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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, May 25, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Sella and Bosisio benefit in Giro's stage to Pampeago

By Gregor Brown in Alpe di Pampeago

Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare) was exhausted
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

On the 2008 Giro d'Italia's first stage in the high mountains, two of Italy's minor stars shined while the classification riders sought to sort the overall picture. CSF Group's Emanuele Sella proved he belongs in the maglia verde of mountain's leader by dominating over the two passes, while LPR Brakes' Gabriele Bosisio benefited from his work for the team's leaders and moved into the race leader's maglia rosa.

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Italy's Sella formed part of an escape group that went at kilometre 13 into the 195-kilometre stage that was set to cover the Passo Manghen and finish on the Alpe di Pampeago. While Sella marked his escape companions, waiting to go solo, Italy's Bosisio - winner of stage seven - kept watch over team leaders Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Savoldelli.

"I studied the map this morning," noted 27 year-old Sella, who took his second stage win in the Giro d'Italia, following his win in 2004 to Cesena. "The directeurs said, 'Tomorrow there are five GPMs [Gran Premio della Montagna - ed.] with lots of points, but if you go today with a large group then you can get points.' So, I understood that it would work. There were good companions in the escape, a lot of guys that pulled, and you could feel it."

After a surge by José Rujano (Caisse d'Epargne) in the escape group, Sella turned the screws tighter and went free at kilometre 143. "I went solo and I did all of my own," he said. He managed himself well in the escape: "Yeah, I was coy, not pulling so much."

After four years, it seems as though Sella has changed. His win in 2004 was a surprise to most, while this win was one that many were expecting. "It is a Sella more mature," he remarked on the differences. "I started to race more with my head - [I'm] more motivated."

Sella sprays the champagne
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

He is serious about his maturity and will get married this June, a promise he made to his girlfriend if he was to win a stage in the Giro d'Italia. "She was very happy, she knows that it was something very important for me," he said of his girlfriend, Laura. "I said, 'If I win in this Giro, I will marry you at the end of this Giro.'" The couple will marry June 8.

"We knew each other via her dad. He is a fan of cycling, I met him one day while cycling. Then, he came to see me at the races and I got to know his daughter."

He plans to relax tomorrow and consolidate his lead in the mountain competition. "I will try to recuperate my energy and defend the green jersey." He will not fight for the classification, although he is currently in 26th. "Overall? I [have] never been able to stay with the favourites. Today, to go on the attack was great, but to get on the podium is something else, is too much. I believe it will be for Contador, Simoni and the others."

Bosisio under fire

Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) doing the team work
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

While Sella may relax somewhat, Bosisio will be under fire for the maglia rosa. The 27 year-old rider from the province of Lecco only holds five seconds on Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana).

"I want to enjoy this day and this sensation, this won't change much with how we confront the race tomorrow," Bosisio confided.

He will continue to work for Di Luca and Savoldelli, but offer the team an addition card to play. "It is an advantage according to me and the team because the others have to work to watch me as well. ... I am calm, I don't have anything to lose. It is better that is me here than some other rider from some other team."

To read the complete winner's feature, click here.

Maglia ciclamino Bennati survives

By Gregor Brown in Alpe di Pampeago

Points leader Daniele Bennati
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

"Survival" was the word of the day for the sprinters like Italy's Daniel Bennati. The leader of the Giro d'Italia points competition, winner of three stages thus far, is hoping to make it though these tough Dolomites stages to fight or more stage wins and take the maglia ciclamino to the race's end in Milano.

"I hope to save myself in the best way possible," he remarked to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 14, the first of the Giro d'Italia's high-mountain stages. He looked splendid in his purple glasses and maglia ciclamino jersey of the points leader, but knows that it will take more than looks to get him through the Dolomites.

"The most difficult day will be tomorrow I think," he continued, as we stood in Verona's Piazza Bra. "I hope I can find a way to save myself. I hope there is a good alliance for the ride to the finish." "Benna" went on to finish in the gruppetto at 30 minutes behind the stage winner, Emanuele Sella.

