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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for October 24, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Leipheimer confirms for Astana

By Susan Westemeyer

Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Levi Leipheimer is celebrating his 34th birthday today with a present to himself -- a two-year contract with Team Astana, where he will be joining Discovery Channel team-mates and team manager Johan Bruyneel. Yesterday Tour de France winner and Discovery Channel rider Alberto Contador announced that he had also signed with Astana.

Leipheimer won the Tour of California and the US national road title this year, as well as finishing third in the Tour de France.

"A lot of that has to do with Johan and the staff and how comfortable I am with them," Leipheimer said, according to ESPN. "It works for me, so why should I change it? It's not the exact same riders, but there will be the same philosophy and understanding there."

He added that he was looking forward to contesting the Tour de France with another strong team. "I've had a steady progression, and I got to the point this year where I feel like I can win the Tour," he said. "We'll go in next year like we did this year. We'll have a defending champion and another guy who can win it. You have to keep your options open, but it's better to have two guys who can win the Tour than just one."

The Montana native who now has homes in Santa Rosa, California, and Girona, Spain, said that he was not put off by the team's doping scandals this season. "I'm certainly not going to give up because of what's happened," he said. "The sport is changing for the better, going in the right direction, and I'm excited to see that."

A different look at ProTour rankings

By Susan Westemeyer

Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) wins ProTour
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

Everyone knows that Cadel Evans won the ProTour overall rankings and that CSC took the team rankings, but who had the most kilometres this year? Who was the best climber and best sprinter? Which rider and team had the most drop-outs during ProTour races? These and enough other statistics to warm the cycling-crazed fan's heart have been put gathered and published by the Belgian website,

The rider with the most ProTour wins was Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) with eight, followed by Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) with six. The team with the most ProTour wins was not CSC, which finished tied for second with Rabobank with 13, but Lampre, which had 15. And, not surprisingly, Italy overwhelmingly won the nation's ranking, with 43 victories, followed by Spain with 29 and Germany with 21. No other nation was in double figures.

The most ProTour race days were ridden by Thomas Lövkvist of Française de Jeux with 84, closely followed by Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre) with 82 and Mario Aerts (Predictor) with 80. Eight riders on ProTour teams did not have a single day of ProTour racing (much of that due to injuries) and nine riders had exactly one ProTour racing day.

Aerts may have finished third in the days category, but took the title in most ProTour kilometres, with 13,212. Not surprisingly, Bruseghin and Lövkvist were in the following positions.

Vladimir Gusev of Discovery rode the most one-day ProTour races with 11, followed by Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval) and Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), with ten each. Theo Eltink of Rabobank started the most ProTour stage races with eight. He was followed by 13 riders who started seven races. Of them, only four riders finished seven races: Bruseghin, Eltink, Gustav Erik Larsson of Unibet, and Benoît Poilvet of Crédit Agricole.

Aerts was the only rider to do all three Grand Tours, finishing 20th in the Giro d'Italia, 78th in the Tour de France and 28th in the Vuelta a España.

On a more negative note, Tomas Vaitkus of Discovery Channel dropped out of the most ProTour races, with seven. Seven riders dropped out of six races each, including three Gerolsteiner riders (Heinrich Haussler, Tim Klinger and Marcus Zberg). Discovery Channel won the team ranking, with 69 drop-outs. Gerolsteiner followed with 66.

The best ProTour time trialist was, unsurprisingly, Fabian Cancellara, (CSC) followed by two Astana riders, Alexander Vinokourov and Paolo Savoldelli. Equally unsurprising was the best sprinter: Petacchi, ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Erik Zabel (Milram). CQrankings said that the best climber was Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval), followed rather distantly by Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) and Alberto Contador (Discovery).

In a final orgy of statistics, CQrankings noted that there were 13 one-day races (including one team time trial). Three Grand Tours and ten other stage races combined for 138 stages, including three team trials and 15 individual time trials. Those 13 stage races included 13 points classifications and 12 mountains classifications -- none were in the flat Eneco Tour.

All of the ProTour races together went for a total of 23,991 km, with 2,950 km in one-day races, 10,297 in the three Grand Tours and 10,744 in the other stage races.

