News for April 22, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Liege-Bastogne-Liege post race comments
Paolo Bettini (Mapei, 1st)
"I had an exceptional team and in the finale a fantastic Garzelli who did a huge amount of work. Before the Cote St Nicolas, Serge [Parsani, Mapei DS] asked me how I felt. I told him "very good" and he told me to stay with Stefano. When he attack, Basso stayed at 10 metres, he could not come back. I gave it everything and we increased our gap to 300 metres. It was then 'the best rider to win.'"
"Now, I am back up there in the classification of the World Cup, that was the objective before Milan-San Remo. The objectives have been met. I have raised my morale a little, as well as my physical condition. Next Sunday, in the Amstel Gold Race, I will try to take the World Cup leader's jersey."
Stefano Garzelli (Mapei, 2nd)
"I am happy for Paolo. In the finale, we had agreed that the best rider would win. He is quicker than me. My most important objective remains the next Giro d'Italia. I hope to be able to take the pink leader's jersey when we arrive in Ans during the Giro."
"But 'Liege' also is a race that I like. I would really like to win it one day."
Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo, 3rd)
"I was missing something on the Cote St Nicolas. I had a good race and I hope to do well in the next few classics."
Mirko Celestino (Saeco, 4th)
"I am not at a hundred percent and, for this reason, I am very, very happy with my race. When I was dropped on the Cote de La Redoute, I kept my self-control. I came back but I could not do anything on the last cote against Garzelli and Bettini who were stronger than me."
Massimo Codol (Lampre, 5th)
"Before the start, I would have prayed for this result. I though for a moment, in the break, I could do better. I did not miss a turn but I knew that in the sprint I was going to suffer against quicker riders than me, and that the Mapei tandem would be hard to beat."
"It was especially Garzelli that impressed me, more than the winner. When they attacked, I was in trouble. I have suffered from bronchitis in the Tour of the Basque Country and that did not help me. But my condition is good and I am ready to help Pavel Tonkov in the next Giro."
Johan Museeuw (Domo, DNF, 1st World Cup)
"It wasn't planned that I would race Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Every year, I am nearly always dropped on La Redoute. But, with the jersey, I was almost obliged to come and honour it. I abandoned at the top of the Stockeu. It was a little predictable, because during this week I have not trained very well. I was completely empty after Paris-Roubaix."
"Now, I will race the Scheldeprijs and the Amstel Gold Race, a race that I have won previously and one in which I can earn World Cup points. After that I will rest for three weeks and resume in the Tour of Picardy and the Tour of Belgium."
Mario Aerts (Lotto, 18th)
"I paid my efforts last Wednesday in the Fleche Wallonne. On La Redoute, I felt that this was not my day. It is hard to be in front in La Fleche and Liege. A rider like Bettini didn't do anything on Wednesday. But I don't regret anything, I prefer to have won La Fleche than only placed here."
Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto, 25th)
"It was not perfect even though I went better in comparison with La Fleche Wallonne. I have had some breathing problems. Now, I hope that that is finished. Liege, this is a race for Italians. They are numerous and are able to shine."
Winner's bio: Paolo Bettini
Paolo Bettini started his pro career in 1997 as a domestique for Michele Bartoli, who was at the height of his form back then. After changing to Mapei in 1999, Bettini began to emerge as a rider in his own right. He won his first World Cup race in 2000 - Liege-Bastogne-Liege - following that up with a win in the Championship of Zurich in 2001 and Liege-Bastogne-Liege again this year.
Nicknamed "Il Grillo" for his small size and tendency to jump away from the bunch, Bettini is always on the lookout for a breakaway. He has a very useful sprint as well, making him a danger man in any race where the bunch has been reduced.
Bettini will race the Giro d'Italia in support of his teammate Stefano Garzelli, who showed today that he has the form to do well in the Corsa Rosa. Expect to see Bettini up there for some stage wins as well.
Date of birth: April 1, 1974
1st Championship of Zurich
1st overall + stage, Giro Provincia di Lucca
1st stage Tour de Romandie
World Cup: Museeuw and Rossner in command
Despite not finishing the 88th Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Belgian Johan Museeuw easily retained his World Cup leader's jersey that he won last week in Roubaix. The absence of nearest challenger Mario Cipollini certainly helped, and Paolo Bettini, courtesy of 100 points for the win, moves into third on the standings in front of Mapei teammate Andrea Tafi.
