Latest Cycling News for March 3, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Armstrong and Ullrich in 24th Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia
This week's five day Spanish stage race is a little different to the
norm, as it features a much discussed encounter between Tour de France
rivals Lance Armstrong (US Postal-Berry Floor) and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile).
Armstrong appears to be in good shape after his time trial victory in
the Volta ao Algarve, where he finished 5th overall. Ullrich has had only
one day of competition so far this season (last Sunday in Almeria) and
will not be putting himself under any pressure in Murcia.
Although last year's third and fourth place getters in the Tour, Alexandre
Vinokourov and Tyler Hamilton, will not be present in Murcia, the fifth
and sixth place finishers, Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia (both Euskaltel)
will. These two riders are also in the very early stages of their seasons,
and not a great deal will be expected from them.
A couple more riders in Ullrich's T-Mobile squad are Erik Zabel and
Cadel Evans, both of whom are stage win candidates after their performances
so far this year. In the time trial, watch out for Germans Uwe Peschel
and Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner), both proven performers against the watch.
Antonio Colom (Illes Balears-Banesto) will be looking to make up for his
near miss in the Vuelta a Comunidad Valenciana, however his rival there
Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme) will start in Murcia with
ambitions and the form to win.
The key stages in Murcia are the stage 2 time trial in Lorca (21.3 km)
and the fourth stage between Totana and the Alto Collado Bermejo (169
km). The latter is a Cat. 1 climb rising to 1,150 metres, with the riders
having to climb 900 metres in the final 18 kilometres.
Stage 1 - March 3: Murcia - San Pedro del Pinatar, 177 km
Stage 2 - March 4: Lorca - Lorca ITT, 21.3 km
Stage 3 - March 5: Yecla - Catlike (Yecla), 156.4 km
Stage 4 - March 6: Totana - Alto Collado Bermejo, 169 km
Stage 5 - March 7: Murcia - Murcia, 133 km
Brioches La Boulangère (Pichon)
Comunidad Valenciana - Kelme (Valverde)
Cafes Baque (F. Gutierrez)
Costa Almeria-Paternina (Torrent)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Mayo, Zubeldia, D. Etxebarria)
Gerolsteiner (Peschel, Rich)
Illes Balears-Banesto (Colom, Galvez)
Mrbookmarker.Com-Palmans (Van de Wouwer, Planckaert)
Relax-Bodysol (S. Blanco)
Saeco (Di Luca)
Saunier Duval - Prodir (Dominguez, Piepoli)
T-Mobile Team (Ullrich, Zabel, Evans)
US Postal-Berry Floor (Armstrong)
Museeuw to Paris-Nice
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
After a strong performance in Kuurne last Sunday, Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon)
has decided that he will ride Paris-Nice instead of Tirreno-Adriatico.
"What follows after that, I don't know yet," he said. "At my age, I usually
look at it from week to week. If I feel great, then I won't rule out Milan-San
Remo any longer. Wouldn't it be stupid to pass on La Primavera if I feel
up to the task? In function of the team, it's understandable. Otherwise,
we don't have that many Museeuws in our team."
Patience for Steels
Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) will not be in action in Wednesday's
GP Fayt-le-Franc in Belgium. The sprinter is still suffering from his
fall in Moscow a few weeks ago, and will probably race in the Driedaagse
van West Vlaanderen and possibly Tirreno-Adriatico next week, subject
to team manager Gerard Bulens' approval.
De Clercq offered Olympic spot
Belgian cyclo-crosser Mario De Clercq has been offered a spot in the
Belgian Olympic team as a mountain biker, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
The triple cyclo-cross World Champion, who won a mountain bike race last
weekend in the Netherlands, says it's unlikely that he'll be in Athens.
"Very tempting, but the qualification standards don't appear realistic
to me," said De Clercq. "I have to score in the Belgian Cup and then finish
two times in the first eight in a round of the World Cup...That means
I would have to peak then [in May] and therefore have to keep training
after a hard 'cross season. And then hypothetically the following 'cross
season. Maybe the BOIC will waive the standards. At the end of this week,
I should know everything."
Walter Planckaert is back
After a 14 month break from cycling, Walter Planckaert (brother of Eddy
and Willy, uncle of Francesco and Jo), will return as a team director
with Chocolade Jacques. His appointment will take the pressure off manager
Jef Braeckevelt and director Johan Capiot, who have not found things easy
going of late due to the team's expanded program.
Planckaert's last job as a director was with Lotto-Adecco, but when
the merger came with Domo, there was no spot left for him. He has also
directed the Panasonic and Palmans teams in the past.
Team boss Noël Demeulenaere said, "In every marriage there is some discussion.
We have carried out the necessary reshuffling and now everyone in the
team is satisfied."
Landuyt affair distills
The investigating magistrate in Kortrijk, Belgium is expected to make
a decision soon about the main suspects in the José Landuyt affair. The
case concerns a Belgian veterinarian who is accused of supplying drugs
to various people involved in bicycle, horse and pigeon racing. Following
raids on more than 20 houses in September last year, Johan Museeuw, Mario
De Clercq, Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers were under suspicion of being
supplied by Landuyt. It now appears that hormones were only found at the
homes of Planckaert and Peers, the reason being given is that they were
for their wives, who were pregnant at the time.
