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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 9, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Armstrong to start in Algarve

Mike Creed joins team

Five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will commence his 2004 campaign with the Volta ao Algarve, which takes place between February 18-22 in Portugal, the home of U.S. Postal-Berry Floor's recent signing Jose Azevedo. The race begins in Albufeira and features two mountain stages in the five day schedule.

In addition, Up and coming American cyclist Michael Creed will ride for the U.S. Postal-Berry Floor team in 2004. Creed, a time trial specialist who has won numerous U.S. titles a the junior and U23 level (18 in total), will join the Posties after his former team, Prime Alliance, stopped last year.

The team's full roster will be confirmed next Monday. According to the team's website it is as follows: Lance Armstrong (USA), Jose Azevedo (Por), Michael Barry (Can), Manuel Beltran (Spa), Michael Creed (USA), Antonio Cruz (USA), Stijn Devolder (Bel), Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Ryder Hesjedal (Can), George Hincapie (USA), Benoît Joachim (Lux), Damon Kluck (USA), Kenny Labbe (USA), Floyd Landis (USA), Patrick McCarty (USA), Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), Benjamin Noval (Spa), Pavel Padrnos (Cze), Victor Hugo Peña (Col), Daniel Rincon (Col), Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa), Jurgen Vandenbroeck (Bel), Max van Heeswijk (Ned), Robbie Ventura (USA), Dave Zabriskie (USA).

For full details and background on the riders in the US Postal Service-Berry Floor team - and all other division 1 trade teams for 2004 - please visit our recently updated Teams Database, produced by Theo Muller.

Webcor signs Dionne

Members of the 2004 Webcor Professional Cycling Team
Photo ©:

The Webcor Professional Cycling Team has signed Canadian sprinter Charles Dionne for 2004, bolstering an already strong line up that includes Chris Horner, Dionne's former teammate at Saturn. "Dionne is unique in his ability to be a fast finisher in criteriums as well as a powerhouse in incredibly difficult road races like the San Francisco Grand Prix. He will be a significant part of the formula for creating a winning team," said team director Frank Scioscia.

Dionne's 2002 season saw him win the San Francisco Grand Prix, however his 2003 campaign was hampered by crashes and injuries. He did take first place at the CapTech Classic and a stage at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, which he rode in support of Chris Horner.

Dionne is enthusiastic about his team's prospects for the upcoming season: "This team is going to do some damage in every race we enter," he said. "I didn't expect to sign with Webcor, but when Chris called to encourage me to join, I jumped at the chance. I think we're going to have a great season. Plus, it's an Olympic year, and hopefully we're going to put a couple of guys in the Olympics, which is definitely a goal of mine."

The team shares his optimism. "We see Horner, [Spanish pro] Imanol Ayestaran, and now Dionne helping to develop not only our second year pros, but some of our young riders such as Justin England, Ben Haldeman, and Ben Stafford," added fellow manager/rider, Ted Huang.


Images by

Jayco Bay Classic news - Day two

By Karen Forman in Geelong

Baden Cooke
Photo ©: CN

Skilled rider Baden Cooke not only won the first stage of the 2004 Jayco Bay Classic in Victoria - he also emerged the victor of a celebrity clash on mountain bikes, beating not only his team-mates Brad McGee and Matt Wilson and former pro Phil Anderson, but also four of Melbourne's top jockeys, in a unique event at the Moonee Valley racecourse in Melbourne on Thursday evening, January 8.

Cooke, resplendent in baggy pants and a Jayco jersey, showed his superior bike handling skills on the dirt training track, not to mention his ability to ride a few minutes after tucking into his entrée and glass of dinner wine as a guest of Jayco in a trackside box in the Phar Lap Room, to lead his relay team comprising jockey Noel Callow (currently boasting the best strike rate in Melbourne) and a member of the crowd, to a joyous victory. The race was beamed around the course on big-screen TV and media there to report on the horse racing lined up to have a few words with the France based pro team members.

Phil Anderson, paired with successful jockey Luke Currie and another crowd volunteer was second, McGee, paired with boom apprentice jockey (100 wins in a year) Nicholas Ryan was third and Wilson, paired with young apprentice Chris Symons and a volunteer from the crowd, was fourth. McGee and Wilson were suggested perhaps a protest should be in order, however, as Cooke did not wear his helmet for his final leg of the relay race.

"I had a bit of a gear mishap and at that stage I was trying to go into the big chain ring, but it wasn't happening," Cookie said as he celebrated with his main course afterwards. "Phil, well, he was my hero as a young rider, and he was pulling away from me. I had to beat him. So when I saw him take off without his helmet, I decided I didn't have time to put mine on either."

