First Edition Cycling News for May 7, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Two expelled after Giro blood tests
UCI medical staff yesterday excluded two riders from starting in this year's Giro d'Italia after routine pre-race blood tests returned abnormal values.
Colombian Mesa Estepa Uberlino (Selle Italia) and Slovenian Golcer Jure (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavè) have been expelled from the race and suspended from competition for 15 days, in accordance with UCI regulations.
According to a UCI statement, "Blood tests were carried out as per the Australian method. Results of these tests which are extremely reliable for the detection of possible blood stimulation, resulted in two riders with abnormal values."
"The UCI would like to emphasize that beyond these two cases, results of today tests show that overall measurements within the peloton are completely satisfying."
BWB postpones Landuyt case
The disciplinary commission of the Belgian Cycling Federation (BWB) has postponed a hearing with three riders involved in the Landuyt affair until June 23. The hearing was supposed to take place on Wednesday, May 5, but the BWB requested more time to study the dossiers. The president of the commission has also asked for the three riders (Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers and Jo Planckaert) to be personally present for questioning in June, not just their lawyers.
US gets maximum riders for Athens road events
US Olympic selection criteria explained
Under the IOC's and UCI's selection criteria for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, the USA yesterday became one of only seven countries to qualify the maximum possible number of riders for this year's Games. Along with Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia and Switzerland, the USA will fill 12 start positions in Athens: five men and three women in the road races and two each in the time trials. (See yesterday's news for the full list of countries and start numbers.)
Olympic allocations are based on a country's position in the UCI nations rankings on April 30, 2004. Countries ranked 1-15 in the men's table were allocated five places in the men's road race (the US is currently ranked fifth) and countries ranked 1-16 in the women's table received three starts; the US is currently tenth.
For the time trial, a start is allocated to countries ranked 1-25 in the men's and 1-15 in the women's. A second start was awarded for a rider finishing in the top 15 at the 2003 men's world championships time trial and for a top 10 in the women's. The US fulfilled these criteria with Levi Leipheimer's 13th place, Bobby Julich's 14th and Dede's eighth in Hamilton last year.
The selection process for American riders who will actually go to Athens is complex. The following explanation was provided by USA Cycling PR guy Andy Lee.
USA Cycling's Olympic selection
Now that the number of start positions has been confirmed, how will they be filled? As a supplement to the USA Cycling Olympic Selection Procedures, the following update sheds some light on where U.S. Olympic hopefuls are in their quest for a trip to Athens.
Under the first selection criterion, any athlete placing in the top three at the 2003 UCI World Road Cycling Championships in Hamilton, Canada, October 8-12, 2003 would have received a nomination. American athletes failed to meet this requirement.
Under the second selection procedure, the winner of the Team USA Selection Race in Redlands, Calif. on June 19 will receive an automatic nomination to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team for the sport of women's road cycling.
Under the third selection procedure, the winner of the USCF Elite National Time Trial Championships in Redlands, Calif. on June 17 will receive an automatic nomination to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team for the sport of women's road cycling.
Since the first selection procedure was not met, the fourth criterion will likely apply in selection of the third team member. This nomination will go to the highest ranked rider in the UCI rankings as of July 5, 2004 not otherwise qualified above. Currently, Dede Barry holds the distinction as the highest-ranked American rider in the international rankings in 18th place.
Should the highest-ranked American also win either the Team USA Selection Race of the USCF Elite National Time Trial Championships, then the third nomination will fall under a discretionary selection based upon a strong history of international performance.
For the women's time trial in Athens there is no automatic selection criteria. The two riders that will contest the time trial will be discretionary selections from the pool of automatic selections above.
Under the first selection criterion, the winner of the Team USA Selection Race in Redlands, Calif. on June 19 will receive the first automatic nomination to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team for the sport of men's road cycling.
Under the second selection procedure, any athlete placing in the top three at the 2003 UCI World Road Cycling Championships in Hamilton, Canada, October 8-12, 2003 would have received a nomination. American athletes failed to meet this requirement.
The third selection criteria allows for athletes to receive automatic nominations based upon their performance in a UCI Grand Tour. Between July 1, 2003 and July 5, 2004, any athlete finishing in the top-five in the final general classification of a UCI Grand Tour will receive an automatic nomination with the highest placing given priority. Thus far, Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton have met these requirements. Armstrong placed first overall in the 2003 Tour de France and Hamilton placed fourth overall in the same event. Only this year's Giro d'Italia, May 8-30, 2004, provides another opportunity to qualify under this selection procedure. Currently, Fred Rodriguez is the only American rider schedule to participate in the Giro d'Italia.
