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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for June 30, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Laurent Roux non-negative for amphetamines

French rider Laurent Roux (Jean Delatour) has tested non-negative for amphetamines after an out of competition control taken at the end of April. The rider, who was not selected as part of Jean Delatour's Tour team as a result, was suspended by his team on May 29 for preventative reasons. Incredibly, the decision to exclude the Saeco team after Simoni's non-negative test from the Tour in favour of Jean Delatour, was made on June 3.

Team director Michel Gros said that before the results of his B sample are known, he will "Respect his defense. If he proves that he is not guilty as a result of the counter analysis, then he could be reintegrated. Otherwise, he will be dismissed after the results are known."

Roux previously tested positive to amphetamines during the Fleche Wallonne in 1999 and was suspended for 6 months. The 29 year old wearer of the polka dot jersey in last year's Tour will face a much longer ban if found guilty of a second offence.

Editorial note: 'Non-negative' is the term used by the UCI when a banned substance has been detected in the first sample from a rider, but not confirmed by analysis of the B sample.

Commesso aiming for second title

Salvatore Commesso (Saeco-Longoni Sport) is aiming to win his second Italian road championship on Sunday, after having previously won in 1999. He will be Saeco's main man in the race tomorrow, as Du Luca and Celestino are suffering from morale problems after the team was excluded from the Tour.

"Commesso is in excellent form," said DS Giuseppe Martinelli. "He's managed to re-find the determination needed to be competitive which is vital for a rider. In Switzerland he fought for a stage win every day."

As for Di Luca and Celestino, "Both have felt the psychological blow of the team being excluded from the Tour de France. It was a big objective for both of them. At the start of the Tour of Switzerland they were not at their best both physically and mentally. Fortunately they kept going for nine days and are now in better shape and are focused on doing well."

Lotto-Domo merger decision to be announced soon

Next Monday the Belgian minister for business affairs, Rik Daems will explain the status of the Lotto-Domo cycling team merger, which was revealed 10 days ago. The consensus is in the Belgian press that the negotiations between the National Lottery, Rik Daems, and Domo sponsor Jan De Clerck have taken place quite rapidly, and in all probability, a merger will happen.

Neither Christophe Sercu (Lotto team manager) or Patrick Lefevere (Domo manager) are doing anything at the moment with regards to contractual negotiations with their riders, until the decision is made. Questions are also being asked as to what role each will play, should the team merger happen. Should Noel Demeulenaere's new division I team (?Quick Step-?) go ahead, then there will certainly be an opening for a team manager and directeurs sportifs.

Collstrop-Palmans has division I ambitions

The Collstrop-Palmans team led by Hilaire Van Der Schueren wants to move into division I next year. That will mean acquiring a new sponsor and some high ranked UCI riders. The team would be reduced from 24 to 18 riders.

US Postal interested in Nardello, Bodrogi and Hunter

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Mapei riders Daniele Nardello, Laszlo Bodrogi and Robert Hunter have been approached by US Postal to join next year, after Mapei's sponsorship ceases at the end of 2002. Nardello's role would be to work with George Hincapie in the classics; Bodrogi would add to the time trial strength of the team; and Hunter would be an asset in the Posties' comparatively weak sprinting department. The team has also reportedly arranged a preliminary contract with Belgian revelation Tom Boonen for next season.

Lunghi to Alessio

Colpack climber Denis Lunghi, winner of a stage in this year's Giro, will join Alessio next season, bolstering their already solid lineup.

Kemna considers his options

34 year old BankGiroLoterij sprinter Rudi Kemna will most likely stay with the team next season, despite receiving a good offer from EDS-fakta. However if he changed teams he would have to break his contract, despite being tempted by Kim Andersen. His current team manager Arend Scheppink was prepared to let Kemna go, if that's what he wanted, but he also cautioned that "He has nothing to find in a team with Danes, Frenchmen or Germans. Rudi has his place here."

As for Kemna, he knows that he hasn't got too many years as a pro in front of him. "Certainly I will not make a lot of money. Last year I wanted to go to another team, but nothing concrete came of it. This was my last chance, I am almost 35. I have spoken a number of times with Andersen. I haven't heard anything more. Therefore I will stay with BankGiroLoterij."

