First Edition Cycling News for September 30, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
The dream becomes real
The strains of Advance Australia Fair rang out today over Lake Garda in the northern Italian town of Bardolino where Australia's Michael Rogers claimed the gold medal in the time trial at the 2004 UCI Road Cycling World Championships. The 24 year-old from Canberra posted an emphatic win, riding the challenging 46.75 km course in a time of 57'30.12, leaving his nearest rival, Michael Rich (Germany) in his wake by a margin of 1'12.43. Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov was 1'25.04 back in third place.
It was Rogers' second gold medal ceremony of the day. This morning in the garden of a nearby hotel, the UCI's President Hein Verbruggen officially presented Rogers with the gold medal for 2003, a medal he was awarded after Britain's David Millar was found guilty of a doping offence and stripped of the title he claimed in Hamilton, Canada last year. If the morning ceremony was low key, the celebration of the 2004 title more than made up for it as an overjoyed Rogers was cheered across the finish by friends, family and thousands of Italian fans.
"I don't know if anyone's ever done that (been presented with two time trial golds in one day); maybe I'm the first," said Rogers. "This morning was a nice feeling but the prize of the day goes to the second one. It's always better to win from the start and it was so special and much more satisfying, not only for me but for my fans and everyone who has helped me since I was seven years old and started cycling.
"I have always dreamt of winning a world title and the time trial has a special place in my heart," added Rogers whose brother Deane won the junior time trial world title ten years ago and was in Italy to witness his younger brother's win. "Today I've finally done it and now it's on to bigger and better things." Rogers was referring to his dream winning the Tour de France one day, a race he has completed twice and in which he has already showed promise, finishing 22nd overall this year.
Rogers' unbridled joy after his victory was no surprise because he has finished second in time trials five times since 1997. He was second in World Championships in 1997 (Junior) and 1999 (U23) by tiny margins; at both the Commonwealth Games and Australian Open Road Championships in 2002; and at the Australian Open Road Championships in 2003.
"That went through my mind the whole way because having being second so many times it gave me a little bit more motivation to push a bit harder as I didn't want to finish second again," added Rogers, who placed fourth in the event at the Athens Olympics. "I'm so happy. Since the Olympics there hasn't been five minutes when I haven't been thinking of the World Championships and I prepared the best I could. In the past month I've ridden the course at least once a week and sometimes twice, and today I had a fantastic day and rode as hard as I could."
Time checks were given at two points on the course. The first at 6.3km had Rogers running fourth 12 seconds down on early leader Vinokourov. But by the 27.1km check he had hit the lead by 31 seconds and from there he drove it home. "I planned to start relatively slow and progress," he explained. "During the last month I've tested a lot of different strategies over the climb and found that was the fastest way to get up it, so I followed a good race plan and held up to it quite well."
Rogers and Neil Stephens, Cycling Australia's Elite Men's Road Coach who was driving the team car behind Rogers, both knew he was leading at the 27km mark but with around 20km to go they were leaving nothing to chance. "I thought at the end it must have been really close because Stevo (Stephens) was screaming at me to dig deep," said Rogers.
Neil Stephens commented, "We were all excited and wanted to make sure he put in the absolute effort. After the 27 kilometre point we didn't have a reference so we were on guesswork and although we thought he was going great we didn't know how the others were going. There was no way I was going to say to Mick 'take it easy, you've got it won' because I wanted him to put it all in and ride the hardest he possibly could."
Rogers started last of the 47 riders a minute and a half behind silver medallist Rich but by the finish line Rogers had almost overtaken the German. "We saw Rich after the first ten kilometres and both he and Mick did the next section really well but we didn't know what Vinokourov was doing," explained Stephens. "So I told him to go get Rich, go out and show 'em why you're World Champion."
Rogers dedicated his win to the memory of his friend and Canberra training partner, Mark Carter, who passed away in April. "I think Mark was here with me today."
