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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for June 29, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

UCI rankings: Bettini to number 1

Paolo Bettini and Erik Zabel's respective failures to defend their national titles last Sunday worked out in favour of Bettini, who has reclaimed the UCI number one ranking from the German. Bettini finished 11th in the Italian championships while Zabel managed 17th in the German championships, and Bettini now is on top of the UCI rankings with 2191 points, followed by compatriot Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) on 2137 points and Zabel on 2114 points. The only other change to the top 10 was Jan Ullrich, who jumped up from 15th to 9th, courtesy of his win in the Tour de Suisse.

Other riders on the move since the last set of rankings were released two weeks ago are Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Saunier Duval), who climbed from 27th to 11th after winning the Volta a Catalunya; his teammate Fabian Jeker, who came within one second of winning the Tour de Suisse last Sunday, moved from 92nd to 41st; and Vladimir Karpets (Illes Balears-Banesto), who finished second in the Volta a Catalunya and ascended from 231st to 80th on the rankings.

In the teams rankings, Team CSC has reclaimed the top spot from Saeco, with 4755 points compared to 4613. Gerolsteiner is in third place on 4398.75 points, while T-Mobile occupies fourth spot - just 1.75 points behind its German rival.

Rankings as of June 27, 2004

Elite men
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                     2191.00 pts
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                      2137.00
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                               2114.00
4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                           1980.00
5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 1893.00
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco                                   1675.00
7 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor      1592.00
8 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                       1440.00
9 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                              1395.00
10 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                              1364.00
11 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir   1316.00
12 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                       1308.00
13 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                                   1278.60
14 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                              1170.00
15 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                 1159.20
16 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                           1136.00
17 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco                                  1133.00
18 Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa) Liberty Seguros                     1121.00
19 Bradley McGee (Aus)                              1105.00
20 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) De Nardi                              1042.50
Men's Division I
1 Team CSC                                                     4755.00 pts
2 Saeco                                                        4613.00
3 Gerolsteiner                                                 4398.75
4 T-Mobile Team                                                4397.00
5 Rabobank                                                     4037.00
6 Phonak Hearing Systems                                       3930.00
7 Fassa Bortolo                                                3873.00
8 Quick.Step-Davitamon                                         3828.00
9 Euskaltel-Euskadi                                            3772.25
10 Saunier Duval-Prodir                                        3547.00
Men's Division II
1 Domina Vacanze                                               2118.00 pts
2 Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme                                   2012.00
3 Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                                 1564.00
4 Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                                    1305.00
5 Costa De Almeria-Paternina                                    887.00
Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations.

Blood tests to be introduced for Tour

In a new effort to combat doping in cycling, the UCI plans to introduce full blood testing in the Tour de France - the first time that such a measure has been used to determine whether a rider is positive or not. Up until now, blood testing has only been used as a health measure (haematocrit test) or as a precursor to a urine test. But the relatively short range effectiveness of urine testing for blood boosting drugs such as EPO has greatly reduced the chance of catching athletes using the drug, as EPO has performance enhancing effects lasting several weeks.

Blood screening has been used for several years now, and there was a strong push by researchers at the Australian Institute of Sport to get an anti-doping blood test approved before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. But they were knocked back, partly because of fears of false positives.

Now it appears that all the hurdles have been overcome, and UCI doctor Mario Zorzoli told Procycling today that, "We have decided to introduce anti-doping blood tests. Nothing is official yet, but we know that our regulations permit us to perform blood tests and we're not worried about doing precisely that. It should happen: we have methods available to us to do it. I believe that it will be a first in a sporting event."

The irony is that a number of personnel from France's National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry have planned a strike on Saturday, July 3 to coincide with the start of the Tour de France.

Cofidis names its nine

Although the absence of David Millar will certainly put a hole into the Cofidis team for the Tour de France, the nine man squad named today should still make a strong impression. Candidate stage winners include Stuart O'Grady and Jimmy Casper, who have shown that they can take part in long breakaways as well as mix it up in the bunch sprints. O'Grady won two stages of the Dauphine Libéré while Casper came very close to winning one, and both are in good form.

The rest of the team includes Frédéric Bessy (Fra), Christophe Edaleine (Fra), Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra), Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), David Moncoutié (Fra), Janek Tombak (Est) and Matthew White (Aus), who will finally realise his dream of riding the Tour. The reserves are Daniel Atienza and Peter Farazijn, with Francis Van Londersele and Alain Deloeil as directors.

Wegmann in for Gerolsteiner

Not surprisingly after his third place in the German championships yesterday, Giro d'Italia mountains jersey winner Fabian Wegmann has been selected as the ninth rider for the Gerolsteiner team to replace the injured Markus Zberg. The 24 year old will be riding in his first Tour, and will start with no particular ambitions.

The full Gerolsteiner team is thus: René Haselbacher (Aut), Georg Totschnig (Aut) and Peter Wrolich (Aut), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Sebastian Lang (Ger), Uwe Peschel (Ger), Ronny Scholz (Ger), Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Sven Montgomery (Swi).

