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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, June 17, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

McEwen gets morale boost

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Silence-Lotto's Robbie McEwen revitalised his hopes of taking a stage of the 2008 Tour de France, when he out-sprinted Oscar Freire (Rabobank) to take the third stage of the 72nd Tour de Suisse.

"This is fantastic, I won thanks to the great work done by the entire team," McEwen told Sporza. "In the finale, [Leif] Hoste and [Greg] Van Avermaet were great, they did a fantastic job.

"Earlier I won a stage in at the Tour of Romandie, but at the Giro d'Italia I wasn't able to do my best due to a crash," he added. "Thanks to this win, my season has gained some allure."

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This win is McEwen's second of the season after the Tour or Romandie. The 35 year-old won 15 times in 2007 but has been struggling this season with injury and bad luck.

"This is also good for my confidence going into the Tour," said the Australian. "The team is not going for the green jersey, so I will have to look after myself."

McEwen won Stage 5 of the 2007 Tour de Suisse before going onto win stage one of the 2007 Tour de France.

ASO, Quick Step yields nothing for Boonen

Belgium's Tom Boonen
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere and sponsor CEO Frans De Cock met with Tour de France organisers Monday to discuss the possibility of Tom Boonen being allowed to ride the Tour. Team and sponsor Quick Step did their best to convince the Tour de France to accept Tom Boonen, but to no avail.

Tour boss Christian Prudhomme acknowledge that Boonen's positive test for cocaine was not a sporting violation, "but the Boonen case could damage the integrity of the Tour and of the participating teams." The Tour had earlier announced that the Belgian sprinter would not be welcome at the Tour.

"They didn't say yes and they didn't say no," Lefevere reported. "We were well received and had a good discussion.

"The important thing is that they listened to use," he added. "We told them how it works in Flanders. But they had their arguments, too. We have no deadline for a decision."

At his press conference last week, Boonen said that he would take a short break from racing. Short was the right description, since he is starting in the Ster Elektrotoer today. However, the team issued a press release Monday evening, saying, that "in light of the events involving Tom Boonen over the past few days, the Quick Step team informs that the rider will not be speaking to the press during the Ster Elektrotoer race...in order to avoid any speculation and misunderstandings."

Vanendert's operation ends season

By Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble, France

Up and coming climber Jelle Vanendert has undergone an operation after a heavy crash while descending the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré's col de Cucheron at kilometre 93 on the last stage. The young Belgian had a promising performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, finishing 10th on Stage 4, where he won the sprint from the group of favourites.

On Sunday Vanendert was counter attacking in the mountains together with compatriot Maxime Monfort, but he missed the third corner of the Cucheron descent. The accident wasn't noticed until Italian Manuel Quinziato also slipped at the same place and informed the officials that Vanendert was laying on the ground on the side of the road.

The Belgian rider was yelling from the ravine but nobody heard him. Motorbikes and team cars passed through without realising a rider was down. Thanks to Quinziato's misfortune, Vanendert was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital of Grenoble where he underwent an operation on his left hip on Sunday night.

Vanendert was considered by Française des Jeux for its 2008 Tour de France roster, but the accident has ended his season. Vanendert will be transferred from Grenoble to Belgium on Tuesday or Wednesday. Considering the time necessary for recovering from such a medical intervention, his 2008 season is over.

"It wasn't sure though but now it's out of question," said team manager Marc Madiot explained. "But I'll definitely offer him a contract for next year."

Phinney sets World Record at Olympic trials

American Taylor Phinney has set a new world junior record in the 3,000-metre individual pursuit event with a time of 3:16.65. The 17 year-old set the record at Monday's Olympic trials at the ADT Event Center in Carson, California. The record set by Phinney, nominated to the United States Olympic Team which will announce its members on July 1, is the first world record set on the velodrome inside the ADT Event Center.

"Achieving this mark was one of my goals when I started my Olympic training this year," said Phinney. "As our team prepares for Beijing, I couldn't be more proud to set this record and am excited to represent the United States in the Olympics."

The new world record by the Boulder, Colorado, rider eclipses the old mark of 3:17.775 achieved by Michael Ford (Australia) in 2004.

Swiss women get Beijing call-up

Cervélo-Lifeforce riders Priska Doppmann and Karin Thürig have been selected to represent Switzerland at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, China this August. They will be joined on the squad by Bigla rivals Nicole Brändli and Jennifer Hohl.

"It was a tough fight for the 'tickets' to Beijing 2008," said Cervélo-Lifeforce team manager Thomas Campana. "Switzerland has a lot of great women cyclist especially in the time trial, the early selection is good for Priska and Karin, now they can have the focus on the preparation for the games. I'm sure that both of them will make top results."

In the women's time trial race on 13th of August 2008 will be on the start for Switzerland the two times Olympic starter from 2000 and 2004 Priska Doppmann and as well the bronze medallist from 2004 Karin Thürig. For the road race on 10th of August are nominated Priska Doppmann, Nicole Brändli and Jennifer Hohl (both Team Bigla) and will fight together for a Swiss podium place.

Karin Thürig will be in addition to the time trial on the start of the individual pursuit race on the track. This nomination was already done by Swiss Olympic in April.

Korea-Japan tour has high hopes

By Miwako Sasaki

The Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation (SOSFO), which organises the Tour de Korea-Japan, wants the race to grow into a Tour de Asia. While the first Tour de Korea-Japan will start next Saturday in Japan, organisers hope the new Asian stage race, based on the Tour of Korea, will travel more Asian countries in future.

As a first step towards an Asian tour event, SOSFO has organised the race with the Japanese Cycling Federation's help for the first time in history. For this year, the first two stages of the 2.2 UCI Asia Tour will be held in Japan before the race heads across sea to Korea. Nine stages will be held in Korea, where the event will conclude on July 4.

