Latest Cycling News for March 5, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Armstrong pounds WADA
In an open letter to the press, Tour champion Lance Armstrong has hit out at the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, over generalised comments he made about cyclists doping. Pound was quoted in the January 28 edition of Le Monde as saying, "the riders of the Tour de France and the others take banned substances."
In response, Armstrong wrote, "Should a person having such a conviction direct the biggest Anti-Doping agency the world? I reply, 'No.' In my name and in the name of the community of professional cyclists, I am obliged to reply to the assertions of Mr. Dick Pound."
Armstrong added that he was "stunned and saddened" by Pound's comments, and defended himself by saying, "I've said it before and I will repeat it: I believe that I am the most tested athlete on this planet, I have never had a single positive doping test, and I do not take performance enhancing drugs.
"Every sport has doping problems. Cycling is certainly a sport that has had problems. But who can deny that we have cleaned it up?...The Tour de France is one of the most controlled sports events in the world."
Since he first won the Tour in 1999 after coming back from cancer, Armstrong has faced constant questioning of his results and ability. "I have learned over the years that proving a negative can be quite challenging with people who simply do not want to believe that my accomplishments are possible without drugs," he said. "I can live with that. But, for Mr Pound to assert that I take drugs, or that my fellow riders in the Tour do, is simply careless and unacceptable. Perhaps Mr Pound believes, like certain others, that negative tests don't prove that athletes are clean. But if this is true, we must assert that no athlete is clean."
Armstrong called for a more constructive use of Dick Pound's and WADA's energy: "I ask you focus your efforts on the fight against doping rather than spending your time accusing innocent athletes without any evidence other than your own speculation."
Ullrich: "Armstrong is beatable"
Jan Ullrich considers five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to be "beatable", and hopes to be the one to do it this July. Speaking after stage 2 of the Vuelta a Murcia, where he finished 31st, Ullrich said "My first ambition is to win the Tour, the second, the Olympic Games," adding that "I'm not thinking about the Tour yet. You must go a little bit at a time. I'm only thinking of tomorrow."
Ullrich said that both he and Armstrong have "a great mutual respect" and believes that, "The Tour of 2004 will be harder than that of 2003. There will be more than two favourites."
No Kemmelberg in De Panne
The KBC Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde (March 30-April 1) will not be featuring the notorious Kemmelberg this year. The climb, which normally forms part of stage 2, will instead be replaced by climbs in the Vlaamse Ardennen.
The first stage of the three day race will be fairly traditional, starting from Middelkerke and finishing in Zottegem. There will be three finishing circuits around Zottegem, including the Leberg and Berendries each lap. Stage 2 starts in Zottegem, and passes via the Kanarieberg, Taaienberg and Eikenberg in the first 32 km, before the riders head towards Koksijde on the coast for the finish.
The last day features two stages, however the first stage around De Panne will no longer be flat. Instead the climbs of Monteberg, Rodeberg and Vidaigneberg will all be included. The race will finish in the afternoon with a 14 km time trial in De Panne.
Italian cyclist Andrea Peron (CSC) will be out of action for approximately four weeks after being hit by a motorcyclist in Malaga yesterday. As a result, Peron broke his ischial pubic bone and required nine stitches to his head.
More team lineups for Paris-Nice
Manolo Saiz will have his Liberty Seguros team racing in both hors categorie stage races next week. The team for Paris-Nice is: Dariusz Baranowski, Giampaolo Caruso, Allan Davis, Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano, Isidro Nozal, Javier Ramirez, Luis León Sánchez and Marcos Serrano.
The Quick.Step-Davitamon line up will feature Tom Boonen, Wilfried Cretskens, Pedro Horrillo, Kevin Hulsmans, Johan Museeuw, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz and Richard Virenque, with Wilfried Peeters as director.
Italian team Alessio-Bianchi has chosen the following riders: Pietro Caucchioli, Rene Jorgensen, Marcus Ljungqvist, Vladimir Miholjevic, Claus Michael Møller, Franco Pellizotti, Ellis Rastelli and Scott Sunderland.
