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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for August 22, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Raimondas Rumsas to be interrogated in Italy

Edita remains in prison for another week

Raimondas Rumsas will be interrogated in Italy in the very near future, according to his lawyer Jean-Marc Varaut. A French judicial commission will travel to Italy to question him as soon as possible, seeing as he does not want to travel to France for fear of being thrown in jail.

Mr Varaut made the comment outside the courtroom in Chambery, shortly after attending a hearing involving Edita Rumsas, who has been incarcerated in Bonneville prison since July 30 under suspicion of drug trafficking. Today Edita made an emotional plea for her release from prison, but will have to stay there for at least another week after the judges adjourned their decision until August 28. Her lawyers are optimistic about her case, and believe that she will finally be granted her freedom. However, so far there have been no concessions made by the judges, who are anxious to hear Raimondas give evidence.

Edita Rumsas was stopped by French customs officers in Chamonix on July 29, the final day of the Tour de France. Her car was searched and a large number of medicinal products were found, allegedly including testosterone, EPO, growth hormones, cortico and anabolic steroids. Edita has always claimed that the drugs were intended for her ailing mother and not for cyclists.

Cipollini back in Giro del Veneto

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) will make his comeback to serious racing on Saturday, August 24 in the Giro del Veneto. Cipollini was due to start in the Ronde van Nederland this week, but pulled out at the last minute. In the past month, he has only ridden a few criteriums, following his announcement in July to retire. He has since changed his mind, and will in principal ride the Vuelta España in preparation for the World Championships in Zolder.

Golden hair = gold medals?

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

Mark French is congratulated
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

The first gold medals of the 2002 World Junior Track Cycling Championships were decided yesterday, with Australian riders Mark Jamieson and Mark French winning gold in the individual pursuit and keirin, respectively, while Italy's Elisa Frisoni won the gold in women's keirin.

For the Australian men at least, it was two gold medals for a golden-haired team, as the men are all sporting platinum blond-dyed hairstyles. Jonny Clarke, Wade Cosgrove, Sean Finning, French, Jamieson, Bradley Norton, Christopher Pascoe, Nicholas Sanderson, Alex Sommer and Christopher Sutton - all have the same colour hair, straight out of a dye bottle.

It seems their choice of colour has a lot to do with the colour of the hair of coach, Gary Sutton.

"The Australian team always dye their hair blond, but this year we were trying to look more like Gary," Jamieson explained. "It's kind of...well....not quite blonde, you know?"

French apparently was the first to "go" then the others followed suit. "The team has been doing it for the past four to five years and this year nobody wanted to do it at first," he said. "Then I did it and the rest followed. We wanted it to be the same colour as Sutto."

The question is, is the grey/white hair of the team's erstwhile coach attributable to his work coaching the team? If so, after two gold medals on the first night, he is thinking it could have been worthwhile.

"People have been calling me the Norwegian coach," he said with a laugh. "But if you want to know why they did it, then you will have to ask the boys."

Around 700 people attended the evening session which featured three finals and a glamorous (for cycling) opening ceremony. The ceremony featured the Victorian Police Band in full uniform, playing an unexpectedly rocky but apt song from Pink, Get The Party Started.

There was the obligatory official welcome from Justin Madden, the Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation as well as a colourful modern dance display, a flag raising ceremony and a spectacular presentation of the flags of each competing country by children riding around the base of the track on miniature track bikes.

Twenty five women and 98 men from 25 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Columbia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA, Venezuela, Italy, China and the Ukraine are taking part in the event at Vodafone Arena.

For the first time, the keirin is being featured at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships.

Today's early afternoon session took care of the qualifying and repechages and semi final for men's and women's keirin and the men's individual pursuit first round. The evening session featured the individual pursuit and men's and women's keirin finals.

Van de Wouwer and Brandt to Quick Step-Davitamon

Kurt Van de Wouwer and Christophe Brandt will more than likely leave Lotto-Adecco for Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step-Davitamon team next year. Although according to Lefevere no contracts have been signed by any riders, he has been involved in serious negotiations with both riders' managers.

