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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 22, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

More awards for Armstrong & Ullrich

Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich continue to accumulate kudos in the form of "Sportsman of the Year" awards, in recognition of their achievements in 2003. Armstrong was recently voted Reuters Sportsman of the Year, beating English rugby player Jonny Wilkinson and German Formula 1 ace Michael Schumacher for the honour. Jan Ullrich was voted Germany's Sportsman of the Year by German sports journalists, taking his place alongside swimmer Hannah Stockbauer (Sportswoman of the Year) and the German women's football team, which was awarded Team of the Year.

Zarrabeitia to retire

33 year old Mikel Zarrabeitia has announced his retirement from cycling on Basque public radio station, Euskal Irrati Telebista. A professional for 12 years, Zarrabeitia said that he was suffering from back pain and was also sick of "broken promises and false hopes", referring to his fruitless attempts to find a team for 2004. Zarrabeitia, who has ridden for Manolo Saiz's ONCE team since 1996, was not offered a contract in Saiz's new Liberty Seguros team. Zarrabeitia was linked with Joseba Beloki in the Stayer team, but when that deal fell through he was left with nothing. Finally he looked for a place in Saunier Duval, without success.

Zarrabeitia counts seven victories in his Palmares, including the Bicicleta Vasca (2.1) and the GP Villafranca De Ordizia (1.2) in 2002. He also finished second behind Alexandre Vinokourov in Paris-Nice in 2003, and second in the Vuelta a España in 1994, his highest placing in a grand tour.

Moser: Cycling should return to its roots

The president of the Professional Cycling Association (CPA) Francesco Moser believes that cycling should return to its roots in order to rid itself of the problems of doping. Speaking at the Acqua e Sapone-Mokambo team presentation on Sunday, Moser said that "Cycling should return to confront its natural obstacles: the climbs, the descents, the time trial."

Moser pointed out that cycling is not the only sport with a doping problem. "Cycling should certainly look at its own house but other sports should look at their houses too," he said. "I don't like the style of television in recent times, we are not the centre of everything that's bad in modern sport."

An additional report on the Acqua e Sapone-Mokambo team presentation will follow.

Garzelli ties the knot

Vini Caldirola captain Stefano Garzelli was married last weekend to his Spanish fiancée Maria, at a ceremony in Valencia, Spain. Garzelli won the Giro d'Italia in 2000 and finished second in the race this year, after spending 11 months out of competition due to a drug suspension.

For more, see Cyclingnews' recent interview with Stefano Garzelli.

Merry Christmas from Ernesto Colnago

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Christmas Mass at Colnago
Photo ©: CN

On a bright winter Saturday morning, Ernesto Colnago and his family opened the doors to the Cambiago, Italy headquarters of his world renowned bicycle factory for their annual Christmas party. Cyclingnews was among the hundred or so invited guests which included luminaries from across the Italian cycling scene. In attendance were Colnago's first boss in the pro peloton, the legendary cycling champion Fiorenzo Magni.

Also in attendance were Colnago's old friend, Italian national soccer coach Giovanni Trappetoni, Mapei CEO Giorgio Squinzi and his wife Dottssa. Spazzola, Giro d'Italia director Avv. Carmine Castellano and members of his Giro team, Gazzetta dello Sport cycling journalist Pier Bergonzi, direttori sportivi Marco Saligari and Adriano Baffi of the Colnago-Landbouwkrediet squad and two of their riders; Yaroslav Popovych and Yuri Mitluschenko, who had just returned from a team training camp in Livigno, Italy.

After a traditional Christmas Mass, guests enjoyed a tasty holiday buffet.


Images by Tim Maloney/

Saunier Duval spreads the word in Cantabria

Last Friday, December 19, eight members of the new Spanish Saunier Duval team paid a visit to "Juvecant", a youth festival taking place in Santander, Cantabria at the moment. Team leaders Joxean Fernandez Matxin and Mauro Gianetti led the contingent of riders, which included Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero, Alberto Loddo, Fabian Jeker and Massimo Strazzer, who spent the day signing autographs for the children at the sponsor's stand.

Saunier Duval is a Cantabrian based air conditioning/heating firm, and has been involved in cycling sponsorship for 17 years. Next year will mark a step up in its commitment, as it becomes the main sponsor of a Division I team.

Lampre to debut in France and Malaysia

Lampre's 2004 season will begin in February in France, with the GP Marseillaise (Feb. 3) and Etoile de Bessèges, and in Malaysia, with the Tour de Langkawi (Feb. 6-15). Prior to these races the team will hold a training camp in Bibbona, Livorno between January 17-26.

Dutch first up for Trust House Cycle classic

Dutch cycling team BRC Kennemerland is the first international entry confirmed for next month's Trust House Cycle classic, also known as the Tour of Wellington. The team led by Rudi Vriend will arrive in Wellington on January 12, 2004 for the tour that starts on January 28.

"Rudi Vriend is on loan for a month to the BRC team, he belongs to Trade Team Van Vliet also from the Netherlands," said Race Director Jorge Sandoval. "There are UCI ranking points up for grabs and winning them is effectively money in the bank for a professional cyclist and their teams, so the Dutchies should come out 'flying' and ready to race."

Vriend is an experienced rider and is coming to New Zealand for the first time. The other team members for BRC Kennemerland are Pim Keetman, Ivor Bruin, and New Zealanders Francis De Jager and Jeremy Vennell, who have been racing in Holland for the last five years.

Stage 1 changes

Jorge Sandoval also announced that due to stage requirements for international races on the UCI calendar, stage one, the Hutt City Criterium has now been changed to a 7km Team Time Trial. The stage will take place on the same circuit, around Fraser Park at 2.00pm on Wednesday 28th January 2004.

Rás an Turcaí 2003

By Shane Stokes,

Ireland's top riders will come together in competition just days before the Olympic selection criteria is released when they take part in the Rás an Turcaí in Carraro, Co. Galway. 2002 winner Mark Scanlon, runner-up Ciarán Power and David O'Loughlin are just three of the internationals expected to line out in the event, which has taken the place of the old Carrick Wheelers Christmas Hamper Race as the biggest mid-winter contest in the country. The 60 kilometre event will take place on Sunday December 28th and is expected to attract a big field of riders of all levels.

This year's Rás an Turcaí is to take place over six laps of a 10 kilometre circuit, with the first two laps being run off at a controlled race to enable people of varying abilities to ride alongside Ireland's professionals. There will be six categories for prizes: racing, non-racing, touring, veteran, women and juniors.

Over 100 riders lined out last year and, with good prizes up for grabs once more, a strong turnout is expected. Local Galway footballer Seán Óg De Paor and Aedín Ní Challaráin, who represented Ireland in kayaking at the Olympic Games, are expected again this year.

The race is backed by many local and neighbouring sponsors, with chief support coming from Galway Water, Raidió na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Kearney Cycles. Sign-On is at 11.30 am, with the event starting at 1 pm. The Rás an Turcaí (the Turkey race) is open to cyclists of all abilities.

For more information, contact Máirtín Óg at 087 2572597

Settimana Lombarda back on calendar

The Italian stage race Settimana Lombarda will be back on the UCI calendar after a year's absence, and will take place between April 14-18, 2004. The race will be organised by the G.S. Domus di Bergamo.

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