First Edition News for June 19, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Big decider for Scanlon
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Mark Scanlon will start the four day Route du Sud Saturday in Castres, France, aware that a strong performance will copperfasten his place on the Ag2r-Prévoyance team for the Tour de France.
The Sligoman has spent the past few weeks preparing for this weekend's race and the possible ride in the Tour, undertaking long training spins in the Alps. He has covered many of the big mountains in the Grenoble region and should see a consequent improvement in his climbing.
His goal over the next four days will be prove to the Ag2r management that he is ready for the Tour, a goal made easier by his two race wins in Estonia last month. Should Scanlon get the nod, he will become the first Irish participant in the Tour de France since Stephen Roche in 1993.
The Route du Sud begins with a stage from Castres in the Tarn region of France to Vielha in Spain, finishing with a climb to 971 metres. The second stage is from Lès in Spain back across the border to St Gaudens, and is predicted to end in a bunch sprint. Day three sees the riders tackle a 23.5 km individual time trial from Loures Barousse to Sarp, taking in some small, tough climbs.
The race ends with a big Pyrenean mountain stage between Montréjeau and Loudenvielle Le Louron, traversing the Col du Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, Hourquette d'Ancizan and Col du Val Louron. The last summit is 19 kilometres from the finish.
A good showing by Scanlon in the UCI 2.3 race would also give the 23 year old the opportunity to move inside the world's top 100 riders. In the latest world rankings Scanlon is 118th with 403 points, 75 away from the total of the 100th placed rider. A reflection of his future promise is seen in the fact that, of those under 25 years of age, he is tenth best.
Ireland is 30th in the national rankings and will gain two places in the world road race championships if this ranking remains constant or improves over the summer.
FBD Milk Rás winner David McCann is another whose efforts have helped increase the country's position in the world tables. He won two stages of the Tour of Korea earlier this week and while he slipped out of the yellow jersey before the end of the race, has added another ten world ranking points to his UCI points total.
Virenque's modest ambitions
Richard Virenque (Quick.Step-Davitamon), six times a winner of the king of the mountains competition in the Tour de France, will aim for an unprecedented seventh polka dot jersey this July, even if his ambitions remain modest. Virenque, 34, has made the Tour de France his focus for the year since the season began, but admits to a certain pessimism concerning his own potential and hinting that this Tour could be his last.
"Most of all I want to enjoy myself at the Tour," Virenque said in a l'Equipe interview. "To win a stage would be great, but that depends on a lot of things."
As for his eventual decision to retire, not surprisingly Virenque says the Tour will be the key factor. Since turning professional with the RMO team in 1991, Virenque has hit the highs and lows of his career at the Tour, including several stage wins, stints in the yellow jersey, and his six polka dot jerseys along the way, while also being implicated in the Festina affair of 1998 which saw the expulsion of his entire team from the Tour.
"Everything depends on the Tour de France," Virenque explained. "I realise that I'm at the end of my career, that it's mostly behind me. After fourteen years as a pro, I don't really have any more perspective.
"I don't want to make any ultimatums to Quick.Step," he added, "since my career could finish with another team if I felt like I still had the energy and the desire to carry on. No matter what happens, I want to finish in a good environment, whether it's Quick.Step or elsewhere."
Virenque found disagreement with his team manager Patrick Lefevere this year, preferring to ride the Four Days of Dunkirk but being sent to the Giro del Trentino instead. The Frenchman was frustrated by the mid-spring episode, but ultimately feels that he will meet his team's expectation that he arrive at the Tour in top condition.
"Right now I'm training in the mountains, which is a real sacrifice but the goal is to be able to do something special at the Tour. If the results don't come, I don't see what the point would be."
Hamburger gets to Greece
Bo Hamburger has earned selection to the Danish national team for the Olympic Games in Athens this summer. Hamburger, who riders for the Italian Acqua & Sapone team, did not figure on the Danish cycling federation's list for the Olympics, as the federation expressed an open suspicion that he was guilty of doping following an "abnormally elevated" haematocrit level at the 2003 World Championships in Hamilton, Canada.
