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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, July 22, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

O'Grady pulls team, not legs

By John Trevorrow in Cuneo

Fränk Schleck got yellow thanks to his team, including Australian Stuart O'Grady
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Stuart O'Grady was pulling hard in stage 15 leading up to Prato Nevoso. He was part of CSC's game plan to take over the yellow jersey. The idea was to make the race fast in the flat part and then attack the opponents on the climb.

O'Grady was visibly pleased with the way things worked out. "It was a great day for the team. We had a plan, we put it into action, and it worked perfectly. I am looking forward to seeing the footage of the final climb. I hear Andy's ride was something special."

O'Grady also indicated how well he felt within CSC. "This is a great team, a team that will do everything for each other. I am looking forward to being a part of the action over the next few days, but not on the mountains..." O'Grady will continue to be pulling strongly at the front on the flatter parts of the route. Then he will hope that Carlos Sastre, Fränk and Andy Schleck can repeat the same performance, maybe with even bigger time gains.

New race leader Fränk Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) confirmed the game plan to Cyclingnews. "Yes, Stuey was not pulling your leg for a change. The plan was set and we put it in place. We rode very well as a team. With Stuart lifting the tempo as we approached the final climb, then Fabian [Cancellara], Jens [Voigt] and Kurt [Arvesen] keeping the pace very high into the early part of the mountain, it put pressure on all the contenders. Then Andy just took it up another notch. I noticed that Evans was more interested in covering me so it was crucial to get Carlos away and try and get that all important second in the final kilometre."

Fränk Schleck praised the team, but was particularly impressed and proud of his younger brother, Andy. "He was the king of the mountain yesterday [Sunday]. It was an awesome ride and he seemed to just step up another gear. It is very special to get your first maillot jaune, and it was a good feeling to show it to all my team-mates. But I gave it to Andy because he really deserved that yellow jersey."

The mastermind behind the yellow jersey coup was Directeur Sportif Scott Sunderland. "It was a well implemented plan. We set it early and the guys all carried it out it perfectly. And it's obvious how we will have to ride over the next two Alpine stages. We cannot defend the jersey as we need to take more time because of the time trialling ability of Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov."

Sunderland was particularly impressed with Rabobank's leader. "I thought Menchov was very good on the final climb and I believe he is the man to beat, even more than Cadel. As soon as I saw he was riding the Giro, I knew he would be the man to beat. He was awesome in the Vuelta last year after riding the Tour."

CSC has shown it is the strongest team in the quest for yellow. They had three riders in the final 10-man group. They are leading the teams classification. They lead the individual classification. They take control of the race when they need to. The part that is left to do is to make sure to get enough time before the final time trial. They have two days to do it.

Stuey's Tour diary

The team has worked brilliantly so far in this year's Tour. Every rider, director, mechanic and soigneur has done their job 100 percent. Frank taking his first yellow leader's jersey was the best way to reward not only his own brilliant form, but that of the entire team.

Up to this stage (there is plenty of racing left yet, I know) everything has gone according to plan. Each and every move we have done has been for a specific reason.

Whatever happens after here will happen. That's the beauty of the Tour.

Cadel Evans is still the man to beat. Frank may have taken the lead off him, but Cadel is much stronger in the time trial, so on the next couple of Queen stages we're going to see the fireworks really begin!

And how's Gerro's form winning one of the toughest stages in this year's Tour so far. Unreal. He really deserves it. He's a great guy and a real professional.

If your gonna win a stage in the Tour, make it a memorable one! That he did. Awesome.

Read the full diary entry here.

Sastre content with remaining possibilities

Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) is content with CSC's position
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

A relaxed Carlos Sastre was happy with the possibilities his team, CSC-Saxo Bank, had in the remaining week. Sastre had a similar schedule to the first rest day. An early two-hour spin was followed by a press conference. The rest of the day the CSC riders were off to rest.

Sastre had a visit by his fan club Gent in Belgium. "They are accompanying me and animate me in all the stages in the Alps. Their presence makes me happy ... it is something I really appreciate and that is very important to me." Sastre had a visit form his family in the first rest day.

The Spaniard is happy with the current overall standings. "We are content that we have the yellow jersey and that out possibilities for the Tour de France are intact."

Sastre wasn't keen on doing anything else, besides meeting his fans in the afternoon. "The rest day has to be spent as unnoticed as possible. Mostly thinking about the two days in the mountains that await us and the remaining stages in the Tour, which are so important in order to resolve the final general classification in this race."

Barloworld riders determined to do well

Robert Hunter (Barloworld) wants to repeat his stage win from last year
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Barloworld will stop sponsoring the team after the Tour de France, due to the Dueñas doping scandal in the team. But the team will continue to exist at least until 2009. The remaining riders Gianpaolo Cheula, Robert Hunter, John-Lee Augustyn and Chris Froome are determined to try for a stage win in the remainder of the race.