The men's World Cup will finish its spring semester in the Netherlands next week with the running of the Amstel Gold Race. Although the hills will not suit Museeuw, he has a much better record in Amstel than LBL. He won the race in 1994, finished second in 1992, and third in 1996. More importantly, he placed 5th in it last year; with his better form this year, he could well extend his lead in the World Cup.
His team Domo-Farm Frites is leading in the standings, with a 7 point advantage over RVV and LBL winners Mapei.
The women's World Cup passed its halfway point in Spain today with the fifth round being the 1st GP Feminas Castilla y Leon, won by Michela Fanini's Regina Schleicher. Schleicher earned enough points to move her into fifth overall on the WC table, behind leader Petra Rossner (Saturn, 200 pts), Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol, 193 pts), Rochelle Gilmore (Aus, 100 pts) and Priska Doppmann (Swi, 97 pts).
With another four rounds to be raced in the World Cup, the battle for the overall honours between Melchers and Rossner likely to come down to the line. Melchers clearly has the edge in the hillier races, such as Montreal and Grand Prix Suisse féminin, while Rossner will be more at home in the GP Plouay and Rotterdam Tour.
Latest World Cup rankings
Men 1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 170 pts 2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone Cantina Tollo 120 3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 110 4 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 109 5 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 89 6 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 88 7 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 79 8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 70 9 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Telekom 70 10 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 55 Teams 1 Domo-Farm Frites 34 pts 2 Mapei-Quick Step 27 3 Lotto-Adecco 24 4 Cofidis 18 5 Telekom 17 6 Lampre-Daikin 17 Full men's rankings Women 1 Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn 200 pts 2 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol 193 3 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) 100 4 Priska Doppmann (Swi) 97 5 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Michaela Fanini 93 6 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Nürnberger 92 7 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Edilsavino 75 8 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn 50 9 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O 50 10 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) 44 Full women's rankings
A quick chat with Fred Rodriguez
By Jeff Jones in Liège
In his first full on classics campaign, US road champion Fred Rodriguez (Domo-Farm Frites) has already made an impact. After finishing second in Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem, Rodriguez also made the front group in Flanders and came close in Roubaix. A fall ended his chances there (oddly enough), but he still recovered to finish 27th.
Cyclingnews caught up with Fred Rodriguez prior to the start of today's 88th Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he discussed his classics season so far.
"It's been good and bad," he surmised. "I've had some good results and had some disappointing finishes when I felt I should have been in at least the first 10 - Flanders and Roubaix. But of course, it's been the first time I've ridden them. I just hoped I could have better."
On Paris-Roubaix: "It was hard. It was good for me technically. I can't even tell you what the race was about because I really couldn't see the race because it was so muddy."
Rodriguez has managed to get himself into 7th position in the World Cup standings, only 9 points behind his more experienced compatriot George Hincapie. In his first season, that's not at all bad, and it must give him confidence for the future.
"It does give me confidence. It proved to me and my team that I could be there. It's not over yet - there's a couple more races I could do well in. For my future, I think those races [Flanders and Roubaix] are pretty well suited for me. I'm pretty much an all-rounder. I don't see Flanders or Roubaix or any of the others as being any better or worse for me."
For LBL, Rodriguez had "pretty much an open key to see how I feel" although he was worried about his fall last week. "I had a lot of damage last week so they're wondering how I'm going to be. I feel fairly good and I've always been told that this is more my kind of race than the other classics, so if everybody else is right maybe this will be a better race for me."
Rodriguez didn't finish in the end, but has certainly gained a wealth of experienced racing at Johan Museeuw's side in Domo Farm Frites. Museeuw is leading the World Cup and the team is also on top in the team classification. Next weekend and the second half of the year promise a lot for the team with its resident US champion.
"We'll just keep doing what we're doing and it should work out," he finished.
Australian National Track Cycling Squad named
Following the conclusion of the Australian Track Championships, Cycling Australia president Mike Victor named the 2002 Australian Track Cycling Squad, from which the team to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and World Cup rounds will be selected.
The team to compete in Manchester in July is expected to be named by the Commonwealth Games Association in mid-May.
The team to contest the UCI Track World Cup round being raced in Sydney on May 10, 11 and 12 will be confirmed this week.
Fourteen men and eight women make up the squad of endurance and sprint group cyclists.
Kate Bates NSW - Endurance
In addition, the Australian team for the 2002 Junior World Track Championships to be held in Melbourne in August was also named.