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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 16, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Rebellin quietly ready

"For me, the race has deep meaning," said Davide Rebellin just a few days before next Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, which last year marked the start to an unparalleled triple in cycling, and Rebellin's personal redemption. "Last year's victory was a sign for me that my strength and therefore my confidence had come back. It was like a liberation."

Gerolsteiner will be eager to defend its leader's crown next Sunday, and the cooperation with his teammates works "perfectly" according to Rebellin, who does not like to make big announcements. "It looks like I can take the start in good form," he said. Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer is also likes his comments to be realistic. "I would be satisfied with a podium placing too," Holczer said.

Of course, the classics captain of team Gerolsteiner is looking forward to one of his favourite races. "I like Amstel a lot. It goes up and down all the time, which suits me well," he explained. In just over 250 km, 31 climbs await the riders before the race finishes on the Cauberg. "I wonder if the race will be decided on the Eyserbosweg [km 230 - ed.] again," the 33 year-old said, to which his directeur sportif, Christian Henn replied, "The decisive moment can also be somewhere else altogether - that's why we have to very vigilant and concentrated since the start."

Gerolsteiner looks to the future

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Gerolsteiner had planned its 2005 season around its stars, Davide Rebellin, Danilo Hondo, and Levi Leiphiemer, but those plans have had to be changed after Hondo's positive doping test. The team will be looking to youngsters Fabian Wegmann (24) and Markus Fothen (23) to fill Hondo's place in the spring races and the Tour de France.

But they lack a sprinter - and a good German sprinter is on the market. However, "even though Erik Zabel is in contract negotiations, he is not an option for us," said Stefan Göbel, Communications Director for team sponsor Gerolsteiner, "Because his salary would blow us away."

Hondo was also in contract negotiations with his team, and the money (a lot of it) which would have gone to him is now free. "It's too early to say what we'll do with it. Maybe we'll use it as a cushion for next year," said Göbel, who further noted that the team does not expect to add a sprinter until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Hondo himself is keeping silent. His manager, Steffen Blochwitz, said, "Our attorney advised us not to go public. He sees good chances of avoiding having a ban imposed."

Lampre line-up at Amstel and Giro d'Oro

Giro d'Italia countdown: Simoni recons stages

Italian squad lampre-Caffita has announced its line-up at Amstel Gold race on Sunday. Alessandro Ballan, whose pes anserinus tendon at the back of his right knee has been giving him a hard time after Paris-Roubaix, has been confirmed to race. His knee will be treated with rehabilitation therapy using laser and ultrasound. The other riders for Lampre-Caffita are: Gianluca Bortolami, Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, David Loosli, Daniele Righi, Gorazd Stangelj and Patxi Vila.

The team will also line up at the 23rd Giro d'Oro to take place this Sunday, April 17. The UCI rated 1.1 race, whose 2005 edition will total 184 km, will serve as preparation for the Giro del Trentino from April 19-22. Lampre's Gilberto Simoni will use both races to shape up for the Giro d'Italia, but not only that. "[The Giro d'Oro] is a really important race at which I will be present with a real wish to do well," he said, looking forward to his return to racing since Setmana Catalana. Lining up with him there will be Enrico Franzoi, Marco Marzano, Andreas Matzbacher, Evgeni Petrov, Marius Sabaliauskas, Michele Scotto d'Abusco and Alessandro Spezialetti.

In the meantime, Simoni has been out to reconnoitre certain Giro d'Italia climbs. "Even if I haven't raced, I have been moving around a lot," he said. "I've seen the time trial of Lamporecchio-Florence and the finish in Pistoia with the climb at Sammomè. The time trial in Florence is equal to the one in Turin. It's not for time trial specialists as the parcours goes through deep valley passes, with both straights and climbs, which make it hard to keep a constant rhythm."

After Florence, "Gibo" Simoni travelled to Ortisei in the Dolomites, where "they told us of the cancellation of the Pordoi passage, taking away the memories of the mountain where I won my first pink jersey [Giro 2001 - ed.]. It will nevertheless be a very important stage," he commented.

Dauphiné 2005 returns to Mont Ventoux

The 57th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré will take place from June 5-12, 2005, and return to one of the most mythical ascents of cycling, Mont Ventoux in French Provence, according to Spanish website This year's race is reported to include a 7.9 km long prologue and an individual time trial stage featuring a Cat. 3 climb and totaling 46.5 km. The fourth stage will see the riders climb the Ventoux, and the sixth stage will lead up to the Alpine ski stations Morzine/Avoriaz via Col de la Forclaz, Croix-Fry, Colombière and Joux-Plane. On the very last race day, the riders will make their way from there to Sallanches, passing over the Cat. 3 Côte de Domancy seven times, where Bernard Hinault won the World Championships in 1980.

Lance Armstrong, who has been able to win the event twice in the past, has already announced he would be participating again in 2005 to prepare for the Tour de France. Last year's winner, Iban Mayo of Euskaltel-Euskadi, is yet not scheduled to take part; neither are T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov, who have both opted for the Tour de Suisse, starting June 11.

