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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 29, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cyclingnews reader poll: Best Stage and One Day races

Today's installment of the Cyclingnews reader poll awards reveals your choice of Best Stage Race (no prizes for guessing this one...) and Best One Day Race of 2003.

Each day a new category and its winner will be announced, culminating in the Rider of the Year award on January 1, 2004, just in time for a new year to begin and new favourites to emerge. Votes have been tallied for best riders in cycling's various disciplines, the best new products, best bikes, favourite moments of the 2003 season, legends of cycling, and more.

Petacchi is La Gazzetta's Rider of the Year

The readers of Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport have chosen Alessandro Petacchi is their "Rider of 2003". The Italian sprinter, who amassed 24 UCI victories plus 6 criteriums this year beat, Paolo Bettini and Lance Armstrong as the readers' choice with 31.7 percent of the vote. Paolo Bettini (UCI number one, three World Cup wins plus the overall classification) netted 23 percent of the readers' votes, while Lance Armstrong (winner of the Tour de France for the fifth consecutive time) scored 19.3 percent. German Jan Ullrich finished fourth with 6.2 percent while Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni scored a relatively lowly 6.1 percent.

Di Luca marries

Saeco cyclist Danilo Di Luca was married on the weekend to Valentina Giuliani, daughter of the team manager of the Formaggi Pinzolo team. The ceremony took place in the church of Santa Maria al Piano in Loreto Aprutino, in the province of Pescara.

Team Australia and United Water for JCTDU

Young guns and seasoned hands make up all-Aussie teams

Some of Australia's most promising young riders will line up next month in the 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Organisers today announced the members of Team Australia and United Water teams for the event which kicks off in Adelaide on January 20.

Team Australia will include Spanish based professional Allan Davis who has gained a berth in the national team after the withdrawal of his professional team Liberty Seguros. The team was forced to withdraw due to unavoidable delays with finalising equipment and clothing after the change of sponsor from ONCE.

"It would have been nice to start the season in the new team colours in Australia but I'm happy to be starting in Australian colours," said Davis. "The fact my pro team isn't here won't have any effect on my build up and training for 'Down Under' and I still plan to put in a strong performance.

"I want to come away with a good stage result and apart from that it will be a case of making the team plan work because we have a lot of talent and experience in the line up," said Davis. "We haven't confirmed how we'll ride the race yet and we probably won't until we see how it unfolds and who is best placed to attack the overall."

Scott Sunderland, a rider with fifteen years of experience in the professional ranks, will also race for Team Australia. Sunderland's last appearance in the event was in 2002 when he suffered a bad crash in the final two kilometres of the stage into Victor Harbor. He went into the stage leading the Laubman and Pank King of the Mountain classification but a resulting knee injury forced him out of the race.

Stephen Wooldridge and Ashley Hutchinson, both of whom contributed to Australia's gold medal in the teams pursuit at this year's World Championships, will also race for Australia. Hutchinson rode the qualifying round while Wooldridge, raced the first two rounds of the three round competition and as a result claimed another World Champion's rainbow jersey to add to his 2002 win. The rest of the line up is 2003 Australian time trial champion Ben Day, former Australian road race champion Allan Iacuone, Hilton Clarke and Simon Gerrans, the 2002 U23 Australian road champion.

Meantime the United Water contingent, made up of riders in the Australian U23 development squad, are plotting to surprise.

"The boys have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this race so we'll be out to surprise the pros," said Team Manager Brian Stephens. "(Aaron) Kemps could give the big boys a fright in some of the sprints because he's a class act with great finishing speed.

United Water will also boast Mark Jamieson and Nic Sanderson, both of whom scored medals at the 2002 road cycling World Championships in their last year as juniors. Jamieson claimed silver in the time trial and Sanderson bronze in the road race. Peter Dawson's inclusion in the United Water team means every member of the Australian pursuit team which smashed the world record to win gold at the track cycling World Championships will line up in the 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

"My advice to the team will be to take some chances and try out some things," he said. "They'll be in good shape and I'm confident they'll acquit themselves well."

Ashley Humbert returns to international competition after more than a year battling viral meningitis while Ryan Sullivan and Richard Moffatt are new members of the Australian U23 Program. Bernard Sulzberger completes the United Water team.

