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Pez Mundo-Chips: Sprint Teams Line Up

The Vuelta’s a wrap and there’s barely enough time for another glass of sangria before the World Championships start Wednesday in Madrid. The Sprinters’ teams are lining up for what’s expected to be a fast race.

Reported by Jered Gruber and Mick Knapton

Worlds Schedule
Here’s how it looks for the 6 main events starting Wednesday:
• Sept 21: Men’s U23 TT – 38km
– Elite Women TT – 22km
• Sept 22: Men Elite TT – 44km

• Sept 24: U23 MEN RR – 168km
– Womens Elite RR – 126km
• Sept 25: Mens Elite RR – 273km

Spanish Name Final Nine
Spanish national selector Francisco Antequera finalised his nine riders for the World Championships road race over the weekend. There has been some doubt who would take the final place, but Antequera named the Galician rider David Blanco (Comunidad Valenciana) as the ninth rider on Saturday night. “He is the rider who has shown most form in the last few days of the Vuelta and that is the reason I have chosen him”, commented Antequera. Blanco took a couple of top five finishes in stages in the Vuelta this year and finished 13th overall and will join Igor Astarloa (Barloworld), Alexander Valverde (Illes Balears), Miguel Angel Martнn Perdiguero (Phonak), Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros), Tino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) and Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) to complete the Spanish team. Six of these riders rode in last years championships in Verona (Astarloa, Valverde, Flecha, Mancebo, Serrano and Zaballa) while Martin Perdiguero returns to the team after an absence of four years. Pereiro and Blanco will be first time competitors in the Worlds road race. Ivбn Gutiйrrez (Illes Balears) and Rubйn Plaza (Comunidad Valenciana) will be the Spanish representatives in the time trial.

The Men’s Road Race covers 273 km, through Madrid on Sunday.

Petacchi Leads Italians
Italian selector Franco Ballerini has announced the 13 riders who will represent Italy in the Mens Elite races in Madrid. The Italians clearly think that the road race will end in sprint finish as they have Alessandro Petacchi as the team leader. Paolo Bettini will be the secondary leader. The squad is divided into riders who work for Petacchi at Fassa Bortolo (Velo, Bernucci, Tosatto) and those who assist Bettini at Quick Step (Pozzato, Paolini and Bramati). “It has been a difficult selection for me, I have had to eliminate some good riders in order to include those who will work for the team”, said Ballerini, who has also called up veteran sprinter Giovanni Lombardi, the 36 year old from CSC knows the Madrid circuit very well as he lives in the Spanish capital. Ballerini has also included the late season sensation Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Caffita) who took three stages in the Deutschland Tour and two in this weeks Tour of Poland. Ballerini again stated that he is not happy with the UCI’s decision to reduce the squad size of the main cycling countries to nine riders thus making it more difficult for countries such as Italy, Australia, Belgium and Germany, who have great sprinters, to control the race.

The full Italian squad is: Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo), Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Paolo Bettini (QuickStep), Filippo Pozzato (QuickStep), Luca Paolini (QuickStep), Davide Bramati (Quickstep), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Daniele Bennati (Lampre) and Giovanni Lombardi (CSC). Time Trial: Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval) and Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo).

Expect the sprinters’ trains to battle it out in a fast race on the mostly flat parcours.

Zabel to Lead Germans
The German Federation announced their squad for Madrid last week clearly stating that Erik Zabel (T Mobile) is team leader. Jan Ullrich dropped out of the squad because the sprinter friendly course does not suit him and he does not feel that it is worthwhile preparing just for the time trial. The Gerolsteiner pair of Sebastian Lang and Michael Rich will almost certainly take the two places in the time trial. 18 year old German champion Gerald Ciolek is missing from the squad, the 280 km race distance is deemed too far the new German sensation and he will take part in the under 23 race.
Full squad: Rolf Aldag, (T-Mobile), Marcus Burghardt, (T-Mobile), Robert Foerster, (Gerolsteiner), Markus Fothen, (Gerolsteiner), Bert Grabsch, (Phonak), Heinrich Haussler, (Gerolsteiner), Jorg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros), Matthias Kessler, (T-Mobile), Andrea Klier, (T-Mobile), Sebastan Lang (Gerolsteiner), Jens Voigt, (CSC), Fabian Weggman (Gerolsteiner), Erik Zabel (T-Mobile), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner). Time Trial: Sebastian Lang, Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner), Jens Voigt, Thomas Ziegler.

