August 29, 2008

Stars and Stripes on offer this weekend in Greenville

Zabriskie hammersThe 2008 US Pro Cycling championships are this weekend in Greenville, and organizers have made a few changes I think will improve the fan experience. I've been to each of the Greenville championships, and had a great time at each -- if you're in the Southeast or mid-Atlantic, you should definitely consider the drive.

In 2005, the time trial championship (Dave Zabriskie's first title) was run on Friday, with the road race on Sunday. This had the advantage of a rest day between hard efforts for the riders, but the Friday TT drew crowds on par with a neighborhood swim meet.

Last year, organizers switched to a Saturday/Sunday alignment, which is probably best for fans (I might argue for Saturday/Monday, which would fill more Greenville hotel rooms and give riders trying to double a rest day). The TT course was a modified point-to-point, so there were only a few points on the course where you could see riders more than once. Additionally, access to the finish line was somewhat controlled by the community that hosted the finish, which ran satellite parking with shuttle buses to the finish.

This year, time trial action moves to Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research, where the 20.7-mile course is 3 laps of 6.9 miles. Because of looping and turnarounds, there will be spots on the course where you'll be able to see each rider 6 times, and parking and course access are reportedly far more open.

For Sunday's road race, organizers didn't monkey much with a successful formula, again bridging early and late laps of downtown Greenville with 4 longer loops that include the race-making climb of Paris Mountain.

Shirley, Leipheimer, HincapieUnfortunately, defending US champ Levi Leipheimer (left, with '07 2nd place Hincapie and 3rd place Neil Shirley) will be across the pond, racing in the Vuelta with Astana. Almost all the other usual suspects are penciled in: Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Fred Rodriguez, Tyler Hamilton, Tom Danielson, Danny Pate, and more, more, more. Two notable exceptions are Chris Horner and Bobby Julich.

I'll be there, as will Byron from Bike Hugger, Briggs from Euro Peloton and James from Bicycle Design. We're planning a meetup at Barley's Taproom Saturday at 5.

Look for live-blogging here and on Twitter, and for photos through the weekend in my Flickr photostream.

Also: | US Pro start lists

Time Trial course map (PDF version) | Road Race course map(PDF version)

Podium Cafe | Preview: USA Cycling Pro Championship

The PdC preview is intensely entertaining -- don't miss it.

podium in sight | US Pro Preview

Posted by Frank Steele on August 29, 2008 in 2008 USA Cycling Pro Championships, Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

Where are they from?

I always review the nationalities breakdown for the Tour, with a special eye toward the English-speaking countries. Here's last year's, for comparison.

George Hincapie, Team Columbia
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
Will Frischkorn, Garmin-Chipotle
Danny Pate, Garmin-Chipotle

This is the least in years, with Freddie Rodriguez riding in the U.S., Bobby Julich not selected, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer barred with Astana, and David Zabriskie nursing a back injury.

Baden Cooke, Barloworld
Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto
Simon Gerrans, Credit Agricole
Adam Hansen, Team Columbia
Brett Lancaster, Milram
Trent Lowe, Garmin-Chipotle
Robbie McEwen, Silence-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, CSC-Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, Credit Agricole

Baden Cooke is back; Adam Hansen, Trent Lowe, and Mark Renshaw are new, and Michael Rogers is out.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia
Christopher Froome, Barloworld
David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle

Out are Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Charlie Wegelius. I've got Christopher Froome as being from Kenya, which isn't in the list below. Put him there, and Great Britain drops to just a pair.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle

As last year.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld
John-Lee Augustyn, Barloworld

Adds Augustyn.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Chipotle

First Canuck since 1997. Maybe Michael Barry will join him one year.

Here's the official breakdown, according to the Tour website:

40: France (2007 count in parentheses: 35)
30: Spain (42)
21: Italy (18)
16: Germany (19)
12: Belgium (13)
10: The Netherlands (7)
9: Australia (6)
4: USA (6), Russia (6) and Switzerland (5)
3: Colombia (3), Great Britain (5) and Luxembourg (2)
2: South Africa (1), Austria (3), Belarus (2), Norway (2), Sweden (1) and Ukraine (2)
1: Brazil (1), Canada (0), Denmark (1), Kazakhstan (4), New Zealand (1), Poland (0), Czech Republic (0), Slovakia (0) and Slovenia (1)

Spanish representation drops from 42 riders last year to 30 this year, with France jumping from 35 to 40.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2008 in About the Tour, Baden Cooke, Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Will Frischkorn | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 21, 2008

Dominguez draws first blood in Georgia

Ivan Dominguez - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Toyota-United's Ivan Dominguez took a smart victory in the first stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia Monday.

While Rock Racing (with Freddie Rodriguez), High Road (with Greg Henderson), and Gerolsteiner (with Robert Förster) jockeyed for position at the front of the field, Dominguez found a good wheel, and just flat outsprinted the field.

Jelly Belly's Nicholas Sanderson was 2nd and Förster 3rd, with essentially all riders finishing in the same time.

Stage 1 Top 10:
1) Ivan Dominguez (Cuba), Toyota-United, 2:30:18
2) Nicholas Sanderson (Australia), Jelly Belly, same time, U25
3) Robert Förster (Germany), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
4) Richard England (Australia), Bissell Pro Cycling, s.t.
5) Sergey Kudentsov (Russia), Marco Polo, s.t.
6) Danilo Wyss (Switzerland), BMC, s.t., U25
7) Bradley Mcgee (Australia), CSC, s.t.
8) Greg Henderson (New Zealand), Team High Road, s.t.
9) Aaron Kemps (Australia), Astana, s.t.
10) Karl Menzies (Australia), Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.
U25 - qualifies for young rider leader's jersey.

Looks more like the Tour Down Under standings, with 5 Aussies in the top 10 and Greg Henderson from New Zealand. The best placed US rider was BMC's Taylor Tolleson, 13th, with Chris Horner 18th. It appears neither Freddie Rodriguez nor JJ Haedo were their team's featured sprinters today: Sevilla in 14th was the best placed Rock Racing rider (Rodriguez in 54th), and McGee led CSC in 7th with Haedo back in 75th.

For more details, check out my Tour de Georgia weblog.


VeloNews | Complete Results

spare cycles | Dominguez takes Stage 1 | photo gallery

VeloNews | Dominguez bike details

Dominguez rides a Fuji TT frame in road stages, which is heavier but stiffer and more aero than their road frame, mated to a road fork.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 21, 2008 in Bradley McGee, Fred Rodriguez, Top Stories, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2007

Leipheimer rides away with US road championship

Disco sign-inLevi Leipheimer took his first US national championship on Sunday, riding away from the elite field and soloing in from 23 miles out.

Leipheimer said the win put the cherry on top of the cherry on top of the sundae that's been his 2007 season, which started with his win at the Tour of California, included road and TT stage wins at the Tour de Georgia, and a stage win and podium placing at the Tour de France, as well as wins at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia and the overall Tour de France title for Leipheimer's Discovery Channel team, which is disbanding after this season.