Source: VRT Teletekst
Moseley breaks wrist
Photo: © Tracey Moseley
Britsh downhiller Tracy Moseley has broken her right wrist whilst out
training last week. She came up short on a set of double jumps in her
local trails and landed badly, resulting in a clean break of her radius.
Moseley was taken to hospital, where they confirmed the break, and returned
there last Friday to have the bone re-aligned. She is expected to make
a full recovered and should be back on her bike in the next 6 to 10 weeks.
This will mean she will not be able to race the first Maxxis Cup or
Sea Otter but will be back fighting fit for the first world cup round
in Fort William where she will be determined to win on home soil. In the
meantime she will be training on her home trainer indoors.
Skoda official car sponsor for the Tour
Czech car manufacturer Skoda, part of the Volkswagen group, will be
the official car sponsor of the Tour de France this year. Skoda takes
over from Fiat, which has been involved with the Tour since 1989, and
its sponsorship is worth approximately €3.5 million.
South Australia awarded host for 2005-06 Australian Road Championships
Location for parcours likely to be Paracombe
By Anthony Tan & Gerard Knapp
Crowds estimated at 15,000 lined
the Buninyong course at this year's Nationals
Photo: © Mark Gunter
The state of South Australia will become the new venue for the Australian
Open Road Championships for the next two years, commencing in 2005. Australian
Major Events (AME), the events division of the South Australian Tourism
Commission, will play host to the 2005-06 Championships, which, for the
past three years, have been held in the Victorian country town of Buninyong.
"The decision was the subject of lengthy discussion by the Cycling Australia
board at its meeting last Sunday," said President of Cycling Australia,
Mike Victor. "But the South Australian bid won out as the most comprehensive
According to Cycling Australia, the bid to host the Championships was
assessed against an extensive criteria, including: competition and infrastructure,
support network, finance, marketing and promotion, and athlete and visitor
facilities. Strangely, no mention was made of consideration to the course/s
proposed by AME - a factor that has made the last three road championships
in Buninyong so successful - other than that one of the locations mentioned
in the bid document was Paracombe, a small town north-east of the capital
city of Adelaide in the heart of the Adelaide Hills region.
"We've got a lot of faith in Mike Turtur to pick a good course," Victor
assured Cyclingnews. "We want to make sure it's challenging enough
from an athlete's point of view."
When Cyclingnews asked Turtur about the proposed parcours, the
race organiser of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - a highly-successful
UCI 2.3 stage race also held in the state of South Australia - preferred
not to discuss possible locations, only saying that a decision will be
made by Cycling Australia's technical committee in consultation with the
State's high-performance coaches. However, Turtur did indicate that both
the men's and women's time trials may be held on the same day, with the
men's road race staged a day earlier - traditionally on the Sunday - to
provide cyclists also competing at the Tour Down Under an extra day's
"There was no decision taken on the exact course, but it's up to the
technical committee to inspect and select the right course." said Turtur.
"We're keen to see the Australian Open have its own space; one idea that
has been floated is that the both time trials will be held on the same
day and the [road] championship will be on the Saturday. Also, the time
trial may be held on a course different to that of the road race, to make
both events as accessible to as many spectators as possible."
While clearly disappointed with the outcome, Caribou's John Craven -
promoter of the Australian Championships in Victoria for the past six
years - was pragmatic in his reply: "Life goes on here in Victoria. We're
still the biggest promoter of cycling in Australia," he said proudly.
"We can now have a holiday in January and concentrate on the Herald Sun-Tour,
Melbourne to Warrnambool, the Tatts Cup, Tour of Sunraysia and the Tour
of Queensland. Caribou paid out $2.5 million in prizemoney the past 15
years - which was audited by the VCF (Victorian Cycling Federation) -
and this year, we're looking to pay out a further $266,500."
Australian Junior Track Cycling Championships in Launceston
By Rod Morris
Australia junior cycling talent will be on display at this weekend's
Australian Junior Track Championships at the Launceston Silverdome in
Tasmania. A total of 116 riders from every Australian State and Territory
will contest the four day championships, starting on Friday at 10:00am.
The Championships will be held over twice daily sessions, with three sessions
scheduled for Sunday.
Riders will have the chance to contest a variety of events, including
scratch race, 500 m Time Trial, Individual Pursuit (2000 m), Sprint and
Teams Pursuit titles. A new event on the program will be the 1-lap Time
Trial, which has replaced the old 200 m Sprint trial. In the case of the
Silverdome, this event will be over 285 m and the early favourite should
be West Australian Scott Sunderland, who was clocked at 19.24 seconds
at Perth's Midvale Superdrome.
Schedule of events
Day 1 - Friday, March 5: 1 lap Time Trial (JM15, JW15, JW17, jm17),
Teams Pursuit (JM17), Individual Pursuit (JW17), Scratch Race (JM15, JW15)
Day 2 - Saturday, March 6: Individual Pursuit (JM15, JW15, JM17), Sprint
Day 3 - Sunday, March 7: Sprint (JM15, JW15, JM17), 500 m Time Trial (JW17)
Monday, March 8: 500 m Time Trial (JM15, JW15, JM17), Scratch Race (JM17,
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