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First Edition Cycling News for February 7, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

AIS crash verdict: "German law was applied"

By Hedwig Kröner

In the recently announced judgment of the legal case against Stephanie Magner, 19, who caused the fatal road accident in July last year, killing Australian Institute of Sport rider Amy Gillett and injuring five of her team-mates, the Chief Public Prosecutor of Gera, Germany, told Cyclingnews that German adult criminal law was applied. Previous reports had speculated that because of the young age of the driver, the milder youth criminal law might have been applied. Magner was sentenced to a fine of 1440 Euros and eight months disqualification from driving, a punishment that Amy Gillett's father Denis Safe has described as "pathetic and insulting".

"The verdict was been made according to German adult criminal law, not youth law, and it is in accordance with similar cases of accidental homicide in traffic," said Chief Public Prosecutor Rolf Mundt. "There were several criteria: the grade of the person's fault, which was low given the negligence. On the other hand, there were the consequences, which were of course very serious."

When Cyclingnews asked Mundt if he could relate to the consternation of the victims' families and friends faced with the relatively mild sentence, he said, "I can understand it on one hand. But in Germany, German criminal law is applied; even though I have also heard that in Australia, there are much greater punishments for that kind of offence. We had to rule on this case using German law, and it is in accordance with similar cases."

Mundt also explained the relatively small fine. "The fine of 1440 Euros was calculated by using a rate out of four months of the driver's salary," he continued. "As she is still in training, her income is very low, so that is why the fine is also relatively small."

More than six months after the terrible accident, the investigation of what had caused Magner, who had just received her driving license, to lose control of her vehicle could still not provide a concrete explanation. "We do not know the exact causes," the German prosecutor said. "She was driving along a light left hand bend, and drifted a little bit to the right hand side. Her driving was neither too fast, nor was she using her cellphone - we checked that. Now, an experienced driver in the same situation would have turned the steering wheel only lightly to get back into the right position, but apparently she turned it around too abruptly and her vehicle started skidding. At the time of this first mistake - driving too far to the right - she could not yet see the group of cyclists because of the road bend. In her surprise, she turned the wheel around too rapidly and then drifted into the riders sideways."

Magner, who was also injured in the crash, is still in psychiatric treatment.

Related stories

April 3, 2006: Mark Webber cautions motorists to watch for cyclists in Amy Gillett's name
February 21, 2006: AIS survivors tell of crash and recovery
February 7, 2006: AIS crash verdict: "German law was applied"
February 4, 2006: AIS crash: driver sentenced
December 25, 2005: An interview with the survivors of the German tragedy
December 23, 2005: An interview with Warren McDonald
December 13, 2005: Emotional conclusion to Amy Gillett Charity Ride
Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride diary
October 28, 2005: AIS women at charity luncheon in Sydney
October 20, 2005: Yaxley making solid progress
October 6, 2005: Investigation in Gillett's death almost complete
August 24, 2005: Graham vows to return
August 22, 2005: Yaxley and Rhodes home
August 18, 2005: Rhodes and Yaxley bound for home
August 14, 2005: Yaxley and Rhodes continue to make progress
August 11, 2005: Brown vows to return to cycling
August 8, 2005: More support for Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation
August 3, 2005: Rhodes and Yaxley out of intensive care
July 29, 2005: Amy Gillett's life recalled in moving service
July 28, 2005: Rhodes and Yaxley recovery 'amazing'
July 24, 2005: Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious
July 21, 2005: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19, 2005: Unprecedented carnage in Germany
July 18, 2005: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

An interview with Michael Rogers: A new beginning

New jersey, new start
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

The last few months have been a time of considerable change for Australian Michael Rogers. He got married to his fiancée Alessia, took an unusually long break from cycling, and changed teams from Quick Step to T-Mobile. Now, batteries fully recharged, he tells Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes that he is looking forward to the new season.

Given that Michael Rogers has already taken three world time trial championships and has been racing at the top level for many years, it is easy to forget that the Barham native is still just 26 years old. He's long been seen as one of the most promising young stage race riders and in 2005 went close to winning the Tour of Switzerland, only losing out to Aitor Gonzalez on the final stage. He finished second overall, just 0'22 down.

