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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, February 14, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo and Sue George

Pros ready to rise to Tour of California challenge

And they're off...at the 2007 Tour of California
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

With just a few days remaining until the start of the Tour of California, pro riders are descending up on California. The opening stage will kick off with a 3.4km prologue time trial in Palo Alto on Sunday.

Few teams can claim such a meteoric rise in the pro ranks as the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling team. A year ago Jonas Carney was grabbing the reigns of a brand new team with a lot of goals. Fast forward 12 months and he is leading many of those same athletes plus some high performance new additions to the Tour of California.

The team's roster, announced Wednesday, includes Andrew Bajadali, winner of the 2007 Redlands Classic and Alex Candelario, overall winner of the Tour de Nez last season. Canadian Keven Lacombe, Dan Bowman and Jonny Sundt will also ride in the Tour, plus three riders injured in 2007 and now racing stronger and faster than ever: Reid Mumford, Justin Spinelli and Nick Waite.

"We're here to make a mark," said Carney from the team's training camp in California. "In one short year we've gone from being an unknown team to competing in the Tour of California. That kind of success really validates what we are doing as a program and a team. Our athletes are ready, highly trained and fired up. We're in California to race not watch."

Joining Carney to help call the shots will be Ken Mills, newly appointed performance manager for the team. Mills will assist with all race logistics and team preparation throughout the Tour and the 2008 race season.

CSC prepares strong line-up for Tour of California

Team CSC at the 2007 Tour of California
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)

On the other hand, Team CSC is a proven Tour of California contender and will be back to defend its team overall title from 2007 as well as challenge for some stage wins and the overall.

"The Tour of California is a top priority for us and our line up fully matches our ambitions for the race," said Team Manager Bjarne Riis on www.team-csc.com. "With these eight riders we'll be able to go for stages as well as a good overall result.

"It's a very challenging race in which we've always done well and there should be no doubt whatsoever that we're going for the overall victory this year. We've come close before and now we're going out there to fight for the top spot on the podium."

Last year, Team CSC placed four riders in the top ten with Jens Voigt in second, Boby Julich in fourth, Stuart O'Grady in fifth and Christian Vande Velde in sixth. Jason McCartney, who placed third last year while riding for Team Discovery Channel, also now rides for Team CSC.

Team CSC for Tour of California: Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Jens Voigt, Bobby Julich, J.J. Haedo, Karsten Kroon, Gustav Larsson and Jason McCartney.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage of the Tour of California.

Rojas crashes out of Mallorca

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse D'Epargne) took out the Share the Road
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

The young team Caisse d'Epargne rider, José Joaquín Rojas, crashed during the final sprint of the fourth stage of the Challenge of Mallorca, was transported after the race to the hospital of Inca (Mallorca) where he was diagnosed with a fractured right scapula and some abrasions and a cut to his right hand. The promising sprinter had come into physical contact with Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) and ended up hitting the tarmac with the right side of his body.

"There may be too much risk, but when you are in a full sprint, you don't have the coldness to calculate risks. If you win, it goes well and nobody ever says you risked too much," said the 22 year-old rider after being taken to the medical center.

In addition to immobolizing his shoulder for three to four weeks, Rojas received two stitches between his fourth and fifth fingers of his right hand.

"The worst thing is that now I have to stop [racing for] three or four weeks and it interrupts my whole planning part of the season. Above all, it hurts me to miss Milan-San Remo," lamented Rojas.

He'll also miss Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana and Paris-Nice, which he had scheduled for the coming weeks. "I hope to return to my schedule with the Tour of Flanders, but it will cost me to get back to the point where I am now." Rojas had been in second place in the Challenge Volta a Mallorca after a stage three win Tuesday.

Eindhoven Team Time Trial to be replaced by a new event

After three years of investment in the Eindhoven Team Time Trial, the Mayor and municipal representatives of the Dutch city decided Tuesday to end their involvement in the organisation of the event. As a result, the event will be withdrawn from the 2008 UCI ProTour calendar.

The UCI said it regretted the decision, but thanked the authorities for their commitment to the race over the last three years. Cycling's governing body said in a statement that it "will consult the teams and with them examine whether the race should be replaced by another team time trial or other type of event."

