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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for April 8, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ronde post race comments

Click for larger image
Andrea Tafi
Photo © AFP
 

Andrea Tafi (Mapei), 1st

"This is a surprise I like. At the start of the race, it's true, I was especially on a mission to work for my teammates. But every race has its own story. Here the scenario was ideal, it turned in my favour and I could make use of my excellent condition. I am at the top of my form."

"Last year, I had continuing health problems. I raced only 57 days over the year. However, I've already raced 40 this season. I am a rider who needs a lot of racing to feel good. I've worked hard since January and that paid off today."

"Up to 25 kilometres until the finish, Daniele Nardello and I decided to collaborate in the break and to widen our advantage to the chasers. Then, our director sportif Serge Parsani asked us to attack to trap the two Belgians who had obviously decided to race together. That worked. I benefited from a small lapse in concentration by Museeuw and Van Petegem, but also by Hincapie who I really feared, to make my attack. I then gave everything. It was only under the red kite [1 km to go] that I was really sure when I saw my advantage over my rivals."

Next Sunday, Tafi will be "Physically, I am on top. And mentally, I will be even more motivated thanks to this success in the 'Ronde'. Tafi is not finished! And even if I were to stop today, I could not argue that I haven't had a beautiful career."

Johan Museeuw (Domo), 2nd

 
Click for larger image
Johan Museeuw
Photo © AFP

"I really am very disappointed. I attacked on several occasions on the climbs thinking I could gain a few meters advantage and then rely on my power. But Tafi and Nardello clung on. I gave everything."

Peter Van Petegem (Lotto), 3rd

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Peter Van Petegem
Photo © AFP
 

"Johan (Museeuw) and I made the race, but we did not finish our remarkable work. Too bad. After having forced the selection by accelerating in turn, we unfortunately found ourselves faced with the numerical superiority of Mapei, who placed two dangerous men in the lead, Tafi and Nardello. Johan and I, we then agreed to counter each one's attacks in turn. I was also to be wary of Hincapie, who seldom left the wheel."

"When Tafi attacked, I hesitated and the Italian profited from this. It was bad because I really had the legs to win."

Erik Zabel (Telekom), 10th

I got over the Koppenberg well, but I didn't think I had the strength to go in the break that went. The sprint with Cipollini? No, it was not a question of prestige, I regret not being able to contest the victory. There, it was only for ninth place. I concentrate now on Paris-Roubaix. It is a little like the Tour of Flanders, the final adventure in cycling. I don't really want to say that I will win it. I have too much respect for this race."

Erwin Thijs (Palmans-Collstrop), 54th

"I never believed I could do such a thing in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. I was not at the top of the list within my team. But I seized my chance. When my companions dropped off, I wondered how my legs were going to react. But I continued on my attack. That was in any case great publicity for me and the team."

Full results and report
Live report
Photo gallery

Andrea Tafi bio

Andrea Tafi is aged 36, and is in his 14th season as a professional, his ninth with Mapei. This is his fifth win in a World Cup race, coming on top of the Tour of Lombardy (1996), Rochester Classic (1997), Paris-Roubaix (1999) and Paris-Tours (2000). Today's result in Flanders came in his 11th attempt at the race, his previous best being 15th place. He is hoping to win Paris-Roubaix for a second time next Sunday.

Name: Andrea Tafi
Born: May, 7, 1966
Lives: Fucecchio, Italy
Height: 1.87 m
Weight: 73 kg
Teams: Eurocar (1989), Selle Italia (1990-1991), Carrera (1992-1993), Mapei (1994-2002)

Major wins

1991
Giro del Lazio

1994
GP de Fourmies

1996
Tour of Lombardy
Paris-Brussels
Giro del Lazio
Trofeo Melinda
Coppa Placci

1997
Rochester Classic
GP de Fourmies
Coppa Sabatini

1998
Italian championships
Giro del Lazio
Coppa Agostoni

1999
Paris-Roubaix
Tour du Piémont

2000
Paris-Tours

2002
Tour of Flanders

Major abandons

Lotto lost strong man Nico Eeckhout after 150 kilometres, as he was forced to pull out with an injured right hand after falling.

One of the favourites, Fabio Baldato (Fassa Bortolo) was another early victim of a fall, and abandoned shortly afterwards.

The luckless Steffen Wesemann (Telekom) had problems with his shoes (remember last year's Paris-Roubaix?) and also abandoned. That left the team to rely on Erik Zabel, who finished a creditable 10th but missed the main breakaway.

Cipollini snubs Paris-Roubaix

Despite his strong showing in today's Ronde Van Vlaanderen, where he finished in 9th place, World Cup leader Mario Cipollini will not race in next Sunday's 100th Paris-Roubaix. The Acqua e Sapone rider (like many others before him) says that the race is "too dangerous" for him. "I want to finish this season in good health," he said after the Ronde. "Paris-Roubaix is too dangerous a course and it is not for me."

"Furthermore, Paris-Roubaix is run by the Sociètè du Tour de France. Last year, I was not invited to take part in the Tour. Consequently, I hardly want to answer an invitation of a company which did not want me a year ago."

"The defense of World Cup leader's jersey is not a priority. With the exception of Paris-Tours, most of the classics do not suit me. I prefer to turn myself towards other objectives such as the Giro d'Italia for example."

The organisers certainly tried to get Cipollini along to this year's Paris-Roubaix, obtaining a special dispensation from the UCI to invite a 26th team. With a Cipo no-show, will they now exclude the rest of the Acqua e Sapone lads?

