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March 29, 2006

Ullrich to skip Sarthe, return in Romandy

Eurosport | Ullrich return delayed

Preseason Tour favorite Jan Ullrich will not start the Circuit de la Sarthe April 4th. Ullrich apparently has been feeling knee pain since early March, and will delay his 2006 race debut until the Tour of Romandy starting April 25th.

While Ullrich has been training, other Tour favorites have been winning: Alexandre Vinokourov took the Vuelta a Castilla y León last week, Ivan Basso won the overall at the Criterium International over the weeekend, and Floyd Landis won both Paris-Nice and the inaugural Tour of California.

Ullrich has traditionally started his season late, but this year will be starting 2-3 weeks later than I remember him starting in recent years. In 2004, he kicked off at the Tour of Murcia March 1, and last year, he started at Circuit de la Sarthe on April 5th.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 29, 2006 in Jan Ullrich, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

Vinokourov trades Georgia for Liege-Bastogne-Liege

CNN.com | Vinokourov will defend Liege title

Alexandre Vinokourov has switched gears, and will defend his 2005 win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège April 23rd. As the new leader of Liberty Seguros, Vinokourov had originally planned to ride the Tour de Georgia in late April.

After the Vuelta a Castilla y León, which Vinokourov is currently leading, Vinokourov will be racing only at LBL and at the Dauphiné Libéré starting June 5 before the Tour begins in Strasbourg July 1.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 23, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2006

Ullrich confirms for Giro

BBC SPORT | Ullrich lines up Giro before Tour

Jan Ullrich will race at the Giro d'Italia in May, in preparation for a run at the 2006 Tour de France overall title.

Echoing Paris-Nice winner Floyd Landis, also tuning up in Italy, Ullrich said "I'm not looking at the general classification but I will be keen to test my legs on a few key stages."

The 1997 winner has 6 podium finishes, and is the current favorite to win the 2006 Tour. He will be (as usual) the last major contender to kick off his season, April 4th at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 22, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Jan Ullrich | Permalink | Comments (0)

Klöden out for six weeks

TODAYonline | Tour de France runner-up Kloden hit for six

Andreas Klöden is having surgery for ligament damage in his right shoulder today, and is likely to miss six weeks of racing.

Klöden was 2nd in the 2004 Tour, and is a key teammate of 2006 early favorite Jan Ullrich.

Klöden should be back to light training in 2 weeks, and should have plenty of time to recover before the Tour.

Update: The surgery was a success, and told the T-Mobile team website "I will be able to train again on the rollers very soon."

Posted by Frank Steele on March 22, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quick Step, Davitamon-Lotto to line up at Tour de Georgia

Rome News - Tribune | Tour de Georgia 2006 announces teams

Look for 6 ProTour teams in this year's Tour de Georgia, running April 18 - April 23 in my backyard.

Team CSC, Discovery Channel, Phonak, and Prodir-Saunier Duval, returning from last year, are joined by Davitamon-Lotto, who will probably bring Chris Horner and Fast Freddy Rodriguez, and Quick Step-Innergetic could bring “American” Guido Trenti; we'll see about Bettini, Boonen, and Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato. Defending champ Tom Danielson of Discovery and Floyd Landis of Phonak are early commitments.

Medalist Sports expects Yaroslav Popovych, Trent Lowe (now with Discovery after winning best young rider at last year's race), and Viatcheslav Ekimov to also appear for Discovery Channel. Full rosters are still a couple of weeks away.

Two Pro Continental teams return: HealthNet-Maxxis and Navigators, and 7 UCI Continental teams fill out the field: Colavita-Sutter Home, Jelly Belly, Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity, Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada, Targetraining, Team TIAA-CREF, and Toyota-United.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 22, 2006 in Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 20, 2006

Hamilton promises to sit out Boulder criterium series

VeloNews.com | Hamilton quits Boulder race series after UCI, USAC threaten action

Biking blogs coast-to-coast have been up in arms that UCI muscled up on USA Cycling, which notified member clubs that no suspended rider is to appear in an unsanctioned event.

The reason: suspended Tyler Hamilton has been sponsoring (through the Tyler Hamilton Foundation) and racing (with photos) in a local race series that's been going on for more than 10 years.

