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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 20, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Dutch mine more gold in Sydney

The 3km Individual Pursuit podium
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image
The 500m Time Trial podium
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image
The sprint podium
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
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The Dutch continued their gold medal form on day two of the Sydney World Cup at the Dunc Gray Velodrome claiming three gold from the five events contested. Reigning World Sprint Champion Theo Bos smashed the Australian record for the flying 200m in qualifying for the men's sprint with a blistering 10.068 seconds to knock a tenth of a second of the time of American Marty Nothstein, who posted 10.166 in Sydney 2000. Bos then cruised through to the final against Australian Jobie Dajka, the World Championship silver medallist in both 2002 and 2003.

In the final, Bos made short work of Dajka, defeating him in two straight heats to take his second gold medal of the meet. "I planned to be good here this one month before the worlds and it seems that has worked but I think there is room for a little more improvement," said Bos who sees Dajka as a major threat to his goal of back to back world sprint crowns. "I saw Jobie coming back (into form) at the last world cup in Manchester and he was really good last week at the Australian championships, so he's a serious rider to keep an eye on."

Dajka admitted, "He's the world champion and he showed that tonight but I proved I'm in the ball park again and I know what I need to work on before the World Championships (Los Angeles March 22nd). Now it's nose to the grindstone for the next few weeks to fine tune my preparation."

The men's 4km team pursuit saw New Zealand (Jason Allen, Hayden Godfrey, Greg Henderson and Marc Ryan) qualify fastest and go onto meet Great Britain (Matthew Brammeier, Mark Cavendish, Edward Clancy and Thomas White) in the final, defeating them by nearly two seconds, finishing in 4:09.049 to take the gold medal and the overall World Cup classification in the team pursuit.

"We were a but off the pace this morning so used a different game plan for the final and as a result it was a lot smoother," said Henderson. "We kept the pace high and almost caught them."

The Australian team of Richard England, Sean Finning, Matthew Goss, and Miles Olman finished third after overtaking Russia in their final in a time of 4:09.453. "We all wanted to go a bit quicker this morning and were disappointed we didn't get in the top two but it's good to get bronze and it's given us confidence for the next time," said Richard England. "There is a multitude of people vying for a team pursuit place in Los Angeles and only three definites at the moment (2004 World Champions Ashley Hutchinson and Stephen Wooldridge and Junior World Champion and 2005 Australian champion Mark Jamieson.)

"They (the Athens gold medal team) are off doing their road thing and not coming back to track so it's a great opportunity for a few young guys to jump in and see how we go," he said. "But seven guys are fighting for three spots so it's a tough call on who's going to go."

Sean Finning was on fire in the men's 30 km points race that followed, winning five of the 12 sprints to amass 49 points. But an early attack by two riders, Volodymyr Rybin (Ukr) and Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre), saw them gain a lap which earned them an instant 20 points. Finning fought back to gain a lap of his own but his two rivals went with him, with the end result that Rybin took the gold with 62 points, Tamouridis the silver with 55 points, and Finning the bronze.

"'Damn I missed it' was my reaction when they took the first lap without me," said a philosophical Finning. "Last week was my first senior points race and this is my first one at this level so while it's a pity I missed the first lap - you get that."

In the women's 500 metre time trial, the reigning Olympic and World Champion and world record holder Anna Meares didn't line up for Australia: instead it was her sister Kerrie who was in the gate continuing her comeback from a back injury which ended her Athens aspirations in 2004. Kerrie posted a time of 35.943 seconds, but it wasn't good enough for a medal as the Dutch struck again with Yvonne Hijgenaar posting 35.024 for gold ahead of Italian Elisa Frisoni (35.204) and Lori-Ann Muenzer (35.608).

The other final of the night saw another Dutch rider on the top of the podium with Marlijn Binnendijk taking out the women's 3km individual pursuit in a time of 3:48.742, almost three seconds faster than the silver medal ride of New Zealand's Dale Tye who crossed in 3:51.518. The bronze medal went to Tatsiana Sharakova in 3:52.661.

"That is my best time by two tenths of a second," said the former speed skater who is racing her first year in the senior ranks. "I'm very happy to have my first major senior win and I hope to go even faster in Los Angeles but my goal is the Beijing Olympics."

