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Latest Cycling News, February 22, 2008

Date published:
February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
  • Extremadura for Valencia

    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Antonio J. Salmerón The directeur sportif for Extremadura-Ciclismo Solidario's, Alfonso...

    By Antonio J. Salmerón

    The directeur sportif for Extremadura-Ciclismo Solidario's, Alfonso Rodriguez, has announced his team for the Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana, which takes place from February 26 to March 1. The riders will be Xabat Otxotorena, Francisco Terciado, Sergio Herrero, Gonzalo Zambrano, Carles Torrent, Jaume Rovira, Israel Perez and Enrique Salgueiro.

    Three team members, Sergio Herrero, Israel Perez and Enrique Salgueiro, have already disputed all the races on the team calendar this season. But Rodriguez indicated that now the team can't afford to give rest to anyone, as the team is stretched thin.

    The return of the pistard Carles Torrent after his injury will be very important. It is his debut as an Extremadura-Ciclismo Solidario racer. He will try to contest the sprints, but it is not known yet if his fitness level is up to par, after the injury.

  • Rebellin leads Gerolsteiner in Haut Var

    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Italians and Germans will share duty in Team Gerolsteiner's line-up for the Tour du Haut Var...

    The Italians and Germans will share duty in Team Gerolsteiner's line-up for the Tour du Haut Var this upcoming Sunday. Davide Rebellin will lead the team, which features all three of his Italian team-mates. One of those is newcomer Francesco De Bonis, who will be making not only his Gerolsteiner debut, but also his pro debut. The four Italians will be matched by four Germans, including climber Matthias Russ.

    Gerolsteiner for Haut Var: Francesco De Bonis, Thomas Fothen, Oscar Gatto, Andrea Moletta, Volker Ordowski, Davide Rebellin, Matthias Russ and Carlo Westphal.

  • Rock Racing to Belgium

    Mario Cipollini wants to battle Tom Boonen in Gent-Wevelgem.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rock Racing's signing of sprinter Mario Cipollini has paid off. The team has received an invitation...

    Rock Racing's signing of sprinter Mario Cipollini has paid off. The team has received an invitation to the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen (March 7-9). "It's a fine offer and a sign of respect," Cipollini said, according to sportwereld.be, but he wanted more. "Certainly very worthy. But can't you ask someone if they don't want me in Gent-Wevelgem? I would really like to ride there one more time." He has won the race three times, most lately in 2002.

  • Rainy days for Rory Sutherland

    Only the tough guys ride in weather like this.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sutherland checks in with the readers of his diary from beautiful California, where it almost never...

    Sutherland checks in with the readers of his diary from beautiful California, where it almost never rains.

    Top day, really top day..... I mean, come on, who cannot like 7 hours and 20 minutes of racing in torrential rain, gale force winds, and near freezing temps, and the longest stage of the tour ... awesome. So, I know I say I don't whinge or whine, but this time I have decided that I am totally allowed to. That was crazy! Answer to the question that I'm sure is asked... Does everyone feel the same? Does everyone whine? Answer: YES. World champions, ex-world champions, national champions, everyone. That was without a doubt the worst day (weather wise) that I have ever had. I think the rest of the peloton will agree. ANYWAY....

    Another insight that I can give you is "how do you get through such a long day?" Answer is that you just do. I know that sounds strange, but it's the truth. Let's be honest. There are people with cancer, there are people with so many other ailments, there are sick kids!! So, how do you deal with it? Again, you just do. I am able to ride my bike, I am able to ride in the biggest race in the USA, and I am paid to do something I enjoy. End of story.

    So, why this attitude above? Well, to make a long story short, as part of our team sponsorship with Health Net, we're 'required' to do some media appearances, and also hospital visits. So, a few of the boys and I visited the children's cancer ward in Madera, CA before the tour. These kids are seriously amazing, some sick kids, some knocking on death's door. It's a great way to help you appreciate what you have! For the record, this is one of four hospitals in the USA that is actually free. For those of you who know the US health insurance issue, that's kind of a big deal. So, get on board with Health Net, support the Amgen ride against cancer, and try to appreciate what you have.

