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First Edition Cycling News for July 9, 2006

Date published:
July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
  • McQuaid reacts to rejection of ProTour

    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Shane Stokes UCI President Pat McQuaid has chosen to play down today's announcement by Patrice...

    By Shane Stokes

    UCI President Pat McQuaid has chosen to play down today's announcement by Patrice Clerc that the organisers of cycling's three major Tours would never join the ProTour. Clerc spoke to reporters prior to Saturday's time trial at the Tour de France, saying that there would be no further discussions with the UCI on the matter.

    "My primary reaction would be that I do not wish to get into a war of words over the airwaves with Patrice Clerc," McQuaid told Cyclingnews on Saturday evening. "I think that he has enough on his plate at the moment, given that people like Dick Pound have come out recently and said that his event is in the toilet. I feel that Patrice Clerc should be dealing with that issue rather than worrying about the ProTour and the discussions on it."

    The Irishman was keen to clear up talk about a lack of recent communication on the subject. "I've heard suggestions that the last time I had discussions on the ProTour was when I was down to see the Spanish authorities back in May. That is completely incorrect," he asserts. "We actually spoke the Monday before the Tour, myself and Patrice Clerc sitting down for three hours in a meeting in Brussels. That was prior to another meeting I had that afternoon with Christian Prudhomme and Patrick Lefevere, about what we would do if and when the list of names [relating to Operación Puerto] came to us. So it's totally wrong to say that there hasn't been talks of late."

    McQuaid said that the tone of that ProTour-themed meeting last Monday week was amicable but that no solution was met. However, he suggested that Clerc should be thankful for at least one element of the new system.

    "I think he can be grateful to the UCI ProTour as it was because of the ProTour and the Code of Ethics that the decision was able to taken last Friday to exclude the riders implicated in the doping affair," he continued. "Under UCI rules and also under the rules...

  • Clerc: "Negotiations over ProTour dead"

    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    ASO director Patrice Clerc announced on Saturday that there would be no more negotiations on the...

    ASO director Patrice Clerc announced on Saturday that there would be no more negotiations on the ProTour with UCI officials, after the governing body of cycling apparently turned down a compromise paper established with the help of the sports' sponsors.

    "We deeply regret that the proposal, elaborated with much help of the sponsors, has been rejected," Clerc said. "We did not expect that decision." The compromise mainly consisted of having 18 ProTour teams (instead of 20) in the future, who would get three-year (instead of four-year) licences, in order to make the circuit more open to other teams.

    "This decision seals the split of cycling," Clerc added. "The compromise is dead and the discussions on it will not be taken up again. The UCI has rejected the compromise, and we will not talk about it anymore. That's for sure."

    The conflict about the UCI's road cycling calendar reform has been going on since 2004. The organisers of the three Grand Tours and many cycling classics are not actually part of the ProTour, only accepted to let the ProTeams participate in their events. In April 2006, a compromise seemed to have been found, but it once again went up in smoke.

  • Mixed feelings at Gerolsteiner

    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German team Gerolsteiner had a great, but also a disappointing day in Rennes on Saturday. On one...

    German team Gerolsteiner had a great, but also a disappointing day in Rennes on Saturday. On one hand, German time trial champion Sebastian Lang ended up as third-placed in the race against the clock, and the team's up-and-coming youngster Markus Fothen took the White Jersey of Best Young rider after an outstanding performance; and on the other hand, team leader Levi Leipheimer had a black day as he lost more than six minutes on the stage winner, T-Mobile's Serguei Gonchar.

    "I'm really happy about my third placing," said Lang. "Honestly, I didn't expect it. I've been working for our captains in the wind for one week, and I've also supported David Kopp in the sprints. So I do work a lot. That's why I was hesitant and wanted to decide only during the race, how much I'd put into it. But I felt that everything ran smoothly after three or four kilometres. I got into the rhythm fast and after the first time check, went flat out. I don't wear the German championship jersey by chance, for sure."

    Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer, however, admitted that he could "laugh and cry today". Overall favourite Levi Leipheimer maybe lost his chances on a podium in Paris in this time trial, losing 5 minutes on Floyd Landis (Phonak), for example. "That was a big blow," he said. "Why it didn't work out today, I can't say. In any case, it will be very hard to get that time back."

    Holczer still counts on his two captains, Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig, who was 4 minutes down. "On top of that, Markus got into a good position as well," he said. "Even if we have to wait for the mountains. But I wouldn't have a problem in switching the focus. We do have that option." But Fothen himself, who counts as a complete rider who will have Grand Tour possibilities once he has matured - was cautious.

    "I will not be able to defend that white jersey properly," the 24 year-old said. "But I will try to wear it as long a possible while working for our leaders."

  • Julich crashes out

    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    In Saturday's first long time trial of this year's Tour de France, Team CSC suffered a great loss to...

    In Saturday's first long time trial of this year's Tour de France, Team CSC suffered a great loss to its roster as Bobby Julich crashed on a roundabout, injuring his right hand. The American was taken to hospital.