Sydney Track World Cup coverage

Day 3 wrap & pics, Women scratch, Men Madison, Women Keirin, Men Team Sprint

No Pozzato in Haribo

Filippo Pozzato (Quick.Step) will not participate in tomorrow's Classic Haribo, as he is still recovering from the 'flu. "In agreement with the medical staff, we decided not to accelerate my return to competition in order to prevent a possible relapse," said Pozzato. "Compared to the start of the week, I feel a lot better, but I have an annoying cough when I force the pace, and I prefer to get over it completely before resuming racing."

Marc Lotz will replace Pozzato in Quick.Step's line up in Haribo. Pozzato himself expects to be back racing in the GP Chiasso in Switzerland next weekend.

Mengin crashes

Frenchman Christophe Mengin (Francaise des Jeux) crashed out of the Volta ao Algarve at the end of stage 3 after he was hit by another rider in the sprint. Mengin had just finished his leadout work for Bernhard Eisel when the collision occurred. He has a large bruise on his knee and various abrasions, and did not take the start of stage 4, which was won by Eisel.


Thomas loses spleen

Welsh rider Geraint Thomas has had to have his spleen removed following a training accident on Thursday in Sydney. Thomas, a Junior World Champion in 2004, was riding with his British teammates when he hit some debris that fell out of a passing vehicle. "It chopped his forks completely off and the top of the handlebar backed him right in the chest and ruptured him internally, ruptured his spleen," said British U23 coach Rod Ellingworth to AP. "He had the operation early this morning [Saturday]. A few things happened within an hour late last night so they thought they had to get it out."

Thomas is expected to spend the next two weeks in hospital, but will make a full recovery. The 18 year-old will be visited by family members, who will fly in from Wales on Sunday.

Elsbeth Vink out with Epstein Barr virus

Dutch Mountain biker Elsbeth Vink (Heijdens-Ten Tusscher) will be out of competition for at least five months. The number five in the Olympic Women's Cross Country in Athens has the Epstein Barr virus. Vink has had physical problems since the end of December, and yesterday went in for a medical checkup in the Sports Medical Centre Papendal (Arnhem). Doctor Tjeerd de Vries found that she had the Epstein Barr virus. She now has to rest and, in the best possible situation, can race again at the end of July.

"This is a big disappointment for me," said Vink, who wanted to score podium places in the MTB World Cup. Now she hopes to make a comeback in August.

Cunego in Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali

2004 Giro d'Italia champion Damiano Cunego will be one of the top riders at this year's Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali, which will take place between March 22-26, three days after Milano-San Remo. The race will be officially presented on March 7 at 10:30 at the Hotel Le Meridien in Rimini.

Six ProTour teams - Liquigas-Bianchi, Lampre-Caffita, Fassa Bortolo, Domina Vacanze, Quick Step and Gerolsteiner - have confirmed their presence in the race, with Cunego, Stefano Garzelli and Francesco Casagrande all set to start. The remaining squads are Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, Team LPR, Team Barloworld-Valsir, Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil, Ed’System-Zvvz, Miche, Colombia-Selle Italia, Tenax, Navigators Insurance, Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Amore & Vita-Beretta, Team Ceramica Flaminia and Team Androni Giocattoli.

The Settimana Internazionale will be broadcast on RAI Sport with a 30 minute summary each day, as well as highlights on RAI Tre at 20:00.

Dierckxsens to hang it up in July

Ludo Dierckxsens will call it quits as a professional cyclist at a retirement party in Tessenderlo's Grote Markt on July 3. A two man time trial and criterium will be the highlights of the day, which will farewell one of Belgium's more colourful cyclists. A late starter as a pro, Dierckxsens won Pais-Bourges and the Belgian road championships in 1998, a stage in the Tour de France in 1999 and the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise in 2003. He will continue to race for Landbouwkrediet-Colnago until the end of his career.

Suzanne van Veen to Buitenpoort-Flexpoint

Dutch junior Suzanne van Veen will ride next season as an elite for the next Buitenpoort - Flexpoint team, although she will be able to use the team's facilities this year. Van Veen represented The Netherlands in the World Championships for juniors last year, and won the white jersey in a German stage race.

Scharping new German Federation President

57 year-old former Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping will become the new president of the German Cycling Federation (BDR), succeeding Sylvia Schenk who stepped down last year. Scharping will stand unopposed at the March 19 election in Saarbrücken after the other candidate, Max Benz, stood down.

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