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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, March 13, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Bennati back for Giro d'Italia after painful stop

Daniele Bennati, 27, is looking forward to returning to the Giro d'Italia after knee pains put a stop on his early season plans, including the Milano-Sanremo, March 22.
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Daniele Bennati signed for Team Liquigas this last off-season but has not yet had a chance to race for his new team due to knee problems. The 27 year-old Italian from Arezzo, winner of two stages at the 2007 Tour de France, vows to be back in time for the Giro d'Italia.

"I went back out on the bike today [yesterday - ed.] after a two week stop," 'Benna' said of his ride yesterday to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

He was signed by Liquigas to help enforce the team along with Filippo Pozzato, but was forced to miss the first race of the season in South Africa and, more importantly, he will have to skip Milano-Sanremo. His left knee suffered from cartilage and ligament problems since January.

"For one month and a half I trained with pain, skipping the [season] debut. However, it seems that now the pain has finally passed," he added.

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Thought missing Sanremo, and its run-up event, Tirreno-Adriatico, Bennati hopes to be in shape for the Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1. "I have really missed the races and I am sorry to see Sanremo go up in smoke, it is the race of my dreams. It has been a hard blow. Half the season has passed without me being able to confirm myself to the new team. I count on returning and being competitive at the Giro d'Italia."

Soon after Liquigas signed 'Benna' there were speculations that he and Pozzato might find the kitchen too tight for two head cooks. However, Liquigas now has reassurance that when one of their captains is misfiring it has the other.

Prudhomme considers Tour de France stages without race radios

Ivan Rovny wired for communications during the recent Eroica race in Italy
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, is considering the idea of banning race radios in the 2008 Tour de France. The Frenchman might prohibit the use of the devices that allow for rider-director sportif communication in the mountains stages.

He said to Belgium's Het Nieuwsblad that he is studying "the idea of banning the race radio in some of the stages of the Tour, maybe in the mountains [stages]."

The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on February 15 that it formed a "working group" to "treat the question of radio transmissions and coaching during competitions. In particular, it will consider the use of earphones." It decided to go ahead and ban the devices for Under 23 races. The issue, and its regards to top-tier professional races is expected at UCI Management Committee meeting in Copenhagen this June, while more information is expected from Prudhomme as the Tour nears.

Calvente aims for Castilla y León

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spaniard Manuel Calvente is training very hard at home while waiting for the opportunity to return to competition with his new team, Contentpolis-Murcia, in the Vuelta a Castilla y León. The 31 year-old climber guarantees combativeness, and he has the experience with four years as a professional – two at Team CSC and two with Agritubel.

"I have returned to my origins, because we must remember that I made my debut in the Jazztel-Costa Almeria; a very humble team, but with plenty of morale and very optimistic thanks to achieving good results," Calvente explained to Cyclingnews.

Yesterday, he was out training on Las Apujarras climbs (Granada) to prepare for the Vuelta a Castilla y León, March 24 to 28. "I am working very hard ... I hope to do as well as possible, mainly in my speciality – the mountains. But the most important thing is to be racing again, so that the good results can be reached in the future."

The Castilla y León will start in La Granja de San Ildefonso with an individual time trial stage. "I have to improve in time trial stages, but I will confront with the idea of not losing time in order to be well positioned for the following days." The second stage will be disputed between Segovia and Avila (141km). "It will be there where the mountains will be confronted, so I will try to fight with the same strength and conviction as always." The third stage will be between Valladolid and Villa del Libro de Ureña (160km), the following day will start in Carrión de los Condes (Palencia) and will finish in Collada de Salcedillo (160km) and the last one will take place between Guardo and Riaño (León).

Kohl goes three for three

By Susan Westemeyer

To mix a few sports metaphors: Gerolsteiner's Bernhard Kohl has gotten a hat trick, or made three strikes, or gone three for three – three stages of Paris-Nice and three crashes.

"I'm slowly beginning to doubt my riding ability," 'Berni' jokingly wrote on his website, "Not that I could help it, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

After falling into the ditch in stage one and being part of a mass crash in stage two, in stage three he went down on a wet descent. "Every time there were other riders ahead of me who crashed; with the wet, slippery streets giving you no chance to avoid them. Then, you yourself lay in the middle of the rider-and-bike salad."

Paride Grillo back and training

Italian Paride Grillo is back and training after a brutal New Years Day car accident that put his cycling career in doubt, and he plans to make his racing return in Coppi e Bartali. The 25 year-old of team CSF Group Navigare crashed his BMW Z4 Coupe into an electrical box due to icy roads and was forced with an extended hospital with nose and knee surgery.

However, things are looking better according to La Gazzetta dello Sport as Grillo has been training again on his home roads, near Como. "I am well and happy because I have been able to train," he commented. "The worst is behind me now. Tuesday, I rode more than six hours with Ivan Basso."

Grillo will return to racing on March 25 with the five-day Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

Game on for Australia's Goss

Australia's Matthew Goss (Team CSC) has come a long
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC's Matthew Goss is making steps into the top ranks of professional cycling at the young age of 21. The Australian battled the winds in Flanders to achieve a podium spot in semi-classic Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, but as he explained to Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown, wins are expected to come.

