First Edition Cycling News for September 7, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson
Valverde executes the plan
Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme), the silver medallist in the 2003 world road race championships, confirmed his quality yesterday with a finely-planned victory in stage three of the Vuelta a Espana.
Valverde used Alexandre Vinokourov's wheel to position himself in the the grueling, wet, uphill finale of the stage into Soria, jumping round Vinokourov after the T-Mobile leader had chased and passed Pedro Horrillo (Quick.Step-Davitamon).
The win, said Valverde, was planned at that morning's team briefing. Valverde said that he had, "A meeting this morning with Vicente Belda and we talked about the hard repecho at the end".
The US Postal team, which occupies all the top seven places on general classification after winning the opening team time trial, continues to swap round the leader jersey. By getting into the early break and winning all the intermediate sprints, Postal's Benoit Joachim rode into the gold jersey, becoming the first rider from Luxembourg to lead the Vuelta.
As with Valverde's victory, it was all according to plan. The idea was "to get someone into a good escape and to try and hold on to the jersey that way," said Joachim. But consistent with US Postal's line that the team is not here with a specific target, he added, "we will keep thinking about things day by day ... we don't have any plans for the general."
Rossner to retire
By Kristy Scrymgeour
German sprinter Petra Rossner, one of the most successful riders of the last couple of decades, is to retire. However, Rossner won't be leaving cycling altogether. After finally breaking Nurnberger's victoryless run in the World Cups when she won the Rotterdam Tour on Sunday, Rossner is to move into a role as a director of the team.
"I'm quitting my career, that's for sure," Rossner (37) told Cyclingnews. "Jens and I will work together next year to direct the Nurnberger team. I have a lot to learn from him as I'm not assuming I will do everything perfect in the first year. We get along well and we can learn a lot from each other.
"In my career, I have won over 300 races," added Rossner, "nine world cup races, one Olympic Gold and a world Championship. I think I have a lot to bring to the girls, but most importantly my goal is to keep them happy. We will have a great team and we will put it together with input from the riders so that the chemistry is perfect."
Rossner added that she owes a lot to the sport of cycling after competing for 20 years. "I appreciate everything I have learned and all the friends I have made all around the world. I have not only learned things about cycling, but it has also formed my character and helped me to be a better person. When you can suffer in cycling and still give more, you gain a lot."
Rossner's victory in Rotterdam was confirmation for her that the German cycling federation had been mistaken in sending Angela Brodtka to Athens rather than her. Brodtka was second to Rossner in Rotterdam. "I've always been faster than Brodtka," she said, "she only beat me in one race and that was out of a break."
Evans confirms with Davitamon
Cadel Evans has ended weeks of speculation and rumour by confirming that he will join the Davitamon-Lotto team for 2005. The new outfit will therefore host a substantial Australian contingent as Evans joins Robbie McEwen, Nick Gates and Henk Vogels. The Belgian-based team is sponsored by Omega Pharma whose CEO Marc Coucke, a huge cycling fan, recently announced the decision to name the team after his company's line of vitamin supplements.
Writing on his website, Evans said, "I had a few options but after more than enough time to evaluate them all, I can report that I think I'll be most content with this Belgian-registered squad."
Evans has spent the last two years at Telekom/T-Mobile. He sat out most of 2003 with a series of broken collarbones, but showed good form in 2004, winning the Tour of Austria. However, his oft-stated ambition to ride the Tour de France didn't come to fruition this year as he found himself competing unsuccessfully for a Tour place with T-Mobile's vast array of stage race GC riders. Things will be different at Davitamon-Lotto, he hopes.
"At the moment I'm the only GC rider which gives me a bit of room to do what I want to do," says Evans. "Let's just say that my focus is firmly fixed on a race in France that's contested each July - but there's much more to the Davitamon-Lotto schedule than this race alone. And all of what's been discussed at length agrees with my plans for my place in this sport."
Evans adds that one reason for the decision was the enthusiasm of his new boss. "As soon as I met Marc Coucke, the boss of the Davitamon company, it was obvious to me that this was the right team for me. He is really enthusiastic about creating a really good team. And when it comes right from the top it reminds me a lot of what Giorgio Squinzi had done at Mapei."
After a successful career as a mountain bike racer, including overall victory in the world cup series, Evans turned to road racing in 2002 and caught the world's attention when he wore the leader jersey in that year's Giro d'Italia while riding for Mapei.
Ullrich plans retirement
Jan Ullrich says he has two or three more years left in cycling and he'll spend the rest of his career pursuing one goal: victory in the Tour de France.
"In all likelihood I will ride for a maximum of two to three years," Ullrich told Eurosport. "I will use this time to reach my target of winning the Tour. Everything else is secondary."
Of course, there's a large obstacle in the way of Ullrich repeating his 1997 Tour victory: six-time winner Lance Armstrong. "It is still possible to win the Tour even with Armstrong in it," said Ullrich. "I hope he is at the start next year."
