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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 1, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Bettini looking forward to first race as world champion

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/

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), the defending champion for tomorrow's Championship of Zurich, is looking forward to racing in his newly acquired rainbow jersey. Bettini won the race solo last year by almost three minutes, letting off some steam for missing out in the world's the previous week. But now he has the world title, and can take a more relaxed approach to Sunday's race.

In a Reuters interview, Bettini said that he wanted to show off the rainbow jersey as much as possible this year and next. That means he won't finish his season until the Giro di Lombardia on October 14, and will take in Paris-Tours and the Coppa Sabatini along the way. He wants to race some six day events over winter and has even got his eyes on Paris-Roubaix next year.

"I want to wear the rainbow jersey with pride and as often as possible but it won't change the way I race. When I ride, I'll always ride to win," said Bettini.

The Italian admitted that post-world's celebrations and a reduced training program might not see him at his best in Zurich, but he is looking forward to it anyway. "It was a special moment when I won and will also be special when I ride my first race," he said.

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the Championship of Zurich live, with coverage starting at 15:00 CEST (Europe)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Australia East).

Click here for the full preview, map, past winners, and start list.

Bruyneel responds to Lefevere's Tour comments

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

In an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Discovery Channel sports manager Johan Bruyneel took umbrage with recent comments by Quick Step-Innergetic Team Manager Patrick Lefevere regarding his comments on the relative freedom from doping of recent Tours De France. Lefevere, who is also the current president of the Association of Pro Teams told Belgian radio during an interview that in his opinion, the last clean winner of the Tour de France was in 1997, when Telekom rider Jan Ullrich took his first and only Tour title.

Responding from his home in Madrid, Spain, Johan Bruyneel told Cyclingnews that "With only three Tour de France champions crowned since 1997, in my opinion, Lefevere's comments were inappropriate and unfounded. His answer to the radio reporters question can only be interpreted as a direct accusation that Lance Armstrong's Tour de France victories were dirty. In Lefevere's role as president of the Association of Pro Teams I expect a higher level of professionalism and respect for current riders and former champions."

According to Cyclingnews sources, Patrick Lefevere downplayed his comments after the interview by saying he was just joking, but Bruyneel said that he failed to see the humour in these comments. "Unfortunately these comments are not a joke that I find very funny. I believe that Mr. Lefevere should think twice before saying things like this and that he should know what the repercussions of such responses are, joke or no joke. As directeur sportif of the Discovery Channel Team, I certainly take offence to these comments. Although it's not something I would usually talk to the media about, I felt that Lefevere's surprising comments were a direct attack on me and my team and thought I should respond to them."

Cyclo-cross World Cup kicks off in Aigle

The first round of the 2006-2007 cyclo-cross World Cup will be held in Aigle, Switzerland on Sunday, October 1. The race, which forms part of an 11-race series, will be contested by 66 elite men riders. This is a record number of starters for any World Cup 'cross race, surpassing the 59 participants in Wortegem-Petegem in 2004 and 55 in Kalmthout in 2005.

The course in Aigle is marked around the World Cycling Centre, and Sunday will be the second time that a World Cup has been run here. The series runs for nearly four months, and there will be races held in Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Cyclo-cross World Cup 2006-2007

October 1, 2006: Aigle (Swi)
October 22, 2006: Kalmthout (Bel)
October 28, 2006: Tabor (Cze)
November 4, 2006: Tréviso (Ita)
November 12, 2006: Pijnacker (Ned)
November 25, 2006: Koksijde (Bel)
December 3, 2006: Igorre (Spa)
December 8, 2006: Milan (Ita)
December 26, 2006: Hofstade (Bel)
January 14, 2007: Nommay (Fra)
January 21, 2007: Hoogerheide (Ned)

Latest UCI continental rankings

The UCI has released its monthly rankings for the five continental tours. With the season just about finished, it's likely that the current leaders will end up winning the various continental jerseys once everything is wrapped up. In Africa, Rabaki Jeremie Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) holds just a seven point lead over South Africa's Rupert Rheeder. The American situation is clear cut, however, with Jose Serpa (Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni) over 100 points clear of Gregorio Ladino (Tecos De La Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara). In the Asia tour, there are three Iranians in the top positions: Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (434 pts), Hossein Askari (386 pts) and Ahad Kazemi Sarai (259 pts).

Niko Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen) will take out the European tour, especially as he keeps winning races. He has a 102 point buffer over Italian Rinaldo Nocentini (Acqua e Sapone). Finally, Gordon McCauley (Successfulliving.com) has more than double the points of Dominique Perras (Kodakgallery.Com-Sierra Nevada) and Australian champion Russell Van Hout (Savings & Loans Cycling Team).

