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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for August 15, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Casagrande looking for luck

Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), a favourite for Sunday's Championship of Zurich World Cup race, is looking for a little luck to go with his good form of the moment. Casagrande was one of the animators of last weekend's Clasica San Sebastian, but could only watch as Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) launched the decisive attack with 15km to race. Casagrande finished 3rd in Zurich in 2000, and 4th in 2001. Frequently among the leaders, the Lampre leader hopes for a big win Sunday.

"I hope it's a lively race," Casagrande told Datasport. "I'm going well, my condition is good, and I've just been missing a bit of good luck to get a big win. Zurich could be the race for a victory."

Casagrande will have to contend once more with World Cup leader Bettini, who this year has become the first rider to win three World Cup events in a single season (Milan-San Remo, HEW Cyclassics, Clasica San Sebastian), and is once more the man to watch in Zurich.

Robert Hunter breaks wrist

During the third stage of the Tour of Denmark, South African sprinter Robert Hunter crashed and broke his wrist. Hunter was taken to hospital where x-rays confirmed the break, however an operation was not deemed to be necessary. Hunter will have to take three weeks off before he can resume training.

Stagiaire season approaches

As the transfer season continues, so too does the signing of young talent. Stagiaires, young riders signed on a trial basis, are typically given a chance to test their legs in professional competition at the end of the season. Those who perform well are often offered a full contract for the following year.

Two new recruits include David Loosli of Switzerland, who will get a ride with Saeco beginning September 1, and British rider Yanto Barker, who will join MBK-Oktos for the remainder of the 2003 season.

Vandborg to CSC

Danish amateur Brian Vandborg will turn professional with Team CSC, having signed a two year deal with Bjarne Riis's team, according to a Cycling4all report.

British MTB World's team

Great Britain's team for the Mountain Bike World Championships in Switzerland in early September has been announced. The team's leading medal contenders will be Steve Peat, Tracy Moseley and Fionn Griffiths. The top cross-country hope is Liam Killeen (U23). The cross-country team will be managed by Simon Burney, while Helen Mortimer and Simon Lillestone will manage the downhill and junior riders, respectively.

Downhill (Elite men)

Elite men: Dan Atherton, Kris Hargreaves, Will Longden, Steve Peat. Reserve: Crawford Carrick-Anderson.
Elite women: Fionn Griffiths, Tracy Moseley
Junior men: George Atherton, Mark Heritage. Reserve: Lee Pincher
Junior women: No selection


Men: George Atherton, Scott Beaumont, Dale Holmes, Will Longden, Steve Peat
Women: Fionn Griffiths, Tracy Moseley


Marathon: Barrie Clarke
Elite men: Oli Beckingsale, Stuart Bowers, Nick Craig, Zak Toogood
Elite women: Jenny Copnall, Sue Thomas
U23 men: Liam Killeen, Simon Richardson, Phil Spencer
Junior men: Richard Firth, Ian Legg
Junior women: Nikki Harris
Team Relay: Phil Dixon, Ian Legg, Phil Spencer, Sue Thomas

British team for Junior Track World's

British Cycling has also announced its roster for the Junior Track World Championships (Moscow, August 20-24). The team pursuit will be contested by Edward Clancy, Matthew Brammeier, Geraint Thomas and Tom Walters.This quartet recently broke the national record at the European round of the UCI Track Nations Cup with a time of 4'25"631.

Wrong gear for Steel

British Cycling announced that an extensive review of the video footage from the recent World Track Championships revealed that Bryan Steel, who was dropped after just 1.5km of racing in the final of the team pursuit, had in fact been given the wrong gear.

Mistakes happen
Photo: © Hennes Roth
Click for larger image

"As a team, we felt it importance to bring this error to public attention," said Dave Brailsford, WCPP Program Director. "No one wants to make a mistake, especially at this level, but they happen; mistakes are a part of living. We do however feel deeply that Bryan should not be portrayed as anything other than what he is, a valuable member of our team pursuit group who was doing a sterling job and was simply a victim of circumstances."

