First Edition Cycling News for February 2, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Cyclo-cross World's: post race comments
As expected, the Elite Men's race at the Cyclo-cross World Championships was heavily dominated by the Belgians, with Bart Wellens, Mario De Clercq and Sven Vanthourenhout taking a clean sweep of the podium. In fact, Belgians finished in five of the top six places, with only Daniele Pontoni's fine fourth place disrupting the show. The one Belgian who missed out was Sven Nys, who started well but exploded when Wellens attacked on lap 2 and eventually abandoned.
Bart Wellens (Bel, 1st)
"This title is nicer than last year. This year I beat Mario De Clercq in the sprint. That is a complete honour. This is the most beautiful win in my whole career. I'll hang the photo in my living room.
"I began to attack in the second and third laps, but Mario always came back. I decided to wait for the sprint, even though I was afraid of Mario's speed. I wasn't 100 percent certain but definitely 90 percent. In the last few metres I sprinted with my eyes shut.
"My condition was perfect today. I didn't have too much stress, just a little, but that's normal. A second place would have also been nice, but now I am the happiest man in the world."
Mario De Clercq (Bel, 2nd)
"I can't turn back the film any more. With three laps to go I knew that it would end in a sprint. Whether I was sure of victory in the sprint? Everyone can win or lose. I don't know how much the difference was but I immediately knew that I had lost."
Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel, 3rd)
"I don't know if I should be happy or not. I worked hard for three weeks since I heard I was selected."
Ben Berden (Bel, 5th)
"I was happy to attack. But to ride away alone wasn't possible on this parcours."
Erwin Vervecken (Bel, 6th)
"I'm not really satisfied. I was aiming for the podium. But on the other hand I wasn't dropped."
Francis Mourey (Fra, 7th)
"I took a lot of pleasure from this, I hope the public did too. I felt very good but, when I found myself among five Belgians, I quickly realised that it would be very tough tactically. I wanted to provoke them to eliminate one or two, with the objective of going for the bronze medal. But it was mission impossible.
"This was very different than last year. In ITaly, I had climbed up the places to finish sixth. This time, I played more of a role in the race. With two or three more years, with the road experience, I hope I'll be in front. I gave everything, I have no regrets."
Full Cyclo-cross World's coverage
3rd Tour of Qatar
While most riders are choosing to start their seasons with the Challenge Illes Balears, Etoile des Bessèges or the Tour de Langkawi this week, a sizeable chunk will be soaking up the sun and sand in Qatar, with the third edition of the Tour of Qatar taking place between February 2-6. Although not renowned as a cycling country, Qatar has demonstrated that it can host an international quality stage race, and together with the input of the Amaury Sport Organisation and Eddy Merckx, it is establishing itself as one of the desirable ways to start the season. There is also the matter of €106,810 in prize money that will be up for grabs.
There are a few changes to the format this year, notably with the addition of the Doha International GP on January 31, won by Simone Cadamuro (De Nardi). The Tour of Qatar itself starts on February 2, and will cover 822 km before finishing in Doha on February 6. Not all stages finish in Doha this year, which is another break with tradition.
The race is characterised by flat, fast and windy stages, with the general classification typically decided by small margins. Last year's race was won by Alberto Loddo (Lampre) just ahead of Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner), although the two riders finished on the same time.
Stage 1 - February 2: Sealine Beach Resort - Doha Landmark, 150.5 km
LPR presentation...minus Konyshev and co.
Only nine of the thirteen members of the newly created Italian Division II squad LPR were present at its team launch in Rivalta d'Adda, Piacenza, on Saturday night. Team management has decided to suspend Dimitri Konyshev, Yuriy Ivanov, Andrey Karpachev and Ruslan Pidgornyy, following accusations that they assaulted and robbed a prostitute near Emilia, Italy.
"It's true that we are waiting for the results of the judicial enquiry, but it is clear that from the first admissions of guilt and the subsequent negotiations, that Ivanov and Pidgornyy are suspended for the time being, but will very soon be excluded from our team," LPR vice president Giulio Maserati told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The discussions are slightly different regarding Konyshev and Karpachev: the two Russians have said that they did not participate in the crime, they were merely present at that stupid moment. This does not justify them, but it leaves open a crack. I don't rule out that Konyshev will decide to abandon cycling, after seeing the ugly blow his moral profile has suffered after this event."