The prologue and the first stage will be held at Yamaga city in Kumamoto, where the south part of Japan nears the Korean peninsula. The 1.8 kilometre prologue will pass the ancient tomb of Goryozuka, which was created in the sixth century. The first stage will start in front of Kikuchi Palace, which was created in the seventh century.

132 riders from 22 teams will start the first Tour de Korea-Japan. From Japan, three top teams - Skil-Shimano, Meitan Honpo-GDR and Aisan Racing Team - will participate in this friendship race. Also eight UCI continental teams, Seoul Cycling, Giant Asian Racing Team, Trek-Marco Polo Cycling Team, Letua Cycling Team, Ulan, Polygon Sweet Nice Team, Savings & Loans Cycling Team and Team Ista, two national teams from Hong-Kong China and Uzbekistan, and JAJO Sports from Swiss, Nordland-Hambourg Palmarès from Denmark will start the race.

South African joins Danish squad

Luthando Kaka
Photo ©: Acsis
(Click for larger image)

Luthando Kaka of Cape Town is set to make history when he becomes the first black South African to ride for a European continental road cycling team, according to South African News site Independant Online. The 22 year-old, who is currently riding for the South African based Acisis professional men's cycling team, will join the Danish based Glud and Marstrand Horsens team at the end of the month.

Life Cycling Academy's chief Glyn Broomburg recommended Kaka for the Danish team after his strong showing at the Western Province Cycling Championships, where he won the Under 23 championships.

"Luthando was identified as a rider with the potential to make it on to the pro-cycling circuit in Europe," said Broomberg. "Being chosen for a continental team is an achievement for Luthando and the LCA."

Carney delighted with squad's efforts

David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) continued his celebration
Photo ©: Frank Rowe
(Click for larger image)

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team director Jonas Carney is delighted with his rider's efforts at last week's Nature Valley Grand Prix. The team left the event with a stage victory on the final day and the American tour's young rider jersey,

Second year pro David Veilleux took victory on the event's final stage, and rode several blocks past the finish line celebrating after the success. The 20 year-old Canadian also claimed the best young rider's jersey for the NVGP.

"This is a big - and well deserved win - for David," said Carney. "We've been working on a win all week with Alex Candelario's second place in Cannon Falls, and all of our guys have been aggressive in every stage. We knew when we added David to the roster at the end of last year that he was going to do great things and it's very rewarding to see that happening."

Veilluex came from behind on the final stage with a surprise sprint to pass Rory Sutherland (Healthnet-Maxxis), the overall winner, and Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living). Veilleux won the Best Young Rider jersey after a stellar result in Friday's stage three time trial and has been on a roll ever since his win at the Kelly Cup in Baltimore three weeks ago.

"I am thrilled with our performance at the NVGP," added Carney. "All of our riders rode their guts out for the team this week. They knew it was important to perform in front of all our hometown sponsors and they came through. Winning a stage, the U23 competition, and finishing second on team GC shows that we are one of the strongest teams in the US. We've had an incredible run over the last seven weeks, and I expect it to continue at the Tour de Nez and the Tour of Pennsylvania."

Drapac Porsche returns to Europe

Australian professional cycling team Drapac Porsche is once again returning to Europe to complete a six week racing block in Belgium and Germany. The schedule is comprised of a number of high profile events on the European racing calendar and numerous Belgium kermesse races.

The squad will again line up for the Belgian semi classic Halle - Ingoogiem, where last year Robert McLachlan and Darren Lapthorne finished in the top 20. Also on the schedule is Ruddervoorde, GP Drie Zusterstedan and Sparkassen Giro Bochum.

"We'll take the lessons learnt and the confidence gained from last year's trip to Europe and look to improve on our performances this year," said Drapac Porsche's team captain Stuart Shaw.

The team is made up of 10 of Australia's top cyclists, including 2007 National Road Series winner Stuart Shaw, South Australia State Champion Gene Bates, Daniel Braunsteins, Mitchell Docker, Grant Irwin, Peter McDonald, Mark O'Brien, Robbie Williams and Dean Windsor.

For a number of the riders, it will be their first trip to Europe in the Drapac Porsche colours. "[I'm] looking forward to lining up alongside the Europeans; it will be a great experience," said O'Brien. "I would like to get at least one top 10 result, however this will be my first time racing at the senior level in Europe. It's good to have high expectations."

America's Day earns Olympic BMX spot

Californian BMXer Mike Day won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team BMX Trials on June 14, earning the second automatic men's nomination to the squad that will represent the United States later this summer in Beijing.

Day won the multi-heat competition in convincing fashion by winning three of four heats and placing second in the other - a performance so dominating that Day was officially declared the winner before the finals. After four heats, Day's advantage in the overall classification had rendered the remaining six competitors mathematically out of contention, negating the need to contest the finals.

Day began the morning with a victory in the individual time trial when he clocked a winning time of 36.60 seconds. Twenty minutes later he added to his advantage with a win in the first seven-man, head-to-head moto. Entering the second moto with a comfortable 15-8 advantage over Donny Robinson, Day finished second in the competition's third heat, as his lead in the points standings was cut to 22-18 over Robinson.

In the third moto, Day again crossed the line in first to secure 10 points while Robinson's fourth-place effort only yielded an additional 3. Mathematically, Day was untouchable and the finals were cancelled with Day holding a 32-21 advantage over Robinson.

Day joins automatic qualifiers Kyle Bennett and Jill Kintner who ended the 2008 season as the top-ranked athletes in USA Cycling's men's and women's BMX Rankings respectively.

(Editorial assistance and research provided by Susan Westemeyer)

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