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Latest Cycling News, July 22, 2008

Date published:
July 22, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • BikeNZ launches new national road series

    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    BikeNZ will launch a new National Points Series as part of 11 major cycling road events throughout...

    BikeNZ will launch a new National Points Series as part of 11 major cycling road events throughout the country.

    It begins with the Pro-Velo Auckland 1000 event in the Franklin district near Pukekohe this Saturday and concludes with the crowning of the inaugural men's and women's national series champions at the Around Brunner cycle ride in April 2009.

    BikeNZ chief executive, Roger Thompson explained that the idea was to build the race series around events that are also popular with non-licensed riders. "We have a number of public participation cycling events around New Zealand which have been growing significantly and provide a great experience for the increasing number of kiwis who have taken up the sport, either still on a serious basis or as a means to remain active.

    "We felt that our initiative, working in with the organisers of the various events, will provide an opportunity for elite cyclists to compete in a well structured nationwide series and also help raise the profile for the riders and the events.

    The goal is to create a ranking system so the top-level cyclists have a benchmark for their development through the high performance programme.

    Thompson was happy with the support from all sides. "We are grateful to the event promoters and organising clubs who not only run outstanding races but have backed our idea fully. Without their support it would not have got off the ground."

    The National Points Series will include:

  • Armstrong takes over in NRC standings

    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    Australian Hilton Clarke won the 27th race on the USA Cycling National Calendar, the Wells Fargo...

    Australian Hilton Clarke won the 27th race on the USA Cycling National Calendar, the Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho on July 19.

    Cyclingnews diarist Rory Sutherland continues to hold a commanding lead in the overall individual standings on the men's side. Kristin Armstrong takes over as the current women's leader. The teams currently atop the standings include the Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis in the men's rankings and the Cheerwine Professional Cycling Team in the women's. The latest USA Cycling National Racing Calendar standings are as follows:

    The USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) is currently in its 12th season. The total prize list for this year is $1.2 million. The season long ranking system includes pro and amateur categories.

  • Women's Thüringen Rundfahrt kicks off in Schleusingen

    Judith Arndt (Columbia) would love to repeat her 2007 victory
    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    The 21st Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen kicks off in Schleusingen today. A day...

    The 21st Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen kicks off in Schleusingen today. A day earlier, the 16 teams with riders from 20 different countries were presented to the public in Altenburg. 96 riders will tackle the six-day race, going over 560 kilometres.

    Six teams from the current top ten in the UCI ranking will be present. Five national champions are on the start line.

    Defending champion Judith Arndt can count on a strong Columbia team. Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung also has a very strong team to avoid another Columbia victory. The Cervélo Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team will hope for the time trial, with Swiss Karin Thürig, Austrian Christiane Soeder and Australian Carla Ryan.

    Team DSB Bank and Bigla are also fielding strong teams. K leads the Menikini Selle Italia squad. Flexpoint, Safi-Pasta Zara Manhatten and Webcor are also in the mix. Team Gauss and a Mix-Team Rothaus – Rügenfisch will be the outsiders. National teams from Germany, the USA, Canada, Sweden and Belgium complete the field.

    A competition pits the stage towns against each other. Which one can pedal the most on a home trainer in two hours? During the presentation, Altenburg set the benchmark with 283.23 kilometres. The best participant from the local bike club pitched in 60 kilometres alone. 26 riders participated.

  • Team Volksbank goes to Sachsen

    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    Austria-based team Volksbank will participate in the Internationale Sachsen Tour, which takes place...

    Austria-based team Volksbank will participate in the Internationale Sachsen Tour, which takes place from July 23 to 27. Swiss rider Andreas Dietziker is the captain of the squad. Dietziker took a racing break and should be back in full swing after his recovery period.

    André Korff and Olaf Pollack hope for the bunch sprints. Pollack will also use the race as his final road preparation before switching to the track workouts. He has been nominated to the German track team in Beijing.