There were 91 different winners, from 25 different teams and 19 different lands. 817 riders took part in the ProTour races in 2007. There were 1,198 drop-outs by 601 riders from 41 teams.

Juan José Cobo extends with Saunier Duval-Prodir

Juan José Cobo has extended his contract with Spanish team Saunier Duval-Prodir for three years, according to Cobo was a stagiaire with the team in 2003 and turned pro in 2004. He has won stages at the Vuelta a País Vasco and finished 20th overall in this year's Tour de France.

Keisse and Bartko snatch lead in Amsterdam

Iljo Keisse and Robert Bartko have taken over as leaders from Peter Schep and Erik Zabel in the Amsterdam Six Days. The Belgian-German duo gained one lap or more on all their rivals. Schep and Zabel fell to fourth, being passed on points by Swiss tandem Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli as well as the Dutch pair of Robert Slippens and Danny Stam.

The race started yesterday and will run until Saturday.

B.I.G. Ride founder killed in traffic accident

Lee Ann Barry, founder of the B.I.G. ride, was killed in a collision with a car, just 27 miles short of completing her fourth ride across the United States. Also killed in the accident was Thomas Hoskins, a long-time cycling enthusiast and charity organizer. Both leave behind grieving spouses and children.

The B.I.G Ride is a ride across America to raise awareness money for victims of serious brain injuries.

The accident happened around 14:15 local time on U.S. 521, about 11 miles north of Lancaster, in South Carolina. The Charlotte Observer reported that Hoskins was killed on the scene, while Barry was transferred to hospital where she died four hours later. The accident remains under investigation.

Barry was hit by a car when she was five years old, then had brain surgery at age 15 to regain much of her physical abilities that she had lost in the accident. Lee Anne Barry and her husband Ben started their cross-country treks in 2001. This year's trip began Aug. 28 in Seattle.

On Sunday, the group started the last leg of the ride in Columbia. Ben Barry said his wife, their 15-year-old son and Hoskins were riding toward Waxhaw when the accident occurred. The group had planned to meet a police escort, then complete the ride to Charlotte. Ben Barry had driven ahead to Waxhaw in a van, then was riding back on his bike to meet the group.

Plowman Craven Evans Cycles finds form on track and climbs

Craig MacLean
Photo ©: Nick Rosenthal
(Click for larger image)

Plowman Craven Evans Cycles' latest signing, sprint sensation Craig MacLean, made his debut in pink and blue at this weekend's Revolution track meeting in Manchester (October 20), only narrowly losing the sprint final to Jason Kenny of the Great Britain squad.

In his first serious competitive outing since injuring a glute during training last month, MacLean gave a master class in sprint tactics as he successfully powered his way through the heats, beating fellow Olympian, and Great Britain squad rider, Jamie Staff, in the opening round and Christian Lyte, another British national team rider, in the semis.

As well as an excellent start for the Scotsman's career with Plowman Craven Evans Cycles, Saturday was just the performance Craig needed to kick start his campaign to secure an Olympic team place for Beijing. Britain is currently blessed with multiple world class sprinters and MacLean will have to work hard to secure his Olympic team place.

"The qualification process will start from the World Cups in November and run all the way to the World Championships in Manchester in March," explained the 36 year-old Scot. "All of your results will count towards your individual ranking and qualification, and with seven sprinters going for three places it's going to be a tough year."

MacLean's was not the only distinctive Plowman Craven Evans Cycles shirt on display on Saturday. In the opening event -– the men's motor paced scratch race over seven kilometres -– team-mates Tony Gibb and Simon Gaywood took on an impressive elite field including British riders Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas as well as Liquigas team-mates and Tour de France riders Magnus Backstedt and Francesco Chicci. As the derny peeled off Gibb barged past Backstedt to take the lead and open up a gap, but he was eventually reeled back before Cavendish came over the top of the leading group and narrowly outsprinted Thomas to take the win.

