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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, August 14, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Evans reveals ruptured knee ligament

Cadel Evans (Australia)
Photo ©: Jean-Franšois QuÚnet
(Click for larger image)

The extent of Cadel Evans' knee injury has only been revealed after the Olympic time trial on August 13, where the Australian finished in fifth place. Evans, who fell to the ground on the slippery floor a post-Tour de France party, actually ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and spent several days on crutches in the lead-up to the Games.

The Silence-Lotto rider thought that his injury seriously interfered with his build-up to the event. "It was a week of training which otherwise I would have been training specifically for the time trial, and certainly caused me a bit of worry as well," he told ABC News. "Instead of putting all my energy into training specifically, my wife was taxying me around from physio to doctor etcetera to get back."

He also thought that the injury may have cost him a medal-winning performance. "12 seconds off a medal over 45 kilometres, you know, possibly yes."

Still, considering his misfortunes lately, he wasn't disappointed with the final result. "To be here and vying for the medals is not a bad effort," Evans told Fox Sports. "With everything that's gone on in the last three months with the tendonitis, the huge crash in the Tour [de France], defending the yellow with only one leg. Then breaking my anterior cruciate ligament, I was on crutches for three or four days after the Tour and not riding."

Evans thought he would not be able to compete in Beijing, but his doctor re-assured him. "Going from a cripple to an Olympic athlete in four days is not that long. The doctor I was seeing said one or two days before the race you won't even know you had the injury. He was pretty right. He gave me a lot of hope. He had a skier in once who did exactly the same injury and two weeks to the day later he won the downhill world championships, so that gave me a lot of hope."

Evans will not require surgery for his snapped ACL, even though footballers with the same injury immediately have reconstructions and are out for 6-12 months. "For a cyclist [knee surgery] is not necessary, but I won't be playing soccer for a few years," he said.

Schumacher looking to London Olympics

Stefan Schumacher (Germany) was one of the TT favourites but could not bear the Beijing climate
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Stefan Schumacher, fresh from his success in the two Tour de France time trials, was expecting to repeat his dominance in the Olympic time trial on Wednesday. But the gold medal went instead to Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, and the German finished only 13th, much to his disappointment. However, he has not given up his hopes for an Olympic medal and has already set his sights on 2012.

The Olympics are a great event, it's just that the cycling races weren't so good," he told the sid news agency. "But I will come back. Someday I want to get a medal. I am still young and can possibly ride it again twice. And the climate is different in London."

The weather was what did the Gerolsteiner rider in. He does not like hot, humid weather, and those were exactly the predominant conditions in Beijing. "I couldn't cope with the climate," he said. "I couldn't hold my tempo. It was frustrating."

Adding to his frustration was being passed by Cancellara, who started two minutes behind him. "That is a strange feeling. But it was clear that he would pass me when I couldn't hold my tempo."

Nor was he the only German who was unsuccessful. The team had hoped for medals from both the women and men, but will come home empty handed. "We did something wrong," said Schumacher. "I can't explain it. We have to now sit down and analyse things. After the Tour I focused everything on the Olympics. That makes it more irritating that nothing came of it."

Looking to the immediate future, the 27 year-old noted that he did not plan to ride the Deutschland Tour. "Actually I wanted to ride the Vuelta as preparation for the Worlds." As to the more distant future, he will probably have to look for a new team, as Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer has said that he is losing hope of finding a new sponsor to take over the squad next season.

Ivano Fanini blasts those behind Ricc˛ and Sella

Italy's Ivano Fanini (l) strikes at those behind the doping cases of Riccardo Ricc˛ and Emanuele Sella
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Ivano Fanini, Team Manager of Amore & Vita-McDonald's and outspoken anti-doping critic, swung at those standing behind the doping cases of Riccardo Ricc˛ and Emanuele Sella.

"It is very doubtful that at the base of these teams there is organised doping," said Italian Fanini, according to Agr. He took aim at the team managers of Saunier Duval-Scott and CSF Group Navigare. "Their reasoning is this: 'For us it is not important how you win, we don't control the way you prepare nor with whom you do it, but if they catch you we will fire you and save our ship.'"

Ricc˛ raced for Mauro Gianetti's Saunier Duval-Scott. He won two stages and the young riders' classification in the Giro d'Italia. He decided to race the Tour de France, where he won two stages and held the mountain and young rider classification. A doping control during the Tour revealed he used EPO-CERA and the race organiser forced his ejection mid-race.

