First Edition Cycling News for October 8, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
More success for Oscar in Tours?
No Zabel/Petacchi rematch
By Jeff Jones
Taking place after the World Championships this year is Paris-Tours, the ninth round of the UCI World Cup. Approaching its 110th birthday, this late season classic is traditionally one for the sprinters, although several times in recent history it has been won by breakaways. Last year, thanks to the strength of T-Mobile and Fassa Bortolo, the race did finish in a bunch sprint, but instead of Alessandro Petacchi claiming his first ever World Cup win, it was Erik Zabel who snuck around him to grab the honours.
Unfortunately, Zabel will not be able to defend his title this Sunday after falling off a ladder this week and breaking a bone in his heel. Petacchi won't be back either, and the pressure in Fassa Bortolo will likely fall on the shoulders of Juan Antonio Flecha or even Petacchi's lead out men Guido Trenti and Marco Velo.
One of the biggest challengers this year is likely to be recently crowned World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who will have the support of Erik Dekker, Marc Wauters (1999 winner) and Steven de Jongh, among others. Cofidis will be led by sprinter/all-rounder Stuart O'Grady, who will count on Jimmy Casper, Matt White and Cedric Vasseur for support.
Boonen calls it a season with gastroenteritis
After causing tremendous damage amongst the Vuelta a España peloton with effects still felt at the World Championships, the plague of gastroenteritis hasn't stopped. Another recent victim is Quick.Step's Tom Boonen, who will not be able to ride Paris-Tours.
"I was forced to pull-out of the World Championships because of this virus that I'm still suffering with," explained the Belgian rider. "This morning I did some training for approximately one hour and half, but I feel too weak to be one of the main players in such a difficult and long race like Paris-Tours. I don't want ride to finish in 30th or 40th place. I wouldn't be of any use to myself or to the team strategy in this condition. Unfortunately, the World Championship will remain the last race of my season."
More Paris-Tours lineups
More team rosters get finalised toward the weekend, when on Sunday one of the last World Cup races, Paris-Tours, will be taking place. The latest team lineups are:
Igor Astarloa, Alessandro Ballan, Paolo Bossoni, Gianluca Bortolami, Alessandro Cortinovis, Andrej Hauptman, Manuel Quinziato, Patxi Vila.
Mikel Artetxe, Koldo Fernández de Larrea, Markel Irizar, Iñaki Isasi, Samuel Sánchez, Aitor Sillóniz, Aketza Peña, Josu Sillóniz.
Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Wilfried Cretskens, Kevin Hulsmans, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Michael Rogers, Bram Tankink.
88th Giro d'Italia to start in Reggio Calabria
The organisers of the Giro d'Italia, RCS Sport, have officially announced that next year's 88th edition will start in Reggio Calabria on May 7. The opening stage will be a 1.2 km prologue time trial that will determine the first wearer of the maglia rosa. On Sunday, May 8, the first road stage will start in Reggio Calabria, taking a tour of the region, and finish in Tropea. Stage 2 on Monday will be run between Catanzaro and head north along the Mediterranean coastline.
The Giro first visited Calabria in 1929, but it has never hosted a grande partenza until now.
Usov to AG2R
The Belarusian rider Alexandre Usov is changing teams for next season. The 27 year-old will switch from Phonak, where he has been under contract since 2000, to AG2R, which will not be part of the Pro Tour in 2005.
O'Loughlin and McCann aim higher
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Last week in Verona, it became clear that the hub of Irish cycling is now west of the Shannon (longest river in Ireland). Three members from county Mayo were in action at the World Championships: Mary Brennan, Martin Munroe and David O'Loughlin. Admittedly they were not talking about the football team that were routed in the all Ireland Football championships two weeks ago against a very slick Kerry team.
Mary and Martin are in the junior ranks and have plenty of time on their side, but David is anxious to get a pro contract. The Irish Road Race Champion admitted that he is in negotiations with at least two teams. They were impressed with his ability despite being one of the few non-pro's to keep up with the pace. David finished in 50th position at four minutes behind, surviving on what was regarded as one of the toughest courses in recent World's history. After a hard season, which started in January in the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi, O'Loughlin has gone on a well deserved break to the United States with his mobile phone!
Also performing well for Ireland was David McCann, who finished in 74th place. Of course, McCann had Irish eyes smiling earlier in the week when he put in a solid performance in the time trial which made people take notice of the Belfast rider currently attached to the Giant Asia team.
Cincinnati's first UCI 'cross
The US city of Cincinnati, Ohio will host its first ever UCI cyclo-cross race on October 10, with the inaugural Bio-Wheels/United Dairy Farmers Cyclo-cross at Fairfield's Harbin Park. The race is expected to draw a large field of top level riders and teams from across the Midwest, Southeast, East Coast and beyond. In addition to UCI ranking points, riders will also be competing for a share in the $4,000 of cash and prizes.
"Races like this just don't come to places like Cincinnati," said Mitch Graham, race organizer and part sponsor. "This is the culmination of more than 10 years of planning, promoting and dreaming for cyclo-cross enthusiasts all over this area."
The event will include categories for all levels of racers, from beginner to pro. Action begins at 11:00am with beginner class racing, and finishes at 2:00pm. when the starter's gun fires on the Elite/Pro Men's race.
More information: www.biowheels.com
Alkek Velodrome Bicycle Flea Market
The 1st Annual Alkek Velodrome Bicycle Flea Market will be held in Houston, Texas on Saturday, November 13 this year. The Flea Market will be held between 9:00am-3:00pm and allows both commercial bike shops as well as individuals to sell their cycling related goods. The "for sale" list includes bicycles of all types: mountain, road, BMX, and track, along with parts for all makes and models. Items that relate to cycling will also be on hand including cycling clothes and cycling related art work.
The Alkek Velodrome Bicycle Flea Market is being held in conjunction with the Alkek Velodrome Park Advisory Council's Cyclocross Stage Race. Part of the Texas Bicycle Racing Association's Cyclocross Series, over 200 people are expected to attend the event.
More information: www.houstonalkekvelodrome.org
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)