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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 27, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones, Hedwig Kröner and Anthony Tan

No TT for Ullrich at World's

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) was scheduled to take part in both the World's elite road race and the time trial. But the German has renounced the time trial competition in Bardolino on Wednesday, as he is still suffering from stomach problems. Because of this illness, the 30 year old German already missed the GP Beghelli on Sunday, and will now take some medical tests in Freiburg, Germany. His participation in the road race is uncertain. The T-Mobile rider had been showing excellent form lately, getting a fifth placing at the Giro dell'Emilia and winning the Coppa Sabatini.

Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) will replace Ullrich at the time trial for Germany.

Tankink to World's

Dutch rider Bram Tankink has been selected to the team for the World Championships this Sunday. Tankink finished the Vuelta in 64th place, being present in several long breakaways during the three week tour. He was chosen by national coach Gerrie Knetemann as one of the last four riders for the men's team, together with Koos Moerenhout, Bram de Groot and Jan Boven

The remaining eight riders are: Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Karsten Kroon, Thorwald Veneberg, Pieter Weening, Marc Lotz, Maarten den Bakker (Rabobank) and Gerben Löwik (Chocolade Jacques).

Van Heeswijk calls it a season

Max van Heeswijk is one rider who will be missed by the Dutch for the World's this weekend. Winner of 11 races this year, Van Heeswijk cited personal problems and a lack of motivation as a reason to stop, his last success being in the first week of the Vuelta where he wore the gold jersey for a day before giving it to US Postal teammate Benoît Joachim.

"I'm going on holiday a little earlier this year, because I am really in need of rest," he told Algemeen Dagblad. "I would have loved to have gone to the World's, but it's simply not going any more. I've said more than once that there is a big gap between want and can. The difficulties that I have, have been going on for a while, but now they are getting on top. It is very hard to handle everything, especially because I don't have the energy for it."

"It is a good decision that he will skip the World's," said Van Heeswijk's team director Dirk Demol. "Under these circumstances, there's no point in him going. It's disappointing for Max, he's such a good guy."

Thomas Dekker going for gold

Rabobank's most gifted U23 rider, Thomas Dekker, feels good enough this year to get the Gold medal in Verona at the Espoir time trial. Last year, Dekker was hoping to win the Championship, but illness prevented him from finishing higher than ninth. The 20 year old, who will become professional at Rabobank next season, was trying hard not to be too disappointed as he told Algemeen Dagblad's Léon de Kort. "I felt ill before the competition, but I didn't know that this would cost me the gold medal. I still had hopes, and I did have a real chance - the pre-race tests proved it. You always think you can still do something."

The only worry in 2004 is his crash during the Tour de l'Avenir, when he lost the leader's jersey. "I had to change my preparation. But I still could race as a stagiaire at the Rheinland Pfalz-Rundfahrt [where he won stage 2 - ed.] and Coppa Sabatini (6th). The results show I'm in good condition, and that raises expectations. For myself, too. There has never been a Dutch U23 TT World champion. But I could always have a bad day, like in Athens," the rider cautioned.

Asked if he was training specifically for the time trial, Dekker took his usual line. "I don't really need that. I haven't been training especially for it the whole season, but I've already won 10 time trials."

The young rider earned a lot of respect within the pro peloton for his victories, which "doesn't make the transition too hard". Asked who his main rivals are on Tuesday at the World's, Dekker replied: "Janez Brajkovic, Dominique Cornu and Peter Mazur. Plus some East-Europeans; they tend to show up from out of nowhere at the World's."

French Elite team complete

Frédéric Moncassin, the French National team coach, has finally selected the last of the 12 Elite riders to depart for the World's in Verona. Eric Leblacher (Crédit Agricole) has been chosen, although his better-known teammate Christophe Moreau had also asked to participate.

"We have decided to take on Leblacher for his result at the Tour of Britain [where he finished 4th - ed.] and his overall behaviour. We also asked the other riders already selected," explained Moncassin according to

The French Elite National team in Verona is composed of: Laurent Brochard (AG2R), Sylvain Calzati (RAGT), Sandy Casar (, Cyril Dessel (Phonak), Eric Leblacher (Crédit Agricole), Christophe Le Mével (Crédit Agricole), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (La Boulangère), Franck Renier (La Boulangère), Christophe Rinero (RAGT), Yannick Talabardon (Auber 93) and Nicolas Vogondy (

A first time for everything

The new kid on the block: Simon Gerrans
Photo: © Jean-François Quénet
Click for larger image

Second in Paris-Corrèze and the first out of a potential seven Australian neo-pro's in 2005, Simon Gerrans will realise his life-long dream with Ag2r Prévoyance, and becomes yet another successful graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport's under 23 cycling program. Anthony Tan caught up with him before what will be another first: his debut in the men's elite team at the World Road Championships in Verona.

Simon Gerrans hasn't had it all his own way. Unlike Bradley McGee, Michael Rogers or Cadel Evans, who were sought-after and signed up almost immediately, Gerrans left the AIS Under 23 program two years ago when the outlook for promising espoirs was bleak as a Belgian winter. At the end of 2002, teams were folding, experienced professionals were taking sub-standard offers, and only a handful of the very best young talent were finding employment in Division 1 or 2 squads.

