First Edition Cycling News for August 29, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Aussies dusted in Athens
It wasn't for lack of trying, but the two Australian team members in the men's Olympic cross country mountain bike race Saturday had a tough time matching the feats of their colleagues on the track. Sid Taberlay and Josh Fleming finished 23rd and 31st, respectively, in the tough two hour event won by France's Julien Absalon. An early race pile up proved costly for many, including the two Aussies.
Taberlay's foot came out of the pedal at the start and after finding himself stuck in a pileup, and the Tasmanian's race was virtually over before it got going.
"I got a really bad start, a bit of a pileup and then another pileup and I ended up last in the starting group," Taberlay said. "I basically blew up trying to get through all the traffic in the first lap.
"I struggled for the rest of the race," he added. "I was just groveling after that. It wasn't my day."
From 44th through the starting loop, he fought his way into the top 20 and got to as high as 18th in the fourth of seven laps but faded in the closing circuits.
Fleming simply said he never got going. Absalon completed the seven laps in two hours, 15 minutes, 02 seconds, to finish 11:14 ahead of Taberlay, who himself was 3:38 clear of Fleming.
Australia's mountain bikers were never expected to match the deeds of their track teammates, although 19-year-old Lisa Mathison did well to finish 10th Friday for her best result in senior competition.
"I would have loved a top 10 finish like Lisa who was so consistent yesterday," Taberlay said. "I was also consistent today, just slow consistent."
Absalon's medal was the first cycling gold of the Games for the traditionally strong French, while Australia ended up with six gold, two silver and two bronze.
Museeuw tips Gilbert
Recently retired classics specialist Johan Museeuw, keeping an eye on the next generation of Belgians in the peloton, has tipped FDJeux.com's Philippe Gilbert as a talent to watch. While many mark Tom Boonen, Museeuw's Quick.Step-Davitamon teammate, as "the next Museeuw", the Lion of Flanders nonetheless considers Gilbert one of the great hopes.
"Gilbert has the same talent as Boonen, but he's not as fast so he hasn't won as much," Museeuw told La Dernière Heure. "But he has other talents. He's a big rider, and I would like to work with him some day.
"We have a lot of good young riders, but they're not ready to win... except Boonen," Museeuw added. "His success in the Tour doesn't surprise me, but he's still too young to win the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix next year."
Kirsipuu ready for change
After an entire career spent under the guidance of team director Vincent Lavenu, Jaan Kirsipuu is said to be looking for a new employer, citing differences with his long-time mentor according to a l'Equipe report. Kirsipuu joined Lavenu in 1992 as a stagiaire with Chazal, a team which later morphed into Casino and the current Ag2r-Prévoyance formation.
The 35 year old Estonian has 111 professional victories to his credit, including stage wins in the Tour de France. Kirsipuu has been a proven performer in the Coupe de France series, prompting interest from top French teams including Cofidis, FDJeux.com, Crédit Agricole, and Brioches La Boulangère, which next year becomes Bouygues Telecom.
Gerosa to Liquigas
Mauro Gerosa will join the new Liquigas team for 2005, signing a deal with company head Roberto Amadio. Gerosa, 30, currently rides for Vini Caldirola. He signed a one year contract with an option for 2006.
Ullrich uncertain for World's
Jan Ullrich has said he has yet to reach a decision as to whether or not he will participate in the upcoming World Championships in Verona, Italy. A former world time trial champion, Ullrich had a somewhat disappointing outing at the Olympic games, finishing only seventh in the individual time trial. While taking a break between major competitions, ostensibly because of pain experienced while riding during the Athens time trial, Ullrich did participate in a weekend criterium, which naturally he won.
Merckx to skip World's
Axel Merckx, bronze medallist for Belgium in the men's road race at the Athens Olympics, has decided to sit out the World Championships in Verona at the end of September. Merckx emerged from the Tour de France in fine form, riding strongly in the subsequent World Cup events in Hamburg and San Sebastian, before going on to medal in Athens. He will ride his father's event, the GP Eddy Merckx two-man time trial on Sunday, but considers the mounting fatigue of a long season enough to opt out of the Verona, Italy World's.
Rebellin goes ex-pat?
Davide Rebellin is considering requesting Argentinean nationality in order to participate in the upcoming World Championships in Verona, Italy. Disenchanted over his non-selection to the Italian Olympic team, World Cup leader Rebellin has decided to look elsewhere for a ride in the World's. National team selector Franco Ballerini commented in La Gazzetta dello Sport that Rebellin is back on the list of possible members of the 12 man Italian team for Verona after his consistent performances in the past month. Rebellin's decision to sit out the Tour de France (to concentrate on the World Cup) was a key factor in his not being chosen for Athens.
Forced stop for Gili
Vini Caldirola's Marco Gili has been forced to take 15 days out of competition after failing a health check before Saturday's Giro del Friuli classic in Italy. Gili's hematocrit exceeded the UCI's 50% limit, which is not proof of doping but nonetheless requires the rider to spend two weeks away from racing. Twenty-six riders from four teams were tested before the race.
Fassa Bortolo for Gippingem
Fassa Bortolo will send recent World Cup winner in Zurich, Juan Antonio Flecha, to the GP Kanton Aargau (Gippingen) in Switzerland on Sunday. Flecha will be joined by Marzio Bruseghin, Fabian Cancellara, Tom Danielson, Mauro Facci, Dario Frigo, Alberto Ongarato, and Matteo Tosatto.
Critical Mass gets political in NYC
More than 200 cyclists were arrested Friday night in New York City during a Critical Mass ride which took on a more urgent political theme on the eve of the Republic national convention, which begins next week. Critical Mass rides draw cyclists on the last Friday of each month for a rolling demonstration to promote awareness of cyclists and cycling as a mode of transportation. The ride's attendance swelled this week in response to the upcoming convention.
Police arrested riders in different locations, charging most with disorderly conduct. The ride is normally tolerated by police, but was stopped at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street, though some riders continued.
"Ninety-five percent of the ride was beautiful," Time's Up! director Bill DiPaola told The New York Times. Time's Up! is an environmental group that helps promote the monthly ride. "People were cheering us on the streets, but at the end it was difficult to funnel people off and it was very clear the police were upset at how well the ride went."
Another cyclist told CNN, "The police actually caused more disruptions than the cyclists because they blocked off roads- at one point for as long as an hour and a half- whereas the cyclists were always moving."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)