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Edited by Jeff Jones
The Fassa Bortolo team has started its season with a victory in the first stage of the Tour Méditerranéen, a 36 kilometre team time trial from Salon-de-Provence to Berre. The Fassa team covered the distance in 38'10 - an average speed of 56.1 km/h. They pushed French favourites Credit Agricole into second place by 7 seconds, and Mapei-Quick Step into third at 10 seconds. The leader on the general classification is Michele Bartoli, who finished together with his seven teammates in the same time.
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Portuguese cyclist Candido Barbosa (LA Pecol) has won the 28th Volta ao Algarve that finished in Loule today. Barbosa held onto his 6 second lead over Alex Zülle (Team Coast), with US Postal Service's George Hincapie ending in third place after gaining 42 seconds on the final stage.
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Giuliano Figueras (Panaria) was not quite as expansive as his compatriot Fillipo Simeoni in yesterday's edition of the Ferrari trial, choosing not to answer the questions of the Italian police drugs squad (NAS) in relation to the Giro raids investigation in Florence. A total of 52 people are being questioned in this case by public prosecutor Luigi Bocciolini. All of them are under suspicion of violating the Italian anti-doping law and several have been questioned already.
However, Figueras refused to answer the questions of the NAS, who say that they found insulin in his hotel room last June. Figueras' lawyer, Federico Cecconi, said that they will answer the accusations via a written report.
In another doping case in Italy, the Colpack-Astro team has been cleared of charges that its members were in possession of illegal drugs. An appeals commission in Rome, presided over by Barbara Baratto, has dismissed the case involving riders Matteo Carrara, Norma Gimondi, Giovanni Vezzoli and Renzo Mazzoleni, team doctor Dr. Claudio Sprenger and Pierfilippo Capello.
Team manager Gianluigi Stanga commented that he was extremely satisfied with the decision. "In the first place because the Colpack-Astro team and its athletes are completely foreign to any facts connected with doping, and in the second place, because for the general interest, it serves to distinguish and clarify doping prohibited products from others whose use is restricted in sport."
Basque cyclist Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has had a setback at the start of the season, breaking a bone in his left hand after crashing during the Six Hours of Euskadi. Roberto was warming up for one of the races and fell off, not thinking much of it. However when he was checked out in the Clínica Fremap in Bilbao, they found that he had broken a bone near his thumb in his left hand.
Doctors told him to lay off the bike for four to six weeks, but Roberto says that he will try and keep training, either indoors or outside on gentle rides. He will not compete until it has healed, and that will take at least a month.
Laiseka's big goal again this year is the Tour de France, and he has enough time to regain race fitness before then.
There was some bad luck for Thorsten Wilhelms (Team Coast), who crashed out of the penultimate stage of the Volta ao Algarve and broke his shoulder blade. Wilhelms, winner of the Tour of Qatar and the first stage of the Volta, was caught when by a fall in front of him. He braked to avoid it but was hit from behind.
At first, it was though he had damaged his neck and broken his hip, however hospital examination ruled this out and he was able to return home. His broken shoulder blade will keep him off the bike for a week, but he hopes to be back racing by the beginning of March.
Romans Vainsteins (Domo-Farm Frites) will not make his debut as planned in the Ruta del Sol after he fell during training on Sunday. Vainsteins had swerved to avoid a car, but fell as a result. He pulled a muscle in his shoulder and was told to rest for 10 days. He will not be able to race in the Vuelta a Andalucia (Ruta del Sol), and will be replaced by Jurgen Van Goolen.
By Jonathan Devich
The recent two week training camp of the Rona Cycling Team showed growth over last year and laid the groundwork for the season to come. Team manager Andre' Aubut expressed his satisfaction with the new riders he has assembled.
"We have a good team chemistry this year, everyone gets along really well," he said. "We've got more depth this year - Geneviève (Jeanson) will have more support in the mountains and we have more experienced riders for the flat days and crits."
