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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest News for June 11, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Mayo's Ventoux performance

Iban Mayo (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

In winning the fourth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré up Mont Ventoux yesterday, Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) became the fastest cyclist ever to scale the Giant of Provence. On a warm June day, Mayo pedaled the 21.6 km from Bedoin (280 m) to the summit (1909 m) in a time of 55'51, an average speed of 23.2 km/h and nearly one minute faster than Jonathan Vaughters' 1999 record of 56'50. In terms of altitude gained per hour (VAM), Mayo ascended the climb at a speed of 1750 m/hr. Neglecting the "flatter" first 5.7 km of the climb, which he did at 1430 m/hr, he rode at 1820 m/hr for the final 15.9 km. And between the 5.7 km and 15.5 km time checks, his vertical speed was an impressive 1860 m/hr.

"I reached a new level," Iban Mayo was quoted by L'Equipe as saying. "I am in great form and I will not let these opportunities go. I am here to win. I will see after this what I can do in the Tour. I want to arrive as fresh as possible but I will nonetheless try to maintain this level. Last year, I weakened in the last week of the Tour. I hope that that will not happen this time. Because I feel my body is stronger than in 2003."

In describing his ride up Ventoux, Mayo said, "I climbed the mountain in three distinct phases: The first 5 km, the easiest, I dedicated to finding my rhythm and adapting myself to my new bike [an Orbea Starship prototype]. I was surprised when I heard that I had the best time. The next 10 km I went at my normal pace, and in the final six I went at maximum, without calculations. I think that this was a great test for the Alpe d'Huez time trial.

"Armstrong's performance surprised me. I expected to see him higher up, I suppose he had a bad day," estimated Mayo.

Editor's note: VAM is Dr Michele Ferrari's coined term for Velocita Ascensionale Media [average climbing speed], and is a measure of a rider's rate of ascent. In mountain stages during tours, most of the work a rider does goes to overcome gravity, so VAM is a useful indicator of the rider's form on that day. It's also a way of normalising a rider's performance across a variety of climbs, providing they are steep and even enough (between 7 and 10 percent gradient with few false flats).

For more information, see the explanation at the bottom of this interview.

Editor's note 2: One of our readers, Dr. Edward P. Debold, compared Mayo's ride yesterday to Tom Danielson and Geneviève Jeanson's record breaking rides on Mt. Washington, USA in 2002. Mt. Washington is 12.3 km long and ascends 1441 m. Danielson's time of 49'24 was a VAM of 1750 m/hr - a performance that would have "virtually" got him to the top of Ventoux in 55'50(!). Similarly, Jeanson's time of 54'02 was a VAM of 1600 m/hr, which would have "virtually" placed her in the top 20 in yesterday's stage four.

Editor's disclaimer: These comparisons are for interest's sake only, and Mt. Washington cannot be compared with Mont Ventoux as it doesn't have a "flat" first 5.7 km. Thanks to Jonathan Vaughters for the Ventoux analysis: "Mayo would have killed Danielson on Ventoux."

Moreau suffers

Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole)
Photo ©: CN
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Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) had a hard time on Mont Ventoux yesterday, finishing 16th in 1:00:28. "On this climb, it's not possible to go at 80 or 90 percent of your capacity, but 100 percent," he told L'Equipe. "On the other hand, everything becomes more difficult with bronchitis; I'm still coughing. My aim was simply to go to the maximum. In any case, I'm not that fond of the Ventoux. L'Alpe d'Huez suits me better. This mountain is really a physical and a mental battle: you never know how you will pass it. It's always terrible."

Pichon still in serious condition

Mickael Pichon (Brioches la Boulangère) is still in a serious condition in Grenoble hospital's intensive care unit after falling into a ravine during Stage 3 of the Dauphiné Libéré between Saint-Etienne and Aubenas. Pichon suffered multiple injuries from the crash, including cranial trauma with cerebral edema, and has been operated on several times by doctors in Grenoble.

"His state is considered by the doctors as serious, but he does not seem to be in danger," read a communique from Grenoble hospital's ICU.

Pichon also suffered a complex fracture of his left shoulder, a straight fracture of his right tibia, a fractured left collarbone and several broken bones in his face.

