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Edited by Jeff Jones
With 16 teams already pre-selected for this year's Tour de France, there is the possibility that another 6 (and not 5) teams will be given wild card slots, bringing the team total to 22. The international teams association has asked for the limit to be increased from 21 to 22 teams, and race director Jean-Marie Leblanc has not ruled it out.
According to Leblanc, reasons for having fewer teams include security and extra accommodation (e.g. in the mountain stages). However, Leblanc said that security has been improved in the Tour and that the accommodation problem could be overcome.
The final teams for the Tour de France will be announced at the start of May. Significantly, only one French team has been pre-selected (Cofidis). That means that French teams are likely to fill the remaining spots, as Leblanc has chosen in the past. "French cycling will be suitably represented in July," said Leblanc at the Tour launch last year, although he added that the qualification for the Tour "is not a reward - it is deserved."
On the other hand, there are foreign teams vying for selection such as Team Coast, Saeco-Longoni Sport and Mercatone Uno. Even with six more wildcards, there will still be some controversial selections.
Teams automatically selected: Fassa Bortolo, Telekom, Rabobank, Mapei-Quick Step, Lotto, iBanesto.com, Cofidis, ONCE, US Postal, Domo, Kelme, Alessio, Lampre-Daikin, Tacconi Sport, CSC-Tiscali, Euskaltel-Euskadi
Remaining French teams: Crédit Agricole, AG2R, Jean Delatour, Bonjour, Française des Jeux, BigMat
Remaining foreign teams in division I: Saeco-Longoni Sport, Team Coast, Mercatone Uno, Gerolsteiner, Phonak, Milaneza-MSS.
Legendary Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi is not being left to RIP, with a new article published in Corriere dello Sport supporting the claim that he was poisoned, and not killed by malaria in Burkina Faso in 1960. The article a testimony from a witness identified as Giovanni, who lived in Burkina Faso until 1964 when he left for Italy.
Giovanni says that another Italian, Angelo Bonazzi, told him that Coppi was poisoned by a local in revenge for the death of an Ivory Coast rider named Kanga during a race in Europe. "It is Angelo who told me that Coppi had been killed," said Giovanni to Corriere dello Sport. "I was a supporter of Coppi, and you can imagine my state when he told me that Coppi had been poisoned in Fada Gourma, at the time of a reception organized by the head of the village".
"Angelo also told me that [Raphael] Geminiani was also present...Fausto's plate fell, they replaced it, and then..."
A court in Tortona has opened an investigation into Coppi's alleged poisoning and have asked toxicologists whether it is worthwhile exhuming Fasuto's body to determine if there is any poison left in it. If not, then the three-time Giro d'Italia winner may be allowed to rest in peace at last.
By Tomas Nilsson
Michael Rogers' way of winning the Tour Down Under assisted by a bike lending spectator rings a Norwegian bell or two. In the early eighties, the Hønefoss GP was a weekend stage race which later developed into the Ringerike GP, the only Norwegian race on the international calendar. On the final stage, Glåmdal's Dag Otto Lauritzen made a solo break and had a minute and a half gap with less than two kilometres to the finish. His rear tyre punctured and team manager, the legendary Knut Knudsen, ordered a wheel change. The poor mechanic however didn't get the wheel properly in place, so when Dag Otto started the wheel came off, destroying the derailleur.
Dag Otto Lauritzen recalled the drama to Cyclingnews: "A stage victory would mean overall victory so I didn't want to give it up," he said. "There was nothing else to do but to look around for some other bike. In the ditch there was an ol' DBS sportsbike with saddle bags and all. The mechanic picked it up and off I went. The pedals didn't match, but since there was little over a kilometre to go I put the feet on the other side of them and managed to hold the bunch off by some 50 metres."
Dag Otto Lauritzen's career then developed and via an Olympic bronze in Los Angeles in 1984 he started a ten year pro career with Peugeot, 7 Eleven, Motorola and TVM, picking up a stage win in the Tour de France in 1987 at Luz Ardiden, and several other fine victories along the way.
