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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, February 26, 2009

Edited by Sue George

Pozzato previews Giro's Vesuvio climb

A stage for Simoni

By Gregor Brown

Like many riders, Filippo Pozzato started
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)
Filippo Pozzato previewed the Vesuvio mountain stage of the 2009 Giro d'Italia. The Italian of Katusha believes that the final mountaintop finish, two days before the race ends on May 31, will suit two-time race winner Gilberto Simoni.

"I think it is a stage for Simoni because of its toughness," he said to Cyclingnews after checking out the climb on Monday. "We will have to wait and see if he is in the classification battle to know if he can go on from that stage to win the overall."

Simoni won the race overall in 2001 and 2003, and finished fourth overall in 2008. He has eight career stage wins in the race.

The 2009 Giro d'Italia stage race, May 9 to 31, has six mountaintop finishes: San Martino di Castrozza (stage 4), Alpe di Siusi (5), San Luca (14), Monte Petrano (16), Block Haus (17) and Vesuvio (19). The "Mount Vesuvius" volcano comes at the end of a 164-kilometre day. The 13-kilometre climb, just outside of Naples, could set the classification in stone before the final day's time trial in Rome.

"It is really hard at the beginning, where there are few different switchbacks, that is where the hard gradients. Then it goes on and on."

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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The Giro d'Italia first used the mountain 50 years ago. The organisers staged a time trial on the slopes, which Charly Gaul won on his way to that year's overall classification. The second and last time was in 1990, when Eduardo Chozas conquered the climb at the end of a 190-kilometre stage.

Clerc clicks into Classic gear

By Daniel Benson

Last year's Milo Sprint Points Champion, Aurelien Clerc (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)
After several near misses at the Tour of Langkawi, Aurélien Clerc (Ag2R La Mondiale) is in confident mood heading into the start of the Classics campaign. The 29-year-old Swiss sprinter is set to start this weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and after finishing second in 2008's Gent-Wevelgem, believes his best chance at landing a Monument could come soon enough.

"I've been improving my condition and despite all the problems I had over the winter I've already had some good placings at races like the Tour of Langkawi," Clerc told Cyclingnews.

During the off-season, Clerc was told that his previous employers, Bouygues Telecom, had no budget to keep him, and with little time to find a new team, he eventually found a home at Vincent Lavenu's AG2R squad. "There was some delay with finding a team after they told me they had less money, so I didn't train until I had a contract with AG2R in early December. Since then I've worked hard though, both on my own and at training camps."

A new team and new surroundings look to have kick-started Clerc's self-belief at a critical point in both the season and his career. "I like riding in Belgium. It will be hard for me to follow the leaders in races like Roubaix but I can get a top placing there. Roubaix is my favourite race and I'd love to win it one day but races like Het Volk and Gent-Wevelgem are perfectly-suited to me. When the bunch finishes a long hard day with around 30 to 40 riders, I can be a contender."

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be Clerc's first race on European soil this year and he'll lead a roster that includes Sébastien Hinault and Lloyd Mondory in Belgium's first race.

Basso's knee improving

Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
Liquigas' Ivan Basso is back at home recuperating after racing part of the Tour of California. Basso withdrew prior to the individual time trial stage last Friday after injuring his right knee.

Basso is pleased enough with his progress that he's back on the bike riding in Varese.

"I am happy because in California, I fully confirmed how good I'd been feeling over the preceding weeks," said Basso. "My desire to excel was great, but at this point of the season, I can't afford to have to take a big break." Basso explained why he withdrew instead of going on to finish the race. "Having continued to race in California could have caused some complications in the healing process."

"Thanks to physiotherapy, my recovery is proceeding well with less than 100km of easy riding per day. I can return to the normal pace of training next week."

With two and a half months until the beginning of the Giro, Basso's preparation is proceeding without any major hitches.

"My work on my base is now ending," said Basso. "In the coming weeks, I will begin to focus on different loads and to increase my power. I will participate in more demanding and challenging races, so I can be in top form in May."

