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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Cycling News Extra for July 16, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Voeckler hurting

Maillot jaune Thomas Voeckler (Brioches la Boulangère) faces his toughest test today in the Tour's first big mountain finish in the Pyrenees. Voeckler, who has worn the yellow jersey since finishing in the lead group in Stage 5 told L'Equipe after Stage 11 that, "I didn't have great legs. Physically I'm not feeling that great but I hope the legs will be better today because with the Col d'Aspin and the Tourmalet are both steep and you can lose a lot of time quickly."

Mayo ready

As the weather gets warmer and the climbs get higher, Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) is enjoying the race more and more. "I feel close to home now," he told L'Equipe. "I know that all the Basques will be in the mountains. I think that the difference will happen on Saturday. I'm not here to let the other people win. I'd rather win a stage than be fifth in the Tour."

Ullrich expectant

Jan Ullrich will find out what kind of form he is in in the first Pyrenean stage today to La Mongie. In past years, Ullrich's greatest weakness has been in the mountains, but leaner than ever this year, he hopes he can make a difference. "I really like the nice weather; It feels like I'm alive again," he said to L'Equipe. "I feel really happy that finally we're at the mountains. I'll see what kind of form I'm in at last."

Kessler transferred to Freiburg

T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler, who crashed heavily in Stage 10, breaking a rib and puncturing a lung, has been transferred from Saint-Flour to the hospital in Freiburg, Germany. Kessler couldn't breathe well enough to be medivaced, thus a special ambulance had to drive him from France to Germany.

Frenchman Sébastien Hinault (Credit Agricole), who also crashed during that stage, will require six weeks to recover from a broken vertebrae. During that time he will need to wear a corset to keep his back stable. The good news is that there are no neurological complications from the injury.

More SBS live Tour action

Australian free-to-air TV network SBS will be broadcasting two more Tour stages live in the coming week. Stage 14 from Carcassonne to Nimes on Sunday, July 18 will be shown live from 22:00 AEST, with Steven Hodge and Andrew Orsatti commentating. In addition, next Wednesday, July 21, the crucial Alpe d'Huez time trial (Stage 16) will be shown live starting at 23:25 AEST. SBS also has nightly 30 minute coverage of the Tour starting at 18:00 with late night repeats.

US Men's Olympic MTB team named

USA Cycling has named its two member men's mountain bike squad for the Olympic Games in Athens next month. The two riders selected are Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colorado) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colorado), who have best met USA's selection criteria.

Four time U.S. National Champion Horgan-Kobelski earned his nomination as the highest ranked rider in the UCI standings, ranked 10th in the world. His consistency throughout this season also ranks him as the top American in the UCI World Cup standings through six events. A first time Olympian, Horgan-Kobelski solidified his position as a front runner for one of the two men's mountain bike positions early in the 2004 season with a convincing win amongst a field of several Olympic hopefuls at the Pan American Championships in April. The following month, Horgan-Kobelski rode to a win in round two of the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series in Sonoma, California, and followed up his domestic performances with a solid World Cup campaign.

Wells, also a first time Olympian, confirmed his position on the Olympic team with a critical performance at the World Cup event in Calgary on July 3. His 10th place finish earned him enough World Cup points to advance him into the top 25 overall making him eligible for Olympic selection based on World Cup standings. Wells is currently ranked 21st in the seven-race World Cup series. The 2002 U.S. National Short Track Champion and familiar face on the NORBA National Series podium brings further international experience to the U.S. squad.

The lone women's mountain bike slot has not yet been decided. An intense year long competition between Sue Haywood (Davis, West Virginia) and Mary McConnleoug (Fairfax, California) officially ended last Sunday with the completion of the last UCI sanctioned cross country race prior to the cutoff date according to USA Cycling's selection procedures. However, given the extremely close nature of the competition that will be decided by UCI ranking as of July 12, 2004, officials are verifying the accuracy of points distributed throughout the year.

Murrysville Cycling Classic

This year's Murrysville Cycling Classic (July 18), will be held on a challenging 10 mile road race circuit just 20 miles outside Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Last year's race saw Thad Dulin and Charm Breon win the Pro/Elite Men's and Women's events. Breon will be back this year, but will be hard pressed to repeat, as both men's and women's fields look to be much deeper in this year.

The Pro/Elite Men's field includes Navigators' Mark Walters, who won the 2002 Wachovia USPRO Championship in Philadelphia. The Ontario native, who now lives in Pennsylvania, will be aided by teammate Vasilli Davidenko, a former stage winner in the Tour DuPont who is one of North America's most feared sprinters. On paper, their toughest competition should come from the Colavita Olive Oil presented by Bolla Wines trio of Gustavo Artacho, Todd Herriott and former Collegiate National Champion Tyler Wren. However, a very strong amateur contingent, featuring a nine man entry from Team Snow Valley, a full squad from Pittsburgh-based America's Cycling Team/UPMC, and 2003 U.S. Elite National Road Champion Michael Voigt. There will also competitors from other pro teams, including Ofoto, Jet Fuel Coffee, Subway-Express, and possibly Health Net presented by Maxxis.

On the Women's side, Breon returns with Colavita teammate Kristy Scheffenacker. Breon will be hard pressed by Canadian pro squad Victory Brewing, whose Johanna Buick blew the 2003 race wide open. However, the hot tip for the Women's race looks to be Genesis Scuba/FFCC, which will be fielding the duo of Laura Van Gilder and Canadian Olympian Sue Palmer-Komar. Palmer-Komar, Also on the line will be entries from Mid-Atlantic powers such as CRCA/Aquafina, LSV/Kelly, Snow Valley,, and the local ESSM/GPOA team, which includes former Murrysville Cycling Classic winner Pam Moalli-Rytel.

In conjunction with the 2004 Murrysville Cycling Classic, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Sports Medicine will be launching its Cycling Performance Services research lab, a program spearheaded by Dr. Freddie Fu, Professor and Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at UPMC.

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