First Edition News for June 20, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Vuelta teams confirmed
Unipublic, the organisation responsible for the Vuelta a España, has announced 18 of the teams that will line up in Gijón on September 6 for this year's 58th edition of Spain's national tour.
Roberto Heras will return with the backing of US Postal to attempt a repeat of his 2000 victory. Telekom is expected to field Erik Zabel, Santiago Botero and Cadel Evans and Bianchi's Jan Ullrich-led squad will also be a threat. Ullrich has said he does not expect to be a contender for this year's Tour de France, but with his history of storming late-season form he may feel differently by September.
The final places will be announced in the coming weeks. Teams that have expressed an interest and are waiting for Unipublic's final decision include: Domina Vacanze, Phonak, Milaneza, Quick Step, fakta, Palmans, CCC Polsat and Mercatone Uno.
Confirmed Vuelta 2003 teams
Durand out of Tour
Jacky Durand has confirmed that he will not start this year's Tour de France as a result of the injuries he sustained in a fall at the Dauphine.
Durand has a fractured hip and will be off the bike for 45 days. He will also miss the French National Championships.
Saeco scopes out the Alps
Team Saeco has spent the last couple of days reconnoitering the three Alpine stages of this year's Tour de france as part of Gilberto Simoni's effort to put the hurt on Lance Armstrong in this year's race.
Not surprisingly, Gibi has pronounced the legendary climb of l'Alpe d'Huez as the hardest. "The stage to Morzine is hard but is only a warm-up for the following day to L'Alpe d'Huez. That's the most difficult stage of all and it's where I think there will be big time gaps. The stage over the Izoard is not as tough but with heavy legs it could still hurt," said Simoni in a team statement.
Simoni and team-mates Di Luca, Sacchi and Pugaci rode the last 120km of stage seven to Morzine on Wednesday, paying particular attention to the final climb, the Col de la Ramaz. Directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli said, "[It's] a really tough climb, which I didn't know and so was vital to see." Simoni and Sacchi then did an extra 40km to round out the day's training.
Thursday was spent driving the approach roads to the climbs of stage eight, then riding the final 110km, including the climbs of the Telegraphe, the Galibier and l'Alpe d'Huez. Before heading back to Italy Simoni and Martinelli also studied the final part of the Col de Lautaret which is part of the ninth stage to Gap. They also rode the Izoard before a quick trip to see the last two short climbs.
Pronouncing the sunny two-day whistle-stop tour of the Alps "excellent", Simoni said, "I felt good and was pedalling well. We did the climbs and descents without worrying about the speed, the most important thing was to study the key points of the stages and memorise them."
Time running out for Tennessee bike license plate
A group of Tennessee cyclists is collecting applications for a 'Cultural License Plate' with a theme of "Share the road" - but time is running out for the ad hoc initiative.
For the plate to become available, the state of Tennessee requires 1000 paid applicants on a single list by July 1, and with just ten days before that deadline, the number has reached just 300.
For more details see the Share the Road site (the info is contained in a scrollable frame on the right of the page).
Cox Classic supports Job for Youth
As well as bringing pro racing to Providence Rhode Island, the second annual Cox Charities Cycling Classic, July 12, 2003 will benefit a local scheme to help city youth obtain career experience. Cox Charities will make a $10,000 grant to Providence Mayor David Cicilline's Summer Job for Youth Initiative.
The Cox Classic is expected to attract 5,000 spectators to downtown Providence for the six-race criterium program with over 400 competitors, including USPRO champion Mark McCormack.
"This is a first class cycling event and the only one of its kind held in Rhode Island," said Cox Charities Cycling Classic Race Director Gary Dalton.
Mayor Cicilline expressed his gratitude to Cox Charities for the donation, saying that the Summer Job for Youth had been in jeopardy, but Cox' donation would ensure it continued.
The Mayor also challenged local and state officials as well as the Providence Police and Fire departments to participate in the Mayor's Challenge, a charity race prior to the professional race on July 12. The route will be a one-mile loop around Waterplace Park. The winner will receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of his/her choice, that benefits youth and education in his or her city/town.
MSU hires coach
Midwestern State University has hired Gary Achterberg, a USA Cycling Coach with nine years coaching experience, as the new Director of the MSU Cycling program.
Achterberg will coach and manage the Team Arrow. MSU is one of the few US universities to offer scholarships to cyclists.
CTC gets grant to train trainers
British recreational cycling and campaigning body the CTC believes the way to get more cyclists out there is to provide training facilities to improve cycling skills, and has just landed a grant of almost UKP50,000 toward its national instructor training scheme.
The UKP47,950 grant from the UK government's Cycling projects Fund will go toward funding the CTC's UKP190,000 scheme, development of which has been led by CTC Director Kevin Mayne. Mayne said, "There is strong evidence that training cyclists has a positive effect on the amount they cycle, their confidence and improves their safety. Despite this there is national shortage of instructors, and we will use this funding to give the whole sector a kick start. Once instructors are in place we can expect thousands of people to benefit."
The CTC programme will allow potential instructors from local community groups, schools, employers or clubs to have courses free or at nominal cost. Experienced instructors will give training in basic maintenance and child protection as well as cycle instruction.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)