First Edition Cycling News for May 30, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Cunego's victory leaves Gibo sour
Damiano Cunego's fourth Giro stage win in Bormio 2000 yesterday did not endear him to his team captain Gilberto Simoni, who had set his sights on the stage himself, but was unable to ride clear of the group on the lower slopes of the climb. Simoni's attack was negated by Dario Cioni, who also dragged Gonchar and Cunego up to the Trentino man's back wheel. The group stayed together after that, with only Perez Cuapio managing to chase back on.
In the last 200m, Simoni was on Cunego's wheel when he jumped, and either didn't or couldn't follow him when he went and won the stage. After the stage finished, Simoni turned around and rode down the mountain to the team bus without talking to anyone, a with a sour, angry look on his face. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that as Simoni passed by Cunego, who was surrounded by journalists, Gibo pointed his finger at the 22 year old Maglia Rosa and angrily said "You're a bastard...you are really stupid."
It seems that Simoni, who really wanted to win the stage, was peeved for two reasons. After the chase group caught him on the ascent of Bormio, Cunego rode too hard of a rhythm, which took whatever remaining "juice" out of Simoni's legs there was. Then Simoni thought that Cunego didn't do a very good job of leading him out, and then further humiliated the proud mountain man by sprinting away for the stage win.
After the stage, Simoni and his wife left the team hotel and went for a walk after dinner, which is when Cunego then came down to the dining room.
Rousseau's career closes
By Karen Forman in Melbourne
French track cycling legend Florian Rousseau told Cyclingnews Saturday that he plans to retire from the sport after this year's Track World Championships. The classy sprint legend was unable to secure a berth for Athens in the talent-heavy French track squad that includes Arnaud Tournant, Laurent Gané and Mickaël Bourgain who combined to win the team sprint gold on Wednesday.
Rousseau, double gold medal winner at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (team sprint, keirin) and gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta (kilometre), had placed his hopes on a final Olympic qualification to round out his career.
Rousseau faced stiff competition at this year's Track Worlds', such as an on-fire Ryan Bayley in the first round, but he recovered to take out the repechage in style by coming around the outside of the competition and winning with his late surge to the line.
In the second round of sprints, he faced the future, the Netherlands' young Theo Bos, the sprinting revelation of the 2004 World's.
Rousseau fought hard but the young Dutchman sealed his fate with a fluid kick that propelled him ahead to take the win. Rousseau went into another repechage heat, but this time it was the Polish rider Damian Zielinski (Poland) who took the spoils.
Rousseau will join another legend of track cycling, Jens Fiedler, who also plans to retire at the end of this year, but he has made it to Athens and went slightly further in the sprint competition today before being bundled out by Frenchman Laurent Gané.
"It's true, I would have preferred to finish my career at the Athens Olympics rather than here in Melbourne," Rousseau commented in an AFP report. I didn't qualify for the games, but that's sport... That's life."
"I'm disappointed but I have no regrets," he added.
The realisation that his star rider's career had come to a close, Rousseau's coach Gérard Quintyn found himself caught up in similar emotions.
"Florian is like a son to me," he said. "I've been preparing for his decision to stop, but tonight the emotion is too strong."
Florian's wife, Sonja Rousseau, put the occasion in much simpler terms. "Florian has finished his last sprint. It's over. Over!"
Cyclingnews will publish a full interview with Rousseau on Sunday.
Tales from the track
David meets Goliath at the 2004 Track Worlds
By Mal Sawford
Victorian teenager Michael Ford smashed Brad McGee's ten year old under-19 3000m individual pursuit world record at the Australian Championships last month, taking over two seconds off McGee's long standing record with a sensational 3:17.775. Ford was one of the stars of the Aussie titles, claiming gold in the individual pursuit, team pursuit and Madison, and silver in the points race.
The eighteen year old was rewarded with a berth in the Australian squad at the Sydney World Cup, where he produced a creditable time of 4:35.388, to finish fifth in his first effort at the 4000m distance.
Ford was a spectator on the second night of competition at Vodafone Arena, where he was dwarfed by popular Australian sprinter Sean 'Big Man' Eadie. The diminutive youngster tips the scales at 68kg, and almost breaks the 5 feet 6 inches (168cm) mark. In comparison, Eadie races at 98kg and stands a towering 6 feet (183cm) tall!
Watching the medal round of the men's individual pursuit, Cyclingnews asked Ford if he thought he had what it takes to make the step up to the senior ranks. "Two years till I'm at this level" was his frank response.
Eadie concurred. "Michael certainly has the talent to be at this level in two or three years. The only difficulty for him will be the depth Australia will have in the endurance ranks, to try to break into the team, but he has certainly got the ability."
With riders like Michael Ford waiting in the wings, Australia's track endurance squad will definitely be kept on their toes!
