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First Edition Cycling News, May 23, 2008

Date published:
May 23, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Tour of Colorado continues at Iron Horse

    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    The 37th Iron Horse Bicycle Classic will run this Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26th in Durango,...

    The 37th Iron Horse Bicycle Classic will run this Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26th in Durango, Colorado. The second of seven Tour of Colorado races, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic features the Durango Coca-Cola Road Race from Durango to Silverton. This famous race has 5700 feet of climbing in just 47 miles.

    The second race of the three-stage event will be the Morehart Subaru Criterium on Sunday in Historic downtown Durango, held on an eight-turn course. It is followed by the event's conclusion, the Alpine Banks East Animas Time Trial on Memorial Day.

    Tour of Colorado points will be awarded to those riders who finish with Omnium points.

    Phil Zajicek of Health Net leads the Tour of Colorado in Pro 1, 2 Men's category while Mara Abbott is the leader in the Women's category.

  • USAC president: The era of the collegian

    The new board president of USA Cycling, Mark Abramson
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    In March the USA Cycling board of directors elected its vice president, Mark Abramson, to succeed...

    In March the USA Cycling board of directors elected its vice president, Mark Abramson, to succeed the term-limited Jim Ochowicz as president of the board. The new president comes from the ranks of collegiate cycling (NCCA), one of the five discipline associations, and is the first NCCA member to hold this position. Abramson spoke with Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski about where he plans on taking the board in his term.

    If one had to title the new USA Cycling board president Mark Abramson's upcoming term in office, it would be 'the era of the collegian'. This is because Abramson sits on the board of directors as the sole representative of the National Collegiate Cycling Association (NCCA). Collegiate cycling is where he was first exposed to bicycle racing and it is the vehicle that brought him up the ranks of USA Cycling.

    "I became involved with racing in 1995," said Abramson. "I started mountain bike racing at Tufts University. Eastern Massachusetts is not exactly mountainous but we have surprisingly good singletrack." Abramson, 33 (but in true USAC fashion said, "Racing age, 34!") is a Boston native and currently resides in Cambridge running a software development company. "I grew up in Wayland in the suburbs of Boston. Boston has a great cycling community, but certainly a tight-knit racing community as well."

    Abramson continued his involvement with cycling in the collegiate ranks, both in racing itself and then promoting after graduation. "I was involved in collegiate cycling as a rider and then within the team when we hosted an eastern championships in 1996 - I was the promoter of that event. Then I became more involved with the eastern conference, and after I graduated I took over as assistant conference director and then conference director."

    At this point collegiate cycling was not a full association within the governing body. Abramson continued increasing his involvement within the sub-discipline by...

  • Riders using Viagra for altitude?

    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    By Laura Weislo The story of Gerolsteiner rider Andrea Moletta's father being detained by the...

    By Laura Weislo

    The story of Gerolsteiner rider Andrea Moletta's father being detained by the Italian anti-doping police in a car with a large amount of Viagra might have simply been the source of many dirty jokes had it not led to his son's withdrawal from the Giro d'Italia.

    Natalino Moletta was stopped by the Italian Guardia Finanza as one of three passengers in a vehicle travelling from Padua to the Giro d'Italia which reportedly contained 82 packages of Viagra, along with a disposable syringe hidden in a tube of toothpaste and a refrigerator with other unidentified products. The search was reportedly part of a wider investigation into doping at gyms in Padua, but reports also indicated the car, and thus the products on board, were headed to the Giro d'Italia. However, there is no indication that the police action was aimed at the Gerolsteiner team.

    "It was a targeted police action," Gerolsteiner director Christian Henn told dpa. He said Andrea Moletta could not explain why his father was caught up in the incident, and agreed to leave the Giro. "If they were looking at Moletta, why wasn't there immediately a raid in our hotel? So far everything has been quiet," Henn said.

    Doping is rife in fitness clubs worldwide, and Viagra is a widely used as a recreational drug, so it is possible that the products in question have nothing to do with cycling. Still, the Gerolsteiner team deemed it serious enough to remove the rider from the race. Do we have yet another Willy Voet on our hands? Was the car bringing drugs to riders in the Giro? And if so, why Viagra?

    Viagra, or sildenafil, is normally used to treat erectile dysfunction, but a 2006 study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology (JoAP) and reported in Science Daily claimed that the drug can significantly enhance performance at altitude in some cyclists. At the moment, the 'little blue pill' is...

  • Tired Gasparotto keeps morale high

    Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi Barloworld's Enrico Gasparotto is keeping his morale high despite feeling...

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Barloworld's Enrico Gasparotto is keeping his morale high despite feeling tired due to his crash on the first road stage of the 91st Giro d'Italia. The 26 year-old Italian who resides in Varese promises to keep racing until the race's end in Milano, June 1.

