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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for August 5, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Clasica San Sebastian - Klasika Donostia Preview

By Martin Hardie

Can Bettini repeat his San Sebastian feat?
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

After last weekend's surprise result in the HEW Cyclassics, the World Cup competition is back in full swing as the one day specialists return to the beaches and mountains of the Basque Country to see who can make it first onto the beautiful Donostia boulevard this Saturday, August 7.

The Clasica San Sebastian - Klasika Donostia follows the traditional course on its tour of the Basque province of Guipuzkoa and features a good mixture of scenic coastal roads in the early stretch followed by a series of sharp testing climbs as it heads inland to the valleys and "cuestas" that make this such a fabled course.

Of its categorised climbs, the feature and selection-maker is always the famed ascent of the Cat. 1 Jaizkibel, which falls some 36 kms from the finish. After the Jaizkibel those who have made the selection still have to maintain their advantage as they pass over the Cat. 3 Alto de Gurutze with 13.5 kms remaining. From there the race has one more uncategorised rise - the Alto de Miracruz- out of the port of Pasajes before the plunge down and onto the beachside Boulevard in what is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Earlier on its course the route passes the Cat. 3 Alto de Orio as it heads along the coast to the holiday town of Zarautz. Following this come the Cat. 2 climbs of the Alto de Azkarate and the Alto de Garate as the race heads south and inland and the Cat. 2 Alto de Undana at the point at which the race heads north again and back down the valley towards San Sebastian and the steep 8 km Jaizkibel.

The Jaizkibel soars distinctly out of its coastal surrounds between San Sebastian and the border town of Irun, recognisable for its shape and the antenna that populate its summit. A bare long rocky ridge, you can see from a distance the cutting of the road as it climbs along the mount's side. Its steepest sections are in the earliest kilometres after which in its second half the grade steadies to average of around 5%. The Jaizkibel is where the customary selection is made as the strong men of the classics who have the climbing prowess power up to keep the pace high over the climb and the final 30 kilometre run in to the finish.

As such we can expect all the usual subjects among them a host of past winners to try their luck, last year's winner, Paolo Bettini, Davide Rebellin and Igor Astarloa should all be in the hunt, along with Danilo Di Luca and Jan Ullrich. Hot Spanish finishers such as Perdiguero and Valverde should also not be discounted on this course.

As always this year the start list is a veritable who's who of the pro peloton. The list of hopefuls is long, also testing their luck will be the likes of Gonzalez, Cancellara, Virenque, Frigo, Flecha, Cioni, Merckx, Casagrande, Camenzind, Ullrich, Cunego, Karpets, Freire, Dekker, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Heras, Azevedo, Basso, Tonkov, Jeker and Møller. Brochard returns, having won the World's here in 1997, and is accompanied by his Basque teammate Mikel Astarloza. The local orange brigade of Euskaltel-Euskadi will be looking to make amends for a bad month of July with Mayo, Zubeldia, the Etxebarrias all riding.

Live coverage

If you can't be there on the Boulevard by the beach, at least tune in for our live coverage here on Cyclingnews. Coverage starts at 15:00 CEST (Europe)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Australia East).

Team rosters for Clasica San Sebastian

With the second half of the World Cup competition in full swing, the sport's top teams are sending the heavy hitters to contest this weekend's Clasica San Sebastian in Spain's Basque region.

Saeco:

Danilo Di Luca, Mirko Celestino, Damiano Cunego, Juan Fuentes, Evgeni Petrov, Alessandro Spezialetti, Goradz Stangelj, and Salvatore Commesso

Lampre:

Igor Astarloa, Sergio Barbero, GianLuca Bortolami, Paolo Bossoni, Francesco Casagrande, Andrej Hauptman, Michele Scotto d'Abusco, Patxi Vila

T-Mobile:

Rolf Aldag, Santiago Botero, Giuseppe Guerini, Serguei Ivanov, Andreas Klöden, Daniele Nardello, Jan Ullrich, Erik Zabel

Pagliarini to Athens

Brazil's top sprinter Luciano Pagliarini (Lampre) is looking forward to his participation in the Olympic road race in Athens. This will be Pagliarini's first Olympics, building on experience gained representing his country in the U23 and B world championships 1999.

The Brazilian considers himself to be in good form for the Olympics, but is nervous about a knee injury which has kept him from joining Lampre at the Tour of Portugal. The Athens circuit may not be perfectly suited to Pagliarini's talents but the enthusiasm of a first trip to the games should give him a necessary boost.

"It's not really suited to sprinters; it will be a race completely open to a few elements in each squad," he explained. "Many riders will be able to play their own cards. It won't be determined, as in other races, by the strength of the team."

Pagliarini tips the likes of current world champion (and Lampre teammate) Igor Astarloa, Oscar Freire, Erik Zabel, and Stuart O'Grady as potential winners.

Stagiaires for Ag2r-Prévoyance

Vincent Lavenu has signed three stagiaires for the Ag2r-Prévoyance team for the remainder of the 2004 season. Young Australian Simon Gerrans, who has been riding in France for U Nantes-Atlantique, will get a taste of European pro racing along with Rémy Pauriol (VC La Pomme-Marseille) and Christophe Riblon (CC Nogent-sur-Oise). Pauriol's VC La Pomme teammate Philip Deignan received a two year pro contract from Ag2r in June.

Tour of Maplewood returns

Professional cycling will make its return to Maplewood, New Jersey after a one-year hiatus on a challenging course thanks to The Springfield Avenue Partnership and Colavita USA. The race, scheduled for 2pm Saturday, August 28th, will be known as the Tour of Maplewood, Springfield Avenue Pro-Am. The 40-mile race will be held on a challenging .9-mile course with the start/finish on Springfield Avenue.

Several top U.S. professional teams will be in attendance, including Linden, New Jersey-based Team Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wines with 2003 USPRO champion Mark McCormack. Team Ofoto-Lombardi Sports will bring 2003 U23 national road champion and NJ resident Jonathan Erdelyi. Other teams include Navigators Pro Cycling Team, Subway Express and Team Sharper Image-Mathis Brothers Furniture. The race will also include the top amateur teams from the Northeast including Stelvio Teamwear-Orbis Properties, Ideal Tile-Brielle Cyclery, and Team Colavita-Bolla Wines.

"I am very excited to see the Tour of Maplewood return" said John Profaci, Maplewood resident and Vice President of Marketing for Colavita USA. "Cycling has a long history in Maplewood, dating back to the 19th century when fans lined Springfield Avenue for the celebrated Great American Memorial Day Cycling Derby. We look forward to continuing the tradition and inspiring a new generation of riders."

This year the Tour of Maplewood will also include the Tuscan Road King of the Hill Challenge, the winner of which will be determined by the rider who accumulates the most points up Tuscan Road during the race.  

"Having a race which is held in the New York metro area offers our program a great event very close to our home base in Morris Plains," commented John Durso, Director of Team Ofoto-Lombardi Sports. "Additionally, the Tour of Maplewood offers the riders a challenging weekend with the Chris Thater Memorial event in Binghamton, NY the following day."

For information on the Tour of Maplewood, Springfield Avenue Pro-Am contact: Ken Erdelyi (kderdelyi@msn.com).

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