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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for October 27, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Valverde to race the Tour in 2004

Alejandro Valverde
Photo: © Unipublic
Click for larger image

One of this season's Spanish revelations Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) has had a change of program for next season, in light of the departure of Oscar Sevilla to Phonak and the non-signing of Francesco Mancebo to Kelme. After originally being slated to ride only the Vuelta, Valverde will be Kelme's team leader at the Tour de France where he will face his biggest test of his abilities. In his second year as a pro this year, 23 year old Valverde won seven races, as well as finishing second in the World Championships and third in the Vuelta España.

Mario De Clercq back on November 8

It's now being referred to as "the retirement that wasn't". Mario De Clercq's farewell from cyclo-cross on October 12 in his home town of Wortegem-Petegem would have been a nice way for the 37 year old to bow out, but his team directors and sponsors saw things differently. A contract is a contract, and Mario was signed until the end of the 2003/2004 cyclo-cross season. Thus he will have to continue.

"I understand my employer," De Clercq told Het Nieuwsblad. "I was paid for the whole year to prepare myself for the winter season and now that's under way, I retired. Actually it was a lot like resigning, while the sponsor counted on the publicity. It was a difficult decision that I thought about for a long time with my wife Patricia."

De Clercq, who has certainly been training in the meantime, will make his return to cyclo-cross in Eernegem on November 8.

Verhagen injured in World Cup

Dutch rider Thijs Verhagen suffered an injury to his elbow after crashing during the World Cup in Turin yesterday. At first it was feared that he had broken his wrist, but after a visit to the hospital, doctors diagnosed him with a torn muscle in his elbow.

Vlaanderen-T Interim in Division III as well

The Belgian Division II development squad Vlaanderen-T Interim will also have a Division III team next season. The squad will consist of approximately 18 riders, half of which are road riders, as well as six from the track and three mountain bikers. Iljo Keisse, winner of the U23 Three Days of Amsterdam, has been named as one of the track riders, while Jurgen Roelandts should also become a member of the team.

Galvez and Tauler to Illes Baleares

Kelme's Isaac Galvez and Toni Tauler will join the Illes Baleares team next season. Galvez should feel particularly welcomed in the "new" team, as he won two stages of the Challenge Illes Baleares (formerly Mallorca Challenge) earlier this season.

Bettini voted as "De Flandrien": Top rider of 2003

Another trophy for Bettini
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) has been voted by readers of Het Nieuwsblad and viewers of Canvas as the top professional cyclist of 2003. The award, entitled "De Flandrien", took into account the entire season, with a public vote deciding the final outcome.

Bettini won three classics, the World Cup and will finish the season as the UCI number 1. He won the award with 42% of the vote ahead of local favourite Peter Van Petegem, who won the Ronde van Vlaanderen/Paris-Roubaix double, finished third in the World Cup and placed third in the World Championships, receiving 35% of the vote. In third place was Alexandre Vinokourov, who finished third in the Tour de France, won the Amstel Gold Race, Tour de Suisse and Paris-Nice, and received 9% of the vote. Fourth place went to Lance Armstrong, who won his fifth Tour de France this year and won 8% of the vote, while in fifth place was Alessandro Petacchi with 6% of the vote, who became the third rider in history to win stages in all three Grand Tours this year (15 stages in total) as part of his season haul of 24 victories.

Tour of Southland gets ready

Scott Guyton
Photo: © Shane Goss/CN
Click for larger image

New Zealand's biggest stage race, the Tour of Southland, kicks off next Monday, November 3 with an eight kilometre team time trial in Invercargill. The seven day race features 10 stages, with the finish in Invercargill on Sunday, November 9.

A total of 19 teams are down to start, with the top contenders riding for just a handful of teams. The strongest looks to be the Zookeeper's Café team, which boasts sprinter Julian Dean along with New Zealand champion Heath Blackgrove, Gordon McCauley, and Jeremy and Matt Yates. Winton's Middle Pub contains Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston and Hayden Godfrey, while the Southland Times team includes Glen Mitchell and Scott Guyton, the latter who finished third in the Herald Sun Tour. Look out for Cyclingnews contributors Mikkeli Godfree (MGZT) and Eddie Monnier (Hilo Decorating) as well.

Teams and principle riders

Zookeeper's Café (Julian Dean, Gordon McCauley, Jeremy and Matt Yates, Heath Blackgrove)
Winton's Middle Pub (Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston, Hayden Godfrey)
Southland Times (Glen Mitchell, Scott Guyton)
Creation Signs
Team MGZT (Mikkeli Godfree)
Wensleys Avanti
Calder Stewart (Karl Murray)
Hilo Decorating (Eddie Monnier)
Hot Cycles
Team Embassy - PNP
Cycle Surgery
Rabobank [New Zealand] (Geoff Burndred)
Meadow Fresh (Robin Reid, Fraser Mcmaster
Ascot Park Hotel
Southland Television
Sycamore Print
Share The Road (Jack Swart)
Allied Southland
Jackson & Wills

The stages

Stage 1 - November 3: Invercargill TTT, 8 km
Stage 2 - November 3: Invercargill - Sanford Bluff, 86.0 km
Stage 3 - November 4: Invercargill - Tuatapere, 113 km
Stage 4 - November 4: Tuatapere - Winton, 81.7 km
Stage 5 - November 5: Lumsden - Crown Range, 136.8 km
Stage 6 - November 6: Balfour - Riversdale ITT, 15.0 km
Stage 7 - November 6: Gore - Invercargill, 104.5 km
Stage 8 - November 7: Winton - Te Anau, 180.0 km
Stage 9 - November 8: Te Anau - Lumsden, 79.8 km
Stage 10 - November 9: Winton - Invercargill, 64.4 km

Cooke and McEwen to race in St Kilda

Tour de France rivals Baden Cooke (Green jersey winner) and Robbie McEwen will be among 50 of Australia's top cyclists who will race in the Mazda-Café Racer-St Kilda Criterium on Sunday, November 9. The one hour race will be held on the St Kilda foreshore, commencing at 10:00am.

Cooke said that he is looking forward to racing his arch-rival McEwen on home soil. "I train along these roads every year in the European off-season, so this race will be like my own home town race," said Cooke. "Robbie and I are great mates off the bike but on the bike it's a different story. I won't be letting him beat me here without a real fight."

In addition to the two sprinters, the field will also include European-based riders Scott McGrory, Matt White, Matt Wilson, Nick Gates, Ben Day, Simon Gerrans, Corey Sweet, Jason Phillips, Alan Iacuone, David McKenzie, Ben Johnson, Jans Koerts, David McPartland, Allan Davis, Jeremy Hunt and Katie Mactier.

On Sunday there will also be a Women's Race starting at 9:00am and the St Kilda Cycling Club Criterium, open to A and B Grade riders, starting at 8:00am. Entries are strictly limited to 50 riders per field. For more information, contact:

Race Director Kristjan Snorrason
Full Gas Promotions
M: 0412 339 379

Correction: Celestino staying at Saeco

Cyclingnews recently reported that Mirko Celestino would be leaving Saeco at the end of the season. This was incorrect, as Celestino will be one of the 15 riders who are remaining with the team from this season. the others are: Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca, Dario Pieri, Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Antonio Bucciero, Damiano Cunego, Paolo Fornaciari, Juan Fuentes, Jorg Ludewig, Maruius Sabaliauskas, Alessandro Spezialetti and Andrea Tonti. New riders to the team are Eddy Mazzoleni, Evgueni Petrov, Gabriele Balducci, Gorazd Stangelj and Sylvester Szmyd.

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