Basso knows it will take more than just good fitness to excel at the Giro. He credited his teammates for their continued support. "I have at my side very good riders, like Vincenzo Nibali, an athlete with huge potential. The grit and determination that he has shown in races thus far this year makes me think that he could prove to be one of the protagonists at this year's Tour."

Nydam on the mend

Scott Nydam (BMC)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)
Several days after breaking his collarbone in the fourth stage of the Tour of California, Scott Nydam has already started what he hopes will be an accelerated path to recovery and racing.

Though the crash was one of the worst in his career, and the second time in five months that he has broken this particular collarbone, Nydam feels anxious to get back to doing what he loves.

"I am feeling better each day," Nydam said. "It was rough for the first day and a half, just getting over the effects of surgery and anaesthesia."

Nydam underwent surgery after the crash. When Nydam broke his collarbone in the Tour of Utah last August, he was operated on by the team doctor, Eric Heiden. Dr. Heiden secured the collarbone at the time with a titanium plate to insure the proper and prompt mending of the bone. In Nydam's crash during the Tour of California, the fracture started where the titanium plate left off.

"The fracture was pretty much as expected, especially since this is a common injury among cyclists," Dr. Heiden said. "We took out the whole plate and replaced it with a larger one." Due to the manner in which Nydam crashed, he was unable to brace for the fall.

"This break was a little more complicated than the last so there's more surface area that needs healing," Nydam explained.

"It's a bit more painful this time around," said Nydam, "but I've been able to stay in Utah since the surgery and have seen Dr. Heiden and Dr. Testa each day."

One of Nydam's foremost concerns is when will he be able to race again and will he be able to train well enough to be competitive come time for the selection of team members going to Europe for races.

"It was a very straightforward operation," Dr. Heiden explained. "He should be back on the bike this week and racing within four to six weeks." Though he will initially only start spinning his legs, it shouldn't be too long before he can start putting in stronger efforts in training.

"I'm heading home Monday, am off the pain killers and already thinking about starting to spin my legs," Nydam said. With major team goals just weeks away, Nydam's motivation is high.

To radio or not to radio

French Television Director of Sports Daniel Bilalian is campaigning for an end to radios worn by riders in the peloton. Bilalian said that the radios, which allow communication between riders and their team managers, take away the spirit of the race and kill the sense of initiative and honor that has made cycling glorious. The argument for and against radios will move next to the pages of French sports daily newspaper L'Equipe, which is hosting the debate on its pages.

The daily paper surveyed riders and found champions like Belgian Eddy Merckx in support of a ban on radios. It also found detractors, such as those concerned about the safety and security of riders on the open roads. They argue that the radios are important for notifying riders of imminent dangers.

Read Cyclingnews' Radio nowhere – Lefevere wants to keep in touch for a team manager's perspective.

Boogerd denies Vandenbroucke's doping claims

Michael Boogerd already has two Tour stage wins
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
(Click for larger image)
Michael Boogerd has laughed off Frank Vandenbroucke's comments that the top five finishers of the 1999 Liège-Bastogne-Liège were all equally doped.

"If I had used the same thing (that Vandenbroucke had used), then I would have won," the former Rabobank rider said.

"It is possible that we used the same thing in 1999, but it would have been a slice of brown bread with cheese," he told "I haven't taken Vandenbroucke seriously for a long time."

Vandenbroucke said in an interview in a Belgian men's magazine this week that he won 1999 Liège-Bastogne-Liège "honestly, since he and the other top finishers all "rode with the same thing in himself, we fought with equal weapons."

Boogerd finished second in the race.

French team selected for Track worlds

The French team selection for the UCI Track World Championships at the end of March in Poland was finalized by Mickaël Jeannin on Tuesday according to the AFP.


Individual sprint: Grégory Baugé, Mickaël Bourgain, Michael d'Almeida, Kévin Sireau Team Sprint: Grégory Baugé, Kévin Sireau, Michael d'Almeida with reserve rider Mickaël Bourgain

Kilometer: Michael d'Almeida, Quentin Lafargue, François Pervis

Keirin: François Pervis, Kévin Sireau

Team pursuit: Arnaud Depreeuw, Julien Duval, Ronan Guinaudeau, Pierre-Luc Perichon, Mickaël Jeannin

Individual pursuit: Arnaud Depreeuw

Points and scratch races: Morgan Kneisky

Madison: Julien Duval, Morgan Kneisky.


