First Edition News for August 10, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Bettini back into World Cup lead
Paolo Bettini regained control of the general classification in the World Cup competition Sunday with another display of power in the Clasica San Sebastian. Bettini has become the first rider ever to win three World Cup races in a single season, and with 300 points now leads Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank).
Bettini remains a strong favourite to win the overall World Cup for a second year in a row, and with his current form could well pick up additional points in next Sunday's Championship of Zurich, a race he has won before.
"The World Cup is not yet won, and before taking a break and preparing for the World Championships in Hamilton, I'd like to gain some more ground on my closest rivals," Bettini said after his San Sebastian win.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Clasica San Sebastian.
World Cup classification after Round 7:
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Davitamon 300 Pts 2 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo 203 3 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 164 4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 151 5 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco 138 6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco 124 7 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco 117 8 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 108 9 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 100 10 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 86 11 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 85 12 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio 83 13 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 74 14 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 73 15 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco 71
Note: Some riders, such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Tyler Hamilton, are not listed because they will not race the minimum six World Cup events necessary to qualify for the overall classification.
San Sebastian marred by moto accident
Behind the joy in Paolo Bettini's Clasica San Sebastian triumph fell the untimely death of a motorcycle driver working for the race organisation. Jose Antonio Matxain was involved in an accident during the race when his motorcycle crashed in a traffic circle in Azpeitia. Paramedics who arrived to treat his injuries noted that he was conscious and had indicated that he was ok except for pain in his arm. Matxain, however, had also suffered severe head trauma, and passed away an hour later after being taken to the hospital in Mendaro.
Jose Antonio Matxain, 41, was the son of Perico Matxain, former directeur sportif to riders such as Ocaña, Mendiburu, and Perurena. His identity was initially withheld by the race organisers so as to allow time to notify Matxain senior directly, avoiding announcements on the race radio or through the general media.
Morale boosting win for VDB
Frank Vandenbroucke (Quick.Step-Davitamon) recorded his first win in almost a year in the criterium in Kortrijk on Friday. VDB, whose best result this year is second in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, beat his friend Nico Mattan (Cofidis) in a two man sprint at the end of the 100 km race. Although it perhaps wasn't his greatest career victory, Vandenbroucke still declared himself happy with the outcome.
"A fine morale booster," said VDB to Het Nieuwsblad. "Winning is winning and it's always good. It's nice to have for my outlook on the Tour of Spain, my next big appointment."
Cofidis still building
The Division I Cofidis team, which has already begun reinforcing its roster for 2004 with an increased French focus, has been looking across the Alps to Italy as well. The team has recruited Frenchmen Jimmy Casper, Jimmy Engoulvant, and Christophe Edaleine, and will keep team leaders David Millar and David Moncoutié. Directeur sportif Bernard Quilfen confirmed with l'Equipe that the team has begun talks with Italians Ivan Basso of Fassa Bortolo and Danilo Di Luca of Saeco, second and third in Sunday's Clasica San Sebastian, respectively.
At the same time, Quilfen discounted any rumours linking ONCE's Joseba Beloki with Cofidis, quipping that "I think if that were the case, I would know about it."
Mondory returns to Ag2R-Prévoyance
Lloyd Mondory has been offered a ride as a stagiaire with Ag2R-Prévoyance. In fact, Mondory was picked up as a stagiaire by team manager Vincent Lavenu last year, but this year suffered through a difficult early season plagued by knee problems. He will get another shot in the pro peloton this fall.
Virenque tops in Tour fan mail
Richard Virenque thrilled French cycling fans with a stage win, a yellow jersey for a day, and his sixth king of the mountains jersey in this year's Tour de France. It should come as little surprise that France's most popular rider received the greatest number of letters from fans during the three week Tour. A program allowing fans to write letters to their favourite riders during the Tour showed that every rider is worthy of support, and through the 4,014 letters sent to the Tour, at least one made it to the 198 riders who started the race.
Virenque won the popularity contest, receiving some 435 letters during the Tour. Lance Armstrong, on his way to winning his fifth consecutive title, received 423, while Jan Ullrich thundered back into the public's hearts with his second place overall and 300 fan letters to boot.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)