More Day 4 news from the Melbourne World Track Championships
By Karen Forman in Melbourne
Ullrich tests himself
Jan Ullrich, who returned to racing Saturday at the TEAG Hainleite in Germany on the eve of the country's national tour, provided more promising indications of his preparation for the Tour de France than he has in the past months. The race 188 kilometre race in Erfurt was won by Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner), but Ullrich finished in fifth place just 13 seconds behind after attacking the main group in the closing kilometres in an effort to catch a late-race breakaway.
Ullrich has been training since his last race, the Flèche Wallonne classic in April, which he failed to finish.
"I wanted to test myself, and it went well today," the 1997 Tour de France winner commented after the race Saturday.
"I don't expect to be able to win yet [at the Tour of Germany]," Ullrich conceded nonetheless. "Unfortunately that's not within my control."
New hope for Steels
With victory in the second stage of the Tour de Luxembourg, veteran Belgian sprinter Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has rediscovered his morale for this season. Steels, who has passed several difficult seasons in recent years, claimed an early victory this year at the Etoile de Bessèges, once more finding himself struggling in the spring classics period.
A crash while preparing on the track for the Athens Olympics put Steels out of action after a back injury was poorly cared for an became infected. Steels returned to racing on the road at the recent Tour de Picardie, but surprised even himself with his quick return to winning ways in Luxembourg.
"This victory comes much earlier than I expected," Steels told La Dernière Heure. "After the Tour de Picardie, the Tour of Belgium helped me get back to my best level.
"I didn't see anyone in the sprint, I don't even know who was second," Steels added, speaking of his dream victory. "This stage was my last chance at victory at the Tour de Luxembourg. The win gives me new hope for the Belgian championships."
Di Luca returns
Italian Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) will return to competition at the Tour of Germany on Monday, five weeks after a urinary tract infection derailed the end of his spring classics campaign. Di Luca will be looking to make up for lost time after several top places in the classics but no major victory yet this year. Di Luca will be joined in Germany by Mirko Celestino, Salvatore Commesso, Jörg Ludewig, Evgeni Petrov, Nicola Gavazzi, Stefano Casagranda and Marius Sabaliauskas
Saeco for Wachovia week
Saeco will also send a small contingent to the United States for the upcoming Wachovia week, culminating with the USPRO Championship event in Philadelphia. Saeco's team for the USA includes Giosuè Bonomi, Gabriele Balducci, Antonio Bucciero, Juan Fuentes and David Loosli. The team will be directed by Bruno Vicino.
Next races for Lampre
As the Lampre team wraps up a solid performance at the Giro d'Italia, notably with Wladimir Belli and Juan Manuel Garate well-placed in the general classification, the team is preparing its roster for the next races on the Spanish calendar, the GP Llodio (May 30) and the Bizikleta Vasca stage race (June 2-6). After a few days rest, world champion Igor Astarloa will return to his native Basque region of Spain to show of his rainbow jersey in Lampre colours.
GP Llodio: Alessandro Ballan, Sergio Barbero, Simone Bertoletti, Paolo Bossoni, Matteo Carrara, Alessandro Cortinovis, Marco Pinotti, Michele Scotto d'Abusco
Bizikleta Vasca: Igor Astarloa, Alessandro Ballan, Sergio Barbero, Simone Bertoletti, Matteo Carrara, Marco Pinotti, Michele Scotto d’Abusco, Romans Vainsteins
Top women for LVV opener
Sarah Uhl, Ashley Kimmet, and Becky Conzelman will be among the women competing on opening night at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, Friday, June 4. The main events of the evening include the Nicole Reinhart Women’s Cycling Classic and Tandemonium!
"I am so excited to return and compete at my home track, "said Uhl. "The fans here in T-town are great and I love racing for them."
Each of the riders is accomplished on both the road and on the velodrome. Twenty year-old Uhl, a member of the Quark cycling team, has won numerous national titles and was a 2001 junior world champion. Ashley Kimmet (Team Colavita-Bola) is also a multiple national champion and medal winner at the 2000 Junior World Championships in the points race. Becky Conzelman (Frisco Cycling Club), placed 2nd in the 2002 national championships (500m TT and 3km pursuit).
For more information about opening night at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, or to purchase tickets, see www.lvvelo.org.
UCI Doping news
The UCI has announced the following sanctions for doping offenses:
Mario Jimenez: Sanctioned by the Union Ciclista Republica Argentina, disqualified from the Vuelta Ciclista Lider al Sur (February 7, 2004), suspended 1 month from March 1-April 1, 2004.
José Alfredo Reynoso-Simoni: Sanctioned by the Federacion Deportiva Peruana de Ciclismo, disqualified from the Doble Copacabana GP Fides (November 9, 2003), suspended 6 months from February 4-August 3, 2004.
Ghader Mizbani Iranagh: Sanctioned by the Cycling Federation of the I.R. Iran, suspended 1 month from February 25-March 25, 2004.
Aitor Kintana Zarate: Sanctioned by the Real Federacion Española de Ciclismo, disqualified from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (June 21, 2003), suspended 18 months from August 16, 2003 to Febrary 15, 2005.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)