Individual and team sprints and keirin: Clara Sanchez, Sandie Clair

500m: Sandie Clair

Points and scratch races: Pascale Jeuland

Team pursuit: Audrey Cordon, Fiona Dutriaux, Pascale Jeuland.

Nature Valley Pro Ride schedule expands

In its second year, the Nature Valley Pro Ride is growing from three to six events. This unique program offers elite amateurs a chance to win a trip to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top ranked Pro/am race in the country, where they'll race on the Nature Valley Cycling Team. The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which begins June 10 in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the only race among America's biggest races to admit amateurs, giving them a chance to enjoy the full professional racing experience.

Six regional qualifiers have been selected from among the top amateur events across the country. They are listed below.

March 29: Jefferson Cup Road Race, Charlottesville, Virginia
April 4: Hillsboro Roubaix, St. Louis, Missouri
April 25 & 26: Wente Vineyards Road Race & Criterium*, San Francisco, California
May 2 & 3: Glenwood Road Race & Longbranch Classic Road Race*, Seattle, Washington
May 3: San Luis Rey Road Race, San Diego, California
May 10: Bear Mountain Road Race, New York, New York
* Scored as an omnium

Each qualifying race will select one man and one woman who will travel to Minnesota to race as part of the Nature Valley Cycling Team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Each rider will receive a travel stipend, free entry, housing accommodations, and full team support. They will make public appearances, get pre-race introductions, participate in autograph sessions, and race in front of crowds in excess of 50,000 during this five-day stage race.

At the race, category 1 men and category 2 women will be pursuing the coveted "Top Amateur" jersey. This competition recognizes the accomplishments of "everyday athletes" as they compete against many of the best cyclists in the country, including international riders, and Olympic and World Champions. It is also an opportunity for amateurs to showcase their talents in front of the professional team managers. Since the program was started in 2004, every Top Amateur winner at the Nature Valley Grand Prix has received a pro team contract the following season.

For more information, visit

New cities onboard with Nocturne Series

The 2009 Nocturne Series locations and dates are now confirmed with two additions to join the award-winning Smithfield Nocturne.

The Edinburgh Nocturne will kick things off on May 30 followed by Smithfield on June 6 with the Blackpool Nocturne taking place on August 1. Event organiser FACE decided to build on the pedigree of the Smithfield Nocturne and focus on developing world class stand alone Nocturne events.

"Our focus is on quality and not quantity," said Event Director James Pope. "We have three events in exciting city locations that span the UK and our vision is to establish these as the premier criterium events on the calendar, events that blend entertainment and performance sport."

"We are building exciting partnerships with the City of London, Blackpool Council and Edinburgh City Council with the aim of developing the Nocturnes as major events in the sporting calendar," he said.

To help achieve this objective FACE are intending on bringing some continental star quality to the racing,

"We are in the process of signing up some well known international pros to take on the strong British teams and we are specifically billing the Blackpool Nocturne as a post Tour de France criterium with some of the stars of the Tour expected to race," said Pope.

The Edinburgh Nocturne will take place around the Grassmarket area and will feature a Belgian-style cobbled finish straight and short climb. Smithfield will continue to take place around the historic Smithfield Market in the heart of the capital, and the Blackpool Nocturne will be raced around the north shore promenade and Blackpool Tower.

Each event will provide a range of support races and feature events including Rollapaluza Roller Racing and a Folding Bike Race.

For more information, visit

DHL Future Stars finish in fine style

The final event of the 2008-9 Revolution track season saw Simon Yates and Ruby Miller maintain their leaders' jerseys despite a series of challenges and a nasty fall. Miller finished an impressive 40 points ahead of rival Laura Trott. Yates took advantage of Sam Harrison's second no show to hold his lead and finished nearly 30 points clear of his twin brother Adam.

