Cycling News Extra for July 14, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Stage 10 preview: The mountains begin
By Anthony Tan and Tim Maloney
After a relatively relaxing 160.5 kilometres from St Leonard de Noblat to Guéret, easing the riders back in to the swing of things after their rest day in Limoges, Stage 10 marks the first real mountain stage of this year's Tour de France.
With not a metre of flat all day, the 237 kilometre stage was used for L'Etape du Tour a few days ago, and the most optimistic time schedule for Stage 10 calls for six-and-a-half hours' racing across the unrelenting climbs of Cantal.
"Tomorrow's going to be hard," said defending champion Lance Armstrong after today's stage that finished in Guéret. "Especially if the pace is aggressive like today and we do 240 kilometres and some bigger climbs, with holiday crowds along the way."
One Cat. 1, two Cat. 2 and five Cat. 3 ascents are on the program, which is expected to be run as Quatorze Juillet stages always are - in front of huge crowds out to celebrate France's national fête du velo on a national holiday.
With the absence of the extreme heat of last July, the difficult parcours should cause less selection than usual. However, the double-barrelled ascent of the steep, narrow road up the Cat. 1 Col du Pas de Peyrol-Le Puy Mary (8.3km at 5.5%) after 173 kilometres followed by the Cat. 3 Col d'Entremont less than 20 kilometres later, before the day's final climb, the Col du Prat du Bouc-Le Plomb du Cantal (8.2km at 6%) after 205.5 kilometres, will surely do some damage.
The last 31 kilometres are all rolling downhill towards Saint Flour, which may cause some regrouping on the run-in. Maillot jaune Thomas Voeckler and his well-baked Brioches la Boulangère squad will have to withstand the onslaught of attacks that are sure to come from teams like Phonak, Illes Balears and Liberty Seguros, who are looking to put the first pressure on Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich.
Although the Quatorze Juillet will start with a Frenchman in the maillot jaune, Wednesday evening may see Jose Gutierrez of Phonak or his team-mate Santos Gonzalez changing jerseys.
Then and now: Etxebarria's ecstasy
It's a few years since St Flour hosted a stage finish of the Tour de France, but one that Euskaltel-Euskadi's David Etxebarria will never forget.
The last time the Le Tour finished in St Flour (no rhyme intended), a tourist resort made up of some 8,500 people and situated near the Mont du Cantal and the Mont de la Margeride, was in 1999. It was Stage 12 of the Tour and followed a similarly-shaped parcours to tomorrow's stage, beginning in Saint-Galmier and taking the riders on a 197 kilometre journey across six Cat. 2 and 3 climbs through the region known as the Massif Central.
On that day, a break had gone after just seven kilometres, with Italians Massimilliano Lelli (Cofidis) and Alberto Elli (Telekom) the first to leave the bunch in their wake. Current maillot vert, rough 'n' tumble Aussie sprinter Robbie McEwen, had also gone across, but was off the back as soon as the break hit the day's first climb at km 22, the Col de la Croix de l'Homme-Mort. A series of attacks followed in an attempt to bridge the gap to the two leaders, but a vigilant peloton saw all but the lead duo back into the fold after 61 kilometres, their lead a slender 1'25.
Click here to read the full feature.
Canadian Olympic team - it's unofficial
Canada's Olympic team won't be announced officially until July 19, and selected riders are under strict instructions not to tell anyone they've been selected, according to canadiancyclist.com, but that hasn't stopped mountain biker Seamus McGrath from talking about the upcoming Games on the website of sponsor Haro.
It's the first time McGrath has been selected for the Olympics, and only the third time cross-country MTB racing has featured in the games after being introduced in Atlanta in 1996. "I'm obviously honored and really excited to go to the Games," said McGrath, who was in the running for selection in 2000 but didn't make the team.
