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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 28, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Tales from the track

News and gossip from day 2 of the Melbourne World Track Championships

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

Wolff returns to Germany after training accident

German sprinter Rene Wolff will make an unscheduled trip back to Germany this morning to get urgent treatment for a knee injury sustained in a freak accident at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena this morning.

According to team manager Martin Wolf, the 26 year old from Erfurt was practicing before the morning session opened, when officials advised the track was being closed for some maintenance work and ordered all cyclists off it.

Wolff crashed after a maintenance worker moved onto the track while he was in the high-speed section of his final sprint. "He tried to avoid the worker and did, but then he crashed with a French guy, who didn't hit the track," Wolf said.

"At first we saw he had wounds on his hip and thought he would be ok, but then in the afternoon he came to the team doctor and said he had problems with his knee. Our doctor and physiotherapist said he had injured his meniscus (cartilage) and it was decided that he should go back to Germany as soon as possible for treatment."

Wolff is not happy, according to the manager. "He has had such bad luck. He was at the World Cup in Sydney but after that he was ill with a cold. He didn't run in the team sprint because of that but today he was better and wanted to ride in the keirin.

"But now he is flying to Germany tomorrow instead." Whether he makes the German Olympic side will depend on the seriousness of the Stuttgart World's bronze medal winning sprinter's (he was also fourth in the keirin) injury.

"It may take two weeks, or it may take eight (to heal)," said Wolf. "It is really bad luck."

More Day 2 News from the Melbourne World Track Championships

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

  • Ulmer breaks world record - In the final qualifying heat of the women's 3km individual pursuit, New Zealand's Sara Ulmer has broken the world record with a time of 3.30.604, two-tenths of a second inside the record that was set by Holland's Leontien Zijlaard - Van Moorsel in a semi-final at the Sydney Olympics.
  • Secret women's business challenges Van Moorsel - It's not the kind of thing that people (especially males) talk out loud about - but female athletes of all disciplines certainly know that having - or not having - a menstrual period when it's time for an important event can make or break you.
  • Australia misses out on hoped-for second kilo berth - Australia's hopes to forge a second berth for the men's kilo at the Athens Olympics - and Ben Kersten's Olympic dream - were shattered in Melbourne tonight when neither Kersten nor Shane Kelly finished in the top four of the world championship event.
  • Alzamora wants to repeat Aussie madison gold - Spaniard Miquel Alzamora has traveled a long way to Australia hoping to achieve his lifelong dream of Olympics qualification. But that's not the only reason he came to the World Track Championships in Melbourne this week.
  • Mendez wants to take gold for Mexico - At 30 she is one of the more senior female cyclists at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena for the 2004 World Track Championships, but Mexican Belem Guerrero Mendez isn't letting extra years give her extra stress as she prepares for the women's points race on Saturday.

See also: Cyclingnews' 2003 interview with Sarah Ulmer.

Tonkov's gesture

As he crossed the line victorious in stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia, former race winner Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola) made an arm gesture which, in most circles, would be interpreted as an insult. Tonkov promptly downplayed the signal after his win, insisting it was made in the heat of the moment, his first victory since taking a stage in the 2002 Giro.

"It was an act of impulse, but it wasn't directed at anyone in particular," Tonkov commented after the stage. "I made that gesture because I managed to come back to the top. Because I don't trust anyone... Everyone thought that I was finished, I've had a lot of bad luck and I'm really happy for myself that I won today."

Of his race-winning attack, Tonkov also maintained that he is still working in the service of team leader Stefano Garzelli.

"The goal was for Garzelli to attack and get some seconds," Tonkov said. "When that didn't work, I decided to attack because the parcours suited me. It all worked out well and I've been able to clear the cobwebs."

Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage

Stage 17 Full results & report
Stage 17 Live report
Trent Wilson's Giro diary
Dr Ferrari's view
Route preview
Stage by stage
Stage profiles
Final Start List
The contenders

Guidi listed in investigation

Team CSC's Fabrizio Guidi has found himself among the 138 people targeted by a sweeping investigation throughout Italy, a search for performance enhancing drugs. Fifteen professional cyclists figure among those whose houses were searched, including several riders currently taking part in the Giro d'Italia. Guidi, in Switzerland at the time of the police 'visits', was unable to respond to questions directly while his parents' house was searched early Wednesday morning.

"I have nothing to hide and no incriminating notes whatsoever were made in the investigation rapport," Guidi said in a statement released by CSC. "I am aware that the police are only doing their job, but I cannot help but be offended by the fact that my parents had their sleep disturbed in this way."

Guidi contacted his lawyer in an effort to determine why his name figured on the list of those whose residences were searched. Guidi declared himself willing to answer any questions, and has the full support of his team director Bjarne Riis.

"I have spoken to Fabrizio, who has explained the situation to me," Riis commented. "I have total confidence in him representing the team in a good way, and I have no reason to believe he should have done anything to violate the unquestionable rules which govern our team.

"It is unfortunate that cycling again finds itself in the spotlight in a bad way, but hopefully this will result in getting to some of the people who make this kind of investigation necessary," Riis added.

