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Eurotrash
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EuroTrash Thursday!
Say Arrivederci to the Giro as it’s almost Bonjour to Le Tour. We’ve got the latest on the ASO/UCI punch-up as well as the tune up events in Luxembourg and France. Stateside, it’s Philly and a full-up Nature Valley as well as Johan serving up some bedtime reading. It’s a global ET and it’s full today.




Mental Fitness For All
At all levels of sport, mental fitness often sets athletes apart from competitors. On Thursday, June 5, 2008, Marvin Zauderer will speak on “The 5 Core Skills of Mentally Fit Athletes,” and will present steps that all athletes can take to strengthen important mental skills. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, recreational athlete, coach, or parent of an athlete, this presentation will give you tools that you can use.

The talk, a benefit for the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League , is free for Marin Cyclists and NorCal HS MTB League members, and a $10 (or more, if you can) suggested donation for all others.

The talk will begin at 7:00 p.m., with Q&A beginning at 8:00 p.m. It will be held at the San Rafael Corporate Center, Tamalpais Room, at 750 Lindaro Street in San Rafael, just off Highway 101 at the Central San Rafael exit. (Directions)

In his sport psychology practice, Marvin works with amateur and professional athletes from all sports on the mental skills needed for success. Marvin leads the Mental Training program at Whole Athlete , a performance center in Marin County that provides a comprehensive set of coaching, consulting, fitting, and testing services to athletes. He is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, competitive cyclist, USA Cycling Level 2 coach, the sport psychology columnist for us, right here at PezCyclingNews.com, and the Mental Health Consultant for the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League. His website is www.MarvinZ.com.

Please contact Marvin at marvinz@pobox.com with questions and to RSVP.




Commerce Bank Triple Crown
While the Giro was getting all of the attention over in Europe, one of the biggest weeks of racing outside the two big tours, was creeping up on us back in the US. The six events (three each for men and women) know as the Commerce Bank Triple Crown, have started in Philadelphia.

The first leg, held in down town Allentown, had to go to the photo finish to determine that Yuri Metlushenko (Amore e Vita) got the better of Karl Menzies (Health Net) with Jelly Belly’s Brad Huff taking 3rd.

In the Women’s event, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg gave Team High Road a winning start and took her own personal stage tally to four from four. Teutenberg swept the event last year, winning all three races and is ‘one race down and two to go’, for repeating in ’08.

In one lap, Teutenberg bridged a 35 second gap to the leading group and then rode them off her wheel in the sprint.

In the amateur event (hey, these guys might well be the names to look out for next year), Dave Fuentes got he better of break-away partner Edwin Bull, with Jason Snow taking 3rd.


The remaining rounds continue today and are as follows:
Thursday June 5,
Men’s Race: Commerce Bank Reading Classic, 119.1km
Women’s Race: Commerce Bank Reading Classic, 40.2km

Sunday June 8,
Men’s Race: Philadelphia International Championship, 251km
Women’s Race: Liberty Classic, 160.9km


The three race men’s event boasts a $93,000 prize purse, with the overall series winner pocketing ten grand for their troubles, while the women are racing for just under $30,000 in total, with the series win worth $5000.




Nature Valley All Full Up
Things just keep getting better for women’s cycling as for the first time in it’s history, the women’s field at Minnesota’s Nature Valley Grand Prix, part of the Great River Energy Bicycle Festival, has filled and registration has been closed early. At 145 riders, the Nature Valley Grand Prix field is likely to be the largest women’s race of the year, compared with 140 for the Montreal World Cup, 120 for the Liberty Classic and 84 for the Mount Hood Classic.

Back in the “olden days” (well, 1999 actually) the organisers needed to allow Cat 4 riders to race the event so that they could swell the numbers to a ‘massive’ 19. Then, in 2003, another race on the same day lost its major sponsor which saw the teams head to the Nature Valley GP for their racing. These days, the race is limited to Professional Teams and Cat 1 and 2 amateur riders.

“We host the Rasmussen College Women’s Cycling Summit annually and then give the women’s race prime time slots all week,” said Nature Valley Grand Prix director David LaPorte. “We’re the organizers of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, have women-only programs like the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars and our media relations efforts put equal emphasis on the women’s race. We’re living proof that the women will support the races that support them.”

