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First Edition Cycling News for July 5, 2007

Date published:
July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Fantasy Le Tour, only days left to join

    Win a Cervélo Soloist Carbon
    Article published:
    July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    With the Tour de France Prologue on Saturday fast approaching, now is a good time to register your...

    With the Tour de France Prologue on Saturday fast approaching, now is a good time to register your teams here at Cyclingnews. In what's set to be the most wide open Tour in decades, picking your team of 15 riders couldn't be more challenging. The online game allows you to assume the role of a professional team manager for the 2007 Le Tour and create your own dream-team from any of the real life riders in this year's Tour. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

    Remember you can still enter teams until Stage 4 begins. You can re-edit and re-enter teams for Stages 1 - 3 of the Le Tour 2007 competition up until Stage 4 begins. Unlike most Fantasy games, this gives you the chance to try out the game for free and experiment with different strategies without having to pay for mistakes. If you join the Tour after the start date you can still take part with just as good a chance of winning as a manager who joined before Stage 1. Try out a team today!

    We've added some great improvements to the game this year:

    • New ranking and results service, offering new depths of rider statistics on races over the last four years.
    • See your friends exact selections in the this year's game as it happens.
    • Look up the winning managers team selections for last year to improve your selection this year.
    • Follow the progress of the key fantasy managers whilst also tracking your friends' progress in the new "Watch Teams" tool.
    • Build your own Mini-Leagues.
    • ...
    • Champs return to defend Gastown title

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      Last year's Tour de Gastown winners, Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) and Gina Grain...

      Last year's Tour de Gastown winners, Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) and Gina Grain (Expresscopy.com), will return to defend their titles the event's organiser has confirmed. The pair will lead an expected 190 competitors that will vie for over $15,000 USD in prizes at the July 18 race.

      "Apart from Hilton and Gina, the line up so far includes North Vancouver resident, Kirk O'Bee, and Victoria's Ryder Hesdjadal, both of the Healthnet Pro Cycling Team, former Tour de Gastown multiple winner, Gord Fraser, who is coming out of retirement to compete again this year, the Jazz Apples Cycling Team, a development team from New Zealand, and the Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team out of the US," said event director Jonathan Wornell.

      The Canadian criterium is expecting crowds of some 40,000 people to line the 1.2 kilometre route for this year's race.

      "The streets of Gastown provide one of the roughest challenges that riders face anywhere in North America, and that makes the Tour de Gastown such an incredible event for spectators," said Vancouver City Councilor Raymond Louie.

    • L'Étape du Tour

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      Ever wondered what it would be like to ride a stage of the Tour de France? Wondered what it would be...

      Ever wondered what it would be like to ride a stage of the Tour de France? Wondered what it would be like to experience racing through the French country side, with closed roads?

      Since 1993 the Tour organiser, ASO, has organised L'Étape du Tour, the closest that us mere mortals will get to ever experience what our cycling heroes do most days of the year.

      Cyclingnews takes a look at the 14 year-old event in its latest Tour de France lead up video package. Each year, generally on the first rest day of the tour, L'Étape du Tour is held on the same roads, under the same condition, albeit it with out the support cars, as one of the stages of that years Tour.

      From the first L'Étape du Tour, held in 1993 when around 2000 competitors took part, the event has grown to one of the biggest cyclo-sportif event on the calendar. Over 5000 cyclists turning up these days to compete and compare themselves to the professionals that pass over the stage in the following days.

      Click here to view the video.

    • Flexpoint readies for Giro

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      Team Flexpoint is looking forward to pressure-free Giro d'Italia Femminile this month, with team...

      Team Flexpoint is looking forward to pressure-free Giro d'Italia Femminile this month, with team manager Jean-Paul van Poppel saying the team has already had a successful season. Despite the squad's "beautiful" victories to date, van Poppel declared the team won't rest on its laurels when the Italian race starts this Friday.

      "We still have ambitions," he said. "I'm satisfied if we can reach the podium spot and can gain a stage. Last year we succeed in that with Susanne Ljungskog. She lost the Giro in the final 500 metre of the race to Edita Pucinskaite."

      Having already won the Tour de l'Aude in France, Ljungskog will lead the squad at the women's Giro, and is the team's best hope at achieving a result at the nine-stage event.

      Team Flexpoint's Giro d'Italia Femminile roster: Loes Gunnewijk (Ned), Luise Keller (Ger), Susanne Ljungskog (Swe), Loes Markerink (Ned), Mirjam Melchers (Ned), Trine Schmidt (Den)

    • Bahler killed en route to Giro

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      The women's peloton will lineup for tomorrow's Giro d'Italia Femminile without Fenixs - HPB's Liane...

