Latest Cycling News for September 22, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Rogers sitting tight
World Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers may find himself awarded with another major championship medal if Tyler Hamilton is stripped of his Olympic time trial gold medal after testing positive for a blood transfusion. So far, only the results of Hamilton's A tests have been reported (he also had a positive A test during the Vuelta), but if his B samples are also positive, then he could face both IOC and UCI sanctions. The IOC have already stripped three athletes of their gold medals after they tested positive at the Olympics, and Hamilton could become a fourth, as well as being the first American to lose a gold medal in this way.
Rogers finished fourth in the Olympic time trial behind Hamilton, Ekimov (Russia) and Julich (USA). If Hamilton loses the gold, then Rogers will move up into the bronze medal position. This would be nothing new for the Australian who was declared the 2003 World Time Trial champion a few weeks ago after the UCI formally stripped David Millar of his title, following the Scot's admission of EPO use to prepare for the race. Unfortunately, Rogers has only had one chance to wear his rainbow stripes - in last Sunday's GP des Nations, where he finished fourth.
Despite all the noise about Hamilton, Rogers is not celebrating an Olympic bronze medal yet. "I want to make a special point that any comments on the prospect of me getting a medal, at this stage of the game, are completely premature," Rogers told Rob Arnold of Ride Cycling Review. "We really have to wait and see what transpires. We haven't yet heard about the results of the B sample from Hamilton's test.
"Nothing is 100 percent certain yet and speculation is never pretty. I don't like to comment on things which are still running their course. I was in a similar situation earlier this year when David Millar was arrested. I didn't make a comment then and that's because I didn't know the full story and that's how it is with Tyler today as well."
If he is awarded the medal, Rogers will again miss out on the moment, the feeling of accomplishment when everyone is watching, that athletes hold so dear. "I'm disappointed not only on a personal level but also for my family. My mum and dad came all the way from Australia to watch me ride in Athens and, of course, my fiancée and her family was there as well. And while we all had a great time it's a shame to miss out on standing on the podium and enjoy all the ceremony."
Rogers now hopes to successfully defend his World Championship in Bardolino next week. "I hope that at the World's I can have a good ride and win the gold medal," he said. "That's all there is to it really; it's always better to be first because you're the best rider on the day, not because someone gets disqualified after the event.
"Obviously now, with all the new tests coming out, I think the clean riders will be the ones who start to shine. Personally I just can't wait until the whole group is on a level playing field; then we'll really see who is the best. The rider who works the most and rides the smartest is going to win. It's about who finishes first on the day and that's all there is to it."
Ullrich says yes to World's
Jan Ullrich has confirmed that he will compete at the UCI Road World Championships in Verona (Italy) from September 27-October 3. "I am ready for the World's," he said in a statement from his T-Mobile team. "My performances in recent races in Italy have shown me that I am in good form. That, for me, was the decisive factor."
Ullrich has good memories of racing in Italy over the years: He won the World Time Trial Championship in 1999 and finished seventh in the road race that same year. He plans to compete in both events next week. "I feel strong and want to give it my best shot", said Ullrich. "After that, I will take a holiday."
The full German men's team has yet to be announced, although the German federation is expected to finalise the two time trial starters this Saturday. Other than Ullrich, the candidates are Sebastian Lang, Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel.
Dutch selection takes shape
Dutch national coach Gerrie Knetemann has selected eight of the 12 men for the World Championship road race next weekend in Verona. The remaining four riders will be selected this coming Sunday. The team so far is: Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Karsten Kroon, Marc Lotz, Thorwald Veneberg, Pieter Weening and Maarten den Bakker (all Rabobank) and Gerben Löwik (Chocolade Jacques). Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) and Bart Voskamp (Chocolade Jacques) will ride the time trial.
Ukrainian time trial specialist Serguei Gonchar will miss the World Championships TT after injuring his knee in a crash during training two weeks ago. Gonchar won the World Championship in Plouay in 2000, and has several Giro d'Italia TT stages to his credit.
Colombia announces World's team
The Colombian federation has announced its line up for the World Championships in Italy next week. The biggest name missing from the squad is 2002 World TT Champion Santiago Botero, who decided not to take part in the World's in order to recover from the Vuelta, where he was one of five T-Mobile riders to abandon in the early part of the race due to either food poisoning or a stomach virus.
Iván Parra (TT and RR)
Paola Madriñan (TT and RR)
Rafael Infantino (TT and RR)
Fabio Duarte (TT and RR)
Virenque to discuss future
34 year old Richard Virenque (Quick.Step-Davitamon) will hold a press conference in Paris this Friday to discuss his future. The Frenchman has decided not to take part in the World Championships next week, and has been considering retirement. A professional since 1991, Virenque's main claim to fame is winning the mountains competition in the Tour de France seven times, more than any other rider in history. However, his career fell under a shadow when he was implicated in the Festina affair in 1998, and it took him two years to admit to taking performance enhancing substances. After serving a suspension, he came back to the delight of his numerous French fans, and each year has managed to pull off one spectacular stage win in the Tour de France, as well as taking the mountains jersey in 2003 and 2004.
Saeco gearing up for Italian races
With the World Championships next week, Team Saeco will use the next few races in Italy to check the form of its riders who will be competing for their respective national teams in Verona. Three races will be used as tests: The Coppa Sabatini in Tuscany on September 23; the Giro dell'Emilia on September 25 and the GP Beghelli on September 26.
In the Coppa Sabatini, Mirko Celestino will lead the team directed by Flavio Miozzo that also includes the stagiaire Magallanes plus Andrea Tonti, Nicola Gavazzi, Austrian Gerrit Glomser, German Jörg Ludewig and Slovenian Gorazd Stangelj.
For the Giro dell'Emilia, Magallanes will take a break with Gilberto Simoni and Leonardo Bertagnolli riding. Simoni is aiming to win the race while Bertagnolli has been selected for the Italian team for Verona where he will have an important role protecting Damiano Cunego (currently racing in the Vuelta). After his success at the Coppa Agostoni and the Coppa Placci and an excellent ride at the Giro del Lazio, Bertagnolli has shown he is on form and will surely have a chance to show it in Verona on October 3.
The Saeco team for the GP Beghelli race on September 26 has yet to be confirmed.
Boucher to MrBookmaker
Frenchman David Boucher has signed a contract with Mr.Bookmaker.com for next season. Boucher, who is currently riding for Oktos, won the time trial in last weekend's Tour de la Somme. He's considered something of a specialist in this discipline, having also won the prologue in Ruban Granitier Breton and the time trial in the Vlaanderens Tweedaagse der Gaverstreek. Boucher also won a stage in the Tour de Loir et Cher.
After a successful inaugural series last year, the Revolution track cycling series will once again take place in the Manchester Velodrome in Britain over the winter season. With four events scheduled to run from October 23 to February 26, this year's meets are promising to deliver more action as Manchester velodrome celebrates its 10th anniversary.
It has already been confirmed that Olympic Kilo gold medalist Chris Hoy will be making his first appearance on the Manchester track since his ride in Athens, and more Olympic cyclists are expected to join him.
The first event on October 23 will start at 7pm and will run until around 10pm.
More information at: www.cyclingrevolution.com
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