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Edited by Jeff Jones
Luke Harrop, the triathlete injured in a hit-and run incident on the Gold Coast on Saturday, died yesterday of his injuries.
Harrop's family turned off his life-support equipment around noon yesterday and in a statement issued last night said, "Luke's injuries were unfortunately so severe that not even his determination and strength could overcome them."
Police have been in contact by mobile phone with the driver of the stolen car that hit Harrop and fellow triathlete Craig O'Donnell, but she yesterday failed to attend an agreed meeting.
"The driver has been identified but is not in custody," said a Broadbeach Police spokesman. Police have issued a deadline of today for the driver to come forward or they will release her name and photograph..
Harrop and O'Connell - who sustained two broken vertebrae -- were training for yesterday's round of the Accenture triathlon series. When told of his death, Harrop's fellow trathletes held a lap of honour in his memory. His sister Loretta, girlfriend, Emma Snowsill and flatmate, world champion Chris Hill, withdrew from the race.
Everyone at Cyclingnews would like to offer our deepest sympathy to Luke Harrop's family and friends at this difficult time.
Robert Tighello (27) the bronze medallist in yesterday's Australian Open Road Championship has been named by Australian selectors to take the place of David McKenzie in the Australian Institute of Sport team in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, which starts tomorrow.
McKenzie was forced to withdraw from the event after crashing during training on Friday in Melbourne. He has since undergone successful surgery and is expected to be released from hospital tomorrow. Tighello won the Laubman & Pank King of the Mountains title in the 2001 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under and was delighted when told his performance in today's championship race had secured a place in this year's race.
"I knew I had to ride well today to be selected because I was bitterly disappointed when selectors left me out of the original starting list," said Tighello. "But it's unfortunate that Macca (McKenzie) had to have a crash for me to be selected because I wouldn't have wished that on anyone."
This afternoon and early this evening will see the first events take place as part of the Jacob's Creek Town Down Under. A press conference will be held featuring defending champion Stuart O'Grady, 2001 US Pro Champion Fred Rodriguez, Estonian sprinting star Jaan Kirsipuu and 1999 Paris-Roubaix winner Andrea Tafi.
Following this will be the official team presentation of the 96 riders competing. The presentation will take place at 4.00pm in the Ballroom of the Adelaide Hilton. Full reports of the conference and presentation will be posted on Cyclingnews.
For more information, please visit the official race website, www.tourdownunder.com.au.
Robbie McEwen claimed his second national championship in under two weeks at the Australian Open Road Championship in Ballarat, Victoria yesterday. McEwen outsprinted Queensland teammate Nathan O'Neill, as the two took a minute and a half out of the nearest chasers. The win signals McEwen's intention to do well this year, and he is likely to stand on top of the podium during this week's Tour Down Under.
After missing the Bay Series, Cyclingnews diarist Scott Sunderland had his first real race of the year in Ballarat yesterday. He finished 15th, a disappointment for him. His reaction was fairly frank:
"Maybe it was because it was my first race for the year; or maybe the new bike I've only ridden for two days now has got something to do with it, maybe I should have flown down here before yesterday...I dunno; but the legs felt like absolute crap; I just wasn't feeling right all day. I started off with wooden legs and it never got better."
"I'm disappointed because I was feeling really good in the beginning of this week; the form to do well here on this course was there on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...but totally gone today. I'm not making excuses, I just had a really bad day. I'm going to go and have a shower, go out with a couple of mates, get a good steak to eat somewhere and drink a couple of stubbies to get over this one!"
Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank), Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank), Wim de Vos (SpaarSelect), Maarten Nijland and Camiel van den Bergh (Bert Story Piels)
Daphny van den Brand (Ton v.Bemmelen Sports Novilon), Corine Dorland (Be One), Debby Mansveld (Vlaanderen), Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn and Nicole Leijten
Kenny van Hummel, Freek de Jong, Koen de Kort, Guido Mutsaars and Thijs Verhagen
Lars Boom, Frank van Grootel, Eddy van IJzendoorn, Sebastiaan Langeveld and Guus Magielse
Dominique Arnould (Lorraine), David Derepas (Phonak), John Gadret (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), Arnaud Labbe (Poitou-Charentes), Guillaume Benoist (Bretagne). Reserve: David Pagnier (Dauphiné-Savoie)
Francis Mourey (Alsace), Steve Chainel (Lorraine), David Boucher (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), Pierre-Bernard Vaillant (Bretagne), Jean-Baptiste Béraud (Ile-de-France). Reserve: Sébastien Minard (Picardie)
Maryline Salvetat (Midi-Pyrénées), Laurence Leboucher (Pays-de-Loire), Corinne Sempé (Aquitaine)
Romain Villa (Champagne-Ardennes), Adrien Delautre (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), Nicolas Belot (Bourgogne), Fabien Pedemanaud (Midi-Pyrénées), Romain Fondard (Auvergne)
Marco Pantani celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday in Malaga, Spain. The Pirate was there training with three of his Mercatone Uno teammates (Marco Della Vedova, Valentino Fois and Gian Mario Ortenzi) and team manager Riccardo Magrini.
Pantani's 32nd year was not a memorable one in terms of cycling success. Ranked 1592nd on the UCI scale with just 7 points at the end of 2001, and the subject of various doping investigations in Italy, he is hoping that the only way is up from now on. It's doubtful that he will again scale the heights that led him to a Tour de France victory in 1998, but he is aiming to reach at least a respectable level again in his final years as a professional.
The Italian division I Alexia Alluminio team has undergone a slight name change this year, and will be known as Index-Alexia. The team's 25 riders will meet today (Monday) for their first get together of the year in Salo, on Lake Garda. For the next four days, riders will determine their racing calendars for the season and begin their preparation for the first races. The team will debut in next week's Tour of Qatar (January 21-25)
The team's new additions include five neo-professionals as well as Giuseppe Di Grande (Tacconi Sport), Alberto Elli (Telekom), Bo Hamburger (CSC), Paolo Lanfranchi (Mapei), Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco) and Paolo Valoti (Alessio).
Full team roster and sponsors
Top Spanish cyclist Joane Somarriba will ride professionally next year, although not with a completely Spanish team as she would have liked. The Spanish press reports that Somarriba signed for a new Italian squad, Pragma-Deia, and will therefore be able to defend her wins in the last two editions of the women's Tour de France.
The main sponsor Pragma will contribute 390,000 euros, while co-sponsor Deia (a Basque newspaper) will put in approximately 180,000 euros. The Italians will provide the team infrastructure in addition.
Somarriba, multiple winner of the Tour and the Giro d'Itala, was forced to look for another team after Alfa Lum folded. She desired to create a Basque team, but there was not enough support in her native locale to get the project off the ground, although at least the Basques have the role as co-sponsor.
Somarriba will captain the team, which will include Aranzazu Azpiroz, Dori Ruano and Eneritz Ituarriaga.
52 year old Al Stern is considered "a fixture on Chicago roads - the guy who rides everywhere all the time and just lives for the bicycle." The weather conditions do not seem to bother him, as he was out riding on January 3. Unfortunately on this day he was hit by a car which is described as a dark coloured, late 1980's model Buick, and is now recovering from a broken collarbone, leg, smashed ankle and splintered wrists.
Stern should probably recover enough to ride again, however his biggest problem is going to be his medical bill, which friends say could run to $200,000. Unfortunately, he is not insured and the Chicago cycling community are appealing to locals to help find the driver who knocked Stern down, near West Devon and North California Avenues. The accident happened about 9:30pm on January 3, as Stern was on the way home from swimming laps in the Mather Park indoor pool, near his home.
Approximately a quarter of all cycling/car related accidents in Chicago are hit-and-run.