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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, May 8, 2008

Edited by Sue George and Laura Weislo

Men from the North meet in Dunkirk

By Jean-François Quénet

Thor Hushovd is still in green and has managed to survive the toughest stage.
Photo ©: Petitesreines
(Click for larger image)

Translated from their native language, Norwegians mean "the men from the North," so it's no surprise to see the four Norwegian ProTour riders racing in the north of France at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. The most famous of them, Thor Hushovd, met on the start line CSC's Kurt-Asle Arvesen who won the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen on the other side of the Belgian border, young prodigy Edvald Boasson Hagen from High Road won claimed a major win at the GP of Denain also in the north of France and his team-mate at Crédit Agricole Gabriel Rasch who got an encouraging result when he finished 5th in the Tro Bro Leon, the "Breton Paris-Roubaix."

The real Paris-Roubaix is Hushovd's worse memory this year. He had a great start of the season with a stage win in the Tour Méditerranéen in February, and he was flying in Paris-Nice where he won the prologue and wore the yellow jersey until the race hit the mountains. A frustrated ninth in Milan-Sanremo, he was seen on the attack in the finale of the Tour of Flanders. All his physical preparation was set for the race of his dreams, Paris-Roubaix only to have disaster strike the week of the event.

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"I felt sick three days before and I shouldn't even have started," he recalled. "It went worse every day. In the morning of Paris-Roubaix I was coughing and spewing but I still tried to convince myself that I'd be OK. I wasn't."

It took him one week to recover and be healthy again. "As usual I went to the Norwegian mountains to find a unique fresh air," Hushovd said. Last year after his usual break following the classics, he resumed racing at the Tour of Italy because he wanted to face a stronger opposition than in the one-week races. He came second to Alessandro Petacchi one day and wonders if he's now a Giro stage winner after the disqualification of the Italian sprinter ace's 2007 Giro results.

This year, Hushovd is back on his usual pre-Tour de France program: the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, Volta a Catalunya, Dauphiné Libéré – all races where he has won stages and the points competition in the past. "I want to start the Tour in Brest in my best shape," he added. "I know that the first stages suit me, although with no prologue and no time bonus." Two years ago, he won the prologue in Strasbourg.

One week before the Tour, the magic quartet of Norwegian cycling formed of Hushovd, Arvesen, Boasson Hagen and Rasch will race together again at the national championship organized on a difficult course in the middle of the seven hills of Bergen, Norway's second largest town. The top pros will try to honor their reputation against defending champion Alexander Kristoff from continental team Joker Bianchi whose next big Norwegian cyclist, Frederik Willman, just won the last stage of the Tour de Bretagne last week.

Organizers hopeful for Giro free of scandals

Angelo Zomegnan, the director of the Giro d'Italia, is hoping for a drug-free edition of this year's race.

"Nobody knows if there will be any doping scandals at this year's Giro d'Italia but I'm hopeful and I think it'll be a great race," he said to Eurosport. "There will always be someone who tries to cheat in sport, just like in life but all the riders have accepted the biological passport system and have been tested several times."

With the last minute addition of Astana, the Giro will feature riders like last year's Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer. Last year's Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca will also be on hand to defend his title. "We've worked hard to get the highest quality field in this year's Giro. There is also the current world and Olympic champion Paolo Bettini, 10 different national champions and a host of young riders who are determined to make a name," said Zomegnan, who is hoping for an exciting race "decided in the final kilometre of the final stage".

The Giro d'Italia starts Saturday, May 10 in Palermo, Italy, and it runs until the finish in Milano on June 1.

Teams set for Triple Crown in Philly

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The peloton at the Philadelphia International Championship
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Organizers of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of cycling, in and around Philadelphia in the first week of June, have announced the bulk of the teams set to compete for the US$100,000 in prizes for three races – $10,000 of which goes solely to the series winner.

Leading the pack are two ProTour teams, High Road and Team CSC, which both having sponsorship interest in North America. High Road's Bernhard Eisel won the overall last year, winning the first two races in Lancaster and Reading, and finishing third in the field sprinter on the final race in Philadelphia. CSC's sprinter JJ Haedo took that field sprint continuing his winning ways on this continent.

