First Edition Cycling News for September 18, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson
A day for the sprinters
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)
Photo ©: Lavuelta.com
Friday's 13th stage between El Ejido and Malaga was a pleasant break
for the sprinters, who have been subjected to a mountainous torture over
the last few days of the Vuelta. The day was uneventful apart from a four
man break that escaped after 50 km and stayed away until 10 km to go,
never gaining more than 2'30 as the Fassa Bortolo and Cofidis teams kept
a tight control over the race.
The Fassa train took over from Cofidis with 3 km to go and propelled
Alessandro Petacchi to his fourth stage win of this year's Vuelta and
his 12th of all time. It is clear that I am the fastest at the moment,
and I think that everybody is tired, but today I just had a good sprint...
and to me it signifies that in the end I am very strong," Petacchi told
He added that he thought that it was "important to get to Madrid. With
the season I have had it would be good to finish the Vuelta. Some people
have said I won't make it to Madrid, but I tell you if I don't it is not
because I don't want to. After the stage to Caceres it is all mountains
and I am very tired and I want to do well in Paris-Tours as well."
Vuelta Stage 13 - Full
results, report & photos, Live
Stages & descriptions
Stomach problems caused Hamilton's withdrawal
The Phonak team has been confirmed that the reason for Tyler Hamilton's
non-start in Stage 13 was due to stomach problems, possibly a virus similar
to that which has claimed a number of other riders already.
Phonak's director Alvaro Pino explained to TVE during Stage 13 that
Hamilton "had an inflamed stomach. He felt ill, so we preferred him to
withdraw from the race and have a medical check. It could be a virus."
Oscar Sevilla and some of the other riders on the team have also had
pains but none as bad as Hamilton.
Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme) finished today's stage
from El Ejido to Málaga without problems, and seems to be recovering well
after his crash in Stage 11. "I feel better than yesterday," he said.
"I rode more comfortably in the stage from Almería. This stage was not
decisive. Yesterday, I was at the front. I have no reason to fear the
stages that are coming in the next few days."
An interview with Edita Pucinskaite
Edita Pucinskaite wins Plouay World
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
With the World Championships coming up on the same course as 1999, Edita
Pucinskaite finds herself in good form and motivated to repeat her performance
and win in Verona again. And after her victory in the challenging second
stage of the Giro della Toscana, a World's repeat looks distinctly possible.
Kristy Scrymgeour caught up with Pucinskaite to discuss her career
to date and the coming World Championships.
Beginning her athletic career at a young age, Edita Pucinskaite finally
found cycling at the age of twelve and has since gone from strength to
strength. "The desire to express myself through sport got me started first
with track and field and then after I began cycling," she said.
Despite her successes, which include a World Championship and a victory
in the women's version of the Tour de France, Le Grande Boucle, the Lithuanian
says it hasn't been easy. "I had to overcome many, many problems to improve
enough to be recognized," she said, "but I think I'm lucky to have chosen
to specialize as a cyclist and if I had to do it all over again, I would
make all the sacrifices I've made again. Through cycling, I've been able
to give a lot of satisfaction to my friends, my fans and family and I
feel like I've realized my goals and repaid for my efforts."
Now Pucinskaite has excellent form and is considered on of the favourites
for Verona. "I'm feeling good," she said. "I hope to keep this form until
the second of October, but first I'm going to race the Tour of Tuscany,
where I hope to be one of the best riders."
With a previous win on the Verona world's course, Edita is feeling relatively
confident, "but there is a lot of pressure too. They will all be watching
me. We will have to go up this climb of the Toricelle nine times," she
added, "two more times than in 1999. So there will be more climbing, less
flat and more kilometres. It will be a hard race!"
for the full interview
Aldag motivates himself
By Hedwig Kröner
Like many other riders at this time of the season, Rolf Aldag is finding
it difficult to motivate himself for the final few weeks. But the defending
champion of the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt showed that he still has the
necessary condition by winning the third stage of the race in a solo breakaway.
Cyclingnews caught up with Aldag before the race and asked him
how things were going and his prospects for the World Championships.
