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Edited by Jeff Jones
Lampre-Daikin's Ludo Dierckxsens will open his season in Portugal in the Volta ao Algarve (February 9-13). The 37 year old Belgian rider will be accompanied by his compatriot Johan Verstrepen in the team comprised of Pavel Tonkov, Maximilian Sciandri, Alberto Loddo, Luciano Pagliarini, Rubens Bertogliati and Simone Bertoletti.
"I'm very satisfied with the training I did in the recent weeks," said Dierckxsens "I'm already on form, maybe more than the last years in the same period. The Volta ao Algarve and the Ruta del Sol will be two important stages on my way towards the Classics. I'd like to do well even in Het Volk and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, but now I'm concentrating on the April Classics."
Lampre's directeur sportif Maurizio Piovani commented that "Even if both Dierckxsens and Sciandri are especially thinking about the northern campaign, they have already been in a position to guarantee good results. In Portugal I also expect a good result from the neo-pro Alberto Loddo (the winner of one of the Tour du Qatar's stages) and from the Brazilian Luciano Pagliarini."
"The Volta ao Algarve will also represent the season start of Pavel Tonkov, who is already on a very good form and on Saturday will celebrate two recurrences: his return to our "family", that accompanied him in his triumphant ride in the 1996 Giro d'Italia, and his 33rd birthday. His training is aimed at the Giro d'Italia and the fact that Tonkov will take part in the early season races is due to the months of no activity, because of his company's well-known vicissitudes during last year".
This year, the third weekend of March (15-17) will see the start of a new international cycle race in the Netherlands: the Grote Prijs Erik Breukink. Many international teams have already applied for this three day event that will be held on Dutch and Belgian soil. The GP Erik Breukink, which will start with a ranking of 2.3 on the UCI list, has a unique sponsorship plan that ensures its financial basis for the next five years. So the next edition in March 2003 is already assured.
The race consists of four stages: on March 15 the stage Bladel (Ned) - Riemst (Bel); on March 16 Riemst - Riemst, with various climbs, including several times up the legendary Halembay; in the morning of March 17 Riemst - Bladel and in the afternoon the individual time trial Bladel - Bladel.
The race will give professional teams another option to prepare for Milan-San Remo, in addition to Paris-Nice and Tirreno Adriatico, and the field will be limited to 15 teams. Among them are Domo, Cofidis, Lampre and Rabobank.
Lotto's Hans De Clercq will be unable to rejoin the peloton until the end of April, after doctors assessed the damage to his broken hand. The accident occurred in the Grand Prix d'ouverture La Marseillaise, in which Christophe Moreau also broke his collarbone. De Clercq's injury is worse, as he has broken his right hand in three places. He will undergo an operation next week in Belgium, and his re-entry to the peloton is expected as late as April 24 in the Grote Scheldeprijs in Antwerp.
The Belgian cycling federation (KBWB) has declared that the 2004 Belgian cyclo-cross championships will be held in Lille. At the same time, the decision was made to host the 2004 women's and beginner's championships in Arendonk.
World Cup cyclo-cross champion Sven Nijs will participate in a training camp for mountain bikers in Albufiera, Portugal. The camp will take place between February 9-25, and Nijs will join it on February 11. It is being organised by the Belgian cycling federation, and includes the likes of elite riders Filip Meirhaeghe and Roel Paulissen as well as junior riders. Nijs says that he is using it to prepare for the road season (look out for him in Paris-Roubaix!), but has no ambitions about being a mountain bike racer.
A new section of Cyclingnews technical features has been launched. Throughout February and March, the 2002 Pro Team Bike Review will examine the various machines used by a number of trade teams this year. The section kicks off with a review of Team Telekom's Pinarello Prince SL, a brand new model of which will be handed to Erik Zabel immediately before Milan-San Remo, which he hopes to win for a fifth time.
Click here for the full report
By Steve Thomas in Port Dickson
Italian fast man Moreno Di Biase of the Mobilvetta team has once again triumphed in a mass sprint finish at this year's Tour de Langkawi. It came in the 196.7 kilometre stage 7, the longest of the tour. In a very close finish he pipped Daniele Galli (Index-Alexia) and race Robert Hunter (Mapei), who has not finished lower than fourth in any stage.
