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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for April 9, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cipollini's team excluded from Paris-Roubaix

Not unexpectedly, Mario Cipollini's Acqua e Sapone cycling team has been excluded from this Sunday's 100th Paris-Roubaix, after the World Cup leader announced yesterday that he would not be starting. Cipollini cited the dangerous nature of the race, and the fact that he was ignored by the Amaury Sports Organisation, the organisers of Paris-Roubaix and the TdF, for last year's Tour de France.

The invitation to Paris-Roubaix was only given after Cipollini won Milan-San Remo, and his team manager called up the ASO. They had to ask for special dispensation from the UCI to allow at 26th team into the race, and this was granted. However with Cipo now a no-show, there was no reason for the ASO to keep that spot open for Acqua e Sapone.

"Following Cipollini's decision not to participate, ASO has decided not to retain the application of Acqua e Sapone," read an ASO statement. "The team asked to be included so Cipollini could defend his World Cup leader jersey."

Cipollini has only finished Paris-Roubaix twice, the last time being 1992 when he finished 69th. He is not alone in ignoring what most consider the toughest and most dangerous one day classic. Both Tour de France specialists Lance Armstrong and Miguel Indurain have chosen not to do it.

Acqua e Sapone said it should have made the original 25-team lineup because it won two of the past three World Cup races (including last year's Tour of Lombardy).

"We'll use the weekend to rest up and better prepare for next month's Giro d'Italia," said team manager Vincenzo Santoni to Darren Tulett, of Bloomberg news. "It would have been difficult for us to do well anyway, because you need special preparation for Paris-Roubaix."

Cipollini has alternative plans for this weekend. He will be in Imola (sitting in the Renault box) for the GP San Marino, to celebrate the birthday of his friend Flavio Briatore. Not exactly a 'Sunday in Hell'.

Cipollini's snub may be felt on May 2, when the final five (or six) wild cards are given out to teams for this year's Tour de France. Only one French team (Cofidis) has automatically qualified via its UCI ranking, which means that the remainder of the wild card positions are likely to be awarded to French teams.

UCI rankings: Dekker's reign short lived

After moving into the number one position on the UCI rankings following Milan-San Remo, Dutchman Erik Dekker has had to relinquish it again to the seemingly unstoppable Erik Zabel, who placed 10th in Sunday's Ronde Van Vlaanderen.

Zabel is now on 2,300 points, 230 clear of Dekker who is currently recuperating from a broken leg, and is not expected to be back for around 5-6 weeks. Dekker will lose a large number of points over the next few weeks while the World Cups are on, and he would have to have an incredible second half of the season to overtake Zabel, should the German maintain his consistency.

Behind the two Eriks, there is not much between the next four riders, with Paolo Bettini, Lance Armstrong, Gilberto Simoni and Jan Ullrich holding down third to sixth spot.

Rankings as of April 8, 2002

1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom                   2,300 pts
2 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                 2,070   
3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step       1,810   
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal            1,792   
5 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco                1,759   
6 Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom                  1,705   
7 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme                  1,493   
8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner         1,471   
9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo   1,446  
10 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali        1,314   

Fractured shoulder-blade for Verstrepen

Johan Verstrepen (Lampre-Daikin), crashed yesterday after around 100 kilometres in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and was forced to abandon. The Belgian was examined today and was diagnosed with a fracture of his right shoulder-blade. Because of that, his participation in Wednesday's Gent-Wevelgem is in doubt. Verstrepen and Lampre-Daikin technicians will decide tomorrow after training.

According to the doctors it will be the pain rather than the seriousness of the wound that will make Verstrepen's presence difficult.

The team is therefore as follows for the semi-classic:

Rubens Bertogliati (Swi)
Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel)
Milan Kadlec (Slo)
Alberto Loddo (Ita)
Luciano Pagliarini (Bra)
Marco Serpellini (Ita)
Zbigniew Spruch (Pol)
Johan Verstrepen (Bel) or Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat)
Team manager: Pietro Algeri

Vandenbroucke will appeal to CAS

Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke will appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) against his six month suspension by the Belgian cycling federation (BWB) for possession of illegal drugs. VDB was found with EPO, clenbuterol and morphine on February 27, after police searched his house. He was sacked by his Domo team, and subsequently fined 6,950 euros and suspended for six months by the BWB.

Today, VDB's lawyers asked the CAS to annul his suspension. However, it won't be until the end of April before the CAS meets to decide the matter. In addition, there is the original judicial investigation into why he was in possession of those drugs, and this will take longer to conclude.

Georges Van Coningsloo dies

Former professional Georges Van Coningsloo died on Sunday, aged 61. Van Coningsloo was a professional between 1963 and 1974, winning Paris-Brussels, Ronde van Limburg, GP Fourmies, a stage in the Ronde Van België, Bordeaux-Paris and GP Pino Cerami. A former teammate of Ferdinand Bracke and Eddy Merckx, Van Coningsloo died while on a bicycle tour with a few friends.

BMC New York City Cycling Championship

Lance Armstrong to race through Lower Manhattan

Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Team will race through Lower Manhattan in the first ever New York City Cycling Championship presented by BMC Software, Sunday, August 4, 2002. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will be the official charity of the event, produced by Threshold Sports.

