First Edition Cycling News for March 1, 2004
Edited by Anthony Tan and Jeff Jones
Belgian season opens with K-B-K
The snowy weather that forced the cancellation of the Omloop Het Volk stayed away for long enough for the Belgian season to open with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday. Although temperatures were only around the 5 degree celsius mark, the riders enjoyed sunny blue skies as they tackled the 193 km parcours. The race exploded on the Oude Kwaremont with 80 km to go as a leading group of 36 formed. Then with 10 km to go, eight riders left the peloton to fight it out for the win, with Dutchman Steven De Jongh (Rabobank) beating Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) and Gerben Löwik (Jacques) in the sprint.
After the finish, De Jongh commented that he enjoyed the cold conditions and also liked racing in this area, after winning the GP E3 Prijs in nearby Harelbeke last year.
Ullrich happy with debut
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) described himself as happy with his first race of the season, the Clasica Almeria in Spain, won by La Boulangère's Thomas Voeckler. Ullrich was part of the main field that finished too far behind the 20 leaders to be classified. "After my preparation with three training camps altogether, I feel on the right road towards the Tour de France," Ullrich told the SID newsagency. "It is not my aim yet to keep up with the best riders. Above all, it was important for getting the first racing kilometres in. That can now be built on."
Ullrich's next race will be the Vuelta a Murcia (March 3-7), where he will race with Lance Armstrong for the first time this season.
Australia makes tilt to host 2010 Road World's
By Gerard Knapp
The state of Victoria in southern Australia has made a serious bid to host the 2010 World Road Championships, likely to be the first road World's to be held below the equator in a decade.
The vice-president of the UCI, Ray Godkin, told Cyclingnews after the Geelong round of the UCI Women's World Cup, "Australia is bidding for the first possible chance to hold the World Road Championships in 2010". Godkin explained that at the January 2004 board meeting of the UCI, it voted to hold the premier single-day event outside of Europe by 2010.
Godkin said a decision on the location of the 2010 road world's could be made as soon as this October, well ahead of the UCI's normal three-year lead time for announcing host cities for the world's.
He said the UCI did not have any reservations about the distance the majority of the field will need to travel to attend, nor the timezones not being conducive to live broadcasts in Europe. Rather, "they have received very favourable reports about it", he said of possible locations in either Melbourne or Geelong, a coastal centre 100km from the CBD that played host to the first round of the UCI Women's World Cup yesterday.
It is also understood that the UCI's road commissioner, Pat McQuaid, has visited Melbourne and was impressed with the city and possible race routes.
Melbourne is also playing host to the 2004 World Track Cycling Championships in May at Vodafone Arena, a venue close to the city's CBD. Last year, the Australian Cycling Federation set up a company, Australian Cycling Events, with the specific aim of hosting international events in the country.
It's believed the Victorian government is lending its support to the bid. Attracting major international sporting events is seen as a powerful political tool in Victorian state politics. One of the State's more colourful Premiers, Jeff Kennett, led the move to poach the Australian round of the World F1 Drivers Championship from Adelaide, the capital city of Victoria's neighbouring state of South Australia. In fact, the F1 GP is due to be held next weekend on a street circuit close to Melbourne's CBD, while the state also hosts the World Moto GP at Philip Island.
However, cycling has also benefited from this interstate rivalry, as it's believed one of the motivations behind the SA State Government underwriting the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under was to create an international sporting event after it lost the F1 GP to Melbourne.
However, hosting a road world championship does not come cheaply. Godkin said he believed it costs $15 million to host the road World's "properly". "It's a major undertaking for any city," he said.
In 2004, the World Road Championships (September 27 to October 3) head back to the Italian city of Verona, scene of the 1999 World's. By next year, the World Road Championships will be brought back one month and held in September.
Paola Pezzo back home after appendicitis emergency
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
After her emergency operation for appendicitis on Friday, Paola Pezzo has been released from Brescia Hospital Sunday morning. "I really didn't plan this!", Pezzo joked with Cyclingnews from her home in Lake Garda, Italy. "I was operated the day before I was supposed to race in Brescia on Saturday and now, according to my doctors, I won't be riding for at least a couple of weeks. So now the first part of my program this year will have to change, but I'll try not to lose too much of my fitness from all the work I did over the winter. That way I'll be competitive at the races later this spring. There's still plenty of time..."
