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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, August 21, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Gutiérrez wins Eneco Tour prologue

As defending champion, José Iván Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Last year's Eneco Tour winner, Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) started the prologue of the Eneco Tour in the last position wearing number one, but finished first with the fastest time in ProTour event, which started Thursday in the Dutch locality of Sittard. The race runs in the Netherlands and Belgium through August 27.

Gutiérrez, who rode the 4.4 kilometers in 5'31" and won by only 0.39 second over Frenchman Cyril Lemoine, said after the race, "The gap is really a small one but the most important is to be in the lead. I hoped to achieve a good prologue and be the first leader but I was not feeling that good today, and as a consequence it was not easy to win.

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"I would like to win the overall ranking this year, too, because I like this race," he said. "I should feel better and better. The Eneco Tour is always a difficult race because the courses of the various stages do favor the breakaways.

"The most important thing for me will be to try not to lose too much time during the week and to do well in the final time trial, which is supposed to suit me very well."

Team Columbia's Norwegian Edvald Boassan Hagen was third, just a half-second behind Gutiérrez. Stage one will run 173.8km from Beek to Roermond on Thursday.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Eneco Tour prologue.

Roche signs with AG2R La Mondiale

Nicolas Roche
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

After winning stage one of the Tour du Limousin, Nicolas Roche signed a two-year contract with AG2R La Mondiale. Roche, a 24 year-old from Ireland, had just logged his fourth professional victory.

He had previously won a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir in 2006, the Irish time trial championships in 2007 and the GP Internacional Paredes Rota dos Moveis in Portugal earlier this year.

"Nicolas is a rider of the future. He has acquired a certain experience in the pro peloton and is today a mature rider. All of this will enable him to become faster in big races," said AG2R's Vincent Lavenu.

Roche turned pro in 2005 and now resides in Cannes, France. He is the son of Stephen Roche, who won the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the World Championships in 1987.

Sonye wins motions against Leogrande lawsuit

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

A California Superior Court judge ruled on Tuesday against Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing) in a lawsuit filed by him against Suzanne Sonye for slander. Sonye's lawyer filed a motion to strike the lawsuit – citing special protection under anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) laws – arguing that it was only meant to intimidate Sonye from testifying against Leogrande in an ongoing arbitration by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

"Suzanne is very happy and she looks forward to putting this all behind her," said Tom Fitzgibbon, Sonye's attorney. "We think the judge got it right, in our minds.

Leogrande's lawyer Howard Jacobs declined to comment on the decision or any arbitration.

Jacobs filed the lawsuit in April over a phone call between Sonye, then a soigneur for Rock Racing, and former professional cyclist and anti-doping activist Matt Decanio. Decanio recorded the phone call in which Sonye retold the story of Leogrande admitting to doping practices and posted it on his anti-doping web site. Decanio was also named in the lawsuit, but the judge did not rule on either of his responses which do not involve the anti-SLAPP protection. Decanio is representing himself in the proceeding.

The strike motion's grounds for the anti-SLAPP protection come from Sonye serving as a witness against Leogrande in the upcoming USADA arbitration. Sonye signed an affidavit for USADA in November of 2007 in which is says she had first-hand knowledge of Loegrande contaminating a USADA sample as well as Leogrande's doping practices, including use of testosterone and Erythropoietin (EPO).

In the affidavit Sonye said Leogrande made these admissions to her during the 2007 Superweek series and that she alerted management as to what to do. Leogrande's first lawsuit against USADA in January, at that time a "John Doe" anonymous lawsuit, was seeking a block to USADA's testing of a B sample. It was revealed by the AP that the samples were from the 2007 Superweek series and that it belonged to Leogrande.

USADA wanted to test the B sample because the A sample was contaminated, just as Leogrande had divulged to Sonye. Leogrande's lawyers argued that since the A sample had no adverse analytical finding, regardless of whether or not the sample was even testable, that USADA rules do not allow the B sample to be tested.

Court documents in this current lawsuit indicated that the USADA arbitration against Leogrande is moving forward. Meanwhile Leogrande continues to race for Rock Racing, most recently at the USPRO criterium championship, finishing sixth.

The judge Michael Harwin did not make a ruling on the attorney's fees that each side was seeking, instead scheduling a case management hearing for September 2 to give the sides time to work out an agreement. "He is deferring ruling on attorney's fees until later and asked us to reach our own settlement," said Fitzgibbon.

BikeNZ road coach to return to native Canada

Jacques Landry, who has headed BikeNZ's European Training Centre for the past five years, resigned his position for personal reasons to return to his native Canada. Landry, a two-time Olympian, has accepted a position with the Canadian Cycling Association to the new role of Chief Technical Officer.

Landry established New Zealand's European base at Limoux, France, which has provided a Northern Hemisphere foundation for Kiwi cyclists.

"My decision to leave BikeNZ was a difficult one but ultimately an important one for personal reasons," Landry said.

"While I will greatly miss the athletes, coaches and all in the New Zealand cycling community, I leave with the confidence that BikeNZ cycling is well on the road to excellence due to great leadership and with the pride of knowing that I have been a part of this growth over the last five years."

BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott said Landry has played an outstanding role in the organisation and he is sorry to see him depart. "Jacques has made a huge contribution to our sport, especially in establishing our base in France and also in developing key contacts within the cycling community in Europe which will be very important for our future.

