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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, June 27, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Like Valverde, Evans trains high

Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), 31, on the Passo Stelvio
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Like rival Alejandro Valverde, Australian Cadel Evans has been training at high altitude in light of the upcoming Tour de France, July 5 to 27. The 31 year-old of Silence-Lotto, second in the 2007 Tour de France, has been training near Passo Stelvio in Italy since last Friday.

The 2757-metre Passo Stelvio is the fourth highest paved road in the Alps. Spaniard Valverde has been training in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Andalucía, Spain, and taking in climbs between 1,500 and 2,000 metres.

Evans has been training with team-mates Dario Cioni, Mario Aerts, Yaroslav Popovych, Christophe Brandt, Johan Van Summeren, Wim Vansevenant and Greg Van Avermaet.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/

McEwen considers "interesting" contract offers

Australia's Robbie McEwen is not ready to sign yet
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen indicated that he has received "interesting" contract offers from teams for the coming 2009 season, but at the moment is fully concentrated on winning his fourth maillot vert in the upcoming the Tour de France.

The 36 year-old sprinter and his manager have received contract offers, but nothing yet from his current team, Silence-Lotto. "We have had some very interesting offers and are considering them all carefully. I am yet to receive an offer from Silence-Lotto, but they have indicated that they will wait until after the Tour to begin further rider negotiations," McEwen revealed to Cyclingnews Friday morning.

Rumours have circulated in recent days that Tinkoff Credit Systems might be interested in McEwen – winner of 12 Giro d'Italia and 12 Tour de France stages – as well as Italian Filippo Pozzato and Russian Denis Menchov. The team's general manager, Stefano Feltrin, confirmed to Cyclingnews, "we have been talking to all of them, as well as many [others]."

Meanwhile, McEwen is remaining tight-lipped on which teams have contacted him. He stated, "after my recent good form at the Tour de Suisse [winner of stage three and four - ed.], I'm concentrating on winning at the Tour and a possible fourth green jersey."

Tour favourite Sastre unexpectedly heads to nationals

Spain's Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo) heads to Spanish nationals
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Spaniard Carlos Sastre has decided in the final moments to compete his country time trial national championships. The 33 year-old of Team CSC-Saxo Bank seeks to verify his form coming off the Dauphiné Libéré prior to fighting for the Tour de France title.

The 27.7-kilometre race takes place tomorrow in Talavera de la Reina.

"After the Dauphiné Libéré, I have been training with intensity on time trial bike and I want to verify the results of this training," Sastre confirmed in an official press release. He added the test will allow him to compare himself to the other "specialists."

Sastre finished 65th in the 31-kilometre time trial at the Dauphiné Libéré.

Danielson returns to USA after Tour disappointment

By Shane Stokes

USA's Tom Danielson returns home
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

With Garmin Chipotle H3O leaving him off its Tour de France squad due to a delay in him returning to his best form, a disappointed Tom Danielson has returned to Boulder, Colorado, and will target USA races for much of the rest of the season.

The 30 year-old will ride events such as the Cascade Classic, the Tour of Utah, the Tour of Colorado, the USPRO championships and Tour of Missouri. He is then likely to return to Europe in the autumn.

USA's Danielson has had a tough and frustrating time for over a year. He had stomach problems caused by two parasites, was treated for those but then crashed out of the Vuelta a España on the opening day. Although his shoulder damage was treated, a herniated disc has further complicated his return to top form.

He had a light spring schedule as a result, yet thought that he was still on track for his first-ever Tour de France start. This will not be the case now.

"It wasn't until a small race in Portugal that I realised that the goal I thought I was working towards, the Tour de France, was now in jeopardy," he said on his website "My progress was not enough for my team and I was told needed to show something quickly in Route du Sud or I wasn't going.

"I poured on the pressure and really wanted to show my team I was back to my winning ways. The uphill time-trial was the perfect chance for me and I entered the race so excited to show I was back. I started incredibly strong and had a very fast time going, as this sort of event is my specialty. At the second time check I was ahead of the best time at the moment.

"[However] with only four kilometres remaining my body just shut down. I clearly went out too hard and became extremely frustrated. I took that into the next two days of the race and rode strong for my team-mate Dan [Martin], helping him win the overall."

Danielson feels that he would have ridden into form if he had got the nod for his big season goal. "While I understood I wasn't performing at my best level, I was hoping at least I could go and help out the team at the Tour," he stated. "I have a solid record of performances in Grand Tours and I truly believe I could have accomplished amazing things at the TDF. I can confidently say I've never felt better in training and I've shown in the longer races that I've improved day after day."

