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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for July 18, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under 2003 launched

By Khairunnisa Schebella

While the rest of the cycling world is focused on the greatest race of all unfolding across the length and breadth of France, the home grown bike race that excites Australia has been busy preparing for its 5th edition next January. On the first rest day of the Tour de France, as the remaining riders transfer by plane and the rest of the race entourage dart the mad 500km trek south to Bordeaux along the Motorway, the folk in Adelaide were enjoying a taste of a Jacob's Creek Top Drop and getting the low down on the 2003 Jacob' s Creek Tour Down Under.

A prologue to the international season, the JCTDU, announced today at the National Wine Centre its revamped race route for next year's event. A change to the traditional Saturday Barossa Stage and a host of new initiatives for the public to enjoy, the new parcours augurs another breath of life into an already exciting event.

With the recent change of state government, and rumblings of cut backs to South Australia's major events, it was a relief to see both the Premier Mike Rann and Tourism Minister (and ex Adelaide City Mayor) Jane Lomax-Smith in attendance supporting the growth and continuance of the JCTDU. The Tourism Minister on her knees and the Premier throwing his leg over a Daccordi no less!

In her address to the media and corporate representatives Mrs Lomax-Smith was keen to stress what an important event the 'iconic' JCTDU was to the South Australian community. With community development an integral priority of the Labour government agenda, the Minister announced a number of new side events directly focused on further engaging the public in the race.

New initiatives in 2003

Firstly, Adelaide Major Events have developed 'Club Tour' which offers its members exclusive access to viewing platforms at Stages 1 and 6, the Club Tour Bar at the Hilton, club shirt and cap, race credentials, free drinks, a club newsletter and plenty of other goodies. The first 50 punters to book and join the 'in' crowd will also be invited to the Team Presentation in January at the Hilton. Get on the bunch quickly for this on by calling Lesley O'Grady on 618 8463 4702 to book your spot or check the official website on for more details.

If you don't just want to swan around the race with a chardonnay (and why wouldn't you? a red maybe?) why not test your legs and join Bicycle SA on the 'Break-Away Tour'. On Stage 2 cyclists can ride the 140km Barossa course to Kapunda ahead of the race, a l'Etape de Tour. Thankfully it's not the Mont Ventoux although Menglers is still a bit of a mongrel. This will be a family friendly event and one and all are invited to join it for fun or pit yourself against the clock. (You can always stop off for a chardonnay at the feed zone in Angaston!)

If you are even more serious than this and in the well-aged (over 35) vintage called veterans, the South Australian Veteran Cycling Council has expanded its annual Strathalbyn race to a 3 race classic series over the period on the Tour. Race the race then watch the race, and if you are really keen you can even race back to town with the dozens of cyclists that follow the tour on bike. Jacob's Creek are sponsoring the series with prize money so get your nominations in and get training! Check the official web-site for nomination forms or call Wolfgang Harder on 618 8536 3028 to get the full details

Race 1 - January 23: 03 Kapunda Crit
Race 2 - January 24: 60km Road Race
Race 3 - January 25: Willunga Straight Line Sprint

Also new in 2003 is the Corporate Hospitality initiative allowing businesses to purchase packages that offer exclusive viewing platforms on Stages 1 and 6. A great way to reward your workers and schmooze some new clients! Of course the Tour Village, and on Stage 6, the food and wine festival and after race concert still remain as in years before.

The Race Route 2003

Race Director and former LA Olympic Gold Medallist, Mike Turtur announced the changes stating the 6 stage format will remain the same with a slightly shorter distance overall at 735 km.

Stage 1: Tues 21 January, East End Adelaide Street Race - 50km

The very popular East End Adelaide Street Race of the 1st TDU in 1999 returns with a reverse 25 laps of a 2km Rymill Park circuit ensuring the East End hub of cafes, restaurants, parklands and inner city dwellers get the night of year in their backyard. A nice little technical hairpin corner just after the start/finish line will add some spice to the prologue.

