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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for May 17, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

McEwen relegated

Petacchi crosses the line
Photo ©: Sirotti

The biggest post-race drama after today's eighth stage, won by the supreme Alessandro Petacchi, was the relegation of Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo). McEwen once again finished second behind Petacchi, although he admitted to Belgian TV1 after the stage that he didn't feel too good. "I came as fourth out of the last corner. I was on the wheel of Petacchi so I had an ideal draft, but it didn't happen."

When asked about the handsling that his teammate gave him before the last corner, McEwen was a little surprised. "Did you see that on TV? That is perhaps nice to see, but the race jury will think differently about it."

His words proved prophetic, and the race jury relegated him to 117th place in the stage (last rider in the front peloton), also losing any points that he might have gained.

Meanwhile, Petacchi notched up his fourth stage win out of five bunch sprints so far in this Giro, and is well on track to equal or better his six stage win performance of last year.

Rebellin calls it quits

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Sirotti

After a less than inspiring first week of the Giro d'Italia, Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) decided not to start Stage 8 from Giffoni Valle Piana to Policoro. The top racer of the spring classics season has dipped off his peak form, and after losing over four minutes in Stage 7's mountaintop finish, where he was expected to do well, Rebellin opted out of the Giro.

Rebellin thought that the first week of the Giro would be "completely different, I wanted to win a stage here," he said on the team's website. "Now I must realise that I can't hold my form for so long. It won't gain me anything to suffer here and jeopardise my goals for the autumn. Therefore I decided together with Christian [Henn] not to finish the Giro. I will relax for one or two days to try and clear my head before I start training again."

"Davide is not sick - his batteries are simply empty," said Gerolsteiner's team director Christian Henn. "He has ridden since the start of the season at the top level and reached his absolute peak in the Ardennes classics. It's not only his physical condition, but also his mental freshness that's lacking."

Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage

Stage 8 Full results & report
Stage 8 Live report
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Germany crowned Track World Cup champions

The conquering Germans
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Germany has been crowned the 2004 Track Cycling World Cup Classics champion nation after the fourth and final round of the series which ended today in Sydney. Germany scored 406 points with France second on 396, narrowly ahead of Australia in third with 393 points. It's the second year in a row the Germans have claimed the trophy. The Great Britain team won the Sydney round with 99 points to Australia's 91 and America's 77 points.

On the final day, Great Britain won the team sprint with Craig MacLean, Jamie Staff and Chris Hoy, beating Poland in the final. "I'm really happy with the result because we have a really strong squad and no one is guaranteed a spot in Athens," said former BMX World Champion, Jamie Staff who is one of those challenging for a start in the event at the Olympic Games. "Last year I wasn't at my best and was tired and fatigued all the time, but I've come along in leaps and bounds and I'm pretty excited about my prospects."

Dutchwoman Adrie Visser was awarded the gold medal in the women's scratch race after the first rider across the line Yong-Mi Kim of Korea was disqualified. The 20 year old who left speed skating for cycling will contest the scratch race, points race and individual pursuit at the Melbourne World Championships from May 26. "I left speed skating because I wasn't quick enough for it and I'm glad I did because I'm enjoying my cycling," said Visser.

The absent reigning world champion Olga Slyusareva (Rus) was named the World Cup champion in the scratch race.

Germany's Katrin Meinke and Kathrin Freitag gave Germany a gold medal in the women's team sprint defeating the Australian pair of Rebecca Ellis and Rosealee Hubbard with a ride of 35.428 compared to 35.775 seconds. Russians Oxana Grishina and Anastasia Chulkova beat the Ukraine for third. However, Australia did enough to earn the World Cup title in the women's team sprint.

In the men's 40km Madison, Argentinean pair Juan Curuchet and Walter Perez stole the march on reigning world champions Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli of Switzerland to gain a lap early. The Spanish pair of Miguel Alzamora Riera and Juan Llaneras Rosello also took a lap, but Argentina scored five sprint points to Spain's three which gave them the gold medal. The Swiss amassed 14 points to claim bronze on a count-back with France.

Australian pair Mark Renshaw and Chris Sutton placed seventh with seven points. Renshaw, who is 75 percent sure he will ride the Madison at the World Track Championships with South Australian Luke Roberts, is looking forward to representing his country in an event he has only recently begun to target.

"It will be the first time we have ridden together," he said. "But it's always tough, coming into these events, let alone with a new partner. We do know each other's style, though, so I think we will be able to put it together."

Renshaw, who said he and Sutton got "carved up a bit today by our good old friends the French (but I used some good old French phrases I know back on them!)" indicated the Australians needed a top eight finish in Melbourne to qualify them for the Athens Olympics. "The same guys will be riding the World's as today," he said, "so we have a pretty good idea of what the competition will be like." (Full story here)

Focus now shifts to Melbourne where the world's best riders will begin competition in the five day World Championships from May 26 to 30. The World Championships are the final chance for nations to qualify places for the Athens Olympic Games and in the wake of the Sydney World Cup, where several riders posted personal best times, the competition in Melbourne is sure to be fierce.

