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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for September 25, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

Last transition stage before Madrid

Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: Unipublic
Click for larger image

Despite containing the severe Alto de Abantos climb, the Vuelta's 19th stage between Ávila and Collado Villalba was not a selective one for the general classification. A large breakaway escaped on the day's first climb after 15 km and stayed away to the finish, while behind it was the Liberty Seguros team controlling the tempo for race leader Roberto Heras. No attempts were made to unseat Heras from his golden throne, which left the leaders to fight it out among themselves for the stage win.

One rider had the stage earmarked very early on in the piece: Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval), who attacked a few kilometres before the first sprint at km 34. He built up a two minute plus lead, and held it over the remaining 110 kilometres to win the stage by well over a minute. It was a gutsy ride, capitalising - as solo breaks always do - on the lack of coordination in the chase behind.

"I have won like I wanted, a stage in one of the grand tours," Zaballa told Cyclingnews after the stage. "I spent a lot of energy, and because of this I had some doubts as to whether I would make it, but I did it."

Vuelta Stage 19 - Full results, report & photos, Live report
Stages & descriptions
Start list
Photos

Erik's hunt for points

Erik Zabel (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Unipublic
Click for larger image

While all eyes focus on the main contenders of this year's Vuelta, the relentless Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) is still climbing Spanish mountain sides in the peloton. The German is defending his blue jersey by 16 points ahead of Alejandro Valverde, and hasn't given up on it yet. The only high-class sprinter left at the Vuelta has yet another difficult mountain stage to overcome and acknowledged, "It will be hard - very hard - but I won't concede a single point without giving it everything. I wouldn't have thought I'd be wearing the points jersey after stage 19."

"Ete" Zabel will not have a lot of time to recover after his efforts: Following the Vuelta are the World Championships in Verona, for which he has been selected. Knowing him, he won't decline the invitation.

Last chance for Cioni

Fassa Bortolo's Dario Cioni has tried to conclude what he says was "the last chance". On stage 19, after the first climb at km 16, he was part of a successful breakaway, and finally took tenth at the finish. "Today was the last day to try anything at the race," he said. "Tomorrow the teams rivaling on GC will control the stage to decide the overall victory. I wanted to test my legs for the World's, and I think they're good enough. I'm concluding the Vuelta a little tired, but in good form."

D'Antoni accepts two year suspension

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today that Joseph D'Antoni of Raleigh, N.C., tested positive at the Track World Cup Qualifier on February 26, 2004 in Cooper City, Fla. He tested positive for recombinant human Erythropoietin (rEPO), a banned substance under UCI rules. The 27 old has accepted a two year suspension from all competition, beginning on September 22, 2004.

In a written statement, D'Antoni denied that he had taken EPO. "I have been racing bikes since 1992, and have made the long, gradual trek from lowly Cat 5, all the way to Cat 1...This year I was graced with the opportunity to represent the United States in a UCI World Cup in Mexico, the realization of one of my long dreams. I have done all of this through smart, hard training and dedication. I have never doped, or even seen EPO. For what it's worth I'm deathly afraid of needles, and can't stand getting the refresher vaccines that I need for work.

"I also value my health and my wife far too much to take a chance of having a heart attack from the abuse of a substance like EPO."

As well as his own test, D'Antoni questioned the validity of Adham Sbeih's positive test for EPO last year, and described himself as "mildly shocked" at the conditions of the lab where he saw his B sample being tested. "It was was disorganized - I saw employees mistakenly throwing trash into a plastic bag containing samples. It became clear that like many scientific experiments, the procedure was lengthy, complicated, and with plenty of opportunity for error. We were unable to stay for the entire procedure because USADA and the lab do not release their procedures ahead of time, so I was left to trust that the lab technician did the test correctly.

"I was planning on retiring from elite level competition at the end of this year, but in no way did I plan on going out like this. Given this and that fact that it would cost upwards of $50,000 to mount a scientifically viable challenge to the test, I have done whatever I can to help the sport of cycling, I have accepted a suspension on the basis that even though my sample may have shown positive for r-EPO, I never took EPO.

"I plan on still coaching and volunteering in cycling, as I have met way too many wonderful people and been too many incredible places because of cycling, and I want to help give those opportunities to others."

Full German team announced

The German cycling federation (BDR) has officially announced the team roster to represent Germany at the upcoming World Championships.

Elite men - Road race

Jan Ullrich, Rolf Aldag, Matthias Kessler, Stefan Schumacher, Christian Werner, Steffen Wesemann, Erik Zabel (T-Mobile), Danilo Hondo, Sebastian Lang, Ronny Scholz, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Stefan Schumacher (Team Lamonta)
Reserve: Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner)

Elite men - Time trial

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile Team), Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) Reserve: Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) - According to Radsportnews.com, Peschel has requested the UCI for a time trial wildcard, as he still wants to participate. It's uncertain if his move is going to be successful, but he is believed to be travelling to Verona anyway in order to get his silver medal from last year's World's, where he finished only half a second behind Michael Rogers.

