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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 3, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Moreau back on track

By Chris Henry

Moreau back on top
Photo ©: Cyclingnews

After another bad-luck spring, derailed by a pre-season knee injury, Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole) is finally coming back into his best condition. Moreau suffered through an extended period off the bike early in the year, and in his first few races in mid-spring he found himself out the back and lacking of condition. On a sunny Sunday outside Paris, Moreau was all smiles as he prepared to take the line at the Trophée des Grimpeurs, a grueling test featuring 17 climbs of the Côte de l'Ermitage, a 300 metre, 13% ramp to a summit in Sannois.

Speaking to Cyclingnews before the race, even Moreau seemed blissfully unaware of his own potential. Regretting that his recovery from the winter accident had taken longer than planned, he truly showed no intention of riding for victory in the Trophée des Grimpeurs. In due time, however, he found himself in the early break, still among the leaders as the major selections were made, and with enough strength left in his legs to make his own winning move, beating Belgium's Philippe Gilbert ( and compatriot Jérôme Pineau (Brioches La Boulangère).

"I've been coming back slowly, and now I'm finding good condition just as the stage races are coming up," Moreau commented before the race. "It's true that my return has taken longer than expected, but it's coming."

Moreau is eager to defend his title at the Four Days of Dunkerque this week, even if he feels his form might still be a bit shy. The Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon and Dauphiné Libéré represent more viable objectives, even if today's Grimpeurs victory will provide an unexpected boost in morale for the coming week.

"I think things will be better by the middle in the middle of June, and the French national championships have a very tough parcours this year, which will be good for arriving at the Tour de France in very good form."

Although he expected to play a support role at Grimpeurs, winning the race was no doubt the best way to "help the team" this time around.

Ullrich training hard

Realising that with two months to go until the Tour that he is perhaps a little behind schedule in terms of race fitness, Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) is in a heavy training phase at the moment. The German, who has never finished lower than second in the Tour in six attempts, was struggling to hold onto the back of the peloton in La Flèche Wallonne on April 21, his most recent race. But he maintains that there is no reason to panic.

Since Flèche Wallonne, Ullrich has been training near his home in Lake Constance, Switzerland. "I don't hear any alarm bells for summer," said Ullrich in an interview with ARD. "I'm working hard on my endurance and my weight, which is yes, my handicap."

"Here I can prepare and train in peace and keep my head clear," explained Ullrich, who has been doing six to seven hours per day. "There will be better days from me." Ullrich will return to racing on May 29, and in the meantime will inspect some of the key stages of the Tour, including the time trials in Besancon and Alpe d'Huez.

Ullrich's adviser Rudy Pevenage said that, "His motivation is good and he is training hard. It's still a little early to say something about his climbing form. But he will do it - he has no other option."

Museeuw farewelled in Gistel

An estimated crowd of 50,000 people turned out in Gistel, West Flanders, to farewell Johan Museeuw in his last race, a criterium held in his honour. The field included a number of top riders, with the Quick.Step-Davitamon crew out in full force as well as Lotto-Domo's Peter Van Petegem, Rik Verbrugghe and Leif Hoste, Rabobank's Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd, Fassa Bortolo's Frank Vandenbroucke and Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin. It was an impressive turnout, given the number of UCI races on this weekend.

There could only be one result in such a race, and the Quick.Step team gave Museeuw a textbook leadout for him to "win" the bunch sprint ahead of Peter Van Petegem and Tom Boonen. "On the Champs Elysées I recorded my first really big win in a bunch sprint," said Museeuw afterwards. "I asked the guys to try and make sure that it would be possible again today."

After the race, Museeuw thanked all the people for coming. "I never expected such a crowd. I'm speechless. I can do nothing but thank them for coming."

Finally, Museeuw hung his bike on the hook, signifying the end of his career. But the bike wasn't to stay there, as it had already been auctioned off to benefit a children's cancer charity. The successful bidder was Tom de Wilde from Gent, who paid €15,001 for the privilege. "I hope that this bike can help a lot of people," said Museeuw, whose next appointment is likely to be a directeur sportif for Quick.Step in the Tour of Belgium, between May 19-23.

