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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, May 30, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Philly week welcomes strong contenders

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Bernhard Eisel won last year in the rain and is hoping to take out the overall for High Road this year
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

While the teams have been known for weeks, just which riders would be making the start for the Commerce Bank Triple Crown was still unknown – with many big name starters possible, especially from the ProTour squads. Wait no more! The preliminary rosters were announced on Thursday, headlined by triple-stage Giro winner Daniele Bennati (Liquigas), defending overall winner Bernhard Eisel (High Road) and Swedish champion Magnus Backstedt (Slipstream Chipotle - H30).

One of the surprises is not seeing CSC's speedster and 2007 Philadelphia International winner JJ Haedo on the list, with the team needing his services in Europe to cover for multiple injured riders. His speed will definitely be missed as Philadelphia can often result in a field sprint.

Another highlight on the start list is Kiwi Greg Henderson (High Road), who won two races here two years ago, helping secure his spot on a ProTour squad. Slipstream's Paris-Roubaix surprise Martijn Maaskant (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) will join a well-rounded team that also includes sprinter Tyler Farrar.

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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On the domestic side, Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) is having a killer first-half of the season, winning two stage races in two weeks and he achieved a lot of top five finishes, including fourth on Brasstown Bald in the Tour de Georgia. Toyota-United rolls in with a lot of fast firepower, with Ivan Dominguez, Hilton Clarke and B world champion Ivan Stevic. Former USPRO road champion Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing) has won here before and will be looking to navigate his team to a win. BMC is coming off a win at the Tour de Leelanau with Taylor Tolleson, and also brings Michael Sayers to his last Philly week after announcing Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season.

Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) counts his wins
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Bissell's Ben Jacques-Maynes has recent results pointing towards a strong Philly week, as does Colavita-Sutter Home's Lucas Sebastian Haedo. Team Type 1's former Navigators riders know this week well with Glen Chadwick always dangerous for a breakaway. The Tecos-Trek team had a successful Tour of the Gila with overall winner Gregorio Ladino back for more. The Symmetrics team has strongman Svein Tuft and sprinter Andrew Pinfold, winner of the final stage at Mt. Hood.

The women's field has a number of strong teams, including three European squads that will be a force to be reckoned with – High Road, Cervelo-Lifeforce and Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. Ina Teutenberg (High Road) comes into the race with two wins at the Tour de l'Aude. Former US road champion Kristin Armstrong leads the Cervelo-Lifeforce team while 2006 winner Regina Schleicher and Suzanne De Goede (Nürnberger) are strong threats.

Cyclingnews will have full coverage of all three men's races plus the women's Liberty Classic.

CSC Invitational ready with international fields

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Rahsaan Bahati (Rock & Republic) is the defending champion
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Both the men's and women's fields for the 11th CSC Invitational outside of Washington, DC, are quite strong this year, including two ProTour men's teams with CSC and High Road. The tough course on the streets of Clarendon in Arlington, Virginia, feature sharp turns, a long finish stretch and a pace that keeps most riders on the rivet. This, combined with a quality field, makes this race a feather in the cap for any domestic team. Last year's men's winner Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) said on the awards podium, "besides winning Nationals, this is the biggest win I have ever had!"

Both men's ProTour teams have more than adequate riders, including Bernhard Eisel (High Road) and Matthew Goss (CSC). Unfortunately, CSC will not be bringing their talented speedster Juan Jose Haedo. However, another Haedo will be in the running for the domestic teams. The younger Haedo brother Lucas Sebastian, who races for JJ's former domestic team Colavita-Sutter Home, already has a number of quality wins this year. Health Net-Maxxis will have to convert from its recent domination of US stage races to criteriums, and will likely rely on US criterium champion Kirk O'Bee and Tasmanian Karl Menzies for this job. Rock Racing will have three-time USPRO road champion Fred Rodriguez to help defend its title.

In the women's race, three former winners will race against each other for the first time at this event. German Ina Teutenberg (High Road) is keeping up her usual winning ways this year. Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) comes to this race once again as the reigning US criterium champion and herself off of two stage wins at the recent Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. Finally, Cheerwine's Laura Van Gilder has raced in all but two years at this event and is the defending champion. Her team is coming off a one-two finish at the tough Tour de Leelanau last weekend.

The two races begin after amateur events at 10:15am with the women racing 50 kilometres. The 100-kilometre men's race is the final event of the day, scheduled to begin at 12:15. The spectator friendly course is located aroundf the start-finish area at the Clarendon Metro stop in Arlington, VA at 3100 Wilson Blvd.

Men's teams:                                     Women's teams:

Team CSC (DEN)                                   High Road
High Road				         Aaron's Corporate Furnishings
BMC						 Cheerwine
Slipstream-Chipotle-H3O				 Colavita-Sutter Home
Toshiba-Santo presented by Herbalife		 Team TIBCO
Bissell						 ValueAct Capital
Calyon-Litespeed (CAN)				 Team Advil-Chapstick
Colavita/Sutter Home				 Van Deissel
DLP Racing					 PCIM
Health Net, presented by Maxxis			 Team Kenda Tire
Jelly Belly					 
Jittery Joe's					
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast		
Team Type 1
Rite Aid presented by Shebell & Shebell
Rock Racing
Time Pro Cycling
Battley Harley-Davidson

Contador doesn't think Worlds course suits him

When Alberto Contador came in with the peloton yesterday he sprinted down the home straight, battling it out with Lilian Jégou and Laurent Mangel. Contador got second, netting him a 14th place on the day. After the race, the Spaniard declared that the Worlds course is not for him. quoted the Spaniard as saying that "The main difficulty is rather easy, although there are many laps to do." Contador thought the parcours would be better suited to his compatriot Oscar Freire, who also has the experience on his side. He has been World Champion already three times (1999, 2001, 2004)

Cárdenas moves up in GC

Mountains classification shakeup possible

Colombia's Félix Cardenas can dream of a top ten still
Photo ©: João Dias
(Click for larger image)

Often, breaks on transitional stages are not affecting the top 10, with the GC riders content to let the 'non-dangerous' guys get away. While after yesterday, the top 10 did remain unchanged, one rider made some ground to getting in there. Barloworld's Félix Rafael Cárdenas featured in the break of the day. Lying in 15th place going into the stage, he advanced to 11th and is now only 12 seconds behind tenth-placed rider Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF Group Navigare).

