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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for February 18, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cocaine to be examined in Pantani death

The possibility that cocaine was involved in Marco Pantani's death will be examined by the judicial inquiry in Milan, according to reports in the Italian press. Traces of white powder, possibly cocaine, were found alongside various anti-depressant drugs in Pantani's apartment in Rimini on Saturday. The investigating magistrate will assess the possibility that cocaine was mixed in with the anti-depressants, leading to the cerebral and pulmonary edemas that killed Pantani.

The white dust has not yet been positively identified as cocaine, and until that is done the hypothesis cannot be examined further. In addition, the toxicological analysis will have to be carried out to determine whether there were any (and what type of) drugs in Pantani's body when he died.

The Italian press is strongly of the opinion that it was cocaine, citing assurances from "anonymous friends" of Pantani. His withdrawal of €20,000 from his life savings recently, the identities of the people he met before he died, and the apparent incoherence of some of the notes he left behind, are all questions that need to be answered in this mysterious and tragic affair.

Marco Pantani will be buried on Wednesday afternoon in the church of San Giacomo in Cesenatico. His funeral is expected to attract over 30,000 people.

Pantani's bicycle to museum

One of the bicycles belonging to Marco Pantani will be exhibited in the Museo dei Campionissini in Novi Ligure, Italy. The bicycle will be delivered by Felice Gimondi and Francesco Moser on March 20, the day of Milan-San Remo.

No drugs in Marco Rusconi's death

The death of 20 year old Italian Marco Rusconi last November has been declared "drug free" after results of the toxicological examinations have become available. The report to the investigating magistrate in Como stated that Rusconi had not used any doping substances in the previous six months. The initial hypothesis attributing the cause of death to a congenital heart condition appears likely.

Rusconi, who was the brother-in-law of Luca Paolini, died on the night of Friday, November 14 while leaving a friend's birthday party.

Principal contenders for Paris-Nice

A.S.O. has issued a list of the Principal riders to take part in the 62nd Paris-Nice between March 7-14. The field will be led by Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) who won a tragic and emotion charged race last year. The peloton is stacked with other favourites too, including Tyler Hamilton (Phonak), David Millar (Cofidis), Dave Bruylandts (Chocolade Jacques), Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo), Baden Cooke (, Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), Richard Virenque and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Jörg Jaksche (CSC), Robert Hunter (Rabobank) and Max van Heeswijk (US Postal-Berry Floor).

Full Paris-Nice preview

Principal contenders list

Alessio-Bianchi (Pietro Caucchioli, Franco Pellizotti, Andrea Tafi)
AG2R Prevoyance (Laurent Brochard, Samuel Dumoulin, Stéphane Goubert, Jean-Patrick Nazon)
Brioches La Boulangère (Sylvain Chavanel, Jérôme Pineau, Thomas Voeckler, Didier Rous)
Credit Agricole (Thor Hushovd, Patrice Halgand, Pierrick Fédrigo)
Cofidis, credit par téléphone (David Millar, David Moncoutié, Stuart O’Grady)
Chocolade Jacques Wincor - Nixdorf (Florent Brard, Dave Bruylandts, Chris Peers)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Gorka Arrizabalaga, Unai Etxebarria, Samuel Sanchez)
Fassa-Bortolo (Dario Frigo, Fabian Cancellara, Kim Kirchen) (Sandy Casar, Baden Cooke, Nicolas Vogondy)
Gerolsteiner (Davide Rebellin, Marco Serpellini, Beat Zberg)
Illes Baléares-Banesto (Denis Menchov, Pablo Lastras)
Lotto-Domo (Axel Merckx, Robbie McEwen, Rik Verbrugghe)
Liberty Seguros (Dariusz Baranowski, Isidro Nozal, Marcos Antonio Serrano)
Phonak Hearing Systems (Tyler Hamilton, Cyril Dessel, Alex Zülle)
Quick Step-Davitamon (Richard Virenque, Tom Boonen, Laszlo Bodrogi, Johan Museeuw)
R.A.G.T. Sentences - MG Rover (Frédéric Finot, Christophe Rinero, Eddy Seigneur)
Rabobank (Levi Leipheimer, Erik Dekker, Robert Hunter)
Team CSC (Jens Voigt, Jörg Jaksche, Ivan Basso)
T-Mobile (Alexandre Vinokourov, Mario Aerts, Santiago Botero)
US Postal-Berry Floor (Viatcheslav Ekimov, George Hincapie, Max van Heeswijk)

No point to point stages in Tour de Romandie

This year's Tour de Romandie, which takes place between April 27 and May 2 in Switzerland, will only feature one point to point stage. All stages, save for stage 3, will start and finish in the same place, a rather radical concept for a major stage race.