RAGT Semences-MG Rover celebrates

The RAGT Semences-MG Rover team received a morale boosting win in the French Time Trial Championships last week courtesy of defending champion Eddy Seigneur, who claimed the title by two seconds ahead of Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) and RAGT's Frédéric Finot. It was the French team's first win of the season, and came at a good time, as Seigneur will be able to show off his tricolore in the Tour de France time trials.

Seigneur has now won four French Championships: "Three times in a row against the clock in 2002, 2003, 2004, and the road race in 1995 in Pontarlier," he said. "I really feel quite at home in timed events which I find really motivating...This year I was especially fired up to hold onto my title. I had a hard job getting going, but was lucky that Fred Finot set out eight minutes before I did. I was able to set my timing to his, keeping Christophe Moreau at a safe distance, even though I was twenty seconds behind him at one point. Jean-Luc Jonrond and Julien Jurdie had got the feedback of information down to a fine art. I gave it all I had and it came off. I take my hat off to Marc Pacheco who coached me throughout last week behind the Derny motor bike. Part of this title is his too."

Seigneur added that, "Time trial riding is all about never giving up - one of life's lessons - even if the elements are against you."

For the Tour de France - his last - Seigneur will play the role as the RAGT team's road captain. "I'm pleased with the team," he said. "Everyone will see that the team has its rightful place on the Tour and our top will be seen. You have to attack form the word go, because with each day of the Tour, instead of getting better each day, you tend to get more and more tired. You don't need to be mentally strong but much more than that - you need to approach the Tour like a warrior going into battle. You have to attack all the time. I did one Tour with a bandaged arm for three weeks. You have to be able to put up with suffering and just get on with it. There's no room for improvisation on the Tour."

RAGT Semences-MG Rover for the Tour: Guillaume Auger, Pierre Bourquenoud, Gilles Bouvard, Sylvain Calzati, Frédéric Finot, Christophe Laurent, Ludovic Martin, Christophe Rinero, Eddy Seigneur.

Scanlon officially confirmed for Tour

By Shane Stokes,

Mark Scanlon's participation in the 2004 Tour de France was officially confirmed today by his Ag2R Prévoyance team with the announcement of their nine man line-up for the race. Scanlon will join Ag2R Prévoyance teammates Laurent Brochard, Jaan Kirsipuu, Jean Patrick Nazon, Stéphane Goubert, Nicolas Portal, Yuri Krivstov, Mikel Astarloza and Samuel Dumoulin in the Tour lineup.

The 23 year old professional will make history by becoming only the eighth ever Irish starter, and the first since Stephen Roche back in 1993. "I am delighted to get the chance to ride the Tour," said Scanlon today. "I'm very happy to ride but I am going to approach it like any other race, rather than build myself up too much. I'll just take it as it comes and see how I get on."

Scanlon was chosen yesterday evening by the Irish selectors for the Athens road race but, like his Tour de France participation, this was anticipated beforehand due to his good results this season. These include two race wins in Estonia, plus the accumulation of 198 world ranking points.

Scanlon is the most talented Irish cyclist in many years. Ever since that dramatic victory in the 1998 world junior championships in Valkenburg he has been recognised as the most likely rider to earn a Tour de France start.

Earlier this month he spent time training in the Alps in order to prepare for the demands of the Tour. As the race approaches, he will taper down his training in order to ensure his batteries are fully charged before the arduous three week contest.

"I haven't been doing any special training of late, just following my normal routine," he said. "I won't be doing anything too excessive over the next few days, just getting ready for the start of the race."

Click here for more Tour teams

Italian track championships this week

Running between June 29 and July 1 this week are the Italian Track Championships, which will be staged at the Ottavio Bottecchia velodrome in Pordenone. The three days of competition will include races for all categories and it's expected that 160 cyclists will take part, including Roberto Chiappa, Angelo Ciccone, Giovanna Troldi, Elisa Frisoni and Vera Carrara. In total there are 30 national jerseys up for grabs: 18 in the men's category and 12 in the women's.

The program

June 29

Women's 500m TT
Junior Men's 1000m TT
Men's 1000m TT
Junior Women's Scratch
Women's Scratch
Men's 4000m Individual Pursuit
Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit
Junior Men's Points Race

June 30

Junior Men's Sprint
Junior Women's Sprint
Men's Sprint
Women's Sprint
Junior Men's 3000m Individual Pursuit
Men's 4000m Team Pursuit
Junior Women's 2000m Individual Pursuit
Women's Points Race
Junior Men's Madison
Men's Points Race

July 1

Junior Women's 500m TT
Junior Women's Points Race
Men's Scratch
Junior Men's Scratch
Men's Team Sprint
Junior Men's Team Sprint
Junior Men's Team Pursuit
Women's Keirin
Junior Women's Keirin
Men's Keirin
Junior Men's Keirin
Men's Madison

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