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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for July 1, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Bettini tops UCI rankings

Bettini's back
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Following the various national championships held last week, as well as the tours of Switzerland and Catalunya, the UCI men's rankings have been updated. The new number one rider is recently crowned Italian champ Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who has dethroned Erik Zabel (Telekom), despite the latter winning his German national championships. Bettini has a 40 point lead over Zabel, and will hold that until the end of the Tour, when the rankings are updated again.

Giro winner Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) slipped down to third place, but has a chance to make a lot of points if he does even remotely well in the Tour, due to the fact that he didn't ride it last year and thus will not "lose" any UCI points.

Other movers and shakers include Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom) who jumped from 30th to 13th after winning the Tour de Suisse, and Jose Antonio Pecharroman (Paternina), who leapt up from 150th to 45th after winning the Volta a Catalunya. His Paternina team also benefited, moving to second in the Division II ranks behind BankGiroLoterij. In Division I, Saeco has been overhauled by Fassa Bortolo, but the difference between the two teams is quite close.

UCI rankings as of June 29, 2003


1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                 2,095.00 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                            2,053.75
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco                         1,997.00
4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                       1,887.00
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor 1,797.00
6 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          1,679.00
7 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                           1,550.00
8 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski           1,414.00
9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                  1,402.00
10 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal presented by Berry Floor  1,346.25
11 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                  1,341.00
12 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Team Saeco                         1,275.00
13 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom                 1,215.00
14 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                       1,211.00
15 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo              1,171.00
16 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                          1,163.60
17 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa)              1,135.00
18 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC                           1,130.00
19 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Team Saeco                          1,109.00
20 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron            1,103.20

Top riders of 2003

1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco                         1,630.00 pts
2 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom                  1,127.00
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                   1,016.00
4 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                   988.00
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                    955.00
6 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI                941.00
7 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC                              924.00
8 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                            902.00
9 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                              846.75
10 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                        768.00

Division I

1 Fassa Bortolo                                            5,288.75 pts
2 Team Saeco                                               5,239.00
3 Team Telekom                                             4,706.50
4 Quick.Step-Davitamon                                     4,650.00
5 Rabobank                                                 3,525.75
6 Gerolsteiner                                             3,359.00
7                                             3,134.00
8 Team CSC                                                 3,126.00
9 Alessio                                                  3,044.00
10 Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                        3,036.00

Division II

1 Bankgiroloterij Cycling Team                             1,780.00 pts
2 Paternina-Costa de Almeria                               1,605.00
3 Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada                                1,267.00
4 De Nardi-Colpack                                         1,195.00
5 Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo                                 1,096.00

Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations

US Postal announces Tour team

The US Postal-Berry Floor team for the Tour de France has been finalised, with Floyd Landis taking the ninth available spot. That means that seven of the eight teammates that helped Lance Armstrong win his fourth Tour last year will be back again as Armstrong aims for a record equalling fifth straight Tour win.

Joining Armstrong will be Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov, Spaniards Roberto Heras, Manuel Beltran and Jose Luis Rubiera, Americans George Hincapie and Floyd Landis, Pavel Padrnos of the Czech Republic and Colombian Victor Hugo Peña. Beltran, a mid-season addition to the team, replaces Luxembourger Benoît Joachim from last year's Tour roster.

"In my opinion, he's at least as strong as last year," said the team's director sportif, Johan Bruyneel of Armstrong. "His last race, the Dauphine Libéré (June 8-15), was a confirmation that he's on track. He did a strong time trial and defended in the mountains.

"This is more or less the same team as last year, except for Beltran replacing Benoît. It's a real shame for Benoît because he's been displaying great condition now and certainly deserved his place on the team. The choice between him and Floyd was very difficult, but I'm confident that this year's team is our strongest possible line up," added Bruyneel.

Both Landis and Hincapie overcame injury and illness to make the Tour de France roster. Landis broke his hip in a January training ride fall near his home in southern California while Hincapie suffered from a severe viral and respiratory infection that took him out of many early season events, including the Classic and World Cup races. Landis returned to racing in April while Hincapie rejoined the team in mid-May.

"After missing the spring due to illness, George has come back very strong and showed us at (the Tour of) Catalunya (June 16-22) that we can count on him," said Bruyneel. "Floyd is in the same situation as George. He was out for the spring with his hip fracture, worked extremely hard and proved at the Dauphine that his form is still improving."

Bruyneel added that Heras is "back on the same level as last year" and is ready for the Tour following a second place finish at Catalunya. Beltran and Rubiera will join Heras and assist Armstrong in the mountains, while Ekimov, Padrnos and Peña "have the experience and proved at the Dauphine that they are ready for the job."

