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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for August 11, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Sastre may race Vuelta

Carlos Sastre (CSC)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

CSC's Carlos Sastre, who has already raced the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this year, is considering starting in the Vuelta a Espańa. The grand tour specialist told AS that he will make a final decision next Wednesday. "For the time being, I'm on the provisional team of CSC and I am going to race in San Sebastian on Saturday. I am training very hard to see in what condition I can arrive at the race. I will speak with the directors and we will do what's best for me and the team."

Sastre, who could end up with a third place in the Tour de France, depending on the outcome of the Landis case, and a second place in last year's Vuelta, depending on the outcome of the Heras case, said that he wouldn't race in the Vuelta without an ambition to do well. "If I go, I want to be at the maximum physically as well as mentally in order to achieve a result as good as last year, or that of the Tour. If not, it's preferable not to participate."

If Sastre doesn't race the Vuelta, he will likely finish his season with some French and Italian races.

Rudi Altig feature: Clown prince of cycling

As an amateur Rudi Altig was better known for his feats of gymnastics than his cycling. It didn't take him long to make a successful switch from track to road, becoming one of the superstars of his new discipline. Les Woodland looks back on the career of the controversial German sprinter.

It's not every day that bikies stand on their heads at races and so, when it happens, such a fact ought to be mentioned.

Rudi Altig
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

It was through his yoga tricks at track centres that Rudi Altig first came to be noticed. If a little relaxation was required, up he'd go, feet first, and he'd stay there until he felt ready to come back down again. Better than that, in La Rochelle he once walked out of a restaurant on his hands, a trick that others tried to copy but they succeeded only in crashing into other diners' tables and having all the loose change tumble out of their pockets.

Right now, with all this Jan Ullrich business, Rudi Altig must be wondering if he is still standing on his head. But first, some background…

Many nations have stereotypes and Altig fitted his well, the perfect image of the chunky German with fair hair and a square head. He was not only the country's big star of the 1960s but pretty much its only star. He held the yellow jersey for 18 days in four Tours de France and won 18 stages of the three grande tours.

As an unknown amateur, he rode a track meeting at Herne Hill in London in 1956 and, in the words of the organiser, "slaughtered a top-class field of international riders, with all our best home lads." Riding the summer track, though, had neither the glory nor, more importantly, the money that came from the road and so Altig rode the classics and stage races of Summer and then the six-day events of Winter. He moved to the road so smoothly that in 1962, as a sideline to helping Jacques Anquetil win overall, he took the green jersey and won three stages in the Tour. And he won the Vuelta.

Click here for the full feature

T-Mobile Team to Erfurt and Bochum

The T-Mobile Team is racing in two corners of Germany this weekend: on Saturday in the "Rund um die Hainleite" in Erfurt, and a day later in the Sparkassen Giro Cup in Bochum (both UCI 1.1). T-Mobile will take similar rosters to both races, with Thomas Ziegler (2nd last year) leading the squad on Saturday. This year the 25-year-old is keen to go one better, and he has the form to make it happen. The all-rounder placed third overall in last week's Tour of Denmark, and received a late nomination to Germany’s provisional selection for the World's in Salzburg.

Another rider keen to impress on home turf is Stephan Schreck. "The Erfurt fans can look forward to some quality bike racing. The roads up the 'Hohle' are so narrow, and the fans are there in such numbers that you get an atmosphere like at the Tour de France," said Schreck. "The parcours there something for everybody. Any rider type has a chance there."

The duo will be supported by classics specialists Andreas Klier and Steffen Wesemann, the Dutchman Bas Giling and the Czech neo-pro Frantisek Rabon. And in the event of a bunch sprint finish, Olaf Pollack and André Korff will be on hand.

T-Mobile Team goes to the start-line in Bochum on Sunday with seven, rather than the permitted eight riders. With twelve laps of a 14.6-km circuit to ride, the Sparkassen Giro Cup has the makings of a great race: punchy climbs in Wiemelhausen and Stiepel, fast descents and plenty of twists and turns. Olaf Pollack and Stephan Schreck will not be at the start line in Bochum; instead sporting director Brian Holm will have the Russian Sergey Ivanov at his disposal.

Unibet signs Eichler

Unibet.com has signed 24 year-old German Markus Eichler (Regiostrom Senges) for two years. Eichler won the Profronde van Drenthe, GP de la Ville de Lillers, Rund um die Elm and Köln-Schuld-Frechen this year, as well as finishing third in the Omloop van het Waasland and fourth in Nokere Koerse.

"Markus Eichler is a all-rounder who has made a lot of progress this season," said Unibet's directeur sportif Jacques Hanegraaf. "We want him most for the classics and the smaller stage races where he certainly should score. Eichler is definitely a win for Unibet.com."

Beltrán to Liquigas

Manuel 'Triki' Beltrán will ride for Liquigas next season. The 35 year-old climber has spent the last four years with Discovery Channel, but in 2007 will ride alongside Stefano Garzelli and Danilo di Luca in Liquigas.

Han Vaanhold leaves Löwik

Löwik Meubelen team manager Han Vaanhold will leave the Dutch continental squad at the end of this year. Vaanhold has worked with the team for the last 10 years and has helped produce two national champions (Arno Wallaard and Bram Tankink), as well as develop riders such as Joost Posthuma, Bram Tankink, Gerben Löwik, Rudie Kemna and Rik Reinerink to become full professionals. In 2007, Vaanhold will take up a position as team director for Cyclingteam Piels.

Discovery Channel's "race to replace" this Saturday

This Saturday, August 12, will see riders from all across the USA testing their mettle on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as they compete in a 10-lap, 25-mile race against the clock in Discovery Channel’s "Race to Replace". The fastest rider of the day will be crowned the Race to Replace Champion and race as an honorary member of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team for one day in the U.S. Pro Championships in September.

Fans and cycling enthusiasts can still sign up to ride in a fun lap around the track led by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. After the official Race and the Lap, all guests will be treated to a free concert from rock band Collective Soul.

More information: www.race2replace.com

Packed weekend of racing in Ireland

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

There are no shortages of events on this weekend in Ireland. On Friday there is a round-the-houses event in Lurgan which invariably has a good turn out of spectators to cheer on the participants. Saturday sees the Ballinrobe Two-Day, attracting a record number of entrants for this time of year, particularly after last weekend's racing in Listowel and Kilrush, where professionals Paul Griffin (Giant Asia) and Ciarán Power (Navigators Insurance) took the honours at respective locations. It is envisaged those racing in that neck of the woods will make their presence felt in the Co. Mayo town.

Included in the line up will be Michael Steed of the Murphy Surveyors/Kilcullen CC team, who is the defending champion. Michael’s placings in the last three weeks would suggest that he is running into form at the right moment. Fortunately, Michael will have strong team support which will go a long way towards retaining the trophy.

Incidentally, Tadhg Moriarty, who has run the Listowel event for the last 24 years, is not happy with the way things are shaping up in future. "The Gene Moriarty Trophy has been a regular race in Listowel for over 24 years," he said. "The August Bank Holiday weekend has been part and parcel of a shared racing forum between the two towns and according to sources within Cycling Ireland, we are going lose the slot! So, I am not a happy camper."

For those with an appetite for a Saturday evening race, Navan/Avonmore CC has been providing races in the general of Meath over the last few weekends. There is an evening race in Kilnaleck which is being organised by the club.

On Sunday it is either the Brendan Campbell Memorial in Stamullen, or the Tour of Armagh, where both promoters can be counted to serve up good fare.

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