Wood all but assures Olympic TT selection

By Jeff Jones

World Cup leader Oenone Wood (Australian National Team) has all but assured her selection in the Australian team for the Olympic time trial by winning the inaugural Souvenir Magali Pache, a 20.4 km race against the clock held on the same parcours as the final stage of the men's Tour de Romandie and Lausanne, Switzerland. Wood clocked an impressive 30'28 for the technical, hilly parcours, beating Canadian Lyne Bessette and Australian Margaret Hemsley (Nürnberger) by 31 and 57 seconds respectively.

Australian women's team manager Warren McDonald explained to Cyclingnews that Wood now has 100 selection points from two races, the other being the Australian Time Trial Championship that she won in January. There are two more selection races: the time trial stage of the Tour de l'Aude (which Wood will not ride) and the Coppa Nazione on June 12 (which she probably will), and the two woman selection will be determined from the best three rides in the four events.

"Wood isn't riding the Tour de l'Aude," McDonald said. "But after this, I don't think [the selectors] can leave her out. Our ultimate goal is to win an Olympic Gold Medal, so she needs to be on good form and she needed a fair bit of a break. She'll take seven to ten days off the bike, but probably ride in the time trial in Italy [Coppa Nazione] on June 12."

Fighting for the second place in the squad are Margaret Hemsley and Kathy Watt, who were on equal points before this race. With her third place today, Hemsley has thus moved ahead of Watt in the selection stakes.

New pro team out of Castilla y Leon?

Move over Comunidad Valenciana, there's a new Spanish local government sponsored cycling team in the works. The region of Castilla y Leon is interested in such a venture, according to a Marca report, with its minister for Culture and Tourism, Silvia Clemente announcing the plans during the final stage of the Vuelta Castilla y Leon.

Clemente hopes that the team will be "born with ways to grow in future, a team similar to Euskaltel-Euskadi, that will grow through sponsorship from businesses in the community and principally contain riders from Castilla y Leon, although also from other areas to guarantee its competitiveness."

Clemente added that the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon has been "very important" for the community, especially as it has enjoyed television coverage across Spain.

Davis Phinney and Friends launch foundation for Parkinsons research

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Julich and Phinney
Photo ©: Jon Devich/CN

Although he's still the winningest cyclist in American racing, with over 300 national and international victories, including the first American stage win in the Tour De France in 1986, courageous Davis Phinney is not one to simply rest on his bike racing laurels. The 44 year old Phinney was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinsons Disease in 2000, and has now teamed up with Kathleen Krumme and David Ariosa, managers of Oakley Cycles of Cincinnati, Ohio to create the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research and Wellness.

Through the Davis Phinney Foundation, Davis is assuming the role of Parkinson's advocate for the first time ever. He was inspired by his longtime friend, cycling frame builder Ben Serotta to join forces with Krumme & Ariosa of Oakley Cycles. Krumme and Ariosa recognized that more than one million Americans, cyclist Phinney among them, live with Parkinson's disease daily, a degenerative neurological disorder involving the death of dopamine producing nerve cells deep within the brain. Five percent of patients are 40 years old or younger when they show initial symptoms of the disease. There is no cure for Parkinson's at this time, and scientists do not yet know how to slow or halt the progression of this disease of motion, which gradually robs patients of their ability to move and speak. Thus, they and Phinney were inspired to create the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research and Wellness in early 2004.

Cyclingnews caught up with Phinney last week after the final stage of the Tour De Georgia, where he was participating in a fundraiser for Lance Armstrong Foundation in Alpharetta, Georgia. Davis told us that "I'm really excited to be working with Kathleen (Krumme) and David (Ariosa) to get the The Davis Phinney Foundation started. It's is dedicated to supporting research aimed at understanding, preventing, and treating Parkinson's disease."

The Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research and Wellness also seeks to find ways to improve the lives of individuals challenged by the disease. The Foundation will focus its efforts on raising funds that will be distributed as grants to laboratory and clinical research programs that are investigating the causes of Parkinson's disease and new, potentially curative therapies for Parkinson's patients.

To kick off the The Davis Phinney Foundation's fundraising efforts, they will be hosting a major fundraising event, The Sunflower Revolution, which will take place July 30 and 31, 2004, in Cincinnati, with a benefit dinner and auction to be held Friday evening, and a 62 mile Foundation benefit bike ride to be held Saturday morning. Davis, who lives in Northern Italy, will fly to Cincinnati for the event. Proceeds from The Sunflower Revolution will go to the Parkinson's Center at The Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and University Hospital.

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