Since it's an unsanctioned event, however, USA Cycling has no real authority over the race. They can, however, take action against the suspended cyclist, and others who race with him, and reminded racing clubs that riders could be suspended 1 month per unsanctioned event.

Best quote in favor of Hamilton racing:

NO, the Stazio crit series is a practice series. They will take any invalid liscense (sic). No upgrade points are avaliable, prizes are minimal but so are entries. Its a practice race. Its not UCI, USCF or even local ACA. In fact, its a benifit (sic) race. 5$ per racer goes to the TH foundation.

Tyler may be a doper but he's at least turning this break in his career into an oppritunity (sic) to help the community.

Hamilton's gotten a lot of support on his website's forum, with many people saying USA Cycling should grant an exemption since Stazio is a charity ride (money goes back to the THF).

Others can't believe that participants shared photos with cyclingnews.com. At least one set of photos (Google cache) from the race has been marked private at Flickr.

Best quote against Hamilton's participation:

The organizers of this particular event though did indeed thumb their noses at all of the anti-doping regulations by letting Tyler compete. This whole thing probably would not have happened if they had shown some respect for the anti-doping cause in general.

Apparently, Hamilton and USA Cycling have come to an informal arrangement that Hamilton won't race in unsanctioned events, and USA Cycling will continue to ignore the possible participation of other licensed riders in this and other similar events.

Also:

rec.bicycles.racing | Les Earnest, HELP!

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2006 in Doping, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Milan-San Remo wrapup

PezCycling News | Milano-Sanremo 2006: New Prince Crowned in Primavera!

Pozzato's perfect move
Pozzato's perfect move
AP/Antonio Callani
I just finished watching the OLN coverage of Milan-San Remo. What an awesome race. Filippo Pozzato played it exactly right both strategically and tactically. Reading the live text feeds on the web, I couldn't tell whether the Frank Schleck group with Sanchez and Pozzato got swallowed up or not, and now I see why.

The peloton made contact with the six leaders, who were fighting every inch of the way, so instead of the typically engulfing end to the break, the break members stayed out at the tip of the spear. As Milram tried to set up its finishing sprint, coming around the break remnants, Igor Astarloa (the OLN commentators thought it was Rinaldo Nocentini of Acqua e Sapone) just put the hammer down. Pozzato not only caught him, but came around him, charging super hard, and the gap held up. Astarloa wound up 11th.

If you watched the TV coverage, VeloNews fingers Ivan Gutierrez as the Caisse d'Espargne rider trying to wave off the motorcycles -- he thought they were hovering a little too close to Petacchi's chasers, giving the peloton a bit of a draft.

Petacchi was all class in defeat:

"I was in top form, but I didn't have the luck today," Petacchi said. "You need to have the luck to win Milan-San Remo. Our team rode great today and I wanted to pay back their efforts with a victory. But my compliments go to Pozzato. Quick Step worked the tactics perfectly with Pozzato on the wheel and they left the chase up to us."

Top 10:

1) Filippo Pozzato, Quick Step, in 6:29:41

2) Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, same time

3) Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas, s.t.

4) Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.

5) Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre, s.t.

6) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.

7) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, s.t.

8) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, s.t.

9) Martin Elmiger, Phonak, s.t.

10) Matteo Carrara, Lampre, s.t.

Also:

VeloNews.com | Pozzato outfoxes favorites to win Milan-San Remo

Daily Peloton | 97th Milan-San Remo Rider Comments

rec.bicycles.racing | What's written on Pozzato's right arm?

VeloNews.com | Full Results

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Igor Astarloa, Milan-San Remo 2006, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Graham Watson Milan-San Remo photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Milan-San Remo

Pozzato, Ballan, Astarloa, Schleck, Nocentini and Sanchez Pozzato wins, Boonen celebrates
Pozzato in a late break; Boonen celebrates Pippo's placing
Graham Watson

If you check out the left-hand image above at GrahamWatson.com (just click through), you can see that Sanchez at right isn't too happy with Pozzato disrupting the break's rhythm.

Also:

cyclingnews.com | Milan-San Remo photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2006 in Frank Schleck, Igor Astarloa, Milan-San Remo 2006, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2006

Filippo Pozzato denies the sprinters at Milan-San Remo

Everybody had their eye on Quick Step at Milan-San Remo, with current and former world champions Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini.

But with Bettini still hurting from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico, and Boonen drawing more attention than that Specialized angel at the Tour of California, Quick Step found another way to get the job done.

