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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for October 23, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Bradley Wiggins' next goal: Triple gold in Beijing

Bradley Wiggins at the T-Mobile team/media presentation in late September
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Bradley Wiggins made great strides in his professional career this season, but his biggest priority in 2008 will be on the track rather than the road. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes talked to T-Mobile's new signing about his recent successes and his future plans.

British professional Bradley Wiggins had a year to remember in 2007, taking several important wins on road and track as well as showing he has a real future in races such as the Tour de France. The 27 year-old had already some very important results to his credit, such as gold, silver and bronze medals at the last Olympic Games plus several world championship and Commonwealth Games titles in the velodrome, but it was only this season when he really made the breakthrough to the top level on the road.

The Briton's best performances of 2007 included victories in the prologue of the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Dauphiné Libéré, first on the stage four Time Trial at the Tour du Poitou Charentes and at the Duo Normand two-man TT. Additionally, Wiggins placed second on stage three of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe et Pays de la Loire, fourth in the prologue of the Tour de France and fifth in the first long Time Trial in the same race.

Astana riders Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin placed first and fourth in that Albi TT, of course, but have subsequently tested positive for blood doping. Wiggins' good showing meant he should have been one of the favourites to win the final Time Trial, but he like the rest of the Cofidis team were forced to pull out of the Tour after French team-mate Christian Moreni tested positive for testosterone in a random control taken on Stage 11.

Cofidis' exclusion was a cruel blow to the Briton, who has long been outspoken against drug use in the peloton. The current climate in cycling made it practically impossible for the squad to continue to Paris, but this forced withdrawal was nevertheless a factor in Wiggins' decision to leave the team he had begun racing with in 2006.

Read the full Wiggins' interview, Next goal: Triple gold in Beijing

McGee to CSC

By Susan Westemeyer

Bradley McGee in 2007 Vuelta
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Australian Bradley McGee has left Française des Jeux after ten years and will ride for Team CSC next season. The Danish team announced yesterday that he has signed a one-year contract.

"After ten years with the same team it is only natural that I should want to try something new," the 31-year-old said on team-csc.com.

He has been hampered for the last two seasons by an injury, from which he is now finally recovered. "I need a fresh start, and I can have that with Team CSC. It's been my preferred team for quite some time and I'm really happy that Bjarne [Riis] is giving me this opportunity. It's a strong team with a team spirit, which is definitely envied by others. I truly feel this is the right place for me to rediscover my former level – both physically and mentally – and I'm just looking forward to embarking on a whole new chapter in my career now."

"Bradley is an extremely interesting rider and I think he'll get a huge come-back with us," said CSC Team Manager Bjarne Riis. "I've been following his career through some time, and I have the feeling that he still has a lot of unused potential. We've helped a lot of riders back on track, and I'm convinced we can do just that with Bradley. He has won some brilliant victories and has a lot of great results behind him and we really look forward to having him with us and helping him regain his amazing ability on the bike. Bradley is a classy rider and I'm sure he'll show that at Team CSC."

McGee has worn the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours and has had stage wins in the Tour de France as well as many other smaller races. He has won gold medals at the Olympic Games and the Track World Championships.

Read On track for Beijing for more on McGee

Contador and Sastre in ACP criterium

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) and Carlos Sastre (Team CSC), second in the recent Vuelta a España, will headline the traditional end of Spanish season, the Criterium of the Spanish Professional Cyclists Association (ACP) that is slated to take place in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, October 28.

Sastre attended the presentation of the event at Boadilla del Monte's city hall, along with its mayor, Arturo González, the councilman of the sports, Alfonso Rodríguez, and ACP President, José Gómez.

The 32 year-old Spaniard of Denmark-based Team CSC assured that he will race the criterium "without the typical stress and tension of a high-level competition, appealing more to the children and the public."

Sastre spoke of his 2008 season. "Once the routes of the three grand three-week races are known we will decide which ones are best suited for my abilities." He added with certainty, "I will race the Tour."

The Criterium of the ACP will include 48 professional riders, who will be divided into two heats. 15 will be classified to challenge the final race. Sastre will head the second heat, which also includes Oscar Pereiro, Ezequiel Mosquera, José Angel Gomez Marchante, José Luis Rubiera, David De La Fuente and Marcos Serrano, among others. The first heat will be led by Contador, Samuel Sánchez, Carlos Barredo, Daniel Moreno, Luis Pérez Rodriguez, Angel Edo, Juan José Cobo, Iván Gutiérrez and 16 others.

This race also includes a team time trial and a children's race. Commemorative plaques will be presented to Luis Pérez Rodriguez and Angel Edo, both who are retiring.

Moreover, in Mula (Murcia), Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, Joaquím Rodríguez, José Joaquín Rojas, Francisco Pérez and Luis León Sánchez will pay tribute to León León Sánchez, in a mountain-bike race, which is rated for the regional circuit. Sánchez died in a quad bike accident in October, 2005.

Aggiano closes 11-year career at Lombardia

Elio Aggiano celebrates at the start of Lombardia
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Italian Elio Aggiano closed out a professional career spanning 11 years Saturday with the Giro di Lombardia. The 35 year-old rider from Puglia celebrated with his Tinkoff Credit Systems team-mates before starting the 242-kilometre Classic from Varese. He envisions working with his local amateur team and a possible role as a Tinkoff directeur sportif in the year to come.

