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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for March 17, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Bartoli back for Milan-San Remo

Bartoli to La Primavera
Photo ©: AFP

Team CSC, fresh from an impressive overall and team victory at Paris-Nice, will aim to put Italian Michele Bartoli in a winning position for La Primavera. Often a protagonist in the first World Cup race of the season, Bartoli has never claimed victory in San Remo. After a day of rest following pain in his leg, which forced him to pull out of Paris-Nice on the penultimate stage, Bartoli has been back in training to gear up for Saturday's race.

Frank Høj has also been added to the line up, replacing Lars Michaelsen, who now will race the Grand Prix Cholet in France instead. Jakob Piil, who also abandoned Paris-Nice due to injury, is uncertain for Milan-San Remo.

"I'm convinced that I can add some strength to the team, especially on the first of the final climbs," Høj commented on the team's website (team-csc.com). "I've never in my entire career felt so good this early in the season."

Team CSC roster: Michele Bartoli, Fabrizio Guidi, Michael Blaudzun, Frank Høj, Jakob Piil, Bobby Julich, Maximilian Sciandri, Jens Voigt.

Brochard leads Ag2r-Prévoyance

Former world champion Laurent Brochard will lead the French Ag2r-Prévoyance team at Saturday's Milan-San Remo. The remainder of the roster is set to include Samuel Dumoulin, Andy Flickinger, Stéphane Goubert, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Christophe Oriol, Nicolas Portal and Mark Scanlon.

All but Brochard are scheduled to sharpen their form at a brief training camp this week at the team's home in Chambéry, France. Brochard will join the others in Italy.

Saeco with multiple leaders

Danilo Di Luca and Mirko Celestino will lead the Saeco charge at Milan-San Remo, but the Italian team is counting on its entire team to be ready for any scenario on Saturday. Celestino was second last year in San Remo, while Di Luca is still chasing his next World Cup victory after his first success at the Giro di Lombardia in 2001.

"We selected the same riders that rode Tirreno-Adriatico with Bertagnolli also coming in after showing some great form so far this season," explained team manager Claudio Corti. "Even if we did not get any big results, Tirreno went well because the riders worked hard and they're confident of doing well at San Remo, as they did last year."

Belgian injury report

Cappelle still out

Andy Cappelle (Chocolade Jacques) has yet to ride a race this year due to an inflammation in his jaw bone, and it looks as though he'll be out until at least May. Originally scheduled to ride the Four Days of Dunkirk, Cappelle's season debut has been postponed until he is considered fully fit. The Chocolade Jacques team management has indicated that he could ride the Giro d'Italia, depending on his recovery prognosis.

Rosseler improving

Sébastien Rosseler (Bodysol) is recovering well from a knee inflammation, that stopped him in the Volta ao Algarve in February. He is now training again, and is expected to start racing soon.

Daelmans breaks arm

Cyclo-crosser Arne Daelmans (Vlaanderen-T-Interim) has broken his right upper arm after falling on some stairs. Although he doesn't require an operation, he will have to have his arm in plaster for 10 days, which will put his road season plans back a little. His restart is planned for the Tour de Picardie in mid-May.

Stevens to Chocolade Jacques

Christophe Stevens, who rode for Marlux last year, will shortly join the Chocolade Jacques team. He will make his racing debut with the team once all the formalities with the Belgian federation have been worked out.

Accident injures five in France

Five riders were seriously injured at the Grand Prix de Saint-Brice-en-Cogles in France Monday when a woman driving her car on the parcours did a U-turn and struck the race head on. Guillaume Blot (VC Roubaix) was leading the front group with just 4km to the finish when the accident occurred. Also injured were Dominique Rault (Jean Floc'h), Nicolas Méret (US Sainte-Austreberthe), Franck Charrier (C.C. Nogent-sur-Oise) and Jérôme Bouchet (CR4C Roanne). All five were taken to the hospital.

