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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for June 12, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vermaut critical of Belgian doctors, wants to race again

By Jeff Jones

Belgian cyclist Stive Vermaut has decided to try professional cycling again, after being encouraged by recent tests in the USA on his heart problem (ventricular arrhythmia) which doctors believe can be managed through the correct medication.

"I want to try to race again, because since I came back from the US, and with the treatment they did, I never felt my heart problem again. So it's normal if I'm feeling healthy again, I want to try it," Vermaut told Cyclingnews.

However, he was not happy about not being given another chance in Lotto-Adecco, who he rode for in 2001 and the early part of 2002. Referring to the team doctor's comments in the Belgian press, Vermaut said that "I'm frustrated Dr De Neve is stopping me because of his "reputation". In that sentence, I can see Dr De Neve is very concerned about his career in the first place. The second place is helping people."

A few years ago, one of Belgium's top cyclists Nico Mattan was also diagnosed with a heart problem, but this turned out to be a misdiagnosis during the UCI physicals. Mattan has had no problems since, and this has also given Vermaut some confidence.

"Yes, because if I listen to some Belgian doctors, Nico can die at any moment he's riding a bike. If I get a chance to race again, and I can feel something again, I know it's over. I just want to test the treatment. I have a wife and a little child, and I'm not so stupid to ignore a problem like that. When I felt my problem, I went to my personal trainer (who's has a record of all my heart rate monitor files since I was 16 years old) and my doctor immediately to tell them."

Vermaut says that he's been training for the last 6 weeks "an average of 18 hours per week. It's not enough to start competition immediately, but I can build very fast (2 weeks) on that base to start competition again."

"Now it's clear I must find another team. I heard Palmans-Collstrop is a possibility. I only want to join a team where I can do some (small) stage races this year to find out if my problems are not coming back."

Tour of Austria news: Dangerous finish sees Salomone break collarbone

With a chicane 200 metres before the finish of today's second stage of the Bank Tour of Austria in Schwaz, many riders chose not to contest the sprint, being of the opinion that it was too dangerous. The peloton crossed the finish line with 25 km to go, and knew what they were in for.

Third placed Gerrit Glomser (Saeco) said: "At the first finish passage I saw that a sprint was too dangerous, but then when we came into the final meters I had a good position."

Bernhard Eisel (Mapei) commented that "On this street it is not possible to sprint, for me this is a joke."

His words were echoed by Peter Luttenberger (Tacconi) who said that "The tour is now category 2.2, but then the organiser should not put a sprint on a street which is so small. It's too dangerous, when the bunch came at 60 km/h to the finish line."

Italian Rider Antonio Salomone (Index-Alexa) fell with 300 meters to go when the riders had to ride to the left side, and broke his collarbone and shoulder blade.

Organizer Rolf Slavik said that he "accepts the bad reactions of the riders about yesterday's and today's finishing sprint, but in Austria it is not possible to close the bigger streets for long, so the sprint must be direct in the city."

Tomorrow is the first hard stage with a mountain finish. The favourites for the win include Luttenberger, Hempel, Obwaller, Vandelli, Fois, Gianluca Valoti, Petrov, Kristensen, and Petersen, who are all good climbers.

Courtesy of Enzi Christopher

Dauphine l'Avenir?

Denis Menchov
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

An interesting factoid about the today's stage 2 podium in the Dauphine Libéré is that two of the three riders are past winners of the Tour de l'Avenir, a race for young riders who are looking to turn pro, or have just done so. Stage winner Denis Menchov ( was the winner in 2001, second placed Aitor Kintana (BigMat) finished 5th in 2000, while third placed Unai Osa ( won the Tour de l'Avenir in 1999.

Ullrich fined two and a half months salary for driving offence

Jan Ullrich will have to forego 70 days salary as a result of his driving accident in early May, which saw him hit a bicycle rack with his Porsche 911 while having a blood alcohol level of 1.4 g/L. The prosecutor in Freiburg did not reveal exactly how much the fine was, but 70 days salary is approximately 660,000 euros for someone of Ullrich's earning capacities.

It was specified that the incident will not go on his criminal record, but Ullrich will also lose his driving licence for 12 months.

Simoni blames caramelised sweets for cocaine

Gilberto Simoni, who recently tested 'non-negative' for cocaine on two occasions, now believes that the source of the drug was a South American sweet made of honey with traces of cocaine in it, given to him by his aunt Giacinta just before the Giro del Trentino. Simoni explained this to Bruno Giardina, the investigating magistrate in Trento at his hearing last Saturday. However, prosecutor Giardina wants more information about the product, and how much it costs.

This comes not long after Stefano Garzelli (Mapei) blamed contaminated chicken he ate in a hotel in Cologne for his positive test for probenecid.

21st Postgirot Open kicks off on Wednesday

The 21st edition of Postgirot open will start on Wednesday, June 12 with a 12.2 kilometre time trial in Uppsala. The field numbers 114, with 21 riders from the host country Sweden, 12 from the Netherlands including Erik Dekker, 11 from Italy, 8 from Norway and Denmark, and 5 from Finland. In total, 23 countries are represented.

Five national champions will show their colours during the race. British champion Jeremy Hunt from Big Mat-Auber 93, Erland Engelsvoll from the Norweigian national team, Estonian Janek Tombak from Cofidis, Danish Jacob Piil from CSC-Tiscali and Swedish Marcus Ljungqvist from EDS-Fakta.

