By Andrew Hood
Dave Zabriskie, winner of a Giro d’Italia stage in 2005, is returning to the Italian stage race next month as part of Team CSC’s nine-man squad for the corsa rosa.
Zabriskie, 28, won stage eight in the 2005 Giro and then went on to win the opening time trial at the Tour de France that same year. Coupled with his 2004 Vuelta a España stage victory, the feat distinguishes him as the only American rider to win stages in all three grand tours.
The Giro will also mark the grand tour debut of Juan José Haedo, the Argentine sprinter who’s already scored wins in the United States and Europe.
Team CSC will line up without a clear GC candidate and will instead be aiming for stage wins and a run in the maglia rosa. The opening team time trial will be especially appealing for CSC, which won the TTT in last year’s Giro as well as the TTT that kicked off the 2006 Vuelta a España.
Reigning world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara will target the pink jersey and hone his form before a likely early departure ahead of the mountainous final week.
“We want to win the opening team time trial and I want to wear the maglia rosa,” Cancellara told VeloNews earlier this month. “I won’t race the entire Giro. I will probably race two weeks and then prepare for the Tour.” Team CSC for Giro d’ItaliaDavid ZabriskieFabian CancellaraAlexandr KolobnevAndy SchleckJuan José HaedoKurt-Asle ArvesenMichael BlauzunMatti BreschelVolodymir Gustov
Cruz stymied by knee injury
Tony Cruz won’t be returning to Europe next month as planned after a nagging knee injury will keep him out of the Tour de Romandie (May 1-6).
The Discovery Channel rider was back in California for a short break following a solid run through the northern classics, but what he thought was a relatively minor knee injury has turned out to be more serious. Doctors say Cruz has a minor tear in the ligament that covers his left kneecap.
“I was in a big pileup at (Tour of) Flanders and someone piled into the back of me and sent me flying into a seat-post and landed square on my kneecap,” Cruz told VeloNews. “I haven’t been able to ride more than an hour and a half for 10 days. When you’re racing, you just keep going. It was sore that night and it’s gotten progressively worse.”
For the time being, it doesn’t appear so severe that rest and some physical therapy won’t be able to heal. Doctors have told him to stay off the bike and ice and heat the knee to encourage a speedy recovery.
“I’ve never had an injury like this, so we have to see how aggressive we can be to get things back to normal,” Cruz said. “It’s very nerve-racking. I was supposed to leave Saturday for Romandie. Things are in full swing and here I am a lame duck.”
Cruz, 35, is back racing in Europe after a one-year stint racing domestically with Toyota United in 2006 and is anxious to make up for lost time. The Californian said he missed the big European races and jumped at a chance to return to Discovery Channel for 2007 on a one-year contract.
“The plan was to ride Romandie and do the Giro,” Cruz said. “Right now we’re hoping I can get back in time for Cataluyna [May 21-27]. I just have to be patient and try not to force it. That’s hard for me. I want to race.”
Watch VeloNews.com in the coming days for a complete interview with Cruz.
Pearce returns to racing
2004 U.S. Olympic Team member Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.) has resigned as endurance track coach for the national governing body and will return to competitive cycling, USA Cycling’s Andy Lee reported. Pearce, 34, will continue to coach for the Colorado Velodrome Association in conjunction with USA Cycling’s previously announced restructuring of its track program, but his primary emphasis will be on returning to world-class competition in the madison and points race events on the track. Pearce last competed in 2005 before being named endurance track coach for USA Cycling in November of that year. His competitive results include 13 career UCI Track World Cup medals, a bronze medal in the 2003 Pan American Games and eight USA Cycling national titles. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Pearce placed 14th in the points race. In his last race, Pearce won a silver medal in the points race at the 2005 UCI World Cup event in Moscow. “Racing is where my heart is at the moment,” Pearce explained of his decision to return to competition. “It’s still in my blood. Each time I was at a World Cup race or the World Championships as a coach, I found my mind drifting back to the same place. I still feel that I can effectively compete at that level and be successful.” Pearce is confident his return to racing will benefit the U.S. track program regardless of his own competitive success. “If I don’t make it to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the result is that I pushed other riders to raise the level of their game and perhaps win a medal, then that’s as much as I could have done as a coach in the first place,” Pearce continued. “Either way, I think it’s a win-win situation.” “From USA Cycling’s perspective, our loss is also our gain,” commented USA Cycling director of athletics Pat McDonough. “On one hand we are losing a tremendous coach, but on the other we’re gaining an athlete capable of winning medals at international-level events. Additionally, his presence on the track will undoubtedly raise the level of competition and bring out the best in all of our other men’s endurance athletes.” Last month at the UCI Track World Championships, USA Cycling announced a partnership with three of the nation’s velodromes to serve as official USA Cycling Track Training Centers – The 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs, the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pa. and the ADT Event Center in Carson, Calif. Pearce will work closely with the Colorado Velodrome Association on coaching and programming initiatives as part of USA Cycling’s overall development efforts, but will no longer be a full-time employee of USA Cycling. “I really look at this as a lateral coaching move,” explained Pearce of his intentions to remain involved on the instructional side of things. “I learned an incredible amount as a coach and I want to continue coaching. I think there’s been a major benefit to me to see the sport from the other side and I’ve learned so much that I wasn’t capable of as an athlete.”
From USA Cycling
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