UCI rankings: Melchers still number one
After the seventh round of the UCI World Cup in Rotterdam yesterday, the latest set of women's rankings have been issued by cycling's governing body. Still on top of the table thanks to her consistent good results is Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol), who leads rising Australian star Oenone Wood by 160 points and Judith Arndt (Nürnberger) by 170. Wood and Arndt swapped places after the Rotterdam World Cup and Holland Ladies Tour, while Edita Pucinskaite (Michela Fanini) jumped up from 8th to 4th. Dede Demet-Barry (T-Mobile) also gained a few places after recent good performances, and is now in 7th spot.
In the teams rankings, the German Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung maintains the number one position with a 77 point lead over Farm Frites-Hartol. Team S.A.T.S. has dropped back to third place, 450 points behind Nürnberger. Similarly in the nations rankings, Germany is well on top with 1610 points ahead of Australia (1333 pts) and the Netherlands (1328 pts).
UCI rankings as of September 5, 2004
1 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Team Farm Frites-Hartol 793.00 pts 2 Oenone Wood (Aus) 632.66 3 Judith Arndt (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 624.00 4 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox 506.00 5 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Team S.A.T.S. 404.00 6 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Team Let's Go Finland 386.33 7 Deirdre Demet-Barry (USA) T-Mobile Professional Cycling Team 349.00 8 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan 341.66 9 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) Bizkaia-Panda Software-Durango 315.00 10 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 308.00 11 Anita Valen (Nor) Team S.A.T.S. 307.00 12 Sara Carrigan (Aus) 281.00 13 Angela Brodtka (Ger) 251.00 13 Petra Rossner (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 251.00 15 Olga Slyusareva (Rus) Nobili Rubinetterie-Guerciotti 242.33 16 Karin Thürig (Swi) 237.00 17 Priska Doppmann (Swi) 230.33 18 Lyne Bessette (Can) 198.00 19 Olivia Gollan (Aus) 188.66 20 Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (Ned) Team Farm Frites-Hartol 187.00 Teams 1 Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 1276.00 pts 2 Team Farm Frites-Hartol 1199.00 3 Team S.A.T.S. 826.00 4 S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox 823.00 5 Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan 774.32 6 T-Mobile Professional Cycling Team 609.00 7 Team Let's Go Finland 601.66 8 Nobili Rubinetterie-Guerciotti 504.66 9 Bizkaia-Panda Software-Durango 364.00 10 Lietzsport Cycling 290.00 Nations 1 Germany 1610.00 pts 2 Australia 1333.32 3 Netherlands 1328.00 4 Switzerland 849.33 5 Russian Federation 818.99 6 United States Of America 776.00 7 Lithuania 756.32 8 Italy 546.33 9 Canada 508.00 10 Spain 456.00 Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations
Euskaltel-Euskadi has extended the contract of Iñigo Landaluze for the next two seasons. The 27 year old Landaluze was very active during the Tour de France, but did not succeed in winning a stage. His best results this year is 7th in the Classique des Alpes and 10th in the Dauphine Libere.
Dekker stagiaire with Rabobank
Rabobank's young talent Thomas Dekker will get a head start with the main professional team by riding as a stagiaire for the rest of the season. Dekker, who crashed out of the Tour de l'Avenir while in the lead, will start with Rabobank in the GP Fourmies this coming Sunday. He previously signed a two year contract with the Dutch Pro Tour team.
Wiggins and Dean extend
Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has extended his contract with Credit Agricole for another year. The team has also signed Kiwi sprinter Julian Dean for another two seasons.
Cofidis & Quick.Step for GP Van Steenbergen
The Cofidis and Quick.Step-Davitamon teams have announced their squad for tomorrow's GP Van Steenbergen.
Under assistant directeur sportif Alain Deloeuil, Cofidis will field: Peter Farazijn, Jimmy Casper, Jimmy Engoulvent, Hayden Roulston, Nicholas Roche, Damien Monier, and Dimitriy Fofonov.
Under directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters, Quick.Step will field Frederic Amorison, Tom Boonen, Wilfried Cretskens, Servais Knaven, Aaron Kemps, Nick Nuyens, Wouter Weylandt and Dimitri De Fauw.
adidas Bayside Cyclocross series
The Bayside Cycling Club of South Surrey, BC, Canada has announced the details of its second annual series of cyclocross races in Crescent Park, South Surrey. The dates for this year's races are: Sunday, October 3, 2004 and Sunday, October 17, 2004.
Crescent Park is close to both Vancouver and Washington State - 30 minutes from Vancouver and 10 from the US border - and the organizers say they hope that the races will attract a mix of Canadian and American riders.
For more information see www.geocities.com/baysidecycling
First prizes awarded in Fantasy Vuelta
Two daily stage winners have already taken home 2 pairs of Spiuk silver Nitro glasses. Team Speedy Gonzabel from the USA and team Vuelta Schmelta also from the USA have each won themselves a pair of Spiuk silver Nitro glasses worth $89.
Enter a team today for the chance to claim yours! You have until Thursday September 9 to enter.
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 grand prize of an 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. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta.
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
To register your teams go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)