Filippo Pozzato covered every late break, then attacked in the last kilometer to take the year's first classic.

It's another sign of the changing of the guard in cycling -- Pozzato is 24. He won Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour in a late-stage escape.

Your other heavy pre-race favorite, Pozzato's former teammate Alessandro Petacchi, takes 2nd. Luca Paolini of Liquigas was 3rd, with Boonen 4th.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 18, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Filippo Pozzato, Milan-San Remo 2006, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2006

Milan-San Remo previews

Eurosport | Petacchi declares intent

Boonen (l) and Petacchi
MSR favorites: Boonen and Petacchi
Eurosport.com

Milram's Alessandro Petacchi says he's (duh!) the team's leader for Milan-San Remo tomorrow, and that he's glad to have Quick Step's Tom Boonen as the favorite in the season's first classic.

"It's no secret that Boonen wants to start the classics season with a win at Sanremo. This time, he is obligated to step up to the plate. Him and his [Quick Step] team, of course."

Boonen has said that though he does not like the race, his intention is to win the first, and longest, classic of the season.

"Last year, nobody talked about [Boonen] before the race and all the pressure was on me," Petacchi said. "This year the roles are reversed, and that doesn't bother me."

PezCycling News details the tactical considerations throughout the course, and notes that Boonen and Petacchi are even with oddsmakers at 4-1, with Thor Hushovd 9-1.

VeloNews reminds us that this race isn't always a sprinters' showdown. This year, I think it is, but I suppose we could see a repeat of 2003, with all those sprinter teams waiting for each other to put in an effort to chase down a quality break. I don't think we will, John Wilcockson doesn't think we will, and I'm sure neither Petacchi nor Boonen thinks we will. Wilcockson mentions again that organizers intend to add the Pompeiana to the route (PezCycling offers a report on the climb), between the Cipressa and Poggio, in an effort to eliminate an annual sprint finish.

Cycling4All has the final start list.

Also:

PezCycling News | SanRemo Primer: The Italian Translation

La Gazzetta dello Sport | Official Milano-San Remo site (in Italian)

VeloNews.com | Petacchi, Boonen top faves for MSR

VeloChimp.com | San Remo fever

rec.bicycles.racing | Milano-San Remo predictions

ThePaceline.com (free reg. required) | Discovery Channel Announces Milan-San Remo Squad

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Milan-San Remo 2006, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Tour organizers looking for course marshals

Bike For All | Hurry to get last few TdF marshal places

Bike For All reports 1200 people have already signed up to help with the Tour de France when it visits London and southeastern England in 2007. Organizers plan on using 2000 volunteers to man road crossings, manage crowds, and help out with spectator questions.

Here's the link at tourdefrancelondon.com, which is counting down the seconds (!) until the 2007 Grand Depart.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2006 in Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Danilo Hondo wins legal battle over suspension

cyclingnews.com | Hondo free to race again

Former Gerolsteiner rider Danilo Hondo, has won in civil court what he couldn't in the sports courts: an early end to his suspension.

Hondo was suspended and fired after testing positive for carphedon at the 2005 Vuelta a Murcia. Initially suspended for two years, Hondo's suspension was cut to 1 year in June 2005, then extended to 2 years in January 2006.

Carphedon is the same substance that got Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva stripped of her Olympic silver medal in Turin (oops, Torino).

Hondo says he's been training and is ready to ride.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2006 in Danilo Hondo, Doping | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johan Museeuw to be tried for doping

BBC SPORT | Museeuw set to face drug charges

Former world champion Johan Museeuw will stand trial for his part in a ring alleged to have funneled EPO and other doping substances from a Belgian veterinarian to pro riders.

Museeuw, now working as director of public relations for Quick Step, denies the charges. He was banned for two years by Belgium's cycling federation for his part in the group.

Also among the 11 charged is Mario De Clercq, who has 3 world cross titles.

High-tech angle: Prosecutors claim to have transcripts of text messages back and forth between Museeuw and the vet.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2006 in Doping, Johan Museeuw, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 14, 2006

Classics kick off Saturday with Milan-San Remo

IHT.com | Cycling: Sprinters savor the classics

With Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico out of the way, we can look forward to La Primavera, Milan-San Remo, the first classic of the year, running this Saturday in Italy.

