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First Edition Cycling News, April 25, 2008

Date published:
April 25, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Caisse d'Epargne for Tour of Romandie

    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Caisse d'Epargne announced its roster for the upcoming Tour of Romandie to be held April 29 to May...

    Caisse d'Epargne announced its roster for the upcoming Tour of Romandie to be held April 29 to May 5. The team will include Vicente García Acosta, David López, Alberto Losada, Dani Moreno, Oscar Pereiro, Mathieu Perget, Rigoberto Uran and Xabier Zandio under the directorship of José Luis Jaimerena.

    (Additional reporting and research provided by Susan Westemeyer)

  • Totschnig out with shattered collarbone

    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team Elk Haus' Harald Totschnig will be out of action with a shattered collarbone for at least two...

    Team Elk Haus' Harald Totschnig will be out of action with a shattered collarbone for at least two months, the team announced Thursday. The 33 year-old suffered the injury in a crash in the second stage of the Giro del Trentino.

    "I started an attack with two other riders," he said. "My front wheel slipped away in an oil puddle and I landed with my shoulder on the pavement." The Austrian flew home Wednesday and was operated on the same night, with a metal plate being inserted. "The care in Italy was really bad. Fortunately the operation in Austria went fine," said Elk Haus team manager Bernhard Rassinger.

    "He is not expected to return to racing until the middle of July at the earliest. That means Harald won't be able to ride the Tour of Austria," Rassinger said. "That is major bad luck for him and for the team, which will have to do without one of its most important riders. I am very sorry for Harald. He was really motivated this year and already had very good form."

  • Leukemans to keep on appealing

    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Björn Leukemans will continue to appeal his two-year suspension for testosterone use. The...

    Björn Leukemans will continue to appeal his two-year suspension for testosterone use. The disciplinary council of the Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Flemish Community) this week upheld the suspension it had issued in January, but the former Predictor-Lotto rider insisted that he "didn't have any choice" but to appeal the verdict to a higher authority.

    "If I don't do anything, then it is over and out anyway," he told belga. "The new hearings will probably cost a lot of money. But what is money? I only want to prove my honesty and to get a pronouncement to that effect. If I don't succeed with the Council of State, then perhaps I will have a chance with the European Court. I know that I am doing the right thing, otherwise I would not continue to proceed."

    The 30 year-old tested positive for synthetic testosterone in an out-of-competition control shortly before the World Championships last September. He claimed that the positive test was due to a medication given to him by a team doctor.

  • Wegmann disappointed but 'did everything right'

    Wegmann in pain on the Mur de Huy
    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer Fabian Wegmann gave his all in the finale of La Flèche Wallonne, escaping with...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Fabian Wegmann gave his all in the finale of La Flèche Wallonne, escaping with two other riders at 10 km to go and suffering alone on the dreaded Mur de Huy in the pouring rain, only to be overtaken by the favourites with 500 metres to go and finish down in 30th place.

    The 27 year-old was very disappointed that his hard work wasn't rewarded, but a day later was able to look at it more objectively. "This attack came at just the right time," he told Cyclingnews Thursday morning. "The race was harder than usual because of the weather and the teams which had to work all day weren't so fresh any more. With Larsson and Efimkin I had exactly the right people with me – they can really go fast. I think if the three of us had gone into the last kilometre with 30 seconds, we could have made it."

    However, Larsson crashed on a left-hand hairpin curve, holding up Efimkin who was behind him and who was then unable to catch up again with the leading Wegmann on the Mur. "That was just bad luck," he added. "I had really good legs, in a normal sprint it would probably have been good enough for a top-10 finish. But today, after a good night's sleep, I find that I did everything right. The race is a good one for me. I'll just have to keep on trying."

    Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Christian Henn praised the German champion, whose white kit was no longer white as he suffered his way up the Mur de Huy. "Even if it didn't work out, Fabian can be proud of himself," said Henn. "Some day he will be rewarded for his aggressive riding style, will have the luck he deserves and will win one of these things."

  • Gerdemann doesn't believe in Tour return this year

    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Linus Gerdemann will hit the road again for the first time this week since suffering a double left...

