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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, June 7, 2009

Edited by Sue George

From Grand Tour to American Classic for Pinotti

By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Marco Pinotti at the Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Edward Madden
(Click for larger image)
Columbia-Highroad's Marco Pinotti may have an advantage over the peloton at the TD Bank's International Cycling Championship's 250-kilometre race held in Philadelphia on Sunday. The Italian national time trial champion jumped on a plane to America just days after the conclusion of the Giro d'Italia.

"Normally this is a good race to do after a Grand Tour," said Pinotti. "Maybe we lose explosiveness but we gain endurance. It's a long race so the endurance will help me in the last half when the other riders might be getting tired. I remember when I did this before and at the start I felt like everyone was stronger than me but after 200 kilometres my endurance came out, the others endurance went down and I felt great."

Pinotti is one of five Giro d'Italia participants who are attending in Philadelphia this year including his teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen, Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Ricardo Serrano and Davide Viganò (Fuji-Servetto). But, he is no stranger to the famed American event after having competed in 2005 for Saunier-Duval and 2007 for T-Mobile.

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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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He placed 12th in the final stage of the Giro, a time trial held in Rome. Most riders would be begging for time off after completing a three-week Grand Tour but according to Pinotti, his fitness started to ramp up during the final week.

"I'm feeling good for this race because I came out of the Giro with good form and not feeling too tired," said Pinotti who enjoyed two days with his family in hometown Bergamo before boarding a plane to the US.

"I would like to do well because I think I have good form right now. I think it is a race that traditionally suits the sprinters but tomorrow is hard to predict because, compared to the other years, there are not too many big teams. I would bet 70% that it will be a sprint of 50 riders, and otherwise, it will be a breakaway. We have strong sprinters but I would like to go in a breakaway."

Pinotti will maintain his Giro fitness for two more weeks as he aims to defend his title as the Italian National Time Trial Championships held on June 20 outside of Imola, Italy.

"I will skip the road race this year because I will not have any teammates. Every year there are surprise time trialists that show up to race our national championships. I won the last three editions, so it is important for me to try to do thast again."

Henderson and Teutenberg talk sprinting in Philadelphia

By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Gregory Henderson (Columbia - Highroad)
Photo ©: Björn Haake
(Click for larger image)
Greg Henderson returns to the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships with a sprint-heavy Columbia Highroad team. The New Zealander won the event in 2006 but this time he is back to help lead out his teammate André Greipel into a bunch sprint victory.

"We will be working for Greipel tomorrow," Henderson said. "When he and Cavendish are at the race, that's usually what we do. I think how the sprint finish plays out really depends on how the rest of the race goes. There is no reason why we couldn't have a full team lead-out for Greipel tomorrow at the finish."

The Columbia-Highroad fast men include Henderson and Greipel along with Bernhard Eisel, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Vincente Reynes to make for a hard-to-beat lead-out train. Riders who will be vying for breakaways include Marco Pinotti and Gert Dockx.

"A lot of bike races we go to we have the strongest team on paper," Henderson said. "We have a number of sprinters here who can line up the finish and we have a few options for riders who can ride a break away so I think it is a well-rounded team this weekend."

Ina Yoko-Teutenberg flew over to America with the sole purpose of winning the women's Liberty Classic. The German sprinter is a three-time winner of the former Triple Crown Series. The two events held prior to the showcased event in Philly were cancelled due to lack of funding.

"I was happy about having three days of racing to travel over here for it in the last few years," said Teutenberg. "I was happy to win the series title, too, but honestly the Liberty Classic was always the most important. We want to win on Sunday."

Teutenberg last competed in the French event Tour de L'Aude held in mid-May followed by a short break from competing to prepare for the Liberty Classic. "I didn't do races like the Tour of Montreal this year because it is a lot after a race like L'Aude. This year I want a few breaks in between races."

Fly V Australia hopes for success in Philadelphia

By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Fly V Australia's Curtis Gunn racing last weekend at the Tulsa Tough
Photo ©: Rob Evans
(Click for larger image)
Sprint duo Jonathan Cantwell and Bernard Sulzberger are planning on flying the colors of Fly V Australia on the podium at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships held on Sunday. The squad will have the experience of past winner Henk Vogels to help achieve their goals.

"My legs are feeling really good this week and I'm looking forward to tomorrow," said Sulzberger, Australian national criterium champion. "Criteriums suit me, but I'm also good on mountainous terrain and long races so this will really suit me tomorrow."

As Directeur Sportif, Vogels will head the squad that includes Cantwell and Sulzberger along with Charles Dionne, Ben Day, Curtis Gunn, Allessandro Bazzanna, David Kemp and Scott Davis. "I attacked the crap out of the field, seven times, before I got away on the last lap and that's how I won," said Vogels, 2000 champion. "I expect if it doesn't come down to a field sprint then that's how a solo move will go this year."

