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Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, May 15, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Brutt logs first win for Italian Tinkoff team

By Shane stokes in Contursi Terme, with additional reporting by Gregor Brown

Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Pavel Brutt of Tinkoff Credit Systems launched a bold attack against his breakaway companions with just over one kilometre remaining in 203-kilometre stage five of the Giro d'Italia from Belvedere Marittimo to Contursi Terme. The 26 year-old Brutt, who was born in Russia but now resides in Marina di Massa, Italy, gave his team its first ever Giro d'Italia stage win and made himself the first Russian winner since namesake Pavel Tonkov triumphed four years ago.

Brutt had escaped with Johannes Fröhlinger (Gerolsteiner), Luis Felipe Laverde (CSF Group Navigare) and Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne) and David Millar (Slipstream Chipotle H30).

"No, no, I didn't believe it," said Brutt when he was asked if he had thought the break would stay clear. "That was partly due to the fact that at the beginning, we had one minute 50 seconds, two minutes…the gap was not very much. But then I was with some very strong guys and it made the difference."

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Brutt, who said at the post-stage press conference that he likes reading Tolstoy and his hobby is looking after his mini car, added that he has one particular style of racing. "I like to break away," he said. "I have done a lot of them – many in last year's Giro – and I always do them as often as possible. I suffer a bit on the climbs but I am able to go with 800 metres to go and make the difference."

The break of five, including David Millar, approaches Contursi in the Giro d'Italia stage five
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Brutt's team was especially happy with the Russian's achievement, especially after his team had persistantly played an aggressive role throughout the 2007 Giro d'Italia. "Finally we have obtained the victory we have vehemently sought, and prepared for," said Orlando Maini. "The team has demonstrated its talent and strength, and the performance of Brutt should also be shared with Dmitri Konishev who directed him to this precious victory. Konishev has been a valuable resource for the Tinkoff Credit Systems riders, as they are able to glean insights from him and his experiences as a professional." Konishev had directed Brutt to make his winning move.

Meanwhile, maglia rosa Franco Pellizotti said after stage two that he was intent on trying to win the Giro, and survived Wednesday's test in fine style. He finished fourth in the group sprint to the line, taking eighth on the stage, and thus preserved his GC lead over closest rival Christian Vande Velde.

Asked about his narrow time advantage, Pellizotti said, "It is an important second, but also today it would have been okay for me to lose the jersey because we already won one stage, we have the points jersey and we have had the pink jersey for three days. We thought we were going to lose it because there was this breakaway, but finally I kept it."

Giro stage six shortened

Giro d'Italia Director Angelo Zomegnan announced after the end of stage five that the Thursday's stage six would be shortened by 34 kilometres after representatives from the peloton spoke with organizers. This reduces stage six's distance from 265 kilometres to 231.6.

"In consideration of the uneasiness and stresses suffered by the riders in the last few days, and after consulting with the strongest riders of the peloton, we have decided that the stage tomorrow [Thursday] will finish directly in Peschici, without the finishing circuit of the Gargano," said Zomegnan according "It will be 34 kilometres less, so riders will be able to catch up on more rest more tomorrow evening." Stage six will still start in Potenza as planned.

There have been many complaints about the length of the transfers thus far on the race, with Bradley Wiggins telling Cyclingnews Wednesday that he hasn't been to bed before midnight thus far as a result.

Bad luck for Millar

David Millar waits for the team car
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

David Millar, who was in the breakaway in stage five of the Giro d'Italia with four other riders, suffered an ill-timed mechanical that cost him all chances of a stage win.

The day had been going well for the Team Slipstream racer. "Before I knew it, I was in a race winning break, and I rapidly switched into race winning mode," said Millar on the team's website "I started to get ultra switched-on and even a little short-tempered, a sure sign I'm in the zone."

Millar suffered a broken chain at the precise moment the eventual Russian stage winner Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) kicked clear. Disgusted and disappointed at the ill luck, the British racer picked up his bike and threw it over a barrier, eventually going on to finish 119th.

