Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner: Steven Kleynen, Sjef De Wilde, David Boucher, Nico Sijmens, Kevin Neirynck, Jan Kuyckx, Frédéric Amorison, Frédéric Gabriel. Sport directeur: Gino Verhasselt.

Liquigas: Filippo Pozzato, Murilo Fischer, Magnus Backstedt, Francesco Chicchi, Enrico Gasparotto, Aleksandr Kuschynski, Manuel Quinziato and Frederik Willems.

Euskaltel-Euskadi: Samuel Sánchez, Koldo Fernández, Igor Antón, Ińaki Flores, Dionisio Galparsoro, Alan Pérez, Juan José Oroz and Unai Uribarri. D.S.: Jon Odriozola.

Quick.Step-Innergetic: Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Kevin Hulsmans, Sébastien Rosseler, Gert Steegmans, Cédric Vasseur, Wouter Weylandt, Maarten Wynants. D.S.: Wilfried Peeters.

Strong field for NSW crit championship

The upcoming New South Wales Criterium Championships will see some of the country's most talented racers on the line come October 21, with the likes of Chris Sutton (Cofidis), Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole) and Ben Kersten confirming for the Sydney event.

2005 U23 Australian champion Chris Sutton is in his second year with team Cofidis, and at the age of 23 has already scored two wins, one in this year's Circuit de la Sarthe. His fellow ProTour rider Mark Renshaw, already a World Champion on the track in the team pursuit, has shown his class with a win in the Tour de Picardie and a close second on stage one of the Circuit Franco-Belge.

Ben Kersten is yet another example of Australia's brilliant history of track cyclists. At 26, Kersten is a multiple World Champion and Commonwealth gold medal winner and has demonstrated that his explosive sprint can be put to devastating effect on the road.

Renshaw, Sutton and Kersten will be joined by stand-out Cameron Meyer ( Meyer, a triple junior World Champion has proven that he is one of Australia's brightest talents having just taken overall victory in the 2007 Tour of Tasmania.

The addition of these four riders adds an exciting element to what was already shaping up to be the most exciting edition of the New South Wales Criterium Championships ever contested. Further information about the New South Wales Criterium Championships presented by McCarroll's and the favourites for the race can be found here:

Tour of Utah back on for 2008

Organisers of the Tour of Utah have announced that the race, which was cancelled this year, will be back on for 2008. Race chairman Greg Miller of the Larry H. Miller Group, also named veteran Utah bike racer, coach and cycling advocate, Terry McGinnis, as the Tour's Executive Director, and Burke Swindlehurst as the Technical Director. The 342 mile (550 km) race features 30,000 feet (9,140m) of climbing, making it one of the toughest stage races in the US.

With a generous prize purse, McGinnis hopes to attract the best talent in the country. "The purse is $75,000, which includes a brand new automobile," said McGinnis. "We're expecting more than 120 cyclists from the best teams in North America. This tour draws national attention, top-tier athletes, and will hopefully be one of only 25 USA Cycling National Race Calendar (NRC) events."

Race promoters postponed last year's Tour of Utah due to financial constraints. This year, however, the promoters have restructured financial operations, downsized the race to five stages from a proposed seven, and focused on attracting domestic teams by virtue of the NRC status.

"The 2008 Tour of Utah is going to be a huge draw to Utah," said Swindlehurst, who also races with the Toyota United Cycling Team. "The Tour's generous purse, experienced organizers, foresighted planning, riders, crowds, and events will mean one of the best cycling experiences of the year for the entire country. And its going to be beautiful."

The 2008 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Presented by Zions Bank course for 2008:

August 13, Stage One: Nephi to Nephi The first day's event will mean 101 miles through rolling, central Utah. Beginning and ending in Nephi, racers will cut through neighboring towns of Fountain Green, Wales, Spring City, Fairview, Moroni and Mount Pleasant, and include a total of 4,851 ft. of climbing.

August 14, Stage Two: Salt Lake to Ogden Four climbs and a flat finish – 9,960 ft. of climbing. The road race will run 84 miles from Salt Lake City to Ogden, home of Weber State University.

August 15, Stage Three: Downtown SLC Criterium In the heart of Salt Lake City, the Downtown SLC Criterium is a 90-minute race around a flat, four-cornered track. Fast and furious, the circuit is one mile in length.

August 16, Stage Four: Deer Valley to Snowbird A mountaintop finish following four fierce climbs for a total of 14,778 vertical feet. From Deer Valley Resort in Park City, through the outskirts of Salt Lake to Snowbird Ski Resort: a road race of 99 mountainous miles.

August 17, Stage Five: Miller MotorSports Park Individual TT An 18-mile time trial starting and finishing at the Miller Motor Sportspark in Tooele, UT. The course begins with a slight uphill, then drops and turns aggressively skyward to the turnaround, where racers will head back toward the finish. Short, with 650 ft. of climbing, for a fast, tough time trial.

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