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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 10, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Roesems returns to Belgium

Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Bert Roesems of Predictor-Lotto is scheduled to be flown back to Belgium today, to further recuperate from the broken hip he suffered in the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España.

Roesems was involved in a mass crash 31 kilometres before the end of Friday's stage, and was immediately taken to a local hospital, where X-rays showed the broken hip. He stayed in the hospital in Saragossa over the weekend.

This evening he will be transferred to a hospital in Halle, Belgium, where he will stay for a few days before returning home to complete his recovery.

Zaugg surprises team

Oliver Zaugg
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Oliver Zaugg of Team Gerolsteiner finished fifth in Sunday's difficult mountaintop finish of the Vuelta a España, and surprised even Directeur Sportif Reimund Dietzen. "I had hoped that Oliver would ride well. But it is super that he is doing so well. His fifth place is an outstanding result."

The little Swiss rider is now the best-placed Gerolsteiner in the race, in 22nd overall.

His performance is all the more surprising in light of the fact that he had to drop out of the Giro d'Italia this year with knee problems. It was so bad, in fact, that he underwent surgery the beginning of June. He is making a successful comeback, though, having finished 15th overall by his comeback in the Regio Tour last month. The 26 year-old spent two years with Saunier Duval-Prodir before signing with the German team for 2007.

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"Surprising" weekend for T-Mobile

By Susan Westemeyer

Grabsch celebrates
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

It was a successful weekend for T-Mobile Team, as it won the time trial in the Vuelta a España and the prologue in the Tour of Britain, placed second in the team time trial in the Tour of Poland and finished second and third overall in the Holland Ladies Tour. And no one seemed to be more surprised than the riders themselves.

It started with Bert Grabsch's victory in the Vuelta time trial Saturday. The reigning German national champion blasted around the 52.2-kilometres course at a speed of nearly 55 km/h, and beat his nearest opponent by 34 seconds.

"I knew I was in good form after the Tour de France. I had good legs, I rode well but the win still came as a surprise," he said on the team's website, "I've come fourth and fifth in time trials in the Vuelta before, so it's nice that my time has come. There'll certainly be a glass of champagne with the team tonight!"

There was more action and more results from all around Europe on Sunday. In London, youngster Mark Cavendish became the first Briton to wear the leader's jersey in the Tour of Britain, when he won the opening prologue. He was greedy, and also took the climber's jersey.

Like his colleague in Spain, the 22 year-old was surprised by his result. "I thought my time had fallen short, so I actually shook my head in frustration when I crossed the line. Then I heard I had the fastest time, so it was a great surprise."

Mark Cavendish was happy
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Cavendish was perhaps even more surprised at his performance in light of recent dental problems. He had a wisdom tooth pulled about a week ago, and said, "The operation knocked me back a bit and I wasn't able to train properly for a few days. But maybe in hindsight, that has left me fresher coming into this race."

In addition to the two wins, the team could look to two second place finishes, and one third place. One of the second place finishes was the team time trial in the Tour of Poland, which may have been better held as a team time swim. Heavy rains caused the organizers to neutralize the stage. T-Mobile came in second with six riders, two seconds behind winner Lampre-Fondital.

The T-Mobile women managed to put two riders on the podium at the Holland Ladies Tour, even if they didn't achieve the top step. Judith Arndt took second overall and Linda Villumsen finished third overall in the race.

Not everything worked out perfectly for the team over the weekend. Tour stage winner Linus Gerdemann arrived in London without his luggage, which got lost along the way from Germany. And while Grabsch was first in the Vuelta time trial, his teammate Adam Hansen was absolute last, 12'47" slower than his teammate, and just squeaking by on the time limit. T-Mobile's 'Crocodile Man' was hit with bad luck. "Two punctures and no spares on the neutral car accompanying him," team spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews.

T-Mobile now has 58 UCI ranked wins on the season, with the victories evenly divided between the men and women, at 29 each.

Olano comments on Zaragoza crashes

By Iker Rioja

Abraham Olano attributed the multiple crashes in Friday's Vuelta a España stage to road changes made leading to the finish in Zaragoza. There were two major crashes, one at 30 kilometres out and the second in the final kilometres.

"Zaragoza's town hall changed the route because of next year's World Fair's repairs and, because of that, at least two more traffic circles were added," Olano stated to TVE.

Race organizer Unipublic confirmed the next morning that there were also changes in the last kilometres of the route. "Between kilometres 110 and 140 we took an alternative route looking for a wider road," explained on its official website. Nevertheless, the overall distance was not changed and the stage remained 176 kilometres long.

Teams take it easy in the rain

Race organizers do everything they can to come up with new ideas, to interest both the riders and the public. The Tour of Poland thought it had a great idea with its team time trial opener: three laps of a one-kilometre course in downtown Warsaw. Unfortunately, the one thing they couldn't control was the weather, which showed itself from its nastiest side.

