First Edition Cycling News for September 14, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
Only one name in Xorret de Catí
Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme's Eladio Jimenez repeated his victory of four years ago in Xorret de Catí today to win the 10th stage of the Vuelta. In doing so, Eladio continued the tradition of Jimenez's winning here in the Vuelta, as the deceased José Maria Jimenez achieved the feat when the race first visited the climb in 1998.
An ecstatic Jimenez told Cyclingnews after the stage that, "I thought it was almost impossible to win here again...my two wins have been completely different. Today I was in an escape from almost kilometre zero and I arrived here alone. It's pretty impossible to imagine that; it's a bit of dream really."
The stage was remarkable in that three of the four top sprinters in the race managed to finish ahead of the GC riders, despite the severity of the final climb (4.3 km at 10.6%, with some 17% sections, and it was wet to boot). Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire and Stuart O'Grady all made the break with Jimenez, Jose Miguel Elias (Relax), Juan Fuentes (Saeco) and Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio) that established itself after 40 km, riding out to a 14'30 lead at one stage before Liberty Seguros and Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme pulled it back to just over 4 minutes at the finish.
In the end, Stuart O'Grady second place in the stage won him some ground in the points jersey battle with Zabel, and the Australian now leads the competition by four points. In the general classification, Floyd Landis lost nearly a minute to Valverde and Heras, but kept the lead by just 8 seconds from Valverde's clutches.
Zabel surprised at stage 10
At a stage where only a fool would have suspected a battle for the best sprinter's jersey - seeing there were five mountains to climb, including one of first category - it nonetheless happened for Stuart O'Grady, Oscar Freire and Erik Zabel. Afterwards, the German was quoted as saying that he "never expected to reach the finish of a difficult mountain stage ahead of the best climbers and GC contenders. Not in my wildest dreams."
Zabel's seventh place behind Jimenez now adds to four second placings in Vuelta bunch sprints this year, but Zabel's not disappointed: "It was an important stage, even though I lost the jersey. It is still within my grasp."
More riders tested
28 riders were blood tested on the morning of the 10th stage, from the following teams: Euskaltel-Euskadi, Saeco, T-Mobile and Phonak Hearing Systems. No rider was declared unfit to start.
Sunderland worried about World's
After being forced to quit the Vuelta on Stage 5 due to a stomach problem, Cyclingnews diarist Scott Sunderland still hasn't completely recovered a few days after his abandon
"After I left the Vuelta I didn't touch my bike for a few days," he told us. "It worries me, as I tried to go for a ride this morning but felt empty, weak and squeamish so I was forced to turn around and head for home after an hour. I'm also very tired, sleeping quite a few hours every afternoon.
"I've noticed that the bug is claiming victims every day [at the Vuelta - ed.]. It's something weird, a virus, a bacteria; a blood test might shed some more light. Indeed, after Team T-Mobile which lost four riders for the same reason, Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step) also pulled out of the race with similar problems. Whether the four riders from Ag2r that called it quits on stage nine were also victims of food poisoning, still remains unknown."
Meanwhile, Scott will do everything he can to be fit at the upcoming World Championships. "I got a phone call from Neil Stephens from the National Team. The selectors are worried about my form, because getting ill a month before Verona isn't exactly good timing. But I'm not yet forfeiting the World Championships in Verona.
"I'm aware that things will have to change drastically in the coming days. My training partner Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) has been experiencing the same symptoms and he's very doubtful about the World's right now; so it doesn't look good for either of us. And this while the parcours suits us both very well.
"If I feel better in the days to come, I'm going to race Koolskamp on Friday. Then I'll look at doing some longer training rides next week and I might do some races with the team in Italy. We'll see how I go from there."
World's in doubt for Ljungskog
After her less than satisfying rides at the Olympic games, Cyclingnews diarist Susanne Ljungskog returned to Sweden to undergo a long series of medical tests. "Straight after the Olympics, I got a high temperature, and had to stay in bed for five days," said the World Champion after getting a medical explanation of her bad performance.."The most likely reason of the fever is that I've had an allergic reaction."
After losing almost two weeks of training, and still suffering from the downs of the fever, Susanne is in doubt about her start in Verona. "Since I haven't been able to follow my scheduled training, I'm not sure if I belong at the World's this year," she explained.
It was decided beforehand that she wouldn't ride the World's TT, but should rather focus on the road race. "I will train up until that date, and I will have to see how my body responds to that training. At the very least one week before the race, I'll decide whether it's worth it to take the start or not."
Susanne hasn't ridden any races after the Olympic time trial, and won't participate in any races up until the women's road race World Championships on October 2.