However, convinced of his own worth, the former Under 23 Australian champion persisted doggedly for another two years, riding for Norweigan, Portuguese and French teams. This season, under the direction of former US Postal rider Pascal Deramé at French amateur squad Team U Nantes-Atlantique, Gerrans has blossomed, taking seven wins and as a consequence, a stagiaire role with Ag2r Prévoyance.

Then, less than a month into his apprenticeship, the 24 year-old Victorian found himself staring at the dotted line of his first professional contract. It appeared Lavenu, a former professional himself and one of the peloton's most respected directeurs sportifs, knew he was onto a good thing right from the start. "This is a perfect recruit for our team," Lavenu said after Gerran's second place overall at Paris-Corrèze, which finished today.

Click here to read the full story.

Young American in old Europe

Ian MacGregor with his newly-acquired stars and stripes jersey
Photo: © Beth Seliga
Click for larger image

With the 2004 World Championships in Verona fast approaching, the American team roster was finalised a few days ago. One riders' name missing from the list, which a number of people assumed would be there, was American Under 23 champion Ian MacGregor of the TIAA-CREF/5280 team.

On September 19, at a time where the World's team roster selection was not yet known, Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner spoke with MacGregor at the Tour de Moselle espoir race in north-eastern France, and again after he heard the news of his omission.

20 year-old Ian MacGregor has had a long 2004 season. So I asked him for a wrap-up: "For me, this year started pretty early," he began.

"I was racing in February on the California circuit for the first time, which was a really good experience for me; I learned a lot. I did struggle a little bit with the pollution out in Woodland because I grew up in the mountains, so I'm used to fresh air. From there, I went to Georgia, where I had a hard time - mostly, I think, because I was really sick after Woodland and I'd taken a few days off the bike. But Jonathan [Vaughters, the team director - ed.] really wanted me to go to a big race to get the experience and the miles in my legs."

The coached proved right, as MacGregor later admits. "After that, I trained very hard, made some steady progress. I didn't always have results but I had some very good rides. When I went to the Nationals, Jonathan as well as myself had a lot of confidence in that I had amazing form, and if I played my cards right, we could make things go my way and make a really good result."

Click here to read the full story.

Race continued in Erpe-Mere

According to, the Cyclo-Cross race in which Tim Pauwels died yesterday was still completed, although Bart Wellens, World Champion and teammate of Tim, stopped riding and asked the UCI commissaire to stop the race. "But the man just laughed at me. It would have been suitable to at least cut off a few laps of the circuit, out of respect for Tim. But even that did not happen."

Tim Pauwels fell into a ditch just next to the parcours and died, but it is unclear what the cause of death was.

Jos Pauwels, the father of Tim, also accused the race organisers of not having any medical assistance available at the race.

Yates must explain high testosterone levels

The career of New Zealand's 2000 World Champion Jeremy Yates may be on hold unless he can explain to the Belgian cycling federation why he has such a high level of testosterone in his body. Yates, who rode for Belgian team Deschacht-Eddy Merckx this year but recently signed for Credit Agricole and is currently racing for them as a stagiaire, returned an A sample from a race in Wanzele in March that showed "quite substantial" levels of testosterone, according to, quoting Jaak Fransen from the Disciplinary Committee in Doping Matters of the Belgian Cycling Union.

According to the report, Yates was asked several times by the Flemish Anti-Doping Agency to supply a medical certificate and a B sample to determine whether he had a naturally high level of testosterone, as some riders do. "In both cases, Mr Yates never responded to any or our requests," Fransen was quoted as saying. "We attempted to contact him on several occasions, but never found him home. He never responded to any phone messages or letters and we even sent a doctor to his home to get a sample, but again with no success."

Yates' A sample was re-tested by the IOC lab in Cologne, which also ruled that "the high levels of testosterone could only be achieved by illegal substances."

Yates was summoned to appear in front of the Belgian disciplinary committee but missed his first hearing, eventually appearing last Wednesday. Fransen asked for a two year ban and a fine of 750 Swiss francs plus costs. It's expected to take a month for the commission to reach its decision.

The New Zealander finished 31st overall in Paris-Correze yesterday, and is due to ride the U23 World Championship road race in Verona this week.

PowerNet Tour of Southland

Cycling Southland has announced the schedule for the 48th Cycling Tour of Southland to be held from November 1-6. This year's Tour will consist of ten stages including a team time trial and an individual time trial. The total race distance will be 645km, taking in some of the deep south's top scenic areas. Entries have already been received from New Zealand and overseas for the UCI sanctioned event, including previous winners Scott Guyton (Rotorua), John Lieswyn (USA), Karl Moore (Te Awamutu) and Glen Mitchell (Hamilton).

The stages

Stage 1 - November 1: Queens Park Invercargill TTT, 8.3 km
Stage 2 - November 1: Invercargill - Bluff Hill, 79 km
Stage 3 - November 2: Invercargill - Tuatapere, 112 km
Stage 4 - November 2: Tuatapere - Winton, 86.3km
Stage 5 - November 3: Lumsden - Crown Range, 130.8 km
Stage 6 - November 4: Balfour - Riversdale ITT, 15km
Stage 7 - November 4: Riversdale - Invercargill, 129.4 km
Stage 8 - November 5: Winton - Te Anau, 182.2 km
Stage 9 - November 6: Te Anau - Lumsden, 79 km
Stage 10 - November 6: Winton - Invercargill, 64.4 km

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