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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Extra for July 20, 2006

Edited by John Kenny

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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Rider dies at Superweek

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The 37th annual edition of Superweek has been darkened by the death of Aaron Bieberitz in the final road race of the seventeen day series. Biebertz, 31, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin was competing in the category 4/5 men's race of the Tour of Holy Hill in Hartford, Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, Biebertz was riding alone east on Highway E, part of the race course, when a pickup truck towing a trailer southbound on Highway CC stopped at a stop sign intersecting Highway E. The pickup proceeded into the intersection in front of Biebertz where the collision occurred.

The driver, Timothy McQuiston of Hartford, immediately stopped and cyclists following behind alerted race organisers. Biebertz was flown to to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin where he later died from internal injuries.

This is the first fatality in the Superweek series, which consists of road races and criteriums. Race founder and director Otto Wenz told Cyclingnews that this race course has been used by organisers since the 1970s. "It is so upsetting," said Wenz. "It's a situation where everyone was away from him. He was by himself and that is the real sad part."

Racing did continue according to Wenz as the status of Biebertz was uncertain for the rest of the day and into the night, "We finished that day - we hadn't heard anything more." Once news of Biebertz's passing reached organisers an announcement was made.

"We feel we lost a member of the Superweek family - it's a tragedy and we feel for the family," said Superweek Director of Operations Andy Garrison.

Other local media have reported that this was the second fatal accident at a Superweek race. However, according to Garrison, this is the first fatality in its 37 year history. The Carl Zach Cycling Classic, which is a part of Superweek, memorialises a local racer who died at a race a week before Superweek in 2000. "That was a race a week before Superweek that year, and he would have ridden in our race too," said Garrison.

Garrison told Cyclingnews that the race does everything possible to keep riders safe. "In my opinion we have some of the best safety measures in the country. We have our own paramedic and doctor and they were on the scene. Safety is a major importance to Superweek."

"In this race it was a rolling enclosure," said Garrison. "If you are off the field you are a normal bike rider on the road and you have to obey all the traffic rules." The driver of the truck was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way from a stop sign, but no criminal charges were filed in the incident, according to the State Patrol.

No memorial information memorial was available, but Cyclingnews extends its condolences to the friends and family.

Evans climbs into contention

By John Trevorrow

Cadel Evans (Davitamon)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Cadel Evans rode himself right back into contention in this year's Tour de France with a powerful ride to the top of La Toussuire yesterday.

What a difference a day makes. Just when it looked like overnight leader Floyd Landis was going to keep the American tradition alive and that Evans challenge for the tour was in trouble, one awesome stage has changed everything.

King of the mountains leader Dane Michael Rasmussen took off soon after the start and set a ferocious pace, which caused a frantic reaction from the peloton. Rasmussen was too strong and held on to win by one minute 41 seconds but it was the strong attack of Spaniard Carlos Sastre on the final climb that looked the most dangerous.

Evans rode the final ten kilometres with new leader Spaniard Oscar Pereiro and German Andreas Kloden losing 13 seconds to Sastre, "I was good today. It was a much better race for me," a tired but beaming Evans said. Evans less circumspect about his chances for overall victory after his good ride, "Anything can happen in this Tour and almost everything has. So I won't say no."

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Race leader Oscar Pereiro sees Evans as a threat to his yellow jersey, "Cadel Evans is a very strong rider in good form," he said.

Mark Sargeant (Davitamon-Lotto team manager) was impressed by the way that Evans has improved after he lost time to his main rivals on l'Alpe D'Huez, "It was a very good stage after yesterday…I was worried [after his first day in the Alps], he had to dig very deep yesterday. I am very happy," he said.

Robbie McEwen's bold prediction that Evans would win the Tour does not seem so far off the mark now, "OK he's moved up to fifth, there's a big possibility that he can move up. He can still even win it," he said.

"There is another tough day tomorrow but its not an uphill finish and then there is the time trial. He is still right in it. That's what I said about Cadel, he's a natural GC rider. He just keeps coming up day after day, so good on him."

Rogers and Mazzoleni
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

When McEwen was asked what it would take for Evans to move into yellow he grabbed a GC sheet and said dryly, "Two minutes 56 secs."

McEwen was glad just to survive the stage after the grupetto finished outside the time limit, "Phew, [it was] a long day out. We had to ride 180 kilometres and 90 kilometres of it was uphill today. When you've got just about the best climber in the field up the front with Rasmussen going away near the start and going for it there was no way we were going to get inside the time limit. It was set at 12 percent and we rode a good tempo and we weren't too far outside it. They were always going to leave us in the race," he said.

Aussie Michael Rogers was very strong and is still in seventh position overall despite working tirelessly for Kloden. Floyd Landis cracked on the last climb when Rogers was asked to put the hammer down, "It seemed that Landis was all over the road," Rogers said, "I saw him at the bottom of the climb, he was struggling and I was still feeling alright. My team-mate Andreas Klöden asked me to put the pressure on, so I did my job."

Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

"It was a torture. I think we moved up a few positions up on the GC, so we did a good move. I was happy with my ride as I could do my work. I was still able to hang on … what was left at the end (laughs) … it was a torture. This was just the plan of the day. We want to finish on the podium, doesn't matter if that is first, second or third. I think we showed our power today and we're happy.

Oscar Pereiro looked a very different rider to the one that lost nearly half an hour on stage 11. The tour contenders must be ruing the day that they let him get that lost time back, "Yeah, I think now everyone will be regretting giving him half an hour back. Just giving him half an hour, like here, have a Tour," Evans lamented.

Simon Gerrans has a dose of bronchitis but survived the stage, "Yeah [my health is] alright. I went hard over the first few hills just to make sure I was with the group and then when the grupetto formed just cruised back to that."