Lotto director sportif Claude Criquielion is another name linked with Quick Step-Davitamon. With Lotto-Domo already signing Marc Sergeant as a manager and number one team leader, a decision has to be made about keeping Jef Braeckevelt, Claude Criquielion and Walter Planckaert. The three will not all be able stay within Lotto-Domo, and Criquielion's previous connection with Lefevere (in Mapei) may stand him in good stead to join Quick Step.

Egelmeers prolongs

Roel Egelmeers has extended his contract for another year with the Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team, signing on August 21.

Another division III team for USA in 2003

Bolla Wines comes back to pro cycling

By Jeff Jones

The USA will have another Division III professional team in 2003, if everything goes according to plan with the recently unveiled Bolla Pro Cycling Team, sponsored by American company Bolla Wines of Italy. The East Coast based team will be 'Italian-themed' and run by Ken Erdelyi, in what he described to Cyclingnews as "My first endeavour with a pro cycling team."

It's been a while in planning, as Ken explained. "It basically started about 6 years ago when I was a student at New York university in sports marketing and special events. I wanted something like the New York Yankees of cycling in the New York area. The only team based here is the Navigators. I feel that the economy can support a team like this."

Bolla Wines is not new to cycling - it sponsored a team in the early 1990's called IME-Bolla Wines, comprised mostly of riders by the name of McCormack (Frank, Mark, Paul and Alan). It has also sponsored teams at the amateur level and is keen to take its involvement to the next level. The team also has and is seeking other sponsors, yet to be revealed.

Refreshingly, there are no grand plans to win the Tour de France in 2004, dominate US cycling for the next decade and raise rider salaries by an order of magnitude. Rather, the regionally based New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania team will "mainly focus on Eastern U.S. criterium and single day road events" and to "help create an interest in the north east."

In future, there is the possibility that the team will move up to the level of Division II, but that will presumably depend on its goals both in the US and abroad. Right now, with US cycling enjoying an increase in depth at the professional level, it's a good time to sponsor a cycling team.

"I think for the most part it's quality not quantity," says Erdelyi. "The level of the athlete has gotten significantly better. I think Lance Armstrong has had a lot to do with it, the US national team and the USA's commitment to the health-conscious life style."

The Bolla Wines Pro Cycling Team will have between 9 and 11 riders on its roster, but no names will be revealed until October-November. "This is a business enterprise and we won't get into negotiations with anybody until the races are finished," said Erdelyi. "I have interest in some racers but we'd rather wait until the end of the season."

There is of course the relationship between Ken and his son Jonathan Erdelyi, who has successfully raced for the last two years with the US national team. This year, the talented Jonathan chose to spend this year back home with his girlfriend, managing to finish third in the US U23 championships and second to Viktor Rapinksy in the Four Bridges of Elgin. Despite the father/son connection, there is no guarantee that Jonathan will race for Bolla Pro CT, as he intends on trying again with the national squad.

Whatever happens, come October there will certainly be plenty of riders to fill Ken Erdelyi's roster. Next year, we should see Bolla Pro Cycling Team take its place alongside the likes of 7UP/Nutrafig, Prime Alliance, Jelly Belly, Jittery Joe's, Ofoto-Lombardi Sports, and Schroeder Iron, and any new teams that spring up in the meantime.

Nine riders for Rabobank Division III team

Rabobank's Division III team has confirmed the signing of 9 riders for next season. Cyclo-crossers Richard Groenendaal (Ned), Gerben de Knegt (Ned), Thijs Verhagen (Ned) and Bart Aernouts (Bel) will form part of the team, along with Hans Dekkers (Ned), Niels Scheuneman (Ned), Pieter Weening (Ned), and two new riders from the junior ranks Thomas Dekker (Ned) and Jukka Vastaranta (Fin).

Thomas Dekker is no relation to Erik, but is certainly quite talented. Born on September 6, 1984, Thomas comes from Dirkshorn in Noord-Holland. His nickname is "The hulk from Dirkshorn" and he has the results to prove it.

He has this year won the Junior time trial championship, Liege-La Gleize (GC + two stage wins), Omloop Veenkolonie, Noord Holland district time trial championships, a stage in the Tour de Lorraine, 3 Etappen Rundfahrt Frankfurt (GC + 1 stage), Heuvelland Tweedaagse (GC + 1 stage), and a stage in the Route l'Avenir. He is the number two ranked junior rider in the world, as of July 21, 2002.