Gibb and Gaywood were also in the action the following day, Sunday October 21, when they travelled south to join team-mates Simon Richardson and Adam Norris for the Bec CC hill climb in Surrey. Contested over the 700 yard White Lane Hill, the event is acknowledged as one of the most severe in the country with an initial gradient of 1 in 6 followed by a strength-sapping 1 in 4 in the second half of the climb. The steepness didn't seem to worry the winner however; Dan Fleeman of Blue Sky Cycles set a new course record of 1'43"02 to win the event, beating Gary Dodd's 12 year-old mark of 1'44"01 to do so. Fleeman's winning time was five seconds faster than second placed Bill Bell of Gemini at 1'48".

Simon Gaywood was the highest placed Plowman Craven Evans Cycles rider home in fifth place at 1'52"43, followed by Simon Richardson in 7th position at 1.54.13. Richardson, a recent convert to the road from mountain biking, clearly has a taste for the steep stuff, having competed in the Catford CC hill climb earlier in the same day, finishing the 707 yard course 4th in 1'56"5.

McEwen at Ridley's Dash For Cash

McEwen pumps his fist
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Australia's international superstars of cycling, including Robbie McEwen and Allan Davis, are returning to Noosa on November 3 for the Ridley Dash for Cash, in a $50,000 winner takes it all bonanza.

With the coveted Noosa title for men up for grabs and two $5,000 primes provided by Cateye, the competitors will be putting the hurt on each other with every lap. The involvement of Ridley, one of Europe's biggest names in bicycle design and manufacture, and the massive cash incentives, ensures that the biggest names from the Tour de France and other cycling classics will be at the start.

Three-time winner of the prestigious green jersey in the Tour de France Robbie McEwen, defending champion and two-time Noosa winner Allan Davis, 2003 Tour green jersey winner Baden Cooke, Discovery's Matt White, West Australian legend Henk Vogels and a field of 40 riders will line up at the start. 2007 Herald Sun Tour winner Matt Wilson will be mounting a challenge and bringing his Unibet Team for one last race before the team folds. Baden Cooke and Jeremy Hunt from the UK and Jimmy Casper from France will be joining Wilson.

The race will be one hour plus three laps and is likely to see a sprint finish. The men's racing starts at 16:45, details about women's event are below.

Inaugural Cannibal Women's Grand Prix cycling

Sara Carrigan
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin
Click for larger image

On November 3, 2007, Australia's best women's riders will be able to do what the men have done for years -- race in the Noosa criterium. $5,000 of prize money up is up for grabs. The race starts at 15:15.

Olympic road race champion Sara Carrigan, AIS riders Alexis Rhodes and Lorian Graham head up the star studded field that also includes former elite triathletes, now cyclists, Nikki Egyed (Raleigh Lifeforce Creation) and Josie Loane (AIS).

Both, the men's and women's event, are part of the 25th anniversary for the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival. Egyed and Loane know all about Noosa in terms of swim, ride and run, now it is their turn to mix it up in the chaos of the criterium.

Ceramica Flaminia finds new co-sponsor for 2008

Team manager Roberto Marrone has found a co-sponsor for his team Ceramica Flaminia with Bossini Docce. The goal of Professional Continental team Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce will be to ride in the Giro d'Italia.

Marrone said that "We are very happy with the choice of the company of Leonardo and Alberto Massimo Bossini [as co-sponsor]. Bossini was already an important sponsor, who is know extending his engagement into cycling. We are growing quickly thanks to our solid racing plan...We have worked a lot on our structure for the first three seasons. Now we can harvest the fruits from our work. There is a remarkable increase in the quality [of our team]. We are ready to tackle the 2008 season with the objective of participating in the Giro d'Italia."

Bossini has made sports a true marketing strategy. The company's administrative director, Giuliano Lini, stated that "We are present in sports foremost as main sponsor of [football club] Triestina Calcio and in all the stadiums of the Serie A {the highest football league in Italian soccer -ed.] In the past we were also sponsoring volleyball [teams]. In cycling we were present from 1985 to 1986. We recently accepted the proposal of Ceramica Flaminia, with which we already had an important commercial relationship. We really believe in this partnership."

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