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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, September 4, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Leipheimer enjoys first Grand Tour lead

Levi Leipheimer continued his great form
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)
Levi Leipheimer (Team Astana) won the Vuelta a España's stage five 42.4km individual time trial in Ciudad Real. His result moved him into the race's maillot oro thereby marking his first ever Grand Tour leader's jersey. It was Leipheimer's seventh win of the 2008 season.

Leipheimer was followed by Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) in second at 12 seconds, Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) in third at 33 seconds and team-mate Alberto Contador in fourth.

"I've been feeling very strong for the last couple of weeks, since the Olympics of course," said Leipheimer, who finished third overall in the 2001 Spanish Grand Tour.

"We did a race in Madrid, which I won. The first days of the Vuelta I felt really good, and I had a lot of confidence going into today.

"However, it was very difficult today. The first 20 kilometers had a headwind, but I conserved enough energy, allowing me to go faster in the end. This is another big highlight for me and this team. It's always an honor to win a stage in a Grand Tour plus wear the leader's jersey."

Although he is now wearing gold, Leipheimer acknowledged his team-mate Contador remains the Astana team leader.

"In this Vuelta we have many mountains to come," he said. "Personally, I believe Alberto is the best climber in the world. He has something that nobody else has - he can accelerate in the mountains. He can follow the best riders and I think Alberto will continue to get better as the Vuelta continues." Contador won the Giro D'Italia in May, but sat out the Tour de France, along with the rest of his team, which was not invited.

"For me, I won a stage, I wear the leader's jersey ... It's very nice for me," said Leipheimer, "but I think Alberto is the strongest rider on this team." Contador sits in fifth place in the GC after his fourth place finish in Wednesday's stage five. The Spaniard reported himself to be feeling well despite a hematoma on his left knee.

"Levi deserved this victory and I congratulate him," said Contador. "This only strengthens the options for Team Astana, because it is always better to have two candidates than one."

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage five of the Vuelta a España.

Sastre denies Katusha signing

Sastre at the sign-in
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
Responding to reports in the media on Wednesday, Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre said he had not signed with the Katusha squad.

"I want to deny flatly that there is no signed contract with the team Katusha," said Sastre in a statement. "As I said recently, at the time I make a decision on my future, I will communicate it personally to the media."

Earlier in the day Wednesday, the AFP had reported that the new Russian Katusha squad had signed the 33 year-old Sastre for the 2009 season.

The Katusha team has already signed Tour de France stage winner and maillot vert Robbie McEwen, Classic specialist Filippo Pozzato, Gert Steegmans, Vladimir Karpets, Alexandre Botcharov, Kenny Dehaes, Stijn Vandenbergh, Antonio Colom and Joan Horrach.

Hours later during the same day, AFP reported that Sastre had an oral commitment with the new Cervélo Canadian team for next season.

Ciolek sprints for win in rainy Germany

Team Columbia's Gerald Ciolek romped home for an uphill sprint stage win on Wednesday in stage five of the Deutschland Tour. His win was Columbia's third win out of five stages so far and came after Ciolek successfully fended off Swiss rider Rubens Bertogliati and Italian Leonardo Bertagnolli at the summit finish on the third category Winterberg climb.

Heavy rainfall made a tough 218 kilometre stage through hilly terrain even tougher, but Ciolek stayed ahead of the pack for the fifth stage win of his career in the Tour of Germany.

"I'm a bit surprised but very pleased that my form is really coming good again so quickly after a hard summer with the Tour and the Olympic Games," Ciolek said. "I took a short rest after Beijing, training in Mallorca, and now I'm coming back into form shape for the last part of the season."

"On today's stage I opened up a big gap early on when I accelerated with 250 metres to go. It was really quite steep, but I managed to keep a good rhythm on the climb. I knew Bertogliati was trying to catch me, but the advantage I'd taken early on was enough for me to stay clear."

"I did want to change gears on the climb, but my fingers were so cold with the rain it wasn't possible. Even so, it all worked out."

