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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, February 1, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Broken collarbone for Backstedt, but Roubaix ambitions not on hold

By Shane Stokes in Doha, Qatar

One day after his birthday, Magnus Backstedt
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)
Tearing up the right hand side of the Quick Step lead-out train with about 500 metres to go, Magnus Backstedt was looking likely to play a big part in the final outcome of the fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar. That proved to be the case, but not in the way he intended.

Bad luck ensured that rather than helping team-mate Chris Sutton fight it out for the victory, the giant Swede instead found himself sprawled on the tarmac, his right collarbone snapped. He had collided with Tom Boonen's Quick Step team-mate Wouter Weylandt when the latter dropped off the front, his lead-out done.

Backstedt's front wheel clipped the back wheel of the Belgian, and there was no way out.

"It is a 50-50 situation," he said, when asked how it happened. "I just dipped my head down quickly to check I still had Julian Dean on my wheel, and as I looked up he [Weylandt] had just swung over and I had nowhere to go. I had no time to react, I just went over the bars. That was it.

"I am not blaming him," he clarified. "He possibly swung over a little bit too far, but then again I was too close to them. I had also dropped my head down to make sure I had the guys on my wheel. It happened just as I was about to launch it.

"Up until that point things looked fantastic. We had 450 metres to go, I hadn't fully opened up the gas and we still had Julian to go before Chris. It was as good as they come. It is just a shame that we couldn't pull it off. It happens, it happens."

A bruised and bloodied Julian Dean
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)
Backstedt stood out in the restaurant after the stage. It wasn't his bulk or his bright orange sweatshirt, but rather the large sling holding his right arm to his chest. Many riders and team managers approached him to commiserate on his misfortune, including Tom Boonen, but he was optimistic that he would be back in action soon and that his Paris-Roubaix hopes were not dead.

"I will hopefully fly back to London tonight, if there is place on the flight. Tomorrow at 1 o'clock I will see my surgeon. He will take some x-rays and we will take it from there. Hopefully he will be doing surgery on me straight away…if that is the case, I will be back on the bike within a few days.

"I will do that as quick as I possibly can because the more blood flow you get going through your body, the quicker it heals. So by just sitting on a turbo trainer and getting your heart-rate up, it will speed the healing. I would say give me ten days tops and I will be outdoors on the bike again."

Backstedt won Paris-Roubaix in 2004 but since then hasn't had the best of luck due to illness and injury. Several journalists at the Tour of Qatar speculated after the race that 'Maggie' would probably miss the Hell of the North this year, but he felt otherwise. "Roubaix is still looking okay," he asserted. "I would ride with a collarbone like this if I had to! I think it will be fine.

"As regards my exact schedule from here, I have to see what happens with this, how long I have to stay away of racing and then take it from there."

Sutton and Millar rue misfortune

By Shane Stokes in Doha, Qatar

Chris Sutton (Slipstream Chipotle-H3O) after his crash
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)
Chris Sutton wheeled across the finish line holding his arm close to his chest. At first glance that suggested his collarbone was gone, but fortunately it turned out to be the case that his hand was sore after his final-kilometre fall.

"It happened really quick," he said. "I was sitting on Julian's wheel, that was one of the best places to be because he was sitting on Maggie. Then there was just a tip of wheels and we all went down.

"I landed hard on my elbow and my hands. It happened with less than 500 metres to go. We were in the perfect position, we had all the guys lined out and we had a perfect lead-out today. But it is just one of those things that happens."

One stage of the race remains and he is thus likely to try again on Friday's final leg. "I felt really good up to that point," he continued. "I felt really strong, every day I am getting better and better. Tomorrow is another day, though, I will try again."

David Millar agreed that things were going to plan until that point. "It was looking good," he said. "We are starting to know each other, figure out how each other races. Our neo-pro Martijn [Maaskant] has been getting better all the time, he is probably one of the strongest guys on the team. Up until now we hadn't planned to use him but we have been using him as our number one lead-out man, he was very impressive. It was all going like clockwork, but then the crash happened."

Backstedt was moving very rapidly and certainly the team's momentum suggested that Sutton was going to be in strong contention in the final 200 metres. "He was in a good position to sprint against the guys," said Millar. "He would certainly have had a fair mano-a-mano against the others, which is what you want."

