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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for June 2, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Valverde threatens to leave Kelme

Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) wins a stage of the 2003 Vuelta
Photo: © Unipublic
Click for larger image

Alejandro Valverde has confirmed that he has been approached by several other teams and threatened to leave Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme if he is not paid for the next month.

Speaking to Spanish sports newspaper Marca, Valverde said, "We have gone two months without being paid and if we get to a third we will be talking about a breach of contract and in that case I would not continue at Kelme.

"I have several offers from Spain and abroad and would be able to go to Phonak, Liberty Seguros or Saeco, strong teams with whom I could continue to race," he added.

"I would like to finish the year with Kelme, but that remains to be seen. One thing that is sure is that next year I want to be in a team that is able to participate in the 2005 Tour de France."

Valverde also commented on former team-mate Jesus Manzano, whose claims of systematic doping within Kelme precipitated the team's current crisis. "Manzano is a little loose in the head," he said. "I know him well because I shared a room with him at the Vuelta. He did not think that with his statements he would do the damage that has done to Kelme and to cycling in general, but by saying things that are not true he has done harm to this sport."

For the moment, Valverde is hoping that he can salvage the second half of the season. He said he hopes, "to do a good ride in the Olympic Games and in the Vuelta, and, if I arrive in good form, at the world championships."

Euskaltel plays down Extebarria exclusion

Despite his exclusion yesterday from the Euskal Bizikleta, Basque rider David Etxebarria should have no problem being a member of Euskaltel-Euskadi's squad for the Tour de France, according to team manager Julián Gorospe.

Gorospe told Europa Press that Extebarria's 15-day suspension from riding after returning a haematocrit reading of 52.8 percent in no way counted as a positive drug test, and revealed that Extebarria has an exemption from the UCI allows him a higher-than-usual haematocrit of 52 percent.

Gorospe claims that Extebarria's 52.8 percent reading was the result of a digestive tract illness picked up at the Gran Premio de Llodio on Sunday. "He was ill," said Gorospe and the dehydration caused by the illness caused an increased haematocrit level.

Extebarria will now be unable to race until he passes another blood control at the Volta a Catalunya (June 14-20).

Gorospe said he did not believe Extebarria's suspension would prevent him being a member of Euskaltel's nine-man Tour de France team, but did not deny that the Tour organization can prevent a rider from taking part.

Belda admits this will be his last year

Vicente Belda, manager of the Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme team, has said he will not be running the team next year. According to a Europa Press report, Belda says the survival plan for the team, drawn up by the Valencian government, does not include him.

Belda told Europa Press, "Many people in the team are suffering financially. The riders - seven of whom don't have licenses - are being cut off from a life in sport. We are using old clothes because we cannot use the new ones. We decided in February to get new uniforms but we can't use them."

Belda said his discussions with José Luis Aznar, the Valencian government official responsible for the team, had been "fluid" but nevertheless described the situation as "complicated".

"To speak of survival plans mentioning people such as Castellar and Juan Fernández is not helpful for the team," said Belda. "The team needs peace to solve its problems and give itself a new image for the last part of the season. With the riders that we have and the form of Alejandro Valverde we have some of the best candidates to win the Vuelta."

Belda said he has "A clear conscience" about the Manzano affair, but that it had created "a tremendous climate of insecurity."

He maintains that the team's financial woes are caused by the sponsor not releasing funds and added, "they have been looking for a replacement for me for some time. It saddens me that in May they brought things to a head by looking for a change. I have a contract to December 31 and I am going to stay until then."

While the Valencian government hasn't discussed renewal of Belda's contract, it hasn't actually told him he won't be required, he said. "They haven't consulted with me. My feelings tell me that I will stop next year. A plan for the future is being discussed and I have not been consulted about it."

As for the persistent rumours that the team's star rider Alejandro Valverde was ready to leave, Belda said, "we are in the middle of a storm and we don't know where the water will fall. The future is unforeseeable. The logical and normal thing would be that we'd take advantage of having a rider of the quality of the stature of Valverde to try, at a minimum and win the Vuelta."

Popovich: Next stop, Athens

After his fifth place in the Giro d'Italia, Ukrainian rider Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) is turning his attention to the Athens Olympics.

Popovych told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he plans to spend the first half of July in Livigno in the Alps. The town's altitude of 1800m should provide a substantial training boost.

"My next appointment is Athens," said Popovych, "and the chase for an Olympic medal will start in Livigno."

Garzelli takes a break

Stefano Garzelli missed yesterday's Mottarone time trial (a post-Giro showcase event won by Gilberto Simoni) because of a throat infection that developed during the final stages of the Giro.

Garzelli is expected to return to racing in Saturday's Memorial Pantani.

Dean back on the bike

New Zealand Credit Agricole rider Julian Dean is back on the bike after being out of action for over a month. Dean broke both arms in a crash at the Four Days of Dunkirk last month and has since had to cope with the frustration of being sidelined and only able to ride on a wind trainer.

