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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, June 5, 2009

Edited by Peter Hymas

Napolitano wins at Tour of Luxembourg

Danilo Napolitano (Katusha)
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Danilo Napolitano (Team Katusha) won the opening 157-kilometre road stage of the Tour of Luxembourg on Thursday. The Italian out-sprinted Steven Caethoven (Agritubel) and Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano) in the bunch gallop to the finish in Mondorf-les-Bains.

"It was a nervous and very fast stage," said Napolitano. "Astana kept the pace high to catch the escapees. In the sprint my teammates Horrach, Markov and Mikhailov brought me to the front and then I took the wheel of CSF Group-Navigare's Dall’Antonia. He started his sprint at 200 metres to go which may have been a little bit early because of the headwind."

Switzerland's Grégory Rast (Astana), who won Wednesday's prologue, remained in the race lead by two seconds over Jonathan Hivert (Skil-Shimano) and four seconds ahead of Romain Feillu (Agritubel).

After only 25 kilometres of racing five riders formed the race-long break. Sébastien Turgot (BBox Bouygues Telecom), Alexandre Usov (Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne), Amets Txurruka (Euskatel-Euskadi), Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel) and Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg-Corratec) attacked and would attain a maximum advantage of five minutes over the peloton. When the Astana-led peloton cut their margin to under two minutes, Jalabert attacked the leading group and stayed away until 10 kilometres remaining in the stage.

The teams of the sprinters then kept the race together until the finish line for their field sprint to decide stage honours.

See Cyclingnews' coverage of stage two of the Tour of Luxembourg.

Cervélo in command at Montréal

Kirsten Wild of Team Cervélo
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Cervélo TestTeam riders have won the first four stages of Le Tour du Grand Montréal and lead the overall, points and team classifications. The Dutch Regina Bruins won the stage three time trial on Wednesday while compatriot Kirsten Wild has won three stages in addition to leading general classification since the first day of racing on Monday.

Directeur sportif Manel Lacambra commented on the team's performance on their latest stage victory by Wild, the stage four Petite-Italie criterium. "Our strategy was to have Regina Bruins go for the stage win, while Kirsten Wild would try and accumulate more seconds for the GC and the result was perfect. The other 4 riders on the team took it easy during the morning time trial to save energy. In the afternoon we once again controlled the stage, maintaining a high speed at the head of the group for the entire 50km distance making it impossible for the others teams to attack.

"The team was once again super strong and it made an easy victory for Wild. Tomorrow is the last stage and it will be considerably harder. We know that everybody will try to attack to win the Tour but we have a very strong team and our goal will be to keep the yellow jersey to the finish. But even without knowing tomorrow's result, I am very happy with the performance of the team. We've dominated here in addition to winning the World Cup."

Le Tour du Grand Montréal concludes with a 115-kilometre circuit race at Mont-Saint-Hilaire.

See Cyclingnews' coverage of stage four of Le Tour du Grand Montréal.

OUCH and KBS announce Philadelphia rosters

Alex Candelario at Philly last year
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

The OUCH Pro Cycling Team p/b Maxxis and Kelly Benefit Strategies teams have released their roster selections for the 25th edition of the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship taking place in Pennsylvania on June 7.

The OUCH Pro Cycling Team will look to Karl Menzies, John Murphy and Andrew Pinfold in the case of a bunch finish, while Rory Sutherland and Floyd Landis could find themselves in the mix if the race turns out to favor climbers.

"Without question, we have one of the strongest, most balanced rosters in the race," said Team OUCH directeur sportif Mike Tamayo. "Philly can be an unpredictable race, but with the guys we have coming, I think we're ready for just about anything."

Kelly Benefit Strategies will be led by Alex Candelario, 5th in the 2008 edition, as well as Andrew Bajadali who'll be competing for the first time since breaking his scapula at last month's Tour of the Gila.

"The TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship is always a major priority for the team," said Kelly Benefit Strategies performance director Jonas Carney. "Last year, after a huge team effort, Cando [Alex Candelario] finished in the top five. That's a great result when you're racing against ProTour teams at the biggest one-day race in North America, but nobody in our program is ever satisfied with a top five. Our team is stronger than ever and we will be racing to win on Sunday."

OUCH Pro Cycling Team p/b Maxxis: Tim Johnson, Floyd Landis, Patrick McCarty, Karl Menzies, John Murphy, Andrew Pinfold, Rory Sutherland and Brad White
Kelly Benefit Strategies: Andrew Bajadali, Zach Bell, Dan Bowman, Alex Candelario, Jake Erker, Reid Mumford, Neil Shirley and Scott Zwizanski

Quick Step adds to roster

Branislau Samoilau has joined Quick Step
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The Belgian ProTour team Quick Step has announced that a pair of riders from Belarus, Branislau Samoilau and Andrei Kunitski, have been hired by the team.

"These are two riders with good qualities and we've decided to invest in them," said Patrick Lefevere, Quick Step team manager. "Both athletes are now on the team roster and have a contract through the end of 2010. Samoilau will ride the first race for us at the Tour de Suisse in a few days, while Kunitski will participate in the next Ster ElektroToer. We've chosen these two athletes because we believe they can be important elements in completing the group of riders skilled in stage races that is showing promise and growth from one competition to the next."

