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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for April 2, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

No Dauphiné for, either

When the organisers of the Dauphiné Libéré announced the route of this year's stage race on Friday last week, they also presented the participating teams: all of the ProTour teams had been selected, with the exception of team, snubbed by French race organisers this year because of the legal situation of its sponsor.

After Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Roubaix, it is thus the fourth race that the team will not be able to compete in although it paid a very expensive license to the UCI, which promised just that. Directeur sportif Hilaire Van der Schueren found the situation hopeless. "Will we thus also get turned down for the Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastigne-Liège and the Tour?," he said when asked for a comment by Sportwereld. "I don't have any illusions anymore."

Team director Jacques Hanegraaf also has had enough of it. "This cannot go on. I expect action from the UCI," he said.

Dauphiné Libéré organiser Thierry Cazeneuve, by the way, did not invite any other Pro Continental squads even though the peloton will 'only' count 19 teams. French team Agritubel, for example, did not get invited, either. "I'm a legalist," explained Cazeneuve to L'Equipe. "Several riders were seen cheating last year [holding onto team cars - ed.] - that's how they thanked me."

Vinokourov thinks about Briançon

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) time-trialling around Charleville-Mézières
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Alexandre Vinokourov, who has been playing it low recently but continues his rising form in view of the April Classics and the Tour de France later this year, assured that, "everything is going very well for me" after the week-end of racing in Northern France at the Critérium International. The Astana leader 'only' finished 16th overall after Sunday's climber's stage and a prologue-like time trial in the afternoon, but told Cyclingnews, "You won't see the best Vinokourov before the Tour de France, although the Dauphiné Libéré will be a significant test."

Vinokourov seemed convinced in his success possibilities facing the Grande Boucle in July. "Yes, of course I believe in it," he said. "I put all of my season on the Tour de France. From the beginning of the year on, I said I want to win the Tour - it's no a mystery. I have a double motivation: I couldn't participate in the last Tour de France and I'll race representing my country, Kazakhstan."

There will be many rivals for the Kazakh in the Tour de France, but when asked who he particularly worried about, Vinokourov did not mention his own teammate Andreas Klöden. "Ivan Basso, Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre are the three most serious and dangerous ones," he said, but then backpedaled on the Spanish hope. "Alejandro Valverde can win the Tour de France, but not this year! He is a very good rider, but the Tour de France is also a special event that you can't compare to other races."

Vinokourov already knows the 2007 Tour de France route by heart, and thought that, "It's just perfect! The stages in the Alps will be very hard and even harder than these past years, but it's really a good Tour de France. There will be all the mountains I like very much. The stage finishing in Briançon is also something that could suit me. Really, I'm very enthusiastic about this Tour de France."

Promising Burghardt again showed class

Full support for Burghardt
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

German rider Marcus Burghardt confirmed his status as young hopeful again this Saturday by finishing on the podium of the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in Belgium, right behind top stars Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) and Fabian Cancellara (CSC). Together with the Belgian, the Swiss, and Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), the 23 year-old broke clear of the bunch with 21 kilometres to go and held the pace until the end.

"The third place is a tremendous success for me," Burghardt said on "We stayed together until two kilometres to the line, then I tried to jump away and was in the unfortunate first position afterwards [for the sprint - ed.]."

Tactically, Burghardt learned form his experience in the Dwars door Vlaanderen race last week. "On Wednesday, I made the mistake of attacking too often," he explained after the finish. "Today, I rode more defensively and watched the favourites."

Directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman was very satisfied with his youngster. "Marcus did exactly the right thing and attacked once again in the finale," he said. "He couldn't get away, but he'll try again, and it'll work at some point."

Burghardt will train lightly during the week in view of his biggest goal, the Ronde van Vlaanderen next Sunday. "That was my last test for the Ronde. The tough preparation was worth it - I'm in top shape for the Tour of Flanders," he added.

US track team fifth in medal standings

Jennie Reed
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Washington) placed fifth in women's keirin on Sunday to give the U.S. Cycling Team its best finish on the closing day of the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, while recent women's pursuit champion Sarah Hammer (Temecula, California/Ouch Pro Cycling) placed 14th in the 25-kilometer points race.

