Latest Cycling News for February 12, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Armstrong looking forward to Portuguese debut
Lance Armstrong will make his season debut next week at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal (February 18-22). The organisers, impressed with the presence of the five time Tour de France winner, have even changed the race plan to include a time trial.
"It wasn't an imposition by us, as we would have gone anyway," said US Postal-Berry Floor team director Johan Bruyneel to Marca. "But I said to the organisers that we were interested in doing a test and they agreed to put in a time trial, for which we are grateful."
Armstrong will be using the race to test out a new bike and a new position, which he has been developing in the Seattle wind tunnel. "It's a more aerodynamic position, lower and more forward," added Bruyneel. "The best test is racing and there are not many time trials this year where we can do these tests. The objective is not to win now, but to try out new things."
During the US Postal team's recent training camp in California, the squad covered around 1,600 kilometres in training. Armstrong's program after Algarve will include the Vuelta a Murcia, Milan San Remo and the Criterium International. He will skip the classics in April and return to the U.S. to spend time with his loved ones, during which time he will also race the Tour of Georgia (April 20-25).
Track World Cup commences in Moscow
The first round of the UCI Track World Cup will be held between February 13-15 at the Krylatskoye velodrome in Moscow. The three day meet is one of four rounds of the World Cup that will culminate in Sydney between May 14-16. The Track World Championships will follow in Melbourne at the end of May, with the Olympic Games in Athens finishing the season in August.
2004 and 2005 marks a shifting of the track calendar to the European winter months. As such, the first round of the 2004-2005 Track World Cup will be held in November, with the World Championships set to take place in March 2005. Each World Cup round comprises 16 events, and they are important races for qualification for the World Championships.
Track World Cup schedule
Round 1 - February 13-15: Moscow, Russia
Spanish to step up health controls
The Spanish peloton will likely face more health controls as a result of warnings from the UCI that drug use, particularly of EPO, is on the rise again. In addition to the mandatory quarterly UCI health checks, the Spanish want to implement three more controls in February, April and August. An independent commission would evaluate the results of these tests and while the teams would be informed of the data, they would not be informed of the identities of the cyclists.
The additional controls have been suggested by the Professional Cycling Doctors Association (AMCP), and would bring the Spanish peloton in line with the Italian and French riders, who already undergo more tests than are required by the UCI. The idea was prompted by comments of the president of the UCI's medical commission, Leon Schattenberg, who informed a gathering of Spanish teams last November that the UCI was afraid that there were a number of undiscovered cases of EPO use. Three Spaniards tested positive for EPO last year: Francisco Perez, Aitor Kintana and Javier Pascual Llorente.
Spanish newspaper El Pais published an article on January 26 this year that indicated there were some 70 cyclists under suspicion of EPO use in 2003 - a result of analyses carried out by Australian researchers on cyclists' blood values. The Australian investigators applied a formula relating the haemoglobin to the percentage of reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) in the blood to determine if there had been accelerated red blood cell development. Although this equation cannot be used to sanction a rider, it's likely that they will be under close scrutiny by the UCI.
Mark French faces drug investigation
Australian track sprinter Mark French has been named as the rider under investigation by the Australian Sports Commission and Cycling Australia for alleged doping offences. French, a multiple junior world champion, was sent a doping infraction notice on Wednesday afternoon, and he now has 14 days to request a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport to contest the charges.
The investigation started just before Christmas when illegal drugs and syringes were allegedly found in French's room at the Australian Institute of Sport training centre in Adelaide. French had vacated the room before the drugs were found and he has also not tested positive to any banned substances.
French has not had his AIS scholarship renewed pending the outcome of the investigation. He was also not named in Australia's shadow Olympic squad. French has won the world junior sprint championship on two occasions (2001 and 2002) along with world junior titles in the team sprint (2001) and keirin (2002). He was also the UCI Track World Cup series champion in the sprint in 2003.
Gysling cleared of EPO use
21 year old Swiss cyclist Daniel Gysling has been cleared of EPO use, according to Swiss newspaper Blick. Gysling's hematocrit was measured at 52 percent at the World Road Championships in Hamilton last year. The UCI limit for males is 50 percent, and if a cyclist is tested above this he has to rest for 15 days and is not allowed to take part in competition. A high hematocrit can be indicative of EPO use, however in Gysling's case he was able to prove that he had a naturally high hematocrit value.
Track night for cancer kids
By Karen Forman
Kids battling cancer will benefit from a new world class track carnival being hosted by Lidcombe Auburn Cycling Club at Sydney's Olympic velodrome - Dunc Gray at Bankstown - on February 28. The main event of the carnival, which has attracted a top class field of riders including world champions, Olympic and Commonwealth Games representatives, will be a $1000 wheelrace sponsored by Australia's only publicly listed Mortgage manager, Homeloans Ltd. As well, the finals of the NSW State Teams Sprint Championships will also take place during the night.
Assistant race director, Stephen Pearson, urged people with an interest in cycling to go along on the night. "A full program of top cycling is assured with the invitation Aces Six Man Derny race guaranteed to have the crowd on their feet," he said. "Not a race for the faint hearted, there will be six derny's and cyclists on the track at once all pushing the envelope to claim the cash bonus first prize."
The teams sprint, formerly known as the Olympic sprint, is a three-lap event with each of the riders from a team of three doing a turn of pace at the front before peeling off and getting the third man to the line in the quickest possible time.
Pearson said it wasn't unusual to see a cycling event raising funds for charity.
"Cycling has always been a great supporter of charities with numerous rides over great distances conducted to raise funds for a range of causes," he said. "LACC has pledged to donate the gate takings from this event to the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia. Cyclists identify with this insidious disease through the exploits of five time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong who only achieved these super human results after surviving cancer against all odds, becoming an inspiration to millions around the world. Here in Australia our own recently crowned Australian Road Champion Matt Wilson is also a cancer survivor."
Racing gets under way at 6pm with a 9pm close.
Urban extends with Stevens-Jeantex
German cyclo-cross champion Malte Urban has extended his contract with the Stevens-Jeantex team. Urban, who rode for Team Bianchi last year, has indicated that he wants to concentrate on 'cross, and to a lesser extent, MTB, in future. Urban has a particular desire to improve on his 36th place at the World Cyclo-cross Championships nearly two weeks ago.
Slingshot signs Danielle Musto
The Slingshot Factory Race Team has announced the addition of Danielle Musto to its roster. Musto started competing three years ago and is a specialist in MTB endurance events. Her wins include the 24 hours of Boyne, 12 hours of Pando, and the Mohican 100. Musto also finished 9th in the 24 Hour Solo World Championships last year.
With Slingshot, Musto will ride the MMBA Series Races, NORBA NCS events, the 24 Hours of Snowshoe, the 24 World Championships, and the 24 Hours of Moab this season. She joins existing Slingshot Factory Race Team members Brent Bookwalter and Russ Tiles.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)