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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

International News for August 15, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Hincapie wants to finish season

George Hincapie intends on finishing his 2002 season despite a serious crash on the descent of the Jaizkibel in last Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian. The crash happened at around 75 km/h when Hincapie slid off the damp road and under the safety barrier on the side of the road. He couldn't walk and was taken to hospital in Burgos for observation. There were no broken bones diagnosed although he suffered cuts and abrasions to his right knee, hip, shoulder and elbow, as well as a swollen right calf.

"The concern is in his swelling of his calf muscles and the trauma that was caused by his legs slamming into the guard rail," said manager Clay Young on Hincapie's website, www.hincapie.com. "He doesn't want his season to end this early and that he needs to get back on the bike to keep his form for the San Francisco GP."

Hincapie confirmed to Cyclingnews that "I have two hematomas on my calves, my left one being more severe. My right side has a lot of road rash. I am able to walk a bit better now, and I was able to ride 1.5 hours yesterday. Zürich is out for sure, I should know more about my schedule for the rest of the year, after we see how my leg responds to therapy."

Jan Ullrich undergoes knee operation

After returning to Germany from several weeks of vacation in the United States, Jan Ullrich underwent an operation on his right knee Tuesday at a clinic in Munich. Ullrich was released from the clinic today, and hopes to rejoin the competitive ranks next March, factoring in his suspension for use of amphetamines outside of competition.

"I hope this corrects the cause of my knee problems so I can begin to train correctly at high levels," commented Ullrich. Persistent knee problems kept the German from competing in this year's Tour de France. The Telekom rider will be eligible to compete beginning March 23, 2003.

Ullrich has also been sanctioned by the Munich courts after his admission of amphetamine intake, which was revealed in tests conducted for Team Telekom by the ADK agency. Ullrich's pay from the team has been suspended pending the outcome of this latest brush with the authorities. The substance found in Ullrich's system is banned by the IOC, and is known to suppress hunger and mitigate pain.

Jan Ullrich: "I want a new beginning"

Shortly after his return from vacation in the United States, Jan Ullrich answered questions on the team-telekom.de website, discussing his current situation and his new ambitions.

Team-telekom.de: Jan Ullrich, you took a five week vacation. What is your outlook since returning?

Jan Ullrich: "After everything that happened, I had to discover what I really want. I want to come back to the sport. That is my absolute dream. I am aware that I am at the beginning of a difficult journey."

TT: That sounds resolute, what about your ongoing knee problem?

JU: "I was at a very low level, but I want to return to the top. That does not automatically mean I expect to win the Tour de France. It depends on how I can achieve my goals. The first goal is to do everything I can to recover from my knee problems. The next few weeks will focus entirely on that."

TT: And if that doesn't happen?

JU: "In a comeback there are some things which I may not be able to control, and my knee injury is one of those things. I do know that if everything goes well, I still have good physical reserves."

TT: What is your other motivation?

JU: "I know that I disappointed many people - my family, my fans, my friends. I don't want to say that casually, it's not very becoming."

TT: the district attorney's office in Munich has also levied fines for the procedure against you.

JU: "I accepted the sporting punishment, so it is therefore logical that I accept the national punishment. I want a new beginning. The condition is that I take responsibility for the past. I've done that."

TT: much has been said in the last week about the sporting future of Jan Ullrich, and above all, in which team this would unfold.

JU: "Honestly, a change of team was the last thing on my mind. I've spoken with no one, that is certain. Speculation is just that. For me, at the moment, the knee is the first priority. After that everything else will be clear."

Interestingly, Telekom also confirmed that they are very close to signing Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia), the winner of this year's Giro d'Italia. "We have almost reached an agreement," said team manager Rudy Pevenage, "We only need to sign the contract".

Voices of support for Raimondas and Edita Rumsas

Antanas Valionis, Lithuanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, spoke with French Charge d'Affaires Oliver Poupard on Wednesday to press for the release of Edita Rumsas from custody in the Bonneville, France prison. After Edita Rumsas's appeal for release under her own recognizance was denied by the French courts, the Lithuanian foreign ministry decided to take diplomatic action in urging for Mrs. Rumsas's release, reported by Lithuanian news agency ELTA.

Poupard, Charge d'Affaires for Lithuania promised to convey the concern of the Lithuanian government to the French foreign ministry. Lithuanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Valionis has reportedly contacted Raimondas Rumsas personally, as well as the cyclist's parents in Lithuania.

