First Edition Cycling News for October 12, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Horner does the Continental
Seasoned American happy to be back in Europe
By Chris Henry
For Chris Horner, undoubtedly the dominant talent in domestic racing in the United States in recent seasons, there was no hiding his satisfaction in returning to race in Europe when Cyclingnews caught up with the amiable American before the Paris-Tours World Cup classic yesterday. On a dreary October morning, Horner was all smiles in his bright yellow Saunier Duval-Prodir uniform, signing in for his first race for the Spanish team. He had just come off of an impressive eighth place in the Verona World Championship road race, a performance which clinched his efforts to return to continental racing and rejoin the sport's highest ranks.
Horner first tasted Division I racing in Europe with the Française des Jeux and Mercury teams before returning to race in the USA for Prime Alliance, Saturn, and this season Webcor. With repeated success in top races such as Redlands, the T-Mobile International, the Tour de Georgia, and a variety of single day and stage races, Horner was no doubt growing increasingly anxious to break out of the domestic scene.
"I've been trying to get over here for a while, you know," Horner laughed. "I had incredible legs last year at World's but they just used me the wrong way. This year they gave me the chance to be the leader on the team with Fred [Rodriguez], so I had the chance to just sit back and be quiet the whole time. You can't waste any energy at the World Championships."
While his ride in Verona may have sealed the deal to join Saunier Duval, Horner explained that the move to the Spanish team, where he will join former Saturn teammate Tim Johnson, was not as sudden as it might appear.
"It was in the works before the World Championships," he confirmed. "I thought if I had a good World's maybe I could talk my way into the team and do the last two weeks of the season.
"I knew with Webcor that the season was done after San Francisco and they were really happy with the way the whole team went, so I was pretty certain they'd let me go," Horner added. "I waited until after World's when I saw that I had pretty good legs there and I started trying to talk my way on."
Indeed Horner had a number of contacts with Saunier Duval, both sponsors and former teammates. With "seven or eight ways to come in on them," he was confident he could earn a ride.
"They didn't have a chance," he joked. "I was hitting them from every angle possible. And I knew Mauro [Gianetti, Saunier Duval team manager] as well because we were teammates on La Française des Jeux. I was doing everything I could to make it happen and I just needed to top it off with a good World's ride."
Horner did just that, staying with the leaders as the long race of attrition took shape over the Verona, Italy parcours, finishing the day with a solid sprint to cross the line in the top ten. With just one race in his legs in the past seven weeks - the T-Mobile International in San Francisco - Horner's performance was all the more impressive.
"I was having some problems with cramps and the legs, but the rest of me felt fantastic, so I think if I can just get the race in here [at Paris-Tours] I'll be pretty good when we get to Lombardia."
He may have just arrived in Europe in time for the final two weeks of racing, but Horner is a man of ambition and he has his sights set on a good performance at Saturday's World Cup finale, the Giro di Lombardia.
"Lombardia is absolutely an objective now," he insisted. "First the objective was to go to San Francisco and have a great race for Webcor to finish the season, then to focus 100 percent for the World Championships. I was going to shut the season down [after the World's] unless I got on the team. Once I got on the team... I've been training hard! I've done 600 miles this week between the World Championships and here."
Of course Horner has done even more training than that, as Cyclingnews reminded him to start thinking in kilometres again.
Paolini and Nuyens end seasons
Bettini recons Lombardy course
The Quick.Step-Davitamon team has lost two key riders in the lead up to the final World Cup race of the season after both Luca Paolini and Nick Nuyens crashed during yesterday's Paris-Tours. Both riders have broken bones: Paolini fractured the scaphoid bone in his right hand when he crashed with 6 km to go, while Nuyens fractured the third finger of his left hand when he crashed with 60 km to go and again when he was rejoining the bunch.
Paolini, who won bronze at the World Championships, will not be able to ride for approximately two months. "I am really sorry about this," he said. "I was going through a great period in top form - seeing all of my hard work go flying out of the window for a silly accident is a great shame. I'm sure that if I hadn't fallen I would have been amongst the leaders at the Paris-Tours. My bitterness increases when I think that I'll not be able to take part next Saturday in the Tour of Lombardy. I know the route of that race like the back of my hand and I could have been of great help to Bettini in light of the World Cup".
Nick Nuyens will be out of action for a month, and he too regretted not being able to finish off his season. "The first time I fell was after about 190 kilometres of racing," said Nuyens. "I changed my bike and started off again. I risked a bit too much when trying to catch up with and return to the group. I entered a roundabout too fast and lost grip from my front wheel. There was no avoiding the fall.
"It is a shame. It's not nice finishing the season like this. I'm not in as good a form as I was a couple of weeks ago, but I am doing pretty well and am sure I could have been of great help to both the team and Bettini in the Tour of Lombardy. In moments like these one needs to be optimistic and think that this injury isn't as bad as it first seemed yesterday afternoon."
Meanwhile, World Cup leader Paolo Bettini will carry out a reconnaissance of the final part of the Tour of Lombardy on Wednesday, October 13. Bettini will ride together with Davide Bramati over the last 50 kilometres of the race. "I don't want to leave a single thing to chance," said Bettini. "This is the final effort of the season, a season that has been a very long one for both me and the team. Paolini will be with me in the team car. He knows every step of the route and will surely be able to give me some precious advice and pointers".
