News for December 22, 2002
Edited by John Stevenson
UCI announces Division 1 teams for 2003
The UCI today announced most of the roster of 30 teams that will make up cycling's elite grade for 2003, the GS/1 first division of sponsored squads.
Twenty-four teams submitted their personnel and financial details to the UCI by the December 20 registration deadline. Details for five other Division 1 candidates arrived so close to the deadline that the UCI has decided not to list them yet, and will make a final decision on January 10, while a further five teams are Division 1 candidates but have not yet fulfilled all the requirements. A decision on those teams will also be made on January 10.
The UCI also named nine of the ten teams that make up the 'Top Club' of teams, leaving the remaining place open for the moment.
Confirmed 2003 Division 1 teams
Fassa Bortolo (Ita)
Top Club teams
Fassa Bortolo (Ita)
Teams likely to be confirmed January 10
Team Coast (Ger)
Remaining candidate teams
Botero named Colombian Cyclist of the Year
The Colombian Cycling federation has named Santiago Botero as its Cyclist of the Year in recognition of his victories this year in the world championships time trial and Classique des Alpes, and stage wins in the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.
Botero was recognized in the category 'Elite en el mundo' for Colombian cyclists competing on the world level, while the local award for local riders, the 'Elite en Colombia' class went to Vuelta a Colombia and Clásico RCN winner José Castelblanco.
Other category winners were:
Women: Ana Paola Madriñán
Wynants on the mend
Injured Uruguayan cyclist Milton Wynants is making a steady recovery from the injuries he sustained in a training crash on Tuesday, according to a report from the Reuters news agency. On Friday, Wynants was transferred from intensive care to a private room, where he remains under observation.
"Milton is better and improving," said Marlene Castrillón, wife of the 2000 Olympic silver medalist. "No neurological problems or clots have been detected in spite of him having a small fracture in his skull."
Wynants, the first Uruguayan cyclist to win an Olympic medal when he was runner-up in the 40km points race at Sydney, hit a truck that had slowed for a corner while training in his home city of Paysandú, 380 kilometers to the north of Montevideo.
Poster sale raises $30,000 for LAF
Judi Oyama of Giro tells us there's still a handful remaining of the limited edition Lance Armstrong print by Michael Schwab that we mentioned in our Interbike coverage back in October. Sale of the prints raises money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and USA Cycling, and so far has raised $30,000 for each organization. If you're stuck for a last-minute Christmas present, then, here's a way of donating to a good cause and giving a striking work of cycling-related art.
Call Giro's special Lance Armstrong poster information number for more details: 1-866-235-6864
Colombia for Tour de Langkawi
The Colombian Cycling Federation has announced the team that will support Hernán Darío Muñoz when he defends his title in the Tour de Langkawi, January 31-February 9. Joining Muñoz in the Malaysian stage race - one of the richest in the world and elevated to UCI 2.2 status for its 2003 edition - will be Uberlino Mesa, John Freddy García, Freddy González, Rubert Albeiro Marín and Mijkhael Kalilov.
After nine years of racing for the MG-Technogym, Asics and Mapei-Quick Step teams, 34-year-old Tuscan rider Luca Scinto, one of the key players in Italy's victory at the Zolder World Championships, has decided to leave cycling.
"My decision was taken after period of personal reflection with certain aspects of my personal life also adding to the outcome. I am honoured with the proposal that Mario Cipollini and Vincenzo Santoni made to me a few days ago, and I thank them for this; however I am also aware of the commitment involved in being alongside a World Champion such as Mario. I believe I have always carried out my job very professionally and honestly, fully respecting my rôle alongside captains that I have had the privilege to work with and at the same time being able to create a good personal image of myself.
"In particular I would like to thank my family and all of those that have sustained me, even in difficult moments of my career, and the many fans that have always supported me.
"I am honoured to finish my career on a high riding for a great team such as Mapei; they have left a big gap in the cycling world. The Mapei team gave me the opportunity to think exclusively and solely about a cyclist's life, being part of a structure that, thanks to the Squinzi family's passion and very professional ways of doing things, enabled both myself and my team-mates to ride without pressure concentrating exclusively on the competitive aspects.
"I am leaving professional cycling as a winner fully aware of having given and received an awful lot from this sport and with the masterpiece of the Italian National Team at the World Championships of Zolder printed in my mind.
Known as "Il Pitone" ("The Python"), Scinto finishes his career with a total of nine victories - six of these while riding for M.G. Technogym and three for the Mapei-Quick Step team. In 1997 he was the first Italian to win the Tour of Langkawi and he also rode in five world championships, once as an amateur and four as a professional.
Orwell Christmas race to benefit Kieron Hammond's family
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Traditionally, the Hammond family have been on the organising side of cycling events for the Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club.
