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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 7, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Teams for Paris-Nice

Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced Friday the 20 teams selected for the 62nd edition of Paris-Nice, scheduled for March 7-14. The race will begin west of Paris in the Arc de Seine region, concluding in Nice a week later. The full route will be announced February 17.

Ag2r-Prévoyance
Alessio­Bianchi
Brioches La Boulangère
Chocolade Jacques-Wincor-Nixdorf
Cofidis
Crédit Agricole
Team CSC
Euskaltel­Euskadi
FDJeux.com
Fassa Bortolo
Gerolsteiner
Illes Balears­Banesto
Liberty Seguros
Lotto-Domo
Phonak Hearing Systems
Quick.Step-Davitamon
RAGT Semences-MG Rover
Rabobank
T-Mobile
US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor

Superprestige resumes in Harnes

Bart Wellens
Photo ©: CN

The Superprestige cyclo-cross series resumes this weekend in Harnes, France, one week after the world championships in Pont-Château. Bart Wellens, who leads the eight race series standings, returns with a new rainbow jersey on his back after his victory Sunday against compatriots Mario De Clercq and Sven Vanthourenhout. Sven Nys is counted among the starters for the Harnes race, a return to racing after his forced withdrawal from the World's with severe leg cramps.

Junior world champion Niels Albert will get to show off his rainbow jersey as he looks to maintain his series lead, while Wesley Van der Linden leads the U23 standings. Espoir world champion Kevin Pauwels will line up in Harnes as well, completing the Belgian trifecta.

The Superprestige series will wrap up on February 21 in Vorselaar.

Elite series standings after six races:

1 Bart Wellens      166 points
2 Sven Nys          133
3 Erwin Vervecken   106
4 Tom Vannoppen     105
5 Ben Berden         97

Series winners:

Ruddervoorde: Bart Wellens
Sint-Michielsgestel: Sven Nys
Asper-Gavere: Bart Wellens
Gieten: Bart Wellens
Diegem: Bart Wellens
Hoogstraten: Erwin Vervecken

LPR Drops Ivanov and Pidgorny

The Italian LPR team has released Russians Yuriy Ivanov and Ruslan Pidgorny, both of whom were arrested in Italy in late January, accused of assaulting and robbing a prostitute. Two other teammates, Dimitri Konyshev and Andrey Karpachev, were also arrested at the time, but thus far remain members of LPR.

Ivanov and Pidgorny were suspended at the time of the team's presentation on January 31st, pending further information on the case. Konyshev and Karpachev claimed to have had no part in the robbery, having just been present at the time of the incident. The LPR team will still need to hire one additional rider to meet the UCI minimum of twelve members.

De Cauwer called for questioning

Belgian authorities have asked national team selector José De Cauwer to appear before a judge to answer questions about his possible handling of banned substances. De Cauwer and nine others are expected to appear in an investigation which dates back to 2001 when he was questioned in relation to a former cyclist reportedly addicted to amphetamines.

Fourth Giro della Liguria

The three stage Giro della Liguria was presented for 2004, to be run February 13-15 in the Italian provinces of Imperia, Savona and Genova. The short but hilly race features ten king of the mountain primes in the three stages and a total race distance of 435 kilometres.

Stages:

Stage 1 - February 13: Castellaro-Castellaro, 155km
Stage 2 - February 14: Andora-Pietra Ligure, 147km
Stage 3 - February 15: Mignanego-Arenzano, 133km

MTB Marathon World's events

This season the 2004 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships will take place in Bad Goisern, Upper Austria. Salzkammergut Trophy, this year's organisers of the Marathon World's, will also offer extreme and amateur mountain bikers a chance to test their form in Europe's hardest mountain bike marathon.

A choice is available between the 100km World's course and another of more than 200km and a total climb of 7,000 metres. This course has earned the nickname "one return ticket to Hell and back".

For beginners and advanced marathon bikers the Salzkammergut Trophy offers a 27km "starter" marathon and a 47km route with a total climb of 1,750 metres. Only those athletes who are in possession of a valid UCI licence are allowed to participate at the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships on Sunday.

NORBA Opener in Texas

The opening race of the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series will visit Texas for the first time since 1987, bringing professional mountain bike racers from around the world to compete for $10,000 in cash. Waco will host the first round of the series from March 11-14. Also on the schedule is a Marathon event at Broken Oak Ranch in Valley Mills, Texas, a 100km MTB event for endurance riders.

The event is hosted by the Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association (TMBRA). Texas racers and teams will have Texas Championship Points on the line on top of the $15,000 in prizes up for grabs in 50 amateur classes. The festival kicks off with the Marathon event in Valley Mills then moves to Cameron Park for a three-day stage race that will include a time trial, a short track, and a cross- country event for professionals, semi-pros and experts, and a two-stage format for beginners and sports.

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