The Danish federation deferred the final decision on Olympic selection to the Danish National Sports Federation (DIF), which ultimately ruled in favour of the rider.
"Nothing justified eliminating Hamburger from the national selection, particularly not on the basis of the suspicions indicated," DIF spokesman Morten Moelholm Hansen told AFP.
Hamburger was suspended for life from the Danish cycling federation in 2001 after a positive EPO test, however the decision was reversed on appeal after tests of his B samples proved inconclusive.
Sylvain Calzati (RAGT Semences-MG Rover) is back in training after injury took him out of the Dauphiné Libéré last week. Calzati, suffering from tendinitis and knee pain, finished outside the time delay on the Mont Ventoux time trial stage. Part of the problem, he explained, was a change in equipment following his move from the Division III Oktos-Saint Quentin team to RAGT Semences-MG Rover mid-season.
"I was really upset that this happened to me," he said of his injury, quoted in l'Equipe. "I wanted to at least try and I acted like the injury wasn't there. Surely that was a mistake, and things could have gotten worse."
Calzati is unsure of selection for the Tour de France with his new team, expressing some apprehension at the thought of his first grand tour. "If I'm not suffering any more, I think I'll be there," he said.
Top teams for Tour of Britain
The Tour of Britain, scheduled for September 1-5, is quickly filling up with top-ranked teams for what is sure to be the best field ever assembled in the race's long history.
French Division I team Crédit Agricole confirmed this week its plans to ride the tour, featuring Britain's Bradley Wiggins on the team roster. The Belgian Division I team Chocolade Jacques will also field a team in the Tour of Britain, a UCI 2.3 event.
The tour will feature sixteen teams and stages around Manchester, Yorkshire, East Midlands, southeast Wales and Gwent, closing with a Sunday criterium in the streets of Westminster.
Venezuela for PanAm Championships
The Venezuelan cycling federation has announced its selection for the road and track events at the upcoming PanAm Championships in Cojedes. Men's teams will represent the country in the elite and U23 road races and on the track, and a women's road and track selection will also travel to the championships, scheduled for June 20-27.
Elite road: Manuel Guevara, José Rujano, Carlos Ochoa, José Chacón, Víctor Becerra, Manuel Medina, Miguel Ubeto, Jhon Navas, Noel Vasquez, Douglas Pérez
U23 road: Honorio Machado, Juan Murillo, Freddy Alvarado, Jackson Rodríguez, José Ramos, Jesús Pérez, Jimm Santos, Luis Díaz, Miguel Chacón
Men's track: Rubén Osorio, Alexander Cornieles, Jhonny Hernández, Frederick Segura, Franklin Chacón, Richard Ochoa, Isaac Cañisales, Tomas Gil, Andris Hernández, Máximo Rojas
Women's road/track: Daniela Larreal, Karelia Machado, Dayana Chirinos, Angie González, Yerli Castillo, Lohana Torres, Adriana Lovera, Daniely García, Edimar Luque, Blendys Rojas
LVV Hall of Fame Inductees
The Lehigh Valley Velodrome has finalised the 2004 inductees into its Hall of Fame. This year marks the second induction into the Hall of Fame, celebrating 29 years of cycling history and honouring the many cycling stars that have helped make the velodrome a success and to educate newcomers about the facility and track cycling.
The list of the 2004 inductees includes: Nicole Reinhart, Mary Jane Reoch, Hubert Schleh, Bruce Donaghy, Art McHugh, and Gordon Singleton. Because of his recent passing and the time range for inclusion, Alaric Gayfer was not voted in to the Hall of Fame for 2004 but is certain for induction in future years.
The Velodrome Hall of Fame will be online for easy worldwide access (www.lvvelo.org). Included in this special section of the velodrome's website will be photos of all inductees along with their biographical information and specific history with the Lehigh Valley Velodrome.
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