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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for August 8, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Last race for 2003 for Mayo?

Iban Mayo
Photo: © Olympia

Two weeks after finishing fifth in the Tour de France, Iban Mayo is ready for Saturday's seventh round of the World Cup, the Clasica San Sebastian. The Euskaltel-Euskadi cyclist has continued training since the Tour and together with Haimar Zubeldia raced in the GP Karlsuhe last weekend, where they finished 10th. In between, Mayo has been welcomed back in his hometown of Igorre, where he is something of a local hero.

Mayo doesn't know if San Sebastian will be his last race of the season. "I know that I'll ride the Clasica and I suppose then that Julian [Gorospe, team director] will tell me if I have to do something more."

"To race at home motivates me, it has always motivated me. I will try to be in front. I know that it will be difficult with all the classics riders, some of whom have raced the Tour...Physically I don't know how I am. After the Tour it's always a bit less. I've kept training, but you lose some of that tension."

Mayo picks Paolo Bettini as the big favourite, although "it would please me if Igor Astarloa won."

Click here for the full preview, map & profile, and start list.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the Clasica San Sebastian beginning approximately 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT/05:30PDT/22:30 Aust EST.

Perdiguero building up for Vuelta

Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Domina Vacanze-Elitron) will use this Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian as part of his build up for the Vuelta España. Perdiguero will join Ruben Lobato Elvira, Santos Gonzalez Capilla, Paolo Valoti, Filippo Simeoni, Alexander Kolobnev, Michele Scarponi and Massimo Giunti as part of the Domina Vacanze team.

"I have not raced since the national championships," he said. "Saturday will be a difficult race. My principal objective is the Vuelta a España. In this period I am completing my physical preparation in view of the end of the season, the condition isn't perfect, but I want to show myself in San Sebastian."

Sercu wants more from Verbrugghe

Manager of the Lotto-Domo team, Christophe Sercu, is running out of patience with Rik Verbrugghe, who has had a certain lack of success in the big races this year. "Everybody can have bad luck," Sercu told Het Laatste Nieuws. "But when I see that Rik falls without other riders around him then I ask myself if it's his concentration. And always complaining about injuries. He must realise that racing is a hard profession."

Sercu has spoken with Verbrugghe about the situation. "I think that Rik realises that it can't go any further like this," he said. "He must show himself in San Sebastian on Saturday."

French focus for Crédit Agricole

Credit Agricole
Photo: © Jeff Tse

With the signing of five new riders for next season, the French division I Crédit Agricole team is taking on an even more French focus. Currently fourteen of the team's twenty riders are French, although foreign riders such as Thor Hushovd, Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt have the lion's share of the limelight along with Christophe Moreau. Four out of the five newcomers are also French: Patrice Halgand, Sébastien Joly, Damien Nazon and Benoît Salmon, with the fifth being Russian climber Alexandre Botcharov.

Although a division I team can have up to 25 riders, Credit Agricole will still be operating with the same budget as this year, which means it will likely lose a few riders. So far Sébastien Hinault, Christophe Le Mevel and Benoît Poilvet have extended, while Moreau, Hushovd, Pierrick Fedrigo and Lilian Jégou have existing contracts. One of the foreigners, Jens Voigt, has not yet extended his contract, and Gerolsteiner is reportedly interested in signing him.

Van Heeswijk extends with US Postal

Dutch rider Max van Heeswijk has extended his contract with the US Postal-Berry Floor team for another season. The 30 year old classics specialist finished second in Omloop Het Volk this year, as well as third in the Dutch championship and Dwars door Vlaanderen.

Ben Johnson stagiaire for Cofidis

Ben Johnson
Photo: © JF Quenet

Australian rider Ben Johnson, who is currently leading the Mi-Août bretonne, will ride for Cofidis as a stagiaire (trainee) in September. The 20 year old from Noosa, Queensland rides for French club SCO Dijon at the moment, and is a friend of Cofidis' David Millar, who frequents Noosa during the off-season.