Guillaume Blot was the most seriously injured, suffering severe facial trauma and deep cuts on his calf. Blot, who turns 19 at the end of this month, already has an impressive 107 victories to his name, including 18 wins as a junior in 2003.

Pantani's number retired at Coppi & Bartali

Organisers of the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi & Bartali (March 24-28) have decided to honour Marco Pantani by retiring his number from the 2003 edition of the race. No rider will wear number 145 in this year's race, and prior to the start in Riccione, the number 145 is to be carried into the air by white doves.

Pantani finished second behind Ruslan Ivanov in the final stage from Castellarano Sassuolo last year, providing a glimmer of hope to himself and his supporters that 2003 was off to a good start.

Australian Madison Championship

Melbourne, Australia's Vodafone Arena will host the Australian Madison Championship on Saturday, March 20. The event forms part of the selection process for the upcoming World Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne and the Athens Olympics.

Thirteen teams will compete, headed by the German duo of Erik Weispfenning and Lars Teutenberg. Both are former world champions and Weispfenning was the recent winner of the Bendigo Madison with Olympic Gold medallist Brett Aitken. Teutenberg ran second in this event.

Weispfenning is the defending champion in the Australian Madison Championship, having won the event last year with another German, Stefan Steinweg, and he is committed to defending his title.

"I love coming to Australia to race," Weispfenning said. "This year I finally won the Bendigo Madison after three second places, and I now have good form. I hope to be able to show this form on Saturday night".

The Madison event will also be supported by a feature carnival which will include a wheelrace, keirin and graded scratch races.

Former junior world champion and current Victorian sprint champion, Jason Niblett from Horsham, will also take on Damien Keirl from Ballarat in a three round sprint series. Both are expected to be protagonists at the upcoming National Track Championships and this series will give them a chance to hone their form in front of a home crowd.

Tickets are available now from Ticketek (www.ticketek.com), priced from Aus$20. Doors open at 5:30pm and racing starts at 7pm.

The Final Revolution

The Revolution track series at the Manchester (England) Velodrome will draw to a close this Saturday, March 20th. Crédit Agricole's Bradley Wiggins is one of three reigning world champions who will grace the boards for the final event.

"It's been a great series," Wiggins commented. "I rode at the first two and then came along to watch the third. It's been fun and exciting for the crowds and the riders have all really enjoyed it. It's great to have something like it in the UK and it's even better to see so many people supporting it."

Wiggins will be joined on the night by Franco Marvulli the world scratch race champion and Franz Stocher, current world points race champion. The event it will also be the first time Wiggins has ridden on the track with Matthew Gilmore since their victory at the Ghent Six Day.

Sprint will be treated to a number of top riders including, for the first time, the full British sprint squad of Queally, Hoy, Mclean and Staff. The British team will take on Dutch sprint stars Theo Bos, Tuen Mulder and Tim Veldt. All of the sprint riders will take part in the Revolution sprint and the keiren before facing each other and teams from Wales and Ireland in the Team Sprint challenge.

Tickets will be available on the night of the event or can be purchased at www.cyclingrevolution.com. Gates open at 5:30pm and racing starts at 7pm.

Funding for Burnaby Velodrome

The Burnaby Velodrome Club (BVC), Canada's only indoor velodrome, has been awarded an infrastructure grant under the Canada-British Columbia Infrastructure Program. Under terms of this federal/provincial grant, BVC will receive approximately $367,000 in grant funding to be matched by BVC's one-third contribution of $183,000. This $550,000 total funding will be used to make capital upgrades and improvements to the Harry Jerome Sports Centre, including spectator seating, improvements to the wooden track, improvements to the change room and washroom facilities.

Through a separate arrangement, all grant money obtained for infrastructure can be applied to BVC's annual rent, effectively reducing BVC's annual rent payments by two-thirds over the next five years.

BVC will fund its portion of the infrastructure contribution through a combination of operating revenues and loans. The grant solidifies the BVC Board's long-term business plan.

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