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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for October 13, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Petacchi tops 2004 victory list

Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) is once again the rider with the most victories in UCI races in a season. Even without a single success in the Tour de France, Petacchi crossed the finish line first on 21 occasions this year, including nine times in the Giro and four in the Vuelta. He narrowly beat rising Belgian star Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who finished up with a very impressive 19 UCI victories, including Gent-Wevelgem, the Grote Scheldeprijs, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen and two stages in the Tour de France. In third place, with 15 wins (all in Spain) was Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme), who won the overall classification in three stage races (Burgos, Murcia, Valenciana) as well as a stage in the Vuelta.

UCI wins in 2004

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo           21
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon             19
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Com. Valenciana-Kelme    15
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco                        12
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal-Berry Floor       11
5 Max van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal-Berry Floor      11
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                10
8 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner                    9
9 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon           8
9 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance                8
9 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                     8

Planckaert not amused

Belgian cyclist Jo Planckaert is still seething about his two year (plus two years provisional) suspension from cycling as a result of his involvement in the José Landuyt/Herman Versele doping affair. Planckaert was given the sanction together with Chris Peers and the demigod of Belgian cycling for the past 15 years, Johan Museeuw. But Planckaert was not at all happy about it, claiming that he and Peers were just caught in the crossfire of a battle between the Belgian federation and Museeuw.

"They wanted Johan Museeuw," said Planckaert to Het Laatste Nieuws. "The fact that he was part of the Landuyt affair did not make it easy for Chris Peers and me. Museeuw said it to me a while ago. The first time that he appeared in Kortrijk, they already said that they would break him. Peers and I are the victims of that."

Planckaert and Peers are now considering appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). "If it's worth the trouble and the expenses, then there's a chance we could go to CAS," said Planckaert, who added that he would prefer to sue the Belgian cycling federation. "I would certainly like to go after them for deprivation of livelihood but CAS is the only possibility."

Planckaert's lawyer Johnny Maesschalck was not as interested. "That dossier is seven folders thick, and everything must be translated to French," he said.

Otxoa to be honoured at home

Paralympic cyclist Javier Otxoa will be honoured in his home town of Berango, Spain, this coming Sunday, October 17 in recognition of his achievements at the Paralympic Games. The celebrations will begin at 11:30 on Sunday morning with a cycle tour, starting from Elexaldre. At 12:30, homage to Javier will be paid in the park bearing his deceased brother Ricardo's name.

At the Paralympics in Athens Otxoa won the gold medal in the combined road race and time trial classification in the CP3 division after winning the road race and placing second in the time trial. He also won a silver medal on the track in the CP3 3km individual pursuit.

Otxoa won the Hautacam stage in the 2000 Tour de France ahead of Lance Armstrong, but suffered a serious accident in February 2001 when he and his brother were hit by a car while out training. His brother did not survive, and Javier was in a coma for two months before eventually coming out of it. He did not escape without some brain damage, which is why he competes as a Cerebral Palsy athlete now.

Illes Balears-Banesto for Giro di Lombardia

The Illes Balears-Banesto squad has been named for the final World Cup race of the season: Chente García, Iván Gutiérrez, José Luis Arrieta, Unai Osa, Joan Horrach, Mikel Pradera, Pablo Lastras and José Antonio López.

Bootes denies intentionally taking stimulant

Australian mountain biker/BMXer Wade Bootes has denied intentionally taking a stimulant that caused him to test positive at the Mont St. Anne World Cup in June. Bootes was recently given a six month suspension for the offence and will be able to race again from January 31, 2005. After the news of his positive was made public, Bootes issued the following statement in his own defence:

"I have tested positive to a banned stimulant following my worst result for the season at a race in Canada in June. I am totally against performance enhancing drugs in sport and any form of drug abuse. I always have been and I always will be. I did not intentionally take any banned or illegal drug before the event in Canada.

"The Australian Cycling Anti Doping Policy, like the policies of most countries, does not distinguish between intentional use of banned substances and unintentional use. Thus I was found guilty of an infraction of Cycling Australia's Anti Doping Policy.

"Thankfully the Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted that I did not intentionally take any banned substance . My 6 month suspension reflects that finding! I have to "wear" the ban, and I will. I have learnt a valuable lesson out of all of this and I will never again put myself in a position where this can happen again.

"I would like for my unfortunate experience to be a warning to all athletes to understand the rules of the Anti Doping Policy and to be aware of all the banned substances and not to accept any food or drink from people that they do not know.

