First Edition Cycling News, May 28, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson and Paul Verkuylen
Klöden dedicated to Contador's Giro campaign
By Susan Westemeyer
Andreas Klöden (Astana)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Andreas Klöden has pledged his support to Astana team-mate Alberto Contador
as the Giro d'Italia enters its final week today. Klöden was touted as
the Luxembourg team's general classification contendor ahead of this year's
Italian Grand Tour, however his Spanish team-mate leads the event heading
into today's 17th stage while the German is 8.44 minutes behind.
Klöden spoke highly of his team-mate, labeling him as one of the sport's
greats on and off the bike. Contador, who won the 2007 Tour de France,
entered the Grio's second week with doubts over his ability to continue
with a fractured elbow before exploding into the race lead.
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"I will now devote myself to Alberto and the team," Klöden said. "I am
sure that he is strong enough to win the Giro. For me, he is one of the
greatest talents, if not the greatest, and he surely has many years ahead
of him. But, above all, he is a modest and sympathetic team-mate."
Everything is pink for Alberto
Photo ©: AFP
Klöden has blamed allergies and a cold for his poorer than expected performance
in the Giro. The German was to lead Astana's last-minute lineup, however
his efforts have been overshadowed by that of Contador.
"Unfortunately because of the bad weather I came down with an infection
and also have to fight my allergies, which means that I can't breathe
properly," said Klöden. "The worst of it is that it happened just before
the mountain stages."
Writing on his website, Andreas-Kloeden.com, the Astana rider said a
lack of food intake hampered his efforts in the Italian Grand Tour's first
individual time trial last week. "Then I didn't have any reserves," he
said. "So the last part of it was pretty hard. But I was satisfied with
my third place finish."
Klöden said his lost 50 seconds on the first mountain stage came down
to a tactical mistake. "To be perfectly honest, I hadn't expected an attack
from Danilo Di Luca and company so early," he said.
The 32 year-old joined the chorus of riders criticising the race organisers.
The early stages of this year's event were overshadowed by long transfers,
resulting in unhappy riders.
Giro d'Italia leader Alberto Contador
Photo ©: AFP
"Most fans are not aware that our day is not directly over after a stage,"
he said. "Almost every day we drive 100 km to the start and evenings 150-200
km to the hotel! In the first week we were never there before 8 P.M. Sometime
it was 11 P.M. and on the first rest day it was midnight!
"Then, of course, we had a blood control by the UCI at 8 A.M. the next
morning," he added. "That all makes it really very difficult to recover
or even to get enough sleep."
Astana had just one week to prepare a squad for the Italian race and
arrive at the event's start in Palermo. The squad had been left out of
the event as Giro organiser RCS Sport stood with Tour de France organiser
ASO in boycotting the team following a tumultuous 2007.
RCS Sport changed its stance against the team following a string of early
season successes that has seen the squad take the ProTour teams ranking
lead. Astana took the place of NGC Medical-OTC Industria Porte, which
had originally been named to compete in the event.
Bruseghin seeking best Giro finish
By Gregor Brown in Sondrio, Italy
Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Italian Marzio Bruseghin will continue to chase his best Giro d'Italia
finish when the Italian Grand Tour resumes today. The Lampre rider is
currently fourth overall after the opening two weeks but the Italian still
faces five more stages, including two demanding mountain stages.
"I am calm; I am satisfied with my Giro up until now," he said.
Bruseghin smashed the competition in the first individual time trial
to Urbino, finishing eight seconds over second place Spain's Alberto Contador
(Astana). On Monday's Plan de Corones ITT he closed in on noted climbers
like Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF Group Navigare)
and Denis Menchov (Rabobank), finishing a reputable seventh on the 12.9-
kilometre stint in Italy's Dolomites.
"For my characteristics it would have been hard [to win], even though
I had hoped to do something a little more," Bruseghin said top of the
2273-metre high climb, surrounded by supporters wearing donkey caps.
"The last kilometre was very hard," he added. "I tried to manage myself
well to have some force in the finale. I had the rhythm but I was not
Bruseghin is on track for his best Giro finish to date, with the Italian's
previous best eighth position last year while working for Damiano Cunego.
For more on the 2006 Italian Time Trial Champion read Bruseghin
secures second Giro d'Italia stage.
Barloworld will fight to Milano
British team wants Giro stage victory
By Gregor Brown in Sondrio, Italy
Geraint Thomas of Barloworld
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Barloworld's Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas are aiming to help the
squad take a stage victory when the Giro d'Italia continues today. The
British duo is hoping to escape on either today's stage to Locarno or
tomorrow's test to Varese.
"We will try with Stage 17 and 18," said Cummings. "We will look for
a breakaway, but [Mark] Cavendish is there and High Road will bring the stage down
for a sprint. Stage 18 is good, but everyone will be egunning for it."
Cummings said he was frustrated by seeing riders holding onto vehicles
during the recent mountain stages. The Briton noted those riders will
be the same ones that have to fend off if the squad is to claim a stage
win in the event's final week.
