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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for December 18, 2002

Edited by Chris Henry

58th Vuelta a España: September 6-28, 2003

Image © AFP
Click for larger image

The 58th Vuelta a España was presented Tuesday in Madrid, with a full parcours that promises to keep the 2003 edition exciting. Although the organizers' two-peloton plan was snubbed early on, next year's race will be anything but formulaic, including four time trials and six mountaintop finishes, complete with a foray into the French Pyrénées. Two rest days will offer the peloton a chance to recover between the numerous challenges.

The race opens, as it did in 2002, with a team time trial, this year covering 30km around Gijon. Moving across the northern coast to Santander, the stages move inland for a few days before returning to the north for the first individual time trial, followed by several tough days in the Pyrénées. The race will also visit Andorra for the finish of stage 9 and the start of stage 10, a transitional stage to the Sabadell on the Mediterranean.

After a transfer south to Utiel, riders face two stages in central Spain before the next individual time trial, a 53km test around Albacete. The race winds its way further south to the Sierra Nevada mountains and even more climbing. Finally, moving back north to Madrid, four stages will wrap up the Vuelta, but not before the penultimate stage gives one more chance for a GC shake up with a 12km uphill time trial.

Following recent tradition, stages will remain relatively short, often between under 170km and with a maximum length of 190km (stage 7). The final stage individual time trial has been replaced by a traditional road stage based around Madrid, however the uphill race against the clock promises to keep the riders and fans anxious until the end.

The Stages:

Stage 1 - September 6: Gijon - Gijon, 30km TTT
Stage 2 - September 7: Cangas de Onis, 140km
Stage 3 - September 8: Cangas de Onis - Santander, 160km
Stage 4 - September 9: Santander - Burgos, 158km
Stage 5 - September 10: Soria - Zaragoza, 165km
Stage 6 - September 11: Zaragoza - Zaragoza, 40km ITT
Stage 7 - September 12: Huesca - Cauterets (France), 190km
Stage 8 - September 13: Cauterets - Pla de Beret/Val d'Aran, 166km
Stage 9 - September 14: Vielha - Envalira (Andorra), 176km
Stage 10 - September 15: Andorra - Sabadell, 179km
Rest day - September 16
Stage 11 - September 17: Utiel - Cuenca, 160km
Stage 12 - September 18: Cuenca - Albacete, 167km
Stage 13 - September 19: Albacete - Albacete, 53km ITT
Stage 14 - September 20: Albacete - Valdepeñas, 160km
Stage 15 - September 21: Sierra de la Pandera, 181km
Rest day - September 22
Stage 16 - September 23: Jaen - Sierra Nevada, 162km
Stage 17 - September 24: Granada - Cordoba, 180km
Stage 18 - September 25: Las Rozas - Las Rozas, 150km
Stage 19 - September 26: La Vega de Alcobendas - Collado Villalba, 166km
Stage 20 - September 27: San Lorenzo de El Escorial - Alto de Abantos, 12km ITT
Stage 21 - September 28: Madrid - Madrid, 130km

Total: 2,925 kilometers

Reactions to the parcours:

2002 Vuelta winner Aitor Gonzalez, Fassa Bortolo:

"It's a route for everybody. There are stages where the climbers will make their mark, and others for the flatlanders. We'll have to see which riders will race the Vuelta, then speak of the favorites."

Joseba Beloki, ONCE:

"The key is in the Pyrénées because the rider that leaves (the mountains) with the leader's jersey can hope to keep it until the end. The first week can be important just as in the Tour de France; you never know whether it is better to attack or to arrive (in the mountains) rested. We are confident that we'll have two leaders and will hope to be good at the right moments. The Vuelta is an objective for me, hopefully, and as Manolo Saiz says, those who say the route suits my abilities are right."

Manolo Saiz, ONCE directeur sportif:

"It will be a spectacular and varied Vuelta that will keep fans interested until the end. It will also be up to the teams and riders to make it competitive."

Vicente Belda, Kelme directeur sportif:

"The 53km time trial at Albacete is long and doesn't favor us, so it will be necessary to prepare for that. The route seems balanced to me, with more of everything: more mountains, more time trials, more flat/windy stages... It's not bad for Oscar Sevilla because he has improved his time trialing and will not lose much time. He will be our leader."

Team Mälarenergi additions

Swedish Division III Team Mälarenergi has presented two new riders with one year contracts: Anders Juhlin, 27, and Johan Svensson, 23. Anders rode for the team in 1999 to become a pro with De Nardi the following year, but soon came back to the amateur ranks and rode last year for Sollerö Johan spent last year with VS Albi in France.

The team is still talking to some other riders who will be presented shortly. The Spanish riders from last year will most likely not continue with the team however, and Niclas Ekström will concentrate on his studies.

The team's season will begin in late February in southern Europe; the full program will be revealed in January.

