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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 1, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Pope accepts Jesus

Manzano thanks new team for "second chance"

Jesus Manzano
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Jesus Manzano, the former Kelme rider at the centre of a storm of controversy over his allegations of systematic doping within the team, has expressed his gratitude to his new team Amore e Vita.

Speaking in Rome at the team's traditional blessing from the Pope, Manzano said, "An opportunity has been given to me by Amore e Vita and [directeur sportif Ivano] Fanini and I thank them for trusting in me, by giving me this second chance and allowing me to be present for before the Pope."

A clearly emotional Manzano was moved to tears by the experience of meeting the pontiff. "The hair stood up on the back of my neck," he said. "I was extremely moved by the whole event. This is the start of a new life for me."

The team's blessing was attended by 14,000 people, despite the grey weather and rain.

Tour of Flanders previews

A challenge for Van Petegem

By Jeff Jones

Peter Van Petegem
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Peter van Petegem's win in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) last year marked the beginning of a short but very sweet purple patch. A week after beating Frank Vandenbroucke at the finish of the Ronde in Ninove last year, Van Petegem also claimed the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix. To win the two biggest classics of the year is a rare achievement, and Van Petegem now has that etched in stone.

The Lotto-Domo captain is in good form again this year, doing enough in the early season races to gradually peak for the big classics. The winner of the Ronde in 1999, Van Petegem will be trying for a third victory this year, something that only one other current rider has achieved. That man is of course Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who is riding the final races of his career in April and is looking to go out with a bang.

Full men's preview

First time in Vlaanderen for women's WC

By Kristy Scrymgeour

Oenone Wood crosses the line in Round 1
Photo ©: John Veage
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Ronde Van Vlaanderen is a World Cup race for women for the first time this year and takes place as the fourth round of the World Cup Series. The women have raced over this course before but never as a World Cup. Henka Kupfernagel won the race in 1996 in front of Cathy Marsal (Nobili Rubinetterie/Guerciotti) and local rider Heidi Van de Vijver has also been successful in winning on this course in front of her home crowd.

In the third round of the World Cup last week, Oenone Wood (Australian National Team) increased her lead in the series with a second place in Castilla y Leon in Spain. Wood is maintaining the remarkable form she has had all season, with her first win being the Bay Series in Australia in early January. Since then she has won four major races and she will be a definite favourite this weekend. She has proven that she has both the sprint and the climbing ability to be able to win on any type of course and with a strong team behind her, she will be hard to beat.

Full women's preview

Star studded field for Archer International

By Gerry McManus

Buckinghamshire roads host one of the UK's top cycle races on Sunday April 4th in the UCI 1.5-ranked Archer International Grand Prix. The field for the 118-mile event is liberally sprinkled with British and Irish world class riders. Top domestic riders add to the mix with a hint of international flavour in teams from New Zealand, Belgium and Holland.

David O'Loughlin (Total Cycling/Litespeed) returns from Ireland to defend the title he narrowly took last year ahead of British world and Olympic medallist Chris Newton. O'Loughlin will have the team support he lacked in 2003 with team mates including Northern Ireland Commonwealth games rider Tommy Evans who was himself third in 2001.

The Great Britain team will not be hard to spot in the bright jerseys of their new sponsor Persil and the team led by Chris Newton are expected to take the race to the competition from the outset. The race is the first in the season-long Premier Calendar series which has been dominated in previous years by Mark Lovatt, John Tanner and Kevin Dawson (Planet X team) who have all entered with high hopes of victory.

The action starts at 11am from Hazelmere with the riders completing three laps of a 20-mile loop through Gt Missenden and Prestwood before the fast descent of Cryers Hill and onto the quieter roads to Gt Kimble and Wendover. The first major opportunity for the riders to attack will be as they ascend out of Missenden on Martinsend Lane.