See full coverage of stage five of the Tour of Qatar.

Speedy Ricc˛ was too fast, loses license

By Susan Westemeyer

Riccardo Ricc˛ (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Saunier Duval's Riccardo Ricc˛ will be spending more time on his bike in the future. The speedy Italian was clocked going 200 k/hr in his Porsche Cayenne along the Adriatic coast this week, costing him his driving license.

Ricc˛ won the queen stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2007. The 24 year-old turned pro with Saunier Duval in 2006.

The team's website, www.saunierduval-scott.com, notes that "He's both an impressive climber and can rub shoulders with fast men, too." No doubt team management will suggest he limit his speed to two wheels instead of four.

Wiggins issues statement after his father's death

Top British professional cyclist Bradley Wiggins has released a short statement following the death of his father in Australia. The statement was released through Wiggin's Agents, MTC (UK) Ltd.

"I am sad and in shock at this time. We still don't know the full details of what happened, however I have every confidence that the authorities will get to the bottom of this out in Australia. Training had been going very well for the forth coming World Championships in Manchester and whilst this is a time for reflection I am also looking forward to rejoining my colleagues training out in California."

Klöden could win Tour, ex-trainer says

By Susan Westemeyer

Andreas Kl÷den (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Andreas Klöden could still win the Tour de France – maybe. "If he stays free from sickness and crashes and the make-up of the team allows it, he will surely be in a position to win the Tour up until 2010," his former trainer Thomas Schediwie told the dpa press agency.

The Astana rider announced earlier this week that he would no longer work with Schediwie, which the trainer calls "a normal step after five successful years of work." He continues to train pros Marcus Burghardt (Team High Road) and Steffen Wesemann (Cycle Collstrop), as well as the Under 23 mountain bikers in Baden-Württenberg, Germany.

Klöden finished third in the Tour de France in 2006 and second in 2004. His new Astana team-mates Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer finished first and third in 2007.

Valverde, Contador and Menchov, in Mallorca

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Alejandro Valverde took 17th
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Alberto Contador (Astana), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) will be the main attractions of the Challenge de Mallorca this year, as confirmed today the race organizers in Mallorca, where the five-day race will take place on February 10 to 14.

In addition, German Andreas Kl÷den (Astana) and Frenchman Sandy Casar (La Franšaise des Jeux) will attend the Balearic Islands Challenge, which will mark the usual start of the professional cycling season in Europe.

Organized by Unisport Consulting, the Challenge de Mallorca is celebrating its seventeenth edition, during which the reigning Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will made his debut with his new Kazakh team Astana following the end of his former Discovery Channel team. Contador will find support at Astana under director Johan Bruyneel and with German Andreas Kl÷den, Spaniard Toni Colom and American Levi Leipheimer. Kl÷den and Colom are among those set to attend the Challenge de Mallorca.

In addition to racing in Mallorca, Russian Menchov, two-time winner of the Vuelta a España, will lead the Rabobank Team in the Vuelta a Andalucia and the Vuelta a Murcia as he readies for his main gigs in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.

Caisse d'Epargne's Pereiro and Valverde are making their season debut in Mallorca. Afterward, Valverde will prepare to defend his 2007 win in the Vuelta a Murcia. Both Spaniards face a particularly important season in their respective professional careers after a tumultuous 2007 season 2007 for both of them, although in Pereiro's case, he ended the season with recognition as winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

In total, eighteen teams will take part in the Challenge de Mallorca, including the three Spanish UCI ProTour teams Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi, and Saunier Duval-Scott in addition to six Professional Continental and two Continental teams. Finally, Joan Llaneras will lead the participation of the national track team.

Karpin Galicia's Troncoso aspires to Langkawi win

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Karpin Galicia is ready to travel to Malaysia for the Tour of Langkawi where 25 teams will race representing five continents. It will be the Professional Continental team's first experience in Asia. Director Alvaro Pino pointed to Ramon Troncoso as one of the top competitors to watch.

Troncoso himself acknowledges that his plan is to start the season in good form. "They asked me to start strong, and as far as I can tell, I feel very well. In the last training camp I noticed [I felt] strong – more than last year at this time, but it must be kept in mind that I already have almost 2,000 kilometres in my legs. The Tour of Langkawi is an attractive and important race for my team. It is our first trip outside of Europe, and may have a greater media impact."