The first rider leaves the ramp at 09.00, and the second stage of the day, Uppsala to Eskilstuna starts at 15.00.

The stages

  • Stage 1a - June 12: Uppsala ITT, 12 km
  • Stage 1b - June 12: Uppsala-Eskilstuna, 138 km
  • Stage 2 - June 13: Eskilstuna-Motala, 175 km
  • Stage 3 - June 14: Motala-Skövde, 180 km
  • Stage 4 - June 15: Skövde-Huskvarna, 190 km
  • Stage 5 - June 16: Jönköping-Göteborg, 186 km

Dean on the road again

CSC-Tiscali's injured sprinter Julian Dean tested his legs in racing for the first time after his accident in Valencia in the beginning of March in the Danish regional championships for Jutland and Fyn last Sunday. He completed the 174 km race without problems, although he chose not to go for the victory. This week he will start in the Postgirot Open Tour of Sweden, which will give him good opportunities to measure with other top sprinters in the peloton.

"Our - perhaps - quickest rider has had to start from scratch. Every muscle had to be brought back to the fitness level that he had before the knee injury occurred. We have no idea about his current physical level, but we hope that he will be able to make results within a short period of time", said CSC's Christian Andersen who has been monitoring Julian Dean's efforts.

"It is difficult to be off the bike for an extended periods of time, and Julian Dean has been having a hard time making his comeback. He has been optimistic all along, and you have to be in order to be able to follow a training schedule. It is still my impression that Dean has the potential to become one of the quickest riders in the peloton", adds Christian Andersen.

Lotto-Adecco-ABX preliminary Tour de France team

The nine riders who will form the Lotto-Adecco-ABX team for the Tour de France have been selected on a provisional basis. The team is a balanced one, with Robbie McEwen in as the team's main sprinter, Kurt Van De Wouwer as as the main GC rider, and Rik Verbrugghe is a potential stage winner. Verbrugghe recently finished 9th in the Giro d'Italia, after battling sickness in the early stages and a knee injury in the final week, while McEwen won two stages and retired after stage 10.

The rest of the Lotto-Adecco-ABX team is as follows: Mario Aerts, Serge Baguet (stage winner last year), Christophe Brandt, Hans De Clercq, Guennadi Mikhailov, Kurt Van De Wouwer, and Aart Vierhouten. The reserves are Glenn D'Hollander, Thierry Marichal, Kurt Van Lancker, Ief Verbrugghe and Stefan Van Dijk.

Tchmil selling carpets

Andrei Tchmil has already moved into a new career post cycling. He is now reported to be starting a business selling carpets and wooden floors, and has closed his first deal in Kiev.

Voskamp extends contract with Bankgiroloterij

Dutch rider Bart Voskamp will ride for two more years with Bankgiroloterij-Batavus, signing a contract today with team manager Arend Scheppink. Voskamp is the team's top rider, currently ranked 40th on the UCI standings, recently winning the Tour of Belgium and placing second in the Tour of Luxembourg.

Derek Bouchard-Hall retires

Mercury rider Derek Bouchard-Hall has called it quits, announcing his retirement as a professional cyclist just a month shy of his 32nd birthday. Bouchard-Hall's last race was the First Union USPRO Championships in Philadelphia, which he wrote "has always been my favorite race due to its enormous crowds and beautiful race course. Though victory narrowly eluded us, our team competed brilliantly and I savored every moment of my final race - which was roughly the 1000th of my career."

Bouchard-Hall is still relatively young for a pro cyclist, and cited two reasons for his retirement:

"First, years of cycling has caused the major artery (iliac) supplying bloodflow to my left leg to thicken and narrow - resulting in decreased strength and chronic pain in that leg. A January 2000 surgery corrected the problem, but my continued cycling has caused it to emerge again. The condition, which is estimated to occur in 1% of all professional cyclists, should not affect my general health in the future in any way."

"The second reason for my retirement is that I always have aspired to another career after cycling - one that enables me to be home more often, is less abusive on my body, and is more demanding of my intellect. At the age of 31, now is a good time for me to start my second career."

Derek has not yet decided on what this second career will be, but he will start an MBA in a few months time at the Havard Business School. "New skills and interests that I developed since my days of studying civil engineering have led me to that path," he added.

He aims to finish his studies in two years time, and after that "the future is intriguingly uncertain."

During his professional career, Bouchard-Hall has ridden for Shaklee (1994-1998) and Mercury (1999-2002). He was a member of the US Olympic team pursuit in the 2000 Games, as well as winning the URPRO Criterium championships that year. In 1999, he was a gold medallist in the team pursuit in the Pan-Am Games.

Austria applies for 2006 World's in Salzburg

The Austrian Cycling Federation wants to host the 2006 World Road Championships in Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The ORV will present its candidature at the UCI congress in October.

Austria last hosted the Road World's in 1987 in the Villach/Faakersee region, and will this year host the MTB World Championships in Kaprun/Zell am See.

Van Schalen replaces Cornelissen in AXA-VVZ

30 year old Paul van Schalen will ride for AXA-VVZ until the end of this season. He is the replacement for Bjorn Cornelissen, who was sacked last week over a doping affair. Van Schalen was without a contract with a team, after starting this season with the small Belgian team Dermar-Concorde. But he left this team after not receiving his salary.