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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for April 13, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Merckx critical of Ullrich

Although Jan Ullrich maintains that he is right on target for his Tour de France plans, there are concerns that he is taking things a little too easy at this time of year. In today's Rund um K÷ln, Ullrich could only manage 64th place at 5'41 down from the winner, a far cry from his 52 km solo effort to win last year.

Ullrich joked afterwards that, "In 2003 I was an outsider and I was only able to win because the others didn't recognise me in my Coast jersey. However, it's a long time to the Tour and I'm on the right track."

Five time Tour winner Eddy Merckx, who is never afraid to speak his mind, told DPA, "It seems that Jan has again not worked hard enough in his previous preparation and is still too much overweight. Sure, he has still over two months, but to beat Lance Armstrong in the Tour will be harder than 2003."

Ullrich will ride in Wednesday week's FlŔche Wallonne (April 21), followed by Liege-Bastogne-Liege (April 25) and the Rund um den Henninger Turm (May 1).

Bad crash for Savoldelli

Italian Paolo Savoldelli's crash at the Rund um K÷ln today put a dampener on the celebrations of the T-Mobile team, which won the race through Erik Zabel. Savoldelli crashed with three other riders into a traffic island after approximately 30 km and was forced out of the race. He was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with heavy facial wounds and a broken left forearm, according to his T-Mobile team. There is also suspicion of a broken elbow.

Savoldelli will be out for several weeks and is now in doubt to regain fitness in time for the Tour de France, where he would be a key part of the T-Mobile team. Savoldelli's luck hasn't improved much from last year, when he crashed into a motorcycle in Tenerife and spent a long time out injured.

Bruylandts breaks elbow

In another blow for Chocolade Jacques, Dave Bruylandts has broken his left elbow after crashing during training on Monday. The third place getter in the Ronde van Vlaanderen was riding some of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege parcours, but lost his balance and crashed when he was taking off his jacket. He was taken to the university hospital in Liege where three breaks in his left elbow were diagnosed. Later on Monday, he was taken to the hospital in Herentals where he will undergo an operation this evening. Bruylandts is expected to be out of competition for a few weeks.

It's the second broken elbow in as many days for Chocolade Jacques, after Gerben L÷wik did the same injury in Paris-Roubaix yesterday.

Gadeo speaks at RFEC commission

Ex-professional cyclist Dario Gadeo has appeared before the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) investigation conducted by Enrique Franch into the statements of Jesus Manzano, who alleged that there was systematic doping within the Kelme team.

Gadeo spoke up in Manzano's defence at the enquiry, telling Europa Press that he verified his earlier statements that doping was widespread in the peloton. "I have not given names," he said. "If it depended on me to give a name and doping would be finished, I would do so...But I don't believe the problem will be solved by giving names, saying that so and so has taken EPO...I'm not doing this out of revenge, on the contrary, I have good memories of the cyclists. I'm not going to incriminate anybody.

"Cycling is a very beautiful sport, but currently the health of the cyclists is heading into a lot of danger. We can help those outside this so that it doesn't become generalised. I don't fear any retaliation, it's brave to say that a problem exists.

"We can't think that a rider is not doped because he hasn't tested positive. In that case, Manzano would not clean. The controls are not effective. I believe Manzano when he says that blood transfusions are the order of the day...In the Vuelta, we knew when we were going to be visited by the vampires. Normally we would know when the surprise controls were. The voice runs through the peloton."

Belda appears before RFEC commission

Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme team manager Vicente Belda was called up today in front of the Spanish Cycling Federation's commission into the allegations of former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano. Along with Belda, lawyer Enrique Franch and RFEC secretary Eugenio Berm˙dez were present at the RFEC headquarters where the investigation is being held.

Belda was questioned for a little over an hour, and afterwards issued a statement that summarised his responses. "We've contributed...the medical documents from the Tour de France and from the hospital where Manzano went to. In both, it is specified that the of collapse of Manzano was due to heat stroke and his blood pressure, heart rhythm and temperature were normal."

Belda also contributed a copy of a letter that he gave Manzano at the end of 2002, "since his conduct was a long way from that of a professional cyclist. The team trusted in him and his contract was renewed with an increase of 12,000 euros."

"The third important document was one from Kelme-Costa Blanca, which Manzano signed in the last Vuelta Espa˝a after his repeated misdemeanours in that race."

Belda concluded his statement by explaining the matter of Manzano's knee, which Manzano believed was ruined by Kelme giving him cortisone injections during the last Vuelta Espa˝a. "His own doctor confirmed that the treatment given by the team was correct and his knee is suitable for competition. Manzano loses all his credibility, he is acting for revenge and for money."

2nd Dutch Mountain Bike Tour

Starting on Friday, April 16 is the second edition of the Dutch Mountain Bike Tour, a three day race in the Netherlands. The only mountain bike stage race in the country will open with a 5 km prologue time trial on Friday, followed by two stages on Saturday: Norg-Norg (34 km) and Appelscha-Appelscha (50 km). Sunday's third stage will be the hardest, consisting of 80 kilometres over cobblestones, through sand, woods, dirt and possibly mud.

A competitive field has been assembled for this year's event, including Mary McConneloug (USA), Ivonne Kraft (Germany), Mette Andersen (Denmark), Elsbeth Vink (Netherlands), Anna Baylis (Australia) and 2002 Dutch Mountain bike Tour winner Daphny van den Brand (Netherlands) in the women's category, and Thijs Al (Netherlands), Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands), Thomas Spichtig (Switzerland), Fredrik Ericsson (Sweden) and Christian Poulsen (Denmark) in the men's division.

More information:

Alan Liu killed

American cyclist/triathlete Alan Liu died on Sunday, April 11 as a result of being hit by a car while riding with his girlfriend in Sonoma County, California. The accident took place at approximately 11:20am while the pair were riding Highway 12 near Oakmont. According to the Santa Rosa Press, Liu and his girlfriend were allegedly hit from behind by a car driven by 69 year old Oakmont resident Harvey Hereford. Liu died of his injuries at the scene, while his girlfriend is in ICU with severe brain trauma and multiple spinal injuries.

Harvey Hereford was taken to Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing grievous bodily injury. He was later released on $30,000 bail, with blood tests to determine his blood alcohol content pending.

Cyclingnews store open for business!

For several years, Cyclingnews has received emails and requests from people who asked: "I really like that picture of George Hincapie at Paris-Roubaix - how do I buy one?" Or, "Does Cyclingnews sell tee-shirts?" Or, after we covered the Australian men's cross-country MTB championships, another asked: "Can I buy a jersey like Syd Taberlay's?"

More recently, we've had requests for the stylish team strip of your Belgium-based Division 3 squad, Team, such as: "I want to be the first in Minnesota with the jersey, can I order one?"

Well, yes! Now you can at the Cyclingnews store!

There are posters of your favourite pictures from 2001 and 2002, tee-shirts, cycling socks, a wonderful track cycling calendar and when it comes to actual cycling clothing, the only articles the shop will offer are from those teams that Cyclingnews sponsors.

In Australia, it's the Tasmanian Institute of Sport, in Europe it's Team, and in the USA it's Jonathan Vaughters' TIAA-CREF/5280 development team. In coming weeks, we will offer the same jerseys and knicks as worn by the riders in those teams. We've also got other products in the planning, but we promise we won't take three years to make them available.

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