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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for July 24, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Shane Stokes

AIS women - Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious

Cycling Australia has issued an update about the improving conditions of the five riders injured in Germany last week in the collision that killed Amy Gillett, 29. Louise Yaxley, 23, had been heavily sedated and on a ventilator but doctors allowed her to regain consciousness in order to carry out a series of cognitive tests.

Amy Gillett at the Australian national championships
Photo ©: CN
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Louise Yaxley waits for the start of the TT stage at the Tour de l'Aude
Photo ©: Philippe Volle
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Lorian Graham wins the Australian road championships in January 2005
Photo ©: CN
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Kate Nichols in the women's races at the 2005 Tour Down Under
Photo ©: Rachel Burke
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Alexis Rhodes at the Track World Cup in Los Angeles, 2004
Photo ©: Mike Gladu
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Katie Brown at the Trust House Women's Tour 2005
Photo ©: Joel Roberts
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"They asked her to poke her tongue out and she poked her tongue out," said Cycling Australia national performance director, Shayne Bannan. "There are still some issues but generally she responded well to the tests.

"Then they brought in her parents (Annette and Brian) and boyfriend (Mark Padgett) and even though she was fairly drowsy because of the medication, it was clear she recognised them," he said.

Also improving is South Australian Alexis Rhodes, 20, who along with Yaxley was the most badly hurt of the five. She sustained multiple fractures in the collision, but doctors have decided against operating on her to repair broken bones in her back.

"She's making a lot of progress and the doctors are quite confident the bones around the spinal cord will heal themselves," said Bannan. He added that doctors may look at reducing her sedation in a few days and waking her up.

Amy Gillett's funeral will be held next Friday July 29, in Ballarat, Victoria, and will be followed by a memorial service. A second service will be held at Adelaide's Super-Drome on Friday, August 5.

Her husband Simon Gillett has been in Germany for the past 48 hours and is about to embark on an emotional journey to bring his wife home to Australia.

"Simon has visited the injured girls and spent time with all of us talking through a lot of things," said Bannan."If there is anything positive to take from this tragedy it is the display of the strength of the human spirit.

"Simon, the parents of the injured cyclists and the cyclists themselves have shown such faith and such courage this week and that is something I will always remember."

Katie Brown, 21, Lorian Graham, 27, and Kate Nichols, 20, are all recovering well and staying together in a private room. Nichols is expected to be released sometime next week while the other two should be out in two to three weeks time.

Medical Status Update

Two riders remain in intensive care

Louise Yaxley, 23 - Doctors today reduced the sedation and brought her back to consciousness to perform some cognitive testing. She responded well to the testing and, despite her drowsy condition, recognised her parents and boyfriend. She remains in intensive care.

Alexis Rhodes, 20 - Doctors have decided against operating to repair broken bones near her spinal cord as they are confident the bones will heal without intervention. She is progressing well and doctors may try to bring her back to consciousness in a few days time. She remains in intensive care, heavily sedated and aided by an automatic ventilator.

Three riders in a satisfactory condition and in the same hospital room

Katie Brown, 21 - Remains in a satisfactory condition and has been moving around the hospital in a wheelchair. Expected to be released in 2 to 3 weeks.

Lorian Graham, 27 - Recovering well from her injuries. Expected to be released in 2 to 3 weeks.

Kate Nichols, 20 - Recovering well and expected to be released in a week or so.

Condolences and tributes

Cyclingnews has now published four pages of tributes from cyclists and supporters from around the world who've been affected by this tragedy. Please see: Amy Gillett: Tributes, 1976-2005, Part 1, and Part 2, Part 3 (posted July 21) and Part 4 (posted July 22).

Cycling Australia has also established an email link for people who wish to send condolence messages to the family of Amy Gillett or to pass on their thoughts and wishes to those injured. Go to Cycling Australia's web site and follow the link on the home page.

Related stories:
July 21: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19: Unprecedented carnage in Germany
July 18: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

Merckx to Phonak

Axel Merckx will leave the Davitamon-Lotto team at the end of this season to join the Phonak team of John Lelangue. Merckx has known Lelangue since childhood, and has always expressed a wish to finish his career in Lelangue's team. Davitamon-Lotto's Marc Sergeant said that he supports the move, having spent the last seven years working with Axel.

