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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, October 29, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Tour champion Armstrong races in Gruene

By Gregor Brown

USA's Lance Armstrong leads Kevin Livingston in 1997's Tour de Gruene two-man time trial
Photo ©: Mike Gladu
(Click for larger image)

Lance Armstrong will race in this weekend's 25th Tour de Gruene in Texas. The seven-time Tour de France champion, who recently announced his comeback to professional cycling, will participate in two time trial stages on November 1 and 2.

"We can confirm that Lance Armstrong has registered for the individual time trial on Saturday ... and for the team time trial with partner John Korioth on Sunday," said co-organiser Tom Sickmann to Cyclingnews.

Armstrong, 37, announced his comeback to the sport in September. He has participated in several unclassified road and moutain bike events since retiring after the 2005 Tour de France. During the same weekend last year, he competed in the New York City marathon.

The Tour de Gruene's individual time trial is a 16-mile (25.75-kilometre) out and back route along the Guadalupe River, north of San Antonio, Texas. The team time trial is a 27.3-mile (43.935) loop that includes a climb of 13% gradient on the way back to Gruene.

"Lance rode in the Tour de Gruene team time trial in exhibition with Eddy Merckx in 1996 and in earnest with Kevin Livingston in 1997, when they placed second behind Chris Carlson and Mariano Friedick."

Armstrong told co-organiser Will Rotzler "I'll be there" at the Ride for the Roses last Sunday, explained Sickmann. Armstrong will return to professional racing at the Tour Down Under, January 20 to 25, with Team Astana. He confirmed his presence in the Tour of California and the Giro d'Italia, but it is uncertain if he will race the Tour de France.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mike Gladu / PhotoSport International

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

Columbia: Gerdemann goes, Monfort comes

Linus Gerdemann, at this year's Deutschland Tour, leaves Team Columbia for Milram
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Linus Gerdemann will leave Team Columbia and Maxime Monfort will join it, the USA-based team of Bob Stapleton announced Wednesday morning.

Colombia released Gerdemann from his contract, which ran through 2009, as of October 31. According to the Columbia press release, his transfer to Team Milram "has been approved by the UCI and is subject to meeting final contract provisions."

"We are very happy about the signing of Linus Gerdemann. After long negotiations we can finally confirm the transfer," said General Manager Gerry van Gerwen. "We have the rider that we wanted most, who will lead Team Milram in the coming years."

Gerdemann, 26, rode for Team CSC in 2005 before the team released him from his contract early to move to T-Mobile, the forerunner of Columbia. In 2007 he won the seventh stage of the Tour de France and he took over the leader's yellow jersey for one stage.

Belgium's Maxime Monfort heads to Team Columbia
Photo ©: Jean-François Quénet
(Click for larger image)

He missed much of this season due to serious knee and leg injuries caused by a crash in the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, but came back in the late summer to win the Tour de l'Ain, the Coppa Agostoni and the Deutschland Tour.

Belgian Maxime Monfort will depart Team Cofidis to join Bob Stapleton's team. The 25-year-old turned professional in 2004 with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and joined Cofidis in 2006. This year, he finished fifth overall in the Vuelta al País Vasco, ninth in the Dauphiné Libéré and 23rd in the Tour de France.

"We are very excited about our roster for 2009, which features promising young talent from 17 different countries," said Columbia manager Rolf Aldag. "Maxime is a great addition to our strong roster and we are pleased he has chosen to join Team Columbia." (SW)

Confidence the key to Greipel's breakthrough year

By Susan Westemeyer

André Greipel after his Giro d'Italia stage win
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

André Greipel of Team Columbia burst onto the cycling scene this year with 14 wins to become the third most successful rider in the peloton behind his teammate Mark Cavendish and Quick Step's Tom Boonen. After only two wins in each of the previous two years, his sudden streak was aided by his strong team.

"It simply worked out. The team management believed in me and I could rely on the whole team. All year, it was just fun to ride," Greipel, 26, said to Cyclingnews. "I achieved all of my wins through super teamwork. Through those successes I gained self-confidence because I didn't want to disappoint my teammates."

Germany's Greipel opened the season in January by winning the Tour Down Under, and four of its six stages. He continued well throughout the spring races that followed.

"That was a sensational beginning for the team and for me. [Directeur Sportif] Alan Peiper told me that the next three months would be decisive for my career and that further motivated me."

André Greipel took the ProTour jersey in Australia
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Thanks to the Tour Down Under, Greipel was the first leader in the ProTour ranking this year. He lined up in Belgium's biggest race wearing the special white and blue jersey of the classification leader.

He explained that it was a highlight of this season, "to be at the start of the Ronde van Vlaanderen in the ProTour leader's jersey. I felt like a nobody, but it was a great feeling to be recognised along with all the famous Classics specialists."

Another highlight was his stage win in the Giro d'Italia. In the 17th stage, he set up the sprint for Mark Cavendish, but instead of sprinting for this third stage win, the Brit held back and let Greipel take the win.

"I think that Mark knows how important the team is and how important a lead-out man is. I had supported him until then 100 percent and he honoured me on that stage, even if it wasn't planned. He is a gentleman."

