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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for March 16, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan

McEwen down but not out of Sanremo

By Anthony Tan

A bad break for McEwen
Photo ©: Robbie McEwen
(Click for larger image)

Although looking like he was returning to his best following his crash on the third stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen earlier this month, most recently placing second to Alessandro Petacchi on the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo favourite Robbie McEwen has now discovered he has a rib fracture that has impeded his sprinting ability, but will nonetheless take to the start of La Primavera in Milano this Saturday.

Said McEwen in an email to Cyclingnews yesterday evening: "After returning home from Tirreno-Adriatico where I suffered a lot with rib and back problems, I decided to get checked out in the AZ Geraardsbergen Hospital. An X-ray and CT scan clearly show a fracture of the fifth rib on the right side, which occurred in my crash during the final stage of the Three Days of West Vlaanderen.

"I have decided to ride Milan-San Remo despite the break then consider what to do from there. A rib normally needs minimum four weeks to heal but I have worked very hard and suffered so much to get this far, and want to have a go at Milan-San Remo. Of course, it isn't ideal and maybe not sensible, but a similar approach to my back injury during the 2004 Tour worked out well, so we'll see."

The Davitamon-Lotto rider added that the other rider involved in the same crash, Matti Breschel from Team CSC, has been released from hospital in Belgium and returned to Denmark yesterday to continue his recovery. "I want to wish him all the best and a speedy recovery," said McEwen.

Fisher to lead Naturino at M-SR

One of five Pro Continental Teams invited to the 97th running of Milano-Sanremo, the Naturino-Sapore di Mare team is sending all all-Italian line-up bar Brazilian Murilo Fischer, who is expected to lead the team in the 294 kilometre ProTour classic.

"As we have seen at Tirreno-Adriatico, we will try to do places ourselves in a similar fashion at Milano-Sanremo," said team manager Vincenzo Santoni, who will assume the role of direttore sportivo on Saturday.

"Our team revolves around Murilo Fischer; he is our main rider, and for him Sanremo is the first real test. We will also try to go on the attack with young riders Agnoli and Ascani, who were very involved at Tirreno-Adriatico and left the race in great form."

Riders: Valerio Agnoli, Luca Ascani, Antonio Murilo Fischer, Cristian Gasperoni, Massimiliano Gentili, Leonardo Giordani, Massimo Giunti and Massimiliano Mori
Direttore Sportivo: Vincenzo Santoni

Acqua & Sapone ready for Sanremo

For Pro Continental squad Acqua & Sapone Caffè Mokambo, the team will place their trust in Rinaldo Nocentini, who recently finished a creditable 14th on general classification at Tirreno Adriatico. Said team manager Franco Gini: "We have a very competitive team; Rinaldo Nocentini is the man who has a good finish, and we also have two important athletes like Arekeev and Soler that are in optimal condition and can go for a long escape.

Continued Gini, "At Tirreno-Adriatico, I have seen an excellent team that was severely penalised after the cancellation of the stage to San Giacomo because of bad weather, but have riders that can surely give a lot of satisfaction."

Riders: Alexander Arekeev, Andrus Aug, Gabriel Balducci, Andrea Masciarelli, Rinaldo Nocentini, Giuseppe Palumbo, Andrea Rossi and Mauricio Soler
Direttori sportivi: Franc Gini, Bruno Cenghialta

De Fauw determined for a result

By Brecht Decaluwé in Oudenaarde, Belgium

Dimitri De Fauw
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

At the start of yesterday's Nokere Koerse in Oudenaarde, Cyclingnews came across a very confident and determined-looking Dimitri De Fauw. "Today, I think I can do very well. I'm determined to deliver a decent result one of these days. I'm riding very well, but I can't seem to get lucky," he said.

"Last Sunday, in Kemzeke, I tried a solo to bridge the gap to the leaders. With 50 metres to go, I saw that other riders were coming back behind me, so I stopped my effort. Suddenly, my team-mates Eeckhout en Barbé used me as a marking point to make a jump to the leaders - afterwards, it was not up to me to close the gap. Maybe I should've tried it because I wanted to be in the lead. The peloton decided to stop chasing the leaders, so I was trapped in our team tactics."

Continued the Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen rider, "In the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, I had a similar problem: I gave my best to win the sprint, but couldn't manage to finish it. Eeckhout rode his own sprint and finished as fifth. Afterwards, he talked to me and said he would've worked for me if he knew that I was so good. After such a situation, I could be very mad at everyone and everything I see; my team-mates know this and know they better get out of the way - I'm more dangerous than Rambo then!" joked De Fauw about the nickname given to his team-mate Nico Eeckhout.

But happily, the peloton knows the Belgian is a flamboyant person who's always in for a joke: "I get along and make jokes with most of the other riders. I think they like me being there too. If not, then probably that's because they're not enjoyed by anyone."

Gerrans out of Comm Games

A signficant blow for Australia came this evening when Victorian cyclist Simon Gerrans, one of the big favourites for the Commonwealth Games road race, annouced his withdrawal from the team. He will instead undergo surgery on his left shoulder in a French hospital tomorrow after developing an infection in the scar tissue following recent surgery.

The 25 year-old underwent surgery five weeks ago to repair damage to his right shoulder and left collarbone after a crash during the Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise in France, but had bravely fought back to regain race fitness and form for Melbourne. However early this morning in Europe, doctors advised Gerrans he will need further surgery to clean out the wound and treat the infection which flared up during this week's Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy.