      The women's peloton will lineup for tomorrow's Giro d'Italia Femminile without Fenixs - HPB's Liane Bahler, after the German rider was killed while traveling to the Italian event. The 25 year-old was killed in a car accident while heading to the airport, where she was scheduled to fly to Italy overnight.

      "I had already very looked forward to our meeting," wrote teammate Suzie Godart on her website. "This loss is a large shock for me, my husband and the total Team Fenixs-HPB."

      Bahler was one of eight riders slated to ride for the squad at the upcoming women's Giro, while Godart was listed amongst the squad's reserve riders.

      "Liane, we will never forget you!," concluded Godart's heartfelt message.

    • Riders punished for Virginia altercation

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      USA Cycling has announced the suspension of three members, following a physical altercation at the...

      USA Cycling has announced the suspension of three members, following a physical altercation at the Tour of Virginia, a USA Cycling National Racing Calendar event in April. Jame Carney (Team Alliance International) has been issued a nine-month suspension for his role in the incident under USAC rules 102 and 105, having displayed "unsportsmanlike conduct". Carney's teammate John DeLong and Mark Hardman (University of Virginia Cycling Team) were each given one-year suspensions for their roles, having violated the same rules as Carney.

      "USA Cycling maintains a zero-tolerance policy with regard to violence in conjunction with our events," said USAC CEO Steve Johnson. "There is absolutely no place for this type of behaviour in our sport, and the penalties that have been assessed are consistent with the gravity of this incident."

      A hearing into the matter, which was requested by Carney last month, was conducted on June 28 in which the three-person panel recommended the suspensions. Johnson upheld the panel's recommendation and all three athletes' suspensions commenced as of July 1.

      Carney has also been forced to give up his seat on the USCF Board of Trustees, with article 3.1 of the USCF Bylaws stating "All trustees must be USCF or USA Cycling license holders at the time of their nomination and throughout their period of office."

    • Fuentes: Doping is illegal

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      Operación Puerto figurehead Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes has given a curious presentation at the Rey...

      Operación Puerto figurehead Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes has given a curious presentation at the Rey Juan Carlos d' Aranjuez University, 70km south of Madrid, Spain where he has told students he would never advise anyone to dope. Fuentes was credited as the mastermind behind a complex sports doping ring by Spanish authorities in an investigation which has since been shelved.

      "Doping is illegal in Spain, and I would never advise it to anyone," declared Fuentes.

      Fuentes went on to share his belief that cycling isn't the only sport to have athletes doping. "In cycling there are many doping controls, but in other sports the same percentage of athletes dope as well," he said. "I don't understand then, why those other disciplines have so few doping cases."

      "In the professional sports world, economics is at the forefront; because the athletes earn money from their sport," he explained. "They want to perform and succeed due to the intensity of the sport, injuries and muscle pain is part of the job."

      Fuentes' comments come just over 12 months after the Spanish investigation broke, implicating some 56 cyclists in the elaborate ring, which utilised pet names in a complex code. "Initially, the riders want to recover quicker from the effort and to keep on top of their health," he said. "The pressure that the riders are under to perform, leads to the team doctors prescribing medicines that they normally would not."

      The Puerto case broke with the arrest of Fuentes and then Liberty Seguros manager Manolo Saiz. More than 200 bags of blood and plasma were found, as well as steroids, EPO and growth hormones. Since then, high profile cyclists including Ivan Basso and most recently Jörg Jaksche have confessed to their involvement in the ring.

    • No doubting Thomas

      Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) is all smiles
      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      Geraint Thomas is the youngest rider in the Tour De France this year, but the 21-year-old Barloworld...

      Geraint Thomas is the youngest rider in the Tour De France this year, but the 21-year-old Barloworld rider already has a palmarès that many would be proud of. There's no doubting the talent and ability of the current World Team Pursuit Champion, so Gerry McManus caught up with the youngster ahead of his Tour de France debut.

      Geraint Thomas is one of the first crop of British Cycling Academy riders who had moved onto the professional scene having served his time in the GB squad on the road and track. The medal cabinet at home in Wales is well decorated with National, Commonwealth Games and World Championship medals.

      "I started cycling with the Maindy Flyers when I was ten and then moved on to Cardiff JIF back in my home town of Cardiff," said Thomas. "Jan Ullrich was a big hero of mine when won the first Tour de France I watched on TV. I have always looked up to him.

      "I like the track and the road," added Thomas. "They're both just as good when you are winning! Obviously the road is just a little bit more prestigious. But when you get to the end of one season you start to look forward to the other."

      In 2004 he won his first World Championship gold medal in the scratch race in the junior track worlds in Los Angeles. "I guess I started to really believe in myself after Los Angeles and that helped me win the junior Paris-Roubaix later that year," he explained. "I started to see cycling as a career rather than a hobby. Up to then we just had fun riding bikes and we all went down to the Maindy track and it was just like a youth club really. From there I chose to go into the academy rather than go to college. I owe a lot to coaches like Darren Tudor and Rod Ellingworth and the British programme."