Sella dominated the mountain stages of the Giro d'Italia for Bruno Reverberi's Team CSF Group. He won three high-mountain stages and the green jersey of best climber. Nearly two months after the race, he tested positive for EPO-CERA in an out-of-competition International Cycling Union (UCI) control.

Fanini, who recently blasted Liquigas' Leonardo Bertagnolli, discredited the confessions of Ricc˛ and Sella to the prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). "The confessions of Ricc˛ and Sella come to mind... They were obliged to do so because they were found with their hands in the cookie jar."

Meanwhile, he was also amazed at and suspicious of the other riders for not doing more. "The victories at the last Giro were not clean. ... Those riders at the Giro who placed behind Ricc˛ and Sella should be rebelling, but maybe they don't do so because they have something to hide." (GB)

Thomas Dekker linked to Garmin-Chipotle

Thomas Dekker (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Will Thomas Dekker's future be decided soon? It is beginning to look more and more as if the rider and Team Rabobank are on the verge of ending his contract, which runs through 2010. There was another meeting Wednesday between Dekker, his lawyers and team director Harold Knebel. Dekker's attorney, Hans van Oijen, told Sportwereld, "the discussions concerning the future of my client at Rabobank are in the winding-up stage." The team's attorney, Eric VilÚ, indicated that a final decision is expected by the end of the week.

Dekker could not be reached for comment, but on his website he said that he hoped to be able to explain the situation to his fans soon.

According to Sportwereld however, he won't be unemployed for long. The Belgian site said that he has practically agreed to a contract with Team Garmin-Chipotle, the US Professional Continental Team, with the prospect of signing with the team as soon as his contract with Rabobank is broken, instead of waiting for the end of the season.

The reason for the dissatisfaction between Rabobank and Dekker, once considered the next great Dutch rider, has been variously given as conflict with the management or "a reciprocal lack of trust". In addition, it was said that there questions about the 23 year-old's blood values, although he released a letter from the UCI which said that there was nothing in his blood values which would prevent him from racing.

Boogerd leaves Rabobank for good

Michael Boogerd and Rabobank have mutually decided to end their business relationship. The 36 year-old rode for the Dutch team for 12 years before retiring at the end of last season. He had hoped to stay associated with the team, but was instead offered a position at the sponsoring bank. He has now decided that he does not enjoy that work and will look for something else.

"I appreciate that Rabobank gave me the opportunity after my athletic career to continue my relationship with them. Since a sports-related position with the team was not among the possibilities, I focused myself on communication activities for the bank," Boogerd said on the team's website, "In this time I have found that I have no pleasure in this field. So it is better for all involved simply to stop. I will now orient myself in other directions."

Heleen Crielaard, head of sponsoring for Rabobank, said, "Michael was the mainstay of our cycling team for many years. As a former rider he could have played an important part in his new role. But we respect Michael's decision."

Kenyans tackle L'Alpe d'Huez

By Hedwig Kr÷ner

Two black African riders from Kenya are currently in the Alpine region of IsŔre, France, and testing their climbing skills on the epic mountain of L'Alpe d'Huez. Last Thursday, August 7, Zakayo Nderi and Samwel Mwangi were amongst the amateur riders setting out on the timed ascent of the climb organised by the local tourist office. They clocked 43'35 and 44'45 minutes respectively, obtaining an impressive result in front of their competitors.

In the 2004 Tour de France's individual time trial up the famous mountain, Lance Armstrong clocked 39'41 minutes, with the tenth-placed rider that day being 2008 Tour winner Carlos Sastre at 42'08 minutes.

The cyclists supported by Nicholas Leong are currently "attempting to go three minutes faster" in order to prove that "with the right support, an East African can become a world class climbing specialist. The [first attempt] was not a 100 percent effort, so we are optimistic."

Last year, Nderi already proved top class on the Genting Highlands in Malaysia, frequently raced in the Tour de Langkawi. Leong is supporting the two cyclists, a shoe-shiner and bike taxi rider from Eldoret, Kenya, believing that their physical capacities could be sufficient to make them world class riders and even professionals. "They have the heart, lungs and legs of marathoners, but all they want to be are the first black African professional cyclists in the world," Leong stated on his website,

To date, despite the success of Kenyan sportsmen in athletics, no black African cyclist has made it into the professional cycling ranks. A movie about Nderi's and Mwangi's cycling trials is also in the making.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Gregor Brown and Susan Westemeyer.)

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