The tour will start in Geneva with a 3.4 km prologue time trial and finish with a 20.4 km time trial in Lausanne. There will be one mountain top finish: stage 3 from Romont to the Morgins ski station, but the toughest stage looks to be stage 4, starting and finishing in Sion and including the climbs of Ovronnaz (1350m), Veysonnaz (1255m) and Crans-Montana (1545m). The total race distance will be 628 km.

The stages

Prologue - April 27: Geneva ITT. 3.4 km
Stage 1 - April 28: Yverdon - Yverdon, 175.2 km
Stage 2 - April 29: Romont - Romont, 156.2 km
Stage 3 - April 30: Romont - Morgins, 145.7
Stage 4 - May 1: Sion - Sion, 127.2 km
Stage 5 - May 2: Lausanne ITT, 20.4 km

4th Tour d'Emirates

After a six year hiatus, the fourth edition of the UAE International Emirates Post Tour will go ahead as planned between February 18-24. The race, which has been given 2.5 status on the UCI calendar, will be run over seven stages (including a prologue) and 730 kilometres. The race kicks off with a seven kilometre prologue time trial in Bani Yas Street in Dubai, one of the major cities in the United Arab Emirates.

A total of 17 six rider teams are expected to take part, including representations from Wales, Iran, Uzbekistan, Germany, New Zealand, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and the UAE based Al Nasr Club. Wales will be sending its top rider Julian Winn, who is considered a favourite for the race.

The stages

Prologue - February 18: Dubai ITT, 7 km
Stage 1 - February 19: Dubai - Sharjah, 120 km
Stage 2 - February 20: Sharjah - Al Dhaid - Ras Al Khaimah, 124 km
Stage 3 - February 21: Ras Al Khaimah - Dibba - Khor Fakkan - Oceanic Hotel, 151 km
Stage 4 - February 22: Oceanic Hotel - Fujairah - Hatta Fort Hotel, 93 km
Stage 5 - February 23: Hatta Fort Hotel - Dubai, 145 km
Stage 6 - February 24: Dubai, 90 km

Cyclists faster than cars in Auckland

Once again, cyclists have proved themselves to be faster than cars in traffic congested cities. This was shown by the first Auckland Commuter Challenge held in New Zealand on Wednesday morning. Four races between bicycles, buses and cars were held, starting at 7:35am from four points on the outskirts of Auckland. The object was to make it to the centre of the city in the shortest possible time. With an average time of 26.51 minutes, the cyclists won comfortably. The cars came second with an average time of 31.32 minutes, while the buses finished a distant third with a time of 53.10 minutes.

Currently, 87 percent of Auckland commuters travel by car, while only 6 percent use a bicycle or travel on foot. The remainder use public transport. The organisers of the Challenge said that the cities increasing traffic problems would be eased if more people rode their bikes to work.

Source: NZ Herald

Southwest Idaho Cycling Association

A brand new United States Cycling Association (USAC) local association has been formed in Boise, Idaho, called the Southwest Idaho Cycling Association (SWICA). The association, a cooperative enterprise among the local racing clubs, has been created to promote amateur bicycle racing in the Boise area. SWICA and its representatives will sell USAC race licenses, upgrade racer categories, identify and assign race officials, provide race permits and insurance, obtain and share race equipment and generally serve to assist local sanctioned bicycle racing in southwest Idaho.

SWICA's board has appointed Kurt Holzer (Intermountain Orthopaedics/Lost River Cycling) is its manager. Other board members include representatives of Intermountain Orthopaedics/Lost River Cycling Club, Boise Cycling Club, Dobbiacco, Treasure Valley Cycling Club, Boise Developmental Cycling Club, Goldy's Cycling Club, and Lactic Acid Cycling Club. All USACycling clubs in Southwest Idaho have a right to board membership positions.

Andy Bopp, 2003 USCF Idaho district representative, will continue to serve as the racer upgrade coordinator for all United States Cycling Federation (USCF) (road racing) and National Off Road Biking Association (NORBA) (mountain bike racing). Kurt Holzer will be the race-permitting representative.

Cadel Evans and Matthew Wilson online (again)

Australian professionals Cadel Evans (T Mobile) and Matthew Wilson ( have new websites: and Both sites feature the riders' diary updates, other news and upcoming races, a photo gallery, and FAQs, all in a slick format.

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