      "I finished my 'A' levels and moved up to Manchester where I was living with Ed [Clancy] and Mark [Cavendish]," continued Thomas. "It was different moving out of home and into a house with those two. It was a bit of a laugh and...

    • Hansen returns to racing

      Ouch! An x-ray of Hansen's hand
      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Cycling News

      By Susan Westemeyer A bad crash early in the Giro d'Italia put an abrupt end to Adam Hansen's Grand...

      By Susan Westemeyer

      A bad crash early in the Giro d'Italia put an abrupt end to Adam Hansen's Grand Tour debut. The T-Mobile rider underwent several hours of surgery to put his right ring and little fingers back together. Now he is ready to start racing again.

      "Things are good, I guess," he told Cyclingnews. "I have trained well but it's going to be hard to tell what I can really do. My hand is not 100 percent yet. I have no real problems - just can't get a full grip on the handle bars, that's all. But it's well enough to race. I'm fit and all."

      The Aussie will ride the Österreich Rundfahrt, which starts Saturday. It's a race he knows well. "Racing the Austria Tour will be fun for me, it's my home race," said Hansen. "I've done it in the past so I know the mountains well. I have trained on them before. Austria is where I grew up to race. Plus Austria is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, so I'm looking forward to be there."

    • Astana winds up for Le Tour

      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Susan Westemeyer

      With the red-hot favourite for the Tour de France in Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana's main objective...

      With the red-hot favourite for the Tour de France in Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana's main objective for this year's race is to arrive in Paris with the Yellow Jersey in its camp. "The Yellow Jersey is our number one objective," team director Andrea Baffi told letour.fr. "The team is built around Vino, so he has all it takes to win the race. But we also have Klöden and Savoldelli who are both able to ride for the general classification if circumstances change.

      "You never know what can happen, but anyway, we have three riders who have shown their ability in the major tours and who are able of remaining in the forefront for 21 days," added Baffi, referring to last year's 231km Stage 13 to Montélimar, where the surprise break away gained over 20 minutes and included the eventual second-placed rider in Paris, Oscar Pereiro.

      Baffi is confident of his squad's potential, but understands the Tour is won on the road to Paris, not on paper. "We know our team is among the strongest ones," he said. "So we are confident, but in cycling you do not win on paper. We have to face other riders who want to win and it always depends on the itinerary."

      Last month's Dauphiné Libéré was a good learning experience for the squad, providing lessons in realism and adapting to surroundings. "[We] learned that, sometimes, you cannot do much except be realistic," he continued. "When you ride against someone like Moreau, who was in great shape, you just have to accept to let him go. That is why one cannot make too many plans.

      "Our team is quite fit since we won four stages at the Dauphine Libéré," he added. "But eventually the mountain decided to make us finish third in the general classification. Fortunately, we think our riders will keep improving before the beginning of the Tour."

      Astana's Tour de France roster: Antonio Colom (Esp),...

    • Sidelined Petacchi facing 12 month suspension

      Alessandro Petacchi
      Article published:
      July 05, 2007, 1:00 BST
      By:
      Paul Verkuylen

      By Paul Verkuylen Alessandro Petacchi has been suspended by his Milram team after the Italian...

      By Paul Verkuylen

      Alessandro Petacchi has been suspended by his Milram team after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri demanded a one year ban for the 33 year-old Italian sprint ace for his non-negative test for the asthma drug Salbutamol during this year's Giro d'Italia, meaning Petacchi will miss this year's Tour de France, which starts in London on Saturday.

      While Petacchi, who will be replaced on the squad's Tour team by Ukrainian Andrei Grivko, has dispensation for the asthma product the levels that were recorded at the Giro were abnormally high, leading to CONI's investigation. Even without the Milram's sidelining of the rider, Petacchi likely would have been forced to skip the Tour with its director Christian Prudhomme adamant he'll prevent any rider under investigation from starting his prestigious event.

      Although a decision from the Italian federation on Petacchi's sentence is pending, Team Milram manager, Gerrie van Gerwen, has pulled his star rider from competition until the case is complete. "either way, Petacchi will remain on non-active status," confirmed van Gerwen.

      Van Gerwen emphasised that the sprinter will have the chance to defend himself, and will be innocent until proven guilty, however, should the rider be found guilty then there is no place on the team for him. "In all our contracts it states, who ever gets found using doping products, will get booted," a to-the-point van Gerwen told AFP.

      Petacchi, who signed the UCI's anti doping charter on Tuesday, could be required to repay a year's salary to the organisation under conditions of the new agreement, should he be found guilty of doping.