It's the longest of the classics, at more than 180 miles and about 7 hours in the saddle. Last year, Alessandro Petacchi finally took his first win in San Remo, ahead of Danilo Hondo (and whatever became of him?) and Thor Hushovd.

In 2004, Erik Zabel timed his sprint perfectly, and looked to have his 5th Milan-San Remo locked up, only to sit up early and lose to Rabobank's Oscar Freire.

Over at the International Herald Tribune, Samuel Abt handicaps the 2006 edition of the race. The obvious favorites are Petacchi and Tom Boonen, both of whom are winning sprints seemingly at will this year. Both of them have some extra baggage, their teammates Zabel (with Petacchi at Milram) and Paolo Bettini (with Boonen at Quick Step), who won the race in 2003.

Bettini is banged up from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico, but told Eurosport he'll definitely be racing on Saturday:

"I'm going to start the race on Saturday and then worry about getting to San Remo," he added on Tuesday ... "My back and my knee still hurts when I stand on the pedals but I'm optimistic things will improve," he said ... "Unfortunately, Milan-San Remo is the longest race of the season. I just hope my back and knee don't hold me back during the final part of the race."

Boonen toured the race finish Monday. If he could win here, he would be just the 5th man to win the race while world champion. Even so, he's my pick.

Also:

cycling4all.com | Milan-San Remo provisional start list

Milan-San Remo Maps and Profiles

Wikipedia.com | Milan-San Remo

CyclingRevealed | History of San Remo: The Beginning | Coppi's Grand Journey

Posted by Frank Steele on March 14, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Hondo, Erik Zabel, Milan-San Remo 2006, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Armstrong to motorpace the Indy 500

TheIndyChannel.com | Lance Armstrong To Drive Indy 500 Pace Car

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will drive the pace car for the 2006 Indy 500 on May 28.

Chevy will provide the vehicle, widely expected to be a Corvette Z06.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 14, 2006 in Lance Armstrong | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dekker takes Tirreno-Adriatico overall

SI.com | Holland's Dekker wins Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race

Petacchi coming up to speed
Petacchi coming to speed
AP Photo/Sandro Perozzi
Alessandro Petacchi avenged his two recent sprint losses in Tirreno-Adriatico, perfectly timing his finishing kick to nip Robbie McEwen, Paride Grillo, and Thor Hushovd for the Stage 7 win. It was his 3rd stage win of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Thomas Dekker takes the overall, for the biggest victory of his career. Not Thomas Dekker the Jacobean dramatist, nor the 18-year-old TV actor (“7th Heaven”), but the 21-year-old Dutch Rabobank who was 2nd in last year's Criterium International.

Petacchi said this one was especially sweet:

"I wanted this win," Petacchi said after his 166-km stage victory on Tuesday. "I'm feeling good and this win came just at the right time for both me and the team."

"The other day (Saturday) when I lost to (Norway's Thor) Hushovd I was very angry. Today I was more determined, everything went perfectly and my team mates did a great job."

Dekker trails Floyd Landis by only one point in the new ProTour standings, but Landis isn't riding the spring classics, and plans to throttle back soon to build for another peak in July.

Also:

Eurosport | Dekker wins race, Petacchi stage

VeloNews.com | Dekker wraps up title at Tirreno-Adriatico

cycloblog.com | Petacchi scores in T-A, Dekker takes overall glory

Photos:

cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 (also: picture of Discovery's Viatcheslav Ekimov back in the peloton)

Posted by Frank Steele on March 14, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Thomas Dekker, Thor Hushovd, Tirreno-Adriatico '06, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phonak's Urweider suspended for high testosterone

Phonak's Sascha Urweider
Urweider @ '05 Tour de Georgia
Frank Steele

Eurosport | Phonak suspend rider after positive A-test

Phonak has yet another positive doping test on its hands. Switzerland's own Sascha Urweider has given a sample that tested positive for illegal levels of testosterone.

The team, which has lost Santiago Perez, Tyler Hamilton, and Oscar Camenzind to doping suspensions in the last two years, has suspended Urweider until his B sample comes back.

In July 2005, Phonak's Fabrizio Guidi tested positive for EPO, but was cleared by his B sample.

Santos Gonzalez was fired by the team in September 2005 after Phonak tests returned undisclosed inconsistencies. Gonzalez is suing Phonak as a result.

