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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 27, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Sastre predicts competitive 2008 Tour

Carlos Sastre
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Carlos Sastre offered his comments a day after the 2008 Tour de France route launch in Paris. The fourth place finisher in the 2007 Tour de France may do well in next year's tour which omits the prologue and includes one shortened individual time trial. "It benefits me that there is less racing against the clock. The time trials are two stages in which I always yielded time to other riders."

Sastre also finished fourth in the 2006 Tour de France, but presumably can now call himself third after Tour de France organizers replaced Floyd Landis with Oscar Pereiro as the official winner following Landis' positive doping test (for testosterone).

The 32 year-old Team CSC rider anticipates that the 2008 race will be close. "The differences in the general classification are going to be very tight and the race will be won by a solid leader with a team who controls the race for him." Sastre would not give predictions since he doesn't yet know who will be racing, but he said the names of favorites are already on the minds of all. "If there is something good or different than in the past [editions of the Tour], it's that there is no clear favorite as in the days of [Miguel] Indurain or [Lance] Armstrong."

Sastre isn't quite sure what the mountains will bring. "Of four climbing stages, I only know Alpe d'Huez. I know little about Besse, Hautacam and Prato Nevoso. I don't know about the Bonette either although I have seen that it rises almost 3,000m in altitude."

"What makes a Tour harder or easier is not what they put in the route but the intensity of the competition," said Sastre. "It's the cyclists that end up making the routes hard."

On the subject of biological passports, Sastre was less excited and more cynical. "It is more of the same, similar to DNA, the new public topic, but in my negative opinion of our sport, those who skip the rules will continue to do so," said Sastre. "I do not know of what the passport consists because nobody has explained it to me, but I trust it will have guarantees that it can not be manipulated by anyone. What must come out of the controls are serious and trustworthy results."

No team doping at T-Mobile in 2007, Sinkewitz said

Patrik Sinkewitz may have said that there was organized doping on Team T-Mobile during the Tour de France in 2006 but he has also said that it has stopped. In addition, the team issued a statement concerning the charges.

According to Peter Barth, chairman of the German cycling federation's disciplinary committee, told the dpa that Sinkewitz said that "as far as he could tell, the administration of doping at T-Mobile has stopped" as of last season.

T-Mobile spokesman Stefan Wagner told Cyclingnews: "The reported comments of Patrik Sinkewitz underline the need for change in cycling and the T-Mobile Team in 2006. When we assumed control of the team for the 2007 season, we made dramatic changes in management, practices and people, and implemented a strong code of conduct and an anti-doping program. These changes continue as we prepare for the 2008 season."

Lampre gears up for 'cross and end of road season

Italian Enrico Franzoi (Lampre-Fondital)
Photo ©: Niels De Wit
(Click for larger image)

It will be an important weekend for Enrico Franzoi (Lampre-Fondital), who won last Saturday's Kleicross Lebbeke in Belgium. He'll be busy racing at both the World Cup in Tabor in the Czech Republic and the Mogliano Veneto cyclo-cross, a national-level event in Italy.

Meanwhile, his team-mates will be wrapping up the road season at the Japan Cup and the Firenze-Pistoia. Francesco Gavazzi, Maurizio Girardini, Paolo Fornaciari, Marco Marzano and Massimiliano Mori, along with sport director Fabrizio Bontempi, Team President Emanuele Galbusera and mechanic Enrico Pengo landed in Japan on Thursday, and hopes were high.

"In Japan out team always obtained good results," Bontempi said "It's not simple to race at the end of the season, but our athletes have good enthusiasm because they like the Japanese fans."

Two of Lampre-Fondital's racers, Alessandro Ballan and Daniele Righi, will also take part in Firenze-Pistoia, a time trial of 35.5 kilometres in Italy.

Milram signs young riders

By Susan Westemeyer

Peter Velits (Slovakia)
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Team Milram will be looking to youth next season. The squad announced Friday that it has signed seven young talents for the coming season. Leading the list is U23 road World champion Peter Velits.

Velits, 22, of Slovakia, and his twin brother Martin come over from Team Wiesenhof-Felt, which is folding at the end of the year. Peter has won the Slovak U23 Individual Time Trial title twice, and Martin has won the Slovak U23 road title twice.

Christian Kux, 22, is the first "graduate" of the Milram Continental Team to join the ProTour team. He won the overall title in the International German U23 Championships this year.

Artur Gajek, 22, also comes from Wiesenhof. He won the Belgian one-day race Omloop van het Houtland in 2006.

Two 20 year-olds are also joining Milram. Dominik Roels rode this year for the Continental Team Akud-Rose. In 2006 he won both the German national road and time trial championships. Luca Barla leaves the U23 team UC Bergamasca. He rode as a stagiaire for Milram this year. The oldest of the group is Markus Eichler, 25. He rode this year for In 2006 he won the Ronde van Drenthe.

Jochen Hahn will become a trainer and sport director for the young riders. He has been team manager at Team Akud-Rose.

Aaron's Women's team unveils 2008 roster

Katharine Carroll
Photo ©: US Women's Cycling Development Program
(Click for larger image)

The Aaron's Corporate Furnishings Professional Women's Cycling Team is moving into 2008, its third year, with a mix of five new, young cyclists joining six key returning racers. The team finished third overall in the US National Race Calendar (NRC) for 2007.