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is the signature event of the Great River Energy Bicycle Festival. The race kicks off on Wednesday, June 11, with the Downtown Saint Paul Criterium before visiting Cannon Falls, Minneapolis and Mankato, then finishing with the legendary Stillwater Criterium on Sunday, June 15.

For more details, head on over to www.MinnBikeFest.com




Tour of Luxembourg
Back over in Europe on Wednesday evening, Luxembourg’s traditional pre-Tour tester kicked off with a leg snapping prologue around the streets of the capital.

With the prologue course including a 300m climb of 25% gradient, there were always going to be time gaps to help sort out the GC early on.

The time trial machine that is Fabian Cancellara ripped up the cobblestones in 3minutes 38seconds, saying, “My arms hurt more than my legs right now, ‘cause it was such a short and steep prologue, you had to push with your whole body in order to go fast. It’s 20 minutes since I crossed the line and my arms are still burning.”

While home-town brothers Frдnk and Andy Schleck will be looking to put on a show for CSC, Astana will also be on the hint for more victories in Luxembourg, with last year’s winner Gregory Rast looking to emulate Armstrong’s feat of ten years ago, and notch up back to back overall wins.

Prologue Results: ITT Luxembourg City, 2.4km
1. Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC 3.38
2. Jimmy Engoulvent, Crйdit Agricole +0.05
3. Harald Starzengruber, Elk Haus +0.12
4. Roman Kreuziger, Liquigas s.t.
5. Kevin Ista, Agritubel s.t.

Remaining Stages:
Stage 1 Thursday, Luxembourg to Mondorf, 177km
Stage 2 Friday, Schifflange to Differdange, 197km
Stage 3 Saturday, Wiltz to Diekirch, 172km
Stage 4 Sunday, Mersch to Luxembourg, 154km




A French Tour de France
It’s Press Releases at 100 paces as the battle over who calls the shots in the world’s biggest bike race, starts to hot up.

On Tuesday, Tour de France organisers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced that in 2008 their event would be run under the control of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) and not under the rules of the UCI.

This is exactly the same arrangement that took place earlier in the year at Paris-Nice and one might suggest that after the UCI did absolutely nothing to sanction the race organiser, the overseeing federation or the participating teams, that ASO thought they might as well do what suited them again and do things in-house (or in-country, at least) for the biggest race of the year.

The UCI fired up their fax machine later the same day, saying:

“ASO’s decision is bad for cycling. Given that the Tour de France will now take place outside the ambit of the UCI, it will not benefit from the oversight of International Commissaires, or from the involvement of the UCI Anti-doping Inspectors. Riders and teams will, by participating, expose themselves to sanctions, and ASO’s leaders alone are to blame for this.”

So there it is again: The threat of sanctions. Don’t hold your breath that any will actually be handed down, because everyone involved knows the truth: It is the riders who will suffer if there are suspensions handed out, the riders who will suffer if there are fines handed out and the riders who will suffer if they don’t do what their teams and sponsors tell them.

ASO know that they are still going to have a Tour de France. The riders know they are still going to race it and the UCI know they aren’t about to suspend 200 of the world’s top professionals with 4 months of the season remaining, that includes the Olympic Games.

What this means for the viewing public in general, is not a lot really. You’ll still see the big name riders (unless you count the current Giro champ as a big name) riding an event that looks pretty much like it has done every other year you have tuned in. It’s just that this year, the guys waving their little paddles from the motor bikes, scrutinizing the photo finish and asking the riders to pee into a bottle, will all be from the FFC rather than the UCI.




Critйrium du Dauphinй Libйrй
Sunday is the start day for one of the two final lead-up events before next month’s (yep, say it again, next month’s) Tour de France.

The Critйrium du Dauphinй Libйrй, or The Dauphinй to its English speaking friends, is seven stages of Grenoble centred, full on racing, that includes an all important pre-Tour time trial and a visit to some of the nastiest mountain tops in France.

While Albert Contador was to be the headline act in this, the 60th edition of the race, apparently he rode some other event that wasn’t originally on his schedule, and is a bit tired.

Contador is off on holidays, so team-mate and 2006 winner, Levi Leipheimer will lead the Astana crew in The Dauphinй. Of course we all know that they aren’t using it to prepare for the Tour de France, but rather, as an opportunity to smash some of the Tour de France favourites, so they (and the rest of the world) can look at the great race in July and say, “Wasn’t that guy winning/leading the one that Astana wiped the floor with a few weeks ago? Why aren’t they racing the Tour de France?”