Urweider says a nutritional supplement is probably to blame:

"I got the stuff on the Internet from Germany," Urweider said. "I thought a substance from Germany would surely be okay. If it had been something from the US, I would never have tried it."

Posted by Frank Steele on March 14, 2006 in Doping, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2006

Floyd lands Paris-Nice

VeloNews | Landis triumphs at Paris-Nice

The World's Fastest Mennonite has done it again, adding the Paris-Nice title to his freshly won overall at the Tour of California.

Markus Zberg took the final stage, fighting back to Evgeni Petrov and Alberto Contador after getting dropped, then beating both to the line.

Landis said the victory was a confidence-builder for Phonak, who showed they could defend a leader's jersey, in a race not ideally fit to his strengths:

"It was a difficult race to win because there were no mountaintop finishes and there were no long time trials," Landis said. "In some ways I was lucky. I had a good day on a very difficult stage. At the Tour, you don't get lucky and win. You have to be good every day for three weeks."

 

The next races on Landis' calendar are the Criterium International, the Tour de Georgia, and the Giro d'Italia.

Patxi Vila was 2nd overall, and Antonio Colom, who soloed away from the field late Sunday to move up the leaderboard, took 3rd overall.

Bobby Julich didn't start Sunday's last stage, after crashing on Saturday. Tom Boonen is looking ahead to Milan-San Remo this weekend, and decided a day with 4 categorized climbs might take a little too much out of his legs.

Update: USA Today named Landis its U.S. Olympic Athlete of the Week for the win.

Also:

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 7: A new American hero

Daily Peloton | Paris Nice Final

Phonak Cycling Team | Floyd Landis: “This is my greatest triumph”

Photos:

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 7 photo gallery

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 7 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 13, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Bobby Julich, Paris-Nice '06, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2006

Fat Cyclist offers Tour '06 pre-pre-preview

Fat Cyclist | How to Root for the Right People in the 2006 Tour de France

Fat Cyclist wins our “Earliest Tour preview” sweepstakes with a quick overview of the contenders for the 2006 race.

Like him, I really discount George Hincapie's chances for the overall win, but Hincapie is still talking about the possibility he could lead Discovery for the Tour.

My favorite analysis:

Alejandro Valverde
Alejandro Valverde is an outstanding young rider with incredible potential, and I would strongly recommend rooting for him, except for one thing. His team’s name is “Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears,” for crying out loud. I have no idea how to even pronounce that, and there’s no chance whatsoever that I would successfully spell it. In fact, it is my understanding that everyone on the team is required to wear extra-large jerseys, just to make room for the team logo.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 10, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, George Hincapie, Tour 2006 previews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What, me race? Der Kaiser awaits first 2006 start

Yahoo! Sports | Still no date for Ullrich's season start

While many Tour de France GC hopefuls are racing at Paris-Nice this week, word comes that 1997 winner and 6-time podium finisher Jan Ullrich still hasn't pinned down any race dates for the 2006 season.

Ullrich is training with Rudy Pevanage in Tuscany, and is expected to meet with T-Mobile DS Olaf Ludwig “in the next few days” to lay out a competition plan geared nearly 100 percent on getting Jan another Tour win.

Ullrich is Lance Armstrong's pick to take the overall in the 2006 Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 10, 2006 in Jan Ullrich | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2006

Boonen, Boonen, Boonen while Landis maintains Paris-Nice lead

VeloNews.com | Hat trick for Boonen in Paris-Nice; Floyd on cruise control

CSC's O'Grady broke 5 ribs and his collarbone
Boonen yet again
Graham Watson

Tom Boonen continued his early domination at Paris-Nice, taking his 3rd stage win (out of 4 stages and a prologue).

Boonen survived a late chain skip with about 150 meters to ride to outsprint Allan Davis, who has been second in each of Boonen's Paris-Nice stage wins. Danilo Napolitano was 3rd at the line, but was DQ'ed for squirelly sprinting , elevating Stefan Schumacher into 3rd on the stage.

Said Boonen:

"For sure, things are going fine for us, we're very strong. The problem is that in Milan-San Remo, which is our main goal, we won't be alone in controlling the race as is the case here.

"We'll be the favourite team and everybody will be out to get us. I would say Alessandro Petacchi retains a 60 percent chance to win Milan-San Remo while my chances are 40 percent."

