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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for April 7, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Manzano testifies in Italy & Spain

Jesus Manzano, the Spanish rider at the centre of a storm of controversy over his claims of systematic doping in the Kelme team, which he rode for in 2003, has given evidence in Turin to Italian prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello.

After spending three hours at the office of the Turin District Attorney on Tuesday, Manzano told the waiting press, "It has been a long and hard interrogation. But I am satisfied that Guariniello and his agents know all about this affair. I feel for my country, but the justice in Spain, which lacks a specific penal law on this issue, is shameful."

The details of Manzano's statement to prosecutor Guariniello, who has been investigating cases of alleged distribution of drugs in sport for some years, have not been made public. However, Manzano is understood to have detailed his career as a cyclist and to have reiterated his previous claims about the use of doping agents in cycling.

Guariniello praised Manzano for giving evidence, saying, "He a brave man. His statement will help us to advance in the fight against doping in professional sport. In Spain they do not have a penal law, but have people like Manzano willing to speak the truth. Here it's the opposite: we have a law but above that law is the omertá."

The previous day, Manzano gave evidence at the investigation by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) headed by the lawyer Enrique Franch. Manzano said he would be back to testify further in the next few days, but was not backing down from his previous claims. He added that more revelations were coming, that he still had "something up my sleeve" and pointed out that so far he had only talked about events in 2003, and not before.

Manzano said he had also met with the president of the Association of Professional Cyclists, José Rodriguez to collect the paperwork necessary for him to get a racing license, and described that meeting as "not tense".

Di Luca takes lead in Basque Country

Danilo Di Luca is the new leader of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of Basque Country), Spain's famously mountainous Spring stage race. The Saeco team said in a statement that Di Luca's aim had been to win the second stage (he placed fourth) but the target was now to defend the lead.

Directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli said it would be very hard, but the team's performance so far showed it could provide good support to Di Luca.

Netherlands team for Athens

After the Tour of Flanders five Dutch riders have secured places on their country's team for the Athens Olympics, according to a report from the ANP news agency.

Leon Van Bon and Erik Dekker met Netherlands Olympic standards by finishing in the top five at Flanders. They join previously qualified riders Michael Boogerd and Servais Knaven, who were named to the team last year. Max van Heeswijk also made the team last month with his fifth place finish in Milan-Sanremo.

National coach Gerrie Knetemann says he will choose the remaining riders according to their form over the coming months. He will be keeping a close eye on the Tour de France in particular, and expects to fill the last couple of places according to riders' performance in the Tour.

For the time trial, as well as Erik Dekker and Servais Knaven, Knetemann has his eye on emerging young talent Thomas Dekker. "That's a possibility," said Knetemann, "but he would have to take another role at the Games too. I have already spoken to track coach Peter Pieters about that. Thomas could be a member of the pursuit team, for example, but of course that requires preparation."

Streel out of Sarthe

Landbouwkrediet rider Marc Streel has dropped out of the Circuit de la Sarthe stage race with a back injury, according to his team.

Obree off the pace in hour record test

Graeme Obree has postponed his planned attempt on the world hour record after a test run at the Manchester Velodrome on Sunday night ended in disappointment. Obree abandoned the ride after covering nine kilometres in 11 minutes and 34 seconds, two kilometres off the pace of Chris Boardman's 2000 record, according to a report from Scottish newspaper The Herald. An attempt on the record, which Obree first held in 1993, had been pencilled in for this weekend, but will likely not happen until June while Obree sorts out some issues with his bike.

Strong field for Ras Mumhan

By Shane Stokes, irishcycling.com

With just three days to go to the start of the 2004 Credit Union Ras Mumhan in Kerry, Ireland, a total of 144 riders have been confirmed for the four day, five stage event. The field is a strong one, with Ireland's best riders coming up against foreign teams from the UK and the Netherlands. Leading the charge is the recycling.co.uk/MG XPOWER squad, with the talented Downing brothers and continental-based Kristian House sure to challenge. The Dataphonics Racing Team features strong riders such as Ben Hallam and Anthony Malarczyk, who won the final stage last year, while former FBD Milk Rás winner Andrew Roche will lead the Isle of Man squad. The Dutch BRC Kennemerland team will have six riders in the race; these may well prove to be amongst the biggest threats to a home win.

Facing up to the overseas challenge is a strong national selection comprising David McCann, David O'Loughlin, Rory Wyley, John O'Shea and Robin Seymour. McCann and O'Loughlin were in the thick of the action in last Sunday's Archer Grand Prix in England, with McCann taking seventh. Both are strong time trialists and will welcome the chance to gain vital seconds in the ten kilometre test on Sunday.

There are a number of other Irish riders who will leave their mark on the race. Local competitors Paul Griffin (Team Earl of Desmond) and Eugene Moriarty (Cycleways Lee Strand) have both been in good form this year and will be highly motivated to perform on their home patch. Richie Cahill (Killorglin Credit Union), Timmy Barry (Cidona Carrick Wheelers) and Vincent Gleeson (Team Earl of Desmond) have all been riding well of late, while Phil Cassidy (Cycleways Lee Strand) was up the road for most of last Sunday's Waller Cup in Bohermeen and is starting to come back into form.

