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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, April 16, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Mark Cavendish the first

Cavendish is familiar with winning on Belgian roads and hopes to add another Scheldeprijs to his palmarès
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

When Mark Cavendish popped onto the world-class podium in 2007 he was deemed the next Robbie McEwen. Tough shoes to fill,but in only his second year as a professional, the High Road sprinter from the Isle of Man in Great Britain has already celebrated some of the most astounding victories in his young career. Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins spoke with the newly crowned world Madison champion after his pre-season training camp in San Luis Obispo, California to find out if his career schedule, prepared at age thirteen, is on target.

"I aspired to be like McEwen when I was younger," said the twenty-one-year old current Madison world track champion. "But when someone asks me that now, I tend to think to myself; I'm not the next McEwen, I'm the first Mark Cavendish – but if I get to do what he's done in my own career, I'd be really happy with that."

Without cycling history in the Cavendish family, the Brit went to his local cycling league by himself to see what he could accomplish. "Ever since I was a kid I just liked to be on my bike," said Cavendish. "When I was twelve I only had a BMX and everyone else had a mountain bike and I was doing laps around them on this little circuit. So I asked for a mountain bike for me birthday. I went down the day after and I won again so cycling [racing] carried on from there."

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His athletic ability stemmed from growing up in a household where being active through organised sports was a priority. "My parents were supportive about getting me involved in sport, no matter which one; football or cycling or any sport I chose. I think I'm lucky to have had that support from them."

It was not hard for the British cycling federation to spot the talent, who won every national title offered in the junior level. "When I was in my second season ... I won a lot of races," said Cavendish. "I know I was very young but that's when I figured I could make a job of it on the road and track. I won the road, time trial, pursuit and everything else. I made a plan then for what I was going to do with my life."

Read the full interview with Mark Cavendish.

Bennati back after seven-month stop

Daniele Bennati, 27, is looking forward to returning for the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Daniele Bennati of Team Liquigas, winner of two stages in the 2007 Tour de France, will soon be back racing after a seven-month stop due to a crash in the 2007 Vuelta a España. The 27 year-old Italian sprinter from Arezzo will make his return in the Giro d'Oro, April 20, searching to build form for his new season objectives: the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

The last time Bennati saw competition was in the Vuelta's final stage to Madrid, which he won, even though he had fractured his right wrist in a crash during the races second stage. He also won the stages to Vigo and Talavera de la Reina of the same race.

"I had raced almost all of the Vuelta with a fractured right wrist," he confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I had stopped for a month and a half to recover, and then I recommenced my preparations. January 1, I felt pain in my left knee. It was like something that had just arrived, and I thought that by February, I would be well and I went to the Canary Islands. However, I had to stop completely for three weeks. It was a ligament inflammation ... Half way though March, I re-started training all over again."

Bennati signed for Team Liquigas this last off-season, but has not yet had a chance to race for his new team due to the knee problem. He was signed to help enforce the Italy-based team with its star Filippo Pozzato, but was forced to miss the first race of the season in South Africa and, more importantly, Milano-Sanremo. Last month, he vowed to be ready for the Giro d'Italia.

"I have 3500 kilometres in the legs, so I am not yet at the top of my condition. But I have the desire to return," he continued. "I miss the battle, the competition. ... I will start in the peloton to regain confidence. I will certainly be behind in my condition, but I have the benefit of being able to find my condition quickly."

In the Giro he will fight for a chance to wear the race leader's maglia rosa with the end-goal of taking the maglia ciclamino of points leader. "I have dreamed of being in the maglia rosa since I was a baby. I was a fan of [Franco] Chioccioli, then I became impassioned with sprints through [Mario] Cipollini. And [Marco] Pantani... unforgettable.

"To win the maglia ciclamino," stated 'Benna' of his goal. "Unfortunately, there are not many sprint stages, and I am sorry there is not a sprint stage this year in Milano. After my win in Paris [during the Tour de France] and Madrid [Vuelta - ed.], Milano would be good."

He will point towards the Tour de France's maglia ciclamino equivalent, the maillot vert. "At the Tour, the green jersey," Benna continued. He revealed that he will have extra motivation come this summer, "At the end of July my baby boy will be born. His name? Francesco."

Paolo Bettini skips Amstel Gold

World Champion Paolo Bettini has confirmed that he will skip the Amstel Gold Race this coming Sunday due to the crash in last week's País Vasco. The 34 year-old Italian of Team Quick Step, third in the 2004 Dutch race that forms part of the Ardennes Classics, is suffering from a fractured rib and is unable to train properly.

Bettini, as reported by Agr, noted that he will train for a possible participation in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he has won two times. The race, April 27, is the last major race prior to his next indicated objective, the Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1.

Greipel with kidney infection

ProTour leader André Greipel is the latest addition to Team High Road's sick list. The sprinter has come down with a kidney infection, which has caused him to stop riding for an unknown amount of time.

Greipel took the ProTour lead when he dominated the first series' event this year. In the Tour Down Under he won the prologue and four of six stages to take the overall win. He had hoped to do well in the Spring Classics, but it now looks as if he will have to miss all of them. It started with Gent-Wevelgem, where he had to cancel his start due to an intestinal infection he got from his daughter. A few days later, he was not able to participate in Paris-Roubaix, due to a kidney infection.

"It's dumb, I have never before been really sick," he told the Norddeutsche Neueste Nachrichten. He does not know how long the painful infection will keep him from training, but he knows that rest and time are the only cures. "I sure won't start at the Tour de Georgia," he said.

The USA-based team has been hard hit by injuries and illnesses, the most serious of which are Marcus Burghardt's knee problem, Linus Gerdemann's broken leg and knee injury, and Michael Roger's recurrence of Epstein-Barr Syndrome. (SW)

BMC Racing Team confirms Georgia roster

USA-based Professional Continental team, BMC Racing, has confirmed its line-up for the 2008 Tour de Georgia. The team will field eight riders in the seven day Tour through USA's southeastern state of Georgia, April 21 to 27.

The riders – Daren Lill, Scott Nydam, Jo Garcia, David Galvin, Mike Sayers, Danilo Wyss, Tailor Tolleson and Jackson Stewart – will be led by Director Sportifs Gavin Chilcott and John Lelangue.

(Additional reporting and research provided by Susan Westemeyer)

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