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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 22, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & John Kenny

Eneco Tour stage 5 wrap-up

Boonen blows them away in Balen

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Clad in his rainbow stripes of world champion, Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) did not let his many fans down when he sprinted to a fine victory in his home town of Balen. A huge crowd had come out to watch the world champ on his home turf, and in the pouring rain, they were rewarded with a perfect sprint. Quick.Step controlled things well in the final kilometre with Wouter Weylandt and Steven de Jongh, and Boonen powered home a bike length ahead of Julian Dean (Credit Agricole) and Simone Cadamuro (Milram).

George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) finished in the peloton and there were no changes to the overall general classification.

A delighted Boonen described the atmosphere at the finish as, "Unbelievable! Today in Balen there were more people than last year when I came back to Belgium with the world champion jersey. It's a success that has a particular taste, [it] doesn't happen every day to win in your home-town wearing the rainbow jersey."

In typically understated style, Boonen credited the win to his Quick.Step team-mates. "I have to thank all my team-mates that have understood how important this stage was for me," he said. "I’m also happy to ride the Eneco Tour, it's a well organise race, excellent for the training and to improve the basic condition."

The main break of the day saw Michael Elijzen (Cofidis), Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne), Sébastien Portal (Credit Agricole), Bert Roesems (Davitamon-Lotto), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Thomas Lövkvist (Française des Jeux) and Koen Barbé (Chocolade Jacques) escaped after 32 km and stay away until 10 km to go. They never got more than 3'00 as Quick.Step and Discovery Channel controlled things tightly.

Click here for the full results, report & photos from stage 5.

Astana will travel to Málaga

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The managers of team Astana intend to conduct business as usual and travel to Málaga for the start of the Vuelta a Espana this weekend, despite recent inconclusive meetings between the team, the UCI and the International Professional Cyclists Association regarding the team's license.

If the UCI decides to withdraw Astana's license then its parent company, Active Bay, will present its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to secure its participation in the Vuelta. A compromise may be reached similar to that reached prior to the Tour. Team members of Astana were permitted to participate on the condition that they were not implicated in the 'Operacion Puerto' Spanish police drugs investigation. However, a decision by team managers not to replace Tour riders who were excluded because of their implication in Operacion Puerto meant Astana did not have enough riders to take part.

Astana continues to operate off the licence of Active Bay, the company part-owned by former Liberty Seguros-Würth team manager Manolo Saiz and Astana's predecessor. Saiz's role ceased to exist shortly after his name arose as one of the key figure in Operación Puerto, the investigation into an alleged organised doping network in Spain.

Lampre announces Vuelta team

Lampre-Fondital manager Giuseppe Saronni has announced the team's composition for Saturday's Vuelta a Espana start. The team will be composed of Matteo Carrara, Claudio Corioni, Enrico Franzoi, David Loosli, Marco Marzano, Ruggero Marzoli, Danilo Napolitano, Evgueni Petrov and Sylwester Szmyd. The directors will be Fabrizio Bontempi and Bruno Vicino.

"We're going to Spain with a young team but full of good qualities," said Fabrizio Bontempi. "We could aim to win stages: Napolitano is one of the fastest sprinters in the world and we've got athletes that could enter in winning breakaways. Our riders showed recently [that they are in good form].

"We could also obtain [high] places in the overall standing with Petrov, who was very good in the tour of Germany, and Marzano, who is a great climber," he said.

Freire reports fit for Vuelta

Three-time world champion Rabobank's Oscar Freire has declared himself fit for the Vuelta, where he hopes to ride himself back into form before the world championships in Salzburg, Austria. The Spanish rider had been in doubt for his home tour due to complaints of dizziness.

Engels for Vuelta

Addy Engels has been confirmed in the Quickstep-Innergetic team for the Vuelta a Espańa, bringing to five the number of Dutch participants in the race. Michael Boogerd, Theo Eltink and Pieter Weening will ride for Rabobank and Bas Giling will make his Vuelta debut for T-Mobile.

It will be the third time that Engels has ridden the Vuelta; he rode in 2001 and 2003 for Rabobank. It will also be the second grand tour in the season for Engels having finished the Giro in May, "I am not in top condition," said Engels. "But I will do as much work as I can for my leader Paolo Bettini."

Comings and goings at Gerolsteiner

Oliver Zaugg is coming to Gerolsteiner, and Michael Rich is leaving -- among others. The 25-year-old Zaugg comes from Saunier Duval and has signed a two-year contract with the team, reports.

The Swiss rider is the fourth newcomer to Gerolsteiner next year. He joins Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile), Carlo Westphal and Tim Klinger (both Wiesenhof-AKUD).

The team has extended contracts with Markus Zberg (for two years) and his brother Beat (one year), Fabian Wegmann (two years), Robert Förster (two years) and Volker Ordowski (one year).

Michael Rich, on the other hand, will be leaving, and most probably will end his active career. Rich, who turns 37 the end of September, has a long list of palmares, ranging from the 1989 "German champion in 50 km time trial" up to second place this year in the national time trial championships (he has won the title itself more than once). "He will surely stay with Team Gerolsteiner in some role or other," said spokesman Mathias Weiland.

Levi Leipheimer is also leaving the team, having signed with Discovery Channel. But more riders will be on their way out, too. "Three or four contracts won't be extended," said Wieland, without naming names.

Courtesy Susan Westemeyer.

Igor Astarloa out of Giro del Veneto with skin disorder

Former world champion Igor Astarloa (Barloworld) is out of the Giro del Veneto after failing to recover from the health problems that caused his withdrawal from the Tre Valli Varesine race last week. The Spanish rider has been troubled with orticarioide dermatitis and is undergoing tests to determine if it's caused by an allergy.

Before riding the Tour of Britain and facing a busy September, Astarloa Barloworld team will ride two races in Italy. Alberto Volpi will direct a team in the GP Nobili Rubinetterie on Wednesday August 23 with Giosuč Bonomi, Gianpaolo Cheula, Ryan Cox, Enrico Degano, Tiaan Kannemeyer, Jeremy Maartens and Perry James. The day after the team will ride the tough G.P. Carnaghese with Bonomi, Cox and Kannemeyer joined by Diego Caccia, Mad Christensen, Alex Efimkin, Mauro Facci and Rodney Green.

The week ends with the Italian classic, the Giro del Veneto. Alberto Volpi will direct a team with Pedro Arreitunandia, Diego Caccia, Ryan Cox, Mads Christensen, Alex Efimkin, Mauro Facci, Tiaan Kannemeyer, Jeremy Maartens and Amets Txurruka.

Meanwhile, Barloworld wants to sign Martin Perdiguero as a replacement for Astarloa, who will leave for Team Milram at the end of the season. Thirty-three-year-old Perdiguero, who won the Clasica San Sebastian in 2004 and finished sixth in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year, will be seeking a new employer following the withdrawal of Phonak. Barloworld received wildcards to major events thanks to Astarloa and will be hoping that Periguero will have the same effect on event organisers.

Hermida goes home

Spanish cross-country mountain bike racer José Antonio Hermida has returned home early from the mountain bike world championships, his team announced late Monday evening. Hermida was a favourite for Sunday's men's cross-country race and was a member of the victorious Spanish team relay squads in 2005, 2000 and 1999.

Neither Hermida nor his Multivan Merida team have offered an explanation beyond "important personal reasons" for his early return to Spain, but the team said it would have more information Tuesday afternoon.

Schoeter apologises

Canadian downhill racer Danika Schoeter has formally apologized for her involvement in an incident at the podium presentation of the Canadian downhill national championships on July 23.

On the podium, Schroeter wore a t-shirt with the slogan "100% Pure Woman CHAMP 2006" while her supporters shouted insults and obscenities at winner Michelle Dumaresq, a transsexual who has clearance from the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) to race the women's category. Schroeter was suspended by the CCA for her part in the incident.

In an apology posted on the CCA website, Schroeter wrote, "What happened at Nationals was regrettable. The message upon my t-shirt was inappropriate, insulting and directed negative attention towards my sport. I feel horrible for my role in what happened. And I extend my sincere apology to the CCA, my fellow racers, and the cycling community."

Schroeter asked that other racers, "please learn from this unfortunate incident. Racing can be an emotional experience, but it is important to act responsibly and with forethought. Clarify for yourself why you race, educate yourself on the rules you have agreed to follow, and make sure you live up to those standards."

Canadian Cycling seeks new CEO

The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) has begun its search for a new Chief Executive Officer/Secretary General. The successful candidate will oversee the day to day running and development of the organisation, as well as represent it to media and other related national and international agencies and liaise with provincial cycling organizations, professional and amateur cycling teams, event organizers and external organizations.

Full details of the role can be found at the CCA's website,

Fantasy Vuelta Game Live!

We are proud to present our fourth year of Fantasy La Vuelta games! There's another brilliant range prizes to be announced shortly for what looks set to be an exciting game here at Cyclingnews. Create your teams now! Registration has already begun. Be a professional team manager for the 2006 La Vuelta and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's Vuelta. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Rider list uploaded

The official La Vuelta rider list has been uploaded to the game site ready for your winning team selections to begin. We have based the points for each of the riders for the Tour on a merged list of ProTour points from both the end of last year and the end of May this year (post Giro 2006). More information on the Rider Reference details can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format in the Downloads section.

Play for FREE in La Vuelta 2006 game

Remember you can play for free for the first 6 stages! Try your teams out and see which rider combination is best.

We hope you enjoy this year's game and look forward to seeing your winning team online soon.

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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