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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for May 10, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, assisted by Susan Westemeyer

An interview with Brad McGee

Pieces of the puzzle

Brad McGee's performance in stage one of this year's Giro came as a surprise to the Australian, and signaled his emergence from a pretty long trough in form. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke caught up with McGee before stage 3 of the Giro in Perwez and found out how he has made it all fit together.

Ready to before stage 1 of the Giro
Photo ©: Giorgio Masnikosa
(Click for larger image)

Brad McGee has won stages and prologues in the Tour de France and the Giro, and finished the 2004 Giro in eighth place on the general classification, a result that gave McGee even more ambition to chase the overall lead in Grand Tours.

But after a less-than-successful tilt at the 2005 Tour de France, he decided to target the shorter stage races, such as the Tour de Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Suisse.

But the results he'd hoped for didn't quite eventuate, and following a tough year in 2005 and a difficult opening to 2006, McGee knew he had to go back to the drawing board.

The tough stretch culminated in a poor showing at the Tour de Romandie last month, where McGee had hoped to win the prologue, but came out empty-handed and feeling pretty low.

It was then time for the Giro, which the Olympic gold medallist came into with a low profile and mixed emotions. He came out in the prologue in Seraing and clocked a time of 8'01", 11 seconds behind fast-finishing stage winner Paolo Savoldelli. It was a great turnaround in form - not from the perspective of taking a win, but how McGee felt inside.

Click here for the full interview

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

Tom Danielson diary: In the right place, at the right time

A lot of yesterday was positioning, and I was just fortunate to be in the right position at the right time. It was a pretty chaotic finish; the cobbles were really slippery and before the cobbles it was insane.

And that climb didn't suit me very well - that sort of power and explosive type of climb is really bad for me. But I want to be a Grand Tour rider some day and they put these things in the races, so it's my responsibility to be there; I'm happy to be there, but it's such a long race and we have a long ways to go.

Savoldelli, he did fantastic; he didn't lose any time - he actually gained more time on everyone else - so all missions accomplished yesterday. For Paolo to be seven seconds in front of most of GC contenders, it shows he's in fantastic condition. He knows this race better than anyone, and I think he'll be very, very good at the end of the race.

Click here for the full diary

Scott Sunderland diary: Bound for Italy

CSC
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

We're at the airport, waiting for our flight to Italy this evening, but it looks like the whole of the Giro is here! There's a big party with VIPs, police, food wine, champagne, beer. It's unbelievable. We'll be hanging around until 9:30 until we get a flight, which means we won't be in our hotel until midnight, but it's the same for everyone.

It's been a big organisation as it is with any transfer. We had our second bus come across to the finish so our first bus could get going and that one will pick us up from Palma airport in Italy. We also sent the biggest truck down this morning with all the suitcases and bags, and the small truck picked up all the equipment from the race today. The big truck should arrive some time around 10pm. It's a 14-16 hour drive for the mechanics. Then they have to get up at sparrows fart to prepare the TT bikes for riding the next day. It's a lot of work for the personnel.

The race cars and soigneurs cars should arrive tomorrow at around lunchtime. We already sent three cars with soigneurs and physios this morning to the hotel too, so that they can prepare for our arrival. They'll have a bit of food ready so when the riders come in, they can eat something if they're hungry.

Click here for the full diary

Giro diary watch: Picnic at the airport

Ah, the glamorous life of a pro cyclist: After Tuesday's stage, Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster wrote on www.radsport-news.com, "We took to a bus to a military base, where we all showered, then all 195 riders went on 10 buses to the airport in Luttich (Liege), 50 km. A pop band was playing - not very good, but therefore very loud. Someone had put up tables (without chairs) as if for a reception. But we had over 200 km in our legs and nobody really felt like partying. So we sat on the floor or on some boxes. We had to wait a little longer, because Gerolsteiner was on the second plane. It left at 22:50 and we're supposed to land in Parma at 12:10. We'll see what time we get to the hotel."

Teammate Ronny Scholz noted that the airport "was closed to everyone except us. We were greeted with music, a full buffet and lots of drinks, not just Gerolsteiner (water). The only problem was that the organisers apparently hadn't figured on so many people and there weren't enough seats, so we sat on the floor, like at a picnic."

T-Mobile's Mick Rogers realises it could have been worse. "The transfer to Italy makes for a long night: getting to the airport, hanging around, the flight, the transport to the team hotel. But we won't complain, since after all we're definitely better off that the soigneurs and mechanics, who have to drive the trucks all the way to Italy overnight." He looked back at the weather in Belgium and said, "They say you get the weather you deserve. Well, I'm not sure what exactly we've done wrong..." (www.t-mobile-team.com)

Klöden and Zabel to ride in Bayern Rundfahrt

Andreas Klöden and Erik Zabel will lead their teams at the Bayern Rundfahrt, May 24 - 28, the race management has announced. T-Mobile's Klöden will be making his first appearance after shoulder surgery in March and will try to prepare himself for the Tour de France. Klöden will be supported by Patrik Sinkewitz, who in 2003 placed second in Bayern and won the young rider jersey. After an excellent spring season, he is currently fifth in the Pro tour rankings. Milram's Zabel has already won 15 stages in the Bayern Rundfahrt over the years.

