First Edition Cycling News for March 11, 2005
Edited by Anthony Tan and Jeff Jones
Paris-Nice: Jaksche still ambitious
By Hedwig Kröner in Saint Péray
The sun was out for the first time in this year's Paris-Nice at the start of the fourth - again, shortened - stage, and the riders could finally "race towards the sun" as the name of the event suggested. The spirits of the participants rose significantly thanks to the more tolerable weather conditions at an almost mild 10° Celsius. Before embarking on the 101 km journey to Montélimar, last year's winner Jörg Jaksche, who had been involved in a crash on stage 1, even smiled when asked how he felt after these short, fast and definitely cold first stages.
"Actually, not too bad," he told Cyclingnews. "The crash was bad and cost me about a minute, but I feel quite well now. I still have a chance of doing something here. Today will be a difficult stage because it's short and there's a lot of wind, but the final three stages will be the hardest."
The day proved Jaksche right: it was a nervous stage with breakaways and wind echelons, where the German had to be very watchful not to get trapped. "I still have a lot of possibilities open," he said just before the start, and then showed he meant it: He made up about 25 seconds at the finish on the main GC contenders Jens Voigt, Erik Dekker and Alejandro Valverde.
Jaksche is now looking forward to stage five to Toulon/Mont Faron. "I hope that tomorrow will be one of the good days, yes!" he said, laughing. "I still do want to contend for the overall win, and there are a couple of guys also in my position: Vinokourov, Rebellin... I hope I'll have the legs for it tomorrow, as it's still early season, and your shape is just not as stable as further down the season. The cold affects many people. There are days where everything works well, and other days where you just feel really bad."
Jaksche didn't think that tomorrow's stage will be the only decisive ones. "On Mont Faron there will be differences because it is the only hill-top finish, but the last two stages will be the key. It is a mistake to think that everything will have finished at Mont Faron."
The German was strong in Stage 3, when he bridged up to a break on the côte de Lavet, then attacked again late in the stage. And he definitely had a good day today, when he rode hard on the second climb to close a gap to the front group, and jumped into a breakaway again with only a few kilometres to go. At the finish in Montélimar, 'JJ' was exhausted, but happy about the way the stage went for him. "It was short, fast and very windy - here in the Rhône valley, the wind always blows this hard," he sighed. "I had to close this gap on the climb, and when the others attacked in the finale, I just had to follow. Now, everything is possible," he smiled, referring to his chances of placing high on general classification of this Paris-Nice again.
Finally, Jaksche detailed his upcoming program: "My next race will be Milan-San Remo and I will continue with the Critérium International, La Flèche Wallonne, Amstel [Gold], Liège [Bastogne - Liège] and the Tour de Romandie. From there, I will take a rest before doing the Dauphiné Libéré to prepare for the Tour de France.
After a nine man break went clear at the foot of the final descent, the fourth stage was won spectacularly by Fassa Bortolo's rouleur Fabian Cancellara against a Jaan Kirsipuu who had been drained by the previous climbs on the parcours.
Paris-Nice Stage 4
Tirreno-Adriatico route changed
French race organisers aren't the only ones changing plans at the last minute - tomorrow's third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico from Tivoli to Torricella will be re-routed as a result of heavy snowfall in the area, with icy conditions on parts of the original race route deemed too dangerous to ride in.
As a result, the peloton will face a slightly longer parcours at 228 kilometres (13 kilometres more), but with just the one GPM (mountain sprint) at km 117.4 in the Torritella area, reaching a height of 1,017 metres, rather than the two mountain primes planned. In addition, feeding will now occur in the town of Posta at km 103.9, and the stage will commence 20 minutes earlier than originally scheduled, at 9:35am.
Tirreno-Adriatico stage 2
Boonen gets ready for Milan-San Remo
Tom Boonen, dual stage winner in Paris-Nice but now out of the leader's jersey, will ride the last 50 kilometres of the Milan-San Remo parcours next Monday, March 14. Boonen will be joined by his teammates Kevin Hulsmans and Guido Trenti, and they will start at Capo Berta and finish in Sanremo, climbing the Cipressa and Poggio.
