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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 31, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cross World's day 2: Belgians turn it around

Sven Nys (Belgium)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

There were no real surprises on the second day of the Cyclo-cross World Championships in snowy St. Wendel, Germany, as both the women's and men's races were taken out by the favourites. In the elite women's event, Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel won her third World Championship, beating compatriot Sabine Spitz and fast-finishing Dutchwoman Mirjam Melchers in an impressive display of solo power.

In the men's race, Belgian Sven Nys finally crowned his cyclo-cross career with a strong win over Erwin Vervecken, who pushed him all the way to the finish. Nys' Rabobank trade teammate Sven Vanthourenhout was third, meaning that Belgium took out all three medals in the elite men's race and finished in equal first place on the medals table with Germany.

Sven Nys was delighted with his victory, saying that he would come back to Germany for the rest of his life as he has always had good luck there. Vervecken was the only one who could really stay with Nys and somewhat disappointed that he couldn't repeat his victory of 2001, while Vanthourenhout was very happy with Nys' win, as he had worked hard to ensure it.

Although Nys said that "none of the riders begrudged me this title", defending champion Bart Wellens was annoyed with the way Vanthourenhout rode. Wellens finished back in 21st place, over two minutes down on the winner. "One man messed up my race and that is Sven Vanthourenhout," said Wellens to VRT. "On the third lap I was following behind Nys, until Vanthourenhout knocked me off his wheel. I broke my chain because of that and lost 30 to 40 seconds...But I'm certainly not disappointed. I fought until two laps to go. But then I gave up the ghost. I gave everything. Only the manner of which..."

Vanthourenhout countered Wellens' accusations. "Bart wanted to knock me off the course, not the other way round," said Vanthourenhout. "I never touched him. Trust me, I saw nothing. Ach, Bart just realised that he has really lost his world title."

Overall, it was a solid performance from the Belgians who had missed out in all the other races. National coach Rudy De Bie was proud, saying that he didn't really care which of his riders won. "It's logical that Nys was rewarded for his beautiful season. But the finish was really a thriller."

Regarding the Wellens incident, De Bie commented. "Well, Bart could definitely have ridden at the front. But whether he could have fought for the title, that I don't know."

Cyclo-cross World's coverage

Women: Full results, report & photos
Men: Full results, report & photos,
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An interview with Mario Cipollini

Looking for number 188

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Milano

Super Mario
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Call him what you will: Re Leone, Cipolla, Super Mario, jet-set cycling superstar, the Lion King, Cipo, Mega-Mario...no matter what you call him, at 37 years old and counting, Mario Cipollini is by far the winningest active rider in professional cycling. With 187 career wins, they take up so much space (an entire page) in his new Liquigas-Bianchi's team guide, there's practically no space left for an autograph.

Cipollini began his seventeenth season as a professional bicycle racer at the Doha International Grand Prix this Saturday in the Gulf State and if looks are any judge, Tuscan speed merchant looks lean, cut and ready to rock. But even Cipo admitted at the Liquigas-Bianchi presentation last Tuesday that although his leadout train might seem solid, it was he himself who is the real question mark. As Linda Perry and the other Non-Blondes wailed away in the background, Cyclingnews had a rare chance to ask the always articulate and outspoken Mario Cipollini at the Liquigas-Bianchi presentation earlier this week.

Cyclingnews: Mario, what do expect to bring to your new team in 2005.

Mario Cipollini: I think it will be constructive, because I'll bring a lot of experience; and I'm sure that it will be positive.

CN: We've heard that in the last few seasons, you might have overcompensated by overtraining; doing too much work.

MC: Perhaps that's right...in any case, in the basic work you do, it might be better to actually do less work than too much. When you make that kind of a mistake, back to back (when you've do too much), it's not easy. On the other hand, if you don't do enough, you're always trying to make up for lost time. For my part, this year I'm convinced that I've worked in a more balanced way through the winter and I'm ready to confront the first races of the season. Then I hope to continue to improve my form and be ready for an appointment that is one of the key races of the season for me. My key races this season with Liquigas-Bianchi will be Milano-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and then the Giro d'Italia.