Stage 2: Wed 22 January, Jacob’s Creek to Kapunda - 140km

Something different this time around, the start being staged from a 'location' rather than a town. The new Orlando Cellar Door facility, which officially opens in September, will host not only the start of the Barossa Stage but also a big brekkie for those on the 'Break-Away Tour'. Jacob's Creek new $5 million Visitor Centre will not only offer wine tasting but also a restaurant and café, an interactive gallery and cellar door sales. Extreme heat in the valley and numbers down last year prompted the organisers to experiment with moving this stage to a week-day. With the Break-Away Tour a few hours ahead of the main race it should be a great day of cycling. From Jacobs Creek the race heads south to Sandy Creek, Williamstown, Mount Pleasant for the first Intermediate Sprint at 45.9km, Eden Valley at 62.7k for the second, Angaston for a feed station and then up Menglers Hill at 103k for the KOM.

This year only offers one chance to get ahead on Menglers so it should pressure the riders to try to breakaway earlier. After a loop back down to Angaston the race then flies straight on to Greenock and Kapunda for the finish. Kapunda is well known not only for its wines but its copper mining, ghosts and Catholic priests. The mind boggles.

Stage 3: Thurs 23 January, Glenelg to Hahndorf - 164km

Back to town again for a beach-side start at Glenelg where the riders will cruise through Adelaide via Anzac Highway and Main North Road for a 22km neutral zone. (Good time to tag on the back!) Once they pass the Adelaide Super-Drome at Gepps Cross the Race Director will drop the flag and off they'll go up the duel carriageway to Elizabeth. The peloton then heads east into the Adelaide Hills bound for the only KOM on this stage, Checker Hill at 42.k, a nasty little climb that should split the field early. The race then heads due south through undulating terrain full of orchards, vineyards, pubs and bakeries! The first Intermediate Sprint will be contested at Mount Torrens at 62.4k and the second at Oakbank at 81.7k. The race swings around the valley of the first free European settlements in Australia through Hahndorf, Littlehampton, Inverbrackie and back to Woodside, where it retraces the route back to Hahndorf for a big Oom Pah Pah finish.

Stage 4: Fri 24 January, Unley to Goolwa - 144 km

Friday's Stage will commence from the pavé and elegance of King William Road in Unley Park. After the annual pre-race street party the night before you may find a few hung-over shop-keepers but rest assured they will still be buzzing and last minute tinkering with their window displays and decorations. Wander up and down the street, have a yummy brekkie at one of the cafés and check out the legendary art and photo displays at the Art Bin. After the race winds up Glen Osmond Road in the neutral zone to the Old Toll Gate, it heads off through the Heyson Tunnel and into the quaint Adelaide Hills towns of Sterling, Aldgate, to Echunga for the first Intermediate Sprint at 26k and southeast down to the Fleurieu Peninsula.

After Strathalbyn the race heads into new territory and more excellent wine country for the 2nd sprint at Langhorne Creek at 64.8 km then due south along the windy lake area roads to Milang for the Feed zone and back across to Goolwa via Finniss and Currency Creek.

The stage finishes in Goolwa after a loop through surfing and whale watching mecca Middleton. In Middleton the races switches north again and heads up the crushing MacFarlane Hill for the KOM at 132.7 km and a very quick descent and sprint finish.

Stage 5: Sat 25 January, Willunga to Willunga - 147km

Last year a circuit stage was introduced through the beach area of Aldinga to the delight of the local community. This year they are being rewarded again for there support with the race arriving on the weekend with a similar course, three laps around the area including an Old Willunga Hill start and finish and visits through McLaren Vale. Snapper Point at Aldinga Beach provides the Intermediate Sprints, the first on lap two at 58.8k and the second at 100.7 km.

On the last lap riders will tackle Old Willunga Hill for the KOM at 127.4 km, head up Range and Penny's Hill road and then down fast into Willunga for the finish. This could be the decisive stage that determines the final winner.

Stage 6: Sun 26 January, Adelaide City Council Circuit - 90km

The Grande Finale comes back home to Adelaide and follows the same lightening speed 20 lap circuit as in previous years. Laps 10 and 15 count for KOM bonuses up Montefiore Hill and laps 8 and 12 will bring home the final Intermediate Sprint points and time bonuses. The finish outside the Adelaide Festival Centre will see the final showdown and determine the outcome of what promises to be a great 6 days of racing.

After the World Championships and the European season is over race organisers will get down to the serious business of talking teams. The total of teams will remain at 12 with 9 or 10 from Europe and the UniSA and United Water Under 23 teams making a comeback.

As a sprinters race in the early season and with the success of Kirsipuu, McEwen, Cooke, McGee, O'Grady and others, the race is proving that early season racing can carry form throughout the year and into the Grand Tours. With this in mind it should be a cracker of a line-up in a cracker of a race. See you there!

