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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for April 12, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, assisted by Sabine Sunderland

Boonen and co. longing for rest

Tom Boonen will be at the start of the Scheldeprijs today, but it remains to be seen if the World Champion has fully recovered from the effort of last Sunday's demanding Paris-Roubaix. But Tom is not one to let an opportunity to add yet another race to his already impressive palmares for this season lie.

"I'll ride to win," Boonen told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I do that in every race I start. Otherwise it would be wiser for me to stay away from Schoten (Scheldeprijs). We have a strong team and in front of my home crowd I'm super motivated. A sprint is OK, but not a must. There are other guys in this team who deserve to win once themselves.

"Cretskens and me, both of us going to the finish," added Hulsmans jokingly, "or one of our fresh guys, Weylandt, Verheyen, Rosseler, De Jongh... Who knows, Tom might ride the last kilometres flat out for one of them."

Wilfried Peeters says the team is not going to try and control the race. "We won't take the weight of the race for once. We'll save our power; Tom for sure. It has been a long time since he felt that knackered after a race, he told me last Sunday. Monday he had his strained muscles worked on for an hour and a half. He'll quickly know how the legs feel."

After today's race, the QuickSteppers who have been active during the last couple of months can enjoy some well-earned rest. To ride in service of the World Champion is demanding, physically and mentally. "I'm going to mow the lawn for the first time in twelve years," Hulsmans grinned

Cretskens is looking forward to some time off also. "Absolutely. After all we've been at it since Qatar. If you head to the starting line with Tom, you know it is to win. Then you automatically raise the bar for yourself. If I have a beer for every kilometre I did so far, I'll be seriously drunk," he joked.

"A week and a half doing nothing. Recharge the batteries, hang out. And give each other some space; we won't be visiting Tom at his place in Monaco. I'm going to enjoy the simple things in life. Have a beer with my friends, something to eat, just enjoy my couch, as long as it has got nothing to do with racing."

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the 94th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen live from 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT (USA east)/05:30 PDT (USA west)/22:30 AEST (Australia east).

Raisin improving

American cyclist Saul Raisin is continuing to show signs of improvement, despite remaining in a coma in a hospital in Angers, France. Raised crashed in last week's Circuit de la Sarthe and went into a coma last Wednesday after a brain haemorrhage. Doctors performed two operations on Thursday to reduce the swelling in his brain, and his condition stabilised. He is reportedly two weeks ahead of schedule in coming out of his coma.

On Tuesday, Raisin showed some positive signs: he was able to squeeze both his parents' hands in response to questions, allaying early fears that he might be paralysed on one side. "Today he had a real good day," Saul's uncle Johnny Raisin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Everybody's excited about it. We just hope he keeps improving. But [doctors] said it might not be a good day every day."

It is still unclear exactly how Raisin crashed, but initial reports that he had an epileptic seizure have been denied by his team doctor and family.

T-Mobile Team at Rund um Köln

The T-Mobile Team has nominated a mix of young and experienced riders for the Rund um Köln in Germany on Easter Monday. The race, which falls three weeks later than last year, is something of a home game for the magenta riders - the sponsor's headquarters are located just a few kilometres up the river Rhine in Bonn.

The team will be led by the Cologne-based Linus Gerdemann. He will be joined by another Cologne resident in the shape of T-Mobile sprinter André Greipel. Italian Lorenzo Bernucci, Marcus Burghardt, Stephan Schreck and André Korff all travel to Cologne, fresh off racing at last Sunday's gruelling Paris-Roubaix. The squad for the UCI category 1.1 race is rounded off by Jörg Ludewig and Thomas Ziegler. The team will be directed by Frans van Looy.

"We have the right rider for whatever unfolds," said van Looy, who hopes to see his team going on the offensive. "It's up to us to stake our claim on the race and we've got the right riders to do that."

The 202km trek starts in Leverkusen and finishes in downtown Cologne, crossing the lumpy hinterland, Bergisches Land, en route. The highlight is once again the cobbled Schloss Bensberg climb, which the peloton will tackle twice (km 99/km 157) before turning for home. In previous years thousands of fans lined the road here, giving the event a feel similar to the Belgian and French Classics.

In Cologne the riders must complete three criterium-style circuits before winding it up on the 'Konrad-Adenauer Ufer', close to the Dome of Cologne. Nine mountain and five sprint bonuses are up for grabs along the way. Lining up on the starting line in Leverkusen will be a total of 216 riders from 27 teams. Along with T-Mobile, there will be five other ProTour teams: Gerolsteiner, Liberty Seguros, Saunier Duval, Cofidis and Milram.

