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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, July 29, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson and Paul Verkuylen

Yellow jersey takes first post Tour criterium

Carlos Sastre (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) at the post Tour criterium in Aalst, Belgium
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Carlos Sastre (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) honoured his Tour de France yellow jersey by winning the first post Tour criterium in Aalst, Belgium. The Spaniard finished alone at the front of the field.

The sprint for second was won by Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) ahead of Tour green jersey Oscar Freire (Rabobank). Belgian national champion Jürgen Roelandts (Silence-Lotto) was fourth, while Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) filled out the top five.

"I couldn't come to the finish with the fast men like Cavendish and Freire," Sastre told Sports Wereld. "So I have to try and force it while the pace was high in the finale. Belgian champion Jürgen Roelandts was the perfect spring board."

A huge crowd of over 70,000 people assembled in the small Belgian town to cheer on their favourite riders from the 2008 Tour. Sastre, along with Freire, four time Tour stage winner Cavendish, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Roelandts where presented to the crowd during a procession before the race. Due to the large number of fans and the time it took to get present the riders, the race had to be shortened by six laps, to 40.

Cavendish was one of the main attractions of the race, with many fans seeking his autograph. Even Belgian cycling star Freddy Maertens was eager to have the Manxman's signature on a Columbia jersey he brought along.

When Cavendish realised who it was standing in front of him his eyes lit up. "You have a fantastic set of results, man! I want your signature on my shirt," he said.

Kelly faster than De Wolf, Jansen

In the gentlemen's race for ex-professionals and famous Flemish men, Sean Kelly was too fast for Dirk De Wolf and Jan Janssen. "I still have fast legs," the Irishman explained. "That's because I still regularly ride my bike."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Dekker rubbishes blood value claims

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

Rabobank's Thomas Dekker has rubbished claims by a Dutch newspaper he has irregular blood values. The promising young Dutchman said he is disappointed he needs to defended himself against unfounded reports by Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that he has irregular blood values.

"I am not happy with this," he wrote on his website "Someone writes something and I have to defend myself. There is no truth in the [story] in De Volkskrant. I am disappointed in the state of affairs."

Rabobank has also confirmed that there is nothing abnormal about Dekker's blood values. "There is nothing wrong with my blood values; I have been able to ride my program, the Tour of Switzerland, the national championships and the Sachsen tour," he said. "That was not possible otherwise."

The UCI also backed up claims in a letter sent to Dekker. "I contacted the UCI and they sent me a letter stating that there is nothing abnormal with my blood values, I can take part in races as usual," he reiterated.

De Volkskrant also claimed that Dekker and Rabobank may split in the near future. Dekker also laid to rest those claims. "Plans have been in place for some time that together with the directors I would be talking to the team about my future," he said. "There is no talk of a split."

Bastianelli's Olympics campaign in jeopardy

World champion records non-negative anti-doping test

Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Current Women's Road World Champion Marta Bastianelli has returned a non-negative test result for a banned substance. The 21 year-old has tested positive for the dietary aid flenfluramine, during a routine doping control at the European championships held in Italy in June.

The Italian cycling federation's Renato Di Rocco was astounded by the news. Di Rocco voiced concern for the athlete's health following the non-negative sample. "She has been incredibly naive," Di Rocco told Sporza. "Marta is really obsessed with her weight. She eats only salads.

If a test of Bastianelli's B-sample upholds the results of her first sample, the rider could be axed from Italy's Olympic Games roster. The Olympic Games commence in Beijing, China in just 10 days time.

"We will now also test the B-sample," he added. "If that is also positive then Marta has a problem. Not only in regard to her participation at the Olympic Games but also her image and that of cycling."

Bastianelli's mother, Mirella, defended her saying the cyclist was incredibly careful that any medication she consumed complied with World Anti-Doping Agency rules. "My daughter only took a medicine for losing weight, Benfluorex, with the agreement of her doctor; she made sure that it wasn't a banned substance, it had a pineapple base," Mirella Bastianelli told AFP.

"Marta was so careful that recently she refused an anesthetic at the dentist for fear that it might contain a banned substance," she added.

Bastianelli claimed the World Road Championship last September in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2004 she was second in the Junior World Championships road race in Verona, Italy.

Bastianelli is not the first female world champion to suffer from weight issues. In 1994 Dutch cyclist Leontien van Moorsel dropped out of the sport suffering from anorexia nervosa. She returned to the sport in 1998, winning the time trial and finished second in the road race at the World Championships that year.

UEC calls for World Cup revival

The European Cycling Union (UEC) has declared its willingness to work with the International Cycling Union (UCI) in getting the sport's top series organized for 2009. UEC has called for a return to the World Cup system, which was replaced by the current ProTour series, after saying it was seriously alarmed at the current state of international cycling.

"It is necessary that in 2009 the system of road cycling within UCI returns to the system which existed and functioned before the establishment of the ProTour," said UEC in a fax to "2009 should become a transitional year for the preparation and agreement on the system of road cycling in the years to come. Everything positive from the years past should be maintained, however.

"We believe that only in this way it is possible to meet the interests of national cycling federations associated in UCI and UEC, the organizers as well as team representatives," it continued. "On behalf of its member federations the European Cycling Union declares its readiness to actively share in these agreements within the UCI."

The UEC's call comes after the UCI's ProTour concept took a critical blow earlier this month when the teams unanimously voted they would not re-new their licences for 2009. The teams have formed an alliance to negotiate with the UCI and major race organizers in an effort to form a new world series.

