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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, May 20, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson

Strong day for Norway

Norwegians have enjoyed a strong day of racing around the world, with a string of solid results in both men's and women's racing. The nation's efforts were spearheaded by Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) who claimed victory in the Volta a Catalunya's Prologue.

Hushovd took the ProTour event's lead by six seconds over American George Hincapie (High Road) on the 3.7 kilometre course in Lloret de Mar. "I am very satisfied with this victory," Hushovd said. "Tomorrow it will be very complicated to hold onto the leader's jersey because the stage is very difficult, with several mountain passes. This does not favour me very much.

"My tactics were very simple - go all out from start to finish," he added. "On a course this short there weren't any other options."

Hushovd's compatriots dominated the Olympia's Tour in the Netherlands. Joker-Bianchi team-mates Joachim Bøhler and Alexander Kristoff claimed the top two positions on the 176 kilometre second stage. Bøhler hols fifth place, just 13 seconds adrift, on the event's general classification with seven stages remaining.

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Anita Valen (GSB Domaine du Chene) flew the flag for Norway's female racers, taking second on the Vuelta Ciclista a El Salvador's third stage. Valen was a part of a four person lead group that stayed away to the finish, with Janildes Fernandes (Chiro Forno Dïasolo) winning the stage.

Valen's efforts in the breakaway puts her in a strong second position on general classification. Valen trails Prologue, Stage 1 and Stage 2 winner Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) by 26 seconds with three stages remaining after the Dutchwoman finished a disappointing 48th on the day's stage.

Sutherland makes it two in two weeks at Mt. Hood

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Hood River, Oregon

Race leader Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Coming into the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, race organizers were preparing participants for the worst in terms of weather conditions. A heavy winter was still affecting the region with huge rainfall and a barely melted snow pack in the high mountains. But except for the hours before the opening prologue, all the skies were clear and sunny with calm winds - and the only possible complaint about the weather presented were temperatures reaching into the 90s. The perfect weather framed some of the most beautiful cycling backdrops imaginable, while the racers experienced terrain from desert to sub-alpine and everything in between along the Columbia River Gorge.

The racing was fighting for attention between scenic vistas, but was equally as interesting. Strong team riding by both the Health Net-Maxxis team and the Aaron's team netted yellow jerseys for Aussie Rory Sutherland and Canadian Julie Beveridge.

Sutherland's win was just one more indication of the successful season he is having so far, coming off a win last week at the Joe Martin Stage Race and an impressive fourth place on the Brasstown Bald stage of the Tour de Georgia. His overall racing there earned him the most aggressive rider of the race.

But there is no rest for the weary, as this season seems to have frequent back-to-back races, such as the case with Mt. Hood and Joe Martin. When asked if he will finally be given a break from racing, he laughed and said: "Are ya stupid? I wish! I'm going to go home for a week, maybe drink a few beers."

Beer drinking is a major pastime in his homeland, so it is no surprise he would crack open a few after these two weeks. But Sutherland said he thinks his approach to the beer this year might be the secret to his success. "It's funny, I made a rule with myself at the beginning of the week that I don't drink any beers during a stage race, and it's worked every since," said the Australian. "It normally is [a pastime,] but it seems to be working pretty well! So I'm not going to jinx it. Once I leave my home I don't drink until I get home again."

Sutherland also said he is going to spend his week at home more off the bike than on to get ready for the upcoming CSC and Philly week races. "I'm a big advocate of recovery off the bike, it seems to work well for me," he said. "Just clear your head and walk the dog or go for a swim - something different than riding your bike."

"I go to CSC and Philly next, then Nature Valley as well," he added. "It is the year of the doubles!"

He will also be returning to Oregon in July to race the Cascade Classic, and is looking forward to it after this week. "I'll go to Cascade, but I don't mind because it is so beautiful here," he said. "Then I have another double with Utah and Colorado. Finally another break before Missouri - then I am done!"

In other classifications, Andrew Bajadali (Kelly Benefits-Medifast) took home the KOM win, Portland native Doug Ollerenshaw won the sprint jersey and Bissell's Morgan Schmitt was the best young rider. Bissell also took the team GC honors.

