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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition News for October 3, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Beloki wants a decision

ONCE's Joseba Beloki is nearing his own deadline for a contract decision for 2004. Beloki has hoped to remain faithful to team director Manolo Saiz, preferring to wait for news of a replacement sponsor rather than leap into negotiations with other teams. However, with Saiz still searching for a backer for 2004, Beloki is more eager to secure his own future.

Beloki has already been linked with Phonak and CSC, among other teams, though he has yet to reach an agreement. Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis remains interested in the Spaniard, particularly given the departure of Tyler Hamilton to Phonak.

"It's true that I've been in contact [with Riis], but before I wanted to know Manolo's decision so the negotiations were stopped," Beloki told Europa Press, adding that he knows now is the time to make a decision.

"I cannot wait much longer," he said. "I have complete respect for Manolo, but I need to have something decided by Sunday.

Despite plenty of interest in Beloki from foreign teams, he would still prefer to stay close to home. "I want to race in Spain because a foreign team doesn't appeal to me," Beloki said. "If Manolo finds a team there is a 90% chance I will go with him, but yesterday he did not have anything and today it looks a bit bleak."

Final two for France

Thanks to their performances in Thursday's Paris-Bourges, Frédéric Bessy (Cofidis) and Christophe Rinero (MBK-Oktos) will complete the French team for the World's road race. The final two places in the World's team added yet another variable to Paris-Bourges, which already put the Coupe de France individual and team standings on the line, as well as the race victory itself.

Riders such as Christophe Agnolutto, Laurent Lefèvre, Sandy Casar, and Jean-Cyril Robin were all active in the race, no doubt thinking of Canada as much as (or more than) victory in Bourges.

The final men's roster now features the following 12 riders: Laurent Brochard et Andy Flickinger (Ag2R-Prévoyance), Sylvain Chavanel, Maryan Hary, Franck Renier (Brioches La Boulangère), David Moncoutié, Cédric Vasseur (Cofidis), Nicolas Fritsch (, Samuel Dumoulin, and Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour), Frédéric Bessy (Cofidis), and Christophe Rinero (MBK-Oktos).

Longo in road race

Originally scheduled only for the Elite Women's time trial in Hamilton, Jeannie Longo will now compete in the road race as well. Longo replaces Juliette Vandekerckhove, who withdrew from the roster due to illness.

Vainsteins in limbo

Former world champion Romans Vainsteins is still waiting for a visa for travel to Canada, according to a VRT report. The Latvian winner in Plouay, France in 2000 has not yet received clearance for travel to Canada with just over a week remaining before the Elite Men's road race on Sunday, October 12.

Kirsipuu takes Coupe de France

Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2R-Prévoyance) has for the second time in his career claimed the overall Coupe de France title. After winning the title in 1999, Kirsipuu once more was the most consistent over the course of the 15 race series, edging out Nicolas Vogondy ( and Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches La Boulangère).

Thursday's Paris-Bourges, won by German Jens Voigt (Crédit Agricole), was the last event of the series. Kirsipuu did not feature in the final stages of the race, and needed only to mark Vogondy to secure his overall series lead. Chavanel could enjoy some consolation of his own, as La Boulangère took the team prize and Chavanel was the best young rider of the season.

Coupe de France final standings:

1 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R-Prévoyance            122 Pts 
2 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra)               112 
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere  103 
4 Franck Pineau (Fra)                             99 
5 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole                92
6 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Jean Delatour             86 
7 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R-Prevoyance          75
8 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere    70
9 Sandy Casar (Fra)                    69
10 Christophe Mengin (Fra)             64


1 Brioches La Boulangere    141 Pts
2                135
3 Jean Delatour             114 
4 Ag2R-Prevoyance 89
5 Credit Agricole 73
6 Cofidis 70
7 MBK-Oktos 67
8 BigMat-Auber 93 58

Brooks going back to a stronger Jelly Belly in '04

By Gerard Knapp

Brooks with a bigger Belly in 2004
Photo: © Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

After a strong debut season racing in the USA, Australian Ben Brooks is heading back to the US to rejoin what will be a strengthened Jelly Belly squad in 2004.