Cheula, Hunter, Augustyn and Froome enjoyed a quiet rest day before they start the demanding final stages in the Alps and ride towards Paris. The reassurances that the team will continue, although not under the Barloworld name, for the rest of the season and in 2009 has boosted team morale despite a difficult second week for the team. Everyone is now focused on the final stages and determined to obtain some important results.

South African sprinter Robert Hunter is especially motivated and chasing a result in the final sprint stages. Britain's Mark Cavendish's departure from the Tour on Sunday after winning four stages, has blown the sprints wide open. Hunter is an experienced sprinter who has the endurance and strength to do well in the final week of the Tour de France. He is determined to end the race on a high.

The four Team Barloworld riders went training for two hours late on Monday morning to help their legs recover after their efforts on the stage to Prato Nevoso. In the afternoon they all enjoyed a long massage of almost an hour each, before relaxing for the rest of the day.

The team mechanics also enjoyed a quiet day and the chance to prepare for the days ahead. "On the rest day we wash all the bikes, check the wheels and prepare the time trial bikes. We also do everything that is impossible during the daily race routine," Team Barloworld mechanic Tiziano Risi said.

The Tour de France returns to France today, with another mountain stage in the Alps from Cuneo to Jausiers over a distance of 157km. The stage includes the Hors catégory Col de la Lombarde and the Col de la Bonette. Team Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti hopes young rider Chris Froome and John-Lee Augustyn can show their talent.

Brixia Tour nominations

Lampre, Tinkoff and have announced their rosters for the upcoming Brixia Tour, held from July 23 to 27.

The 2008 edition of the Brixia Tour features a total of six stages with two semi stages on the first day of racing. The first stage concludes in Orzinuovi, after 152.3 kilometres. The second stage will be held as a night time trial ending in Brescia. Stages three and four feature finishing climbs to Borno and Passo Maniva, respectively.

The Tinkoff Credit Systems squad, directed by Dimitri Konishev and Claudio Cozzi, will send Daniel Contrini, Bernardo Riccio, Ivan Rovny, Alexander Khatuntsev, Nikolai Trusov, Mikhail Ignatiev, Vasil Kiryenka and Alexander Serov.

"The riders have the condition to race well, " Konishev explained, "our strategy is to race as protagonists. The Brixia Tour is an important race, and we anticipate a solid performance from the riders."

The Lampre team will consist of Mirco Lorenzetto, Danilo Napolitano, Simon Spilak, Paolo Bossoni, Roberto Longo, Emanuele Bindi, Lubos Pelánek and Mauro Santambrogio. The directeur sportif will be Fabrizio Bontempi.

Bontempi is very impressed with the development of the Tour of Brixia. "The quality level in Brixia is going higher and higher, so this year we'll face strong teams. We'll try to win a stage; our team is good with climbers such Santambrogio and Spilak, sprinters such Lorenzetto and Napolitano, attackers such as Bindi and Bossoni and solid riders such Longo and Pelanek."

Spilak is using the event to further increase his fitness to prepare for the Olympic Games. The Slovenian is registered for both the road and the time trial races.

Team Volksbank goes to Sachsen

Austria-based team Volksbank will participate in the Internationale Sachsen Tour, which takes place from July 23 to 27. Swiss rider Andreas Dietziker is the captain of the squad. Dietziker took a racing break and should be back in full swing after his recovery period.

André Korff and Olaf Pollack hope for the bunch sprints. Pollack will also use the race as his final road preparation before switching to the track workouts. He has been nominated to the German track team in Beijing.

The Sachsen Tour is 795 kilometres long. The race goes over five stages with start and finish in Dresden. One of the most important stages for overall victory should be stage 4. It is a 36-kilometre time trial. Last year, Dutchman Joost Posthuma won the race against the clock, with Volksbank rider René Weissinger in sixth.

Team Manager Thomas Kofler would be happy with a repeat of that result. "That is our measure. We want to get some momentum for the remainder of the season and some confidence ahead of the Deutschland Tour."

Team Volksbank nominated Andreas Dietziker, André Korff, Olaf Pollack, René Weissinger, Daniel Musiol, Alexander Egger and Philipp Ludescher.

Women's Thüringen Rundfahrt kicks off in Schleusingen

Judith Arndt (Columbia) would love to repeat her 2007 victory
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

The 21st Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen kicks off in Schleusingen today. A day earlier, the 16 teams with riders from 20 different countries were presented to the public in Altenburg. 96 riders will tackle the six-day race, going over 560 kilometres.

Six teams from the current top ten in the UCI ranking will be present. Five national champions are on the start line.

Defending champion Judith Arndt can count on a strong Columbia team. Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung also has a very strong team to avoid another Columbia victory. The Cervélo Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team will hope for the time trial, with Swiss Karin Thürig, Austrian Christiane Soeder and Australian Carla Ryan.

Team DSB Bank and Bigla are also fielding strong teams. K leads the Menikini Selle Italia squad. Flexpoint, Safi-Pasta Zara Manhatten and Webcor are also in the mix. Team Gauss and a Mix-Team Rothaus – Rügenfisch will be the outsiders. National teams from Germany, the USA, Canada, Sweden and Belgium complete the field.

