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Latest Cycling News, May 23, 2008

Date published:
May 23, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Iñigo Cuesta's special prep for Dauphiné

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

    CSC rider Iñigo Cuesta will participate in a century-style event on June 7, which carries his name....

    CSC rider Iñigo Cuesta will participate in a century-style event on June 7, which carries his name. The Spaniard will ride part of the 150-kilometre long Clásica Cicloturista Internacional Iñigo Cuesta. The event takes place in Villarcayo (Burgos). The third edition of this Cicloturista, open to anyone older than 18, will have several mountains, with the altos de La Matanela (km 46.5), La Braguía (km 70.5), Del Campillo (km 89) and the Portillo de Lunada (km 108).

    Cuesta, one of the most senior riders in the peloton and faithful lieutenant to Carlos Sastre, confirmed his availability for the outing, organised by his hometown club, the CC Villarcayo. "I will be at the start and will do a part of the ride. But I cannot go all the way to the finish, as I have to travel to France, for the start of the Dauphiné Libéré the next day."

  • Buenahora inches closer

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

    Colombian Hernan Buenahora took his second stage win in stage 11 of the Vuelta a Colombia. He moved...

    Colombian Hernan Buenahora took his second stage win in stage 11 of the Vuelta a Colombia. He moved up one spot in GC and thanks to time bonuses also got 18 seconds closer to the overall leader, Giovanny Baez (UNE). His gap is now two minutes even, with Mauricio Ortega (UNE) in third, at 3'14. Alejandro Ramirez (Gw Shimano - EPM) is fourth at 3'29 and Diego Calderon (Blanco del Valle Frutidelicias) completes the top five, 4'36 back.

    The stage went from Mariquita to the finish on the legendary Alto de la Línea, an hors-category ranked mountain. A break of four, with Ivan Ramiro Parra, Baez and Mauricio Ortega accompanying Buenahora, went clear and came to the final metres together. Buenahora proved to be the strongest in the end. However, to still take the overall, he will have to try to shake Baez for more than just a few bonus seconds. He still has two stages left to do so.

  • Nys to Landbouwkrediet as of June 1

    Nys is switching from Rabobank to Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner as of June 1, to concentrate on the dirt and the Olympics
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Sven Nys can start riding for Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner as of June 1, under an agreement reached...

    Sven Nys can start riding for Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner as of June 1, under an agreement reached between the Belgian team and his current employer, Rabobank. Cyclingnews reported yesterday that he was trying to get out of his Rabobank contract early. Nys had ridden for the Dutch team for 10 years, and had signed with Landbouwkrediet for the coming season.

    Luc Versele, CEO of Landbouwkrediet, applauded the move. "I find the formula for 'cross riders a bit unlucky, that the contracts run from January 1 to December 31, when the season runs from September to April. The riders can change teams in the middle of the season and that leads to unclear and complex situations for both sponsors and fans," he told the belga press agency.

    "We are particularly satisfied that Rabobank cooperated constructively in this solution which is good for the sport, which makes it possible for Sven to come to us now," he continued. "Sven can now relax and calmly prepare himself for the upcoming cyclo-cross season with our team."

    Before then, however, the team wants to put him on the road, in the Tour of Belgium. That race starts, however, on May 28. Rabobank has already given its OK for Nys to wear the Landbouwkrediet jersey in the race, but the UCI must first give its approval.(SW)

  • Brown "not even close"

    Graeme Brown (Rabobank) won in Murcia, but hasn't been close in the Giro
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Rabobank is starting to wonder about sprinter Graeme Brown, who finished 19th in the mass sprint at...

    Rabobank is starting to wonder about sprinter Graeme Brown, who finished 19th in the mass sprint at the end of the Giro's stage 12. " As a sprinter you must make sure that you are the first rider to enter the final corner. Graeme was not even close," said directeur sportif Erik Breukink.

    On the team's website, rabobank.nl, Breukink noted that, "Graeme could not protect his position up front. That was vital with all those curves at the end." Brown's best finish in the Giro was 14th, in stage nine.

    He will have another chance into today's flat stage. "How we are dealing with Brown?" Breukink asked rhetorically. "Two guys support him and he will have to prove that he deserves more. We are also not going to participate in the pursuit. Self-explanatory, that responsibility lies on the shoulders of the four teams with the biggest favourites for the bunch sprint." He obviously no longer sees his Australian sprinter as one of the favourites.(SW)

  • Rasmussen, Rabobank get court date

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

    Michael Rasmussen will have his day in court against Team Rabobank on June 5. He is suing the team...

    Michael Rasmussen will have his day in court against Team Rabobank on June 5. He is suing the team for what he calls his unjustified dismissal last summer and is asking for 5.5 million euro in damages.

    The Danish rider was pulled out of the Tour de France while he was leading it, and the team immediately fired him. The management said that he had lied to them about his whereabouts while training for the Tour, and the UCI claimed that he had been warned for misrepresenting his whereabouts several times.

    In his lawsuit, Rasmussen claimed that the firing was not valid, and that the letter of dismissal was insufficiently clear. He further claimed that the team management knew that he was in Italy instead of Mexico, where his "whereabouts" statements said that he was. The 5.5 million euro damages would cover not only his contract but also bonuses and other income he would have received as Tour de France winner.(SW)

  • Duggan likely out for rest of season

    Timothy Duggan (Slipstream-Chipotle) will have to wait a while until he can blast along the roads again
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Timmy Duggan of Team Slipstream has faced the realisation that his season may have been ended by his...

    Timmy Duggan of Team Slipstream has faced the realisation that his season may have been ended by his crash in the third stage of the Tour de Georgia, although he is still hoping to be able to ride in the fall. While his broken collarbone and shoulder blade are healing satisfactorily, his head injury is still a cause of concern.