Rebellin out of Milano-Torino
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) is opting not to take part in Milano-Torino this Wednesday, preferring to save his strength for Saturday's Giro di Lombardia, where he will try to take back the World Cup jersey form Paolo Bettini. "I don't want to risk anything," said Rebellin. "Because the World Cup would crown my extraordinary season."
Boogerd out of Milano-Torino
Michael Boogerd will not be racing this Wednesday's Milano-Torino due to illness, and is also in doubt for the Giro di Lombardia. Suffering from the 'flu, Boogerd had to cut short his training in the Limburg hills last Saturday and is now taking a course of antibiotics. He hopes to be fit for the Giro di Lombardia, a race where he has finished on the podium twice in the past. However, even if he does race it, he will not be ranked in the World Cup because he will not have ridden the required minimum of six races in the season.
No more races for Garzelli
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) is another rider who has called a half to his season, suffering from bronchitis. Garzelli was due to take part in the Giro di Lombardia but his breathing difficulties have forced him out. Garzelli's last race in Vini Caldirola colours was the Vuelta a España, as next year he will ride for Liquigas-Bianchi.
T-Mobile Team for Milano-Torino
T-Mobile is sending an experienced squad to this Wednesday's 89th Milano-Torino, including Italian national team riders Daniele Nardello and Paolo Savoldelli. Nardello will use the 199 kilometre race between the two northern Italian industrial centres of Milan and Turin to fine tune his form ahead of Saturday's last round of the World Cup. "This is a tough race and Daniele will approach it with one eye on the Giro di Lombardia", said T-Mobile's spokesman Olaf Ludwig.
Like Nardello, Matthias Kessler is preparing for Giro di Lombardia and will use the Milan-Turin as an "intense training session at race pace". 25 year-old Kessler is in fine form, having finished 7th in Paris-Tours. "Matse is an ambitious guy," added Ludwig. "He will be giving it everything on Wednesday, to tweak his form ahead for the Giro di Lombardia."
The duo will be supported by veteran Rolf Aldag, along with Cadel Evans, Stephan Schreck, Andreas Klier and Steffen Wesemann.
More teams for Milano-Torino and Giro di Piemonte
Lampre will race with identical rosters in the first two races of the Trittico d'Autunno - Milano-Torino (Oct. 13) and the Giro di Piemonte (Oct. 14). The team is: Igor Astarloa, Sergio Barbero, Paolo Bossoni, GianLuca Bortolami, Juan Manuel Garate, Manuel Quinziato, Daniele Righi and Patxi Vila.
Cofidis will also race with identical lineups, with: Frédéric Bessy, Christophe Edaleine, Dmitriy Fofonov, Peter Farazijn, David Moncoutié, Guido Trentin And Cédric Vasseur.
Haselbacher stays with Gerolsteiner
Austrian Rene Haselbacher has extended his contract with Gerolsteiner for another two seasons. Haselbacher will start his seventh pro season next year and his main job will be to help Danilo Hondo in the sprints.
FCI suspends Addis, Gavazzi and Dotti
The disciplinary commission of the Italian cycling federation (FCI) has suspended Giorgio Addis, Pier Mattia Gavazzi and Paolo Dotti for a period of 60 days because of their involvement in doping related offences. The suspensions were made upon recommendation of the Court in Brescia, which recently sentenced them to between two and nine months jail for unlawful practice of medicine and pharmacy and for the dangerous administration of medicines.
Stive Vermaut memorial ride in North Carolina
A charity ride has been organised in North Carolina, USA, on October 23 in memory of deceased Belgian cyclist Stive Vermaut. Vermaut was a professional cyclist who died on June 30, 2004 from complications of a heart abnormality at the young age of 27. He had the opportunity to visit Carolina Regional Heart Center and see all the efforts that Heart Strides Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation makes to improve the heart health of those who participate. Part of the proceeds of this ride will go to provide funding for Heart Strides scholarships. These scholarships assist patients who are not financially able to participate in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Proceeds will also go to benefit Stive's wife and two children.
The ride will begin at 8:30am from The Fitness Center at the intersection of Lindsay Street and Quaker Lane in High Point, NC. There will be two ride distances: 30 km and 70 km. The entry fee is $20 (before October 16) or $25 (after October 16), with registration at active.com.
O'Grady and White in Cycling: The Truth
Cofidis teammates Stuart O'Grady and Matthew White are hosting an evening of public speaking at Kent Brewery - The Museum on Broadway, Sydney on October 27. Entitled "Cycling: The Truth", the evening gets under way at 7:15pm with a prologue, finishing at 9:30pm after seven stages. O'Grady and White will discuss their recent careers, beginning with their arrival at Cofidis this year; the drug drama that stopped the team in its tracks; the Tour De France, including Matt's unfortunate accident, O'Grady's Stage 5 win and the green jersey; the Olympics, where O'Grady won gold in the Madison; the World Championships; and the future.
Other features during the evening will be an interview, video highlights, an open forum, giveaways, and complimentary food and drinks.
Tickets are $50 per head and bookings can be made with Michael Gilliam (Aust. mobile: 0418 402 848 or Michael.Gilliam@fostersgroup.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)