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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for September 28, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

T-Mobile's new look for 2008

By Susan Westemeyer

Bob Stapleton is serious about improving the sport's reputation
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile has introduced its team for the 2008 season, presenting ten new faces, with 12 riders leaving (or having already left). Most of the new signees are young, with the 2008 team boasting 12 out of 27 riders under the age of 25. The two biggest name newcomers, George Hincapie and Bradley Wiggins, are over that age, however.

It had been rumoured that Erik Zabel would leave Team Milram and re-join his old team, but he still has another year to go on his contract with Milram. T-Mobile has not given up hope, though. "If he could clear up his contract situation, then we would be glad to have him. He would fit in our team," Team Manager Bob Stapleton told the dpa press agency.

"We want to be a clean and successful team," Stapleton said on the team's website, "In order to reach this goal, we have put together a team of top young talents and proven veterans."

The newcomers are Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Maxbo Bianchi), John Devine and Hincapie of Discovery Channel, Hincapie's fellow Greenville, South Carolina resident Craig Lewis (Team Slipstream), Thomas Lövkvist (Française Des Jeux), Tony Martin (Energie Thüringer), Morris Possoni (Lampre-Fondital), Vicente Reynes (Caisse d'Epargne), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Barloworld) and Wiggins (Cofidis).

"We especially looked for new athletes who share our commitment to a fair and clean sport. Riders, who have the necessary qualities and who are willing to put the team's success ahead of their own," Stapleton said.

Hincapie, 34, rode for US Postal/Discovery Channel for ten years. The American rode all seven Tours de France won by his team-mate Lance Armstrong. He won a stage in the 2005 Tour, and most recently captured the first Tour of Missouri. He is a Classics specialist who says that his favourite race is Paris-Roubaix. Hincapie won the US national championship in 2006, Gent-Wevelgem in 2001, and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in 2005. He has also participated in every Olympics since 1992,

Wiggins, 27, was born in Gent, Belgium, but grew up in London. He quickly followed in the footsteps of his father, also a professional cyclist. The Briton turned pro with the Linda McCartney team in 2001, and subsequently rode two years each with Française Des Jeux, Crédit Agricole and Cofidis. On the road, he is a time trial specialist, who this season took the prologue in the Dauphiné Libéré and time trials in the Four Days of Dunkirk and the the Tour du Poitou-Charantes et de la Vienne. He is even more successful on the track, where he has won four Olympic medals, including gold in the 4000-metre individual pursuit in 2004, and he is the current track world champion in both, the 4000-metre individual and team pursuit.

A number of riders will also be leaving. Giuseppe Guerini and Axel Merckx have announced their retirement at the end of this year. Lorenzo Bernucci, Sergey Honchar and Patrik Sinkewitz were fired during the season. Not listed on the roster released today were Eric Baumann, André Korff, Aaron Olson, Jakob Piil, Frantisek Rabon, Stephan Schreck and Thomas Ziegler. However, Sport Director Rolf Aldag said that there may still be new signings as well as contract extensions with existing riders.

The complete T-Mobile roster for 2008 consist of Michael Barry, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Marcus Burghardt, Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek, Scott Davis, John Devine, Bernhard Eisel, Linus Gerdemann, Bert Grabsch, Andre Greipel, Roger Hammond, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, George Hincapie, Kim Kirchen, Andreas Klier, Servais Knaven, Craig Lewis, Thomas Lövkvist, Tony Martin, Marco Pinotti, Morris Possoni, Vicente Reynes, Michael Rogers, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Bradley Wiggins.

Legal action over Bettini fails

By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart

Paolo Bettini (Italy)
Photo ©: Jane Baker
(Click for larger image)

The last remaining obstacle to Paolo Bettini's participation in Sunday's world championship road race appears to have been removed with the news that the legal action taken on Thursday by the race organisers has been dismissed.

The Stuttgart Mayor for Culture, Education and Sport Dr. Susanne Eisenmann spoke to the media early on Thursday about the action, which sought to force the UCI to remove Bettini and Danilo di Luca from the race. Di Luca has been withdrawn due to an ongoing doping investigation, but Eisenmann – the chairman of the organising committee – learned on Friday that the Stuttgart District Court had dismissed the petition to grand a preliminary injunction.

