First Edition News for September 1, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
Jan Ullrich calls it a year, but plans for big 2004
Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) has decided to call it a season, riding his last race today in the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, where he finished 5th. The 29 year old German will not be contesting this year's Vuelta España nor the World Championships, preferring to take a break until the beginning of November, when he will commence his preparation for the 2004 season. Before that he will meet World Champion Michael Schumacher at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monza on September 14, after which he will go on holidays.
"This year I have raced relatively few times and I prefer not to do that again," Ullrich told SID. "I would have to prepare hard for the World Championships, and there exists a danger that I would overdo it."
Once November 1 rolls around, Ullrich intends on starting his build up for 2004, with the Tour de France the top priority. This year, after coming in a little underprepared, he finished second behind Lance Armstrong and hopes that he can stop the American from winning his sixth consecutive Tour next year.
Two more years for Cipollini - and no Vuelta
World champion Mario Cipollini has extended his contract with Domina Vacanze through 2005. At the same time, team manager Vincenzo Santoni has confirmed that Cipollini will not start the Vuelta a España. Vuelta organisers have threatened to revoke Domina Vacanze's invitation, which was based on the presence of the world champion.
According to a Marca report, Domina Vacanze's management tried to convince Cipollini to contest the Vuelta, but unsuccessfully. Cipo has, on the other hand, decided that he will join Italy at the world championships in Hamilton, Canada.
Euskaltel-Euskadi for the Vuelta
The orange boys, Euskaltel-Euskadi, will ride the Vuelta España without top men Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia, but will still have a competitive team for their national tour. With climber Roberto Laiseka at the helm, the team will also contain David and Unai Etxebarria, Iker Flores, Gorka Gerrikagoitia, Gorka Arrizabalaga, Gorka González, Iñaki Isasi and Alberto Martínez.
Fire causes problems for GP Eddy Merckx
Today's Grote Prijs Eddy Merckx two man time trial had to be neutralised due to a large fire in a HUBO store near the parcours at the 10 kilometre point. 12 teams had already started when the organisers were forced to stop the race, as the fire department needed the area free of obstruction. Riders already out on the parcours were asked to stop and ride back to the start, while the organisers decided what to do.
The race was eventually restarted using a shorter 26 km parcours, rather than the full 45 km. The teams that had already ridden were allowed to start last. The winners of the event were German favourites Uwe Peschel and Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner), who beat Michael Rogers/Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick.Step) and Peter Van Petegem/Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo). The best placed team that had already ridden before the race was neutralised was Brad McGee/Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), which finished fifth.
McGee unlikely for World's
Australian Bradley McGee (FDJeux.com), winner of the prologue in this year's Tour de France, will probably not be riding the World Championships in Hamilton. After finishing fifth in the GP Eddy Merckx today, McGee told Belgian television that he doubted that he would be in Hamilton. "I've had a big year, I've had a lot of racing, and I've already started thinking about next year," said McGee.
McEwen wants a Cipo train
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) is experiencing a rather leaner 2003 season than last year's large haul of 19 victories. The Australian sprinter has won just six races this year, including stages in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de Suisse, as well as Dwars Door Vlaanderen. However one race that he regrets missing out on is the final stage of the Tour de France that finished on the Champs-Elysées. It's a stage that he's won twice in his career, but this year could only manage third behind Jean-Patrick Nazon and Baden Cooke, who took the Tour's green jersey from McEwen in the process.
In a recent interview in the RUG newspapers, McEwen explained, "If I win the sprint on the Champs-Elysées, everyone looks differently at my season."
McEwen said that he wants more riders around him to help lead him out in the sprints, à la Mario Cipollini or Alessandro Petacchi. "I've pleaded with the team for Henk Vogels, the ideal leadout man, to come over," he said. "But my small victory total is also the result of injuries, sickness and a bad season layout. I haven't listened to my body nearly enough."
Kelme to turn 25
The Spanish Kelme-Costa Blanca team will hit an impressive milestone in 2004, marking 25 years of sponsorship for title sponsor Kelme. Already the oldest team in the professional peloton, Kelme emerged from financial hardship in 2002 with the additional backing of the Generalitat Valenciana, which stepped in to pay all riders' salaries through the end of 2002, as well as ensure support until at least 2005. Team manager Vicente Belda was forced to reduce his roster from 25 to 22 riders, but the team's presence in the peloton was maintained.
