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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 30, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

De Panne sickbay list

During a very fast and nervous stage two of the Driedaagse de Panne, furthermore influenced by strong winds, many riders crashed and had to abandon the race. Gert Steegmans (Davitamon-Lotto), who was third overall on the general classification, came down after only 27 kilometres. He was examined at the hospital at Oudenaarde, but fortunately no fracture was discovered. A deep cut on Steegmans' left arm was stitched, and his other superficial wounds at the hand and the leg attended to. The team is still hoping that he will be able to participate this coming Sunday at the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Russian Alexander Efimkin (Team Barloworld) was also affected by the crash, as he had to abandon and was taken to hospital.

Another rider who had to abandon the race after only 20 kilometres was Phonak's Bert Grabsch, but he was less lucky: his team director Adriano Baffi thinks that the German rider will not be able to race this weekend. "He won't make it to the Tour of Flanders," said Baffi.

Team Volksbank's Patrick Riedesser already crashed out on stage one, but could leave back to Austria on Wednesday after further examination and treatment in the Zottegem hospital. "It happened about 50 kms before the finish," Riedesser said. "The guy in front of me broke his fork, so I didn't have a chance - I crashed into and over him with about 50 km/h." Fortunately, the 29 year-old did not break his shoulder, as had been the initial assumption, and could leave the hospital with heavy bruises and scratches, as well as six stitches on his right elbow.

Also see: Driedaagse van De Panne stage 2 full results, report & photos.

Garate recons Giro mountain stage

Spanish Champion Juan Manuel Garate (Quick.Step) has reconnoitred the roads of the 19th stage of this year's Giro d’Italia from Pordenone to the Passo San Pellegrino, climbing the Passo Fedaia, the Passo Pordoi and the final climb of Passo San Pellegrino.

"It was a beautiful day," said Garate, who clearly enjoyed his training ride. "The landscape is impressive and for the first time in my life I have seen a solar eclipse at 2000 meters! The Passo Fedaia will make a first selection in the bunch, and I think only the best will remain in the front. The Pordoi is a more regular climb, but the last six kilometres of the San Pellegrino will make up the difference. It’s a very steep climb and I think the riders will arrive one by one."

Brochard operated on

Bouygues Telecom rider Laurent Brochard had to undergo surgery to heal a discal hernia he had been treated for during the last weeks. The 38 year-old was operated on Tuesday, March 28 at the University Clinic in Nantes. Brochard will have to remain off his bike for another two weeks, and will therefore not be able to come back to competition before mid-May.

Förster injured in training crash

Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster was almost finished with his training ride in his home region in Eastern Germany Wednesday afternoon when he overlooked a pothole, to his disadvantage. "I was almost done with a training session and just added a few sprint intervals," the 28 year-old said. "I hit a pothole at full speed and went over the handlebars."

The sprinter was taken to a hospital in Halle, where doctors diagnosed severe concussion and a severely jammed wrist. "To be on the safe side, they did a CAT scan but didn't see anything that hadn't been there before," the sprinter continued, having recovered his humour. "I'm supposed to take it easy now, but with the splint and tape for my wrist I can hardly train anyway." If the healing goes well, Förster will return to racing in the Circuit de la Sarthe on Tuesday, April 4 as planned.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

2006 Peace race unveiled

The itinerary of the 2006 Peace race has been officially presented in Hannover, Germany, on Wednesday, March 29. The 58th edition of the event, which had to be cancelled last year because of financial problems, will not include Poland on its parcours, but instead start in Linz, Austria, move over into the Czech Republic and finish in Hannover.

"It wasn't easy to organise our stage race in only four months and unite the different countries involved," race director Herbert Notter told German "Our main sponsor, Skoda, did not want to start in Poland, and Poland wasn't interested in the race." Nevertheless 1274 kilometres long in total, the 2006 Peace race is scheduled from May 13-20.

Notter expected 15 to 16 teams to participate, each with eight riders, but competition is hard: the Giro d'Italia being held at the same time, the two German ProTeams T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner might not take part in the revived race. "I'm currently negotiating with Olaf Ludwig of T-Mobile," the race director continued. "It would be odd to miss T-Mobile, especially under the management of Ludwig [the winner of the Peace race in 1982 and 1986 - ed.], whereas when Godefroot directed it, there was always a way." Admitting it was rather late to fit the race into the team's programs, Notter revealed that Gerolsteiner had already declined the invitation, but that Team Milram would definitely take the start.

The fifth stage from Czech stage town Bilina to German Altenberg will cross the Erzgebirge mountain range, and therefore be one of the decisive factors in the GC turnout. One day later, the famous cobbled wall of Meerane will be taken on. The full itinerary is as follows:

Stage 1 - May 13: Linz - Schrems (AUT), 139 km
Stage 2 - May 14: Schrems - Ceske Budejovice (CZE), 177 km
Stage 3 - May 15: Beroun (CZE) - Karlovy Vary (CZE), 165 km
Stage 4 - May 16: Karlovy Vary (CZE) - Teplice (CZE), 176 km
Stage 5 - May 17: Bilina (CZE) - Altenberg, 141 km
Stage 6 - May 18: Dippoldiswalde - Meerane, 155 km
Stage 7 - May 19: Delitzsch - Thale, 185 km
Stage 8 - May 20: Wernigerode - Hannover, 136 km

Call for cycling stories

Publishing house Casagrande Press in Seattle, Washington, is seeking submissions for its forthcoming book, Cycling’s Greatest Misadventures. The press is looking for quality nonfiction stories about riding disasters, comical mishaps, pranks, crashes, bad judgment calls, misfortune, contest meltdowns, strange injuries, loss of wit, critical conditions, bike trips gone wrong or "non-riding episodes" that surround the cycling experience: well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. The call is open to writers and riders of any level and any kind of bicycle, i.e., racing bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, bmx bikes, beach cruisers, etc.

Writers will be paid upon publication if their story is selected. The press will pay on a per-word basis for previously published stories and will pay a higher per-word rate for stories that have not previously been published. The deadline for submission is September 30, 2006. Stories will not be returned.

Please send your story submissions to:

Casagrande Press
4316 36th Ave W # C
Seattle, WA 98199-1333

Or via e-mail at:

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