Davitamon-Lotto wants Leif Hoste

Leif Hoste, currently successfully riding under the wings of fellow Belgians Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol at Discovery Channel, has a contract due for renewal at the end of the 2006 season. No need to say that he's a wanted man on the transfer market. Davitamon-Lotto is one of the teams eager to have Hoste back on their team for the coming season: Hoste rode for Lotto-Domo in 2003 and 2004, Domo - Farm Frites in 2001 and 2002, and Mapei-Quick.Step in 1999 and 2000).

Hoste's former team director Marc Sergeant admitted to HNB that he's got a soft spot for 'Polle': "He's been in the top three of the strongest riders all spring."

"Last year everyone wanted Devolder, now they want Hoste," reacted Dirk Demol. "After the spring classics are ridden we'll start to work on the renewal of his contract."

Two for Norway at Road World's

Norway is already assured that it can send two riders to the Road World Championships in Salzburg this year. Last year, the Norwegian selection was limited to one rider, due to the new rulings of the ProTour. But following a good deal of discussion, the rules have been revised this season.

Every country that has one, two or three riders in the ProTour ranking on the 15th of August is allowed to send one, two or three riders to the World's. At the moment, Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC) are both in the rankings. Hushovd obtained his points by winning Gent-Wevelgem and Kurt Arvesen took a point in the same race.

Two big events for Irish Easter

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

There'll be quality on view this Easter weekend in the Bertoni Gorey Three Day, based in and around the Co. Wexford town, and the Credit Union Ras Mumhan Four Day in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. Over the years, these two particular events have been an indicator for those wishing to gauge their fitness for the likes of the FBD Insurance Ras and events abroad.

Certainly both organisers, Sean O'Callaghan and Sam Darcy, have been diligently working in the background for the last number of months.

Those with aspirations of the bigger picture will certainly be in Killorglin for the four day, five stage event. This starts on Good Friday, which is unusual because of the liturgies that take place that day. On Easter Monday it winds up with a mild 58 miler, but last year it turned the general classification on its head because of the inactivity of Paul Griffin and Eugene Moriarty, who had controlled the race, but inexplicably they took their attention off the overall and allowed John Dempsey to squeeze them out of the title. And to add insult to injury both were from Kerry.

Both Dempsey and Moriarty will be on the start line with another 121 competitors. Generally it would be anticipated that the home contingent will keep the visitors at bay, but not so on this occasion. Holland, Germany and Belgian teams may provide stiff opposition for the locals.

Both continental teams that were launched in Dublin earlier this year will be out in force. The Sean Kelly Team will be here along with Paidi O'Brien. He is a member of that outfit, and will be eager to show that he is a worthy candidate for the Irish team in the upcoming Ras, irrespective of the way the selectors are leaning with their nominees. launched their team during the week, albeit later than usual, but it was significant that it was a good move. Aidan Crowley a spokesman for the team, said, "There were some minor technicalities to be sorted out, but we are on the road for Munster and it has been known in other sports (horseracing) when colours are changed, they tend to bring good luck. We'll pin our hopes on Eugene Moriarty to do well and maybe, I'll win the final stage."

Bertoni are the new sponsors of the Gorey Three Day which gets under way on the traditional Easter Saturday. The new sponsors have been given a cead milte failte with the number of participants. A record 198 go to the line in Brittas, Co. Dublin for the official start. Last years winner, Derek Cunningham is a notable absentee, but it is like attempting to find a needle in a haystack, as nominating a winner. The big surprise is a Norwegian team are on the start list and they are not here for sightseeing.

Komen Central Georgia Cycle for the Cure

Komen Central Georgia Cycle for the Cure is a professional women's race to be held in conjunction with the Tour de Georgia on April 18. The format is a criterium on a 1 mile circuit starting in finishing on Cherry Street in downtown Macon, Georgia. The Cat. 3/4 women will kick off at 1:00pm, followed by the Cat. 1/2s at 2:15pm. Each race will be for 45 minutes plus five laps.

Following the racing, there will be the "Feed Zone Fiesta" - an evening of dinner, drinks and dancing at the Georgia Sport's Hall of Fame at 6:00pm. All participants will receive one free admission to the event which includes dinner and refreshments. Additional tickets are available for $20.

The race will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, as well as promoting world-class cycling in Central Georgia.