Advisor to the team and former pro Chris Boardman echoed these sentiments. "When [Bryan] was dropped in the final, I was very surprised, it just wasn't logical based on his performance in the previous rounds. I, like others lacking the facts at the time, assumed that it must be an age thing, that Bryan had finally found his limit. I am happy to say we were wrong. It would seem we have yet to see the best of Bryan Steel, which is a pretty exciting thing."

The British pursuit team, which along with Steel included Robert Hayles, Paul Manning, and Bradley Wiggins, finished second to Australia despite losing Steel roughly halfway through the event.

"We were determined not to let this turn into a finger pointing game, Brailsford added. "We are big enough to hold our hands up when we make a mistake and we felt it important that the record be set straight."

Elite field in Evans Cycles-Surrey League 5-Day

By Gerry McManus

Soaring temperatures are expected to make Britain's longest stage race even tougher this year when the Evans sponsored Surrey League 5-Day race begins on Friday, August 150. This year's 458-mile event based in the counties of Surrey and Sussex will have a new winner in the absence of all the six previous victors including New Zealand's Gordon McCauley and Britain's Kristian House.

The grueling race visits different parts of the region each day using three different circuits on each stage. The race makes excellent use of traffic free roads and it visits some of the areas steepest climbs offering prizes and jerseys for the King of the Mountains and Sprint categories. The unique event continues to attract mainly a domestic field but an Irish contingent continues to make the pilgrimage over to Surrey.

Irish International Timmy Barry leads the Team Rás Mumhan from Ireland. Barry won stage two and wore the leaders jersey in 2001 on his return to the sport after a layoff and will be keen to perform with a number of Team Ireland places up for grabs in end of year international stage races. The Irish team look strong with the inclusion of other international performers Brian Keneally, Paul Griffin, Adrian Hederman and Andy Roche. Griffin has always been the "riders' choice" for a potential big win and will be one to watch.

At least half of this year's field would not look out of place in a British Premier Calendar race program and the event is certainly more open than last year when the British national team dominated.

A number of the domestic riders will know about the Irish riders capabilities after their ride in the FBD Milk Rás this year. Gary Dodd (Sigma Sport), John Veness, Justin Hoy (both Evans RT), Roger Morgan (Parrott Print RT) and Dave Worthington (Prestige VC) rode for a Surrey League team in Ireland but will be competitors here riding with their own clubs.

Scottish champion Andrew Young makes the journey south with Callum and Stuart MacGregor representing Scotland and British based Antiguan internationals Rory Gonsalves and Robert Marsh represent the amateur World Sports Exchange Team.

Christian Varley (Isle of Man) may find the mountainous terrain to his liking after finishing 10th in the under-23 road championships in similar surroundings but could find the lack of team support a major problem over five days.

Stage one on Friday is based in Newdigate in Surrey beginning at 11am using three circuits that take in Rusper, Capel, Holmwood Green and Norwood Hill before finishing at Brockham Park after 99.8-miles. Stage two uses Staplefield as the races central point for the 97.6-mile stage on three circuits taking in the villages of Balcombe, Handcross and Warninglid before finishing back at Newdigate.

The Sunday stage moves the race to its most Southern point at Goodwood and the morning begins with a 2.4-mile individual time-trial around the motor racing circuit. Riders will be hard pressed to beat the previous best set by Chris Newton last year in a time of 4'31. Danny Axford (Parrott Print RT) will be favourite after winning the stage in 2001 with a time of 4'58 and is on form following his fourth place in the UCI 1.5 Havant GP.

The afternoon's road stage leaves the circuit to cover some of the roads used in the world championships in 1982. Many breakaway attempts will be thwarted as the tough course saps the riders' strength and tests their resolve. A small breakway group may slip away as the peloton returns for five laps of the exposed motor racing circuit.

If legs aren't tired by Monday morning then the longest stage around Herstmonceux will likely see to that. The race used the same 100-mile course last year where the ‘autobus' finished over 24 minutes down on stage winner Chris Newton. Maximum endurance is needed to stay in contact on the small finishing circuit and the additional climb to Cowbeech Hill.

Mechanics will be changing sprockets for the final day's racing and there is nowhere to hide on multi KOM prime stage. The route eventually brings the riders up the category one ascent ‘the wall' on the edge of Ashdown Forest where the ability groups are quick to form and the likely stage-winning move will be made.

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