She and Lord Mayor Dr. Wolfgang Schuster said they regretted the decision and still wanted the UCI to act, but that the city would accept the ruling and would not be taking any further legal steps.

"After the ruling, we are still sticking to our demand that the UCI must abide by the Agreement on the Anti-Doping Measures signed on 26th July 2007," said the Lord Mayor. "Ultimately the question as to whether Paolo Bettini starts or not is not a legal one but it's about the credibility of cycling.

"The UCI has to realise themselves what they are signaling when they guarantee Bettini's start – he still refuses to sign the pledge. It's definitely not a sign of a new beginning."

Varese reunifies the cycling family in 2008

By Jean-François Quénet in Stuttgart

On Thursday evening, the organizing committee of next year's World Championships in Varese, Italy, invited 400 members of the cycling family for a gala dinner. After the traditional speeches by politicians and high profile people in charge of the event, it was a big surprise when the complete Italian national team came on stage under a thunder of applause. Freshly 'banned' Danilo Di Luca was introduced as the team's hero.

He was the first to be given the microphone. "I'm not gonna race on Sunday, so I'll win the world championship next year," he promised and received a huge cheer from the crowd. Paolo Bettini was the next person to speak and he said with a large smile: "I haven't seen the course of the Worlds here yet because I've been busy with other stuff…" The audience's laughter filled the room, and most showed compassion for the defending world champion. Bettini had to deal with the accusations of Patrik Sinkewitz, which the former T-Mobile rider later denied, and the declarations of German politicians who wanted to keep him away from Sunday's road race.

It was even more of a surprise to see Pat McQuaid in attendance with the Squadra Azzurra as a guest of honour. "Italy loves cycling, cycling loves Italy," the president of the UCI said loud and clear. He also stated that he's very "happy to organize four world championships in Italy with Renato Di Rocco next year." Di Rocco is the president of the Italian federation who is leading the split against the UCI with the French, Spanish and Belgian federations.

As Varese 2008 honoured former Italian world champions such as Francesco Moser, Vittorio Adorni and Maurizio Fondriest, McQuaid gave "a warm welcome to Stuttgart for Gianni Bugno". The winner of the Worlds road title in Stuttgart in 1991 has been declared a persona non grata by the local organization in relation to comments about doping. "Gianni, you'll be more than welcome in Varese next year," Di Rocco added.

But nobody expected Marco Reguzzoni to be a part of the show. The president of the province of Varese decided to join the stars on stage, he took the microphone and asked McQuaid to "reduce the ban of Ivan Basso because we want our champion from Varese to take part in the world championship race in Varese." Basso is banned until October next year.

As the speech was in Italian, McQuaid was left with no reaction. In May this year, the UCI president went to Italy at the start of the Giro and protested against the Italian nationalism and the media support in favour of Basso that goes against the anti-doping fight. It was a huge promotion of a national event, regardless of all these other circumstances. Such a spectacle one year in advance promises another great show in Varese next year.

Down Under prepares for ProTour debut

By Paul Verkuylen

The Tour Down Under's race director Mike Tutur is bracing for a busy three months following the announcement overnight that the event would not only receive the ProTour status it had been campaigning for, but would receive it a year earlier than expected in 2008. The announcement comes just days after the UCI revealed that the three Grand Tours - Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España - would be dropped from the ProTour schedule and marks a major step towards the sport's international governing body's dream of expanding the prestigious calendar beyond the confines of Europe.

"We are having a meeting next month in Como for discussions with the UCI and the ProTour team's representatives, until then we are not sure how this will affect the race," Turtur revealed to Cyclingnews. "It is too difficult to change the course for 2008, as all the relevant documentation has all been submitted, but we are confident that the course will do the job."

