First Edition Cycling News for September 6, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson
A hard day for Petacchi
"Despite the victory, today was a very difficult day for me," said a tired Petacchi after winning the second stage in a bunch sprint. Petacchi had been caught in an early crash, while his teammates Guido Trenti and Alberto Ongarato suffered the same fate later. Fortunately, all were relatively unhurt and Trenti was able to lead out his captain to a clear stage win in Burgos.
"I suffered the whole day with the rhythm of the race," said Petacchi, who was caught in a back group when the peloton split in the crosswinds at one stage. "In Spain it always starts very hard and I have only three days of racing in my legs. I didn't think I'd succeed in the sprint. After the Giro d'Italia, I crashed at the Tour, then in Holland, and then today, even though I haven't done anything. I was demoralised.
"I should say thanks once more to all of my team because they often push me to do the sprints when I don't feel up to it. Clearly they are confident in me. Without taking away anything from the others, I want to underline the work done by Trenti to lead me out. Although he suffered an extensive injury to the right hand side of his body, including his elbow, he did such a strong lead out that I didn't think I'd get past him. I'm extremely happy that he has started again in this manner after the incident before the Giro that compelled him to a long period of rehabilitation."
A surprise for Mad Max
The new leader of the Vuelta a España, Max van Heeswijk, said after Stage 2 that he was surprised to take the jersey, which was worn by his team-mate Floyd Landis during the stage. "It wasn't predicted that I would take the leadership," Van Heeswijk told Lavuelta.com. "I had to stay close to Zabel so that he wouldn't take the jersey in the bonus sprints. He attacked and I went after him and passed him. The objective was to keep the leadership within the team and to defend the attacks from Zabel."
Van Heeswijk didn't contest the finishing sprint in Burgos, explaining "The final sprint was not for me or my team. My objective is to win a stage and I think that the third one could be a good opportunity. If a teammate gets in a break and becomes the leader, that doesn't bother me."
Freire vs Fassa
Rabobank's sprinter Oscar Freire feels as though he's up against not just Alessandro Petacchi but the whole Fassa Bortolo team in the finales of the Vuelta's flat stages. After finishing third to Petacchi and T-Mobile's Erik Zabel in yesterday's stage, Freire said that Fassa Bortolo had worked hard for Alessandro Petacchi.
"Petacchi finished the last metres easily which is fundamental in order to win the stage," said Freire. "The wind was putting me at a disadvantage continuously while the Fassa Bortolo team protected their team-mate all the way. If the team was not as strong as it is, things would be different and I would have more opportunities. I am still strong enough to try again. The Vuelta is hard work, but I feel well and fit."
The Belgian Cycling Federation is demanding a four-year suspension for Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers.
They - together with Johan Museeuw - are the professional cyclists who have been named in the José Landuyt case. Landuyt was the veterinarian who allegedly spoke about "wasps", "sliced bread", "beetles" and other strange things over the phone to these riders.
Chris Peers is not taking the whole matter lightly, as it has been very damaging his career. "I have been a pro for 13 years and I've always been crazy about my profession," Peers told Belgian newspaper Gazet Van Antwerpen. "Last Tuesday it all came to an end. I'm trying not to take it to heart, but that's becoming more and more difficult. I'm only human, made of flesh and blood. I'm asking myself constantly: why me?
"It even crossed my mind that maybe if had committed murder, I could accept the punishment for that, but not this. I might be overreacting, but they're about to take away that which is most precious to me. When I see what is happening to me, I think: justice doesn't exist. Yes, the small guys must hang, the big guns are left untouched."
Peers claims that there is no evidence against him at all, but despite this, he hasn't been questioned. "I don't even get the chance to defend myself against those accusations which are based on lies," he said. "Who wants to hang me? I can't give you names, it wouldn't be smart. I don't want to end up even deeper than where I am now."
Financially a few of the other accused don't have any worries; but according to Peers he'll have to look for another job straight away once the suspension is a fact. "But that's not the only reason why I'll end up being the only victim of the whole affair. Indeed, I knew Landuyt, but not long enough to see what he was about. Versele was a good masseur, I'm not going to say he wasn't. But what he has told them about everybody, I just don't know.
"I'm in this spiral now, it's taking me down, I'm completely without power. But I can't let it drive me nuts, I'm concentrating on the races," Peers concluded
Whither Chocolade Jacques?
Chocolade Jacques team director Jef Braeckevelt is not hopeful about the future of his team, and next year he expects to run only a fairly small outfit. After the bad press the team got from David Bruylandts testing positive for EPO, Chocolade Jacques has had a hard time retaining the bigger riders for next season.
"The most significant sign is that Gorik Gardeyn has signed for MrBookmaker-Sportstech," said Braeckevelt to Sport.be. "I think Noël Demeulenaere has had to put too much of his own money into the team in the last few months and that he's had enough of it. Gorik really wanted to stay with us, but Mr. Demeulenaere, who is good friends with Gardeyn's mum, a senator, advised her for him to sign elsewhere; so that doesn't mean much good for our team.
"If you ask me we'll only have a very small team for next season with the eight neo-pro's who have a two year contract and for whom we have to keep going. Add five other riders to that and you end up with a mini-team."
Traksel and Laidoun to MrBookmaker
In addition to Gorik Gardeyn, MrBookmaker-Sportstech has also contracted Frenchman Julien Laidoun (AG2r) and young Dutch rider Bobbie Traksel (Rabobank) for next season.
NSW Winter track title
This Friday September 10, Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome will host what's believed to be the world's first Winter Track Championship. In its first year the title event will be run as a scratch race for most age divisions and the elite men's race over 15km will feature current Australian scratch race champion Shaun Hopkins.
Organiser Paul Craft says he is following the lead of the French cycling federation, which announced a similar championships back in June. The idea for both organisations is to satisfy the UCI's goals of stretching track racing throughout the calendar. "Although I conceived this idea when I read what the French are doing, they will not be doing it until 2005," Craft told Cyclingnews. "That must make NSWCF a world leader in its innovative approach to track racing."
More top tips for Fantasy Vuelta 2004
"The Vuelta 2004 will be an open competition, even for the podium," says João. "I think there will be five or six main riders competing for the first place, and maybe 20 for the first 10 places. I think is important to structure your team with nine riders for the GC section of the game, three for mountains and three sprinters. This year I will enter several teams, trying to reach all of the 20 riders in the running for the top 10 places. Beloki will be in all teams because of due to his low price. My favourite rider Valverde will be in all my teams. Good luck everybody!"
New prizes from Spiuk
This year DPM Sports joins the Fantasy Vuelta with 21 prizes of Spiuk silver Nitro glasses. One pair to be won every day of the Vuelta!
Spiuk Nitro glasses feature frames constructed of Grimalid with anti-slip
rubber X7 Plus inserts at the ends for exceptional fit and hold. Each
set comes with
Full prize list
Grand prize: Orbea frameset painted in Euskaltel-Euskadi team colours
Daily prizes: 21 pairs of Spiuk silver Nitro glasses, sponsored by DPM Sports
More prizes will be added as the Vuelta progresses.
Sign up now!
Remember there is still time to enter new teams. You can enter teams up until stage 6 begins. There is no disadvantage in entering a new team now that the Vuelta is underway. You have as much chance as any other team manager of winning the Orbea frameset in Euskaltel-Euskadi colours. All you have to do is make sure you select your stage selections for stages 1-6 before stage 6 begins. For more info see the Fantasy Vuelta rules.
To play all you need to do is pick a team of 15 riders to race and select 9 riders each day during the tour. You can join up until stage 6 begins. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta.
To register your teams go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)