Meanwhile, rallying cries are beginning to be heard within France for Mrs. Rumsas's release. In French national newspaper Le Figaro, writer Christian Laborde submitted an editorial chastising the French government for its detention of Edita Rumsas. Questioning the evidence against Mrs. Rumsas, and at the same time affirming the status of Raimondas as a proven winner of races, Laborde made no secret of his disdain for his government's treatment of the Lithuanian. Laborde may just strike a nerve by declaring the government's actions "inelegant," and therefore "not very French."

Milaneza-MSS dominance in Volta a Portugal

By Tomas Nilsson, Cyclingnews correspondent

The Volta a Portugal is an internal Milaneza-MSS affair with Spaniard Joan Horrach leading teammates Claus Michael Møller by 48 seconds and Rui Sousa another second back. The race will probably be decided on the final ITT that ends in Sintra. The hilly parcours starts at 125 metres above sea level and finishes at 161, with the highest point at 235 metres and lowest at 84, just 1.6 km before the finish.

A look at last year's race shows that Møller beat Horrach in the last stage, a 26.4 km ITT, by 2'24, while Sousa was 1'28 behind the Dane. Horrach however had nothing to do with the overall classification and at 48th position so there is reason to believe that he didn't go all out on the TT. Sousa on the other hand had a sixth place to defend, so his loss to Møller was probably more realistic.

Fourth placed Pedro Arreitunandia (Carvalhelhos-Boavista) is not known as an ITT specialist and trails the leading Horrach by 1'08.

Smokin' Cuban to star in world junior track championships

By Gerard Knapp

Ahmed Lopez may be Cuba's only entrant in the upcoming World Junior Track Cycling Championships to be held in Melbourne, Australia, next week, but he's certain to be one of the stars of the event, following his stunning performance in round five of the Track World Cup in China earlier this month.

Although still a junior, Lopez entered the senior's one kilometre time trial event and won by almost a second. Lopez has been training under a scholarship at the UCI's World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland (near Lausanne), where he is working with former world champion and French track legend Frederic Magne. In the recent competition in China, Lopez posted a very hot 1.01.376 for the kilometre in Kunming on August 11.

The world record is held by French great Arnaud Tournant, who went under the one minute barrier at high altitude and out of competition in Colombia. Closer to sea level, the winning time of Britain's Jason Queally in the kilo at the Sydney 2000 Olympics was 1.01.609, slightly slower than the Cuban youngster.

However, Kunming is also at altitude (6200 feet above sea level) and the higher the track, the easier it is to set a fast time, it would seem. Nonetheless, his performance has been the talking point among coaches and officials. "It's so good for Cuba," said the Australian coach Gary Sutton, "it's just fantastic for them. They only have one rider and he's a huge talent.

"I know it was done at altitude," the experienced coach said of the junior's performance in China, "but you've still got to ride the time."

Sutton has been paying close attention to the times recently posted in international competition, particularly as the young Cuban may also compete in the sprint events, where he could challenge the returning world junior sprint champion, Australia's Mark French.

2001 junior world sprint champion Mark French
Photo: © Mike Whitman
Click for larger image

"Still, we think he'll bring home the gold," Sutton said of the Australian sprinter who won in Pennsylvania last year. The Australian coach has also been playing close attention to the times posted in recent European championships, where the Ukraine team won the men's teams pursuit in 4.15.39.

With the improving times of the juniors, Sutton expects a very high standard of racing, not just in the timed events but also the match sprints and non-timed events, such as the points, scratch and madison. "They are certainly smarter riders than in years past, and it's because they are getting a lot more competition than they did before." He said their tactics and speed were of such a standard that once they entered the senior competition, they are able to compete against far more experienced riders.

Several teams have already arrived in Melbourne, including Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, USA, Denmark, and Venezuela, for the five day event to be held at the Vodafone Arena, a 250metre timber track bult by legendary velodrome constructor Ron Webb.

Riders from some 26 countries will be in Melbourne for the competition, including an entrant from Uzbekistahn, the home of the "Tashkent terror", feared sprinter Djamolodin Abduzhaparov. At the other end of the scale, Germany is sending 18 young riders, including 15 men and three women. It would appear the Germans have their development program into full swing and will use the competition to groom the next group of possible Olympic and senior world champions.

The Germans recently lost one of the benchmark world records of track cycling, when a young Australian team pursuit squad also went under four minutes for the four kilometre teams pursuit in the final of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester earlier this month. One of the highlights of the 2000 Sydney Olympics track cycling was Germany's stunning time in this event, where they broke founr minutes for the first time.

