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
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
Vuelta Stage 19 - Full
results, report & photos, Live
Stages & descriptions
Erik's hunt for points
Erik Zabel (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Unipublic
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
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
Judith Arndt, Tina Liebig, Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung),
Madeleine Sandig, Theresa Senff (Team Euregio Egrensis), Regina Schleicher
(Safi - Pasta Zara Manhattan)
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)
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)
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
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
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
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)