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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for November 13, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Armstrong to drive Formula One?

Mark Webber
Photo ©: Chipps Chippendale
Click for larger image

Six time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has expressed a desire to drive a Formula One car following a training ride with Australian F1 driver Mark Webber. A big fan of Armstrong, Webber met Lance in Texas recently and the two were training together when Armstrong popped the question: "He said he wanted to drive the car himself rather than be a passenger," said Webber on the BMW-Williams website. "I told him I wasn't sure if it was possible but I'd look into it."

Webber also relished the opportunity to ride with the Tour champion. "As everyone knows, Lance is a phenomenally fit guy and it was amazing to be cycling alongside him and chatting, although my breaths soon got shorter and shorter, as did my answers to his questions," said Webber.

See also: Cyclingnews interviews Mark Webber

Torrelavega honours Freire

World Champion Oscar Freire's home town of Torrelavega in Spain paid tribute to the three-time rainbow jersey winner on Friday, November 12. With his posters adorning the city, the easy going Cantabrian was named honorary mayor of Torrelavega in an event lasting three hours, which also included a tour of the city and a special meeting of the municipal council.

Ljungskog finds the answer

By Gabriella Ekström

After a season less successful than expected and a disastrous Olympic time trial, two time World Champion Susanne Ljungskog has undergone numerous tests at several hospitals, both in Sweden and other countries, to find a reason for her recent lack of strength. She was finally tested by allergy specialist Per Jemsby at the hospital of Varberg, and he was able to come up with a result. "The tests taken by Jemsby show that I have suffered a very strong allergic reaction," said Susanne. "The substance I'm allergic to is grass and birch pollen."

According to Jemsby, this type of allergic reaction requires four to six weeks of recovery. Ljungskog's problem has been that she hasn't shown the normal symptoms with a runny nose and irritated eyes. The only sign of something being wrong has been her lack of strength and endurance. In reality, it has left her short of strength towards the end of races where she normally stands out as one of the stronger riders.

"It is just ironic that the worst reaction came in Athens, but I also had to abandon the Giro for the same reason. My body couldn't do it anymore, I was just empty," added Susanne.

Together with her coach Klas Johansson, Susanne has now analysed the last years results, and they have found a clear connection between bad performances and high levels of grass pollen. "We can't say how high the levels were at different places, but there's a strong connection between bad performances and certain times of year," Johansson explained.

Earlier this week, Susanne started a treatment which is expected to give results within ten weeks, although the full treatment will run for a period of three years. "It feels good to finally know what was wrong," she concluded. "It felt like I was going crazy for a while, but at least now I know what has caused this condition of mine."

Bos out for two weeks

World Sprint Champion Theo Bos will miss riding for the next two weeks after injuring his right knee. The Dutchman has already missed the Munich Six, but hopes to come back in time for the Track Cycling World Cup in Los Angeles next month. He suffered a similar injury, but on the left knee, just before the Athens Olympics. "Maybe it's the result of power training," he told ANP. "With the help of special soles I want to prevent it from happening again, because it is apparently a weak spot."

Another champion admits to EPO use

Although not specifically in the world of cycling, there has been yet another case of a world champion endurance athlete taking the banned performance enhancer, EPO. Germany's Ironman Triathlon world champion Nina Kraft tested positive for EPO after winning the Hawaii Ironman triathlon on October 17. Like cyclists Filip Meirhaeghe and David Millar, she immediately admitted to using the drug, and didn't request her B sample to be tested.

"I screwed up," she was quoted by Frankfurter Allgemeine as saying to Kurt Denk, organiser of the Ironman Germany competition, which she won in July. The admission was subsequently confirmed by the president of the German Triathlon Union (DTU), Klaus Muller-Ott, in the Kieler Nachrichten newspaper. "Nina Kraft admitted to me in a conversation that she had used EPO," said Muller-Ott.

According to Muller-Ott, Kraft claimed that she only used the drug in order to win in Hawaii. She was the first ever German woman to win the Ironman, but now faces disqualification from the race and a two year ban from the sport. Her probable disqualification means that Swiss Natascha Badmann will be declared the winner.

Mattia Gavazzi suspended

21 year-old Italian Mattia Gavazzi (Resine Ragnoli-Feralpi) has been given a 14 month suspension by the Italian cycling federation for testing positive to cocaine. In addition to his suspension, he will have to follow a rehabilitation program. The sprinter, who won 12 victories this season in the amateur ranks, was tested after he won the Trofeo Papa' Cervi di Gattatico on May 1.

Vanhaecke retires

33 year-old Belgian Michel Vanhaecke ( has decided to call it quits as a pro. Next year, he will step back into the elite zonder contract ranks in Belgium. "To get a contract it's more important who you know than what you have done," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "I won't ride any more for a jersey and shorts."