    He recently underwent a series of tests at Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, USA, and did well in the physical and cognitive tests, he wrote on his website, justgoharder.com. "The catch was my MRI scan of my brain didn't look excellent. The subdural hematoma on my brain is still a good enough size to warrant a lot of extra caution for a while. It could be really bad if I were to hit my head again too soon, because my body currently doesn't have the ability to absorb any extra blood from a new injury, or even anything that increases my blood pressure and therefore increases the bleeding in my brain. Extra bleeding here causes the brain to swell, and that is really not good."

    And what does that mean for his riding? "So here is the bummer part. As of now, I'm pretty much out for the season. It is too much of a risk to hit my head again if I were to race and train normally in the next two or three months. So I'm hanging onto some hope that everything will heal perfectly and quickly and maybe I can race some in September and October, but only if I am at 100 percent."

    Since he is not allowed to take a chance of hitting his head on anything and must keep his pulse under 120, he noted, "That rules out everything I normally do, except stretching and walking my dog. Hopefully, this department will gradually improve and I will be able to train better and better every week."

    The 25 year-old concluded that, once he does return to racing, "I will be hungrier and stronger and faster than I ever was before. Don't be surprised!"(SW)

  • Priamo next crash victim

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

    A crash in the final kilometres of stage 12 saw several riders go down, with Matteo Priamo (CSF...

    A crash in the final kilometres of stage 12 saw several riders go down, with Matteo Priamo (CSF Group Navigare) taking the brunt of it. While he did finish the stage, his team reported that he broke his right elbow and won't continue the race. He is wearing a cast and is hoping to be back on the bike soon. Priamo won stage six.

    Others involved in the crash were Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), who wears the white jersey in the young rider classification in lieu of Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step). Aside from Priamo, other sprinters to go down were Milram's Erik Zabel, who was able to catch the bunch, but not the bunch sprint in the end and Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre), who looked very torn up.

    Stage 13 will provide another opportunity for the sprinters and another chance for crashes.

  • Cavendish delays birthday celebrations

    High Road's Mark Cavendish (r) came close to beat Bennati, but the champagne will have to wait for at least another day.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi Mark Cavendish, winner of stage four in the 91st Giro d'Italia, has decided...

    By Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Mark Cavendish, winner of stage four in the 91st Giro d'Italia, has decided to delay his birthday celebrations, hoping that another sprint victory will come in Italy's three-week race. The Manxman of Team High Road, who turned 23 years old on Wednesday, fell just short of overcoming Italy's Daniele Bennati in the sprint finish in Carpi, a day after his birthday.

    "I am actually 23, my UCI code is wrong, it says '86 but I was born in '85," he said to Cyclingnews after the announcer stated his age in the presentation before the stage. He noted that he did not party with his fellow team-mates of the USA team, opting to save victory until the win arrives.

    "I think we are trying to save the celebrations for tonight. Hopefully, I can celebrate with something tonight." Cavendish barely missed out on a big bottle of champagne, he was third wheel behind Bennati and Robbie McEwen going into the final turn at 200 metres and was a unable to close the gap as the former re-accelerated.

    Only hours earlier he noted the stage finale suited his characteristics. "For me it is good," explained Cavendish. "I know it well, so hopefully we can come away with a win." He has been studying the few sprint stages in detail, hoping a second chance will arise. "I know the stage well," he added, regarding Friday's stage to Cittadella. "Plus there will be a circuit, so I will be able to see it again tomorrow. The sprints have been few and far between this year so we have to study each sprint finish carefully, so I know it very well."

    If the win comes Friday, he may not continue through the high mountains, preferring to focus on the Tour de France in July. "If we get another win then maybe it is not important to carry on. ... Then my chances of going to the Tour are greater, so then maybe it would be better to rest for the Tour. We will see."

    Cavendish is enjoying...

  • Modest Leipheimer forms part of dangerous Astana trio

    Leipheimer points to the Passo Manghen, where the overall will be reshaped on Saturday
    Article published:
    May 23, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Carpi

    Levi Leipheimer may deny it, but he is a threat to his rivals for the overall Giro d'Italia. The 34...

    Levi Leipheimer may deny it, but he is a threat to his rivals for the overall Giro d'Italia. The 34 year-old US rider, sitting 13th in the general classification, forms part of a dangerous Team Astana triad that aims to win the 2008 edition. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews was in Modena Thursday night, just two days shy of the high mountain stages, to talk with the national champion.

    Franco Pellizotti has been thinking all year about this race, Gilberto Simoni might end his road career if he takes a third career overall win, Riccardo Riccò hopes to turn Italy on its head, Ivan Basso dreams of returning to race here, but Team Astana – with its three foreign leaders Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden and Leipheimer – are just happy to be participating. Moreover, since it was invited just one week before the race started, it changed the outlook of the Corsa Rosa.

    At the end of 12 days of racing its three captains occupy the top-15, with Tour de France winner Contador lying in eight and close to overall contenders Riccò and Danilo Di Luca. Not bad for the Luxembourg-based, Kazakhstan-sponsored team that thought the only Grand Tour it would race this year was the Vuelta a España.

    Was it really a last minute invite by RCS Sport, organiser of the Giro d'Italia, or did Johan Bruyneel's team have an idea it would race, taking the spot of the relatively unknown NGC Medical-OTC Industria Porte?

    "We had hoped for it for a long time, but there was no indication at all," declared Leipheimer as we sat down in the Holiday Inn hotel, just on the outskirts of Modena, the city known for producing Ferrari automobiles, vinegar and Italian singer Vasco Rossi.

    "We had actually given up hope. They [team's directeurs] said that they were going to try to get [us] in, and I was like 'are we going to do the Giro?' I wanted to do the Giro; I wanted to know so...