    The Sachsen Tour is 795 kilometres long. The race goes over five stages with start and finish in Dresden. One of the most important stages for overall victory should be stage 4. It is a 36-kilometre time trial. Last year, Dutchman Joost Posthuma won the race against the clock, with Volksbank rider René Weissinger in sixth.

    Team Manager Thomas Kofler would be happy with a repeat of that result. "That is our measure. We want to get some momentum for the remainder of the season and some confidence ahead of the Deutschland Tour."

    Team Volksbank nominated Andreas Dietziker, André Korff, Olaf Pollack, René Weissinger, Daniel Musiol, Alexander Egger and Philipp Ludescher.

  • Brixia Tour nominations

    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    Lampre, Tinkoff and have announced their rosters for the upcoming Brixia Tour, held from July 23 to...

    Lampre, Tinkoff and have announced their rosters for the upcoming Brixia Tour, held from July 23 to 27.

    The 2008 edition of the Brixia Tour features a total of six stages with two semi stages on the first day of racing. The first stage concludes in Orzinuovi, after 152.3 kilometres. The second stage will be held as a night time trial ending in Brescia. Stages three and four feature finishing climbs to Borno and Passo Maniva, respectively.

    The Tinkoff Credit Systems squad, directed by Dimitri Konishev and Claudio Cozzi, will send Daniel Contrini, Bernardo Riccio, Ivan Rovny, Alexander Khatuntsev, Nikolai Trusov, Mikhail Ignatiev, Vasil Kiryenka and Alexander Serov.

    "The riders have the condition to race well, " Konishev explained, "our strategy is to race as protagonists. The Brixia Tour is an important race, and we anticipate a solid performance from the riders."

    The Lampre team will consist of Mirco Lorenzetto, Danilo Napolitano, Simon Spilak, Paolo Bossoni, Roberto Longo, Emanuele Bindi, Lubos Pelánek and Mauro Santambrogio. The directeur sportif will be Fabrizio Bontempi.

    Bontempi is very impressed with the development of the Tour of Brixia. "The quality level in Brixia is going higher and higher, so this year we'll face strong teams. We'll try to win a stage; our team is good with climbers such Santambrogio and Spilak, sprinters such Lorenzetto and Napolitano, attackers such as Bindi and Bossoni and solid riders such Longo and Pelanek."

    Spilak is using the event to further increase his fitness to prepare for the Olympic Games. The Slovenian is registered for both the road and the time trial races.

  • Barloworld riders determined to do well

    Robert Hunter (Barloworld) wants to repeat his stage win from last year
    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    Barloworld will stop sponsoring the team after the Tour de France, due to the Dueñas doping scandal...

    Barloworld will stop sponsoring the team after the Tour de France, due to the Dueñas doping scandal in the team. But the team will continue to exist at least until 2009. The remaining riders Gianpaolo Cheula, Robert Hunter, John-Lee Augustyn and Chris Froome are determined to try for a stage win in the remainder of the race.

    Cheula, Hunter, Augustyn and Froome enjoyed a quiet rest day before they start the demanding final stages in the Alps and ride towards Paris. The reassurances that the team will continue, although not under the Barloworld name, for the rest of the season and in 2009 has boosted team morale despite a difficult second week for the team. Everyone is now focused on the final stages and determined to obtain some important results.

    South African sprinter Robert Hunter is especially motivated and chasing a result in the final sprint stages. Britain's Mark Cavendish's departure from the Tour on Sunday after winning four stages, has blown the sprints wide open. Hunter is an experienced sprinter who has the endurance and strength to do well in the final week of the Tour de France. He is determined to end the race on a high.

    The four Team Barloworld riders went training for two hours late on Monday morning to help their legs recover after their efforts on the stage to Prato Nevoso. In the afternoon they all enjoyed a long massage of almost an hour each, before relaxing for the rest of the day.

    The team mechanics also enjoyed a quiet day and the chance to prepare for the days ahead. "On the rest day we wash all the bikes, check the wheels and prepare the time trial bikes. We also do everything that is impossible during the daily race routine," Team Barloworld mechanic Tiziano Risi said.