Leipheimer and HamiltonLeipheimer has yet to announce his 2008 plans, but at 34, another go at an overall Tour de France title doesn't seem out of the question.

Leipheimer looked to be the dominant rider in the 2006 US championships, as well, but worked for hometown hero George Hincapie. This year, the two reversed places, with Hincapie covering attacks and finishing 2nd. Jittery Joe's rider Neil Shirley distanced Freddie Rodriguez in the last kilometer to take 3rd.

Leipheimer in the select groupDiscovery Channel brought twice as many riders as last year, and John Devine and Tony Cruz were at the front of the peloton for most of the day. Where the ProTour riders appeared to nail last year's pace from the start, this year, the domestic teams made early attacks, with BMC, HealthNet, Slipstream, and populating the first breakaway of 7 riders.

Leipheimer attacked on the 3rd of four long laps that included the climb of Paris Mountain. He and Chris Baldwin swept up remnants of the early break by BMC's Jackson Stewart, Slipstream's Pat McCarty, and HealthNet's Doug Ollerenshaw, with Slipstream's Ian McGregor and William Frischkorn, HealthNet's Roman Kilun, and's Daniel Ramsay close behind.

Leipheimer aloneComing to the base of Paris Mountain for the final time, Leipheimer was with a small group with a healthy but not unassailable gap. On the last climb, he changed that (from

The rest of the remaining 30 or so riders in the race could only pick their jaws up off the ground as Levi put on a time trial clinic. “Levi was just... what can you say, he was third in the Tour and probably should have won it,” said former USPRO champ Chris Wherry (Toyota-United). “He is incredible and just rode away from everyone; there were no tactics he was just the strongest one. He went up the climb with two to go and just kept going, it was unbelievable.”

Shirley, Leipheimer, HincapieOn the one hand, Leipheimer was clearly very strong. On the other, 23 miles is a long way to cover with some of the world's best riders trying to reel you in.

But Leipheimer's gap hovered out beyond a minute all the way to the end, with Hincapie coming in at 1:11.

Neil Shirley, whipped but happyTop 10:
1) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, in 4:22:19
2) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 1:11
3) Neil Shirley, Jittery Joe's, at 1:14
4) Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto, at 1:18
5) Danny Pate, Team Slipstream-Chipotle, at 1:29
6) Shawn Milne, HealthNet-Maxxis, at 1:56
7) Kirk O'Bee, HealthNet-Maxxis, at 2:00
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, at 2:00
9) Christopher Jones, Nerac, at 2:00
10) Burke Swindlehurst, Toyota-United, at 2:04

Tyler Hamilton was 12th at 2:11.

Click through any photos for larger versions, or go straight to my Flickr photoset.

Complete results

My Flickr set from the road race (80 photos) | Flickr pool - if you've got pictures you want to add, let me know | Leipheimer rides alone to national title | Photo gallery | 2007 USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship | Ben Ross photo gallery | Leipheimer wins U.S. pro road crown | Casey Gibson photo gallery (by the way, here's Casey shooting the rest of us shooting the riders)

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2007

Rodriguez blames Stage 11 crash on poor Tour planning | Tour de France: Fast Freddie Rodriguez: Stage 11...Where Do I Start?

Freddie RodriguezThree-time US champion Freddie Rodriguez has been vocal about his concerns that Tour organizers should give more weight to rider safety when choosing the finish line of Tour stages.

Rodriguez says the crash that took him out of Stage 11, along with Tom Boonen, Francisco Ventoso (still hurting), Julian Dean, and Fränk Schleck, was clearly the planners' fault:

Once again, they’ve proven to have little respect for the rider’s health in this race. As a pro for over 10 years, I just don't get their ignorance in thinking that the peloton, coming in at 65 km/hr, was going to make it in one piece through an S-turn like that. I would have bet money that a crash would have happened in that corner.

What the organizers keep forgetting is that we have no idea how dangerous the road is ahead at many points. We again put our lives in their hands, and again they have let us down. I guess the saddest part is that I have been trying to be vocal about their mistakes, but they seem to just choose to ignore.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2007 in About the Tour, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Julian Dean, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 19, 2007

Stage 11: At last, Robbie Hunter

Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took advantage of a late-stage crash to win his first Tour stage in his 6th career Tour appearance. It's the first Tour stage by a South African, or any African.

Hunter had been following Tom Boonen in the last kilometers, but went to the front in time to miss a crash that took out Boonen, Credit Agricole's Julian Dean, Predictor-Lotto's Fred Rodriguez, and others. Hunter then outcornered two Liquigas riders on the right-hander with 500 meters to ride. From there, he kicked all the way to the line, and Murilo Fischer and Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas and Fabian Cancellara of CSC couldn't close him down.

The biggest action of the day was an all-out assault by Astana, who set a blistering pace in a stiff wind that split the field, with AG2R's Christophe Moreau, Erik Zabel, and Thor Hushovd among the riders caught behind the gap. Astana did most of the work to grow the gap, and Moreau crossed the line 3:20 behind Hunter. Astana's attack helped push the average speed for the stage to 48.061 kms/h (29.86 mph), the fastest of this year's Tour.

Hunter now trails Boonen by 11 points in the green jersey competition, 5 points ahead of Erik Zabel.

Two riders pulled out during the stage: Sylvain Calzati of AG2R and Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Stage Top 10:
1) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
2) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, same time
3) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil, s.t.
4) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
7) Claudio Corioni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
8) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, Belgium, s.t.
9) William Bonney, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, s.t.

GC Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 53:11:38
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 3:08
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 3:39
7) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 3:50
8) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 3:53
9) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 5:06
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:20
11) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 5:34
12) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, @ 5:56
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 6:36
14) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ 6:38
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, @ 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 7:10
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 8:05
20) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 8:16

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in 2007 Stage 11, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Iban Mayo, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie Hunter, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007

Stage 2 photo galleries

Stage 2's breakaway Boonen and Steegmans Vaitkus struggles to the line
The day's breakaway, Boonen and Steegmans at the line, and Vaitkus struggles to the finish, by Graham Watson, from his Stage 2 gallery.

Fred Rodriguez Boonen takes over green jersey
Fred Rodriguez and Tom Boonen, by Sirotti, from's Stage 2 Gallery.


VeloNews | The Tour comes to Ghent - A Casey Gibson Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2007 in 2007 Tour de France photo galleries, Fred Rodriguez, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Stage 2 crash roundup

Rodriguez checked after Stage 2 crash

Fabian Cancellara: The Guardian says it's a minor wrist injury for Cancellara, but that Lampre's sprint threat, Daniele Bennati was taken to the hospital and will have his hip scanned.

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and Tomas Vaitkus were also in the thick of the crash. Cathy Mehl reports at that Hincapie appears OK and Vaitkus is being checked for a possible broken thumb. Update: Vaitkus “suffered unstable fractures of the right thumb,” and “will undergo surgery this evening and will not start TDF Stage 3.”

