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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for June 22, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Rabobank names Tour team

Rabobank has announced its team for the Tour de France, which in spite of the absence of sprinter Oscar Freire should still be a very competitive one. Team directors Erik Breukink and Frans Maassen have selected Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Karsten Kroon, Bram de Groot, Marc Lotz, Michael Rasmussen, Levi Leipheimer, Marc Wauters and Grischa Niermann. South African Robert Hunter, who won two stages in the Tour de Suisse, has been appointed as first reserve.

"For the line up of our team, we have looked at the qualities of Rasmussen, Leipheimer and Boogerd for the mountain stages plus an attacking way of competing in the other stages," said Erik Breukink. "Now that we're missing Freire, unfortunately, we're out for the bunch sprints, but for the other stages we have the qualities."

In terms of the general classification, Breukink added, "We will try to bring Leipheimer and Rasmussen as far as possible."

Of the team, Rasmussen is the only rider never to have ridden in the Tour. All the others have 42 Tour starts between them, with 31 finishes. Past yellow jersey wearer Marc Wauters is the most experienced of the team and is starting his 12th Tour, while Erik Dekker is ready for his 10th. The members of the squad have also accumulated eight stage wins between them, namely Dekker (4), Boogerd (2), Kroon (1) and Wauters (1).

T-Mobile's (unofficial) Tour squad

Botero in Tour team
Photo ©: Franklin Tello

Although the German team's nine member Tour de France team will be officially presented in Bonn this Friday, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws has reported that, "Manager Walter Godefroot has set the nine names on paper that will start in the Tour on July 3."

Apart from the obvious presence of Tour de Suisse winner Jan Ullrich, according to HLN the team will contain Tour of Austria winner Cadel Evans, Giuseppe Guerini, Andreas Klöden, Matthias Kessler and Daniele Nardello to help Ullrich in the mountains. Santiago Botero will be employed as an all round helper, with the team time trial foremost in mind, while sprinter Erik Zabel will have Rolf Aldag as a lead out man.

T-Mobile will miss having Alexandre Vinokourov, who finished third in the Tour last year, in the team after his crash in the Tour de Suisse left him sidelined for three weeks with a shoulder injury.

(Update: The latest news from Cadel Evans is that he has been selected as a "first reserve" for the TdF and is not among the first group of nine.)

VDB back to racing

After spending two months off following the spring classics, Frank Vandenbroucke (Fassa Bortolo) is ready to return to racing. He is expected to start in a kermis today in Ruddervoorde, Belgium, a somewhat low key debut with less than a week to go until the Belgian Championships in Tessenderlo. VDB could also race in Brussels-Ingooigem on Wednesday.

Despite missing the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, Vandenbroucke played down any rumours that there were any problems with the team and his boss Giancarlo Ferretti. "It's enough that I have not raced for some time and the various rumours that have circulated about me, I know of," Vandenbroucke told La Derniere Heure. "Formerly I took these to heart...From now on, I won't put much stock in them. Whenever I do something, it's always amplified, distorted, even invented. It's as if I wasn't a racer but a show biz star. The people don't realise that the pressure on a high level athlete is terrible. If it's going ok, there is no problem, but as soon as you are less than good, it becomes very hard. Tom Boonen will come to realise this."

VDB described his early season as "not bad. Of course I lacked a win but I was up there with the best. I hope to make the last small step that separates me from the summit by the end of the season."

Calling Fassa Bortolo "the best team that I have ever developed in", Vandenbroucke outlined his program for the coming months. After training at altitude in Livigno, the Alpes and Font-Romeu, VDB will race in the Criterium d'Abruzzo and Trofeo Matteotti then the Tour of Portugal. Olympic selection is unlikely, partly due to the fact that he is still under investigation for possession of drugs, and Vandenbroucke said that if this is the case, "I would like to be informed about it now."

Belgians examine Museeuw, Planckaert, Peers dossiers

The files of Johan Museeuw, Jo Planckaert, Chris Peers and Oliver Penney will be examined by the anti-doping commission of the Belgian Cycling Federation (KBWB) in Brussels on Wednesday, June 23. The riders were part of an investigation conducted by a magistrate in Kortrijk into Belgian veterinarian Jose Landuyt and soigneur Herman Versele, who are suspected of supplying doping products to cyclists as well as horse and pigeon breeders. As the investigation centres on Landuyt and Versele, none of the riders named in the affair have been charged. However, their dossiers were given to the KBWB by the court in April this year, to see if they warranted further disciplinary action.

The case opened in September last year when Belgian police carried out a large scale raid on approximately 20 cyclists' homes, discovering some illegal products. Blood and urine tests performed on the riders were all negative. Soigneur Herman Versele first admitted to supplying doping substances to riders but subsequently retracted his statements.

Paul Rowney retires

Australian mountain biker Paul Rowney rode his last professional MTB race in the 5th round of the NORBA series in Mt. Snow, Vermont, USA last weekend. Rowney finished 14th in the Cross Country on Saturday but managed to pull a dream career-ending win in Sunday's Short Track Cross Country ahead of Geoff Kabush and Liam Killeen.

In his last Rowney report, Paul described the race: "I had a blinder of a start, got the holeshot for the first lap or so, it was then time to sit back in the bunch as my team mate Treva went on the charge...it has been great having the firepower to 1-2 the front of the race, so we stayed front 5 most of the race and with 3 laps to go and thought this was it. Waiting patiently I made my move. Geoff Kabush managed to come with me. There was a bit of a headwind up the finish straight and we had to work together to stay away. Bell lap and Kabush made his move on the climb, I gave it everything to hang with him and on the descent made a move around him. It only just stuck and that was that...another short track win!!! Ohh boy and was I happy, the fairy tale ending."

