News for June 9, 2002
Edited by Karen Forman
Nine division one teams for Postgirot Open
Nine division I teams including Cofidis and Rabobank will start the premier Swedish road tour, the Postgirot Open on Wednesday, but that doesn't necessarily mean the winner will belong to one of the top teams. Some of the highest-ranked division II teams in the world are also lining up at the start.
Highest ranked is the French Cofidis team, currently fourth in the world. The team will take its star rider Jo Planckaert from Belgium, one of the highest placed riders in the world ranking.
Planckaert ran second in two stages last year, was the winner of the Postgirot Open in Tandådalen in 1995. He could well be a candidate for the yellow jersey and he has a strong team to support him.
Dutch Rabobank is just a few points behind Cofidis in the world ranking. The team will start with last year's World Cup winner, Erik Dekker, who has already won the event twice. Steven De Jongh, who won in 1998, will also ride for Rabobank.
Another rider who could win the race is Jakob Piil (CSC-Tiscali)from Denmark. Piil is a good time trial rider and sprinter. He was second on the tough climb of Klevaliden when he won the yellow jersey in 1999.
Danish EDS-fakta will show up with an all-Nordic team led by Marcus Ljunqvist, who recently won Tour of Luxembourg. The Dutch team Bangiroloterij-Batavus has also entered its best team. Captain is Bart Voskamp, a Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana stage winner.
Voskamp is in good form this season, winning the Tour de Belgique two weeks ago and finishing second in the G.C of Tour of Luxembourg behind Ljungqvist this weekend.
Start list, Postgirot Open 2002
Stage 1a - June 12: Uppsala, 12 km time trial
Ljungqvist will rely on Bäckstedt
Marcus Ljungqvist says his Tour of Luxembourg win last weekend was the victory of his life, but he still recognises he will need help from his friends when he attempts to add another victory in next week's Postgirot Open.
Ljungqvist is putting a lot of his hope onto his EDS-Fakta team mate Magnus Bäckstedt to do everything he can to make Ljungqvist the third Swedish rider after Tommy Prim and Michael Andersson, to win the Swedish tour.
"I will try to do a good ride in the time trial in Uppsala, but the total victory is for Marcus," Bäckstedt said this week. "As long as the stage to Klevaliden is included in Postgirot Open, I can never win it."
Magnus, who stands 193cm tall and weighs in at 93kg, recognises the tough climb is way too steep for him.
EDS-fakta leads the second division and is a long way ahead of the runner up. The team, known for its morale and team work, is considered a major contender for the event.
The team gives credit for the well oiled chain to director Kim Andersen. "Kim gives us a security, because he appreciates good team work just as much as he appreciates victories," Magnus said. "We would like to win our division, and thereby qualify ourselves for the highest division next year.
"Last year Thor Hushovd gave Norway the yellow jersey, but this year, two Norweigans will be riding to give Sweden another win. Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Ljungqvist both start the race as team leaders, but if Marcus shows good form, both Kurt-Asle, Björnar Vestöl, myself and the two Danish riders Michael Skelde and Allan Johansen will support him."
Mapei announces Bank Austria team
Mapei-Quick Step has announced its team of young riders to contest the Bank Austria Tour on June 16. Team manager, Alvaro Crespi, said the team would include Fabian Cancellara Bernhard Eisel, Graziano Gasparre, Dmitriy Muravyev, Evgueni Petrov, Patrik Sinkewitz and Pavel Zerzan.
Swiss tour, yes, but first the Schynberg-Rundfahrt
Lampre-Daikin has included today's Schynberg-Rundfahrt in its race calendar in the leadup to the Tour de Suisse. Included in the team chosen by general manager Giuseppe Saronni is Rubens Bertogliati, who is in full preparation for the Tour de France.
The rider from Canton Ticino is not new to success on home turf. He collected his first win as a pro in the GP Chiasso in March. The team, managed by Pietro Algeri, includes some Giro d'Italia riders - Rubens Bertogliati, Gabriele Missaglia, Zbigniew Spruch, Luciano Pagliarini, Manuel Quinziato, Sergio Barbero and Milan Kadlec.
LeMond coming to Australia for Croc Trophy
Triple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond (USA) will head to the top end of Australia in September to contest the the 11-stage, 1500km Crocodile Trophy.