They have been an integral part of the club and its development down the years. In the 70's the club went through a sticky patch in relation to membership. It was suggested by the governing body of the day that they should amalgamate with another club. The late Noel Hammond set about a rebuilding programme and within a number of years his vision paid off handsomely and today they are very much one of the key clubs. Also they have a strong association with Stephen Roche who first started cycling with the club in the 1970's.
Keeping up with tradition, Aidan a brother of Kieron who died back in October, has taking on the task of organising the club's Christmas event.
"We are organising a 30 mile road race which will be handicapped. It is appropriate that we give everybody a sporting chance. The race HQ is the Grasshopper in Clonee, Co. Meath. Sign-on is from 10.30 and racing is scheduled to start with the hour. Also the club is holding a monster raffle with the main beneficiary being Kieron's wife, Linda, daughter Hazel 9 (years of age), son Peter (5 years of age),
"Literally the club have pulled out all the stops and there are a number of top prizes. Tickets will be on sale right up to the formalities with the road race presentation.
"Hopefully we will have a good turn out. From the racing aspect, I would expect that the limit group would do well and deny the big boys their day out," said Aidan.
If last Sunday's form in the Gentleman's Grand Prix in Bray was to be re-enacted, then you would have to place your bet on Colm Bracken from the Usher Irish Road Club coming up trumps.
The Orwell have decided that both, father Noel and son Kieron will share the same billing next May when races will be run in their memory. The Kelly/Roche Classic will now be the Kieron Hammond Junior Classic.
Tour de Georgia pulls out of Athens; Twilight lives on
By Kes Roberts in Athens, Georgia
More than any other city in Georgia, bikes are a part of everyday life here in Athens. Professional racers train here; many choose to bike for every-day transportation; and there are hundreds of weekend recreational riders. Why then is Athens being excluded from the inaugural Tour de Georgia bicycle race next year?
It was not supposed to be this way. When Governor Barnes first announced the race in January, the course had not been set. In June, race officials announced that Athens would be among the nine host cities for the race. In a surprising move last week, however, Tour officials announced that Athens would not be part of the race. Instead, the leg of the race scheduled to start in Dalton and end in Athens was changed to end in Gainesville.
The Tour de Georgia will be the first internationally-sanctioned stage race in the United States since the now-defunct Tour DuPont stopped running in 1996. In addition to bringing international racing to the state, it will raise money for the Georgia Cancer Coalition. The race begins next April 22 in Savannah and works its way through the state via Augusta, Macon, Columbus, Rome, Dalton and (until now) Athens and ultimately ends in Atlanta on April 27. The Dalton to Athens stage was scheduled for the same day as the Athens Twilight Criterium, a move that could have diluted the field at Twilight, but would have given fans twice as much cycling action here and provided better coverage for both events.
According to media reports, Tour de Georgia officials have stated that the change had to be made to comply with international cycling regulations. Tourism officials in Gainesville and Athens confirmed that they had been told that the Dalton to Athens route was 40 miles too long to be an acceptable mountain stage and had to be changed.
However, the race course - including the Athens stage - was set months ago and received official approval from the Switzerland-based Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the body that oversees international competitive cycling. A search of the UCI rules reveals nothing that would preclude the challenging Dalton to Athens route. In fact, the Tour DuPont, which many see as being the forerunner of the Tour de Georgia, included a number of stages at least as long and as mountainous as the one planned to end in Athens. If there is further explanation for the recent change, race officials are not forthcoming with it. Calls to the state officials responsible for the Tour were not returned, nor were calls to Threshold Sports, the Philadelphia-based promoter that Georgia has hired to put on the race.
Cycling fans are astonished. "I think it is incredible that the Tour would exclude Athens," says enthusiast Bob Thompson of Richmond, Virginia. "Athens, more than any other city in Georgia, has an obvious cycling culture, a proven record of supporting racing through businesses, spectators, and local government, and the city has the perfect demographics to pack the course with screaming fans."
Preparations for the Tour have long been underway here. Since early this year, a steering committee has been meeting to plan for Athens' role in the race. The expectation was that Athens could serve as a base for many of the thousands of out-of-state spectators during the week-long event. Calls to the Dalton and Gainesville tourism offices indicated that neither city has prepared for the Tour to the degree that Athens has.
"Naturally, we're very disappointed," says Chuck Jones, director of the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jones remains hopeful that future races will include Athens.
The change of plans will not affect the running of the 23rd annual Twilight Criterium. "Make no mistake about it," says Chee Ammen, director of next year's Criterium weekend, "Twilight will go on."
Gene Dixon, who started Twilight in 1980, admits that running the two events concurrently may draw some of the higher profile professional riders away from Twilight, but adds that the race will still be just as exciting for spectators and racers. Dixon further explains that once it was clear that the Tour de Georgia was committed to coming to Athens, both Tour de Georgia and Twilight decided that it was in their mutual interest to have the events coincide to draw more spectators to both events. Now that the Tour route has changed, some doubt whether there will be any benefit to having the two events running the same day. Indeed, the overlap could now be a liability to the successful Athens tradition of the Twilight Criterium.