"I can't say if it was one of the best wins of my career, because it was so different from the other sprints I've done. But in any case it's nice to show that I can win sprints that aren't just flat ones but also when there's a tough uphill like today. I've won similar stages in smaller races, but never in an event as big as the Tour of Germany."

Following Wednesday's stage, Ciolek's team-mates Linus Gerdemann and Thomas Lovkvist remain in first and second place on general classification for a fourth consecutive day.

Looking ahead to the Vattenfalls Cyclassic in Hamburg this weekend and the World Championships in Varese - both of which are targets for the young German - Ciolek is cautious about his chances despite his win Wednesday and his third place in the Hamburg race last year.

"Both events will be very competitive and are very tough. The good thing about the Tour of Germany this year is that there's a time trial on the last day [not Ciolek's speciality], so I'll have a bit more time to recover. We'll see."

Steegmans wins Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen Aartselaar

Gert Steegmans is becoming the focus
Photo ©: Tim Van Wichelen
(Click for larger image)

Quick Step's Gert Steegmans won the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen Aartselaar on the roads of Belgium Wednesday. In the final sprint, the Belgian beat the Dutchman Stefan Van Dijk (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) and the Belgian Champion Jurgen Roelandts (Silence-Lotto). With this victory Steegmans follows his fellow countryman Greg Van Avermaet, winner of the 2007 edition of this race, in to racing's golden circle.

"I've got to thank all the team," said Steegmans said of his team-mates. "Today they were working for me from the beginning of the race. In the final phase, [Steven] De Jongh and [Allan] Davis were phenomenal, launching me in the best possible way, allowing me to get up on Roelandts' tire and then pass him at the finish line."

In the same race, 28 year-old Australian Allan Davis, who made his Quick Step debut. He will also compete in the Vattenfall Cyclassics – Hamburg, scheduled for Sunday September 7, and then the Tour of Poland later in September.

Voss to Milram

Paul Voss has signed a two-year contract with Team Milram. The 22 year-old German is a threat both on the road and in cyclo-cross. On the road, Voss has ridden for the Continental teams Heinz von Heiden and 3C-Gruppe. He placed second in the U23 European road race championships this summer, and has a number of top ten placings in one-day and stage races.

In cyclo-cross, Voss has had podium places in top international races, World Cup races and the Super Prestige series. He may well continue to ride 'cross races in Milram kit, as team manager Gerry van Gerwen called him "a young and very talented rider, who is also at home in cyclo-cross and can bring in some wins there, too."

"This is a dream come true," said Voss. "My signing shows that it is still possible for young riders to get a contract in the highest ranks. I am really looking forward to the coming year."

Colavita-Sutter Home to the Tour of Missouri

By Kirsten Robbins

Colavita/Sutter Home
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light has assembled a top-notch squad to compete in the upcoming Tour of Missouri, which will commence on September 8. They are currently the second placed team in the NRC and have claimed eleven season victories on the NRC and UCI calendars. Performances that have elevated them into the running for the number one ranked team in the country.

"We are very excited to be a part of the Tour of Missouri," said John A. Profaci, Vice President of the Linden NJ, Colavita USA. "I believe we have grown tremendously as a team this season, achieving many of the goals we set out to accomplish. We are headed to Missouri with confidence that we will continue our strong performances."

The contingent of fast men selected for the Tour of Missouri includes Sebastian Haedo, brother of CSC sprinter J.J. Haedo, as well as fellow-Argentinean Olympian Alejandro Borrajo. North American stars include Kyle Wamsley, overall winner of the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic and Tour of Missouri podium finisher, along with climbing specialist Anthony Colby.

"We are confident with the speed on our team that we can achieve stage victories in Missouri," said Sebastian Alexandre, director sportif. "The fast stage finishes suit the type of team we have. We will also utilize Anthony Colby strengths in the KOM competition."

The eight-man roster includes Anthony Colby, Alejandro Borrajo, Sebastian Haedo, Kyle Wamsley, Gustavo Artacho, Davide Frattini, Andy Guptill, and Luis Amaran.