The Usher IRC quartet of Eddie O'Donoghue, Mick Mulcahy, Dave Peelo and Ben McKenna Memorial winner Paul Healion should be one of the stronger teams in the race. Cycling Ulster has entered a solid Under 23 selection and while Roger Aiken, Frazer Duncan, Paul Brady and Tim Walsh are there to gain experience, they will jump at any opportunities which come their way. So too Cahill's Killorglin Credit Union team-mates Miceal Concannon, Tony Devane, Barry Woods and Eoin Concannon; those riding in the colours of the promoting club will be particularly determined to ride strongly over the four days.

The first of five stages will be held on Good Friday. The 52 mile Killorglin Credit Union loop will take the riders through Killarney, Castleisland, Tralee , over the Sliabh Mish climb and then back to finish in Killorglin. Saturday's second stage is the Irish Ferries Ring of Kerry stage, an arduous 96 mile loop used in the past by the Nissan Classic professional event. After leaving Killorglin the riders will race to Killarney, over the category one climbs of Ladies View and Molls Gap, through Sneem and then over the cat. 1 Coomakista climb. From there the race speeds on through Waterville, Cahirsiveen, Glenbeigh and back to Killorglin.

Two stages will take place on Easter Sunday, the first that ten kilometre time trial from Beaufort to Killorglin. The Killarney Town Centre Criterium will be held that afternoon, the riders racing off at 4.15 pm for the 1 hour plus three laps event. This will be held on a 1.2 mile course and should draw a good crowd.

The concluding stage on Easter Monday is on the traditional 58 mile course, with riders doing three laps of the 15 mile Killorglin / Beaufort circuit and then four laps of the smaller Donal McKenna loop, before finishing in Killorglin.

The main sponsor of the 2004 Ras Mumhan is the Killorglin Credit Union, with additional invaluable support from Irish Ferries, Westerm Union, Splash Designs, Cycling Ireland, Cycling Munster and Randals Bros Nissan.

UK bike trade paper calls for opposition to helmet mandation

British cycle trade magazine and website BicycleBusiness is urging its trade and consumer readers to write to their MPs to oppose the proposed mandation of helmet use by under-16 riders in the UK.

In a sample letter to his local MP, editor and publisher Carlton Reid points out that mandation would put UK cycling back five to ten years by discouraging cycling. Reid explains that he is pro-helmet but against mandation, especially as the law as proposed would make criminals of bike shop owners who allow children under 16 to cycle away from their shops, and has been described as unworkable in practice by transport minister Dr Kim Howells.

Reid also points out that the British medical Association is opposed to helmet mandation on the grounds that the long-term health benefits of cycling are greater than the risks, and therefore any measure that discourages cycling - as helmet mandation has in other jurisdictions - is a negative.

For more details, see: www.bikebiz.co.uk

Hellyer Park Velodrome opens 2004 racing season

Wednesday, April 7, marks the opening night of the Hellyer Park Velodrome's 2004 racing season. The Wednesday Night Racing Series, which runs through August 25 at the San Jose, California velodrome, offers a low-key racing environment, which serves as the initial competitive experience for graduates of the track's development programs for new riders, as well as a mix of competition and training for the track's more experienced riders. The track will open for warm up at 6:00 PM. At 7:30 PM, racing will commence with a series of short events for A, B, and C groups. The race program will conclude by 9:30 PM.

Cyclists without previous track racing experience must complete three beginner sessions prior to racing in the Wednesday Night series. Throughout the year, the Hellyer Park Velodrome offers beginner sessions tailored for children, teens, and women, as well as a weekly catch-all beginners session on Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM. Please visit www.ridethetrack.com for a complete schedule of beginner programs.

Lehigh Velodrome Hall Of Fame nominations open

The Lehigh Valley Velodrome Hall of Fame has extended its 2004 nomination procedure to include the general public. Nominations will take place on the Velodrome website (www.lvvelo.org) in a specially designed new section. This new section will give the general public the ability to nominate a special rider or other contributor that has had an unforgettable impact on the sport and on the Lehigh Valley Velodrome over its 29-year history.

"Opening the Velodrome Hall of Fame nomination procedures to the general public will ensure that riders and other staff that have had an impact on this facility are not forgotten," said interim Lehigh Valley Velodrome director Nancy Seay.

The Velodrome Hall of Fame was began in 2003 to honor the many cycling stars that have helped make the Velodrome a success and to educate newcomers about the facility and the sport of track cycling. The list of first year inductees included; Bob and Ardath Rodale, Jerry Ash, Leigh Barczewski, Danny Clark, Jane Eickhoff, Gilbert Hatton, Jack Simes III, Lucy Tyler and Shaun Wallace.

In 2004 only six new people will be inducted into the Velodrome Hall of Fame. Eligible nominees include riders that were at the elite level (Cat 1 - Pro) for a minimum of five years and participated at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome for at least three years and contributors that have shown a significant contribution to the organization and played a major role in the success of the facility. Complete eligibility and nomination procedures can be found on the Velodrome website at www.lvvelo.org.

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