Visit Citebite Deep link provided by Citebite
Close this shade
Cyclingnews - the world centre of cycling  Le Tour 2006  Tour TV   News  Tech   Features   Photos   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track   Shop

Recent News

January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006

2005 & earlier

Dedicated Athlete
Lake cycling shoes
Scott USA
Free willy
Custom Sublimation
Pro Bike Kit
World Cycling Productions

Latest Cycling News for March 26, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Freire: a fragile genius

By Hedwig Kröner

A happy 2X Sanremo and 3X World Champion
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Triple World Champion Oscar Freire has been through some ups and downs in his career, which started out in 1998. His second victory as a pro was the World Championships in Verona, Italy, in 1999, and ever since the prestigious win, the Spaniard's health has been plagued by many different problems: knee, back, saddle area, neck - it seems not many parts of his body have been spared by pain during these years. Yet, when he was in shape, the 31 year-old never failed to score.

"He's a man for moments," said Rabobank team manager Erik Breukink about Freire after his second victory in Milan-San Remo this past Saturday. "You can feel it in advance, that Oscar would have a good day - that was such a day."

Breukink, who's in charge of Freire since the Spaniard joined the Dutch team in 2003, never doubted the rider's way to treat his illnesses, even though there have been plenty. "They say that he's nonchalant, but Oscar lives for his sport," the team manager told ANP. "He treats his body well; you can see it when after he's again been out for a while."

That was the case during much of last season, as Freire was facing severe spinal pains in his neck and did not know to which expert physician to turn anymore. Then, by the end of last year, he decided to stop any treatment and just rest - and the pain miraculously improved.

Now, the triple World Champ is back to his best, as he proved on Saturday when he beat Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) and Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) by more than a bike length on the Via Roma in San Remo. In seven participations in the race, he never placed under the Top 7... "It's a race that suits him well," explained Breukink. "He can ride in the front group well, and always manages his strength perfectly."

This weekend, Freire wasn't nervous, even when Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval) and Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) attacked on the final climb, the famous Poggio. "I didn't find it hard to stay put; I trusted my sprint completely," Freire said post-race. And when it came down to the fast men in the last kilometres, the Spaniard knew exactly which back wheel to take - the one of Alessandro Petacchi (Milram). "He had a nice little train in front of him with three teammates," Freire continued. "I knew exactly where I had to be - nobody would have been able to get me away from there."

He dedicated his victory to his uncle Antonio. "He's in hospital right now," Freire said. "He gave me my very first bike, when I was nine years old."

In the future, the Rabobank star hopes for many more victorious moments in a career that he would like to continue for at least two more years. "The World Championships is the most beautiful competition of the year," he said on Saturday. "This year, I want to win in Stuttgart and after that, in Varese and Mendrisio, as they will be special to me. Both locations are close to my home in Switzerland. So I'll surely continue racing for another two years!" Let's hope the Spaniard's physical problems will leave him alone for a while.

McEwen misses podium by a hair

Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) at the start in Milan
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen has greatly improved his performances in Milan-San Remo for the 100th anniversary of the race this week-end: The Predictor-Lotto rider threw his bike over the finish line just centimetres behind Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) and Tom Boonen (Quick-Step), ending up with a very honourable 4th place. Last year and in 2004, McEwen could not follow the aggressive riding on the Cipressa climb, and in 2005, he did not start the race because of a flu. His best placing was in 2003, when he finished 30th inside the bunch, 11 seconds of the winner Paolo Bettini.

"I could have finished on the podium," McEwen told Sportwereld after the race. "I chose the right hand side of the road, and got blocked there. When I finally got some space, the sprint was already over."

But the Australian fast man has now showed that he has improved his climbing, finishing fifth on the hilly course of the Salzburg World's, and now fourth in the Classicissima. "I can win here one day - that is the lesson that I have learned at this Primavera, which didn't unfold perfectly for me. Quite the contrary. I crashed and got a brake in the backside: not only was it painful, but it also took a lot of power to chase back to the bunch after that."

Just before the final sprint, too, McEwen encountered some difficulties. "The preparation [for the sprint] wasn't perfect, either," he continued. "When someone form the Milram train [Marco Velo - ed.] came off the lead, he swerved and I almost crashed. I had to jump fast to get to Boonen's wheel."

Finally, a photo finish between Davis, Boonen and McEwen showed that the Australian missed the 2007 Milan-San Remo podium by a hair. Still, the Australian sprinter can be proud of his performance.

