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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for August 25, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Karsten Kroon doesn't cry anymore in Plouay

By Jean-François Quénet in Plouay

Once more, the Breton village of Plouay is ready to welcome some of the best cyclists in the world. Known for hosting the world championships in 2000, it was also the finishing place for stage 8 in the Tour de France last month. That day the crowd was exceptional, the country was off duty because of Bastille Day and Brittany is the hotbed of French cycling. At the start, asked if he knew the words of the French national anthem, race organiser Jean-Marie Leblanc answered "of course" and started singing for a Dutch TV crew. At the finish, the Dutch riders took the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places!

Karsten Kroon of Rabobank was full of emotion after winning the stage. Now he admits: "I have watched the video of the race a few times but I don't cry anymore. It's a nice feeling thinking about that day in Plouay. In Holland, the impact of my win has been immense. I rode seven criteriums and I was welcomed like a hero. It was a really cool experience."

"Coming back to Plouay is something very special for me," he continues. "I'm looking forward to feeling the heat again after four weeks. I've always liked the place. I came here once before the world's. I also rode the world's in 2000, I did my work for the Dutch team for 200km and I finished the race. The GP Ouest-France is a perfect event. The climb is not too long but it's a really hard race. Any rider in a very good shape can do a good race on this kind of circuit."

But Kroon isn't exactly at the top of his condition. "Three days after winning the stage in the Tour, I had two bad crashes. The rest of my Tour was nothing but misery. I finished but I suffered a lot. Then, as soon as I had recovered, I crashed again in Hamburg. I'm still full of wounds. My body remains very painful. I hope to do a good race on Sunday anyway. But I don't think I can repeat my win in Plouay. It will be difficult but I'll do my best to take part in Rabobank's ambitions for winning, the team is always motivated coming here."

Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of the GP Ouest France from 11:45 CEST on Sunday, August 25.

Also see: GP Ouest France preview,
Start list

World Junior track - day 4 wrap-up

There's one thing about junior riders - they learn fast. And the Dutch rider Miranda Vierling certainly had the commissaires scratching their heads when she decided to see how far she could push the UCI's new rules on points races.

Miranda attacks
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

By the time the commissaires had made up their minds and declared she had made one lap up on the field - after she attacked through the race - the canny Dutch rider had sat on the back of the field for over 20 laps and collected an easy 15 points.

Previously, if a rider caught the field they were granted a one lap lead on the field, and despite whatever points they had tallied previously, they were the race leader. Now, if a rider laps the field they are given 10 points as a bonus, but no additional lap.

So in this case the rider sat on the back of the field (technically, she had not 'lapped' the field) and when the judges told her and Luise Keller from Germany (who also attacked and joined Vierling at the back) to go around the field as they were still sitting on, they were then given a 10 point bonus.

Vierling collected 27 points over the 20km journey to earn the gold medal ahead of Korean Gu Sung Eun on 19 and Chinese rider Fu Shimei on 15 (see full story).

A breakaway group during the men's 25km points race also tried the same tactic, but this time the judges were on to them and they only enjoyed two laps at the back before being ordered to the front.

The race was taken out by Russian Mikhail Ignatiev on 30 pts, from Vitaliy Kondrut (Ukraine) on 20 and Gideon De Jong of the Netherlands (see full story).

Saturday night also saw the men's sprint heats and quarter finals, with Michael Seidenbecher (Germany), Mark French (Aust), Ahmed Lopez (Cuba) and Francois Pervis (France) progressing to the semi-finals and finals this evening.

UCI expresses disappointment with Belgian federation

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) released a statement on Friday expressing its disappointment with the decision of the Koninklijke Belgische Wielrijdersbond (KBWB, or Belgian national cycling federation) to not suspend Franck Vandenbroucke's license. Vandenbroucke has been suspended in Flanders by the regional federation (starting September 1), but not the KBWB, after being implicated in doping violations earlier this year.

Vandenbroucke will soon find himself unable to compete in races in the Flanders region of Belgium, however he is permitted to race in the remainder of Belgium and abroad. According to the UCI it is the responsibility of the KBWB to suspend Vandenbroucke's license throughout Belgium.

