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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for March 27, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Brutt recounts long day in Italy

Pavel Brutt after GP Chiasso win
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Pavel Brutt was one of the key players in last weekends Monument, the Milano-Sanremo (Milan - San Remo). The 25 year-old Tinkoff Credit Systems rider, already with two wins under his belt for 2007, set off at 90 kilometres into the 294 kilometre race in an escape of six. The escape lasted, mostly under the power of Brutt, until kilometre 266, or 28 to go.

"I've ridden 260 kilometres about two times, once at the Worlds and once in a stage race – and that's it for experiences of this sort," said the Russian after completing his longest race ever. "The butt aches as much as always, the legs hurt and straight after the finish I got a bit dizzy, then sleepy in the team bus. All of those are familiar symptoms, perhaps only more pronounced this time."

Brutt was initially joined by Andrei Kunitski (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Koen De Kort (Astana), Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Roberto Traficante (Team LPR) and Aitor Hernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi), but even with those men it was to be a big task to stay clear to Sanremo. "When we broke away after some 90 kilometres of racing, I got a measure of chill down my back at the very thought of how much was left. Then I made up my mind not to look too far ahead and to take it kilometre by kilometre.

"When we got caught, I even tried to stay with the main pack, yet found out pretty quickly I was too tired for that; so I had to settle down in a gruppetto. All in all, it was a unique experience."

The race was marked with a few spectacular crashes but Brutt was happy to be out of the main group and away on his own, thus avoiding any of the major hazards. "It looked even more frightful from outside when we watched a video highlight of those terrible crashes by the Gerolsteiner guys. Anyway, it was definitely safer in front, at least we saw where we were going; but sometimes I almost lost control of the bike even pedalling in the saddle, on a straight line. A couple of raindrops were enough to make tarmac as slippery as a bar of soap, partially because of sea salt on it and because of the tarmac's structure."

Brutt will start today in another Italian race and he hopes to continue to show himself. "Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali," he quipped of his next race. "The stages are far shorter than Milan-Sanremo. Why not to try to show something interesting out there?"

Basso confirms condition in Castilla y Leon

Ivan Basso
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Ivan Basso confirmed his condition yesterday in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. The Italian from Varese finished seventh in the opening 10 kilometre time trial, nine seconds back on winner Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne). Also of importance is that all eight of his Discovery Channel teammates, men he will rely on for the Giro d'Italia, finished in the top 14.

"I think I am going very well," he confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 29 year-old had a scare at the beginning of this month, when in the Tirreno-Adriatico he crashed and nearly fractured his left wrist. "Above all, in light of the problems that I had before, to have a time trial run like this shows optimum overall condition."

The time trial had its risks. The course was short but it was held over damp roads, which made Basso all the more cautious. "In the finale there was at least four dangerous curves. ... I went with more caution than normal. If I would have risked it more then I could have ended up on the ground.

"When I heard I had the same time as Egoi Martínez I understood that I went strongly, but during the run I did not have the times given to me so that I could win. It was a short and hard effort, I only thought about riding."

Both Basso and the team are happy to see that his wrist did not give him any problems. The general feeling is that he did well to pull out of the Tirreno in order to rest his injury. "Inflammation of the wrist? Luckily, it has not given me any problems."

The race continues today with a 157 kilometre stage.

Karpets and Pereiro on Castilla y León

By Monika Prell

Vladimir Karpets, the winner of the first stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, a ten kilometre individual time-trial, was very content about his win. According to Marca, after the podium presentation, he declared, "I am really very happy, last year I finished many time trials in second or third position but I was unable to win one." It was the 26 year-old's first victory since he won the Vuelta a la Rioja in 2004.

"The riders who started in the first positions were lucky because it was not raining yet but that was no longer the case when I started," the Russian explained of his win. "But in spite of the change in weather I was able to win, and, as a consequence, I am very confident for the coming stages."

Caisse d'Epargne will fight for the leadership. Karpets thinks that "the decision could come in the fourth stage, the one that arrives at the top of the Alto de Navacerrada. ... Considering the high level of competition, the fight will be a hard one and it will not be easy to win it, but we will fight."