"I was so raging and so focused that all the energy I had for winning the race was taken out on my bike," said Millar. "I'm not that person, I don't see red. But I think it's quite funny I did that. I've yet to see the footage…"

Millar told Italian television after the stage that he was also unhappy with the way the finish worked out. "I was totally motivated to win the stage. All my rage just came out at the moment," he said, referring to his bike toss. "I will try again, not tomorrow, but in a few more days. I hope to win a stage in this Giro."

On a positive note for Millar, he was given the same finishing time as fourth place's Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne).

Although normally, sitting on Millar's wheel would be a wise choice, it didn't work out that way Wednesday for Columbian Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (CSF Group Navigare). The 28 year-old said, "My goal for the stage was [to] defend the green jersey of my team-mate [Emanuele] Sella. I didn't think that the breakaway could make it to the finish. When I understood that we were going to play our chance for win the race, I tried to keep myself on Millar's wheel, because I saw the Brit went very well. Anyway, his bad luck was also mine and the victory got away."

See Cyclingnews' complete coverage of stage five of the Giro d'Italia.

Ljungskog returns for Aude defence

By Ben Atkins in Gruissan

The final stage begins...
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog returns to defend her Tour de l'Aude title from May 16 to 25 with her new Menikini-Selle Italia team. The former two-time World champion won the 2007 edition by virtue of being part of the stage winning break on the race's penultimate day. Previously the race had been dominated by stage wins from the T-Mobile team (now Team High Road) and Marianne Vos (DSB Bank). Ljungskog will be ably supported in the bid to retain her title by 1998 winner Fabiana Luperini, Japanese champion Miho Oki, and strong Aussie duo Nathalie Bates and Rochelle Gilmore – all of whom will be on the lookout for stage wins as well.

The race – one of the three toughest of the season with the Giro d'Italia and the Thüringen-Rundfahrt – will, as usual, consist of stages over a variety of terrains almost entirely inside the Aude department that gives the race its name. The stages can be divided into three distinct phases: the first in the mostly flat coastal region close to Narbonne, the second more mountainous section to the south close to Andorra, and the third in the rolling country around the medieval city of Carcassonne.

The race begins in the seaside resort of Gruissan with a completely flat prologue of 3.9 kilometres. Stages one and three are slightly further inland and mostly flat – with the exception of the category one Col de Sojettes in stage one. In between these is stage two: a 27-kilometre team time trial starting and finishing in another seaside town of Port la Nouvelle.

Stage four will be the queen stage of the race, starting and finishing as it does in the town of Osseja in the Pyrenees Orientales department, not far from Andorra and the Spanish border. In the mid section of the 101-kilometre course the race will climb two hors category and one first category mountain passes. A more intermediate fifth stage will followed by another hilly one: Stage six will take the race back up in a northerly direction crossing three first category climbs as it goes.

The final three stages will be much more rolling in nature, but still take in several second and first category climbs so the race leader will not be able to relax until the very end. It was during the final few stages last year, in fact, that Ljungskog took the yellow jersey from incumbent Judith Arndt who'd held it since the stage two team time trial.

Ljungskog in yellow
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

Ljungskog's main challengers this year will be the same as last; Arndt will lead a powerful High Road team, who will look to win the team time trial that they won as T-Mobile last year. Most of the classics riders who have so dominated the first part of the season will be left at home, but the team's strength in depth will come to the fore as American Mara Abbott, Australian Alex Rhodes and German Madeleine Sandig join Luise Keller – the German national champion. Ina Teutenberg returns to support her captain and contest any sprint finishes that may come along.

2004 winner Trixi Worrack – who finished second last year – leads a powerful Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung in a bid to go one better and win her second victory. The team that has been so strong in the recent World Cup races accompanies the former German champion including former World champion Edita Pucinskaite – third in 2002 and capable of victory herself – and former World Cup leader Suzanne De Goede.