Australia's other entrant in the time trial was Athens Team Pursuit Gold Medallist and Individual Pursuit Silver Medallist, Brad McGee, who finished 25th at 4'08.28 behind Rogers.
Larsson happy, Voskamp disqualified
24 year old Gustav Larsson was very happy at the outcome of today's World Championships time trial, although he missed the podium by just a few seconds. "I didn't expect this result at all. I finished at only 9 seconds off the bronze medal and that does sadden me a little, but I also know that I performed really well today. I felt good from beginning to end, even though it was a difficult course. I always kept a good rhythm and in the end, the time showed it."
Meanwhile, Bart Voskamp was disqualified. The Dutch rider finished 18th in Bardolino, but was taken out of the competition for racing behind Larsson, who had passed him.
Zabriskie "a little disappointed"
U.S. rider Dave Zabriskie missed out on the podium by 12 seconds in today's Elite Men's Time Trial Championships in Bardolino. The American was one third fastest at both the 6.3 km and 27.1 km time checks, but faded a little in the final part to finish in fifth place.
Considered an outside contender, Zabriskie decided not to get ahead of himself despite a successful month that included a stage win at the Vuelta a Espaņa after a 162 km solo breakaway in stage 11. "I've learned never to get my hopes up after finishing fourth quite a few times in big races," he admitted. "But I thought I was a legitimate contender looking at the course and the start list. I felt OK but I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. I was going for the win."
Riding without a radio to communicate to the U.S. team car to receive his splits, Zabriskie felt he was riding well due to the fact that, "The helicopter was following me for quite a while, so I know I was going well."
Zabriskie dropped out of the Vuelta a week ago in stage 17. "I think I stopped the Vuelta at the appropriate time and recovered well for this race," he said. "What I got out of the Vuelta helped a lot for this race. I felt really good. [The Vuelta stage win] definitely gives me extra confidence."
On his season as a whole, Zabriskie said, "My overall feeling it that is was a pretty good season actually. I still think about the crash at Redlands and know that I wasn't 100 percent recovered from the car accident (in May of 2003 where he broke his leg and wrist) at the time. I still feel my right leg is a little stronger but plan on working hard during the off season to get completely ready for 2005."
Tom Danielson also competed for the U.S. team after a tumultuous year under the banner of the Fassa Bortolo squad. An accomplished time trialist on the U.S. domestic circuit in 2003, Danielson made the move to Europe and competed sporadically in 2004. Set to join Lance Armstrong on the Discovery Channel team in 2005, Danielson began saying his goodbyes to the 2004 season with a modest 35th place in today's time trial, 5'06.21 off the pace.
Next World's at Bernabeu stadium
As announced in Bardolino today, the next World Championships road race in Madrid will start and finish at Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. The parcours around Real Madrid's stadium is 21.3 km long, and the riders will cover 13 laps to complete a total of 276.9 km.
The time trial course, with start and finish at Casa de Campo, is 22 kilometres long. The Elite Men will have to race two laps, the U23 Men two laps of a shortened circuit of 17.5 km. In Madrid, the competitions will be held only in the categories Elite Men, Elite Women and U23 Men. The time trials will be held on September 21-22, the road races on September 24-25.
Scanlon calls it a season
By Gerard Cromwell
Mark Scanlon's 2004 season has come to an abrupt end due to a bout of appendicitis recently. Scanlon had been having pains in his side since before the Tour De France in July but had passed it off as a muscular problem. Things came to a head after the GP Fourmies though and the young Irishman was rushed to hospital in Maubeuge and was immediately operated on to have his appendix removed.
"I had been feeling a niggle from before the Tour," Scanlon said from his home in Marseilles. "But I passed it off as a muscular injury and even the team doctor just told me to do more stretching and stuff. After the Tour I had been feeling really bad without knowing why and at the Olympic Games I was absolutely shattered."
