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First Edition Cycling News for May 29, 2007

Date published:
May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Melbourne to Warrnambool launched

    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    The 2007 edition of the world's longest one day bike race, the 300km Melbourne to Warrnambool...

    The 2007 edition of the world's longest one day bike race, the 300km Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, will be launched today at its new start destination: the Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club. The Victoria, Australia race, which fielded a record 192 entrants last year, is hoping to go bigger this year, with organiser John Craven aiming to break the 200 entrants barrier.

    "We're again looking at bringing out some top-rated overseas riders for the event," Craven told the Geelong Advertiser. "Last year we had a good line-up of locals and overseas competitors including Kristian House from England and Kjell Carlstrom from Finland."

    The 112 year-old race is aiming for excellence and hopes to add another Cycling Australia Event of the Year award to the one it claimed in 2005. "With the current boom in cycling in Australia, it's resulted in a reinvigoration of the Melbourne to Warrnambool," Craven said. "This race is an Australian sports institution."

    The event, which will be run on October 27, has also announced a massive $17,000 in prize money for this year, including some $2000 for first place in A Grade.

  • Sabatini withdraws from Giro

    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    Fabio Sabatini (Team Milram) won't lineup at the start of today's 16th Giro d'Italia stage in Agordo...

    Fabio Sabatini (Team Milram) won't lineup at the start of today's 16th Giro d'Italia stage in Agordo after the Italian withdrew from the event due to injury. The 22 year-old has failed to overcome an injury from a fall on the event's fourth stage.

    "Really, I am displeased at not being able to finish my first Giro d'Italia for those of the Milram team," said Sabatini in a team release.

    The Tuscan rider will spend 15 days recovering after suffering a micro-fracture in the fall.

    "I held out until I was able because I thought 'it's a muscular problem', but the pain has intensified itself," he added. "Now I hope to recover quickly. I want to do a good finish to the season"

  • More knee trouble for Boogerd

    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    Michael Boogerd's knee problems which forced him to retire from the Volta a Catalunya last week...

    Michael Boogerd's knee problems which forced him to retire from the Volta a Catalunya last week after the third stage, have been diagnosed as periostitis, an inflammation of the membrane that covers the bone on the outside of the joint.

    The Dutch champion has been plagued by the same problem before. "It is an injury that won't just disappear," Rabobank directeur sportif Erik Breukink told Sportwereld.

    Boogerd, who is retiring at the end of this season, has been told that he must rest for four days, after which his Rabobank team will re-evalute the injury and make a further decision regarding whether or not he can begin training again.

  • Euskaltel-Euskadi for Tour de France

    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    The Tour de France may still be over a month away, but that hasn't stopped Basque squad...

    The Tour de France may still be over a month away, but that hasn't stopped Basque squad Euskaltel-Euskadi from naming its provisional 11 riders from which nine will be chosen to start the Grand Boucle in London on July 7. Former ONCE rider and team technical secretary Igor González de Galdeano announced the team, to be led by climbing specialist Haimar Zubeldia who aims repeat his 2003 success where he finished fifth.

    The remaining 10 riders are: Mikel Astarloza, Iñigo Landaluze, Iñaki Isasi, Aitor Galdos, Igor Antón, Gorka Verdugo, Jorge Azanza, Amets Txurruka, Rubén Pérez and Andoni Aranaga.

    Among its ranks of climbers, the team also has two potential sprinters in veteran Iñaki Isasi and young Aitor Galdos. Igor Antón will aim for the white jersey of best young rider after his promising ride in the 2006 Vuelta a España were he won Stage 16.

    González de Galdeano, who wore the yellow jersey during the 2002 edition, gave his opinion on the current favourites for this year's race, naming Astana riders Andreas Klöden and Alexandre Vinokourov plus Discovery's Alberto Contador as the most likely winners.

    Courtesy of Monika Prell

  • Van Hooydonck: 'Museeuw used drugs his entire career'

    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    Two-time Tour of Flanders winner Edwig Van Hooydonck has rubbished claims by Johan Museeuw that he...