World's participation: Continental Champions

Last week in our unofficial preview on the numbers of riders per country allowed to start in the men's World Championships road race, the various Continental Champions (Asia, Africa, European U23, Oceania and Pan-America) were mentioned as automatic qualifiers. However, when the UCI released their official list on August 15, there was no inclusion of the Continental Champions. What happened?

UCI rule 9.2.009 actually allows for Continental Champions in all disciplines and all categories to automatically qualify for the world championships. According to the UCI, the rule is certainly still valid for the men's road race, although at the moment only the Asian and European U23 Continental Champions are known for 2002.

"We are still inquiring about the African's Championships occurrence this year, but it will be cleared up very soon," UCI statistics coordinator James Luisier told Cyclingnews. "If there's no occurrence, we will reference last year's Champions. As for the missing PanAmerican's, they are being held in Ecuador at the moment."

The full list of current Continental Champions and outgoing World Champions, who are also allowed to start if eligible, is as follows.

            	 Africa   America                  Asia                  
Elite Men   	     

Road Race   	 Pending  Pending                  Wang Guozhang (Chn)   
TT          	 Pending  Pending                  Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn)  

Elite Women 	     

Road Race   	 Pending  Pending                  Limei Yang (Chn)      
TT          	 Pending  Pending                  Li Meifang (Chn)      

Men Under 23	     

Road Race   	 Pending  Pending                  N/A                   
TT          	 Pending  Pending                  N/A                   

Junior Men  	     

Road Race   	 Pending  Arthur Garcia (Ven)      Alexey Kolessov (Kaz) 
TT          	 Pending  Rafael Infantino (Col)   Alexey Kolessov (Kaz) 

Junior Women

Road Race   	 Pending  Yudelmis Dominguez (Cub) Gu Sung Eun (Kor)     
TT          	 Pending  Yudelmis Dominguez (Cub) Gu Sung Eun (Kor)     

            	 Europe U23              Oceania(1999)
Elite Men   

Road Race   	 N/A                     Robin Reid (Nzl)
TT          	 N/A                     Jonathan Hall (Aus)

Elite Women 

Road Race     	 Trixi Worrack (Ger)     Margaret Hemsley (Aus)
TT            	 Olga Zabelinskaia (Rus) Annallisa Farrell (NZl)

Men Under 23

Road Race     	 Michael Albasini (Swi)  N/A
TT            	 Jonas Olsson (Swe)      N/A

Junior Men  

Road Race     	 N/A                     N/A
TT            	 N/A                     N/A

Junior Women

Road Race     	 N/A                     N/A
TT            	 N/A                     N/A

NOTE: these riders may not, under any circumstances whatsoever, 
be replaced by riders of the same nationality.

Outgoing World Champions

Elite Men       

Road Race       Oscar Freire Gomez (Esp)
TT              Jan Ullrich (Ger)

Elite Women     

Road Race       Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu)
TT              Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra)

Men Under 23    

Road Race       Yaroslav Popovych,(Ukr)
TT              Danny Pate (USA) Not Eligible

Junior Men      

Road Race       Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Not Eligible
TT              Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Not Eligible

Junior Women    

Road Race       Nicole Cooke (GBr) Not Eligible
TT              Nicole Cooke (GBr) Not Eligible

World's news: Venezuela first entry

Venezuela is the first nation that has enthusiastically sent in its list of participants for the World Championships in Zolder. Three cyclists will participate in the individual World Championship for U23/Espoirs: Freddy Vargas, Juan Murillo and Joan Rivas. Artur Garcia on the other hand takes part in the individual time trial for Juniors.

New event billed as Australia's richest one day road race

A Tasmanian consortium has been holding preliminary discussions over the past two weeks that may see some dramatic changes for Tasmanian cycling in the near future.

Discussions are being held with a major sponsor and it looks almost certain that an event, to be billed as Australia's richest one day road race, will be held in Northern Tasmania in the next six months.

A media announcement on date and the location of the event is scheduled for September.

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