Latest News for October 2, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
This Sunday World Cup racing returns with the 97th running of the Paris-Tours falls classic. The penultimate round of the ten race World Cup series, Paris-Tours is generally considered a sprinter's race, but recent results have belied the generally flat parcours and assumption of an inevitable bunch finish on the wide Avenue de Grammont in Tours.
A race with a long history, Paris-Tours is organised by the Société du Tour de France, and for many riders is the final big test before the World Championships the following week. Last year's winner was Dane Jakob Piil from Team CSC, who won a two-up sprint with breakaway companion (and 1998 Paris-Tours winner) Jacky Durand (FDJeux.com). Piil, already a successful rider in his own right, turned a corner with his first World Cup victory and solidified a reputation as a crafty rider and fast finisher.
The race begins southwest of Paris in Saint Arnoult-en-Yvelines, working its way south to the Loire Valley and the traditional finish in Tours. Covering 257 kilometres, Paris-Tours contains no notable climbs, though a number of short shills and rolling terrain help give the racing some character. The peloton may not have time to admire the scenery, but the race passes near several Loire Valley landmarks, including the chateaux in Amboise and the Pagode de Chanteloupe, the region's answer to Pisa's leaning tower.
The star attraction will no doubt be Paolo Bettini, current World Cup leader and heavy favourite for the World's road race in Hamilton. Bettini may not be putting all of his effort into Paris-Tours, but with three World Cup wins already this season, he's a rider who can put in a strong attack and handle himself in a bunch sprint. Recent editions of the race have seen the early break stay clear to the finish, much to the chagrin of the sprinters. Watch also for Aussie Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), looking for his first World Cup win at the end of a remarkable season.
Riders like Jakob Piil, Richard Virenque, Andrea Tafi, and Marc Wauters have all managed to foil the bunch, either alone or attacking from a small group. Such is the interest of Paris-Tours, a seemingly predictable race that lately has been anything but predetermined.
Prior to the Elite Men's event, an U23 Paris-Tours sets off from Bonneval for a 189km test over the remainder of the parcours.
Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the Elite race as well as full results, reports, and photos.
Pantani cleared of drug charges
Marco Pantani has been formally cleared of the sporting fraud charges filed against him following his ejection from the 1999 Giro d'Italia for an elevated haematocrit level. A court in Turin, Italy cleared the embattled Pantani, who has had an up and down ride (mostly down) since the '99 Giro, and recently has revealed that he has been contemplating retirement, unmotivated to carry on as a professional cyclist.
Pantani already served one six month suspension for doping offenses, though the sporting fraud charges were arguably more serious since they were criminal charges in the Italian courts. The acquittal will surely provide a sense of relief to Il Pirate, but may do little to revive his career. Pantani rode solidly in this year's Giro, but disappeared from the public eye- and out of sight of his Mercatone Uno team- in the months that followed.
Millar's TT build up
David Millar is once more gearing up for an assault on the Elite Men's time trial at the World Championships in Hamilton. Millar finished 6th last year in Zolder, and a bitterly close 2nd in Lisbon in 2001 behind Jan Ullrich. If he arrives to top form, Hamilton's hilly parcours could suit Millar as Lisbon did two years ago.
Buoyed by a road stage win in the Vuelta a España and two second places in the individual time trials, Millar is currently training in Manchester, England before departing for Canada on Saturday. He is also testing a new carbon time trial bike designed by British Cycling for the World's.
"In the last week [of the Vuelta] I started to feel really good and the stage win was a big boost for me," Millar said on his personal website. "I was obviously disappointed not to get a time trial win but I'm pleased with the way my form has improved. My condition is just how I wanted it so now I can focus on the World's."
Millar told Cyclingnews during the Vuelta his form at the time was "still around 80, 85 percent," and promised to be in full flight in October.
Final Colombian World's selection
The Colombian Cycling Federation has announced its final selections for the World Championships in Hamilton. The notable absentee will be defending time trial champion Santiago Botero, however Colombia can count on Vuelta a España king of the mountains Félix Cárdenas and Tour de France yellow jersey holder Victor Hugo Peña. Paola Madriñán will be the country's sole representative for the Elite Women, contesting both the time trial and road race.
Junior Men: Juan Pablo Suárez, Wilson Marentes
Junior Men: Juan Pablo Suárez, Wilson Marentes
Van Moorsel-Cooke showdown
Leontien Ziljaard-Van Moorsel, who Wednesday broke Jeannie Longo's World Hour Record in Mexico City, will face off against another top rider in a special event in November. Van Moorsel will take on Nicole Cooke in a 3,000m pursuit race at the Newport International Pursuit Challenge. The event will take place on the opening day of a series of meets at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport on November 14.
The two riders will also take part in an omnium series the following night at the British Cycling Gala Meeting.
Iron Cross 'cross
High Speed Cycling, Mountain Bikers of Michaux, and Yellow Breeches Racing announce that North America's longest cyclocross race will be contested on October 19, 2003 in Michaux State Forest, Pennsylvania. The 58-mile Iron Cross race will start and finish at the Carlisle Family YMCA's Camp Thompson.
Inspired by England's legendary "Three Peaks" cyclocross race, the challenging course will encompass lengthy run-ups, difficult climbs (nearly 6,000 feet of elevation gain), tricky downhills, fast road and fire road sections, and a short cyclocross course at Camp Thompson to begin and end the race. The course is suitable for cyclocross and mountain bikes.
"We designed this course with one thing in mind... You can never punish bicycle riders enough," says course designer Dr. David Albright.
The Iron Cross is a fundraiser for the Carlisle Family YMCA, High Speed Cycling, and Mountain Bikers of Michaux. The race website is www.highspeedcycling.com and online race registration is available at www.bikereg.com. For additional information (including the latest course map and profile), contact Mark Laser at (717) 245-2423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)