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First Edition Cycling News for June 20, 2006

Date published:
June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
  • Fantasy Le Tour 2006 game prizes confirmed

    BBB's BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step World Champion glasses
    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    With just under two weeks until the 2006 Tour de France kicks off, now is a good time to start...

    With just under two weeks until the 2006 Tour de France kicks off, now is a good time to start thinking about your Fantasy Teams for the Cyclingnews Le Tour Fantasy Game.

    Be a professional team manager for the 2006 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. The Grand Prize will be announced shortly and you can read on to find out about our runner up prizes. Registration has already begun.

    Le Tour Fantasy Game prizes

    Daily prize from BBB Parts. We are pleased to announce that we are once again providing a daily stage prize from BBB Parts! This time, a pair of BBB's BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step World Champion glasses designed for Tom Boonen, will go to the manager with the highest scoring stage team each day during the Tour de France.

    The glasses have a durable, flexible and lightweight Grilamid frame; adjustable metal nose piece for a perfect fit; and interchangeable polycarbonate lenses with 100% protection against harmful UV rays, up to UV 400nm.

    The glasses are white with the World Champion rainbow stipes on the bands and they come with smoke blue revo lenses. They also come with three extra lenses; orange, yellow and clear with a flash mirror coating, and a carrying case so that you have a lens for all types of weather. They also have a special shaped lens with the BBB logo on the lens.

    Set of wheels from

  • Russell Downing prepares for national title defence

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed team leader Russell Downing will return to the UK this week to defend his...

    DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed team leader Russell Downing will return to the UK this week to defend his national road race title. The race will be held on the East Riding Classic course on Sunday June 25.

    The championship will start and finish in the picturesque town of Beverley, Yorkshire and heads out over a tough course that will test the 131 starters.

    The race looks set to be one of the most demanding and closely contested in many years with the best of an ever-improving domestic racing scene pitting themselves against overseas-based pros.

    As well as Downing, former champions Roger Hammond (Discovery Channel) and Jeremy Hunt (Unibet) help to make up a quality field including twice runner-up Tom Southam (Barloworld), Daniel Lloyd (Giant Asia), young riders such as T-Mobile development riders Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish and old stagers such as Malcolm Elliott (Plowman Craven).

    Another rider who will be keen to go one better in 2006 is Steve Cummings (Landbouwkredit), who Downing outsprinted for the title in 2005.

    Downing will be supported by brother Dean along with a strong squad including Tom Barras, Matt Brammeier and Scottish climbing specialist Alex Coutts.

    The DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed team will prepare for the demands of the East Riding route by taking part in the Beverley round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series on Friday 23 June against strong opposition.

    The National Road Race Championships starts at 10.00 am on Sunday 25 June in Beverley town centre.

  • Cycling USA appoints Pat McDonough as director of athletics

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    USA Cycling named Pat McDonough yesterday as its director of athletics effective immediately....

    USA Cycling named Pat McDonough yesterday as its director of athletics effective immediately. McDonough replaces Steve Johnson, who was recently appointed chief executive officer.

    The position entails overseeing all the major Olympic disciplines of cycling including road, track, mountain bike and BMX.

    McDonough, a silver medalist in the team pursuit at the 1984 Olympic Games, was brought to USA Cycling in 2004 as part of an initiative to revive track cycling in the United States. McDonough has 15 years experience as a velodrome director.

    As director of athletics, McDonough will oversee the identification and development of current and future athletes, craft selection procedures for major international events and create, implement and monitor USA cycling programs.

    Cycling USA cited some of McDonough's initiatives as the reason for his appointment. He oversaw improved selection procedures, increased the amount of internationally-sanctioned track events in the U.S., introduced performance-based financial incentive programs to athletes, bolstered coaching staff, and helped improve results in international competition.

    "I'm thrilled to be given this opportunity to further contribute towards the development and success of American cyclists," said McDonough. "We have some exciting programs in place and will be developing more initiatives designed to improve services to athletes across the board. The success of Americans at the international level is at an all-time high and ultimately our goal is to instill in our athletes that it's not about being the best in the country, it's about being the best in the world."