Several candidates from different continents have already expressed their interest in organising a UCI ProTour race to replace the Eindhoven event.

Top stars headline Geelong

A wet start to the 2007 Geelong World Cup
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Five of the world's top ten ranked women will compete at the opening round of the UCI Women's World Cup in Geelong on Sunday, February 24. It will be the sixth time the annual series opens in the Australian city. Starting along the Geelong waterfront, racers will contest eight laps of a tough 15km circuit for a total of 120km.

World ranked number three rider and 2004 World Champion, Judith Arndt, will lead the charge for Team High Road. She'll be joined by newly crowned Australian road race Champion Oenone Wood and 2006 Geelong World Cup winner and tenth-ranked Ina Teutenberg.

Ranked number six in the world, Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung's Edita Pucinskaite of Lithuania comes into the event on the back of a 2007 season that saw her win the women's Giro d'Italia for the second straight year. Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog (Menikini - Selle Italia) is a two-time World Champion (2002 and 2003) who returns to Geelong for the fifth year running. Ljungskog last year won the Tour de l'Aude in France.

The stellar line up of talent also includes reigning Olympic Champion Sara Carrigan, who will race in the Lotto-Belisol Ladies Team with 1992 Olympic Champion, Kathryn Watt. 2006 time trial World Champion and three time US Champion Kristin Armstrong and 2005 time trial World Champion Karin Thurig, from Switzerland will line up for the Cervelo-Lifeforce team.

Webcor Builders Team is sending a champion line up including Canada's reigning road and time trial Champion Gina Grain, 2006 dual Canadian Champion Alex Wrubleski and 2006 World Championship bronze medallist, American Christine Thorburn.

Australia will be well represented with a national team and five regional teams entered boasting 2006 Australian road Champion, Katie Mactier, 2007 triple Junior World Champion Josephine Tomic and 2007 Australian time trial Champion Bridie O'Donnell.

The World Cup opener follows the three-stage Geelong Tour running February 21-22.

Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung readies for New Zealand

Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung is getting ready for the New Zealand Community Trust Women's Tour of New Zealand. The European team will include 2005 Wellington World Cup winner and 2002 world junior champion Suzanne de Goede from the Netherlands. She'll be joined by 2005 World Champion Regina Schleicher of Germany, 1999 World Champion and last year's Tour of Italy winner Edita Pucinscaite, Chaolotte Becker, former German national champion Trixi Worrack, and Eva Lutz.

Carefully balanced route unveiled for 2008 FBD Insurance Rás

By Shane Stokes

Last year's race winner Tony Martin
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)

Eight days, twenty categorised climbs, 1,224 kilometres of racing and a carefully balanced mix of Irish and international teams; these elements will be the basis of the 2008 FBD Insurance Rás, the route of which has been announced by race organiser Dermot Dignam.

The 2.2-ranked Irish event begins on Sunday May 18 and runs until the following Sunday. Speaking to Cyclingnews, Dignam said that careful attention has been paid to ensure yet another great edition.

"It is a fairly traditional route in so far as it has something for everyone," he stated. "There are good, fast stages as well as long, gruelling heavy roads. And also there is a fair sprinkling of very tough climbs in it. As an example, the stage three to Lisdoonvarna includes the climb of Doonagore, which has never been used before in the FBD Insurance Rás. It is steep, it is tough, and it is very close to the finish so it should make a big difference.

"The goal in designing the route was to ensure an epic battle all the way until the last day. The outcome should be up in the air until the riders cross the finish line in Skerries, maintaining the suspense until the final moments."

The 2.2-ranked Irish event begins in Navan on May 18 with a 142 kilometre stage. Category three climbs at Kells and Slieve na gCallaigh double up as intermediate sprints and time bonuses will be up for grabs there and at the finish in Ballinamore.

Day two will be a fast, mainly flat stage between Ballinamore and Claremorris. It is 167.5 kilometres in length and features one category three ascent at Slieve Gamph. Stage three then ramps up the climbing theme with a third cat hill at Ballinalacken and then the first category Doonagore climb, which comes just 7.5 kilometres from the finish line in Lisdoonvarna.