The determined two-time Olympic MTB gold medalist Pezzo hopes that her first race of the season can be in late March or early April.
Pinotti hopes for better form in Murcia
Lampre rider Marco Pinotti, one of the 129 riders who finished outside the time limit on the third stage of the Giro della Provincia di Lucca, leaving just 18 to contest the final stage, is disappointed with what happened and his performance, and hopes to rectify the situation at the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia-Costa Calida in Spain beginning on Wednesday.
"I feel a little tired and I am not happy of my performance - it was not a good race for myself and for the team in general," said Pinotti on his website, cyclingfx.nl/MarcoPinotti. "After Malaysia (Le Tour de Langkawi), I did not train well due to bad weather conditions.
"The third stage started under a cloudy sky with cold air. I was suffering since the start and after 50 kilometres a breakaway was formed by 18 riders with no Lampre members. It was a miscommunication with our Directorre-Sportivo - we stayed in the peloton and did not try to chase," he explained. "In the evening we were informed of our disqualification from the race, and only the 18 riders in the breakaway were allowed to start in the last stage. Hopefully in Murcia, I will improve a little."
Giro's challenging new climb for 2005?
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
RCS Sport, organisers of the Giro d'Italia, may add a new and extremely difficult climb to the race parcours that will be officially announced next November in Milano. Just east of Sestrieres in the Italian Alps, the Col della Finestre transits the Orsiera National Park and reaches an altitude of 2,100m. The more challenging north ascent from Susa features 18 kilometres of climbing at an average gradient of 8.9%, with steep sections up to 17%! Once across Col della Finestre and down into the Chisone valley, a natural place for a mountaintop stage finish may be Sestrieres, just 25 km west.
VC Frankfurt Radteam-Bruegelmann announced
A dream come true for Peter Rohracker
By Florian Schaaf
On Saturday at the sports centre Unterliederbach near Frankfurt in Germany, a dream came true for Peter Rohracker, former team manager of the Nürnberger cycling team, as his new team VC Frankfurt Radteam-Bruegelmann was presented to the public.
The Velociped Club Frankfurt was founded in 1883, one year before the foundation of the German Cycling Federation. One of its members was Hans Hundertmarck, grandfather of former Team Telekom rider Kai Hundertmarck, who was national road champion in 1925. The impetus to create a Division III team came about from the possibility of participating in the Internationale Hessen-Rundfahrt in September this year, and so far, the team's chances look promising.
There are two Australians in VC Frankfurt Radteam-Bruegelmann: former Olympic champion, Scott McGrory, and Jason Phillips. McGrory was absent at the team presentation yesterday, as he is currently preparing his defence of his madison gold medal back home in Australia, but joined the audience by phone call - which required him to get up at 3:30a.m. due to time difference between Australia and Europe! He will join the team in May and is confident of defending his title in Athens later in the year.
The objective of the team is to present the sponsor's name and to collect as many victories as possible during the season. If that success comes true, team manager Peter Rohracker is confident to continue with the team next year, perhaps in Division II.
Images by Florian Schaaf
Team Bikesport/Lifetime Fitness/AAVC announces roster
Based out of Ann Arbor and Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, USA, the Team Bikesport/Lifetime Fitness/AAVC team will be racing throughout Michigan and the Midwest. The team has already had a busy start, scoring its first win at the Schabobele Classic Road Race, as well as assisting sponsor Lifetime Fitness to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America during their 4-hour Valentines Day Indoor Cycling Marathon.
Pegasus Bicycle Works/Allegiant Air Racing Team
A newly forged amateur bicycle racing team is ready to take on a wide spectrum of races in the NorCal region. Based in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area, the Contra Costa Cycling Club (C4) has its sights set on taking it to the competition across several disciplines, with a solid focus on road racing.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)