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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 21, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

More Cofidis riders questioned

Gaumont questioned
Photo ©: Cyclingnews

As the Cofidis team returned to France after its pre-season training camp in Calpe, Spain, two riders were stopped for questioning at Orly airport, south of Paris. Investigators had already indicated to team management that they could expect a greeting from the police upon return to Paris, and Tuesday evening team members Cédric Vasseur and Philippe Gaumont were pulled aside for questioning as they entered baggage claim.

Their questioning stems from the ongoing investigation focused on Cofidis soigneur Bogdan Madejak and ex-Cofidis riders Marek Rutkiewicz and Robert Sassone, all three of whom have been questioned. Madejak remains in custody in France, while Sassone and Rutkiewicz have been released on bail. Bogdan remains the primary focus of an investigation into the trafficking of banned substances from eastern Europe.

While no incriminating evidence has been found within the Cofidis team- apart from Madejak's implication in the trafficking ring- the team remains the focal point of police efforts. Both Rutkiewicz and Sassone were to ride with new teams in 2004 (RAGT Semences-MG Rover and Oktos, respectively).

Cofidis defends its name

According to a l'Equipe report Tuesday, Cofidis management is prepared to file civil suits against any party openly accusing the team of involvement in the use or trafficking of prohibited substances.

"[Cofidis manager] Alain Bondue reserves the right to file suit against any person(s) who attack the honour and sporting integrity of the team," a statement read.

Sassone appears in court

The second rider to be implicated in the drug trafficking investigation sparked by Marek Rutkiewicz's arrest, Robert Sassone, appeared before a French court Monday, charged with possession and transfer of doping products. Sassone's Hyères, France home was searched by police January 14, where substances such as amphetamines, steroids, and EPO were seized, according to the French paper l'Equipe.

Jaksche targets own races

After several seasons as a super domestique with ONCE-Eroski, German Jörg Jaksche is eager to target his own races with Team CSC. Jaksche, who made the move to the Danish team specifically to work with Bjarne Riis, will likely ride support in the Tour de France, but envisions his own leadership role for shorter stage races. A previous second place overall in Paris-Nice has fuelled Jaksche's confidence.

"It's all about your physical shape," Jaksche, 27, commented on the team's website. "If you're not in the right shape, you have to help your teammates rather than riding your own chance. I know I'm at my best in stage races of a maximum of 10 days duration, so I hope to do well in the period between Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie, both of which are very important to me this season."

Jaksche is also happy to have compatriot Jens Voigt in the team. Voigt switched in the off-season from French team Crédit Agricole. "It's perfect for me that Jens is on the team," he explained. "First of all because it's sometimes nice to speak German, but also because he's a very smart and sympathetic guy, who likes to talk about other stuff than cycling all the time."

Directeur sportif Kim Andersen, who also joined CSC this year, has great expectations for Jaksche in Paris-Nice.

"He's extremely motivated," Andersen said. "Perhaps he seems a bit modest, but on the inside he knows exactly what he wants, no doubt about it."

Euskaltel to Ruta del Sol

The Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi team will take to the roads of Andalucia, Spain with a participation in the Vuelta Ciclista a Andalucia-Ruta del Sol, February 15-19. The team will send Mikel Artetxe, David Etxebarria, Unai Etxebarria, Samuel Sanchez, Dioni Galparsoro, Iñigo Landaluce, Aitor and Josu Silloniz.

Olympic MTB qualifications

The UCI announced Tuesday its qualifications for the mountain bike events at the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Based on UCI rankings and results of the 2003 Continental Championships (excluding the European Championships), the following 48 places have been allotted out of a possible 50 available. Thirty two nations will be represented in the Olympic MTB events.

Olympic qualifications by country:

               Men   Women
Argentina       1      0
Australia       2      1
Austria         2      1
Belgium         3      0
Brazil          0      1
Canada          2      3
China           1      1
Costa Rica      1      1
Czech Republic  2      0
Denmark         2      1
France          3      1
Germany         3      3
Great Britain   2      0
Hungary         1      0
Ireland         1      1
Italy           2      1
Japan           1      0
Namibia         1      0
Netherlands     3      1
New Zealand     1      1
Norway          0      1
Poland          2      3
Romania         1      0
Russia          0      1
Slovakia        1      1
Slovenia        1      0
South Africa    1      1
Spain           2      2
Sweden          0      1
Switzerland     3      2
Ukraine         1      0
USA             2      1


Lowe to Yeti Cycles

Former junior world mountain bike champion Trent Lowe has signed a contract with Yeti Cycles for 2004. The 2003 Australian U23 champion suffered a series of injuries and setbacks last season (nation title notwithstanding), but told Cyclingnews that his training is back on schedule for the coming season. Lowe was supported by Yeti in 2002 and is pleased to be back in the team.

