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Latest Cycling News for July 15, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones, Shane Stokes, and Mark Zalewski

Di Luca hits the deck

ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca suffered an interruption to his training for the HEW Cyclassics in Hamburg when he crashed heavily during training on Thursday morning. The Liquigas Bianchi rider came down on a descent in Bocca di Valle, near Chieti, hitting his right side hard. Di Luca was out training with Simone and Andrea Masciarelli plus the Ukrainian Kyrylo Pospeyev when the accident happened. The three riders helped him to return home.

"I have several cuts and bruises, especially at the top of my right thigh-bone and shoulder," he said. "But it is nothing too serious. I will have to slow my training but I still plan to return to racing on July 31st in Hamburg."

Di Luca has had a storming first half to the season, opening up a 72 point lead in the ProTour due to winning rides in the Flèche Wallonne, Amstel Gold Race and Vuelta a Pais Vasco, plus an excellent fourth place in the Giro d'Italia. He opted to sit out this year's Tour de France in order to maximise his chances of riding well in the second half of the season.

Swedish champ signs with

Swedish national Champ Jonas Ljungblad has signed a contract with the team, transferring from the Amore e Vita team, with whom he has won many UCI races in the past two seasons.

Ljungblad will target classics such as the Tour of Flanders and the shorter European stage races. His signing has been welcomed by team manger Hilaire Vander Schueren, who is enthusiastic about signing another Swede after Magnus Bäckstedt made his debut with him nine years ago.

The Swedish Amore e Vita champ will race as part of the Belgian team in 2006, and has an option for 2007.

Rider killed in Portland race

The Oregon (USA) cycling community has been plunged into mourning with the news that a 28 year-old cyclist has been killed after crashing inside the final 300 metres of a race at Portland International Raceway. Charles Christiansen, 28, was on the last lap of the 40 mile Tuesday night event when he lost control, hitting his head on a steel and concrete barrier post on the side of the motorcar race track.

Christiansen was wearing a helmet at the time but this proved ineffective at absorbing the impact. Officials with the Portland Fire Bureau said that he probably died straight away.

Race organizer Jeff Mitchem told AP that the rider was moving up in a group sprinting for the finish line when he veered off course, crashing into the barrier.

"As soon as he hit it, the sound was such that we knew it was serious," said Mitchem. He said that medical personnel reached the rider seconds later but were unable to save him. The fatality is the first during a cycling race since a rider was hit by a car in the early 1980s.

Cyclingnews would like to extend its condolences to Charles Christiansen's family, friends and racing colleagues.

Nothstein for Silver Spring GP

Olympic gold and silver medalist Marty Nothstein will be part of an expected 500 rider lineup in the inaugural Martens Volvo Silver Spring Grand Prix criterium race in Silver Spring, MD, USA on July 17th. The riders will compete in five divisions for a total prize list of $9,000. The race will be held on a one-kilometre circuit in Silver Spring's commercial district, passing close to the headquarters of Discovery Channel, the main sponsor of Lance Armstrong's Tour team.

The day's main events will be the $2,400, 25-mile women's pro/elite race and the $4,800, 35 mile men's pro/elite contest. Nothstein will compete in the pro/elite race. He has taken a clutch of Olympic, world and US championship medals. He is also a licensed NHRA drag racer who can post a 7.9 second 1/4 mile (181 mph).

New partnership between British Cycling and the WCRA

British Cycling and the Women's Cycle Racing Association (WCRA) are teaming up in a new partnership to boost numbers of women and girls in cycling as well as supporting British Cycling's Developing Excellence programs.

The partnership replaces BC's existing Women and Girls Commission and is designed to pool the experience and expertise of both organisations. One of the main focuses will be to link in with BC's ongoing Competition Review in order to encourage women and girls to start and to stay involved in cycling. It will also help the most talented to progress to the highest levels.

WCRA key volunteers will benefit from the same membership offers as British Cycling's key volunteers. In addition, new and existing members of the WCRA who have not been members of BC before will now be able to benefit from the free bronze membership promotion and upgrade options currently being implemented through British Cycling Clubs.

Jonny Clay, British Cycling's Competition and Events Manager welcomed the collaboration. "This partnership is a real step forward towards increasing the opportunities for women and girls in the sport of cycling," he said. "It will build on the fantastic work that has been done by the WCRA over the years. It will also ensure that British Cycling's current work within the Competition Review and the Young People and the Developing Excellence programmes is integrated seamlessly with the work of the WCRA, for the benefit of all women and girls in the sport."

Helen Ellis, WCRA's leading official was similarly enthusiastic. "This is a fantastic opportunity to take women's and girl's cycling to new levels, from grassroots to international racing. The WCRA has spent 50 years campaigning for more recognition to the efforts of women within the sport and at last the opportunity is here. I am particularly excited about the impact this will have on the younger riders who are the future of both the WCRA and British Cycling."

USA Cycling announces Junior World's automatic bids

Three junior women and four junior men received bids based on various performances in 2005 to the UCI junior road and track world championships in Vienna, Austria this August 7-14.

