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This Week in Pro Cycling – October 5, 2007

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.

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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.

It’s been a busy week in cycling, with the world championships wrapping up in Stuttgart. The big story, of course, is Paolo Bettini’s successful defense of the rainbow jersey in the elite men’s race, a feat inextricably linked with – and perhaps motivated by – the pre-race scandal swirling around the Quick Step man’s refusal to cooperate with the UCI’s request for DNA samples. Bettini let his legs do the talking on Sunday and timed his attack to perfection, triggering a five-man break in the final kilometers and then outsprinting his four rivals to the line. [More]

In the women’s race there was far less controversy, but a no-less-impressive performance by Bettini’s Italian teammate Marta Bastianelli, who held off a field of favorites to win her race. [More]

While Italy is a perennial favorite at the world’s, Slovakia usually isn’t, so it was especially impressive when the team – with just three riders in the field – put two riders in the top-11, including winner Peter Velits. Velits emerged at the front of a hard-charging peloton, just in time to avoid a closing meter pile-up and to take the sprint ahead of Austria’s Wesley Sulzberger and Jonathan Bellis of Great Britain. [More]

While the U.S. didn’t fare as well as expected at the world’s event this year, there might just have been a sign of things to come at this week’s elite track nationals in Carson, California. It was there that recently crowned world junior time trial champion Taylor Phinney scored an impressive win in the individual pursuit. Nope, the 17-year-old son of Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter didn’t win the junior’s event, nor did he earn the Under-23 title. This guy beat the grown-ups and becomes the youngest rider ever to score a national pursuit title. Some say it’s the genes. Others say it’s motivation and hard work… but Jonathan Vaughters, director of Phinney’s TIAA-CREF development team insists it was the magic of argyle that really drove the young Phinney to the top step of the podium.

While some folks are bemoaning the end of the road season and others turn their attention to the track, some of our readers get excited when the wind turns chilly and the leaves start to turn, because that’s a sign that cyclocross season is here. Last week’s CrossVegas was held in conjunction with the Interbike trade show and the elite men’s event was won by none other than our own frequent contributor Brandon Dwight, whose “Chocolate, Waffles and ‘Cross” diary has been a regular feature on VeloNews.com. Congrats Brandon.

Finally, I wanted to remind you to keep checking VeloNews.com for our again-weekly photo contests. Folks have been sending in some terrific images and we’d hate to have you miss those. [More]

Have a good week and, if like me, you live in a place where the nighttime temps’ are already dropping below freezing, look on the bright side and remember that it’s time for ‘cross!

Charles Pelkey
Editor, VeloNews.com
CPelkey@insideinc.com