Ludewig gets Saeco's last Tour spot

German Joerg Ludewig has been selected as Saeco's ninth man for its Tour de France team, getting the nod over sprinter Ivan Quaranta and Andrea Tonti. "I'm sorry for Quaranta," said team manager Claudio Corti. "But this time it was purely a technical decision. After the results of the Giro d’Italia and considering the ride Gilberto Simoni could do in the Tour, we have decided that it is the right choice. It is not that Quaranta has been overlooked. We still feel he is one of the strongest sprinters in the world and we will make sure he gets other chances to show what he can do."

The full team is: Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca, Gerrit Glomser, Paolo Fornaciari, Joerg Ludewig, Fabio Sacchi, Stefano Zanini, Salvatore Commesso, Leonardo Bertagnolli

Wadecki out of Tour

Piotr Wadecki (Quick.Step-Davitamon) will not be taking part in the Tour de France this year. The Polish rider has had to pull out of the Grande Boucle after contracting bronchial pneumonia. "During the last few days, Wadecki has been taking a course of antibiotics in the hope that he'd be able to recover in time for the Tour, but unfortunately this hasn't been the case," said team manager Patrick Lefevere. "Davide Bramati, number one reserve, who has already taken part in Tour de France four times, will be taking his place."

More Tour teams, Tour team preview: Part I

Rumsas fails B test

Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas has been confirmed to have tested positive for EPO during the Giro d'Italia. The results of the counter analysis were identical to the first test, which was performed on a sample taken on May 16. "The second test proves Raimondas had taken erythropoietin, also known as EPO. This is very sad," said Rima Berloviene, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Sports Federation to AP.

Rumsas has yet to be sanctioned, but he could be facing a long penalty unless he can prove his innocence. After the first positive test, Rumsas stated that if the counter-analysis was also positive, "I would suspect my doctors...Everyone knows that I am under special observation. How then could I take EPO after what happened at last year's Tour de France?"

Rumsas finished third in the Tour de France last year, but on the last day his wife Edita was arrested under suspicion of carrying doping substances in her car. She was jailed for two months before eventually being released. Rumsas always denied taking banned substances, and said the products in his Edita's car were for his mother-in-law.

Commesso close to three jerseys

Salvatore Commesso (Saeco) came close to a third Italian national title in Saltara on Sunday when he finished third in the sprint behind Paolo Bettini and Filippo Pozzato. The defending champion said he was hampered by injuries incurred during the Tour de Suisse, and couldn't ride as well as he wanted.

"With the form I had I could have won the Italian title for a third time but there is no doubt that Bettini deserved to win and I can only congratulate him on his victory," said Commesso. "Now I want to recover as quickly as possible so that I can have a great Tour de France."

Canadians give World's course thumbs up

The Tim Horton's National Championships were contested in Hamilton, Canada over the weekend on the same courses that will be used for the World Championships this October. The time trials were run over two similar urban loops, one of 15 km and the other 21 km. The circuits were described by the competitors as, "technical, spectacular and safe," comments that were welcomed by the organisers of the World's.

Men's time trial winner Eric Wohlberg commented that "This course suits me but we're talking about the World Championships...I would be happy to finish in the top 15 to 20 positions."

Lyne Bessette won the women's time trial, for the second time in three years. "I had a big day. The course was perfectly secured and I was able to do the full distance in my zone, without worries about potential hazards."

Jutras breaks collarbone

Saturn's Manon Jutras has broken her collarbone after crashing in the Tim Horton's National Championships in Hamilton, Canada on Sunday. Jutras, who also suffered concussion, is reportedly in a stable condition at the moment, although she will miss the next month's racing at least.

Young cyclists debate and parade on Tour

To commemorate the centenary of the Tour de France, and on the eve of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004, the European Commission, France's Ministry of Sport, ASO, the Tour organisers and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have invited young amateur cyclists to Paris for two days of discussions on the practice and values of sport and questions relating to professional cycling, and for a parade on the streets of Paris on the eve of the start of the 2003 Tour. This event, bringing together current and future champion cyclists, will take place between July 2-4.

"At a time when the Convention on the future of Europe has just been proposed, including sport in the future European constitution, and with 2004 being the European Year of Education through Sport, the European Commission wishes to demonstrate, through this action involving young European sportsmen and women, that it is in favour of sport as a carrier of educational, social and citizenship values and promotes a European sporting model based on solidarity between professional and amateur sport", said Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner responsible for sport.

