Latest Cycling News for February 2, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
De Clercq may continue
Wants Jonathan Page in the team
37 year old Mario De Clercq showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with, failing by just centimetres to win his fourth World Cyclo-cross Championship on Sunday. De Clercq was narrowly beaten by Bart Wellens in the final sprint, after the pair had duelled for much of the race. "I say each year that everyone can lose in the sprint," said De Clercq, who was generally satisfied with his race, to Het Nieuwsblad.
When the question of whether he wanted to do another cyclo-cross season was put to him, De Clercq didn't rule it out. "That is quite possible. I have 28 days to think about the decision. February is in a leap year, so I have an extra day," he smiled.
According to Het Nieuwsblad. De Clercq has also asked the Mr. Bookmaker-Palmans-Collstrop team management to sign American Jonathan Page for next season, so that De Clercq can have a specific training partner. "If Mario asks that, then we'll do it," said team manager Charles Palmans.
Groenendaal's bad day
Dutch hope Richard Groenendaal was seen as one of the few riders capable of challenging the Belgian armada in yesterday's Cyclo-cross World Championships, but a flat tyre and two crashes put paid to his chances and he abandoned with two laps to go. 15 years ago, Groenendaal won the junior world title on the same course in Pont-Château, but he didn't come close this time. In fact the whole championships were a disaster for the Dutch riders, who didn't win a single medal, their worst result in six years.
"This is terribly disappointing," Groenendaal told ANP after abandoning. "I had expected a lot from these World Championships. But it was pointless to keep going in this way. I could barely walk."
It was a sorry end for Groenendaal after a bad season. His preparation last year was hampered by a knee injury, and his only high points were a second place in the Koksijde and Nommay World Cups and the Dutch Championship, his only win of the season.
Green is back and ready to sweat
By Gerard Knapp
The hot and steamy conditions of tropical Malaysia are literally half a world away from a Vancouver winter, but Canada's number one mountain-biker Roland Green is looking forward to a return to road racing this year, even if it's in 90% humidity and temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius.
Last year in the Tour de Langkawi, Green set the road alight with his relentless attacks on the critical Genting Highlands stage and this year he is eager to show he's still got his climbing legs.
Last year's winner of the King of the mountains title, Green will be one of the riders to watch in the ninth Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi, that kicks off this Friday, February 6, and runs until February 15.
With last year's overall champion, USA's Tom Danielson of the then Saturn squad now firmly camped in Italy with Fassa Bortolo, Green will look to improve on his fourth place on GC, although there will still be a strong contingent from Colombia that is able to thrive in the steamy altitudes.
"We have a great squad of guys with lots of experience," Green said. "We may just give those Euros and Colombians a good fight. The (Canadian riders are Eric Wohlberg, Charles Dionne, Peter Wedge, Cory Lange, Dominique Perras and Alex Lavallee."
Despite this important road race, 2004 is an Olympics year and Green is very keen to complete the golden trifecta of adding an Olympics cross-country gold medal to the World Championships and Commonwealth Games gold medals he won in 2002.
"The Olympics is the biggest goal for me this year,. However, the (MTB) World Cups will be very important as well. The sport is doing well over in Europe and I'm excited about all the good World Cups over there. This year will be the most competitive and fun in a while," he said.
"I will be doing road races as they fit in but no commitments. As I have no trade team this year I will be doing National team projects only." On the MTB side, this year Green will once again ride for the Trek-Volkswagen team.
After his stellar 2002 and impressive performances on the road, Green did generate considerable interest among the European road teams eager to secure a new weapon for the mountains. MTB riders were certainly in focus, especially after the debut in 2002 of former MTB World Cup champion Cadel Evans, when he secured the maglia rosa in the 2002 Giro d'Italia.
For Green, it was always going to be tough to back up after his 2002, and after a strong start his 2003 season did not go to plan. Green was riding strongly in the inaugural Tour de Georgia in April and once again attacked in the mountains in stage 4, and then went into the final stage in third place on GC. However, he was forced to abandon after a heavy fall in the final stage.
"Since my crash in the Tour of Georgia I have had some pretty nasty headaches, but they are getting better," he said.
In Malaysia, Green said he "will be riding my Trek 5900 with the Bontrager carbons so pretty much same as last year". He said there are "A few secret weapons" among his equipment plans. "I am feeling strong and hope that the Highland climb is a tough one."
Cyclingnews.com will provide complete coverage of the Tour de Langkawi, with reports, photos and race diaries from leading riders, including Green.
Mathis Brothers moves to Division III
Specialty Sports, LLC has announced the formation of the Sharper Image/Mathis Brothers Furniture Professional Cycling Team for 2004. The UCI Division III team is an extension of the Mathis Brothers Elite team, one of the top amateur programs in the U.S. last season.
The Team will focus solely on the domestic calendar for the 2004 season with specific emphasis on the San Francisco Grand Prix, New York Cycling Championships and the 2nd Annual Dodge Tour de Georgia. The team will also be attending multiple National Calendar Races throughout the year.
Steven Cate (Mathis Brothers Elite)
Kyle Strait to Specialized
16 year old Kyle Strait has signed a contract with Specialized that will see the downhill/4X specialist ride on their frames until the end of 2004, with the possibility of extending through 2005.
Kyle, whose other major sponsors are Oakley, Redbull and Fox Shox, will have a complete schedule of Downhill and Free ride events for 2004, including regular events like Sea Otter Classic, Red Bull Rampage, the NORBA series and the full World Cup circuit. The Oakley/Red Bull rider also recently had his NORBA licence upgraded from junior expert to Pro Elite so he will contest the NORBA and World Cup races as an elite rider, but will race the US Nationals and World Championships as a junior for another two years. His driver's licence isn't too far away either!
American Criterium Championship Series 2004
The American Criterium Championship Series (ACCS) will enter its second year in 2004. The seven race series that starts on April 24 in Athens, GA, will once again include the top criteriums in the USA, featuring both men's and women's events at each race.
The ACCS was created to highlight the most popular form of American cycling, the criterium. "We feel if cycling is really going to become a popular sport to the general public, it will do so because of the criterium," said Clarendon Cup Director, Rob Laybourn. "Americans seem to like things that are fast paced, right now, and full of action. That is what a criterium is."
2003 men's champion Jonas Carney is pleased that the ACCS is back. "I'm really glad there will be the ACCS again this year," he said. "There has been a need for a series like this in America. Criterium racing is what American bike racing is all about. The ACCS includes the most prestigious, long standing, and exciting criteriums in the country. This year I am with a new team, Jelly Belly, and one of my goals is to win the ACCS again."
This year's participating events are:
April 24 - Athens Twilight, Athens, GA
More information: www.americancrit.co
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)