T-Mobile team reports that Mark Cavendish “was thrown head-long into the barriers where he lay for some minutes on the tarmac.” Cavendish suffered mostly bruises and is expected to continue in the race.

I still haven't seen anything on Fred Rodriguez, other than Richard Martin's AP photo at right. reports that Chris Horner had a front-row seat for the crash:

"Everybody went down, Thor (Hushovd) went down, (Fabian) Cancellara down, (Francisco) Ventoso went down, two guys from my team -- Leif (Hoste) and Freddy Rodriguez -- both crashed," Horner said. "I was behind it ... I started backing off."

Eurosport notes:

“Given the size of the crash and the speed of the pack when it took place, it would be a surprise if all 188 riders who started the stage will be ready to resume on Tuesday morning.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in 2007 Stage 2, Chris Horner, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish | Permalink | Comments (7)

July 06, 2007

Rider numbers, Prologue start times assigned | Tour de France start list

Rider numbers are out. As expected, Pereiro has the lowest number in the Tour, but at 11, since Tour organizers chose to skip the coveted number 1. Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne squad is number 11-19; followed by T-Mobile with Michael Rogers at 21; CSC with Sastre at 31; Predictor-Lotto with Evans at 41; Rabobank's Menchov at Phil Liggett's favorite, number 51; AG2R with Moreau at 61; Zubeldia leading Euskaltel-Euskadi in 71; Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer in 111; Tour favorite Alexandre Vinokourov wears 191 for Astana; and David Millar in 201 for Saunier Duval-Prodir.

Other Americans: George Hincapie wears 114; Dave Zabriskie 39; Christian Vande Velde 37; Chris Horner 44; and Fred Rodriguez 47.

Prologue start times for tomorrow are apparently available, but I can't find a complete listing yet; links welcome.

VeloNews notes that:

Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) is the first American out of the gate at 3:38 p.m. in 39th position.

Other Americans include:
• 61. Dave Zabriskie (CSC), 4 p.m.
• 102. Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto), 4:41 p.m.
• 103. Christian Vande Velde (CSC), 4:42 p.m.
• 158. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), 5:37 p.m.
• 179. Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), 5:58 p.m.

Those are London times, so that's 10:38 a.m. Eastern for Horner and 12:58 p.m. Eastern for Leipheimer. Looks like Versus will be live for all of them.

Zabriskie's early start time suggests he's not looking for a prologue victory to match his win in 2005, which put him in the yellow jersey. If he were, team management would let him start later, when he would have time splits from many of his competitors. said Zabriskie confirmed that he “only has one task at this year's Tour: to be a mountain domestique for Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre.”


VeloNews | Pereiro will start with bib No. 11

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Horner, Rodriguez both in: Predictor-Lotto finalized

Professional Cycling Team Predictor-Lotto | Final selection Tour de France

Predictor-Lotto brings a lot of different tools to the Tour this year. Robbie McEwen is looking for a 4th green jersey, while Cadel Evans looks to improve on his overall 5th place from last year.

Predictor-Lotto also ties with Discovery Channel and CSC for the most Americans on a single team, with McEwen setup man Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner.

    Predictor-Lotto 2007 Tour de France roster
  • Mario Aerts (Belgium)
  • Dario Cioni (Italy)
  • Cadel Evans (Australia)
  • Chris Horner (USA)
  • Leif Hoste (Belgium)
  • Robbie McEwen (Australia)
  • Fred Rodriguez (USA)
  • Wim Vansevenant (Belgium)
  • Johan Vansummeren (Belgium)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

2007 Tour de Georgia teams announced

Rome News - Tribune | Top cycling teams to compete in Tour de Georgia

Tyler Hamilton and his Tinkoff Credit System team and David Millar of Prodir-Saunier Duval are two new additions likely to ride in this year's Tour de Georgia. Rider lists aren't confirmed, but it looks like Leipheimer, Hincapie, and Danielson highlight Discovery Channel; Chris Horner, Cadel Evans, and maybe Freddy Rodriguez for Predictor-Lotto; and Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Juan José Haedo for CSC.

This is a great chance for East Coast fans to see ProTour teams compete, and a great chance for US racers to make a splash against Euro-quality talent.

Among ProTour teams:

• Team CSC
• Discovery Channel
• Quick Step-Innergetic
• Predictor-Lotto
• Prodir-Saunier Duval (which races in Europe as Saunier Duval-Prodir)

Three familiar Pro Continental squads are joined by Hamilton's Tinkoff Credit System:

• Health Net presented by Maxxis
• Team Slipstream presented by Chipotle
• Navigators Insurance
• Tinkoff Credit System

Five US Continental squads:

• Jittery Joe's
• Priority Health presented by Bissell
• Toyota-United
• Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light

And, of course, the USA Cycling National Development Team.

More at my Tour de Georgia weblog.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2007

Germans invade Italy: Schumacher, Klöden lead Tirreno-Adriatico

Eurosport | Schumacher takes lead

Stefan Schumacher, better known as a classics rider, took over the race lead at Tirreno-Adriatico Sunday with a strong time trial.

Gerolsteiner's Schumacher rode the 20.5-kilometer (12.7-mile) course in 27:08, one second faster than Astana's Andreas Klöden and six seconds ahead of T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen. It was a great day for former T-Mobiles: Schumacher, Klöden, and 4th-place Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov all have ridden for the team.

Schumacher takes the overall race lead, 3 seconds up on Klöden, and 11 ahead of Vinokourov.

Riccardo Riccò, who won both Stage 3 on Friday and Stage 4 Saturday, was well off the pace Sunday, clocking a 29:14 that dropped him back to 17th on GC.

Tinkoff's Tyler Hamilton, still reportedly suffering from the flu, finished in 148th on the day, at 4:38. Other Americans: Jason McCartney, 34th at 1:41; Freddie Rodriguez, 142nd at 4:25.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 19, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Fred Rodriguez, Stefan Schumacher, Tirreno-Adriatico 2007, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Tour of California rosters released

Amgen Tour of California | 2007 Rider Roster Announced

I am going to hate missing the Tour of California. With the obvious exception of Floyd Landis, fans will get to see pretty much every American racing in the ProTour, and many of the world's best riders will be racing in the US for the first time.

The race, kicking off Sunday, will feature the winners of 4 stages and the prologue of the 2006 Tour de France: Thor Hushovd, who took the prologue and Stage 21, CSC's Jens Voigt, Stage 13, Michael (Spider) Rasmussen, who dominated the Alpine climbs and won Stage 16 and the king of the mountains, and Matteo Tosatto, who won Stage 18.

You want Americans? They got 'em: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, and Jason McCartney from Discovery Channel; Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Christian Vandevelde from Team CSC; Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner from Predictor-Lotto; Aaron Olson, now with T-Mobile; and of course the US-based Pro Continental and Continental teams, mostly populated by US riders.

You want ProTour royalty? They got 'em: World champion Paolo Bettini, world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara, reigning Giro champion Ivan Basso, and former world TT champion Michael Rogers.