"I do not wish for anyone else to be put in the same position which I have been, unknowingly and unintentionally taking a banned substance and being suspended due to the rules and regulations of the Anti Doping Policy.

"I will spend this short time away from competing by focusing all my energy towards my new born son, Brooklyn."

Solari to De Nardi-Domina Vacanze

Italian cyclist Luca Solari has signed a contract with the new team to be directed by Gianluigi Stanga and Antonio Bevilacqua, De Nardi-Domina Vacanze. Solari described himself as "very satisfied to be a part of a large team and a squad that will next year be part of the UCI Pro Tour. The next season will be my third one in the top category and after some good performances I hope it's a breakthrough year."

18th Tour du Faso

The 18th edition of the Tour du Faso takes place between October 27 and November 7 in Burkina Faso, western Africa. This year's race will cover 1240.5 km in 11 days, and for the first time will make an incursion into Mali (Stage 3). Another novelty is a 120 km circuit race in Bobo Dioulasso, covering 12 laps of a 10 km circuit around the town.

The race began in 1987 to promote the sport and image of Burkina Faso outside of Africa. Now run by A.S.O., the Tour du Faso has grown into one of Africa's most professionally organised events and each year attracts a strong domestic field. This year will see 11 African and five European teams taking part, including squads from Burkina Faso, Mali, Sénégal, Angola and even a combined French-Japanese team.

The Tour du Faso will also see the culmination of an initiative aimed at the future of cycling in the country. On the November 2 rest day, the "1000 bicycles for Faso" project will conclude. 21 Burkinese schools of cycling, which were created with the help of the French embassy, will receive equipment collected during the whole year, including on the roads of the Tour de France. The aim of this project is to help young riders develop in Burkina Faso, not only to ride their own Tour, but perhaps even the Tour de France one day.

The teams: Burkina-Faso 1, Burkina-Faso 2, A.S. Fadoul, Mali, Niger, Cameroun, Sénégal, Togo, Bénin, Angola, Ivory Coast, Yvelines (Fra), La Porte du Hainaut (Fra), Right to Play (Ned), Vasco-Avia-Modemakers (Bel), and a French-Japanese team.

The stages

Stage 1 - October 27: Kokologo - Boromo, 136 km
Stage 2 - October 28: Boromo - Houndé, 74 km
Stage 3 - October 29: Orodara - Sikasso, 121 km
Stage 4 - October 30: Sikasso - Orodara, 96,5 km
Stage 5 - October 31: Bobo Dioulasso - Bobo Dioulasso, 121 km
Stage 6 - November 1: Pa (Sabou) - Koudougou, 156,5 km
Rest day - November 2: Ouagadougou
Stage 7 - November 3: Ouagadougou - Yako, 100,5 km
Stage 8 - November 4: Yako - Ouahigouya, 74 km
Stage 9 - November 5: Gourey - Ziniaré, 180 km
Stage 10 - November 6: Linoghin - Pouytenga, 96 km
Stage 11 - November 7: Kombissiri - Ouagadougou, 85 km

Downeast Cyclo-Cross kicks off Verge NECCC

The cyclo-cross season is now in full swing in the USA and after last weekend's slew of UCI events across the country, the National Racing Calendar is now shifting to New Gloucester, Maine for the opening round of the 2005 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series. The course designed by Tom Stevens provided a testing introduction to the Verge NECCS in 2004, but a slightly modified version should make for a friendlier but still challenging event this year.

Both of last year's winners in the Men's and Women's elite fields will be present this year. After a 6th and 2nd place in last weekend's U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclo-cross races, Mark McCormack (Clif Bar/Colavita Olive Oil) demonstrated that he is already in winning form. Lining up alongside him will be last year's 3rd overall finisher Ben Turner (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar), under-23 World's team member Matt White (NCC/BikeReg.com), and former Canadian National Champion Peter Wedge (Kona).

In the Women's Elite race, defending champion Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) will have some strong competition this year from several riders. Chief among these will most likely be Anna Milkowski (Rona), who returns to the cyclo-cross scene after a year of racing in all of the top domestic races with the Rona team; 30-plus National Champion Marianne Stover (Gearworks/Spinarts); Maureen Bruno (Cyclocrossworld.com); and former National Champion Katrina Davis (CYBC/Richard Sachs).

Following the Downeast Cyclo-Cross, the Verge NECCS will resume with a pair of races in Gloucester, Mass. The Michelob Ultra Gran Prix of Gloucester will feature a UCI Category 2 race on Saturday, Oct. 30, and a UCI Category 1 on Sunday October 31, and share those races with the Crank Brothers USGP of Cyclo-Cross.

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