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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for July 20, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Lefevere manager of Quick-Step ?

According to VRT Belgium, Patrick Lefevere will change roles at the end of this season to become the manager of the new Quick Step team. Lefevere, currently with Domo-Farm Frites, was thought to be going to the Lotto-Domo combined team, until the news came from Quick Step boss Frans De Cock that he would be joining Quick Step.

Lefevere was the manager of the Mapei-Quick team until 2001, when he split with the Belgian riders to form Domo-Farm Frites.

However, Lefevere has strongly denied the rumour. He told that to the Belgian Radio 1 crew.

"This news had been released to create a stir. If it was true; I would have told the press myself. It is really annoying for me to have this happening in the middle of the Tour. On top of that, I have a dinner planned with the Domo people on Friday, you can understand this isn't funny right now," said Patrick Lefevere.

If Patrick Lefevere does continue with Domo, he'll have to talk things through with Robbie McEwen. Robbie McEwen heavily criticized Patrick Lefevere last year after the team director of Domo-Farm Frites decided to McEwen at home for the Tour. According to Lefevere the rider was experiencing a down period form-wise at that moment.

Financial manager Christophe Sercu really wants to keep McEwen, with whom his company The Pool already has a contract for next year. Sercu wants for Lefevere and McEwen to reconcile.

Suspension confirmed for Del Olmo

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed that Basque rider Txema del Olmo will be suspended for three years (with two years deferment) for the use of EPO. Del Elmo tested positive for the banned blood boosting substance on July 7, 2001 at the prologue of the Tour de France in Dunkirk. He was immediately fired by his Euskaltel-Euskadi team, but the Spanish Cycling Federation voted not to suspend him. This was protested by the UCI on December 20, 2001, who took the matter to the CAS.

In the meantime, the French Council for Prevention and Fight Against Doping (CPLD) voted to suspend him for three years, applicable to races on French territory only.

Finally, last Tuesday the CAS announced their decision in the Del Olmo case, declaring that he was guilty of intentional doping, which means a minimum suspension of one year. That means he will not be able to compete again until March 2003.

Saeco for upcoming races

The Saeco-Longoni Sport team has a busy weekend of racing in Italy, with the G.P. Rio Saliceto e Correggio on Saturday in the Emilia region and then the G.P. Nobili Rubinetterie at Suno on Sunday. Directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli will have his "enfant prodige" Damiano Cunego for the Saliceto race. The young Italian rider has already won two races in his first season as a professional with Saeco-Longoni Sport and will be looking for another on Saturday.

The Saeco-Longoni Sport team will also include the other young talent Leonardo Bertagnolli, along with Biagio Conte, Nicola Gavazzi, Andrea Tonti, Alessio Galletti, Lithuanian rider Marius Sabaliauskas and American Justin Spinelli.

Salvatore Commesso will also be in action, riding the GP Nobili Rubinetterie. The new Italian national champion has already won three consecutive races (the Italian title, Trofeo Matteotti and the Giro d’Abruzzo) but he is still hungry for wins and looking for his fourth success of the season. As well as Commesso and Cunego, the team for the race will include Bertagnolli, Gavazzi, Spinelli, Galletti, Tonti and Oscar Mason.

Mapei-Quick Step for upcoming races

July 20 - 9th G.P.Città di Rio Saliceto e Correggio, Italy

Riders : Paolo Bettini, Dario Cioni, Cadel Evans, Paolo Fornaciari, Kevin Hulsmans, Luca Scinto, DS: Fabrizio Fabbri.

July 21 - 5th G.P.Nobili e Rubinetterie, Italy

Riders : Paolo Bettini, Dario Cioni, Cadel Evans, Paolo Fornaciari, Kevin Hulsmans, Luca Scinto, Charly Wegelius. DS: Roberto Damiani

AXA goes on

Dutch division III team AXA-VvZ has guaranteed sponsorship from AXA in 2003, according to a spokesman from the company. In addition, there is an option to extend through until the end 2004.

The news comes as a relief to team manager Ton Welling, who feared that his sponsors may pull out in the wake of the Björn Cornelissen doping affair (he was positive for nandrolone, which he claimed was present in a contaminated food supplement). Although co-sponsor VvZ has not renewed as yet, there is a possibility that Hitachi will be back.