I guess that leaves Paolo Bettini out in the cold.

Phonak's Floyd Landis continues as the race leader, and 7-time Paris-Nice winner Sean Kelly told VeloNews he thinks Landis should take the overall:

"I think he has a good chance of holding on," seven-time Paris-Nice winner Sean Kelly told VeloNews. "The way he's riding, I don't believe anyone can stay with him on the climbs. He shouldn't have any difficulty looking out for himself."

Kelly said the Phonak team will be up for the challenge of supporting Landis, especially with teammate Axel Merckx riding well Wednesday to move into 13th overall at 1:47 back.

"Because there aren't any mountaintop finishes, I think it will be actually easier to control," Kelly said. "What they have to watch out for are riders slipping away early in the stages."

Also:

Eurosport.com | History repeats for Boonen, Davis
cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 4: World champ makes it three
ThePaceline.com (free reg. required) | Paris-Nice Stage 4 Report
procycling.com | Tenth win already for Boonen

Photos:

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 4 photo gallery
GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 4 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 9, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Paris-Nice '06, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bettini again at Tirreno-Adriatico, O'Grady out 4-6 weeks

www.cyclingnews.com | Deja vu for Bettini

Quick Step's triple world champion Paolo Bettini is 2-for-2 at Tirreno-Adriatico, after a 2nd stage win in Frascati on Thursday.

Said Bettini:

CSC's O'Grady broke 5 ribs and his collarbone
O'Grady hurting
Fotoreporter Sirotti/
CyclingNews

"I'm not thinking about the general classification, I'm taking things on a day by day basis. Tomorrow's stage is one that I have already won twice, in 1999 and 2003. We'll have to see if I can make it three."

Bettini closed almost 30 seconds on Daniele Contrini in the last 2 kms, passing him in the last 500 meters and outsprinting Milram's Erik Zabel (again). It was Zabel's 9th 2nd-place on the young season. LPR's Mikhaylo Khalilov was 3rd. That's how the overall shakes out, so far, since both stages had the same 1st and 2nd-place riders.

Stuart O'Grady, now riding for CSC, was victim to a pothole, and broke five ribs and his collarbone.

Overall Standings
1) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, in 8:11:54
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, at :08
3) Mikhaylo Khalilov, LPR, at :16
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, same time
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, and about 50 other riders, at :20

Also:
Eurosport | Bettini does it again
procycling.com | Bettini doubles up at Tirreno

Photos:
cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 9, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Paolo Bettini, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tirreno-Adriatico '06, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2006

Landis dominates Stage 3 to take Paris-Nice lead

VeloNews | Landis seizes lead at Paris-Nice

Landis in yellow with Paris-Nice stage win
Graham Watson
Floyd Landis is in monster shape early this year. He won the inaugural Amgen Tour of California convincingly, and today, he put major time into every overall rival for the overall win at Paris-Nice.

On the day's last climb, Johan Vansummeren and Alberto Martinez were the first to strike. David Moncoutie struggled to bridge, followed by Samuel Sanchez, Frank Schleck, Toni Colom, Landis, and eventual stage-winner Paxti Vila of Lampre. Nearing the summit, Landis turned up the heat, and slowly dropped his break-mates.

On the 18-kilometer descent to St. Etienne, Landis rode like he stole something, with Vila mostly wheelsucking, stretching the pair's lead out to over a minute. At the line, Vila came around for his first pro victory, but Landis was the day's big winner.

Landis on the podium
AP Photo/Patrick Gardin
Some interesting names are lurking 90 or so seconds back, including Haimar Zubeldia, Jose Azevedo and Chris Horner, no mean climbers themselves, as well as Axel Merckx and Erik Dekker.

On the day, Landis lost teammates Robbie Hunter, who left the race with a sinus infection, and Aurelien Clerc, who was outside the time limit. He's got to try to hold on to the jersey with just 5 teammates.

Bobby Julich lost 8:47 on the day, finishing with Andrey Kaschechkin of Liberty Seguros.