T-Mobile for Bayern: Lorenzo Bernucci, Andreas Klier, Andreas Klöden, Bernhard Kohl, Bram Schmitz, Stephan Schreck, Patrik Sinkewitz

Milram for Bayern: Daniel Becke, Ralf Grabsch, Daniel Musiol, Enrico Poitschke, Björn Schröder, Sebastian Siedler, Erik Zabel

French mission for Barloworld

Team Barloworld will be in action in France this weekend. Between Friday May 12 and Sunday 14, directeur sportif Alberto Volpi and the team will be at the Tour de Picardie, a short stage that offers the team’s sprinters several chances for success.

Both Enrico Degano and Giosue Bonomi will be in the team along with Igor Astarloa and Diego Caccia, Mauro Facci, Rodney Green, James Perry, Tom Southam and Arnets Txurruka.

"We've got several riders on form and we can do well in France. We're hoping for the bit of luck of that hasn't gone our way several times this season," Volpi said.

Two broken ribs for Rooijakkers

After an medical examination in The Netherlands, Piet Rooijakkers (Skil Shimano) appears to have two broken ribs. The Dutch rider crashed on Saturday in the fourth stage of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque. In that stage Rooijakkers, abandoned the race because of breathing difficulties and pain in his body.

Rooijakkers will be three weeks out of competition, but because of the nature of the fracture, he might be back racing a bit earlier. Rooijakkers is the third rider of the Skil-Shimano team who has an injury. Kenny van Hummel (two broken dorsal vertebrae) and René Weissinger (broken bone in his hand) are also temporary out of competition.

Hammer comes home

By Mitch Friedman

Sarah Hammer
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

On May 8, USA track world champion Sarah Hammer visited the South Bay Wheelmen's club in California to talk about her win at the Track World Championships in France. Sarah, a long time club member of SBW, spoke about her win and other things to the large group on hand.

Sarah took it easy for at least a week after returning home from France. This past weekend she donned her SBW racing kit to race in the Barrio Logan GP and the San Luis Rey road race, and won both.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com

Ludovic Poilvet retires

By Stéphane David

22 year-old Ludovic Poilvet (Bretagne-Jean Floc'h) hasn't been seen at a race since the start of the season. Unfortunately, he will not race anymore as he's suffering from a major bone disease and has to stop his career. As his current team, Bretagne-Jean Floc'h want to continue to pay him until the end of the year, no other rider will replace him, as the budget is not big enough to employ one more rider.

Although hailing from the same area, Ludovic Poilvet doesn't have any family ties with Benoît Poilvet (Crédit Agricole).

Slaney CC hosts FBD Insurance Ras

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

The Slaney Cycling Club has a strong tradition cycling, particularly on the organisational front. The club has the distinction of being the organisers of stage two of the Tour de France when it visited Ireland in 1998. Then, it demonstrated a willingness, in conjunction with all the local authorities, to put on a first class show. Admittedly, the sun shone on the Co. Wexford town on July 12, 1998.

Slaney CC is back to show those skills again, albeit in the absence of the late Eddie Tobin, who was the commander-in-chief back then. Liam Ruth and his committee aim to put on a show of importance for anybody that visits the town next week in conjunction with the FBD Insurance Ras.

In an effort to raise awareness of the RAS stage finish in the town centre on Sunday week, the club has organised a weekend of cycling events in the town. On Thursday evening, May 18, it is running a eight km time trial. The event is part of the County Wexford club's cycling calendar and is open to Cycling Ireland licence holders. Friday evening sees a novelty/family leisure cycle of about eight km to Enniscorthy’s highest point, the historic Vinegar Hill. The event is being run to benefit the HOPE cancer care organisation and the club hopes to also have local political and sports personalities take part.

On Saturday May 20, the Mount Leinster Challenge will be staged. It is a cyclosportif/leisure event over three distances: Gold (150km), Silver (100km) and Bronze (50km). The Silver includes one of ascent of Mount Leinster while the Gold route takes in two climbs of Mount Leinster, including the dreaded Corrabutt Gap, the scene of many decisive attacks over the years in the FBD Ras. The bronze event will suit anyone of reasonable fitness looking for a challenge. The event will be fully supported by lead car and broom wagon with several refreshment stops along the way. Slaney CC intends to make it a regular event on the leisure cycling calendar in the years to come.