Vandenbroucke likely to MrBookmaker
Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke is looking likely to make his annual migration to MrBookmaker.com, perhaps as soon as this week. Belgian sports channel Sporza reported that Vandenbroucke could well sign a contract on Monday evening, freeing him from his obligation at Fassa Bortolo and opening the way to race for his new team as early as next week. If he does sign for MrBookmaker, it will be the eighth team that he has ridden for in his professional career, and his sixth in the last five years.
"I want to race and with Fassa Bortolo I can't any more," VDB was quoted as saying. "My future is as good as certain with MrBookmaker.com. I got a letter from the people at Fassa Bortolo saying that I can look for another team. It's not yet official, but I'll probably sign Monday evening with Hilaire Van der Schueren's team. Maybe I can ride in the GP Isbergues on September 19 in a MrBookmaker.com jersey."
Vandenbroucke did achieve a win in Fassa Bortolo colours today in the pro kermis at Zwevegem, where he beat Steven de Neef (Jong Vlaanderen 2016) in a two man sprint after the pair had broken away from an eight man group in the finale.
Rheinland-Pfalz with Dekker
The International Tour of Rheinland-Pfalz (cat. 2.3), a hilly region in southwestern Germany, will depart on Wednesday September 15 and contain five days of racing. Apart from second and third division teams, several Division I squads are participating: T-Mobile (headed by Rolf Aldag), Bankgiroloterij (Theo Bos), Chocolade Jacques, Lotto-Domo (Nick Gates), Gerolsteiner (Danilo Hondo) and Rabobank (Marc Wauters).
Furthermore, Rabobank today released a communiqué stating that Erik Dekker will also be on its team roster for this race. Dekker hopes to improve his form for the World's in Verona. He was injured last week at the GP Jef Scherens and had to forfeit the GP Fourmies, which meant his next race scheduled would only have been on September 23, the Coppa Sabatini. Dekker said that his hamstring injury "should be OK on Wednesday...My hand still hurts, though. It's a difficult course, but that's alright. I'll see how it goes."
Sara Carrigan at Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic
Organisers of Saturday's Eastmon Camera House Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic have scored a major coup with Athens Olympic gold medallist Sara Carrigan confirmed as special guest. Race director Peter Sunderland said the combined effort of five businesses in Inverell and Glen Innes has secured the services of the women's race winner.
"It's such a huge boost to the race and we are fortunate to have the support of businesses who came forward to assist with costs," Sunderland said. "To have an Olympic Games gold medallist in Glen Innes and Inverell just weeks after the event is a huge boost. We hope the whole town will come and support the race."
Big Sky Express, Riverside Restaurant, Hollie Homes, Barry's Motors and Glen Severn Holden have all contributed to the sponsorship. Sara will wave the flag to start World Heritage Way Ladies race in Grafton and will travel with sprint judge Robert Monday to Glen Innes for the finish. Following presentation commitments in Glen Innes, Sara will move to Inverell for the men's finish and presentation. She will also attend the official race presentation dinner at the Inverell RSM Club on Saturday night.
Jonathan Vaughters to lead Univest cyclosportif
Former professional Jonathan Vaughters will lead the 100 km Cyclosportif ride at the Univest Grand Prix this Saturday, September 18. All proceeds from the ride will benefit the Indian Creek Foundation in Harleysville, PA, USA. Vaughters was a long-time record holder of the famous Mt. Ventoux (France) climb which he set in the 1999 Dauphine Libéré. He was also part of Crédit Agricole's winning team time trial squad in the 2001 Tour de France.
The Cyclosportif is a recreational ride open to the public and will start at 8:00 a.m. on September 18 with the start/finish line on Main Street in Souderton, PA. Riders will have a choice of 40 or 60 mile (60 and 100 km) courses that run through the Montgomery County countryside.
Registration is available online at www.univestgrandprix.com or on race day beginning at 6:00 a.m. in Univest Plaza at 14 North Main Street in Souderton. All riders finishing in less than five hours will be eligible for prizes from Bianchi, Sigma Sport, Sport Solutions and Carbboom.
The UCI ranked Univest Grand Prix will be run on September 18 in Souderton and on September 19 in Doylestown, Pa. The featured event is a men's race for amateurs and will be held on Saturday. With a start in Souderton, the race will wind 60 miles through 14 municipalities before culminating with 13 local laps, an additional 40 miles, around Souderton and Telford. More than 170 riders from 21 states and 13 countries will compete in the event. In addition to the men's race on Saturday, a national class women's race will be held within the Souderton town limits. The women's race will begin at 9:00 a.m.
On Sunday, a 50 mile men's race will be held in Doylestown featuring the same riders as the previous day's race in Souderton.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)