Meanwhile Canadian Cyclist has assembled an unofficial team roster, which is believed to accurately reflect the make-up of the team. The riders selected are:
Women's ITT: Lyne Bessette and Sue Palmer-Komar
Ontario team to Abitibi
The Midweek Cycling Club of Mississauga, Ontario has joined forces with the Ontario Cycling Association and the National Cycling Centre Hamilton to send an Ontario regional team to le Tour d'Abitibi (July 19-25). Tour d'Abitibi is the premier race for juniors on the North American calendar and will provide the team with important development opportunities. Riders were selected based on race performance and development potential, and both the 1st and 3rd place finishers at the Chin Picnic - Ontario Championship Criterium are included..
The team, which will be riding in Midweek colours, will comprise:
Mark Batty, 3 Rox Racing
Bill Murphy dies
A well-known and popular personality in the human-powered vehicle community, racer and bike builder Bill Murphy died on Saturday July 10. Murphy was the first racer to compete in the morning's 1km time trial competition at the Kenosha Velodrome Wisconsin, and collapsed afterwards.
Lehigh Valley Chariot races
The Lehigh Valley Velodrome will hold the 2004 Chamber of Commerce Chariot races on Friday, July 16. The Chamber Chariots event will be a tribute to Penn State alumni and current students. All attendees wearing a Penn State shirt or hat will receive free admission and current Penn State Lehigh Valley students racing Friday will be wearing their collegiate cycling jerseys. Riders to race in Penn State blue and white include Bobby Lea, 2004 U.S. National Champion, Mike Friedman, Espoir Road National Champion, and Andy Lakatosh, 2004 U.S. World Championship Team Member.
For tickets or more information see the Velodrome website at www.lvvelo.org
Competitions update: last chance for this pair
Entries will close this evening on our latest competition to win a pair of Specialized's high-end road shoes.
All you have to do is guess whose muddy feet are inside this pair of shoes and you could win the next pair of Pro Carbon 04 road shoes featuring Body Geometry design and super-stiff carbon fiber sole. For those of you who entered our first competition, the rider in question was none other than the Italian sprinter, Mario Cipollini. The winner of the first set of shoes was Brian Barber of Newtown, Pennsylvania.
Brian told us that he is "trying to kick start my year, again. I have a father battling cancer and (he) moved into a new house during the New Year which has slowed my riding down greatly. But the cancer is in check and the house is finally together so it's time to ride, no races this year but hopefully some next year."
Now, if you did enter the first competition and didn't win - no worries - enter this competition ASAP and then tomorrow, we'll have another mystery rider up with another pair of shoes to be won. Good luck!
Speaking of competitions - fancy a trip to Australia next January? The organisers of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under are offering a trip to see the race in South Australia, right in the middle of the southern hemisphere summer season.
Australia's premier race is the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, which next year runs January 18 - 23, 2005. The JCTDU is always a huge but friendly event where fans can easily meet riders, and where the racers are happy to enjoy some Aussie sunshine when it's still chilly and damp in Europe. You can join them courtesy of the JCTDU organisation who will fly two lucky winners from anywhere in the world to see the 2005 race. The prize includes car hire and accommodation for the duration of the Tour and two JCTDU Club Tour memberships.
Also, please check our TdF Competitions page for details on several competitions that our sponsors are running during the TdF - there are some great prizes to be won.
Regional News - Australian cycling makes push for new racers
Ride For Life to feature 'sport' class in road race
By Gerard Knapp and John Stevenson
To capitalise on the growing interest in road cycling - following the "cycling is the new golf" theory - Australian race organisers have introduced a new class aimed at entry-level racers who don't hold a current racing licence. Similarly, the new 'Sport' class is also an opportunity for former licensed racers to get back out on the road to settle some coffee-shop disputes in a genuine competitive environment, free from the concerns of battling it out on public roads.
Further, hitching a ride on the Olympics bandwagon doesn't hurt (despite doping hysteria) and a race is planned for August 14 this year in Centennial Park, Sydney, using a section of the same parcours that Jan Ullrich and co blasted around in the Sydney 2000 Olympics road race.