Wilson, meanwhile, said his "pleb" (crowd volunteer) had fallen off his bike, which had lost them valuable time. McGee decided after pondering the helmet issue over his dessert that he was "claiming first place".

The guys were on hand to watch the running of the Jayco Bay Classic Handicap over 2040 metres, an event sponsored by Jayco owner Jerry Ryan, who is also sponsoring the 2004 Jayco Bay Classic criterium series in the Geelong area this week. The $25,000 event was won by a galloper called Halo Amore. Since none of the riders backed it, it could be assumed that they are probably better of sticking to bike racing and leave horse racing to the experts.

Images by Karen Forman/

In other Jayco Bay Classic news:

Emma Rickards is hoping to line up for Stage Three at the Geelong Botanic Gardens tonight after being forced out of yesterday's competition with an injured hand. The Victorian suffered soft tissue damage in one of the three crashes she endured in the rain affected first stage of the event at Hastings on Wednesday. After seeking treatment yesterday, she told Cyclingnews she would be on the start line today if her she could hold onto the handlebars.

Also seeking physiotherapy after yesterday's stage was five time event winner Robbie McEwen (MAB/Mirvac/Lend Lease/Vic Urban). Meanwhile Graeme Brown (SBR) didn't start yesterday after being forced out of stage one with a chest infection. He hopes to be well enough to start stage three today.

The presentation to winners following stage two yesterday received a boost when Victoria's Assistant Police Commissioner, Bob Hastings, came to visit and then accepted an invitation to present the winners' jerseys. He said he had enjoyed himself so much that he hoped to attend the final stage at Docklands in Melbourne on Saturday. Good to see relations between the police and bike riders on the improve.

Making its debut at the 2004 Jayco Bay Classic is the newly formed Drapac Porsche team of young riders. The team, comprising first year junior Daniel Thorson, Brad Norton and Mitchell Docker, was set up by Drapac Property owner Michael Drapac and Victorian coach John Beasley in a bid to develop young riders while giving them valuable life and employment skills for after their cycling careers are over. Beasley said the idea had germinated after he saw the difficulties suffered by world champion track rider Gary Neiwand, whom he coached from 1998-2000, after he retired in 2000.

"Gary didn't have any skills, so he worked in a pub," he said, "I spoke to Michael Drapac and asked if he could get Gary into real estate and Mike put him through the courses and now he is set up near his Essendon home and doing really well."

Beasley said he had seen "the highs and lows" of what could happen after seeing Neiwand, who had been a hugely successful rider, retire with no other life skills. A series of meetings resulted in the formation of the Drapac Porsche team, sponsored by Drapac and Porsche and a number of smaller sponsors, which signs young riders up for five years.

"We've kicked off with three of the brightest young talents in Australia, "Beasley said. "We pay for their bikes, equipment, pay all expenses and a retainer, which grows over time, and help them out but are very strict about our criteria. They must be studying full time and if they don't get the grades, their bikes go into the shed. Our goal is to change attitudes. I mean, the nature of cyclists is usually to take the easy option. Yet Year 12 is the most important time of their lives. If they can get into university, then they have time to train."

Beasley is the coach Rene Bueman is the manager, Gary Neiwand is the mentor and Brett Aitken is providing support. "We are looking at things like, for example, we told Mitch there won't be a road team of him this year, because for that he would have to miss three months of school. Instead, he can aim for the track team, because he only misses one month. We have a really strict ethical conduct.

Pezzo to ride Specialized

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Paola Pezzo
Photo ©: Olympia

Two time Olympic mountain biking gold medalist Paola Pezzo celebrated her 35th birthday today in Milano with a birthday party and an announcement of her new team for 2004 in her quest for a third consecutive gold medal at the Athens Olympics. Paola will be sponsored by Gatorade in 2004, and in a surprise twist, la Pezzo will leave her long time technical sponsor Gary Fisher Bicycles and partner with Specialized as her bicycle, helmet and footware sponsor.

"I'm really happy that this all came together for my birthday party", exclaimed a delighted Pezzo on Thursday. "With Gatorade and Specialized, I've got great partners to support me this year and hope to return their confidence with a great performance in Athens."

Pezzo leaves this Saturday for a 10 day training camp with the Italian Olympic MTB hopefuls in Terracina, 100km south of Rome on the Lazio coastline. At the conclusion of the camp, Paola will pass by the Italian Olympic Committee's HQ in Roma for the first in a series of mandatory health checks, including blood tests.