"I am very motivated for this season and will be aiming for the NORBA podium as well as Olympic selection in MTB," he said. "It's great to be back with Yeti who initially supported me in 2002 and when I won the world's."

"This deal has largely been possible because of Paul Rowney's continued support and his wide network of contacts in the industry which he has built during his years on the NORBA circuit," he said of the senior Australian MTB rider (and occasional Cyclingnews diarist).

Gears Racing MTB for 2004

Gears Racing Institute (GRI) chairman Mark Bonham and president Kevin Wallace announced their team's roster for the 2004 mountain bike season. The Toronto, Canada-based team is the country's largest MTB development team, with experienced riders hand-picked to help nurture and mentor younger talent.

The GRI team will support riders for World Cup competition, national elite and espoir racing, right on through to provincial and junior categories. GRI also has a large representation in the 2004 Canadian national team. The 2004 season will focus on the Canadian World Cup rounds and select NORBA and Canada Cup series racing.

Gears Racing is sponsored by Shimano Canada, Specialized Bicycles, Sugoi, Michelin Tires, RockShox, Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, and Bonham & Co. Inc.

For more information on the team, visit www.gearsracing.com.

2004 Gears Racing roster:

World Cup: Kiara Bisaro, Ricky Federau, Trish Sinclair, Mathieu Toulouse

National Senior Elite: Danelle Kabush, Matt Patterson, Greg Reain, Sue Trimble, Andrew Watson

National Espoir: Frederic Bussieres, Adam Coates, Martin Lazarski, Sophie-Anne Blanchette, Catherine Vipond

Provincial: Paul Brown, Michael Dennis, Craig Hawkes, Sean Ito, Chris Jackson, Heather King Cameron Mackenzie, Tim Oliver, Paul Skafel

Team Management:

Kevin Wallace, President
Ira Kargel, Vice-President
Ron Vanderleeuw, Team Captain/Head Mechanic
Ryan Hindmarsh, Training/Development Manager

IMBA Announces freeriding grants

Mountain bike groups looking to develop technical riding skills will soon benefit from a new grant program focused on building challenging trails. In 2004, Kona Bicycle Company and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) will award five cash grants to fund the development of freeriding, downhilling, and dirt jumping projects.

IMBA-affiliated clubs are invited to apply for five $500 awards. The application deadline is March 1, 2004, and the grants will be awarded in April. Funding for the program comes from Kona and the Kona/IMBA Bowling Party, an annual Las Vegas fundraiser held during the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.

The program's goal is to speed the development of freeriding opportunities on public land. Grants will be used for a variety of purposes, including gaining land manager approval, addressing liability concerns, trail and stunt construction, trailhead kiosks and signage, and freeride organization building.

For more information, or to apply, see www.imba.com/resources/grants/

MajorMotionCycling expands junior team

Southern-California's MajorMotionCycling Team has expanded its junior team to 15 riders, as well as two U23 riders for 2004. MajorMotion was founded in 1975 in Los Angeles. The name was inspired by Major "Marshall" Taylor, who won the world 1-mile Championship in Montreal, Canada in 1899, and part of the club's focus is junior development.

Returning to the team for 2004 is Ali Camara 2002 National Criterium Champion 15-16, silver in the RR. Also new to the team in 2004 is Alex Garcia 2003 National Criterium Champion (13-14)
.

MajorMotion's aim will be to compete on a regional level and the Lance Armstrong Series, as well as Sea Otter, Redlands and the US Junior Nationals in Park City, Utah. The age 17-18 team has earned an invite to Le Tour de l'Abitibi in Québec, Canada.

2004 Team roster: Alex Boyd (17-18)
Ali Camara (17-18)
Jared Downing (17-18)
Michael Sheppard (17-18)
Chris Trembly (17-18)
Patrick McFraziar (17-18)
Nico Ceinfronco (15-16)
Roberto Onofre (15-16)
Justin Williams (15-16)
Alex Garcia (13-14)
Freddie Cruz (13-14)
Peter Boyd (13-14)
Jose Banuelos (13-14)
Frank Albanez Jr. (13-14)
Iggy Silva III (13-14)
Adolfo Garcia (10-12)
Jose Estevez (U23)
Emmanual Suarez (U23)

Sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Sixtus, Ritchey, GU, DT Sports Management, American Classic, B 4 U DECIDE.COM, Rock "n" Roll Lube, Limar Helmets

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