Overall Top 10 after Stage 3:
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, in 14:46:28
2) Patxi Vila, Lampre, at 0:09
3) Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:13
4) Antonio Colom, Caisse L'Espargne-Illes Balears, at 1:23
5) Frank Schleck, Team CSC, same time
6) Jose Azevedo, Discovery Channel, at 1:35
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:37
8) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, at 1:39
9) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, same time
10) Jose Luis Rubiera, Discovery Channel, at 1:40

Also:

VeloNews | Complete results
cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 3: Floyd Landis takes lead at crucial point

Photos:

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 3 Photo Gallery
cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 3 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, David Moncoutié, Erik Dekker, Floyd Landis, Paris-Nice '06, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bettini takes 1st stage at Tirreno-Adriatico

ESPN.com | Cycling-Bettini wins first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico

Bettini wins Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Paolo Bettini seized the day, saying he's intent on competing for the overall title at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Bettini outsprinted Erik Zabel, the eternal 2nd, and Thor Hushovd on the slightly uphill finish. Zabel had the leadout services of teammate Alessandro Petacchi, who felt the finish suited Zabel better than himself:

"The only way we could win was to make Quick.Step work because we knew that Paolo (Bettini) was the man to beat. In any case, Erik rode great today. With 1km to go, he was a bit behind and came up fast. Yes, he lost, but he lost to Bettini who is the best in the world for this kind of finish. So I'm willing to do what it takes to help my teammate win."

Bettini has seemingly made a career on finishes too tough for the pure sprinters. He won the overall here in 2004:

"I'm not going to hold back. This year's route is tough. The stage five time trial and the uphill finish at San Giacomo on stage six will decide the race," Bettini said.

"Levi Leipheimer and Stefano Garzelli are the big favourites but I've thrown my hat into the ring and I'm going to give it a go."

Longtime Lance Armstrong nemesis Filippo Simeoni took a very long flyer today, jumping out with only 4 kilometers ridden, being joined soon by two other riders, dangling almost 10 minutes off the front, then being caught with less than 3 kilometers left on the stage.

Also:

Eurosport | Bettini on song, Zabel second
cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1: Bettini is the best

Photos:
cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Tirreno-Adriatico '06, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tour de Georgia routes finalized

Macon Telegraph | Organizers reveal Tour de Georgia details

The Tour de Georgia is just over a month away, and rather than suffering from the addition of the Tour of California to the US racing schedule, my local chance to see the Euro-pros looks to be getting along great.

The Macon Telegraph reports Stage 1 is a near-clone of last year's opener from Augusta to Macon, and that Stage 1 will be accompanied by 2 criteriums (sorry, Latin teachers) in downtown Macon (such as it is).

Also, Discovery Channel has announced that not only will its team be there, with defending TdG champion Tom Danielson, but that they're helping sponsor the race, the first time they have. They'll be spotlighting a presentation called “The Race to Replace,” looking at how the team is trying to fill the void left by Lance Armstrong's retirement.

The Telegraph story says CSC and Phonak will definitely join Discovery on the start line, then lists individual riders they hope to sign, including Liberty Seguros' Alexandre Vinokourov and Quick Step's Tom Boonen.

On to a little wild-eyed speculation:

There is even a chance that Lance Armstrong, who retired after winning his seventh Tour de France last summer, may ride in the event. Chris Aronhalt, spokesman for Tour organizer Medalist Sports, said the Tour's ties to the Georgia Cancer Coalition may lure Armstrong back to the bike.

Here are PDFs with the route for each stage:
Stage 1 - Augusta to Macon
Stage 2 - Fayetteville to Rome
Stage 3 - Chickamauga to Chattanooga, TN
Stage 4 - Dalton to Dahlonega
Stage 5 - Blairsville to Brasstown Bald
Stage 6 - Cumming to Alpharetta

This is a great chance to get up close and personal with many of the world's best riders. Y'all come!

Here are my photo galleries from last year:

Stage 4
Stage 5
Stage 6

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen, Tom Danielson, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Armstrong's lawyer asks court to drop Simeoni lawsuit

Statesman.com | Armstrong's lawyer asks court to drop lawsuit

Lance Armstrong's attorney Tuesday asked an Italian court to drop Filippo Simeoni's defamation case against Armstrong.

This case centers on Armstrong's statement to Le Monde that Simeoni's testimony against Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari couldn't be trusted because, Armstrong claimed, Simeoni is an “absolute liar.”

A related case, looking at Simeoni's claim that Armstrong illegally intimidated him during the 2004 Tour, has already been dropped.