Track cycling missing from Canada 2010 Commonwealth Games bid
After Singapore recently withdrew its bid, only Hamilton, Canada and New Delhi, India remain in the race to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games. But Hamilton's bid is lacking something in the cycling department, as Rob Jones of www.canadiancyclist.com reports.
You have probably heard by now that Hamilton won the battle with Halifax to become the Canadian bid city for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. At about the same time as this announcement was made, Singapore withdrew their bid, leaving New Delhi, India as the only current bid competitor.
While we are pleased at the possibility of this major event coming to Canada, we were shocked to find out that the bid does not include track cycling, which was not in the Halifax bid proposal either. The response from Hamilton bid people when we pointed out the omission was that track cycling is not a required sport. The required sports are athletics, swimming, lawn bowls, weightlifting (paralympic) and table tennis, so that is technically correct, but track cycling has been a part of the Commonwealth Games since 1934. The only Games not to have included track cycling was the first one, held in 1930 in, you guessed it: Hamilton!
Canadians have performed well on the track over the years, winning seven gold, six silver and nine bronze medals - 55 percent of the total cycling medals won by Canadians at the Games. Track has also proven to be a very popular sport with spectators and television, and with track cycling being an Olympic sport, the Commonwealth Games are a key stepping stone to Olympic results.
The Canadian Cycling Association has already expressed its concern to the Hamilton bid group, as has top track rider Curt Harnett. To add insult to injury, the bid group asked Curt to appear in a video for their bid, and were completely baffled when he was visibly annoyed.
The Hamilton bid cannot point to the cost as a huge stumbling block. An outdoor track of the quality used for the Victoria Games (1994) could be constructed for under $2 million. Not a drop in the bucket certainly, but relatively minor compared to the $75 million figure being thrown around for a sports complex.
The Hamilton bid committee says that the success of the Road Worlds next year (just prior to the awarding of the 2010 Games) will be a key factor in showing how well the city can put on a major event. What a backhanded compliment to use cycling to gain the Commonwealth Games, while ditching the sector of the sport that has the longest history in the Games itself.
It is time to start a campaign to get track cycling into the Hamilton bid. Write a letter stating your concern (attach this commentary, if you wish) and send it to:
Sheila Copps (Hamilton East MP and Canadian Heritage Minister) - Copps.S@parl.gc.ca
Chocolate Sol 2003
The Colombia-based Chocolate Sol under 23 team has announced its 2003 roster, which is little changed from 2002. Leaving the team are Félix Castro and Wilson Cepeda, who are both joining Loteria Boyacá, and coming aboard for 2003 is Ferney Bello.
Chocolate Sol 2003 team roster
Directeur sportif: Serafín Bernal
Gears Racing 2003
Canada's Gears Racing Institute (GRI) has announced the Gears Racing Road Team for 2003. The GRI is focusing its road team efforts in 2003 on its mentorship and development philosophy by pairing promising espoir athletes with experienced senior cyclists.
Returning to the team will be 2002 Provincial Espoir Road Race Champion Peter Sanowar, 2002 Provincial Espoir ITT Silver Medalist Warren Tilbrook, Chris Isaac and 2002 Provincial Pursuit and ITT medalist Michael Moore
Joining the team in 2003 will be Dan Maggiacomo and Dan Lefebvre. These two veterans of the road will join Michael Moore in providing positive team leadership and instituting a mentoring process to the espoir racers.
Dan Maggiacomo is returning to Canada after a year's absence attending teacher's college in Australia. Dan will provide a strong leadership role and add some depth to the climbing abilities displayed by both Warren Tilbrook and Chris Isaac. Dan is a seasoned veteran of the road competing for a number of years with the Jet Fuel/Sympatico team.
Dan Lefebvre is returning to racing after a 10 year absence to be part of a program that will benefit from his leadership and racing experience. Dan enjoyed great success in his cycling career as evidenced by his multiple Canadian National Championships.
Alongside these athletes will be the tandem duo of Craig deVeer and Richard Marsolais. In 2002, Craig and Richard met with great success: 1st, Paris - Ancaster Enduro; 2nd, National Time Trail Championships; 2nd, National Pursuit Championships; and National Kilo Champions. They are looking to build on this success in 2003 as they work toward inclusion in the national team for the Paralympics in Greece in 2004.
"We are very excited about the Gears Road Team in 2003", said GRI president Kevin Wallace. "It is our belief that focusing on the talents of select espoir racers by matching them with seasoned and experienced riders like Dan Maggiocomo, Dan Lefebvre, and Michael Moore will enable those young riders to fully develop into some of Canada's best road athletes."
The Gears Racing Road Team will be competing in events provincially and nationally within Canada, as well as select US and international events.
Gears will continue its support of the Mississauga Bicycle Racing Club, whose primary focus is competitive road racing.
Gears Racing 2003 road team roster
President: Kevin Wallace
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)