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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, August 15, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

British team win team sprint

Great Britain's Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy (l-r) on their way to Olympic glory
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The British track team has broken the world record in the Olympic team sprint on Friday. In the qualifying round, the squad of Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy clocked a phenomenal time of 42.95 seconds, for the first time ever completing the three laps under 43 seconds. Their average speed to beat the French and German teams in that order was 62.863 km/h.

The previous Olympic record for the team sprint was set by Germany at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Four years ago, the trio of Jens Fiedler, Stefan Nimke and Rene Wolff clocked 43.98 seconds to beat surprise finalists Japan. The fastest time of a team sprint at a World Championships was 43.27, clocked by the French team this year in Manchester.

In the finale, Great Britain then went on to beat France in 43.128 seconds. See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the first day of track cycling at the Beijing Olympics by clicking here.

Mike Friedman: A Beijing Meatball

Michael Friedman was delighted
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

US Olympian Mike Friedman, one-half of the USA's Madison team with Bobby Lea, is excited about going to the Olympics... very excited. Normally racing on the road for the Garmin-Chipotle, he was part of Jonathan Vaughters' track plan since 2006 to get the USA an Olympic medal. Meatball, as he is affectionately known, is not settling for just the Olympic 'experience' – as he told Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski – he wants some hardware too!

Speaking to Mike Friedman while he sat at the gate at Denver International Airport, it was not difficult to hear the excitement in his voice. The rapid rate of speech alone was enough to think it was Christmas morning at the Friedman house. And in some ways, the presents came early. "We went through processing and we got a Home Depot shopping cart size amount of USA clothing from Ralph Lauren! It's awesome!" (Nice USOC sponsor plug, Mike.)

"It is a dream, it's the whole reason I started cycling again and took a leave of absence from college. And then the whole reason I went with Slipstream because JV wanted to start a track squad that went with the road stuff."

"It's really payback for all the sacrifices I made," he said. "I dropped out of [university] after being there for 3.5 years, near a degree, and it was a big gamble. You never know if you are going to make it, so that is another aspect. And just being away from home and normal things, like having a girlfriend [is impossible], because you are being so selfish to yourself by following a training routine. The lifestyle, living for that moment, and just training and training for it."

"They seem kinda small now, but if I did not make the team it would have been devastating! I would have been a wreck! I really don't know if I would have handled it right."

Click here to read the full feature.

Spanish federation questions Leipheimer's bronze

Click on the photo to see Levi Leipheimer's time trial extensions...
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

The Spanish cycling federation has expressed doubts over Levi Leipheimer's third place in the Olympic time trial. Leipheimer won the bronze medal eight seconds ahead of Spaniard Alberto Contador, who finished fourth-placed. But according to newspaper El País, Spanish federation officials thought that the handlebar extensions used by the American to achieve the bronze medal did not comply with UCI standards.

There was no immediate protest of the Spanish officials present because they could not access the finish area after the race. But since then, a discussion has started over the television footage of the event, with the Spaniards saying that the Bontrager extensions mounted on Leipheimer's bike had too much of a vertical angle.

...compared to Alberto Contador's
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

But the cyclists used the same material, as they are both part of Johan Bruyneel's Astana squad. The team manager dismissed the claims. "It's a false impression," he said. "Leipheimer is quite flexible and therefore able to tuck his head far down between his arms. But the extensions are perfectly legal. We already used them in the Dauphiné Libéré in June, and there wasn't any problem."

The UCI's technical consultant Jean Wauthier said he could not assess the bike's regularity based on pictures only. "I only saw moving images of a rider, moreover from different angles," he said. "To judge on the conformity of the handlebars, you have to look at the bike directly, without the rider on it. If they let him start it's because the commissaire who examined the bike did not note anything strange, so you have to respect his criteria."

Stats: Armstrong's medal 900th American gold at Olympics

The Olympic Games' men's and women's individual time trials were won by Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and Kristin Armstrong of the United States of America respectively. While Cancellara was the fifth rider to win a medal in both the time trial and the road race at the same Olympic Games, Kristin's Armstrong's gold medal marked the record 900th Olympic gold medal for the USA in history.

The rider to have won most Olympic gold medals ever is Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel of the Netherlands. The queen of Olympic cycling dominated women's field in the 1990s and landed her first Olympic gold medals, one on the track and two on the road in Sydney in 2000. Four years later in Athens, at the age of 34, she crashed in the road race but came back three days later to win the time trial, earning her fourth career gold medal, to add to a silver and a bronze.

