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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, July 9, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake and Greg Johnson

LeMond: Cycling doesn't need UCI

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond could do without the UCI
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond believes the sport no longer needs its international governing body Union Cycliste International (UCI). The three-time Tour champion's comments come as the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) stages this year's Tour outside of the UCI's governance.

"Cycling no longer needs the UCI," LeMond told Reuters. "The UCI is just there to stamp licenses and make the regulations. The solution for cycling is very simple: organisers and riders should create their own federation and take over the sport.

"I like [current UCI president] Pat McQuaid very much, he's doing his best," added LeMond. "But there are still too many shadows from the past at the UCI, too many persons with a past of corruption."

The governing body's failure to manage the sport's doping problem is one reason LeMond offered to support his call for a new governing organisation. The 1986, 1989 and 1990 Tour winner said he would love to be involved with a new governing organisation for the sport he loves.

"I'd love to be part of it and that's why I'm here," he said. "Last year I came on the Tour to ride on the course with my son [in L'Etape du Tour]. This year, I came because I believe it is time to stand up and speak out for a new cycling.

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"It is all very well to try and export cycling by launching Tours in Russia and China but cycling is the Tour de France and you don't export the Tour," LeMond said.

LeMond's comments relate to the UCI's desire to launch new Tours in areas of the globe which don't have the traditional sport ties that Europe enjoys. The Tour Down Under in Australia became the first non-European leg of the UCI's ProTour in January, and the UCI is hoping to expand the series to Russia and China.

McQuaid brushed off LeMond's comments when asked for a response. The Irish UCI president isn't attending this year's Tour after the fallout with Tour organiser ASO, which has seen this year's Grand Tour operate under the French Cycling Federation.

"Once again, he's talking about something he doesn't know anything about. What is his qualification to talk about it?" said McQuaid. "Anyway, it is nothing surprising. We have been saying for a while that it was ASO's decision to start a private league. What LeMond says does not make any difference."

Lemond's Tour bike on display

Greg LeMond's 1990 Tour de France winning bike is on display in the United States of America at Bridgewater Commons Mall. LeMond was the first American rider to claim victory in the famed French event, taking three wins during his career.

The bicycle can be seen as part of an exhibit of Tour memorabilia located in vacant storefront space donated by Commons management on the lower-level adjacent to Macy's. Compiled by the Somerville-based U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, the display also includes the leader's yellow jersey LeMond wore during one of his stage victories.

Other cycling artifacts featured in the display include an original 1926 oil painting of Tour de France cyclists racing through Paris; a wooden-rimmed, high wheel bicycle from the 1880s and hand-made rollers that cyclists used for rigorous training workouts when not competing.

Gerrans ready for mountains charge

Australia's Simon Gerrans claimed a victory
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

In a strong contingent of nine riders at the start in Brest on Saturday, Simon Gerrans will be one of the most experienced Australians, although he's only in his fourth year as a professional. But that will be his fourth Tour de France as well – just like Cadel Evans who will attract most of the media attention this year. Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet caught up with the Crédit Agricole rider before the start in Brest.

Of the nine Australians to start this year's Tour, only Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke have started more Tours than Evans and Simon Gerrans. Milram's Brett Lancaster only had a taste of it last year as he had to pull out on stage five because of injuries, while Adam Hansen from Team Columbia, Crédit Agricole's Mark Renshaw and Trent Lowe of Garmin-Chipotle are rookies in the Tour.

Nine isn't the largest number of Aussies to have raced the Tour at once. There could have been more, but Olympians Michael Rogers, Graeme Brown and Bradley McGee were not selected by Team Columbia, Rabobank and CSC respectively.

"Being nine Australians isn't a record," Gerrans recalled. "In 2005 we were ten and all of us finished. Last year, after a couple of stages I only had Cadel to talk with [Lancaster, McEwen, O'Grady and Rogers crashed and pulled out before halfway, ed.]. As he had a lot on his mind, he wasn't there for much chatting in the bunch."

For the first time in four years of riding on French teams, Gerrans will be able to room with a compatriot – Renshaw. He was the only Australian at AG2R. His move to Crédit Agricole hasn't jeopardised his presence at the Tour de France, something he secured by winning stage one and finishing fourth overall at the Route du Sud.

To read the full feature, click here.