Great Britain fans will be looking to see an emergence some form for national champion Nicole Cooke as her build up to the Olympic Games in Beijing continues. She will once again be racing in the red, white and blue colours of her national team rather than the orange and black ones of her trade team so that Emma Pooley can be included. Perhaps a surprise inclusion for team GB is that of World pursuit champion Rebecca Romero. Surely as a short distance specialist, she will be hot favourite for the completely flat 3.9-kilometre prologue, but as a national time trial champion she will also prove useful in the stage two team event. There is further British presence in the form of Team Swift Racing, led as usual by British cyclo-cross champion Helen Wyman and Emma Davies Jones.

Read the complete preview and stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the Tour de l'Aude.

Steegmans first in Holland

Gert Steegmans after a Paris Nice stage two victory
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Gert Steegmans won the Profonde van Fryslan Wednesday in Holland. The Quick Step rider outsprinted German Marcel Sieberg (Team High Road) and the Dutchman Stefan Van Dijck (Mitsubishi-Jartazi).

"Once again the team did an extraordinary job," said a happy Steegmans after what was his fifth victory of the season. He has already won the Trofeo Calvia, stages one and two of Paris-Nice and stage two of the Four Days of Dunkirk.

"About 30 kilometres from the finish line we took control of the operation, keeping the rhythm high. This victory was a crowning achievement for splendid teamwork. Even [Wouter] Weylandt, in spite of his accident last Sunday did a great job."

Steegmans was already looking ahead to future contest. "Now it's time for me to concentrate on the Belgian tour in hopes of managing to do well. It's the home race, so it means a lot to me."

Meares in last chance Beijing bid

Anna Meares racing at the Sydney World Cup
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Olympic gold medalist Anna Meares will have her final test to determine if she will go to Beijing on June 12 at the Revolution 3 in Melbourne. The 24 year-old was well on her way to qualifying for the games before a crash in the Los Angeles World Cup round in January nearly shattered her dreams.

Meares has spent the past four months trying to get back to form after the incident, which fractured a vertebrae in her neck among other injuries, and now believes she is finally back to normal. She faces a tough time standard to meet to ensure her trip to China. She must go faster than 11.77 seconds in a flying 200m time trial to meet the selection criteria, but Meares is confident.

"It is a gettable time, yes, considering my personal best is 11.10," she told The Age Wednesday. "But in saying that, I haven't done a time trial since I crashed and I've only been working on my strength phase at the moment, so the speed aspect is lacking, and that is something that I'm going to need to work on in the next four weeks to make sure that 11.77 does get done."

The injury was an undesirable setback, and Meares has been determined to make up for it. She has been undergoing rigorous training, and has begun to put out impressive results. "I'm definitely faced with a challenge and I've given my opponents a head start. But my expectation for Beijing is to go in there and get it right and if I get it right the result should follow," she said. "Two months post that June competition, I'll be flying."

Australian High Performance Sprint Coach Martin Barras has laid out all of the requirements for Meares, and believes the Olympic 500m time trial champion will leave it all out on the track at Revolution 3.

"Anna will be put to the test in a flying 200m sprint at Revolution 3. Her time must convince selectors that she has sufficiently recovered from her injuries and will be ready to compete at her best come August," explained Barras.

"She's a tough and determined girl, and I have no doubt she will come out firing."

Melbourne to host track World Cup

The Dunc Gray velodrome in Sydney will go without a World Cup for the 2008-2009 season
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Victoria scored a second major cycling championship as the city of Melbourne, in Australia, has been confirmed as host of the UCI Track World Cup for the next three years. Sydney, which has hosted a Track World Cup round since 2001 did not bid for the event. The city was also named as host of the 2010 UCI Road World Championships last fall.

The World Cup round will be held at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena from November 20-22.

It was also announced Wednesday that former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks will head up the steering committee for the October, 2010 Road Worlds. The time trial will start and finish at the Formula One grand prix start line in the Melbourne suburb of Albert Park, and follow Beach Road, while the road races will be held on a 16-kilometre circuit at Geelong.

