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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for July 25, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Pantani ready to quit

Marco Pantani is reportedly on the verge of retiring, despite the fact that Mercatone Uno want to stay sponsoring his team, with him as the leader. He is not training, will probably not race again this season, and is seriously thinking of stopping completely.

"I am sorry to leave in this manner," he said. "Above all because my pride dictates that I should achieve some significant result before I say enough. But I can't face it: I have been massacred unjustly."

Pantani recently won his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have a ban for doping lifted, arising from the 2001 Giro d'Italia. Investigators reportedly found a syringe containing insulin in his hotel room, but they could not produce sufficient evidence to determine that the syringe was in fact his.

The decision is not final yet, but he could follow Mario Cipollini into retirement in relatively sensational style.

Rolf S°rensen retires

37 year old Danish rider Rolf S°rensen (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has decided to retire, effective immediately, according to Belgian teletekst. S°rensen debuted as a professional in 1986, riding for Murella, Remac, Ceramiche Ariostea, Carrera, GB-MG, MG-Technogym, Rabobank, CSC-Tiscali, and Landbouwkrediet-Colnago throughout his long and successful career.

S°rensen won 59 races in his career, including the Tirreno-Adriatico twice, Paris-Tours, LiŔge-Bastogne-LiŔge, Rund um den Henninger Turm, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Danmark Rundt, Ronde van Nederland, Paris-Bruxelles, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Milano-Torino, Coppa Bernocchi twice, two stages in the Tour de France, and a stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Geert Omloop extends with Palmans-Collstrop

Geert Omloop has extended his contract with Palmans-Collstrop for another year. Omloop has won three kermesses so far this season in Wielsbeke, Sint-Niklaas and Dentergem.

Hunter signs for Rabobank

According to Dutch NOS TV, Robert Hunter has signed a two year contract with the Rabobank team. The South African sprinter currently rides for Mapei-Quick Step.

Vandenbroucke back in the Tour de la RÚgion Wallonne

Frank Vandenbroucke will make his nth return to competition in the Tour de la RÚgion Wallonne, which begins next Monday, July 29. The flawed genius of Belgian cycling will be riding in Domo colours again, having successfully avoided a six month suspension for possession of banned substances.

In addition, Vandenbroucke, along with Richard Virenque and Johan Museeuw, are considered strong prospects to follow Patrick Lefevere across to Quick Step-Davitamon-Latexco.

O'Bee released from Navigators

The Navigators team has, in accordance with team policy, "released Kirk O'Bee from his contractual obligations, effective immediately."

The US Anti-Doping Agency reported recently that O'Bee had returned a high ratio for testosterone-epitestosterone following the 2001 USPRO Championships. USADA suspended O'Bee for a period of one year, effective from July 15, 2002.

The Navigators issued a statement saying that "subsequent testing and analysis by the USADA, as well as a private laboratory, found no evidence of banned substances, methods or exogenous testosterone (ie: anabolic steroids). Elevated t/e ratios can be considered an indication of abnormal endocrine function."

A rider can request an endocrinological examination to determine if the level is due to a physiological or pathological state, according to UCI rules. "The agreement between USADA and Mr. O'Bee also includes additional future endocrinological exams, which may affect the sanctions taken against Kirk. "

However, the Navigators state that "a review of the examinations undertaken by Kirk as a member of the Navigators Cycling Team, show testosterone levels that are not only within UCI guidelines, but are in the low-normal range for the general population."

Volta ao Portugal stages

  • Stage 1 - August 2: Maia-Maia team time trial, 11.7 km
  • Stage 2 - August 3: Fafe-Fafe, 172.9 km
  • Stage 3 - August 4: Gaia-Gaia, 169.2 km
  • Stage 4 - August 5: Penafiel-Favaios, 166.4 km
  • Stage 5 - August 6: Alijˇ-Senhora da Graša, 162.2 km
  • Rest Day - August 7
  • Stage 6 - August 8: Mondim de Basto-Cantanhede, 205.2 km
  • Stage 7 - August 9: GÔndara-Castelo Branco, 181.1 km
  • Stage 9 - August 11: Belmonte-Torre, 181 km
  • Stage 10 - August 12: CovilhŃ-Portalegre, 161.5 km
  • Stage 11 - August 13: Portalegre-Badajoz, 154.3 km
  • Stage 12 - August 14: Badajoz-Beja, 179.4 km
  • Stage 13 - August 15: Queluz-Sintra mountain TT, 23.9 km

Total: 1,951.5 km

Courtesy of Rui MC Silva/

18 Teams Confirmed for Eagle Tour of Malaysia 2002

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

Iran and Japan will certainly be under spotlight when they compete in the inaugural Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia 2002 in Langkawi next month. Both teams have automatically installed themselves as the favourites for this five-day race from August 14-18.

The two teams, which have over the years unearthed a number of Asian champions, are among 18 teams to have confirmed participation in the race. The Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia 2002, ranked 2.6 under the Union Cycliste Internationale's calendar, offers a total prize money of RM200,000 (US$52,000).

According to the race organizers Clear Mission Sdn Bhd, more than 100 riders are expected to pit their skills in the event, which include a time trial, two round the island races, a climb up to Gunung Raya and a criterium in Kuah Town.

"The response has been very encouraging and there are a few more teams who have expressed keen interest to take part. Basically, we have a good mixture of teams for the race," said Clear Mission Sdn Bhd Executive Chairman Datuk Wan Lokman Dato' Paduka Wan Ibrahim.

Hosts Malaysia will be represented by four teams namely the Malaysian national Team (Malaysia national Cycling Federation), Team KL, Selangor Sweet Nice Team and Team NSC (National Sport Council). Meanwhile, China, a regular in the Tour de Langkawi, has also confirmed their participation along with Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Mongolia.

Five teams from Europe have also confirmed their entries including two Trade 3 teams (TT3), two national teams and an amateur outfit. Team Krone of Norway and Team Jura Suisse of Switzerland - both TT3 teams - are sure to inject some excitement into the race while Ireland and Austria are expected to parade their best line-up. Team Down Under, an amateur outfit based in Belgium, has also confirmed their entry.

The Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia 2002 was organized mainly for Asian teams with the long-term objective of developing and promoting cycling in the continent. The race is also meant to go to places where the Tour de Langkawi is missed.

Not only are the organisers promoting a high-class event, but they are also looking to the future development of a sport and recreation that has a worldwide appeal. Obviously this barometer for other countries around the world that will be anxious to see how the mix worked.

Apart from the race proper, age-group races will also be held with some 400 participants expected to take part. SUKMA-bound riders are encourages to compete in the support races as it provides them with the opportunity to gauge their strength prior to the Malaysia Games (SUKMA) in Kota Kinabalu from Sept 1 - 13 in Kota Kinabalu.

Confirmed Teams: Japan, Iran, China, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mongolia, Ireland, Austria, Team Krone (Norway) TT3, Team Jura Suisse (Switzerland) TT3, Team Down Under (Belgium), Team Malaysia, Team KL, Selangor Sweet Nice Team, Team NSC Malaysia.

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