"We were frustrated the other day, looking back down the hill and seeing
some guys holding guys on the cars," he said. "They are the guys who will
be fighting in the coming stages against us. Even guys you are riding
with are getting pushed up while you are there working on your own."
Thomas noted that the squad's general classification hopes took an unfortunate
turn for the worse with Mauricio Soler's withdrawal. Despite the team's
overall hopes fading, Thomas has vowed to help fight on for stage wins.
"We have been unlucky in this race, with all the crashes and people abandoning,"
he said. "We will get out there and race hard. I am looking forward to the
Thomas finished six minutes behind Monday's stage winner Franco Pellizotti
(Liquigas) on the difficult mountain time trial. It wasn't all bad news
for the Briton though, with the 22 year-old getting his first cable car
ride on the Plane de Corones mountain.
"I have never been in one of them before," he said. "I am knocked out;
that was hard. You couldn't ride easy. I paced the day quite well, and
I knew the end would be tough five kilometres. In the end it was just
survival, about getting up the mountain."
Hoy aims for triple Olympic gold
Big Scot plans career to ‘zimmer' appearance
Photo ©: AFP
Track cyclist Chris Hoy is one of Britain's best chances for a gold medal
at the Olympic Games this summer, but the likeable Scot is already looking
beyond Beijing to a career finale at the 2012 Games in London.
"Possibly I'll take my zimmer to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games in
2014 but an Olympic win in your own country would be an amazing way to
finish," Hoy told the Daily Mail.
His aim, then, is three Olympic gold medals in succession, a rare feat.
"Fingers crossed," said Hoy. "Got to win one in Beijing first."
Hoy's first Olympic gold medal was in the kilometer time trial at the
2004 Athens Games, but that event is no longer part of the program. Hoy
was initially devastated that the event he dominated was out, but has
since switched his attention to the keirin.
"Oddly, in the last few months, I've admitted it was one of the best
things that could have happened for me. Just when I was looking for a
new challenge, wondering how I was going to get up for it for four more
years, they'd given me one."
To say he's risen to that challenge is an understatement. Hoy successfully
defended his keirin world title in Manchester in March and has won every
UCI World Cup keirin that he's entered.
The support of Britain's extensive track programme has been a major factor
in his success, Hoy said. "It's all about confidence, going into a race
knowing we have the best programme, have done the most work, have the
best equipment. The philosophy we have been given is that all we have
to do is ride our bikes and just turn the pedals as fast as we can. The
rest is taken care of."
The riders have to put in too, and Hoy is certain nobody will have done
more training by the time he lines up in China. "Putting yourself through
four hours of pain every day for one minute of effort every fourth year,"
is the price of success on the track.
The change of discipline has led to a change of training regime. "The
kilo is a killer, a really nasty event where you're trying to create lactic
acid tolerance and that's a horrible part of training," said Hoy. "The
keirin is speed and power, lots of training in the gym. It is all relative.
If you don't work hard, you won't get results is the bottom line.
"I just like to get to the start line knowing there was nothing else
I could have done, that there wasn't a single session I didn't give 100
per cent. The physical certainty means you can relax mentally and let
the performance come."
Tour de Beauce announces teams, courses
By Mark Zalewski
Svein Tuft (Symmetrics)
Photo ©: Jerome Lessard
Twenty-two teams will make-up the peloton in the Tour de Beauce, Canada's
major UCI stage race for men from June 10 - 15 in eastern Quebéc. The
composition of the field is a good balance from within North America -
between Canada, Mexico and the United States of America - as well as good
representation from overseas. As with past editions the ascent up the
tough Mont Megantic after 153km, followed the next day by a individual
time trial, will likely be the deciding moments of the race.
Both Symmetrics and Team R.A.C.E. make-up the Canadian UCI teams, with
both understandably interested in winning their 'home' race. 2007 runner-up
Svein Tuft will lead a Symmetrics team that has had strong showings in
many of the major North American races of the year, including the Tour
de Georgia and a recent final
stage victory at Mt. Hood with sprinter Andrew Pinfold. Mark Walters
will lead Team R.A.C.E.
A number of Canadian elite amateur teams will get a chance to show their
stuff on a bigger stage, along with a sprinkling of guest riders, such
as Charles Dionne riding for the Quebéc Team. Adding even more motivation
for the Canucks to perform well is the fact that Beauce will be the final
race before the Canadian Cycling Association chooses its Olympic team.
The USA will be represented by the UCI Continental Pro team Slipstream-Chipotle-H30
and Team Type 1, made up of many former Navigators riders which dominated
this race the past two years. Jittery Joe's is the other American UCI
team with strong ties to the region through their equipment sponsor Louis
Garneau. The Mexican Tecos-Trek team will be back with many strong climbers
to contend the rolling parcours in defense of the climber's jersey. This
will be a tall order with the inclusion of the Colombian National Team.
The German Sparkasse team, which held the yellow jersey in the last two
editions, leads a overseas contingent. Amore & Vita-McDonalds from Poland,
the Irish Pezula Racing team and Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk from England
make up some of the other European teams.
