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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for June 23, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tour teams take shape

With two weeks to go until the Tour de France, many teams are now being finalised.

Mapei-Quick Step will announce their team on Monday, with likely candidates being Tom Steels, Laszlo Bodrogi, Oscar Freire, David Canada, Luca Paolini, Robert Hunter, Pedro Horrillo, Andrea Tafi and possibly Kevin Hulsmans, who is currently riding the Tour de Suisse, his first appointment since his injury in Paris-Nice.

Lampre-Daikin will likely go with Ludo Dierckxsens, Raivis Belohvosciks, Rubens Bertogliati, Alessandro Cortinovis, Luca Pagliarini, Raimondas Rumsas, Marco Serpellini and Jan Svorada.

ONCE-Eroski will be one of the strongest teams in the Tour, and on paper the team most likely to challenge Lance Armstrong and US Postal. "I'm conscious of ONCE's depth," said Armstrong in his latest interview with Cyclingnews. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, Joseba Beloki, Marcos Serrano, Jose Azevedo and Jorg Jaksche seem to be certain selections, with strong candidates for the remaining spots being Abraham Olano, Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, Mikel Zarrabeitia, Rene Andrle, Jan Hruska, Mikel Pradera, Isidro Nozal and Rafael Diaz Justo.

Ag2r will be without Ludovic Capelle, who is still suffering from tendonitis in his left knee. Capelle's season has been interrupted by this injury, and his director doesn't consider him in good enough condition to help Kirsipuu in the sprints.

Frank Vandenbroucke hopes for a reprieve

Next Monday in Lausanne, Frank Vandenbroucke will face the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which he hopes will lift his six month suspension for possession of illegal substances. VDB has been out of action since February 27 after a police search in his home revealed quantities of EPO, Morphine and Clenbuterol. He was sacked by his Domo team and suspended by the Belgian cycling federation (BWB) as a result, and is facing a court case. On Thursday of next week, VDB will also have to answer a the Flemish Government's disciplinary commission.

Vandenbroucke believes that the BWB gave an incorrect verdict, however whatever happens next week will not be decisive in his future career. He interviewed in the Belgian press today about the CAS hearing on Monday. "I am hoping for a good hearing. We are going for an acquittal. I think that my lawyer has a very strong dossier. There was also the month [February 28-March 21] that I was effectively suspended. If the penalty is confirmed or if it is increased - by three or six months - then that is also possible. Mentally I am prepared for anything."

There is a possibility that VDB could be suspended for up to two years, according to the UCI regulations introduced since July 2001. But Vandenbroucke is not fazed by that. "Then I would be 29 years old, but I could still come back. My hunger is too great; my resentment still greater...I am very angry about what has been said about me."

Vandenbroucke has been training since the beginning of May, often with his brother-in-law Sébastien Six, and living in Nieuwkerke near the Kemmelberg and the Rodeberg. He thinks he could be competitive in two weeks, provided of course he is allowed to race again and can find a team.

"I still have good contacts with Patrick Lefevere, Ivan Vanmol, Lieven Maesschalck, and I am visiting my former kinesiologist in Menen. Lebbeke is to far for me. I heard that Lefevere still is interested. Domo remains my first choice. Also Noël Demeulenaere will always look out for me and there is interest from Italy. To find an employer is not a problem. The problem is the date when I can race again."

Trouvé back in three weeks

Kristof Trouvé (Palmans-Collstrop), who was badly injured during the Driedaagse Van De Panne in April, hopes to come back to racing in three weeks time. Trouvé crashed on the descent of the Kemmelberg, and suffered a broken nose, broken hand, lost three front teeth, ruptured ligaments in his ankle (requiring 6 weeks in a cast), had several stitches in his lips, both knees and an elbow. It has understandably taken some time to recover, but the 25 year old is now back into full training with a view to the second half of the season. He has been making life more difficult for the Saturday morning training bunch along the Schelde.

Kevin De Weert turns pro with Rabobank

20 year old Belgian rider Kevin De Weert will ride for the Rabobank professional team next season. De Weert currently rides for the Rabobank U23 team, but the team management considered him good enough to ride as a full professional. He signed a two year contract, having turned down offers from US Postal and Cofidis.

Hamilton World's 2003 sneak preview

Belgian national coach Jose De Cauwer visited the site for the 2003 World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. According to De Cauwer, the parcours is not overly difficult, with two hills each lap of around 500 metres, at an average grade of 4 percent. De Cauwer believes that it is suited to riders such as Oscar Freire, Peter Van Petegem and Rik Verbrugghe.

52nd Vuelta a Colombia

Colombia's most important stage race, the Vuelta a Colombia takes place between June 30-July 14 this year. Starting with a 5.2 kilometre prologue time trial in Cacuta, the Vuelta spans two weeks and 14 full stages. The geography of the country means that the riders will spend most of their time at at least 1000 metres altitude, with some climbs going as high as 3,300 metres.

The key stages are clustered in the final week, with Stage 8 from Ibagué to Pereira, including the Alto la Línea (3270m, 40 km of climbing with some 8% sections; Stage 10 mountain time trial in Cali (17 km @ 6-7%); Stage 12 (El Moro, 20 km @ 4-7%); and Stage 13 which includes the steepest finishing climb of Alto del Escobero (2610 m, 8.5 km @ 11%).

The stages

  • Prologue - June 30: Cucuta ITT, 5.2 km
  • Stage 1 - July 1: Pamplona - Bucaramanga, 142.0 km
  • Stage 2 - July 2: Bucaramanga - Aratoca - San Gil - Socorro, 109.1 km
  • Stage 3 - July 3: Socorro - Oiba - Barbosa - Tunja, 150.7 km
  • Stage 4 - July 4: Tunja - Tocancipa - La Caro - Chia, 115.7 km
  • Stage 5 - July 5: Bogotá - La Caro - Bogotá ITT, 39 km
  • Stage 6 - July 6: Bogotá (Inravisión) - Bogotá (Inravision), 160.6 km
  • Stage 7 - July 7: Soacha - La Mesa - Ibagué, 194.0 km
  • Stage 8 - July 8: Ibagué - La Linea - Armenia - Pereira, 121.7 km
  • Stage 9 - July 9: Pereira - Buga - Palmira - Cali, 199.5 km
  • Stage 10 - July 10: Cali ITT, 17.0 km
  • Stage 11 - July 11: Buga - Tulua - La Tebaida - Armenia, 106.1 km
  • Stage 12 - July 12: Manizales - Jericó, 154.0 km
  • Stage 13 - July 13: Jericó - Envigado - El Escobero, 105.0 km
  • Stage 14 - July 14: Circuito en Medellín, 109.2 km

Total: 1728.8 km

Amateur cyclist dies in Basque Country race

A 26 year old French amateur cyclist has died in a race organised by France Bleu Pays Basque near Bayonne. The rider's name was Frédéric Matheu from Hendaye, who suffered heart attack about half an hour into the race. He was taken to hospital in Bayonne where he died. The race was stopped by the organisers once they learned the news.