Other BankGiroLoterij riders to re-sign with the team for next year include Bart Voskamp, Bram Schmitz, Bert Hiemstra and Jan van Velzen.

UCI changes its doping rules for grand tours

First non-negative and you're out

In an attempt to avoid the confusion and bad feeling that occurred at times during the last Giro d'Italia, the UCI has decided to change the rules for riders testing 'non-negative' to banned substances during a stage race/world championships. After the first test, the rider will be excluded from the race, although they will not be considered 'positive' until the results of the B test are known. This is in line with the code of ethics adopted by the organisers of the three grand tours, although were not strictly enforced during the last Giro owing to the conflicting UCI rules at the time.

Brändli awarded 2001 Giro d'Italia femminile

Swiss rider Nicole Brändli has been awarded the overall win in the 2001 Giro d'Italia femminile, almost a year after it took place. The Italian Cycling Federation decided that the former winner, Bielorussian Zinaida Stahurskaia, who tested positive in an anti doping control during the race, should be stripped of her title. The results of the analysis were known in October 2001 just before the World Championships, in which she was not allowed to race in. Brändli will thus be the defending champion when the prologue starts this coming Friday in Pontedera.

Vermeersch passes out during a race

24 year old Belgian Nicky Vermeersch had to be resuscitated by a paramedical team after he passed out during a race in Sint-Martens-Latem on Friday, June 28. The track specialist was riding in a Elite Without Contract and Espoirs race, and had attacked for a while but the bunch caught him. However he couldn't follow the peloton after a few seconds and passed out.

Tired Jeanson withdraws from Fitchburg Longsjo Classic

As her compatriot Lyne Bessette (Québec Selection), won her second stage in a row and consolidated her lead in the overall standings at the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic, Team Rona's Geneviève Jeanson retired midway through the second stage.

"I came back just last Monday from Idaho, where I spent a lot of energy in a nine-day race [HPWC] which was aggressive from start to finish," said the 20-year old. "I started in Fitchburg in spite of André’s (Aubut, RONA team manager) advice. But obviously he was right, I had not had enough rest after such a demanding race. And I would rather rest than just ride in the middle of the pack And not race aggressively the way I like to race."

Merv McDonald in hospital

Most people involved in the cycling world in Australia have heard of Merv McDonald O.A.M. He is considered to be the father of cycling on the Gold Coast (and previously Canberra). He received his O.A.M. for services to the sport and is a life member of Canberra Cycling Club and Gold Coast Goldstars Cycling Club.

Unfortunately Merv suffered a minor setback by having a stroke on Friday (28 June) which left him paralysed down the right side. The latest news (Saturday 10.00am) is that he has regained limited movement in his leg and some fingers. He is currently in St Andrews Hospital, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane in Intensive Care.

His ever present support team, his wife Gwenda and sons are with him looking after his every needs. If you would like to send your best wishes, please visit the following site where there is an email contact: http://www.ion.com.au/~goldstar/page5.html

Cyclocross World Cup 2002/2003

The UCI has released its World Cup calendar for the next season. It contains just five rounds this year, down from six last year. It starts in Frankfurt, Germany on November 24 and finishes in Hoogerheide, Netherlands on February 16. The World Cup will visit Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands this season.

  • Round 1 - November 24: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Round 2 - December 22: Kalmthout, Belgium
  • Round 3 - January 5: Liévin, France
  • Round 4 - January 19: Wetzikon, Switzerland
  • Round 5 - February 16: Hoogerheide, Netherlands

2002 Mt. Holly-Smithville GP

The 2002 Mount Holly Grand Prix on August 10 will be better than ever this year, boasting an increased prize list of $7,000 with several professional teams showing interest in competing in downtown Mt. Holly, New Jersey. The 96 mile event is unique in that the 12 mile circuit used is completely flat and closed to all traffic. While the trend is to make races as hilly as possible, the race committee has taken a different approach and has laid out a "kermesse style" circuit. The wide open course features plenty of wind and a technical final kilometre gets the riders attention. In fact, the race has only finished once in a field sprint.

The race again is being sponsored by NFL Films, Sovereign Bank, CDM Engineers, Waste Management and KMK Sports. The race proceeds will benefit the restoration project at the town of Smithville.

Team selection is underway and ends on July 15th with the final list of teams being announced on July 18th. More information: www.co.burlington.nj.us/bikerace

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