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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for August 20, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Latest UCI rankings

Dario Frigo, winner of the Meisterschaft von Zürich World Cup last Sunday, enjoyed a big jump in the UCI rankings, from 9th to 4th on 1529 points. The peroxide blond Italian has realised one advantage of his suspension for the latter half of the 2001 season: He will not begin to lose any UCI points until March 2003, due to the rolling nature of the rankings. That means that all points scored from now until the end of the year will be added to his total.

On the other hand, Paolo Bettini, who finished second in Zürich, did lose a few points due to the fact that he won the race last year. He is still in second overall, with Lance Armstrong strengthening his grip on third place with the final podium spot in Zürich. Erik Zabel remains number one, but he will have some work to do in the coming months if he is to hold that spot.

Rankings as of August 18, 2002

1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                             2,224.00 pts
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                      2,148.00
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service                   2,073.00
4 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi                    1,529.00
5 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                1,511.00
6 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step                 1,468.00
7 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco                          1,456.00
8 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                  1,391.00
9 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca        1,315.00
10 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                       1,168.00
11 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport                 1,160.00
12 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo       1,134.00
13 Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca            1,086.00
14 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank                           1,069.00
15 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                           1,038.00
16 Alex Zuelle (Swi) Team Coast                             1,026.00
17 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service          1,004.00
18 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                       965.00
19 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano Aranzabal (Spa) ONCE-Eroski      965.00
20 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                             956.00

Full rankings

Juniors warm up in Melbourne

Ahmed Lopez practising in Melbourne
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

On the eve of the opening of the World Junior Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne, Australia, tomorrow, the best young track cyclists in the world have all arrived and commenced their training at the Vodafone Arena, the 250 metre timber track built by legendary velodrome constructor Ron Webb.

Among the teams and riders to hit the boards yesterday was the sensation of the most recent round of the Track World Cup for senior riders, Cuba's Ahmed Lopez. In the men's one kilometre time trial, the Cuban junior took out first place against the seniors with a stunning time of 1.01.376.

Other riders to stretch their legs on the track included riders from Holland, Belgium and the USA. Racing starts at midday (Aust EST) tomorrow with the heats of the keirin for men and women, as well as heats for the Individual Pursuit. On Wednesday evening, the finals of the keirin will be run. (Full schedule, preview and more photos from practice.)

Somarriba returns home

The two time winner of La Grande Boucle Feménin, Joane Somarriba (Deia-Pragma-Colnago) had to be content with third place this year behind Bielorussian Zinaida Stahurskaia (USC Chirio) and Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog (Vlaanderen-T Interim). After returning home to Vizcaya today, Somarriba spoke to the press, some of which were critical that she hadn't won it for a third time.

"It hurts me that they speak of 'failure' by finishing third in the Tour de France," she said. "I gave everything I had. I have finished three times on the podium of the Tour de France and I believe that is very important. I would have been happy to win a stage, since I did not have the opportunity in the general classification. I tried at every possible moment, but did not have any luck."

Throughout the Tour, Somarriba battled injuries from a crash in stage 2 on the pavé, and in the later stages, a boil in a very painful place. She was critical of the pavé: "It is a shame that in a race as prestigious as the Tour of France they take us over sections of pavé where you have difficulty staying on the bike."

Overall, she described the Tour as "Very hard, the hardest of all that I have participated in...I had suitably good form but what I didn't expect was that the four first stages would be as hard as they were."

Somarriba was also asked to comment on the winner, Zinaida Stahurskaia's record vis-a-vis doping. The 2000 World Road Champion tested positive for a banned diuretic in the 2001 Giro Donne, and was suspended for four months by the Italian Cycling Federation.

"The spectre of doping always appears," said Somarriba. "Last year she tested positive in the Giro, but you don't win a Tour de France with doping alone. There is a great deal of training behind it and a great deal of work that has to be done to transform a rider who is good at one day races into a Tour de France winner. Her body has changed, she is a great deal more muscular but she passed all the controls. She has worked a great deal to achieve it."

Next year, Somarriba will not have a contract with Deia-Pragma-Colnago, but she has yet to decide on her future. "I finished very tired, I always tried to attack and that took a lot out of me. Within two days I will return to France and in two months I will dispute the World Championships, that in principal don't suit me as they are flat and technical."

Cipollini won't start in Eneco Tour/Ronde van Nederland

Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) will not be starting in the Eneco Tour/Ronde van Nederland, which begins tomorrow, August 20 in Utrecht. However, the race will not be short of top sprinting talent, with Robbie McEwen, Erik Zabel and Oscar Freire all down to start.