The team recently completed a successful Tulsa Tough weekend. Both sprinters Cantwell and Sulzberger placed on the podium in two events. "The team that we have here is the best one that we could put on the playing ground," Cantwell said. "We've definitely had the training for this with some great training camps and some racing down in Tulsa last weekend. I think if a sprinter wants to win this race, they need to have the depth and have put in the miles for a race like this."

BMC prepared to go the distance in Philadelphia

By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Professional-Continental team BMC's spring campaign in Europe has prepared the squad well for the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships' 250-kilometre race of attrition set to start on Sunday, June 7.

"The sheer distance of the race is what makes a big difference," said directeur sportif Mike Sayers.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) granted BMC wild-card status allowing them to receive invitations to esteemed races in Europe such as, Circuit de la Sarthe, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Romandie including a team to start the upcoming Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré. They are events that have enhanced the squads experience with top-level racing while preparing them for a lengthy one-day classic style race like Philadelphia.

"The guys who race primarily in the US seldom have a chance to race 250 kilometres in a day, so that should play to our advantage since most of our guys have already been through a lot of hard racing in Europe this spring," Sayers said. "I've always loved Philly and I think if we can get a guy in position on that final stretch, we should have a really good chance to get a top result on the day."

The squad's roster includes Danilo Wyss, Martin Kohler, Tony Cruz, Chad Beyer, Jonathan Garcia, Jackson Stewart and Taylor Tolleson. "The dynamics should play right into our hands since we have the guys with the kick to take advantage of any situation," said Sayers. "I have no doubt that a guy like Danilo has the speed to win the sprint if he's in the right position, and someone like Chad certainly has the distance in his legs so that if his form is good, he should be going well also."

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage, including live race coverage, of the Philadelphia International Classic.

Contador returns to Dauphiné Libéré with modest aspirations

Alberto Contador was jovial
Photo ©: Susanne Goetze
(Click for larger image)
Two months after his last victory at the Vuelta al País Vasco, Alberto Contador (Astana) is returning to competition at the Dauphiné Libéré, where he hope to polish off his form for his top priority of the season, the upcoming Tour de France, which will begin on July 4.

Contador says he is already in good shape. "I'm arriving with plenty of work done and a good base. I've done five-hour training rides and long climbs – like we'll find here."

He admitted that he has to lose one more kilogramme before the Tour, but thinks that will happen as a matter of course during the Dauphiné Libéré.

Contador is no newcomer to the Dauphiné. "I've done it in 2005, when I cut my finger in my spokes, and in 2007. This race is always hard, but the course this year is incredible. It has just two kilometres less of time trialing than the Tour de France and spectacular mountains like Mont Ventoux. It has a short demanding stage with the Izoard and another stage with the Galibier, Croix de Fer and Madeleine. It's tremendous.

"The course is good for me," he said. "I've been doing these types of climbs to prepare, so I think I'll be able to go up them without too much punishment for my body."

The Spaniard has modest aspirations for the race. "I want to be calm in race, without thinking about the overall. Maybe I will do some testing of my legs, but I want to stay strong so I'm not missing them in July." He named his favourites as Alejandro Valverde, fresh off the Volta a Catalunya, Cadel Evans, Robert Gesink, Ivan Basso and Igor Antón.

Contador will be trying out a new bike in the Dauphiné's prologue, one he may use in the Tour de France. He has not yet decided whether he will race the Spanish championships.

"I want to concentrate 100 percent on my preparation for the Tour. My aim is to be in perfect condition on July 4 at the start in Monaco."

Liquigas pins Dauphiné hopes on Basso and Nibali

Team Liquigas is counting on Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali for its best chance of victory at the 61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, which begins on Sunday.

Basso proved he has good form at the Giro d'Italia where he attacked up several mountains, and the course of the Dauphiné Libéré should be well suited to the climbers. It's also a chance to preview a few of the climbs for the Tour de France, which will start next month.

"The Dauphiné is an important step towards the Italian Championship and the Tour," said Nibali. "My aim is to clear the 'zero' that is my tally of victories. I will have two riders in great shape at my side: Basso and (Sylvester) Szmyd."

The team will be sending Nibali, Basso, Maciej Bodnar, Murilo Fischer, Enrico Franzoi, Aleksandr Kuschynski, Sylvester Szmyd e Frederik Willems. Dario Mariuzzo and Mario Chiesa.

Fränk Schleck takes control in home tour

Fränk Schleck won stage three and took over the race lead
Photo ©: Emory Ball
(Click for larger image)
Fränk Schleck took control of his home tour, Tour de Luxembourg, thanks to a stage win Saturday in Diekirch. The Luxembourg road champion completed the mountainous 185-kilometre stage three on the penultimate day ahead of Andreas Klöden (Astana) and Matti Breschel (Team Saxo Bank).

Saturday's Tour de Luxembourg's stage was Schleck's first ever win in his home tour. This year he won a stage at the Tour of California and last year he held the race leader's maillot jaune at the Tour de France. Fränk's brother Andy won Friday's stage to Differdange. The win also gave Fränk the overall lead the in the race, which he took over from Astana's Assan Bazayev.