He sees another advantage to a strong early season in that the team will have more riders who can give good performances. "Ezequiel Mosquera will be our leader in the Challenge de Mallorca, so that we will have more options in Malaysia," said Troncoso, who admitted he knows little about the Tour of Langkawi.

Troncoso raced in Portugal for three season before transferring to Karpin Galicia in 2007. "Cycling in Portugal is not as easy as people think," he said of his professional debut." Karpin Galicia's team will see some changes for 2008.

"We have been all be training in these last months. We are missing very important riders for us such as Marcos Serrano and Eladio Jimenez, who earned three wins for the team last year, but we can be stronger than in 2007," he predicted.

Portuguese federation president worried about arrival of some Spanish cyclists

By Monika Prell

Several Spanish riders suspected of involvement in Operación Puerto signed on to teams based in Portugal after they failed to find Spanish teams for 2008. Francisco Mancebo and Eladio Jiménez (Fercase R.Móveis), Ángel Vicioso and Constantino Zaballa (LA-MSS) and Isidro Nozal and Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros) are among those who will spend the year racing on Portuguese teams.

Not everyone is happy about it. According to Diario Vasco, Artur Lopes, the president of the Portuguese Cycling Federation (FPC), thinks the moves may damage the image of Portuguese cycling.

"This situation messes a bit [with] Portuguese cycling, but if those riders - [the] Spanish riders - come to be clean, everything will be alright. The have to accept starting from zero and being clean," said Lopes.

He likened the newly arrived Spanish riders to "rough material with quality - or assumed quality - at a low price."

Giling confirmed for Collstrop

By Susan Westemeyer

Bas Giling will ride for Cycle Collstrop this season. Team manager Jacques Hanegraaf confirmed Thursday that the 25 year-old had signed with the Professional Continental team. Giling had originally signed with Pedaltech-Cyclingnews, but that team did not receive a Professional Continental license from the UCI.

Giling started his career with Telekom before changing to Team Wiesenhof. He will join former Telekom and Wiesenhof team-mate Steffen Wesemann at Collstrop.

Tour de Nez moves to new venue and adds women's pro event

The 16th Annual Tour de Nez will be headquartered at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in Truckee, California, a new venue for 2008. The move is facilitating an expansion of the six-day event from June 17 to 22.

The five stage professional men's race will kick off with a twilight criterium on June 18 in downtown Reno. Other highlights include a criterium in downtown Truckee on June 19, a 110-mile road race on June 20, and a mountain circuit race on June 21. A new women's professional event has also been added to the calendar for June 21.

Other events are slated for amateurs and enthusiasts. For more information please visit www.tourdenez.com or call 775-287-3599.

Tom Danielson Junior Series announced for 2008

The 2008 edition of the Tom Danielson Junior Road Series will include 13 events including a new criterium along the Front Range of Colorado in late April and a new stage race in Albuquerque in mid-April.

Already committed to junior and U23 development, Slipstream Sports has signed on as the "presenting sponsor". Overall prizes, winner's jerseys and event medals will be awarded.

Tom Danielson Junior Series for 2008
April 12: Haystack Mtn. Time Trial, Denver, Colorado
April 19-20: Vuelta a Bosque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
April 27: Tom Danielson Junior Criterium, Location TBD
May 24: Ft. Lewis Criterium, Durango, Colorado
June 8: First National Bank Classic, Fort Collins, Colorado
June 14: Western Slope Road Race, Location TBD
June 15: Glenwood Springs Criterium, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
June 22: The Fort Collins Cycling Festival/Junior Road Championships, Colorado
July 12: Chuck Bolton Memorial 22nd Annual Longmont Criterium, Longmont, Colorado
July 19: Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hillclimb, Idaho Springs, Colorado
August 2: ColoBikeLaw.com Federal Center Circuit Race, Denver, Colorado
August 3: Mike Nields Memorial/Bannock Street Criterium, Denver, Colorado
August 30-September 1: FINALS Emerald Stage Race, Lamar, Colorado

For more information visit tomdanielsoncycling.com.

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