Images by Olympia

Adelaide ready for European invasion

In less than two weeks, an international posse of cyclists will hit the streets of Adelaide, South Australia to battle it out for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, which starts on January 20. The advance party of European riders for the race has arrived in Adelaide ahead of the invasion of top riders this weekend (see below for arrival schedule).

Three time Tour de France stage winner and eight time Estonian champion Jaan Kirsipuu, who has notched up more than 100 victories in his 11 years as a professional cyclist, arrived on Tuesday along with his AG2R-Prevoyance teammate and fellow Estonian Erki Putsep. The pair are keen to acclimatise before the rest of their team, including defending Tour champion Mikel Astarloza, arrives on Sunday.

Two members of the Lotto-Domo team, Belgians Hans De Clercq and Wim Vansevenant, also flew into Adelaide on Tuesday with their European team mates due to fly in next Thursday January 15th. The early arrivals are hoping for a return to Adelaide's traditional sunny January skies to make the most of their pre-event training rides.

"The riders competing in the 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under will be out and about on their bikes training from this week so if you're driving please be extra careful and exercise a little patience," said Mr Turtur. "They'll appreciate it and so will I."

The team arrival schedule is:

(Please note the Australian riders will arrive in Adelaide after the BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships being raced in Ballarat from January 15th to 18th)

Saturday 10th January MH139 @ 0715 - Bankgiroloterij
Sunday 11th January MH139 @ 0715 - Domina Vacanze & remaining AG2R riders
Tuesday 13th January MH139 @ 0715 - Credit Agricole, & Quick.Step Davitamon
Thursday 15th January MH139 @ 0715 - Panaria Margres & remaining Lotto-Domo riders
Thursday 15th January QF810 (domestic) @ 2225 - Navigators Insurance

Team Changes

Team Australia has confirmed Dave McPartland will replace Scott Sunderland in the team for the 2004 event. Sunderland has been called back to Europe early by his team Alessio.

More information:

GP Erik Breukink cancelled

This year's third edition of the Grote Prijs Erik Breukink, a three day stage race in the Netherlands and Belgium, will not take place. The ANP newsagency reports that the race is in financial difficulty after one of the top sponsors pulled out. "We've searched town and country for new sponsors but it didn't happen," said Huub Janssen, chairman of the organising group Wielerevenementen Het Snelle Wiel Bladel, who hopes that it will be run again next year.

Bik-Powerplate sacks director

The world number one women's team, Bik-Powerplate, has sacked its director Ton Vrolijk. The administration of the team already fired him in December, but allowed him to come back two weeks later. However the administration believes that he supplied "incorrect information" to them regarding a team bike that had disappeared, and Vrolijk was sacked again.

No Irish team for Shay Elliot scare

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Bray Wheelers Cycling Club, the promoters of the Shay Elliott Memorial, a UCI race in April, were informed at a meeting last Sunday that there would no Irish team in the event. CEO Stuart Hallam of Cycling Ireland struck out the participation of the Irish team.

"It was shock, horror when I discovered the 'Elliott' would be without representation by the national team," said club chairman Urban Monks. "Currently the club are in negotiations to have teams from abroad participate as a stipulation from the UCI to qualify for ranking points. From what I can gather it was a cost factor."

Fortunately the matter has been resolved in the last few days and an Irish team will now be on the start line, but it has left deep divisions within a club which has been at the forefront of Irish cycling for many years.

On the international front, Waterford's Ciaran Power, a recent winner of Ras Turcai in Carraroe, Co. Galway will participate in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under with his Navigators team, which is based in New Jersey (USA).

Support Northampton 'crossers

Of the five U23 riders chosen to represent the US at the 2004 World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Pont-Chateau, France, three of them are Northampton Cycling Club members: Matt White, Michael Cody, and Jeremy Powers.

Jeremy was an automatic qualifier, and his trip will be paid for by USA Cycling. However Matt and Mike will have to fund their own trips to the tune of $3500 each (USAC pricing). To help these two riders out, has set up a donation page for Matt and Mike here. 100% of your donation will go directly to the riders.

Cycling Tasmania Rider of Season Awards 2003-04

By Rod Morris in Devonport

Ulverstone comeback cyclist Ben Price is clinging to a slender lead in the third annual Cycling Tasmania Rider-of-the-Season award for 2003-04 with just two carnivals remaining. Price (17) holds a narrow 2-point lead over recently crowned Burnie Wheel champion Graeme Brown, but his biggest danger will be the third placed Nathan Clarke.