A competition pits the stage towns against each other. Which one can pedal the most on a home trainer in two hours? During the presentation, Altenburg set the benchmark with 283.23 kilometres. The best participant from the local bike club pitched in 60 kilometres alone. 26 riders participated.

Armstrong takes over in NRC standings

Australian Hilton Clarke won the 27th race on the USA Cycling National Calendar, the Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho on July 19.

Cyclingnews diarist Rory Sutherland continues to hold a commanding lead in the overall individual standings on the men's side. Kristin Armstrong takes over as the current women's leader. The teams currently atop the standings include the Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis in the men's rankings and the Cheerwine Professional Cycling Team in the women's. The latest USA Cycling National Racing Calendar standings are as follows:

Elite men

1 Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis)                   1396 pts
2 Ted King (Bissell)                                     728
3 Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell)                           643
4 Anthony Colby (Colavita-Sutter Home)                   589
5 John Murphy (Healthnet-Maxxis)                         524

Men's teams

1 Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis                      2682 pts
2 Colavita/Sutter Home Men's Cycling Team presented by Cooking Light   2141
3 Bissell Pro Cycling Team                                             2128
4 Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team                                       1858
5 presented by Parkpre                            1320

Elite women

1 Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce)             870 pts
2 Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine)                       852
3 Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home)                      849
4 Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine)                         828
5 Felicia Gomez                                        821

Women's teams

1 Cheerwine Professional Cycling Team                                   3771 pts
2 Aaron's Cycling Team                                                  2664
3 Colavita/Sutter Home Women's Cycling Team presented by Cooking Light  2266
4 Team Tibco                                                            2031
5 Valuact Capitol Cycling Team                                          1172

The USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) is currently in its 12th season. The total prize list for this year is $1.2 million. The season long ranking system includes pro and amateur categories.

BikeNZ launches new national road series

BikeNZ will launch a new National Points Series as part of 11 major cycling road events throughout the country.

It begins with the Pro-Velo Auckland 1000 event in the Franklin district near Pukekohe this Saturday and concludes with the crowning of the inaugural men's and women's national series champions at the Around Brunner cycle ride in April 2009.

BikeNZ chief executive, Roger Thompson explained that the idea was to build the race series around events that are also popular with non-licensed riders. "We have a number of public participation cycling events around New Zealand which have been growing significantly and provide a great experience for the increasing number of kiwis who have taken up the sport, either still on a serious basis or as a means to remain active.

"We felt that our initiative, working in with the organisers of the various events, will provide an opportunity for elite cyclists to compete in a well structured nationwide series and also help raise the profile for the riders and the events.

The goal is to create a ranking system so the top-level cyclists have a benchmark for their development through the high performance programme.

Thompson was happy with the support from all sides. "We are grateful to the event promoters and organising clubs who not only run outstanding races but have backed our idea fully. Without their support it would not have got off the ground."

The National Points Series will include:

July 27: Auckland 1000 Karaka, Manukau  - 118km men, 71km women
September 21: Taupo Napier Classic Napier-Taupo  - 138km
October 4: Round Mountain Race Taranaki - 160km
November 1: K2 Coromandel - 192km men, 106k women
November 29: Taupo Classic Taupo - 160km, crit women
December 6: Harbour Ride Christchurch - 75km
December 13: Rice Mountain Classic Wairarapa - 93km men, 65km women
January 25: Cycle Challenge Taranaki - 150km
February 21: Rev 120 Waikato - 120km
April 11: Graperide Marlborough - 101km
April 18: Around Brunner Ride Greymouth - 130km

Your chance to win in the Cyclingnews-Felt TdF competition!

You can win this!
Photo ©: Felt
(Go to the competition page)

Here's your chance to win some great prizes while the 2008 Tour de France is underway, featuring a prize roster of kit that is being tested in the world's greatest bike race by some of the world's leading cyclists.

Our lead prize is the 2009 model Felt AR road frame, currently being ridden in the Tour de France by members of the Garmin-Chiplotle professional cycling team, as well as supplementary prizes from Craft - manufacturer of team clothing to CSC-Saxo - and eyewear from BBB, supplier to Team Barloworld.

The US-based Felt Bicycles is becoming one of the world's leading bicycle manufacturers, with its bikes now being raced by the USA's Garmin-Chipotle in the 2008 Tour de France. The team are riding the 2009 model Felt AR, which combines Felt's expertise in time trial and track bike technology, while maintaining the necessary ride and handling characteristics of premium road bikes.

But wait! There's more. All entrants in the Cyclingnews-Felt 2008 TdF competition will also go into the draw to win great supplementary prizes from our friends at Craft and BBB. Cyclingnews also has four 2008 model Team CSC jerseys, designed and made by Craft, one of the world's leading technical clothing manufacturers, as well as 10 sets of BBB's BSG-29 Attacker eyewear, the exact eyewear used by riders from Team Barloworld in this year's TdF.

Our thanks to our friends at Felt, Craft and BBB for providing such awesome prizes. Hurry and enter now to be in the draw. Good luck!

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