It was pointed out that Bennati, seven years as a professional, knows some of these climbs better than Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, who admitted he had never ridden the Giro d'Italia's passes. "Some of them, yes," he responded. "I have only done only one other Giro d'Italia, but I do know today's Pampeago well. ... It does not count to only know the climbs, but to go strong on the climbs."

Slipstream backs Vande Velde through Giro's high mountains

By Gregor Brown in Alpe di Pampeago

Christian Vande Velde wore pink in the beginning of the Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Team Slipstream Chipotle is backing the Giro d'Italia's early race leader, Christian Vande Velde, as the race heads through the high mountain stages of the Dolomites – Alpe di Pampeago, Passo Fedaia and Plan de Corones. The 32 year-old US rider held the race leader's maglia rosa for one day after the team won the opening team time trial in Palermo and continued to prove strong on the first day in the high-mountains.

"It is going great, we are into the last phase of the Giro, so we will see what happens today and tomorrow," said Vande Velde to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 14 in Verona's Piazza Bra. "It will be a completely different Giro after today and tomorrow, mostly after tomorrow.

He tipped Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador of Team Astana, for the overall win. "He has so much class. He is heads and shoulders above everyone. Even tomorrow is so hard. We will see more after tomorrow.

"I am going to try today, if I can get into a break away. I think I have hurt myself a bit with being so high in the GC [general classification - ed.], I should have sit up. If they knew I was not going to take the GC so seriously maybe they would let me go a little bit easier. I will try. I will try to get up the road today and see what we can do."

Vande Velde followed through with his promise and made the day's major move of 13 men, which went free at 13 kilometres into the 195-kilometre stage. Despite fighting hard, he was dislodged from his companions on the Passo Manghen. He battled back, being caught by the classification riders on the Pampeago, finishing sixth best out of the original escapees.

He explained, before the day's stage into the Dolomites, "I don't want to go too deep in the Giro, but if I am feeling good I am going to take every opportunity I can. Our biggest objectives is still the Tour de France. We've done a great so far in the Giro, and we want to keep on doing that."

The American team has done "great" in this Giro, its first Grand Tour. It met its objective when it took the opening day's time trial with six seconds over Team CSC. The day's win allowed Vande Velde to don the maglia verde for one day, until Italy's Franco Pellizotti took it over.

"It is a lot of fun," Vande Velde said. "We have had guys that have learned a lot, myself, all they way down to the youngest, CJ [Chris Sutton - ed.]. It has been a good learning experience for the whole team. The first Grand Tour for the team. It has been a lot of positives for us, and not many negatives."

The team has had some low points, namely the crash of American David Zabriskie. He was aiming for the Urbino time trial, but now he simply will want to recover from a fractured vertebrae. "That was bad, really bad," Vande Velde noted of his close friend and team-mate. "He is such a great friend, but at the same time there is a positive because he can go home to be with his newborn baby – Bittersweet. ... Breaking your back, that is not funny at all. He is doing alright, he is having a good time. Dave's morale is always good, if it is down he is not showing it to me."

Canadian team-mate, Ryder Hesjedal, confirmed Vande Velde's leadership role. "We are still looking further into the race," declared Hesjedal. "I think Christian is going to give all he can, he is in the GC. He can hang on. The rest is just seeing if we can get through." Hesjedal aims for the final day of the three-week tour, the time trial in Milano. "Sometimes you have to hold back and conserve; the main idea is to be better in Milano, I am looking forward to it."

Van den Broeck continues as classification threat

By Gregor Brown in Alpe di Pampeago

Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence - Lotto) is the surprise of the Giro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Belgium's Jurgen Van den Broeck has been one of the surprises in the 91st Giro d'Italia. The 25 year-old of Silence-Lotto held tight on some of the toughest stages thus far, including the rain-soaked affair to Cesena and the first high-mountain stage.

However, before the start of stage 14, he revealed that he does not know the climbs in Italy's north. "Not," was his response to Cyclingnews regarding his familiarity. "I have studied the [official race] book and we have a knowledgeable Italian directeur [Roberto Damiani and Stefano Zanini - ed.], so they know what is coming and how they are."

