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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for October 20, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Last race for Cunego

After his win in the Giro di Lombardia, the current UCI number one ranked rider Damiano Cunego (Saeco) will ride his last race of the season on Sunday at the Japan Cup. Cunego rode the Borgomanero and Mestre time trials last Sunday and then took part in the Gran Gala Ciclistico in Italy on Monday, where he was given a rousing reception by the public for his fantastic season. He left for Japan on Wednesday morning together with teammates Mirko Celestino, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Juan Fuentes and Sylvester Szmyd. Cunego finished 6th in the Japan Cup last year, so he does have a few UCI points to defend in order to keep his number one ranking.

Ljungblad out for blood

By John Trevorrow

Jonas Ljungblad (Europcar-Pelaco)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
Click for larger image

Swede Jonas Ljungblad is definitely enjoying his second Herald Sun Tour a bit more than his first. Last year a nasty crash at the bottom of One Tree Hill, near Ararat, put paid to his overall aspirations. We caught up with Jonas at the start of the Kermesse in Bendigo and asked if he felt his good form was an indication of big things to come.

"I think I have good possibilities especially up the climb at Mt Baw Baw," he said. "I believe the tour will be decided up there. It was great to win the stage into Daylesford, but more important to gain some time. I am still in touch with the leaders, about 40 seconds back.

"I need to be as close to my main opponents as possible when we get to Mt Baw Baw, so it will be important to not let any of them get clear over the next few days. I feel my climbing form is good and I believe I have a good chance to win."

Classique des Alpes no more

The ASO-run Classique des Alpes will not take place next year, according to French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré. The race, which has been run since 1991 in the area around Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains, suffered from its placement on the calendar, occurring as it does just before the Dauphiné Libéré. Many of the top riders taking part in the Dauphiné would forego the Classique in order to conserve their strength, while others would be racing in the Tour of Germany or the Euskal Bizikleta. 1991 winner Charly Mottet believed that a better time to run it would be in August, when all the climbers are still in form from the Tour.

Race organiser Jean-Marie Leblanc does intend to continue to run the race for juniors in order to "give back something to French cycling."

Classique des Alpes past winners

1991 Charly Mottet (Fra)
1992 Gilles Delion (Fra)
1993 Eddy Bouwmans (Ned)
1994 Oliverio Rincon (Col)
1995 Ramon Gonzalez-Arrieta (Spa)
1996 Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
1997 Laurent Roux (Fra)
1998 Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
1999 Unai Osa (Spa)
2000 Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa)
2001 Iban Mayo (Spa)
2002 Santiago Botero (Col)
2003 Francisco Mancebo (Spa)
2004 Oscar Pereiro (Spa)

Vannoppen extends with Palmans

Tom Vannoppen will continue riding for Palmans next season, according to VRT Teletekst. The team is currently aligned with MrBookmaker.com, but it's probable the Palmans will be run as a separate cyclo-cross team while MrBookmaker will remain as the road team.

Bouygues adds two

The new Bouygues Télécom team has signed two young French riders to its roster for next season. Pierre Drancourt and Yohann Gène, both from Vendée U, signed two year contracts with Jean-René Bernaudeau's squad. Vendée U is well represented in the team, as Mathieu Claude, Anthony Ravard and Olivier Bonnaire have all previously signed agreements.

Van der Kooij retires

Young Dutch rider Vincent van der Kooij has announced his retirement from professional cycling. The BankGiroLoterij rider, who came back from a serious accident and Hodgkin's Disease, found himself without a team for next year and has opted to go into the business world. Van der Kooij declared himself disappointed with his comeback that started in May this year, as he did not reach a level that he was satisfied with. Although he had support from a private sponsor to keep going, there were no teams interested in signing him and Van der Kooij only wanted to continue if he was sure of coming back to a high level.

Although he was disappointed with his cycling, things aren't all bad for Van der Kooij. Before the end of the year, he is set to marry his fiancée Marije, and from January 1, 2005 he will pursue his career in business to the fullest.

Kozlikova splits from national team

Top Czech women's cyclist, Lada Kozlikova, has announced that she will no longer ride for the Czech national team due to disputes with the Czech cycling federation. At the recent World Championships in Verona, Kozlikova was quoted by Xinhua News as saying, "If the situation does not improve, then this was my last event for the national team. We deserve better care and above all else polite treatment for the results that we have posted in recent years."

The Czech federation claims that Kozlikova has received €68,000 in support over the last two years, but Kozlikova said that the only support she received came from the Interior Ministry and the Czech Olympic Committee. "The association more or less ignores us, we don't even have our own coach," Kozlikova said. "The fact that we are on the periphery and we don't have the materials we need are acceptable, but I am disappointed by the human factor."

The federation said that the only way for Kozlikova to return to the team would be to ask for her spot back, but the cyclist said that this would only happen if certain changes were made to women's cycling in her country.

United Texas Tour takes shape

The 10 day, 1070 mile (1724 km) professional stage race to be run through Lance Armstrong's home state of Texas will take place between September 8-17, 2005, the organisers confirmed. The $175,000 event, which in true Texas fashion will be the longest race in the U.S., will start with a stage from Colleyville to Graham, and travel across much of north and west Texas, including the cities of Abilene, Amarillo, Borger, Brownfield, Burkburnett, Canyon, Childress, Colleyville, Dalhart, Dumas, Lamesa, Levelland, Littlefield, Lubbock, McKinney, Muleshoe, Pampa, Perryton, Plainview, Post, Quanah, Slaton, Snyder, Vernon, and Wichita Falls. The final stage will be a circuit race in Dallas.

