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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, May 19, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Aussies rule in Japan

South's Zakkari Dempster took stage 1, Wes Sulzberger and Cameron Meyer doubled on day two
Photo ©: Miwako Sasaki
(Click for larger image)

Riders for the team are putting their mark on the Tour of Japan. After the win of Zakkari Dempster in stage 1, the team from Down Under outdid itself by getting a double victory via Wesley Sulzberger and Cameron Meyer in the second stage.

In today's 146.2-kilometre Dalbutsuden - Nunome Dam circuit race, Sulzberger sprinted home one second ahead of Meyer, who claimed second place, 13 seconds ahead of Japan's Kazuo Inoue.

"At the moment we can't do anything wrong," said directeur sportif, Brian Stephens, praising the riding and tactical strength of the team's performance so far. "The tactic today was to have someone in [every break] because, although we started the stage with Zak (Dempster) leading, the rest of this Tour is a bit too hilly for him, so we needed more options."

The team rode the race plan to perfection, with Sulzberger joining a breakaway group of 14 riders and Meyer riding up to the break soon after to increase the team's chances at the finish. The stage was raced over 12 laps of a 12-kilometre circuit, with the finishing line climbing to the top of the dam wall.

"Obviously, we wanted to keep working in the break to hold off the peloton, which was chasing pretty hard behind our group," said Sulzberger. "In the last couple of laps Cam [Meyer] and I both knew attacks would come on the finishing climb, so we marked riders, stayed up the front and stayed alert.

"Cam slipped off the front in the final lap; when the Japanese guy counter-attacked I got on his wheel," explained Sulzberger. "I looked back and the rest of our group wasn't chasing, so I told Cam on the radio to keep going."

Holding a two against one advantage over Inoue, Meyer launched the first attack. "Cam went down the left and the Japanese guy (Inoue) had nothing left in the tank to counter so then I went down the right and we were away," said Sulzberger.

Sulzberger and Meyer now sit first and second overall but Sulzberger says they can deal with the pressure. "We might have won the first two stages but it's like any other race now and we have to plan our strategy," he said. "We'll try our hardest and not get too much of a big head."

Stephens explained that "We need to rethink our tactics now. We have two leaders but we still have Simon (Clarke) up our sleeves, so we have a few cards to play." Dempster and Simon Clarke finished in the main bunch, one and a half minutes behind Sulzberger.

The 890-kilometre Tour of Japan ends in Hibaya City next Sunday.

South - AIS Cycling Team is a major initiative in the growth of the Cycling Australia High Performance Program. The team, registered as a UCI Continental Team in the Oceania Region, integrates the U23 road development program and the talent of Australia's track endurance riders with major sponsorship support from the Australian Institute of Sport and the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Hanson wins for guest team in Ireland

By Shane Stokes in Ballinamore

Ken Hanson (Isle of Man – Microgaming) wins by half a wheel
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)

US American rider Ken Hanson galloped to success on day one of the FBD Insurance Rás in Ballinamore, Ireland, winning the bunch sprint to the line and taking the first yellow jersey. The criterium specialist normally competes with the BMC racing team but is guesting with the Isle of Man Microgaming Dolan squad for the 2.2-ranked Irish event.

The victory in Leitrim was a sweet one for the 26 year-old, given that it was his first international individual win. Adding to the importance of the win, Ireland is the county where his grandmother came from.

"My first time here was last October," he said. "I met all my cousins then. I know about the race as some of the teams I race against in the US have competed here in the past.

"I normally ride with the BMC Racing team but asked the promoter if there was a team with an open spot," he added. "Ten days ago I got contacted by the guy who runs the Isle of Man team who said he had a spot if I was interested."

That team director was surely pinching himself last night, given that Hanson had already made his week a success. "It all happened so fast," said Hanson. "I am so happy that I was able to make it and have success on the first stage."

Hanson beat Dutchman Patrick Kos (Dutch National Team), Belgian Benny de Schrooder (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team) plus the rest of the bunch in the slightly uphill sprint to the line.