"While I was racing in Tirreno it swelled up and we kept icing it and settling it down but one night it didn't go down and just got more and more swollen and then it burst and it was full of pus," said a very disappointed Gerrans. "I am shattered because I worked so hard to get going again, back fit and racing so I could compete in the Commonwealth Games and I got so close but I can't do it."

Gerrans had been due to fly out tomorrow from France to Melbourne to join the team but will instead be in hospital. "I'll go under the knife first thing in the morning (Thursday night Australian time) and I asked the specialist if I could still have the surgery and maybe delay my trip by a couple of days and still compete, but he said not to risk it and wants me to have two weeks off the bike."

Gerrans believes it will be three weeks to a month before he will be racing again but is hoping to fly to Australia next week so he can head out to watch the road race on the final day of the Games and support the Australian team. "I'll spend three or four days in hospital to get over the surgery and then because I won't be able to race anyway I'm planning to come home for a few weeks and recover in Australia and would like to head out and cheer on the guys."

Cycling Section Manager for the Commonwealth Games Team, Kevin Tabotta, says whilst disappointed with the news the greater concern is for Gerrans' future career. "There is no doubt it is a blow to the Australian team but his long term health comes first and whilst he is bitterly disappointed he is also standing aside to ensure Australia has the best possible chance," said Tabotta. "A replacement for Simon will be announced in due course."

The GP d'Ouverture la Marseillaise was Gerrans first race in Europe for 2006. Gerrans initial surgery involved doctors putting a pin through his left collarbone which was broken into three pieces in the crash. They also screwed his right AC joint in place after it popped out due to a ligament tear. He was back in training within a week and returned to racing two weeks ago in the Milan-Turin event.

Kohl & team pleased with development

T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl was looking forward to the mountainous sixth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, with its nearly 1,100 metre climb with slopes up to 15 percent. "Monday was supposed to be my day, I absolutely wanted to attack and show what I am capable of doing right now," he said on the team's Web site.

But it wasn't to be, as the winter weather caused the race organizers to eliminate both Cat. 1 mountains from the stage. "Bernhard has really developed since last year. Too bad that the weather made a course change necessary," said team manager Mario Kummer.

Kohl started off the year with a successful Tour of California, where he finished 12th overall and wore the mountains jersey for four days. "I have made a big step and am much further along than in my first pro year," said Kohl. If he had ridden a ProTour race like T-A last year, Kohl believed he would have "been dropped on almost every stage" and "come in with the gruppetto." But this year, he says, "I can even help set the tempo."

Courtesy Susan Westemeyer

Tour of Normandie teams and stages

The following teams have been confirmed for the 26th running of the UCI 2.2 Tour of Normandie, commencing next Monday with a 5,8 ITT in Colombelles and concluding the following Sunday March 26 in Caen.


Bretagne-Jean Floch
Knauf Team
Kalev Chocolate team
Glud & Marstrand
Rietumu Bank-Riga
Racing Team Vang
Ubbink-Syntec Cycling Team
Omnibike Dynamo Moscou
Team GLS
Duja Tavira
ASC Dukla Praha
Bodysol-Jong Vlaanderen
National German Team
CC Nogent sur Oise
Normandie Team

The Stages

Prologue - March 20: Colombelles ITT, 5,8 km
Stage 1 - March 21: Mondeville - Forges les Eaux, 211 km
Stage 2 - March 22: Forges les Eaux - Aubevoye, 81 km
Stage 3 - March 22: Aubevoye - Elbeuf, 74 km
Stage 4 - March 23: Elbeuf - Flers, 201 km
Stage 5 - March 24: Flers-Domfront, 74 km
Stage 6 - March 24: Domfront - St Hilaire du Harcouet, 84 km
Stage 7 - March 25: St Hilaire du Harcouet - Bagnoles de l'Orne, 174 km
Stage 8 - March 26: Bagnoles de l'Orne - Caen, 142 km

Courtesy Régis Garnier /

Fantasy Milan - San Remo start list uploaded!

The start list for the first race of this year's Fantasy Spring Classics 2006 games has been uploaded to our game servers. You can begin creating your teams now!

Breaking prize news

We are pleased to confirm that this year, Craft, fi'zi:k, Giro, HED, Maxxis, and Speedplay among others will be providing some fantastic prizes this year. A pair of beautiful Bastogne wheels worth over $600 USD could be yours if you win. Giro and Speedplay are once again continuing their support and are offering some of their finest products. There are ten sets of Maxxis tyres on offer to the lucky winners. Craft are giving away ten of their Pro Cool Mesh Sleeveless Baselayers.

You can win prizes for each of the individual races and for competing in all seven races. Remember you don't need to enter all seven races to win prizes. Have a look at the tactics and prizes of last year's winners.

Rider points update

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)

Once again you will have 4000 points per team to select your eight riders with. This year, in the light of the new UCI ProTour points system, we have had to make some changes. We have taken the final 2005 rider rankings from the UCI ProTour and have multiplied them by ten. Riders that did not score UCI ProTour points have been awarded nominal points (lower than those of the scoring UCI ProTour riders).

We appreciate this might not best reflect some of the skills of the non-scoring UCI ProTour riders in the coming races, but we hope that this will set us up better for the future as the scoring system becomes more accepted. We have also limited the number of teams people can enter in this year's Spring Classics game to five per manager. We've done this to ensure the competition is open to all, spreading the prizes to an even wider range of players.

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:

Milan - San Remo, March 18th 2006
Ronde van Vlaanderen, April 2nd 2006
Gent-Wevelgem, April 5th 2006
Paris - Roubaix, April 6th 2006
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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