There are also lots of old faces on new teams, as with Michael Barry, Greg Henderson and Jakob Piil, all now with T-Mobile, Juan-José Haedo, dominant in US sprints last year, and now racing for CSC, and Henk Vogels, now racing for the Continental Toyota-United squad.

Also, injured Credit Agricole rider Saul Raisin, whose recovery continues, plans to ride each stage noncompetitively and visit with fans at the start and finish. He's also promoting a ride March 31st in Dalton, Ga. called Raisin Hope.

Should be a heck of a race.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 14, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Igor Astarloa, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Saul Raisin, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 09, 2006

Cycling gets a urine-testing team sponsor

Davitamon-Lotto | Omega Pharma to repeat Davitamon sponsoring success with Predictor

Robbie McEwen is set to race in pink next season, but he's not changing teams.

The primary sponsor of Robbie McEwen's Davitamon-Lotto team is Omega Pharma. Satisfied with the boost their Davitamon supplement brand has gotten from the company's sponsorship, they're moving along to another company product, the Predictor early pregnancy test (and other home health tests).

The new jerseys aren't available yet, but the team will be called "Predictor-Lotto." If only they could help me predict the lotto...

Posted by Frank Steele on November 9, 2006 in Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2006

US world championship squad announced | Elite team for road worlds announced

Six ProTour riders and 3 domestic pros will make up the US squad for the world championships in Salzburg, Austria from September 19-24th.

    2006 US worlds road-race team:
  • Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Freddy Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Christian Vande Velde, CSC
  • Tyler Farrar, Cofidis
  • Patrick McCarty, Phonak
  • Guido Trenti, QuickStep
  • Jackson Stewart, Nevada
  • Danny Pate, TIAA-CREF
  • Chris Baldwin, Toyota-United
    Time trial:
  • Dave Zabriskie, CSC
  • Chris Baldwin, Toyota-United

I'm having trouble parsing this paragraph:

All UCI ProTour riders were automatic selections to the team by virtue of their spots on UCI ProTour teams. Stewart was an automatic selection as the highest-ranked American in the UCI America Tour standings. Baldwin was the sole discretionary selection for both the road race and time trial.

I assume that Hincapie or Leipheimer would have bumped any of the other ProTour riders, based on their placings at the pro championships last weekend, and would have bumped the domestic riders “by virtue of their spots on UCI ProTour teams.”

As usual, one of the team's riders hasn't been to the US since childhood: QuickStep's AmerItalian, Guido Trenti.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 11, 2006 in Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

USPRO rider list appearing

USA Cycling Championships | Top Pro Riders Set for Championships

Zabriskie at Tour de GeorgiaRiders are beginning to confirm their participation (or non-participation) in next week's USPRO championships, in Greenville, SC.

George Hincapie, who looks likely to be coming off a win at the Tour of Benelux, depending on today's stage, is confirmed for Discovery Channel, and he'll be riding with Viatcheslav Ekimov as his sporting director. Also racing for the Discos will be Jason McCartney. Tom Danielson will be chasing a Vuelta title in Spain.

David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde will fly the flag for CSC, but Bobby Julich, who dropped out of the Tour of Benelux this week complaining of fatigue, will not race. Zabriskie has to be a favorite in the Friday time trial championship.

Levi Leipheimer will also race, as he winds down his tenure with Gerolsteiner before joining Discovery Channel next season.

Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner will both be in Europe. Other US pros to watch include defending road champion Chris Wherry of Toyota-United, and double TT champion Chris Baldwin (also of Toyota-United).

It's a home game for Hincapie and for TIAA-CREF's Craig Lewis, the reigning under-23 road race and criterium champion. Both live and train in Greenville.

I'll be there for one or both days, and hope to get lots of pictures.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 23, 2006 in Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

Hincapie TTs to Benelux lead

VeloNews | Hincapie takes lead in Benelux tour

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie broke his string of 2nd-place time trial finishes with a big win in Landgraaf.

Over a short but technical 16.1-kilometer course, Hincapie was .21 seconds faster than 21-year-old Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, and almost 7 seconds faster than Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher.

Hincapie takes over the Tour of Benelux lead from world champion Tom Boonen, who won the Tour's 1st and 3rd stages but finished 63rd on Sunday, 1:27 behind Hincapie. Schumacher moves into 2nd, at :03, and Nibali sits 3rd at :11.

Fast Freddie Rodriguez didn't take the day's start, joining defending champion Bobby Julich, who dropped out before Saturday's start, because he's “completely worn out both physically and mentally.”


CyclingNews wrapup | Results | Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on August 21, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Schumacher takes Benelux prologue

Eurosport | Schu takes prologue victory

Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher took the prologue of the 2nd Annual Eneco Tour of Benelux today.

Schumacher takes Benelux prologueSchumacher, who won an exciting stage of the Giro and wore its leader's jersey back in May, edged George “I can finish 2nd in any prologue, anywhere” Hincapie with a 7:00.78 time on the 5.8-kilometer course. Rabobank's Joost Posthuma was 3rd on the day. Hincapie also finished 2nd in prologues at the Tour de France and the Dauphiné Libéré this season.

Schumacher, who notched the 5th win of his first ProTour season, told the BBC he's chasing the overall win:

“It's great to beat several time-trial specialists, but I'm not surprised - I'm in good form and will do my best to win overall.”

CSC's Bobby Julich is the defending champ, and he finished 15th on the day, 11.42 seconds back. Other Americans were Jason McCartney, 11th at 8.82, Saunier Duval's Aaron Olson, 45th at 17.59, and Freddie Rodriguez, back in action in 85th at 23.91.

Is it just me, or does the photo with this story at Eurosport make Schumacher look like a Star Trek alien?

Also: | Eneco Tour of Benelux prologue photo gallery | Results

Posted by Frank Steele on August 16, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

O'Grady doubtful for Stage 4

VeloNews | O'Grady doubtful after crash

Team CSC has suffered another blow, as Australian sprint specialist Stuart O'Grady may exit the Tour tomorrow. O'Grady finished the day's stage more than 11 minutes down, then was taken to a hospital where doctors diagnosed a fractured vertebra. CSC, already down a rider with the withdrawal of team leader Ivan Basso, will wait until Wednesday morning to decide whether O'Grady can ride Stage 4. reports that American Chris Horner believed he had broken his hand during today's stage, but X-rays were negative, and Horner should start tomorrow.

CyclingNews also notes that Horner's teammate Fred Rodriguez suffered a concussion, and that Erik Dekker of Rabobank suffered both a concussion and “serious facial injuries: abrasions, facial trauma, a contusion, a ripped upper lip, as well as a couple of broken teeth. He was kept unconscious on Tuesday night so that his face could be cleaned.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Chris Horner, Erik Dekker, Fred Rodriguez, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Valverde, Rodriguez, Dekker out of Tour

Fast Freddie
Fast Freddie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Fast Freddie Rodriguez of Davitamon-Lotto, a 3-time U.S. champion, and Erik Dekker, a 4-time Tour stage winner (including 3 in the 2000 Tour alone), have abandoned the race after an accident on today's 3rd stage.