Montreal World Cup preview

Wood to continue her quest for World Cup victory

By Kristy Scrymgeour

Jeanson victorious in 2003
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Riders will line up for the sixth round of the UCI Women's World Cup Series this weekend in Montreal, Canada. This is the seventh edition of the Montreal race, a race that is considered one of the more challenging World Cup courses.

Still leading the series is Australian Oenone Wood (Australian National Team) who won round one in Geelong, Australia, back in March. Since that first win, Wood has placed well in every round, maintaining her lead in the series.

Her closest rival going into round six, Zoulfia Zabirova (Go Finland) who currently sits 48 points behind her in the rankings, is not on the start list for this weekend's event, which takes a little pressure off the Australian. Additionally Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol), who currently sits in third place in the rankings, will not be racing the sixth round. Melchers has placed highly in many of the World Cup series in past years five years since the inception of World Cups for women. In both 2001 and 2002 she took second place overall and in 2000 and 2003 she finished third.

The Montreal course is 12 laps of an 8.3km circuit for 100 kilometres in total. Set on Mont Royale, riders have to contest the steep climb up the mountain 12 times with the finish line situated at the top. Last year, after much attrition throughout the race, the race came down to a battle up of the climbers. Local rider Geneviève Jeanson outdoing her rivals to take the event by 11 seconds from eventual World Cup series winner Nicole Cooke.

Jeanson is on the start list for this weekend, despite facing a possible suspension after not turning up to a drug test at Flèche Wallonne in April. Jeanson will be allowed to race and will find out the final decision on her case in the next couple of weeks. At best, Jeanson will be let off with a warning, but there is a chance she will be suspended for between one and six months, which could put her out of action for the Olympics. Results at the World Cup this weekend are essential for Jeanson to be selected for the Games, as she has not yet qualified for a position on the Canadian national team.

Apart from Wood and Jeanson, other favourites for the race are Lyne Bessette (Quark Cycling Team), Judith Arndt (Nürnberger) who came third in the race last year, and Dede Barry (T-Mobile) who won the event in 2002. Edita Pucinskaite will also be a factor, as will Kimberly Bruckner (T-Mobile) and Christine Thorburne (Webcor) with riders from teams like Victory Brewing and Genesis Scuba ready to shake things up.

World Cup standings after round 5

1 Oenone Wood (Aus) Australian National Team                      202 pts
2 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Team Let's Go Finland                    154
3 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Team Farm Frites - Hartol                 115
4 Angela Brodtka (Ger) German National Team                        79
5 Sonia Huguet (Fra) French National Team                          75
6 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nurnberger Versicherung                      71
7 Alison Wright (Aus) Nobili Rubinetterie - Guerciotti             71
8 Petra Rossner (Ger) Nurnberger Versicherung                      68
9 Priska Doppmann (Swi) Swiss National Team                        65
10 Joanne Marie Kiesanowski (NZl) New Zealand National Team        58

S.A.T.S. for Montreal

Danish Team S.A.T.S, the world #1 ranked women's team, will send a team to the Montreal World Cup (May 29) and the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia (June 6). Norwegian champion Anita Valen will lead the team in both races, alongside Manon Jutras, Trine Hansen, Christina Peick-Andersen, and Meredith Miller. Rochelle Gilmore will replace Jutras in Philadelphia.

The trip to North America is part of the team's effort to expand its presence in the United States and Canada in the coming season.

Petacchi and teammates to ride Pantani criterium

Alessandro Petacchi will lead a heavy Fassa Bortolo presence at the first professional criterium organised in memory of Marco Pantani. Following the Giro d'Italia, Petacchi and company will head to Cesenatico on June 5 for the criterium, which will finish in Pantani's former home town of Cesena. Along with the new record-holder for Giro stage wins, Fassa Bortolo will send Filippo Pozzato, Marco Velo, Massimo Codol and Fabio Sacchi.

Northbrook Velodrome saved

The Northbrook (Illinois) Park District voted Wednesday night to approve the single bid received to resurface and improve the Ed Rudolph Northbrook Velodrome. In August 2003, the Park District, which owns the velodrome, announced that unless improvements were made the track would be shut down. The Park District charged the cycling community with raising half of the funds needed, and the Northbrook Cycle Committee responded by launching the "Save the Velodrome" campaign.

"This vote is the culmination of months of hard work by the bicycling community and the Park District," said Peter Janunas, president of the all-volunteer Northbrook Cycle Committee. "The outpouring of support overwhelmed everyone, averting the bleak likelihood of losing the track."

The response was overwhelming. "Our initial estimate was that we would need about $165,000," Janunas said. "When it became clear that the bid would surpass $400,000, we again called on our supporters, and they came through."

In the end, the NCC raised nearly $230,000 in nine months, thanks in large part to the "Velodrome Angel", an anonymous donor who matched contributions through May 1. "Without the Angel, we may not have met our goal," Janunas said. "But with his help, we have saved the Velodrome and can look to the future."

Planning will now begin for the resurfacing project, which cannot commence until after the facility is used for a July 4 civic celebration. The NCC voted late last month to suspend racing on the track for 2004, to allow for the project to begin during the summer, rather than wait until winter, when weather could be a factor.

Planning is also underway to determine an alternate venue for District Championship and other important events normally on the Northbrook calendar. The NCC will continue to work with the Park District as the project commences, including a planned commemoration to acknowledge all those who helped save the velodrome.

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