Cyclingnews will publish an interview with Tom Danielson soon.

Liquigas and LPR Brakes ready for Bergamo showdown

Filippo Pozzato leads Liquigas at Italian nationals
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Italian teams Liquigas and LPR Brakes are have chosen its men to fight for the Italian Championships title this Sunday in Bergamo. Liquigas will be led by Filippo Pozzato, winner of stage five in last year's Tour de France and 2006 Milano-Sanremo champion. "We have prepared in the best way possible for this objective and my form is good," stated Pozzato, who is building also for the Tour de France, July 5 to 27.

'Pippo' indicated that he had previewed the course and it suited his characteristics well.

Backing Pozzato as possible leaders will be Vincenzo Nibali and Manuel Quinziato. The rest of the squad includes Manuel Quinziato, Valerio Agnoli, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Claudio Corioni, Mauro Da Dalto, Enrico Franzoi, Ivan Santaromita and Alessandro Vanotti.

LPR Brakes promises to "put on a show" with its 15 men over the 254.8-kilometre race. It heads starts the race with Paolo Bailetti, Gabriele Bosisio, Luca Celli, Riccardo Chiarini, Matteo Montagutti, Claudio Cucinotta, Raffaele Ferrara, Roberto Ferrari, Giairo Ermeti, Sergio Laganà, Sergio Marinangeli, Alessandro Maserati, Daniele Pietropolli, Walter Proch and Cristiano Salerno.

CPA sends Giro reports to UCI

The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) has sent complaints about the 2008 Giro d'Italia to the International Cycling Union (UCI) Road Commission. Many riders were upset about the length of transfers and the road conditions covered during the Italian Grand Tour, May 10 to June 1.

The teams "arrived more than once later than 10.00 PM at the hotel," the CPA said in a statement. "This is an inadmissible lack of respect not only towards the riders but also towards the staff of the different teams as well as towards the hotel keepers, which are already sometimes reluctant when they have to lodge cycling teams.

"The riders consider also that the organisers should take care of selecting a course that would be more balanced and more human. At least, they insist again on the necessity for the organiser to go on secure roads, which would avoid many crashes."

The CPA now hopes the UCI Road Commission will "take suitable measures."

AG2R La Mondiale signs Bonnafond

French Team AG2R La Mondiale has announced the two-year contract of Guillaume Bonnafond, winner of this year's Tour des Pays de Savoie and la Ronde de l'Isard. The 21 year-old amateur Frenchman joins the professional team of Vincent Lavenu from the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation (CCF).

"This contract rewards the uniform and logical progression of the one of the current best French amateur racers," General Manager Lavenu stated in a press release.

Australia names Olympic contenders

Cycling Australia today named the 28 cyclists it intends to nominate to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) for selection in its team for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.Led on the road by 2007 Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans and Stuart O'Grady, who is participating in his fifth Olympics, the road squad will also include former world champion Michael Rogers in the time trial and Australian champion Matthew Llody and Simon Gerrans.

On the women's side, sprinter Oenone Wood will join Katherine Bates and Sara Carrigan, the defending gold medalist, for the road race.

The trackies will also see a rider in his record fifth Olympics, with Shane Kelly contesting the sprint events. He will join Ryan Bayley, the defending sprint champion, Mark French and Daniel Ellis, with Athens gold medalist Anna Meares the sole female sprint team member.

On the track endurance side, Bradley McGee, Jack Bobridge, Mark Jamieson, Luke Roberts, Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster will contest the team pursuit, individual pursuit and points race. The Australians did not qualify a Madison team for the Games.

Katie Mactier will contest the women's individual pursuit.

The athletes:
Track Sprint: Ryan Bayley, Daniel Ellis, Mark French, Shane Kelly, Anna Meares
Track Endurance: Jack Bobridge, Graeme Brown, Mark Jamieson, Brett Lancaster, Katie Mactier, Bradley McGee, Cameron Meyer, Luke Roberts
Road: Katherine Bates, Sara Carrigan, Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Lloyd, Stuart O'Grady, Michael Rogers, Oenone Wood
BMX: Tanya Bailey, Nicole Callisto, Jared Graves, Kamakazi, Luke Madill
Mountain Bike: Daniel McConnell, Dellys Starr

The final selection of riders may be contingent on the outcome of any appeals lodged against non-nomination. The AOC is scheduled to confirm team selections within 48 hours of the final nomination deadline of July 4, subject to outstanding appeals.

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