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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for September 13, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Heras on the rise

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros)
Photo ©: Lavuelta.com
Click for larger image

Defending champion Roberto Heras climbed up several places to 6th on GC yesterday when he finished second in Stage 9 atop the Alto de Aitana. The Liberty Seguros rider was paced by his teammate Nozal until 2 km to go, when he set off alone. But Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli was ready and managed to hold Heras' wheel until 400m to the summit, when he jumped past Heras to take the victory.

"It was a shame not to be able to finish with a win on Alto de Aitana," said Heras afterwards. "I have to say congratulations to my team for its work during the whole day."

Nozal puts the team first

Isidro Nozal (Liberty)
Photo ©: Lavuelta.com
Click for larger image

Isidro Nozal's work in pacing Roberto Heras up the final climb yesterday was one of the highlights of the stage. Nozal has clearly improved his climbing since last year's Vuelta and despite his near maximum effort, still managed to finish third on the stage, just 10 seconds behind Piepoli. "I worked to make the selection and that paid off," said Nozal. "It was good and I took advantage of it. In my team, Liberty, there is understanding and our objective is to win the Vuelta."

At the moment Nozal is lying fourth on GC, 51 seconds behind Landis and 44 seconds in front of Heras. With only one more flat time trial to come, but plenty of mountains, Nozal will likely be overtaken by Heras on GC well before the end. Last year when they were riding on separate teams, Nozal held the lead until the second last day when Heras rode an incredible uphill time trial to finally overhaul Nozal in the standings.

Valverde still in the fight

Alejandro Valverde kept his chances alive in the Vuelta by finishing sixth in Stage 9, 29 seconds behind Piepoli. The Kelme rider also moved up to fifth on GC and is less than a minute behind Floyd Landis, while still having 38 seconds in hand on Heras.

"Roberto Heras and Nozal imposed a very strong pace," said Valverde at the finish. "I felt good during the day and I'm satisfied. I gained a position on the general."

Ferrio surprises

Jorge Ferrio (Paternina) was one of the big surprises in yesterday's mountaintop finish, managing to cling onto Heras, Nozal and Piepoli when Nozal put the hammer down in the final kilometres. Ferrio couldn't match Heras' attack with 2 km to go and eventually finished fifth after being passed by Mancebo.

"I was able to follow the attacks and was able to endure the pace set by the favourites," said Ferrio. "I think that I just lacked a little luck. I expect that in the remaining stages to be able to finish off my work of today."

No tribute to Jiménez

The organisers of the Vuelta, Unipublic, have announced that there will be no tribute to deceased Spanish climber José María Jiménez at the finish of Stage 10 in Xorret del Catí today. The decision was made by the cyclist's widow, who asked Unipublic to abstain from organising the tribute. "We are sorry. We do not want any discussion or debate. We do not enter into family debates." said Unipublic boss Victor Cordero.

Flecha and Nozal to World's

The Spanish men's team for the World Championships in Verona is taking shape, with national selector Paco Antequera announcing two certainties for the selection. Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), winner of the Championship of Zurich last month, and Isidro Nozal (Liberty Seguros), who is showing great form in the Vuelta a España have both received berths in the Spanish team.

It will be Flecha's first World's for the Spanish, and Antequera believes that he can be "a key rider for the final kilometres." Antequera confirmed that Nozal's selection is based on his current form. In the past two days in the Vuelta, Nozal has finished third on both occasions and, on average, has been the best performed GC rider.

Richard Sachs announces 'cross team roster

The Richard Sachs/CYBC Cyclocross Team is returning for its 8th consecutive season, with its signature red and white bikes and kit. Team members this year include past USCF Cyclocross National Champions Alicia Genest (Junior, Espoirs, and Collegiate) and Katrina Davis (Masters 30+ Women), former Espoirs bronze medalist Tyler Johnson, and two-time Junior World Championship team member, Konrad Lebas.

Returning to the team after a four year absence is 1999 Espoirs National Championship silver medalist, Justin Spinelli. Justin has spent the past four years racing professionally on the road, in both the United States and Europe. He became the youngest American ever to race the Giro d'Italia with Farm Frites in 2000, followed by a 2-year stint with Team Saeco, before returning to the US to race with Navigators.

Also on board for 2004/05 is current USCF Junior National Champion and Junior World Championship team member, Jamey Driscoll.

The team will focus on the hot Verge New England Championship Cyclocross Series with several ventures south to the Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series. It also plans full participation in the new Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, all leading up the USCF Cyclocross National Championships in Portland, OR where the team will try to extend its eight consecutive year medal streak and go for its 10th Cyclocross National Championship since 1997.

"I'm really excited to keep this gig going", stated Team Director/sponsor/cyclocross racer Richard Sachs. "We're entering a new season with a solid core of talent from previous teams, plus we have added several seriously talented new members who are primed to stamp their mark on the sport. We'd like to extend a special thank you from Team Red to Crank Brothers for their wonderful support of the new U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross - a series that will surely help elevate the level of ‘cross talent in America."

Primary sponsors

Chanler Lewis, Inc.
Budco, Inc.

Product sponsors

Richard Sachs (bicycle frames and forks)
Cane Creek (wheels, headsets, top mount brake levers, and cantilever brakes)
Challenge Tires (tubulars)
Crank Brothers (pedals)
Gaerne (footwear)
Joe Bell (custom paint)
Oval Concepts (handlebars, stems, and seat posts)
Pacenti Cycle Design (bottom bracket shells)
Rudy Project (helmets and eyewear)
Selle San Marco (saddles)
VergeSport (apparel)

Cycle 2004 (London Cycle Show)

This year's London Cycle Show (Cycle 2004) will take place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London from September 23-26, 2004. The show is one of several that take place at this time of year, in order to preview what's on offer in the cycling market in 2005. Some 200 brands will be represented in London with a product range that will appeal to any cyclist.

It's not all carbon fibre, aluminium and titanium, as there will be regular fashion shows taking place during the day, featuring the latest clothing and accessories. Other attractions include the Tacx I Magic Interactive Challenge or the more demanding Tri UK Duathlon Challenge, and there are also opportunities to test ride bikes in the Try Out Area.

In other news, Athens Olympics stars Bradley Wiggins and Bryan Steel will be in attendance during the show at the Science in Sport stand. Wiggins will be there on all of the days and also be on the Terry Dolan stand. Steel will be there on Friday September 24.

More information: www.cycleshow.co.uk

Wigwam Ultimax Mountain Bike Challenge

The 2004 Wigwam Ultimax Mountain Bike Challenge, hosted by the Sheboygan FAT KATS, will start on October 10th (XC) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA. The event attracts nearly 1000 riders each year and features a total prize list valued at more than $25,000. There will also be a few novelty primes during the race, such as the Bicycle Works Hole Shot Prime, where the top three overall from the start will receive cash at the end of a 500 yard sprint (all classes); and the Equalizer Hill Climb Prime by Wigwam, where the aim is to climb the 50-yard headwall without dabbing. If successful, you are handed $5 at the top.

For more information, see: www.wors.org/schedule/events.php?event=12

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