News for December 30, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Cyclingnews reader poll: Best male and female track riders
Today's installment of the Cyclingnews reader poll reveals who you thought were the Best Male Track Rider and Best Female Track Rider of 2002. In the next few days the best road riders will be published, followed by your choice of Legend of Cycling and Rider of the Year.
Ullrich to decide on January 15
Jan Ullrich will make a decision about his future team on January 15 next year, according to his manager Wolfgang Strohband. Ullrich has an offer from the Danish CSC team, which has been hunting for his signature ever since Ullrich announced he was leaving Telekom. However so far team manager Bjarne Riis has not been persuasive enough to lure Ullrich into his net.
The 20 man team, which was presented on Saturday in Herning, is trying not to let Ullrich-mania get to it. "Bjarne and I are determined to focus on the preparation of the riders so that they are more competitive," said CSC's sports director Alex Pedersen to Ritzau newsagency. "It is true that we have made an offer to Ullrich, but that was before Christmas."
Ullrich's manager Strohband says that there are several teams bidding for the German, including CSC and Team Coast. "It's not only a matter of CSC or Coast, there are also other offers," he said to SID.
Jiménez in training
Spanish climber José Maria Jiménez is back in training, after more than a year's absence from competition. 'El Chava' as he is known, has been suffering from depression ever since the 2001 Vuelta España in which he performed outstandingly, winning three stages and the mountains jersey. Despite having a contract this year with iBanesto.com, he did not turn a pedal in anger, and few believed that he would be a professional cyclist again.
However, a year of intense psychiatric therapy combined with support from his girlfriend Azucena and other close friends, has seen Jiménez pull himself out of the hole. He is still taking anti-depressants, but is training regularly and hopes to re-sign with his old team, iBanesto.com, which recently gave him a new bike to replace his old one that had broken.
In an interview with AS, Jiménez said that he wants to ride the Tour de France and the Vuelta again, and even bet that he would win a stage in the Tour this year. He says he is "a great deal better, I feel incredibly well after being in the pit of despair as I have been. This has been the salvation. I am climbing the mountains as never before."
He added that he is training between two and four hours per day, and will start to increase the intensity of his rides. "I have already lost a great deal [of weight], but that is not a problem. I just have to lose a little bit more of the belly."
Jiménez knows that he is not completely cured, and realises that "with this illness, you never know if you can have a relapse." But he also needs something positive to aim at, hence the goals of riding the Tour and the Vuelta again.
He will stay in Maspalomas near his family until he starts racing again, but does not know yet when that will be.
Meares taken out in Devonport scratch race
By Gerard Knapp
The final event on day one of the two-day Devonport Christmas Carnival saw Australia's female track cyclist of the year, Kerrie Meares, suffer a frightening spill at over 50kmh as the field in the C Grade scratch race launched into the bell lap.
As the mixed field which included juniors, women and wily veteran riders sped past the finish line, Meares front wheel was clipped, putting her onto the track and hard up against the steel panelled fencing. The St John's Ambulance medical staff were on hand immediately and officials warned away riders who came sprinting in for the finish of the race as Meares lay motionless only metres past the line.
Initial prognosis was that no bones were broken, although a neck brace was fitted as precautionary measure before she was taken to hospital for further tests.
It was a dramatic end to what had been another day of brilliant performances on the slightly banked, 485 metre concrete track, as the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series had moved to the outdoor Devonport Oval on Sunday, December 29, for the first of two days of competition.
Zijlaard-Van Moorsel Rotterdam's sportswoman of 2002
Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel has been named sportswoman 2002 of the city of Rotterdam. She took the prize from last year's winner and fellow cyclist Sissy van Alebeek. It's the fourth time that Zijlaard-Van Moorsel has won this title. She has also won four national 'Sportswoman of the Year' titles.
In the Rotterdam competition Zijlaard-Van Moorsel beat Indra Angad Gaur and Mia Audina. The other awards went to Raemon Sluiter (tennis) and Feyenoord (soccer).
Ethiopian rider for Amore e Vita
20 year old Ethiopian Samuele Teffashi will join the Amore e Vita team as a neo-professional next season. Teffashi is one of the few black African riders in the peloton, following on from Kenyan Duncan Seko, who rode with RDM-Flanders in 2002 but did not get a new contract.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)