"One of the most beautiful memories in my career was when I was able to win a race in the honour of my father, Gaetano, who still feels very close to me," recalled Aggiano, who also took a memorable win last year in a rain-soaked stage of the Tour de Langkawi. "Also the Tour de France in Paris – it was a huge emotion [with Vitalicio Seguros in 1999 - ed.]."

He makes his home in Monsummano Terme with his wife and two children, where he could help with a local team. "I have some clear ideas: to remain in the [cycling] environment to help and guide the young riders of the Monsummano team. ... Also, there is a great offer from Tinkoff Credit Systems to be a directeur sportif."

Over the years, with teams Refin (1997), Vitalicio Seguros (1998-2000), Mapei-Quick.Step (2001-2002), Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavè (2003), Team LPR (2004-2006) and Tinkoff, Aggiano accumulated 12 wins.

Gusev to Astana?

By Susan Westemeyer

Vladimir Gusev could be the next Discovery Channel rider to join Johan Bruyneel at Team Astana. Kazakhstan Cycling Federation Vice President Nikolai Proskurin said an interview that the Russian would join the team in 2008, according to HLN.be.

Gusev, who wants to target Paris-Roubaix next year, won the Tour of Belgium as well as a stage in the Tour de Suisse this year.

Other Discovery Channel riders whose names have been linked with Astana for the coming season include Levi Leipheimer, Sergio Paulinho, Janez Brajkovic, Benjamin Noval, Tomas Vaitkus and Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

Ferrara closes season with Lombardia crash

Raffaele Ferrara at the 2006 World Championships
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 season has ended for Raffaele Ferrara with a crash in the Giro di Lombardia. The Italian of Team LPR had three fingers of his left hand seriously injured, with suspected tendon damage.

The 31 year-old, seventh year professional from Napoli spent the remainder of his Saturday in the hospital, where he received five stitches on every finger. He was sent home and will not ride at all for the next ten days. Medics will evaluate the situation of the tendon and eventually decide if surgery is needed.

"It was an ordinary crash, one that you see in every race," explained Ferrara, who makes his home in Castelfranco Veneto. "However, after I was on the ground I felt a strong pain in my hand, without quite knowing what happened. Probably my hand ended in the middle of a wheel or the chain.

"I am upset that I have to end my season in such a way. Anyhow, I am already pointing towards the next year – for me it will be an important year."

Ginanni and Belletti turn pro with Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia

After the confirmation of Gilberto Simoni and Alessandro Bertolini, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia has added two neo-professionals for 2008. Italians Francesco Ginanni (from Team Lucchini Finauto) and Manuel Belletti (Trevigiani) will start their careers under the guidance of Team Manager Gianni Savio.

The 2008 Italian Professional Continental team, still waiting for confirmation of three more riders, will consist of Italians Gilberto Simoni, Alessandro Bertolini, Santo Anzà, Gabriele Missaglia, Leonardo Moser, Emiliano Donadello, Denis Bertolini, Francesco Ginanni and Manuel Belletti, Swede Niklas Axelsson, Colombian José Serpa, and Venezuelans Carlos José Ochoa and Richard Ochoa.

Danish champion Alex Rasmussen signs contract with Designa Køkken

By Katharina Schulz

Even though it was an open secret that Team CSC was interested in signing the young Danish talent Alex Rasmussen, he decided to sign with a smaller team from his home country. "It's going to be exciting to see how Team Designa Køkken is going to develop in the future. I actually think that I have bigger chances to ride the big races and maybe win them than I might probably have had at Team CSC. I am very much looking forward to trying something new and developing myself further as a rider," the 23 year-old told feltet.dk.

As feltet.dk reported, he already came to an agreement with Team Designa Køkkken about three weeks ago, but the formal contract was signed a couple of days ago. Rasmussen also had an offer from another Danish team, GLS, from where several riders have left to join Team CSC. "I am very happy about the agreement. I thought that GLS and Designa are quite similar, but I chose Designa because I think that the Jutish mentality suits me best." (Designa Køkken is based in Silkeborg, a small town near Århus in the Danish region of Jutland. - ed.)

Rasmussen has signed a one-year contract to allow more flexibility. "We take one year at a time. That way I can see what opportunities there are for me," the Danish champion from Odense said.

The one goal for next season is the Olympics, which take place in August in Beijing, along with the track World Championships and the Danish Championships. "After the track season finishes with the World Championships in March, I am going to take a little break and then start training up towards the season's first big goal, Colliers Classic, which I would very much like to win. After that I'm going to focus on the Danish Championships, which are going to be the season's other big goal before the Olympics. The route for the Danish National Championships is very hard, but I hope that I still can get a good result and maybe finish top five."

Those goals, however, collide with Denmark's most important race apart from the Nationals: the Tour of Denmark. "It is really annoying that the Tour of Denmark is at the same time as the Olympics. But I'm really looking forward to the Olympics, after which I very much would like to come home in top shape. The team has a lot of races in Belgium on the calendar, where I can help the team, but also get good results myself. I'm hoping to show the team what I'm good for at that then," he concluded.

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