Team Australia

Allan Davis (Qld), Ashley Hutchinson (Qld), Stephen Wooldridge (NSW), Scott Sunderland (NSW), Ben Day (Qld), Allan Iacuone (Vic), Simon Gerrans (Vic), Hilton Clarke (Vic)

United Water

Aaron Kemps (Qld), Ashley Humbert (NSW), Bernard Sulzberger (Tas), Richard Moffat (NSW), Ryan Sullivan (Tas), Peter Dawson (WA), Mark Jamieson (Tas), Nic Sanderson (Vic)

For more information, see

Indonesian trade team to Langkawi

The 2004 Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi will for the first time see the participation of an Indonesian division III trade team, Wismilak Cycling Team, which will parade its strongest line up in the Tour which starts on February 6, 2004.

In an effort to boost the standard of Asian cycling, race organisers First Cartel (M) Sdn Bhd invited Wismilak, which has registered as a Division III with the UCI. It is hoped that the move will trigger off positive effects on Asian cycling and further inspire Asian countries to set up their own professional teams which would eventually help build a strong base for the sport in the region.

As it is now, only Taiwan and Japan are known to have seriously embarked on efforts to set up their own trade teams. Malaysia has yet to have a professional outfit although there were plans by Proton, through T-Bikes, to set up its own professional team.

Being listed as a Division III team, the Surabaya-based Wismilak Cycling Team will compete in the open competition. However, according to the organisers, as the team is currently based in Asia there is a possibility that it will be allowed to compete in the East Asian category as well.

"It is likely that the team will be allowed to compete in Asian category as it is registered in Indonesia," said First Cartel Executive Director Abdullah Kamal Shafii.

Topping the team roster is diminutive climber Tonton Susanto, formerly with the Taiwan-based Giant Asia Racing Team. Apart from Tonton, the team is bringing along three of its top sprinters: Samai, Matnur Matnur and Wawan Setyobudi for the 10 day Tour.

Tonton is well known not only to Asians, but also to his European rivals due to his exploits and strength in the mountains. Tonton's reputation as a strong climber is acknowledged by many, including top professional riders. He had received offers to ride with pro teams in Europe but chose to wear the colours of Taiwan based TT3 team, Giant ART.

The 30 year old Tonton, who first won the Asian title in 1998, has been a regular with Team Telekom Malaysia for the past two years and was the toast of the team when the composite outfit won the Asian title last year. Tonton emerged as the champion in the Asian overall competition but had to play second fiddle to Japan's Tomoya Kano in 2003.

Wawan and Samai are the region's reputable sprinters, having won the gold medal in the pursuit in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 2001. Samai also won three stages in this year's Tour of Malaysia which was organised by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

Completing the team's seven man line up are Sulistiyono, who was 9th overall in the 1999 LTdL, Anno Pedersen of Holland and Adi Wibowo.

"We hope to include more professional teams from Asia as this would spur the growth of cycling in the region," said Abdullah Kamal. Being a 2.2 ranked event, only four to five national teams from Asian countries are allowed to take part in the Tour while the remaining 75 percent of the slot must be filled up by professional teams.

Wismilak Cycling Team roster

Tonton Susanto (Ina), Samai (Ina), Setyobudi Wawan (Ina), Matnur Matnur (Ina),Anno Pedersen (Net), Adi Wibowo (Ina), Sulistiyono (Ina).

Teams confirmed so far

Lampre (Italy), Mr Palmans (Bel), Chocolade Jacques-Wincor-Nixdorf (Bel), De Nardi Colpack (Ita), Panaria Margres (Ita), Iran national team (Iri), Wismilak Cycling Team (Ina)

Argentinean Road Championships

The Argentinean Road Championships will be held in San Juan between January 8-11, 2004. The program is as follows:

January 8

U23 men, ITT 30 km
Elite men, ITT 40 km

January 9

Junior women, ITT 15 km
Elite women, ITT 20 km
Class 1988 men, ITT 8 km
Junior men, ITT 20 km

January 10

Road race women, 20 km
Road race class 1991 men, 20 km
Road race class 1990 men, 30 km
Road race class 1989, 40 km
Road race junior women, 20 km
Road race elite women, 64 km
Road race class 1988 men, 64 km

January 11

Road race junior men, 100 km
Road race U23 men, 120 km
Road race Elite men, 181 km

Swiss TTT championships to Bätterkinden

The Swiss team time trial championships will be held for the next five years in Bätterkinden, Lucerne. Although the Swiss cycling federation did not want to keep the TTT as a national championship event, pressure from the Bern and Lucerne federations forced the national federation to change its mind.

Italian track women to Colombia

The Italian cycling federation is sending a delegation of women track cyclists to Duitama, Colombia next January to train at altitude. The three women (Giorgia Bronzini, Vera Carrara and Eleonora Soldo) will be led by Edoardo Salvoldi. The camp will take place between January 9-24, 2004.

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