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  • Andy Rihs enjoys BMC racing at Tour of California

    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    Andy Rihs, a Swiss entrepreneur, has been involved in cycling for several years now. His years...

    Andy Rihs, a Swiss entrepreneur, has been involved in cycling for several years now. His years nurturing the Phonak racing team brought him and his companies, Phonak and BMC, to prominence in the cycling world. Though Team Phonak had a much less happy ending than he would have wished, Andy Rihs realized that cycling is not only a beautiful sport, but an extraordinarily effective promotional tool. His love for the sport, and his business savvy prompted Andy to take the sponsorship plunge once again and threw his influence and enthusiasm behind the America-based BMC Racing Team.

    Rihs has been following the race this week and was impressed. "You know, I hoped that we would do well, but I never imagined we would do so well," Rihs enthused after the team's performance through Stage 3 of the tour. "We had a few big chances and we took them; it shows how competitive our young guys are," Rihs continued. "Three days in a row we have exceeded expectations, and are having a fantastic time." Rihs also liked the chances for the team to retain the King of the Mountains jersey through the end. "You can't count your chickens [before they hatch], you know, but there are no more big climbs and so long as the boys are feeling well, there is no reason why we couldn't keep the KOM jersey through the end. That would be huge."

    Rihs of course appreciates the lift sponsoring cycling teams gives to some of his businesses. However, the real reason he sponsors the sport is because he simply loves to ride his bike. "BMC has joined with Assos to promote what we are calling 'Squadra Mondo' [World Team - ed.], which essentially is our hope to help everyone who loves riding their bikes," Rihs said. "Look at our BMC team. They are aggressive, taking their chances, succeeding and looking great doing it! Our mission is to race bikes for fun, to promote the joy of cycling. The results will come with our passion for the sport," Andy explained. "We are cycling for everyone who loves...

  • Knee problems for Classics riders

    Marcus Burghardt gritting his teeth, due to knee pain.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer Knee problems are popping up at the Volta ao Algarve and took two riders out of...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Knee problems are popping up at the Volta ao Algarve and took two riders out of Thursday's second stage. Marcus Burghardt of Team High Road and Kevin Van Impe of Team Quick-Step were not able to continue.

    Burghardt, 24, who won Gent-Wevelgem last year, is looking doubtful for Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. After dropping out of Algarve with knee pains, he went to Munich for treatment by a specialist. "He injured his knee in a training accident this winter," directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman told Sportwereld.be. "This problem must be cleared up first and only then can he think of the Omloop [Het Volk]."

    Van Impe, 26, started having knee problems last season. He finished ninth in Paris-Roubaix, but the knee problems appeared after the Dauphiné Libéré, cutting into his season. "This is not the same problem," Van Impe told sporza.be. "It is the same knee, but the pain comes from my back and radiates to the knee." He was also going to a specialist for treatment. "I am not giving up. I think that it will be alright, but it is possible that I will not be able to ride in Het Volk."

  • Soler out of action

    Mauricio Soler headed home to Colombia and will return in March.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) is prevented from racing by a knee injury. He has returned to his native...

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) is prevented from racing by a knee injury. He has returned to his native Colombia. The knee problem is a consequence of a crash in the GP degli Etruschi on February 9. Soler was forced to change his race programme, after consulting with team manager Claudio Corti. Soler left for Colombia yesterday and will return to Europe in the beginning of March, on the eve of the Volta ao Distrito de Santarém (March 13-16). Before leaving Soler underwent a scan on his knee that showed a slight injury to the cartilage on his kneecap, with surrounding bruising.

    Solar will continue to undergo treatment while in Colombia, with the aim of getting back in training in just a few days. "It's an unexpected problem, but one which we hope to resolve quickly," Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti said. "It would have been a mistake to take any risks to try and accelerate his return to racing. His trip to Colombia is related to Soler's problems in obtaining a visa for his time in Europe. As a consequence we decided that his trip to Colombia was the best choice."

  • Gerolsteiner's California woes

    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer The stomach problems that are sweeping through the peloton in California hit...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    The stomach problems that are sweeping through the peloton in California hit Team Gerolsteiner with a vengeance on Thursday. The team lost more than half of its riders on the day. "There's not much good to report, unfortunately," said Directeur Sportif Michael Rich. Oliver Zaugg and Bernhard Kohl both rode well on the day, "but when you lose five riders, then it's not funny."