Digging deep in Switzerland caused, he believes, a drop in form for the Tour de France, but despite a disappointing showing there, he set about regaining form and went on to take that third time trial title in Madrid. As he tells Cyclingnews, he was under a considerable amount of pressure heading to Spain for that September 22 rendezvous with the record books. However, he was able to deal with the stress, riding strongly on the Caso de Campo circuit and pulling off what was a great win.

At T-Mobile's launch, Rogers was presented as one of the three big guns for the stage races this year. Along with Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden, he has the ability to win big, time trialing strongly and climbing well. However, as long as Ullrich as designs on winning the Tour, he knows that he will play second fiddle to the 1997 winner. That's fine by him.

Cyclingnews: How have things been so far with the new team?

Michael Rogers: Good... it is only January, it is quite early, but from my experience over the last five to six years, it seems to be a team that has already getting along and is quite united.

CN: Do you speak any German at all?

MR: No, but between Italian and English I should get on fine. Besides, they say the official language of the team is now English. Saying that, I will have to learn little bit of German.

Click here for the full interview.

World champs and supermodels ride for charity

A star-studded charity event
(Click for larger image)
Hello Erik, my name's Linda...
(Click for larger image)

Following his win at the Tour of Qatar current world champion Tom Boonen joined a host of celebrities, including Eddy Merckx and Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista, for the 'Wheels and Heels' charity ride on February 4 to raise money for victims of various natural disasters throughout Asia. The event was part of the 'Reach out to Asia' initiative, which has organised concerts and sporting events in order to assist countries suffering the effects of earthquakes that have hit the Asian region over the past 12-18 months.

Participants were sponsored to ride laps of a four kilometre course, with celebrities riding alongside employees from the Al Fardan group, Arabic singer Ihab Tawfiq and Egyptian actress Layla Elwy. Sheilcha Al Mayassa bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the daughter of the Emir of Qatar rode with Evangelista and co, demonstrating the support Qataris have for the cause of Asian relief. There was also a concert by Bryan Adams and a football match featuring Dutch professionals Frank and Ronald de Boer as part of the day's proceedings.

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Paris-Nice route announced

The route of the 2006 edition of the Paris-Nice stage race, March 5-12 was announced in Nanterre on Monday. World champion Tom Boonen will be the star drawcard for the 'race to the sun', which is traditionally the first top-level European stage race of the year.

"We wanted him to be able to display his strengths every day," said race director Christian Prudhomme of Boonen's participation in the race. There will be no long time trials in this year's event, he pointed out, and no mountain top finishes.

After a short prologue, the first stage into Saint-Amand-Montrond is definitely one for the sprinters. The race then takes to hillier country in the Beaujolais wine-growing region before crossing the Rhone valley to Saint-Etienne. Then it's back into wine country for stage 4's finish in Rasteau.

There will be mountains in the finals days, however, as stage five from Avignon to Digne-les-Bains takes in the col du Corobin, while stage six passes through Bourigaille and a short but sharp final loop from Nice to Nice takes in the col de la Porte, la Turbie, and the col d'Eze.

Although Paris-Nice organiser ASO has still not designated any of its 2006 races as being officially part of the UCI ProTour, all 20 of the ProTour teams have been invited to Paris-Nice, plus French outfit Agritubel, which has requested a wildcard for the Tour de France.

Last year's winner Bobby Julich (CSC) will be back to defend his title, along with his German team-mate Jens Voigt. Other top riders slated to take part include Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Axel Merckx (Phonak), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Christophe Moreau (AG2R), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) and Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux).