A decision on whether the case continues is expected April 13.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2006 in Lance Armstrong | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006

Boonen wins Stage 1 sprint, takes Paris-Nice lead

VeloNews.com | Boonen outkicks Davis, snatches lead at Paris-Nice

Boonen takes Paris-Nice Stage 1
AP Photo/Patrick Gardin

On the other end of the continent, Northern Europe's fastest man took his 8th win of the season, as Tom Boonen's sprint victory put him in yellow at Paris-Nice. Allan Davis of Liberty Seguros was 2nd, and Saunier Duval's Francisco Ventoso 3rd. Boonen told Eurosport:

"Two weeks ago, when I saw the roadbook, I had [stage one] marked down as one of my main goals," he said after the race. "It was a flat stage which suited me fine even though the conditions made it very hard. "It was cold, it rained and I'm all the happier to have been able to win in such conditions."

Prologue victor Bobby Julich dropped to 2nd overall, as Boonen's time bonus catapulted him into the race lead. CSC's David Zabriskie spent some time in the race lead, as he took an early flyer for almost 25 miles. Discovery's Jason McCartney dropped out, with the Team Disco website reporting he's sick from the intercontinental travel. Top 10 (General Classification): 1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep 2) Bobby Julich, CSC, at :07 3) Andrey Kashechkin, Liberty Seguros, at :08 4) Bradley McGee Francaise des Jeux at :09 5) Alberto Contador, Liberty Seguros, at :10 6) Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :10 7) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, at :12 8) Benoît Vaugrenard, Francaise des Jeux, at :12 9) Gert Steegmans, Davitamon-Lotto, at :14 10) Rik Verbrugghe, Cofidis. at :14 Also: DailyPeloton.com | Paris Nice Stage 1 Photos: GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 1

Posted by Frank Steele on March 6, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Andrey Kashechkin, Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Bradley Wiggins, Dave Zabriskie, Paris-Nice '06, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TDFBlog featured in new business blogging title

Publish and Prosper | Blogging for Your Business

DL Byron, one of the co-founders of the Blog Business Summit, has used this site as an example at the Summit.

Now, he and his co-organizers are wrapping up a book for Peachpit Press laying out what they've learned building blogs with and for Boeing, Clip-n-Seal, and Connexion, and from hosting their conferences.

If you're looking for more hands-on advice on starting and running a business blog, there's a pre-publication deal where you can get the book for 35% off with free shipping by ordering through the web and using the promotion code: PP-234P-LKMS.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 6, 2006 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Petacchi takes Tour of Lucca

Yahoo! Sport UK | Petacchi beats Zabel at Tour of Lucca

Southern Europe's fastest man took the win at the Tour of Lucca today. Alessandro Petacchi led Claudio Corioni over the line, followed closely by Petacchi's new super-leadout with Italy's Milram, former T-Mobile sprinter Erik Zabel.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 6, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2006

Julich takes Paris-Nice prologue

CNN.com | Julich starts defense with victory

Julich @ Paris-Nice prologue
AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

Bobby Julich kicked off the ProTour calendar with a victory, taking the prologue at Paris-Nice on Sunday. Julich won the overall there in 2005, but says that's not a goal for him this year. Julich slipped ahead of Andrey Kashechkin of Liberty Seguros by 1 second, with FDJeux's Brad McGee at 2 seconds. The course is supposed to be very tactical this year, so look out for world champion Tom Boonen, who came 5th in the prologue, only 3 seconds back.

Julich said he's not defending his title:

"I didn't make Paris-Nice one of my objectives this year but in the warm-up of the prologue I felt good and realized I had a chance of doing something," he said. "At 34 you can't go chasing every race. This year I've agreed with team manager Bjarne Riis that my priorities will be the Giro d'Italia and supporting Ivan Basso at the Tour de France."

It's also CSC's first victory of the season.

Top 5:

1) Bobby Julich, CSC, 6:07
2) Andrey Kashechkin, Liberty Seguros, at :01
3) Bradley McGee, FDJeux, at :02
4) Alberto Contador, Liberty Seguros, at :03
5) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, at :03

Also:

Eurosport | Julich signals intent with prologue win

VeloNews | Julich takes Paris-Nice prologue

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice: Prologue

Photos:

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice prologue photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice prologue

Posted by Frank Steele on March 5, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Andrey Kashechkin, Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Paris-Nice '06, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack