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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for April 26, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

'Vino' not a Tour contender

Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
Click for larger image

According to the team directors Johan Bruyneel and Walter Godefroot of the rivaling squads Discovery Channel and T-Mobile, Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Alexandre Vinokourov is not to be counted amongst the riders that could possibly win the Tour de France. Although Bruyneel admitted to Sportwereld.be that Vinokourov was a man to be watched, he also believed that the Kazakh lacked the necessary climbing skills for a Tour de France overall victory.

"I haven't forgotten his third placing in the Tour 2003", Bruyneel said. "You can't allow Vino any freedom. He never gives up and will use every opportunity to attack. But I can't see him win the Tour, as his climbing capabilities are limited. Lance and Ullrich are superior anyway." The directeur sportif of Discovery Channel also thought that T-Mobile's tactics of spearheading the squad with two or more overall leaders (Ullrich, Klöden, Vinokourov) still wouldn't make any difference to the outcome of the race. "All I know is that none of them has been able to beat Lance in the past," he said.

That point of view is surprisingly shared by T-Mobile's team manager Walter Godefroot. "In theory, Vinokourov can't win the Tour," Godefroot said. Fortunately, he did not fail to amend that harsh statement about the rider that has just scored the first victory for T-Mobile this season last Sunday, thereby lifting the burden of defeat off the whole team. "I said: in theory. What I wanted to say is that Vinokourov does not possess that intrinsic class in time trials or mountains like Armstrong and Ullrich. Fortunately, the Tour lasts for 21 days, which means that 'Vino' will surely get his chances."

Godefroot continued by giving kudos to the 31 year-old Kazakh. "Vinokourov is robust - he bends but will not break. He's one of the best riders we ever contracted. Give me a squad full of 'Vinos' and I would have an easy job! He can do well at the Tour", Godefroot then concluded. "They never believed that Lucien Aimar could win the Tour de France in 1966, and then he did. Vinokourov is a more complete and better rider than the Frenchman. So..."

Simoni ready for Giro

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Lampre-Caffita's Gilberto Simoni has won the Giro dell'Appennino on Sunday and is looking forward to the upcoming Giro d'Italia. The two-time winner of the Tour of Italy scored his second victory this season after being the first rider to cross the line at Mont Faron during Paris-Nice.

"This win give me a lot of self-confidence, as it wasn't an easy course," Simoni said after the race. "I didn't think I was that good. I'm still not top, but that will come." Gilberto Simoni is scheduled to race the Giro d'Italia alongside his younger teammate and 2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego, who has also shown good form at the last of the Spring classics the very same day, finishing 28 seconds down of the winner Alexandre Vinokourov on Sunday. Cunego will also line-up at the upcoming Tour de Romandie in Switzerland.

All not well at Driving Force Logistics?

Reports emanating from one of the riders in the professional DFL cycling team reveal that decisions made by the UK based squad's management have made a number of the team review their racing plans for 2005.

Micheal Shearer, Travis Allen, Jai Crawford and Luke Bettany have reportedly had their contracts cancelled at the weekend. Bikes and team vehicles were collected from the team's Belgium base on Sunday. Former world silver track medalist Tony Gibb has decided to leave the team and has been released from his contract as he requested.

Team owner and sponsor Nick Collins commented on events from the weekend: "We lost a team vehicle at the weekend after it was taken by two riders without our permission. I have been told that it has crossed the channel and is somewhere in Calais and as a consequence two riders were sacked, but Jai Crawford and Luke Bettany have left the team on their own accord. There are a number of CV's in my possession that I will be looking at shortly, but I still have the minimum number of team riders needed for the UCI regulations and I am not going to make a knee-jerk reaction to what's happened. I have already had a number of phone calls from riders offering me their support. We have reported the 25,000 euro vehicle as stolen to the police."

Courtesy of Gerry McManus

Agneta Asplund-Haverstal dies

By Tomas Nilsson

Swedish women’s cycling has lost one of its pioneers. Agneta Asplund-Haverstal has died after a skiing accident.

Agneta started her career in the early 70’s in Arvika Cykelklubb and won the national Junior Championships her first year as a cyclist. Later she won the Scandinavian Championships in her fist year as Elite rider. She was for many years a member of the national team with a ninth place in the World Championships as her best international result. After studies she settled and married in Borås and later turned to triathlon with equal success.

Agneta was a good sprinter with a natural talent for positioning but also a master at tactics along the road, always keeping an eye on who was in breaks and who wasn't and at the same time calculating team competition standings.

Regardless of victories and national team appearances, for us that had the privilege to be her club mates Agneta was always a good comrade and training partner as "one of the boys" long before women's cycling had got it's recognition, always taking her turns and never the first to get dropped.