Vanhaecke turned pro in 1995 with Collstrop, and realised his best years with Tönissteiner and Landbouwkrediet between 1999 and 2001. He won the Kampioenschap Van Vlaanderen in 1999, Dr. Tistaert Prijs, Druivenkoers and Cras Avernas in 2000, and Nokere Koerse and Antwerpse Havenpijl in 2001.

Nielsen to Glud & Marstrand Horsens

Danish soon to be Continental team Glud & Marstrand Horsens has signed Max Nielsen for another year, according to the team.

Japanese Keirin comes to Manchester

Six Japanese Keirin riders are down to race at the Track Cycling World Cup at Manchester Velodrome next January. The Japanese will be competing for their share of the £45,000 prize money up for grabs in the special keirin, which is being sponsored by the Japan Keirin Association (JKA).

Britain's Jamie Staff, the current Keirin World Champion is expected to contest the event on his home ground in Manchester. Staff was disqualified in the Olympic Keirin semi-final in Athens and will no doubt welcome the opportunity to ride against the six Japanese riders in the rainbow jersey.

The president of the Japan Keirin Association (JKA), Mr Kunio Ogawa, said, "The Keirin race is a one of the most exciting competitive sports in the track cycling and we are looking forward to what will be a very special event. We are all really looking forward to the racing at Manchester in the new year."

Team wanted for Tour de Lanka

The organisers of the Tour de Lanka (Sri Lanka) are calling for two more teams to take part in their race, which runs between December 5-12, 2004. The non-UCI classified race, which was revived after a 10 year lacuna, will run over 914 km in seven stages and has a prize total of 717,000 Sri Lankan rupees (€5,300). The organisers are interested in two teams from Australia or Asia, and will provide board, accommodation and local travel to five elite male riders and two staff members per team. Interested parties should contact: Sanjeeva P. Muttiah, Director of International Affairs, Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka at or by phone at +94 112 325366.

The stages

Stage 1 - December 5: Colombo - Colombo ITT, 5 km
Street Party - December 6
Stage 2 - December 7: Colombo - Anuradhapura, 200 km
Stage 3 - December 8: Anuradhapura - Trincomalee, 147 km
Stage 4 - December 9: Trincomalee - Kandy, 184 km
Stage 5 - December 10: Kandy - Kandy criterium, 50 km
Stage 6 - December 11: Kandy - Ratnapura, 128 km
Stage 7 - December 12: Ratnapura - Matara, 200 km

Seymour looking good for Irish title

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The Irish National Cyclo-Cross Championships are scheduled for next month, but already the signs are ominous that the defending champion, Robin Seymour from Team Worc is rarin' to go. Seymour had his first outing of the season on a very technical course in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare last Sunday, and came through in emphatic style to win the opener in the Cycleways.Com League cyclo-cross event.

Liam Walker was instrumental in designing the course in Kilcullen, which included nooks and crannies and was a real teaser and tester for the 'cross' competitors who were blessed with good weather. "I was absolutely amazed at the agility of Robin to scale a 30 foot mound," said Liam. "It was man made and I felt its inclusion would be a talking point. What's more, many and I reckoned that no-one would cycle up it, as it was soft underfoot. Not only did Robin do it once, but on each of the eight laps, which left a wry smile on my face."

The action switches to the Apollo Cycling Team promotion at Lurgan Park, Lurgan this Sunday. On a new course designed by Geoff Coupland and Andy Layhe, it is a short fast course designed for an exciting race, breaking with tradition from previous events at the park. The five minute lap consists of wooded sections, two run-ups and fast single track.

Youth racing starts 12noon, Elite/Seniors at 1pm. Sign-on and changing facilities are provided in the football rooms of the Waves Leisure Centre (not in main building as in previous years). Sign-on opens at 11am.

Randwick club president recovering

Sydney club Randwick Botany's Club President John Buckton is recovering in Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, after being knocked off his bike by a utility vehicle on Thursday morning. Buckton was riding with a bunch on Southern Cross Drive, travelling north, when the crash happened. He broke his right collarbone, fractured five ribs on his right side and sustained plenty of gravel rash. His helmet and brand new Argon 18 bike were smashed, but fortunately he has no head injuries. Police have identified and interviewed the driver.

Buckton is expected to remain in hospital next week and doctors will assess the need for surgery on his collarbone. He is undergoing pain management but is reported to be in good spirits.

Team Internet wants Masters

Team Internet, the oldest web-based international bicycle racing club, now has a New England, USA Chapter. Team Internet is mostly populated by men and women of a "certain age", and is looking for Masters riders to join it. There are TI chapters in the US, England and the Netherlands, and membership costs $US5.00 per year. Team Internet is fully affiliated with USA Cycling in the US.

The main TI web site is at:

The New England web site can be found at:

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