"We will focus our training on the climbs and on the descents of the of Cipressa and Poggio," said the team's director Wilfried Peeters. "If Tom wants to be in the front in the last kilometres, he must know every centimetre of the final. On Monday, Guido Trenti will put his experience at the service of Tom."
Route details announced for Tour de Georgia
Race organisers of America's premiere stage race, the Dodge Tour de Georgia, released comprehensive details on the route today. Classified by UCI as a 2.1 level race on the America Tour Continental Calendar, the multi-stage event will begin in Augusta, Georgia on April 19 and finish six days later at Alpharetta City Hall on April 24.
Race distances vary from a 18.6 mile (29.9 km) time trial (Stage 3) midway through the race to the race's longest stage the following day at 133.4 miles (214.7 km) from Dalton to Dahlonega. However, without doubt the most anticipated stage will be the fifth stage finishing atop Brasstown Bald Mountain, coming after 113.4 miles (182.4 km) of racing.
April 19: Stage 1 - Augusta - Macon, 128.9 miles (207.4 km)
More information: www.dodgetourdegeorgia.com
U.S. track team hoping for home advantage
Eleven members of the U.S. track cycling team are in Los Angeles making their final preparations for the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, which will begin in two weeks. The U.S. team is hoping that being able to train and stay in Carson up until the world championships start may be the biggest advantage it has as the host nation.
"Hopefully we will be able to take advantage of World's being held on our home turf and post some top results," said Pat McDonough, USA Cycling's director of track cycling. "One of the best things about having the World Championships at home is that we've been able to set up a camp near the track at a time when the athletes need to be doing their final hard push. We are going to be able to do this right at the track where World's are being held."
Although USA Cycling will not announce automatic qualifiers until Saturday and discretionary selections until Monday, the hopefuls are busy training and setting themselves up for their best possible performances. "Each rider has a different way to prepare leading up to the world championships," explained McDonough. "Preparations are based on which events the riders compete in and where they are in their own training programs."
Endurance athletes Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.) and Marty Nothstein (Orefield, Pa.) are racing on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar circuit, having competed in the McLane Pacific Downtown Grand Prix and Foothills Road Race last weekend. The likely madison duo for the World Championships is also scheduled to compete in the Central Valley Classic in Fresno this weekend. Sprinters like Giddeon Massie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Christian Stahl (Bethany, Conn.) are spending their time in the gym and fine tuning their speed work.
The athletes currently training for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Carson include:
Becky Conzelman (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Stephen Alfred (Capitola, Calif.)
Navigators Insurance pair return to sunny Ireland
By Tommy Campbell
Conditions on mainland Europe in recent weeks has not been conducive to any type of cycling competition. The majority of the professionals have had their events curtailed or in some cases cancelled in and around the Benelux countries. So, faced with lack of both racing and training, the Navigator Insurance pair of Ciaran Power and David O'Loughlin bee-lined it back to Ireland.
Martin Philips of the Limerick Cycling Club, who promotes the Ras Luimini this Sunday in Fedamore, was in a great mood when he heard the news of the pair's return to home soil. "Talk about hitting the jackpot - I'm brimming with confidence after being assured that Ciaran will be at the Co. Limerick venue on Sunday," said Philips.
"We have been talking to Ciaran and he has assured us that he'll be along this weekend. He explained that their activities, particularly in Belgium, have been disrupted and he is anxious to get some training and racing miles in his legs. Last week, he was house-bound. So the obvious solution was to head back to Waterford. This will certainly add a lot of gloss to our programme of events on Sunday.
"For the last number of years, the area was void of competition. So a number of us got together and decided to revive the event. It is a real bonus that Ciaran has signaled his intentions of coming down to us. But, prior to that we were actively seeking out the last winner of the event which was held four years ago. It is not every day of the week that not one professional may turn up, but maybe David O'Loughlin could be here also," added Martin.
Ras Lumini now looks to be shaping up for a right ding-dong battle between the fancied Ciaran Power, Rory Wyley plus of course last weekend's winner, Vincent Gleeson. Going head to head with Limerick which is out of the blocks at one o'clock is the Newbridge Credit Union promoted by Newbridge CC at 12.30. Back at the coal face of promotions Saturday is the Navan/Avonmore CC, who stages the Dunsany GP, which is an 11 o'clock start for 60 kilometres.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)