Van den Broeck stayed with the "bigs" of the Giro d'Italia on the Passo Manghen and the Alpe di Pampeago, forcing the pace with the likes of Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni). After his tenth place on the stage, he is now 12th in the classification and 1'59" behind the best place classification rider, Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana).

He admitted before the day, "After today and tomorrow we will know more. I don't know what to expect, so we will see. We will see in the race how it goes. It is not a secret [of the team], it is just to see how the race goes on."

The Belgian team will look at the 12.9-kilometre Plan de Crones mountain time trial on Monday. Van de Broeck indicated that they will do, "Those are plans after Sunday."

Caisse d'Epargne persists with attacks

Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne) did a courageous ride
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
Caisse d'Epargne sent three riders in the main break of stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday. In the end, the team's Joaquím Rodríguez and José Rujano finished the third and the fourth after they made the breakaway which started at just 13 km into the race. Fran Pérez, was also in the same break, but worked for his mates and finished further back in 103rd.

"The team Caisse d'Epargne showed one more time that it is really competitive and always present in the important stages," said Eusebio Unzúe in Alpe di Pampeago. "With three riders in the break, we could hope to win the today stage. Fran Pérez did a great job so that Rodríguez and Rujano arrived in the best conditions at the foot of the Passo Manghen, but when [eventual winner Emmanuele] Sella attacked they just could do nothing, just let him go."

"Since the beginning of the Giro, we try to go in the breakaways, but there is no way to win a stage. We already tried with Joaquím Rodríguez in the first stage, later with Fran Pérez and Pablo Lastras, and again today," said Unzúe. "I hope that our job will at least get a reward. We will try again 'til the end."

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia.

Two-tenberg strikes again!

Second victory for High Road sprinter; Ljungskog enjoying yellow

By Ben Atkins in Bram

Teutenberg smiles as she considers whether to return in 2009
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

Team High Road powerhouse Ina Teutenberg showed that anything Zulfia Zabirova (Bigla) can do, she can do better with victory in the 2008 Tour de l'Aude's first bunch sprint in stage eight in the small town of Bram. The German sprinter powered up the centre of the road in pursuit of Olympic champion Sara Carrigan (Lotto Belisol) who had started her sprint with 200m to go. Teutenberg managed to beat Carrigan by around half a wheel with Angela Brodtka taking a close third.

Teutenberg led home a group of 37 riders, which included all of the overall contenders, but the sprint finish was by no means a certainty as strong attacks from the DSB Bank and Bigla teams in the final 10km forced the High Road team to work hard for the victory.

The stage was dominated by a solo attack from Adrie Visser (DSB Bank) who was smarting at having missed out on victory in yesterday's stage at Castelnaudary, where she had only just been able to follow the wheel of Zulfia Zabirova (Bigla) as she rode away to victory. Visser managed to build a maximum lead of more than two and a half minutes before accelerations within the group of overall contenders and an untimely puncture saw her caught with 20km to the finish.

"I was a bit lucky," said Teutenberg to Cyclingnews after the finish, "Carrigan closed the right side so the sprint on that side was blocked and I had a free run to the line. It was a bit tricky, it didn't look like it before the race, but the little chicane made it a bit tricky."

The village of Fanjeaux looms above the road
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

The pace of the stage itself, especially on the day's major obstacle – the first category Col de la Malapère – was such that it put paid to the chances of a lot of the peloton's fast finishers. Teutenberg though managed to stay in: "I was pretty tired," she admitted. "I pretty much kicked my butt up that last hill trying to stay in front group, which was good that I did because that other group didn't make it back. We were very quick, but I didn't do anything else all day.

"It was a pretty power climb, so they go fast but it's probably easier for the sprinters to get up a hill like this than if it's longer, and 5km long."

In the flat run in to the finish, things were far form simple and a sprint finish far from inevitable as a series of attacks had to be chased down. Teutenberg though had the services of one of the strongest riders in the race for this. "Judith [Arndt] pretty much closed everything single-handedly in the last 5km. Linda [Villumsen] helped at the start a little bit, but then she faded a bit, and then Judith covered Bigla who were probably the most active there at the end. Then I just had to make my position and find my way in the sprint."

