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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, July 1, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Tour de France announces the participants

The Tour de France has announced the 180 riders that will take part in its 95th edition. The three-week French Grand Tour starts this Saturday and runs through Sunday, July 27.

There will be a total of 29 nations taking place, France being best represented with 40 riders. Spain and Italy are also well represented with 30 and 20 riders, respectively.

For more information refer to the Tour de France start list along with the entire 2008 Tour de France Cyclingnews' race section.

Rebellin and Petacchi to LPR Brakes?

LPR Brakes looking towards Italian David Rebellin, 36
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Team LPR Brakes-Ballan is looking into signing Italians Alessandro Petacchi and Davide Rebellin for the 2009 season. Though talks are informal at the moment, Team Manager Fabio Bordonali confirmed that his Professional Continental team has contacted one of the best sprinters and one of the best one-day riders on the market.

"There are these projects in course," stated Bordonali to Cyclingnews regarding his search for new riders. "Rebellin raced with us in 2000 and 2001 [as part of Liquigas]. He is a rider that could work well with [Danilo] Di Luca in the Classics and races like Tirreno-Adriatico."

This year's Paris-Nice winner is currently riding with Team Gerolsteiner, but the team faces being without a financial backer for 2009. Rebellin stated his desire to remain with the team if it can find a new sponsor. "I would like to finish my career with him," Rebellin said of Gerolsteiner Team Manager Hans Michael Holczer.

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Bordonali stated that it is obvious that his team is considering signing Petacchi as he is a big name rider in Italy. He warned a contract would not be easy, "He does not move on his own, he needs more men at his side. Maybe he will change his mind and want to bring along less men."

Super-sprinter Petacchi will be allowed to race when his suspension ends this August.

For more on Rebellin read Ready for Ardennes and beyond.

Di Luca forfeits Austria tour

Italian Danilo Di Luca, 32, races in the Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Italy's Danilo Di Luca surrendered his place in Team LPR Brakes-Ballan for the upcoming Österreich-Rundfahrt (Tour of Austria). The 32 year-old has decided to prolong his break following his eighth place finish in the Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1.

The winner of the 2007 Giro d'Italia and this year's Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda will return to racing with the Trofeo Matteotti, July 20. Di Luca is building for the second half of the season, which includes the World Championships, September 28.

LPR Brakes-Ballan announced its team for Austria, July 6 to 13. The Ireland-based Professional Continental squad will send Luca Celli, Giairo Ermeti, Roberto Ferrari, Sergio Marinangeli, Cristiano Salerno, Ruslan Pidgornyy, Paolo Savoldelli and Jure Golcer.

Riccò in Italy's Olympic road team?

Riccardo Riccò of Team Saunier Duval-Scott thinking of the Olympic Games
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Riccardo Riccò could face non-selection for the Olympic Road Race this August even though he recently stated his desire to represent the Italian team. The 24 year-old needs to show his strengths before mid-July, when Directeur Sportif Franco Ballerini will make the final team selection.

Team Saunier Duval-Scott's Riccò stated earlier in the year that he was not interested in the Olympic Games. He indicated that his goals were the Giro d'Italia (he won two stages and finished second overall) and the World Championships in September. However, last week, he said he will race the Tour de France and stated his newfound desire to travel to Beijing.

Saunier Duval has since nominated Riccò to captain the nine-man Tour de France team.

The selection into the five-man Italian National team depends on Ballerini. "I admire Riccò, but remember you don't nominate yourself for the national team," warned Ballerini, the directeur sportif of the 2004 Olympic team that won gold with Paolo Bettini, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Defending champion Bettini, two-time World Champion, is secured of his place an Olympic captain. Damiano Cunego, Davide Rebellin and Franco Pellizotti are likely to fill out the team in what is acknowledged to be a difficult course. Marzio Bruseghin could take the fifth spot in addition to being the soul Italian representative in the time trial.

"Papa" Wrolich to Österreich Rundfahrt

Peter Wrolich of Team Gerolsteiner wasn't too unhappy to miss this year's Tour de France because he was waiting for the birth of his second child. Now his son has arrived and he can start planning to race again.

"My wife Elke delivered our second son on Friday. He was born at home and is named Santiago. I was there for the birth and can only say that it was an unforgettable experience," the Austrian said.