The 100 km criterium is scheduled just one week after the Tour de France, and is likely to attract a good quality US and international lineup, with a field of approximately 60-70 riders. The 1.6 kilometre circuit runs through Manhattan's financial district with the start/finish line at Wall & Water Streets.

The race will be one of ten events on the 2002 Pro Cycling Tour and one of only two U.S. races in which Armstrong will compete in this season, the other being the San Francisco Grand Prix.

"The people of New York have always supported me in my effort to overcome adversity and I would like to return the favor in some small measure," Armstrong wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Competing with world-class professional cyclists on the streets of Lower Manhattan in a highly-publicized, well-attended race is one of the most valuable contributions I can make to you and your city."

Threshold's goal is to expand the New York City Cycling Championship presented by BMC Software into a week long series with a race in each New York City borough beginning in 2003. Proceeds from the event's BMC Software Corporate Challenge will benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to help fight cancer, a disease that almost cost Lance Armstrong his life three years ago.

The New York City Cycling Championship is sanctioned and supported by USA Cycling, the sport's national governing body. The Pro Cycling Tour is managed by Threshold Sports, also sanctioned by USA Cycling. For information on the PCT and the New York City event go to

Australian Track Cycling Championships

This year's Australian Track Cycling Championships will be held at the Dunc Gray Velodrome from April 17-21. Despite the absence of Olympic gold medallist Brett Aitken, who is taking a year off, the championships will certainly be hotly contested. Many athletes are vying for Commonwealth Games selection, and the Australian titles are an important part of the selection process.

The 1000 metre time trial will see Shane Kelly, a former world champion in the event, race against defending champion Mark Renshaw from Bathurst in country New South Wales. The 19 year old Renshaw, touted as one of cycling's future super stars, won five Australian track titles in 2001 and his recent form in the Qantas Cup Series indicates he’ll be hard to beat. Another former junior world champion making a bid for selection is Ben Kersten, who is back in Australia and training hard after spending a year racing on the road in Holland.

An earlier report on stated that Kelly may not be able to compete due to illness, as he was unable to race last weekend at the Sid Patterson GP in Melbourne, but his manager John Beasly, the Victorian track coach, has confirmed that Kelly will be entering the nationals.

Previous Australian champion Danny Day from Queensland has reportedly been training hard, and would love to add another title to his collection. will be producing the official site of the championships, and will provide full coverage of all the events.

Manon Jutras out for at least two months

It will be at least two months before Canadian cyclist Manon Jutras, of the RONA cycling team, can compete again, after recovering from injuries suffered at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, three weeks ago.

Jutras was the victim of a dramatic crash in the final 2 kilometres of the last stage of this five-day race held in Southern California. As she was leading the main field at more than 60 km/h, she was flung off the road and never knew what happened to her.

"Actually I don't have any recollection of the accident", she said from her Victoria, B.C. training base. "The impact was so hard I passed out and my helmet was smashed under the blow. I remember coming to on the roadside and being brought to the first aid station in an ambulance, and nothing else, really."

At first, examinations by first aid personnel showed nothing but several lacerations and contusions, albeit some serious ones. But later, as the pain did not subside, she underwent further examinations and tests, which revealed a fracture in the lower part of her pelvis.

It will be five to seven weeks before Jutras can ride her bicycle, and it could then take her as much time to get back in a competitive shape. For now, she must refrain from any cycling-specific training, as this would hamper her fracture's healing. She can maintain her cardiovascular capacity only by training in a pool - a sort of nostalgic return to water for the 34-year-old former triathlete.

"I know that the whole team shares my disappointment, said Jutras. "Especially as I was performing so well since the beginning of the season."

She aims to be back for the Montreal World Cup on June 1.

Closure of Burnaby Velodrome threatens top cyclist

The expected closure of North America's only indoor velodrome threatens to flatten the Olympic dreams of one of Canada's top international track cyclists.

"Without the track, I'm not sure where I'll train for the 2004 Olympics," said Langley's Mandy Poitras, an eight-time national cycling champion and silver medallist at last summer's Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia.

On Monday (April 8), Burnaby city council will vote to approve a staff recommendation to extend the B.C. Volleyball Association's lease of the Harry Jerome Sports Centre (which is the large air-supported dome visible from the Barnet Highway). The volleyball association has indicated that it plans to replace the cycling track with indoor beach volleyball courts.

"I owe a lot of my international success to the availability of a local track," said Poitras, who hopes to represent Canada at this summer's Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.

In the absence of the Burnaby track, the only indoor velodrome in the Americas, local cyclists will have to train in either Victoria or Seattle.

"Besides the extra time and expense of travel, we're at the mercy of the weather on the outdoor tracks," added Poitras. "It's impossible to train safely on a wet surface."

The City of Burnaby's anticipated decision to award the lease to the volleyball association follows six months of lobbying by the Burnaby Velodrome Club and Cycling B.C. to save the track.

"We have a viable business plan for a multi-use facility that would allow volleyball and cycling to coexist and turn a profit," said David Schneider, a vice-president of Cycling B.C. "I think if council takes a close look at it, they'd see that our proposal is a great win-win solution."

"We hope that Burnaby council will consider the local, regional and national implications of closing this unique Olympic training facility."