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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 14, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

The lion's last roar

The Lion of Flanders, Johan Museeuw
Photo ©: AFP

Today at the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen, the cycling world will hear the final roar from the Lion of Flanders as classics legend Johan Museeuw turns his pedals in anger for the last time as a professional. Anthony Tan looks back at the career of the consummate classics rider of his generation.

Despite 101 victories spanning his sixteen and a half year career, Johan Museeuw said he never thought he would turn professional until the day it actually happened. "I was never certain that I would make it until it was a fact," he said modestly in an interview a few years ago. "Eddy Planckaert and Fons De Wolf thought I had talent, and during my first year as a professional [with ADR in 1988], I was able to show myself and take some good results. Then after Paris-Tours [Museeuw finished third in 1989], I had the feeling I would make it - but I never believed I would achieve such a palmarès."

Though even the most confident or talented of riders wouldn't have forecasted such success. Museeuw's podium place in the Paris-Tours, coupled with another trio of thirds in the Tour of Belgium, Dwars door Belgium and the Grand Prix Eddy Merckx was certainly promising, but it was his subsequent years at Lotto which saw the emergence of the greatest classics rider of our generation, and the man we know as the Lion of Flanders.

His first one-day victory came with the Lotto team, the 1991 Meisterschaft Von Zürich, beating French cycling legend Laurent Jalabert and Max Sciandri at just 24 years old, was significant. But it was his second place at the Ronde van Vlaanderen behind fellow Belgian Edwig Van Hooydonck that same year - a race that he would go on to win three times, in 1993, 1995 and 1998 - that was even more impressive and carries greater importance, for the Ronde has invariably been a race for the experienced and crafty. However, back then, young Johan was unafraid of the parcours, race conditions, or even his more experienced rivals... the same way he has always been.

Click here to read the full story.

Ullrich out of Amstel

Jan Ullrich will not ride this weekend's Amstel Gold round of the world cup, having elected instead to train at home in Germany.

In a comment on his website, Ullrich said, "We have several aces up our sleeve for the Amstel gold this weekend. Steffen Wesemann, World Cup champion Erik Zabel and [Amstel Gold] title holder Alexander Winokurow will all be in the team. All three have already won important races this year. We have nine riders who can all contribute to a victory at the Amstel.

"My Tour preparation is going well and I do not want to take a place from any of them. Therefore I have decided after speaking with [personal coach] Rudy Pevanage and [T-Mobile team manager] Mario Kummer not to start in Holland.

"I will train at home instead. I can feel my form getting better every day. I am right on track!"

Judge dismisses Cofidis case

Cofidis' case against French newspaper l'Equipe has fallen at the first hurdle, according to a report from AFP. The judicial tribunal in Nanterres dismissed the case, in which the team was claiming for damages after l'Equipe named several past and current Cofidis riders in a report of police investigations into allegations of doping.

Justice Pallain said the paper had not drawn any definitive conclusions about doping within the team and was not bound by the laws of confidentiality in publishing a leaked transcript of claims made to police by former Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont that team doctor Jean-Jacques Menuet and managers, Alain Deloeuil and Alain Bondue encouraged the use of drugs.

However, according to a lawyer for l'Equipe, the tribunal found that the paper could not be held liable for simply relating he names in the transcript.

Manzano gives details

Former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano has presented his medical records to the investigative commission of the Spanish cycling federation set up to look into his claims of doping within the Kelme team. According to a report from Spanish newspaper Marca, Manzano gave the commission, chaired by lawyer Enrique Franch, prescriptions and medication schedules for the seasons 2001, 2002 and 2003 and testified to the names of the doctors that signed the prescriptions and schedules.

Manzano claimed that some of the prescriptions and schedules came from the team's medical services and others were obtained from pharmacies.

Manzano's future as a cyclist is still in doubt because of a problem with tendonitis in his knee, although he recently signed for the Italian-based Amore e Vita team. He explained that his most recent tests showed the chronic problem needed rehabilitation and treatment before he tried to ride again.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for upcoming races

The Belgian-based Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team has announced its line-up for four upcoming races.

In today's Grote Scheldeprijs Schoten the team will field Ludo Dierckxsens, Maxime Monfort, Geert Van Bondt, Ludovic Capelle, Marc Streel, Yuri Metlushenko, Mikhail Timochine, and Johan Verstrepen; Willy Geukens will be directeur sportif.

At Thursday's GP Denain (France, April 15) directeur sportif Jozef De Bilde will look after a team comprising Ludovic Capelle, Yuri Metlushenko, Mikhail Timochine, Tony Bracke, Maxime Monfort, Nico Sijmens, Marc Streel, and Jacky Durand.

For Sunday's Amstel Gold world cup round (Netherlands, April 18) the team will field Yaroslav Popovych, Wladimir Duma, Cristian Gasperoni, Marc Streel, Ludo Dierckxsens, Geert Van Bondt, Nico Sijmens, and Johan Verstrepen. Maxime Monfort with be the team's reserve with Marco Saligari in the directeur sportif's seat.

The team then flies out to the Tour of Georgia (USA, April 25 - May 1). Under the direction of Andriano Baffi, the team will be: Yuri Mitlushenko, Lorenzo Bernucci, Jacky Durand, Mikhail Timochine, Sergei Lagutin, Tony Bracke, and Ludovic Capelle with Wolodimir Bileka as reserve.

Fassa Bortolo for Vuelta Ciclista Aragona

Fassa Bortolo has announced the team that will ride Vuelta Ciclista Aragona (Spain, April 14-18): Marzio Bruseghin, Francesco Chicchi, Mauro Facci, Aitor Gonzalez Jimanez, Alessandro Petacchi, Julian Sanchez Pimienta, Matteo Tosatto, Marco Velo.

New DS for

Team has a new directeur sportif in Belgian former professional Daniel Willems. Born in 1956, Willems started racing in 1973 and rode professionally for several teams between 1978 and 1985, clocking up a string of impressive victories on the way, including the Tour of Belgium, Ruta del Sol, Flèche Wallone, four stages of the Tour de France, the Four days of Dunkirk, Blois-Chaville (now Paris-Tours) and the GP Eddy Merckx.

"As you can see from his palmares this guy knows what racing is and we are happy that he has joined the team," said team manager Gilbert de Weerdt.

LAF jersey fund-raiser aims for $20,000

The jersey
Click for larger image

Last year Denver resident and Peloton Project member Ron McOmber organised a limited edition cycling jersey as a fund-raiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundaton, pulling in $16,000 for the five-time Tour winner's anti-cancer charity. This year, Ron is doing it all again, and aiming to raise $20,000, with the support of his company, CTL Thompson, Wheat Ridge Cyclery (second home of Ron Kiefel), Ryland Homes and Morrison Homes.

The idea started as a celebration of McOmber's friend Stuart Laing's 10 cancer free years. 250 jerseys are available and a minimum donation of $50 is required for each jersey; a $75 to $100 donation is requested to help achieve the goal. All proceeds will go the Foundation.

You can donate and pick up a jersey at Wheat Ridge Cyclery, or by mailing a check made out to Lance Armstrong Foundation to:

Ron McOmber
CTL Thompson, Inc.
7306 S Alton Way
Centennial, CO 80112

The jerseys will be delivered or mailed so please include your size, street and email address and phone number in case there are questions. They are first come first served.

For more information see the fund-raiser website and Lance Armstrong Foundation website.

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