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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Cycling News Extra for July 26, 2004

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones

Former US Postal doctor speaks out

Prentice Steffen, a team doctor with the US Postal team in 1996, has alleged that he was sacked by the team that year for refusing to supply drugs to some of the riders. In comments made to AFP, Steffen said, "It was out of the question to carry out practices of this kind. But, after of my adamant refusal, I was simply thanked a few months later."

According to Cyclingnews sources, the US Postal team felt that Steffen, emergency room physician by training did not have the expertise to be a cycling team doctor.

Dr. Steffen left the team before Lance Armstrong arrived in 1998. He explained that "at that time, we were a small team with average ambitions. Everyone was clean. But one day, Marty Jemison and Tyler Hamilton came to ask me whether I could supply them with illegal products. I got the impression that they were speaking for everyone and that they had come to test the waters...To get to the top level, the team leaders were convinced that only doping would allow the team to obtain good results. From there, I understood that the whole mentality was changing."

Danielson smashes Mt. Evans record

Danielson en route to a record-breaking ride
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
Click for larger image

Neither fog, rain, nor snow deterred Tom Danielson in today's Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb race in Colorado, USA, the precocious Fassa Bartolo professional taking a massive four minutes and ten seconds off Mike Engleman's course record that had stood for 12 years.

Despite initial climatic concerns given the chilly, foggy race conditions the previous days, the race fielded 1,000 entrants (797 finishers) in a visually sumptuous feast of cloud, sun, and crystal blue skies en route to the 14,120 foot high finish.

Danielson, 26, who is presently on hiatus from his European schedule as he prepares to compete in the Tour of Spain next September, came into the race with modest expectations. "Given the weather, gradient inconsistencies, and the altitude change, it is too much to count on," said Danielson prior to the race. "Instead, I am focusing on doing a good race to test my form," noting that he had never ridden the Mt. Evans climb before.

Obviously, the 'test' went well, Danielson clocking a time of 1 hour, 41 minutes and 20 seconds over the 27.7 mile course that saw a net gain in elevation of over 6,500 feet. 37 year-old Colorado resident Scott Moninger (Health Net) came in second, 8'40 behind, to claim the title of Colorado State Hillclimb Champion.

Topping the women's field was 40 year-old Olympian Ann Trombley, who also claimed the Colorado Women's Hillclimb Championship. Sadly, Trombley's winning moment was missed by finish line photographers, but she handled the disappointment with aplomb: "I've always seemed to slip under people's radar, so I'm past getting upset about that sort of thing, though I'd like to see women's racing get more attention. That helps stimulate more participation," she said.

Click here for the full results, report & photos.

Soap stars & cycling legends tackle L'Alpe

Soap stars tackle L'Alpe d'Huez
Photo ©: Glamour Events
Click for larger image

Last Wednesday, six hours before the first Tour rider set off to race against the clock up L'Alpe d'Huez, former champions Roger De Vlaeminck and Lucien Van Impe accompanied four famous Belgian actors to complete their own time trial up L'Alpe.

De Vlaeminck, a four-time winner of Paris-Roubaix, and Van Impe, a six-time winner of the King of the Mountains competition and the last Belgian rider to win the Tour de France in 1976, rode the 15.5 kilometre parcours with the four actors, who were from two rival soaps. One hour and 34 minutes later, the aptly-named "Soap Team" made it to the finish. Stage winner and overall Tour champion Lance Armstrong conquered the mountain in less than half the time, taking just 39 minutes and 41 seconds.

Lampre for Tour of Portugal

Lampre General Manager Giuseppe Saronni has selected the following riders for the 66th edition of the UCI 2.2 Volta a Portugal, scheduled from July 29 to August 8. Riding the race will be: Wladimir Belli, Simone Bertoletti, Matteo Carrara, Alessandro Cortinovis, Manuel Quinziato, Marco Pinotti, Jan Svorada, and Romans Vainstein.

Barloworld for Tour of Portugal

Joining Lampre, Fassa Bortolo and Saunier Duval at the Tour of Portugal will be South African-registered Division II squad, Team Barloworld Androni Giocattoli.

Riders selected for the race include current SA time trial champion David George and former SA Champion "Jock" Green, Sweden's Stefan Adamsson, Italians Francesco Bellotti, Andrea Moletta, and Luca Solari, sprint sensation Enrico Degano, and winner of this year's Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, Antonio Salamone. Sean "The Tasmanian Devil" Sullivan will also be out to show the world stage that he is a major contender and a force to be reckoned with.

There are currently 18 teams entered in the race, due to start this Wednesday July 29. Of these teams, five are Division I, five are Division II, with the remainder being Division III teams.

Olympians head for Round 6 of NORBA

The penultimate round of the NORBA National Mountain Bike Championship Series will be held this weekend at the Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho, and will see five Olympians using the race to prepare themselves for the cross-country contest they face a fortnight later at the Athens Olympic Games.

Leading the men's races will be U.S. Olympic Team members Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Todd Wells, and Canadian Olympic Team members Ryder Hesjedal and Seamus McGrath. Highlighting the women's events in Idaho will be the current NORBA Series Champion and 2004 Argentine Olympian Jimena Florit.

Being an Olympic year with typical NORBA contenders focusing on a trip to Athens, the season has unfolded with new faces on top of the podiums. Travis Brown tops the men's cross-country rankings and Shonny Vanlandingham the women's. In the short track rankings, Chris Sheppard and Katerina Hanusova are in the lead; Willow Koerber, Kerry Barnholt, and Adam Craig have also been among the top American finishers this year.

Gravity events should see some tight competition over the weekend as well, with Eric Carter and Jill Kitner leading the mountain cross series. The downhill competition will see Kathy Pruitt try to repeat the success she had in Mount Snow five weeks earlier, but Bernadita Pizarro Lazo will fight to hold on to her number one ranking. Reigning World Champion Greg Minaar presently leads the men's contest, although riders such as John Kirkcalidie and Dustin Adams could steal that first place spot.

The pro action begins Friday with the mountain cross qualifier. Saturday will feature the cross-country, Super-D, and mountain-cross finals, while Sunday will close out the weekend in appropriate form with the downhill and short track competitions.

SBS to broadcast Athens Paralympic Games

Australian television broadcaster SBS has been selected as domestic free-to-air television network for the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, to be aired from September 18-29. The coverage includes: the Opening Ceremony live and replayed in prime time, the Closing Ceremony and daily one hour highlights packages with live cross interviews on SBS's nightly sports program, Toyota World Sport. The SBS Paralympic presentation team will be joined by Paralympians Greg Smith, Karni Liddell, Priya Cooper and Michael Milton.

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