Alfredo Martini Honoured

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Last Friday in Firenze, Italy, 83 year old Alfredo Martini was honoured by the Italian Cycling Federation with its highest award, la Stella d'Oro al Merito Sportivo (Gold Star of Sporting Merit). Both Gianni Petrucci, head of the Italian Olympic Committee, and Italian Cycling Federation's Giancarlo Ceruti were proud to honour the long serving national team coach and the actual award was presented by Francesco Moser, who won the first of six World Pro road titles for Martini in 1978.

Known for his meticulous notes which have filed hundreds of notebooks with longhand entries on races and riders, Martini was a superb tactician who knew how to get the most out of the diverse professional riders that came together on his World Championship teams.

Martini was born in Sesto Fiorentino on February 18, 1921. As a racer, he won the Giro dell'Appennino in 1947 and the Giro del Piemonte in 1950, the same year that he was runner up to Tony Bevilacqua in the Italian Championships and to Dupont at the Paris-Tours classic. As a member of the legendary Bianchi team, Martini was a key gregario for Fausto Coppi in his Tour de France wins in 1949 and 1952. Martini rode the Giro d'Italia 12 times and had five top ten finishes. His best year was 1950, when Martini was third overall, won a stage (Salsomaggiore-Firenze) and had the Maglia Rosa for one day.

When his career as a rider was over, Martini chose the career path that many ex-pro's choose: direttore sportivo. Martini was with Ferretti and Sammontana from 1969 to 1974, where he won the Giro d'Italia with Swede Gosta Peterson in 1971. In 1975, Martini took over as CT della Nazionale (Italian National Team Coach), where he won six world titles (Moser, Saronni, Argentin, Fondriest and Bugno two times) in 23 years, as well as seven silver medals and seven bronze medals. In January, 1998, Martini was made FCI "supervisore" of all the national teams, as his anointed successor Franco Ballerini took over as CT della Nazionale.

Kelme riders stand behind Belda

The Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme team's riders have rallied around team manager Vicente Belda, in response to rumours that he could leave at the end of the season. Belda's possible successors have been named by the Spanish press as Spanish selector Paco Antequera or even former team Coast/Festina director Juan Fernandez, neither of whom claim to have been contacted by Comunidad Valenciana about the potential position, while Belda has refused comment on his rumoured departure.

In a communique issued by the Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme team, the riders and the technical staff expressed their "full support" of Vicente Belda, who "has shown in his way, as much as a rider as a sports director, his professionalism and good quality, that has carried Kelme at the conclusion of the last 25 years to numerous successes in 2004...[we are] fully integrated with his work and his way of doing things."

The riders stated that the team environment is "superb in spite of the difficulties known to everyone. For this reason, we want to condemn the changes rumoured in the team management next year and ratify our total and complete confidence in the person of Vicente Belda as a sports director for this year and the next."

Van Bondt takes one on the nose

Geert Van Bondt (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) suffered a bizarre - but painful - accident during the first stage of the Tour de Picardie. He was hit by a large stone on the nose and was wounded quite badly. Fortunately, his nose wasn't broken and he was able to finish the four stage race in 99th place. Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) won two stages and the overall classification.

Lampre for Tour of Belgium

The Lampre team has been announced for the Tour of Belgium, which starts this Wednesday in Oostende. Lampre will line up with Paolo Bossoni, Gianluca Bortolami, Matteo Carrara, Alessandro Cortinovis, Samuele Marzoli, Manuel Quinziato, Olexandr Kvachuk and Marco Pinotti for the six stage/five day race.

The stages

Stage 1 - May 19: Oostende-Oostende, 184 km
Stage 2 - May 20: Oostende-Knokke Heist, 179 km
Stage 3 - May 21: Knokke Heist-Buggenhout, 194 km
Stage 4a - May 22: Mechelen-Mechelen ITT, 13 km
Stage 4b - May 22: Mechelen-Mechelen, 115 km
Stage 5 - May 23: Ans-Eupen km, 224 km

British National Criterium Championships on May 23

A field of 77 riders led by 2003 Criterium Series Champion Simon Gaywood will line up for the British National Criterium Championship at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit at 2pm on Sunday, May 23. A prize list of £2,000 is up for grabs in addition to the national championship jersey for the winner and medals for the top three. There is £25 on offer for the leader every five laps of the circuit which is virtually one mile in length. The race distance is 80km/50miles with 54 laps to be covered. The circuit is situated in Minet Country Park, Springfield Road, Hayes,Middlesex, and admission for spectators is free.

Several riders are returning from riding full time in Continental Europe in the knowledge that the championship title could help them gain a full professional contract. Among these are Mark Kelly, originally from the Isle of Man, Tom Barras, from Yorkshire whose father Sid was a top professional rider, and Michael Jolley who rides for the same team in Belgium as the current national road champion Roger Hammond did. Hammond started his road racing as a junior on the then unopened Hayes By-Pass, the forerunner to the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. He came third in Paris-Roubaix race this year and is virtually certain to compete in the Olympic Games.

The many visitors will, however, find their work cut out to beat regular winners at the Hillingdon Circuit such as Chris Doel and Colin Roshier, who ride for the Team Quest/Bike Shop team based in Pinner, and national Masters (over 30) Champion Bryan Taylor of VC Londres. Watch out too for Tom White and Bruce Edgar in Team Persil colours, which is part of the national squad set-up for up and coming riders.

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