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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, June 5, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

No Olympic bans for Tour riders

Pat McQuaid at the 2007 Tour de France
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

With Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announcing this week that it will be holding the July event under the aegis of the French federation (FFC), the world governing body of cycling International Cycling Union (UCI) responded with a warning that "riders and teams will, by participating, expose themselves to sanctions."

Similarly to events after the Paris-Nice stage race in March, which ASO also carried out with the help of the FFC, observers now ask what these sanctions could be. But UCI president Pat McQuaid assured AP that the measures would not include a ban from the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

"It's in our capacity but it's not in our heart to sanction athletes that have prepared for four years for an Olympic Games," McQuaid said on Wednesday. "No matter how grave the situation might be, or how disloyal we feel the French federation has been to the UCI, I don't see the Olympic Games being touched."

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Several riders opted out of Paris-Nice after McQuaid had threatened riders with ineligibility for the Olympics, should they race. The UCI later initiated disciplinary action against Jean Pitallier, the French federation president, and French riders asked themselves if this would mean their federation was out of the Games altogether.

But these fears were dismissed. While the UCI's next step in the disciplinary action process will be decided at a meeting of the 19-member management board in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week, McQuaid assured that, "I don't think there will be any big dramas between now and the Tour de France. Beijing will take place and it will be a wonderful event for cycling and the UCI as well, I hope."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Riders preview Tour mountains

The Alps offer spectacular views when the weather is bright
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Several ProTour teams have chosen to use the week between the Giro d'Italia and the Dauphiné Libéré (starting this Sunday) to take their riders up the Alpine mountains that will be raced this July in the Tour de France.

While French team La Française des Jeux trained in the region of L'Alpe d'Huez (which will be the finish of stage 17 on July 23), AG2R La Mondiale was located in the Maurienne valley, and Cofidis further south towards the Italian border. But none of the teams had any luck as to the weather.

The Col du Galibier was closed, and temperatures were down to 3° Celsius on the Col de la Croix-de-Fer (both mountains will be climbed during stage 17). On their test ride up to Prato Nevoso in Italy (stage 15), Cofidis riders had to skip the second climb of that stage, the Col Agnel, as well as the highest mountaintop of the next Tour de France, the Cime de la Bonnette-Restefond (stage 16).

"The last four kilometres of the climb towards Prato are really terrible," said Cofidis sports director Francis Vanlondersele to L'Equipe. "It was worthwhile to see that."

As the Cofidis riders culminated on the Col de la Lombarde (stage 16), a snow storm came down and terminated their reconnaissance. On Thursday, the teams Rabobank, CSC, Caisse d'Epargne are expected in the region before travelling west to Avignon, Provence where the Dauphiné Libéré will start on Sunday.

World champ zips to prologue win

World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara once again proved that he is the best, winning the 2.4 km prologue in the Tour de Luxembourg by five seconds over the second-place finisher, Jimmy Engoulvent from Crédit Agricole. The Swiss CSC rider only needed 3'38" to cover the largely cobbled route, with a steep climb near the end.

"My arms hurt more than my legs right now, cause it was such a short and steep prologue, you had to push with your whole body in order to go fast. It's 20 minutes since I crossed the line and my arms are still burning," Cancellara said Wednesday night.

He admitted that he surprised himself with his performance. "I haven't been good enough during training these past couple of days. But once you're at the start and ready to go, you just go 'full gas' and see what you end up with."

Van den Broeck out with torn muscle

Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence - Lotto), the surprise of the Giro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Jurgen Van Den Broeck, the surprise seventh-place finisher in the Giro d'Italia, must stop racing for six weeks to heal a torn muscle. He will thus miss the upcoming Belgian national championships.

"Apparently I injured it during the Giro," the 26 year-old Silence-Lotto rider told the Gazet van Antwerpen. "I had cramps during the first real mountain stage and that is probably when it happened. Thursday I will have another examination to see how big the tear is."

Van den Broeck can continue to ride but may not race. He is expected to participate in the Österreich Rundfahrt and the Ronde van het Waals Gewest as preparation for the Beijing Olympics.

Teams for Dauphiné

As the prologue of the Dauphiné Libéré approaches, teams announce their line-ups for the important pre-Tour de France event throughout France's Southeast.

AG2R La Mondiale announced that Ludovic Turpin will not be able to participate due to a tear to his hip. The Frenchman will have to rest for three weeks and be replaced by Julien Loubet for the Dauphiné. The complete AG2R roster on the start line on Sunday in Le Pontet on the outskirts of Avignon, Provence, will be: Jose-Luis Arrieta, Cyril Dessel, Hubert Dupont, Stéphane Goubert, John Gadret, Vladimir Efimkin, Christophe Riblon and Julien Loubet.

