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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for March 22, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ludo's long day out

Ludo Diercksens (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)
Photo ©: Sirotti

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago now has two options for the early suicide break with Jacky Durand and Ludo Dierckxsens, both experts in this sort of attack. While Durand tried but failed to get in the early move on Saturday, Dierckxsens succeeded in making the five man breakaway that went after 64 km. After spending the next 202 km out in front, Ludo was the last man to be caught by the peloton, right at the foot of the Cipressa.

"I think that this was my longest attempt," Dierckxsens told Het Nieuwsblad. "202 kilometres. It was a long, but beautiful day. This Milan-San Remo was also a bit special. The best remains the Tour stage to St-Etienne in 1999 that I won in the national champion's jersey. And the Belgian championship in Geraardsbergen, where I was in front from the first lap, and rode the last 65 kilometres solo. OK, the 2001 Ronde van Vlaanderen was very good. More than 100 kilometres on the attack and still eighth. Or Paris-Roubaix in 1998, where I went in the first break and was hauled in by Ballerini with 30 km to go and could still hang on."

At the finish, Ludo had no regrets at all about his race. "The legs are a little sore, but the congratulations compensate for that a lot. The supporters called me up as if I had won Milan-San Remo. Ludo lives again, that was what was going around. I am not empty and I'm not tired of racing. I want to do another year. The Lion of Kasterlee is not yet burned out."

Dierckxsens' main goals will be the classics in April, but his sponsor Colnago is interested in having him race the Giro d'Italia in May. "Yes, as a sort of watchdog for Popovych," said Dierckxsens. "I'll first look at how I come out of the important month of April. I expect a lot from Paris-Roubaix."

Van Petegem satisfied with MSR

Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) finished 10th in Milan-San Remo and described himself as satisfied with the result, without being overjoyed. "I've trained well in Italy," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "No more than that. The most important thing is that I came to the finish without a scratch. I felt that I had the power to anticipate. I was sitting at the cruising speed for my races.

"The team did excellently, even though it was said here and there that we weren't riding well. That's wrong. From Merckx to Marichal to Vansevenant, everyone did their job. That McEwen didn't sprint for the win was logical after his bodily misery. And Van Bon, who was riding very well, was slowed down through the crash."

Boonen misses out

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) was at the wrong end of the bunch on the descent of the Poggio, and ended up being caught behind the split, finally finishing 75th. "I have learned from experience," he said. "I crossed the top of the Poggio in around 25th place. I thought that that was good, but on the descent I was held up and a gap of five metres opened. And no-one was able to close it. Next year I'll slip a little further up."

Team manager Patrick Lefevere commented that, "Boonen should be angry at himself above all. As someone who was putting everything on a sprint, he was too quickly in front on the first climbs. On the Poggio he sat too far back."

Moser: Make it shorter but harder

After the 95th Milan-San Remo ended in a bunch sprint on Via Roma, the inevitable questions were raised as to how to make the race harder. Italian Francesco Moser, Milan-San Remo winner in 1984, called for a revolution [ed: presumably televised] in cycle racing. "Things like this are attractive, but it's necessary to account for the fact that times change," said Moser to ANSA. "Seven hours of racing in Sanremo ended in a photo-finish, attractive but not for the show. It's necessary to realise that perhaps it doesn't make a lot of sense to have four mountain passes in a race of over 200 km. It would be better to have three, hard ones, in 100."

Full Milan-San Remo coverage:

Full results and report
Live report
Photos
Scott Sunderland's Milan-San Remo diary

VDB backs up in Setmana Catalana

Frank Vandenbroucke (Fassa Bortolo) will be back in action on Monday in the five day Spanish stage race, Setmana Catalana. After helping to pilot the Fassa Bortolo train for Alessandro Petacchi in Sam Remo on Saturday, VDB was disappointed that Petacchi didn't win. However, team boss Giancarlo Ferretti said that, "Frank did his job" and that from now on, he will get a chance to go for the victories himself.

The Fassa squad for Setmana Catalana also includes Aitor Gonzalez, Vuelta winner in 2002, and American Tom Danielson, who is finally able to race in Europe after overcoming visa problems.

