First Edition Cycling News for April 7, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
Controversial finish in Gent-Wevelgem
By Shane Stokes in Wevelgem
Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Nico Mattan took the second ProTour victory by a Belgian rider in three
days when he won the 67th edition of Gent-Wevelgem, staging a last gasp
recapture of lone leader Juan-Antonio Flecha inside the final kilometre
The 33 year old Davitamon-Lotto rider reached the line in Wevelgem two
seconds clear of the deflated Spaniard, with Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Caffita)
leading home Flecha's Fassa Bortolo teammate Fabian Cancellara and Credit
Agricole's Thor Hushovd for third. Pre-race favourite Tom Boonen looked
strong midway through the 208 kilometre event, but faded in closing stages
to finish a disappointed 26th. He will hope to turn things around again
in time for Paris-Roubaix this coming weekend.
After the race finish, Flecha's Fassa Bortolo team lodged a protest,
on the grounds that they felt the race victor had been aided in the closing
stages by press motorbikes and neutral support vehicles. Mattan himself
insisted that the vehicles were in his way and that he didn't deliberately
draft in his efforts to catch and pass the race leader.
"I dare to put my hand on my heart to assert that I did not win thanks
to the cars or the motorbikes," said Mattan. "I was never that close that
I was in the slipstream. Should I have slowed down a bit at that moment?
They certainly did not take me up to Flecha. I knew that I could rectify
the situation in the last kilometre. Please don't put the value of my
win in doubt. Didn't I spend the whole day on the attack? No-one should
The College of Commissaires agreed with Mattan's version of events,
fining the driver of the Shimano neutral support car 400 Swiss Francs
and warning the motorbikes in question. They upheld the race result, stating
that a detailed report will be sent to the UCI on the matter.
Full results, brief
report & photos, Live
Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) was surprisingly upbeat about finishing
second behind Mattan. "No, I'm not disappointed," he told Sporza.
"Mattan was ordinarily the strongest. For the public, that's nice, but
also for me it was a really nice race. It was really extremely hard, with
the wind and the hills. But now I am so much the stronger for Sunday,
Guidi in hospital with broken arm
Fabrizio Guidi (Phonak)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Italian Fabrizio Guidi (Phonak) has broken his right arm after crashing
in Gent-Wevelgem. The crash happened 12 kilometres after the start on
a tough stretch in the road, an Guidi was one of a number of riders to
come down. Guidi crashed on his side and his head hit a road sign. Fortunately,
he did not suffer any head injuries. The radius on his right lower arm
has been set with three pins after a 45 minute operation in hospital in
Tielt. Guidi will spend the night in hospital as a precaution and will
fly home tomorrow.
"Fabrizio Guidi will be out of the running for four to six weeks," said
Phonak doctor Thomas Klimaschka. That means that Guidi, who was in good
form in Tirreno-Adriatico where he finished third on GC, will not be able
to start at the Giro d'Italia.
Klier needs stitches
Andreas Klier (T-Mobile) was another rider in involved in a crash, and
the 2003 G-W winner was run over by a motorbike. Klier was taken to hospital
where he received three stitches to his knee. It is expected to prevent
him from starting in Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
Armstrong responds to Anderson counterclaim allegations
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
In a battle of duelling depositions, Lance Armstrong and his management
company Luke David LLC have filed a motion for sanctions in Travis County
Court against Mike Anderson. Armstrong is seeking these sanctions because
he claims that Anderson has filed a groundless and frivolous counterclaim,
that he called, "below the level of tabloid journalism." As plaintiff,
Armstrong is seeking minimum damages of $125,000 for his legal fees, inconvenience,
harassment and other reasons related to the ongoing litigation. Armstrong's
Plaintiff's Motions called Anderson's counterclaim "an egregious character
assassination founded upon a demonstrably false string of sensational,
untrue and fabricated allegations."
When Anderson was terminated by Armstrong in November 2004, attorneys
initially offered the former assistant a $10,000 severance package (three
months pay) but Anderson responded with a $500,000 settlement proposal.
Armstrong rejected the offer and filed his lawsuit against Anderson over
allegations regarding Anderson's termination by Armstrong, who had hired
him as a personal assistant several years prior and the legal battle began.