Click here for the full report
By Tommy Campbell in Johor Bahru
The latest edition of Tour de Langkawi news includes items on Telekom Malaysia's team manager, Jerard Stock, Robert Hunter's secret cricketing ambition, and Shinichi Fukushima's skill with the harmonica.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong star Kam Po Wong (Telekom Malaysia) is being approached by two Italian teams taking part in the Tour de Langkawi. Both Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini and Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo have shown interest in him, but he has yet to decide on a pro contract.
Another Asian rider who is setting things alight in Langkawi is Tonton Susanto, who is also riding in the Telekom Malaysia team, and is a member of the Marco Polo cycling team. The Indonesian is currently in 5th place overall, and is the best Asian rider in the race. He is a time trial and climbing specialist, and hopes to hold on to his position during stage 9 to Genting highlands.
Click here for the full story
By Julie Walsh in Palmanova
Team Kelme-Costa Blanca's ten young riders worked the peloton over today to ensure the overall GC win for their 32 year old captain, Francisco (Paco) Cabello. Rabobank's Erik Dekker, led out by teammate Matthé Pronk won the sprint finish in downtown Palma Nova. Pronk finished seconds with David Muñoz (Kelme) rounding out the top three finishers in today's stage.
Click here for the full results and report.
Italian Andrea Ferrigato (Alessio) has taken the lead in the Etoile de Bessèges after he and Lorenzo Bernucci (Colnago-Landbouwkrediet) finished marginally ahead of the peloton on the second stage. Yesterday's winner Robbie McEwen (Lotto) had to be content with third place today as the two Italians stole a 15 second lead.
Click here for the results and report.
The Atlanta Velo Cycling Team (www.atlantavelo.com) has announced its team for 2002 with a roster targeting Southeastern Regional and National Racing Calendar (NRC) road events as well as the U.S. national track racing series - the ATRA Cup/American Velodrome Challenge (AVC).
Last season, the "skeleton" Litespeed/Atlanta Velo women's roster of two racers placed 22nd of 103 teams on the NRC Team Standings with Shannon Hutchison 3rd in the USPRO National Criterium Championships and 4th Overall at the Wendy's International Cycling Classic among other credible results. The team earned 10 wins, 27 podium appearances and 42 top 10 places in various events last season.
Hutchison returns with her 2001 teammate Tracy Sproule and they will be joined by Andrea Ratkovic and Canadians, Mandy Poitras and Gina Grain. Grain will be based in Atlanta for a part of the racing season. Poitras is a Canadian National Champion, who was 8th in the 2001 World Championships Points Race is ranked 4th overall in the UCI Track World Cup Rankings for the Points Race and has consistent results in NRC racing. She won endurance events at the 2001 AVC track events and is expected to represent Canada at the World Championships in Denmark and the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England later this year.
Grain is an accomplished road sprinter and mountain biker who was 11th at last year's First Union Liberty Classic in Philadelphia. She is a consistent finisher in NRC events - Cascade Classic, Tour De Toona, McLane Pacific and Sea Otter, with good results at the Gran Prix Feminin in Quebec, Canada. She is also hoping to represent her country at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Also competing for Atlanta Velo in selected cycling events is the personable neo-pro triathlete and 2001 U.S. Elite Duathlete of the Year, Andrea Ratkovic who will focus her season on multi-sport events in her quest to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games triathlon in Athens. Ratkovic and Hutchison are (year 2000) members of the former AutoTrader.com Professional Women's Cycling Team.
Poitras, Hutchison and Sproule will race in the 2002 AVC/ATRA Track Cup Series being staged at velodromes around the United States with a view to competing at UCI Track World Cup competitions in addition to their NRC racing schedule.
Gina Grain (Can)
Shannon Hutchison (USA)
Mandy Poitras (Can)
Andrea Ratkovic (USA)
Tracy Sproule (USA)
Managing Director/Coach: David Weller
Atlanta Cycling Stores
Rudy Project Technically Cool Eyewear
Shimano Bicycle Components
Six Continents (Inter-Continental, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza Hotels)
Yakima Vehicle Racks
(Others to be announced)