USPRO criterium format open to discussion

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The format of next year's USPRO criterium nationals will be openly communicated to the USPRO board to avoid the confusion over rider eligibility that occurred before this year's August event.

After realising that the proposed changes to the upcoming USPRO criterium nationals, from an open race to U.S. citizens only, was not communicated to teams, USA Cycling reversed its decision and reverted back to the previous format. In a statement last week, USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson apologised for the lack of communication after Cyclingnews reported that some teams were upset by the decision.

The format will once again be a team-only race, with eight riders per team, holding a professional license. However, as previously reported the race is no longer a part of the UCI calendar.

"The team size is back in place with eight riders each," USA Cycling's Chief of Staff Sean Petty told Cyclingnews, "We will keep it as a same format, like a UCI trade team race. Although since it is not on the UCI calendar, the organiser is not obligated to invite five UCI foreign teams."

With the ruffled feathers seemingly back in place, the next logical question is whether next year's race will be changed to the American-only format. "We have to circle back and discuss it with the USPRO board," said Petty. "We will do that very soon."

Petty acknowledges the pros and cons of each format, and plans on hearing from both sides. "There are two schools of thought -- having all the top riders racing in there, but also it is a national championship, so it should be U.S. only."

The biggest benefit to come out of these events is that the communication will happen. "I think it was our expectation that the pro board would be consulted and discuss that change," Petty said of the breakdown in the communication process. "That didn't happen and subsequently nothing was communicated to the teams, which we found out about obviously. But at least it is better to find out now than August 10!"

USPRO time trial, road race parcours revealed

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Organisers of the new USPRO road and time trial national championships in Greenville, South Carolina have announced the race routes for the road race and time trial. The first-ever professional-only time trial will cover 30.6 kilometres through forests along the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway and the protected Greenville Watershed. The course is an out-and-back with one main climb and rolling hills.

The 211-kilometre road race course is a 36.8 kilometre loop that will be covered five times before reaching three 6.7-kilometre finishing circuits. The main difficulty will be the ascent over Paris Mountain, with an elevation of 1872 feet and an elevation gain of more than 6,000 total feet.

"The routes for both events are certainly challenging, which was our exact goal as this is the National Championship for professional cycling," said Chris Aronhalt, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports.

The road race finish line will be along Main Street, near the intersection of Broad Street, with the cyclists expected to finish near 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 3.

Boonen to ride Tour of Britain

Tom Boonen (Quickstep)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

World Champion Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) has confirmed he will ride the six-stage Tour of Britain starting on July 29. Boonen claimed a stage win in Nottingham in 2004.

Quickstep claimed the team prize last year and Nick Nuyens won the overall prize. Other ProTour teams that will take part include CSC, T-Mobile, Phonak-iShares and Davitamon-Lotto.

Tony Doyle event director said of Boonen's participation, "It's great that he wants to ride the Tour of Britain again. Having the current Road Race World Champion and holder of the Tour de France yellow jersey for three days riding the Tour will be fantastic for the British public.

"Add this to the fact that several of the top teams, including CSC and T-Mobile have confirmed their participation, the field for the 2006 race will be the strongest yet."

Boonen and the other cyclists will attend the Tour of Britain dinner, being held on Friday 1 September at the Café Royal in London. Other guests include the former General Director of the Tour de France - Jean-Marie Leblanc.

The 2006 Tour of Britain will consist of six stages starting on Tuesday 29 August in Glasgow. The Tour then takes in new routes in the Northwest, Yorkshire and The West Midlands, before a new fifth stage in the Southeast ending in Canterbury, the finish city of the first stage of the 2007 Tour De France.

The stages

Stage 1 - August 29: Scotland, Glasgow to Castle Douglas
Stage 2 - August 30: Northwest, Blackpool to Liverpool
Stage 3 - August 31: Yorkshire (to be confirmed)
Stage 4 - September 1: West Midlands, Starting in Wolverhampton
Stage 5 - September 2: Southeast, Rochester to Canterbury
Stage 6 - September 3: London, Greenwich to The Mall

T-Mobile soigneur injured

T-Mobile soigneur Jeremiah Ranegar has landed himself in hospital after stage 1 of Thuringen Rundfahrt yesterday, when an official car ran into him in the feed zone.

Ranegar was crossing the road to get back to his feed van through the slowly moving convoy when an official car was moving up the outside. He was hit and was taken to hospital with a badly broken leg that needed surgery last night. It is thought that he will need to remain in hospital for at least three weeks.

Strong field for Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix

Riders from teams including Toyota United Cycling, Health Net and Navigators will be part of over 1,000 racers who will compete for $25,000 in prize money at the 45th Annual Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix on Sunday, August 13, 2006.

"We can expect a spectacular day of world-class races," said Rod Spackman, public and government affairs manager for Chevron, the event's title sponsor for the past 15 years. "The Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix has helped cultivate a new generation of cycling enthusiast in Southern California. Professional bicycle racing is exploding in popularity, and we are honoured that the South Bay and this event continues to serve as its base of support."

More than 10,000 spectators are expected to witness the two main events, the women's and men's pro races This year's Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will also crown the inaugural woman's cycling challenge champion. The cycling challenge was created for woman racers in Southern California and Nevada of all levels, to encourage and support participation in the sport.

Community races will take place after the main races and are open to children two to 14 years old, who will receive an official race number, medal and an event T-shirt.

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 over $600,000 in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your eyeballs. Woof!

Scratch - but don't sniff
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 pedals and laptops through to trips to Paris for the 2007 TdF, as well as actual kit being ridden by top pros in the Tour - including top bikes from Trek, Blue, 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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