First Edition News for June 21, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Freire's dry spell ends
Victory in stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya came easier than expected for Rabobank's top sprinter Oscar Freire. Freire profited from Erik Zabel's bad luck, a puncture with 6km to go, but still had to contend with ONCE's Angel Vicioso and Gerolsteiner's Rene Haselbacher to take the win. Friday's victory was Freire's fourth of the season, and it was "easier than I had hoped," he told Marca after the finish.
"I have ended my dry spell, because I haven't won since March, at Tirreno-Adriatico, though it's true I haven't raced much since then, only classics," Freire explained. "The important thing is that this is a good morale boost for the Tour de France, where things won't be as easy as they were today."
Freire's victory is Rabobank's second of the Volta a Catalunya, after Bram De Groot claimed stage 2, also ahead of Vicioso.
27th Route du Sud
This weekend marks the running of the 27th Route du Sud, a short stage race in southern France and a final Tour de France warm up for those not racing the Tour de Suisse. The short race features both an individual time trial and some heavy climbing in the Pyrénées, offering a condensed test of form just two weeks prior to the Tour start in Paris.
Fifteen teams will contest the race, which begins Saturday at the Parc de Loisirs Cap Découverte in Blaye-les-Mines. American Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank), winner of the 2002 edition, will not be on the start line as originally planned. This year's Route du Sud will introduce a new mountain climb to the peloton, featuring for the first time the Port de Balès, which comes on the heels of the Col du Val Louron and the Col de Peyresourde.
June 21: Stage 1 - Cap Découverte Blaye-les-Mines - Castres, 156.5
Kirsipuu hits the hills
Estonian champion Jaan Kirsipuu, a mainstay of the French Ag2R-Prévoyance team, has been training the mountains near his home in Chambéry in preparation for the Tour de France. Kirsipuu, a former yellow jersey and stage winner in 2002, did not show his best sprinting form at the Tour of Germany, and opted to hit the hills to work on fine tuning his form.
"He's trying to improve his pedaling in the mountains," explained Ag2R directeur sportif Vincent Lavenu in l'Equipe. "As far as his condition goes, I'm not worried. He knows himself well and I'm sure he'll be ready for the Tour.
Kirsipuu, a sprinter who often shines in a winning breakaway, will race this weekend's Route du Sud, along with team leader Laurent Brochard.
USAC Track World's nominations
USA Cycling announced Friday its full team of athlete nominations to represent the U.S. at the 2003 World Track Championships, scheduled for July 30 to August 3 in Stuttgart, Germany. Many of the automatic selections group earned their nominations by winning their respective events at the 2003 Pan Am and World Championship Qualifier in Colorado Springs last weekend. USA Cycling will announce the final team including discretionary team nominations on June 27.
Men's nominations include:
Stephen Alfred - team sprint and keirin
The women’s team will include:
Tanya Lindenmuth - sprint, 500m, keirin
Pantani sentencing set for September
Marco Pantani's final hearing in the trial for sporting fraud has been set for September 19, when closing arguments will be heard. Judge Giuseppe Serao and Pantani's lawyer Roberto Manzo agreed on the September date, which was announced today. The trial and charges of sporting fraud stem from Pantani's elevated hematocrit level which led to his expulsion from the 1999 Giro d'Italia.
Centre du Vélo Mascouche
Elite racing in Québec continues this weekend as the 2nd Classique Cycliste Centre du Vélo Maschouche kicks off Sunday, June 22 in Mascouche, north of Montréal, Canada. Held on a 6.1 kilometre circuit, events will be held for juniors, seniors, and men's/women's masters, with master's events counting as part of the Super Prestige series. The senior race begins at 14:30 on Sunday. More information is available from the Québec cycling federation or www.centreduvelo.com.
Funeral arrangements for Malin
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Brett Malin, a Race Across America (RAAM) competitor who was killed in an accident while racing through New Mexico early Wednesday morning. Malin, 30, was a member of Team Vail-Go Fast. His teammates decided not to continue the race.
Flowers in Malin's honour can be sent to the funeral home, where a visitation is scheduled for Thursday, June 26 from 1-8pm.
Lynch & Sons Funeral Home
Donations may also be sent to the Marilyn Scheid Malin Foundation:
40 Hague St.
More information on the arrangements is available at www.raceacrossamerica.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)