By Andrew Hood
Nurnberger’s Judith Arndt wrapped up the Tour de l’Aude, Sunday as Saturn’s Ina Teutenberg put a strong exclamation point on the race after taking the final stage in Limoux on Sunday.
Six riders chugged away from the main bunch early in the race and held the lead until three other riders bridged out on the final lap. There were several attacks in a frenetic charge to the line, Saturn’s Teutenberg snuck ahead to win her second stage win of the race and the fourth for Team Saturn.
It was a positive ending for the team, which also won the overall team competition and saw Lyne Bessette take second overall. Manon Jutras won the most combative award for her aggressive riding throughout the 10 days.
Arndt finished safely in the main bunch to sew up the overall title. Arndt peeled away in Saturday’s stage to grab the lead from Bessette. Most of the top racers head to Montreal for the next World Cup race and then on to Philadelphia for the Wachovia Liberty Classic on June 8.Stage results
1. Ina Teutenberg (G), Saturn,109km in 2:53:42 (37.651kph)
2. Alison Wright (Aus) s.t.
3. Eneritz Iturriaga (Sp) s.t.
4. Volha Hayeva (Blr) s.t.
5. Sonia Huguet (F) s.t.
Final overall standings
1. Judith Arndt (G), Nürnberger, 927.7 km in 25:44:11.2 (36.046kph)
2. Lyne Bessette (Can), at 0:23
3. Susanne Ljungskog (Swi), at 0:48
4. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), at 2:13
5. Trixi Worrack (G), at 4:29
Gonzalez to start Tour de France
Fassa Bortolo team boss Giancarlo Ferretti has given the green light for Aitor Gonzalez to start July’s Tour de France, Spain’s AS newspaper reported.
Before his big win in Sunday’s time trial, the 2002 Vuelta a Espana champion suffered through this year’s Giro and fell out of contention in the first climbing stage to Terminillo suffering with allergies. Originally, Gonzalez was pegged to ride the Giro to win and then return to fight for the Vuelta.
But Ferretti has changed his mind and now the Spanish star will be taking on Lance Armstrong.
“Aitor is not having luck in the Giro he should have because his preparation was cut short by injuries and allergies in the first week,” Ferretti told AS. “Little by little he’s going to improve and continue on this line and he will be in top form for the Tour.”
Gonzalez raced his only Tour in 2001, when he lost to Erik Dekker in a stage into Pontarlier where Dekker called him “Speedy Gonzalez,” a nickname that’s stuck. He abandoned two days later en route to Alpe d’Huez.
Ullrich’s Bianchi team taking shape
Jan Ullrich will have most of the former Team Coast to back him up under the new Team Bianchi, which continues to take shape leading up to July’s Tour de France.
Bianchi took over the sponsorship from Team Coast, which collapsed under mounting debt and was suspended by the UCI earlier this month. The new Bianchi team was given UCI approval last week and awarded Top Club status to allow its automatic inclusion in the Tour.
“I am delighted that everything has been sorted out,” the 1997 Tour winner said on his website.
The new team, comprising mostly of the former Team Coast riders, is headed by Ullrich’s sports director Rudy Pevenage and bears the name of its main sponsor, Italian cycle manufacturers Bianchi.
“That means we are automatically allowed to enter all the races, and that naturally goes for the Tour as well,” he said. “They (built the team) in a record time and that’s an incredible performance.”
Here’s the lineup for the team
Jan Ullrich (G)
Daniel Becke (G)
Andre Korff (G)
Thomas Liese (G)
Steffen Radochla (G)
Thorsten Rund (G)
Raphael Schweda (G)
Tobias Steinhauser (G)
Sven Teutenberg (G)
Malte Urban (G)
Christoph von Kleinsorgen (G)
Thorsten Wilhelms (G)
Angel Casero (Sp)
Aitor Garmendia (Sp)
Jaime Hernandez (Sp)
Francisco Lara and David Plaza (Spanish) (Sp)
Fabrizio Guidi (I)
Stefan Adamsson (S).
Several riders left the team earlier this year, including Alex Zülle, Nicki Aebersold and Luis Perez. Manuel Beltran recently signed a contract with the U.S. Postal team to finish out the season.
Navs’ Power wins stage at Milk Ras
Navigators’ Ciaran Power won Saturday’s stage in the FDB Milk Ras in Ireland, attacking after just a mile of racing into the 180km seventh stage and was joined by three other riders. Power, riding for the Irish national team, did most of the driving in the breakaway and the quartet had a lead of almost five minutes by the Category 2 climb at Bellavalley Gap after 63 miles. The relentless pressure from Power saw one of the riders dropped on the climb.