On Sunday afternoon, the FBD Insurance RAS sweeps into town along the Dublin road, across the town's two bridges, over the River Slaney, to finish on Duffry Hill in the town centre. The finish is spectator friendly, just a few metres from the Tour de France stage start point of 1998, and the club expects a large turnout to welcome the riders to town. Monday morning sees the RAS depart for Cobh, County Cork.

More information: www.slaneycyclingclub.com

Bianchi's special release for the Giro - and the Cyclingnews Fantasy Game!

The grand prize
Photo ©: Bianchi
(Click for larger image)

With registration still open until stage 6, today's rest day in the Giro is also an excellent opportunity for budding team managers to assemble their respective dream teams and enter the 2006 Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game.

We have been hinting at it all week, and now we can reveal more about the Grand Prize in this year's Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game: it is a special-edition bicycle from Bianchi, the legendary Italian firm of Treviglio, released just in time for this year's edition of the Grand Tour.

Called the 'Via Nirone 7 Alu Carbon Mirage', it is painted in the same colour-scheme of ProTour and Giro team, Liquigas, which will be looking to support its lead rider Danilo Di Luca as the race hits the mountains this week.

BBB Parts
Photo ©: BBB
(Click for larger image)
HED Stinger wheels
Photo ©: HED
(Click for larger image)
Giro Atmos
Photo ©: Giro
(Click for larger image)
Speedplay Zero pedals
Photo ©: Speedplay
(Click for larger image)
Santini clothing
Photo ©: Santini
(Click for larger image)
fi'zi:k saddles
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)
Maxxis Courchevel tyres
Photo ©: Maxxis
(Click for larger image)

In fact, the Via Nirone is so new it is not even in the Bianchi 2006 catalogue - it is purely "a special version available in some Bianchi shops to celebrate Giro", said a Bianchi spokesperson. The special model has an excellent design and development pedigree, as it comes from the 'Reparto Corse' division of Bianchi (its racing bicycles area) and bristles with many new features.

Of particular interest is the first application of Campagnolo's new 'Ultra Torque' 10-speed Mirage compact crankset (34/50T) with integrated bottom-bracket. The Via Nirone 7 is the only bicycle on the market to feature this new release from Campagnolo.

The frame is made of aeronautic-grade 7000 series aluminium, with double- and triple-butted tubes smoothly TIG-welded and with a carbon monostay rear-end to smooth out the road vibes.

Bianchi describes the frameset as having relaxed geometry to allow for long days in the saddle, while retaining relatively quick steering. It also features a saddle d'Italia. The Via Narone 7 also features Campagnolo's new 'Khamsin' wheelset, as well as a Selle Italia saddle and an ITM stem and handlebar. For full details, including the frame geometry chart, you can download the PDF.

The Bianchi is only one of many great prizes in this year's Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game. Other great prizes include:

From BBB Parts, our daily stage winner will win the official sports glasses of the Quick.Step-Innergetic professional cycling team.

Called "BSG-23 Winner Team Quick-Step" the glasses have a durable, flexible and lightweight Grilamid frame; adjustable metal nose piece for a perfect fit; and interchangeable polycarbonate lenses with 100% protection against harmful UV rays, up to UV 400nm.

The glasses are matte silver with the Quick.Step logo on the band and come with smoke blue revo lenses. They also come with three extra lenses; orange, yellow and clear with a flash mirror coating, and a carrying case so that you have a lens for all types of weather.

A pair of HED's Stinger wheels - the HED Stinger 50 is an all carbon wheel ideal for road racing. With a 50mm rim depth, it is more aerodynamic than a traditional alloy rimmed road wheel. While this rim depth is more aerodynamic, it is not too deep that handling will be compromised in crosswinds or a crowded peloton;

Three Giro Atmos helmets - from Giro. We have three Atmos helmets, the same model worn by some of the best riders and teams in this year's Giro d'Italia;

Three sets of Speedplay's Zero pedals - from Speedplay. We have three sets of its Zero pedals, as used in the Giro d'Italia by teams like CSC and Phonak;

Team replica cycling clothing by Santini - several of the teams in this year's Giro are wearing clothing supplied by Italian company Santini, and Cyclingnews has three complete sets of team clothing on offer as prizes in the Fantasy Game;

Three fi'zi:k saddles - some of the best saddles in Italy come from fi'zi:k, and we have three of them as prizes in the Fantasy Game;

10 sets of Maxxis Courchevel road tyres - the Courchevel road tyre from Maxxis is one of cycling's best road racing tyres. It is a completely new design from Maxxis, from the rubber to the casing. The Courchevel features 'Triple Compound Technology' to provide long wear life, great traction and a better transition from compound to compound.

Play for FREE in the Giro 2006 game

Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Giro start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters and general classification riders. For more details go to the rules section of the site for more info. It's a great way to follow the Giro 2006.

To register your teams for the game go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)