The following day runs 155.6 kilometres from Corofin to Tralee. It features a mainly flat first half, then three category three ascents at Barnagh Gap, Glanshearoon and Barr na Gaoithe. Stage five covers 141 kilometres and crosses five big climbs en route to Skibbereen. These are the category two ascents of Farranfore, Ladies View, Molls Gap and Turners Rock, plus the category three Derrycreha.

Next up is the longest leg of the race, a torturous 180 kilometres of undulating roads from Skibbereen to Clonmel. It is followed by what is set to be the toughest day in the saddle, the 177 kilometre penultimate leg from Clonmel to Roundwood.

The climbing begins with the third category ascent of Glenbower and is later followed by the category one pairings of Slieve Maan and Drumgoff. These come in quick succession and, with a first-ever stage finish in Roundwood coming just 22 kilometres after the final climb, the bunch will be very fragmented that evening.

As has been the case in the past two years, the last stage finishes in Skerries and should once again feature huge crowds and make for a suspenseful, unpredictable finale. It starts in Newbridge, covers 130 kilometres and features the category three climbs of Pluckhimin, Cross of the Cage and the Black Hills climb, the latter being covered twice.

Tony Martin won last year's event, the German rider going on to land a contract with Team High Road after what was an impressive season in the under 23 ranks.

2008 FBD Insurance Rás:
Stage 1 – Sunday, May 18: Navan – Ballinamore, 142 km
Stage 2 – Monday, May 19: Ballinamore - Claremorris, 167 km
Stage 3 – Tuesday, May 20: Claremorris - Lisdoonvarna, 131 km
Stage 4 – Wednesday, May 21: Corofin - Tralee, 156 km
Stage 5 – Thursday, May 22: Tralee – Skibbereen, 141 km
Stage 6 – Friday, May 23: Skibbereen – Clonmel, 180 km
Stage 7 – Saturday, May 24: Clonmel – Roundwood, 177 km
Stage 8 – Sunday, May 25: Newbridge – Skerries + 2 laps of 13.7km circuit, 130 km

Two out of German team in Copenhagen

By Susan Westemeyer

The German national team for the track World Cup meet this weekend in Copenhagen has suffered the loss of two riders, Olaf Pollack and Maximilian Levy. Pollack's father died, and he is returning home.

"But I will try to fulfil his great wish that I take part again in the Olympics in Beijing," said Pollack, who won a gold medal on the track at the 2000 Olympics. Pollack, who rides for the Austrian Professional Continental Team Volksbank, must now do well at the World Championships the end of March to qualify for the Olympics.

Levy, who has also already flown home, was diagnosed with rotavirus, a particular infectious form of diarrhoea. According to the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR, German cycling federation), it has hit much of the team as well as national coach Detlef Uibel. The whole team was to undergo additional medical examinations Wednesday evening. "After that we will decision who can start and who has to go home," said Burckhard Bremer of the BDR.

Some of the riders have already recovered from the virus, Bremer said. In order to prevent any further infection, the BDR has put the sick and the healthy athletes in two separate hotels.

Milram for the weekend races

Milram will be riding two stage races this coming weekend in Spain and Italy. Sprinter Alessandro Petacchi will lead the team in the five-stage Vuelta a Andalucia, where he will be supported by, among others, former world champion Igor Astarloa. Another contingent will be in Italy for the three-stage Giro della Provencia di Grossetto, with three Italian riders, including Elia Rigotto.

Milram for Vuelta a Andalucia: Igor Astarloa, Volodymyr Diudia, Christian Knees, Brett Lancaster, Alberto Ongarato, Alessandro Petacchi, Marco Velo.

Milram for Grossetto: Andrey Grivko, Elia Rigotto, Matej Jurco, Serghio Ghisalberti, Dennis Haueisen, Luca Barla, Sebastian Schwager.

Lowe's Motor Speedway series announces dates

Speedsters will get a chance to see just how fast they can go on the NASCAR track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina - on a bike. The Carolina Cycling Time Trial Association invites racers and non racers to participate in any of 45 categories in their 2008 Time Trial Series.

2008 Carolina Cycling Time Trial Assocation Series
April 1: Round 1
April 30: Round 2
May 28: Round 3
June 11: Round 4
July 9: Round 5
July 30: Round 6
August 13: Round 7
September 17: Round 8
October 1: Round 9

For more information, visit www.carolinatt.org.

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