Rabobank interest in Gonzalez de Galdeano
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE-Eroski) has reportedly received a solid offer from the Dutch Rabobank team for 2004. Like Joseba Beloki, Gonzalez de Galdeano is hoping to stay loyal to team director Manolo Saiz if he is able to secure a new sponsor. Igor will be ONCE's leader for the Vuelta, and has the confidence of Saiz heading into the three week tour.
Forde tests positive
Barbados' Barry Forde, bronze medallist at the Stuttgart World Track Championships and double gold medallist at the Pan American Games, has tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine. The result comes from a urine test conducted during the Track World's in August. The Barbados Olympic Association issued a warning to Forde given that the result was his first positive test, and the association has launched its own investigation. A second positive test could result in a suspension of up to six years.
"Barry is very aware of the stimulants banned in sports and has never knowingly used these substances," Barbados Olympic Association director Adrian Lorde said Friday in an AP report.
Forde is said to have used throat lozenges purchased in Germany while fighting a cold during recent competitions. The lozenges were used both at the World's and the Pan American Games, and the Barbados Olympic Association will conduct tests to determine whether or not the lozenges contained ephedrine.
Hefty fine for New Zealand bike ride organiser
By Alan Messenger
Christchurch to Akaroa cycle race organiser Astrid Andersen walked away from the Christchurch District Court on Friday relieved that she had escaped a prison term but was sentenced to pay a $10,000 fine after being found guilty earlier this month on a charge of Criminal Nuisance. The conviction resulted from the death of a competitor, Vanessa Caldwell in the 2001 "Le Race".
Andersen claims that her conviction is an attack on amateur sport in New Zealand and is calling for donations to a fighting fund to overturn the conviction. But Christchurch District Court Judge Murray Abbott rejected the claim as "nonsense", saying that Andersen was found guilty because her seriously deficient safety procedures contributed to the death of Mrs Caldwell, who was pregnant with her first child.
The case has drawn wide ranging reactions from New Zealand's cycling and other sporting organizers. Green Party MP and cycling Organizer Mike Ward said that Andersen's conviction had already affected the outdoor culture of New Zealand, while Coast to Coast multisport event organizer Robin Judkins claimed that the prosecution has left him struggling to get insurance cover for his annual race.
But new Cycling New Zealand Association President Wayne Hudson, an Auckland lawyer, took a somewhat different view. "It's really just bringing us into the 21st century. You would have to have had your head in the sand for the last two years to think we didn't have to do something," he said.
Cycling New Zealand and most of the country's other cycling organizations have formed a new umbrella group, BikeNZ, which will help its members with safety procedures, traffic management plans and insurance cover for events. Meanwhile New Zealand's biggest cycling event, the 160km Round Lake Taupo Challenge in late November is again expected to attract in excess of 5000 cyclists and will provide headaches for the organizers of the Fun Ride.
World Masters Track Cycling Championships
The ninth World Masters Track Cycling Championships will take place in Manchester from September 7-13, with riders from 20 countries converging on Manchester Velodrome in Sport City. The event, which is the official World Championships for over 30's, is well established on the International Calendar and there will be 50 World Championship Rainbow Jerseys awarded during the seven days of competition.
Racing starts at 3pm on Sunday, September 7, with finals in the individual time trials, then every weekday evening the finals commence at 6pm each day (qualifying rounds in the morning). On the final day, Saturday, September 13, the qualifying for the Team Sprint starts at 10am with finals in the Team Sprint and Points Races at 1pm. During the afternoon there will be a guest appearance by former World and Hour Record Holder, Graeme Obree, who will be signing copies of his new book 'Flying Scotsman' which is soon to be made into a film.
The Championships finish off with the famous Muratti Cup (Race of Champions) sponsored by Junghans watches, when some of the top riders from the week ride a 10 mile race in attempt to join the long line of winners of this world famous race that was first run in Manchester in 1899.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)