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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, August 4, 2008

Edited by Ben Abrahams

Beijing-bound Zabriskie optimistic for Olympic success

Can Dave Z re-discover his exceptional time trial position in time for Beijing?
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

There are both first-timers and veterans attending the Beijing Olympics for American cycling, and what some may not realise is that Dave Zabriskie is one of those first-timers. The 29 year-old from Salt Lake City is the current U.S. time trial champion, a stage winner in all three Grand Tours and one of the best moustache growers on his Garmin-Chipotle team. But along with his accomplishments have been a string of injuries at inopportune moments, as Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski found out.

The most recent of these injuries came in this year's Giro d'Italia where, after helping his team win the first stage team time trial, he crashed on the second stage and fractured his first vertebrae. And while a major injury is tough for any athlete to overcome, endurance athletes, and particularly cyclists, can find their carefully structured seasons ruined by the inability to train.

"I think it's just harder for a cyclist," said Zabriskie. "A sport like baseball or basketball, you might miss a few games but it's not that big of a deal. But in cycling if you get injured it messes up half your season and you miss big events like the Tour."

Perhaps the only positive outcome of a season-defining injury, particularly in cycling, is that it can allow a rider to put an intense singular focus on one event in their racing schedule, compared to training for five or six major goals. Maybe it is just trying to look at the positive side of an otherwise bad situation, or maybe it will make a difference for Zabriskie as he sits in the start house for the Olympic time trial on August 13.

"You are never quite sure how things are going to turn out but everything is really coming together quite well," he said.

Actually, in non-sporting terms, his injury's timing allowed him to participate in an event for which many male professional athletes are often away from home: the birth of his son, Waylon. Being at home for the first weeks after the birth would not have been possible with the team's rigorous training schedule for the Tour de France, but with no bike riding possible at first he had all the time in the world to enjoy the experience.

"I couldn't really do much though, because of my back," he said, laughing.

And for any cyclist, it is not long before that bike comes calling once more, as well as the schedule of sleep required. "I tried to help out at first but I just couldn't stay up with him all night - I had to keep a schedule. But [my wife] has been great about it!"

Continue to the full feature.

Fuglsang signs with CSC-Saxo Bank

Overall winner Jakob Fuglsang (Team Designa Køkken)
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Jakob Fuglsang, winner of the Post Danmark Tour, has signed a two-year contract with CSC-Saxo Bank, the team announced Sunday. The 23 year-old Dane was the 2007 U23 world mountain bike champion, and currently rides for Team Designa Kitchen. He will also represent Denmark at the Beijing Olympics.

"I am very pleased indeed with this new challenge and am very pleased that the contract has fallen into place with Team CSC-Saxo Bank," he said. "There have been several teams inside the picture, but it was here that I wanted to go. I still have much to learn and I think that it is here that I can get the best conditions to be better. First and foremost, I am glad to join the world's best team."

CSC-Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis added: "I started to keep an eye on him last year when he made a strong showing in the Post Danmark Tour. He has fantastic potential and is a genuine all-round rider who has many different qualities. I think he has a great future ahead of him, and it will be exciting to see him develop with us."

Fuglsang moved into second place overall on the third stage of the Post Danmark Tour and took over the lead with a strong showing in the fifth stage time trial. He also won the best young rider award.

Horner breaks collarbone at Elk Grove

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Chris Horner (Astana)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

The second stage of the Tour of Elk Grove near Chicago was a 150km flat road race that unsurprisingly came down to a field sprint. However the narrow 90-degree final turn 600 metres from the finish proved to be too much, sending the lead riders to the ground. Among them was Astana's Chris Horner who took the worst of it, breaking his collarbone.

Horner was in the top-10 entering the final turn when the crash occurred. He was able to ride across the line but holding his arm. He was transported to a nearby hospital where the break was diagnosed.

The injury comes at an inopportune time for the American as his Astana team is targeting the Vuelta a España after watching the Tour de France from the sidelines. Horner told Cyclingnews that it is too early to tell what the collarbone break will do for the rest of his season, but that he had been planning on racing the Vuelta.