Reed sailed through her first two qualifying heats to earn a spot in the six-woman final, but was at a disadvantage after drawing the sixth seed in an all-star pool of women's sprinters. She regained a slight edge when defending World Champion Christin was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first lap of the eight-lap race. But after making her way to the front of the field with two-and-a-half laps remaining, Reed was eventually overtaken by the rest of the field before the final surge to the line.

"I knew going into the final that you have six of the best in the world, so you can't make too much of a plan," explained Reed afterwards. "It's hard when you draw fifth. I was last and it's hard when you have everyone strong in front of you. I made the best of it. I gave it a go and that was the result."

Entering Sunday's competition, the U.S. was well positioned to collect its third medal of the weekend with both Reed and Hammer in action, but like Reed, Hammer's efforts also fell short.

Sarah Hammer (USA) led early on
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Hammer accumulated only two points in the 100-lap points race to finish in the bottom half of the leader board despite entering the event as one of the pre-race favourites. The two-time individual pursuit champion notched her points by placing third in the fourth intermediate sprint of the contest.

"I just didn't have it today," said Hammer.

The U.S. finished the event tied for fifth in the overall medal standings with two - Hammer's gold and the bronze won by Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Mo.) in Thursday's omnium. Great Britain dominated the event with 11 medals - seven of them gold - while Australia and the Netherlands won six apiece.

Still, Pat McDonough, USA Cycling Director of Athletics came to a positive conclusion. "We're continuing to take positive steps forward," he said. "Our plan was to come here with a small but competitive team, and we did just that. We won two medals, were relegated out of one and made the keirin finals. Of the small group that was here, we had some extremely competitive performances. It's only a matter of time until we become a greater threat on a more consistent basis."

Three training centres for US track cyclists

As part of its overall effort to improve athlete development in the discipline of track cycling, USA Cycling announced a new partnership with three of the nation's premier velodromes.

Designated as USA Cycling Official Track Training Centers are the ADT Event Center Velodrome at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania and the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The three facilities will be part of a collaborative effort to return the United States to the track cycling powerhouse it was during the 1980's and '90's through the improvement of programs and services available to the track cycling community around the country.

As part of the agreement, the three velodromes will retain complete autonomy of all operational aspects, including athlete development and training programs, business plans and staffing. The new program will be a scaled-back version of its Resident Athlete program as USA Cycling will outsource a portion of its coaching and athlete management programs to additional experts and facilities - a similar concept that is already heavily used in road cycling, BMX and mountain bike.

"With the introduction of this initiative, we're pulling track cycling in line with all of the other disciplines," explained Pat McDonough, USA Cycling Director of Athletics. "By discontinuing the traditional resident program at the Olympic Training Center, we're providing developmental riders and current international-caliber athletes with the opportunity to become involved with a program that fits his or her individual needs as they relate to coaching philosophies, geographic location and program design."

USA Cycling will still operate a resident program in Colorado Springs, but it will only cater to athletes in the USA Cycling Podium Program who have demonstrated the ability or potential to produce results at international competitions.

Benefit ride with Bob Roll

On June 9, 2007, there will be a benefit bike ride in Long Branch, New Jersey, sponsored by the Peddler Bike Shop to benefit The Wellness Community and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The first 50 people to raise $500 will be invited to have dinner, drinks and share stories with Bob Roll at Tavolo Pronto in Fair Haven on Friday evening, June 8.

Bob Roll will also attend the Bike ride. Riders will have a choice of three scenic rides including a ¼, ½ and full metric century. All rides start and end on the oceanfront in Pier Village, Long Branch, New Jersey. There will be food provided before and after rides, which are also fully supported with frequent rest stops fully stocked with water and snacks. Prizes for the largest fundraisers in each category and goodie bags for all riders. Largest fund raiser wins a framed poster signed by Lance! For more information and registration information, please call (+1) 732-263-0444 or e-mail

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