Classic French rider to compete in American classic
It's only fitting that at 50 years of age French cycling legend Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli will line up in the silver anniversary of America’s Fitchburg Longsjo Classic. The four-stage event begins on Friday, July 2 and ends on Sunday, July 5 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
"She has had such an amazing impact on cycling as a whole and on women's cycling so we are so excited that she has chosen to come and race in our event," said race director Ed Collier. He was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from her husband and long-time coach Patrice Ciprelli regarding their arrival to the US. "I was monitoring my email and I got an email from Patrice saying they wanted to come from France to compete. I later realised who he was and who he would likely be bringing."
With more than 1000 career victories to her name, including a recent 56th French national title, Longo-Ciprelli is noted as one of the greatest cyclists of all time for her drum-roll list of achievements that includes five road world championships, four time trial world championships, and four track world championships in addition to four Olympic medals. "She just won her national time trial title so it will be great to see her wearing the French skinsuit in our time trial this year," added Collier.
Last Sunday's Dutch national championship road race wasn't the most enjoyable experience for Silence-Lotto's Thomas Dekker, with rotten eggs the possible cause of a gastric upset.
Sporza reports that Dekker was vomiting during the race, although the Silence-Lotto team declared on its website that the Dutchman had recovered and his participation at the Tour de France has not been jeopardised.
"The reason is probably that he has eaten less-than-fresh eggs," the statement read. "On Sunday Thomas was already fit as a fiddle. On Monday he is now fit again.
"Meanwhile, Thomas is at home again in Italy before he travels down to Monaco on Wednesday. He will be without problems at the start of his Tour appearance," it added.
After speculation surrounding the alleged plans of Team Sky to recruit big-name British rider such as Bradley Wiggins, David Millar and Geraint Thomas, Great Britain cycling chief executive Ian Drake has spoken about British amibitions to win the Tour de France within the next five years.
Team Sky won't make its Tour debut until next year, although there's been plenty of talk about the ability of Dave Brailsford's squad to make the cut in the biggest race on the calendar.
"Look back at what we've done in terms of Olympic and Paralympic success and set the Tour team in the same context," Drake told BBC Sport. "With Dave Brailsford leading the team and with Sky's vision and support it's got every chance of success," he explained.
Rumours were abundant last week that Wiggins and Millar were targeted by the British squad following comments made by British Cycling coach Shane Sutton. A subsequent clarification of Sutton's comments was forthcoming from British Cycling while Jonathan Vaughters quickly quashed the speculation.
Drake also wasn't giving away the identity of any potential members of the team. "We've got any number of British riders coming through but it's just too early to talk about who will make up the team," he said.
Colavita-Sutter Home men and Team Type 1 women dominate NRC lead
Mid-way through America's 2009 National Racing Calendar (NRC) Colavita-Sutter Home professional men's team and Team Type 1 professional women's team lead the overall team standings while Sebastian Haedo and Alison Powers lead their respective teams in the individual rankings.
Haedo leads the men's individual standings with a total of 830 points over Rory Sutherland (OUCH p/b Maxxis) on 785 points and third-placed Tom Zirbel with 757 points. In the team standings, Colavita-Sutter Home's 2066 points tops the scoreboard ahead of Bissell Pro Cycling team's 1717 points and OUCH p/b Maxxis 1351 points.
On the women's side, Alison Powers continues to dominate the individual standings with her tally of 1030 points ahead of Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team) with 905 points and third-placed Shelley Olds (Proman-Hit Squad), who sits on 532 points.
A first Irish road race championship followed by confirmation that he'd be riding the Tour de France have made the last 24 hours very memorable for Ag2r La Mondiale rider Nicolas Roche. The 24-year-old Irish professional told Cyclingnews that these latest developments have given him added motivation and he's certainly looking forward to chasing team and personal ambitions in the three-week race.
"I am happy, very pleased to go," he said on Monday morning. "This period has been really good for my morale, with this news plus the Irish championships victory. I was still a bit nervous [about making the Tour team] until I got the official call... anything could have happened until I got confirmation."
Prior to the Irish nationals, Roche had said that he was worried about a dip in form during the Dauphiné Libéré. While he was sixth on stage two of the race, he didn't climb as well as expected, and so the team sounded less certain about his spot in the Tour squad. "My main doubt was that I didn't perform as they wanted me to do in the Dauphiné. I was pretty sure about making the Tour team until that race, then I didn't ride as I wanted there. I was tired from a training camp the week before," he said.
His national championship performance showed that he was over that fatigue, however. Of the six Ag2r La Mondiale riders fighting for the remaining four places on the partially-announced team, he was the only one to take a medal of any colour in the nationals.
Now he aims to show off his new jersey in the best possible way; by attacking and also helping his team leaders throughout France in July. "My personal ambition would be to go for stages, of course," he said. "We have Efimkin and Dessel for the GC. I will probably be working for them and also try to go for breakaways and a stage win... that would be my goal."
Team director Vincent Lavenu feels the Italian-based rider has the capabilities to...
The association of directeurs sportif has declared its opposition to the banning race radios due to safety concerns surrounding riders.
In a statement released by ADISPRO International, the association said the ban "impinges on their [directeurs'] professionalism and the safety of the cyclists" and has called the move "an outdated and inappropriate measure".
This follows the announcement by Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) that an option to ban earpieces exists for teams during two stages of this year's race. In response to calls that racing has become formulaic, stage 10 – from Limoges to Issoudun – and stage 13 – Vittel to Colmar – will be run with the option to not use race radios.
Following oppostition to the move from teams and riders, the association has hit out at what it calls a lack of understanding concerning the role directeurs play in a team and the measures undertaken to ensure rider safety.
It's "a prerogative that is too often debased by those who, due to their lack of understanding, continue to treat directeur sportifs as if they were just 'drivers of the team cars'," continued the statement.
"The prospect of an increasingly professional approach to the job of directeur sportif is being contradicted by initiatives like the 'experiment' which will take place during the next Tour de France."
Citing rider safety in the modern racing environment, the statement explained, "ADISPRO International believes that if this measure is put into practice it could firstly jeopardise the safety of the cyclists and secondly it could compromise the directeurs' ability to effectively do their jobs in a dignified manner.
"The roads are no longer the same as in years gone by; they often present a variety of dangers and the races are now even more crowded with cars and motorcycles. By banning the use of radio links, the cyclists would lose the only tool which with...