Cyclingnews wishes to extend its condolences and deepest sympathies to Agneta’s family and friends.

Paris-Brussels maintains name

After an initial agreement between the organisers of Paris-Brussels and the GP Eddy Merckx in March, which foresaw the fusion of the two events under the name of "GP Eddy Merckx", Belgian media report that Paris-Brussels will retain its name. The differences between the two organisations being too great, the contract was cancelled.

"I don't quite understand it," said Paris-Brussels organiser François Demol to Radio 1. "There was an agreement that satisfied everyone, and now it all fell apart over a spectator stand at the finish." Paris-Brussels will thus depart from Soissons, France to finish under the famous Atomium in the outskirts of Brussels on September 10, 2005. The GP Eddy Merckx, a two-rider time trial has vanished from the calendar, and so will its name.

Tour of Ulster route

The Tour of Ulster 2005 will take place in Ireland on bank holiday weekend, Saturday, April 30 - Monday, May 2, 2005. The race will follow the below route, with the approximate times in which the riders will be passing through each of the towns.

Stage 1 - Saturday, April 30:
Start Craigavon (12.00), Moira (12.08), Glenavy (12.28), Crumlin (12.35), Antrim (12.56), Randalstown (13.07), Ballyronan (13.44), Coagh (13.58), Stewartstown (14.13), Portadown ( 14.53), Finish Craigavon (15.03) - 76 miles.

Stage 2 - Sunday, May 1:
Start Craigavon (12.00), Moira (12.08), Glenavy (12.28), Crumlin (12.35), Antrim (12.56), Randalstown (13.07), Tobermore (13.57), Draperstown (14.06), Moneyneaney (14.12), Feeny (14.37), Claudy (14.49), Dunemana (15.11), Ballinskeagh (15.21), Finish Strabane. (15.31) - 88 miles.

Stage 3 - Monday, May 2:
Start Strabane Circuit Time Trial based on the Canal Basin - 2 miles. Finish at 10.45am.

Stage 4 - Monday, May 2:
Start Strabane (13.01), Douglas Bridge (13.13), Plumbridge (13.36), Gortin (13.43), Rouskey (13.54), Greencastle (14.08), Cookstown (14.42), Tullyhogue (14.51), Stewartstown (14.57), Portadown (15.36), Finish Craigavon (15.46) - 69 miles.

For further information on the race please visit www.tourofulster.com

Cycling Grand Prix at Mooloolaba

Local rider Tony Mann from MGX Power/Bigpond will head a star studded line up in the Ryders Cycling Grand Prix this weekend which forms part of the 2005 Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival in Queensland, Australia. Mann, winner of the 2004 National Road Cycling Championship where he dominated with a first in the Road Race and Criterium and second in the Time Trial will amongst others face the 2005 Under 19 Australian Champion Jeremy Hogg from Rockhampton. Hogg claimed victory in both the Keirin and Team Sprint events at the national titles earlier this year and grabbed a bronze in the Kilo.

The third main contender at the race will be Jaaron Poad (Velo Bicycles team). Poad has been a leader of the Tour of Queensland, and placed third in the Cycling Grand Prix Series that included the Noosa Criterium, South Bank and Surfers Paradise Grand Prix where he faced the likes of Robbie McEwen, Brad McGee and Baden Cooke. The Kiwi has raced extensively around the world but has now settled in Brisbane. Poad and Mann faced off at a Criterium on Easter Sunday with Poad narrowly winning their first encounter - Mann will be out to turn the tables this weekend.

Also included in the line up is Brad Davis, brother of Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), hailed as the best of the new guard of Australian sprinters who will take over from Robbie and Stuart O’Grady.

Since being added to the programme in 2003, the Cycling Grand Prix has grown in stature in just three short years. Due to the tight format of the criterium style course the field is limited to just 40 cyclists that will ride for 40 minutes plus three laps.

For further information go to www.usmevents.com.au or phone (07) 5449 0711.

Bike racing at PIR

The Lakeside Bicycles Monday Night Masters and Women race series starts its 18th year of racing in May at the Portland International Raceway (PIR) in Oregon, USA.

The racetrack will be open to cyclists in safe and closed to traffic conditions. New racers (Women or Masters ages 30+) are welcome and encouraged to attend. Novice (new to racing/beginner) category is for Women and Masters 30+. They are run separately. Mentors and experienced racers will be available to answer questions.

Distances vary each week depending on daylight/field sizes/weather, and will be announced at start/registration. Race distances average: 20-30 miles (women's race), 30- 55 miles (master's cat. 1/2/3/4), 10-15 miles (novice master's and women's). The track is a flat and wide 1.9-mile loop with of course excellent pavement.

For more information got to www.racemondaynight.com

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