  • E.ON announced as Tour of Britain sponsor

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    E.ON, the UK's largest integrated power and gas company, yesterday announced that it has become an...

    E.ON, the UK's largest integrated power and gas company, yesterday announced that it has become an official sponsor of The Tour of Britain. E.ON will use the race to promote the company to the hundreds of thousands of spectators that are expected to line the course and to a large television audience as part of BBC's live coverage. E.ON will also sponsor the King of the Mountains Competition.

  • Hilly stage of Tour of Britain to include North West cities

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    Organisers of the Tour of Britain announced details of stage two's hilly route between Blackpool and...

    Organisers of the Tour of Britain announced details of stage two's hilly route between Blackpool and Liverpool yesterday.

    It was also announced that the race will finish in Liverpool in 2008, the first time that the race has finished outside London.

    Blackpool will host the stage start on 30 August, whilst Liverpool will welcome the 96 elite cyclists into the city for the first time for the stage finish.

    The 160-kilometre stage includes the first category climbs at Appletree Fell and Waddington Fel, The race will also pass through Clitheroe, Preston and Southport.

    "We are thrilled that Blackpool is playing such an integral part in the Tour of Britain," said Steve Weaver, Blackpool Council chief executive. "At a grassroots level cycling is an increasingly popular leisure activity and at Blackpool Council we are hoping [to] use the Tour of Britain as a fantastic incentive to encourage others to get on their bike."

    Liverpool City Council leader Warren Bradley was also pleased about the city hosting the final stage in two years time, ''Hosting the finale of the Tour of Britain in 2008 is a huge honour," he said. "It will give the city a great profile and a chance to showcase the renaissance which has been taking place."

    Last year the North West stage of the Tour attracted 55,000 spectators.

    The Tour of Britain will start on Tuesday 29 August in Scotland. 16 teams of six riders will take part over six days of stage racing, ending on The Mall in London on Sunday 3 September.

    Stages

    Stage 1 - August 29: Scotland, Glasgow to Castle Douglas
    Stage 2 - August 30: Northwest, Blackpool to Liverpool
    Stage 3 - August 31: Yorkshire, (final route to be confirmed)
    Stage 4 - September 1: West Midlands, (final route to be confirmed)
    Stage 5 - September 2: Southeast, Rochester to Canterbury
    Stage 6 - September 3: London, Greenwich to The Mall

  • WADA attacks Vriman report, stands by lab findings

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    The World Anti-Doping Agency has issued a detailed response to the Vrijman report into allegations...

    The World Anti-Doping Agency has issued a detailed response to the Vrijman report into allegations by the newspaper l'Equipe that Lance Armstrong used EPO in the 1999 Tour de France. In a statement issued yesterday, WADA stood by the research findings of the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory, accused Vrijman of confusing research and sanctioning protocols and called the report "fallacious in many aspects and misleading".

    Vrijman's report criticized WADA for refusing to cooperate with his investigation, but WADA claims this was not the case. Providing a detailed time line of the case, WADA claims it was supplied with a list of questions by Vrijman on March 10 and March 15 and, "WADA responded in full to the list of questions."

    WADA also pointed out that despite his vigorous public statements defending himself against the accusation that he used EPO in 1999, Armstrong has not taken legal action against l'Equipe. "In France, where the article was published, Mr. Armstrong did not issue proceedings for defamation against L'Equipe," said the WADA statement. "We are not aware of any proceedings elsewhere either. There are time limits provided for the initiation of such proceedings, and in this case they have now expired. In other situations involving newspaper articles and books, in varying jurisdictions around the world, Mr. Armstrong has sued and some of these proceedings are still awaiting hearings in courts. One involving The Sunday Times in England has a hearing shortly."

    Turning to the substantive findings of the report, that the process by which Armstrong's 1999 samples were found to allegedly contain EPO was not valid, WADA says that Vrijman confuses the protocols necessary for a sanction and those of research.