The team of young cyclists will comprise two representatives from each participating country (one boy and one girl), i.e. a maximum of 56 young amateur cyclists aged between 18 and 20. They have been selected by the national federations, coordinated by the UCI. Their programme will include two events:

The Debate

The young people will discuss the practice and values of sport in general and cycling in particular, and the problems linked to the changeover from amateur to professional. The themes will be: health and working conditions; education, training and professional reintegration; expectations and responsibilities for young cyclists in relation to the world of professional cycling.

This will take place on Wednesday July 2 from 15.30 at the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF, 1 avenue Pierre de Coubertin, Paris). It will be preceded by an official opening by representatives from the CNOSF, the European Commission, the UCI, ASO and France's Ministry of Sport, at the CNOSF from 14.00.

The same themes will be discussed on the following day by young people with professional cyclists, including French champion Félicia Ballanger and former Belgian champion Stan Tourné.

The conclusions of the debates will be presented at a press conference on July 3 at 12:15 at the Tour Village Parc des Expositions "Hall 6" Porte de Versailles, in the presence of the team of young European amateur cyclists, Viviane Reding, Jean-François Lamour, France's Minister for Sport, and the director of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc.

The Parade

A team comprising some of the young amateurs will take part in the parade and in the official presentation of the Tour teams, which will take place in the streets and in front of Paris's town hall in the late afternoon on Friday 4 July.

It's 'Full Speed Ahead' in the Cyclingnews Tour de France Fantasy Game

Photo: © FSA
Click for larger image

Leading component manufacturer Full Speed Ahead has joined our roster of great prize sponsors in the 2003 Tour de France Fantasy Game, with a Carbon Pro Team Issue crankset, a K-Force road handlebar and an OS-115 stem on offer to all those budding directeurs sportif who want to put together their own dream team.

The super-lightweight products from FSA join an impressive range of prizes on offer, with the Major Prize being a limited edition Giant TCR 100 package valued at 10,000 euros.

FSA is one of the world's leading manufacturers of composite components. The Carbon Pro Team Issue crankset (as used by the CSC squad) weighs only 555 grams and features patented carbon composite crank arms, one-piece crankarm/spider, precision CNC machined 7075/T6 chainrings that are ramped and pinned for great shifting. The cranks are also available in a wide range of crank lengths to suit riders of all sizes - including 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm, 177.5mm or 180mm.

The composite stem features carbon fibre construction, an alloy internal spine for reliability, titanium fasteners and is designed for 31.8mm diameter handlebars, just like the FSA K-Force, which is also made from carbon fibre with an ergonomic bend double groove design, a 31.8mm stem clamp diameter and comes in sizes of 40, 42 and 44cm width. The best part is the weight - only 200 grams.

We're also offering great supplementary prizes, such as a full Veloce groupset from Campagnolo, team issue helmets from Giro and Bell, as well as the latest Arione saddle from fi'zi:k, with more to come.

For your chance to win and for full details on all the prizes on offer in the 2003 Tour de France Fantasy Game, please visit the Fantasy Game section and register to enter your dream team.

Mt Holly-Smithville GP

The teams have been announced for the Mt. Holly-Smithville Invitational Grand Prix on August 2, 2003. In total, 28 teams have been named, including eight professional squads. The list is headed by the Division II Navigators team, with HealthNet, Schroeder Iron, Jelly Belly, Ofoto-Lombardi Sports, Colavita-Bolla, Jittery Joe's and all taking part.

This year's 7 x 12 mile lap circuit will again run through Mt. Holly, Westampton, Eastampton and Springfield Townships in southern NJ. But the race will also include for the first time, a three lap finishing circuit of a 2.7 mile course through downtown Mt. Holly. The circuit will encompass the Mount, which is the highest point in Mt. Holly.

The race will be held on August 2, 2003, the day before the NYC cycling championships and will offer the competing teams a full weekend of racing. Mt. Holly is centrally located 90 minutes south of NYC and 30 minutes East of Philadelphia.

The race offers a total purse of $10,000, with $9,500 going to the top 20 places and $500 being offered for the top three places in the Fuji bicycles sprint competition.

Team list

Professional Teams

Navigators cycling team
Schroeder Iron
Jelly Belly
OFOTO-Lomabardi Sports
Jittery Joe's

Amateur Teams

Ready Pac-KMK Sports
Team Fuji
Morgan Stanley-Specialized
Team Evolution
National Capital Velo Club
High Gear-Watchung Wheelmen
Liberty Cycles
Ideal Tile-Brielle Cyclery
Beans/Lite Bites
Trek-VW east coast factory team
Seattle Squadra-Grande Ciclismo
Remax cycling team

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