Slow fuse ignites Prudhomme's third Tour

The Mont Ventoux is where the fireworks meet the slow fuse lit at the penultimate stage of the 2009 Tour.
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

The recently announced 2009 Tour de France route gives interest from start to finish, and should be free of any lull in the action from Monaco to Paris. Procycling's editor Peter Cossins compares the parcours to another Grand Tour, and thinks it will have a slow fuse which will ignite the fireworks on the penultimate stage.

The 2009 Tour de France is only the third that Christian Prudhomme has devised since taking over from Jean-Marie Leblanc as race director in 2006, but during that short period Prudhomme has quickly established a reputation for innovation that has helped reinvigorate a race that had become all too predictable in its presentation.

Having previously done away with the team time trial and, last year, the prologue, next year's offers yet more changes - or at least it does to those not overly familiar with the sadistic nature of the route of most editions of the Giro d'Italia.

While it's far from unusual for the Tour to have a number of its key stages during its final week, it is almost unheard of for the Grande Boucle to have the sting in its tail that Prudhomme announced in Paris's Palais des Congrès last week. The rumours of the return of the Ventoux to the Tour after an absence of seven years were widespread, but no one had an inkling about how it was going to be served up; the odds would have been extreme on it appearing as the race's final summit finish on the penultimate day of the race.

Read the full feature.

Grabsch condemns dopers

Germany's Bert Grabsch upset with dopers
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Time Trial World Champion Bert Grabsch blasted his former Team Phonak teammates, saying they betrayed him, in an interview printed in the Aachener Nachrichten.

Grabsch, 33, said that his former Phonak captains Oscar Camenzind, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, all of whom authorities caught doping, had doubly betrayed him. "One time in that they doped and gave themselves an advantage. In addition to that, I lost money. I worked hard as a helper for them, but because of the doping I didn't get the promised bonuses."

The German, who now rides for Team Columbia, noted the years of competitively racing that built to his results.

"I have trained and trained. Only now am I reaping the reward for the long hard work. I am proud to have achieved sporting success without doping."

He said that those who have served their doping-related suspensions have a right to return to racing, such as Ivan Basso, Patrik Sinkewitz and Jörg Jaksche. Grabsch has problems with the latter two, though, who received shortened suspensions since they cooperated with authorities. They didn't cooperate voluntarily, he said, "but because they were caught doping. Journalists were all over those two, looking for sensations."

Grabsch noted that he is only the fourth German to win the World Championship title. "But I haven't been invited to appear on television. After all, I don't have any doping sensations to offer." (SW)

Bettini seeks commentator job

Italy's Paolo Bettini wants to commentate
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Two-time World Champion Paolo Bettini offered his services to Rai television for the 2009 season, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The retired cyclist would like to commentate from the back of a motorbike for Italy's biggest races.

The rider from La California, Italy retired after the World Championships last month. He just finished racing the 6-Daagse van Amsterdam with Spaniard Joan Llaneras. The duo will race at the Milan Six Day next week.

Rai is Italy's main television station and broadcasts the country's biggest events. The newspaper wrote that Bettini is interested in the Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and the Giro d'Italia.

Diquigiovanni to sign Rigotto

Elia Rigotto and Diquigiovanni likely for 2009
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

Team Diquigiovanni-Androni hopes to sign Italian Elia Rigotto tomorrow. Team Manager Gianni Savio confirmed the two parties are close to an agreement.

"In some races he could help the sprinters, but he is also a rider that can have his own chances, too," said Savio to Cyclingnews.

Rigotto raced with Team Milram for the last three years. This year he won Belgium's Schaal Sels - Merksem.

GP Triberg-Schwarzwald and Sparkassen Cup face trouble

Two more German races may face extinction due to a difficulty finding sponsors in the wake of the sport's doping scandals. The GP Triberg-Schwarzwald and the Sparkassen Cup races in Schwenningen, Germany, organised by Sauser Sport & Event Agentur have become endangered.

"There's no way to deny that," the agency's Rik Sauser confirmed to the The main Triberg sponsor Rothaus Brauerei has already withdrawn its support. "If we don't find another main sponsor for the GP, then there won't be a pro race next year." He explained that the recreational events would continue.

The city of Triberg is eager to continue the GP Triberg-Schwarzwald, however, the town's mayor said that "our engagement will depend upon how cycling develops. But we are basically interested in this race."

The Sparkasse, a banking chain, is reviewing its sponsorship of the Sparkassen Cup. Gerhard Vetter, spokesman for the company asked Rik Sauser to plan a new concept, which does not involve professional cyclists.

Team Gerolsteiner's Mathias Frank won the GP Triberg-Schwarzwald and Team Columbia's Gerald Ciolek won the Sparkassen Cup this year. (SW)

Catch Croc Trophy action on video

Australia's' most spectacular off-road race has been captured on video and is now available on Cyclingnews' video player for your viewing pleasure.

The mountain bike race through the Australian outback has challenged and broken riders for years. See why the race has become so popular through raw video showing the Czech riders dominate over hike-a-bike hills, washboard "roads" and stream crossings on daily epic stages. You can also see our full coverage of the race, including John Flynn's dramatic photos.

(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)

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