Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
By Agence France Presse
This report filed February 27, 2007
Belgian cycling legend Eddie Merckx has paid tribute to embattled German star Jan Ullrich, who announced his retirement from cycling.
Ullrich's decision to quit came after he was implicated in an alleged blood-doping network being run by a Spanish doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes, and sacked by his T-Mobile team during last year's Tour de France race.
The team said at the time that damaging evidence from Spanish investigators in Madrid prompted the decision to drop its star rider.
Announcing his decision Monday, Ullrich, 33, the 1997 Tour de France winner and five-time runner-up, said he never recovered from not being allowed to race.
"It was to be expected. Ullrich didn't have a team so it's difficult to race," said five-time Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner Merckx. "It was a sad way to go out. The Fuentes affair brought him down without a doubt despite the fact that there was no judgment.
"Ullrich started to race very young and always had a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He was tired mentally and that's without a doubt why he didn't always do what was necessary for his profession.
"Maybe Jan was too laid back but the fact is that cycling has lost a great name," added the 61-year-old Belgian.
Monday, February 26, 2007
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery Channel, 24:57:24
2. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 0:21
3. Jason McCartney (USA), Discovery Channel, at0:54
4. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 1:06
5. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), at CSC, 1:16
6. Christian Vande Velde (USA), at CSC, 1:24
7. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, at 1:32
8. Ben Day (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 1:38
9. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, at 1:41
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Health Net-Maxxis, at 1:57
Mountains: Christophe Laurent (F), Crédit Agricole
Points: Juan José Haedo (Arg), Team CSC
Young rider: Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
Friday, February 23, 2007
Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer set out to defend his overall lead at the Amgen Tour of California during Friday's individual time trial, and he not only did it, he actually extended his margin over second-placed Jens Voigt (CSC).
Leipheimer, who began the day with a three-second margin over his CSC rival, covered the 14.5-mile course in 29:40:44, 18 seconds faster than runner-up Voigt.
Voigt's teammate, Fabian Cancellara, set the early top time of 30:17.910, which held until Leipheimer's crony Jason McCartney topped it, finishing in 30:05.140.
McCartney's mark stood until Voigt posted the first sub-30-minute time, crossing in 29:58.51. And then Leipheimer stepped up, punching one fist in the air as he crossed the line in victory.
Amgen Tour of California
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery, 29:40.44
2. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 0:18
3. Jason McCartney (USA), at 0:24
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 0:37
5. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery, at 0:40
6. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 0:41
7. Christian Vande Velde (USA), CSC, at 0:56
8. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, at 0:59
9. Ivan Basso (I), Discovery Channel, at 1:02.57
10. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), Priority Health, at 1:14.17
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery Channel, 18:21:52
2. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 0:21
3. Jason McCartney (USA), Discovery Channel, at 0:54
4. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 1:06
5. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, at 1:20
6. Christian Vande Velde (USA), CSC, at 1:24
7. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, at 1:34
8. Ben Day (Aus), Navigators, at 1:38
9. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas, at 1:41
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Health Net -Maxxis, at 1:57
On Stage # 3 (Stockton to San Jose) I was lucky enough to get the VIP treatment. I was able to ride in the AEG car and see Jens Voigt destroy the field up close and personal. Our driver for the day was ex pro (Team 7-Eleven) rider Alex Stieda.
Alex career spanned 15 years from 1977 to 1992 during which I raced track, road, mountain and cyclo-x bicycles. He raced for Canada's national team from 1979 until 1992, the last 7 years as a professional for the ground-breaking 7-Eleven team and competed an average of 100 races a season.
A few of his results include bronze medals at the '82 Commonwealth Games (Brisbane) and '83 Universiade Games (Edmonton), representing Canada at the '84 Los Angeles Olympics and in 1986, was the first North American to wear the Yellow Jersey at the Tour de France.
Thanks Alex for a great day!