    Two-time Tour of Flanders winner Edwig Van Hooydonck has rubbished claims by Johan Museeuw that he only used performance enhancing drugs during the final year of his career. Following a series of allegations in January from Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, Museeuw admitted to "not being 100 percent honest" during his final season with Quick Step-Davitamon in 2004, but denied doping in previous years.

    "Museeuw used drugs his entire career, it's that simple," Van Hooydonck said in an interview with Gazet van Antwerpen.

    Van Hooydonck then described Museeuw's performance during the 1992 Brabantse Pijl in Belgium. "I was in the break with Museeuw," said the Belgian. "He raced and won the E3 Prijs only the day before, a race which I didn't compete in. Then you must think: I am fresher, I have the best chance to win. Then you see that guy (Museeuw) ride away from me on the Alsemberg in a gear three teeth bigger than me.

    "Later you hear that Museeuw admitted that only in his last year he used doping products. Yeah right! That guy used drugs his whole life."

    Museeuw responded by saying he was sorry that Van Hooydonck would make "unfounded and wrong insinuations" and that cycling is not getting any better with such rumours at a time when so many riders are coming clean voluntarily.

  • McGee to 'face reality'

    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    Australia's Bradley McGee has spoken about undergoing surgery in an attempt to fix an ongoing back...

    Australia's Bradley McGee has spoken about undergoing surgery in an attempt to fix an ongoing back injury once and for all. The Française des Jeux rider's manager revealed over the weekend that McGee would again be sidelined from the Tour de France as he attempts to fix the injury.

    "It is time to face facts and realise the band-aid treatment of my sciatica problem is not going to support my professional cycling ambitions," stated the rider on his website, www.bradleymcgee.com. "It seems I can hold the condition at ease through 95 percent of my job requirements but given a time trial or heavy power down in climbing I find the problem resurfacing almost every time. Not good enough."

    The 2004 Olympic Gold medallist had shown that he was on the road to recovery during the Tour of Picardy, where he launched an impressive attack before a bunch sprint finish, but he was forced to pulled out of the weekend's Tour de Lorraine.

    "Having put it off and used alternatives I will now go ahead with a surgeon's skills and hopefully put an end to the rollercoaster," added McGee. "Less concerned I am of the procedure then the fact that if it doesn't work I am no longer to be a competitive professional cyclist."

    Should the surgery be a success, McGee will be watching the 2007 Tour from the comfort of his home while he recovers, with an expected return to the bike slated for August through to October.

  • Saunier Duval relying on three-pronged attack

    Riccò and Piepoli
    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Jean-François Quénet in Agordo Despite their average start to the Giro d'Italia, losing one...

    By Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    Despite their average start to the Giro d'Italia, losing one minute 25 seconds to Liquigas in the opening team time trial, Saunier Duval is undoubtedly the impressive team of this year's race. The one-two by Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo was a great achievement after Piepoli's solo win up the sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Guardia and Gilberto Simoni's second place behind Stefano Garzelli in Bergamo. "We have fired up the race every day since Montevergine," Simoni said in a press conference organised by his team on the rest day in Falcade.

    Although they have a leader, Simoni, who has won the Giro twice before, Saunier Duval has attracted a lot of sympathy because of Riccò who is a friendly bloke, a good talker, a spectacular climber and a true champion in the making. He's already clever when it comes to answering the sceptics. "I turned professional one year later than planned because of my blood values but it was all checked and I now have a special authorisation by the UCI just like Damiano Cunego," he said.

    Questioned about his relationship with Roberto Pregnolato who was Marco Pantani's controversial soigneur, he answered: "He's from Modena like me and he gives a massage sometimes when I'm at home."

    Having 'the Pirate' as an idol makes Riccò friendly but it also places him under suspicion. He doesn't care much about that, nor does he care about the friction already created in the peloton after he accused the majority of bike riders of being "vegetables" because of their passive attitude in the bunch. The facts are in favour of Riccò though, not only does he talk loud and clear but he assumes his role on the road.