Those with previous experience of the energy sapping circuit may prefer to save themselves for the smaller finishing circuit that follows Penn St, Winchmore Hill, onto the A404 up to Woodrow before returning to Penn St via the turn at Penn Wood. This seven-mile circuit is covered seven times with the race turning to finish at Winchmore Hill at around 3.30pm

Local support will be cheering for Wycombe's Paul Crook and the Team Milton Keynes squad led by prodigious youngsters James Flannagan and Adam Illingworth. Spectators will get the best taste of the action at Longdown Hill and Gt Missenden on the first circuit and at Penn St on the finishing circuit.

One surprise might just come in the shape of 42-year-old ex professional Malcolm Elliott. The former Tour de France rider and Tour of Spain stage winner returned to the sport in 2003 where he finished fourth in this event and this year the Sheffield based rider may just pull it off.

Fassa for Flanders

The Fassa Bortolo team has announced the riders that will start Sunday's Tour of Flanders. Under the direction of Giancarlo Ferretti and Stefano Zanatta, the team will field Fabian Cancellara, Juan Antonio Flecha, Kim Kirchen, Alberto Ongarato, Roberto Petito, Filippo Pozzato, Fabio Sacchi and Frank Vandenbroucke.

Quick.Step for Tour of the Basque Country

The Quick.Step - Davitamon team has announced the riders that will start the Tour of the Basque Country. Under directeur sportif Serge Parsani, the team will field Laurent Dufaux, Pedro Horrillo, Juan Miguel Mercado, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van Goolen, and Richard Virenque.

US team for Pan-Am MTB champ's

USA Cycling has announced the mountain bike team that will represent the United States at the 2004 Pan American Championships in Baños, Ecuador April 22-25.

In the elite women's category, Alison Dunlap received an automatic nomination based on her placing as the first American at the 2004 NORBA National Mountain Bike Series opener in Waco, Texas. Sue Haywood also received an automatic nomination as a result of her fifth place finish in Waco. Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, Calif.) received a discretionary nomination and will also compete in Ecuador.

The elite men's team will consist of 2004 U.S. National Mountain Bike Champion, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Jeremiah Bishop, Todd Wells and Adam Craig. Bishop kicked off the 2004 season with a victory in the cross country event in Waco, the first by an American male in three years at a NORBA National. Horgan-Kobelski and Bishop grabbed automatic nominations while Wells and Craig received discretionary nods.

US team for Manchester track world cup

USA Cycling has announced today the team that will represent the United States at round three of the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester, Great Britain April 9-11.

The men's team will consist of Giddeon Massie, Marty Nothstein, Adam Duvendeck, Christian Stahl, Colby Pearce, Jame Carney, Walker Starr, Andy Lakatosh, and Mike Tillman.

The women's team will be represented by Tanya Lindenmuth, Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash.), Erin Mirabella (Kenosha, Wisc.), Rebecca Quinn (Quakertown, Pa.) and Ashley Kimmet (Trexlertown, Pa.).

Mountain biking no more damaging than hiking

Mountain bike access group IMBA has released a comprehensive review of scientific studies that examine the impacts of mountain biking on trails, vegetation, and wildlife. The collection of scientific studies indicate that mountain biking is no more damaging than other forms of recreation, including hiking.

IMBA's review, titled 'Natural Resource Impacts of Mountain Biking', looks at all the available studies that have measured the impacts of bicycling and other trail use. "Like all forms of recreation, bicycling does affect natural resources," said Gary Sprung, IMBA's senior national policy advisor and author of the document. "But since the birth of mountain biking, some environmentalists and hikers have maintained that cycling causes more damage to trails, vegetation, and wildlife than hiking. The science performed to date does not support that notion."

Eight empirical studies are summarized in the report, which does not evaluate sociological studies. "The more challenging issue for trail users is not their differing environmental impacts, but rather their social conflicts, which are quite real, thoroughly studied, and manageable," said Sprung.

The review is available on IMBA's website.

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