After a second meeting of the team's working group during the Tour de France it was announced that the body wished to keep the ProTour name, with a different structure, if the UCI was willing to negotiate. The UCI however has claimed the recent events are powered by its arch rival Grand Tour organizers who, it says, are trying to start a rival international federation.

"The European Cycling Union (UEC), which associates 48 European national federations, is seriously alarmed by the current situation in world road cycling," said the announcement. "The European Cycling Union does not feel entitled to consider the validity of the arguments on both sides involved in the dispute.

"We demand that the disputes and polemics, that don't solve anything at all, be terminated immediately and that floor is given to European national federations, both to those where professional cycling plays an important role as well as to those actively working on developing professional cycling in the world," it added.

Geelong to celebrate Evans on return

Cadel Evans celebrated his second
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans will get a civic reception when he returns to Australia later this year, the City of Greater Geelong has announced. The Silence-Lotto rider resides in the Geelong suburb of Barwon Heads, where the welcoming ceremony will he held.

A date is yet to be set for the ceremony, as it's not yet known when Evans will return to Australia. The Northern Territory-born rider is heading to China, where he will contest the Beijing Olympic Games road race.

"We had a farewell for him when he left so we definitely want to celebrate his success," councillor Peter McMullin told the Geelong Advertiser. "He is very busy at the moment, obviously, but when we find out when he is coming back, I will speak to the mayor and we will arrange something.

"He did a wonderful job and everyone in Barwon Heads is incredibly proud of him," he said.

Geelong is no stranger to cycling, with the city hosting a round of the Women's World Cup. It will also be the site of the 2010 World Road Championship.

Cantwell, Hartley take home Superweek titles

By Cyclingnews staff

Jonathan Cantwell (Jittery Joe's)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

The final race of the 17 day International Cycling Classic was a lot quieter than the races leading up to it. This could have been in part because a lot of riders chose to head down to Chicago for a bigger money criterium, or because racing for 17 days takes a mental and physical toll. Regardless, the sum of the racing added up to an exciting overall series with Jonathan Cantwell (Jittery Joe's) taking the overall series win ahead of Sterling Magnell (Rock Racing.)

"I didn't know which way the day was going to unfold," said Cantwell. "Obviously marking Sterling was the only thing we had to worry about but he has been riding incredibly, which was evident by his win the night before.

"But I had an awesome day on the bike and felt incredible," he added. "Chad sealed the red jersey and then he and Ryan concentrated on the yellow. In the last 10 laps Sterling was attacking and I was covering everything."

"It was kinda anti-climactic," said Cantwell's team-mate Chad Hartley, who also sewed up his win in the sprint competition ahead of Rock Racing's Rahsaan Bahati. "From Saturday to Sunday Jonny and I had some bad legs to great legs. On Sunday we were flying and Rock looked a little tired. Sterling tried to do the same move he did at Downer, sneaking through with 3/4 of a lap, but Jonny was on him this time and he won it on the line with his hands in the air."

"I felt good and tried some moves, but Cantwell was real cagey and did excatly what he had to do," said Magnell. "Half the field was working for him too. Then Rudy [Napolitano] got in the break and lapped the field, and we wanted to work for him to get another stage win."

Napolitano was able to take second place behind Colombian Jairo Perez Suarez, who capped off an impressive series for his national track team as they prepared for Beijing.

Chad Hartley (Jittery Joe's)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

For Cantwell the win is two steps up on the podium from last year's series, and an important jump for him and his team. "It's a big deal," he said. "Last year, racing as an amateur, I didn't have support for a full team, and my team-mate won the overall. So there is not much for me to do. To have the option this year was great. The team support has been great all year round and to win for them and put us back on the board is great."

Magnell had mixed emotions about the series. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed with second overall," he said. "Maybe if I didn't have some bad luck like crashing, things would have been different. But who knows, that is bike racing. I'm definitely happy with my riding, that is for sure."

In the sprint competition Hartley capitalized on Bahati's absence from key stages last week to appear in a close friend's wedding. "We let a group of seven get up the road and they soaked up the sprint points to make my jersey secure," said Hartley. "They lapped up and then another group of 6 went off the front before the finish."

Despite losing the sprint title, Bahati's performances during the series indicated that he was the fastest in the field, which should serve him well at this weekend's big money criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I'm really looking forward to Charlotte and Rahsaan is unbeatable in the sprints," said Magnell. There is no reason we can't win there."

Bike King pulls sponsorship

After a successful entry into the Australian cycling scene in 2007, the Queensland-based Bike King cycling team has lost its title sponsor for the rest of the 2008 season. Bike King cites a lack of available funds for the termination of its deal with the Continental team.

For the remainder of the season the team will be run by Jeremy Betts, who had left his role as manager at the beginning of this season to take up a spot on the team as a rider.

"I realised I couldn't continue to let the team suffer any longer and I stepped back in as Team manager in June," Betts said. "Since then Bike King has advised me that they have no further funds available for the team which has forced me to source addition funds from other current sponsors to at least get us to the Tour of Gippsland until we find a new title sponsor."

The team will race the Gippsland event under the name GD Investments, A company which also supported the team in 2007 under the name Ord Minnett. The team continues to seek a title sponsor for the remainder of the season and beyond. Anyone interested can contact Betts via email at:

In 2007 Ord Minnett riders collected a number of promising results. Cameron Hughes won the Grafton to Inverell, while a number of its younger riders moved on to race in Under 23 development teams in Europe for the 2008 season.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)