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Wednesday’s Eurofile: Michaelsen to hang it up; Llaneras, too; IronJaja?

Michaelsen’s last ride loomingLars Michaelsen – the 38-year-old Team CSC rider – will retire after competing in Paris-Roubaix later this month. A winner of the 1995 Ghent-Wevelgem and a two-time top-five finisher at Roubaix, Michaelsen said he couldn’t think of a better scenario to end his career. “The spring classics have always been where my heart beats, so it’s a good way to say goodbye to this fantastic sport,” he said. “Paris-Roubaix will be my last race. I’m hoping to have the legs and be up there in the Arenberg forest and to be in the selection, then we’ll take it from there. The

By Andrew Hood

Michaelsen will ride Paris-Roubaix and then retire.

Michaelsen will ride Paris-Roubaix and then retire.

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Michaelsen’s last ride looming
Lars Michaelsen – the 38-year-old Team CSC rider – will retire after competing in Paris-Roubaix later this month.

A winner of the 1995 Ghent-Wevelgem and a two-time top-five finisher at Roubaix, Michaelsen said he couldn’t think of a better scenario to end his career.

“The spring classics have always been where my heart beats, so it’s a good way to say goodbye to this fantastic sport,” he said. “Paris-Roubaix will be my last race. I’m hoping to have the legs and be up there in the Arenberg forest and to be in the selection, then we’ll take it from there. The dream is to win.”

Michaelsen, who won a stage last year in the Tour de Georgia, said he has no regrets about ending his career.

“I’m 38 this year, yet I’m still able to sit up there with the young guys and show them how things have to be done. It’s okay, the time will come sooner or later,” he said. “When I started in 1994, I was just happy to do three years as a pro career to have a mission completed. One year went to another, now it’s my 14th season. I am quite happy with my career, I’m happy with what I’ve been able to achieve.”

Michaselsen will stay on with Team CSC to work with the team in a yet undetermined capacity. He said he will also expand his bike touring company in Tuscany.

Llaneras pegs retirement to Beijing; Jaja to ironman
Spanish track star Joan Llaneras, fresh off winning gold in the men’s points race in the Palma de Mallorca track cycling world championships, said he will retire after next summer’s 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

“I can stay in form until Beijing and after that I am going to put an end to my career,” Llaneras told the Spanish media. “At some point you have to have to say enough is enough.”

Laurent Jalabert, who retired after the 2002 season, said he will compete in the Zurich Ironman on June 24. Farrar, Cruz only NA’s in Flanders
A quick glance at tentative start lists for this weekend’s Tour of Flanders reveals that only two North American riders are expected to start the Belgian classic.

Tyler Farrar (Cofidis) and Tony Cruz (Discovery Channel) are both penned in as likely starters on their respective teams.

Michael Barry (T-Mobile), who suffered a horrible crash in last year’s Flanders, will instead ride the Tour of the Basque Country, the Ardennes classics and Tour de Romandie. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) is still recovering from a broken wrist he suffered at the Tour of California and is eyeing a comeback at the Tour de Georgia later this month. No Petacchi for Flanders
Erik Zabel will captain Milram’s Tour of Flanders team after Alessandro Petacchi has decided to skip the grueling race. Petacchi faltered late in Milan-San Remo, complaining this his left knee still hasn’t fully recovered from his crash last year in the Giro d’Italia when he broke his kneecap.

Milram for Tour of Flanders, April 8Erik ZabelMarcel SiebergFabio SacchiBrett LancasterAlberto OngaratoChristian KneesRalf GrabschAlessandro Cortinovis

Nuyens for Cofidis in Farrar’s debut
Tyler Farrar will earn his Flanders debut in what will be his first major spring classic of his young professional career. Farrar missed the major classics last year after breaking his collarbone in a spill during the Tour de la Sarthe.

Cofidis will rally around Nick Nuyens, who’s had a string of top five finishes so far this spring.

Cofidis for FlandersNick NuyensSébastian MinardKevin De WeertMichiel ElijzenTyler FarrarMathieu HeijboerHervé Duclos-LassalleStaf Scheirlinckx

Boonen, Bettini headline Quick Step
Two-time defending champion Tom Boonen and reigning world champion Paolo Bettini headline the favored Quick Step-Innergetic team for Flanders. Bettini hasn’t been shy about his desire to win Flanders, one of the few major races to escape his grasp during his successful career, but an on-form Boonen could be his worst enemy. Peter Van Petegam, however, could be the team’s joker.

Quick Step-Innergetic for FlandersTom BoonenPaolo BettiniWilfriend CretskinsPeter Van PetegemKevin Van ImpeGert SteegmansSébastian RosselerKevin Hulsmans

USA Cycling designates three U.S. velodromes as training centers
As part of its overall effort to improve athlete development in the discipline of track cycling, USA Cycling announced today a new partnership with three of the nation’s premier velodromes.

Designated as USA Cycling Official Track Training Centers, the ADT Event Center Velodrome at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pa. and the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colo. will serve as regional training centers for some of the United States’ top elite athletes and future world-class talent.

As USA Cycling Official Track Training Centers, the three facilities will be part of a collaborative effort to return the United States to the track cycling powerhouse it was during the 1980’s and ’90’s through the improvement of programs and services available to the track cycling community around the country.

As part of the agreement, the three velodromes will retain complete autonomy of all operational and philosophical aspects, including athlete development and training programs, business plans and staffing.

USA Cycling’s Track Training Center program will compliment a scaled-back version of its Resident Athlete program as USA Cycling will outsource a portion of its coaching and athlete management programs to additional experts and facilities – a similar concept that is already heavily utilized in road cycling, BMX and mountain bike.

“With the introduction of this initiative, we’re pulling track cycling in line with all of the other disciplines of cycling.” explained Pat McDonough, USA Cycling Director of Athletics. “By discontinuing the traditional resident program at the Olympic Training Center, we’re providing developmental riders and current international-caliber athletes with the opportunity to become involved with a program that fits his or her individual needs as they relate to coaching philosophies, geographic location and program design.”

USA Cycling will still operate a resident program in Colorado Springs, but it will only cater to athletes in the USA Cycling Podium Program who have demonstrated the ability or potential to produce results at international competitions.

As part of their relationships with USA Cycling, the three velodromes are required to meet some general guidelines. The facilities are required to develop or partner with UCI-sanctioned trade teams and must have at least two years of experience in promoting internationally-sanctioned track events that are currently on the UCI Track Calendar.

USA Cycling will also fund several opportunities for sprint athletes under the age of 25 to participate in international competition with the goal of increasing their participation in world-class events and providing them with consistent racing opportunities against top international talent. The USA Cycling Track Training Centers will play a vital role in the development and identification of these potential national team members.

“As we continually strive to improve the quality of our services to the cycling community, I can’t stress enough how important this program is to the strategic outlook of our facility and long-term programming objectives,” said Erin Hartwell, President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome and a three-time Olympian with six Olympic and world championship medals.

“With our worldwide reputation for excellence in track cycling, combined with the credibility and strong brand equity of the USA Cycling name, this official program endorsement allows us to build even stronger relationships with our local philanthropic and business communities. In tandem, we are now much better positioned to provide additional return on investment to our corporate partners through this incredibly positive association with a well-respected national governing body.”
By USA Cycling