In a counterclaim filed in Travis County Court, Texas last Thursday
by Hal Gillespie, Anderson's Dallas-based attorney, Armstrong's former
assistant stated the cyclist, "cheated for profit with the use of banned
substances" and called Armstrong's drive for six Tour titles as an "evil,
oppressive and dishonest scheme that equals the greatest scandal in sports
history." He also alleged finding banned substances in Armstrong's Girona,
Spain medicine cabinet and that the Tour champion had avoided a WADA/USADA
out-of-competition drug test.
However, Armstrong's Plaintiff's Motions say that Anderson admitted
in a deposition that he actually had no direct knowledge whatsoever of
Armstrong actually taking a banned substance. Anderson stated in his deposition
that, "I didn't have any intention of repeating that (drug) stuff again,
it was only things I had seen throughout the course of my employment.
If I had seen (Armstrong) taking something I knew was wrong, that would
be different. But it was only a hunch, and I left it at that. I have an
opinion. I have suspicions. But beyond that, that's all I can say about
In Anderson's counterclaim filing, he claimed that Armstrong's landscaper
Derek Russey and John "College" Korioth, a good friend of Armstrong's
saw and may have aided Armstrong allegedly avoid a drug test in the summer
of 2004, when US and World Anti-Doping Agencies officials went to Armstrong's
ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas. However, Armstrong was not home at the
time. In Armstrong's Plaintiff's Motions, both Korioth and Russey denied
any knowledge of Anderson's allegations and both said that neither Anderson
nor his attorneys contacted them to verify the information before their
See the Plaintiffs
Motion for Sanctions-4-1-05.pdf
Ballan following in Bartoli's footsteps?
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Before last week's Three Days of De Panne, Alessandro Ballan wasn't on
anyone's radar. But the lanky 25 year-old from Castelfranco, Italy was
the surprise winner of stage one of the Belgian semi-classic stage race
and made a superb solo attack in Sunday's Tour of Flanders with 50 km
to, eventually drawing out the race favourites, who caught the Italian
37 km before the finish in Meerbeke. Ballan stayed in the break and ended
up sixth in Flanders, one of the monuments of cycling.
Ballan is a long, lean rider (1.90 m, 69 kg) who looks more like a climber
than a classics man, showing flashes of the combative style of now retired
Italian classics star Michele Bartoli. After a decent career as an amateur,
Ballan wasn't much sought after by pro teams at the end of 2003, even
though he had four wins, but he had some help from his friends. Andrea
Gastaldello of Lampre team bike sponsor Wilier Triestina, knew Ballan
well and sent his rider resume to Lampre team manager Beppe Saronni. Ballan
ended up with a pro contract for 2004 at Lampre, spending much of his
time working for Vainsteins and Bortolami, although he did have several
top 20 finishes last year in Belgian semi-classics.
Nicknamed "Bontempino" (little Bontempi, because of his resemblance
to team diesse Guido Bontempi), the talented young Italian is positive
about the rest of his Northern classics campaign. "I'm feeling good and
I think I've showed that I have good form in the last few races," he said.
"My main objective now is to finish the week well, even if Paris-Roubaix
isn't really my kind of race. Above all, I'm still a team rider and I
have a chance to show what I can do in these (Northern) races, but for
the rest of the season I'll go back to being a team rider."
Davitamon-Lotto for Paris-Roubaix
The Davitamon-Lotto team, which tasted its first ProTour race win today
in Gent-Wevelgem, has announced its line up for this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
The team will be led by 2003 winner Peter Van Petegem, with support from
the G-W winner Nico Mattan, and on paper looks to be very strong.
On Friday, April 8, the team will recon part of the Paris-Roubaix course,
before holding a press conference later that day.
The full team: Wim De Vocht, Nico Mattan, Bert Roesems, Tom Steels,
Leon Van Bon, Peter Van Petegem, Aart Vierhouten, Henk Vogels.
No Paris-Roubaix for Boucher.
Young French talent David Boucher (MrBookmaker.com) will miss Paris-Roubaix
this weekend after getting the 'flu. He was expected to start in Gent-Wevelgem
but a sudden attack of fever forced him to stay in bed.