The five-day stage race ends Sunday with a 147-kilometre stage from Mersch to Luxembourg.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Tour de Luxembourg.

Prudhomme says ASO will "follow the UCI" on Boonen

By Jean-François Quénet

During a visit to the cycloparc, an operation promoting cycling to kids, in Besançon, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said that the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) will follow the International Cycling Union's (UCI) decision regarding the out-of-competition positive cocaine test of Tom Boonen.

The Belgian star is currently allowed to race and will start the Dauphiné Libéré on Sunday. Whether Boonen will face any disciplinary action for his positive test is still to be determined by the UCI.

"We totally agree with the president of the UCI [Pat McQuaid], who said that Boonen – who certainly needs help – has tarnished the image of cycling," said Prudhomme. "Therefore, it seems logical to us that the disciplinary commission of the UCI will make a decision prior to the Tour de France, and we'll follow this decision."

Last month, Prudhomme said something different – that "it's of course impossible that Boonen could be at the start of the Tour de France."

The different approach comes after the Belgian star and his entourage threatened legal action. Prudhomme's latest statement brings ASO's approach in harmony with the UCI's. Therefore, if Boonen is not suspended by the UCI or if the organization makes no decision by July 4, Boonen will be able to ride the Tour de France.

The UCI is unable to ban Boonen for the positive out-of-competition cocaine test; however, it could ban him for an offense to the image of cycling.

O'Grady looking good for the Tour

By Shane Stokes

Stuart O'Grady
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
Australian tough guy Stuart O'Grady has had more than his fair share of crashes in recent years, but feels confident that he is back on track and will be part of the Saxo Bank team for the Tour de France.

On March 21, the 35-year-old had a bad crash during Milano-Sanremo, suffering a punctured lung, broken right collar bone and a broken rib in his back.

"I've been worse," he said afterwards at the time, referring to his 2007 fall in the Tour de France which saw him fracture multiple ribs, suffer a punctured lung and a broken right shoulder.

He returned to racing in the Volta a Catalunya, placing 15th on the opening stage, and is now competing in the Tour of Luxembourg.

"Once again I've got my body back 100%, but the last two months were really hard," he told Cyclingnews. "Watching the Classics on TV was probably one of the hardest, most frustrating periods of my career. I had to have a complete month off due to the punctured lung, then I slowly built up the form again, with a lot of silent suffering in the mountains behind Monaco.

"I was pretty nervous about Catalunya, it being my first race after a couple of months out, but I was really surprised by how I went. The hard work paid off!"

Another factor in getting over his injuries was that Victor Popov, described by O'Grady as "one of the world's best physios," happened to be staying in Monaco at the time. "He was working on me every couple of days," he said. "This really helped me get back into training much quicker and, as of now, I don't have any pain at all. Just the legs after a hard race!

Apart from winning the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, O'Grady has taken several notable victories in his career. He won gold in the 2004 Olympic Madison, adding to earlier silver and bronze medals in the Games, and has netted several stage victories in the Tour de France. He also wore the yellow jersey in 1998 and 2001, and finished second in the green jersey competition in 2001, 2004 and 2005.

Last year, O'Grady he played an important role in the outcome of the race, helping teammate Carlos Sastre triumph overall. He'll hope to do the same this year with either Andy or Fränk Schleck, and is building form with that in mind.

"I am currently in Luxembourg racing their Tour, then we have another training camp before heading over to the Tour de Swiss. That will be my last race before the Tour de France," he said. "My role during the Tour will be the same as last year. I will look after our team leaders, use my experience whenever its needed out on the roads and just do whatever is required on each and every stage.

As far as targets after that race are concerned, he didn't want to think too far ahead. "Well, let's just get through the Tour first," he stated. "But since I missed the Classics the Worlds would be a nice target, I think!"

The 2009 World Championships will take place in Mendrisio in Switzerland.

Vila and Ventoso appeal bans to Court of Arbitration

Spanish cyclists Patxi Vila and Francisco José Ventoso appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn their suspensions for doping handed down by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC).

Vila tested positive for testosterone in an out of competition control by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on March 3, 2008. The Spanish federation banned him for two years.

Ventoso received a nine-month suspension after a positive out of competition control for furosemide on May 28.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) bans furosemide, a diuretic, for its possible use as a masking agent. (GB)

Teams confirmed for Winghaven NRC

UCI Continental teams Jelly Belly, Team Type 1, and Colavita - Sutter Home have confirmed their participation and that of several riders in the in the Tour de WingHaven on June 21 in O'Fallon, Missouri.

The Jelly Belly team is lead by Springfield, Missouri, native Brad Huff, who is coming off two wins in three races and the overall victory in last weekend's Tulsa Tough NRC event in Oklahoma.

Team Type 1 is currently in fifth place in the NRC team standings and will field two racers with Type 1 diabetes including Joe Eldridge and Fabio Calabria.

Colavita - Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light is in second place in the NRC team standings and will bring its duo Luis Amaran and Kyle Wamsley, both top-ten NRC racers last season.

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