Brown has returned to the Australian mainland in search of his next cycling campaign, leaving Price and Clarke to fight out the Tasmanian spoils. Both Price and Clarke will be among the drawcard riders at this Sunday's Mersey Valley-Devonport Carnival at the Latrobe ground.

The CT award is based on a sliding points scale on all handicap finals and scratch races at every track carnival over the Tasmanian summer. Price has won three races and finished second, third or fourth on five separate occasions, amassing 45 points in total. Clarke is currently on 38 points, having won four races and placed in nine others.

American Becky Conzleman is the hot favourite to win the female award, having stretched her lead to 7 points over Sheffield's Belinda Goss (the inaugural winner in 2001-02), whilst in the junior section, Launceston's Clay Murfett has a 6-point lead over Tom Robinson.

Meanwhile, Queensland's Bradley Payne will win the Tasmanian Order-of-Merit. Payne (18) earnt more than $12,000 for his week in Tasmania, which included victory in the Patrick Latrobe Wheel on Boxing Day. Graeme Brown will finish second, while other major wheelrace winners, Mark Jamieson (Devonport), Matt Goss (AJ Clark and Launceston) and Stephen Rossendell (Kym Smoker) will figure in other top 10 placings.

Current standings

Male Rider
1 Ben Price                  45 pts
2 Graeme Brown               43
3 Nathan Clarke              38
4 Jame Carney                31
5 Gareth Atkins              25
6 Stephen Rossendell         23
7 Matthew Atkins             23
8 Matt Goss                  20
9 Chris Wilding              20
10 Simon Price               18
11 Brendan Geale             18
Female Rider
1 Becky Conzleman            31 pts
2 Belinda Goss               24
3 Natasha Mapley             15
4 Liz Williams               14
5 Carrie Price               9
6 Sarah Hammer               8
7 Grace Sulzberger           8
Junior Rider
1 Clay Murfett               64 pts
2 Tom Robinson               58
3 Jake Laskey                46
4 Ed Robinson                43
5 Brenden Sutton             40
6 David Lyons                39
7 Ben Fielding               36
8 Ben Laskey                 34
9 Carrie Price               25
10 Matt Laskey               25
Cycling Tasmania Order-Of-Merit
1 Bradley Payne          $12345 
2 Graeme Brown            $8785
3 Mark Jamieson           $5880
4 Matthew Goss            $4526
5 Stephen Rossendell      $4090
6 Russell Downing         $3800
7 Jame Carney             $3515
8 Ben Price               $2910
9 Nathan Clarke           $2590
10 Grant Irwin            $1803

Veloworx and Velo-Fit launch developmental bicycle racing program

SoCal riders invited to submit resumes

Veloworx ( and Velo-Fit ( have joined forces to form a new bicycle racing program based in Southern California. The underlying mission of the club is to create a developmental program for newer and younger riders to realize their full potential as cyclists. Although membership is open to riders of all racing categories, the club plans to field exclusive racing teams designed to foster the development of riders in various categories. The club is first targeting a men's Category I/II team focused on under 23 development. Subsequently, teams comprised of Juniors, Elite Women (also with an under 23 focus), and Men's Category III shall be formed. The club also plans to support a limited number of elite mountain bikers and track racers.

Southern California-based Junior's (age 17 and older, Category III and higher) and Under 23 men & women Category I/IIs, who are interested in the Veloworx racing program should submit a race resume and goals for the upcoming season to Eddie Monnier ( Preliminary club sponsors include Veloworx (bike shop), Velo-Fit (personal coaching services) , Giant Bicycles, Panaracer (tires) and Briko (helmets and glasses). Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Michael Novitch at

BRI Cycling Team

CNC Sports has launched the Benaroya Research Institute Cycling Team (BRI Cycling Team) based in Seattle, Washington. This new program is title sponsored by the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason. The team will compete locally and regionally in Road Racing, Mountain Bike, Cyclocross and Triathlon competitions.

Click here for the full roster

Team Lucky Lounge

Going into its fourth year, Team Lucky Lounge will continue to build on its successful program as a premier Texas cycling team with a roster of 18 riders. The Lucky Lounge continues as title sponsor, along with Giro, Powerbar, and Oakley continuing as supporting sponsors. For 2004, Team Lucky Lounge has also added Chuy's Tex-Mex, KMV Technologies, and Trek Bicycles as new sponsors. Plus, this may be one of the few cycling teams sponsored by a morning radio show - JB and Sandy In the Morning!

Click here for the full roster

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