Latest Cycling News for July 11, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
Landis 'perfectly poised'
By Shane Stokes
Floyd Landis' training advisor Allen Lim has told Cyclingnews that
he believes the rider is in the perfect position as the race heads towards
the first big mountain stage on Wednesday. The Phonak rider is currently
second overall, 1 minute behind T-Mobile's race leader Serguei Gonchar,
and while Lim says Landis was racing to win the TT, the fact that the
pressure of race leadership is off him for now is a plus.
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).
WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/
"You never go into a time trial aiming for that, planning on giving
up time, and I think that if Floyd could have won he would have gone for
it. But now that we are sitting in this position [2nd overall], it is
a great situation to be in. This is certainly is an excellent scenario."
Lim was impressed with his performance in the time trial. "He had a
little bit of a mishap, breaking his time trial bars and having to change
his bike, but he is on track. Holy cow! If we factor in the mishap and
if we factor in some of the aerodynamic changes that occurred with the
bicycles [the bars were lower as per the UCI regulations], he is exactly
where he should be. Had he not have those mishaps, I think he would only
have been 22 or 23 seconds down on first place. That is within plus or
minus 3 Watts of where we thought he should have been, so everything is
"That said, it is still bike racing and just because the engine is good,
everything is good, it doesn't mean that it [winning the Tour] is going
to be plain sailing. The Tour is going to be very tactical race, it is
still going to be a lot about luck and consistency, so I guess we will
just play it day by day."
Monday's rest day brought the shock news that Landis has been battling
a degenerative hip condition for quite some time, the pain of this affecting
him while on and off the bike. Lim is one of a select few who would have
known about the problem and says that it has been an issue in his performances
for some time.
"It is everything. The hip rules the day. If the hip is good, he can
go well but if it is not so good, then it affects him. But the one thing
I will say is that he is one tough dude. This injury has given him a whole
lot of mental toughness; the pain of cycling is nothing compared to that.
He is one strong character. He can get through the Tour okay…he has been
through worse. This is fine."
A full interview with Allen Lim will follow soon on Cyclingnews.
Down, but not out: Team CSC
At the CSC press conference on the first of two rest days at the Tour
de France, one got the impression that the a team was looking to get back
on its feet after being deprived of its leader, Ivan Basso. The feeling
even more so reigned as the squad had not shown itself much in the first
week of racing, and as more unfortunate events (the crashes of Stuart
O'Grady and Bobby Julich, who had to abandon) prevented the riders from
refocusing on their new tasks ahead. Hedwig Kröner reports from
Jens Voigt, CSC powerhouse
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Jens Voigt, of course, was the first to defend his team's achievements.
"We were not present in the race?," he asked back. "Well, it was rather
smart of us that you didn't see us in this first week. What's the point
in wasting your energy in some desperate breakaway which is not going
to be successful anyway? If we go, we go for the win, and many of these
stages were sure to end in a bunch sprint."
Sports director Kim Andersen, responding to the journalists' questions
in the place of Bjarne Riis, who had taken "a day off" agreed with his
rider, and said that the team's morale couldn't be better.
"We are here to work, and we work with the people who are here," he
described the situation after having had to suspend the team leader, Tour
de France favourite Ivan Basso, even before the race had started. "I think
everybody is really motivated, we do the best we can and more we cannot
do. The race start was difficult, and now we have to move on. We have
Carlos Sastre to protect for the GC, and we can go for stage wins. I'm
sure you will see good results from us before the end of the race."
here for the full feature.
The wheel turns for O'Grady
By Hedwig Kröner in Bordeaux
Having crashed heavily in stage 3 and fractured a lower back vertebrae,
Stuart O'Grady is still hanging on to the peloton, but if was it not for
his willpower, the Australian would have had a good reason to give up
the race. First he had to refocus his racing goals as the team's leader,
Ivan Basso, did not start, and then, due to the crash, O'Grady was unable
to sprint and saw the green jersey points classification rocket up without
being able to go for this objective himself.
"It's definitely been a tough start," he said on the Tour's first rest
day in Bordeaux. "I was going to ride for Ivan, I was looking forward
to the challenge and the new role and I was extremely focused on it. So
I went into the prologue thinking throwing all my anger into the bike,
and I was feeling good with the result. Unfortunately the crash was pretty
heavy, and at the moment I'm just pretty lucky still to be here, I guess."
The sprinter, who came to CSC this year, made up his mind that he didn't
want to drop out of the Tour. "The most important thing was to get through
the first day [after the crash - ed.]," he continued. "I really wasn't
sure about it, but then I did manage, and ever since, it's been getting
better and better. But the stages have been flat, so it's been 'easy'
- the real test is going to be the first mountain stage. If I can get
to the top of that first mountain, then I will finish the Tour."