Moncoutié extends with Cofidis

Frenchman David Moncoutié has extended his contract with Cofidis through 2009 for what will be his 13th successive season with the French team. The 33 year-old is likely to finish his career with the same team he joined in 1997. "I could not see myself leaving the team with which I started," Moncoutié told AFP.

Moncoutié's biggest victories include two stages of the Tour de France, in 2004 and 2005, and a stage of the 1999 Dauphiné Libéré. On Saturday he finished 10th at the Clásica San Sebastián in Spain.

Sauser hopeful despite knee injury

By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) wins
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

After a few worrisome days, Christoph Sauser's Olympic dream appears to be back on track. The Swiss mountain biker, who is the current cross country world champion, crashed one day before the cross country World Cup last Saturday in Mont-Sainte-Anne. After a trip to the hospital and five stitches, his knee swelled up, threatening to derail his remaining season objectives.

"On Tuesday, he got home and he had quite a bad knee infection... to the point where we thought his season was over," said Specialized Factory Team Manager Bobby Behan. "My heart sank when I heard and I think he got a bit worried, too.

"On Wednesday, his knee was still swollen. He went back to the doctor to get the wound cleaned out again, and the doctor said he could ride for 30 minutes," said Behan. "So he rode the roller and it wasn't great."

Doctors even warned Sauser that they might have to operate on his knee. By Friday, however, things were looking up. Sauser did a two-hour ride which went well except for some ego bruising. "Two girls passed him and he wasn't too impressed by that, but he was happy he rode," said Behan, who also reported that as of Saturday, Sauser's knee was only slightly bigger than normal.

The injury caused Sauser to sit out the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup despite travelling across the Atlantic to attend. He tried getting on his bike the morning of the cross country race, but soon figured out racing was not an option. "I did not watch the race," said Sauser on his blog. "Instead I spent my time in a coffee shop, frustrated, drinking coffee, eating croissants."

Sauser had never planned to race the Bromont World Cup; instead he has intended to race the L'Hexagonal Tour de France VTT starting next Thursday in France. Barring any further complications affecting his knee, Sauser still intends to race the French event before heading directly from Paris to the Olympics in Beijing, China.

Sauser wasn't having a very good week. He reported on his blog that a lightning strike also damaged his phone, phone line, TV, DVD and surround sound system.

"In spite of his crash at the marathon worlds and this knee injury, we have our fingers crossed that he will go well at the Olympics," said Behan.

Buchanan debuts in World Cup big final

By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

Caroline Buchanan gets 4th.
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Australian Caroline Buchanan made it to the 4X big finals in only her second-ever World Cup appearance in Bromont, Quebec. The 17 year-old finished fourth of four riders. Her first World Cup appearance was last weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec.

"Last weekend, I got two flats so I was hoping to have a better run this weekend. I managed to do that, so I'm very happy," said a smiling Buchanan just before the awards ceremony. "Today was awesome. It was very different than anything I've ever ridden. To make a final, I'm over the moon."

Her results bode well for her chances at the next World Cup at the end of August. Conveniently, it will be in her hometown of Canberra, Australia. "I live about five minutes from the track," she said. "It's coming together really well and I think it'll be a really good race."

Buchanan offered some insight into the 4X racing expected there. "It'll be a little different than the rest of the World Cups. The downhill is not as big and we're not in Europe or any of these other countries. I think it will be really dusty.

"The 4X track is more similar to a BMX track," added Buchanan. "There are not many jumps and logs and those kinds of things, but I think it'll be really good. [Designer] Glen Jacobs has put a lot of thought into the track."

Buchanan isn't put off by racing senior and elite women, yet it is not easy for her either. "It's tough, but I come from a BMX background so I normally do race older girls. These (4X) girls are awesome and hopefully in a few years I'll be up there on the top of the podium."

Eneco Tour to be renamed Benelux Tour in 2009

Dutch energy company Eneco has decided not to renew its title sponsorship of the Eneco Tour, after seven years of sponsoring the event. The organising committee hopes to find a new title sponsor this autumn and has already recruited former Dutch professional Bart Voskamp as race director. The 2009 event will be renamed as the Benelux Tour.

Next year's race will run from August 19-26 and is expected to have at least one stage finish in Luxembourg. This year's event, the final one to run under the Eneco Tour name, will take place from August 20-27.

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