More information:

Kenda/Raleigh Racing Team

Raleigh America Inc. and Kenda Tires will sponsor a road racing team in the US this season. Formerly known as DK Cycling, the New England-based team will compete in National Racing Calendar (NRC) and regional road races. Team Director Joe Moody will take over management duties from DK Cycling co-founder Andrew Knight, who will remain on board as advisor.

In recent years the DK Cycling team has been one of the most successful regional teams in the country, posting 17 wins, 39 podium finishes, and 87 top ten finishes last season. Three of last year's riders have also graduated to professional domestic teams, something that Moody takes great satisfaction in. "We are proud to have been able to achieve this level of success at an elite level. Our program allows riders with careers outside of cycling the chance to make the very jump that we all strive for: racing on a domestic pro team."

Click here for the full roster and announcement.

Amstel Gold Fantasy riders ready

Specialized's Roubaix Pro is the big prize
Photo ©: Specialized
(Click for larger image)

The latest rider list has been uploaded to the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game. You can start building your dream teams now. Managers Dr Ernesto Crankarm with team Disco Fever and Sonja Ståhle with team DandyHorse44 have each already won a pair of Reactor Max Team CSC replica eyewear from Smith Optics in the Paris - Roubaix and the Gent-Wevelgem races.

Are you having trouble keeping up with the awesome range of prizes on offer in the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game? Well, that's understandable, because it's a real booty of some of the finest cycling products on the planet. So, let's re-cap and help you decide whether you'd make a better directeur sportif than Patrick Lefevere or Johan Bruyneel.

We are offering a total of 19 prize packages for the Spring Classics, ranging from the super Grand Prize of the Dura-Ace and FSA compact carbon crankset-equipped Specialized Roubaix Pro bicycle (and a team replica Decibel helmet, plus funky Specialized eyewear), through to the per-race prize of Smith Optics Limited Edition Team CSC replica Reactor Max eyewear.

So with four races run and won, there are still three races to be held: Amstel Gold, La Fleche Wallone and finally, the oldest of them all, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The complete prize list is as follows:

A pair of beautiful Bastogne wheels worth over $600 USD
(Click for larger image)
HED's Bastogne wheels are named in honour of the Belgian town of Bastogne
(Click for larger image)
Craft are giving away ten of their Pro Cool Mesh Sleeveless Baselayers
(Click for larger image)

Grand Prize: One Specialized Roubaix Pro bicycle (complete), with a Specialized Decibel team replica helmet and your choice of one Specialized optics from their eyewear range. Total value - US$4700;

1st runner-up: One set (pair) of HED's 'Bastogne' wheels, worth US$600, plus a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer (yes, exactly like what the pros choose to wear), plus a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyres and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics, the original Team CSC racing glasses;

2nd runner-up prize packages: there are three '2nd runner-up' prize packages on offer. Each has the following prizes - a Giro Atmos Helmet in your choice of colour, a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer, plus a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyres and and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics;

3rd runner-up prize packages: and the goodies keep coming as there are three '3rd runner-up' prize packages on offer. Each has the following prizes - a set of Speedplay 'Zero' stainless steel pedals from the Californian company that equips ProTour teams like Team CSC and Phonak with their super-light, and super-adjustable pedals, plus a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer, plus a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyres and and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics;

4th runner-up prize packages: there also three '4th runner-up' prize packages on offer. Each has the following prizes - a ultra-comfortable yet high-performance fi'zi:k saddle from the team issue - limited edition range, such as the Di Luca Killer & Cunego Piccolo Principe, plus a Craft Pro Cool Mesh sleeveless baselayer, and a set of Maxxis high-performance Columbiere road tyres and and a pair of Reactor Max Smith Optics.

So, in all, there are 19 separate prizes on offer in the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game. To find out how to enter your team, go the Fantasy Game's information page and get behind the wheel of your own team-car! For more details on how to play go to the rules section of the site for more info. To register your teams for the game go to

How to play

Be a professional team manager for the 2006 Spring Classics. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with fantasy managers from around the world. All you need to do to take part in the latest of the Fantasy Games at Cyclingnews is register and, once the provisional race list has been announced, select eight riders for each of the following races:

Amstel Gold Race, April 16th 2006
La Flèche Wallonne, April 19th 2006
Liège - Bastogne - Liège, April 23rd 2006

Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. For more details on how to play go to the rules section of the site for more info. To register your teams for the game go to

It's a great way to follow the Spring Classics.

Good luck!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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