Despite Yates's large lead at the start of the Revolution, the rest of the field were not going to let him have an easy evening. Talented rivals John Paul and Josh Papworth both took convincing wins, John in the Scratch and Josh in the Dash. Yates, however, came into his own in the points race where he timed his ride to perfection taking the opening sprint and scoring points throughout the rest of the race.

Yates was clearly delighted to win the title. "Winning the DHL Future Stars competition is really special. There were loads of fast guys there this year so I didn't think I would win this season and was really just aiming for a podium place so I was really, really chuffed about winning. It was good too that my brother Adam managed to get second place."

"As for the future I want to try to get onto the ODP and hopefully have a good season on the road this year."

The Girls' racing provided the biggest drama of the evening when Ruby Miller fell badly in the second race. She proved herself once again to be an unstoppable force and climbed back on to take another impressive victory.

In the team competition, the North West finished over 200 points ahead of the rest. Wales and East Midlands finished second and third respectively with just 30 points between them.

As a special surprise at the end of the evening all the winners were congratulated by special guest and Olympic hero Daley Thompson who joined DHL's Andy Birley for the presentations. / Cannondale elite amateur team kicks off 2009

With a balanced combination of experienced veteran riders and proven young talent, the Northeast-based / Cannondale Elite Amateur Cycling team is looking forward to competing throughout the United States in a schedule emphasizing NRC races as well as remaining true to its New England roots. The team is a continuation of the Fiordifrutta team, which was the number one ranked US amateur team in the 2007 NRC team standings.

The team includes Josh Dillon, Dan Timmerman, Matt White, Eric Schildge, Alister Ratcliff, Steve Weller, Nick Keough, Justin Lindine, and Rider-Manager Todd Nordblom. Team leaders include Dillon, White, and Schildge, all of whom have posted top 10 results in US National Championship road events.

Riders kicked off the season with a training camp at Joe's Garage in Haydenville, Massachusetts, on January 10. With two more similar sessions to come before the end of March, the team will be well prepared and ready to dive into a full calendar of racing.

"We're elated to support this team," said Scott Struve, global director of marketing for Cannondale Bicycle Corp. "All racing is exciting, from amateurs to pros, but these guys have a lot of soul, they work hard, and it is rewarding to watch them progress in their cycling careers."

As a continuation of the FiordiFrutta Elite Amateur Cycling Team, the team takes pride in its development of young cyclists. The squad will continue to help riders step up to the next level of cycling.

Past team members who have moved onto successful pro careers include Jonathan Page (Colavita/Sutter Home, Planet Bike), Phil Gaimon (Jelly Belly), Mike Jones (Healthnet), Shawn Milne (Navigators, Healthnet), Justin Spinelli (Saeco, Navigators), Dan Timmerman (Kodak/Sierra Nevada), Mike Cody (Jelly Belly), Matt Svatek (, Mike Dietrich (Kodak/Sierra Nevada), and Phil Wong (Jittery Joes). Team riders who have ridden for the US National Team in Europe include Oliver Stiler-Cote, Shawn Milne, Darby Thomas, Robbie Dapice, Donny Lopez, Matt White, and Johannes Huseby.

Team members have earned more than 13 national titles.

Tour de Beauce seeking volunteers

The organizing committee of the Tour de Beauce, currently preparing its 24th edition set for June 9 to 14, is looking for new volunteers to add to the current volunteer base of 500 people. The volunteers will fulfill a variety of jobs.

For example, nearly 400 volunteers, over age 16, are required to marshal traffic. "Over the years, we have been able to rely on a core of volunteers who return year after year. Some stages during the Tour de Beauce require a very large number of volunteers, more than 100 people each," said Gaétan Leclerc, head of race security.

The organization is also seeking drivers to run airport shuttles to retrieve and drop off riders travelling via Quebec and Montreal. Drivers with experience in a race caravan are also sought.

Organizers are recruiting charming hostesses over 18 years old to serve as podium girls, and finally, the Commission wants volunteers to manage the sales of promotional material to distribute promotional materials and to collaborate on the updating of the race's website.

Those interested should contact Ms. Isabelle Vachon at 418-227-5894 or complete the volunteer registration form to

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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