In a later accident, race favorite Alejandro Valverde of Caisse d'Epargne broke his right collarbone, and was taken away in an ambulance.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Erik Dekker, Fred Rodriguez, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 3 on the road

Jerome Pineau of Bouygues Telecom, former yellow jersey Jens Voigt of CSC, Unai Etxebarria of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Christophe Laurent of Agritubel, and José Luis Arrieta of AG2R are about 4:30 off the front. Voigt is one of the riders being tracked on the Ubilabs Google Maps mashup. Pineau has taken max climber's points over the first climb, while Voigt went hard to take the 6 seconds (and 6 points) at the first two sprint lines.

At the day's second climb, a 3rd Category, Pineau again took max points, ahead of Etxebarria, Laurent, and Voigt.

Fast Freddie Rodriguez was involved in a crash, apparently with Rabobank's Erik Dekker. Doctors were looking at Rodriguez' right collarbone, and Dekker had facial injuries. Both have been taken away by ambulance, and are both out of this year's Tour. Rodriguez was Robbie McEwen's leadout man, although McEwen seems just as likely to use another sprinter for that. Dekker was probably in his final Tour at 35.

The day's last intermediate sprint went to Arrieta ahead of Voigt and Laurent. That means Boonen's only chance to move up to the yellow jersey is to make 5 seconds on a finish line bonus. First takes 20 seconds, second takes 12, and third is 8 seconds. Backstedt and Pozzatto have both been at the back of the pack today. I was hoping Backstedt was taking it easy yesterday in preparation for an effort today, but it may be he's not in good Tour shape.

Gap is down to less than 2 minutes, but Jerome Pineau led the break over the day's 4th climb, so he's currently leading the King of the Mountains competition, with a 3rd Category and 4th Category climb to go.

With less than 20 kilometers to go, it's down to 1:20, and the breakaway is splitting. Laurent was first to attack; Arrieta bridged, and Voigt finally came across. Etxebarria and Pineau have fallen off the back.

There's a big crash in the peloton. Alejandro Valverde has hit the pavement! He's sitting on the roadside in obvious pain. Again, they're looking at his right collarbone. He was the oddsmakers favorite to take the Tour, and a smart pick for today's stage as well. They've brought a stretcher and Valverde, one of the sport's rising superstars, is out of the Tour in Stage 3.

Meanwhile, Arrieta has attacked out of the leading group of 3. He leads over the day's 5th climb, 10 seconds up on Agritubel's Christophe Laurent and 15 seconds on Voigt. Etxebarria and Pineau are in no-man's land with the peloton at 1:15 behind Arrieta.

The Tour website reports that Stuart O'Grady has been involved in yet another accident, but the OLN broadcasters haven't mentioned it.

Laurent is caught, Voigt is caught, and only Arrieta is still up the road. Boonen is just off the front of the pack, Michael Boogerd is right there, and the gap is down to 49 seconds with 5 kilometers to ride. O'Grady is off the back, so it looks like he was caught in an accident, but he's back on the bike.

Arrieta is rocking as the peloton closes him down. Arrieta has 14 seconds in hand. He's onto the Cauberg, and a Credit Agricole rider has tried to bridge. Oscar Friere, Michael Boogerd, Philippe Gilbert, and Tom Boonen (all Benelux riders or on Benelux teams) are killing themselves up the Cauberg as they capture Arrieta. Sandy Casar has punctured on the Cauberg. The Française des Jeux leader will lose a minute or more on the day.

T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler attacks out of the local boys! He takes the points over the top of the Cauberg, ahead of Sebastian Joly and Michael Boogerd. After getting caught with 50 meters yesterday, he's attacked with 2 kilometers to ride today. At the 1 kilometer mark he's got a few seconds in hand, and the Cauberg has broken up the leadout trains. This one may work.

Kessler is going hard all the way to the line, and he's got the win for T-Mobile. The select group that survived over the Cauberg is coming just behind, and there's another T-Mobile rider who takes the sprint. It's Australia's world TT champion, Michael Rogers, just ahead of Daniele Bennati of Lampre.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Erik Dekker, Fred Rodriguez, Jens Voigt, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

Hushovd takes 2006 Tour prologue

Thor Hushovd will wear yellow for at least a couple of days, after an astounding ride at the Tour prologue in Strasbourg.

Hushovd is an annual combatant in the sprinter's jersey competition, which he won last year, but is more a pure power rider than some of the other sprinters (Robbie McEwen, I'm looking at you). He should be able to stay close enough to the sprinters over the next few stages to hold the overall race lead.

He edged out Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and CSC's Dave Zabriskie, with Sebastian Lang 4th and Spain's Alejandro Valverde 5th.

Phonak's Floyd Landis missed his start time, and lost nearly 10 seconds before his Tour even started. His 9th place at 8:26.26 would certainly have bettered Zabriskie, and would have rivalled Hincapie and Hushovd if he had ridden the same ride with an on-time start. OLN reports Landis had a flat tire as he came to the start.

David Millar, returning from a 2-year suspension for EPO, could manage only 17th, in 8:31.65.

    Top 10:
  1. Hushovd, Credit Agricole, in 8:17.00
  2. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :01
  3. Dave Zabriskie, CSC, at :04
  4. Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :05
  5. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at :05
  6. Stuart O'Grady, CSC, at :05
  7. Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :06
  8. Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :08
  9. Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :09
  10. Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :10

Other Americans:
19) Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto, at :16

29) Bobby Julich, CSC, at :19

35) Christian Vande Velde, CSC, at :21

36) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :22

112) Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto, at :38


This story doesn't really seem to capture the whole moment.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

Tour starters: English-speaking countries roundup

Since most of my readership comes from English speaking countries, I thought I would post a quick roundup of which (and how many) citizens of the former colonies are scheduled to ride in this year's Tour.

    United States (8 riders, 1 reserve)

  • George Hincapie, Discovery
  • Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Bobby Julich, CSC
  • Floyd Landis, Phonak
  • Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner
  • Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Christian Vande Velde, CSC
  • Dave Zabriskie, CSC
  • Reserve: AmerItalian Guido Trenti

Last year, all of these plus Lance Armstrong and Trenti, but minus Vande Velde.

    Australia (6 riders):

  • Allan Davis, Astaná-Würth
  • Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Simon Gerrans, AG2R
  • Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Stuart O'Grady, CSC
  • Michael Rogers, T-Mobile

Last year, Australia had all these, plus Baden Cooke, Brad McGee, Luke Roberts, and Matthew White.

    Great Britain (2 riders):

  • David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir
  • Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis

Great Britain was shut out last year.

    South Africa (1 rider):

  • Robbie Hunter, Phonak

As last year.

    New Zealand (1 rider):

  • Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

None last year, although Dean rode in 2004.