Doping in the 90's, according to Belgian TV

By Susan Westemeyer

A Belgian TV program Panorama claimed on Sunday night that former professional cyclist Uwe Ampler introduced EPO to Team Telekom in the early 1990s, against the will of team manager Walter Godefroot. Bjarne Riis allegedly made use of that and other doping products when he won the Tour de France in 1996, according to former soigneur Jef D'hondt.

According to D'hondt, he was at Telekom when Ampler, who rode for the team, starting using EPO. His good racing results encouraged the other riders to try it. "It was the riders themselves who asked for the EPO," D'hondt said, according to Sporza. "Our doctors at the University of Freiburg supplied them."

Did Bjarne Riis use EPO in the 90's?
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

D'hondt specifically named two further Telekom riders. He claimed that Riis had a particularly high hematocrit, caused by the use of EPO. During the Tour de France 1996, which the Dane won, "Riis had a hematocrit of 64 at one time during the Tour," according to D'hondt, who further claimed that the now-CSC manager developed rheumatism because of his use of doping products.

The other Telekom rider named was Erik Zabel, who the Belgian said "did not participate" in the use of the doping substance. "Our sprinter Erik Zabel did not do it. He tried a small amount, but he was categorically against it. He said that he did not need it."

In response, Walter Godefroot, who is now team manager for Team Astana, said, "There was no organised team doping at Team Telekom," according to sporza. However, according to Het Laatste Nieuws, Godefroot confirmed that he had heard of EPO use on the team and communicated that to the UCI. He added that there was no sense browsing in the past. "We have learned enough already," he said. "Let us leave the past behind and concentrate on the future."

Quick.Step's Patrick Lefevere
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Quickstep Manager Patrick Lefevere also appeared on the program, and according to sportwereld, said angrily, "Just what do you want, anyway? Do you want every rider to get down on his knees and confess?"

Another name from the past appeared in the story - Jesus Manzano, who claimed that "there were tricks to get around the doping tests." Manzano said that after he had a severe crash in the 2003 Tour and he was waiting for an ambulance, his team manager whispered to him to keep quiet about his use of doping products.

The program concluded that EPO is no longer in use, at least among Belgian riders. Various doctors stated that such riders as Tom Boonen, Nick Nuyens and Gert Steegmans are not using EPO. Their development to become top riders was reportedly the result of a natural progression, and their blood values have remained constant over the years. Both Nuyens and Steegmans appeared on the show to deny that they had ever used doping products.

Boonen gets new custom bike

Former World Champion Tom Boonen - who has had back problems for four years - is to receive a custom-built from Specialized. On Sunday, the American bike manufacturer said it had given the Belgian a custom-made bike to test, in the hope that his problems will improve.

Monaco-based Boonen has now returned to his home country in preparation for the Spring Classics. "Because the races take place here now, he's staying in the country and will see a back specialist, too," Quick-Step team director 'Fitte' Peeters told Sportwereld. "Tom's back problems started in Gent-Wevelgem four years ago, when he crashed into a photographer. It remains a delicate issue, but we have it under control."

Serrano out of Castilla y León

By Monika Prell

Marcos Serrano, one of the leaders of Karpin-Galicia for the Vuelta a Castilla y León, won't be able to participate due to a bronchitis. According to todociclismo, he will be replaced by Gaizka Lasa. Leading the team will thus be Ezequiel Mosquera, who is in a good competition form - he finished second in the Vuelta a Mallorca amongst other placings.

His sport director, Álvaro Pino, said on Mosquera, "He will be the our leader in this race because he showed an excellent form and a big regularity in the races he rode." His rivals include the likes of Ivan Basso, Alberto Contador (both Discovery Channel), Carlos Sastre (CSC) and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne).

For the initialising time trial on Monday, Pino rated his own Santos González as a favourite. "He's a cyclist who can be good in this time trial, but for winning the entire race he has to be at 100 percent, because for the victory you have to sustain a mountain top finish like the one in Navacerrada in the last stage and for the moment, González still doesn't have his ideal competition form."

The complete team roster for the Vuelta a Castilla y León: Ezequiel Mosquera, Gaizka Lasa, Eduard Vorganov, Gustavo Domínguez, Gonzalo Rabuñal, David Abal, Ramón Troncoso and Santos González.

Dessel down with toxoplasmosis

AG2R's Cyril Dessel is suffering from toxoplasmosis, blood tests have revealed. The Frenchman, who wore the Yellow Jersey at last year's Tour de France, felt tired since the beginning of the season, and will now rest completely for a period of ten days. Dessel will thus not participate at the Settimana Internazionale this week, and find out whether he needs to take antibiotics in a few days.