Ben Berden has become the sixth rider to be selected in the highly competitive Belgian world cyclo-cross championship team. Berden got the nod from national coach Eric de Vlaeminck ahead of Sven Vanthourenhout and Peter van Santvliet. The other five riders are reigning world champion Erwin Vervecken, Mario de Clercq, Sven Nijs, Bart Wellens and Tom Vannoppen.
Ann Grande and Gina Hall (both Kona-VoiceStream) are part of the four member US women's team that will contest the World Cyclocross championships in Zolder, Belgium on February 2-3. Both riders had strong and consistent results all season long with Ann Grande winning an unprecedented 5th straight Overall SuperCup title and Gina Hall finishing fourth in the USA National Championships and fourth overall in the 2001 SuperCup.
Grande placed fourth in last year's World Championship in Tabor, Czech Republic, after an end of last lap crash dropped her out of 2nd place into 4th place finishing, only 23 seconds off the leader. In the USA Nationals she stayed with eventual winner Alison Dunlap before glass cut her tire and resulted in a crash. She is considered a favourite for the World's podium, but it will be tough to beat German star Hanka Kupfernagel.
Mountain biker Gina Hall has shown consistent improvement this year, and is considered a good change at a top five finish in Zolder.
Both Ann Grande and Gina Hall will ride in the World Cup race in Heerlen, Netherlands on January 27.
Spanish cyclist Rafael Casero has signed for Jazztel-Costa de Almería for one year. Casero was left without a team after Festina folded although his brother Angel eventually signed for Team Coast. Casero, Jorge Ferrio and Rafael Cárdenas are all new signings for the Jazztel team, and there will be an additional rider announced soon to make up the roster to 15 riders.
After its most successful season to date in 2001, Cane Creek/ Subaru is hoping to put on an encore performance for 2002. The 2001 season saw the team win 15 road events at the elite level, including a national championship win for Andy Applegate in the 35+ category. The team also had 15 cyclo-cross wins in the 2000-2001 cross season.
Cane Creek-Subaru is based in Asheville, NC, and will be competing in most of the NRC races on the East Coast and may get the chance to compete internationally in South America, Bermuda and Canada.
The team has added Geri Mewitt and Patrick McLoughlin, two former pros from the now defunct Defeet Div. 3 team. A new bike sponsor has also been added: Romeo bicycle of Rome, Italy.
Jamie Ritchie (Canada)
Geri Mewett (Bermuda)
Rider/Manager: Treavis Taylor
Marketing Director: Heath Dotson
Cane Creek Cycling Components
Subaru North America
Reynolds Composite Forks
Easton Cycling Components
Rudy Project sunglasses
DeFeet technical wear
Sports Instruments HR monitors
Asheville Bicycle Racing Club
Steve Miller, DDS
Asheville Family Health
Liberty Bicyclesadway, Suite 201
A new Austrian division III team, Volksbank-Ideal, has been created to give Austrian cycling a boost in the professional ranks. Sponsored by Volksbank and Ideal bikes, the team contains 15 riders.
Peter Pichler (Aut)
Vasilis Anastopoulos (Gre)
Fraser McMaster (NZl)
Martin Fischerlehner (Aut)
Peter Presslauer (Aut)
Mario Hoeller (Aut)
Andreas Nitz (Aut)
Helmuth Schroettner (Aut)
Jochen Summer (Aut)
Philippe Schnyder (Swi)
Patrick Kofler (Aut)
Rene Marxer (Lie)
Christian Hoelzl (Aut)
Rene Planchet (Aut)
Thomas Schneider (Aut)
Team Manager: Thomas Kofler
Directeur Sportif: Walter Schnyder, Max Kofler, Miro Kirh.
Masseur: Karlheinz Walter, Alois Brotzge.
Mechanics: Franz Vychodil, Markus Kuenzle.
Media and PR: Hildegard Schnyder, Daniela Fessler.
Sponsors: Volksbank, Ideal bikes
Co-Sponsors: Maul & Partner, VEG Erdgas, Land Vorarlberg, ÖAMTC, Branner.
Colors: blue, white, orange.
Equipment: Shimano Dura Ace
Vans & Trucks: Mercedes