First Edition Cycling News for February 10, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Gibo good to go
Big red train ready to roll
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
On the way to preview Cannondale's new six13 road bike, Cyclingnews stopped at Saeco's 2004 training camp in Terracina, 100km. south of Rome for a quick visit with the troops of il treno rosso in late January. Some of the riders, most notably the musclebound Dario "Bull of Scandicci" Pieri and fireplug pal Sal "Toto" Commesso, had already departed for the Tour of Qatar, but the rest of the Saeco boys were working hard to get their legs ready for the first races of the 2004 season.
While the rocky Apennine highlands were covered with a dusting of snow, the littorale along the Tirrenean Sea was usually warm and sunny for the Saeco boys. But no one, especially tough Trentino mountain man Gilberto Simoni was afraid of a little cold and snow. So on one of the days, the Saeco men headed inland to see the uphill finish of the '04 Giro's Stage 7 at the Sanctuary of Monte Vergine. Situated in the province of Avellino, Monte Vergine is east of Naples and home of Tony Soprano's Italian relatives.
After riding the final 60km of Stage 7 with teammates Bertagnolli, Cunego, Fuentes, Mazzoleni, Sabaliauskas and Tonti, Simoni explained that, "This year’s Giro route means the favourites will have to show their cards early. After just three days, there's the stage finish atop Corno alle Scale, which is very hard. On Stage 7 there's this tough finish at Monte Vergine so the GC will be impacted early on."
Simoni continued, saying, "Even if Monte Vergine not that steep, it's not easy because it is 17km and gains 1270 metres, so it will be a real test."
Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com
Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie presentation
Despite losing co-sponsor Saunier Duval, which has formed its own division I team this year, Vini Caldirola will return in 2004 with Stefano Garzelli at the helm again. With water tap manufacturer Nobili Rubinetterie coming on board as a co-sponsor, the squad can still boast a roster of 23 riders with the most notable new signing being Russian strongman Pavel Tonkov (CCC-Polsat). The team has lost the likes of Gianluca Bortolami, Andrej Hauptman, Eddy Mazzoleni, Fred Rodriguez and Romans Vainsteins, and while that will weaken it in the classics it should still be a competitive squad in the Giro d'Italia, which remains Garzelli's main goal.
Tonkov and Garzelli should work well together to achieve their respective goals in 2004, with the Russian pointing to the Vuelta España as his target and Garzelli wishing to beat Simoni and co. to win the Giro. Oscar Mason, Giampaolo Cheula, Steve Zampieri and ex-pro Roberto Sgambelluri will all be key men in the assaults on these two grand tours.
The team will introduce four neo-professionals: Giulio Tomi, Paolo Longo Borghini, Luca Celli and Stefano Cavallari, while also gaining the talents of Marco Zanotti (Fassa Bortolo), Mauro Zinetti (Amore e Vita), Milan Kadlec (Lampre), Enrico Cassani (Alessio) and Roger Beuchat (Phonak), in addition to Tonkov and Sgambelluri.
Garzelli's first race will be the Giro della Provincia di Lucca (February 24-27).
Images by Olympia Photo
First UCI road rankings of 2004
The first set of road rankings for 2004 has been issued by the UCI. Starting off the season in the number one position is Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who carries a 100 point plus lead over Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) with a further 100 points back to Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), last season's sprint king. Thus far, the most successful rider of 2004 is Robbie McEwen, who has already accumulated 185 UCI points. Close behind him is compatriot Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), then Robert Hunter (Rabobank), Baden Cooke (FJDeux.com) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) round out the top five.
In the teams rankings, Rabobank has started off the season in front, followed by FDJeux.com and Lotto-Domo. However these rankings will no doubt change once all teams are in full swing.
UCI rankings as of February 8, 2004
Individuals 1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Davitamon 2212.00 pts 2 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team 2093.75 3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1989.00 4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco 1726.00 5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 1640.50 6 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 1629.00 7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 1614.00 8 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal-Berry Floor 1521.00 9 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 1441.00 10 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1425.00 11 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 1371.20 12 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco 1344.00 13 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 1322.00 14 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1265.00 15 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 1258.00 16 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco 1183.00 17 Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1150.00 18 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo 1123.00 19 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 1121.00 20 David Millar (GBr) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 1092.00 Top riders of 2004 1 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 185.00 pts 2 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros 177.00 3 Robert Hunter (RSA) Rabobank 164.00 4 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com 159.00 5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 126.00 6 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 120.00 7 Patrick Jonker (Aus) 120.00 8 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team 120.00 9 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step-Davitamon 116.00 10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 87.00 Division I 1 Rabobank 353.00 pts 2 FDJeux.com 314.00 3 Lotto-Domo 261.00 4 Quick Step-Davitamon 222.00 5 Ag2R Prevoyance 205.00 6 Liberty Seguros 201.00 7 Team CSC 171.00 8 Euskaltel-Euskadi 169.00 9 Fassa Bortolo 150.00 10 T-Mobile Team 135.00 10 Credit Agricole 135.00 Division II 1 Kelme-Costa Blanca 207.00 pts 2 Domina Vacanze 169.00 3 Oktos 75.00 4 Vlaanderen-T Interim 63.00 5 Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 62.00 Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations
Gaumont questioned again
French cyclist Philippe Gaumont has been questioned again by Judge Richard Pallain in the court of Nanterre, France. The questioning took place on Monday at approximately 14:00, and Gaumont was quizzed on his involvement in an alleged illegal drug trafficking ring.