The announcement made it Stuttgart overnight will see the Adelaide, Australia, event become the first ProTour round held outside of Europe. While it's expected the race won't be changed dramatically for its January 22, 2008, start, Turtur believes seeing 18 ProTour teams line up for the event's 10th Anniversary will be a fitting celebration. The change in status from a 2.HC race to a ProTour event will see squads sending higher caliber rosters to Australia's shores than in previous editions and will also see the number of squads rise to 18, up from the current 14 outfits. Despite the increase in personnel that comes with the ProTour status, Tutur is confident that Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is equipped to cater to the event's needs.

"We looked into the logistics of it all very quickly and the two great features of the race, the central hotel for the riders and the lack of travelling while here, will remain for the 2008 race as we are confident that we are capable of handling the extra load," Turtur explained. "We already have a great relationship with the South Australia police and we are confident that they will have no troubles re-adjusting either."

Read all about the new ProTour event here.

The Lion King roars again, then crashes out

Mario Cipollini is back and it's not just the cyclists
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

What goes on in Vegas should of course stay in Vegas, unless you're the Lion King, when it's news. And the arrival of Mario Cipollini at the Sinclair Imports mega-party at the uber-trendy JET Nightclub inside the Mirage Casino certainly created some excitement, and not just among the male cycling fans.

The almost-now-retired Italian super-sprinter was one of the major celebrities at the Sinclair Imports party, always one of the social highlights at the Interbike exhibition in Las Vegas, the US bike industry's major annual get-together. Joining 'Cipo' at the bash on Wednesday, September 26, were former Paris-Roubaix winners Magnus Backstedt and Stuart O'Grady, as well as a still-glamorous Rochelle Gilmore, despite the loss of her luggage from the flight across from Italy.

Predictions that the inaugural cyclo-cross events - 'Cross Vegas' -being held across town that same evening would impact attendance proved false, as the conditions inside the swank and very dark nightclub could only be described as heaving. The following evening, some of the road-racing party-goers (ie, professional cyclists) were in action at the final round of the USA Crits, held in the parking lot of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The well-attended event saw The Lion King don the lycra once again - complete with the rainbow stripes of a former world road racing champion - and he joined in what was a seriously competitive Industry Cup event, open mainly to members of the bike industry who are still racing, and invited VIPs.

For much of the race, a still-trim Cipo held third wheel and looked quite comfortable on the short and curvy parcours, until the final bell lap, when a touch of wheels just prior to the rather tight turn one, less than fifty metres from the start-finish line, took him down heavily. Among the several riders to crash out was a well-known bike industry marketing exec -- who takes his racing rather seriously -- who'd excitedly told Cyclingnews that afternoon how he hoped he wouldn't take out the legendary rider on the tight circuit.

Instead, he will now carry the bruises and road-rash as living proof of the night he was brought down by one of the world's greatest-ever road sprinters. A full report on the USA Crits evening is available on Cyclingnews.


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Soeder excited over Austria's second medal ever

Christiane Soeder (Austria) did a a gutsy ride and finished third.
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Austria won its second medal ever in the World Championships, 20 years after its first one. In 1987, it won a bronze medal in the men's four-man time trial, an event that is no longer held. And this year Christiane Soeder won a bronze in the women's individual time trial.

"I couldn't sleep at all, because I was still so excited," she said of Wednesday night. "The medal was a total surprise. I can only now slowly believe it. We will certainly have to celebrate this fully!" said the 32 year-old, who rides for Team Raleigh Lifeforce and also happens to be a doctor, on

She was able to do so well, she said, because she took the first round of the course easy. She was then able to kick it up a notch, "because I still had enough power. That made the difference. I concentrated on a higher pedaling frequency in my training. That's why I rode the World Cup track race. It has paid off."

Her third place this year was a definite improvement over her 16th place from last year at home in Salzburg, Austria. "Many things came together then, an unlucky chain of negative circumstances. And I wasn't in worse form than this year, but everything has to come together in order to win a medal. If one thing doesn't work out, then you fall into a vicious cycle and just keep going down."

Does she see herself now as a medal favourite for the Olympics in Beijing? "Now that I've got one third place, of course I want to repeat it or improve it in the Olympics. But that is hard to plan. This year everything went almost perfectly, except for one cold. Next year I will prepare myself differently again, but take the positive out of this season with me and hope that I stay healthy."