First year pro Beveridge claims Mt. Hood Classic overall

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Hood River, Oregon

Julie Beveridge (Aaron's)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

The women's race of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic upgraded its status this year, becoming a UCI 2.2 rated stage race. This saw an influx of talented riders into the peloton, making the racing harder than ever. Riders such as United States of America champion Mara Abbott (High Road) and the woman widely considered the best female cyclist ever Jeannie Longo.

As with the men's race, the win came on the shoulders of an entire team - the Aaron's team with Canadian and first year professional Julie Beveridge claiming the overall and best young rider while the team took home the team general classification win.

The 19 year-old Beveridge showed that the next generation of stage racers is here and ready to race. The Canadian from Alberta raced here last year as an amateur, essentially unattached from any team. Aaron's team director Carmen D'Aluisio saw her sixth place overall performance and knew her potential.

Beveridge began as a swimmer and runner, but as is the case with many, injury forced her to find a non-impact sport - and cycling fit the bill. In 2006, her first year of riding, she won the junior national time trial championship. In 2007, her first full year of racing as an amateur, she was second in the Under 23 Canadian road race and fourth in the elite road race.

"This race last year was my first ever stage race, I had just started racing," she said. "To come back here and have the yellow jersey the next year is pretty amazing."

In an ironic twist, Beveridge took the yellow jersey with strong second place ride behind three-time defending champion Leah Goldstein (ValuAct Capital). But the stage would have been easily won by a woman who rode in her first Olympics four years before Beveridge was even born - multiple French and world champion Jeannie Longo. Alleged miscommunication about her start time and a problem with the angle of her handlebars resulted in Longo missing her start time by almost a minute - though she still finished in third by just 18 seconds despite the setback.

But ever the competitor, Longo took third in the final criterium field sprint, giving her a time bonus to move her over Goldstein into second place overall. Longo said that she is staying in Colorado to train in preparation for the upcoming Montreal world cup and Le Tour du Grand Montréal.

Cheerwine netted the queen of the mountains classification with Leigh Hobson, despite their targeted climber Kristin Sanders crashing out in stage two. TIBCO's New Zealander Joanne Kiesanowski won the opening prologue and also finished with the sprint leader's jersey ahead of United States of America Criterium Champion Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home). Pic did a double this week, winning both tough and technical criteriums.

Organizers were pleased with the upgrade to UCI status and hope to make this race one of the top stage races for women in North America and maybe beyond.

Chadwick stakes Olympic claim

Team Type 1's Moises Aldape and Glen Chadwick
Photo ©: Team Type 1
(Click for larger image)

New Zealand cyclist Glen Chadwick has made a strong claim for selection for the Beijing Olympics after winning the Tour of Arkansas in the United States of America. The 31 year-old has become the first rider from the Team Type 1 to win a professional stage race.

The New Zealander wrapped up the Tour of Arkansas by finishing eighth in the 75-minute Celebrity Classic Criterium in Historic Downtown Van Buren. Chadwick won by 25 seconds overall from Predrag Prokic (Toshiba-Santo Professional Cycling Team) and Michael Lange (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling).

Chadwick's accomplishment follows a 20th place finish at the Tour de Georgia and improves his chances of selection for one of three spots in the New Zealand team for the Olympic road race in Beijing in August.

It marked a significant return for the New Zealand rider who battled ill-health earlier in the year. A bout with Epstein-Barr Virus sidelined Chadwick in February following the Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia. The life-threatening spinal virus even infected his daughter, forcing her to be hospitalized as well.

"It has been a strange season with a pretty bad few months off because my family and I were very sick," Chadwick said. "To actually pull off a result like this is amazing for myself.

"It was very tough for us to see our daughter hooked up to an I.V. all the time and her veins collapsing," he added. "It's hard to explain to a two year-old why the doctors were always sticking her with needles."

Chadwick who had not won a stage race since the Tour of Korea in 2003 dedicated the victory to his wife, Isabelle and their two-year-old daughter, Jade.

