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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 9, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Bad luck for Ullrich

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti

The Clasica San Sebastian didn't go quite according to plan for Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), who abandoned the race when his saddle broke at the top of the Jaizkibel with 35 km to go. At the time of the mishap, Ullrich was leading a small chase group behind the seven leading riders, but rolled to a halt when he noticed something was wrong. Although the Mavic neutral service car offered him a wheel, Ullrich required a new bike and had to wait four minutes for his team car to catch up. By that stage the race was over, and Ullrich climbed into the car.

"As it happened so close to the finish, there wasn't any point in picking up the chase again," said Ullrich. "Perhaps this will mean good luck next week in Athens."

Ullrich also suffered a puncture earlier in the race. His teammate Andreas Klöden abandoned with a violent headache, quite possibly as a result of the hot conditions.

Vino set for Athens

Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Christine Schramm

T-Mobile did have something to celebrate in the Rothaus Regio-Tour International, which finished today in Kaiserstuhl. Alexandre Vinokourov won the race ahead of his teammate Stephan Schreck, while T-Mobile's Cadel Evans, Tomas Konecny and Paolo Savoldelli finished 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. Vinokourov won two stages along the way, and looks set for Athens next week. "This is the confirmation that I am back again after my injury period," Vinokourov was quoted by "This final stage was perfect training - in Greece it's similarly hot."

Hauptman ambivalent about Olympics

Slovenian Andrej Hauptman (Lampre) will represent his country in the Olympic Men's Road Race next weekend. It will be Hauptman's second Olympics, after finishing 24th in Sydney 2000. But the experienced fast man has had several good placings in World Cup and World Championship events, such as his third in the 2001 World's in Lisbon, fourth in the 2002 World's in Zolder and fifth in the 1997 Clasica San Sebastian.

Like many of his colleagues, Hauptman is not placing a big emphasis on the Olympic Road Race, which this year will be only the third time it has been a fully professional race. "For me it is a race like all the others," he said. "For a professional the World Championships is much more involved. That's not to say that it is a race that I don't feel is mine, but I am not particularly excited about participating in the Olympic Games."

Slovenian national coach Penko expressed the opposite opinion: "In November last year we went to Athens to look at the course. We will ride in the centre of the city, and there are four sections of 1100 metres all on uneven, narrow streets," he said. "Compared to Sydney or the World's in Lisbon, it seems to be a more demanding and difficult course. If I have to pick a potential favourite rider, I would say that Bradley McGee, O'Grady and even Astarloa would be able to make their mark."

The Slovenian team will be comprised of Andrej Hauptman (Lampre), Gorazd Stangelj (Saeco), Uros Murn (Phonak) and Tadej Valjavec (Phonak).

Voeckler stays, Chavanel goes

French champion and Tour star Thomas Voeckler has extended his contract with the Brioches la Boulangčre team. Although team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has yet to announce a sponsor to follow the bakery franchise, it's expected that he will do so soon.

Meanwhile, Brioches' other young French talent Sylvain Chavanel will, according to L'Equipe, sign on Monday with Cofidis for the next two seasons. The 25 year old, who was also courted by Phonak, Quick.Step, CSC and US Postal, will thus guarantee his spot in the UCI Pro Tour. It's possible that his brother Sébastien will follow him to Cofidis.

Haywood loses appeal

Susan Haywood's appeal to be reinstated into the U.S. Olympic women's mountain biking team has been dismissed by a judge in Denver, who declined her request to have her case reassessed by another arbitrator. Haywood was originally awarded the spot, but lost it when her friend Mary McConneloug successfully appealed to the American Arbitration Association that due to a clerical error by USA Cycling, McConneloug had in fact accumulated the most Olympic selection points, and not Haywood.

Haywood commented to the Associated Press after the final ruling, "In my mind I will always know that I was the one who won the points race. I got the most points in one year and I should be going, but I will still give her [McConneloug] a hug when I see her and I wish her the best in Athens."

Haywood argued that USA Cycling credited her with 15 UCI points from a race in Sandpoint, Idaho in July 2003, and had assured her that these points would be counted. However, the race results weren't sent to the UCI and the points were not counted by the world cycling governing body. These points, which Haywood believed she'd earned, were enough to give her the sole Olympic spot by one point over Mary McConneloug when the selection was made on July 12.

McConneloug argued that USA Cycling shouldn't have credited Haywood with these point, and instead should have relied on the UCI rankings, as laid out in USAC's Olympic selection criteria. The AAA ruled in McConneloug's favour, stating, "While, Ms. Haywood sadly bears the brunt of this...she and all other athletes will benefit if this decision leads USA Cycling and other national governing bodies issuing clearer, more transparent procedures that allow athletes to compete on a level and open playing field."

Drugs seized in Tour de la Guadeloupe

By Hedwig Kröner in Guadeloupe

In a controversial start to the Tour de la Guadeloupe, the riders arriving from Venezuela were searched by airport customs. Various medical products were found and confiscated for analysis and later confirmed to be EPO as well as masking products. The riders were allowed to start the race, as the officials present - including Jean Pitallier, president of the French Cycling Federation - announced an upcoming judicial investigation.

After stage 1, two names were given in connection with the drug seizures: Venezuelan Tony Linares, who was very active in the stage and part of the breakaway, and Luis Castańeda from Colombia, riding for the Euro Mutuelle U.C.C. team.

Although the investigation is serious, oddly enough there were no doping controls at the stage finish.

Daelmans out

Belgian cyclo-crosser Arne Daelmans (Vlaanderen-T Interim) will have to miss the first part of the 'cross season after crashing hard in the Regio Tour in Germany. Daelmans broke his left knee in three places as well as his left hand.

All roads lead to Drogheda for Irish underage championships

By Gerard Cromwell

The Drogheda Wheelers has unveiled plans for its flagship event, the Drogheda Concentrates All-Ireland Youth Championships to be held in Drogheda on Saturday, 21st and Sunday, 22nd of August.

At a reception in the Rossnaree Hotel, Drogheda, the club announced that each championship will start and finish outside the gates of Coca Cola in the Donore Rd. Industrial Estate. Run over two days and three events, the series will begin with a 1.9 mile time trial for all categories on the Saturday morning at 10am.

Saturday afternoon will see a criterium at 3.30pm over a course just under two miles round and the proceedings will come to an end with a road race based on the Coca Cola factory and with a lap distance of 5.8 miles. While the championships have already attracted entries from all provinces, local riders Conor Campbell and Benner Maguire should also be in contention for the medals for the promoting Drogheda Wheelers.

With categories ranging from Under 11 up to Under 16 all having championships, Drogheda have decided to run a one-off race for Under 10 riders on a closed circuit. "Basically we will be bringing them onto the course and closing the gate behind us," said race organiser Gerard Campbell, "There will be absolutely no traffic on the circuit and it should be a very good environment for the youngsters to have a bit of fun and race in safety."

This race is open to all, and any kind of bike from BMX's to mountain bikes are allowed and it is hoped there will be a good turnout on the day. The race will be run immediately after the road race championships on Sunday.

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