    "I am tired after a day like yesterday. My legs are not so good, but I must arrive in Milano and then I think I will start to think of the Italian championships in Bergamo," he noted with a grin in Forlì's Piazza Saffi, at the start of stage 12. "I will not do the Tour de France. I will concentrate on the championships and then take a holiday." He would not reveal where he plans to take his well-earned rest.

    His season finale will be highlighted by a possible participation in Italy's national team for the World Championships, September 28 in Varese.

    "I will start training again for the final part of the season," continued the blonde-haired rider. "I will try to make the Italian team for the World Championships." He noted the day prior that he likes the looks of next Thursday's Giro d'Italia stage 18 to Varese, which consists of two circuits on the parcours that will be used at the Worlds five months later.

    For Barloworld this year's Corsa Rosa has been difficult, the team has lost Patrick Calcagni, Francesco Bellotti and Mauricio Soler so far this race, and are down to a skeleton squad for the remaining nine stages.

    "For team Barloworld the Giro has not been so good up until now," he confirmed. "We must continue to believe in ourselves, and try for a good result. With a victory our morale would change immediately."

    The team is pointing towards its two Englishmen – Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas – before in the stages leading to Saturday's day in the mountains. "We must try every day. The good thing about cycling is that...

  • A new Frenchman in charge of Catalunya

    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Frenchman Rémi Pauriol has taken over the lead in the Volta a Catalunya after yesterday's stage...

    Frenchman Rémi Pauriol has taken over the lead in the Volta a Catalunya after yesterday's stage winner and yellow jersey Cyril Dessel was dropped from the peloton with 20 kilometres to go on the Alt de Paumeras. The 8.6-kilometre 9% climb took its toll on the AG2R rider, while Pauriol finished safely in the main peloton to seize the race's overall lead.

    "I never expected Dessel to suffer so badly on the final climb, but it's given me the chance to take over as leader," Pauriol told Reuters. "Now I want to win this race. We've got a strong enough team to keep my rivals under control, and my morale is on a real high."

    The stage win went to another French rider, this one Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Telecom), who claimed his second victory of the season by out-foxing four breakaway companions on the race's longest stage. Fédrigo had a little help from Spanish team-mate Xavier Florencio, whose knowledge of the closing kilometres helped the winner hold off Alexandre Botcharov (Crédit Agricole) and Gustavo Cesar (Karpin Galicia) in the sprint.

    "Xavier comes from this region, and he knows the last few kilometres like the back of his hand," Fédrigo said. "He'd told me before the stage about the ins and outs of the finish, and that made it much easier for me to calculate my strength and stay in contention. It was as if I'd already ridden the race route in my head, before I'd done it in reality."

    Today's stage took the remaining 163 riders on a predominantly downhill journey for the initial 180 kilometres, finishing with the sharp category two ascent of Alto de Paumeres. A five man breakaway stayed away most of the day. Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Andry Grivko (Team Milram), Michael Barry (High Road) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) gained four minutes at the mid-point of the stage, but was not gaining as much time as they'd hoped.

    Flecha,...

  • Contador impressed with rivals' attacks

    Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was impressed by the moves of...

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was impressed by the moves of rivals Riccardo Riccò and Danilo Di Luca in Giro d'Italia stage 11 to Cesena. The 25 year-old Spaniard responded well to the attacks of his rivals, who seemed to be joining forces, and ended the day in control.

    "They were going strong and fast, they were trying to make a difference," Contador noted to Cyclingnews Thursday morning, before the start of stage 12. The Spaniard whose Astana team was invited at the last minute, leaving little room for preparation for a Grand Tour, has ridden well despite having a cracked elbow. He took second on Monday's time trial, putting important time between himself and his rivals, and was able to follow their attacks on the hills on Wednesday. He is now third in the overall standings and ranked highest of all the classification favourites.

    The stage to Cesena was made even more difficult by heavy intermittent rain showers. Contador was impressed with the stage that on the map – he observed – did not seem that difficult.

    He, like his rivals, is resting in the following two sprint stage – Carpi and Cittadella – to be ready for the three mountain stages that follow, but has been suffering from a toothache, although he says it's nothing serious.

    "In the last week I have been there," he noted with added confidence, thanks to his storming time trial stage in Urbino. "I hope my legs don't give me any problems."

  • Di Luca: "The real Giro begins on Saturday"

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi Defending Giro d'Italia champion Danilo Di Luca is waiting for this...

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Defending Giro d'Italia champion Danilo Di Luca is waiting for this weekend's stages where he hopes to put the bad weather behind and blow the doors off his classification rivals. The 32 year-old Italian from Pescara already took a dig in last Friday's stage to Pescocostanzo, where he gained a few seconds, and again on stage 11, where he tried to break things up on the big climb to Monte Csarpegna, but revealed honestly, "the real Giro begins on Saturday."

