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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for December 9, 2002

Edited by Chris Henry

Athens Twilight Criterium out of Tour de Georgia

The struggling Athens Twilight Criterium was dealt a blow when organizers of the inaugural Tour de Georgia decided to omit Athens from the tour route. Athens, and its famous nighttime criterium, were until just weeks ago destined to be a stop on the Tour de Georgia, a six-day stage race slated to debut in 2003.

Twilight Criterium organizer Chee Ammen fears that the Tour de George, scheduled so close to the criterium, will steal cyclists and sponsors from the Athens event. ''It makes an impact on Athens and on Twilight,'' Ammen said. ''It's already affected our sponsors and some of the pro cyclists aren't coming. If this had happened four months ago, I would have understood. Now, it stinks.'' According to Tour de Georgia director Stan Holm, Athens was dropped from the Tour to meet UCI specifications. The fifth stage of the race, originally planned to run from Dalton to Athens, includes enough climbing to warrant a reduction in stage length, as specified by the UCI. The stage is now scheduled to finish in Gainesville, although an agreement has not yet been reached with the city.

The UCI certified the Tour de Georgia route, including the planned the Athens stop, in October. Holm said the route was changed following additional route calculations that were done within the past few weeks.

Despite the change, Holm believes the Tour de Georgia will help support cycling events in the state. ''It's going to be positive for Twilight and Athens,'' Holm said. ''It will promote cycling in Georgia and create a whole new group of spectators.''

The Athens Twilight Criterium was started by Gene Dixon of Dixon's Bicycles. Since the first race in 1980, the event has grown to attract more than 30,000 spectators to downtown Athens. Despite the event's popularity, organizers have faced difficulties in funding the race. Thus the Tour de Georgia was eagerly anticipated as a way to increase sponsorship.

Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Norwegian U23 national team

The Norwegian Cycling federation is forming a more or less permanent U23 national team for the coming seasons. The team will include Per Martin Lund, Christopher Myhre, Andreas Molandsveen (All Team Krone), Kristian Ellertsen (CK Bjørgvin), Espen Jogert (Ringerike SK) and Øystein Fundingsrud (Frederikstad SK), with a focus on class 1.7 and 2.7 races. Priority will also be given to racing in Belgium to prepare the riders for a professional career.

The riders must be available to follow the national team program, which includes races as well as training camps and other activities. Other riders might be given a spot on the national team but these riders will be nominated for long term development. Two or three riders will have an extra focus on time trialing, with an individual program for this discipline that includes specific training and aerodynamics. The first camp is underway, and in early February there will be another camp for five days. In late March and early April a two week tour to Belgium with focus on riding the cobbles, wind, and hills, with class 7 races in the area plus special training on the roads used for the biggest classics. The first race for the group will be GP Waregem on March 26.

The race program:

March 26: GP Waregem 1.7.1, Belgium
March 29: Zesbergenprijs Harelbeke 1.5, Belgium
April 4-6: Tryptique des Monts et Chateaux 2.7.1, Belgium
April 30 - May 04: Ringerike GP 2.5, Norway
May 26 - June 1: Cykeltouren, Sweden
June 13-15: Karaløb, Denmark
August 4-8: Tour des Pyrénées 2.6, France
August 15-17: European Championships, Greece
September 13-14: Tryptique des Barrages 2.7.1, Belgium
September17: National race in Belgium
September20-21: National races in Belgium or France
September26-29: Tour de Seine et Marne 2.6, France
October 7-12: World Championships

Courtesy of

Navarrette to Labarca-2 Baqué

Leandro Navarrette, 25, has joined the new Spanish team Labarca-2 Baqué. Navarrette joins Labarca-2 Baqué from Kelme, where he has ridden since turning pro.

Wren to Colavita-Bolla

Tyler Wren, a member of Mercury's 2002 line up, will move to the new American Division III team Colavita-Bolla for 2003.

Somarriba still without a team

Two-time Tour de France Féminin winner Joane Somarriba remains without a team for 2003. Somarriba has for some time expressed a desire to form her own team in Spain, however it appears less likely that this will come to fruition by next season. The Spanish champion has the possibility to join the small Sabeco-Bizkaia team, however in addition to a rather modest salary, Somarriba would not be assured of entry in the biggest events on the women's calendar.

Team TDS emerges

TDS Telecom will begin sponsorship of cycling, creating a new national-level women’s cycling team. Team TDS will compete throughout the United States and Canada, while focusing on National Racing Calendar (NRC) events.

The team will consist of six riders, five of whom are confirmed for 2003:

Emily Gloeckner - Denver, Colorado
Shawn Heidgen - Elburn, Illinois
Rebecca Loney - Madison, Wisconsin
Ann Samplonius - Montreal, Canada
Joan Wilson - Ramona, California

Team Manager Karl Heidgen is optimistic for the team's debut. "There are a lot of talented riders out there," he said, "but I believe we can compete and win against the best teams in North America."

Evans back to TDU with Telekom

Cadel Evans will return to the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under, making his debut in Deutsche Telekom colors. Evans, fourth overall and stage winner in last year's TDU, moves from Mapei-Quick Step to Telekom for 2003. Evans' former Mapei teammate Daniele Nardello will also make his Telekom debut. Nardello has finished twice in the top five overall at the TDU.

The full Telekom lineup for the 2003 TDU is as follows:

Cadel Evans
Gian Matteo Fagnini
Kai Hundertmarck
Bobby Julich
Daniele Nardello
Stefen Schumacher
Christian Werner
Stefen Wesemann

Boogerd's wedding bells

Boogie's best man?
© Marcel Koch
Click for larger image

Dutchman Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) was married Saturday to Nerena Ruinemans. The ceremony took place at noon in Roosendaal.

Memorial ride for Martin

A memorial ride to honor David Martin, killed while riding in Atlanta, Georgia. The ride is to promote safer streets in Atlanta will be run December 14. US Postal's George Hincapie will participate in the ride, doing his part to help raise awareness for safer streets.

The 25 mile ride will take place Saturday, December 14 at 11:00am (rain or shine). Riders should meet at the Mt. Paran Church of God parking lot (Mt. Paran Road at Northside Parkway).

The ride costs $25 per rider (ride day registration only, includes T-shirt); checks should be made payable to the David Martin Assistance Fund). Registration opens at 9:00am.




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