    "Shall I repeat it? Winning at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo has been the most beautiful day of my life", he said. Piepoli gave him advice for his cycling career: "Learn who to trust and who not."...

  • Di Luca: No ear piece required

    Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Agordo

    During the second rest day of the Giro d'Italia, in the Dolomite town of Agordo, maglia rosa Danilo...

    During the second rest day of the Giro d'Italia, in the Dolomite town of Agordo, maglia rosa Danilo Di Luca revealed an unusual fact that he never uses a radio while racing, and never has done. Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet spoke with the Italian about this peculiar trait, the rising stars of Italian cycling and why the Tour de France just doesn't appeal to him.

    "It's not that I refuse it," said Di Luca, referring to his lack of an ear piece which many riders in the modern peloton cannot function without. "But after a little while it gives me troubles in my head. In fact, I've had to use my mind instead of just listening to the instructions given by the director. I'm convinced it has helped me improve to the level where I am now. I know what I have to do."

    Two-time Giro champion Gilberto Simoni admitted Di Luca's tactical astuteness was a major factor in his success this year. "I wouldn't say that Di Luca is the revelation of this Giro," Simoni commented during the rest day. "But he's up there every day, that's the difference. I can see that his way of racing isn't the same. He thinks more."

    In the crucial mountain stages, the 'killer' has controlled the race with a rare tactical intelligence. That might add to the ongoing debate in cycling regarding the use of ear pieces which many observers claim have ruined the excitement of races. The UCI has long been considering the possibility of banning radios among riders, a decision which may re-ignite interest in races where cycling doesn't enjoy such a passionate following as the Giro d'Italia.

    "When I came to Giro, the newspapers weren't talking about cycling at all", remembered Di Luca, hinting at the ongoing doping sagas reported in the cycling press. "I was hoping that it would change and it has changed. Now the media focus on the race."

    To read the full interview with Danilo Di Luca,

  • d'Hont retracts Ullrich EPO claim

    Ullrich announced his retirement in February
    Article published:
    May 29, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    By Susan Westemeyer Former Telekom soigneur Jef d'Hont, who recently told German magazine Bild am...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Former Telekom soigneur Jef d'Hont, who recently told German magazine Bild am Sonntag that he injected Jan Ullrich with EPO, has now retracted the claim in an interview with Dutch radio station NOS on Monday. When questioned as to who, if anyone, did administer EPO to the 1997 Tour winner, d'Hont did not give a clear answer but said he would reveal more in three weeks upon publication of his book in Germany.

    Meanwhile, Ullrich himself continues to remain silent on the matter. "We have nothing to say about the case," said his manager Wolfgang Strohband to Spiegel. "You won't get a denial from me and a press conference isn't planned, either."

    German sports lawyer Michael Lehner, who represented Danilo Hondo in his doping trial, told the dpa press agency that Ullrich may be worried about having to repay much of his salary to T-Mobile, should he make any kind of admission to doping. "I don't think that Ullrich is so afraid of the fraud case in Bonn. He could reach an agreement with them and pay a fine," said Lehner. "His main worry is with a possible requirement that he would have to repay money back to T-Mobile. Then he would be broke."

    Lehner, who currently represents German anti-doping crusader Werner Franke in a case against Ullrich, urged the retired star to "come out with the truth now," but doesn't believe that will happen. "His advisors will force him to keep quiet," Lehner said.

    Former Telekom team manager Walter Godefroot, who d'Hont alleged was behind the doping scheme, has indicated he will soon break his silence on the matter. "My version will come," said the Belgian, who is now an advisor to the Astana team. However, Godefroot denied he would make any direct comment on the d'Hont charges. "I won't say anything to that - there would only be more sensation made out of anything I say."

    Godefroot was originally asked by his former T-Mobile rider...