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A new women's professional cycling team has been launched in Italy - the 2K2 Cycling Team. The idea for the team has taken over a year to come to fruition, and has been masterminded by Leandro Guidi (President) and Filippo Michelotti (Manager, ex-Michela Fanini). The technical director of the team will be Gianfranco Miele, who has a lot of experience in women's cycling and has guided athletes to several World and Olympic gold medals.
The core riders of the team are Cristina Cortinovis (20), who is in her third year of elite racing; Valentina Parisi (28), a climber who has had several good placings in the Giro d'Italia; Sabrina Bonoso (25), a time trial specialist; Andrea Purner (29) the Austrian national champion and a good sprinter; and Tarja Owens (24), an Irish mountain bike specialist who finished 8th in the Sydney Olympics and was the best U23 rider. In addition, there will be two more European riders joining these for the major races of the season.
The 2K2 Cycling Team has as its big goal the women's Giro d'Italia, in addition to other top stage races. The riders are currently training at home until February 18, when they will meet for a training camp in Versilia. The official presentation will take place on February 23 at 15:00 in the Sala degli Specchi at the Comune di Lucca.
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent
The Earl of Desmond/Tralee Bicycle Club racing team was introduced to press and guests of honour at a reception in the Earl of Desmond Hotel. The team consists of five prolific senior cyclists, Sean Lacey, Thomas Hogan (U-23 Road Race Champion, 2001), Paul Griffin (Hill climb Champion, 2001), Kieran McMahon and John Dempsey, all of whom have represented Ireland in the past and are likely to do so in the future.
The launch is the culmination of the efforts of Michael Mannix and Matt Lacey of the Tralee Bicycle Club, with the support of the Earl of Desmond Hotel, Tralee and local businesses.
Paul is a well-known and prolific rider. He has represented Ireland on many occasions to great success. In 2001, for example Paul became the All-Ireland Hill-Climb champion and finished fourth in the road race. He has a stage win in Ras Connachta; 9th overall in the FBD milk Ras; Stage win and 3rd overall in the Tour of Hokkaido, Japan (Irish Team).
Thomas is Irish U-23 road-race champion, 2001. He has previously been road race champion in underage categories in '93, '94 and '95. Thomas has represented Ireland on several occasions at underage, junior and senior levels.
Sean has represented Ireland on several occasions as junior and senior. As a junior, he rode the Acht Van Bladel (Irish Team), came third in the all-Ireland junior road race and was a stage winner/yellow jersey wearer in the Ras Dhun na nGall, 2000. In 2001, he had major placings in races in France and Ireland, and rode the Tour of Ulster for the Irish team.
John is a rider active in MTB and road cycling. He placed 3rd in the 2000 MTB all-Ireland; 3rd in the U-23 all-Ireland road race championship and is currently on the Team-Ireland panel. Last year John raced in France where he placed 3rd in the Dol de Bretagne; 9th in Dinan; and 9th in Plouasne.
Kieran is another prolific rider with plenty of wins to his credit. Renowned for his sprint he has won stages from Ras Connachta (1998) to the Tour of Ulster in 2001. He finished 6th in a 2001 FBD Milk Ras stage into Castleisland. Kieran has represented Ireland on numerous occasions.
Brendan will wear the Earl of Desmond Jersey as a junior rider this year. Brendan is a great talent to watch as he has already become accustomed to cycling success. With major placings in his U-16 races, a Kerry Community Games Champion (2001) medal, 2nd in the U-16 All-Ireland road race and selection for the Munster team for the Navan Grand Prix, Brendan aims to be up there in junior races this year.
The UVM Cycling Team has announced its 2002 road team. The team consists of Cat 1/2 riders and several strong Cat. 3 racers, and is made up of all but one U23 racer. The team consists of a mix of climbers, sprinters, and power riders on both the men's and women's fronts. The women's team consists of mostly newcomers to collegiate racing but they are all accomplished USCF racers. The men's team on the other hand is a very strong cohesive unit that will be hard to separate in any race.
UVM is looking at a strong showing in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference and perhaps has its best ever chance at winning a Collegiate Road National Championship, which they will be hosting in Burlington, Vermont May 10-12.
Benjamin Peters (team leader)
Coach: Jason Baer
University of Vermont Student Government Association
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