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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, May 20, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Wegelius, a domestique par excellence

By Shane Stokes

Charly Wegelius autographs a book at the Giro
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Behind every champion in cycling, there's a clutch of team-mates who put aside their own personal ambitions to help the leader to win. Charly Wegelius is one of those foot soldiers, and has been riding very strongly in the Giro d'Italia thus far.

Charly Wegelius has been a prominent sight on several key stages of the Giro d'Italia, towing the peloton along and giving his all for team leaders Franco Pellizotti, Vincenzo Nibali and Daniele Bennati.

The 30 year-old has been with Liquigas for four seasons and has had some good achievements in that time. Last season he was part of the winning team time trial squad on day one of the Giro and, more importantly, the Finland-born Briton was a valuable part of the line-up that supported Danilo Di Luca in his successful bid to win the race.

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Di Luca moved on to LPR Brakes over the winter but Liquigas has continued to ride strongly. Wegelius and the others won stage 1b of the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi Bartali this year, and performed strongly in the Giro d'Italia. Bennati has won two stages, Pellizotti has led the race and he and Nibali were lying ninth and tenth overall on the first rest day.

Wegelius' prominence in riding for these leaders shows his strength. He's been hurtling along at the front of the bunch on climbs while other riders – including several well-known and much higher-paid names – have been slipping out the back of the group. When this good condition is commented on, he plays it down; he feels there is a job to do, and he just quietly goes ahead and does it.

"It is part of having the pink jersey and the responsibility that comes with it," he said, speaking of his work at the front when Pellizotti was in the race lead. "I'm not surprised that we got the jersey, but I am surprised that we got it so early. But this is an Italian team and having the pink jersey is good for them. And putting hay in the barn early is important for them, too."

As Wegelius suggests, holding the maglia rosa is a big return for the sponsors and also boosts team morale. However, the team's aim to win the race for the second year running means that it had to voluntarily step back from the limelight. It did so on stage six to Peschici, allowing eleven riders to hit the line over eleven minutes clear and enabling Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) to take over the race lead.

"It was intentional, because it is hard work to defend the jersey," he said. "We don't have that many riders who can do it because we have Daniele and Pellizotti and Nibali, we have got quite a few top riders. So defending the jersey on long stages like this isn't that easy, especially when so many people want to go in the breakaway."

Pellizotti has had solid runs in recent Giri d'Italia, placing sixteenth, ninth, eleventh, ninth and eighth overall between 2002 and 2007. Now 30 years old, he believes that it is possible to win the race, or at least to finish on the final podium.

Read all about Wegelius.

Catching Up

Adam Hansen (High Road) during the break in stage 8, where he was the last to get caught
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Adam Hansen is hoping for a better Giro than last year, when he was forced out early due to a broken finger. With the Cyclingnews readers he shares his experiences and how he almost missed the start in Sicily...

From almost missing the plane, perfect TTT training to a disappointing TTT, bad luck in a sprint and then going to a first stage win, everything pays off in the end.

So, I wake up at 7:30am and there I was thinking there was way too much light in my room; one of those wake-ups where you take a big breath thinking...What time is it? That's right, the alarm didn't go off and my flight was at 8:45am.... I woke up an hour and a quarter before my flight. Quick shower, went through my suitcase to make sure I had the important stuff and then rushed to the airport. The beauty of the airport in Ostravy, Czech Republic, is that the check-in closes 20 minutes before your flight leaves. Typing this in Italy means I made it.

Arriving three days early is for the blood controls. It's pretty simple – wake up, blood taken, then the normal day starts. From then to the race start we did some perfect TTT training. Okay, it was on a dead straight road and we did 5.96 kilometres in six minutes so we weren't complaining for a nice hard hit out before the big day.

But came the race day, we were all over the place. From putting in the fastest time to having riders not being so smooth to dropping ourselves and then riding off with for guys working (two GC guys sitting on) and losing three workers meant we would only lose time... and that's what happened.

A hard day before our two sprint days – where Mark was going to show his stuff – was not the best start. The sprint was chaotic, too. Firstly, with so many crashes, we had five guys go down at once! Then we were working hard to get Mark back to the bunch before supporting the team, closing all the attacks in the final before leaving the work to Tony and Rabon to help Mark win the stage. That was the theory and it all looked good till he was boxed in.

The next day, tables turned and our only problem was the five-kilometre long hill, some 20 kilometres before the finish. They went super fast, but we had our whole team around Mark. Don't ask why, but he always cracks about one kilometre before the top. He was doing so well and then he lost it and we were a few groups back. But having such a good team to help him, we caught all the groups ahead before moving to the front of the bunch with eight kilometres to go.

Check out the full diary entry.

CSF Group-Navigare counters Klöden's accusations

Matteo Priamo (CSF Group Navigare) won stage 6 and doesn't appreciate Klöden's interview to Gazzetta dello Sport
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Professional continental team CSF Group-Navigare, which rides in the Giro d'Italia, released a statement, countering the accusations of Astana rider Andreas Klöden, which he made in an interview to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Klöden had said that he is clean and has been controlled 22 times this year. "Seven of those controls came from within my team. I am controlled by five different entities – WADA [world anti doping agency], NADA [German anti doping agency], UCI [International cycling federation], the Swiss cycling federation and PWC [a private German company conducting anti doping tests - ed.] At the Giro, there are only four teams with a tight control system – Slipstream, High Road, CSC and Astana... [Davide] Rebellin and [Riccardo] Riccň, I don't know how often they have controls like me. I don't want to talk about the team of Priamo."