The 31-year-old won his first stage race in the United States by soloing to victory in the first two stages of the 565-mile race that featured a pair of mountain top finishes and more than 7000m of climbing.

Team Type 1 Sport Director Ed Beamon said teamwork solidified the victory from there with two other team-mates in the top 10 with Moises Aldape claiming fifth and Chris Jones ninth.

Ferris named Gay Games ambassador

Australian Michelle Ferris, a multiple world and Olympic medals holder, has been selected by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) to be the newest Gay Games Ambassador. The eighth edition of the quadrennial Gay Games takes place in Cologne, Germany 31 July to 10 August 2010.

"I relish the opportunity to be a Gay Games Ambassador," said Ferris. "The Gay Games provide a unique opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes and artists from around the world to come together in celebration.

"By highlighting our sporting and cultural achievements under the three Gay Games principles of 'Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best', we have the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments in a safe and supportive environment," she added.

Ferris' 20-year cycling career peaked with a series of silver medals in the sprint and 500 metre time trials at the Olympic games in 1996 and 2000 and at the UCI World Cycling Championships from 1997-1999. At Sydney's 2000 Olympic Games, after finishing in the runner-up position in the sprint to her perennial rival Felicia Ballanger of France, she said it didn't matter because the most important thing was that she'd set a new personal best.

Gay Games Ambassadors represent a broad range of achievement in sports, the arts, business and government. Ferris joins fellow cyclists Petra Rössner and Judith Arndt as Gay Games Ambassadors. Other high-profile ambassadors include musician Sir Elton John, world power lifting gold medallist Chris Morgan and Olympic beach volleyball player Leigh Ann Naidoo to name a few.

"The selection of Michelle Ferris to be a Gay Games Ambassador is the FGG's way of recognizing her contributions to the international sport and culture community as a world champion, an Olympic medallist and an elite cyclist," said Kate Rowe, Sydney-based FGG board member and Vice President for Diversity. "We feel truly honoured that Michelle Ferris has accepted our invitation to become an Ambassador for the Gay Games".

Nez adds women's race

The Northstar-at-Tahoe Tour de Nez has announced the addition of a two mile pro women's circuit race. The event takes place June 17th-June 22nd in Reno, Truckee features a full roster of professional cycling races, with the women's race to be held on June 21.

"Women's Racing is hot right now and the Tour de Nez wants to be part of that energy and excitement," said race director Tim Healion.

Well known teams such as High Road, Team Tibco, Kendra Tires, VanderKitten, Velo Bella, Proman-Pardigm and ValueAct Capital have committed to the event. Some of the big-name riders already committed to the race include veteran rider Kim Anderson (High Road) and Team Tibco rider Amber Rais.

The hour-long race will start in the Village at Northstar and features a two miles circuit with steep climbs, sharp turns, fast descents and some cobbles.

Bikes for Kids Utah gets $40,000 USD donation

Bikes for Kids Utah has announced that the Sorenson Legacy Foundation has donated $40,000 to help provide new bicycles for 1,000 underprivileged third graders during Bikes for Kids Utah's annual bicycle giveaway. On Saturday, May 31 the organization will give new bicycles and helmets to 1,000 pre-qualified third graders from the Boys and Girls Clubs in Salt Lake, South Valley and Weber Counties.

"Bicycles give children the chance to exercise, learn about safety, develop great skills and just have fun," said Joe Sorenson, trustee of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. "We are delighted with this unique opportunity to enrich the lives of kids in our community."

Also receiving bikes will be third graders from Bennion, Franklin, Heartland, Lincoln, Majestic, Moss, Plymouth, Riley, Sandy, McMillan, Liberty, Grant, Guadalupe and Washington elementary schools.

"We are very grateful to the Sorenson Legacy Foundation for its generous contribution, which will help bring smiles to a thousand Utah children," said Debbie Reid, founder and director of Bikes for Kids Utah. "Summer is just around the corner, and with a brand-new bike, these children will have a new reason to spend time outdoors engaged in healthy physical activity."

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