Read up on the full report of the race.

Fröhlinger's Italian lessons – Piano, por favore

Fröhlinger was hungry all day long on a day where the pace was finally slow
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

After one week of racing in the Giro d'Italia, many are tired and Johannes Fröhlinger of Gerolsteiner reported in his diary for that during stage nine many called out for riding piano and regulare. Indeed, only two riders were interested in jumping from the gun, with Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R La Mondiale) taking off as soon as the neutral section was over and Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone) joining him shortly thereafter.

Fröhlinger was content to sit in, but had one problem. "Because of the slow speed I was permanently hungry and couldn't eat enough." It wasn't until the end, when Bettini jumped, that things got hectic and Fröhlinger had to do what he is paid for. "I stayed with Frösi [sprinter Robert Förster] and Thommy [Thomas Fothen], which is good for [their] morale."

They made it OK over the top and usually the day is over for the German, as "I am not so good in the scramble just before the finish." But Förster got boxed in and had to be taken back to the front again. "Volker [Ordowski] and I took Frösi and Thommy back to the front. 800 metres before the finish I delivered them to the right wheels and peeled off." Förster managed sixth in the end.

The worst part about the Giro this year are the transfers and Fröhlinger wrote that "we had a 430-kilometre transfer. Fortunately, we were able to do that in the evening still. We didn't arrive until midnight, but at least we have all of Monday as a rest day. One half of the team preferred to go via car, while the other half, including myself, took the bus. It took an hour longer, but at least I could stretch my legs and even lie down."

Karpin Galicia in its second ProTour race of the season

Ezequiel Mosquera is hoping for another good ProTour race, after scoring ninth in the Basque Country
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Spanish Professional Continental team Karpin Galicia will dispute the Volta a Cataluña, which runs from May 19 to 25. It will be second time this season that the squad lines up for a ProTour event, after the Vuelta al País Vasco, where Ezequiel Mosquera finished in ninth place overall.

Directeur sportif, Álvaro Pino, is hoping that "we can get into the top ten and score a stage victory. If the race is selective enough, we can hope to get into the top five or on the podium, but the mountains are far from the finish and I think in the toughest stages, there could be a group of at least 20 riders getting to the finish line. In those circumstances, the options of Ezequiel Mosquera are greatly diminished."

Pino was a bit unhappy with the possibility of selecting the team, since a portion of it is racing in Portugal. "We go to the Volta with the team we currently have available ... Unfortunately, we cannot count on Herrero and Castaño. Those were our riders for the Volta a Cataluña, as the route is tailored to their strengths."

It was also an event that the two riders were targeting. "Herrero started strong, with the Critérium International serving as build-up to be in the same shape in Cataluña as he was in the Vuelta al País Vasco. And Carlos Castaño had this as his primary objective for the first part of the season," Pino lamented the fact that both riders are out. The Spaniard explained that "a case of mononucleosis has not allowed [Castaño] to reach the same form he had in the Tour of Turkey."

In Pino's opinion, the prologue of 3.2 kilometres in Lloret de Mar is very important, as there is no big mountain stage to get time gaps."The seconds of the first day may be decisive. Not because the one who wins the prologue may win the Volta, but because of the small gaps that may establish between the leaders of the teams [of the strongest riders]."

Karpin Galicia will take to the start of Cataluña, kicking off with a 3.2-kilometre prologue in Lloret de Mar, with Ezequiel Mosquera, Gustavo Domínguez, David García, Gustavo C. Veloso, Gonzalo Rabuñal, Iban Mayoz, Alberto Fernández and Eduard Vorganov.

Fernandez crashed out of Giro

Several crashes marred the final phase of stage nine in the Giro d'Italia, but most were minor. One unlucky rider was Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone), who broke his collarbone. He was carried off on a stretcher, yet another victim of a hectic battle for positions when the peloton came up on the final rise of the day.