Tosatto to Quick.Step

Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo) will not be joining Alessandro Petacchi in Domina Vacanze next year, as the 31 year old has reached an agreement with Quick.Step team manager Patrick Lefevere for the next two seasons. "Matteo is a good rider and an athlete able to win races of good level," said Lefevere. "The technical characteristics and the experience of Matteo will be important to help Tom Boonen in the bunch sprints."

Quick Step-Innergetic has also named its team for the Tour De La Région Wallonne, which runs between July 25-29. Kevin De Weert, Addy Engels, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato, Jurgen Van Goolen, Rik Verbrugghe, and directeur sportif Rik Van Slycke will represent the Belgian formation.

Kerry Youth Tour preview

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Alice Sherratt has wrapped up the M. Donnelly Junior Tour, and now the Killorglin Credit Union Cycling Club is following in her footsteps and preparing the underage cyclists for future JT's. The 2005 Kerry Youth Tour will take place in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, over the August bank holiday weekend (July 30-August 1). The race, now in its seventh year, is the largest of its kind in Ireland or Great Britain and continues to grow. Kerry Group will be the title sponsor of the race again in 2005.

The tour is a three day, four stage international event for young cyclists aged between 10 and 16 years of age. The first stage will take place in Beaufort on Saturday on a 6.5 mile circuit around the village commencing at 2.30 pm. The second is a 2 mile time trial in Beaufort on Sunday morning. The third stage on Sunday evening will take place on a 6 mile circuit around Killorglin and Caragh Lake on a circuit known as Freddie's Walk. The fourth stage will take place on Monday morning on the traditional Donal McKenna circuit beginning at 10 am.

This year there are over 200 competitors entered for the race. Race secretary Míceal Concannon is expecting an Irish national team and a British national team as well as numerous regional and club teams from all over Ireland and Britain. He also expects to welcome back teams from Belgium and Holland. There is also a large contingent coming from South Africa, this group of 24 is currently in Ireland for a five week period. Their junior riders competed in last week's junior tour in Mayo.

The sight of 100 riders racing on narrow country roads, the whirr of lovingly cared for machinery, the wind from the wheels and the flash of colour that is a racing peloton in full flight is truly a spectacular experience. Come out and see the new Sean Kellys in Killorglin and Beaufort on Saturday, July 30, Sunday, July 31, and Monday, August 1.

Special Tafi jersey up for auction

The Georgia Cancer Foundation are currently trying to raise important funds from the sale of Andrei Tafi's final professional jersey in an auction of Ebay. The charismatic Italian took five classic wins during an illustrious career, including Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. He made his swansong at the Tour de Georgia and wore this jersey, an exclusively designed commemoration of his win in the Hell of the North.

The item description is as follows:

Exclusive-designed jersey for Andrea Tafi, winner of 1999 Paris-Roubaix.

This cobblestone motif kit was inspired by the famed cobblestones of this classic race. Tafi wore this jersey at the 2005 Paris-Roubaix, his final European race. At his last race, Tafi wore this jersey on Stage 6 of the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia. After being presented the Aaron's Most Aggressive Jersey for Stage 6, Tafi donated this last jersey of his professional career to the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC). The GCC is auctioning the jersey to raise money for cancer research, as requested by Andrea Tafi, and will match the proceeds dollar for dollar.

The Georgia Cancer Coalition is an independent, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization located in downtown Atlanta. The Coalition was incorporated under the laws of the State of Georgia effective July 27, 2001. Both the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Department of Revenue have granted tax-exempt status to the Coalition. The Coalition was created to coordinate cancer-dedicated expenditures from the State's share of the National Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund. The Coalition is registered as a Charitable Organization with the Secretary of State.

The mission of the Georgia Cancer Coalition is to reduce the number of cancer deaths in the state. In so doing, Georgia intends to become a national leader in cancer control by accelerating prevention, early detection, treatment and research. All of the Coalition's activities, programs, and budget have been organized around five goals:

  • Prevent cancer and detect existing cancers earlier.
  • Improve access to quality care for all Georgians with cancer.
  • Save more lives in the future.
  • Train future cancer researchers and caregivers.
  • Realize economic benefits from eradicating cancer.

To bid on this jersey, go to

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