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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for January 13, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Wellens to lead Belgians at World's

Bart Wellens
Photo ©: CN

Newly crowned Belgian national champion Bart Wellens will lead a powerful squad of six riders at the upcoming Cyclo-cross World Championships in Pont-Château, France. Sven Nys, Mario De Clercq and Ben Berden were already assured of places after last Sunday's Belgian championships, and national coach Rudy de Bie named the final two riders, Erwin Vervecken and Sven Vanthourenhout, on Monday. There will be three reserves in the elite men's squad: Arne Daelmans, Tom Vannoppen and Peter Van Santvliet.

"It was a difficult decision, far from pleasant," De Bie was quoted on VRT Teletekst. "Vannoppen is not the super rider but is almost at the top, just like Vanthourenhout. That is normal, they are still young. We have too many good riders. Our level gets better each year."

Vannoppen, who missed out, said that "I don't think that De Bie made this decision. Who then? I don't know. I am unpleasantly surprised. I trained for this World Championships, I would certainly not have performed badly."

Full team roster

Elite Men: Bart Wellens, Sven Nys, Mario De Clercq, Ben Berden, Erwin Vervecken, Sven Vanthourenhout. Reserves: Arne Daelmans, Tom Vannoppen, Peter Van Santvliet

U23 Men:, Bart Aernouts, Kevin Pauwels, Wesley Van der Linden, Klaas Vantornout, Geert Wellens, Jan Soetens, Jorn Van der Veken, Dieter Vanthourenhout

Elite Women: Veerle Ingels, Anja Nobus, Hilde Quintens, Loes Sels, Katleen Vermeiren

Junior Men: Davy De Scheemaeker, Jeroen Dingemans, Niels Albert, Quincy Vens, Bart Verschueren

Slovakian team for 'cross World's

Slovakian champions Róbert Glajza (Elite), Marian Hecl (U23) and Michal Prachár (Juniors) will lead the charge for their country in the World Cyclo-cross Championships in Pont-Château at the end of this month.

Full team roster

Elite: Róbert Glajza and Vaclav Metlicka (ZP Sport Podbrezová), Milan Barényi (KCK Trek Oslany), Maros Kovác (Dukla Trencín)
U23: Marian Hecl (ZP Sport Podbrezová)
Juniors: Michal Prachár (ZP Sport Podbrezová)

Bettini to represent Italian Championships

Italian champion Paolo Bettini
Photo ©: Olympia

Reigning Italian champion Paolo Bettini will be one of the "hosts of honour" at the presentation of the Italian road championships on February 6 in Santa Croce sull'Arno. Bettini agreed to represent the championships, which will take place between June 22-27 in Terra di Pisa, with the professionals racing over a course in Santa Croce sull'Arno.

"I already knew it in part, having done the GP Cuoiopelli previously in these parts when I was a dilettante," said Bettini who rode the course for the first time today. "I already knew the climb of Poggio Adorno, which is not hard but it can have a few nasty surprises. I believe that the parcours on which I will be defending my title is very good and above all accessible to all riders, even if the distance will inevitably restrict the candidates for victory. I believe it will be a very open race, even if I exclude the possibility of a solo finish."

Photography

Images by Olympia

Landuyt investigation nearing completion

Belgian radio has reported that the results of the Jose Landuyt investigation have been assessed, and a verdict in the case is expected within several weeks. "The affair goes beyond the four riders," a spokesman for the public prosecutor in Kortrijk told Radio 1. "There have been many leads, among them a link with Lebanon, but we can't say yet what is true and what isn't. The leaks about beetles and wasps did not come from us.

Astarloza wants to do it again in JCTDU

Spanish cyclist Mikel Astarloza has arrived in Adelaide primed to defend his Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under crown. Astarloza, 24, flew in from Europe on Sunday and within hours was out on his bike with the rest of the AG2R-Prevoyance team training for next week's race.

"It is very important for me to perform well this year as I am the defending champion and I really want to try and win it again," said Astarloza. "I began solid training for this event in November last year so I am happy with my form and all is going well."

However he admits his rivals will also be in good form and sure to challenge his plan. "This year I am likely to be a marked rider and the others will not let me get away with too much," he said.

Astarloza claimed the lead in the 2003 event after Stage 5 when officials resorted to a count-back of previous stage places to break a dead lock with Denmark's Lennie Kristensen (CSC). Seven riders were within nine seconds of his lead on the final day and this generated some of the most hotly contested sprinting in the history of the event. Despite it being only his second year in the professional ranks, Astarloza kept his cool and his team did the job, working tirelessly to give the young Spaniard his first professional victory.

"It was my first win and will always be special to me," said Astarloza who was given a hero's welcome when he returned home to Spain after his win. "I have my winning jersey, race number and a photograph framed and hanging on the wall in my house."

The win also changed his role in the AG2R team from team worker to one of the 'protected' riders in the group.

"My objective will be to make sure I am in the front group of riders every day and that I go with all the right moves during the race," said Astarloza. "If I can do that I have a good chance of winning back-to-back titles."

Astarloza will be joined in Australia by 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. Spanish Time Trial Champion Inigo Chaurreau will also line up with AG2R-Prevoyance.

Domina Vacanze and Bankgiroloterij also arrived in Adelaide on the weekend.