Oscar Pereiro, finished 43 seconds behind Karpets, and commented, "First of all, I am very happy because one of my teammates won today and that always gives me a great satisfaction. Personally things went exactly the way I expected. I preferred to take no risks because the road was wet and as a consequence the bends were very dangerous."

He is still working to reach his competition form. "I have to work to find the rhythm and I know that I will have to suffer in the next races, but that is normal," he concluded. "I am very optimistic and happy to be back racing."

Savoldelli starts in Coppi e Bartali

Savoldelli (3rd left) with his mates
Photo ©: AFP
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Today, Il Falco Bergamasco, Paolo Savoldelli, will make his debut in Italy in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. The two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia will line up in the five-day stage race as preparation for the Giro and Tour de France.

"I passed the winter with mountain hikes, time in the gym, on the mountain bike and on the road bike," confirmed the 33 year-old to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Don't ask me how many kilometres, that is not the important signal. ... In January, I was at the team's camp in Palma di Mallorca; In February, with [Alexandre] Vinokourov and [Eddy] Mazzoleni, at Tenerife."

Over the winter Savoldelli switched from Discovery Channel to Astana. It was Discovery Channel that helped him grab his second Giro win, which was solidified on that epic day over the Colle delle Finestre, and he hopes for the same from his new Switzerland-based team. He will be linked up with fellow Bergamasco, Mazzoleni, who shepherded Damiano Cunego to his Giro win. Then, come July, Savoldelli will switch gears, changing from leader to domestique to help Vinokourov win the Tour.

"One year ago I was further along because I was riding in support for the others, like at the Tour of California and the Tirreno-Adriatico. This year it has only been Almeria and the Vuelta a Murcia; six days of racing in total. But don't worry about me.

"My objective is the Giro d'Italia but I will also race the Tour de France," he continued in his typical Bergamo accent. "At the Giro I will be the captain. With me there will be Mazzoleni, and I will need another two or three men for the flat, who understand how to take me to the front of the group.

"I will also form part of Astana's Tour de France team. The captain will be Vino, then Klöden, Kessler, Kashechkin, myself and Mazzoleni. Also for this reason [a long season - ed.] I am starting slowly; to be in form between May and July. ... It is a good team; the Kazakhs are not the Russians, but brilliant. And the Germans know how to have fun. The environment is good."

Cuesta crashes out before Castilla y Leon

Team CSC had to start the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon one man short Monday, at the last minute, when Iñigo Cuesta crashed while warming up for the opening ten kilometre time trial stage. Fortunately, he turned out not to be seriously injured.

"It was extremely unlucky for Iñigo, whom I'd had great hopes for in this race. He was almost unable to move his shoulder after the crash so we were afraid his collarbone was broken, but he's had a scan and luckily there are no fractures," said Director Sportif Kim Andersen. "He was our best bet in this race, so we'll probably have to face the fact that this limits our chances of an overall win somewhat. But we might get a chance to make a difference in some individual stages so that's what we'll be aiming for now."

Trampusch out with Lyme disease

By Susan Westemeyer

Trampusch in 2005
Photo ©: Marketa Navratilova/Cor Vos
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Gerhard Trampusch was supposed to lead his new team, Team Volksbank, in this week's Settimana Internazionale, but a little bug let him down. The team announced that he is suffering from Lyme disease, which is spread by tick bites.

The Austrian cannot expect to return to riding for at least three to four weeks, said team doctor Stefan Reuter. Trampusch described the problem: "Limb pains, and dizziness, symptoms like the flu. We hope to get it under control with antibiotics. Fortunately we got a quick diagnosis. But for the time being, I can't do anything strenuous."

Volksbank and T-Mobile for Settimana Internazionale

Team Volksbank will be heading to the Settimana Internazionale Coppi-Bartali in Italy this week (March 27-31) without its new captain Gerhard Trampusch. However, his place will be taken by veteran Gerrit Glomser, who will be making his season debut.

Trampusch has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, which is spread by tick bites. He is being treated with antibiotics but will not be able to ride again for three or four weeks.

Volksbank for Settimana Internazionale will be Gerrit Glomser, Andreas Matzbacher, Harald Morscher, Mariusz Witecki, Florian Stalder, Pascal Hungerbühler, and René Weissinger

T-Mobile will be sending its Italian contingent to the race. It will be led by Italian resident Michael Rogers, who will be making his European debut for the season. The team also features Giuseppe Guerini, Lorenzo Bernucci and Marco Pinotti, as well as Italian residents Serhiy Honchar and Scott Davis.