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Tour de L'Aude stage 8.

Meyer claims lead in Tour of Japan with one stage remaining

By Gennie Sheer

Cameron Meyer now sits in 2nd overall.
Photo ©: Hitoshi Omae
(Click for larger image) rider Cameron Meyer took a narrow lead in the Tour of Japan with one stage remaining. Meyer, 20, from Western Australia went into Saturday's penultimate stage of the six stage event trailing Korea's Huo Suk Gong (Seoul Cycling) by 21 seconds with the team determined to apply the pressure on the 112.5km Shuzeni - Japan Cycle Sport Centre circuit.

"The tactic was to put him right under pressure and see if he cracked," said Meyer. "We did that and he did (crack) which meant I took over the leader's jersey."

But Meyer admits the race isn't won yet with only a narrow one second margin separating him and Australian Jai Crawford (Marco Polo) on the overall standings. "Tomorrow's [Sunday's] final stage is a pretty flat one with three intermediate sprints that have time bonuses plus the bonuses for the finish so the Tour's not won yet and it will come down to the wire," said Meyer. "But I have good team-mates to lead me out and they are riding really well at the moment.

"I'm confident I can stay in the lead tomorrow and take the title," said Meyer who is a world class points racer on the track, an event that requires both endurance and sprint speed.

According to Team Director, Brian Stephens, Saturday's stage was the "toughest of the Tour apart from the time trial" and was raced on a very hilly, twisting circuit.

"We were pretty aggressive and had guys going in all the breaks," said Stephens. "Wes (Sulzberger went away in a group of six which forced Gong's team to chase and that wore them out a bit then when the break was almost caught some other teams started to attack and Gong dropped his chain," said Stephens. "It only took him a second to get going again but he panicked and chased really hard.

"Gong couldn't get back to the front of the peloton and then Wes and Simon (Clarke) hit the front and rode solid tempo to keep together what became a twenty man leading group."

Frenchman Alexandre Aulas won the uphill sprint finish in a time of three hours, one minute and 49 seconds with Meyer crossing in fourth place three seconds back. The race leader lost almost three minutes while Sulzberger was 15th at six seconds and Clarke 19th at 33 seconds.

"Wes was man of the match for me today because not only did he get in a break and ride really hard in it he then did a tonne of work for Cameron when the break came back," said Stephens of the Tasmanian who had lead the Tour up until Friday's time trial when surrendered the jersey to Gong. Sulzberger now sits in eighth place overall, 3'07" behind Meyer's leading time.

Meyers' leads the teams classification by 3'31".

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage 6 of the Tour of Japan.

BC Provincial Championship doubles as cancer fundraiser

The 2008 edition of the BC Cancer Foundation's Westside Cycling Classic, also known as BC's Provincial Road Race Championship, will happen Sunday, June 1. It will be followed by a 36km Community Ride in the afternoon, led by former pro racer Axel Merckx.

For the first time, the event will raise money in support of cancer research in B.C. Racers can forego the usual registration fee and instead sign on to fundraise a minimum of CAN$300 or the BC Cancer Foundation. The race's prize purse is set at $15,000.

For information or to register to race the Provincial Championships, ride the community event or volunteer, visit or or phone 604-696-2453.

Asthmatic cyclists wanted for Australian study

In an effort to improve understanding of the effect of chronic use of inhaled b 2-agonists bronchodilators in Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) in the athletic population, researchers at the University of Sydney and Royal prince Alfred Hospital of Sydney are conducting a study to determine the effects of different types of inhaled b 2-agonists on bronchial reactivity.

Cyclists older than 18 years, training a minimum of three times a week, and taking asthma medications are being recruited to participate in the study. Participants will have to some fundamental data regarding their asthma, including full lung function assessment as well as results to a bronchial challenge test - information which may help them control the asthma.

All testing will be conducted at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Department of Respiratory Medicine. Subjects will be given some financial support at the successful completion of the study. For further information or to be included, contact the researchers: Dr Corinne Caillaud ( or Clare Perry ( or (61 2) 9515 6121).

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