The major change to the parcours is a switching of the final two days'
circuit races - swapping Saint-Georges and Quebéc City in order to the
finish the race in conjunction with Quebéc City's 400th anniversary celebrations.
The very demanding course could make holding onto the yellow jersey a
little more difficult than in past year.
Cyclingnews will once again have full reports and photos of every
Lithuania's Urbonaite passes away
Former professional women's cyclist Zita Urbonaite was killed earlier
this week after being hit by a train in Montebelluna, Treviso, Italy.
While Police investigations are ongoing, several Italian publications
have reported the Lithuanian committed suicide.
Urbonaite retired from professional sport in 2006 to marry and start
a family. Three months ago Urbonaite had her first child, a daughter named
Greta with her partner of seven years Luca Valbusa. Reports say that Urbonaite
had been experiencing postpartum depression, but was believed to be doing
well in recent weeks.
Tributes have begun to flow in for the Lithuanian, with former team manager
Maurizio Fabretto describing her as "a girl of gold".
"I saw her, even if only fleetingly, at least once a week,"
Fabretto told Ciclonews.it. "The last time was just three-four
days ago. But there was no word or thought that might make me think of
such an extreme gesture."
The 35 year-old was one of the pioneers of her homeland's female cycling
scene, along with the likes of Jolanta Polikeviciute, Rasa Polikeviciute
and Edita Pucinskaite. Urbonaite claimed the national road cycling title
in 1999 and 2002 and held the women's Giro d'Italia pink leaders jersey
for three days during her career.
"Who knows what has really upset [her], I did not notice anything,"
added Fabretto. "I am really struggling to find a valid reason to
explain why she decided to end that horrible way. She was happily married
and recently became a mother. She worked with her husband Luc and could
also be near his sister."
Leukemans off the list, but not the hook
Bjorn Leukemans has been removed from the Flemish State Council's doping
list. The removal of his name from the list is a positive step forward
for the Belgian ex-Predictor-Lotto rider, but does not mean that he is
in the clear just yet.
"I heard via the media that my name has been removed from the Flemish
State Council list," Leukemans told Belgian sports website, Sports
Wereld. "I have since received confirmation that this is indeed
The disciplinary board now has to take further measures to decide whether
he will be punished for his doping violation last year. In the mean time,
his removal from the list does allow him to continue racing.
Leukemans tested positive for Prasteron (synthetic Testosterone) on September
26 last year. He admitted to taking the substance, but explained that
it was under advice from the then Predictor-Lotto team doctor Sam Vermeire
and that he was unaware that it was a banned substance. This initially
led to Leukemans being suspended for a period of two years.
An appealed lead to the State Council overturning the suspension, ruling,
"there is no ban, because the punishment is in no relation to the
faults committed by the accused person".
Rabobank still not free of Veneberg
The court in Arnhem, The Netherland has reversed an earlier decision
made in Utrecht to dissolve the employment contract between the Dutch
squad Rabobank and Thorwald Veneberg. According to the Arnhem court, only
a Belgian court can make this decision as the former rider lives in Belgium
and therefore falls under Belgian law.
The Dutch squad will now have to open a new case in the Belgian judicial
system if it is to dissolve the contract.
"We can still appeal to the High Court in the Netherlands," said Harold
Knebel, the director of the Rabobank cycling team. "But we first have
to prepare ourselves. It could turn out to be a long procedure."
In the meantime the team has no option but to continue paying the now
inactive rider. Knebel was unable to say whether the company would attempt
to come to agreement with Veneberg over a possible payout. "That is now
the question, I am not sure when a decision will be made," he said. "First
we will consider all our options."
Rabobank decided not to renew Veneberg's contract to the team at the
end of last year, citing his lack of performance as the reason. The Centre
for Work and Income (CWI) recently announced that the dismissal of Veneberg
with Rabobank was insufficiently justified. According to the CWI the Rabobank
cycling team did not make it clear to Veneberg that he was not performing
More riders react to Corones climb
By Gregor Brown in Sondrio, Italy
Little Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
CSF Group's Domenico Pozzovivo has added his opinion on Monday's Giro
d'Italia time trial to the growing list. The stage has attracted a mix
reaction, with some feeling worse for wear after the 12.9 kilometre, part
"It was a very hard course," said Pozzovivo. "The last kilometre floored
me, it was really incredible."
The 25 year-old from Italy's south is currently 10th on general classification,
seven places better than his Giro d'Italia debut last year. "My legs were
really not going at the start to be honest, however, on the gravel I found
a good rhythm," added Pozzovivo. "To hit a climb from zero is a lot harder
for me than a tappone with lots of climbs."
The Plan de Corones mountain time trial topped off Pozzovivo's good run
through Italy's Dolomites - including a 12th on the stage to Alpe di Pampeago
Saturday and second on the stage to Passo Fedaia Sunday. His performance
backed up Team CSF Group's good run so far in this Giro d'Italia, including
a win by Matteo Priamo and two wins by Emanuele Sella, and strong performances
from Fortunato Baliani and Julio Pérez.
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