Wrolich is now preparing to ride the Österreich Rundfahrt, which starts on Sunday, July 6. "After a strong Dauphiné Libéré, I really didn't have a lot of time to train the last few days," he admitted. "But my form is good and after a ten-year break, I am looking forward to being on the start of the biggest cycling event in Austria." (SW)

Nine new national champions for High Road

Marco Pinotti takes his third TT title at the Italian Nationals
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

High Road took the win in nine different national championships over the weekend, adding to the existing National Champions of Australia and USA with Oenone Wood, Adam Hansen and Mara Abbott.

Victories started thanks to Marco Pinotti's successful defence in the Italian Time Trial championships last weekend. The team, which will soon be known as Team Columbia, took another nine titles – three in the road races and six in the time trial. Luise Keller (Germany), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) and Linda Villumsen (Denmark) won on the road, while Frantisek Rabon (Czech Republic), Bert Grabsch (Germany), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) and Villumsen added to Pinotti's gold in the time trials.

"It shows the quality of our international team," said High Road Director Rolf Aldag in a press release. "Also, when given the opportunity to race for themselves, they are still able to do it."

Aldag lamented over the absence of the World Cup Team Time Trial. "It would be a great photo to see the team line up with six national champion skinsuits and only two normal skinsuits."

Pinotti's win was his third national time trial gold medal. Grabsch, Boasson Hagen and Keller managed to defend their current titles winning their events two years running. Villumsen won both the Danish National Time Trial and Road Race two years ago. Not competing in the events last year due to an injury, she was back this year to double up again.

For all others the victories were a career first. Kim Kirchen has won two national road championships in the past, but this is his first time trial title. He will lead the team's general classification front in the Tour de France, starting this weekend.

Rabon won three titles as a U23 rider, but this was his first in the elite ranks and for young 19 year-old Fahlin, who won a Junior National Title in 2005, this was the biggest victory of her career, beating out former World Champion Susanne Ljunsgkog on a challenging course.

The team now has 12 National Champions and eight former National Champions on the road. Out of 17 of the nations represented in the team, eleven have national champions in High Road.

Current High Road national champions:

Edvald Boasson Hagen - Norwegian Time Trial Champion
Bert Grabsch - German Time Trial Champion
Adam Hansen - Australian Time Trial Champion
Kim Kirchen - Luxembourg Time Trial Champion
Marco Pinotti - Italian Time Trial Champion
Frantisek Rabon - Czech Time Trial Champion

Mara Abbott - US National Champion
Emilia Fahlin - Swedish National Champion
Luise Keller - German National Champion
Linda Villumsen - Danish Road and Time Trial Champion
Oenone Wood - Australian National Champion

USA sends nine to Junior World Championships

USA's Taylor Phinney
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

USA Cycling announced the nine junior athletes that will represent its country at the 2008 Junior Road and Track World Championships in Cape Town, South Africa, July 12 to 20.

Four boys and two girls will contest the road events scheduled for July 18 to 20, including defending Junior World Time Trial Champion Taylor Phinney, who will also compete in three events on the track. The Junior World Championships will be Phinney's last major race before competing at the 2008 Olympic Games.

For the boys, three cyclists will contest the time trial and road race. Time trial participants include Phinney, who automatically qualified as the defending world champion, Nathan Brown, who earned an automatic nomination with his win in the race against the clock at the Junior Driedaagse van Axel, and Adam Leibovitz, winner of the time trial at the Tour of the Red River Gorge.

Jacob Rathe will join Brown and Leibovitz in the road race. Brown was an automatic qualifier as the overall winner of the Trophee Centre Morbihan earlier this year, while Rathe automatically qualified as the road race winner at the Tour of the Red River Gorge. Leibovitz was given a discretionary nomination.

In the girls' road events, 2007 bronze medallist Jerika Hutchinson will return to contest the race against the clock as an automatic qualifier. Sinead Miller received a discretionary selection for the time trial. Both girls will also compete in the road race.

Phinney is the only cross-over athlete named to the World Championship squad and will also compete in the 3000-metre individual pursuit – an event in which he currently holds the junior world record – as well the points race and the multi-event omnium on the track.

Joining Phinney on the track are two boys and one girl. Kit Karzen will contest the scratch race and the Madison, while Iggy Silva will join him for the Madison. Colleen Hayduk will tackle four different events in the girls' ranks, including the 500-metre time trial, match sprint, keirin and scratch race.

(Editorial assistance and research provided by Susan Westemeyer)

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