    "The process used by the French Laboratory in conducting its research was not the process used for analysing samples for the purpose of sanctions," said WADA. "Mr. Vrijman, at all times, confuses this...

  • Rabobank for upcoming races

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    The Rabobank team has announced its line-ups for the last few races before the Tour de France. For...

    The Rabobank team has announced its line-ups for the last few races before the Tour de France.

    For the Noord Nederland Tour (Netherlands, June 21) the team will field Gerben Löwik, Roy Sentjens, Graeme Brown, Mathew Hayman, Thorwald Veneberg, Theo Eltink, Jan Boven, and Bram de Groot.

    Rabobank is often refereed to as the de facto Netherlands national professional team, so it's no surprise that it will have a big presenbce at the Netherlands national championships this weekend. Rabobank riders going for the national championship jersey will be Michael Boogerd, Jan Boven, Erik Dekker, Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Bram de Groot, Gerben Löwik, Marc de Maar, Joost Posthuma, Niels Scheuneman, Thorwald Veneberg, and Pieter Weening. Meanwhile, Roy Sentjens and Marc Wauters will contest the Belgian national championship.

    For the GP Gerrie Knetemann (Netherlands, June 28) Rabobank will field Graeme Brown, Gerben Löwik, Roy Sentjens, Niels Scheuneman, Jan Boven, Thorwald Veneberg, Bram de Groot, and Marc de Maar.

  • Quick Step announces Tour team

    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    The Quick Step-Innergetic team has announced its line-up for the Tour de France, which starts July 1...

    The Quick Step-Innergetic team has announced its line-up for the Tour de France, which starts July 1 in Strasbourg.

    While the team lacks a serious contender for the general classification, that won't be troubling the Belgian-based blue and white squad too much as world champion super-sprinter Tom Boonen will be leading the charge, almost certainly with an eye on the green jersey contest, which he was leading in 2005 when he dropped out of the Tour after a crashing on stage 11.

    Boonen will be joined by Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Juan Manuel Garate, Filippo Pozzato, Jose Rujano, Bram Tankink, Matteo Tosatto, and Cedric Vasseur. The team has named Nick Nuyens, Guido Trenti, Kevin Van Impe, and Geert Verheyen as reserves. Wilfried Peeters and Luca Guercilena will direct operations.

  • Basso ready for the challenge with the CSC team built for the Tour

    Jens Voigt, Bobby Julich, Bjarne Riis, Guy Hains, Ivan Basso, Stuart O'Grady
    Article published:
    June 20, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson & John Kenny

    2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso arrived in London on Monday with manager Bjarne Riis, Jens...

    2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso arrived in London on Monday with manager Bjarne Riis, Jens Voigt, Bobby Julich and Stuart O'Grady. The press conference was the last for the CSC team before the Tour de France starts on July 1. Gerry McManus was there for Cyclingnews.

    The 28-year-old Italian star will lead the selected team for next month's race with Carlos Sastre, Fränk Schleck, Giovanni Lombardi, David Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde joining Julich, O'Grady and Voigt. The obvious surprise was the omission of Paris Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara. Without any team time trial in the year's event, manager Bjarne Riis has rejected the time trial genius in favour of supporting Basso.

    "We have had a great season so far," said Riis: "We are leading the Pro Tour ranking, we won the Giro d'Italia, Paris-Roubaix and the Amstel Gold race. The Tour is coming and our ambitions are there. Ivan is one of the big favourites and it's important that we have a good team around to support him. Our team is strong and competitive, but we will have to see if it's good enough. I believe in it and the team believe in it, and that's the most important thing.

    "Ivan will be the exclusive leader and the full team will work for him," Riis continued explaining his team selections: "The one big goal is to win the Tour but that doesn't mean we won't take chances that come up. Carlos Sastre is very important and we will see him lead Ivan into the mountains and he will be ready, that's for sure. Everybody knows Jens Voigt and his qualities. He is a world class rider who is always there. Bobby Julich had a hard Giro this year but finished strongly and I have followed him a lot in the last couple of weeks and have seen the best Bobby Julich I have ever seen.

    Click here for the full story.