Gerdemann "not favourite" for Deutschland Tour

Linus Gerdemann (High Road) at Tirreno-Adriatico this year, which he almost won had it not been for a bad crash that took him out the following months
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Linus Gerdemann, who just came back to success at the French stage race Tour de l'Ain after breaking his leg this spring, does not consider himself one of the favourites for the overall victory of the Deutschland Tour, starting August 29. Even though he won a stage and the General Classification at the event, the Columbia rider said he was still not back at top form after his injury.

"The Tour de l'Ain didn't have a weak line-up," he told Radsportnews. "With David Moncoutié (Cofidis) and Stéphane Goubert (AG2R), there were two riders who raced well in the Tour de France beforehand and also at the Clasica San Sebastian. I won against these two, so my form can't be so bad. But I'm far away from being at a 100 percent."

Due to his injury, Gerdemann missed out on two of this season's highlights, the Tour de France and the Olympic Games. His next goal will be the German's own national Tour, but he didn't know what he will be able to achieve there. "Of course, I have a lot in mind for the Deutschland Tour," Gerdemann said. "But because of my long injury, I don't really know where I stand. I don't see myself as a favourite at all – I just lost out on too many races this season for that."

Nevertheless, the rider hailed as Germany's biggest Grand Tour hope will "collect some hard racing kilometres" in Italy next week before heading to the Deutschland Tour start in Kitzbühel, Austria. "I still have some muscular deficit, but I want to race the second part of the season as well as possible and catch up on my form over winter."

Dekker looking to next season

On the day that his long-time association with Team Rabobank ends, Thomas Dekker has said that he doubts he will ride again this season. "With all the rigmarole the last few weeks, I have not really had my head on cycling. I think it is better that I aim for next season, when I want to come back more strongly than ever," he told

It was announced yesterday afternoon that Rabobank and Dekker had ended his contract early, due to irreconcilable differences.

The 23 year-old said that he regretted his departure from Rabobank after six years. "I have gladly ridden for this team," he said, "but it has become clear the last few weeks that it is no longer right. I don't want to say any more because we have agreed not to comment. Right now it is important for me to find a new, good team as soon as possible."

Nydam season cut short

By Kirsten Robbins in Salt Lake City, Utah

BMC rider Scott Nydam broke his collarbone when he crashed during stage two at the 2008 Tour of Utah in Salt Lake City. Nydam was taken from the race site to the hospital and will undergo surgery at the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.

The GC hopeful crossed wheels with another rider when he tried to properly dispose of a water bottle at the side of the road. "It was a small cause with big ramifications," said Gavin Chilcott, BMC team director. "It's not exactly a battle scar."

Chilcott still remained hopeful that Nydam's season wasn't over yet. "Our team doctor, Eric Heiden is here in Salt Lake City and he'll be taking care of Nydam," he continued. "We are optimistic that he will be back before the end of the season at the Grand Prix de Wallonne in September."

Nydam has had a successful season in both North America and European campaigns. He began with a most aggressive riders jersey in the Tour of California, a third place podium in the overall classification at the Tour de Nez, second place overall in the Tour de Wallonne climber's competition.

"He's had a successful season in my opinion," said Chilcott. "He wanted to define his interaction with the race on new terms. He had fantastic preparations and would have left his mark on the Tour of Utah race if he hadn't had the accident."

German race excludes CSF Navigare

The German stage race Regio-Tour has rescinded its invitation to the Italian team CSF Group Navigare, following Emanuele Sella's positive doping test and confession to having used EPO-CERA.

"We don't want a team with a rider like that," race director Rudi Renz told the dpa press agency.

The five-day event, scheduled August 20-24, can boast three ProTour teams: Gerolsteiner, Milram and Rabobank. Two former winners will take part, Grischa Niermann of Rabobank and Nico Sijmens of Landbouwkrediet. "With these good riders, I can promise the fans a first-class race," Renz said.

Nature Valley GP on TV this week-end

The TV program chronicling the 2008 Nature Valley Grand Prix, won by freshly crowned Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong last June, will air this Saturday, August 16 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern U.S. time on Versus and then again at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19.

Armstrong used the Nature Valley Grand Prix, a part of Minnesota's Great River Energy Bicycle Festival, as a springboard for her victory in the Olympic time trial in Beijing. Her performance was successful at Nature Valley even though, with only one teammate in the race, she was considered to be an underdog.

The men's Nature Valley Grand Prix was an epic struggle between U.S. powerhouse teams HealthNet p/b Maxxis and Bissell. U.S. National Criterium Champion Kirk O'Bee (HealthNet) took an early lead, but then lost it to Bissell's time trial ace Ben Jacques-Maynes. HealthNet reclaimed the jersey when Australian Rory Sutherland, ranked #1 in the U.S., won the Mankato road race and defended it at the Stillwater Criterium despite a narrow loss to Kelly Benefits phenom David Veilleux, winner of the Best Young Rider jersey.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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