News for December 23, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Vuelta Femenina on the drawing board
Women's cycling could have another major national tour, if the proposed Vuelta Femenina in Spain comes off. The race would be held between April 3-12, and all that is required to make it a reality is sponsorship to the tune of 180,000 euros.
According to a report in Spanish sports daily AS, all the other aspects of the race have been sorted out, such as UCI approval, TV coverage, route, and the dates. The project is being organised by Comunicación, Deporte y Promoción, a sports promotion company that also runs the men's amateur race, Vuelta a León.
The total budget of the event was estimated at 1 million euros, but the organisers estimated that they could run the Vuelta Femenina with 750,000 euros. However for this to happen, they still need 180,300 euros, and the search is continuing for a major sponsor. If the race goes ahead, it will be good news for women's cycling in Spain (and in general), with three Spanish women's teams hoping that this will be the case.
Ramsauer over 50%
Swiss rider Jan Ramsauer was prevented from starting in the second round of the cyclo-cross World Cup in Kalmthout, Belgium, due to a high hematocrit level. The Swiss was one of the riders tested by the UCI in the morning before the race, along with riders from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Ramsauer will undergo a mandatory two week suspension from racing for health reasons.
Quick Step injuries
The season has not yet begun but the Quick Step-Davitamon team already has a few riders who are unable to train due to sickness and injury. Het Nieuwsblad reports that Frédéric Amorison has a painful knee, Bram Tankink has a pulled muscle, and Kevin Hulsmans is sick with bronchitis.
Boifava and Mercatone Uno?
One of Marco Pantani's first direttore sportivi, Davide Boifava, has been contacted by Pantani's Mercatone Uno team to act in that capacity again. According to team president Romano Cenni, Boifava has accepted the job subject to a few conditions. He hopes to build a "serene and professional environment" so that Pantani can perform at his best again in the team.
Tour of South China Sea preview
By Anthony Tan
The final UCI event of 2002, the 7th Tour of South China Sea, begins on Christmas Day in Hong Kong, on Hong Kong Island.
In a bustling, tropical city of over seven million people, measuring just 1,092 square kilometres, bicycle racing is normally the last thing on the minds of the Hong Kong locals. The south-east Asian city is better known for being a shopping Mecca for clothes, electronics, toys and watches, as well as a fantastic place for sightseeing.
While the locals feared the country would lose much of its identity after the Chinese takeover on July 1, 1997, China's socialist economic structure has not been imposed on the city, and Hong Kong continues to retain much of its old-world charm.
Interestingly, Hong Kong is the city where a very cosmopolitan David Millar from the French squad Cofidis spent much of his early childhood, often racing his BMX on weekends. Millar has come some way since then, supported by a handful of cycling fanatics in a somewhat cycle-unfriendly country.
After two days in Hong Kong, consisting of a 108km criterium and a 128km road race, the Tour of South China Sea heads north to the People's Republic of China, into the city of Shenzhen - pronounced sum-jun in Mandarin, the official language in mainland China.
A 72km criterium is followed by another 100km criterium in Zhongshan the next day, west of Shenzhen. On December 29, following in the footsteps of this year's World Road Championships in Zolder, a 108km criterium is held on the Zuihai Grand Prix motor racing circuit before a transfer to Macau.
It may be attached to China's mainland, however Macau is in fact a city of Portugal, and with fake-goods galore, a horse racing track and a casino, it's a shopping and gambler's paradise - but not much else.
Your best bet would be to watch the penultimate stage of the Tour of South China Sea, a 108km circuit race through the streets of Coloane (no, that's not a misspelling for men's aftershave).
Finally, on New Year's Eve, the Tour heads to the racetrack for a 66km criterium around the Macau jockey club, where, if you have a keen eye, you may see a few under the table bets exchanged.
After the final presentations on New Year's Eve, it's time to party all the way into 2003!
Stage 1 - December 25: Criterium, Admiralty, Central, Hong Kong, 105
Teams for Jayco Geelong Bay Cycling Classic 2003
The teams and riders have been announced for the Jayco Geelong Bay Cycling Classic, which will be held between January 8-12, 2003. 14 teams have been announced, featuring the cream of Australian cycling with more than a smattering of overseas talent.