Sean Kelly Cycling Academy launched in Belgium
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Irish cycling took a big step forward on Tuesday with the launch of
the Sean Kelly Academy in Belgium. The project is a significant expansion
of the current Cycling Ireland set-up in Merchtem, with the federation
effectively moving their high performance element overseas.
Belgium will function as the new base for almost all international competition,
with physiological testing, coaching and race support all part of the
setup. The location near Brussels offers a large choice of events to riders
of all levels, from youth competitors right up to seasoned internationals.
The initiative, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Irish
sport, is one which Cycling Ireland hope will lead to greater success
and more professional contracts in the future. Participation in the Academy
is subsidised via Irish Sports Council grants given to CI, with riders
paying a small amount each week for food, accommodation, transport and
support at races by a soigneur and mechanic.
First impressions were certainly good. Olympic Council of Ireland president
Pat Hickey was very positive about what he saw at the launch. "I am absolutely
thrilled with the project," he said. "I think it is extremely professional
and it is showing the lead to a lot of sports in Ireland as to what should
be done. For example, I believe my own sport of judo should be doing something
this in Paris, as France is the strongest country in Europe in that sport.
They should be looking at something similar.
"I think this is going to be great for the athletes. They seem extremely
happy, and from what I understand the location means they have a choice
of up to six races in a day. So it couldn't be better for them."
Sean Kelly, who spent much of his career in the area and has lent his
name to the Academy, is confident that it will boost the prospects of
Irish cyclists competing at a high level in the future. "It is a great
opportunity for riders, people of all categories can come here and race
as part of an Irish community abroad. There is a big choice of competitions
and a good support structure," he said.
"I think we will get a crop of young riders coming through over the
next few seasons because of the Academy. We had a few lean years, but
we are definitely on the right track now. I think this will help the Irish
scene go from strength to strength."
(A full feature on the Sean Kelly Academy coming soon)
Nicole Reinhart Junior Classic
The 6th annual Nicole Reinhart Junior Cycling Classic will be held at
Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) Alkek Velodrome in Cullen
Park, 19008 Saums Road, on April 8-9, 2005. Young men and women will compete
in the track race's two age categories, 10-14 and 15-18. Teams from Canada,
Mexico and around the United States are expected to compete.
Nicole Reinhart Junior Cycling Classic is named in honour of Nicole
Reinhart, a U.S. National Champion who died from injuries sustained during
a cycling competition. The Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund has made a contribution
to HPARD, which will provide event support and cash prizes to the winners
of the Nicole Reinhart Junior Cycling Classic. The competition is one
of the few track cycling events in the world held just for junior athletes.
For additional information about the Nicole Reinhart Cycling Classic,
please visit the Alkek Velodrome's Web site at http://www.houstonalkekvelodrome.org
To learn more about the Nicole Fund, please visit http://www.nicolefund.org
BMW - Bianchi Women's Cycling Team
BMW has joined with Bianchi USA and the Capital Cycling Club of North
Carolina to form the BMW-Bianchi Women's Cycling Team. Composed of talented
riders from the Southeastern US, the team has exciting plans to leave
its mark the Eastern Seaboard's race scene.
"With the generous support of BMW and Bianchi, our team will be able
to build on our fantastic 2004 season. Patty Shoaf, Mandy Lozano, Cara
McCauley, and myself are back for the elite team, and we added a valuable
criterium racer and sprinter in Master's National Pursuit Champion and
dual Elite Track Nationals medalist, Nancy Lux", said team manager Laura
Weislo. "Our elite team will take on the best of the regional races and
an aggressive schedule of east coast NRC criteriums and our favourite
PCT races, the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia and the New York City Criterium.
Click here for
the full roster
Bell sponsors Tour of Beauce
The Tour de Beauce's organization has announced that Bell Canada will
be the event's major sponsor for its 20th edition held in the Beauce region
of Eastern Canada. Accordingly, the name of the race changes to Tour de
Beauce Bell for the 2005 edition of the stage race. The organizing committee
will present the race course and teams soon.
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