Vuelta a Pais Vasco

The 42nd Vuelta a Pais Vasco will run from Monday, April 8 through until Friday, April 12 next week. It is ranked 2.HC by the UCI, which means that it is only one below a grand tour, and therefore worth a lot of points. The race will attract many of the top Spaniards, including Joseba Beloki and Angel Casero, winner of last year's Vuelta. From the foreign contingent, there is Raimondas Rumsas and Pavel Tonkov (Lampre), Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom), Wladimir Belli, Francesco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo), Stefano Garzelli (Mapei), Michael Boogerd and Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank), and Laurent Jalabert (CSC).

The race is held over six stages and finishes with a 15.2 kilometre time trial.

Teams

ONCE, Euskaltel-Euskadi, iBanesto.com, Jazztel, Kelme, Relax, Alessio, Fassa Bortolo, Lampre, Mapei, Saeco, Telekom, Coast, Rabobank, Lotto, AG2R, Cofidis, CSC Tiscali

The stages

  • Stage 1 - April 8: Zalla - Zalla, 139 km
  • Stage 2 - April 9: Zalla - Vitoria, 183 km
  • Stage 3 - April 10: Vitoria - Alasua, 170 km
  • Stage 4 - April 11: Alasua - Villabona, 154 km
  • Stage 5a - April 12: Villabona - Elgoibar, 94 km
  • Stage 5b - April 12: Elgoibar-Elgoibar ITT, 15.2 km

Tom Steels has a plan

Mapei's Tom Steels is having a better 2002 season than in previous years, recording several high placings but still looking for that elusive win. He will start in all the early season classics, as well as the Tour de Suisse and the Belgian championships. After the Tour de France he will reassess his condition, and will perhaps ride the Vuelta as his final preparation for the World's in Zolder in October.

Groenendaal must answer

Cyclocrosser Richard Groenendaal will front the UCI in Switzerland next Friday, to explain why he punched a spectator in a cyclocross race in Diegem last year. The UCI will take at least two weeks to decide whether to sanction the Dutchman.

Trouvé to have operation

Kristof Trouvé (Palmans-Collstrop), who was seriously injured in last week's De Panne/Kemmelberg crash, will have both his knees operated on next Tuesday. Kristof also broke his nose, several teeth, his hand, and ruptured several ligaments in his ankle.

Burrow injured

Jamie Burrow, former Under 23 World Cup winner and currently riding for Amore & Vita, has been unable to ride for the last week because of a knee injury. Whilst recently moving apartments, Jamie knocked his knee on a packing case, and this seems to be have been the cause of the problem. At the moment he is not certain for long he'll be off the bike and is doing some exercises for the damaged knee.

Collegiate Nationals preview

Little over one month remains until Collegiate Road Nationals will be in Burlington, Vermont. A large turnout is expected, with an East Coast school hosting the championships for the first time in 10 years. The last time Collegiate Nationals was on the East Coast, a young rider named Tyler Hamilton rode to victory before jumpstarting his professional career.

The racing opens with a Criterium on Friday afternoon, May 10 with a course that is anything but the traditional pancake flat four-corner Criterium. The course has a "wall," that is referred to by some as "impossible" and "field shattering." Ben Peters, of UVM Cycling says "The first race is going to be to the start line."

On Saturday, the 65 mile Mad River Road Race goes through the heart of the Green Mountains, with obstacles such as Middlebury Gap, Bristol Notch, Baby Gap, and Appalachian Gap, it is going to be a long day in the saddle. The Mad River Road Race course is one of the premier venues in North America. With two incredible mountain passes and a mountaintop finish that exceeds 20% grade, the event is sure to determine a true Collegiate Road Race champion.

All competitors will be treated to gorgeous Green Mountain scenery, classic New England weather, and a infused, vocal crowd of spectators waiting for them on the last kilometre of Appalachian Gap.

The Local Organizing Team, UVM Cycling is also pulling out all the stops with Sunday's Team Time Trial (Rt 127 Beltline). "Shutting down an entire highway, UVM has created a perfect course for a Team Time Trial," said ECCC Conference Coordinator Mark Abramson. Utilizing miles of car-free, multi- lane highway, the circuit provides a silky smooth course for high speed teamwork. The course is flat, fast, smooth, and spectators can see the riders passing by the underpass four times.

Opusbike.com unveils new women's team for North America

The Opus Women's Cycling Team is proud to announce it's debut as a Canadian Cycling Association registered trade team for the 2002 racing season. The Opus team will focus on major track and road events throughout North America. The objective of the team is to provide Canadians with support at high calibre races. These events will promote athlete development to the professional level.

The team is backed by some major sponsors who believe in the sport of cycling and the potential the team possesses. Major sponsors are Opusbike.com (bikes) and Outdoor Gear Canada, with Columbia Sports Wear, Minoura, Rudy Project and the Ride Guide television show as co-sponsors.

The team is looking forward to a very busy season including the Tucson Bicycle Classic, Commonwealth Games Trials, National Championships Road and Track, Superweek and the TransOceanic Stage Race. In 2003, we hope to develop a full UCI level trade team for women.

Team roster

Julia Bradley, Toronto, Ontario, 30
Genvieve LeBlanc, Quebec City, 17
Maglie Boulay, Sherbrooke, Quebec 17
Jenny Trew, Calgary, Alberta, 20
Diana Bladon, Calgary, Alberta, 27
Lysanne Delogne, Calgary, Alberta, 21
Sarah Stewart, Victoria B.C., 23

Director: Dan Proulx, Victoria, B.C.

The team will be accepting rider resumes on an ongoing basis, as well as marketing professionals interested in working with the team to launch the 2003 campaign. If you are interested in joining this team, please email your resume to danprlx@aol.com or phone (250) 360-1053. You can also visit our website at www.opusbike.com.