Latest Cycling News for April 26, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Liberation, confirmation and realisation
Davide Rebellin's incredible triple
Three wins, count 'em
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
"Liberation, confirmation and realisation" were the words Davide Rebellin
used to sum up his three big victories this week. First there was the
Amstel Gold Race, then Flèche Wallonne, and now Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Only a handful of riders have won the Fleche/Liège double, and no-one
has ever won all three in the same year. Cyclingnews' Chief Online
Editor Jeff Jones was there to witness each victory, and reports from
Liège about Rebellin's amazing week.
"In fact it was incredible, unbelievable. Three races that I have dreamed
of since I was a child. Three races that up until now I had only finished
with podium places. I came again to the north to try and finally win one.
Now I've won all three in a week. It's completely incredible!"
Those were the first words that the 32 year old Gerolsteiner captain
Davide Rebellin used to describe his unprecedented successes this week,
brought about through a combination of a powerful sprint and perhaps even
more importantly, an ability to read the race better than anyone else.
"I consider my first victory in Amstel a liberation after two years
of misery and health problems. The second win in Flèche Wallonne was the
confirmation that the first success was no fluke. And today was really
the realisation that I can win all these races, to finish in front with
the best in the right break."
Rebellin again benefited from a 'scripted' race, where a breakaway containing
one of his teammates reached a 10 minute lead in the opening half of the
race, forcing the other teams on the defensive to lead the chase on the
return run to Liège. From then on it became a selection race, and Rebellin
was there on the Cote de St Nicolas with 6 km to go when Boogerd and Vinokourov
attacked. "It went as perfectly as I could have wanted," Rebellin described
the race. "A good speed, and a non-threatening break, with riders who
weren't too dangerous for the win. In short, I could spare my strength
for the finale."
here for the full interview
Boogerd has mixed feelings
Photo ©: Gunnar Mjaugedal
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) took his 10th World Cup placing in Sunday's
Liege-Bastogne-Liege, being beaten for the second time in eight days by
an incredible Davide Rebellin. Boogerd has only one World Cup victory
to his name: the Amstel Gold Race in 1999, but has finished three times
2nd and one time 3rd in that race, as well as 2nd and 3rd in the Giro
di Lombardia, and twice 2nd and once 3rd in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His
spring campaign now over, Boogerd said that he had "mixed feelings" about
"Cycling is really a complicated sport. It's not like swimming or skating,
where normally the fastest wins," wrote Boogerd in his column in De
Telegraaf. "Here there are other things that can influence your performances
enormously. The fact that I punctured both wheels with 21 km to go was
of course not ideal. I stood still, had to come back to the group, start
at the back of the first peloton on the climb of Sart-Tilman and not ride
on my own bike. That makes it just a bit harder. Still I don't want to
give any excuses.
"Rebellin has proved his exceptional class. If he was just half a percent
weaker, than I would have won my dream race. I've never been so close.
I think that now I have the form of my life. All the training is paying
off with two nicely ridden races and two impressive second places. But
the win unfortunately wasn't there."
Boogerd added that his wife Nerena is pregnant with a boy at the moment,
and he has decided one thing after this week: "He will not be named Davide."
Giving it everything
Photo ©: Olympia Photo
In an additional interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Boogerd maintained
that he did not make any mistakes in the finale yesterday. "No, just like
I meant in the Amstel Gold Race. I rode the perfect race. Should I have
left the chasing of Vinokourov up to Rebellin? Ach, we weren't far behind
the Kazakh, I easily brought him back. I didn't lose La Doyenne there.
"On Saint-Nicolas and in Ans I played all or nothing. Each time Rebellin
came back, although I felt that he would crack like an egg after that.
I looked behind me a few times to see if there was a teammate in the next
group. I didn't see any orange jerseys and didn't hear any information
over the radio about Dekker. I didn't get the chance to gamble. Then I
put everything on the last five hundred metres. To no avail again. Still
I'm proud of myself that I rode such a finale again. I've shown that I'm
in the right form, but the Italian is in the form of his life."
Daughter for Moerenhout
Koos Moerenhout (Lotto-Domo) did not race in Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege,
but had a good excuse. On Saturday he had to take his wife Edith to hospital,
where she gave birth to a daughter, Lynn, on Sunday.
results & report
Frigo out of Giro with virus
Frank Vandenbroucke to take his place
Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) will not take part in the next Giro d'Italia.
Frigo has been suffering from a viral infection since Paris-Nice, which
forced him to abandon that race. He has been unable to train properly
since then and, together with the team management, decided not to start
in the three week grand tour on May 8. Frigo's place will be taken by
Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke, who has just finished a fairly heavy spring
Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme threatened with suspension
According to reports in the Spanish press, the Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme
team has been threatened with suspension from competition by the UCI unless
its main sponsor, the Valencian government, signs contracts for seven
riders. The team has been competing since the start of the season, but
Ángel Casero, David Muñoz, José Cuenca, José Martínez, Vicente Ballester,
Adrián Bonilla and Agustín Alonso have yet to race.
This could jeopardize the team's participation in the Giro d'Italia,
although even this has yet to be confirmed by the race organisers. The
team management will travel to Milan on Wednesday to discuss the Jesus
Manzano affair with the Giro organisers.
Simpson Desert classic 2004
The Simpson Desert in Australia will once again be the focus for the
Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge (SDCC) between September 8-October 4. Now
in its 15th year, the SDCC is experiencing a period of increased interest
and organisers expect that at least a quarter of the 50 rider field will
be made up of international entrants, including 10 riders from New Zealand.
The first entrant for the 2004 race was Heinz Von Holzen, a Swiss National
who holds an Australian Passport but resides in Bali where he works as
a Chef. "I don't think you can be any more international than that!" said
race director Trent Taylor. "I don't think there has ever been a competitor
more excited about the race than Heinz. He emails me every week to tell
me how excited he is!"
The Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge is a 580 km mountain bike race from
Purnie Bore in South Australia to Birdsville in outback Queensland. The
race travels across the Simpson Desert via the rig road and sees athletes
riding through hundreds of sand dunes, fluctuating temperatures and some
of the most remote countryside in Australia.
The SDCC comprises nine stages over four and a half days. Competitors
cover 80 km during morning sessions and an average of 50 km on each of
the four afternoon sessions. The challenge of the SDCC is to maintain
the minimum speed requirement of 12 km/h across the sand and corrugated
tracks. "12 km/h an hour might not sound very fast but given that most
sand dunes require riders to dismount their bikes and walk up the hills,
it can be tough to maintain," said Taylor.
More information: www.go.to/sdcc. Entries close August 31, 2004.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)