Heavy rains made a travesty out of the stage. Team Gerolsteiner was on its way to a probable best time when Fabian Wegmann, Matthias Russ and Beat Zberg all crashed in the last curve. Fortunately, none of them was injured. CSC, usually a heavy favourite in team time trials, opted for a leisurely ride and finished dead last. Because of the bad weather, it had been agreed beforehand that the race time would not count toward the final classification.

"I am very satisfied with our start. Unfortunately Marco Pinotti slipped on the start ramp and fell back. At the end we missed him as a strong time trialist," said T-Mobile Directeur Sportif Jan Schaffrath on "But on this curvy one-kilometre round course, we needed more riders who could handle the turns more than those who could make the best speed. So his loss wasn't all that great to us."

Schaffrath said that the decision to neutralise the standings was the right one. "It was fairly dangerous. That's why we planned from the beginning not to ride 100 percent, to stay on the safe side."

Rabobank decided to take it easy. "It was then immediately clear to me that we would not take any risks," team manager Frans Maassen said on the team's website, "There will be other days. Besides, we have two guys with us, Robert Gesink and Pieter Weening, who might be able to play a part in the general classification here. They did not feel like riding this prologue at all. Mathew Hayman was willing to have a go at the leader's jersey, but I did not want to take any chances. and a few other teams felt the same way. And yet there were still many cyclists who crashed. Go figure."

Newcomers at Crédit Agricole

By Hedwig Kröner

French ProTour team Crédit Agricole has hired new promising riders. Julien Simon, 22 years old, will become a professional next season after winning the Grand Prix de Plouay amateur's race recently. Also joining the squad is Lithuanian rider Ignas Konovalovas, 21 years old and currently racing in the Tour de l'Avenir. The gifted rouleur coming from VC La Pomme in Marseille has signed for two years.

Crédit Agricole moreover counts several newcomers to its roster, including Australian Simon Gerrans, Norwegian Gabriel Rasch as well as the Frenchmen Eric Berthou and Maxime Méderel. Leaving the team are Anthony Charteau, Christophe Edaleine, Christophe Laurent, Benoît Poilvet, Mads Kaggestad and New Zealander Julian Dean.

Serri takes Miche's first

Eddy Serri took the first win of the season for Team Miche in the 81st Giro di Romagna. The 32 year-old Italian won the 201.8-kilometre race after the disqualification of Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) for irregular sprinting. Marco Marcato (Team LPR) and Luca Paolini (Liquigas) finished second and third after the jury declassified the 25 year-old rider from Como.

"It was an instinctive gesture I made because I was at risk of crashing; it was without malice," explained Grillo to La Gazzetta dello Sport of the manoeuvre with 100 metres to the line. His left hand came off of his handlebars during the sprint.

"I was not at all aware of it," said the eventual winner, Serri, who was named after cycling legend Eddy Merckx.

The rider from Emilia Romagna took a home win that was dedicated to his girlfriend, Federica. It was the first win of the season for Italian Professional Continental Team Miche, and the third in eight seasons as a pro for Serri. His last win came in 2003.

Date set for Caruso and Muraglia

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission has summonsed Alessandro Kalc, Giampaolo Caruso and Giuseppe Muraglia to appear September 20 in regards to their respective investigations by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

CONI prosecutors recommended a four-year sentence for Muraglia on June 19. The Acqua & Sapone rider tested positive for hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) in a medical control on March 4, after winning the 22nd Clasica de Almeria.

Also on June 19, CONI recommended a life sentence for 50 year-old, ex-mountain biker Kalc for his involvement in Operación Puerto. The Italian allegedly worked as a courier and a contact for the riders in Italy to communicate with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

CONI recommended a suspension of two years for Caruso (Lampre-Fondital) on June 3. He rode for Liberty Seguros and Astana in 2006 when he was linked with Operación Puerto and forced to stop riding. However, the Spanish federation authorized Caruso, winner of a 2003 Tour Down Under stage, to sign with Lampre for 2007 due to a lack of evidence.

Armstrong wins Holland Ladies Tour

Kristin Armstrong of the US National Team used her expertise in the time trial to win the Holland Ladies Tour, while T-Mobile Team took the second and third places overall.

Armstrong was able to move up from 17th place going into the final stage to take the stage and overall win. She finished the 19.9-kilometre time trial 18 seconds ahead of Raleigh's Christiane Söder and 32 seconds ahead of T-Mobile's Linda Villumsen. The final podium was Armstrong first, with Judith Arndt second and Villumsen third.

"I am very happy, with two riders on the podium. That is great," said T-Mobile Sport Director Anna Wilson on the team's website, "Judith wasn't happy that she couldn't regain the lead. But she did all she could and fought until the end. She doesn't need to be dissatisfied. I'm very happy for Linda, that she made it on to the podium. You can see her developing from race to race. She just keeps getting better."

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