Team Mälarenergi 2003 so far:

Henrik Oldin
Fredrik Johansson
Jukka Heinikainen
Kimmo Kananen
Jussi Veikkanen
Johan Svensson
Anders Juhlin

Team signs Lloyd

Dave Rayner funded rider Dan Lloyd, has signed with Team for 2003. Keith Lambert of the Rayner fund negotiated the agreement with Dan. "I am obviously delighted to have been asked and become involved with a promising British professional team," commented Lloyd.

Dan Lloyd rode with French Amateur Division 3 team Cycle Olympique Chamalieres last year and was selected to represent Great Britain at the U23 World Championships in October.

Rumsas voted top Lithuanian sportsman

Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas was voted Top Sportsman of the Year 2002, proving that his popularity at home has not been dented by the scandal surrounding him since the Tour de France. The award is the result of a survey conducted by the National Olympic Committee, lottery firm Olifeja, and leading daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas.

Rumsas scored 5,939 points to overtake pentathlete Andrejus Zadneprovskis (4,750), winner of the 2002 World Cup, and world canoeing champion Alvydas Duonela (4,594). The survey's three sponsors awarded Rumsas with a new Rover vehicle.

Rumsas follows on heels of last year's winner, female cyclist Rasa Polikeviciute. Up and coming cyclist Tomas Vaitkus ranked seventh in this year's competition.

Source: ELTA

Star field for Jockey Australia Madison Championship

Olympic Gold Medallist Brett Aitken is looking for a big win at the Jockey Australia Madison Championship, to be held at Vodafone Arena on Saturday December 21. Aitken will be out to avenge his narrow loss in last year's event, and is keen to make his comeback to Vodafone Arena a successful one.

Aitken will team up with Belgian cyclist Matt Gilmore. Gilmore, an expat Australian, is one of the greatest 6 day riders on the European circuit, and together with Aitken they are strong favourites to win the event. The Madison, a key selection race for the upcoming World Cups and World Championships, will see the AIS Endurance squad in attendance, bringing the finest cycling talent in Australia to the one location.

Riders attending include:

Graeme Brown - Commonwealth Games Champion (Teams Pursuit)
Mark Renshaw - World and Commonwealth Games Champion (Teams Pursuit)
Erik Weispfennig - former Madison World Champion
Stefan Steinweg - former World Champion and champion 6-day cyclist
Jame Carney - USA Olympian and US Madison Champion

Jeff Lebauve, the current US Sprint Champion will also feature in a Sprint showdown with hometown hero Jason Niblett, a former Junior World Champion. Niblett, only 19 years of age, is one of Australia's next great sprint hopes and he looks to continue his success against US sprinters after beating Olympic Champion Marty Nothstein on his home track in 2000.

Tickets for the Jockey Australia Madison Championship are available now from Ticketek (132 849 or Tickets are priced from $15. For further information please contact Adam Murchie on 0412 879 871 or

Zipp to sponsor CSC

Zipp Speed Weaponry wheels, recently approved for competition by the UCI, will begin a two year sponsorship deal with Team CSC. The team will ride Zipp's 303s, 404s and discs for the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Zipp is the first carbon fiber wheel manufacturer to have all of its wheels and rims pass the UCI's impact tests. To pass the test, wheel must "collapse properly if they collide with a 220-pound steel sled traveling at 6 miles per hour," explained Andy Ording, Zipp's president. The test is designed to ensure that the wheels won't shatter or splinter, risking further injury.

Source: BRAIN

Vouilloz partners with Lapierre

Cycles Lapierre, a French manufacturer of MTB and racing bikes, has announced a formal collaboration with French rider downhill legend and ten-time DH world champion Nicolas Vouilloz.

Vouilloz will collaborate on the setup of specific products, acting as a strategic partner participating in the technical development of the bicycles, together with the Lapierre's R&D department. The result will be a new line of mountain bikes set to hit international markets.

Vouilloz won his first World Championship at age 16. Since then, he has continued to establish his presence in the international world of downhill racing. Despite recently announcing his retirement from traditional downhill racing, Vouilloz will continue competing in various French competitions for the 2003 season, on a new Lapierre/Vouilloz bike of course.

Cycles Lapierre also provides road bikes to the Division I road team and a mountain bike team, established in 1990.

Former junior national sues USA Cycling

Gerrik Latta, a former member of the U.S. junior national cycling team, has filed a lawsuit claiming that he was tricked into using banned, performance-enhancing substances by his coach and trainer. The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Denver, charging negligence and claiming that Latta was given illegal drugs while being told he was receiving legal vitamin supplements. Latta has filed the suit against USA Cycling, the United States Cycling Federation (USCF), and his former coach and trainer. Sean Petty, USA Cycling's vice president of marketing, said he had not seen the lawsuit and thus could not provide comment.

Latta, who began bicycle racing in 1988 at age 16, claims that his former coach Rene Wenzel instructed trainer Angus Fraser to give him several injections in England in 1990 before the World Championships, with the assurance that the injections were vitamins.

Latta joins two other former members of the US junior team, Greg Strock and Erich Kaiter, in filing suits related to this claim.USA Cycling has consistently denied the allegations made by Strock and Kaiter.

Source: AP





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