Leading the returning riders is Katharine Carroll-winner of the Athens Twilight Criterium, the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Sprint Jersey and final stage of the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l'Ardeche. She was ranked fifth overall in the final 2007 NRC individual standings. Also returning is Felicia Gomez, winner of the Queen of the Mountains Jersey and a stage at the Mount Hood Stage Race, who was ranked fourth overall in 2007. Division I Collegiate National Champion Rebecca Larson, US Masters National Time Trial Champion Kristin Sanders and Carmen McNellis round out the list of veterans.

Catherine Powers will also return to the team part-time, while balancing racing with her new teaching career.

"We're starting with an incredibly strong base," Team Director Carmen D'Aluisio said. "To have so many returning riders from last year's team gives us a solid foundation from which to build. The commitment of these riders, as well as the hard work by all the people behind the scenes, has helped this team improve so dramatically in just a few years."

New to the team are U23 US Criterium National Champion Erica Allar, U23 Canadian Time Trial National Champion Julie Beveridge, Canadian standout Allison Testroete, cycling track star Anna Lang and former TEAm Lipton powerhouse Meredith Miller.

Aaron's Pro Women's Cycling Team for 2008: Katharine Carroll, Erica Allar, Felicia Gomez, Julie Beveridge, Rebecca Larson, Allison Testroete, Kristin Sanders, Anna Lang, Carmen McNellis, Meredith Miller, Catherine Powers under Director Carmen D'Aluisio

Mercado favors Andalucía-Cajasur offer

By Antonio J. Salmerón

"I have three offers for the coming year, but the most interesting for me is Andalucía-Cajasur; after four years out of Spain, I want to return to race in Spain, and in addition, this squad comes from my region," said Juan Miguel Mercado.

The 29 year-old made his debut ten seasons ago on Seguros Vitalicio. "I'm not forgetting that Agritubel gave me the opportunity to return to the Tour de France, where I had strong performances in 2004 and in 2006." Mercado gave his reasons for leaving Agritubel. "I am very grateful because I think Agritubel is doing very well, but my motivation is not the same. Now my family requires my attention, so I prefer to continue my cycling career in Spain."

Mercado said he had physical problems all season, but added, "At the age of 29, I feel far from finished. On the contrary, I think that my signing with Andalucía-Cajasur will be what I need."

"In 2008, the team will count on two important riders, Redondo and Ventoso – the latter a good sprinter. I think that I can offer them my experience, especially in the mountain stages. I want to win again." Mercado told that he is "confident that he will reach a successful agreement."

AG2R Prévoyance signs Efimkin

Vladimir Efimkin leads
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

AG2R Prévoyance signed Russian Vladimir Efimkin for two years. At 25 years-old, Efimkin can count six professional wins, two of which were this season, during which he was racing for Caisse d'Epargne. Notably he won a stage in the Vuelta a España and finished sixth overall in the general classification. His other 2007 win came in a stage of the Bicicleta Vasca, and he finished sixth overall in the Tour de Suisse.

The team's roster is now full for 2008 with 30 riders.

AG2R Prévoyance for 2008: José Luis Arrieta (Spa), Sylvain Calzati (Fra), Philip Deignan (Irl), Cyril Dessel (Fra), Renaud Dion (Fra), Hubert Dupont (Fra), Christophe Edaleine (Fra), Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), Martin Elmiger (Swi), John Gadret (Fra), Stéphane Goubert (Fra), Tanel Kangert (Est), Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Julien Loubet (Fra), René Mandri (Est), Laurent Mangel (Fra), Lloyd Mondory (Fra), Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), Cédric Pineau (Fra), Alexandr Pliuschin (Mol), Stéphane Poulhiès (Fra), Christophe Riblon (Fra), Nicolas Rousseau (Fra), Jean-Charles Senac (Fra), Blaise Sonnery (Fra), Ludovic Turpin (Fra), Alexandre Usov (Blr), Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel), Tadej Valjavec (Slo).

Thomas backs Iceland Track Attack

Welshman Geraint Thomas
Photo ©: Andrew Kennedy
(Click for larger image)

With support from Welsh cycling star Geraint Thomas, the Track Attack Community Development Cycling Program is giving local children between the ages of 7 and 15 a chance to experience track cycling at three key facilities across South Wales.

The project has been given a huge boost this year with Iceland coming on board as the title sponsor. With the support of Iceland, Track Attack will provide more equipment, facilities and coaches to reach more youngsters from local communities in Wales.

The Iceland sponsorship follows in the footsteps of DHL who, earlier this year made a significant investment in cycling youth development with the creation of the DHL Sprint School. The DHL Sprint School has been based at the Newport Velodrome since February

"Here at Iceland we have had a long relationship with DHL and when we saw the great work being achieved by Guy Elliott and DHL's sponsorship of Sprint School in Newport we felt we could really help grow the youth development work DHL have pioneered," said Andy Pritchard, Managing Director of Iceland. "Our commitment to this project is for three years and we hope in that time to help as many young people to experience the thrill of track cycling as well as learn about living a healthier, fitter life."

Thomas is an example of success recruiting and developing young talent. "I started cycling at Maindy Flyers in Cardiff after seeing an advert for the club. I did really well and was instantly hooked and now I'm riding in races like the Tour de France."

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