First Edition Cycling News, March 18, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen
Cancellara claims victory in Adriatico
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara rode a trouble-free final stage in Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico to claim the overall victory for his Team CSC. Cancellara entered the 176 kilometre finale some 16 seconds ahead of Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld), a margin he maintained over the Italian to the end.
"I didn't actually come to Tirreno expecting to win the race, but when the opportunity came along of course I went for it," explained Cancellara. "It's an important victory in itself and it's a great result for both me and the team."
The Italian victory was an extra special present for Cancellara, with rider celebrating not only his victory but his 27th birthday as well.
"It got a bit tough towards the end, when it started to rain, but luckily everything went according to plan and we have every reason to celebrate tonight," he said. "And after that I've got a couple of days to rest before Milano-Sanremo.
Sports director Lars Michaelsen was obviously delighted with the team's efforts in Terreno-Adriatico. Michaelsen said the victory bodes well for the upcoming classic season, during which Team CSC hopes to be a major contender.
"There's no doubt that to be able to win a race like Tirreno-Adriatico takes both a certain amount of skill as well as a good portion of stubbornness," said Michaelsen. "But although you possess those qualities you also have to have your team behind you otherwise it won't work, which was the case for us. This is a great indication for the oncoming races and it just goes to show that Team CSC also has a number of other brilliant riders besides Fabian."
"This victory is the best possible kick-off ahead of the classics," he added. "It's given us a great confidence boost and lifted our spirits in a big way."
California cyclists remembered through ride, memorials
Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Hundreds of friends, family and other community members gathered on Saturday, March 15 in northern California to honour the memories of two fallen cyclists - Kristy Gough, 30, and Matt Peterson, 29 - who were killed a week before when a Santa Clara County sheriff's vehicle crossed a the double-yellow line, killing the two and seriously injuring a third, Christopher Knapp, 20, of Germany.
In the most fitting way to remember any cyclist, the gathering was organized in the form of a group ride to the site of the incident on Stevens Canyon Road, near Cupertino. At the scene people quietly pondered their memories of the two riders - Gough as an up-and-coming professional triathlete who merged the often incongruous attributes of a gifted athlete and selfless individual, and Peterson as a dedicated team-mate and friend that exuded the best attributes of the sport he loved.
Among the gathered was the Gough's mother, Karen Sue Clarkson. She joined the group ride on her daughter's favorite bike. "Kristy's mom joined us on [her daughter's] bike and she hasn't been on one in years! We got a team kit for her too," Gough's Third Pillar team-mate Anthony Borba told Cyclingnews.
The quick organization of the group ride was aided by the Santa Clara County sheriff's department, which helped escort the riders and closed portions of the road for the memorial. Members of the sheriff's department were also on hand to meet with community members. "We had a police escort from the Santa Clara Sheriff's department and they closed off that section of road for about two hours," said Borba. "Everyone paid their respects. We laid flowers and mementos at the site and rode back. We were worried that there might be some harsh words, but that wasn't the case at all. People were just mostly sad. There is an investigation obviously, but that day was about Matt and Kristy."
Department Undersheriff John Hirokawa was on-hand to help facilitate the ride, saying that everyone involved help make the ride possible in such a short time. "I really put the credit on the two teams, they are the ones who put it together," he said. "Obviously there was some concern about our involvement, but they needed our help."
Hirokawa said that Sheriff Laurie Smith was adamant about helping the event in any way possible. "Her reaction was, 'We help them out however we can; we do whatever we can to help.' Usually you need permits and there are a lot of different parks and wineries along that road, but we got signs up right away that the road would be closed. Nobody seemed to be in disagreement why the road would be closed - they City of Cupertino or the residents all understood."
When the ride actually happened, any concern about interactions between the department and the cyclists were washed away. "At the site, where the emotions would obviously be the highest, our officers saw no disrespect - only thank yous (sic) and appreciations," said Hirokawa. "There were compliments to our people on how the ride actually went. When I was out at the site, people were shaking hands with me and my other deputies, thanking us for helping."
"This is a tragic incident and tragic accident, and our sympathies go to the families of Kristy and Matt," said Hirokawa. "This ride was not about the cyclists versus the sheriff's department, it was all about the memories of the two cyclists."
To read the full news feature, click here.
Team CSC riders ready for Sanremo
Riders from Danish ProTour outfit Team CSC are busily preparing for this weekend's Milan-Sanremo. Having just wrapped up victory in Tirreno-Adriatico with Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC is now turning its focus towards Saturday's Milan-Sanremo where it hopes to take another Italian victory.
Despite his obvious form, Swiss rider Cancellara doesn't believe he's a contender for the Italian event. "I don't consider myself a favorite for this race - after all it almost always ends up being a sprinter's finish," he explained. "But of course should the opportunity arise we'll play our cards as best we can."
The team's Fränk Schleck is also hoping to be ready for a strong ride this weekend. Schleck was one of many to be involved in a crash at the French race, and was forced to pull out during the final stage due to pain in his back and hip.
The Luxemburger is determined to be ready in time for this weekend's race. "I'm okay," he said. "I had a day off yesterday and today I will see a chiropractor to see what he can do.
"I'm still not feeling 100 percent, but I will go for a long training ride tomorrow for four-five-six hours and three-four hours today and then three hours Thursday," he added. "So, I will be ready for Milano-Sanremo."
Tankink out of Sanremo
Rabobank's Bram Tankink will miss the first classic of the 2008 season when he sits out Milan Sanremo this weekend. The Dutchman has had to withdraw from the race due to an irritation in his right knee.