For more information on Alex please visit http://www.stiedacycling.com
By Gregor Brown
Wednesday's display of force in the Tour of California by Discovery Channel's Ivan Basso was an investment in future objectives and ensured that Levi Leipheimer stayed in the leader's golden jersey. The American noted the work of his Italian teammate after the stage, "Thanks to Ivan Basso for this great work that he did, in particular at the beginning of the stage," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He went to the front and did a beautiful pull."
The words were contrasting to an article in the Los Angeles Times a few days prior, when the 33 year-old questioned the signing of Basso. Both riders are new to the team for 2007, but Leipheimer was signed in first by Team Manager Johann Bruyneel, and most were surprised in early November when he signed Basso. "I remain a little upset that Discovery took on Basso," Leipheimer said in the American paper. He continued, hinting at possible reoccurring Operación Puerto investigations, "I can understand the motives; he is the number one favourite for Tour, even if there remain unanswered questions about him."
Maybe this is why Basso wanted to put on such a display of force for his teammate in stage three to San José; to prove that the team was not to be completely centred on him. "Yes, I am helping Leipheimer to win, then I hope that further in the season that it will be the turn of him and the others to give me a hand," the 29 year-old rider from Varese commented to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "And now, this work is helping me a lot."
In the team car for the stage into Leipheimer's home town was the former rival of the two new Discovery signings, Lance Armstrong. "It was a very interesting stage that was developed with a lot of battles," noted the seven-time Tour champion. "I am happy that Basso has accepted this role [as domestique]; he has a lot of respect for this race."
Basso confirmed that he was giving his all for his teammate, even if it meant finishing three minutes down while Leipheimer fought for glory. "I would have wanted to pull in the second part, up to the top of the climb, but [George] Hincapie and [Tom] Danielson came up and I had to drop off immediately after the beginning of the climb," he noted. "Had I not done so much work in the pervious days then maybe I could have stayed up front." Instead he listened to race radio as his teammate kept the leader's jersey but lost the stage to his former CSC teammate Jens Voigt.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Stage 4 Results
1. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Innergetic
2. Gerald Ciolek (G), T-Mobile, same time
3. Juan José Haedo (Arg), CSC, s.t.
4. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Crédit Agricole, s.t.
5. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.
6. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.
7. Henk Vogels (Aus), Toyota United, s.t.
8. Robert Förster (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
9. Mathew Hayman (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.
10. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Predictor-Lotto, s.t.
General Classification Going Into The BIG Day
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery Channel, 17:52:12
2. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 0:03
3. Rory Sutherland (Aus), Health Net-Maxxis, at 0:15
4. Christopher Horner (USA), Predictor-Lotto, at 0:16
5. Ardila Cano Mauricio Alberto (Col), Rabobank, at 0:17
6. Ben Day (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 0:18
7. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Health Net-Maxxis, at 0:19
8. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, s.t.
9. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb), Navigators Insurance, at 0:20
10. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.
Previewing Friday's Crucial TT
The top 10 are all within 20 seconds of the Levi Leipheimer's lead, and 23 riders are within 30 seconds. Realistically, only a few names probably have a chance at swiping Leipheimer's lead over the undulating 14.5 mile course - and #2 overall, Jens Voigt, springs instantly to mind. Voigt is a masterful TT rider over the lesser distances, and it would seem that this one falls firmly in his wheelhouse. Leipheimer was supremely confident post-race today, but this writer seems to be the only one that thinks Levi is going to have his work cut out for him to defend that tenuous lead. My pick is Voigt, but there are many, many possibilities right behind him. A few names that you haven't even heard mentioned yet could pull off a surprise - CSC seemed really confident in Julich before the start of the race, he's sitting only 24 ticks back...that might be too much though.
There's just something about Jens Voigt that appeals to race fans everywhere - he races hard (really hard), and he's tough (really tough), and he's aggressive (really aggressive). Once again, Voigt's appetite for bike racin was in full effect. Enough superlatives, it was a fine day of racing - Voigt took the win, Levi is still in the lead.