    The Tour de France returns to France today, with another mountain stage in the Alps from Cuneo to Jausiers over...

  • Sastre content with remaining possibilities

    Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) is content with CSC's position
    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    A relaxed Carlos Sastre was happy with the possibilities his team, CSC-Saxo Bank, had in the...

    A relaxed Carlos Sastre was happy with the possibilities his team, CSC-Saxo Bank, had in the remaining week. Sastre had a similar schedule to the first rest day. An early two-hour spin was followed by a press conference. The rest of the day the CSC riders were off to rest.

    Sastre had a visit by his fan club Gent in Belgium. "They are accompanying me and animate me in all the stages in the Alps. Their presence makes me happy ... it is something I really appreciate and that is very important to me." Sastre had a visit form his family in the first rest day.

    The Spaniard is happy with the current overall standings. "We are content that we have the yellow jersey and that out possibilities for the Tour de France are intact."

    Sastre wasn't keen on doing anything else, besides meeting his fans in the afternoon. "The rest day has to be spent as unnoticed as possible. Mostly thinking about the two days in the mountains that await us and the remaining stages in the Tour, which are so important in order to resolve the final general classification in this race."

  • Stuey's Tour diary

    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    The team has worked brilliantly so far in this year's Tour. Every rider, director, mechanic and...

    The team has worked brilliantly so far in this year's Tour. Every rider, director, mechanic and soigneur has done their job 100 percent. Frank taking his first yellow leader's jersey was the best way to reward not only his own brilliant form, but that of the entire team.

    Up to this stage (there is plenty of racing left yet, I know) everything has gone according to plan. Each and every move we have done has been for a specific reason.

    Whatever happens after here will happen. That's the beauty of the Tour.

    Cadel Evans is still the man to beat. Frank may have taken the lead off him, but Cadel is much stronger in the time trial, so on the next couple of Queen stages we're going to see the fireworks really begin!

    And how's Gerro's form winning one of the toughest stages in this year's Tour so far. Unreal. He really deserves it. He's a great guy and a real professional.

    If your gonna win a stage in the Tour, make it a memorable one! That he did. Awesome.

    Read the full diary entry here.

  • O'Grady pulls team, not legs

    Fränk Schleck got yellow thanks to his team, including Australian Stuart O'Grady
    Article published:
    July 22, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    By John Trevorrow in Cuneo Stuart O'Grady was pulling hard in stage 15 leading up to Prato Nevoso....

    By John Trevorrow in Cuneo

    Stuart O'Grady was pulling hard in stage 15 leading up to Prato Nevoso. He was part of CSC's game plan to take over the yellow jersey. The idea was to make the race fast in the flat part and then attack the opponents on the climb.

    O'Grady was visibly pleased with the way things worked out. "It was a great day for the team. We had a plan, we put it into action, and it worked perfectly. I am looking forward to seeing the footage of the final climb. I hear Andy's ride was something special."

    O'Grady also indicated how well he felt within CSC. "This is a great team, a team that will do everything for each other. I am looking forward to being a part of the action over the next few days, but not on the mountains..." O'Grady will continue to be pulling strongly at the front on the flatter parts of the route. Then he will hope that Carlos Sastre, Fränk and Andy Schleck can repeat the same performance, maybe with even bigger time gains.

    New race leader Fränk Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) confirmed the game plan to Cyclingnews. "Yes, Stuey was not pulling your leg for a change. The plan was set and we put it in place. We rode very well as a team. With Stuart lifting the tempo as we approached the final climb, then Fabian [Cancellara], Jens [Voigt] and Kurt [Arvesen] keeping the pace very high into the early part of the mountain, it put pressure on all the contenders. Then Andy just took it up another notch. I noticed that Evans was more interested in covering me so it was crucial to get Carlos away and try and get that all important second in the final kilometre."

    Fränk Schleck praised the team, but was particularly impressed and proud of his younger brother, Andy. "He was the king of the mountain yesterday [Sunday]. It was an awesome ride and he seemed to just step up another gear. It is very special to get your first maillot...