Malaysian Government support for Le Tour de Langkawi to continue

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Cycling remains very high on the agenda of the Malaysian Government. In the last number of days they have come out to reinforce their support for an event which has gripped the nation in the last few years. Particularly this year with live broadcasts of the Le Tour it was noticeable that there was an awareness of a major international event taking place.

The Government will continue to support the Le Tour de Langkawi international bicycle race as the event had introduced Malaysia to the world in a very positive way, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"This event is very important, it is even more important than the F1 because Le Tour de Langkawi promotes the many different venues in the country whereas F1 is only confined to the track.

"We are able to capitalize on the worldwide publicity that this race generates and I hope that our host broadcasters would be able to do more to further publicise this annual race event," said Dr. Mahathir.

In his brief speech at the appreciation luncheon for tour staff and sponsors of the Le Tour de Langkawi 2002 at the JW Marriot Hotel here, the Prime Minister expressed hope that the people's interest in the annual event could be further developed, similar to the "football craze".

He also thanked the sponsors of the event for their meaningful contributions.

"This is one unique corporate culture in Malaysia that we always there to enable us to have world-class event right at our doorstep."

Later, at the same venue, Dr Mahathir officially launched the Le Tour de Langkawi 2003 and gave away prizes to winners of the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi 2002 Grand Quiz.

The quiz was aired on TV1 in conjunction with the race which was held between Feb 1 and Feb 10. The grand prize, a Proton Waja, was won by 16-year-old student Aliff Radzuan Mohd Radzi, from Selayang.

Also present was First Cartel Sdb Bhd executive chairman Datuk Wan Lokman Wan Ibrahim, Telekom Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Radzi Mansor and other corporate leaders. First Cartel is the organizer of the race, while Telekom Malaysia is the principal sponsor.

Acqua e Sapone to continue

With Mario Cipollini's announcement of retirement, citing dissatisfaction with the support of the sponsors of his Acqua & Sapone team, the prospects of bringing in additional sponsorship for the team has become a point of interest.

The team is currently guaranteed funding through 2003, though any additional sponsorship that might be added to coax Mario's return to the fold is purely speculation at this point, according to Vincenzo Santoni, General Manager of the team. He does note, however, that Cipollini's contract with the team expires in 2003.

Mario Aerts will ride for Telekom

Lotto-Adecco's Mario Aerts will change teams to ride for Telekom next season. The talented Belgian winner of this year's La Fleche Wallonne said that he had "already signed a preliminary contract with Telekom."

27 year old Aerts believes that he is not appreciated enough - either by the press or his team. "That's the reason I am leaving Lotto," he said in an interview on the rest day. He hopes to finish in the top 20 on GC in the Tour, or win a stage.

De Weert turns pro with Rabobank

Belgian rider Kevin De Weert has signed a two year professional contract with Rabobank. De Weert currently rides for Rabobank's U23 squad, and will start his full contract at the beginning of next year. After his performances these past two seasons, he was also courted by the Mapei and Cofidis teams.

Stive Vermaut is allowed to race

After a visit to professor Wilfrid Kindermann in Saarbrücken, Stive Vermaut has been reassured that his heart problems are not serious enough to prevent him from racing. Vermaut has been out of competition since March when he first found out about the problems. His Lotto-Adecco team refused to have him back in the team, but now he has a place in the Palmans-Collstrop squad, courtesy of Noël Demeulenaere.

"I'm glad with this result," said Vermaut. "After a bad period I hope to be back at the end of July in West-Vlaanderen."

Tougher rules mean higher incidence of doping cases in France

Cases of drugs in sports in France still high, according to a recent report released by the CPLD (Council for Prevention and Fight Against Doping). The CPLD collated the results from 2989 analyses carried out by the national anti-doping laboratory of Chatenay-Malabry for the period January 1 - June 7. They found that 210 athletes, including 47 cyclists, had tested positive for a banned substance. The proportion is higher this year than in the first half of 2001, when there were 202 positives out of a sample of 4417 athletes.

French drug laws are a lot stricter than in other countries, although organisations such as WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) are trying to unify this.

Koersen will leave Bert Story-Piels

Egbert Koersen will leave the Dutch team Bert Story-Piels at the end of 2002 after his contract was not extended for 2003. His probable successor is Jan van Dam, from the AXA team. According to a team communique, both parties' visions for the future were not the same.

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