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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for January 2, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cyclingnews reader poll: Legend of Cycling 2003

There were no doubts among our readers about who they thought was the Legend of Cycling 2003. This award is for a rider who is currently racing or who retired in 2003, i.e. a rider from today's peloton whose achievements and class have earned them a place alongside the greats in cycling.

The Cyclingnews reader poll will conclude tomorrow with the announcement of the Rider of the Year award.

Garzelli enjoying married life; No Vini Caldirola for Cassani

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Recently married Vini Caldirola team leader Stefano Garzelli is still in Valencia, Spain, enjoying the sunshine and orange juice with his new bride Maria. Garzelli is in good spirits lately, especially with his new marriage and the news of the arrival of Russian Pavel Tonkov as his key support rider for the 2004 Giro. Garzelli will stay in Valencia and return to Italy only in late January for the Vini Caldirola team training camp from January 26 February 8 in Follonica, Italy, concluding with the first race of the 2004 Italian pro season in Donoratico on February 8.

Contrary to a previous report, Cyclingnews has learned that Enrico Cassani has not signed with Vini Caldirola for 2004. Cassani has spoken to Vini Caldirola general manager Maggioni, but no accord has been reached. Cassani is currently serving a suspension and is barred from competition until July, 2004.

Coppi to be remembered

The "campionissimo", Fausto Coppi, will be remembered at a ceremony on Friday, January 2 in Castellania, with hundreds of people expected to turn out to pay homage to the Italian cycling legend. He will also be honoured in Novi Ligure, the site of the Museo dei Campionissimi, with the presentation of a DVD entitled Il grande ciclismo which is largely devoted to Coppi's achievements in the sport. Coppi died on January 2, 1960 after contracting malaria while in Africa.

Post-race dispute turns physical at Burnie

By John Stevenson

Russell Downing
Photo ©: Shane Goss

Competition at yesterday's Burnie Carnival in Tasmania turned ugly when a scuffle developed in the dressing room after the last of the qualifying heats for the wheelrace. Trouble started when British rider Russell Downing protested to commissaires that US rider and coach Jame Carney had impeded him in the final heat, a race that saw Carney qualify for the $7,000 wheelrace, and Downing narrowly fail to go through.

Commissaires found that Carney had not impeded Downing, but heated discussion between the two continued in the riders' preparation rooms under the grandstand at Burnie's West Park sports ground. When that discussion turned physical, British team coach Shane Sutton and Carney's team-mate Gui Nelessen also became involved.

Police were called and as race officials attempted to calm the situation, Carney threatened legal action against the carnival organisation if his safety could not be assured, alleging that Sutton had threatened him with further violence.

Sutton refused to comment on the details of the altercation, and shortly after Cyclingnews located him for comment he and Carney went aside to discuss the situation. Afterwards, Carney emphasized that he had done nothing wrong in the wheelrace heat, and Sutton agreed saying that the whole incident had been a "heat of the moment" thing and that Downing had probably over-reacted to the decision against him.

Watch out NSW - Victoria has a top women's team for Bay crits

By Karen Forman

Katie Mactier
Photo: © Bob Wilson
Click for larger image

The New South Wales women's team might be out to keep its two year old title, but the Victorians intend to put up a mighty battle at next week's 2004 Jayco Bay Classics, according to team member and 2001 sprint title winner, Katie Mactier. The 28 year old from St Kilda told Cyclingnews that Victoria had put together a strong team and would be looking to swipe the women's title from under NSW's nose. But she recognised that it wouldn't be an easy task.

"They have an army of NSWIS girls that come over, so I think all eyes will be on them," said Mactier. "But I can say that Victoria is very motivated and excited to win overall this time. This year we have probably been a bit more selective with our team and we have some great all round talent, strong riders, sprinters. We have taken some time this year to form a team which has a good chance to win."

While Mactier won the sprint title and would obviously like to win the overall, she said no particular Victorian rider had been chosen to be a particular winner at this stage. "We will see how everyone's legs are. Wait till the first day and see who is up there," she said.

The Victoria team includes Liz Williams, a younger rider that Mactier says shows a lot of promise for the future and "has a good kick", Helen Kelly (recently signed to Rona) who "can sit on the front all day and is the one to watch in a small breakaway" and former World Junior Pursuit Champion Narelle Peterson who is "back and in good form".

As well, the team has recruited Hayley Rutherford from Western Australia. "She always runs second or third in the Bay series, so she will be a good asset," Mactier said.

Mactier said, however, their job wouldn't be an easy one "Rumour has it that (2003 winner) Kate Bates has some pretty fast legs at the moment," she said. "I think will be between Kate and (2002 winner) Rochelle Gilmore. But we can't discount the other girls, like Oenone Wood, Olivia Gollan and Sara Carrigan, as well."

As to a possible series win for herself, Mactier shows herself to be very much a team player. "It's not really about me, but about a win for the Victorian team," she said. "For me personally of course it would be a fantastic honour to win the Bay crits. But I haven't chosen them as my major priority for the year - I am looking at the track worlds and the pursuit, hopefully followed by Athens.

"I think I am probably at 80 per cent fitness at the moment. Certainly the crits will be a fantastic training week. But don't worry, if I get a good number - competing is just the makeup of us athletes and I will give it everything I have. May is still a long way around."