French outfit Bouygues Telecom will be counting on Stef Clement, Aurélien Clerc, Pierrick Fédrigo, Arnaud Labbe, Laurent Lefèvre, Alexandre Pichot, Yuri Trofimov and Thomas Voeckler in the week-long race.

Cofidis is sending Stéphane Augé, Florent Brard, Samuel Dumoulin, Maryan Hary, Sébastien Minard, Amaël Moinard, David Moncoutié and Maxime Montfort to the event.

Crédit Agricole looks to William Bonnet, Dmitriy Fofonov, Simon Gerrans, Patrice Halgand, Thor Hushovd, Christophe Le Mevel, Rémi Pauriol and Pierre Rolland to bring in results.

Spanish team Saunier Duval has announced Juanjo Cobo, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Josep Jufré, David de la Fuente, Alberto Fernandez de la Puebla, Ruben Lobato, Aurélien Passeron and Javier Megias to participate.

Belgian squad Silence-Lotto will have Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Dario Cioni, Bart Dockx, Cadel Evans, Matthew Lloyd, Yaroslav Popovych and Roy Sentjens at the start, with a clear focus on the Australian 2007 Tour de France runner-up who will be targeting the victory in July.

Gerolsteiner youngsters back in the saddle

Two Gerolsteiner youngsters are happy to be in races this coming weekend, after an early season full of injuries. Tim Klinger will ride the GP Schwarzwald on Saturday as his first race of the season, while Tom Stamsnijder is continuing his return to racing after sitting out two months in the spring.

Stamsnijder, 23, had to drop out of Paris-Nice with knee problems, which caused him to miss the entire Spring Classics season. The problem was eventually traced to his hip, and he is now able to once again ride pain-free. The Dutchman recently finished the Volta a Catalunya and will now take on the Dauphiné Libéré. "I asked to ride the Ster Elektrotoer directly after the Dauphiné Libéré," he said. "Usually you should take a break."

Klinger, also 23, is in his second year with the German team, and hasn't been able to race all season. In fact, he has only been able to properly train for three weeks. A small nerve injury turned into a growth on his buttocks. "At first I kept on training and thought it would go away by itself. But the pain kept on getting worse." Six weeks ago he underwent successful surgery. "I have to set realistic goals. Now I just want to get into the rhythm, and only then can I look for results."

The two will now look to the Vuelta a España as their season highlight.

Bodyguard for Evans

Team Silence-Lotto is doing all it can to help Cadel Evans win the Tour de France this summer. Not only will he have his own cook at the race, he will also be accompanied by a bodyguard. That bodyguard is Serge Borlée, a former Belgian policemen who also worked for the Motorola team and later was bodyguard for Lance Armstrong. Most recently he worked at the Tour de France last year for Alexander Vinokourov.

RAAM coming up again

More than 250 men and women from 17 countries are gearing up for the start of the Race Across America (RAAM), the world's premiere ultra-endurance cycling event. The 3,000 mile bicycle race starts Saturday, June 7, 2008 from Oceanside, California. The race route stretches through 15 states, across the Rockies, through the heartland of America and the Appalachians, and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland.

RAAM is a continuous, one-stage event, meaning that the clock starts on the west coast and doesn't stop until the racers reach the east coast. Ultra-endurance cyclists race around the clock and are supported by a team of specialists who escort and provide critical support to the racers.

Now in its 27th year, this race's solo record was set by Pete Penseyres in 1986 (8 days, 9 hours, 47 minutes), and the team record was set by Action Sports in 2004 (5 days, 8 hours, 17 minutes). RAAM solo competitors average 250 to 350 miles daily. RAAM teams of 2, 4, and 8-people typically cross the country in 6 to 9 days, averaging 350 to over 500 miles daily. Solo women riders and men over age 60 start racing June 7; men's solo racers start June 8; and 2, 4, and 8-person teams start Wednesday, June 11.

RAAM also presents two other events, the Race Across the West which finishes in Taos, New Mexico, and the 24-Hour Team Challenge, which encompasses the first 500 miles of RAAM and finishes in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Many racers also strive for the benefit of various charities, raising more than $3 million in the past two races. This year, more than 35 organisations will benefit from these efforts.

Your chance to win in the Cyclingnews-Rapha competition - competition extended!

You can win this!
Photo ©: Rapha
(Go to the competition page)

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Featuring hand-cut tubes, rear-ends and carbon lugs, the frame is hand-made to Condor's unique specifications and is built up with tubing from the highly respected Italian company Dedacciai, one of only a handful of companies in the world capable of producing such quality tube-sets and forks. It also features a full Dura-Ace groupset (including Dura-Ace wheels) and components from Deda Elementi, Fizik and Continental.

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(Additional research and assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer).

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