Lastest Cycling News for March 12, 2007
Edited by Gregor Brown
Lefevere "asks" riders to sue newspaper
By Susan Westemeyer
Quick-Step Team Manager Patrick Lefevere has asked the thirty riders
on his team to sue the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, which had
accused him of "30
years of doping."
The Belgian announced earlier this month that he was suing
the newspaper for €20.5 million, and team doctor Yvan Van Mol is suing
for €2 million.
The Het Laatste Nieuws article was based partially on interviews
with a rider who is currently with the team, but who remained anonymous.
According to Sportwereld.be, Lefevere spoke with his riders over
the weekend, and the eight riders currently racing in Paris-Nice agreed.
"I do not require them to do this, I merely ask them to," he said to
Sportwereld.be. "But whoever doesn't do it makes themselves suspicious
as being the one who spoke to Het Laatste Nieuws. I can assume
that no one would be so stupid as to file a complaint against themselves."
He laid this claim out more specifically, according to Sporza.be.
He said that if someone does not participate, "then we will know immediately
who from our team talked to them. ... The riders are also victims of these
doping charges. The article endangers their future."
Napolitano marks season first
Danilo Napolitano relaxed for 2007
Photo ©: Hedwig Kröner
While Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) took the final overall in
Vuelta a Murcia,
Italian Danilo Napolitano marked his first 2007 win, 15th career victory,
by over-powering Baden Cooke (Unibet.com). The win gave Director Sportif
Giuseppe Martinelli a gift and showed that, alongside Daniele Bennati,
the Lampre-Fondital team has another strong sprinter.
"Today I turned 52 years-old. But he has still not paid for the drinks,"
joked Martinelli after the stage win by 26 year-old Napolitano. The DS
will also have further reason to celebrate when tomorrow his daughter,
Francesca, receives her university diploma. After a short party he will
head to Tirreno-Adriatico with Napo, where they will face Alessandro
"This year we have still not encountered each other," said the rider
who lives in Lago d'Iseo to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The two will
go head-to-head in the Italian race that starts this Wednesday and runs
through, Tuesday, March 20. "Certainly when he is in the sprints it is
easier because his team takes control of the group, and to find your position
is easier and less dangerous."
While Napo is racing in Italy, his teammate, Bennati, is in France, where
he started yesterday in Paris-Nice.
The duo is taking separate paths to the Milano-Sanremo, March 24, where
Napo finished fifth while his Tuscan mate was out with sicknesses. He
does not foresee any problems racing La Classicissima with his
"Whoever is going well will do the sprint," he continued. "If we are
both going well then... we will see. I think that it is justified that
whoever has demonstrated themselves to be better up until now should be
in charge, in other words Daniele. If he asked me to pull for him in the
sprint then I will do so without any problems."
Napo, originally from Sicily, indicated that the relationship between
him and his teammate is perfect, and that they have different sprinting
styles that suit one another. "We are not two friends, but we are colleagues
that have respect for each other and work well together. He goes well
on a slow, steady sprint lead-up while I am more explosive. We have different
programmed races; if we are racing together maybe we can be even more
successful at achieving results. But it is good how it is."
After Tirreno, Napolitano will make a switch over to the boards for the
Track World Championships, March 30, where his goal will be to win the
rainbow jersey in the Scratch. He will have ten days of recovery and training
before the start of the Tour de Romandie, followed by the Giro
d'Italia, where he will work for Damiano Cunego.
He indicated that the will be no problems in helping Cunego win the Giro.
"I raced with a team of climbers in the Ruta del Sol and here in Murcia,
where my heaviest teammate, other than the sprinters, was 60 kilograms.
... I can take the team leader up to the front in the dangerous finishes,
in the last three kilometres, not leaving him to fight over wheels."
Casper takes Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
Casper in the leader's jersey
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Yesterday, Frenchman Jimmy Casper finished eighth in the final stage
of the three-day Driedaagse
van West-Vlaanderen to maintain and win the overall. The Unibet.com
rider ended with five seconds over Belgian Wouter Weylandt of Quickstep-Innergetic,
winner of stage three, in the overall classification. Weylandt won the
bunch sprint after all attempts at breakaways were reeled in.
Stefan Van Dijck (Wiesenhof-Felt) rounded out the top-three overall in
Belgium, with Niko Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen), winner
in 2006, finishing fourth.
"After today's win I have more faith in myself and I believe my teammates
have too," explained the 22 year-old Weylandt after his stage win. "It's
the most important win of my career."
Haedo and Breschel with Murcia close call
It was a very close call for Team CSC's Matti Breschel and Juan José
Haedo during the final stage of Vuelta
a Murcia. Just as the two riders had lined themselves up perfectly
for the finish Unibet's Jeremy Hunt went down directly in front of them,
and they both had to take a quick detour to the pavement to avoid crashing.
"It was very unfortunate because both Matti and JJ were perfectly positioned
for the finishing sprint," said Kim Andersen via team-csc.com.
"Luckily they both reacted fast and avoided what would otherwise have
been a bad crash. At least they were in position, and as a sprinter you
don't always get to show what you're capable of.
"I would've liked to have seen Jens going for the stage win the other
day, but he proved that he's going to be a valuable rider for us in Tirreno-Adriatico,
where I think, he'll be able to get a really good result," added Kim Andersen.