    Heinrich Haussler, Fabian Wegmann and Johannes Fröhlinger didn't even start, and Matthias Frank dropped out during the stage, all due to stomach problems. Sprinter Paco Wrolich also dropped out, but he had other problems, having fallen on his face in a crash. "He had to have six stitches on his temple," Rich said.

    That leaves the team with Zaugg, Kohl and Markus Zberg in the race, and they will have to do the best they can with the situation. "That's not so easy. You have to take care of everything yourself, and that takes a lot of energy," Rich noted. "But despite everything, we will continue to do our best."

  • Team Volksbank out to "bait the big guys"

    Team Volksbank for the 2008 season.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    There are three parts to Team Volksbank – four youngsters, seven "over-30s", and five in the middle,...

    There are three parts to Team Volksbank – four youngsters, seven "over-30s", and five in the middle, who have paid their dues as newcomers and are now ready to prove their worth. Ten of the riders are new to the team this year, and they are all ready to take on the challenge of "baiting the big guys," as Team Manager Thomas Kofler put it. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer was in Bregenz, Austria, wherethe Austrian Professional Continental team presented its 2008 squad on Wednesday, against the beautiful background of the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

    Three of the newcomers bring ProTour experience to the team. Daniel Musiol rode for Team Milram for one year, but André Korff and Olaf Pollack can look back on many years of experience. Pollack and Gerrit Glomser, who has been with Volksbank since 2006, will be the team's captains. Glomser, 32, has already gotten the season off to a good start, winning the climber's jersey in the Giro di Grossetto earlier in the month.

    Sprinter Pollack, 34, who has worn the leader's "maglia rose" in the Giro d'Italia and brought in many wins for his former teams Wiesenhof, T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner, will be looking more to the track this season. While the Olympic games are a definite goal, "Beijing is not until August. The first goal is the track World Championships in March." Korff, also 34, has been a pro since 1998. The sprinter said, "I don't believe that I am one of the world's best, but I know how it goes. I can help Olaf and some of the younger riders. I am now one of the older ones and I will try to share my experience."

    While Pollack will be looking to the track, another newcomer is looking more to cyclo-cross racing, and with good reason. Peter Presslauer has won the Austrian national 'cross title eight times,...

  • Rollin to victory

    Dominique Rollin demolished the rest of the breakaway with 20km to go.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Toyota-United Pro Cycling team hit the jackpot when they signed French-Canadian rider Dominique...

    The Toyota-United Pro Cycling team hit the jackpot when they signed French-Canadian rider Dominique Rollin, nicknamed 'The Horse', who fell out of a contract when his team Kodak-Sierra Nevada folded at the end of 2007. Rollin proved he was ready to ride in the major leagues when he took third in the GC at the Tour of Missouri. He turned it up a notch in stage four of this year's Tour of California, initiating a break that stayed away for two hundred and four kilometres, to solo in for a stage victory. Rollin spoke with Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins about his drive to succeed in California.

    "I knew I had it won when there was forty kilometres to go," said Rollin, regarding his nearly six-hour breakaway effort. "I looked around at the other riders and I knew I was the strongest in the break and then, with ten kilometers to go, I knew I had a forty-second lead and that they wouldn't catch me, so I started smiling."

    The six-time national Canadian road champion from Boucherville, Quebec, pushed through epic wind and rain in an eleven-rider break he initiated. Then his competition pummeled when he broke away from them and soloed for twenty kilometres to the finish, holding off the chase behind that included 'big' George Hincapie and Ortuzar Camano.

    Rollin admitted that the wicked weather conditions suited his ability as an inspiring Classics rider, noting that the last time he remembered the weather being as bad he won that stage also. "I won stage two of the Tour de Beauce in 2005, where there were seventy kilometre per hour wind gusts and guys were blowing off the road," said Rollin. "Even today I was out there thinking, 'I can't stand this' and I was shivering and cold but I always seem to do well in that kind of bad weather. In fact, the worse it is the better I do. Today, when the wind came I told it to 'keep coming because I can do this.'"

    Rollin grew up as a soccer...