    Many are questioning his LPR Brakes team's tactics; yesterday it sent Gabriele Bosisio up the road while its men also fought to distance Di Luca's key rivals on what are considered 'small' climbs by Giro standards. The reason is likely that it is worried about the presence of three Team Astana riders in the top 15 – Leipheimer, Klöden and Contador – and that it hoped it could crack Visconti and give stage seven winner Bosisio the race leader's maglia rosa.

    "Astana is going very well, but yesterday there was not much to do," Di Luca stated at the start of Thursday's stage to Carpi. "It was a useless stage for the classification, one to tire the legs. The real Giro begins on Saturday."

    In addition to Astana, many of the overall race favourites are keeping an eye on two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni. The Diquigiovanni rider had an impressive time trial and looks prepared for the weekend of mountain stages.

    Di Luca confirmed, "Simoni is getting better, like I thought he would. The last week he has been there and so he is a man to keep an eye on." He added, "I am going well, I am getting better and better. I have the same condition as last year. From Saturday forward it will start to get serious."

    'The Killer' currently is ninth in classification at 1'34" behind the best placed contender for...

  • McEwen wants Giro stage 13

    Robbie McEwen wants Giro stage 13
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi Australian Robbie McEwen is hoping to add another Giro d'Italia stage to...

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Australian Robbie McEwen is hoping to add another Giro d'Italia stage to his dozen career wins in the race, but has just one chance before his planned departure on Saturday. The Silence-Lotto rider continues despite the after-effects of his crash in stage 11 to Cesena. He crashed early on into that rain-soaked stage, but still wants to try to take his first sprint win in the 91st edition on Friday.

    McEwen finished third in the sprint to Carpi on Thurdsay's 12th stage, which won by Italy's Daniele Bennati (Liquigas). He proved that his instincts for getting into position were still there, even though he was not able to hold the wheel of his rival out of the final bend with 200 metres to go in the 172-kilometre stage.

    "I have a sore [right] knee, sore leg," he revealed to Cyclingnews the morning of Thursday's stage through Italy's Emilia Romagna. "I've got bruises all over me; I have a sore back. Today and tomorrow are the reasons I have come to the race, so I've got to try to make the best of it even though I am not feeling 100 percent."

    He described his crash during the day that saw many riders hit the pavement. "I crashed into a ditch and then across a concrete driveway," he remarked. "I landed on my [left] shoulder; my whole left side, but also hit my right leg on the edge of the concrete driveway. It is giving me a fair bit of problems, but I will see if I can do something at the end of today."

    While he was disappointed to come in third behind Bennati and High Road's Mark Cavendish, the 35-year-old will seek number 13 on Friday before returning to his wife and child in Belgium, near Brugge, on Saturday.

  • Another photo finish goes to Bennati

    Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) revels in his podium time.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    The Giro d'Italia's twelfth stage was expected to be a bunch sprint, and despite a day-long...

    The Giro d'Italia's twelfth stage was expected to be a bunch sprint, and despite a day-long breakaway from Dionisio Galparsoro (Euskaltel - Euskadi), the fast men had their day in Carpi. Anything but straightforward, the final few kilometres were a twisting, turning, technical approach that could have spelled disaster had the intermittent rains fallen at the finish, but on dry roads, Italian Daniele Bennati was able to take his third stage by a whisker ahead of High Road's Mark Cavendish.

    "I thought I'd lost it but the judges told me I won it by just three centimetres," Bennati said, according to Reuters. "I've lost sprints like that in the past but this time I won it." The Liquigas rider won by a similar margin on stage nine in San Vincenzo over world champion Paolo Bettini.

    "I knew I had to be first into the last corner if I wanted to win. It meant I had to do a long sprint but it was the best tactic," he continued.

    Bennati stayed well hidden, allowing Cavendish's Team High Road have control until the final kilometre. "The finish was very dangerous with all the corners and it would have been treacherous if it had rained," the points leader observed. "I stayed out of trouble because I'm not an aggressive sprinter."

    Bennati took the front coming into the turn, and even notably skilled bike handler Robbie McEwen seemed to back off out of concern and then have try to make up ground on the Italian. Cavendish, who was third into the turn, had enough power to get past McEwen and dive at the line forcing a photo finish. "Cavendish is a sprinter in the last 100 to 50 metres," Bennati noted. "He made a great sprint, even if I started before the last curve. According to me, he is very young and demonstrating to be the strongest sprinter in the world."

    Cavendish, who won his first Giro stage on last Tuesday's sprint in