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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 28, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

Ullrich unsure for road race

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), who already had to renounce the World's individual time trial event in Bardolino on Wednesday because of stomach problems, is not sure to start at the road race on Sunday neither. Ullrich returned to Germany yesterday and will undergo tests at the University Clinic in Freiburg.

The German had been in Italy, racing successfully, when he got ill on Saturday. "I was throwing up and had diarrhoea. I'm feeling a little better today, but I'm still weak. I'll try to be OK by next Sunday," said Ullrich yesterday before leaving the Bardolino region in Italy where the World's time trials take place. Mario Kummer, directeur sportif at T-Mobile, is not amused: "This situation is, of course, very annoying. We will have to wait to find out if Jan can take his place at the World Championships road race on Sunday."

Sunderland out

Australian Scott Sunderland is another rider who will not be taking part in the World's, having not recovered from the stomach virus that knocked him out of the Vuelta. "There's still bacteria in my stomach, and the doctors haven't been able to find it," he told Cyclingnews today. "I don't seem to be able to get the energy through - it's impossible if you can't digest properly. I did a good week's training last week with a few long rides but I just started getting worse. I'm not going to go to the World Championship just to be there. It's not as if I need it for the experience."

Evans withdraws from time trial

Australian Cadel Evans has withdrawn from the men's time trial on Wednesday because of form concerns, Cycling Australia said. Evans who finished the three week Vuelta a España on the weekend told team management he does not believe he would be a serious contender and lining up could jeopardise his performance in this Sunday's road race in Verona.

He will now join the Australian team on Friday and concentrate on the road race.

Next Vuelta victim: Santi Perez

According to, Santi Pérez (Phonak), second behind Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) at this year's Vuelta a España, will not be able to compete in the World Championships in Verona.

The Asturian was suffering from severe stomach problems on Monday that he claimed resulted from the Vuelta, and not the party he was at on Sunday night, celebrating his successful race. Reportedly, that is what he told National coach Paco Antequera yesterday, who quickly called the first reserve rider, winner of the Vuelta's 19th stage, Tino Zaballa to replace him.

Santi Pérez had been in excellent form especially during the last week of the Vuelta, where he proved to be an even better climber than Roberto Heras. He finished only 0'30 behind the Liberty rider overall and won three stages at the race, including the final time trial in Madrid last Sunday.

Brajkovic delighted with win

By Shane Stokes, in Bardolino

Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Fresh from his success in the under 23 time trial yesterday, Janez Brajkovic faced the press in his new rainbow jersey. The Slovenian admitted he was surprised to have won. "I didn't expect this title," he said. "Coming into the race I thought I would be between third and fifth place. I was certain that Thomas (Dekker) would win. For me, I think the key points were the end of the climb and the second part of the race. At this point, it hasn't really sunk in yet...I haven't realised what I have achieved. It will take a bit of time, I think."

Having won the time trial title by a decent margin (just under 18 seconds), Brajkovic was asked about his chances for Friday's road race. "With regards the road race, it is something completely different," he said. "You have to be strong on the day, have good tactics and a good team. I think that I am quite good for the road race also but there are also other strong guys who will be up there."

Brajkovic started racing in 2001 and gives a lot of credit to his coach for helping him progress so fast. Last year he was third in the GP Krka and seventh in the Giro delle Regioni. This season things have really started to happen, with the 21 year old taking first in the time trial of the GP Tell, second place overall in the race and the silver medal in the European championships in Estonia. He also won the Trofeo Banca Popolare Piva, took second in the GP Palio del Recioto and third in the Giro del Belvedere. Strong performances in these 1.7.1 events and others moved him to fourth in the UCI under 23 rankings, but yesterday's world championship success is his biggest yet. A bright future is clearly in store.

Dekker concedes

Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

A disappointed Thomas Dekker accepted that he wasn't good enough for the gold medal yesterday, even though he was the outright favourite coming into the event. "My main goal was to win today, but I was second," he said. "The gap between myself and Janez was almost twenty seconds, it was a big gap. He was first, the strongest rider here today."

Nibali happy

Italian Vincenzo Nibali finished third on the podium, but was only 0.39 seconds off Dekker's silver medal winning time. "I expected the other two riders to be up there today," said Nibali. "I knew Thomas Dekker was very strong, and also Janez. I am really happy with my result, I am not disappointed. I knew when I crossed the line I hadn't won but this is a very good result for me. I am happy."

More questions over Pauwels death

The cause of death of cyclo-crosser Tim Pauwels at Erpe-Mere last Sunday is still unknown, and there have been doubts cast on the theory that his heart stopped just before he crashed. Doctor De Meirleir suspects, a cardiologist at the VUB, told Sporza that he suspects Pauwels had a viral infection of some sort. "A normal heart can perform quite well, there is always an underlying reason," he said. "There are aggressive viruses that can cause an inflammation of the heart muscle."

According to his Fidea team director Hans Van Kasteren, Pauwels' heart was beating for 10-15 minutes after the fall. Van Kasteren was of the opinion that Pauwels could have been saved if the first aid team had got to him in time - apparently it took more than 10 minutes to get to the fallen rider, who crashed on the back side of the course.

"I've heard from a lot of people that Timk Pauwels had a heartbeat ten to fifteen minutes after his crash," said Van Kasteren. "After that, his heartbeat disappeared. Thus, heart failure cannot be the cause of death of my rider. According to the same people, Tim was conscious and wondered what happened after his fall. If the medical help had come immediately with the right means, then Tim Pauwels could have perhaps been saved."

An autopsy will be performed on Pauwels' body on Wednesday. He will be buried on Saturday in his home town of Kalmthout. His Fidea teammates will carry his coffin.

Peiper to Davitamon-Lotto

Former Australian pro Allan Peiper has been accepted as a team director by Davitamon-Lotto for next season. The team will also have the services of Leon van Bon and Aart Vierhouten, and trying to sign Bobby Julich.

Kolobnev to Rabobank

After Denis Menchov, the Dutch Rabobank team has acquired a second Russian rider for next season, Alexandre Kolobnev. The 23 year old, known as a good climber, is currently under contract with the Italian squad Domina Vacanze. Kolobnev finished the Tour de Suisse 15th, and performs well at one-day races too - such as at the Zürich World Cup, where he got 14th.

Meanwhile, Rabobank's manager Theo de Rooij wants to keep Thorwald Veneberg, who has met the team's expectations at the Vuelta a España recently.

The return of Niels Scheuneman to Rabobank, who is currently racing for Relax-Bodysol, seems to be a difficult task. According to Dutch daily De Telegraaf, Davitamon-Lotto is not willing to let Scheuneman go. Relax-Bodysol is being absorbed into Davitamon-Lotto at the end of the season, and Scheuneman's contract may not be valid. While Rabobank will ask its lawyers to assess the legal situation, a conflict between the two (three?) teams seems unavoidable.

Chocolade Jacques to dismiss team

The Belgian team Chocolade Jacques will dismiss all of its riders at the end of the season. Currently, the Dutch riders Bart Voskamp, Rik Reinerink, Jan van Velzen and Bert Hiemstra are the only ones left without a contract for next season.

All of the riders only had a one-year contract. Meanwhile, Chocolade Jacques is talking of a "technical dismissal", as it will later be decided if the company continues to support pro cycling as a main sponsor of its own, or as a co-sponsor of an already existing team.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)