Wesemann To Ride Worlds As A Swiss
Steffen Wesemann celebrates the 5th Anniversary of his marriage to his wife today, as well as picking up his newly approved citizenship to Switzerland. The German-born Classics specialist has been actively seeking citizenship to Switzerland for awhile, but only now received it, and apparently just in time for this weekend’s World Championship Road Race where he will co-captain the Swiss team with Fabian Cancellara.

Wesemann has firmly targeted the World Championships: “Fabian Cancellara and I are the captains, and if it doesn’t come down to a mass sprint, we’ll have a good chance.”

Wesemann rode the Tour of Poland as a final tune-up for the Worlds. After the longest stage of 224 km, Wesemann continued on for another 30 km of motorpacing, which impressed Swiss National Team Coach, Rene Savary: “Wesemann is preparing very seriously.”

Wesemann left the Tour of Poland early when the ridiculous weather of the last few stages hit – hail, freezing rain, wind, etc. He returned back to Switzerland with new teammate, Cancellara for some more humane training.

The full Swiss squad is: Fabian Cancellara, Michele Albasini, Martin Elmiger, Patrick Calcagni, Roger Beuchat, Gregory Rast, Marcus Zberg. Cancellara will ride the time trial.

American Team For Worlds
Courtesy of USA Cycling: USA Cycling announced on Saturday the riders that will represent the United States at the 2005 UCI Road World Championships in Madrid, Spain September 21-25. A total of 21 riders in three categories – elite and U23 men and elite women – will compete for the title of world champion in road race and time trial events.

Headlining the list of elite men is 2004 Olympic time trial bronze medalist Bobby Julich (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) who will be gunning for a rainbow jersey in the elite men’s time trial on September 22. One of the top time trial riders in the world, Julich captured major time trial wins this season at the Tour of Benelux and Criterium International and placed fourth in the 55 kilometer time trial at the Tour de France.

Joining Julich on the elite men’s squad are UCI ProTour riders Christian VandeVelde (Boulder, Colo.), Fred Rodriguez (Emeryville, Calif.), Jason McCartney (Coralville, Iowa), Patrick McCarty (Allen, Texas), Saul Raisin (Dalton, Ga.), and Guido Trenti (Natick, Mass.) while domestic-based pros Phil Zajicek (Tucson, Ariz.) and John Lieswyn (Ames, Iowa) round out the nine-man contingent.

Tyler Farrar (Wenatchee, Wash.) leads the five-man U23 team. The recent winner of the USPRO Criterium Championships and a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir, Farrar will look to excel on a relatively flat course tailor made for a sprint specialist. Joining Farrar on the U23 list is national time trial champion Steven Cozza (Petaluma, Calif.), John Devine (Colorado Springs, Colo.), John Murphy (Marietta, Ga.) and Michael Wolf (Decatur, Ga.).

It’s impossible to know what criteria are used for selecting the U23 Team, but the TIAA-CREF squad has to feel a lot more than slighted. Two-time U23 National Champion, Ian MacGregor was once again not selected, not to mention a plethora of other possible candidates from TIAA-CREF.

The six-member women’s team consists of current U.S. and Pan American time trial champion Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho) and national road race champion Kathryn Curi (Danville, Calif.). European-based pro Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.), Kori Seehafer (Louisville, Colo.) and Christine Thorburn (Menlo Park, Calif.) are also on the squad as are sprinters Laura Van Gilder (Pocono Pines, Pa.) and four-time elite national criterium champion Tina Pic (Dahlonega, Ga.).

Several of the riders who originally received automatic nominations declined to participate.

More news to come as we get it – so stay tuned.

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