The 24-year old Samoilau has two professional wins in his palmares: the Belarus national road championship in 2007 and stage five of the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda in 2008. The 25-year-old Kunitski is the 2007 and 2008 Belarus national time trial champion and has also won a stage in the 2008 Vuelta a Burgos.

Multivan Merida sitting pretty

A happy José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

With the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season halfway finished, the Multivan Merida Team is happily sitting atop the team cross country standings. With four races complete, the team can boast four podium finishes, including a win.

The team has fielded some of the few riders who've been able to challenge Olympic Champion Julien Absalon, who is leading the individual World Cup standings. José Hermida won the opening World Cup in South Africa. In subsequent rounds, Ralph Näf took over the roll of Absalon's challenger. Both in Houffalize and in Madrid, Näf and Absalon fought a tough battle, with Absalon victorious in both rounds.

Another team rider making a name for himself is Germany's Moritz Milatz who climbed on a World Cup podium for the very first time in Madrid with a third place.

With a break in the cross country World Cups, many of the team's riders will turn their attention to marathons. Hannes Genze has already won the Riva's Bike Marathon Garda Trentino, for example.

Away from the racing scene, Cyclingnews diarist Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has started training again after giving birth to her first child, son Bjørnar. She is planning to return to racing for the second half of the season.

Lees-McRae and MIT claim collegiate season titles

Carla Swart helped Lees-McRae College
Photo ©: Casey B Gibson
(Click for larger image)

With the 2008-2009 collegiate cycling season officially in the books, USA Cycling has announced that Lees McRae College (Banner Elk, North Carolina) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts) topped the rankings of Division I and Division II schools respectively.

Lees-McRae's win in the season-long points race was its second in only three years of competing in Division I. The North Carolina school dethroned defending champ Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colorado), 76 points to 72, to reclaim the bragging rights it earned in its first year in the big leagues.

The two rivals were deadlocked halfway through the collegiate season with 37 points each after the team omniums at track and mountain bike nationals. After winning the team omnium at cyclo-cross nationals, Lees-McRae took a one-point lead heading into the final national championship contest of the season, the road national championships held in Fort Collins, Colorado. There, Lees-McRae finished second to the University of California-Davis and solidified its lead in the overall rankings with another 19 points compared to the 16 that Fort Lewis scored in Fort Collins.

In Division II, the top two spots were a repeat of the 2007-2008 rankings with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology again beating out Western Washington University (Bellingham, Washington) for the title.

At the midway point, it was Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado) tied for first place, both with 29 points, while MIT and Western Washington were tied for third with 26. MIT moved into the lead, however, after a strong third place performance in the omnium at cyclo-cross nationals. The final national championship of the season saw MIT finish second to Whitman University (Walla Walla, Washington) to score 19 points for a total of 63 while Western Washington came in third for 18 and a total of 60.

The collegiate rankings begin at the start of the academic year and points are awarded to the top 20 from the team omniums in the national championships for each of the four disciplines: track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross and road.

New Mexico resident wins BMC-Cyclingnews Giro sweepstakes

Dirk Hollebeek, a resident of Gallup, New Mexico with his wife and three children, has won the BMC-Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia sweepstakes. Hollebeek will receive a BMC SLC01 Pro Machine road bike frame valued at $2,999 USD - the same frame ridden by the riders on the US-based BMC Racing Team - as well as an Assos-made BMC team jersey, cap and socks valued at $219 USD.

Hollebeek, a middle school counselor, regularly takes part in local cycling events. "I participate in as many local races and benefit rides as I can both on the road and the trail. Last year a group of us participated in the Tour of the Gila together and we hope to do that again next year as well. There is a healthy biking community in the Gallup area and the road and mountain biking is superb with the red rock landscape and national forests."

Due to health conditions, cycling has been an important part of Hollebeek's life. He was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of two and soon found that non-weight bearing sports would be beneficial. "I decided to give swimming and cycling a try. I swam for years but once high school was over, I hung up the goggles and turned more of my attention to turning pedals.

"I found that cycling for me has gone well beyond just the exhilaration that good rides provide. Through biking I have kept my weight low, my body strong and joints limber which have all allowed me to manage my arthritis better than most who have the disease for over thirty years."

Seven years ago Hollebeek suffered a traumatic brain injury and road cycling proved to be a panacea. "I had to learn to pronounce words correctly, read and generally communicate again. A number of those symptoms returned last summer when I suffered a concussion in a mountain bike crash. The only remedy? Road biking.

"My thinking routinely became clear and my speech easier to understand after an hour plus ride. It was like a switch got flipped on in my head and things worked again. Having a doctor’s note to go riding is one sweet excuse."

Besides participating in cycling, Hollebeek is a fan of the sport at the professional level. "I love watching the pro races and the drama as it unfolds on the asphalt. While the Grand Tours are certainly my favorites, the Classics and even domestic races like the Tour of California are really fun, too."

Congratulations to Dirk, and thanks to all of you who took the time to enter the contest!

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