Ceramiche Panaria Margres for Tirreno Adriatico
Team director Roberto Reverberi has selected the riders for Panaria-Margres for Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts next week. Giuliano Figueras, Paolo Tiralongo, Luca Mazzanti, Fortunato Baliani, Alejandro Borrajo, Sergey Matveyev, Ruben Bongiorno and Brett Lancaster will make up the team.
Andresen to BankGiroLoterij
Danish rider Allan Bo Andresen has changed teams from Alessio-Bianchi to BankGiroLoterij. Andresen was given permission to leave Alessio after the financial uncertainties faced by the "Scandinavian" part of the team in the early part of the season.
Revolution 4: The Final Revolution
The Revolution Series draws to a close at the Manchester Velodrome later this month with Revolution 4 set for March 20. The series, which started in November 2003, has been called a success by the organisers who said that "that track cycling is a spectator sport that is very much alive and kicking in the UK."
Revolution 4 is set to be the biggest meeting yet, with an expanded program, more star riders and plenty of additional entertainment. The British sprint trio of Jason Queally, Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean will return and will be joined by Jamie Staff making for a full strength British squad to take on Dutch sprint stars Theo Bos, Tuen Mulder and Tim Veldt. They will race in the Revolution Sprint and Keirin and will face off in the Team Sprint along with squads from Wales and Ireland.
In the endurance field, three World Champions will be on show including Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, World Scratch Race Champion Franco Marvulli and World Points Race Champion Franz Stocher. Belgian six day specialist Matthew Gilmore will also be racing meeting up with Wiggins for the first time since their victory at the Gent Six last November.
More information: www.cyclingrevolution.com
USAC releases Pan-Am and Marathon MTB selection criteria
USA Cycling has announced selection procedures for the 2004 Pan American Mountain Bike Championships in Baños, Ecuador April 22-25 and the UCI Marathon World Championships in Bad Goisern, Austria on July 11.
For the 2004 Pan American Championships, riders can qualify to compete in five categories: elite men and women, U23 men, and junior men and women. There are a maximum of five start positions each for the elite men's and women's categories. The first two U.S. athletes in the elite men's and elite women's cross country events at the first round of the 2004 NORBA National Mountain Bike Series in Waco, Texas will receive automatic nominations provided they finish in the top five.
The remaining three spots will be discretionary nominations, based on the rider's performance history in international and U.S. domestic competitions. 2004 results, UCI World Cups and NORBA National Mountain Bike Series events will take first priority.
There are also five start positions available for the U23 category, two of which will be automatic nominations. Automatic spots will go to the two best U23 finishers in the elite men's race in Waco, provided they finish in the top 20. A further three athletes will be selected by discretionary nomination, as above.
The number of starting positions in the junior men's and women's categories are yet to be determined, but similar selection procedures will be used in determining the candidates that will represent the U.S. The top two placing U.S. athletes in the men's and women's junior expert cross country race in Waco will receive automatic nominations with discretionary nominations again based on international and domestic results with an emphasis on 2004.
The first part of the 2004 NORBA National Mountain Bikes Series is also essential for selection to the 2004 Marathon World Championships. With seven slots available for men and women each, automatic nominations will go to the winners of the men's and women's marathon events in Big Bear, Calif. and Snowshoe, W. Va. Also, the top two male and female riders in the overall NORBA National Series Marathon rankings as of June 14 will receive automatic nominations. The final automatic nominations will go to the top two men and women in the overall NORBA National Series cross country rankings as of June 21.
Auction for Braveheart Cycling Fund
Scotland's Braveheart Cycling Fund is auctioning a Tour de France yellow jersey to raise money in order to help the development of future Scottish international cyclists. The jersey is signed by Ken Laidlaw, who was the first Scottish cyclist to finish a Tour de France, ending 65th in the 1961 Tour won by Jacques Anquetil.
The auction starts on Thursday, March 4 and lasts for 10 days. More details can be found at: cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2791138530. The site address for the Braveheart Cycling Fund is www.braveheartcyclingfund.com.
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