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Latest News for August 14, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Bettini goes for hat trick in Zurich; Jan Ullrich his top rival

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Bettini looking to make it three in a row
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

As Europe continues to bake in record-setting summer heat, the 90th edition of the Züri-Metzgete gets under way this Sunday. The eighth round of the 2003 World Cup starts southeast of Zurich along the Zurichsee and winds through the rolling hills southeast of the Swiss financial capital to return to a lakeside finish. Thunderstorms and temperatures in the lower 30's are currently forecast for Sunday's race.

Sponsored once again by US based software firm BMC Software, the Zurich round of the 2003 World Cup features one large, hilly opening lap of 71 km, followed by four undulating laps of 41.4km with the steep, narrow Pfannenstiel climb the crucial point in the action. Paolo Bettini of Quick.Step-Davitamon, runner-up last year at Zurich and winner in 2001, will take the start clad in the leader's jersey of the World Cup.

Bettini, 2003 Italian champion, won in the World Cup in 2002 and has been unstoppable since the Tour de France, winning two straight World Cups in Hamburg and San Sebastian the last two weekends. At Zurich, Bettini is looking to extend his 97 point World Cup lead on Lotto-Domo's Peter Van Petegem with a third consecutive win in the World Cup, a feat never before achieved.

Click here for the Full Preview, Start List and Map

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the Züri-Metzgete beginning at approximately 13:30 CEST/07:30 EDT/04:30PDT/21:30 Aust EST.

Armstrong to race Olympics?

According to a report in USA Today, Lance Armstrong will line up for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, shortly after competing in the Tour de France, which he hopes to win for a sixth consecutive time. The road cycling events in Athens take place between August 14-18, three weeks after the finish of the Tour.

Armstrong has raced in the past three Olympic Games (Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney) with his best result being a bronze medal in the time trial in Sydney 2000 behind Viatcheslav Ekimov and Jan Ullrich. At the time he said it was difficult to focus on two big events in one year, however he said prior to the Olympics that they were "a big priority...For me there was only one reason to come and that is to win."

Lance Armstrong has all but finished his 2003 season. Following his fifth Tour victory at the end of July, he raced in a couple of post-Tour criteriums as well as a two man time trial in Germany. He skipped all of the August World Cup races to spend time with his family in Spain. His final race of the season will be the popular T-Mobile Grand Prix in San Francisco on September 14, following which he will participate in the Tour of Hope (October 11-18), a charity ride across America for cancer research, and the Ride for the Roses, which was rescheduled for October 26 this year.

Ullrich not sure about World's

Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) is undecided whether he will race through until the end of the season and do the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. The German, who finished second in the Tour de France, will line up in Zurich on Sunday for the Championship of Zurich, the eighth round of the World Cup. After that, he will make a decision about the rest of the season.

"I'll only start there if I know that I have a real chance", said Ullrich about the World's.

Last weekend in Bochum, Ullrich also received a fairness award from the German Olympic Committee in recognition of his actions during the 15th stage of the Tour, when he did not take advantage of the situation after race leader Lance Armstrong crashed on the lower slopes of Luz Ardiden.

"For me the nicest experience in Bochum was the presentation of the fairness award by the German Olympic Committee," wrote Ullrich on his website. "For me it is open recognition that I did the right thing in the Pyrenees. I did not doubt for one second that it was right to wait for the fallen Armstrong, and I don't have any doubts today."

Somewhat controversially, Lance Armstrong said in a post-Tour interview on OLN that he didn't believe that Ullrich waited for him on Luz Ardiden, although he also recognised that Ullrich didn't attack.

For more debate on this topic, see the Cyclingnews letters page.

Kashechkin signs for Crédit Agricole

It has been confirmed that Andrey Kashechkin will ride for Roger Legeay's Crédit Agricole outfit for the next two years. The 23 year old Kazakh rider will leave Patrick Lefevere, for whom he has ridden for for the last two and a half years (Domo-Farm Frites and Credit Agricole). Crédit Agricole has also signed Alexandre Botcharov, Patrice Halgand, Sébastien Joly, Damien Nazon and Benoît Salmon as newcomers.

12th Trofeo Melinda-Val di Non

2002 winner Laurent Dufaux
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

The 12th edition of the Trofeo Melinda-Val di Non scheduled for August 28 this year is one of Italy's summer classics, taking place in the Trentino region. The 194 km race will stick to its format of the past few years, starting in Malè and ending in Fondo after three tough 31 km closing circuits, containing the climbs of Ronzone and Revò in addition to an uphill finish.

It's expected that Giro winner and local boy Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) will be present at the race, along with Phonak's Oscar Camenzind. Last year's race was won by Laurent Dufaux ahead of Francesco Casagrande and Davide Rebellin.

Track stars to Amsterdam Six

The Six Days of Amsterdam will mark the start of the winter Six Day season in Europe, taking place between October 20-25. The organisers have announced the presence of three World Champions at the meeting, including individual pursuit winner Bradley Wiggins (GBr), points race champion Franz Stocher (Aut), and one of the madison gold medalists Bruno Risi (Swi), who will be back with his regular partner Kurt Betschart in Amsterdam. On the Dutch side of things, the Pronk brothers Matthé and Jos, as well as dynamic Dutch duo Danny Stam and Robert Slippens are also down to start.

Pedrosfest more popular than ever

The organisers of the Ninth Annual Pedro's New England Mountain Bike Festival have declared it the biggest yet, with just over 3,000 mountain bikers visiting the new venue at the Brodie Mountain Cross Country Ski Area for the three day festival.

"We were pleased to have such a strong turnout despite our move to a new venue and some tough weather," said event director Paul Salvucci. "This proved a testament to the loyalty of our attendees. Just about everybody went away happy and the new venue - despite our reservations - proved a huge hit."

New to the festival was the Mavic Lymphoma Research Foundation Marathon, held on Saturday morning. The event raised more than $2,200 to help combat lymphoma, with reported cases growing faster than any other cancer in the world. Riders had the choice of riding 12 miles or a nearly 20 mile trek that scaled the slopes of nearby Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts.

Also new to the festival was a beginner downhill and freeride park set up at the nearby Jiminy Peak Ski Area, with lift service.

"About the only tough thing was the rain," said festival founder Bruce Fina. "But from the beginning, this festival has always turned rain and mud into a fun part of the festival. This year proved no different.

Organisers are already working on the 2004 Pedro's New England Mountain Bike Festival. There are big plans given the celebration of the festival's 10th anniversary.

Karapoti Classic 2004

One thousand mountain bikers will return to the Akatarawa Ranges on Sunday, March 7, 2004 for New Zealand's Karapoti Classic, the longest running mountain bike event in Australasia (first run in 1986). The race is based in the rugged Akatarawa Ranges, 10km north of Upper Hutt, and involves a tough 50km of 4WD trails, single track, sludge, river crossings and wilderness.

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