With time trialling specialists Rogers, Honchar and Pinotti, the team expects to do well in the team time trial Tuesday afternoon.

T-Mobile for Settimana Internazionale will be Lorenzo Bernucci, Scott Davis, André Greipel, Giuseppe Guerini, Serhiy Honchar, Aaron Olson, Marco Pinotti and Michael Rogers.

Zabel hopes for fourth win in Henninger

Erik Zabel was the best German finisher in Milano-Sanremo, finishing sixth in one of his favourite races which he has won four times. Now he is looking to win another race for the fourth time, the Rund um den Henninger Turm in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 1.

"I have very good memories of the race and naturally I would like to add one more," he said. "But teams other than Milram want to win, too, and the competition will be very hard, not just from the German ProTour rivals Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile."

Zabel calls the race "one of the most important. It is a Classic with long tradition. And I have already won it three times. That gives me an extra motivation to be successful there again."

Gerolsteiner and Quick-Step for Dwars door Vlaanderen

Gerolsteiner's David Kopp is returning to action only days after his horrifying crash in Milano-Sanremo. He will be the eldest, at 28, of the young team taking on on of Belgium's Semi-Classics.

Gerolsteiner will have riders Thomas Fothen, Johannes Frohlinger, Oscar Gatto, Heinrich Haussler, David Kopp, Sven Krauss and Tom Stamsnijder

Quick-Step will start with Tom Boonen, Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Kevin Hulsmans, Gert Steegmans, Kevin Van Impe, Peter Van Petegem, Wouter Weylandt

Österreich Rundfahrt announces route

The Österreich Rundfahrt is moving up in the world, having received an extra day from the UCI. The race will be run over eight stages this year, from July 8 to 15, and a total of 1,246 kilometres.

The famed climbs, Kitzbüheler Horn and the Gr0ßglockner are once again part of the race, in consecutive stages. A 25 kilometre time trial in the next to last stage is expected to decide the final rankings.

The race will feature a new jersey this year. The T-Mobile sprint tricot will be awarded to the rider who earns the most points through intermediate sprints and stage finishes.

Eighteen teams of eight riders each will participate, including not only ProTour teams, but also four Austrian teams. "We have numerous requests from top teams, including Discovery, T-Mobile, Quick-Step, Liquigas and many more," said race director Ursual Riha. "In the near future we have to choose how many ProTour and Professional Continental teams will start."

Austrian Professional Continental teams Volksbank and Elk Haus are already assured of starting places.

Österreich Rundfahrt:
Stage 1 - July 8: Mayrhofen i. Zillertal - Mayrhofen i. Zillertal, 131 km
Stage 2 - July 9: Mayrhofen i. Zillertal - Salzburg, 198 km
Stage 3 - July 10: Salzburg - Kitzbüheler Horn (Alpenhaus), 185 km
Stage 4 - July 11: Kitzbühel - Prägraten am Großvenediger, 182 km
Stage 5 - July 12: Lienz - Wolfsberg, 205 km
Stage 6 - July 13: Wolfsberg - Semmering, 191 km
Stage 7 - July 14: Podersdorf am Meusiedler See, time trial, 25 km
Stage 8 - July 15: Podersdorf am Neusiedler - Vienna, 129 km

New Zealand Track World Championships team pursuit team announced

The cyclists to ride for New Zealand in the first round of the teams pursuit (on Friday night New Zealand time) at the 2007 Track Cycling World Championships in Spain are Pete Latham, Marc Ryan, Westley Gough and Sam Bewley. The reserves will be Jesse Sergent and Tim Gudsell.

According to coach Terry Gyde "This has been a difficult decision as we have had five riders who have pushed each other and pushed the times quicker and quicker".

Jesse Sergent will race the Omnium on day one on Thursday, a new "event" that is decided over the space of one day whereby an athletes cumulative total of ranks obtained in each of five events is calculated, and the lowest rankings wins. The events are the 3000 metre individual pursuit, the points race, scratch race and a 200 metre and 1000 metre time trial.

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