It is the last remark that upset CSF Navigare, referring to its rider, Matteo Priamo, who won stage 6 in the Giro.

Team manager Bruno Reverberi said that "We have already spoken to our lawyer, Claudio Pasqualin, about possible legal actions against what Andreas Klöden had said. He launched accusations against a team – ours – but the German does not know what kind of anti doping controls we do... Our program and our controls do not come [publicly announced], unlike from other teams; even in the recent past, we did everything that we were clean... We will defend the image of society and [the image] of the athletes."

In a brief statement to Cyclingnews before the start of stage 10, Priamo said, "I never had the chance to talk to Klöden. I always thought he was a good person, but that made me change my mind." Stay tuned for more on the matter in the next news edition.

Russ wants pink

Matthias Russ of Gerolsteiner has not given up hope on getting the pink jersey. He narrowly lost out on stage 6, where a time bonus and a last ditch effort gave the pink to Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) – with both riders tied on overall time. Visconti was awarded pink due to the results of the team time trial. The following day, Russ lost more time, but now is looking forward to the time trial. He has to make up 34 seconds on the Italian – 35 seconds, really, if he doesn't want to lose out on the tie breaker rule again.

The young German told sid that "I see my chance, I want the overall lead." The time trial goes over 39.4 kilometres on a challenging course.

Russ is also still dreaming to not lose too much time until the end of the race. "A place in the top ten would be superb."

Snow stops Devolder

Devolder got stopped by the snow
Photo ©: tdwsport
(Click for larger image)

Stijn Devolder has set his sights on the Tour de France and nothing is going to stop him in his meticulous preparations for the race. Nothing except the weather, that is. He and some Team Quick Step colleagues were unable to go to the top of the Tourmalet on Monday because of the snow. They had to give up with only one and a half kilometres to go, and finish it off in the team car. Devolder was earlier able to ride Hautacam on the bike, though, for a total of about five and a half hours on the day.

"I'm satisfied with the work we've done," sports director Dirk Demol said on the team's website, "In two days, we've put together about ten and a half hours of training. Stijn is pedaling really well. Too bad about the lousy weather, but unfortunately this factor is always a part of the game."

Carlos Barredo was supposed to be along on the training rides, but instead was at the side of his father, who has been placed in an induced coma, after falling ill Friday afternoon. He reported that his father's condition is improving.

"I'm sorry that Barredo can't be by my side in this training camp, but family is definitely more important than cycling," Devolder said.(SW)


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by tdwsport

Dekker to skip nationals

Thomas Dekker will not ride the Dutch national championships this year, saying he finds it hard to fit the flat race into his preparations for the Tour de France, which follows shortly thereafter. "Nothing against the race organisers, but the flat course in Dinkelland just can't be worked in with my exploration of the Tour stages, which I will do that month," the Rabobank rider told "Moreover, the chance that I can win there is very small."

The 23 year-old said that he and his trainer Louis Delahaije would check out the Alpine stages June 3-5, before he rides the Tour de Suisse. After that race, he will explore the Pyrenees stages with team captain Denis Menchov, team director Erik Breukink and Delahaije.(SW)

Rest day in Colombia

Riders of Colombia es Pasión
Photo ©: Colombia es Pasión
(Click for larger image)

The riders of the very hilly Vuelta a Colombia took a well deserved rest day yesterday, the same day the Giro d'Italia took a breather. Rest days don't necessarily mean just resting. In a stage race, the riders want to do a bit of exercise, otherwise the next day could end up with heavy legs and a bad surprise.

The same was true for home team Colombia es Pasión-Coldeportes, which spent the day in Medellín. Directeur sportif Luís Fernando Saldarriaga explained that "On the rest day, we will ride a bit, to not lose our rhythm. To rest more than anything else, so we can regain power, which will be necessary for the second week in the Vuelta a Colombia. The team is already concentrating on the stage of tomorrow [May 20]. That stage could be decisive, so we have to ride it with great responsibility. In the first week we rode very animated ... and we want to continue that way."

Between riding, eating and massages, there is a bit of leisure time, too. Riders may read, play video games or finally be able to catch up on email. Anything to save the legs for a hard stage 9, which includes three tough mountains. First, they will go over the category two Alto de Minas. Then they will head on to the Tres Puertas, which is 'only' a category three climb. The final blow will come six kilometres from the line, with the category one Plaza de Toros de Manizales.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Colombia es Pasión

WA State Road Championships 2008 coming up

Western Australia will hold the State Road Championships this upcoming weekend, on May 25. All categories (Open Men, Women & Juniors U/15,U/17,U/19) will have a 9:00 start at the Roleystone High School. Registrations have been extended until Wednesday, May 21, 17:00.

The course for the open men category is from the start at Roleystone High School out onto Brookton Hwy, for a 55-kilometre out-and-back to Chevin Rd. There will be five short laps in the end, around the Roleystone Circuit. U19 Men, Masters & Open Women ride on the same course, but will have only one finishing lap.

(Additional research and assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer).

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