Cheerwine to take 2009 hiatus

Cheerwine racer Kelly Benjamin
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

Cheerwine Cycling Team Owner and financial sponsor Anne Bolyea has announced the she and the team will take a hiatus for the 2009 season. The Cheerwine team was started as a grassroots effort to give riders the opportunity to gain experience as racers. Within five years, Cheerwine became the number one team in the United States. Since its inception in 2003, Cheerwine has supported over 40+ riders in the US and foreign peloton.

"It is time to sit back and enjoy the results of our efforts and hard work as the number one team in the US," said Bolyea, the sole financial sponsor for the Cheerwine team.

"It was a tough decision to take a year off, but it is something I needed to do personally," she said. "I have something in the works for 2010. There were talks of merging this year, but I am just not quite ready for that.

"I want to re-group and have the best team in the country again. It would be very hard for my girls to settle for second best so this is the best decision for everyone."

"I have been very blessed to be able to do this for as long as I have and this has been a wonderful ride. I want to thank everyone who has ever been involved with this program," she said.

Van Gilder, Schempf and Gallagher high light Cross team

Laura Van Guilder (Cheerwine)
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)

Nationally renowned criterium specialist Laura Van Gilder will join the cyclo-cross scene this fall by joining the 'cross team. Van Gilder has been a mainstay on the elite women's national road and criterium circuit for years with her explosive sprinting and aggressive racing style - both skills that team Director Kris Auer believes will help Van Gilder quickly adapt to the 'cross discipline.

Joining her on the squad will be Michael Gallagher, a multiple time US Armed Services National Champion racing with the elite men. Gallagher finished third in the MABRA elite series and looks for bigger results in 2008.

The team will compete up and down the East Coast of the US, racing in the USGPs, the MAC and MABRA Series and targeting US Nationals in December. It will also promote the Charm City 'cross race, which last year drew 400 racers.

C-3 for 2008-9
Elite Men: Wes Schempf, Michael Gallagher, Andy Wulfkuhle, Ethan Townsend, Eric Linder, Zach Adams (U-23)
Elite Women: Laura Van Gilder, Diane Grim, Heidi Von Teitenberg, Beth Mason, Elizabeth Harlow, Amy Breyla
Elite Masters: Kris Auer, Jeff Cordisco, Chris Nystrom, Michael Kolb
Juniors: Sam O'Keefe
Killer B's: Kat Wulfkuhle, Diane Vettori, Miles Smith, Norman Brach, Jon Hostetter, Marc Vettori, Rich Bilson, Doron Petersan, Scott Olson, Johnny "Anger" May, Christina Briseno, Pete Kennedy

Packed field for London Grand Prix

Prior to the start of the Tour of Britain on Sunday, September 7, elites will get their chance to race the London Grand Prix, which also serves as the penultimate round in the elite men's circuit race series.

Two strong eight rider line-ups from Rapha - Condor - and Pearl Izumi - Planet X - High 5 Racing Team dominate the 80-rider strong entry list, with Graham Briggs, Simon Holt for the former and Jeroen Janssen for the latter all still in with a chance of claiming the Series crown.

Briggs and Holt lie second and third in the series, and with championship leader Dean Downing riding The Tour of Britain, it will be a chance for the two youngsters to overtake their team leader at the top of the standings

A number of other top names who will be appearing, among them is Liam Holohan, fresh from his runner up spot in the Salford Nocturne last weekend and Sport Beans' Marcin Bialoblocki, who has been in good form in the Premier Calendar this year.

Racing gets underway at 10.30 local time and will run for 55 minutes and five laps on the Westminster Circuit. The Tour of Britain will run from September 7 through September 14.

Accused Australian cycling coach headed to trial

Rick Lee, a 51 year-old Australian cycling coach living in Pennsylvania, will head to trial on charges of rape, statutory rape, burglary, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and indecent exposure following a preliminary hearing in Northampton County court on Wednesday according to The Morning Call.

During the hearing, charges of trespassing and burglary were dropped. Lee reportedly met online the 15 year-old victim, who was posing as a 19 year-old college student and emergency room nurse.

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