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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for June 13, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Mayo concedes

Mayo and Armstrong duel
Photo: © AFP
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"If Armstrong doesn't get sick or doesn't have bad luck, then he will win the Dauphiné," said Stage 4 winner Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) after yesterday's stage. Even though Mayo was able to attack Armstrong on the Col de la Ramaz, he was never able to distance him, and the pair crossed the summit together, a little way behind Francisco Mancebo. Mayo went on to win the stage, but not the war.

"[The Dauphiné] is a prestigious race of course, but it should not be confused with the Tour," he said to L'Equipe. "What I did today doesn't change my opinion of the last few days. In the Tour, I prefer to go for stage wins. Regarding the Dauphiné, Lance Armstrong has proven that he is a cut above everyone, with a team that is doing good work and knowing perfectly how to control the race."

"Maybe there is a herb growing somewhere that is useful against these men, but I certainly don't have it in my back pocket," added Mayo.

There is another tough climbing stage to come tomorrow (Stage 6), while Sunday's Stage 7 is also not easy. However (as in stage 4) both of these stages do not finish on top of climbs.

CSC setback does not worry Riis

By Ole Ryborg

Hamilton and Armstrong
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Despite Tyler Hamilton arriving at the finish with the grupetto and Carlos Sastre losing almost 11 minutes to the race leaders in yesterday's fourth stage of the Dauphiné, CSC manager Bjarne Riis is not worried that his key riders will not be fit enough to challenge Lance Armstrong when the Tour de France starts in just a few weeks.

In an interview with a Danish newspaper, Riis stated that he was originally very worried when he was following the development of stage 4 from the car, and saw that his two main contenders for the CG in the Tour were unable to follow the leaders. But Riis was quick to adjust his judgment after remembering his own preparation for the 1996 Tour which he won. In 1996, Riis also rode the Dauphine, but abandoned in the last stage when he was lying 23rd overall at 23'18 behind winner Miguel Indurain. He went on to beat Indurain quite convincingly in the Tour.

"It's actually logical," he said to Danish daily Politiken. "Most of our riders started here after a long racing break. But despite the fact that I'm impressed with the speed of some of the top riders, we don't need to be fit before Paris. When I won the Tour 1996 I had to get off the bike twice during the Tour de Suisse to sit down at the road side to drink some Coke (Cola) just to be able to continue. But when I came to Paris I was ready and so we will be as well."

Van Petegem opts for Route du Sud

Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) will ride the Route du Sud in France (June 21-24) as preparation for the Belgian championships on June 29. The World Cup leader will thus skip the Tour de Suisse (June 16-25), as he doesn't feel recovered enough from his problems experienced in the Tour of Belgium.

Brard to Marlux

French rider Florent Brard (27) has signed a contract with the Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf team, and will probably debut in his new team colours in the French championships. Brard rode for Credit Agricole last year, but tested positive to corticosteroids and was suspended until June 15 this year. In 2001 he won the French time trial championships.

Vandenbroucke to concentrate on second half of season

Suffering from the same lung infection that knocked Johan Museeuw around in spring, Quick.Step's Frank Vandenbroucke has decided to forfeit the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France. Although the Tour was never a big part of VDB's plans this year, his illness confirmed that he wouldn't be riding it. However, Vandenbroucke said that his infection has all but disappeared, and he intends on riding the National Championships on June 29.

"Before the National Championships, I will do Brussels-Ingooigem as well as a kermesse, in order to arrive at the start of the course tricolore with the condition that will allow me to play with the big boys," he told La Derniere Heure.

In July, VDB will do the Uniqa Classic in Austria, then head off for ten days training in Livigno and St Moritz. This will be followed by Tour de la Région Wallonne in late July, then the August World Cup races. "Hamburg, St Sébastien and Zurich are the races where I will aim to improve my current position (7th) on the World Cup classification," he said.

Finally, Vandenbroucke will ride the Vuelta España in preparation for the World's in October.

Swiss visit Hamilton

Jean-Claude Leclercq, Technical National Director and Professional Riders Coach for the Swiss Cycling Federation visited Hamilton for a site inspection of the 2003 Road World Championships last week. Earlier that week Leclercq was in Montreal for the Women's World Cup Race and The Greater Montreal Tour.

Switzerland joins representatives from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the USA that have already performed site inspections in Hamilton.

Leclercq offered his impressions on the course in Hamilton for the Road World Championships, "It is a very difficult course, especially with the two climbs. The course ranks with those for the Classics. There are a lot of possibilities for the riders to make the break - on Fennell Avenue in the flat area, also on the climbs, the downhillers will excel on the descent, it's pretty dangerous everywhere. It will take a very complete rider to win on this course, but cycling is a team sport and it will take the whole team to try to control the race."

The Road World Cycling Championships will be staged in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from October 6 to 12, 2003.

Kannemeyer and co. looking for warm Welkom

Defending champion Tiaan Kannemeyer and his Barloworld teammates can expect to be a part of a speedy bunch onslaught when the 231 km Elite Men's Road Race of the South African Road Championships take place at the Phakisa Freeway, near Welkom on Sunday.

Team Barloworld returned this week from a successful stint in the Giro del Friuli, in which David George finished as the top-placed non-European rider on the tour, ending in fifth place, with Kannemeyer also finishing. Team Barloworld will be represented in Sunday’s road event by Kannemeyer, George, Jacques le Roux, Ryan Cox and Jacques Fullard, with young Jaco de Witt being rated as the team's best chance of success in the 187km U23 National Championship event on Saturday.

Team manager John Robertson said that the flattish national championship route is not something that SA's top riders are used to at a national championship, but any of the country's top 10 or 15 riders could take the senior title.

"A SA Championship road route usually has at least one hill on it somewhere, and while I don't believe that this year's road route is conducive to tough national championship-style racing and our main priority is to do well in Europe this year, but it is important for Team Barloworld to be here and to show presence on the cycling scene in SA," said Robertson.

Conor Murphy suspended

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Irish cyclist Conor Murphy from Monaghan was suspended from competition with immediate effect until midnight August 11, 2003 for contravention of the UCI Anti-Doping Regulations. Fortunately for him his ban expires prior to the U-23 Championships which are being staged in Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow at the end of August.

After a routine urine test following the final stage of the Tour of Ulster on May 5, 2003, Murphy provided a sample that contained the banned substance, pseudoephedrine, at a level above the UCI reporting threshold for the substance of 25 micrograms per millilitre.

"Prior to the Ulster race I was prescribed a medicine for a chest infection by my doctor, which I did not realise contained a banned substance," said 20 year-old Murphy. "With hindsight I should have checked with my doctor and the pharmacist that, as an athlete, the medicine was allowable for me to have taken," he added.

Cycling Ireland’s Chief Executive, Stuart Hallam commented "The independent panel accepted that there was no intention on the part of Conor to enhance his performance and Cycling Ireland fully accepts that this is an unfortunate case of carelessness on his part."

"Yet again it is necessary to re-enforce the message that it is the athlete's responsibility to check any medicament or supplement which they are planning to take," added Hallam. "Any doctor or pharmacist has access to the information about banned substances for athletes. Furthermore, it is available on the UCI website, other brand-specific websites and Cycling Ireland will always advise, so there really are no excuses for ignorance."

The panel, consisting of a barrister, a doctor and a sporting expert, acknowledged Murphy's acceptance that he had made a mistake and they awarded a suspension less than the six months available to them under UCI guidelines.

Murphy had not requested the available counter-analysis of the urine sample when he was informed of the UK Sports Council Drug Free Sport unit findings on May 21, 2003.

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