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News for March 19, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Saeco suspends Sacchi
Saeco-Longoni Sport team management have suspended Fabio Sacchi, recent winner of two stages in the Vuelta a Murcia, and holder of the leader's jersey in the Tour Down Under. The suspension came after a police search of Sacchi's house near Milan on Sunday discovered gonadotropin, a female hormone used by athletes to boost their levels of testosterone. On the same day, Sacchi's hotel room where he was staying for Tirreno-Adriatico was also searched, but police did not find anything suspicious.
Sacchi has been given a "precautionary suspension from racing, with a consequential freezing of all wages," according to an official team statement. For him to redeem himself, he will have to completely explain the matter to the team.
"In case of the opposite - as forseen in the contracts agreed between the Saeco Macchine per Caffe team and its riders, the team will take steps to dismiss the rider."
Van Moorsel to go until 2004
Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel says that she will continue racing professionally until at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, despite earlier thoughts and rumours of retirement at the end of this year. The triple Olympic Gold Medallist from Sydney was speaking at the official presentation of Team Farm Frites-Hartol today.
She said that cycling gives her so much fun that she doesn't want to stop - the only thing that can change her mind is a little Zijlaard. But she told everyone that she is only "practicing" for becoming a mother.
Her goals for 2002 are the World Championships in Zolder and La Grand Boucle Féminin. In 2003 she wants to again attack the world hour record of Jeannie Longo. In 2004 in Athens she will not defend all four of her Olympic medals.
Phonak to ride in the Giro d'Italia
Swiss team Phonak Hearing Systems will participate in the upcoming Giro d'Italia (May 11-June 2). The team directed by Álvaro Pino received an invitation from the organisers, and has similar ambitions for the Tour de France.
Fractured rib for Raimondas Rumsas
Doctors have diagnosed a fractured sixth right rib for Lampre-Daikin rider Raimondas Rumsas who crashed during last week's Giro dell'Etna. Rumsas also suffered injuries and contusions all over his body and has hardly been able to walk since last Saturday.
Dr. Enrico Castellacci from Lucca told Rumsas to take 20 days' complete rest, which means the Lithuanian will only be able to race again at the end of April. "At first, I was very upset; at the moment, I don't want to think about it any more," he said. "To look back is useless: I will come back stronger than ever and very angry..."
The Tour de France now looms as a bigger season goal for Rumsas, after missing the classics.
Wiggins close in GP Erik Breukink
An untimely puncture may have cost Francaise des Jeux pro Bradley Wiggins the overall victory in last weekend's Grote Prijs Erik Breukink, won by Fabian Cancellara (Mapei) from Wiggins' teammate Bradley McGee. The first three stages of the event finished in bunch sprints, and a good proportion of the field was still in contention going into the final time trial stage in Bladel.
McGee rode well but lost the stage by just 3 seconds. Wiggins said that he had "fantastic legs" and was up by 8 seconds on his teammate McGee after 7 kilometres. Then came the puncture, followed by a 45 second wheel change and that was the end of it for Wiggins.
"I can't say I am not very upset, because I am, and after my tri-bars breaking last week well [in the Guldensporentweedaagse TT stage]," he said. "The team manager knows I have it there and is giving me the freedom to prepare for the Criterium International, so I will not be racing next weekend although I will be riding the Nokere GP in Belgium this Wednesday."
Rudi Altig still going strong at 65
On of Germany's top riders in the 1960's, Rudi Altig has celebrated his 65th birthday at his home at Sinzig. Altig was an excellent sprinter, winning 18 stages in the three major tours: eight in the Tour de France, four in the Giro and six in the Vuelta. He was the first German to wear the green jersey into Paris, a feat that his compatriot Erik Zabel has repeated for the last five years. However, Zabel has yet to win the final stage in the Tour de France, whereas Altig did manage to win the last stage in 1966 in the Parc des Princes.
Altig's achievements include world titles on the track and the road, wins in the classics (Ronde van Vlaanderen, Milan San Remo), overall victory in the Vuelta (1962), and 18 days in the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. He also won 23 Six Day races and was a popular figure on the indoor track scene.
Altig is not retired yet, and does some work for German TV station ARD during the Tour de France, as well as representing various companies.
2002 Qantas Cup Series
The Qantas Cup track series in Australia will be staged over three nights of racing commencing with Launceston's Silverdome on Thursday 21 March, followed the next night by the Chandler velodrome in Brisbane, then concluding on the Olympic track in Sydney on Saturday, 23 March.
Australia's top track cyclists will ride each night in a three hour program, taking the form of a "State of Origin series", which will see defending champions NSW take on Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, an All Stars team and the host state Tasmania.
Olympic star Shane Kelly will head a Victorian team comprising world junior champions Mark French and Jason Niblett with Olympic silver medalist Michelle Ferris and former World champion Narelle Peterson.
NSW will be keen to retain the title in the series with Ben Kersten, the triple world champion teaming up with Australia's cycling sensation Mark Renshaw and Shaun Hopkins. Rochelle Gilmore, fresh from her two silver medals in the Women's World Cup last week, will team with Katie Brown.
Western Australia, winner of the inaugural Qantas Cup series in Launceston in 1998, will be one of the favourites again this year with World Keirin Champion Ryan Bayley leading the charge. Bayley will be the quickest cyclist on the track and will be fast approaching his top form. Bayley will reunite with his sister Kristine and the powerful Scott Suckling, a dual national track champion and Peter Dawson, another World champion from the west.
Tasmania will be headed by Darren Young, who displayed sensational form in last year's series, is well suited to aggressive racing tactics and the wide variance of races. Young will be joined by Stephen Rossendell and possibly Mark Jamieson. Belinda Goss, the National Junior champion will be joined by Louise Yaxley to complete the Tassie team.
Queensland will be putting much faith in the World Champion sisters, Kerrie and Anna Meares. The clash of the Meares girls with Gilmore, Ferris and company will be a great success with the cyclists lining up against each other for the first time this year.
The competition will include sprints, keirins, derbies, scratch races, elimination events and madison races, with some riders attempting to gain national selection for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
The Dallas Cowboys and Cycling?
The Cowboys Courage House Cycling Team has been formed to benefit the children at Happy Hill Farm, a non-profit children's home based out of North Texas. The home is known as the Happy Hill Farm Academy/Home, which is also the Dallas Cowboys Courage House. The Farm is a privately funded children's academy/home that caters to abused, abandoned and neglected children aged 6-18.
The team intends to increase awareness of Happy Hill Farm through its presence in the Texas Cup Series (www.txbra.org) and other regional races. The team also plans to participate in public appearances outside of racing to make more people aware of the mission of Happy Hill Farm (www.happyhillfarm.org).