However, Pozzovivo has had strong showings in the mountains, all while doing work for his team and his captain, mountain classification leader Emanuele Sella. If the Italian can keep it up over the next couple of days, Cárdenas may find himself unable to get in to the top ten after all.

Cárdenas missed out on moving up in the mountains classification. He was tied with Gabriele Bosisio, both at 19 points. Both were in the break, but at the only climb of the day, in Brinzio, the order was Mauricio Ardila Cano ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez and Rinaldo Nocentini, leaving the mountains classification more or less intact. Rodriguez stayed in eighth, one place behind Franco Pellizotti, but gained two points and is now tied with the Italian (17). With the exception of Sella (127), the rest of the top 10 are within 18 points of each other and there still could be some changes over the next two days.

Another rider in the break was Daniele Bennati, who was leading the points classification. But the team of second-placed Mark Cavendish, High Road, realised that the commanding lead of the Italian (54 points ahead of stage 18) was too much to overcome. A win gives 25 points, while a second earns 20 and a third 16 points. Stage 18 was the last chance to get points for the sprinters, so Cavendish's chances of catching Bennati's maglia ciclamino were only of theoretical nature.

Gómez returns in Switzerland and wants Tour spot

Ángel 'Litu' Gómez can finally smile again. On Wednesday, the last screws were removed that were put in after he fractured his arm in a crash on April 6, in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. "That was some good news. Now, I can start to race again, without a problem. I can do the Tour de Suisse, June 14. I have a big desire to put on a racing number again," the Saunier Duval rider said.

Gómez had asked his sports director to switch his program from the Euskal Bizikleta to the Tour de Suisse. "I proposed that to [Joxean Fernandez] Matxin and he accepted that. The Tour de Suisse is better as a Tour de France preparation, both for its date and the level of competitiveness."

The Spaniard dreams of the Tour de France. "I have a great desire to make the Tour team and the Tour de Suisse has to get me into the necessary form. Matxin still hasn't told me anything, but I want a spot [on the Tour team]. I was training hard to make up for the lack of races."

Gómez crashed heavily in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, 60 kilometres from the finish, when he hit a little island traffic island that is used to divide up parking spaces.

Zubelida – happy father, happy racer

Haimar Zubeldia, happy father and satisfied with his Volta a Cataluña
Photo ©: Monika Prell
(Click for larger image)

Haimar Zubeldia was happy with his performance at the Volta a Cataluña. The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, who recently became father of a daughter, named Ane, said that "I am returning satisfied from Cataluña for both the way I raced and the way I felt. My goal was to be in a better shape than in Romandie, and that was the case. I felt really well."

He commented on the birth of his daughter on the same day the tour kicked off that "this was the most desirable trip home in a while, because I really wanted to see Ane. I only saw her two hours so far. But I am content, as I got to be there during birth."

Zubeldia went into the final stage in second overall, but due to the time bonuses dropped back down to sixth. "I had a 'dog's day on Sunday. And that stage was the most damaging [for the overall]. It's a pity to lose the podium on the last day."

Now, Zubeldia is thinking about the Tour de France. "The most important is that we are well and that the Volta has given me confidence. Now I will rest a little and then prepare for the Dauphiné [June 8], the Spaniard concluded.

Bruyneel joins World Bicycle Relief Board

Johan Bruyneel has joined the Board of Directors of World Bicycle Relief. World Bicycle Relief was founded by SRAM Corporation in 2005 and specializes in large-scale, comprehensive bicycle programs by providing supply chain management, technical knowledge and logistics expertise to poverty relief and disaster assistance initiatives. To date, nearly 50,000 new bicycles have been provided as part of a completed program in Sri Lanka and several major current projects in Africa.

Bruyneel, who is currently General Manager of the Astana Cycling Team, said, "Serving on the World Bicycle Relief Board is an opportunity to give back to the world through something that has given me so much in life." He added that "To the world's poor, time lost to walking destroys much of their productive day. A bicycle represents a leap in efficiency that magnifies everything they do. We often forget that the bike is used for more than sport; for many people it's an invaluable part of everyday life."

According to F.K. Day, president of World Bicycle Relief, "Johan's proven leadership and management at the highest levels of competitive cycling will help us accomplish our mission of serving the transportation needs of the poor."

More information is available at

Vos satisfied with El Salvador trip

Marianne Vos of the DSB Bank team is returning from El Salvador to the Netherlands with a good feeling. Her intention was to get a feel for the Olympics, which proved to be the case, with temperatures around 42 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 95%.

And with winning three of the four stages in the Vuelta a Occidente, she could be very happy with her performance. Only Maribel Moreno, a Spaniard riding for her national team, on the last stage prevented Vos from taking all the stages. reported that team manager Thijs Rondhuis very happy with the trip of his superstar. "The conditions were better than we expected. It didn't rain and she could train extra in the mountains. In the time trial she was superior, which gives hope for a good ride in that discipline in the Olympic Games. Also, our hotel was right next to a track, where we could train almost every day. We took some steps in the right direction."

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