First Edition Cycling News for June 18, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
Tour de Suisse stage 8 wrap-up
Contador takes second Würth stage win; Gil unable to increase his buffer
By Shane Stokes in Ambri, with additional reporting from Anthony
Alberto Contador (Würth)
Photo ©: AFP
For one Spaniard joy, the other disappointment. The beleaguered Würth
team got another boost to morale today when 23 year old Alberto Contador
won the penultimate stage of the Tour de Suisse into Ambri. The 23 year
old jumped across to a splintering breakaway group 115 kilometres from
the line and then pressed on alone on the 2106 metre first category climb
of Gotthardpass. Although Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto) set off in pursuit
with 13 kilometres remaining and was then reinforced in his chase some
ten kilometres later by David Herrero Llorente (Euskaltel), Contador was
strong enough to stay clear of the two and reach the finish 34 seconds
Phonak rider Alexandre Moos led home a large chase group a further three
seconds later. Race leader Koldo Gil Perez took fifth but the Saunier
Duval rider was clearly disappointed not to have succeeded in his aim
of taking time out of closest rivals Jörg Jaksche (Team Würth) and Jan
Ullrich (T-Mobile). "It will be difficult to win now," he admitted at
the post-race press conference. "I will give everything tomorrow in the
time trial, though; I think there is still a small chance."
Jaksche and Ullrich will beg to differ. Both are strong time trialists,
and over 30 kilometres they will be confident of erasing their deficits
of 30 and 50 seconds respectively. Unless Gil pulls out a phenomenal ride,
it looks like there will be a big German showdown on the undulating road
between Kerzers and Bern tomorrow.
Click here for the full
results, report and photos from stage 8.
Gil: tough fight in store
By Shane Stokes in Ambri
Koldo Gil (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: AFP
Race leader Koldo Gil (Saunier Duval) said on Saturday evening that
he would fight hard to win the Tour de Suisse, but conceded that a tough
battle with Jan Ullrich is on the cards. "Obviously he is the big favourite
here," he admitted. "I think he is going well. It will be very difficult
to take him on over 30 kilometres against the clock, but I will try."
Gil was unable to take any more time in today's eighth
stage, and will have to make do with his 30 and 50 second buffers
over Jaksche and Ullrich in tomorrow's time trial. But a strong performance
by Gil could still see him hold yellow, especially after he won the time
trial in the recent Euskal Bizikleta.
The race leader also told the media that he had been concerned at the
risky run-in to the line in Ascona
yesterday. "I wasn't happy with the finish…there were five turns in
the final kilometre and with the rain, that made things extremely dangerous,"
he stated. "The risk of getting hurt is high. So many riders are here
to prepare for the Tour de France and they don't want to get hurt."
Gil has already said he will bypass the Tour in order to prepare for
the Vuelta. However his big Tour de Suisse rival Jan Ullrich is very much
targeting the French race; what does he think of his chances?
"The end of the Tour de France is five weeks from now," he said. "I
think that by then Ullrich will be in his top form, so it might be perfect
timing on his part."
Contador continues Swiss success
Alberto Contador (Wurth)
Photo ©: AFP
Alberto Contador gave the Astana-Wurth team its second stage win in
the Tour de Suisse, and continued his love affair with Helvetian racing,
as he also has two stage wins in the Tour de Romandie. The 23 year-old
was happy with his result, especially as he was not looking to do well
on GC in the Tour de Suisse.
"I didn't have the idea to go for the GC, I only wanted to get some
racing speed in while thinking of the Tour, but I knew at the end of the
race I could try to win something."
Contador said that he struggled at first. "I had to fight from the beginning
of the stage. In the first kilometres, I was not feeling too good, and
had doubts, but on the last climb I decided to play hard and attacked
at six kilometres from the summit. I have managed to cross the top with
enough time (1'08) and I could keep the advantage."
The victory was a morale booster for the team, which is currently in
crisis in the wake of Operacion Puerto and the withdrawal of Liberty Seguros
as the main sponsor. "It's especially good for all of us and, for me personally,
it's good to motivate myself for the Tour. It particularly gives me tranquility,
because I see that the preparation is working and I will be able to come
to France in the best condition."