    "There are apparently no fractures," CSC team director Alain Gallopin said. "Nevertheless, they will keep him overnight and he will have a little surgery to clean the wound properly. You could see the bone and the tendons, so the wound is rather deep.

    Gallopin added that the crash did not happen out of a lack of concentration of his rider. "He knew the course and has the experience of riding fast even in corners, but there was a lot of gravel at that particular junction, as people walked over the graveled sidewalk, and some of it ended up on the road. His wheel just slid," he added.

    It wasn't a successful day for the Danish team overall, as their best rider, pre-race favourite David Zabriskie, finished 13th, almost two minutes down of stage winner Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile). Jens Voigt finished last, 10 minutes slower than the Ukrainian, and CSC lost its place near the top of the teams classification.

  • Post-stage comments

    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Sabine Sunderland

    By Brecht Decaluwé & Audrey Tautouer in Rennes Mario Kummer (T-Mobile manager) Mario Kummer, manager...

    By Brecht Decaluwé & Audrey Tautouer in Rennes

    Mario Kummer (T-Mobile manager)

    Mario Kummer, manager of the T-Mobile team, suffered the loss of team leader Jan Ullrich before the start of the Tour de France. With two stage wins so far [Kessler won the stage to Valkenburg - ed.], this Tour de France might turn out to be a surprisingly good one for the German team.

    "Tonight, we will come together with the staff and see how we will handle things tomorrow. During the rest day, we have more time to discuss our tactics for the rest of the Tour de France," said Kummer.

    Michael Rogers (T-Mobile, 4th at 1'23)

    This year's time trial world champion is Michael Rogers, and the Australian dreamed of capturing the yellow jersey but teammate Sergei Gonchar brought an end to those dreams. Rogers finished fourth and is 1'08 short of the overall lead.

    "It's been a really hard day although I didn't do a bad pace at all. I started alright, but apparently the other guys were stronger. My team-mate is in the lead, so it's a good day for the team. I went as hard as I could but didn't have the strength to do better."

    However, there's another time trial later on and another chance for Rogers: "That's still a long way to go," he said.

    Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner, 7th at 1'41)

    Marcus Fothen was able to take back the white jersey of best young rider today, and is now seventh overall. The German rider went flat-out and dug very deep, which was noticeable at the finish where he needed a lot of time to recover.

    "It was hard, but I don't know what Vaugrenard did, but normally I will have the jersey," said Fothen. Vaugrenard needed three minutes more than Fothen, so the latter now leads the competition from the Swedish rider from Française des Jeux, Thomas Lövkvist.

    With an advantage of more than one minute, might he begin to dream of bringing the jersey to Paris? "First of all,...

  • An interview with Serguei Gonchar

    Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Kenny

    36 year-old Serguei Gonchar showed today there's plenty of fight left in the old dog from the...

    Honchar stands the test of time... or should that be Gonchar?

    36 year-old Serguei Gonchar showed today there's plenty of fight left in the old dog from the Ukraine. But for the last time, how do you spell that surname of his? Brecht Decaluwé finds out.

    Q: You have an advantage of more than a minute on Floyd Landis; can we consider you as the favourite from now on?

    Serguei Gonchar: Most important now is that I have this jersey, because I waited for it for a long time. There are two stages before we get into the Pyrenees, then we will see how things are unfolding for me.

    Q: What about your team?

    SH: We are all 100 percent motivated for this Tour de France. It's sad for Jan Ullrich that he isn't here, but we are well prepared and we are showing that we are a very competitive team.

    Q: We saw that you used an impressive gear to grab this win; how were your sensations during the time trial?

    SH: It went alright in the beginning; later on, I suffered a small crisis due to the headwind but I felt that if I could overcome it, victory could be mine.

    Click here for the full interview

  • Stage 7 wrap-up

    Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé & Audrey Tautouer in Rennes

    Team T-Mobile has had an excellent result today with Serguei Gonchar taking the victory on Le Tour's...

    Greatest day for Gonchar in Brittany

    Team T-Mobile has had an excellent result today with Serguei Gonchar taking the victory on Le Tour's first long time trial from Saint-Grégoire to Rennes, in Brittany. The Ukrainian proved to be the strongest by far on the flattish course, beating Floyd Landis (Phonak) by one minute, with German TT champ Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) getting third at 1'04.

    "This is definitely the greatest day in my life after the World Championship [in 2000, which he won - ed.]," Gonchar said. "This was completely unexpected for me. I did my time trial to 100 percent, I won, and so I'm very, very happy. Today, everything worked out fine, the legs responded perfectly so it was a real pleasure - while still being very painful."

    Neither Team CSC not Discovery Channel were able to live up to the expectations today. Moreover, CSC suffered another loss as Bobby Julich crashed on a roundabout, injuring his right hand. The American was taken to hospital.

    "There are apparently no fractures," CSC team director Alain Gallopin said. "Nevertheless, they will keep him overnight and he will have a little surgery to clean the wound properly. You could see the bone and the tendons, so the wound is rather deep.

    Another unexpected event today was the bad performance of Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), who finished over six minutes behind the winner.

    Click here for the Full results, report & photos, , and Video.