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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, June 5, 2009

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Klöden on Astana’s Tour shortlist

Andreas Klöden (Astana) recently won the Giro del Trentino time trial
Photo ©: Riccardo Scanferla
(Click for larger image)

Germany's Andreas Klöden has been included on the shortlist of Astana riders for the Tour de France participation. The rider allegedly practised blood doping in 2006 according to an independent commission report, but he has denied the charges and his team continues to support him.

"We have studied the commission report," Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told German news agency dpa. "It does not include any proof against Klöden. Only on one of 64 pages include statements from Patrik Sinkewitz against Klöden. But he has assured us that he has nothing to do with it. For us, as well as for the Tour organisers, there are no arguments against him participating in the Tour."

The report alleges that Klöden used blood doping on the evening after the 2006 Tour prologue in Strasbourg, which is not far from Freiburg where former team doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmidt performed organised doping on T-Mobile riders. "In his study at the clinic on July 2, 2006, professor Schmidt re-injected three riders - Sinkewitz, Kessler and Klöden - with their own blood," the report said.

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The former Tour de France podium finisher could face disciplinary procedures in his country of residence, Switzerland, but the Swiss anti-doping agency has not finished studying the evidence against him - and therefore Swiss Cycling may not take action before the Tour de France. "I cannot tell you when [the agency will have finished examining the case - ed.], said a Swiss Cycling spokesperson on Thursday.

Klöden, who is currently racing the Tour of Luxemburg, is also scheduled to participate in the Tour de Suisse before the Tour de France.

Dominguez and Clarke are back for Philly

By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ivan Dominguez, now with Fuji-Servetto
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

Sprinters Ivan Dominguez and Hilton Clarke left the American racing scene at the end of last year and joined the ProTour ranks with Fuji-Servetto for the 2009 season. However the speedsters are back to race in America for the first time this year and are ready to lead their squad at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships on Sunday, June 7.

"This is an important event for the Fuji-Servetto team," said Karen Bliss, Advanced Sports Inc. director of marketing. "Ivan hopes to race well but he is recovering from an injury and some illness. We also have Hilton who has been performing very well overseas and a talented young sprinter from Italy, Davide Vigano. I believe we have a strong team."

Dominguez, second place in the 2006 event, has jumped from a successful eight years of domestic racing into the most esteemed races abroad this year. He and Clarke took on the best of the best at the Tour Down Under, Driedaagse van de Panne, Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Turkey. Dominguez also competed in the Vuelta Castilla y Leon while Clarke went on to race in the Vuelta a Asturias and the Volta a Catalunya.

Hilton Clarke (Fuji-Servetto) is happy to be racing in the ProTour now
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

Teammates competing alongside Dominguez and Clarke at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships include young sprinter Vigano, Fabrice Piemontesi, Ermanno Capelli, Pailo Bailetti, Alberto Benitez, Jesus Del Nero and Txema Gonzalez. The pressure is on as the squad will be competing in front of a sponsor-filled audience.

On Saturday, before the racing begins, they are scheduled to meet-and-greet with the children of Cadence Cycling Foundation held downtown Philadelphia, along with an autograph signing at the event's Lifestyle Expo. Dominguez will debut the new Fuji 2010 model road bike at the race on Sunday.

"Fuji-Servetto has been incredible for us," said Bliss. "We are thrilled they are sending a team over to compete in our Philadelphia event. It is super important being in our back yard. Fuji's growth is up 40 percent so we are pleased."

Advanced Sports, Inc, the parent company for both Fuji and Kestrel brands, is located in the heart of Philadelphia. They not only provide co-sponsorship for Fuji-Servetto but also provide equipment for four other competing teams that include Professional Continental team Elk Haus and American-based team Rock Racing. On the women's side they sponsor Nürnberger-Versicherung and Jazz Apple.

Also read: An interview with Ivan Dominguez.

Quick Step Tour training in Zolder

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) hopes to race the Tour de France despite his recent negative headlines
Photo ©: Nicolas Götz
(Click for larger image)

A few days after Silence-Lotto, Quick Step has also completed a team time trial training session on the racing circuit in Zolder, Belgium. Gearing up for the Tour de France, the team sent its possible Tour roster to prepare for the event's team time trial stage four.