Savoldelli and Commesso in 5th GP Nobili Rubinetterie

Some of the top riders in Italian cycling will be present at Sunday's GP Nobili Rubinetterie, run for the fifth time this year. Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia) will start, as well as Italian national champion Salvatore Commesso (Saeco), Paolo Bettini Cadel Evans (Mapei-Quick Step), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago-Landbouwkredit) Denis Lunghi and Vladimir Smirnov (Colpack), the latter being the defending champion. Altogether 13 nations are represented.

The race, organised by AC Arona and Massimo Perucco and Antonio Bertinotti, will be disputed around a circuit in Suno, including Mot Iscit, Mot Ziflon, Mezzomerico, Oleggio, Castelletto di Momo and Vaprio D'Agogna. The 19.7 km parcours is predominantly flat and will have to be completed nine times for a total of 177.3 kilometres. The start is at 12:15 on Via Matteotti.

Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia preview

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

Malaysian cycling fans and enthusiasts are in for another treat as the clock counts down for the inaugural Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia.

Abbreviated it will be simply known as GAMUDA ETOM 2002. It will provide the opportunity in particular for Asian riders to excel and gain valuable experience competing in an international cycling arena of high class competition.

The inaugural edition of GAMUDA Eagle Tour of Malaysia, which offers total prize money of RM200,000 (US$52,000) is scheduled to take to the roads in Langkawi Island from August 14 to 18. The race, organized by local event company Clear Mission Sdn Bhd, is classified as a 2.6 race under the Union Cycliste Internationale's (UCI) calendar.

Following the success of Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi, Malaysia is now gaining popularity as one of the popular cycling nations in Asia capable of organizing world-class cycling events comparable to some of the major races in Europe. While Tour de Langkawi has stabilized itself with increasing interest from top European teams and riders over the years, the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia 2002 will be a race competed by mostly Asians.

According to Clear Mission Sdn Bhd Executive Chairman Datuk Wan Lokman Dato' Paduka Wan Ibrahim, while Tour de Langkawi has sports tourism as one of it agenda, the main objective of the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia was to provide Asian riders and teams with a more competitive race and promote cycling in the region.

"This is in line with our aim of providing a competitive race for Asian riders - it is part of our efforts to promote and develop the sport in the country and Asia," said Datuk Wan Lokman.

"At the rate the Tour de Langkawi is going now, there'll be a time where Asian riders will be left out. The Eagle Tour is designed and organized to fill up the gap if the standard of TDL eventually goes up very high." said Datuk Wan Lokman.

He also said that there is a possibility that the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia will be used as a qualifying competition for Asian teams to gain their berths in the future Tour de Langkawi races.

A total of 20 teams with six riders are team are expected to see action in the inaugural race to be held in various parts of Langkawi. The races include a time trail, the round-the-island race, the climb up to Gunung Raya and a criterium in Kuah Town.

Datuk Wan Lokman also said the race was meant to go to places where the Tour de Langkawi is missed. The fact that the Tour de Langkawi is now shortened to 10 days will mean that certain parts of the country will be left out every year if this is not done. Meanwhile, Datuk Hishammuddin applauded Clear Mission's effort to organize the race, saying that it would help lift the standard of cyclists and the sport in the country.

GAMUDA, one of the anchor sponsors and long time supporter of Le Tour de Langkawi, has again stepped forward to play the leading role by being the Title Sponsor. Other sponsors include Malaysia Airlines, PROTON, MILO, Motorola and RTM is the host broadcaster.

Capitol City Criterium in downtown Lincoln

Sunday, August 18, 2002 marks the return of competitive cycling to downtown Lincoln. The Runza Cycling Team and Junior Cycling Productions are presenting the 2002 Capitol City Criterium.

The event will feature six separate bicycle races for riders of all ages and abilities. Riders will race around the Nebraska State Capitol Building for a set time period based on their skill level. The course is approximately 0.75 miles in length and utilizes the streets surrounding the State Capitol, including K, 16th, G, 15th, H and 14th.

On-site registration for the race(s) is available during the event day.

For more information, please contact Race Director, John M. Lefler, Jr. at 402-499-2065 or via e-mail johnleflerjr@hotmail.com.

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