Another non-starter is US Postal's George Hincapie, who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the Clasica San Sebastian. His replacement will be Dylan Casey, who flew in today from the USA, having competed on Sunday in the USPRO Criterium championships.

Zolder World Championships news

Johan Museeuw highly motivated

It's becoming increasingly unlikely that the Zolder World Championships on October 13 will be Johan Museeuw's last race. After regaining his legs this season, despite losing the World Cup lead on Sunday, he has confirmed his ambitions for Zolder. Museeuw will celebrate his birthday on the day of the race, which will give him an extra boost to go for the victory.

"The World Championships are certainly not an obsession, although I hope being in good shape that day. At first sight, this parcours is perfectly suitable for sprinters, but free riders may score as well. In both cases, I can hold my ground", said Museeuw.

Wauters has his reasons

Marc Wauters also wants to ride a good World Championship, for several reasons. "First of all, I grew up on the track. As a youngster, I trained here almost every day. I even met my wife Christa over here, since she trained here too. Apart from that, I think it is a track that perfectly matches my capacities as racing cyclist", says Wauters.

Botero wants the world title

There will be some extra suspense in the time trial, since Santiago Botero, double stage winner in the Tour de France, has promised to record a super time between Hasselt and Zolder. Botero will probably ride the Vuelta in anticipation of Zolder.

Van Goolen applies for time trial selection

Jürgen Van Goolen, together with Tom Boonen the captain of the new batch of young talented Belgians, has informed José De Cauwer, the Belgian WC coach, that he would like to compete the time trial championships.

"I will earn my selection by riding an excellent Tour of Spain," said the hopeful Van Goolen. "I admit that I will be disappointed if I lose the third ticket for the chrono ride. I really have set my mind on it."

1,153 marshals

To ensure safe running of the World Championships, Circuit Zolder has made an appeal for 1,153 volunteer course marshals. Many Belgian cycling clubs have spontaneously given their assistance.

New surface

The Heusden-Zolder municipality has ensured that during the last few days the entire road surface that will be used for the World's will be covered with a new layer of asphalt. In this way, the track will be in perfect shape by October.

Freire has a good offer from CSC-Tiscali

Oscar Freire may well be riding for CSC-Tiscali next season, according to Danish daily Ekstra Bladet. The World Champion has an agreement with one of the team's directors, Johnny Weltz, after the two met in Spain recently.

"Freire would be delighted to come to CSC, and it is his primary choice," said Weltz, who added that they had not yet come to an agreement on financial terms. More is likely to be known within the next 10 days.

Freire would help to fill the formidable hole left by Laurent Jalabert, who will retire at the end of the season after enjoying two very good years with CSC-Tiscali.

Hoffman and Madsen extend with CSC-Tiscali

Tristan Hoffman and Jimmi Madsen have extended their contracts with the CSC-Tiscali team for one and two years respectively. One day specialist Hoffman, who has struggled with injury for the last two years, admitted that he will receive a pay cut, which is "logical" considering his lack of results.

Mikhailov to ride for US Postal

Russian rider Guennadi Mikhailov (Lotto-Adecco) will join the US Postal team in 2003, according to De Standaard. The deal was confirmed during the Vuelta a Burgos last week, although unfortunately Mikhailov will not be able to ride the rest of the season after breaking his heel.

Mikhailov was courted by US Postal last year, however the Russian chose to stay with his friend Andrei Tchmil at Lotto-Adecco. Mikhailov has no offer from the new Lotto-Domo team, which makes the US Postal contract even more attractive.

Rumsas' German tests negative

The second set of analyses of Raimondas Rumsas' independent doping tests have come back negative, according to Lithuanian ELTA newsagency. The samples were analysed in the German Kreischa Laboratory, near Dresden, and confirmed the results of the first analyses that were carried out by the Swedish Huddinge Laboratory. The test results from Sweden were delivered last Tuesday.

Algirdas Raslanas, vice-director of the Lithuanian governmental Physical Culture and Sports Department, said the official test results came on Monday, although the samples were taken last week. The delay occurred due to the floods that ravaged Germany, thus preventing the smooth operation of the laboratory near Dresden.

The Lithuanian Sports Department initiated the move to test Rumsas, who finished third overall in the Tour de France. The samples were taken on August 8, 10 days after the Tour finished in Paris. So far, all of his tests taken before, during and after the Tour have been negative.