"After the race, I'll know where I stand," said the T-Mobile rider. "During
the last weeks, my form was sort of unstable. The Tour of Holland went
really well, but I came out of that pretty tired, which wasn't too bad
either. For me, going to the World Championships depends on whether I
want to go too, who's going strong then and whether it makes sense to
support someone. I don't want to race at the World's to get 39th, I'd
rather stay at home then and have a quiet weekend. But if there's someone...
If Jan says he has a chance of winning and needs someone to pull him over
the last laps, I'll be there for him."
Aldag missed the break on the first day of Rheinland-Pfalz and now finds
himself in 16th overall. He commented that, "It's always hard here, and
you never know how the race evolves tactically."
Armstrong & team suing for bonus
Lance Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, the company that owns the US Postal
team, are suing an insurance company in an attempt to force the payment
of Armstrong's $5 million bonus for winning the 2004 Tour de France, according
to the Dallas Morning News.
The paper reports that in 2001 Tailwind Sports paid a $420,000 insurance
premium to SCA Promotions Inc. for an insurance policy that would allow
Tailwind to pay bonuses agreed with Armstrong if he won further Tours
de France. SCA promotions claims to be the world's biggest provider of
this sort of 'prize coverage' for competitions and incentive schemes.
SCA paid up to the tune of $1.5 million in 2002 when Armstrong won his
fourth Tour and again in 2003 when his fifth Tour victory landed the Texan
a $3 million bonus. But SCA is withholding the $5 million Armstrong is
owed for his sixth consecutive Tour victory until it receives evidence
that the allegations of use of illegal substances in David Walsh and Pierre
Ballester's book L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong
are untrue. According to Tailwind's suit, SCA has asked Armstrong and
Tailwind to provide all of Armstrong's medical records and other records.
Meanwhile the $5 million is held in a custodial account until SCA determines
whether Walsh and Ballester's allegations are untrue. "We're just asking
the questions," SCA attorney John Bandy told the Dallas Morning News Wednesday.
"We believe the contract says we have to pay only if the event of a valid
Tailwind has responded by filing suit against SCA, saying that SCA does
not have the right to question Armstrong's Tour victories as they have
been ratified by cycling's authorities.
Bäckstedt to Liquigas
Swedish rider Magnus Bäckstedt has signed for the new Liquigas team for
the coming two seasons. The winner of this year's Paris-Roubaix confirmed
to Cyclingnews that he would be riding for the Italian team, which
will also include Dario David Cioni, Danilo Di Luca, Luca Pagliarini and
As for his back problem that precipitated a premature end to his season,
Bäckstedt said that "It's improving all the time so I should be ready
for next year with no worries."
Pippo e' libero: Pozzato to leave Fassa Bortolo
By Tim Maloney, European editor
Fassa Bortolo's Filippo Pozzato will change teams next season. Just turned
23, the talented Pozzato never quite found the right vibes with Fassa's
strict taskmaster of a team manager Giancarlo Ferretti and despite some
brilliant performances at Fassa Bortolo, most notably a stage win this
July at the Tour de France, Pozzato asked to exercise the exit clause
in his contract that had him on board the Silver Train until the end of
After a meeting with sponsor Paola Fassa and Ferretti Thursday, Pozzato's
manager Claudio Pasqualin found a solution that worked for all concerned.
Pozzato will pay a penalty, likely equal to 50 percent of his estimated
250,000 euro contract for his liberty in return for his release at the
end of 2004. Although he was selected for the Athens Olympic team, Pozzato
won't be on the Squadra Azzurro in Verona. Instead, he'll finish out the
season with the Giro di Lazio Saturday and a few other races in Italy.
Where will this talented young rider end up in 2005? Pozzato has two
offers on the table from people who know him well; former Mapei general
manager Alvaro Crespi wants his former U23 Mapei star back at his current
team, Quick.Step, while ex-U23 Mapei diesse, who quit Fassa Bortolo over
disagreements with Ferretti in July will run the new Italian mega-team
Liquigas-Bianchi in 2005 and also has his eyes on Pippo. Look for Pozzato
to make his move soon and don't miss our upcoming interview with the talented
young Italian pro on Cyclingnews.