On his website Dean writes that he is now able to ride on the road again, after a week of mixing road and wind trainer riding - something he says he hates. "It was only the possibility of riding the TDF that kept me motivated," he writes. "Even then it was f***** hard to do. One of the hardest things I've ever had to get my head around."

As well as hoping to get into Credit Agricole's team for the Tour, Dean is expected to be named to the New Zealand road team for the Athens Olympics, which will be announced tomorrow.

However, his recovery is far from complete. Although he can ride perfectly well, Dean admits "the right [arm] is not so good and, at some point, will need surgery. I can't quite extend it fully and given that for my post-pro-cycling, pro-golf career, I play left-handed, I'll need to get it fixed. I also have problems with rotation, and even have difficulty putting out my hand to get my change at the supermarket. Not sure when the op will be but most likely after the season."

In the meantime though, he has to convince Credit Agricole "that I am fit and ready without having raced a whole lot. I'm confident that I'll be ready but I'm not so sure that they are."

Dean plans to return to racing at the Tour of Switzerland (June 12-20) and says that, "I hope that at the Tour of Swiss, I can convince them of it. For sure, no matter how I am at the Tour de Swiss, I'll be a whole lot better by the Tour de France."

Thorton Waste Three-Day picks up where Ras left off

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent

The top cyclists here and from abroad had their grand tour, the FBD Milk Ras last week. Now it is the return of the lesser lights to have their day out.Their action will be in Dunboyne, Co. Meath over three days of competition in the Thorton Waste Three-Day over four stages. All, with the exception of Category One are eligible to participate in the Thornton's which starts on Saturday afternoon from the village green in the centre of the fast developing village.

Heading up the operation is Alice Sherrat. "Yes! Many of the personnel on the 'Ras' will be helping me over the Bank Holiday weekend," she said. "Unfortunately there is no rest when it comes to organising events. We have a good crew and they are all very reliable. We swing into action on Saturday morning and finish up on Monday afternoon when everything, hopefully, will have gone smoothly.

"I get a great buzz out of this event. Many of the former winners have gone on to greater heights.Maybe, some day, I'll be able to say a former competitor will have hit the dizzy heights of the professional ranks," said Alice.

Bray Wheelers CC have what looks on paper, as a strong combination and more than likely, John Lynch will carry the blue and white jersey to overall victory. The big question mark? Will his ability to compete against the clock, be the factor, but the distance of 6kms is relatively short.

Racing gets under way at 2.30 on Saturday and will be followed by two stages on Sunday which includes the race of truth against the clock. Proceedings will be wound up on Monday afternoon, when the Alice crew will get a deserved break from racing for a couple of weeks.

American Express Financial Advisors to donate to the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund

The Lehigh Valley Velodrome has announced that American Express Financial Advisors will donate $25 to the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund for each consultation derived from the June 4 Nicole Reinhart Women's Cycling Classic and Tandemonium! at the Velodrome.

In addition, the Velodrome will donate money raised from the interactive cycling simulator to the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund. The simulator will be featured on June 4 throughout the entire night of racing for anyone who would like to experience a virtual velodrome race.

Those who are interested in signing up for a consultation with American Express to raise money for the Nicole Reinhart Fund must do so at the simulator booth on opening night, where American Express representatives will be stationed.

Scam email plays on sports supporters

Readers wishing to support the Australian Paralympic Committee's effort to get athletes to Athens are warned that they should do so directly via the organisation's website and not through links in any email they happen to recieve.

An email recieved by Cyclingnews - and we're sure, many of our Australian readers - in the last couple of days appears to be an appeal to help the team, complete with links to the comittee's website and that of the Westpac bank. However, the links actually point at facsimiles of the sites, intended to snare unwary users into handing their credit card details over to dubious third parties.

This type of email scam - known as 'phishing' - has become a major cause for concern among the banks in the last year, and just about all financial institutions have warned that customers should never click on a link in an email to access their on-line banking services.

The correct website link for the APC is

Summer 'cross a success

Cyclo-cross is usually a winter discipline, but in an effort to make this branch of cycling more accessible, a British race organizer is running a summer cyclo-cross series. The first round of the Paul Milnes Cycles series was held on Wednesday at Huddersfield New College in the north of England and among the 50 riders were quite a few new faces.

"Attracting new people to the sport is the purpose of the series - and in that we succeeded," organizer Andy Whitworth told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. The event used a fast four-minute lap in the grounds of the school and was won by Dale Goodwin, who rides for the event sponsor.

The next race in the series is on Wednesday June 9 at Brigshaw High School, Kippax, near Leeds.

Veloworx Racing raises $7775 for THF

Los Angeles-based cycling club Veloworx Racing has raised $7775.00 via an online auction to benefit one of its sponsors, the Tyler Hamilton Foundation (THF). All nineteen items up for bid were sold during the auction held on eBay from May 16-23.

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