When Matthew Goss signed for Team CSC in the fall of 2006 he was a 19 year-old, but in 2007 the Denmark-based team let him learn the ropes alongside some of its big guns and the results are now showing. In the opening weekend of the Classics season, he made his mark with a third place in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

Goss explained how he came from the Australian island state of Tasmania to the hard-man's in Europe's big single-day races. "The cycling community [in Tasmania] is not so big on professional road cycling," he stated. "It is good and it has become bigger thanks to the Tasmanian Institute of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport; you get the chance to race nationally and then internationally with them."

Goss found the bike thanks to an injury while competing in Australian Rules football. The doctor told him riding would be the best way to heal his sore knee, but instead of sitting still on a stationary bike Goss started going out riding with his neighbour, who raced on the track. "For the most part I got my start racing on the track," noted Goss.

Read the full interview.

Sinkewitz denies naming names

By Susan Westemeyer

Patrik Sinkewitz has firmly denied naming any other riders who might have doped. "I have definitely said nothing concrete about the doping practices of other riders," he told the German tabloid BILD. It had been reported last week that the former T-Mobile rider had named Andreas Klöden under questioning.

Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition doping control last summer before the Tour de France. After cooperating with German authorities, he was given a reduced one-year ban.

Doping brought "a two to five percent" increase in performance he said, but noted that "doping doesn't make a race horse out of a donkey. The good riders will always be better." He wouldn't do it again though. What has it cost him? "With the loss of salary and all the costs, over a million [euro]. Everything that I have earned from the sport is gone. I am starting over again from scratch."

However, the 27 year-old still hopes to ride professionally again. "I made mistakes and have paid for them. I can't be blamed for telling the truth. I train every day for up to five hours. I want to show that I can also bring a top performance when I am clean."

Van Avermaet to return to racing

By Susan Westemeyer

Things are finally starting to look up for Belgian Greg Van Avermaet. The 22 year-old Silence-Lotto rider has been suffering from equilibrium problems caused by a virus he caught at the Ruta del Sol, and has not been able to ride since then. But now, "I am practically rid of my illness," he wrote on his website,

Unfortunately, he will still not be able to ride Tirreno-Adriatico, as hoped. The Italian race "came perhaps a few days too soon, and the doctor didn't want me to take any risk of falling or of not being fully recovered."

The race "would have been ideal to get back into the racing rhythm, and as a preparation for the Classics. Now I must try to do that with training and one-day races." He will train in Tuscany, "in better weather conditions."

Van Avermaet will make his return to racing next week in the Nokere Koers, "finally another race. It won't be easy after a month without competition. But simply being at the start will help a lot."

'Paco' Wrolich happy to be heading to Portugal

By Susan Westemeyer

Austrian Peter 'Paco' Wrolich is ready to return to racing after crashing out of the Tour of California last month. The Gerolsteiner sprinter will be riding the Volta ao Santarem and then either Milano-Sanremo or Rund um Köln. "Both races are extremely important for me, but I can only ride one of them."

Only two kilometres into the neutralized zone of California's fourth stage, the 33 year-old went down face first. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's personal physician sewed his face back up, but the bigger problem was the bruised ribs. "By great exertion I still have some pains in my ribs, but that gets better ever day."

He is glad to be riding in Portugal for more reasons than one, he wrote on his website, "At any rate, I am happy that we can ride in Portugal at all, after the UCI threatened us before the start of Paris-Nice. Those responsible shouldn't carry out their fights on the heads of the riders, because all we want to do is ride races. Besides, there is enough time over the winter to solve the problems. Unfortunately, this time isn't used. It is bad for cyclists that this fight between the ASO and UCI escalates at this time. I hope that at least they find a practical solution which will help cycling."

Teams for Dwars Door Vlaanderen

By Susan Westemeyer

22 teams, including 13 ProTour teams, will be at the start of the Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, March 26, the race organisers have announced. Over the 200-kilometre course, they will face 12 hillingen ('climbs' in Flemish): Katteberg (km 79), Berendries (km 94), Valkenberg (km 99), Eikenberg (km 113), Oude Kwaremont (km 130), Kalkhoveberg (km 132), Patersberg (km 134), Knokteberg (km 143), Vossenhol (km 154), Nokereberg (km 164) and Holstraat (km 179 & km 194).

The ProTour teams are Quick Step, Silence-Lotto, Team CSC, Ag2r-La Mondiale, Astana, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, High Road, Milram, Liquigas and Rabobank. They will be joined by Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner, Topsport Vlaanderen, Mitsubishi-Jartazi, Skil-Shimano, Cycle Collstrop, Willems Veranda's Continental Team, Designa Køkken, P3Transfer - Batavus and Team Sean Kelly.

Belgians announce Worlds Track team

By Susan Westemeyer

The Belgians will send seven riders to the upcoming World Track Championships in Manchester. National coach Michael Vaarten announced the team on Wednesday.

Dominique Cornu will ride the individual pursuit, Tim Mertens the scratch and the Omnium, and Iljo Keisse the points race. Keisse and Kenny De Ketele will ride the team sprint.

For the women, Evelyn Arys, Jolien D'Hoore and Jessie Daams will ride the team pursuit.

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