"This is going to be a revelation for people in Australia ... it will be the biggest cycling event ever held in Australia," Bracks told AAP.

AG2R for next week's races

AG2R La Mondiale announced its roster for two upcoming events next week: the ProTour's Volta a Catalunya from May 19 to 25 and the Circuit de Lorraine (a 2.1 event) from May 21 to 25.

AG2R La Mondial for Le Circuit de Lorraine: Sylvain Calzati, Renaud Dion, Christophe Edaleine, Tanel Kangert, Loyd Mondory, Jean-Patrick Nazon and Jean-Charles Senac under DS Gilles Mas.

AG2R La Mondial for Volta a Catalunya: José Luis Arrieta, Cyril Dessel, John Gadret, Stéphane Goubert, Hubert Dupont, Christophe Riblon, Ludovic Turpin and Vladimir Efimkin under DS Julien Jurdie.

Cameron Jennings diary: Gearing up for the Ras

Well I'm sitting back home in Ireland out the back of Ballinrobe. I've just returned from Holland where the team was for eight days for two races, the Ronde van Overijsel and Omloop der Kempen. In between the races we were able to get in some good training rides in the great weather that was blessing Belgium and Holland. We also caught up with a few more friends up in Holland like Mark Howard, Lindsay and Rhys Pollock who was back in Europe with the Marco Polo Team.

So how did the races go?

Both races went well for myself and the team. They both ended in bunch sprints and Ciaran was eighth and seventh respectively in both of them. Although not being a bunch sprinter, I was confident in my own ability, made crucial splits and breaks and had a couple of digs in the closing kilometres in both races. Although crashing in the last two kilometres at Overijsel was not a high point. I am content with my form leading into the FBD Ras which starts this Sunday [May 18] and just need to rest up and get over a little cough and a sore throat that I picked up during the week and all should be fine.

All the team is going well so should give the eight-day tour a good shake. Our team will be Ciaran Power, David O'Loughlin, Kieren Page, Derek Burke and yours truly. The team has plenty of experience for the Ras with Ciaran winning it twice and David coming awfully close to winning it on a couple of occasions. Kieren has ridden it on a winning team before and Derek has raced it before it as well. So that leaves me in the team who has yet to become a "man of Ras". I am sincerely looking forward to it albeit after hearing a mixed view on the race from all concerned.

The weather, the unpredictability of the race, the roads, the hotels/B&Bs, the weather, the unpredictability of the race and, oh yeah, did I mention the weather? Could be sunny, cold, wet, hailing on a couple of days or could be cold, wet and hailing for the entire eight days. Fingers crossed on a bit of sun this year.

Will keep you updated on how it all goes.

Read other diaries by Cameron Jennings.

Wisconsin Cycling Series expands

The Aurora Health Care Wisconsin Cycling Series added a third day of racing to its calendar on Friday, June 20. The race will begin early in the afternoon and end with a Twilight Criterium through the streets of the recently renovated Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, Wisconsin.

The event joins the second annual Giro d'Grafton on Saturday, June 21 and the first annual Sheboygan Harbor Centre Family Day and Bike Race on Sunday, June 22. Organizers from these two events teamed up with Andy Crater, Race Director for Team Wheel and Sprocket, for the additional day of racing. Over US$30,000 in total cash prizes and primes will be awarded for the three day series with over $15,000 allocated for the pro/1/2 series.

For more information, visit

Amateurs get new stage race in Atlanta

The Tour de Georgia has already visited Atlanta this year and soon amateurs will get their chance to race there, too. The inaugural Tour of Atlanta stage race will feature seven stages in five days in and around the Atlanta area from May 22 through 26.

The stages include a mix of time trials, criteriums and road races. Unique for events like this, the first day of racing will include street sprints, and in fact, the time bonuses awarded for the street sprints may turn out to be the difference between winning and losing the general classification.

For more information, visit

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