Euskaltel with mixed bag in time trial

Mikel Astarloza and his team-mates can't wait for the mountains to start
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Euskaltel-Euskadi's riders reacted with mixed emotions on the stage four time trial in Cholet. Samuel Sánchez finished 21st, 1'31 down on the winner, Mikel Astarloza was 27th at 1'42 and Haimar Zubeldia finished 3'42 in 100th place. Their respective gaps are the same in the overall. Sánchez was content, while Astarloza and Zubeldia weren't too pleased with their rides.

A happy Sánchez declared. "I am drawing a positive conclusion from the Tour so far. Today was a serious stage and we were in the range of times with the contenders for the overall. I am content because I am realising that I have improved my performance in comparison to the time trial at the Dauphiné. That is very important for me. For that type of course – very flat and suited to the big rouleurs – I can't complain about the way I rode. I will improve little by little. The Tour is a long race and one has to measure his strength."

Mikel Astarloza was not entirely satisfied, based on his performance in the Dauphiné. "I thought I could have done a better time than what I saw at the finish. In the Dauphiné, without being a time trial suited to me, I did well and finished fourth. In theory, today's course should have suited me better, but it didn't go quite as well as I wanted. I can't be satisfied. I had the goal of gaining time on the climbers, but my ride was rather discreet. I started with confidence and went all out, but the result is not what I desired. It is necessary to keep fighting, there are still many days left."

Zubeldia had similar thoughts. "left from the start I didn't feel well. Now all I can do is analyse the time I lost against the main rivals and think about that the Tour has barely started and it is still long [to the finish]. I know I can do better in the race. This year I especially prepared for the mountains, so I think it is where the fights will be and the Tour will be decided. I am convinced that I will be better in the final time trial. For the moment, everybody is still fresh and it was a time trial for the power riders, athletes who can push a big gear, like Cancellara, Voigt or Millar. I know it is difficult to be good in the Tour every single day ... and psychologically I was prepared to face [a bad day]. Now we are getting to the Massif Central and the Pyrenees. We'll see how I feel then."

Sastre satisfied with time trial

Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) finished the time trial in Cholet in 28th spot, 1'43 down on the winner. Not being a specialist in the discipline, the Spaniard was pleased with the outcome. "We knew that the time trial was for power riders. A tough stage and before the start I really didn't know how I could do or how much time I could lose. The truth is I was lucky to have my boss [Bjarne Riis] behind me in the car. He helped me a lot to do this time trial. And I also was lucky to have the reference times of Cancellara and Voigt; together, we all did very good time trial rides."

Sastre was happy for the overall situation. "I finished with a result that I consider very positive. For me to lose 1'15 over Cadel Evans, who was the most important reference, or one minute over Denis Menchov [is not bad]. The truth is that I am very satisfied. Now we enter terrain that should be a little better suited for me, like the mountains. We will see how I feel climbing."

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Longo switches to track and keeps on winning

Jeannie Longo Ciprelli adds national titles quicker than others can say 'bicycle'
Photo ©: Fabrice Lambert
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French women's cyclist Jeannie Longo continued her remarkable career this week by claiming her nation's individual pursuit championship title on the track. The former world champion out-paced Cathy Moncassin, cousin of former Tour de France stage winner Frédéric Moncassin, to claim the win in a time of 3'48"896 minutes.

"I started off a bit less quick than Cathy but from half-way I gave it all I had," Longo told AFP.

The 49 year-old cyclist remains one of France's top women's riders. Just over a week ago she proved her road skills just keep getting better by claiming both the road and time trial national titles.

Longo's national titles on the road secured the rider a spot at August's Olympic Games in Beijing, China. It will be Longo's seventh Olympic Games, with the rider having contested every Olympiad since women's cycling events were added in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Longo is the most successful women's cyclist of all time. During her career she has won 13 world titles, as well as four Olympic Games medals; with silver medals in the 1992 Barcelona, Spain road race and 1996 time trial, a bronze in the Sydney, Australia Olympic Games time trail in 2000 joining her gold from Atlanta.

Longo has also claimed an impressive 10 UCI World Track Championship medals, including four golds. Nine of those medals were for the three-kilometre pursuit, with one coming in the points race at the 1989 event in Lyon, France.

A toast to Petacchi

Alessandro Petacchi has had some more time
Photo ©: Andrea Agostini
(Click for larger image)

Alessandro Petacchi visited a family wine cellar in Italy for a toast to his return to competition soon. Petacchi signed with Team LPR and will start racing after his suspension expires at the end of August.

