Latest Cycling News for June 21, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer
T-Mobile announces Tour de France line-up
After casting a final look at their riders’ form at the recently concluded
de Suisse and Vuelta
a Asturias, T-Mobile Team manager Olaf Ludwig and Tour de France sporting
director Rudy Pevenage have finalised their roster for the 2006 Tour de
France. Giuseppe Guerini, Matthias Kessler, Oscar Sevilla and Patrik Sinkewitz
have secured the last four places in the line-up. The four now team up
with the five riders, already nominated to the core roster in January:
Serguei Gonchar, Andreas Klöden, Eddy Mazzoleni, Michael Rogers and Jan
Olaf Ludwig admitted that it wasn't an easy decision to make. "We were
in the fortunate position to have a shortlist of 12 strong candidates
to choose from." Asturias overall winner Oscar Sevilla was the last to
cement his place in the line-up. "In the end we opted for another pure
climber over a so-called rouleur," explained Pevenage. Meanwhile, the
Italian Lorenzo Bernucci will be on stand-by as first reserve to slot
in, should one of the nine nominees make a late withdrawal.
Team manager Ludwig believes Guerini, Kessler, Sevilla and Sinkewitz
have performed solidly in the last weeks and months. Stephan Schreck and
Sergey Ivanov were the other names on the Tour short-list right up the
final decision. "They were in contention", says Ludwig. "But eventually
we had to make the final decision." Schreck, who made his Tour debut last
year, has struggled to follow-up on his solid 2005 season, while "Bernucci
just about edged out Ivanov for the reserve spot," added Pevenage.
Pevenage, Ludwig and captain Jan Ullrich have huge belief in two riders,
who, for different reasons, have struggled to make a mark on the season
so far: Andreas Klöden and Eddy Mazzoleni. Ullrich is convinced that Klöden,
Tour runner-up in 2004, will come good at the right time: "Andreas is
a brick, he will find his best form." Ludwig shares the same faith in
Klöden: "We will be able to count on him when the Tour hits the mountains."
Mazzoleni, who since January has been assured of his place in the roster,
has been able to make the Tour de France the front and centre of his entire
"We are taking a fantastic team to the start line," added Ullrich in
praise of the eight teammates who will support his latest bid for a second
overall Tour win. The captain judges the team’s solid Giro and Tour de
Suisse campaigns as evidence of "the great mood in the camp and the potential
within the team." He himself is "extremely satisfied" with his form-building;
the overall win in Switzerland has given him "enormous self-confidence."
In addition to the overall victory, T-Mobile is also looking to win the
Best Team Classification, which it has already done at the past two Tours.
The T-Mobile team to the 2006 Tour de France will therefore be: Giuseppe
Guerini (36/Italy), Serguei Gonchar (35/Ukraine), Matthias Kessler (27/Germany),
Andreas Klöden (30/ Germany), Eddy Mazzoleni (32/Italy), Michael Rogers
(26/Australia), Patrik Sinkewitz (25/ Germany), Oscar Sevilla (30/Spain)
and Jan Ullrich (32/ Germany).
Ullrich skips Nationals
Jan Ullrich has decided not to participate in the German national championship
road race next Sunday in order to concentrate on the Tour de France. "Travelling
to and from the race would cost me a day each way," he wrote on his personal
website. "Apart from the stress, I would also hardly have time to train
on Saturday and Monday. We are convinced that too much running around
would hurt my Tour preparations. Therefore, I will stay home in order
to prepare myself for the Tour in peace and quiet."
Sevilla celebrates victory
Oscar Sevilla (T-mobile) at last
year's Tour de France
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla has won the Vuelta
Asturias this week, his first victory in four years and his first
stage race win ever. The Spaniard, 29, went into the final stage with
a lead of only six seconds over second-placed Eladio Jimenez Sanchez (Valenciana),
but was able to build it up to 1'20 in the final stage, where he finished
second, seven seconds behind stage winner Ruben Plaza (Valenciana).
"I am extremely happy for Oscar," said T-Mobile Directeur Sportif Valerio
Piva. "He is a very quiet and determined worker. This win is the just
reward for his efforts."
Sevilla's victory improved his chances of being named to the T-Mobile
Tour squad that was announced today. "Oscar has been in good form here
and was able to control the race right throughout," according to Piva.
"His form curve shows he's peaking at exactly the right time, which proves
that he knows exactly how to go about his preparations."
A dark cloud hanging over Sevilla is the fact that he was allegedly
filmed entering the building where the incriminated Dr. Fuentes has his
offices, in the Spanish Operation Puerto affair. Sevilla claimed not to
have been involved with the controversial doctor and has assured his team
of his innocence in a written statement.
The pressure is on for Boonen
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) in Green
after stage 1 last year
Photo ©: Sirotti
Belgian cycling superstar Tom Boonen is looking forward to the fight
over stage victories and the Green jersey in France, starting in only
ten days. But the leader of team Quick.Step also knows that the pressure
on him will be tough, and not only coming from his fans.