The full team: Marzio Bruseghin, Fabian Cancellara, Dario Cioni, Thomas Danielson, Juan Jose’ De Los Angeles Segui, Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez, Volodimir Gustov, Frank Vandenbroucke.

Mayo and Laiseka with Euskaltel in Setmana Catalana

Iban Mayo and Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi) will be in action again this week in Setmana Catalana, part of the eight member time for the Spanish stage race. Mayo has already shown good form in the Tour of Murcia, and this race will mark another step forward in his Tour de France preparation.

The full team: Roberto Laiseka, Aitor Sillóniz, Iker Flores, Antton Luengo, Alberto López de Munain, Egoi Martínez, Iban Mayo and Joseba Zubeldia.

NZ and GB track squads meet in Archer International

The last minute entry by New Zealand for the Archer International GP in Britain on April 4 means that NZ's track endurance riders will have a pre World Cup match (albeit over 190 km rather than 4 km) with Great Britain's track endurance squad in which only Jon Dayus is not an Olympic and/or World Championship medal winner. The World Cup track meeting is the following weekend in Manchester.

"The local Thames Valley Police have been very helpful in allowing an increase in the field to let the six New Zealand riders to be included without reducing the British participation," said race organiser Stuart Benstead. "This was in recognition that it is an Olympic Games year. They will also be providing police assistance at relevant points, although a mobile police escort is not available."

The Archer International race starts at 11:00am from Hazlemere, near High Wycombe, and covers three laps of a 20 mile circuit via Gt Missenden, Cryers Hill, Hughenden Valley, Longdown, and Wendover. From there the race returns to the 5 mile Penn Street circuit which is covered seven times before the finish at Winchmore Hill village.

The Brits are led by Chris Newton, who will be one of the race favourites, having won the Archer event in 1995 when only 22, considered young for this longest race in the British calendar.

Wales also provides a national team, while Ireland has divided its resources into three trade/club teams with last year's Archer International winner, David O'Loughlin, heading a strong six man squad from Totalcycling/Litespeed. The other teams are the Usher Irish RC and the Cidona/Carrick Wh.

The BRC Kennermerland CRT are regular visitors from Holland with a good performance record and from Belgium comes the Team Hand in Hand-Baal.

FBD Milk Ras forms due by April 15

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

Announcing a short extension for the return of preliminary entry form, the FBD Milk Rás race organiser Dermot Dignam has said that Thursday, April 15 will serve as the closing date for final entries for this year's race. The official UCI Enrolment forms will be issued from March 29 to teams who have already returned the team application forms, and these must be returned by the mid-April date.

Any other teams wishing to enter must sent their preliminary forms as soon as possible, so the UCI entries can be issued.

Dignam set the mid-April date in order to enable county teams to select riders on the basis of their performances in the stage races over the Easter weekend. He can be contacted at dignam@indigo.ie for more information.

2004 Tour of Shenandoah

The Tour of Shenandoah returns to the US state of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley region from June 9-13. The event features a four-day Pro/Am men's stage race, a one-day criterium/circuit race for other categories, and a century ride.

The stage race begins on June 9 with a return to Massanutten Resort near Harrisonburg for a 3 mile uphill time trial. The race then moves south on June 10 to the new venue host city of Lexington for an 85 mile road race through Rockbridge, Bath and Alleghany counties. Friday, June 11 presents a serious challenge in the form of a 108 mile road race from The Homestead Resort in Bath County to the City of Waynesboro. Three major climbs are featured, including the steep Reed's Gap climb used in last year's final stage. The race will conclude on Saturday with a criterium in downtown Waynesboro, and there will be races for other categories and activities for children. There will be a century ride open to all cyclists on Sunday, June 13 that starts and finishes in Waynesboro.

The event is being held with the cooperation of Team Diabetic, and is intended to promote cycling and healthy living as ways to control diabetes. The American Diabetes Association and the United Way - Augusta Chapter are additional beneficiaries.

More information: www.tourofshenandoah.com

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