Shannon Koch (Flower Mound, Texas), Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa.) and Cindy Lakatosh (Trexlertown, Pa.), earned the women's nominations and Chris Stockburger (Fort Collins, Colo.), Ben Barczewski (Breinigsville, Pa.), Spencer Hartfeld (Santa Barbara, Calif.), and Mike Schnabel (Emmaus, Pa.) automatically qualified in the junior men's ranks.

Road rider Stockburger earned his nomination with a win in the time trial at the Park City Cycling Festival. Koch captured two national titles last month in Utah, winning both the time trial and the road race to secure her spot on the road.

On the track, Geist earned a couple of national championships herself with victories in the individual pursuit and the scratch race last week, but it was her bronze medal performance in the individual pursuit at the 2004 junior world championships that gave her an automatic bid for this year's event. Lakatosh won two events at junior track nationals – one of which secured her spot on the world championship team.

The team sprint trio of Barczewski, Hartfeld and Schnabel clocked a winning time of 1:04.90 at the junior track nationals to meet the time standard and automatically qualify.

Discretionary nominations for the UCI junior world championships will be announced on July 18. Currently, team manager Danny Van Haute is utilizing four road races of the International Cycling Classic - Superweek to aid in his selection for the remaining junior men.

Tour de Toona adds international women's team

A French national composite team consisting of Magali Le Floch, Magali Finot, Mariana Jaunatre, Sophie Creux and Mary Schutte will compete in the women's field of this year's International Tour de Toona, taking place July 25 - 31. Juantre is a rider of particular note performing well at this year's Tour de l'Aude and Tour of Bretagne.

Race promoter Rick Geist was obviously pleased with the addition to the international aspect of the race. "It should be a major step forward in attracting both women's and men's teams from cycling worldwide to Altoona in the years to come."

Toona offers volunteers additional incentive

Two mountain bikes will be raffled away to all volunteers helping with the race. A raffle ticket will be given to people for every day of service and a drawing will take place at the end of the race. Volunteers are quite valuable to the success of this and any race in North America.

"Every year, hundreds of people volunteer time for various tasks that makes it possible to continue the International Tour de Toona as a community based race," explained Paul Cooney, volunteer director. "This year, we are happy to be able to be able to offer at least two lucky volunteers a chance to win a mountain bike as a token of our thanks."

Local residents can call 949-RACE or visit the race website,, for more information.

Cox leads Barloworld squad for Qinghai Lake Tour

Tour de Langkawi winner Ryan Cox will attempt to take his second Asian 2.HC event of the season when he spearheads the Team Barloworld-Valsir squad in the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China, which begins on Saturday, July 16.

The South African champion came out best in the nine-day race last season when American Philip Zajicek, the initial winner, was disqualified for taking the banned substance cathine. Cox had finished 48 seconds behind the Navigators Insurance rider in the general classification. He missed out on the chance to wear the final yellow jersey on the podium, and so will be motivated to win the event from the front this year.

Cox will be backed by a good squad. "We've decided to go with a team of good climbers and good all-round riders," said Barloworld-Valsir team director John Robertson. "Ryan is the defending champion and is in good form, so he'll be our GC rider and the guys will look after him. But there are others on the team who are more than capable of winning stages and performing well in the mountains. The team has a nice shape to it and we're expecting good things of them."

The team includes South African Jeremy Maartens, who outsprinted five breakaway companions to win the fifth stage last year. Compatriots David George and Jock Green join up with Australia's Sean Sullivan, Italian Giampaolo Cheula and Danish rider Rene Jorgensen to complete the seven man squad.

"Ryan, Sean and Jeremy have been training hard in the mountains around Lake Como," said Robertson. "They've been putting in daily five-hour rides up some big climbs. Qinghai is an altitude race. We're talking about 2200 to 2400 metres above sea level.

"There will also be some tough teams going to Qinghai. South Africa is sending their national squad, which did well last year. There is the Polish Action team, who we raced against in the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Giro Del Capo, Navigators are coming from the United States, so there will be some strong opposition. We know how hard it will be, but we're pretty sure we've got the team to counter any threat."

The 1344.4 kilometre Tour of Qinghai Lake is the most prestigious road race in China, and is part of the new Asian Continental Tour currently led by Cox. It runs until July 24.

Untitled Document

The Tour de France of give-aways and competitions

Don't miss out at Tour time!

Resident freebies expert, Rufus Staffordshire, sniffs out some competitions where up to $1 million in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your eyeballs. Woof!

Lucky 7 Sweepstakes'
Photo ©: Trek
Click for larger image

The Tour de France is not only a reasonably popular bike race, ahem, it's also a great opportunity to win an incredible range of prizes and competitions on offer from manufacturers, publishers and distributors.

Many of our sponsors are offering Cyclingnews readers a schwag-fest of give-aways during the lap-around-France. The prizes on offer range from Volkswagens and vaccuum cleaners through to trips to Paris for the 2006 TdF, as well as actual kit being ridden by top pros in the Tour - including top bikes from Trek, Cervelo, and Avanti.

So that you don't have to go hunting around the Internet for all these goodies, we've assembled the Cyclingnews complete guide to Tour freebies and competitions.

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