Soeder has another chance to take a medal this year, as she will also be riding the road race on Saturday. "That is a whole new situation, that you have to go in differently. There are many tactical variations that I will have to discuss with my team-mates, who arrive today [Thursday]. The tactic depends to a certain extent on how fit the rest of the team is."

Rasmussen took Dynepo in Tour

While legally not a violation of the anti-doping code, Danish rider Michael Rasmussen was found to have taken Dynepo in the 2007 Tour de France. Dynepo is an EPO product based on human cells. Samples from this year's Tour were analysed in the French anti-doping lab in Châtenay-Malabry, and its technicians have alerted the International Cycling Union (UCI) of the findings, French paper L'Equipe reported in its Friday edition.

Dynepo was found in a urine test of Rasmussen. Rasmussen had not been found positive during the Tour, but was kicked out by his team Rabobank, following his whereabouts affair.

For about a year the French lab has detected Dynepo, all in all about ten cases so far, according to Pierre Bordry, the president of the French Anti-Doping Agency. But none of the cases could have been declared as a positive finding, as the WADA criteria of positivity of a test are not yet adapted to the advances in the pharmaceutical market.

Brändli out of women's road race

Nicole Brändli, one of the favourites for the women's road race on Saturday in Stuttgart, is out. The rider who was runner-up in this year's Giro Femminile had to withdraw due to bronchitis. The Team Bigla rider has had multiple top ten finishes in Worlds' road races in the past and won the silver medal in 2002. She also won the Giro Femminile twice, in 2003, 2005. In 2001 she was awarded the win post-race, after the disqualification of Zinaida Stahurskaia.

Brändli will be replaced by Patricia Schwager, a 24 year-old who rides for the Raleigh Lifeforce Creation team.

Beppu goes to Skil-Shimano

Fumiyuki Beppu Discovery's Japanese
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

Another Discovery Channel rider, Fumiyuki Beppu, has found a new team. The Japanese rider will join Dutch squad Skil-Shimano for the 2008 season. Beppu, one of the strongest Japanese riders, is an all-around cyclist who will predominantly ride the Euro Tour. He started out with French amateur squad Velo Club La Pomme Marseille, where he spent several years, before joining Discovery Channel in 2005.

Beppu is a strong climber. He has won the national road race and time trial in 2006. He had a good season this year as well, and came close to a win on stage three of the Tour de Romandie.

One of his goals for 2008 are the upcoming Olympics in Beijing. He is happy to have found this team, saying that "Skil-Shimano is a team with an ambitious atmosphere and I think I will develop to a higher level here."

The Dutch fight well against the clock

The Netherlands team celebrated its second time trial medal in the World Championships Thursday, as Stef Clement took the bronze in the men's race. The day before, Lars Boom had won the U23 time trial.

"I gave it all I had in the final 10 kilometres," Clement, who rides for Bouygues Telecom, said on "But, I did that from the beginning. That is the kind of rhythm you want to keep. If you can do that, you will ride a good time trial. Riding a time trial nowadays is not only about composing a good individual schedule. I know that I can go one hundred percent for about an hour when I have a good day. But, you need to wait and see whether you have one of those good days. Fortunately, I did. Now, for the second time in one week, I finished in third place in such an important race. I would have been absolutely all smiles had they told me this beforehand."

Clement also assured the Netherlands of a spot in the Olympic race. "I had written down a top 15 to achieve that. But this … I still do not quite realize it; I am full of amazement. I am looking my eyes out. I am going to enjoy this a lot."

The Netherlands' other starter, Joost Posthuma, who was in the top ten at the first intermediate time check, lost all chances when he crashed in the final ten kilometres.

Pfannberger healthy enough to ride

Austrian Christian Pfannberger will be able to start Sunday in the men's road race in Stuttgart, his federation has announced. He has recovered from a severe cold and feels able to ride again.

Pfannberger came home from the 3-Länder Tour with a heavy cold, and it was unclear until yesterday whether he would fly to Stuttgart or not. "I talked to Christian on the phone today and he is getting better," said national coach Franz Hartl. "Replacement René Haselbacher, who would have started in his place, has already been told he won't be needed."

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