The nine remaining LPR riders will be led by rising star Angelo Lopeboselli and the ever aggressive Elio Aggiano. The team has to be composed of at least 12 riders to meet Division II requirements, but Giulio Maserati says that this will not be a problem, as there are so many riders looking for work.
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
More reforms from the UCI
Although reforming the road system was high on the UCI's agenda at its meeting at the 'cross World's in Pont-Château, the UCI made a number of other decisions in regard to the sport's various disciplines.
The following World Championships have been awarded:
MTB Marathon 2005 : Lillehammer (Nor)
Thinking further into the future, the UCI declared that "priority will be given to out-of-Europe candidatures" for the 2010 Road World Championships.
The UCI will also reform the cyclo-cross system in 2004-2005, adding more World Cups so that the series numbers at least 14 races. The World Cups will be run in six countries, and no other class 1 races may be run on the same day as a World Cup. Riders will be ranked individually and there will also be a nations ranking, based on results of the three best riders of each country who can enter eight riders in each event of the series.
Qualification for the World Championships will be linked to the individual ranking.
Alan Factory Team expands
The Alan Factory Team has announced the significant expansion its squad for the upcoming cyclocross season, which will also mark Alan's 36th year in the frame building business. The 2004 team will be led by elite racers Jake Stechman, Jed Schneider, Lisa Randall and Junior Bjorn Selander, and hopes to expand its roster even further. For 2004, the squad will be comprised of up to 20 Elite riders that will contest the Midwest and Bi-coastal circuits in the USA, as well as major UCI events across the country and the National's in Portland. Several members also plan to race in Italy after the US Nationals in preparation for the 2004 World Championships and Master's World's.
The team is looking to add riders for Cyclocross, Road and Track at all levels of competition and should contact Euromedia Group at: 1 866 623 3073 (inside the US) or email: email@example.com. The team is also looking to add sponsors for 2004. Those interested should contact Euromedia Group at: 763 542 0142.
Gareth Dyer and Andreas Sieber to FIAT Rotwild
Canadian freeride star Gareth Dyer and German downhiller Andreas Sieber will ride for Team FIAT Rotwild this season. "It has been my biggest dream to participate in the development of new freeride products," commented 22 year old Dyer. "Now Rotwild and adp engineering respectively make this dream come true...I think I will feel quite happy in this team."
Germany's emerging downhill talent Andreas Sieber didn't have the best start to the new season, however. "In October I had a car accident," he said. "I was sitting in the passenger seat and broke my upper arm. Due to the fracture a nerve got caught which led to a malfunction of my wrist. At the moment I cannot train. Instead I have to go to rehabilitation. But I am in very good hands, though. The institute that treats me also trains the German ski jump national team. When the race season starts I will be fit."
The full Team FIAT Rotwild roster is:
Mickael Deldycke (Fra), Gareth Dyer (Can), Andreas Sieber (Ger), Dennis Stratmann (Ger), Manfred Stromberg (Ger)
Cross Contry/Marathon/Stage Races
Andreas Strobel (Ger), Silvio Wieltschnig (Aut), Christine Hölzl (Ger), Hedda zu Putlitz (Ger)
BEN Development Team South Africa
Patrick Majeke (RSA), Nicholas Qotoyi (RSA)
John Waddell benefit race
The Perth Mountain Bike Club is holding a downhill race on February 7-8 to benefit local rider John Waddell, who was seriously injured in a crash in the Mont Ste Anne round of the World Cup last year. Waddell suffered brain damage and has been undergoing therapy ever since emerging from a coma. The Perth MTB Club will donate all proceeds to Waddell to help cover his medical expenses.
Register online at www.perthmtb.com (on the left hand side there is a secured paypal site). The entry fee is in the form of a $35 donation - it's not even necessary to show up to the race, and you can enter more than once. So far, approximately $4000 has been raised.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)