Serge Baguet of the Tour

The consequences of a freak crash while out riding with training partners Peter Van Petegem and Scott Sunderland last Thursday are more serious than Serge Baguet anticipated at that moment. After coming home, Baguet's knee started swelling and he started feeling off-colour and feverish. It appeared that the wounded knee had become infected and antibiotics were urgently administered. Baguet's doctor commented that it was a good idea to have the knee looked at immediately as it appeared to be a similar case to that which Museeuw experienced after his crash in Paris-Roubaix.

It means that Baguet won't be able to ride the bike for a quite some days and that thus he will be watching the National Championships and the Tour de France from the sidelines. The former Tour de France stage winner is shaken by the incident but is already targeting the races for the second part of the season.

Vinokourov loses driver's licence

T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov isn't just fast on the bike, he's also fast behind the wheel - but too fast for the French police. Vino was caught doing 103 km/h in a 50 km/h zone Wednesday in Nice. After paying a fine of €135, he was allowed to continue, but as a passenger in his own car while his wife drove.

How did he get to the police station the next day to sign his statement? Well, he can still ride his bike, fortunately, because he has now lost his driver's license for two months.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Marco Polo aims high in Korea

The Marco Polo Cycling Team is making no secrets of its ambitions in the upcoming Tour of Korea. With several GC contenders on the team, the Hong Kong registered squad is going for the overall classification, hoping to improve on last year's results where Michael Carter and Kam Po Wong finished second and fourth respectively.

Cory Lange (7th Sea Otter Classic), Michael Carter (2nd GC Korea 2004), Robin Reid (2nd Tour of Wellington) and Ulzii Jamsran Orshikh are the GC spearheads for the Marco Polo Cycling Team. Tim Wilson and Lionel Syne will go for the stage results. The team's strategy will be decided after the tough second stage, where things will be clearer.

Recent wins in Germany and Belgium have contributed to the Marco Polo team's confidence. Combine that with some specific training at the team's European base in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, Marco Polo is ready for the Tour of Korea.

After Korea, the riders will start their intensive preparation with a view to the high altitude Qinghai Lake race in China, also one of the main objectives of the season.

At the same time as the Tour of Korea, there is also a Dutch amateur squad from the Marco Polo Cycling Club in the Tour of Tunisia. Marco Polo's sportif director Nathan Dahlberg is riding this tour as a holiday break off his daily work at the Marco Polo training centre, and hopes to also have a good result with this Marco Polo Adventure Team.

Colavita seeking sponsors

Team Colavita Sports, LLC, a division of the Colavita Pasta and Olive Oil company, is seeking sponsors for its cycling program in 2005. The team currently races in Division III and is one of the stronger US domestic teams. Colavita Sports has planned a budget of US$1.25 million for next season, and is looking for a co-sponsor to invest US$450,000 or a presenting sponsor to invest US$250,000. According to Colavita Sports, the team's estimated media exposure is US$3 million annually based on televised race coverage, print advertising and widespread media coverage of the events and cyclists.

Ideally, the co-sponsor would be an Italian company. "Italy has a time honoured reputation for its great food and cycling history," said John A. Profaci, director of marketing for Colavita USA, LLC. "The Colavita Olive Oil Pro Cycling team is a perfect symbol and celebration for these Italian traditions, which is why we're looking for other Italian-themed sponsors who wish to share in the U.S. visibility to millions of fans, recreational riders and spectators of cycling."

More information: www.teamcolavita.com

Sean Nolan Grand Prix

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

This Sunday, June 13, will see the Sean Nolan Grand Prix held in Meath, Ireland. The course will be the same 27 mile loop used for last year's Meath GP and this year's Cycleways Cup. The first race off will be the 1st and 2nd Category race from Blackcastle on the Slane Road at 1.15pm. This will be a mass start event and will complete three laps of the circuit, turning at the Round O Pub in Navan.

The next race off at a five minute interval will be the combined Vets and Junior race over two 27 mile laps. The 3rd Category and Women's race over one lap of 27 miles will start five minutes later. Races for Under-12's, Under-14's and Under-16's will begin at 11:00am.

Race Headquarters are unchanged at Navan Rugby Club, which is just off the Dublin Road beside the Ardboyne Hotel. Changing rooms and showers are available here and sign on will be open from 10.00am.

For more information, e-mail navanroadclub@eircom.net.

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