When the Navigators’ man had to have two rear wheel changes, the two other riders in the break sat up and waited on him. Clearly the strongest in the group, the duo decided they wouldn’t last long without the Irishman. Power jumped with 1km to go and finished with 16 seconds to spare. — Gerard Cromwell
Rasmussen injures hand in spill
Rabobank’s Michael Rasmussen fell during a training ride in the Alps and could be out of the Tour de France, AFP reported. Rasmussen is slated to be one of Levi Leipheimer’s top helpers in the mountains, but broke a bone in his hand during a scouting trip in the Alps on Friday. The former world mountain bike champion crashed while coming off the Col du Galibier and returned to Netherlands where doctors examined his hand. Doctors aren’t sure how long he will be sidelined.
Tour of Belgium: Rogers sews it up
Aussie Michael Rogers wrapped up the Tour of Belgium in an exciting finish in Sunday’s final stage.
Rogers, winner of last year’s Tour Down Under, snagged the lead after Saturday’s time trial and hung tough in Sunday’s difficult 201km final stage that followed much of the same route as the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.
“For me it’s a great win. The team work was excellent today,” said Rogers, who finished seventh with the lead group. “I want to thank above all Van Goolen that in the final part of the race who gave me his wheel after a puncture.. The stage was very hard but fortunately I was able to rely on a very united team that supported me during any moments of difficulty.” Dave Bruylandts (Marlux) won ahead of Maarten Den Bakker (Rabobank) and Tadej Valjavec (Fassa Bortolo). Bruylandts and Valjavec attacked on the Redoute climb, but were caught by a chase group with a few kilometers. Rogers flatted while chasing back and had some tense moments until Quick Step teammates help tow him to the front.
Former race leader Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo) and compatriot Geert Verheyen tried to escape coming on to the St. Nicholas climb. Bruylandts attacked again and won, while Rogers came in on his wake to grab the overall title.
George Hincapie finished seventh overall in an impressive return to European racing after illness derailed his spring classics season. Hincapie finished a strong 14th Sunday at 26 seconds back on the difficult course, a good indication that he’ll be in shape to be selected for the Postal’s Tour team.
Tour of Belgium (UCI 2.3)
Stage 5, Mechelen to Ans, 201km
1. Dave Bruylandts (B), Marlux, 5 hours, 1 minute
2. Maart Den Bakker (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:01
3. Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Fassa Bortolo
4. Peter Farazijn (B), Cofidis
5. Bart Voskamp (Ned), BankGiroLoterij – all same time
14. George Hincapie (USA), USPS at 0:26
63. Floyd Landis (USA), USPS at 13:04Final overall standings
1. Michael Rogers (Aus), Quick Step, 20 hours, 42 seconds
2. Bart Voskamp (Ned), BankGiroLoterij at 25 seconds
3. Robert Bartko (G), Rabobank, at 0:30
4. Axel Merckx (B), Lotto-Domo, at 0:31
5. Dave Bruylandts (B), Marlux, at 0:32OTHERS
7. George Hincapie (USA), USPS, at 0:52
35. Floyd Landis (USA), USPS, at 14:32
Bavaria: Rich takes win
Germany’s Michael Rich won the Tour of Bavaria after finishing safely in the lead bunch in Sunday’s final stage. Gerolsteiner’s Rich took the lead following his strong ride in the time trial stage while Johan Coenen (Marlux) won the stage in a three-up sprint. Gerolsteiner’s Olaf Pollack led the main bunch across the line at 37 seconds back.
Tour of Bavaria (UCI 2.3)
Stage 6, Freystadt to Hochstadt, 166km
1. Johan Coenen (B), Marlux, 4 hours, 11 minutes, 48 seconds
2. Bert Grabsch (G), Phonak
3. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Quick Step – all same time
4. Olaf Pollack (G), Gerolsteiner, at 37 seconds
5. Alexandre Usoc (Blr), Phonak, s.t.Final overall standings
1. Michael Rich (G), Gerolsteiner, 21 hours, 8 minutes, 8 seconds
2. Patrik Sinkewitz (G), Quick Step, at 30 seconds
3. Thomas Liese (G), German national team, at 0:34
4. Olaf Pollack (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:41
5. Jens Voigt (G), Credit Agricole, at 0:52