    Canada (1 alternate):

  • Michael Barry, Discovery Channel

Plus permission to root for David Canada. The last Canadian in the Tour was Gord Fraser in 1997, but Ryder Hesjedal or Barry should break that streak soon.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2006 in Baden Cooke, Bradley McGee, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

Popovych steals Stage 2 at Tour de Georgia | Popovych steals Stage 2 at Tour de Georgia

Popovych finished alone
Popovych alone with the win
Frank Steele/
Yaroslav Popvych of Discovery Channel showed why he's considered a rising stage-race star. The 26-year-old Ukrainian launched a violent attack on the day's last climb of Rome's Clocktower Hill, gapped the field while the sprinters tried to figure out who was chasing, and stayed away for a 6-second victory.

In the field sprint behind Popovych, Juan José Haedo of Toyota-United outkicked Freddie Rodriguez of Davitamon-Lotto. Rodriguez took 2nd on Tuesday, and now has only one more shot, in Sunday's finale, to take a stage win, his stated goal for this year's Tour de Georgia.

Targetraining is a new Continental team, and the sponsors got their money's worth on Wednesday, as Argentina's Alejandro Acton led the stage by more than 10 minutes at one point, and rode solo for nearly 100 miles. Acton was finally swept up just shy of the day's only King of the Mountains “climb,”the first ascent of Clocktower Hill. For his trouble, he'll wear the “most aggressive rider” jerseythrough tomorrow's TT and Friday's first mountain stage. Kirk O'Bee of HealthNet-Maxxis took the prime to be the first person in this year's King of the Mountains jersey.

Rodriguez took the sprint jersey, and sits 2nd, just behind Popovych, in the overall. The sprinters are likely to fall away tomorrow, as the riders face a long and hilly individual time trial from Chickamauga, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Lance Armstrong was reportedly in attendance, riding in the Discovery Channel team car. He took a sprint finish here in 2004.

Also: | Lightning strikes again for Popovych and Discovery in Rome | Tour de Georgia Stage 2 Photo Gallery (free reg. req.) | Tour de Georgia Stage 2 report

Crossposted from, where I'll be blogging live from the TT course on Thursday.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 20, 2006 in Fred Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong, Tour de Georgia, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How I spent my Wednesday

Popovych works the crowd
Popovych works the crowd
Frank Steele/ | Tour de Georgia 2006 Stage 2

My father and I spent the day chasing the racing, and caught up with the peloton 3 (almost 4) times. We missed the race finish, but caught Popovych at the bottom of the Rome finishing straight, and made our way up to the finish line to see the race interviews and presentations.

Alejandro Acton deservedly took the “most aggressive rider” jersey, and came right by us, when I got this shot. Look how totally wiped he was after that breakaway; he put everything into his nearly 100-mile escape effort.

I got three portraits I was especially happy with: Ekimov with “certified badass” shades, Landis goofing with the crowd, and Juan José Haedo at the post-race ceremonies.

Cross-posted from, where I find out “will the Specialized Angel be in Georgia?” and link to other Tour de Georgia content from around the web.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 20, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Photo galleries, Tour de Georgia, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2006

Tour de Georgia final rosters announced

Tour de Georgia 2006 | Teams

The Tour de Georgia has released the official final start list for the six-stage jaunt around Georgia, kicking off Tuesday in Augusta.

Last year's overall winner, Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, returns, supported by Yaroslav Popovych, Viatcheslav Ekimov, new Discos Trent Lowe and Egoi Martinez, Michael Barry, Jason McCartney, and Janez Brajkovic.

CSC will be headlined by David Zabriskie, Jakob Piil and Brian Vandborg, who won Stage 4 of last year's TdG.

Phonak brings Georgia veterans Floyd Landis, who won the time trial last year and took 3rd overall, South African sprinter Robbie Hunter, José Enrique Gutierrez, and Aurélien Clerc.

QuickStep is a new addition for the Tour de Georgia, possibly a result of their acquisition by Georgia's Mohawk Industries, but they can't spare Tom Boonen or Paolo Bettini right now. Instead, they'll feature American-Italian Guido Trenti and Davide Bramati.

The Tour de Georgia page mentions Robbie McEwen as the headliner for Davitamon-Lotto, but he's not listed on the team roster just below. Daily Peloton shows a different roster, with McEwen instead of Pieter Mertens. McEwen's official website is mum on his upcoming calendar. In either case, “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez and Henk Vogels both are former Tour de Georgia stage winners who will spice things up. Chris Horner is staying in Europe.

Prodir-Saunier Duval rounds out the ProTour squads, with Luciano Pagliarini, Marco Pinotti, American Aaron Olson, and Canadian national champion Charles Dionne.

HealthNet-Maxxis headlines the 'Continental' teams. Gord Fraser and 2005 TdG sprint jersey winner Greg Henderson are joined by Nathan O'Neill, the only 7-time Aussie time trial champion living in Braselton, Georgia, coming off an overall win at the Tour of Redlands and a Commonwealth Games gold medal already this season.

Also in the field is the new Toyota-United Pro team, with Ivan Dominguez, Chris Wherry, former Discovery rider Antonio Cruz, and Juan Jose Haedo.

Local favorites Jittery Joe's, out of Athens, Georgia, have added Trent Wilson, formerly of Colombia-Selle Italia. They're also sponsoring a party bus to the top of Brasstown Bald.

Ex-Jittery Joe's rider Cesar Grajales, who won the queen stage of the 2004 Tour de Georgia, now rides for Navigators, and will ride here with Ben Brooks and Phil Zajicek, and others.

Other Continental squads participating include the Colavita-Sutter Home team, Jelly Belly, Nevada, Targetraining, and Team TIAA-CREF, featuring Craig Lewis.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 12, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Stage 2 underway

We have the 2005 Tour's first doomed break! Out in front Sylvain Calzati, Thomas Voeckler, Laszlo Bodrogi, and David Canada flew their team flags, at one point around 3:30 up on the field.

Voeckler is the rider who got into an opportunistic break in last year's Tour (while the French national champion, no less) and wore the yellow jersey for 10 days, fighting and scratching to hold on to it as the race headed into the Alps. He then held the young rider's white jersey until the final TT, when Vladimir Karpets took over the lead in that competition.

Lance Armstrong is wearing the green jersey today, since David Zabriskie can only wear one jersey at a time. Whoever wins the stage today will become the first real green jersey.

It's a very easy course profile today, and only 181 kilometers, or around 110 miles.

Everybody and his brother is predicting McEwen today; I'm going to be contrarian, and go with Quick Step's Tom Boonen. McEwen will be adjusting to a new lead-out man, American Fast Freddie Rodriguez. Other sprinters to watch: Baden Cooke and Thor Hushovd.

There's a 4th category climb coming up, and if the break can survive to the top, one of its riders will wear the mountain jersey for at least tonight.

The breakaway has survived, and will contest the polka-dot jersey; David Cañada launched an attack and gapped the group, and now Voeckler slingshots off of Calzati, bridges up to Cañada, and sprints away from him with 50-75 meters to ride. At the top, he's over first, so he'll wear his third different Tour jersey (yellow, white, polka-dot).