At the same time, participants can also generate that warm inner glow by helping out a very worthwhile charity, namely the Oncology (cancer) Department of the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney.
The race is called the Prince of Wales Hospital Ride for Life and will be held in Sydney on August 14, 2004. This is the same day of the Athens Olympic road race, and the Sydney events features some of the roads in Sydney's Centennial Park that were used for the 2000 version.
The Ride For Life program includes an 80km event for licensed men and U-19 men, a 40km race for masters and licensed women, as well as a 20km race for individuals and corporate teams and a 40km corporate team race, both open to unlicensed riders.
The Ride for Life is being organised by Australian race promoter Phill Bates, who was the driving force behind the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic stage race, and who has recently been responsible for the Australian national track cycling championships at the Dunc Gray Velodrome.
Young riders haven't been forgotten either, with events for under-13, under 11 and under 9 youngsters, as well as under 17 and under 15 races. After the day's racing there will be dinner and entertainment at the Randwick Labor Club including an auction and screening of the Athens road race.
Entries to Prince of Wales Hospital Ride for Life cost $25 ($45 for late entries) and $75 for a team of three, with tickets for the post-race dinner just an extra $40. For entry forms and more details see www.rideforlife.org.au.
In September, if disputes were not settled on August 14, racers can then head north to the Sunshine Coast for the Australian National Club Road cycling Championships, where again, orgtanisers have added a 'Sport' class for unlicensed riders.
TThe National Road Cycling Championships on the Sunshine Coast, September 3-12, will include the new Pearl Izumi Sport Class race for unlicensed riders, part of Cycling Australia's efforts to encourage new cyclists to try the racing side of the sport.
De Bortoli Tour returns
The De Bortoli Tour, staged for the first time in 2003, returns on July 17 and 18. Based at title sponsor De Bortoli's picturesque winery in the heart of Australia's Yarra Valley, the three stage tour boasts a prize list of $10,000 and has attracted an impressive entry list.
The inaugural 2003 event attracted the largest field of any Victorian open road event, and with 284 entrants and the 2004 race looks set a new standard. The tour is not for the faint hearted, and definitely favours climbing specialists, with the 102km first stage featuring a 10km mountain climb to Toolangi which the field will tackle twice; while the 112km third stage features three ascents of Pantons Gap - an 11km slog with a lengthy gravel section. Time trial specialists get their chance to shine in stage 2, a 17.5km race against the clock to Steele's Creek.
Matt Goold, who claimed the Victorian 100km championship last weekend, has been given the honour of wearing the number 1 saddle cloth, and his main competition is expected to come from club mate Chris Bradford, who took out the Australian Club Road Championships in 2003.
Others to watch include New South Wales riders Klayten Smith and Nigel Dunstone, Tasmanian Stephen Rossendell and local climbing specialist Michael Tolhurst. Another who has burst into contention is former rower Domenic Gatto, who turned heads with his form on a trip to the United States earlier this month. Riding against the cream of US based professionals, Gatto finished an outstanding sixth overall in the prestigious Fitchburg Longsjo Classic.
2003 Champion Kathy Watt returns to defend her title in the women's race. The gold medallist in the Barcelona Olympics fought a close battle with young sensation Lizzie Williams last year, and once again the veteran from the promoting Blackburn Cycling Club, will face off against a peloton of young challengers.
New South Wales star Zoe Southwell proved an impressive climber by conquering the famed Baw Baw Classic in 2003, and is expected to lead the charge to dethrone Watt. Local star Jenny Macpherson is in form after a determined bid to qualify as a Paralympic Tandem pilot for Athens, and Christine Foster, aboard her distinctive bovine themed machine, also excels in the mountains.
The De Bortoli Tour kicks off on Saturday July 17 with a 9am start from the winery.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)