Having competed in the GP Fourmies earlier in the day, Scanlon went to bed in the team hotel that night but couldn't sleep with the pain. "At 2am it was bad but by 4am I was standing half naked outside the soigneur's room door begging him to take me to hospital!" Scanlon had to be carried to the team car and rushed to Maubeuge Hospital. Emergency surgery followed immediately. "The operating surgeon told me that my appendix was so inflamed that it couldn't have just happened in the last couple of weeks, it would have taken two or three months to get that bad."
Now back in Marseilles, the former junior world champion is recovering gradually. "I had keyhole surgery. They went in through my bellybutton, so there is no big scar and I was able to walk about the next day. Actually as soon as I woke up from theatre I felt way better but that's the end of racing for this year anyway. I'm going to take my end of season break now and hopefully I'll be able to do a bit of light gym work in a few weeks."
With the likes of Jan Kirsipuu having left the Ag2r line-up for next season and the team not joining the upcoming ProTour, Scanlon is not unduly worried. "The only thing different is we won't really have a dedicated leader, so that means if you train hard and race well you will be supported. It's good for the likes of me and Philip (Deignan who joins Ag2r next year) and hopefully we can move up the ladder another bit in 2005."
Scanlon will now miss the World Championships in Verona this weekend. His place will be taken by David O'Loughlin who, ironically, also took the Sligo man's Irish champion's jersey earlier in the year. "I think we (Ireland) have a great chance in the Under 23 race this year. Nicolas Roche is flying and Philip Deignan had a great ride in the Tour of Britain so hopefully they can pull off a result in Italy."
Scanlon's next sporting mission involves a trip to Lille by TGV to see an old school friend, Alan Cawley, from Sligo play for Dublin football club Shelbourne in the UEFA Cup. "It's not too often you get to see a team from Ireland play in the UEFA Cup in France and I'll be there to support Alan. It's about three and a half hours on the train but I won't exactly be doing much else for a while!"
Four USPS ride in Tour of Hope
Four professional cyclists from the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling team will ride into Washington, D.C. alongside hundreds of amateur cyclists in the recreational fundraising ride that's part of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope on October 9. Postal team members recently confirmed to ride the 27-mile route include Tour de France veterans Jose Luis Rubiera and Pavel Padrnos, along with teammates Antonio Cruz and Damon Kluck.
Lance Armstrong, who won his record sixth consecutive Tour de France this summer, will kick off the event and ride part of the way. The recreational ride will finish at the Washington D.C. Ellipse. There, riders can join Armstrong, the Tour of Hope Team and special guests for the grand finale event, open to the public.
Only 1,500 slots are available for the fundraiser, the deadline to register being Friday, October 1. All funds raised during the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope will benefit cancer research and clinical trials through the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
For more information, visit www.tourofhope.org
British Cycling Olympic team at Manchester Velodrome
Chris Hoy, Olympic Kilo Gold Medallist, will be joined by the majority of his fellow British Cycling Olympic teammates on the boards at the first Revolution of the season at Manchester Velodrome on October 23.
Bronze medallist Rob Hayles will be teaming up with his silver medal winning team pursuit mates: Paul Manning, Chris Newton and Steve Cummings have all confirmed they will ride the event, and Bryan Steel will be there as a guest, having announced his retirement since Athens. Also on the track for the first time since the Games will be World Keirin Champion Jamie Staff and Sydney Kilo Gold Medallist Jason Queally.
More information: www.cyclingrevolution.com
Whitmore's Super Cross Cup
Hampton Velo Club in the USA is putting on its annual Whitmore's Super Cross Cup this weekend. With UCI points and $5000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, the start list is full of top riders and National Champions including Mark McCormack, Anna Milkowski and Masters National Champion Marianne Stover. This year the course has changed and will be held at Southampton Youth Services in Southampton. "It's about 63 acres of hills, grass, and woods that will allow us to host a very spectator friendly event, and provide the high calibre racing we have become known for," said club president Myles Romanow.
For more information, see www.hamptonvelo.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)