Bodrogi falls back into the field, leaving three leaders to catch. Erik Dekker tries a late attack, but FdJ puts Carlos da Cruz on his back wheel, and he can't make it stick.

With 6 kms to ride, the breakaway is absorbed. It's a sprint finish with some turns; could get dicey.

In the last 2 kms, a couple of opportunistic attacks from Beneteau and Zaballa, but for nothing.

It's the big boys for the sprints: McEwen may have jumped a little early, and Tom Boonen gets his back wheel and comes around him for the win. Thor Hushovd is right there.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2005 in Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen, Stage profiles, Thomas Voeckler, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

CSC's Gerdemann takes TdS Stage 7, Rogers holds race lead

BBC SPORT | Gerdemann breaks pro victory duck

Back-to-back surprise wins at the Tour of Switzerland, as CSC's Linus Gerdemann forged a stage win with an attack in the last 8 kms of the Friday stage. Gerdemann kept five chasers at bay, including Freddie Rodriguez, and finished 4 seconds clear of Fassa Bortolo's Lorenzo Bernucci.

There was no significant change to the overall standings, where Michael Rogers of Quick Step continues to lead Jan Ullrich by 20 seconds and Brad McGee by 22 seconds.'

Saturday the race has a long uphill finish that might be decisive in the overall classification.

Top 10:
1) Linus Gerdemann, Team CSC, 4:25
2) Lorenzo Bernucci, Fassa Bortolo, at :04
3) David Etxebarria, Liberty Seguros, at :14
4) Karsten Kroon, Rabobank, at :15
5) Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
6) Martin Elmiger, Phonak, same time
7) Daniele Colli, Liquigas, at :23
8) Rene Haselbacher, Gerolsteiner, same time
9) Baden Cooke, Francaise des Jeux, same time
10) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2005 in Baden Cooke, Fred Rodriguez, Jan Ullrich, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 11, 2005

Tour de Suisse kicks off Saturday

Eurosport | Tour Of Switzerland

Saturday's a big day, as the king stage of the Dauphiné covers 4 major climbs, and the Tour of Switzerland kicks off.

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich is the defending Tour de Suisse champion, but Ullrich told it's a training ride this year for him.

"Repeating last year's victory is not on my mind, it's all about a measured build-up to the Tour de France," Ullrich said. "I'm convinced that I am a bit further ahead compared to the same time in previous years. I still have about three pounds to lose but that's intended. Now I must race again in order to achieve a fine cross section of fitness. That means I must convert the strength I have into speed."

There may be a stronger field taking the start of the Tour de Suisse than is contesting the Dauphiné, despite the presence of the top American GC threats at the Dauphiné; the Swiss tour includes Ullrich, Robbie McEwen, Oscar Freire, last year's Dauphiné champion Iban Mayo, Tom Boonen, and Americans Bobby Julich, Freddie Rodriguez, Saul Raisin, Jason McCartney, Guido Trenti, and Chris Horner.

Also: Tour de Suisse preview - map - stage list

The Tour de Suisse official page is available in French or in German.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 11, 2005 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Iban Mayo, Jan Ullrich, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Saul Raisin, Tom Boonen, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 05, 2005

New US champ? Chris Wherry! | Wherry takes USPRO

HealthNet's Chris Wherry got in the break that mattered in Philadelphia today, and rode it right to the Stars & Stripes US champion's jersey. Saunier Duval-Prodir's Chris Horner and Jelly Belly's Danny Pate were in the break with Wherry, but the HealthNet rider just flat outsmarted them both, finally racing away from Horner with less than 3 miles to ride, and making the gap hold up.

The last few years, it's typically been a Euro-pro who wins the overall race, with the champ's jersey being awarded to the highest-placed American (last year, Freddie Rodriguez took the jersey with a 4th place). It's good to see an all-American podium in the US championships. Discovery's Max van Heeswijk was the top-placed international rider, in 6th.

Rodriguez was 4th again today, 44 seconds back.

Philadelphia's own Bobby Julich finished 36th on the day.

Also: | Full results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 5, 2005 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

McEwen chucks the classics

Eurosport | McEwen out of spring classics

Robbie McEwen will skip the spring classics, focusing instead on getting over the flu, and being well in time for the Giro d'Italia in May.

"It's already the second flu attack in two months. I've had enough, I want to be healthy again, so riding the bike is now the second most important thing, the first of course is to be healthy," said McEwen.

That's a shot in the arm for Fast Freddie Rodriguez, normally Davitamon-Lotto's second sprinter.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 21, 2005 in Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

Reynes outsprints Trenti, Rodriguez at Paris-Nice stage 3

Eurosport | Reynes wins shortened stage 3

Vicente Reynes, of Illes Balears, took his first professional win Wednesday, on a shortened stage 3 at Paris-Nice.

Reynes led QuickStep's Guido Trenti and Lotto's Fred Rodriguez across the line. Trenti carries dual Italian-American citizenship, while Rodriguez is a 3-time USPRO champion.

Tom Boonen retains the overall lead.

Looks like Thursday's stage may also be modified, since Le Chambon, intended to be today's finish and tomorrow's start, is difficult to reach.

Also: | P-Nice 3: Reynes emerges from chaos | Reynes under the snow

Procycling mentions that Floyd Landis was in an early break, but the official site says he fell back late in the stage. Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych, who was 3rd on yesterday's shortened stage, also factored in the break, which was eventually closed down by CSC and QuickStep. David Moncoutié's place in that break has him in the climber's jersey, for now.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 9, 2005 in Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Paris-Nice '05, Tom Boonen, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2005

Field guide to Yanks in the peloton | Hopping the Pond: A look at Americans in the European pro peloton

Legendary Usenet rec.bikes poster Bruce Hildenbrand offers an overview of the American presence on 2005 Euro-pro squads.

It's cool that we're getting to a point where there are Americans in important roles on so many ProTour squads: Hildenbrand's article lists riders waving the Stars and Stripes at Discovery (Discovery has gotten amazingly international, but still has 7 Americans and 2 Canadians on the 28-man roster), Landis at Phonak and Leipheimer at Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto with Fast Freddie Rodriguez, CSC (where David Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde join Bobby Julich), Saul Raisin at Credit Agricole, and Chris Horner, now with Saunier Duval.

Hildenbrand mentions that (shades of Vandevelde) Chris Horner is having trouble getting a work visa.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 24, 2005 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Rider profiles, Saul Raisin | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2004

Leipheimer gets Armstrong's Olympic slot

USA Cycling chooses Leipheimer to replace Armstrong

USA Cycling will send Levi Leipheimer to next month's Athens Olympics, replacing Lance Armstrong, who last week said he would skip the Olympics to spend time with his family.