Also packing a punch will be the Slipstream-Chipotle team as it prepares for its Tour de France debut. Not to be discounted are top domestic teams, including Health Net-Maxxis which won many races in its history, including two by Kiwi Greg Henderson in 2006, which helped secure his current place on High Road. Toyota-United will be another to watch with sprinter Ivan Dominguez, B world champion Ivan Stevic and Canadian Dominique Rollin. This could be the first opportunity for JJ Haedo's younger brother Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home,) winner of the recent US Air Force Classic, to go head-to-head with big bro.

The Canadian Symmetrics team with last year's UCI America Tour winner Svein Tuft will be on hand again representing one of seven international team, with two more to be determined. Two European domestic teams are making the trip across the pond, including Ireland's new Pezula Racing team and Team Sparkasse from Germany. Tecos-Trek will also be competitive, having recently won the Tour of the Gila overall last week.

The three-race series begins June 3 with a new race, the Lehigh Valley Classic, which replaces the Lancaster venue. The parcours features an 136km, 12-lap circuit race that races through Allentown. Two days later, the third edition of the Reading Classic features three times up Mt. Penn. Finally, the 24th annual Philadelphia International Championship features 250km and ten ascents of the infamous 18 percent grades of the Manayunk Wall. Cyclingnews will have live, up-to-the minute coverage of all three events, as well as the women's Liberty Classic.

ProTour Teams
High Road
Team CSC

US Pro Continental Teams
BMC Racing

International Teams
Pezula Racing
Team Sparkasse
Tecos - Trek
2 - TBA

US Continental Teams
Bissell Pro Cycling
Colavita-Sutter Home
DLP Racing
Health Net-Maxxis
Jelly Belly
Jittery Joe's
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast
Rite Aid
Rock Racing
Team Successful Living
TIME Pro Cycling
Team Type 1

Hincapie to defend Tour of Missouri title

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

George Hincapie (High Road) at the front at the Tour de Georgia
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

The Tour of Missouri recently announced some highlights for its sophomore year on the North American racing calendar, including the return of defending champion George Hincapie, this time with his new High Road team.

"With my new team High Road, I will attend the Tour of Missouri this September to defend my championship," said Hincapie in a release. Hincapie won the inaugural race in 2007 as the last win for the Discovery Channel team.

"Being an Olympic year I plan on doing the Tour de France, the Olympics in Beijing, the U.S. Championships [in Greenville, South Carolina] and completing my season at the Tour of Missouri. For me, the race last year was special. The spectators and state were unbelievable. It was special as the last year with Discovery Channel team. I look forward to the race this year with my new team."

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, chairman of the race, started a small trend of race involvement amongst state seconds in command. This year the Tour de Georgia was championed by its Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. "George Hincapie is a top world-class athlete and winner of last year's race," said Kinder in the release. He embellishes everything great about this statewide event. People will come in from around the country to see him and his team perform."

Another unique addition to the race from Kinder is the creation of a host city sign program in conjunction with the Missouri department of transportation (MODOT). "We have created a designated sign to provide demarcation with the help of MODOT for the 12 host cities. The cities have expressed support and pride in this program."

The program aligns with the stated goal of the race to promote tourism throughout the state. "This event is as much about tourism and economic impact as it is sport," said Kinder. "Our marketing programs are about promoting tourism within the context of the race.

The announcement of more teams participating in the race is expected in June.

Volksbank signs Australian time trialist

Team Volksbank announced that it has signed Cameron Wurf, a 24 year-old Australian time trial specialist. He started the season with the Continental team CT Cinelli, but will now transfer to the Austrian Professional Continental team.

Wurf started his career as a rower, competing in that sport in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In 2007 he turned to cycling and rode for the US-based team Priority Health. Last year he was ninth overall in the Herald Sun Tour, and won the Oceania time trial championship and the Chrono Champenois.

USA Cycling to stay in Colorado

USA Cycling ended months of speculation that the American governing body would pull up its roots in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, when it announced that it would remain in that city, but move into new office space on the city's north side.

The building and the land on which it sits were donated to USA Cycling by the Nor'wood Development Group, while additional support from the El Pomar Foundation and the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation played a major role in keeping USA Cycling's headquarters in Colorado Springs.

The 26,000 square foot building which sits on two acres of land will house a conference center, education and training facilities, and office facilities for more than 60 employees. It is nearly double the size of the existing facility in central Colorado Springs, which is tentatively scheduled to be razed within the next 12-18 months. Because of the impending demolition of its office space and the significant growth competitive cycling has experienced throughout the last several years, the need for a new headquarters became imperative for the national governing body.

"Without the contributions of so many generous individuals and organizations from within the local community, it's likely that USA Cycling would not have remained in Colorado," commented Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. "The support of the Colorado Springs community has been incredible throughout the process, and Nor'wood's donation, which served as the foundation for this project, is a remarkable gesture for which we are extremely grateful."

USA Cycling is tentatively expected to move into its new building in late 2008.

British Cycling ramps up to support Bikeability

British Cycling is creating a new training team to meet the Department for Transport and Cycling England target to provide Bikeability cycle training to half a million young people by 2012. The new team is part of British Cycling's existing coaching and education department and follows the Department for Transport's 140 million pound funding announcement in January.

"This is an exciting opportunity for British Cycling to build on the successful Go-Ride training schemes," said Chief executive Peter King. "British Cycling is delighted to be able to be able to contribute to the objectives of Cycling England. This project is an important link in the chain of services we can offer to the cycling world in general and to our members in particular."

Bikeability is Cycling Proficiency for the 21st century and is designed to give young people the skills and confidence to cycle on today's busy roads. Comprising of three different levels, Level 1 teaches basic skills, Level 2 gives young people the skills to ride on quiet roads and Level 3 teaches the skills required to safely negotiate major roads and junctions. This will enable young people to make local trips, such as riding to school, both safely and conveniently. In addition, it is expected to encourage more young people to join local clubs, get involved in cycle sport and may even nurture future champions.

Oli Lougheed will serve as the training manager and head up the new team. British Cycling is currently also recruiting a cycle training officer. The team will work closely with the newly expanded Go-Ride development team. Pilot schemes will begin in March 2009.

Over the next nine months, British Cycling will also be developing a cycle trainer education course, which is aimed at coaches that have already reached British Cycling's Level 2 coaching standard, to meet the National Standard for Cycle Training. Completing the course will qualify coaches to deliver the forthcoming Go-Ride Bikeability course in schools, clubs or even to their colleagues, family and friends.

Tobago cycling classic returns

The Tobago International Cycling Classic will return in 2008 as a five-stage race over four days from September 24-29 in Trinidad & Tobago. Last year's race featured a new and improved stage five including a new link road from Bloody Bay to L'Anse Fourmi then on to Charlotteville and Speyside with brutal climbs, undulating through the lush green rainforest reserve on one side and a steep decline down to the blue Caribbean Sea on the other side. The race drew 75 international competitors and was dominated in 2007 by German Andreas Henig.

For more information visit

ORBA supports grassroots women's racing

In support of women's cycling, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) announced a new grassroots women's racing series, the Norman Babcock Category four Women's Series. Named in honor Norman Babock, a strong supporter of women's cycling who recently passed away from cancer, the goal of the series is to draw women cyclists to try racing. In conjunction with the Monday Night Portland International Raceway women's intro clinics and women's clinics throughout the state, the series will provide an opportunity for Cat 4 women to try out their racing skills.

The promoters have agreed to run separate Cat 4 women's fields for the following races, which will culminate in the Eugene Celebration Stage Race: Swan Island Criterium on June 8; Salem Fairview Circuit Race on June 29; High Desert Road Race on August 3; Mary's Peak Hillclimb on August 16; and the Eugene Celebration Stage Race from August 30 to September 1.

"This is a great opportunity to increase grass roots participation in women's racing," says Kenji Sugahara, Executive Director of OBRA. "We are working closely with many sponsors and promoters to create an exciting and supportive environment for women's cycling. For more information contact Kenji Sugahara at

(Additional research and assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer).

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