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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for August 24, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Bettini aims to top UCI ranking in Plouay

By Jean-François Quénet in Plouay

Paolo Bettini will pay his fourth visit to Plouay by taking part in the Grand Prix Ouest-France on Sunday. "I fell in love with this race when I first took part in it back in 1999, he said. I came 7th that year, which was the last time the finish was uphill. The support of the unbelievable crowd fascinated me." He raced it again in 2000 as a teammate for Michele Bartoli who won the event just one week after the Tour de France.

It was a very emotional moment in Plouay, as it was the first time the race was held without his organiser Jean-Yves Perron who died from cancer that year in February. He was the man behind the success of the race and the choice of the UCI to allocated the 2000 world championships. Bartoli and Bettini were Perron's favourite riders.

Later the friendship between Bartoli and Bettini suffered. It happened in Plouay where the former world's number one Bartoli accused his teammate of having forgotten the lead out. From that point they went their separate ways.

And now Bettini is the one close to becoming the world's number one. The Breton village which has also built a strong friendship with Mapei directeur sportif Serge Parsani is ready to welcome Bettini with heaps of UCI points. As the GP Ouest-France is a H.C. race, there are 175 points awarded to the winner. "I have to regain the points lost in Zurich last Sunday," Bettini declared after training in Tuscany on Friday. "I didn't lose many though, because there's not a huge difference between my first place last year and the second this time. For sure in Plouay I have an opportunity to compete closer to Zabel."

But it's not Bettini's priority. "I'll come to try and win the race. My condition is improving. I came 2nd in Zurich without being very brilliant. I don't know if I'll be at 100% of my capacities in Plouay but for sure I'll be able to fight. In a big race like that, you can't come without targeting a good result."

Bettini plans to ride for Quick-Step in the next two years. "It's not signed yet but we agreed and I gave my words", he says.

Note: Cyclingnews will provide live coverage of the GP Ouest France beginning at 11:45am CEST.

World Junior track championships - Third day wrap-up

By Karen Forman In Melbourne

The third day of the 2002 World Junior Track Championships at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena was a day for the sprinters.

The evening finals session featured the gold medal winning rides of Australian Alexis Rhodes in the women's pursuit, the French team in the men's team sprint and the Russian team in the men's team pursuit, much of the day was taken up with sprint qualification events (use links for complete reports on each event).

USA wins
Photo: © WJTCC
Click for larger image

A significant but smaller crowd than the past two days was on hand to cheer the riders on. The day began on a fast note with the womens sprint 200m qualifying and the only competitor from the USA on Friday battled her way through to the semi-finals of the sprint.

Top qualifier in the flying 200m, which helsp determine the starting order for the sprint heats, was Jeannot Emilie of France 12.121, hitting a top speed of 59.401kmh. Italian, Elisa Frisoni, with two gold medals already behind her in the women's keirin and 500m time trial, was second fastest with 12.217 and Chinese Shi Wenya third with 12.326. Host country rider Lucy Stewart was fourth in 12.418.

However, the French rider did not win her first heat when she was up against Ekaterina Merzlikina (Russia) and had to progress to the quarter finals via a repechage heat, which she won against Tomoko Endo of Japan and Mei-Yu Hsiao (Taiwan). Frisoni, meanwhile, appears to be in a class of her own with more pure speed and the Italian teenager easily progressed to the quarter finals, where she found herself racing Jeannot. But again, Frisoni disposed of the French rider in both rides of the quarter-finals.

The other riders to qualify for the semi-finals on Saturday night include the Russian Merzlikina who defeated her team-mate Anastasia Chulkova in the quarter-finals, while Jennifer Strohschneider (Germany) also went through to the semis by defeating Rebecca Borgo (Australia) in two rides.

The fourth pairing of riders in the quarter-finals was made up of the only USA rider to compete that day, Rachel Herring, who was up against Lucy Stewart (Australia). While Stewart took out the first ride, Herring came back to win the next two and finds herself in the semi-finals.

"The semi-finals are not going to be easy for Rachel, but she's fighting and riding well. We're going to give it our best," said USA Cycling sprint track coach Des Dickie.

Mapei-Quick Step for upcoming races

Sunday will find two Mapei-Quick Step teams in action, at the GP Ouest France in Plouay, France, and the GP Eddy Merckx time trial in Brussels, Belgium.