The fourth selection criteria allows for athletes to receive automatic nominations based upon their performance in a UCI World Cup, or 1.HC and 2.HC categorized events in 2004 prior to July 5. Any U.S. athlete finishing in the top-five in the general classification in such events will receive an automatic nomination. Thus far, Bobby Julich and George Hincapie have met these requirements. Julich placed third overall at Paris-Nice, a UCI 2.HC categorized event, and fourth overall at the Vuelta Ciclista a Pais Vasco, another UCI 2.HC event. Hincapie placed fifth overall at Paris-Nice. Hamilton also won the 2.HC Tour de Romandie but his performance at the 2003 Tour de France outweighs his recent performance in Switzerland.
If the team were selected today, Armstrong, Hamilton, Julich and Hincapie would receive automatic nominations in that order with the fifth spot reserved for the winner of the Team USA Selection Race. However, plenty of opportunity remains for some of America's other top road cycling talent to stake their claim to an automatic nomination.
Four events remain on the UCI calendar that provide other American athletes with the opportunity to meet the fourth selection criteria or for the aforementioned athletes to improve their placings and thus their chances at receiving an automatic nomination. Those events are:
Giro d' Italia (Ita) May 8-30 (GT)
For the men's time trial in Athens there is no automatic selection criteria. The two riders that will contest the time trial will be discretionary selections from the pool of automatic selections to the road team.
McCormack & Dominguez to ride Tour of Connecticut
Tour of Connecticut organisers have announced that two top American riders, USPRO Champion Mark McCormack (Colavita) and his sprinter teammate Ivan Dominguez will ride this year's race, which runs May 16 - 23.
McCormack won the King of the Mountain classification in the Housatonic valley Classic two years ago, a race that now makes up part of the Tour of Connecticut, while Dominguez was third overall last year and collected a stage win on the way. Fireworks are expected from the Cuban-born sprinter after his strong riding in the Tour de Georgia recently, while McCormack will be using Connecticut to fine-tune his fitness for his defence of the USPRO title.
Previous three-time winner Fasching to race 2004 RAAM
Austrian ultramarathon rider Wolfgang Fasching has confirmed that he will start this year's Insight Race Across America, the 2,920-mile non-stop event that starts June 20.
Fasching is going for a fourth victory in RAAM after his wins in 1997, 2000 and 2002. If he wins this year, he will be the first rider ever to win four editions of RAAM. Faschin has finished in tehtop three in all six of his RAAM attempts.
RAAM organisers say Fasching will be up against the strongest field ever assembled for the San Diego-to-Atlantic City ultra endurance race. The strongest competition will likely come from defending champion Allen Larsen from the USA and 2003 Rookie of the Year Jure Robic of Slovenia. Until Fasching's announcement, most viewed Larsen and Robic as the prohibitive favorites.
In addition to Fasching, Larsen and Robic, Valter Bonca, another Slovenian, has emerged as a dark horse contender. A newcomer to ultramarathon cycling, Bonca is a two-time Olympian and a veteran of European pro cycling, having raced the Giro d'Italia and numerous World Cup races.
Regarding Fasching's entry, Race Director Jim Pitre says, "Wolfgang Fasching is one the best cyclists in the world, in any discipline. I think there's a great race in store for him."
Veloworx Racing auctions for Hamilton Foundation
Starting May 16 the Veloworx racing team is running an online auction to raise funds for Tyler Hamilton's Multiple Sclerosis charity, the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. Items up for grabs include a Phonak jersey signed by Hamilton; a Pedal for Progress Charity Ride and VIP Dinner with Tyler himself (two trips, one to Denver and one to Napa Valley), a 2000 U.S. Olympic Skinsuit signed by Dylan Casey, a T-Mobile jersey signed by Dotsie Cowden; Six months Premium Velo-Fit Coaching and PowerTap/Nimble Wheel; a Jenn Air Commercial Grade 30in BBQ; Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals; and "Joan of Arcadia" television set tour, script signed by cast and lunch with the co-executive producer.
See www.veloworxracing.com/thfauction.htm for a complete list and full description of auction items.
Garret Lemire Memorial Grand Prix
This Sunday, May 9, the Californian resort town of Ojai will host the first annual Garret Lemire Grand Prix, in honour of the extremely well-liked local racer who tragically died in a crash at last year's Tucson Classic Stage Race.
Organiser Bob Fisher says that the race will see teams and racers attending from all over the US including former Olympic medalists. They'll be racing for a $10,000 cash purse, $6,000 of which will go to the Pro 1-2 racers.
The course is a one-mile circuit in downtown Ojai and Fisher intends the event to become an annual event drawing top pro teams from across the US. It is a non-profit race, with all proceeds going to community education on bicycle racing, cycling awareness and cycling safety.
For more details see: www.bicyclesofojai.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)