By Tim Maloney, European editor
After a disappointing Olympic Games and World Championships, Paola Pezzo
has decided to not participate in the World Cup MTB races this weekend
in Livigno, Italy. "Yeah, well I'm disappointed the way the big races
of my season went, the Olympics and Worlds; disappointed, but I'm not
giving up or anything." Reached by telephone today, Pezzo told Cyclingnews
today that "I may have rushed my comeback too much this year... especially
after my appendicitis in April. I really tried to accelerate my preparation
to make up for lost time and that was probably a mistake." Pezzo won't
race any more this season, but instead will take a break to "evaluate
what I'm doing in the future. I'm really sorry to not be racing in Livigno
where a lot of my fans will be, but I need to figure out what I want to
do in the future. But one thing is for sure; I want to continue racing
in 2005 and have a better comeback."
Strong lineup for TQ Paper International
By Shane Stokes
One of the strongest women's fields ever seen in this country will line
out in the TQ Paper International Two Day this weekend. Over sixty riders
have entered the three-stage race, including competitors from the RG Charlottenburg
team in Germany, plus the Dutch Team Movingladies Groenewoud and the W.V.
Alcmaria Victrix squads.
Of these, the Moving Ladies Groenewoud team have the biggest history
in the race, taking the overall title in 2001 and 2002 with Esther Van
Der Helm. While she is not expected to attend this time, riders Sharon
Van Essen, Inge Klep and Judith Helmink have all ridden well in the past.
In 2002 Van Essen was fourth and Klep took fifth overall plus a stage
win. Helmink was sixth overall in 2001. Last year, their good showing
continued with Klep second on stages one and three and finishing sixth
overall. Van Essen was tenth.
There will also be a number of strong competitors from Wales and England,
setting the scene for a furious battle on the roads of North County Dublin.
In response, a strong lineup of Irish riders has been unveiled. Verona-destined
competitors Louise Moriarty, Colette Swift and Mary Brennan will use the
race as their final tune-up before the world championships, and will be
joined by national champion Julie O'Hagan, Siobhan Dervan and Erin Turlington
on the national team,
There will also be a Team Ireland B lineup comprising Roisin Kennedy,
Orla Hendron, Siobhan Jacob, Gillian McDarby, Grace McNally and Emma Quirke,
plus regional selections from Ulster and Leinster. The first of these
two teams features Mary Boyd, Jemma Donaghy, Ann McFarland and Fiona Tracey
while the Leinster selection includes Fidelma Fahey, Niamh FitzGibbon,
Coleen Foley, Debs Gordon, Caroline Mooney and Susan O'Mara There are
also several Irish women taking part in their own club colours.
The TQ Paper International starts Saturday with a flat 64 kilometre road
race, taking in eight laps of the Boot Inn circuit and which will probably
end in a sprint finish. Later that day the riders tackle a flat 2 kilometre
time trial beside Dublin airport, which will give a clearer indication
of those who have a chance of carrying off the final yellow jersey.
The second day of competition is over a now-traditional 74 kilometre
course in north county Dublin, which winds out through the Naul, Stamullen
and Ballyboughil villages and takes in several climbs along the way. The
stage gives ample opportunity for attack and so a real shake-up is expected,
with the top contenders scrapping it out all the way to the line.
Cofidis for Grand Prix d'Isbergues
The Cofidis team has announced the riders it will field for tomorrow's
Grand Prix d'Isbergues in France. Under the guidance of assistant directeur
sportif Alain Deloeuil, the team will be: Frédéric Bessy, Alexandre Cabrera,
Jimmy Casper, Christophe Edaleine, Jimmy Engoulvent, Peter Farazijn, David
Moncoutie and Nicolas Roche.
Gerrans to AG2r
Australian Simon Gerrans, currently riding as a stagiaire with the French
AG2r Prévoyance team, has signed a two-year deal to ride with the squad
in 2005 and 2006. Gerrans was recently selected as a member of Australia's
team for the world championships in Verona, Italy.
Merckxes at Interbike
Eddy and Axel Merckx will be making a rare US appearance at the Interbike
trade show (Las Vegas, USA, October 6-8). The father and son combination
of greatest cyclist ever and Olympic road race bronze medalist will be
at the Eddy Merckx booth (#2959) as guests of US importer Gita Sporting
Eddy and Axel will be available to meet people and sign autographs between
2 pm and 3 pm on October 6 and between 11 am and noon on October 7.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)