This year, the young Australian was "probably one of the stronger guys" in a team that made life difficult for the more established US teams. Brooks - who is also an accomplished track rider - rarely hesitated to attack on climbs or chase down the top riders in the US peloton, such as his move with eventual race winner Chris Horner (Saturn) in the T-Mobile International in San Francisco last month.

The pro racing scene in the US next year will somewhat resemble that of Spain - a buyer's market for race teams with available funds - as there are plenty of good riders on the market following the withdrawal of major sponsors.

"With Saturn ending and Prime Alliance winding up, the market is super-tough," Brooks told Cyclingnews. At the same time, Brooks said Jelly Belly is doubling its budget for 2004 and the team is expected to pick up some new riders, although he couldn't point to any at this stage of the year. "Things tend to happen a lot later in the US compared to Europe," Brooks said of the silly-season contract negotiations.

"The team has plans to be bigger next year and Danny (Van Haute - team manager) said his phone had been running hot for the past two weeks."

Click here to read the full interview with Ben Brooks.

Steels stops

Belgian Tom Steels has decided to put an end to what has been a less than memorable 2003 season. The Landbowkrediet-Colnago rider has taken himself off the team's roster for Paris-Tours this weekend due to illness, and in the process has decided against resuming for the remaining races. Steels did not figure in Belgium's plans for the World's in Hamilton.

Monique Knol to train @Home

Dutch junior women's coach Monique Knol will leave her post to coach the @Home Cycling Team as of January 1 next season, according to ANP. Knol, a past Olympic Road Champion, expressed her annoyance with the national federation: "The federation has not yet had the decency to sit at the table with me to discuss next year, and so I'm choosing for security."

Knol will take Loes Markerink and Miranda Vierling with her to @Home, which will have Bertine Spijkerman and Arenda Grimberg as captains.

Wallaard and Groenveld sisters to Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports

Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports has contracted Jacolien Wallaard and the sisters Josephine and Cornelia Groenveld for the 2004 season. The trio, two of which rode for the Dutch national team this year, have signed one year contracts with the team that will be directed by Leen Merison. Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports has also extended the contract of Caroline Slikker for another season.

Channel Ten takes on JCTDU

The 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under (JCTDU) will receive a big increase in exposure with the recent announcement of a new television partnership with Network Ten. The agreement includes the live broadcast nationally of the final stage on Sunday January 25, 2004.

"National interest in the JCTDU continues to grow from year to year, with the 2003 event attracting more than 10,000 visitors," said Rob Nelson of Australian Major Events. "This new deal with Network Ten represents the next significant phase in the event's growth and stamps further authority on its reputation as Australia's national tour."

Nelson added that "National supporters of the JCTDU have been crying out for greater coverage...viewers will be able to see highlights of the event daily throughout Australia and significantly watch a two hour program live from stage 6 on 25 January 2004."

Network Ten's General Manager, Sport, David White said that, "It is a truly international race that attracts a world-class field of cyclists and an event that Network Ten is delighted to be associated with in conjunction with Australian Major Events".

With an expected tripling of national airtime, the organisers hope that the race's increased exposure will help to attract more visitors - particularly from the east coast - to South Australia.

For further event information visit:

Smelt reaches Rome for MS

John Smelt of Team Velo Ecosse has successfully completed his Edinburgh-Rome ride for the MS Society. Riding on his own, John covered the route of almost 1800 miles in just under three weeks, beating off extreme weather, dodgy directions from locals and a power cut that led to blackouts across Italy.

He has raised an impressive sum of money - almost £40,000 - and the fund raising has not yet finished. He has obtained a Cofidis skinsuit signed by David Millar and this will be auctioned on eBay in future.

A diary of his adventure appears at , and donations to the charity can also be made online.

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