In summing it all up, Paul wrote, "This weekend was my last weekend of international competition, spanning a 10 year career with more pain and suffering than I care to remember, but given me a lifestyle that has been adventure filled, taking me around the globe to some of the most amazing places I could ever imagined. without a doubt the greatest thing about this job is the friends, fans and freaks. you will be missed.

"So that's it kids. To all my sponsors, supporters, family, friends and competitors...I can't thank you enough!"

Selected palmares

2003
5th XC Norba series #2, USA
19th XC Oceania MTB Titles, AUS

2002
2nd XC MTB Australian Titles, NSW
6th XC MTB NORBA #2, USA
9th XC Commonwealth Games, ENG

2001
1st XC Australian MTB Titles, QLD
7th XC MTB Sea Otter Classic, USA
8th Overall, Sea Otter Classic, USA
9th XC MTB World Cup, Napa, USA

2000
1st XC Australian MTB Titles, QLD
3rd XC MTB Dutch Competition Series, NED
3rd Short Track MTB NORBA, Mt Snow, USA
4th XC National MTB Series
6th MTB World Cup XC, MEX
9th Road Time Trial, Australian Titles, VIC
10th XC, Olympic Games, AUS

1999
1st Elite XC, Australian MTB Titles, VIC
1st Elite XC Oceania Intl Grand Prix, NSW
1st Overall Le Raid Piere Harvey, CAN
1st Stage 1, Le Raid Piere Harvey, CAN
2nd Stage 3, Le Raid Piere Harvey, CAN
3rd Stage 2, Le Raid Piere Harvey, CAN
3rd Short Track NORBA, Mt Snow, USA
7th XC Canadian National Titles, CAN
8th NORBA, Pittsburgh, USA

1998
1st Tour de Dirt, AMBA Series, ACT
1st Cactus Cup XC, Arizona, USA
1st California State Series, Napa, USA
1st California State Series, Marin, USA
4th Cactus Cup Dirt Criterium, Arizona, USA
5th Overall Cactus Cup, Arizona, USA
8th Cactus Cup Time Trial, Arizona, USA
8th Time Trial, Sea Otter Classic, USA
8th NORBA Series, Pittsburgh, USA

1997
1st Tour de Dirt AMBA Series, ACT
2nd Australian Titles, Canberra, ACT
2nd Overall, National MTB XC Series
2nd Overall, Cactus Cup, Arizona, USA
2nd XC, Cactus Cup, Arizona, USA
5th Dirt Criterium, Cactus Cup, Arizona, USA
5th Overall, Sea Otter Classic, USA
5th Time Trial, Sea Otter Classic, USA
6th XC, Sea Otter Classic, USA
8th Dirt Criterium, Sea Otter Classic, USA

1996
1st Trees & Breeze Classic, USA
2nd Overall, National MTB XC Series
2nd Elite XC, Australian MTB Titles, NSW
4th Stage 8, Tour de France VTT, FRA
5th Downhill, Tour of Hawaii, USA
9th Stage 6, Tour de France VTT, FRA

Danish talent to Dutch MTB team

Danish mountain biking talent Jakob Fuglsang (19) has signed a contract with the Dutch MTB team Heijdens-Ten Tusscher. Fuglsang last year won a silver medal at the European Championships for juniors in Graz (Austria). This year he surprised with results in the World Cup for elite riders: 19th in Houffalize and 16th in Fort William. Fuglsang signed a contract for the next one and a half years, until the end of 2005.

The Heijdens-Ten Tusscher team is a continuation of the former American Eagle Team and is still under the same manager (Jan ten Tusscher) and using the same bikes (American Eagle). In the past, riders like Bart Brentjens, Roel Paulissen, Elsbeth Vink and Gunn-Rita Dahle have ridden for this team.

This year, Heijdens-Ten Tusscher contains Erwin Bakker, Maarten Tjallingii, Frank Schotman, Christian Poulsen (Den), Corine Dorland and Daphny van den Brand, and is expected to sign more international talents in the coming months.

Kieran McMahon RIP

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

Kieran McMahon
Photo: © Gerry McManus
Click for larger image

Irish cycling is in shock with the tragic news of the death of Kieran McMahon in a road traffic accident in Co. Cork on Monday.

The Clareman was part of the winning Kerry county team in this year's FBD Milk Rás and came out of the race in good form, placing fifth in the John Drum memorial in Kerry. He would have been aiming for a good showing in the national road race championships in Sligo next Sunday. With close friend and teammate Paul Griffin in flying form at the moment the Earl of Desmond riders would have been one of the contenders for the team prize.

Kieran had competed with a number of teams over the years, including Limerick CC and Dan Morrissey's. The 30 year old also rode on several Irish national squads, most recently taking part in the Giro del Capo in South Africa this spring.

Elite team manager Martin O'Loughlin knew Kieran well, and paid tribute to him on a sporting and personal basis. "It's very sad to hear the news. Kieran was a perfect gentleman, a very quiet chap. He came from a fabulous family. His father was a great supporter of his for years. He'd go along to all the races with his camera and must have taken more footage at races than anyone else in Ireland. On a ten mile lap you might see the father three or four times, as he would nip backwards and forwards to see the race and to get his images."

"Kieran was a very good rider, especially in criteriums. He had a fantastic jump out of a corner - you might be right on his wheel going into a bend but he'd take twenty yards out of you coming out of it. He was also a very good team rider and earned an Ireland jersey on a number of occasions. He was part of the Irish team which won the overall title in the 2003 Ras Mumhan, as well as being part of the winning Kerry team in this year's FBD Milk Rás."

Kieran will be greatly missed by his family, friends and fellow cyclists. May he rest in peace.

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