CN: And if things don't go exactly as you want this season?

MC: That's just something that can happen; it's part of the fear that every man has. I think that any of us [professional cyclists] has some fear inside. That's part of the dark side of one's personality...but as far as I'm concerned, I'm very relaxed right now. Because if I look back, I've gotten what I wanted to get from my talent, my world (of professional cycling). I'm a happy, relaxed guy right now; I have a beautiful family and a great life that's waiting for me at home. So once my career is over, I'll have a life that's a great ahead of me. For sure, because I know that in a short time my career will be over and has given me a special knowledge.

Click here for the full interview

Ceramica Flaminia presented

Italian Continental team Ceramica Flaminia was presented to sponsors and the media at the Aldero Hotel in Civita Castellana, Italy on January 30, 2005. The team is managed by Roberto Marrone and Maurizio Bruni and has 14 riders on its roster. "After an initial experiment in 2004, this year we have decided to enter the fray with a greater exposure, and a team that belongs to us which is already providing us with a good deal of satisfaction," said dott. Augusto Ciarrocchi, the president of Ceramica Flaminia.

"Cycling has shown itself to be an excellent vehicle of communication in which companies believe in if persuaded with the right arguments," said team manager Roberto Marrone. "The popularity of cycling is always strong."

The team will aim to race in all of the races on the Italian calendar and many European ones, opening with the GP Costa Etruschi on February 6. It will be directed by Simone Borgheresi and Massimo Podenzana, who has already had experience in Mercatone Uno. "We are counting on a very compatible team with various individuals who are very strong," said Podenzana.

Click here for the full team roster

Comunidad Valenciana doubtful for Tour

Although it has received its Professional Continental licence from the UCI, Spanish team Comunidad Valenciana, which has grown out of the Kelme team, is very doubtful of taking part in the next Tour de France. With only two of the 21 Tour slots still open, and Ag2r and Phonak tipped to take them when they are announced in a month's time, Comunidad Valenciana's team manager José Luis Aznar is not particularly confident of selection. He does, however, believe that the team will take part in the Vuelta.

"The participation in the Vuelta is almost assured," he told AS. "We have also asked to do the Tour, but I think it will be difficult to invite us." Aznar also added that there was "a remote possibility" that Kelme would be on the team uniform this year.

Cameron Evans injured

After arriving in the Sydney suburb of Avalon Beach for 6-8 weeks of warm weather preparatory training, Canadian Cameron Evans (Symmetrics) crashed while avoiding a car at an intersection. Evans, who came to Australia on January 16, was staying with relatives in a Sydney suburb and was returning home from training on January 24 when a car turned left in front of him as he was going downhill. Cameron swerved to avoid the car and crashed hitting the curb with his knee at high speed.

Evans' injuries consist of a fractured patella in two places - a split in the middle and a small fracture on the side. Cameron had surgery immediately following the accident and the patella was wired together and the tendons were reattached. Dr. John Dickison, regarded as one of the top orthopods in Australia, was very happy with the surgery and felt Cameron would be back racing in close to top form in 4-6 months.

Currently, Evans is in two half-casts to keep his leg immobilized but allow for swelling. Upon his return to Canada he will be in a full cast for another 4-5 weeks before some of the wires are taken out and rehab will begin. Cameron will remain at his relatives house in Avalon Beach for another week and will then fly home with his father on or around February 6.

Anyone wishing to send a message to Cam, can do so at: cam.evans@symmetricscycling.com

Charity Cycle (Mayo Cyclists for Asian Appeal Fund)

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

A charity cycle, organised by Brian O'Loughlin and Mayo Wheelers in aid of the Asian Appeal Fund will take place on Sunday, February 5. The sign on will take place from 10:30 at Harringtons in Partry (Ireland), with the event starting at 11:00. The entry fees are paid on the day and are €15, which will include soup and sandwiches afterwards, or €10 without soup and sandwiches.

Two cycles will take place on the day:

Spin 1: Partry - Westport - Newport - Castlebar - Partry (45 miles)
Spin 2: (Open to everyone): 10 miles leisure.

The idea is to turn up on the day and have some fun. All proceeds go towards the fund.

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