Even without Contador on the start line, The Dauphinй is still looking to some big name Spaniards in Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre to make some headlines.


2008 Critйrium du Dauphinй Libйrй Stages
Sunday Prologue: Le Pontet to Avignon, 5.6km
Monday Stage 1: Avignon to Privas, 194km
Tuesday Stage 2: Bourg-Saint-Andeol to Vienne, 184km
Wednesday Stage 3 (ITT): Saint-Paul-En-Jarez, 31km
Thursday Stage 4: Vienne to Annemasse, 193km
Friday Stage 5: Ville-La-Grand to Morzine, 125km
Saturday Stage 6: Morzine to La Toussuire, 233km
Sunday Stage 7: Saint-Jean-De Maurienne to Grenoble, 128.km


Know Your Dauphinй**
Greatest number of participations in the Dauphinй:
Raymond Poulidor (15) with wins in ’66 and ’69 and 2nd place in ’64, ’65 and ’74.
Joop Zoetemelk: 14, Christophe Moreau: 13 and Thierry Claveyrolat:12.

Greatest number of stage wins:
Bernard Hinault: 10 stage wins from 5 participations that also included three overall titles.
Freddy Maertens: 7 stage wins (five from the ’75 edition alone).
Raymond Poulidor and Iban Mayo: Six stage wins each.
Nello Lauredi , Thierry Claveyrolat and Bernard Thйvenet: Five stage wins apiece.
Chris Boardman has recorded 8 wins at the Critйrium du Dauphinй Libйrй between ’94 and ’98, although 5 of these were prologue wins on top of ITT wins in ’94 and ’98 and a “normal” road stage in 1994.

**Tune in tomorrow for a full Dauphine preview here on PEZ.




Toyota Boys Have Form
Toyota United’s Aussie powerhouse Henk Vogels, who in a previous life would have been bashing along the roads of Luxembourg this week in preparation for the Tour de France, was the team’s top finisher in the opening leg of the Triple Crown, the Lehigh Valley Classic.

Vogels’ 7th place was a good start for the Toyota United team, who have chalked up six wins this week in their preparation for Philly.

In the final year of sponsorship from car manufacturer Toyota, all the riders on the team are looking to make an impression on future employers and with the all of the top domestic teams at the series, be on the lookout for the boys in red, white and blue.

The six wins were:
Ivan Stevic and Hilton Clarke scored four wins between them at the Tulsa Tough Omnium Series.
Dominique Rollin won the Ricola Twilight Criterium, placed 2nd at the CSC Invitational and 3rd at the Kelly Cup, and
Chris Wherry, a former USPRO National Road Champion, won the Iron Horse Criterium and in doing so, took his first win of the season.




Bruyneel: The Book
With eight Tours de France and now a Giro under his belt as a manager, Johan Bruyneel has decided to share the love. Well, more accurately, share some of the secrets of what it takes to be a successful manager, with the launch of a new book, We Might as Well Win.

Co-written with Bicycling executive editor, Bill Strickland and with a foreword by Lance Armstrong, We Might as Well Win, “takes readers behind the scenes and inside the mind of Bruyneel, the most victorious team leader in cycling history,” so says Bruyneel’s publishing company.

The author himself admits that there are already a number of books on the market that document the success of individual riders or of the teams he has directed in general, however, Bruyneel says that, “We Might as Well Win allows me to share something different — how we actually established the most victorious sports franchise in cycling history.”

The success of the Bruyneel-Armstrong combination has been credited with raising the profile of cycling in many non-traditional markets over the past 8 or 9 years and while many new converts to cycling lapped up the ‘Lance books’ when they were released, Bruyneel feels that his offering, will have something to offer people in many different walks of life, even if they know nothing of the two wheeled game that we all love.

“Johan may be a cycling genius, but it’s most interesting to learn that his winning recipe can be applied to all avenues of life,” said Susan Canavan of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, before adding (in true publisher style), “We truly believe that we have one of the best reads of this summer.”

The Pez himself talked with Mr. Bruyneel earlier this week, and that interview is coming in a few days, so stay tuned for that one PEZ fans!





 

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