O'Grady is prepared to battle on, as there is still hope that there
will be better days to come. "Nothing can be more painful than those first
days when it was freshly broken," he said. "There are still two weeks
of racing to do, so once the GC falls into bits, of course I'm going to
take every opportunity I can to - if my body lets me - go up the road
and try and win a stage, or at least do something. I could already ride
once in the front, for the team, and that was already a little 'mission
accomplished', just to be able to do that."
It's been "blow after blow" for the Australian's team, too, but O'Grady
is hopeful that Team CSC can overcome its difficulties. "To pick itself
up is one of the strengths of this team," he explained. "We are a really
supportive group of riders, it's not just a bunch of foreigners at the
dinner table. I think it's in times like these where the team will really
show its true strengths. Now more than ever, we really have to use each
other, and use our qualities. But we're as hungry as ever. We keep getting
hit, and we keep getting up. One thing's for sure: the bad luck can't
keep coming. The wheel always turns, and I'm sure you haven't seen the
last of us yet."
USA Cycling awaits Operación Puerto information
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Although Tyler Hamilton's name has been associated with Operacion
Puerto, USA Cycling's CEO Steve Johnson says that the UCI has not
yet communicated anything yet. "We haven't received any information about
riders," Johnson told Cyclingnews as he was observing the national
championships festival in Seven Springs, PA. "No specific information
just that the UCI is preparing dossiers and will communicate with us."
Johnson says that if a U.S. rider is implicated that USAC will refer
everything to the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA). "We will immediately
forward to USADA. In our country, that is the organization that is investigates
As for the life-long ban that UCI President Pat McQuaid referred to,
Johnson replied, "Whatever USADA determines we would have to follow."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy
complete coverage of Operación Puerto
Raisin aiming for pro return
By Shane Stokes
American rider Saul Raisin has taken an important step forward, completing
some three hour training sessions while home in Dalton, Georgia. For now
the Credit Agricole rider is using the home trainer, but he hopes to be
back on the road soon.
"I think it will be a month or two, then I will be out road," he told
Cyclingnews over the weekend. "Things are going very well thus far. I'm
getting stronger every day, riding the trainer a lot. I am doing three
hour rides and also getting in other exercise, such as swimming. I'm becoming
stronger and getting well."
Raisin crashed hard during the opening stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe
in France on April 4th, hitting his head when he fell. He was initially
stable but then suffered a brain haemorrhage over a day later and almost
died. Doctors operated in order to try to save his life and, after six
days in a coma, he finally came around. However brain trauma meant that
he was very weak and also lacked strength on the left hand side of his
body. That muscular balance is returning, though.
"My left side was weaker because of my brain injury, but as my brain
heals it should get better," he states. "My left side is almost back to
where it should be; my arm is still weaker, I am doing a lot of exercises
trying to build it back up. But other than that, my legs are almost back
to normal. There has definitely been an improvement."
Raisin has had an emotional time of late, both in terms of leaving the
rehab centre to return home and also in following the Tour de France on
the television. "It was great to get home," he says. "There were a load
of welcome home banners for me. In addition to that, I was really emotional
when I was watching the Tour and I saw Thor [Husovd], Axel Merckx and
all my teammates wearing my bracelets. That was very emotional for me,
it is like my spirit is at the Tour. I would really like to be there now,
but it really made me feel good to see those guys wearing them on the
Although Raisin's doctors have said that it is not guaranteed that he
will be able to return to the pro peloton, his rapid recovery gives him
much hope that this will be the case. For now it seems that Credit Agricole
are keeping a place for him.
"I am getting great support from them," he stated. "The team likes me
a lot, and like I said, the whole team are wearing the bracelets. As of
now, I am going back in October to be in the team pictures for next season.
So far things are good, so we will see how it works out."
A full Saul Raisin interview will follow soon on Cyclingnews.
Steegmans to Quick.Step
Gert Steegmans will ride for Quick.Step for the coming two seasons,
reports De Telegraaf. The Flemish "TGV", who has led out Robbie
McEwen to two of his three stage wins, will now perform the same role
for Tom Boonen. Steegmans is also a good sprinter and classics rider in
his own right, and has won five races so far this season.
De Telegraaf also reports that Rabobank was interested in signing
Steegmans as a replacement for Oscar Freire, who has a big offer from
Saunier Duval. However, Quick.Step beat the Dutch team to the mark.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)