Latest Cycling News, February 4, 2008
Edited by Gregor Brown
Revamped LPR Brakes off and running
A revamped LPR is off and running after its official presentation Saturday in Piacenza, Italy. The Professional Continental is now guided by Fabio Bordonali with the off-season signings past Giro d'Italia Champions Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Savoldelli.
LPR Brakes' focus is on the Giro – reinforced by its invitation to race. However, the new recruits of Bordonali, the ex-leader of Team Tenax, should see the team viable through the entire 2008 season. "It was not easy through such a difficult winter to put together a squad at this level," commented Team Manager Bordonali. "Now, here in front of the passionate public, we are ready to start this beautiful adventure with the right ingredients."
Bordonali was thrilled with the previous day's news of the team's participation in the 91st Giro given in the ranks are last year's winner, Di Luca, and 2005 and 2002 winner Savoldelli.
"It will not be easy to repeat it," 32 year-old Di Luca commented on his Giro win. The Italian from Abruzzo faced a difficult winter when he was forced to serve a three-month suspension for his involvement in the Oil for Drugs affair and find a new team. The link with Bordonali is ideal to push the company's name forward in the public eye and help Di Luca fight back.
"My objectives continue to be the Giro and Liège [Bastogne-Liège], a one-day race that I prefer," said the 2007 Liège winner. "Our aim is to give our best, make ourselves seen and, above all, work as a team."
"LPR has made a bold entrance with strong riders of quality and good characteristics," confirmed 34 year-old Savoldelli, who signed with LPR after riding a year with Astana.
"Everyone is expecting a lot from us and we will make a good impression." Savoldelli noted his aspirations are not only in the Giro, "I hope to be a protagonist also in the second part of the season, like at the Olympic or Worlds time trial; even if the Tour [de France] and Vuelta [a España] come first – they both depend on invitations."
The team will start its second team camp in Salto di Fondi (Lazio) – ending February 17 – and make its racing debut on February 9 in the GP Etruschi.
LPR Brakes for 2008: Paolo Bailetti, Gabriele Bosisio, Luca Celli, Riccardo Chiarini, Claudio Cucinotta, Danilo Di Luca, Giairo Ermeti, Raffaele Ferrara, Roberto Ferrari, Jure Golcer, Sergio Laganà, Sergio Marinangeli, Alessandro Maserati, Matteo Montaguti, Ruslan Pidgornyy, Daniele Pietropolli, Walter Proch, Cristiano Salerno, Paolo Savoldelli and Alessandro Spezialetti.
See Cyclingnews' team database for full team details.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Hunter gains with Barloworld's added depth
Robert Hunter is entering his tenth year as a professional with Team Barloworld. The 30 year-old South African sprinted onto the scene in 1999 and has been going strong since – including his first Tour de France win last year. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews spoke with the rider as he prepared for the new season with his team-mates in Bibbona, Italy.
"I did not really think of it, I thought I would do [race professional] ten years, and if I did that I could say I had a good bash at a professional career," Hunter reflected on his first win – a big one – in the 1999 Vuelta a España. We were sitting in the Hotel Marinetta lobby, but his mind was drifting all the way back to that day in Benidorm and then back to his current aspirations. "When I look at it now, I am keen to do another four years. However, I think it all depends on how you feel and the results you get."
He is in the right team to get those results; since joining Barloworld in 2007 he has stepped into the spotlight thanks to a win in La Grande Boucle. Under the wing of Claudio Corti, Hunter gave the Professional Continental team one of its two wins in the 2007 Tour de France and – likely – a free pass to return this year.
"Back in South Africa it is the one race that everyone looks up to and they think that 'that's cycling,'" he continued of his win in Montpellier, the first ever for his country. (Also read Robert Hunter: first stage win for Africa.)
"It was one of my goals to win a stage, and I would like to win more stages in the Tour. However, for me it is not the be all and end all of cycling. I can honestly say if I never had won a stage in the Tour, but another 60 or 70 races, I could still say 'I had a good career.'"
In fact that win in Benidorm still holds a special place in his heart. "It will always be a special win. It was my first professional win and it was also a stage win in one of the Grand Tours. There are not many guys who manage to get one of their first professional victories in that big of a race. However, I think that every victory is special, and they all give you something."
Read the entire Hunter interview.
High Road opens training camp with questions about Giro
By Susan Westemeyer
Team High Road has gathered in California for the training camp and upcoming team presentation, and one topic of conversation will surely be the team's lack of an invitation to the Giro d'Italia. However, the team believes the final decision has not yet been made and High Road might still be able to participate.