The stages of the 2005 Dauphiné Libéré are as follows:

Prologue - June 5: Aix-les-Bains, 7.9 km
Stage 1 - June 6: Aix-les-Bains - Givors, 224 km
Stage 2 - June 7: Givors - Chaufailles, 187 km
Stage 3 - June 8: Roanne, ITT, 46,5 km
Stage 4 - June 9: Tournon - Mont Ventoux, 182 km
Stage 5 - June 10: Vaison-la-Romaine - Grenoble, 219 km
Stage 6 - June 11: Albertville - Morzine/Avoriaz, 155 km
Stage 7 - June 12: Morzine/Avoriaz - Sallanches, 115 km

Gutiérrez "stable"

Spanish rider Efraín Gutiérrez of Team Andalucía-Paul Versan, who crashed badly in the second stage of the Vuelta a Aragón on Thursday, is reported to be in a stable condition at the Zaragoza hospital where he has been treated. Gutiérrez has suffered multiple injuries in his fall, including a broken femur, lung contusions and a lacerated liver. The state of the 24 year-old has nevertheless been described as "without any uncertainties" by the hospital authorities. The rider had crashed into a parked car at km 14.

World Cup in Scandinavia?

Ljungskog and co.
Photo ©: Vårgårda CK
Click for larger image

The organizers of Scandinavian Open, the only Swedish men's elite race on the European Tour calendar, plans to apply for a World Cup race for women next year.

"We have the means to organize a World Cup event," said race organizer Hans Jönsson. "The parcours is good and the organization is strong. And we would run a 140 km event instead of the usual 110-120 kilometres."

Last year, women's world champion Susanne Ljungskog was permitted to race in the men's 1.5 race and lasted the distance, finishing in the second group. Susanne said she is delighted about the idea of a Swedish World Cup race. "It would be a dream come true to ride a World Cup race on home roads," she said, hoping that it will once again in the rainbow jersey.

The Scandinavian Open weekend is developing to a cycling festival for the whole area. It starts with the tour ride Scandinavia on Thursday, August 11, followed by the elite men's Scandinavian Open GP Criterium in the central parts of the co-hosting town of Alingsås on Friday. Saturday offers the Vårgårda GP for women's elite plus youth categories from juniors and down. On Sunday, the Scandinavian Open will finish the four day festival.

The last of the dynasty?

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Who said that sport at third level and study don't go hand in hand? Well during the week at the Inter Varsities Championships staged in IT Sligo, the turnout was excellent.

Among the competitors was a team from University College Dublin led by Andrew McQuaid of the McQuaid dynasty. Andrew was awarded a club scholarship and the UCD Department of Sport also made a contribution. His family has been in the sport for many years, and Andrew's dad Patrick is a candidate to be the next president of the UCI when Hein Verbruggen steps down in September.

In the mountain bike Inter Varsities, which were held in Crag Woods, Killaloe, last week and organised by the University of Limerick, University College Dublin finished 1st (Philip Roche), 2nd (Yvain Sogno, France) and 3rd (Cathal D'Arcy).

During the week, the road discipline was held and Andrew retained his road title, but in the test against the clock, he could no better than 5th, but still finished second overall behind Eoin Whelan from the National University of Ireland with Mark Quigley who organised the championships in Sligo third.

"I think that students can acquit themselves to sport whilst studying. The bike was a way of getting rid of the cobwebs. The fact that UCD grant aided me was a bonus," said Andrew, as he wound up the conversation before putting his head back in the books for the tests that will be held next month.

Amstel Fantasy Game: Rider list updated

There are only hours left to join the Cyclingnews Amstel Gold Race Fantasy Game, and there have been several updates to the rider list in the last 24 hours on the game site.

Enter your team now to win one of the prizes in this year's Fantasy Spring Classics game:

Specialized Roubaix Pro
Click for larger image
Click for larger image

Grand Prize

Specialized Roubaix bicycle equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed groupset worth US$4400

Per Classic Prizes

6 Specialized Decibel helmets worth $169 USD each

Runner Up Prizes

- A pair of Zipp 404s worth $1,600 USD
- 2005 model Carnac M5 Carbon road shoes, Sinclair Imports
- 10 x Specially engraved IB-2 multi-tool from Park Tools

New Features

If you played last year we have enhanced the game so you can now see the breakdown of other manager's teams. Go to the ranking page, select a race and click on any of the team names to see more:


It's not too late to join in, you have every chance of winning one of the "prizes per classic" and are still eligible for the Grand prize of a Specialized Roubaix bicycle equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed groupset worth US$4400, and runner up prizes.

All you need to do to take part in this, the latest of the Fantasy Games at Cyclingnews, is register and select 8 riders for just a few, or all of the following races:

Amstel Gold Race - April 17
La Flèche Wallonne - April 20
Liège - Bastogne - Liège - April 24

As a manager you will have 4000 UCI points to purchase your riders for each race. There are ~250 riders in each official start list to choose from. Make your choice wisely as expensive riders don't always score the highest points for the team. The first 15 riders to finish each race will score points for your team. Have a look at the RULES for more information:

It's a great way to follow the Spring Classics. To register your teams for the game go to

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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