"Levi's addition to the team is an obvious testament to the depth of American cycling talent," USA Cycling CEO Gerard Bisceglia said. "Lance's departure is understandable and we certainly respect his decision to withdraw himself from the Olympics. Having the luxury to replace him with someone of Levi's caliber allows us to maintain a powerful team with a proven veteran."

Floyd Landis was next in line in the selection process, and Fred Rodriguez is the USPRO champion, but the unusual circumstances left the selection to the team's coaching staff. Leipheimer, 30, is riding for Rabobank in the Tour de France.

The full squad will be Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Bobby Julich, Jason McCartney, and Leipheimer.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2004 in 2004 Olympics, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong 2004, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Who will take Armstrong's slot in Athens? | U.S. Olympic cycling roster still undecided

On Monday, Lance Armstrong officially notified USA Cycling that he won't compete in the Athens Olympics next month.

USA Cycling says they will make a selection by Thursday.

Likely candidates to replace Armstrong include Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis and Fred Rodriguez.

Floyd Landis was actually 6th in line by qualifying criteria, Rodriguez (in my opinion, the most likely to medal) is the USPRO champion, and Leipheimer is riding the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2004 in 2004 Olympics, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong 2004, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 08, 2004

Armstrong will skip Athens Olympics

BBC SPORT | Armstrong rules out Athens

Lance Armstrong announced he'll be skipping the Olympics in Athens in August.

According to, Armstrong's online fan club:

He will return to the United States after the Tour to spend time with his children. Lance said, “Spending this much time away from the kids is too hard.”

I'm not sure if the USA Cycling is required to abide by its selection rules now that the team has been named, but if it is, look for Floyd Landis to take Armstrong's place, since he was 6th in the 5-man selection process.

If the coaches get to choose, they ought to take Freddy Rodriguez, the US pro champion, and probably the best American sprinter.

Update: Looks like USA Cycling was caught by surprise here. Their response to the announcement mentions that a replacement would be chosen by coaches discretionary nomination, approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2004 in 2004 Olympics, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong 2004, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 06, 2004

Freddy 4th in Philly for 3rd US championship

VeloNews | Ventoso wins in Philly; Rodriguez gets USPRO jersey

Spain's Francisco Ventoso of the Prodir-Saunier Duval team took the USPRO championship in Philadelphia, ahead of Saeco's Antonio Bucciero and HealthNet-Maxxis rider Gord Fraser. He becomes the 3rd consecutive winner from outside the US.

Freddy Rodriguez, the last American to take an outright win at the race, finished 4th to earn the US Professional road championship, and wear the stars-and-stripes jersey. It's his 3rd US championship.

As for Rodriguez, the sprint didn't go exactly as planned, but things still worked out. "I was too far back with about 1km to go," said Rodriguez (Acqua & Sapone), who still managed to take his third U.S. title in five years. "I had to crank it up with about 800 meters to go, and I just didn't have 100 percent left when I needed it."

Chris Horner, who last year dominated US racing, made a move on the last full lap of the race, but was quickly rolled up.

"What else was I gonna do," he said. "I could sit in and maybe get lucky or I could go for the win. I race to win, so I tried to take destiny into my own hands."

Posted by Frank Steele on June 6, 2004 in Fred Rodriguez | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

USPro championships previews

VeloNews | Wachovia week: Countdown to Philly

DailyPeloton | Wachovia 2004 US Pro Championships preview

Looking forward to today's championships in Philadelphia, here are a couple of race previews. The consensus pick seems to be Fred Rodriguez, coming off his win in Thursday's warmup race in Trenton, NJ, and a sprint win at the Giro d'Italia, ahead of the world's fastest man, Alessandro Petacchi.


VeloNews | Wachovia USPRO Championship - Live Coverage

VeloNews will be posting regular updates as the race progresses. At current pace, the race should end somewhere around 2 p.m., maybe a little sooner as the pace picks up.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 6, 2004 in Fred Rodriguez | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2004

Rodriguez in or out for Athens? | After Giro win, Fast Freddy dreams of Olympic gold has a go at handicapping the selection process for the US Olympic road race team (PDF), focusing on whether twice-US PRO champion (and recent Giro stage winner) Fred Rodriguez is likely to make the 5-man team.

Rodriguez, probably the best US sprinter, and therefore one of the best US chances on the sprinter-friendly Athens route, could easily be left on the sidelines. There are already 5 riders with automatic qualifiers, and there's very likely to be a 6th after the USA Cycling USA Cycling Olympic Trials race in Redlands, CA June 19th.

The winner of the Trials in June has highest priority to make the team. Next are Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton, who finished in the Top 5 in a grand tour over the last year. Then comes Bobby Julich, based on his top-five at Paris-Nice, then George Hincapie, for being ranked in the UCI World Cup Top 25 (he's 15th), and finally Floyd Landis, for being in the top 50 of the UCI road rankings.

Cyclingnews suggests that Rodriguez still can get in as a discretionary selection, but rule I(d)(4) looks clear:

Discretionary Nomination Criteria If positions remain open after the automatic nominations are exhausted, additional athletes may be nominated to the team based on USA Cycling Principles of Discretion.

As I read it, it looks like not only Rodriguez but Floyd Landis might be out if they don't win the Olympic trials race. Of course, there's a chance that some of the higher-priority riders might choose not to race.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 26, 2004 in 2004 Olympics, Bobby Julich, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong 2004, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2004

Giro rest day update: Fast Freddy stage win; which Saeco?

Tuesday was a rest day in the Giro d'Italia, so the riders take stock and look forward to the more tactical stages over the next 2 weeks. One of the big surprises of the Giro so far was Monday's victory by Fred Rodriguez of the United States, riding for Acqua e Sapone, who took Alessandro Petacchi straight up in a sprint, something almost no one has been able to do this year. “Fast Freddy” has his account of the victory online at VeloNews. Rodriguez timed his sprint masterfully, out-thinking Petacchi to the line:
“Usually right before the sprint, there's a little let-down. It comes just as the lead out guy finally starts to die, but before, say Petacchi, surges to the line. So I really just tried to anticipate that surge and, at that point, I jumped on the left side into the headwind, put it in my 54x11 and put my head down. Somewhere along there - maybe 100 meters from the line - I saw Petacchi come along side me, but he didn't have the legs to come around.”
VeloNews handicaps the current standings, and suggest keeping an eye on Australia's Bradley McGee, who's 1:49 back. There are two Saecos atop the standings, but the team minimizes any friction between Damiano Cunego and 2-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni. From The Daily Peloton:
“I learn something new from Gilberto everyday,” Damiano Cunego says. “Damiano is giving me a big hand by sharing the responsibilty of the team leadership,” explains Gilberto Simoni.
Simoni says he's marking Stefano Garzelli as a rival for the overall race victory. The Daily Peloton also has three pages of photos from the Giro prologue, back on May 8th. Friday is a key stage for Alessandro Petacchi, whose team sponsor, Fassa Bortolo, and bike sponsor, Pinarello, both hail from Treviso, where the stage ends.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 19, 2004 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Fred Rodriguez, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d’Italia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack