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This Week in Pro Cycling – January 25, 2008

Dear Readers,Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the world of competitive cycling by your friends at VeloNews.com. The road season seems to start earlier and earlier every year. It's not even February, and the ProTour stars are already logging the race miles.

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By Ben Delaney

Dear Readers,
Welcome to the latest edition of The Prologue, the weekly summary of news from the world of competitive cycling by your friends at VeloNews.com.

The road season seems to start earlier and earlier every year. It’s not even February, and the ProTour stars are already logging the race miles.

Tom Boonen

Our European correspondent, Andrew Hood, is down in Qatar, where Eddy Merckx is mingling with sheiks in the VIP booths at the Tour of Qatar. Tom Boonen is showing good form, as can be expected of the big Belgian in the flat stages. The exciting news for Americans from Qatar was Slipstream-Chipotle’s close, second-place finish in the team time trial to Boonen’s Quick Step-Innergetic squad. There’s been a lot of talk about the new Slipstream squad over the winter. Now, Magnus Backstedt and the boys in argyle have shown their legs can talk, too. [More]

Down Under, our Australian correspondent Anthony Tan wrapped up his coverage of the Tour Down Under, making its ProTour debut this year, moving the start of the ProTour season from March at Paris-Nice to January. The story Down Under is a young High Road rider named Andre Greipel. At 25, he won the Down Under Classic, the associated opener for the Tour Down Under, then took no less than four of six stages in the ProTour event. You can talk all you want about it “still being early in the season,” but beating guys like Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady and Graeme Brown, four out of six times, is impressive. [More]

No word yet if Greipel is coming to the Tour of California, but we are anticipating the showdown between the young German and Boonen, and we’ll bring it to you whenever and wherever it happens.

Finally, the cyclocross season hit its frenzied finale this past weekend with the world championships. With American Katie Compton taken out with physical problems, German Hanka Kupfernagel took her fourth world title. In the men’s race, it was young Lars Boom upsetting the verterans, and taking home the rainbow jersey for The Netherlands. His name is just made for the headlines, isn’t it?

I’m filing this newsletter on my way to the airport to visit Astana’s second winter team camp, held in my old hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can watch for reports on Levi Leipheimer, Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and some of their other teammates on our new Web site, www.VeloNews.com.

In the meantime, be well. And get out for a ride, if you can!

Sincerely,

Ben Delaney
VeloNews editor in chief
BDelaney@insideinc.com