First Edition Cycling News for January 1, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Cyclingnews reader poll: Best Moment of 2003
There are just two more categories to unveil in the Cyclingnews reader poll of 2003, after announcing the Best Moment of 2003 today. This award highlights what you thought was the most exciting and (in context) critical event of the season, and as you will see there were two big stand outs.
The Cyclingnews Rider of the Year award will be announced on January 2, 2004, just after the new year has begun and new favourites begin to emerge. Votes have been tallied for best riders in cycling's various disciplines, the best new products, best bikes, favourite moments of the 2003 season, legends of cycling, and more.
Somarriba named Best Spanish Sportswoman of 2003
Joane Somarriba has been awarded the Best Spanish Sportswoman of 2003 as a result of a Spanish media survey. Somarriba won the Grand Boucle Feminine (women's Tour de France) this year as well as the World Time Trial Championships. In the men's category, Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso was voted number one.
Tonkov: "I'll be back"
34 year old Russian cyclist Pavel Tonkov has vowed that he will be back to his former best this year. Tonkov won the Giro d'Italia in 1996 but has been somewhat quieter in recent years, a stage win and fifth overall in the 2002 Giro and a third overall in the 2000 Vuelta being the highlights. He will ride for Stefano Garzelli's Vini Caldirola team this year, and says he will help Garzelli in the Giro as well as having some goals of his own.
"I'm not finished as some people say," Tonkov was quoted by ANSA. "At 35 years [in February] I'll show that I can return to the levels when I battled against Gotti and Pantani in the Giro. In the Giro I will help Garzelli, while in the Vuelta and the Tour de Suisse I will be the leader of the team. And I would like to ride well in the World's in Verona, it's a course that I like. I will ride with big objectives for another two years."
By Karen Forman
Recent Navigators signing David McKenzie might be looking at next week's 15th edition of Australia's premiere criterium series, the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, as a warm up to the Australian national road championships the following week - but that doesn't mean he's not hungry for a win and won't be going all out to steal at least one stage of the five-day event.
The Melbourne rider has had a long affiliation with the series, which gets under way at 12.30pm next Wednesday, January 7 on a new 1 km course in Hastings on the western side of Victoria's Mornington Peninsula and continues at Portarlington and Geelong before finishing in Melbourne the following Sunday.
Macca, who signed with Navigators last month after his iteamNova.com team folded, has contested the series every year but two since 1993 and was outright winner in 1996. He won a stage in 2002 but didn't manage any significant or overall results in 2003.
This year he will head up the Bicycle Superstore team with former iteamNova.com/McCartney/Flanders team mate, Al Iacuone and Hector Morales and Jorge Libonatti from Uruguay. He's unsure who will replace Jamie Drew, also formerly of iteamNova.com, who has withdrawn.
Despite acknowledging Robbie McEwen as "the king of the Bay Crits who will be in there again for sure", McKenzie is confident his team will be in the stage results, at least.
"I think we will do well," he told Cyclingnews today. "Personally, I believe the Bay Crits are good early season preparation, just to get going. The nationals is such a big goal for everyone nowadays and there's no racing beforehand much at this high level, so it's a good final preparation considering the nationals are only a week after. It's a good chance to get yourself really fine tuned."
He said Baden Cooke, riding with FdJeux.com (which is the first pro team to ride the Crits for many years) would probably also prove tough to beat. "I think Cookie. He probably hasn't shown much lately, like at the Launceston Crit, but the Baden we all know will be there. Brett Aitken will have a go, he's always pretty good in the Bay Crits. Hilton Clarke will be pretty motivated too and Graeme Brown, he's always there to stir us all up as well. Plus I am sure there will others who pop up to surprise us."
McKenzie said his own training was on target for the nationals and then for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, which would be his first hit-out with his new team. Navigators management were given the go ahead to contest the event earlier this month and Macca is delighted.
"I had three weeks off after Queensland. Probably in some ways it would have been nice to have a bit longer, but I was really motivated to start up again," he said. "I have done a fair bit of work for the nationals - I cant help it but to be motivated for them. I think every man and his dog wants the national jersey, I am just another one.
"Starting with a new team, I guess I want to impress them early. We've got a start in TDU now, so it would be huge, awesome, to win the nationals then go to the TDU in my first race with my new team in the national colours. Riding in the national colours gives a rider morale and confidence. In this sport I think if you've got those with some pretty good form, it can go a long way."
Macca's own training is on track, he says. "I feel pretty good, I think my training has been better this year. Last year I did a bit too much, I was tired and I paid the price a bit for the first couple of months of the season." He says he's looking forward to being able to relax a bit at the Bay series, if that's possible.
"Crits are damn hard work. All the same this year I will enjoy the events a lot. My training has been planned and I won't be doing a lot of training around the crits, but using them as training. I will be relaxing actually. Hanging around Geelong for a few days, probably go down the beach. It's the time of the year when everyone is in good moods, high spirits.
"The goal is to try to win one of the stages. Over the years I have been lucky enough to be successful, but I won't throw the towel in if I bomb out. You have to keep it in perspective and say, its January...I will probably target the Portarlington one again. I have always liked that course.