Women

Judith Arndt, Tina Liebig, Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung), Madeleine Sandig, Theresa Senff (Team Euregio Egrensis), Regina Schleicher (Safi - Pasta Zara Manhattan)

Men U23

Marcus Burghardt (RG Wiesenhof Sachsen), Heinrich Haussler, Paul Martens (ISPO Lotusan Cottbus), Christian Müller, Andreas Schillinger (RG Teag Team Köstritzer), Konstantin Schubert (Team Optik Delker), Carlo Westphal (RG Team Wiesenhof Sachsen-Anhalt)

Junior Men

Marcel Barth (SSV Gera), Mathias Belka (Endspurt Cottbus), Michael Franzl (RSV Rosenheim), Patrick Gretsch (RV Elxleben), Sebastian Hans (SC Berlin), Stefan Schäfer (Endspurt Cottbus), Philipp Seubert (RSC Reinheim)

Junior Women

Sabine Fischer (RSG '88 Montabaur), Virginia Hennig (SC Riesa), Carolin Ibele (RU Wangen), Franziska Kniesche (Endspurt Cottbus), Alexandra Sontheimer (RV Conc. Reute)

Spanish selection complete - without Heras

Francisco Antequera, Spain's national cycling coach, has made his choice of the last three Elite men to race for Spain in Verona.

Ten riders had already been named on Monday. Spain has the right to participate with 13 starters, because Igor Astarloa, being the current World Champion, may defend his title independently of his national selection. With co-leaders Alejandro Valverde, Oscar Freire and Juan Antonio Flecha, the Spanish team is very strong.

The last three men to complete the selection are Pedro Horrillo (Quick.Step), Eladio Jimenez (Kelme) and Luis Perez (Cofidis), leaving out Roberto Heras (Liberty). Heras has done without competing at the World's since 1998, but several sources indicate that he actually wanted to go this year.

The final team roster thus includes the following athletes:

Elite men - Road race

Igor Astarloa (Lampre), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Alejandro Valverde, Eladio Jimenez (Kelme), Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), Francisco Mancebo, José Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears), Jose Luis Rubiera (US Postal), Luis Perez (Cofidis), Marcos Serrano, Isidro Nozal (Liberty), Santiago Perez (Phonak), Pedro Horrillo (Quick Step)

Elite men - Time trial

José Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears), Isidro Nozal (Liberty)

Thor Hushovd calls it a season

By Jean-François Quénet, velomania.net

Thor Hushovd opened the history book of Paris-Corrèze two years ago but instead of returning to the race organised by former Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon, he flew home to Norway due to an undiagnosed sickness. He was the strongest rider two weeks ago at GP Fourmies, but he couldn't chase down his teammate and eventual winner Andreï Kashechkin.

Hushovd was scheduled for both the time trial and road race at the World Championships, but he won't go to Verona. He has put an end to his 2004 season, and he doesn't even need to take part in the last French Cup race, Paris-Bourges (October 3). He's sure to win it anyway since he has 64 points advantage on his runner up and teammate Pierrick Fedrigo with a win awarding 50 points.

Aged 26, Hushovd has had his best season, entering the UCI top 20 for the first time. He has scored 10 wins, including a stage in the Tour de France with one day in yellow jersey. Wearing the flamboyant red with blue cross jersey of Norwegian champion (for both time trial and road race) has created a huge popularity around the smiling Viking.

He will again lead Crédit Agricole next year despite the inclusion of Estonian sprinter Jaan Kirsipuu, who has decided to leave Ag2r after 12 seasons working for Vincent Lavenu.

Mercy Celebrity Classic Criterium starts today

The Mercy Celebrity Classic is a charity event taking place each year in Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Alma, Arkansas. The cycling races take place September 24-26.

Jonas Carney, 2004 US Criterium Champion will participate, as well as Alex Candelario and his Jelly Belly team. Further riders include local favourite Brice Jones along with HealthNet teammates Dan Schmatz, the 2003 winner, John Lieswyn, and Scott Moninger. Teams from Jittery Joes and nearby Oklahoma based Mathis Brothers are also on the line-up.

Locally sponsored Team St. Edward's Mercy Fitness will have Mat Stephens and Brad Huff, newly crowned Madison champs at the 2004 Elite Track National Championships. In the other races, Mercy twill be present with Randy Parker and David Leduc, both 2003 Masters National Champions.

Currently scheduled for the women's race is cyclingnews.com diarist Nicole Freedman, who will be trying to one-up her 2nd place finish in 2002 with Team Basis and teammates Lauren Gaffney and Chrissy Ruiter. T-Mobile, Cycle Science and local Team Mercy Fitness are also committed to race.

On Friday 24th, racers of all categories can ride the very steep 5-mile (8K) course and compare their time to current record holder, John Lieswyn of HealthNet, at 23.12 minutes. The races Saturday, 25th will also be serving as the Arkansas State Criterium Championships.

For more information check out www.mercyclassic.org

Third Toña Cerveza/Giant Star-Crossed Cyclocross

Toña Cerveza/Giant Star-Crossed Cyclocross has attracted a good field to kick off the US cyclocross season for 2004-2005 at King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA on October 2.

Leading the Men's and Women's fields will be Anne Knapp (Kona) of Seattle, WA, 4th place 2004 Cyclocross Worlds, 2004 US Olympian Todd Wells (GT), Geoff Kabush, Mountain Bike Team-Relay World Champion (Maxxis-Giant), and US Under-23 Cyclocross National Champion Jesse Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com). Last year's winner Marc Gullickson (Redline) will be back to defend his title against a field to which last year's runner-up Adam Craig (Maxxis-Giant) is also to return. Craig just recently finished 5th at the final Mountain Bike World Cup in Livigno, Italy. 2002 Star Crossed Champion Jonny Sundt (Redmond, WA) will complete the strong line up from Team Maxxis - Giant.

For more information, please visit www.starcrossedcx.com

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