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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for May 2, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Cunego continues, Astarloa back on form

Saeco's young star Damiano Cunego continued his winning ways at Saturday's GP Larciano, winning ahead of world champion Igor Astarloa in a winning move of 18 riders. Cunego has already won two stages and the overall at the recent Giro del Trentino, as well as the Giro dell'Appennino. For Saeco, Saturday's race also provided more reassuring signs from defending Giro d'Italia champion Gilberto Simoni, who put in several attacks and showed that his form is coming quickly with the Giro start just a week away.

Igor Astarloa (Lampre)
Photo ©: Olympia

"It's incredible to win a sprint like that, especially beating world champion Igor Astarloa," Cunego said. "This win will have a special place in my palmarès."

Astarloa came up one place short of a victory, but his performance was equally impressive after nearly a month out of competition. The world champion rode his first race in Lampre colours after an amicable separation with the Cofidis team, whose voluntary suspension left Astarloa frustrated and out of action during his targeted spring classics period. Second place in his first race provided a good omen for his new employer one week before the Giro d'Italia. Astarloa will compete in an invitational criterium in the Netherlands on Sunday before rejoining his team in Italy for the start of this year's Giro.

Australian selection for Sydney World Cup

Cycling Australia has announced the Cyclones Team to contest the fourth and final round of the UCI Track World Cup Classics, to be held May 14-16 at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. The Sydney World Cup is the final chance for countries to qualify places for the 2004 Track Cycling World Championships being staged 12 days later in Melbourne. 235 riders from 43 countries have confirmed their participation in Sydney including a host of world champions, and Olympic medallists.

Dual 2003 World Championships silver medallist (sprint & keirin) and 2002 keirin world champion Jobie Dajka, 22, will return to Australia fresh from racing in the lucrative Japanese International Keirin Series, while 2002 sprint world champion and this week's winner of the sprint at the Australian Championships, Sean Eadie, 35, will continue his bid to earn Olympic selection when he starts in the sprint in Sydney.

2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist (teams pursuit) Mark Renshaw, 21, is flying back from Europe, where he competes on the road with French professional team, to contest the World Cup Madison event.

Queensland's Anna Meares, 2003 keirin World Championship silver medallist and winner of two gold medals (so far) at this week's Australian Championships will compete in the sprint and keirin. Rochelle Gilmore, the 2002 and 2003 scratch race World Championship silver medallist and three time scratch race national champion, will lead the charge in the scratch and points events.

The 14 member selection:

Sprint Group

Jobie Dajka
Sean Eadie
Rebecca Ellis
Anna Meares

Endurance Group

Michael Ford
Rochelle Gilmore
Brad Norton
Miles Olman
Chris Pascoe
David Pell
Mark Renshaw
Alexis Rhodes
Amy Safe
Chris Sutton

Italian Track World's selection

The Italian national team has named its initial selection for the upcoming Track World Championships in Melbourne, Australia (May 26-30). Selectors Edoardo Salvoldi and Mauro Maccario have chosen five riders, but additional selections could be made following the final round of the World Cup, to be held in Sydney prior to the World's. The five riders selected are Vera Carrara, Giorgia Bronzini, Elisa Frisoni, Angelo Ciccone, and Samuele Marzoli.

Another Meares wins women's sprint crown

By Karen Forman in Sydney

Anna Meares (Qld)
Photo ©: John Veage

Queenslander Anna Meares is the new Australian women's sprint champion, taking the title her sister Kerrie won last year. Kerrie is currently out of competition due to a back injury. Meares beat South Australian Rosealee Hubbard in two straight heats to clinch her 11th national title.

But she said that still didn't equal her sister's stunning record of "oh 15 or 16 championships."

"It feels very good," she said. "It has been five years since I won a national sprint title. Kerrie dominated the sprint since she stepped up to seniors."

She said her sister, who has been forced to take time off the bike for two to three months after sustaining three bulging discs in her lower back, had been "incredibly supportive" of her efforts.

"She absolutely told me, though, that she will be back to challenge me next year," Anna said with a grin.

She said she had been confident, however, that she would perform well Saturday night.

"It's my first senior national sprint title and I will be calling Kerrie to tell her as soon as I get off the rollers," she said. "She will be really happy. She has been calling me during the week to check on me between sessions. I was actually quite worried before the race; Rosalee is very competitive and rides tactically. But I had good legs on the night and I tried a few tactics on her."

Swimmer-turned cyclist takes Australian keirin

By Karen Forman in Sydney

New South Wales rider Skye-lee Armstrong collected her first Australian track title with a gold medal in the women's under 19 keirin at the national track championships in Sydney on Saturday. Armstrong, who earlier in the championships won the bronze medal in the under 19 women's scratch race, was a clear winner ahead Jennifer Loutit and Jackie Kejda.

The 17 year old, who works in a bike shop so she has enough hours to train, said she had felt good for the past two days and her results had proved that.

"The point score is my main race," she said. "I am more endurance rider than anything else and it suits me."

Armstrong started cycling just two years ago after being noticed while at swimming training at the Merrylands pool, which is adjacent to the velodrome.

"NSW Cycling president Rob Bates was there and he told me I should have a ride," she said. "So I did and I loved it."

She's now a member of the Parramatta Cycling Club and hopes to get to the junior worlds. In six years, she wants to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Click here for the full stories and results

Anniversary win for Høj

Defending Grand Prix S.A.T.S. champion Frank Høj (Team CSC) found the race to be a good luck charm once more, repeating his victory in this year's event. Høj beat teammate Michele Bartoli in a sprint to claim victory, his first since the GP S.A.T.S. in 2003.

"It's been a year since my last victory, and it's always fantastic to win a race," Høj commented on the team's website ( "The team performed very well and I owe all my team mates a big thank for their work. In the sprint I was able to keep Bartoli behind me, and I'm very happy to end a great spring season like this."

Team director Bjarne Riis was equally satisfied, noting his pleasure at Høj's win in front of a Danish audience.

Gusev injured

Team CSC's Vladimir Gusev suffered a broken collarbone following a crash in the Grand Prix S.A.T.S. on Saturday in Denmark. Gusev was taken to the hospital, but could find some small consolation in the fact that the race was won by teammate Frank Høj.

Vini Caldirola for Giro

The Italian Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie team, headed by former Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli, has announced its roster for this year's event. Garzelli is joined by another former Giro champion, Pavel Tonkov, along with Giampaolo Cheula, Milan Kadlec, Simone Masciarelli, Oscar Mason, Roberto Sgambelluri, Gianluca Sironi, and Steve Zampieri.

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