"I am riding for Bicycle Superstore and he's been generous in giving us a bike each and I always like to do the right thing by the sponsors."
McKenzie expects to join his Navigators team in Italy on February 2 with its first race after the TDU on February 8. The team will spend two to three months in Europe, he says. "The Navigators have a great program actually, a mixture of everything - Europe, US, North America - and the TDU to start off. They are stoked about doing the TDU. Me too."
He's unsure where he will be based, but says it will probably be New Jersey in America. At this stage he's not sure of the arrangements for his family - wife Susan and children Lulu and Leroy - who were based with him in Belgium for the last two years. "Susan will probably meet up with me in America. It's hard on the kids to travel halfway round the world just to follow me, but at the same time, we don't want to be apart too much."
Quaranta back in Langkawi
Italian sprinter Ivan Quaranta is all set for the battle of the sprinters in the 2004 Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi (TMLTdL)in February. Quaranta, 28, joins his old team director Stefano Giuliani at the Italian Division II team Formaggio Pinzolo Fiavè this season. The team will also include experienced riders such as new signings Mario Manzoni and Sergei Lelekin of Russia.
In the absence of former TMLTdL stage winner Moreno di Biase, who leaves the Formaggi team next season, Quaranta is expected to make his presence felt in the sprints competition and win a few stages. Quaranta has competed twice in the TMLTdL in 2000 and 2001 and has four stage victories under his belt. He recently suffered a hard fall while training in Roncola, Italy and received five stitches to his head. His condition is said to be improving however.
Considered as one of the most exciting sprinters with an incredible rush in the last 50 meters, Quaranta, who rode for Saeco this season, is determined to start his 2004 campaign on the right note following his drop in performance in the last two years. This year he has only four victories - Stage 4 Tour of Germany, Stage 4 Tour of Qatar, Stage 1 Brixia Tour and Stage 3 Settimana Ciclista Coppi-Bartali.
Quaranta will have plenty of competition against sprinters such as Jan Koerts (Jacques-Wincor-Nixdorf), Panaria's Graeme Brown and Luciano Pagliarini of Lampre, who have all tasted stage victories in the Tour de Langkawi. Koerts was fourth overall in the 2000 points competition and returned with in the 2001 Tour where he won two stages and kept the yellow jersey for seven stages.
Formaggi is also full of hopes for the mountains competition and this time around, the team is banking its hopes on former Mercatone Uno-Scanavino rider Mario Manzoni to deliver the results. The 34 year-old, who has been in the professional peloton since 1991, has notched various major victories including stage wins in Giro d'Italia, Giro del Trentino, Settimana Bergamasca, Tour de Romandie, Trofeo Masferrer and Tirreno Adriatico.
Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave team: Ivan Quaranta (Ita), Mario Manzoni (Ita), Corrado Serina (Ita), Serguei Lelekin (Rus), Domenico Gualdi (Ita), Matteo Cappe (Ita), Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col).
Health Net Presented by Maxxis completes its roster
U.S. Division III team Health Net Presented by Maxxis has essentially finalised its roster for 2004, comprising 15 riders with the possibility of signing two more U27 riders by the start of this year's racing campaign. The team, managed by Momentum Sports Group, has strengthened its lineup for this season, adding several riders from the former Mercury and 7-Up/Maxxis Pro Cycling programs.
"The Health Net Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis will promote a healthy life style and endorse our company's commitment to helping people live healthy lives through quality healthcare," said Dave Anderson, the President of Health Net Life Insurance Companies.
The team will be managed by Jeff Corbett, formerly the Directeur Sportif of the 7-Up/Maxxis squad. The full roster is as follows:
Tyler Farrar (USA)
Health Net, Inc.
Glud & Marstrand Horsens complete
Danish Division III squad Glud & Marstrand Horsens has signed a contract with Gøran Jensen, who will be the final rider on the team's roster. In 2004 the team will have 11 riders: Gøran Jensen, Kasper Klostergaard Larsen, Hans Henrik Jørgensen, Michael Smidt Larsen, Søren Petersen, Dennis Rasmussen, Max Nielsen, Jacob Nielsen, Morten Christiansen, Jens Erik Madsen (neo-pro) and Jimmy Hansen.
Irish Olympic selection criteria to be outlined this Sunday
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
The Olympic selection criteria and international race program for 2004 will be unveiled at Cycling Ireland's full-day meeting at the ALSAA club at Dublin Airport this Sunday, January 4. A clear outline will be laid out governing the process of selection for Athens. All those who wish to be involved in international teams such as riders, managers, masseurs and mechanics are invited to attend.
The event will start at 8.30 am with a 3-4 hour spin for all those interested in international participation in 2004. While the riders are out on the road, there will be a series of meetings for all potential managers, mechanics and masseurs interested in working with teams in 2004 and beyond. World hour record holder Chris Boardman, John Keegan and Dolores Usher will act as facilitators for these sessions.