"I don't know in which races I'll be taking part with Cofidis yet," Johnson said. "But I'm happy to see that my form is coming up and that I'm better every day."

Veuchelen signs for Vlaanderen

24 year old Frederick Veuchelen has signed for division II team Vlaanderen-T Interim for two years. "Frederick has studied for a long time and has long prepared for the change," said team manager Roger Swerts. "Now we have someone who can ride uphill."

Dutch team for European MTB championships

The Dutch team has been named for the European Mountain Bike Championships, scheduled for August 15-24 in Graz, Austria. In the women's team, Daphny van den Brand has been provisionally left out, while she recovers her fitness after an operation last month. However if she rides well in the Dutch championships on August 17, then she can gain selection, as can Corine Dorland. The three member women's cross country team at the moment is: Elsbeth Vink, Mirjam Dieleman and Saskia Elemans.

The men's squad will see Bart Brentjens, Thijs Al, Erwin Bakker, Bas Peters and Maarten Tjallingii riding the cross-country, while Gert Tholen and Koen van Valkenhoef will do the downhill.

Maurice Mollin dies

Maurice Mollin, the winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1948, has died of heart failure aged 79 while riding his bike in Deurne. Born in Antwerp in 1924, Mollin turned professional shortly after the Second World War, riding with Mercier-Hutchinson, Libertas, and O.K. among other teams.

Mayo wheelers big challenge

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The third annual Sheeffry Challenge, which takes place later this month, will benefit two charities: Louisburgh/Westport Order of Malta and the National Council for the Blind Westport branch. Taking place over 62.8 miles, this unique challenge begins in Carrowkennedy on Saturday August 23 and takes a route through the Sheeffry Mountains, Drummin, Louisburgh and along the coast into Westport before returning to Carrowkennedy. Mayo County Council has given the organisers the go ahead to permanently signpost the route and promote it as a scenic cycle all year round.

On August 23 between 8.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m., some of the streets in Westport will be closed off to vehicular traffic for a special cycling spectacular lap race around the town. On the following day (Sunday) the 85 mile Classic League Sheeffry Grand Prix Race will be held, starting from the Atlantic Coast Hotel on Westport Quay at 12 noon. Family entertainment will be provided as the cyclists hit off on the gruelling course.

There will be three signing on stations for cyclists on August 23. At Darby's from 11 to 11.45 a.m. Those wishing to compete in the entire route can register there, while the 'fun' cyclists can sign on in Louisburgh (J.J's Hotel) from 1 to 2 p.m. Youngsters (10 to 14 year olds) can compete by signing on at John Staunton's Auto Care at Knappagh, Westport from 2.30 to 3.00 p.m.

Sponsorship cards are available members of the Louisburgh Westport Order of Malta and the National Council for the Blind Westport branch.

Last year, top international cyclist Sean Kelly led the field. However, due to his commitments with the Blazing Saddles and the 100th year of the Tour De France, he is unable to participate this year. Sean has undertaken to visit Westport to promote the event. Taking Kelly's place in the challenge will be Mark Quigley from Partry, a member of the under 23 Irish team, and comedian Paul Malone.

The last two annual events were a big success with over €43,000 raised through sponsorship for numerous charities. Representatives of this year's charities were on hand at the launch of this year's challenge held in Darby's of Carrowkennedy last week. Ms. Elsie Higgins, Westport branch National Council for the Blind, said it was pleasure for the organisation to be part of the challenge once again. "All money raised by the branch was spent in the local community to help blind and visually impaired people," she said.

Speaking from a recipients point of view, Mr. Martin McNally of the Westport Order of Malta said they were delighted to have been chosen to benefit from the cycling challenge. They ran a front line ambulance service which meant they were on call for accidents and emergencies. The Order of Malta also carries out a lot of community work.

Mr. Jim Corrigan of the Louisburgh Order of Malta added that the funds received from the challenge would be used to further develop Order of Malta services in the Louisburgh area. He appealed for anyone who wishes to cycle for the unit to contact him and he thanked those who give their time to support this valuable service.

For further information contact: 086-8702062.

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