Prologue - March 5: Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine), 4,8 km
Stage 1 - March 6: Villemandeur (Loiret) - Saint-Amand-Montrond (Cher), 193 km
Stage 2 - March 7: Cérilly (Allier) - Belleville (Rhône), 200 km
Stage 3 - March 8: Juliénas (Rhône) - Saint-Etienne, 170 km
Stage 4 - March 9: Saint-Etienne - Rasteau (Vaucluse), 193 km
Stage 5 - March 10: Avignon - Digne-les-Bains, 201,5 km
Stage 6 - March 11: Digne-les-Bains - Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes), 179 km
Stage 7 - March 12: Nice - Nice, 135 km


AG2R, Agritubel, Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, Française des Jeux, Caisse d'Epargne/Illes Baléars, Euskaltel, Liberty Seguros, Saunier Duval , Lampre , Liquiga, Milram, Gerolsteiner, T-Mobile, Davitamon, Quick Step, CSC, Discovery Channel, Rabobank, Phonak

Zabel satisfied

By Susan Westemeyer

Six races in Qater yielded six podium places for Milram's Erik Zabel, and although he is still waiting for his first win of the season, he is not unhappy with his new team, though. "We got better every day. Most of the riders came from a GS II team and simply need more experience," he told the Neues Deutschland newspaper. "I was quite satisfied with the last day. For two or three laps we controlled the field. Sure, I had to get loud sometimes and correct a little mistake here or there, but that's normal." He was also satisfied with his preparations. "I came into this season better than in the last five years. That's because of the different training, as well as the motivation of the new team."

Tour Méditerranéen teams

Several teams have announced their lineups for this week's Tour Méditerranéen, which gets underway in Marseille on February 8. Running until February 12, it's the first stage race hitout for some squads, with most out to gain some early-season form and a couple of wins while the air is still a little chilly.

Quick Step-Innergetic has announced its team, with Nick Nuyens the rider most likely to be aiming for overall honours after his success at the 2005 Tour of Britain; chances are his early season form should be strong ahead of Omloop Het Volk, which he also won last year. New rider Kevin Van Impe lines up for his first stage race with the squad along with Cedric Vasseur, who has moved over to the Belgian team from French outfit Cofidis. Quick Step's riders to start in Marseille are Kevin De Weert, Nick Nuyens, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van de Walle, Kevin Van Impe, Cedric Vasseur, Geert Verheyen, Remmert Wielinga. Director Sportif is Rik Van Slycke.

With a strong team that includes Murilo Fischer, Alexander Bazhenov and Australian Paul Crake, Naturino-Sapore di Mare will be out to "make their mark in France" this week when the Tour Méditerranéen gets underway in Marseille. It's the team's first stage race of the season, and there's an air of confidence about the Italian squad.

"Doing the Tour Méditerranéen is different to previous seasons, it's quite a hard race to start with," said director sportif Antonio Salutini. "We've got a strong team, with [Alexander] Bazhenov already riding well; he could aim for the general classification," he continued, before adding, "[Sergio] Marinangeli and [Murilo] Fischer have a good understanding in the sprint finishes, and after a week spent in Qatar their preparation is almost is done - their physical condition is almost ideal. I think we can make a mark in France." Naturino's riders for Tour Méditerranéen will be Luca Ascani, Alexander Bazhenov (Rus), Stefan Cohnen (Ola), Paul Crake (Aus), Antonio Murilo Fischer (Bra), Sergio Marinangeli, Massimo Giunti, Martin Mares (Cze).

Milram has included veteran sprinter Erik Zabel in its team for the French race, with Mirko Celestino and Andry Grivko the candidates for strong overall performances. Look out for Zabel in the sprints after good showings at the Tour of Qatar. Milram's riders for Tour Méditerranéen are: Mirko Celestino, Ralf Grabsch, Andry Grivko, Mirco Lorenzeto, Enrico Poitschke, Elia Rigotto, Erik Zabel, Sebastian Siedler. Directors Sportive are Antonio Bevilacqua and Jan Schaffrat

Lampre-Fondital will start its first stage race in the latest reincarnation of the Lampre team with a solid group of riders capable of taking a stage win. Riders for the French race are Daniele Bennati, Paolo Fornaciari, Danilo Napolitano, Matteo Carrara, Claudio Corioni, David Loosli, Mauro Santambrogio, Daniele Righi. Substitutes will be Evgueni Petrov and Matteo Bono, and directors sportive will be Fabrizio Bontempi and Bruno Vicino

Team Miche has also announced its Tour Méditerranéen team, with the lineup consisting of Alberto Borrajo, Yuri Methlushenko, Maurizio Carta, Antonio D'Aniello, Pasquale Muto, Armando Rupa, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Seweryn Kohut. Director sportif will be Marco Tozzi

Renäng and Stubbe on the mend

Unibet rider Petter Renäng and Chocolade Jaques youngster Tom Stubbe are both making good recoveries from recent surgery, according to their agent Olivier Onderbeke.