Consequently, the UCI has sent a letter to the KBWB which outlines its position on the affair. Without a suspension of Vandenbroucke's license by the KBWB, the UCI is not able to impose its own sanctions on the rider. The international governing body of cycling expressed its concern that the KBWB's lack of disciplinary action represents an embarrassment to the sport.

Museeuw signs for three years with Quick Step

Johan Museeuw has signed a three year contract with Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step-Davitamon-Latexco team. The Lion of Flanders, who currently rides for Domo-Farm Frites, intends to race for one more season, before moving into a role as an assistant team leader for Lefevere.

"One year, but it could well be shorter," writes Museeuw on his official website. "I have not yet decided how many months of this contract I will ride. It could be the pre-season, six months, or a whole season."

When he does finally retire, he says he will do "a little PR work and look for promising young riders." He will also help Lefevere with sponsorship negotiations.

Museeuw will be 37 next year, and is considered the greatest classics rider still competing, having won 11 World Cup races, two overall World Cups, and two World Championships during his illustrious career.

Bartko signs for two years with Rabobank

German dual Olympic champion Robert Bartko will ride for the Rabobank team for the next two seasons. Since his gold medal performances in the individual and team pursuits Sydney, the 26 year old has ridden in Telekom colours. In the time trial stage 4 of the Ronde van Nederland he impressed, finishing second behind Victor Hugo Peña.

Frank Schleck to ride as stagiaire for CSC-Tiscali

CSC-Tiscali has announced it's second stagiaire for this season, 22 year old Luxembourger Frank Schleck, who will ride for the team for the last two months of the season.

"Schleck is an all round talent," said team director Bjarne Riis, "However, he has been especially noticeable in mountain races. He is most often seen in front during the most difficult stages in the amateur races, and that, of course, has sparked our interest. I still have contacts in Luxembourg and it is through these contacts that I have become aware of Schleck."

"But Schleck himself also approached us during the Tour and informed us that he would like to get the chance to ride for our team. His racing schedule will soon be ready and then we will see if he has got what it takes to get a contract."

Luperini back in action

Fabiana Luperini (Edilsavino) is back in the saddle after her 45 day disqualification following a failed health check at the Giro del Trentino in June. Today she competed in the GP de Plouay World Cup in France, finishing 9th, and hopes to do well in the latter part of the season, despite missing both the Giro Donne and Grande Boucle Féminine.

Luperini will ride the Giro di Toscana Internazionale femminile (September 17-22) along with the top Italian and foreign women's squads - at least 20 teams in total. Other riders at the start include World Champion Rasa Polikeviciute (Acca Due O), LGBF winner Zinaida Stahurskaia (USCI Chirio), Giro Donne winner Svetlana Boubnenkova (Edilsavino) and previous world champions Edita Pucinskaite (Figurella) and Diana Ziliute (Acca Due O).

Oscar Plattner dies

Former Swiss professional cyclist Oscar Plattner has died in Zürich, aged 80. The track specialist won the amateur World Sprint Championship in 1946, following that with a World Sprint Championship win in the professional ranks in 1952.

Middelkerke a potential finishing town for 2004 Tour

The Belgian coastal town of Middelkerke has been named as a candidate for a Tour de France stage finish in 2004. The Tour will start in Liège that year, and travel to Zeeland in the Netherlands for a stage finish. Middelkerke wants to host the stage finish that will start in the Netherlands on Tuesday, and has been working in cooperation with Zeeland to bring the plan to fruition.

Phonak for Tour du Poitou

The Phonak team to ride in the Tour du Poitou in France, from August 27-30, consists of the following riders: Roger Beuchat, Matthias Buxhofer, Christian Charriere, David Derepas, Marco Fertonani, Fabrice Gougot, Alexandre Moos, Alexandre Usov. Directeur sportif will be René Savary

A Sunderland addition

Scott and Sabine Sunderland are the proud parents of another son, with baby Tristan being born at 3:15pm on August 24, weighing in at 3.3 kg. "Mum is fine and very proud and so is Dad," Cyclingnews learned today. We wish all of them the best for the future!

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