The team arrival schedule update:

Tuesday 13th January MH139 @ 0715: Credit Agricole, FDJeux.com & Quick.Step Davitamon
Thursday 15th January MH139 @ 0715: Panaria Margres & remaining Lotto-Domo riders
Thursday 15th January QF810 (domestic) @ 2225: Navigators Insurance

More information: www.tourdownunder.com.au.

Canadians at Trust House Classic

The Canadian National Road Cycling team is expected to be among the favourites in the upcoming Trust House Cycle Classic, which takes place in and around Wellington, New Zealand between January 28-February 1.

"The appearance of the Canadians helps make this one of the strongest field's in the tour's history," said race director Jorge Sandoval. "With the growing reputation of this event we hope to attract even stronger interest next year."

Leading the charge is Eric Wohlberg, the current Canadian TT National champion and winner of many national championships, stage races and gold medals at Commonwealth and Pan American Games over the years. "I wanted to bring Eric to my tour for years, now as a surprise to me and thanks to the contacts of new Track Coach from Bike NZ, Canadian Kurt Innes, who contacted me and asked for an invitation, they may now be the team to beat."

Eric holds a record of seven consecutive Canadian national time trial championship wins. The Trust House Cycle Classic's penultimate stage is a 19 km individual time trial, which should suit him well.

The Canadian team sprinter will be Charles Dionne, who won the San Francisco GP back in 2002. But an early season crash at Langkawi last year left him nursing a thigh injury for much of the year, although it's expected that he will be back in good form for 2004. Completing the line-up are climber Dominique Perras, Cory Lange and Peter Wedge.

Saeco presentation in Turin

Saeco's 2004 season will start at 11:30 am on January 21 with its team presentation in Turin at the "Basic Village" centre. The presentation will be a presentation of the results achieved in 2003 as well as fixing the objectives for the coming season.

Saeco will be relying on top men Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca and Mirko Celestino to bring home the trophies, while hoping that the determination of Dario Pieri, Salvatore Commesso and Gerrit Glomser will pay off. The team comprises 24 riders, the rest of whom will be devoted to helping Simoni and co. achieve their objectives.

After the presentation, part of the team (Pieri, Commesso, Balducci, Glomser, Ludewig, Loosli, Stangelj and Petrov) will head to Terracina south of Rome for a training camp until January 28. The day after, these riders will leave for the Tour of Qatar where they will make their season debut. The rest of the team led by Simoni and Di Luca will be in Terracina (Hotel Fiordaliso) from January 8 until February 7.

Jittery Joe's 2004

American Division III team Jittery Joe's has announced a seven man roster for 2004. The team will keep its core riders from last year, such as Australian sprinter Jeff Hopkins as well as Colombian Cesar Grajales, who won the KOM prize in the T-Mobile International. Also Chad Hartley, Jake Rosenbarger, Jesse Lawler and Jonny Sundt will be back, along with 2002 Jittery Joe's team member Chris Pic, who raced for 7up/Maxxis in 2003.

Jittery Joe's will also be working with the Roswell Velo team to bring up young riders through the ranks. Known as the AG Edwards/Nalley Lexus team, they will be led by former Collegiate Cyclocross National Champion Jed Schneider. Joining Jed on the development team will be Tim Henry, Brian Bibens, and John Murphy. These young riders will be racing with Jittery Joe's at select events.

Team roster

Jeff Hopkins (Aus)
Cesar Grajales (Col)
Jesse Lawler (USA)
Jonny Sundt (USA)
Chris Pic (USA)
Jake Rosenbarger (USA)
Chad Hartley (USA)

Alternate riders:

Jed Schneider (USA)
Brian Bibens (USA)
John Murphy (USA)
Tim Henry (USA)

Orbitel confirms 2004 lineup

Colombian Division II team 05 Orbitel will feature 13 riders in its line up for 2004. Besides signing José Castelblanco, winner of the last Clásico RCN, Alvaro Sierra, one of the most successful riders in Latin America in 2003, Hernán Darío Muńoz, winner of the Vuelta al Táchira, Mauricio Henao, John Fredy Garcia, and Geovanni Chacón, the team has retained Javier Zapata, Hebert Gutiérrez, Jairo Hernández, Hernán Darío Bonilla, Jorge Humberto Martínez, Alejandro Iván Cortés and Olmedo Capacho.

05 Orbitel will commence its season with the Vuelta al Valle (February 4-8). It will race in all the major South American races with the possibility of competing in the USA on occasion.

Corey Sweet to ComNet

Australian Corey Sweet will join compatriots Luke Roberts and Steven Wooldridge in the ComNet-Senges team, a German Division III outfit. Sweet (26) signed a one year contract with the team, having ridden for Credit Agricole last season. Last year he won stages in the Tour of Luxembourg and the Sachsen Tour.

Ronde van Limburg cancelled

The 60th edition of the Ronde van Limburg, an important race for U23 riders in Belgium, will not take place this year. The event, which is usually held in spring, cannot compete with other races on at the same time.

Mountain lion victim remembered

Survivor recovering well

Friends and neighbours of Mark Reynolds, the 35 year old masters expert mountain biker who was killed by a mountain lion last week in Orange County, USA, held a service over the weekend in his memory. Reynolds was mauled to death by the lion, which it is thought attacked another cyclist, Anne Hjelle, who is now recovering in hospital. Hjelle remains in Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, Mission Viejo, but her condition has been upgraded to fair.

Shortly after the attack, a two year old, 50 kg mountain lion was shot and killed by authorities after it was found near Reynolds' body. A necropsy is being performed on the lion to determine whether it was responsible for Reynolds' death.

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