Tomorrow, Contador said he will try to prove himself against the clock,
"but there are better favourites than I, like Ullrich. And besides, it
is certain that I will pay for today's effort."
Schleck improves one
Team CSC's Fränk Schleck improved to fifth place overall after the eighth
stage of the Tour de Suisse. "We had three riders in the favourite's
group and Fränk advanced one spot, when José Angel Gomez was dropped along
the way," said team director Dan Frost to team-csc.com. "All in
all it was a good result for us, and we might be able to advance even
further after the time trial tomorrow. Apart from that Cancellara is of
course very keen to make a result, so it will be interesting to see if
he's able to beat Ullrich, who seems very strong at the moment."
Gerolsteiner in the mix
Gerolsteiner was in the firing line during stage
8 of the Tour de Suisse with local rider Sven Montgomery forming part
of the breakaway. "Monty really did a super race," said sports director
Reimund Dietzen. "He was always at the front and at the same time didn't
do badly on the three passes. One shouldn't forget that this was his first
race since his collarbone break."
Austrian Georg Totschnig was the best of the GC riders, finishing the
stage in 18th, 41 seconds behind winner Alberto Contador. Totschnig is
now in 16th on GC, at 6'36 behind Koldo Gil. "A normal result. Also with
Georg, it's improving," finished Dietzen.
No Tour for McGee
Australian Brad McGee will not be riding the Tour de France, due to
his ongoing back problems, reports Velomania.net. After undergoing
further tests since his abandon in the Tour de Suisse, he was found to
have a herniated disc that will require an operation before he can be
competitive again. FDJ will also be without Lilian Jégou, who broke his
thigh in a crash during the Tour de Suisse.
Terpstra to Milram
Dutch rider Niki Terpstra (Ubbink-Syntec) will ride for Milram in 2007,
his current team reports. The 22 year-old from Krommenie has signed a
two year contract with the Italian ProTour team. Terpstra has impressed
this year, with a win in the queen stage of the Tour of Belgium, as well
as a stage in the Tour of Normandy and the overall of the OZ wielerweekend,
where he also won the time trial. He was also sixth in the time trial
of the Ster Elektrotoer.
After the Dutch championship in Maastricht, Terpstra will ride the European
championship for espoirs in Valkenburg in July.
"I'm really really happy with this chance," said Terpstra. "Milram is
a great team with a good structure. The management team has a lot of confidence
in me and I will certainly not let them down."
Eindhoven TTT early due to World Cup
The soccer World Cup is affecting sports events everywhere, due to its
massive popularity. In order not to conflict with Sunday's matches, the
ProTour team time trial in Eindhoven will be held at the relatively early
hour of 11:10. Skil-Shimano will be the first team off, while last year's
winners Gerolsteiner will leave at 12:34.
Haywood Yaletown Grand Prix
The third edition of the Haywood Yaletown Grand Prix presented by Deans
Knight Capital Management will be held in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada
on July 1. Riders will compete for more than $5,000 in prize money and
the Haywood Cup.
This year, the construction of Vancouver’s new airport rapid transit
line has forced a course change, and there will be a new 6-corner, 900
metre layout that winds through the heart of Yaletown, providing plenty
of spectator viewpoints.
While the race has had numerous top level riders like Roland Green,
Alison Sydor and Svein Tuft, event director Paul Done said that it is
about more than the pros: "We're proud that so many great riders love
our race and have come back for more, but for us the Yaletown Grand Prix
is also a celebration of the sport and we're just as happy that we give
amateurs the chance to ride on a closed downtown course with lots of friends,
family and spectators there to cheer them on."
This year, the Yaletown Grand Prix will raise money for the Boys and
Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver who deliver a wide range of health, educational
and recreational services to over 6000 local children annually.
Racing starts at 1:30pm with the pro races getting under way at 4:30pm.
For more information, visit www.yaletowngrandprix.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)