Five people have already been charged in this affair, which has centred on past and present members of the Cofidis team: Boguslaw Madejak (Cofidis soigneur), Marek Rutkiewicz and Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis riders), Robert Sassone (ex-Cofidis rider), Daniel Majewski (semi-professional).
Bad break for Timochine
Russian rider Mikhael Timochine (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has started off his season on a bad note, crashing twice and breaking his collarbone in the GP Costa Etruschi on Sunday, which was won by his teammate Yuri Metlushenko. Timochine was first involved in a crash with Mario Cipollini, but it was his second crash near the finish line that caused the broken bone.
Verbrugghe's slow start continues
Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo) is continuing to struggle with injury in the early part of the season. He was forced to abandon Saturday's fourth stage of the Etoile des Bessèges due to his troublesome knee. He should resume racing next Sunday in the Ruta del Sol.
Another rider with knee problems is Geert van Bondt (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), who hit one of his knees against a refrigerator recently.
The life of Lance
Lance Armstrong took time out from his early season training in California on January 30 to sign at Berry Floor-Alloc's booth at the recent Surfaces 2004 Floorcovering Show in Las Vegas. Here he is pictured with Berry Floor's Phillipe Harinck. Besides his trade show appearance, will Lance be spotted at the upcoming Grammy Awards with Sheryl Crow?
Due Giorni Marchigiana as pre-Olympic test
The first race in the Due Giorni Marchigiana (August 10-11) in Castelfidardo, Italy, will serve as the final race for the five man Italian team before it heads to the Athens Olympics. Italian national technical director Franco Ballerini and federation president Giancarlo Ceruti confirmed this at a press conference in Castelfidardo today, explaining that after the GP Mengoni on August 10, the team will fly directly to Athens via Ancora. It is not known whether the five will ride as a team in their national jerseys or for their respective trade teams, although the latter is likely.
The third meeting of the Revolution Series looks set to be the best yet with some of Britain's top sprint stars expected to front up at Manchester Velodrome on February 28. Reigning Olympic Kilo Time Trial Champion Jason Queally will be back on home turf joined by Scottish behemoths Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean. The trio have recently returned from Australia where they have been getting some race practice against the Aussies during their winter training.
The trio will be featuring in the Team Sprint competition at Revolution 3, one of the new additions to the program which will be much more sprint focused than the previous two events. Also included are a sprint challenge and an all-star keirin, not forgetting the endurance events such as the popular derny paced scratch race and the 1km madison time trial. These events will feature Rob Hayles, Chris Newton, Tony Gibb and Malcolm Elliott, among others.
For more information, see www.cyclingrevolution.com or call the information line on 0700 594 2579.
Valley of the Sun Stage Race
The 12th annual Landis Cyclery/Trek Valley Of The Sun John Earley Memorial Stage Race will be held between Friday and Sunday, February 13-15 in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2003 over 850 cyclists competed in the event in front of an estimated 8,000 spectators. In 2004, riders will be competing for over $13,000 in cash and prizes and its expected that the top professional cycling teams in North America will attend.
The team list includes the Colavita-Bolla Professional Men's Cycling Team, featuring U.S. National Champion Mark McCormack, Australian 2004 National Time Trial Champion Nathan O'Neill and Cuban sprinter Ivan Dominguez. They will compete with last year's winner of the Tour of the Gila and Vuelta de Bisbee, local men's elite team Landis/Trek/VW. Also confirmed are seven cyclists from Team Monex, including Roberto Gaggioli.
In the pro women's field, Nicole Freedman, 2000 U.S. National Champion, along with her team (Team Basis) will compete against Team Rona, featuring Geneviève Jeanson. In addition, the world's most successful female cyclist, Jeannie Longo, will compete in the elite women's field. T-Mobile will be sending four riders, including Mari Holden and Lynn Gaggioli.
Stage 1 - February 13: Trek Individual Time Trial, Sun Valley Parkway,
Women's Cycling Task Force achieving goals
The Women's Cycling Task Force, formed at the Yoplait Women's Cycling Summit Conferences held at the Nature Valley Grand Prix and Interbike, reports that it has already achieved a number of its goals. A core goal that came out of the Yoplait Summit at Interbike was to create a web site that could be used to accumulate and share information and to open channels of communication among women cyclists and their supporters. The site is now live at www.WomenCyclists.com.
The recently announced Women's Prestige Cycling Series was born at the Yoplait Summit at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. This women-only series will include the Redlands Bicycle Classic (March 24-28), the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 9-13), the Tour de 'Toona/International (July 26-Aug. 1) and the Bermuda Grand Prix (Sept. 23-26).
Progress has also been made on a third goal, which is to identify and study outstanding women's grassroots programs around the USA, and then distribute that information via the Task Force website. To date, 86 programs have been identified and 40 of them are working with a Task Force subcommittee to help others around North America replicate their success. The Task Force expects to release this information on its Web site in the near future.
The next Yoplait Women's Cycling Summit Conference will be held in June at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Crank Racing 2004
Crank Racing is proud to announce its 2004 team roster. Based near Boston, Massachusetts, the team will compete in adventure races, road races, mountain bike races and several other multi-sport events up and down the East Coast of the United States. This year the team also created an incentive program to encourage members to be more active in areas of trail maintenance, charity events and community volunteer work.
Click here for the full roster.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)