The squad includes Tom Boonen, recently in the line of fire because of recreational cocaine use. Boonen’s participation in the Tour is still unresolved but his team are counting on him starting. "For the team time trial, his presence will make a world of a difference," teammate Stijn Devolder told Het Belang van Limburg. "Tom is the strongest of us in the discipline. With him, a good classification placing will be more easily achieved than without him."

Boonen himself was grateful for the praise. "Maybe I am [one of the best riders in the team time trial], but sprinters are just good at it," he said. "They recover quicker and have the essential speed."

By attracting a lot of media attention, Belgium's star sprinter also relieves his teammates - something which is highly valued at the world's greatest cycling event. "He takes away so much pressure," continued Devolder. "In his shadow, we ride better. That also goes for Sylvain Chavanel."

Boonen rode to the training session on his bike from his home in Mol, accompanied by Kevin De Weert and Steven de Jongh, and planned to return on his bike, too. "That makes a total of 135 kilometres training," said Boonen. "I hope that coffee and cake will be ready."

One man not planned to race the Tour this year is Kevin Hulsmans, even though he had good results in the Giro d'Italia. "That is precisely why," said Quick Step sports director Wilfried Peeters. "We don't want to squeeze the juice out of Kevin like a lemon. He already has the most racing days this season in our team, and to put the Tour on top of this now would really be too much."

Quick Step and Fuji announce Dauphiné rosters

ProTour teams Quick Step and Fuji-Servetto have announced their respective line-ups for the Dauphiné Libéré, starting this coming Sunday.

The Belgian team will particpate in the pre-Tour de France preparation event with its star sprinter, Tom Boonen, as well as Kevin De Weert, Stijn Devolder, Jerome Pineau, Sebastien Rosseler, Jurgen Van De Walle, Marco Velo and Maarten Wynants.

Fuji-Servetto is counting on former Tour "most combative rider" David de la Fuente as well as Josep Jufre, Beńat Intxausti, Cameron Wurf, Héctor González, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, Javier Megías and Fabrice Piemontesi.

Tour prep for Milram

Linus Gerdemann, recent winner of the Bayern Rundfahrt, is Milram's hope for the Tour de France
Photo ©: Florian & Susanne Schaaf
(Click for larger image)

Team Milram's Tour de France preparations are well underway. The squad's top stage race riders, Christian Knees and Linus Gerdemann, have however two different approaches to fine-tune their form ahead of cycling's greatest event on the calendar.

Knees, who finished 29th on general classification last year, will be the team's captain at the upcoming Dauphiné Libéré, starting this Sunday. "It's a very hard race, and thereby good preparation for the Tour de France," said Knees. "I was very satisfied with my level of performance at the Tour of Bavaria and we will now see where I stand compared to top international riders."

Gerdemann, who has already won a stage in the Tour de France, meanwhile preferred to be at the start of the GP Triberg-Schwarzwald taking place in Germany's Black Forest on Saturday.

"At the GP Triberg-Schwarzwald, a challenging circuit course with over 500 difference in altitude awaits us - you have to push your pedals hard there," said Gerdemann. "I am excited to go to the race, also because it is taking place in Germany and therefore gives us the opportunity to present ourselves at home."

After the one-day race in the Black Forest, Gerdemann will leave for a training camp at altitude to prepare further for the Tour de France.

Mancebo wants win at Vuelta a Colombia

Rock Racing riders participating in the upcoming Vuelta a Colombia arrived Thursday evening in the country's capital, Bogota. The national tour through the South American country will start on Saturday, June 6 and includes 15 stages for a total of 1,900 kilometres.

The American team led by directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage will be at the start of the opening team time trial in Bogota with Spanish riders Oscar Sevilla and Paco Mancebo, both former doping offenders. Mancebo has high hopes for the stage race itself, but also wants to prepare himself for further events.