Following lunch - where food will be available at €6.50 per head - Boardman and Irish Rowing World Champion Sam Lynch will give their thoughts and advice on top level international performance. CI's high performance commission will also outline the provisional Olympic road selection criteria as well as the International road race programs for 2004.
All are welcome to attend the meeting, especially those athletes and officials aiming to be part of CI's international programme this coming season.
(Directions: ALSAA is between Santry and the Dublin Airport roundabout, about 400 metres from the latter).
Cycling Tasmania Rider of the Season 2003-04
By Rod Morris
Ulverstone teenager Ben Price has snatched the lead in the third annual Cycling Tasmania Rider-of-the-Season award, with just four carnivals remaining for the 2003-04 summer. Price has amassed 36 points and leads by the barest possible margin from Tasmanian scratchman Nathan Clarke. Price has been a model of consistency, earning points in 13 different races to date, including 3 wins. Clarke has won 4 races for the summer and placed in 7 others.
The big danger to both Price and Clarke will be world champion pursuiter Graeme Brown, although his chances will be limited to today's Burnie Carnival before he heads to his next riding engagement, the Australian Open Criterium Championship in Western Australia. With Nathan Clarke also heading to Western Australia, the door will be wide open for Price to earn enough points at the final three carnivals, Hobart (this Sunday), Mersey Valley- Devonport (January 11) and St Helens (January 17) to win the title.
The Cycling Tasmania rider award is based on all open carnivals and offers riders a sliding scale of points in all handicap wheelrace finals and all graded scratch races. American scratchman Jame Carney won the inaugural Cycling Tasmania award in 2001-02 and Burnie rider Michael Johnson won the title last year.
In the corresponding award for female riders, Launceston cyclist Belinda Goss holds a slender 2 point lead over American Becky Conzelman, with New Zealander Liz Williams 6 points further adrift in third place. There is a battle royale in the junior division with Launceston duo Clay Murfett and Tom Robinson, separated by 1 point.
Goss won the first Cycling Tasmania title two years ago, but lowered her colours to Rochelle Gilmore last season. Both Murfett and Robinson have been riding in the Junior 2 (Under 15) age group, but officially move up to Junior 1 (Under 17) at today's Burnie Carnival. Robinson's elder brother Will, is the reigning titleholder of this award, but has missed most of this season's racing after being struck down with glandular fever.
Meanwhile in official prizemoney for the season won, Patrick Latrobe Wheel winner Bradley Payne has a sizeable gap on his nearest challenger in Cycling Tasmania's Order of Merit. Courtesy of a $10,000 kitty from the Latrobe Wheel, Payne is $7,500 ahead of newly crowned Devonport Wheel winner Mark Jamieson. And despite scratchman Graeme Brown claiming that he and his fellow backmarkers were "doing it tough" off their marks, he is in fact third on the OOM with earnings of $4735, with $1520 coming from handicap races alone!
An interesting statistic has emerged from the Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals to date with nearly all of the major wheelraces being won by 18 year-olds. Matt Goss won both the AJ Clarke at Latrobe and Launceston Wheel, Payne was successful in the Latrobe Wheel and Jamieson earning a shot at scratch at Devonport. The odd man out is Hobart's Stephen Rossendell who won the Kym Smoker Wheel, but he is still only a youngster with a big future.
For full coverage of the Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, click here.
1 Ben Price 36 pts 2 Nathan Clarke 35 3 Graeme Brown 33 4 Gareth Atkins 23 5 Matthew Atkins 23 6 Matthew Goss 18 7 Chris Wilding 17 8 Brenden Geale 16 9 Colin Barnes 15 10 Jame Carney 15 11 Stephen Rossendell 15 12 Ryan Johnson 15 Cycling Tasmanian Senior Female Rider of the Season 2003-04 1 Belinda Goss 19 pts 2 Becky Conzelman 17 3 Liz Williams 11 4 Natasha Mapley 10 5 Sarah Hammer 7 6 Samantha Hellyer 5 7 Carrie Price 4 8 Grace Sulzberger 4 Cycling Tasmania Junior Rider of the Season 2003-04 1 Clay Murfett 53 pts 2 Thomas Robinson 52 3 David Lyons 37 4 Ed Robinson 36 5 Ben Laskey 33 6 Jake Laskey 30 7 Brenden Sutton 27 8 Ben Fielding 25 9 Matt Laskey 25 10 Daniel Jamieson 23 11 Jarrod Harman 23 Cycling Tasmania Order-Of-Merit Prizemoney 2003-04 1 Bradley Payne (Qld) $12,345 2 Mark Jamieson (Tas.) $5,780 3 Graeme Brown (NSW) $4,735 4 Matt Goss (Tas.) $4,330 5 Russell Downing (England) $3,000 6 Ben Price (Tas.) $2,380 7 Stephen Rossendell (Tas.) $2,190 8 Kouji Yoshi (Japan) $1,800 9 Nathan Clarke (Tas.) $1,550 10 Darren Young (Tas.) $1,395 11 Matthew Atkins (Tas.) $1,335 12 Jason Johnson (Tas.) $1,125
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)