However, his wife Edita remains incarcerated in a prison in Bonneville after a large amount of banned substances were allegedly found in her car on the final day of the Tour. She is under investigation for supply and traffic of doping substances.

World cup prizes to be handed out in Curaçao

The winners of this year's World Cup will have to travel abroad to collect their prize money this year. On Saturday, November 2 the prizes will be distributed amongst the riders and teams in Curaçao, in the Caribbean, on an official World Cup celebration day. UCI president Hein Verbruggen will personally hand over the prize money to the winners, and a race will also be held on the day featuring all the World Cup champions, called the Curaçao Classic.

The idea to have the presentation in the Caribbean was initiated by Leo van Vliet (Amstel Gold Race director), Erik Breukink and sport reporter Raymond Kerckhoffs. Van Vliet was on holiday, riding with Breukink around the island, and came up with a cunning plan, which was greeted with enthusiasm by the relevant parties.

"This is a new challenge," said Van Vliet to De Telegraaf. "In this way we hope to give the World Cup more exposure and extra interest. The reactions from the riders are positive. We hope that a tradition is born and that this cycling festival returns to Curaçao each year."

Lampre-Daikin for the Trittico Lombardo

Lampre-Daikin is taking part in the three races this week in Lombardia, northern Italy: Tre Valli Varesine on August 20, Coppa Agostoni and Coppa Bernocchi, on August 21 and 22.

Pavel Tonkov will take part in all three races, while Gabriele Missaglia, who rode well in Camaiore (2nd) and San Sebastian (3rd), will take part in the first two races. Also, Marco Pinotti will be coming back after his terrible crash during the Tour de France. Pinotti had an operation to set the fracture of his nasal septum.

Tre Valli Varesine: Pavel Tonkov, Gabriele Missaglia, Sergio Barbero, Simone Bertoletti, Luciano Pagliarini, Marco Pinotti, Marco Serpellini, Maximilian Sciandri

Coppa Agostoni: Pavel Tonkov, Gabriele Missaglia, Sergio Barbero, Simone Bertoletti, Massimo Codol, Luciano Pagliarini, Marco Pinotti, Maximilian Sciandri

Coppa Bernocchi: Pavel Tonkov, Sergio Barbero, Simone Bertoletti, Milan Cadlec, Marco Pinotti, Luciano Pagliarini, Marco Serpellini, Maximilian Sciandri

Di Luca to lead Saeco in Trittico Lombardo

Danilo Di Luca again showed his good form of late by finishing 12th in the Meisterschaft von Zürich World Cup race on Sunday, being one of the strongest riders in the leading group. He hopes to continue this in this week's Italian trio of races, the Trittico Lombardo (August 20-22). In each of the three races, Di Luca will be supported by Celestino, Commesso, Sacchi, Glomser, Cunego and Bertagnolli.

The teams are as follows:

Tre Valli Varesine: Di Luca, Celestino, Mason, Sabaliauskas, Sacchi, Spezialetti, Bertagnolli, Pugaci

Coppa Agostoni: Di Luca, Celestino, Glomser, Sabaliauskas, Sacchi, Spezialetti, Bertagnolli, Pugaci

Coppa Bernocchi: Di Luca, Commesso, Mason, Glomser, Sabaliauskas, Cunego, Gavazzi, Spezialetti.

Di Luca will also ride the Giro del Veneto on Saturday. He will be joined by Gilberto Simoni who returns to Italy after a successful trip to Spain. Simoni finished third in the GP Llodio on Sunday. While these riders are in action, Igor Astarloa will take a break, returning at the GP Plouay on August 25.

Mapei-Quick Step for upcoming races

Mapei team manager Alvaro Crespi has decided the top team and young rider squads for the next few races.

August 20-23: Tour du Limousin, France

Riders: Giampaolo Cheula, Bernhard Eisel, Graziano Gasparre, Evgueni Petrov, Filippo Pozzato, Patrik Sinkewitz, Frederik Willems, Zerzan Pavel. DS: Matxin Fernandez Rodriguez

August 20-24: Ronde Van Nederland, Netherlands

Riders : David Cañada, De Fabien Waele, Paolo Fornaciari, Oscar Freire, Kevin Hulsmans, Robert Hunter, Luca Scinto, Steels Tom. DS: Eric Vanderaerden

August 20: Tre Valli Varesine, Italy

Riders: Elio Aggiano, Davide Bramati, Daniele Nardello, Andrea Noè, Luca Paolini, Eddy Ratti, Gerhard Trampusch, Charly Wegelius. DS: Roberto Damiani.

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