"The Tour is the greatest competition of the year," Boonen said. "I'm
not really happy to go there, because it is so hard mentally. As soon
as you're out of bed, it's stressful. And everyone wants to win and thinks
they can! Everybody gets involved in the sprints, even riders that don't
have anything to do with it: GC riders, climbers... It's life-threatening."
The World Champion expected danger coming from other riders than the
sprinters, amongst which he sees Australian Robbie McEwen as his biggest
rival for the fast stage finishes. "Sometimes I don't agree with the way
he [McEwen] sprints, but I have a lot of respect for him," Boonen continued.
"Robbie does things that I wouldn't do, but on the other hand, I couldn't
name two crashes that he would have caused."
Boonen also had a word for his fellow sprinter Alessandro Petacchi,
who has just been taking up training again after crashing heavily in the
Giro d'Italia. "It's a pity for him, a pity for the Tour," the Belgian
commented on his non-participation. Still, Boonen is looking forward to
the Grand Tour. "In Belgium, everyone expects me to win in the Tour,"
he added. "I'm fast, that's the weapon I do have. So I'll use it. One
day I'll have enough of the Tour for sure, but at the moment I just can't
An interview with Robert Förster
Förster cracks the big one
Rewards for victory.
Photo ©: Sirotti
Robert Förster became Gerolsteiner's number one sprinter when Olaf Pollack
left to join rival German Team T-Mobile. The only problem was that he
had more second and third places than wins. So his goal for 2006 was to
"pull off a big one" - and that's exactly what he did, winning the final
stage of the Giro d'Italia. Unfortunately for him,he won't be able to
win on the Champs Elysees this year, as Gerolsteiner has decided against
including sprinters in their Tour team. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer
caught up with "Frösi" to find out how he is dealing with the ups and
downs of life as a sprinter.
Cyclingnews: After you won the last stage of the Giro d'Italia,
you said that you couldn't believe it. Have you been able to absorb it
by now and what does it mean to you?
Robert Förster: It's slowly beginning to sink in -
that was the biggest win of my career to date. Looking at it from a purely
athletic point of view, winning a sprint at the end of a three-week Tour
is something very special. I forced myself to make it through to Milan;
some of the other sprinters had already gone home. It was a really super
experience and I'm very proud of that win.
CN: How did the Giro go for you otherwise? Were you satisfied
with your performance before the last stage?
RF: Well, I had to work pretty hard especially after
what was a very frustrating start. I just wasn't able to get into the
swing of things and I didn't play a role in any of the early sprints.
I suffered many injuries before the Giro and they really had a negative
effect on my form.
for the full interview
Vuelta considers retracting Comunidad Valenciana's invitation
In an interview published in the Spanish sports newspaper AS,
Ignacio Ayuso, president of Vuelta a Espańa organiser Unipublic, said
that 'Operacion Puerto' will clean up the Vuelta. Cycling is losing credibility
[with the doping scandals - ed.] but there are also pros like Valverde
and Mancebo who do not generate doubt.
"I have the feeling that the investigation has still not finished, that
there is still more," he added. "And this increases the problem for the
organisers, mainly for the Tour, which is next up." With regard to the
Comunidad Valenciana team and their non-participation in the Tour de France,
Ayuso said: "The Tour took that decision on the basis of the data it had
at the time, but we can hope that once the secret of the investigation
is lifted, we'll know the exact implication of Ignacio Labarta in the
case, as well as if Comunidad Valenciana has failed to fulfil the ethical
code. In this case, we will also retract our invitation."
As to the Würth team, whose new sponsor Astana still has to be confirmed
by the UCI, and whose ProTour license has to be renewed, Ayuso said, "The
ProTour License Commission will decide on Friday if it renews the license
with its new sponsorship. My impression is that they are going to renew
it, although I think that they must examine thoroughly if the arrest of
Manuel Saiz by the Civil Guard was itself an infringement of the ethical
code which governs this competition."
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón
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
After not getting selected to participate in this year's Tour de France,
Team CSC's Fabian Cancellara was a little bit disappointed. Speaking to
L'Equipe, the 2006 Paris-Roubaix winner said, "I didn't want to
go to the Tour for a show but to serve the team. I've never raced as an
individualist, without caring about the others. And I improved my form
a lot during the Tour de Suisse."
Cancellara had aimed the second part of the season on the Tour de France,
especially on the prologue in Strasbourg on July 1. "Now, Bjarne has made
his choice, and I know it was hard for him to choose riders who perform
better in the mountains than me," the Swiss continued. "It's a strategic
choice, and I can only respect it. But I will need a few days to get over
Schmitz in hospital
T-Mobile's Bram Schmitz was taken to hospital in the Netherlands on
Friday, June 16, where he is currently still kept under observation. The
Dutch pro rider suffered severe diarrhoea, and will therefore not be able
to start at his national championships this week-end.
"We found that Bram lost a lot of weight," said a T-Mobile spokesperson.
"He couldn't keep anything in his body. That's why he was admitted to
hospital. The precise reason for this is not yet known, not when he will
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)