LeMond will line up for the eighth edition of the event, to be held from September 10-22, with a "Dream Team" of former and current cycling heroes including Australian Phil Anderson, Belgium rider Eric Vanderaerden, Jörg Müller from Switzerland, Claudio Chiappucci and Mario Traversoni from Italy.
The Crocodile Trophy 2002 will contain 11 stages totalling 1500 kilometres through the Australian Outback. The 2002 event will start in the small former tobacco growing town of Mareeba on the Atherton Tableland, 45km from the tourist resort city of Cairns. Riders will then tackle corrugated dirt roads and tropical rainforest on their journey to south Queensland. The participants are accompanied by a support crew of 30 following in some 20 4WDs and trucks.
Now 41 and officially retired from professional cycling, LeMond won the Tour in 1986, 1989 and 1990. He also won two World Championships in 1983 and 1989.
These days, he's looking for more challenges and experiences - "The more extreme the better," he says.
LeMond organized his "Dream Team" of former riders and active pros to fight with him in the two week long race. Anderson was the first Australian to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, while Vanderaerden, who is lining up for the second time (he completed four stages in 2000 but withdrew with back problems) was five times a Tour stage winner, the winner of the Tour-de Holland and the Paris-Roubaix.
Crocodile Trophy-organizer Gerhard Schönbacher, also an ex-pro and former colleague of LeMond and Anderson, expects this year's even to be a tough one.
Apart from LeMond's Dream Team, the start list also includes three-times Trophy winner Jaap Viergever from the Netherlands and his team as well as the Austrian extreme-biker Wolfgang Fasching, who has won the Race Across America twice.
NORBA MTB series
The second round of North America's premier off-road cycling series, the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championships Mountain Bike Series, may draw the largest field of any event this season.
Organisers say they expect around 2500 riders , based on entries in other local races - including the Wisconsin Off-Road Series which attracted 1200 riders last month - for the series that crowns United States Cycling's MTB champions,
Run by NORBA, which is the mountain bike member association of USA Cycling, the second round of the series will be run at Alpine Valley Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, from June 13-16. Entrants include reigning World Champions Roland Green (Trek/Volkswagen) and Alison Dunlap (Luna Chix).
Professional and amateur events will include cross-country, short track, dual slalom, trials and downhill. The event will also feature a competitive five-mile cross-country trail running race - The Cheddar Challenge on Sunday June 16.
With plenty of attention focused on Wisconsin this month with the NORBA nationals, the Pedros Mountain Bike Festival Midwest, set down for June 28-30, is hoping to cash in on the influx of riders to the area.
Local race organisers have been reporting good turnouts for local races in recent weeks and say that, combined with the first-ever NORBA National in Wisconsin, is generating strong energy for the Pedros Festival at Bruce Mound State Park in two weeks' time.
However, unlike the other events, the Pedrosfests are less about competition - and more about fun. Apart from the riding, there'll be vendors showing off their wares, professional riders leading clinics and beginner and kids' rides, and bands playing each night.
Organisers see it as a return to the early days of MTBing.
"A lot of folks getting into mountain bikes today see superstars and grand productions. While that's exciting, you'll also hear a lot of people talking about the old days of mountain biking," festival founder Bruce Fina said.
RAF team for American teams race
England's Royal Air Force (RAF) boys are heading to America - on bicycles. It seems these guys are not only into fulfilling their need for speed and height in aircraft. They do it on bicycles, as well.
A RAF team headed by captain Dave Green will head to the US in the next few days to start its final preparation for the 2002 Team Race Across America, which begins on June 18 and will involve seven four-person teams cross the US in a constant relay over five or six days.
According to Green - who has been recording PBs on every ride lately - team members are coming into form just at the right time.
Dave Cook is riding as well as he has in years and recently beat former RAF Raam rider Paul Dotchin by six minutes on a hilly 47 mile TT. "Keith Jackson is the newly crowned Tri-Service champion over 10 and 25 miles as well as several titles taken in the North of Scotland. Lee Wigginton heads towards his 1st Cat licence as the season unfolds. Steve Wilcox has ridden some fantastic races of late not least pushing his team captain Green all the way in the Breckland CC 50 missing out by only 18 seconds.
Dario continues to push for a place on the team in what is a highly competitive Squad from which any four of the six are ready to win the race for the Royal Air Force and their sponsors BAESYSTEMS and Cap Gemini Ernst and Young.
Project Officer Stu Beeby believes the 22-man outfit blaze a trail across 10 states at 23 to 25 mph over five days.