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First Edition Cycling News for September 8, 2006

Date published:
September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
  • US licenses increase by six percent

    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    In year one after seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's retirement as a professional,...

    In year one after seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's retirement as a professional, American cycling seems to be doing even better than in 2005. USA Cycling has announced that the total number of membership licenses sold has surpassed the 57,000 barrier this week. The most recent count of 57,218 licenses represents nearly a 6 percent increase over the 54,190 licenses sold throughout the entire 2005 calendar year.

    Of those, 36,352 licenses are specific to road and track cyclists, and 10,995 represent competitive mountain bikers. Other membership numbers include coaches (1,147), officials (1,988), and mechanics (175).

    In addition to individual license sales, 1,800 licensed clubs were also registered, which is already a 16 percent increase compared to last year’s year-end total of 1,554.

  • Française des Jeux in lawsuit against Unibet.com

    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    French newspaper L'Equipe reported on Wednesday that the French national lottery Française des Jeux...

    French newspaper L'Equipe reported on Wednesday that the French national lottery Française des Jeux has started legal action against the company Unibet.com. In France, betting and gambling is illegal except for the national lottery, horse races managed by PMU and casinos, and Française des Jeux argues that Unibet.com makes business on French territory even if it is based elsewhere. The Belgian national lottery, Lotto, reportedly also considers a lawsuit.

    This information would not be important in the world of cycling if the companies weren't major team sponsors - one of a ProTour team, and the other applying for a ProTour license at the UCI, which is inclined to grant it to the Continental Pro squad according to L'Equipe.

    "FdJeux.com did not only complain about Unibet.com, but also about other internet betting companies," rectified team manager Koen Terryn. "The International Cycling Union is smart enough not to interfere in the debate, which should be taking place in front of the European Commission and not inside cycling. Of course I hope that this won't have any consequences on the attribution of ProTour status for the coming four years."

    L'Equipe also reported that John Lelangue, director of team Phonak, which will cease to exist after this season because of ongoing doping scandals, is in negotiations to become one of Unibet.com's team directors next season. Axel Merckx is also linked to the team, which itself has two riders directly or indirectly facing doping allegations: Carlos Garcia Quesada is reportedly on the list of Spanish doctor Fuentes' clients, and Juan Carlos Dominguez was declared unfit to start at the Eneco Tour of Benelux due to a too high hematocrit level.

  • Hagen to race both TT and road race

    Edvald Boasson Hagen
    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    The Norwegian roster for the World Championships has been announced. 19 year-old Edvald Boasson...

    The Norwegian roster for the World Championships has been announced. 19 year-old Edvald Boasson Hagen, who scored three stages in the Tour de l'Avenir until now, is down for the U23 time trial as well as the road race. Boasson Hagen was a junior last year but it didn't take him long before he became successful in the elite ranks: Earlier this year he won a stage in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour where he was the best young rider, two stages at the Thüringen Rundfahrt and one more stage plus the young rider classification in the Ringerike Grand Prix, the only UCI sanctioned event in his country.

    Boasson Hagen will be joined by his Maxbo Bianchi teammates Stian Sommerseth and Lars Petter Nordhaug, as well as Alexander Kristoff (Glud & Marstrand Horsens) in the road race. Other Norwegians lining up in the World's will be Knut Anders Fostervold (Sparebanken Vest) for the Elite time trial, Linn Torp (Dsb Bank) in the Women's road race and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC), Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) and Gabriel Rasch (Maxbo Bianchi) for the Elite Men's road race.

  • Antequera needs lead-out for Valverde

    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Antonio J. Salmerón News broke yesterday that triple World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will...

    By Antonio J. Salmerón

    News broke yesterday that triple World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will not be able to participate in the next World Championships in Salzburg, Austria, due to ongoing neck problems. His teammate Juan Antonio Flecha is not in doubt for the event, despite his accident during the third stage of the Tour of Poland, where a dog crossed his way, according to the Spanish selector, Francisco Antequera in El Faro de Murcia.

    Given this one unforeseeable circumstance, the Spanish leadership for Salzburg is reduced to the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider, Alejandro Valverde, but now Antequera is looking for "someone to lead out Valverde in the sprint. If we didn't have to depend on our national selection, I'm sure that Tom Boonen would not have passed Valverde if he had a lead-out man in the sprint," he said.