Current World Cup leader Paolo Bettini will head the charge at the GP Ouest France, with high hopes for a victory on the tough Plouay circuit. "I really like the race route of Plouay," said Bettini, "as it is very much suited to my type of racing." Bettini will have the support of workhorse Daniele Nardello and Eddy Ratti, each winners of events in the recent Trittico Lombardo.

The GP Eddy Merckx is a two-man time trial, and will feature Hungarian time trial specialist Laszlo Bodrogi, teamed up with Fabian Cancellara.

GP Ouest France: Paolo Bettini, Daniele Nardello, Eddy Ratti, Davide Bramati, Luca Paolini, Andrea Tafi, Gerhard Trampusch, Charly Wegelius. Directeur Sportif: Serge Parsani

GP Eddy Merckx: Laszlo Bodrogi and Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rogers and Kevin Hulsmans. DS: Eric Vanderaerden, Valerio Piva

Sevilla may join ONCE

Oscar Sevilla, 2nd place in last year's Vuelta and best young rider of the 2001 Tour de France, may be looking to buy his way out of the final year on his contract with Kelme-Costa Blanca. The talented young Spaniard is said to be looking to join Manolo Saiz at ONCE. Kelme teammate and personal friend Angel Vicioso told Radio Calatayud that Sevilla's move to ONCE is a certainty.

Cadel Evans also looking to ONCE?

Cadel Evans (Mapei-Quick Step) has reportedly been talking to Manolo Saiz and ONCE as well, though it remains a strong possibility that the Australian will stay with the Quick-Step formation for next year. Evans told Cyclingnews that he's had offers from several teams, but would not confirm which teams.

Lampre-Daikin for Giro del Veneto

Pavel Tonkov and Juan Manuel Garate will lead the Lampre-Daikin team at Saturday's Giro del Veneto, preparing for the upcoming Vuelta a España. Marco Pinotti returns to competition in Lombardia after his crash in this year's Tour de France. Lampre's complete lineup is:

Pavel Tonkov, Juan Manuel Garate, Sergio Barbero, Simone Bertoletti, Massimo Codol, Luciano Pagliarini, Milan Kadlec, Marco Pinotti, Marco Serpellini

Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo for Giro del Veneto

Italy's Acqua&Sapone team will also be present at the Giro del Veneto, fielding the following roster for the event:

Roberto Conti, Cristian Gasperoni, Massimiliano Gentili, Massimo Giunti, Federico Giabbecucci, Alexander Kolobnev, Simone Masciarelli, Filippo Simeoni, Michele Scarponi, Elvira Lobato. Directeur Sportif: Pino Petito

Leipheimer injured in Eneco Tour

Levi Leipheimer, who was involved in a fall in the Eneco Tour on Wednesday, was taken to hospital in Almelo on Thursday night. He was suffering from blocked intestines. Rabobank team doctor Geert Linders first suspected ileus, a type of intestinal obstruction, but a more accurate diagnosis was expected later. Leipheimer was due to undergo further examination today.

Stagiaire contract for Michael Simms

Twenty two year old West Australian cyclist Michael Simms has signed a stagiaire contract with the Belgian Division II RDM-Flanders team. Simms has enjoyed success recently in Belgium, as well as at the Tour of China, where he won a stage. Simms has expressed hope that his stagiaire contract, as well as his results this season, will earn him selection for the U23 national team at the upcoming World Championships in Zolder.

Other contract items

Belgian Frédéric Amorison, currently riding Lotto-Adecco, will join Quick-Step-Davitamon next year, along with Bram Tankink (Domo-Farm Frites), who has signed for two years. Meanwhile, Mapei's Dario Cioni will move to Fassa Bortolo next season.

Mads Kaggestad (Team Krone) has signed with Credit Agricole, where he will join fellow Norwegian Thor Hushovd.

Bankgiroloterij dirctor Johan Capiot is looking to sign two Flemish riders for next year, Stijn Vanstraelen (RDM-Flanders) and Wesley van Speybroeck (Lotto-Adecco).

Berry Floor begins its co-sponsorship of the US Postal Service team tomorrow, with a reported budget of 2 million Euro. The new sponsor hopes to attract additional Belgian riders for the team, to ride alongside rising star Tom Boonen.

Courtesy of

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