Rankings as of September 26, 2006

Africa
 
1 Rabaki Jeremie Ouedraogo (Bur)                                   216 pts
2 Rupert Rheeder (RSA)                                             209
3 Abdul Wahab Sawadogo (Bur)                                       121
4 Bakhtiyar Mamyrov (Kaz)                                          101
5 Pavel Nevdakh (Kaz)                                               96
 
America
 
1 Jose Serpa (Col) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni           313.945 pts
2 Gregorio Ladino (Col) Tecos De La Universidad Autonoma De Guadal 208.66
3 Andrei Sartassov (Rus) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni     202.66
4 Manuel Eduardo Medina Marino (Ven)                               199.625
5 Pedro Pablo Perez Marquez (Cub)                                  186
 
Asia
 
1 Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (IRI) Giant Asia Racing Team              434.32 pts
2 Hossein Askari (IRI) Giant Asia Racing Team                      386.32
3 Ahad Kazemi Sarai (IRI)                                          259.32
4 David Mc Cann (Irl) Giant Asia Racing Team                       228
5 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Skil-Shimano                            189
 
Europe
 
1 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen        668 pts
2 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone                           566
3 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Team Lamonta                                  517
4 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow                   474
5 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                    462
 
Oceania
 
1 Gordon McCauley (NZl) Successfulliving.com presented by Parkpre  160.66 pts
2 Dominique Perras (Can) Kodakgallery.Com-Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling 76.2
3 Russell Van Hout (Aus) Savings & Loans Cycling Team               75.2
4 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Southaustralia.com-AIS                    71.2
4 Phillip Thuaux (Aus) Drapac Porsche                               71.2
 
Full rankings: ProTour, Continental Tours, Elite Women, Junior Men, 
Teams, Nations.

Omloop looking for another team

Belgian cyclist Geert Omloop has not had his contract renewed by Unibet.com for next season. The former Belgian champion had his house searched for drugs by police in March this year, but has now formally been cleared of any wrongdoing. He was suspended for a short time by his team, but was allowed to resume racing after a few weeks.

"I knew all the time that I was innocent, but there was serious pressure on my shoulders," he was quoted by VRT as saying, after he learned last Thursday that no doping products were found. "The affair is now finished. The mark that I got is now gone."

Omloop said that he can now look for another employer, "because at Unibet I'm not welcome any more."

Team manager Koen Terryn said that the house search did have something to do with the team's non-rehiring of Omloop, but also his lack of result. "We had in any case decided not to continue with Omloop," said Terryn. "I don't want to condemn him, but Unibet thinks: where there is smoke, there's fire. We want even stricter standards. Our riders must be 'virginal' as it were."

O'Loughlin sets new Irish pursuit record, aims for Olympics

Irish rider David O'Loughlin moved a step closer to his goal of riding the Olympic track pursuit in Beijing when he smashed the Irish record for the 4000 metre pursuit in the Newport Velodrome, Wales on Friday.

The Navigators Insurance professional set a time of 4'29.9, going significantly faster than the previous record of 4'35, as set by former international Phil Collins at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Despite having little track racing experience, the former double Irish road race champion achieved a time which would have qualified him eleventh of the 21 entrants in the world championships which took place in France earlier this year. He feels he can go quicker again.

"I am pretty pleased with how it went," he said. "It is the first time I have ever done a pursuit attempt, although I have done some training for it lately. I was a bit unsure as to what to expect. I felt really good, and probably could have gone a couple of seconds faster if I pushed it. But I stuck to the schedule and it worked out well.

"This is the first one I did but the track is probably not the fastest out there. I didn't have a front disk on either, so think with some more practice, I can go quicker again.

He has a set plan as to the next step. "I am getting married next week and will then go on honeymoon. After that, I'd like to spend a bit of time in Newport over the winter, then plan to ride two world cups in January and February. I hope to ride well there and qualify for the world championships.

"I'm definitely interested in going to the Games. The amount of time I can put into it depends on what my team wants from me on the road next year, though. We will have to see how it goes."

Irish Olympic manager Frank Campbell is considering putting together a team pursuit squad for the Beijing Games. O'Loughlin's Navigators Insurance professional team-mate Ciarán Power also did a 4000 metre test in the velodrome today, but feels that his track ambitions are likely to be channeled in another area.

"I did the pursuit but think it doesn't suit me too well," he said. "This week was my first time ever on the track and first time using a fixed wheel, but it is enjoyable all right. I'd like to come back and try out the points race at some point; that might be good."

As regards the road side of things, both riders are currently finalising their plans for next year. Power has already confirmed he will re-sign for Navigators, and expects to confirm terms with manager Ed Beamon in the next few days. O'Loughlin has yet to indicate where he will be racing.

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