    Linus Gerdemann will hit the road again for the first time this week since suffering a double left leg fracture and torn knee ligaments in Stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico in March. The 26 year-old German, who won Stage 7 of the 2007 Tour de France and held the yellow jersey for a day, doesn't believe he will be fit in time for this year's Tour.

    "Naturally I will try all I can, but more realistic is a start in the Olympic Games in Beijing," Gerdemann told the dpa press agency."The breaks have healed well without surgery, but in the injured leg I also tore a ligament in my knee, and that is still causing problems."

    So far he has been able to do a little work on the home trainer, but hopes to be back on the road in the coming days. "The doctor gave me the green light to get back on the road in the next few days, when the knee pain allows it – and I will do that," he said.

    After his success in 2007, Gerdemann had been slated for a co-captain's role with High Road at this year's Tour, along with Michael Rogers, whose participation is also in doubt due to a recurrence of the Epstein-Barr virus.

  • Georgia important to Astana

    Astana blew apart on the technical course, but still finished second.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Robbins in Road Atlanta Braselton, Georgia

    By Kirsten Robbins in Road Atlanta Braselton, Georgia Thursday marked the halfway point of the Tour...

    By Kirsten Robbins in Road Atlanta Braselton, Georgia

    Thursday marked the halfway point of the Tour de Georgia, a race that Team Astana has been hoping to win. In the first three days, the invited mixture of both domestic and ProTour teams saw flat to rolling stages that ended in riveting field sprints with the yellow jersey passing off on one sprinter's back and onto another, weighing heavily on the accumulation of time bonuses.

    But the flat stages made way for the team time trial held Thursday afternoon. Astana has been relatively quiet in terms of podium appearances thus far this tour, but they've been working steadily to keep the race in check and the field together to protect the chances of their favourite rider, Levi Leipheimer.

    "So far so good," Astana's directeur sportif Viatcheslav Ekimov told Cyclingnews regarding the team's interests prior to the team time trial, where the squad was hoping to excel. Despite losing several riders over the duration of the event, the team finished second just two seconds behind the stage four winners, Slipstream Chipotle.

    "We've done three stages and everything seems under control. There have been some moves and some different interests amongst the other teams but at the end of the day the bunch has come to the finish line and that has been perfect for us. It is normal that we have been pulling breaks back because the peloton is relying on our shoulders, feeling in advance that we are the potential leaders of this race and we have our GC interests approaching."

    Ekimov carried high hopes into the 16km time trial stage. He had been looking for even the slightest advantage before heading into the hills. "Today [Thursday] was a big day," said Ekimov. "It is the first day where there will be little gaps on GC. But we are definitely looking to Saturday's stage in Brasstown Bald because it has the king climb on it and that will be our goal because it is a good stage for...

  • Basso signs with Liquigas

    Ivan Basso during his hearings last summer
    Article published:
    April 25, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Belgium

    After serving out his two-year suspension, Ivan Basso will return to professional racing with...

    After serving out his two-year suspension, Ivan Basso will return to professional racing with Liquigas for the 2009 season. The Italian signed a two-year contract that will have the 30 year-old wearing green and blue next spring.

    The President of Liquigas Sport, Paolo Dal Lago, said, "This was a challenging yet conscious decision... The sports judiciary system handled his case more severely than most and, despite the fact that he has been harshly punished, Ivan has still maintained a responsible and calm attitude, he has applied some healthy self-criticism and taken this seriously throughout. This has earned him the public's respect, as well as the respect of those who work in the industry."

    In May of 2007, Basso resigned from the Discovery Channel team and admitted to attempted doping. Linked to the Operación Puerto scandal, the man identified as "Birillo" said he had withdrawn blood he intended to re-inject at the 2006 Tour de France. He was suspended for 24 months by the Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission for his involvement with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, and will be allowed to resume racing effective October 24, 2008.

    Calling Basso "Italy's most talented cyclist," Dal Lago noted, "We will help him to regain his form as we firmly believe that we can help him to achieve the standards of excellence of which he is capable. We love a good challenge and we know that Ivan and ourselves share the spirit: we are delighted to welcome him to our group."

    Team manager Roberto Amadio said Basso's arrival will not change the team setup. "Liquigas already has a well-defined technical profile which is completely compatible with this recently announced addition. With Basso's input, we will aim for absolute leadership amongst the top teams on the...