    Among the candidates Antequera shuffles is Xavier Florencio, the last winner of the Clásica de San Sebastian. He stands the greatest chances to be included in the team. "We will try to wrap an efficient team around Valverde to mainly face the final section," Antequera said, who also cleared up the rumours concerning young Astana rider Jose Joaquin Rojas, currently the best Spaniard in the Tour of Poland.

    "I would be pleased to have him, because he has a great future, but there aren't enough guarantees for him being able to finish a very hard route like in Salzburg, with a climb that will be the decisive mark of the Championships race," he added.

    After abandoning the Vuelta, his teammate Luis Leon Sanchez will see on Monday if the virus he contracted will prevent him from travelling to Austria. Sánchez hopes "to feel the necessary improvement to be able to participate in the World Championships time trial," which will take place in Salzburg on September 21.

  • Gerolsteiner: only one good finish

    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    "That was a great performance by Heinrich Haussler," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Reimund...

    "That was a great performance by Heinrich Haussler," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Reimund Dietzen. The 22 year-old finished ninth in Thursday's Vuelta stage 12 after spending much of the stage in a breakaway.

    "That was really something, what Heinrich showed today. You mustn't forget that he lost two months this season to a viral infection," continued Dietzen. "That just makes his performance today more remarkable." Haussler was victorious in last year's Vuelta in a similar stage.

    The German-Australian was the only Gerolsteiner rider who had any luck yesterday. Three of his teammates dropped out of the race during the stage. Young Marcus Fothen "must have spent more of his power at the Tour de France than we thought," said Dietzen. Sven Montgomery and Andrea Moletta left for a totally different reason: "Exactly at the end of the neutral zone, both had defects on their bikes - and everyone else promptly took off. They both tried to catch up, but after 50 km in a fight to catch the fast-flying field, they saw it was uselss."

    The team had already lost Marcel Strauss to a stomach bug, so they will be riding the last week of the Vuelta with only five riders.

  • Eisel 7th in the 'lottery'

    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bernhard Eisel's legs are tired, but that just makes him all the more satisfied to have finished...

    Bernhard Eisel's legs are tired, but that just makes him all the more satisfied to have finished seventh in Thursday's Vuelta stage 12 from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara. He was in the day's main breakaway which disintegrated with a few kilometres to go as stage winner Luca Paolini (Liquigas) did not gamble on a sprint finish. "I'm very satisfied with the race, the climbing is going really well," said the Austrian sprinter for Française des Jeux. "Naturally my legs are tired. I noticed that two kilometres before the finish when I wanted to follow Bettini and Paolini."

    The Italians, Eisel noted, were collaborating in the finale of the stage, which was "like a lottery, like it always is with an breakaway," he continued. "Bettini had his teammate Hulsmans and Luca Paolini (Liquigas) at his side. We knew directly that the three would work together. Apart from the Italians' tactical games, it was a perfect performance from Paolini."

  • Vuelta stage 12 wrap-up

    Luca Paolini (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    September 08, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    Just as his Liquigas teammate Danilo Di Luca did in the first week of the Vuelta, Luca Paolini has...

    Paolini makes his World's bid

    Just as his Liquigas teammate Danilo Di Luca did in the first week of the Vuelta, Luca Paolini has impressed Italian selector Franco Ballerini by winning today's 12th stage of the Vuelta. Paolini attacked a breakaway of a dozen with 4 km to go and was unable to be caught. A reaction by Bart Dockx (Davitamon) was effectively neutralised by Paolini's probable World's captain Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), with Bettini not working with the Belgian to close the gap. Dockx finished second at five seconds, with Bettini third. The peloton came in almost nine minutes behind, but there were no significant changes to the general classification.

    The stage saw a very fast first hour (50.8 km/h) with an early breakaway of eight going after 16 km. But Milram worked to bring it back, and a new move went after 78 km with Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel), Paolo Bettini and Kevin Hulsmans (Quick Step-Innergetic), Luca Paolini (Liquigas), Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bart Dockx and Björn Leukemans (Davitamon-Lotto), Bernhard Eisel and Ian Mcleod (Française des Jeux), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Jean-Patrick Nazon (AG2R Prevoyance) and eventually David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears). Arroyo was the best placed on GC at 14'09, meaning Caisse d'Epargne could afford not to chase hard. Eventually, when the gap got out to 11'30, Astana went to the front of the bunch and eliminated the threat of Arroyo.

    The attacking in the front group started with 13 km to go, and despite some good team riding by Kevin Hulsmans for Bettini, it was Luca Paolini who was able to place the winning move with 4 km to go.

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