The withdrawal is a disappointing blow for the rider's Rabobank squad, with Tankink switching from Belgian's top classics team Quick Step to help strengthen Rabobank's classic squad over the winter.
Koos Moerenhout replaces Tankink in Rabobank's Milan Sanremo squad. Tankink should be cleared to continue training after a two days of rest.
Cipollini/Rock Racing split confirmed
The spilt between famed cyclist Mario Cipollini and America's Rock Racing has been confirmed by both parties. Cipollini also quashed speculation that he was in discussions with Tinkoff Credit Systems to rider this weekend's Milan-Sanremo, saying that such a move wouldn't be beneficial to his goal of becoming a team director.
While little meaningful reason was given for the split, both parties claimed to be behind the decision to part ways. Cipollini said the parting has occurred due to reasons beyond his control.
"Unfortunately I've had to end my relationship with the American Rock Racing team that started a few months ago," Cipollini said in a statement. "The idea of riding Milan-San Remo made sense if it was linked to a wider project of building and managing a new team and my return to racing was part of the project to create a dream team. Despite a contract, this hasn't happened for reasons out of my control."
The Italian sprinter returned to competitive racing after brokering a deal to compete at the Tour of California in February. Much hype was made over the signing of Cipollini, which was supposed to lead the Italian to a management roll with a European-based arm of Rock Racing in 2009.
"From a business perspective and from an overall team standpoint, the relationship between Mario Cipollini and Rock Racing was not advantageous, and would not work long-term," said a brief statement from Rock Racing owner Michael Ball. "We have terminated his contract and wish him luck in future endeavors."
An unlikely cycling squad operator, Ball has been no stranger to the media spotlight. The clothing label owner made headlines when he reacted to comments from Steve Hed of HED Cycling, saying he would go out and build a better wheel than the US manufacturer of high-end wheelsets and other aerodynamic products.
"Ya know what, challenge me! Please, challenge me to go out and just in spite of you bailing, I'll make a better wheel, a cooler wheel, a more dynamic wheel, a lighter and faster wheel - thanks very much for inspiring me!" he said. "I'll send [Steve Hed] a thank you note!"
Former world champion Cipollini, who won 189 races during his career, has meanwhile quashed speculation he would race this weekend's Milan-Sanremo with another squad.
"I deny the rumours circulating that I might ride Milan-San Remo with another team because as I said, riding Milan-San Remo would have made sense if it was linked to a wider plan of management in the future," he explained.
Riders to face Paris-Nice fallout
The UCI has scheduled a meeting with riders for March 25 to discuss the consequences for their participation in Paris - Nice. A press release from the governing body stated that the UCI refrained from making any declarations during the race in order to let the riders concentrate on the event.
The meeting is to discuss any relevant information relating to the riders' participation in the non-UCI sanctioned event. The evaluation will take into account the fact that Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), with the collusion of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), deliberately removed Paris - Nice from the organisational structure of the UCI, thus creating a problematic situation for riders and teams alike.
The UCI has also stated that it will open a disciplinary procedure against the FFC and its President, with a view to imposing sanctions as a result of the part they played in the development of the situation.
As far as the riders and their teams are concerned, the UCI will ask for measures appropriate to the situation, according to the release.
WADA disappointed with UCI over Landis case funding
The World Anti-Doping Agency has said it's disappointed that the International Cycling Union (UCI) has turned down a request for funding assistance from the United States Anti-Doping Agency to help its fight against disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis. USADA's request for funding comes as the case moves to the final stage of appeal today (see separate article) with the parties to appear before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Following the UCI's refusal to offer financial assistance, WADA has stepped in and opened its coffers to the American anti-doping body. Figures of just how much financial assistance has been offered have not been confirmed, which some sources suggesting WADA will pick up the entire bill.
"It became apparent, from the way in which the matter was being defended, that further efforts had to be made to ensure that all relevant information was put before the tribunal, and that the witnesses required could be present," said WADA in a statement e-mailed to AP. "This required some assistance from WADA."
WADA added that its decision was made after the UCI refused to offer assistance. "Which was disappointing," said WADA. "Particularly as it is a case under UCI rules."
USADA took over the case as a result of the UCI rules that sees a doping case handed to the rider's national doping body after the B-Sample is found to be positive.
Landis case starts today
Floyd Landis will appear before the Court of Arbitration in New York today. The American will present his case to regain the 2006 Tour de France crown that was stripped from the former Phonak rider when he lost an appeal to the American Arbitration Association to overturn the sanction for his positive drug test from the race.
The hearing, which takes place in the chambers of a Manhattan law firm, is Landis' last chance to clear his name and regain the 2006 Tour crown, as the decision handed down by CAS can not be appealed. The case, heard behind closed doors, will take a maximum of five days and is scheduled to finish on March 24.
It is not yet known when a decision will be handed down.
Merckx publishes cycling guide
Cycling legend Eddy Merckx is set to release his first book on Tuesday. Known as the Cannibal for his insatiable appetite for winning during his career, Merckx teamed up with Dr Toon Claes to write the guide to cycling called Fietspassie, according to Belgian news site GVA.be.
The book is a collection of facts aimed at the novice and recreational cyclists. The 200-page book has been labelled a 'comprehensive cycling bible'.
The eight-chapter book attempts to explain all the facets of cycling in from maintenance to how to ride smoothly during a long ride. Filled with cycling anecdotes to help educate the reader, the reader will learn things such as how to keep warm during a mountain climb with little more than a handkerchief.
The authors had the idea to write the book while cycling together on the Mont Ventoux.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)