"There will be discussions. At the appropriate time we will have something to say, not now," team spokesman Stefan Wagner said to the dpa press agency.
Team High Road has scheduled its team presentation for February 15 in Palo Alto, California, before the start of the Tour of California. It is being speculated that the team will present itself as an American team – shedding its German background – and also that it will present a new title sponsor.
Jufré looks forward to season with Saunier Duval
By Antonio J. Salmerón
After a year of riding for a Belgian team, Spaniard Josep Jufré made his debut with Saunier Duval-Scott at the Tour Down Under. "It went very well for me," noted the 32 year-old of his debut in Australia.
"I was racing there last year, but now, being a part of the ProTour Circuit, the race was very controlled. We did well, and I am delighted with the team's second place. We were fortunate with the good weather because the temperatures, in general, were not sweltering," he noted to Arueda.com.
The veteran left Predictor-Lotto for Spain-based Saunier Duval-Scott over the winter. "There were several reasons and circumstances," he continued. "Aside from being a great team within the ProTour, the main reason for me was the great amount of confidence that Joxean Fernández Matxin showed. In fact, I was close to signing with Saunier Duval in 2005, but it did not work out."
Jufré brings his experience to a team that is younger than in 2007 after the departures of Gilberto Simoni, Koldo Gil and David Millar. "I think my role at Saunier Duval is quite clear; on one hand, I will be trying to take advantage of each opportunity to win, and secondly, with my experience, to try to help the team achieve more successes."
He has already decided his calendar in 2008. "After racing in Australia, I am going to race in the Vuelta a Valencia, and continuing later with Paris-Nice, GP Indurain, Vuelta al País Vasco, Clásica de Primavera, Subida al Naranco, Vuelta a Asturias, Volta a Catalunya, Dauphiné Libéré, the national championships, Tour de France, San Sebastián Classic, Subida a Urkiola, Vuelta a España and the Vuelta a Chihuahua."
He wants to arrive as healthy as possible to the Volta a Catalunya, the national championships and the Tour de France. "The last two years I raced the Giro [d'Italia], but the Tour de France is the race that is really special."
Like many other riders in Spain, Jufré also spent part of his career in the neighbouring country. "I am grateful to Portugal and to the Boavista team. It's true that it was a necessary step to gain experience." After that, Jufré was joined with Cadel Evans at Predictor-Lotto. "He is a great rider, rigorous and very professional. For me, Cadel Evans is a great person too. I really enjoyed working for him. ... He is a good example to follow."
Burghardt looks back at Australia
By Susan Westemeyer
Marcus Burghardt of Team High Road enjoyed his time in Australia at the Tour Down Under. It was "intensive training for me," he said, and the team worked well together while piling on the needed race kilometres. Not to forget André Greipel's three stage wins and overall victory, which "made us all very happy and motivated us for the next weeks."
The 24 year-old stayed busy off the bike, too. After the Tour was over, the team-mates spent an afternoon at the beach, enjoying the 24°C water and looking at the dolphins, he wrote on his website, marcus-burghardt.blog.ch. The only negative aspects for the Gent-Wevelgem winner were that he did not get to see a kangaroo in the wild and that he had to make an "unplanned" visit to the dentist after the fourth stage of the race.
Instead of heading back to Europe, Burghardt and his team-mates flew to San Francisco, California, on their way to the Team High Road training camp in Pismo Beach. "In the next few days, the emphasis will be on strength, gymnastic and basic endurance."
Wrolich travels the world
By Susan Westemeyer
Peter 'Paco' Wrolich is travelling around the world this year, from Australia to Austria to Mallorca to the United States – and that after training in South Africa. Writing on his website, peterwrolich.at, the Gerolsteiner rider said that following his return from his participation in the Tour Down Under, he plans on staying home for a few days in Austria before heading to the friendlier climate of Mallorca for ten days.
On Valentine's Day he and his team-mates will head to San Francisco and the Tour of California, which starts on the 17th. "I rode there last year and look forward to this tour, which, like the Tour Down Under, is super organised."
Looking at the globalisation of cycling, the 33 year-old said, "Generally I find the development of cycling good in that it becomes more globalised and is taking advantage of its popularity in such far-off lands as Australia and America. I hope that this development won't be held [back] by conservative Europeans. The mood in Australia was unbelievable. I hadn't expected that beforehand."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)