Colnago prolongs sponsorships with Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner

Belgian team Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner can bank on Colnago bikes for the next three years. Ernesto Colnago was happy with the work accomplished by the team and is especially happy with Team Manager Gérard Bulens. Colnago said that "In 20 years with Gérard Bulens, we had a World Champion in cyclo-cross, a Belgian Road Champion, a pink jersey in the Giro and third place overall. Over the years, his team has given us a lot of publicity and we have become good friends. For all those reasons, I decided to support the team not only with the material, but also financially until 2011."

An Post to sponsor green in Tour of Ireland

Matti Breschel entered the final day in the 2007 race one point behind Edvald Boasson Hagen, but won the green jersey in the end
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)

An Post, as Official Partner to the Tour of Ireland, will sponsor the green jersey this year in the race that will take place from August 27 to 31. This is the latest addition to An Post's expanding cycling sponsorship portfolio, which also includes sponsorship of the Sean Kelly Cycling Team.

An Post Chief Executive, Donal Connell announced the deal, which is slated to run for three years. "We are the official partner to the 2008 Tour of Ireland in association with Fáilte Ireland ... we are now involved in the hosting of a world class racing competition around Ireland."

Connell added, "I hope that large numbers of people will turn out to support the riders; certainly, the interest from other countries with participating teams will be huge. I am especially pleased that the An Post sponsored Sean Kelly Team will compete and hopefully succeed in bringing home the green jersey."

There will be three An Post Sprint Lines along the route and at the stage finishes each day. The prestigious An Post Green Jersey Points Competition will be won over these stretches. In 2007, this competition came down to the last sprint and it will be just as hard fought this coming August.

Chadwick takes start-finish victory

Cyclingnews diarist Glen Chadwick won the overall classification of the Tour of Arkansas. By winning both stage 1 and stage 2, he built up a decisive lead.

Concerning his second victory, Chadwick said that "Our guys put in a really good effort today [stage 2] and I didn't want to let them down."

He held on to his lead in the mountain top finish on stage three and survived the Celebrity Classic Criterium in historic Downtown Van Buren on Sunday to score the win.

World Championships for students

The opening ceremony of the bicycling Worlds for students is set to take place on May 21, in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The road events are scheduled for May 23 (time trial) and May 25 (road race). There is also a mountain bike marathon (May 24) and a cross country (May 22) race on the menu.

The 34.8-kilometre time trial is an international effort, with the riders taking off in the centre of Nijmegen, and heading on over the border to Germany, which happens around the midway point. Via long, straight roads, the time trialers will head back to the Netherlands. Before the border can be crossed, a 12% climb has to be tackled.

The finale is hilly as well, with the longest hill being 2.5 kilometres long, at an average gradient of three percent and a maximum of six percent.

The circuit for the road race is also hilly, with one lap being 10.7 kilometres long.

Every continent is represented, with a total of 26 countries sending teams to the event. A maximum of six riders per country per event are allowed.

Bundesliga round two

In the second race of the season-long Bundesliga series in Germany, the Continental Milram team celebrated a success via Erik Mohs, who won the sprint of an 11-man front group ahead of Dominik Nerz (Ista) and John Degenkolb (Thüringer Energie-Team). Mohs took over the yellow jersey as the leader of the Bundesliga.

The decisive move came after 100 kilometres, when Sebastian Hans (Mapei-Heizomat) attacked out of a ten-man leading group. Several riders of the break got reeled in by the peloton, while others jumped out of the bunch, forming the winning break of 11.

After almost 160 kilometres, the group entered the finale together, with a last-minute effort by Hans brought back quickly. "Maybe I should have saved my power for the sprint," Hans was musing if he chose the right tactics. But his team-mate Michael Franzl, back after sickness, managed to get fourth, while Hans ended in eighth.

Franzl is the defending champion in the Bundesliga and lies currently in 12th.

In the teams classification, Ista is ahead of Milram Continental, Thüringer Energie-Team and Mapei-Heizomat.

The next race of the Bundesliga series is on June 1 in Passau, where the German hill championships are taking place.

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