"I want to find my form with a view to the Spanish Championships, the road as well as the time trial event, which will be held in the end of June in Cantabria," he said. "In Colombia, I will try to help Oscar Sevilla to win the overall, and if there is an opportunity for a stage win then I will of course take it, too."

Mancebo has been good value for his Rock Racing team after taking three victories already this season: a stage win at the Tour of California, one stage as well as the overall victory at the Vuelta a Asturias. The next races for the Spaniard, who was linked to Operación Puerto and never openly denied his involvement, will be the Spanish Championships, the Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid, the Prueba de Villafranca, the Circuito de Getxo and the Subida a Urkiola.

Lion of Flanders adds bite to Smithfield menu

Former World Champion and three-time winner of Paris-Roubaix, Johan Museeuw, will be Rapha’s guest of honour at this Saturday’s Smithfield Nocturne in Central London. The Lion of Flanders, who retired in 2003 and last raced in the UK in 1996 when he came third in the Leeds Classic, will be joined by Geraint Thomas, winner of last year’s Nocturne, at the event which begins at 6 pm.

An impressive field of riders will contest the elite race with the major domestic squads all represented, including an on-form National Criterium Champion Dean Downing and his Rapha Condor team, Ed Clancy and Rob Hayles from Halfords as well as teams from and CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta.

Hot on the heels of last weeks emphatic victory in the Edinburgh Nocturne by Garmin’s David Millar, Ben Swift is the latest rider to put his post-Giro fitness to good use on home soil at a Nocturne. The Katusha rider, who is still only 21, had seven top-ten finishes in the Giro, coming third behind Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish in stage two, and hopes to have a similar effect on this Saturday’s field as Millar and team mate Cameron Meyer did last week.

The Smithfield Nocturne is free to attend and will take place around Smithfield Market between 6pm and 10pm on Saturday, June 6.

Wilkinson takes win in UK's Tour Series round four

It was the boys in orange from Team Halfords Bikehut who took control at round four of the UK's Tour Series in Peterborough and helped team member Ian Wilkinson take the win. The triangular Peterborough circuit was always going to be a fast affair - and less technical than the tight Woking track - giving the riders the opportunity to stretch their legs.

However, some narrowing and kinks through the start/finish area served up a night’s racing on Thursday that was equal to any of the previous three rounds.

The ‘big four’ of Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta, Halfords Bikehut, and Rapha-Condor meant business as soon as the flag dropped, with Russ Downing, Ed Clancy and Kristian House touching 40mph as they gained a small lead on the field after 25 minutes of racing.

The escapees were joined by another four riders, including rounds two and three winner Dean Downing, and by the time the final sprint of the night had come and gone the race was back together.

At this point Halfords Bikehut took matters in their own hands, and with six laps to go there was an orange train of all five riders at the head of affairs as the sizeable Peterborough crowd banged the boards along the start/finish straight.

With four laps to go, fired Jerone Janssen to the front, and three laps later Candi TV’s Russell Downing took team-mate Malcolm Elliot with him, as they had the team goal in mind.

In a frantic run-in to the narrow finish Downing edged his way forward, but it was Halfords' ‘superman’ Ian Wilkinson who wheelied across the line to the win. Olympic champion Ed Clancy followed his team-mate home in second, with Russell Downing third.

In what was a great execution of team tactics, Halfords and CandiTV were head and shoulders above the rest as they filled the first six positions. It means that, after four races of the 10-round series, Candi TV-Marshalls TV have taken the overall team leaders’ jerseys, with moving up to second and Rapha-Condor in third.

Tweet announces Armstrong's fourth child

Lance Armstrong's girlfriend, Anna Hansen, gave birth to a baby boy named Max, on Thursday, June 4.

Armstrong announced the news through a posting on his Twitter account at approximately 11:15pm (EDT). "Wassup, world? My name is Max Armstrong and I just arrived. My Mommy is healthy and so am I!" the post read.

Armstrong also posted a picture of the newborn and announced that Max weighed seven pounds,five ounces and was 20 inches long.

Max Armstrong becomes the first child for the couple and the fourth for the seven-time Tour de France champion who has three children with ex-wife, Kristin.

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