Last year's winner Robbie McEwen will head up the Crown team, which includes Nick Gates, Jason Phillips and the Stockwell brothers. McEwen will no doubt have some strong competition from Baden Cooke, the Sun Tour winner who will lead the Jayco-VIS squad with Matt Wilson, Simon Gerrans, David Pell and David Tanner.
Stuart O'Grady, looking to sharpen his form for the Australian championships, will be another of the top riders present, in charge of the Skilled team which features the Sweet brothers, Corey and Jay, as well as B.J. McIntosh and Paul Redenbach.
The Flanders-iteamNova.com will come off its pre-season training camp in Victoria hoping to get a good start to the year in Geelong. Led by David McKenzie, the team looks solid and hungry. Sprinters Hilton Clarke and Jeremy Hunt will lead the SBR (Swim-Bike-Run) team, and are sure to figure in the placings throughout the series.
FDJ-NSWIS manager/rider Rod McGee is in good condition, and he will need to be to keep an eye on his riders. Mark Renshaw, Stephen Wooldridge, Chris Sutton and Chris Pascoe are all strong criterium riders, backed by a lot of speed from the track.
West Australian Henk Vogels will head up the Bicycle Superstore/Victorian State Home Loans team, which features Victorians Tom Leaper, Tim Decker, Andrew Graham and Simon Walker. Brett Aitken, Ben Brooks, Brent Dawson, Mark Jamieson and Adam Murchie will also try to make an impression with the Drapac Property/Beasley Cycles team.
Great Britain is sending a national team, including Steven Cummings and Tom Southam, and there will be some more international flavour in the Dolce Vita squad, including Roberto Gaggioli (Ita), Chad Gerlach (USA) and Martin Garrido (Arg).
Look out too for Rob Crowe (TAC/Victoria Police) and other riders such as Klayten Smith, Cody Stevenson and the Yates brothers Jeremy and Matthew.
LA Grand Prix announced
The first ever Los Angeles Grand Prix will be held over Labor Day weekend in 2003. The 120 mile (193 km) race will consist of 15 laps of an 8 mile (13 km) circuit, including three climbs per lap, the toughest being the 8% ascent of Chalk Hill. The race is being billed as an important precursor to the Cycling World Championships, which will be held in Hamilton, Canada in early October. It hopes to emulate the success of the San Francisco Grand Prix in September.
The LA Grand Prix will serve as the finale of a three day community festival that will include a Concert, a 5/10K Run for charity, a Criterium, Consumer Expo, a Junior cycling race, and other Celebrity/Charity events. The event is supported by the City of LA.
NZ 2003 National Mountain Bike Series
New Zealand's National Mountain Bike Series will kick off in 2003 with Downhill races at Cardrona on January 8. The races will take place in the South and North islands, with the last race (Cross Country) being held in Auckland on March 9.
Many of the country's top riders will be participating, including Vanessa Quin (Ranked 7th in the world for downhill), Nathan Rankin (current NZ downhill champ), Susy Pryde (silver medallist cross country Commonwealth Games), Robyn Wong (cross country series winner 2002), Stuart Houltham (Cross Country series winner 2002) and Jason Clement (NZ Champion), as well as international competition from Canada and the UK.
Downhill Cross Country Cardrona, January 8 Wanaka, January 11 Cardrona, January 12 Nelson, January 19 Nelson, January 18 Levin, January 26 Rotorua, February 2 Tokoroa, February 9 Auckland, March 8 Auckland, March 9
Kalev Chocolate Team
Kalev, the biggest and the oldest sweet factory in Estonia, will sponsor a professional mountain bike team next season. As teams go, Kalev will be on the small side with just one rider, Sigvard Kukk, on its roster. The team will be managed by Jüri Savitski, formerly of the Kayaba-Yema team.
The Kalev Chocolate team hopes to do well in the Estonian and Swedish UCI MTB events, with the ultimate goal of contesting the World Cup races in Europe. Other sponsors include Merida, Nokian Tires, Pedros, Race Face, Time and Cratoni
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)