Petacchi paid a visit to the Bellavista wine cellar of the Moretti family, located in Erbusco. The wine cellar is a real reference in the area. Petacchi has a bit of time on his hands right now, following his suspension and the contract termination by Milram. However, lately things are looking better for the quiet Italian again.

Petacchi said that "After signing for LPR, I was relaxed. Besides the intensification of my training to get back into competition at the end of August, I wanted to spend a few hours to go about my old hobby: That for wine. I came to see the Morettis and we had a toast that I think – and I hope – will be a good sign to start my new adventure in the best manner."

MAC cyclo-cross series expands

United States of America cyclo-cross series, the MAC Series, has expanded its calendar for this year. Several new events will join MAC's core group of legacy races this year, led by the two-day, double UCI C1 Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup in 'the Hamptons'.

The event, promoted by Myles Romanow, featured World Champion Erwin Vervecken and the world's largest purse for a woman's cyclo-cross race last year. Romanow spoke to many top racers at January's World Championships in Treviso, Italy about contesting this year's event.

The new-look MAC schedule starts with an entirely new opening weekend in September. Baltimore's early-season Charm City Cyclocross, which traditionally boasts one of the largest entries in the Mid-Atlantic region, switches series to join MAC this year as part of an opening weekend pairing with a new UCI race, the Nittany Lion Cyclocross, in the bike racing Mecca of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.

This year will see the return of MAC cyclo-cross racing to Maryland's legendary Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area near Newark Delaware. Fair Hill was a staple on the MAC calendar during the series formation years and after a successful test event last year, the series will make its long-awaited return to Fair Hill's well-appointed Equestrian Center on the first of November.

2008 MAC Cyclocross Series Schedule:
9/20: Nittany Lion Cyclocross, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (UCI C2) 9/21: Charm City Cyclocross, Baltimore, Maryland 10/18: Cyclocross at Granogue, Granogue Estate (Wilmington) Delaware (UCI C1) 10/19: Wissahickon Cyclocross, Ludwig's Corner (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania (UCI C2) 11/1: Fair Hill Cyclocross, Fair Hill Maryland (Newark Delaware) 11/8: Beacon Cross, Bridgeton, New Jersey 11/9: HPCX, Jamesburg, New Jersey 11/22: Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup #1 Southampton "the Hamptons" New York Day (UCI C1) 11/23: Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup #2 Southampton "the Hamptons" New York Day (UCI C1) 12/7: Capital Cross Classic, Reston, Virginia (Washington DC) (UCI C2)

Tragedy strikes at Reading CC

Anthony Maynard was well regarded
Photo ©: Dennis Sackett
(Click for larger image)

Two riders of the Reading CC were involved in a road traffic accident near Henley (Oxfordshire, UK) last Thursday evening. Anthony Maynard died at the scene, while Dave Ivory is in hospital. The club is in mourning about the loss of Maynard and is hoping for a speedy recovery of Ivory.

The accident happened in the evening of July 3 on the A4130 near Bix.

Anthony Maynard and his father Dave have long been members of Reading CC, and as father and son they were well known and well liked. Dave Maynard and Anthony Maynard had in fact set out together with others on the same ride on Thursday evening but the group had fragmented as cycling groups often do. Anthony Maynard and David Ivory were following their own route when the accident occurred. No other riders were with them.

Club secretary Roy Booth said: "I have been with Reading CC since the late 1980's; this is the worst thing that has happened in the club in that time. I will find it hard to come to terms with the knowledge that Anthony won't be turning up on Sunday mornings to ride his bike with the rest of us. In all the years I knew him, I never saw or heard of Anthony being in a bad mood or physically out of sorts. His physical strength was a tribute to his vegan lifestyle. Anthony was generous, handing on his old frames to younger riders. He was held in the highest affection by everyone who knew him in the club, to which he brought, with his father, real warmth. His happiness in what he did, his marvelous relationship with his father, his comradely competitiveness: we will miss all these things sadly."

Anthony Maynard, 25, was employed by the Rural Payments Agency. He is survived by his older sister Theresa, his mother Sue and his father Dave.

Even more Tour: Video highlights and podcasts

Just can't get enough of the Tour? Well fear not because Cyclingnews has expanded its coverage once again this year to bring you video highlights of every stage plus daily podcasts courtesy of and Procycling magazine. Our video comes directly from Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and will be online shortly after the finish of each stage. We've also got highlights from classic Tours of the past so click here to see the full archive.

Check out the podcasts page in our Tour de France section for a full round-up of news and views from the Tour.

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