"We fully understand Jacques' desire to return to his home in Canada and we wish him every success in the future."

Elliott said that BikeNZ was in process of evaluating plans for its road cycling programme through to the London Olympics and beyond. Landry, who coached the road team in Beijing, has returned to complete his duties in Limoux before taking up his new role towards the end of the year.

AG2R La Mondiale for Grand Prix Ouest-France Plouay

AG2R La Mondiale announced its roster for the upcoming Grand Prix Ouest-France Plouay, a ProTour event on Monday, August 25. The team will include Sylvain Calzati, Renaud Dion, Martin Elmiger, Lloyd Mondory, Rinaldo Nocentini, Alexandre Pliuschin and Ludovic Turpin.

New race to Catskills

A new, two-day stage race, the Tour of the Catskills, is coming to upstate New York on September 6-7. Centered around the Hunter and Windham Mountain region of Greene County, the pro and amateur event will include two single-loop road races: the Saturday Mountaintop Classic starting and ending in Hunterand the Sunday Catskill Epic beginning and ending in Windham.

The event will offer races for amateur and professional riders each day. Eight separate races will be held on the two courses which will be 50-60 miles in length for amateurs and 82 miles for elite and professional men.

"The Catskill Mountain Foundation is very pleased to host the 1st Annual Tour of the Catskills Cycling Race," said Peter Barker, Executive Director. "We hope that this becomes an attractive event for regional cyclists and families to participate in for many years to come."

"The Catskill Mountains are a perfect backdrop for an event like this one," said Race Promoter Dieter Drake. "The roads, the people, and the scenery will make this race like no other in the Northeast." Drake also promotes the Tour of the Battenkill in Washington County, New York, which has become the largest professional and amateur race in the United States in its four years.

Partial proceeds of the event will benefit local charities including the Adaptive Sports Foundation ( For more information on the race, visit

Valley Preferred Cycling Center to host season finale

The Red Robin Madison Cup XXXII, including the Air Products Finals, will conclude the Valley Preferred Cycling Center's season in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, on Friday, August 22.

Riders from around the world will gather to see who will take home the prestigious Bob Rodale Trophy as Madison Cup champions for 2008. This year, 15 teams will be competing for the trophy including US Olympian and national Madison champion Colby Pearce riding with Dan Holloway for the Garmin-Chipotle team, world omnium champion Hayden Godfrey with Doug Repacholi, Pan-American champion Emile Abraham with up and coming T-Town native Jackie Simes, and Leandro Bottasso of Argentina riding with Australia's Pete "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick.

This international field will also includ sprinters such as Australian national team members Jason Niblett and Kaarle McCulloch, Pan-American silver medalist Ben Barczewski, Australia's Laura McCaughey, and Liz Reap Carlson.

In addition to the Madison team racing, the men's and women's Rider of the Year series will come down to the wire as both competitions are still up for grabs.

In tandem with the professional racing, the youth, junior, and adult finalists in the season-long Air Products Cycling Community Developmental Cycling Program will take to the track in their own championship event.

Women's racing clinics successful in Portland

Summer women's clinics designed to introduce potential racers to the sport at the Portland International Raceway in Oregon have been a success. Organizers were impressed by the turnouts of 10 to 15 women per clinic.

"Just a few years ago we were seeing a downturn in women at bicycle races in Oregon, and many racers were wondering why," said Organizer Jim Anderson. "We came up with the idea to help grow the sport from the bottom up and get more women excited about bicycle racing ­ hopefully the momentum will keep going!"

"I love working with the beginner women because you can't help but be reminded of what it was like to experience the rush of hanging in the pack for the first time or sprinting for the line and going harder than you ever imagined you could go. So many of the women are afraid of being dropped their first time, and instead find that they can stay with the group and are actually contesting at the end," said clinic leader Kendra Wenzel.

"We will continue to grow the clinic series and look forward to offering it for new women riders in the 2009 series."

The clinics and race series wrap up on August 25. For more information, visit

Children learn geography through cycling

Passing in front of an old church along the Tour of Missouri course.
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

As Missouri gets ready to welcome the second Tour of Missouri on September 8-14, children around the state are learning about helmet safety, health and wellness, science and geography through a free curriculum guide offered by the Tour. More than 75,000 education books related to the Tour of Missouri, which can be used for lessons, will be distributed in the 12 host cities.

"Cycling is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages," said Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, chairman of the Missouri Tourism Commission, the presenting sponsor of the race. "By showing kids all of the health benefits and fun they can have with their bikes, we hope to cultivate many cyclists for generations to come."

"By integrating these important lessons at the same time as a professional sporting event is taking place offers teachers, as well as students, an exciting, engaging way to learn," said Stacey Blomberg, project manager with the Missouri Division of Tourism. "It is a great way to discover information about the different countries represented, as well as world geography and interesting facts about their home state."

"The Tour will literally go by more than 30 schools along the 600-plus mile course," said Sarah Stroesser, co-chair of the Jefferson City local organizing committee, a dedicated group of volunteers managing local activities surrounding the Tour. "Based on comments we got last year, the athletes take great pride in seeing children cheering them on and waving flags and cowbells."

The 2008 Tour of Missouri will visit the following cities: St. Joseph, Kansas City, Clinton, Springfield, Branson, Lebanon, Rolla, St. James, Jefferson City, Hermann, St. Charles and St. Louis.

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