Garzelli leads Acqua & Sapone in Tirreno
The "Red Team," Acqua & Sapone-Caffč Mokambo, has announced its eight-man
line up for the 2007 Tirreno-Adriatico, March 14 - 20. The team, based
in Le Marche, will be led by 2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli,
who will have the support of Dario Andriotto, Alexandr Arekeev, Gabriele
Balducci, Massimo Codol, Simone Masciarelli, Giuseppe Muraglia and Michele
Scarponi. Directing the team will be Bruno Cenghialta and Franco Gini.
"I believe that we will have tough team that will be able to fight for
stages and the overall victory," confirmed Cenghialta. "Garzelli and Scarponi
left the Vuelta
a Murcia in optimum condition, and this Tirreno-Adriatico is adapted
well to their abilities; a very tense and challenging parcours that leaves
us high hopes."
"Our team has good organization, we have selected eight men that are
able to be protagonists in all of the stages," added Gini. "Balducci will
be our man for the sprints, Arekeev and Masciarelli for the tense finales,
and Garzelli, together with Scarponi, can have a chance for the final
33 year-old Garzelli confirmed Gini and Cenghialta's plan. "I am very
satisfied with my form, I believe that all is in place to have a great
Tirreno-Adriatico," he said. "It is a very challenging course. I will
particularly keep an eye on the stage to San Giacomo, where, together
with my teammate Scarponi, we are able to play tactical games with our
Caisse d'Epargne for Tirreno-Adriatico
Spain-based Caisse d'Epargne will race the Corsa dei Due Mari without
Alejandro Valverde. Director Sportif José Luis Jaimerena will take a crew
of eight men to Tirreno-Adriatico, with Iván Gutiérrez likely to be the
hot favourite after winning Tour
Méditerranéen in February.
Riders for the 2007 Tirreno-Adriatico are David Arroyo, Eric Berthou,
Vladimir Efimkin, Imanol Erviti, Marco Fertonani, Iván Gutiérrez, Pablo
Lastras and Alexei Markov.
Eisel looking for more
By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Eisel after 2006 Roubaix
Photo ©: Hedwig Kröner
Bernhard Eisel is looking to do great things this year for his new team,
T-Mobile, but knows it won't be easy. "Of course the pressure increases,
especially the pressure I put on myself," he told the news agency apa.
"So far things have been going well, but if I knew that Paris-Roubaix
would go well then I would feel a lot better." He finished fifth in the
Hell of the North last season.
Since changing to T-Mobile, Eisel has also changed his preparations and
is now working with sport scientist Sebastian Weber. He is now training
more intensively, whereas before he tried to find his form though racing.
"Victories are the best proof of improvement," he summarised.
Eisel has brought in the only win so far this season for the T-Mobile
men's team, winning the second
stage of Volta ao Algarve and he subsequently wore the leader's jersey
for a day. Those successes were good for his self-confidence, he noted,
but he wants to win more and bigger races.
The Austrian sprinter will be starting Tirreno-Adriatico this week, to
be followed by Milan-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix.
He also hopes to be on T-Mobile's Tour de France squad.
Ullrich's attorney calls for Scharping resignation
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich's attorney, Peter-Michael Diestel, has criticised the "campaign"
against his client. "With the dismissal of the case against Dr. Fuentes,
it becomes obvious what an unspeakable campaign has been brought on in
Germany against Jan Ullrich for his athletic successes," said Diestel,
according to the Maerkische Allgemeine newspaper.
"It is time that Herr Rudolf Scharping steps down, take his leave from
German cycling and pardon himself to Jan Ullrich. All of those who have
taken part in a disgusting way in the campaign against Jan Ullrich should,
if they have even a bit of decency in them, approach him."
Johan Museeuw to ride London-Paris
The Lion of Flanders, Johan Museeuw, will join over two hundred other
riders on this year's London-Paris Cycle Tour taking place in advance
of the 2007 Tour de France. The former World Champion and winner of many
Classics has been keeping himself in shape since his retirement two years
ago and will join the Irishman Sean Kelly on the road to Paris.
"We were bowled over when Johan expressed an interest in riding," says
Tour organizer Sven Thiele. "Johan and Sean are dream additions to the
event and Johan's understanding of the concept and his instant support
of our chosen charities was quite overwhelming. I'm thrilled."
Museeuw Bikes will also be donating specially prepared children's bicycles
to the London-Paris supported Charities; Christel House, Schools for Children
of Cambodia and Morning Star Children's Centre.
"Johan Museeuw is one of the all time greats in cycling and it will be
a huge honour to ride alongside him and Sean into Paris, it's certainly
the nearest I'll get to riding with the greats!" said cycling commentator
David Harmon. "The whole concept of the Tour is terrific and it really
shows when cycling legends want to come along for the ride."
The 2007 London-Paris Cycle Tour starts with a 150 kilometre stage from
Hampton Court to Portsmouth on June 28, followed by an overnight transfer
to St Malo. The following two stages will cover at total 450 kilometres
of undulating terrain into Paris, arriving at Versailles on June 30th.
The tour is known for being sociable, where international riders can mix
and ride the 600 kilometres with full support and rolling road closures.
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