But Sutton pointed out how the riders in that Australian world record squad, such as Mark Renshaw, Peter Dawson, Luke Roberts and Graeme Brown, were just starting out in their senior careers.

It would appear that not all the riders Germany has sent for the WJTCC may actually get a ride, as there is a limit to how many riders can be entered in the events. By comparison, the host nation Australia has a team of 14, made up of 11 men and three women.

Australia's 2002 squad
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

The Australian team includes Rebecca Borgo, Belinda Goss, Alexis Rhodes and Lucy Stewart, as well as Jonny Clarke, Wade Cosgrove, Sean Finning, Mark French, Mark Jamieson, Bradley Norton, Christopher Pascoe, Nicholas Sanderson, Alex Sommer and Christopher Sutton (see photos).

The USA is sending a squad of 15 riders, while France has 11 and the Russians are also expected to have at least a dozen young riders.

Cyclingnews.com will provide complete coverage of the WJTCC.

World's participation by numbers

On August 15, the UCI will announce the numbers of riders qualified per country to race in the Men's World Road Championships in October. Participation is determined by the nations ranking as of August 15. The latest UCI rankings, issued on August 11, will give a fairly good approximation. The country of the outgoing World Champion (Spain), as well as the various Continental Champions, are allowed an extra rider, according to Rule 9.2.009.

Unofficial qualification

Country of defending World Champion - 13 riders

Spain                 

Rank 1 - 12 riders

Italy
Belgium               
Germany               
France                
U.S.A.                
Netherlands           
Switzerland           
Australia             
Russia               

Rank 2 - 8 riders

Denmark              
Kazakhstan           
Poland               
Austria              
Colombia             

Rank 3 - 4 riders

Ukraine              
Czech Republic       
Portugal             
Slovenia             
Lithuania            

Rank 4 - 2 riders

Great Britain        
Estonia              
Sweden               
Norway               
Latvia               
South Africa         
Hungary              
Mexico               
Luxembourg           
Canada               

These riders (ranked in the top 400) qualify their nations for one rider

318 Gabrovski Ivaïlo (Bul) - 32nd nation
395 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) - 33rd nation
340 Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Iri) - 37th nation
218 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) - 34th nation
245 Unai Etxebarria Arana (Ven) - 31st nation

Finally, there are the various Continental Champions, which include Asian TT and road race champions Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) and Wang Guozhang (Chn); as well as the PanAmerican and African champions.

Team Phonak for upcoming races

Championship of Zurich, August 18, Switzerland

Reto Bergmann, Roger Beuchat, Matthias Buxhofer, Oscar Camenzind, Martin Elmiger, Alexandre Moos, Benoit Salmon, Daniel Schnider. Directeur sportif: René Savary.

GP Llodio, August 18, Spain

Denis Bertolini, Iker Camaño, Juan Carlos Dominguez, Marco Fertonani, Fabrice Gougot, Bert Grabsch, Oscar Periero, Massimo Strazzer. Directeur sportif: Alvaro Pino.

Andrea Tonti out with fractured vertebra

Saeco-Longoni Sport had some mixed success in the Due Giorni Marchigiana-GP Fred Mengoni, winning both races (Fabio Sacchi and Danilo Di Luca) and the overall classification (Sacchi). However, in the first race on Tuesday, Andrea Tonti fell in the final sprint and was seriously injured. He was hospitalised in Ancona, and the diagnosis was head injury and one fractured vertebra.

Team change in Tour of Slovakia

There has been a slight change in the teams list for the Tour of Slovakia, published recently on Cyclingnews. Due to the fact that Polish division III team Ambra are having severe financial problems with sponsors and riders, they will be substituted by another Polish team, Legia. The full team list is as follows.

Division II

Wustenrot ZVVZ
De Nardi - Pasta Montegrappa

Division III

Mapei Quick Step
Joko Velamos
HSBC
Crescent
Krone
LTA Quatro Logistic
Comnet Sengens
Van Hemmert
Bert Story Piels
Legia
Weltour
Arboe Merida Graz

National teams

Czech republic
Ireland
Saudi Arabia
Ukraine
Greece
Slovakia elite
Slovakia U 23

Club teams

Team Odense
Cycling Oder Elite
RG Techen Berlin
ZP sport Podbrezová

Courtesy of Ludovit Lucanic, race organiser

Regional News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)