Mactier has been working hard, doing long base kilometres on the roads with coach John Beasley. She won't be going overseas to prepare for her Olympic build-up, but will be staying in Melbourne and using the Australian racing - the Bay crits, the road nationals, the Cooma tour, the Milk Race and the Geelong World Cup as her preparation.

"There's a huge amount of racing on offer for Aussies, which is a huge advantage for the Aussies considering the Europeans are still in snow," she said. "This year is such an important year. There is no doubt in my mind that everyone from all the states will be coming with top form and it will make for a really good Bay crits. I think the crowd will be in for terrific display of riding."

Mactier said she would probably rejoin the AIS in Italy after the track world championships in Melbourne, depending on her performances and the selection results for the Olympics.

Quick.Step-Davitamon for Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under

Four time Hungarian road time trial champion Laszlo Bodrogi will lead the Quick-Step-Davitamon charge in Adelaide when the 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under gets under way on January 20. Bodrogi, who was also the Hungarian national champion in the road race in 2000, is the team strong man and is likely to be on the attack for overall victory. Joining Bodrogi will be several new faces in the team including Spaniards Pedro Horrillo, Jose Pecharroman Fabian and Jose Garrido Lima. Also new to the race will be Swiss rider Aurelien Clerc. Belgians Frederic Amorison, Bram Tankink and Kevin Hulsmans complete the team.

Hulsmans came to Adelaide for the 2003 event but did not start after suffering an undisplaced fracture of the left femur, just below his hip joint when he had a run in with a car.

Team roster

Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun)
Frederic Amorison (Bel)
Aurelien Clerc (Swi)
Pedro Horrillo (Spa)
Kevin Hulsmans (Bel)
Jose Pecharroman Fabian (Spa)
Jose Garrido Lima (Spa)
Bram Tankink (Bel)

Team Changes

AG2R team management has confirmed Nicolas Inaudi (Fra) will replace Ludovic Turpin in the team for the 2004 event. Lotto-Domo will send Aart Vierhouten (Bel) in place of Axel Merckx. Finally, Australian Scott Davis (Qld) comes into the Panaria-Margres team for Filippo Perfetto.

For further event details visit www.tourdownunder.com.au.

Barloworld for Tour de Langkawi

Italian sprinter Enrico Degano will lead his new Barloworld team's challenge in the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi (TMLTdL) which begins on February 6. The South African Trade Team has embarked on an ambitious plan this season, and the signing of Degano and several other experienced Italian riders, mostly from the Mercatone Uno team, is proof of its aim of taking a step up in the professional circuit this year. At the helm is team manager and sport director Alberto Elli, no stranger to TMLTdL himself. During his pro career, Elli rode for various top teams such as GB-MG, MG Technogym, Casino and Deutsche Telekom.

27 year old Degano has competed in TMLTdL in 1999, 2001 and 2002, accumulating five stage wins in that time. Degano turned pro in 1999 and immediately made an impact by winning two stages in TMLTdL with the then Navigare Gaerne team. The young Italian returned with Panaria Fiordo in 2001, claiming another two stages before winning another stage with the same team in 2002. In the 2004 edition, Degano will be up against the likes of Jan Koerts (Jacques-Wincor), Graeme Brown (Panaria), Luciano Pagliarini (Lampre) and Ivan Quaranta (Formaggi).

Apart from stage wins, Team Barloworld is also planning an assault on the overall honours. The inclusion of top climber David George is proof of the squad's ambition in the Tour. George placed third in the individual general classification in 2002. In 2003, he was the best South African rider, taking eighth place overall.

The 27 year old George, who is the reigning South African champion, is also Barloworld's best bet for the mountains competition. This year, the former CCC Polsat and US Postal rider also won the Giro del Capo and took second spot in the South African Time Trial championship.

Time trialist Ryan Cox, Jock Green, James Perry, Darren Lill and Australian Sean Sullivan complete the team's line up.

Team roster

David George (RSA), Enrico Degano (Ita), Sean Sullivan (Aus), Ryan Cox (RSA). Jock Green (RSA), James Perry (RSA), Darren Lill (RSA).

Perth International Cycling Series

By Tracey Tilsed in Perth

The Perth International Cycling Series, a four event programme, kicks off this Friday, January 2 with the Australian Open Men's Criterium Championship, held in the northern suburbs of Perth at Joondalup.

The series of criterium races will spread across the Perth metropolitan area over four consecutive days in January, taking in the suburbs of central Perth, Victoria Park and Leederville and as in previous years, large crowds are expected to line the streets at each event. In 2004 the Series also includes the Australian Open Criterium Championships as one of the races, whilst the other three races go to make up the "Be Active - Cycle Instead" International Cycling Series

Riders confirmed for the series include Andrew Sime, Eddie Hollands, Hector Morales, Jorge Libonatti, Henk and Leon Vogels, Ashley Hutchinson, Luke Roberts, Jason Rigg, Rod McGee, Sean Sullivan, Hilton McMurdo, Peter Dawson, Aaron Kemps, Joel Pearson, Mark Jamieson and Chris Sutton.

The program

January 2: Australian Open Men's Criterium Championships, Joondalup (6:00pm)

"Be Active - Cycle Instead" International Cycling Series

Race 1 - January 3: Bien Café Cup of Wheels, central Perth (5.30pm)
Race 2 - January 4: Cheers Bar and Grill Classic, Victoria Park (6.00pm)
Race 3 - January 5: W J Moncrieff Pty Ltd Leederville Loop (7.30pm)

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