"The second part of the season shouldn't be compromised," he told L'Equipe. "In any case, I had planned a pause in April, like last season, and I should be back to competition in the Tour de Romandie in May."

Hoj out of Classics

One-day race specialist Frank Hoj was looking forward to racing again in the Spring Classics, but unfortunately the Dane has to remain at home for another four weeks. The Cofidis rider, who cut the tendon of his left toe in early February in a cycling-unrelated accident, was eager to build up form for the April races, but this only worsened the situation. The tendon cracked again, and now Hoj needs to rest completely.

Previous News    Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)

Spring Classics Fantasy Game

Recently on

(Click for larger image)
Photo: © Roberto Bettini

Wednesday, March 28

Interview: Alejandro Valverde
(Click for larger image)
The 'Green Bullet' has already struck twice - Shane Stokes talks to Valverde about the prospect of a very good year.

Vuelta a Castilla y Leon
Day two of the 22nd Vuelta a Castilla y Leon comes down to a sprint.

Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale
(Click for larger image)
A afternoon stage finishes off day 1 of the 2007 Coppi e Bartali.

Milan - San Remo
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
More photos added from La Classicissima, Milano-Sanremo.

Tuesday, March 27

Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
A morning stage kicks off the 2007 Coppi e Bartali.

Tour of Libya
Better late than never, full results from all seven stages.

MTB - Cape Epic
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
Amazing photos from Stage 2 added.

Gran Premi Massi
(Click for larger image)
MTB action from round two in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Redlands Cycling Classic
(Click for larger image)
More photos from Redlands' final stage added.

MTB - Oceania Championships
(Click for larger image)
Full report, brief results and photos added from the weekend's cross country race event.

MTB - Oceania Championships
(Click for larger image)
Full report and photos added from the weekend's downhill event.

MTB - Cape Epic
(Click for larger image)
European men take second victory on stage three as local domination continues in the women's field.

Vuelta Lider
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
Photos from the final stage of the Chilean autumn race

Tour of Normandie
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
Very brief results from the short prologue

Myriam Saugy diary
Myriam and her partner get a little run down in the 7-hour stage three

Team Slipstream diary
Ben Turner checks in about the team's showing at Volta ao Santarém

Kane Oakley diary
(Click for larger image)
What happened when the DFL/Cyclingnews team went golfing?

GP Costa Etrusca
(Click for larger image)
Photos from the second day of women's racing in Italy

Vuelta Castilla y Leon
We have full results for the stage 1 10km time trial

Paths of King Nikola
Results for all the stages are finally available: Stage 4 - Full results, Stage 3 - Full results, Stage 2 - Full results, Stage 1 - Full results

Redlands Bicycle Classic
Full results, report & photos for the final stage are online.

Monday, March 26

On test: Speedplay Light Action pedals
(Click for larger image)
Ben Abrahams hits the Sydney streets to put Speedplay's latest to the test.

GP Costa Etrusca
(Click for larger image)
British rider sprints to victory on final day of Italian women's event.

Tour de Taiwan
(Click for larger image)
Photos added from the final stage criterium through the streets of Taipei.

Redlands Bicycle Classic
(Click for larger image)
Overall winners are decided as the final stage of Redlands draws to a close.

La Roue Tourangelle
(Click for larger image)
Brief results & photos added from the French race.

MTB - Oceania Championships
Full results from the elite downhill events.

MTB - Oceania Championships
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
The Under 19 cross country takes place in torrential conditions.

MTB - Oceania Championships
(Click for larger image)
Photos from Friday's mountain cross added.

Cholet-Pays de Loire
(Click for larger image)
(Click for larger image)
Full resultst & photos added from the French Cup round.

Myrian Saugy diaries
Click for larger image
The Cape Epic is underway. Myriam checks in from Stage 1 and Stage 2

Cape Epic
A Belgian and Dutchman team up to take the 132-kilomtere Stage 2

Ronde van het Groene Hart
Full results are up for Sunday's 1.1 road race in the Netherlands

Cholet-Pays De Loire
Brief results and a race report are also in for France's 1.1 road race

Jacob Rosenbarger interview
(Click for larger image)
John Wikswo found himself sitting next to a dynamic young American pro on a plane to California recently

ProTour Standings
Spain ratains its deadlock on the ProTour after Milan-San Remo