Renäng underwent surgery in January for a knee problem that put him on the bench for much of 2005. According to Onderbeke, Renäng's recovery is proceeding better than expected; the operation site is almost healed and he already has good flexibility in the knee.

With his recovery proceeding well, the next step for Renäng is to start riding again. He is expected to be able to return to short sessions on a trainer on February 13 and hopes to return to racing in April.

Tom Stubbe fell in stage 2 of the Tour of Qatar and broke his collarbone. He underwent a successful operation to repair the damage on Friday and is expected to return to racing on March 4 for the Vlaaamse Pijl in Belgium.

Fothen trains in Tenerife

While the European season gets underway, Gerolsteiner's Markus Fothen has been busy training in the mountains near Tenerife, preferring the favourable conditions offered by the southern climate. "The altitude at the hotel is approximately 2,100 metres and the area offers outstanding conditions for tough training," said Fothen, who is preparing for the start of his season. "I've had very good experiences with the conditions here. Moreover I'd have to push snow if I were at comparable heights in the Alps at the moment. Here it's sunny and mild, which is perfect," he continued.

On Wednesday he'll be joined by teammates Heinrich Haussler and Ronny Scholz, who'll also train in the area, but not on the same routes as Fothen. Their 2006 season begins in Spain on February 26 with the "Clasica Almeria" and the subsequent Tour of Murcia (March 1-5).

More sponsors for Univega

Swiss outfit Univega has announced four more sponsors for 2006. With Welsh rider Nicole Cooke riding for in squad this year, team management hope her presence will translate into results after showing some promise in 2005.

Lifeforce, a company that assists in the early diagnosis of illnesses will be a co-sponsor, along with Spanish company Tot-Net, which offers professional cleaning in various industrial areas. Skoda and Puma have become technical sponsors of the team, with two Skoda Octavias serving as team cars and the team dressing in Puma apparel.

Ladies day on Sooty Park

Melbourne, Australia cycling TV show Cycling Sooty Park reaches the halfway point in its 13 week season tonight (Tuesday), with a special 'Ladies Day' edition. There has been a steady stream of positive feedback and support for the laidback approach the show has adapted with the 'on the couch' presentation style of the 'Roller Room Competition', Dan Hale's tech segment and the trials section, appropriately titled 'Don't Try This at Home'.

The show's producer David Olle says that by far the biggest show of empathy has been for 'Kate' in her 'Those we Leave Behind' specials. Kate, a physiotherapist, has touched a nerve with a lot of non-cyclists out there who have to put up with their partner's cycling obsession. Her candid descriptions of her husband's love of all things cycling and his consequent injuries and trials, keep all members of the family enraptured. Kate is scheduled to make one more appearance, before the end of the series.

Cycling Sooty Park screens in Melbourne on Channel 31, at 8.00pm Tuesdays, until the end of March. See for a weekly program guide.

2006 Team Meehan's/Cycleworks

Team Cycleworks presented by Meehan's amateur cycling team has announced its 2006 roster. Highlights include the return of Cat 3 GA Cup Winner, Richard Saunders, supported by most of the 2005 squad, ten returning Cat 4 members, a women's Pro 1,2,3 squad, featuring 2005's Greenville Classic Cat 4 Winner, Kitty Wickes, and a men's masters team.

Click here for the full roster & announcement.

North Atlanta Riding Club

The North Atlanta Riding Club has announced the roster for its 2006 Junior Racing Program. This enthusiastic group of juniors range in age from 12 to 15. This group has several "veterans" who have won titles on the Road, Track, MTB and Cyclocross going back over the past 3 years, as well a few who this will be their first year of racing.

Click here for the full roster & announcement.

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