The United Texas Tour is sponsored by United Supermarkets and its main goal is to raise funds for cancer awareness. Proceeds will go toward the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The race will feature 15-20 teams, and the organisers have received official UCI sanctioning.

Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross double header

The 2004 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series moves into its second straight weekend of back to back racing this weekend, with a UCI Cat. 1 race on Saturday and a UCI Cat. 2 event on Sunday. The Wooden Wheels race on the Granogue course, considered one of the toughest on the East Coast of the USA, kicks off the weekend. Last year's Elite Women's event was dominated by the Clif Bar duo of Carmen D'Aluisio and Gina Hall. This year, Rona road pro, Anna Milkowski and Christine Vardaros (Velo Bella) are looking to conquer the course. Riders expected to line up beside Milkowski and Vardaros include current National Masters Champion, Maryann Martinez (CCB/Volkswagen), Betsy Schauer (Fort/GPOA) who won last week's Evo Cross and Amber Itle (Yellow Breeches Racing) winner of the Verge Mid-Atlantic opener at Blue Diamond Park. Prize money for the Elite Women's event has been bumped above UCI Cat. 1 requirements.

The 2003 Elite Men's event was won by Todd Wells (Mongoose/Hyundai) with Ryan Trebon (Kona) taking second. Neither Wells nor Trebon are expected to be on the start line this weekend but several of the USA's top 'crossers are. Riders expected to be there on race day include TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar teammates, Zak Grabowski and Ben Turner; Jacob Stechmann (Subway-Express), and Konrad Lebas (Richard Sachs). The "Mid-Atlantic Brotherhood" (MAB) will be out in force including the powerhouse team of Fort/GPOA whose riders won both races during the Verge Mid-Atlantic opening weekend. Fort/GPOA riders expected on race day include Ryan Leech, Mike Yozell and Gunnar Shogren. Looking to move up in the Mid-Atlantic standings will be Greg Marini (Bike Doctor), Joe Reynolds (Wissahickon), Kris Auer (Alan MidAtlantic, and U23 rider, Greg Wittwer (cyclocrossworld.com).

On Sunday, the racing moves to the Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hosted by Club Wissahickon and Sturdy Girl Cycling, 'cross action returns to the largest inner city park in the United States. The "Plateau" has been the site of numerous cyclo-cross events through the years, even playing host to a round of the now defunct SuperCup series.

The course layout in use this year promises to be physically demanding but two high-speed chicane areas should provide opportunity for recovery each lap. With riders staying in the area to take advantage of the UCI double weekend, the start line on Sunday promises to look like a repeat of Saturday's start line. Riders like Anna Milkowski (Rona), Christine Vardaros (Velo Bella), Ben Turner (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar), Zak Grabowksi (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar) and Jacob Stechmann (Subway-Express) will be looking to finish off their weekend with a victory and another handful of UCI points.

Racing starts both days at 10am with Elite racing getting under way at 1:30pm. More information can be found at www.monkeyhillcs.com/mac/mac2004/. For race registration, go to www.bikereg.com.

Remaining races in the Verge MACC Series

Round 3 - October 23: Wooden Wheels (UCI), Granogue, DE
Round 4 - October 24: Wissahickon Cross (UCI) Philadelphia, PA
Round 5 - November 6: Lower Allen Classic (UCI), Camp Hill, PA
Round 6 - November 20: Beacon Cross (UCI, USGP) Bridgeton, NJ
Round 7 - November 21: Highland Park (UCI, USGP), Highland Park, NJ
Round 8 - December 5: Capital Cross (UCI), Reston, VA

Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund scholarships

The Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund has announced the recipients of its 2004 collegiate scholarships. The recipients are:

Sarah Levy (University of Colorado)
Lauren Franges (The Art Institute)
Melissa Thompsom (University of Colorado)
Brian Schaning (University of Wisconsin)
Eric Ransom (Fort Lewis College)
Tracy Nelson (University of Colorado)
Tyler Hester (Stanford University)
Alane Ballweg (University of Texas)
Megan Elliot (University of Iowa)
Robert Blaisdell (Temple University)
Shaun Riebl (University of Colorado)
Andy Lakatosh (Penn State Lehigh Valley )
Tim Reinhart (Moravian College )
Trevor Matulys (Penn State Berks)
Bobby Lea (Penn State Lehigh Valley

One of the scholarship winners, Tyler Hester, a junior at Stanford who is majoring in English, was grateful for his award. "Already the scholarship has taken a huge burden off of me to work and make money throughout this winter," Hester said. "I really appreciate this opportunity to have learned about Nicole's character and at the same time be given this opportunity to race my bike with both the joy and intensity that she did."

The Nicole Reinhart Collegiate scholarships are funded through proceeds raised each year at the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund Dinner and Silent Auction. This year's event is scheduled for November 14, 2004 at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center, Routes 100 and 222, in Fogelsville, PA. In addition to collegiate scholarships the Nicole Reinhart Fund also raises and grants support to cycling clubs, junior development and collegiate cycling programs such as Penn State.

Information on scholarship eligibility and other programs can be found at: www.nicolefund.org.

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