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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for November 7, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vermaut ends his career

Belgian Stive Vermaut has decided to end his career as a professional cyclist at the end of 2002. Vermaut is still suffering from a heart problem that forced him to stop at the beginning of April, and has only raced for a few months since then. The 27 year old consulted several specialists in the meantime, with the final opinion being that it would be dangerous to continue racing.

Vermaut first started experiencing the problems in the Trofeo Laigueglia in February, when his heart rate would suddenly jump from 175 bpm to 210 bpm. This happened again in the Tour of Haut Var and Milan-San Remo, persuading him to consult doctors in the University Hospital in Leuven for a full examination. The diagnosis was that he had a congenital heart condition (ventricular arrhythmia) and would have to stop racing. At the time, Vermaut was riding for Lotto-Adecco, whose team doctor Daniel De Neve said that he would not race for that team again.

Vermaut then travelled to the USA where he was examined by a team of doctors - the same people who had given Nico Mattan a second lease of life after he had been told to stop due to a heart condition. The outcome of that was more positive, and Vermaut was told that he could control his arrhythmia with medication, giving him some hope that he could race again. He found a new team to ride with (Palmans-Collstrop) and participated in a few late season races. However Vermaut said that if he felt anything wrong with his heart again then he would stop immediately.

"On October 3 during the LuK-Cup in Bühl I felt something again with my heart," he said in a recent interview with Het Nieuwsblad. "It wasn't as bad as in February, just extra heartbeats but no heart rhythm problems. Because I didn't feel calm about it, I went to again to the American specialists in North Carolina. The myocardium [heart muscle] appeared to be completely intact but there was something wrong with the adrenaline function in the right heart chamber. A problem with the electrolyte homeostasis which normally comes from sodium, but they discovered that calcium could be the cation donor. Something that has never been seen before."

Vermaut was advised against competing at the top level by the Americans, although he is still allowed to ride recreationally, so long as his heart rate doesn't get above 160 bpm. "The problem manifests itself only if I go extra deep into the red," he said. "I can no longer race. This is a preventative choice. There is still life after top sport."

Two peloton Vuelta plan shelved

The organisers of the Vuelta España, Unipublic, have decided to let their sleeping beauty - a two peloton race - rest in peace for a little while. Unipublic spokesman Victor Cordero said that all the teams save ONCE were against the novel project: a first week with two pelotons racing concurrently in a qualification race. At the end of the week, the best teams from each peloton would be selected and combined into one group for the final two weeks.

Cordero blamed the professional teams for their conservative approach to cycling, and - although this was not stated - this fear of innovation was responsible for the financial problems and extinction of teams.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Meirhaeghe and McGrory pull out of Gent Six

Versatile Belgian cyclist Filip Meirhaeghe will not be riding on his "home" track in Gent for the upcoming Six Days of Gent, which takes place from November 19-24. Meirhaeghe, who rode the Amsterdam Six with Lorenzo Lapage, is now suffering from tendonitis and has to rest for 10 days.

Last year's winner Scott McGrory will also not be riding in Gent, as he is flying home after the Munich Six to see the birth of his child.

Boonen and Bruylandts candidates for one spot in Quick Step

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Tom Boonen and Dave Bruylandts are both in the picture for the Quick Step-Davitamon team, which has just one place available for next season. Boonen is currently contracted to US Postal, and the team is holding firm on their agreement for next season, despite Boonen's wish to change teams. It looks similar to the Santiago Botero case, and so far everything points to Boonen staying with USPS.

Bruylandts on the other hand has no contract for 2003, as his current team Domo-Farm Frites will stop. He was offered previously a contract by Lefevere but did not accept right away. Now he will have to wait and see how the Boonen affair finishes.

Jose Maria Jimenez' contract suspended

iBanesto.com has decided to suspend the contract of José Maria Jimenez. The Spanish climber didn't ride a single kilometre this season due to a deep depression that forced him to be hospitalised for a long period of time. Unfortunately, Jimenez doesn't seem ready to ride a bike again in the near future. The manager of iBanesto.com said that riders have contracts to ride, and Jimenez isn't in condition to do his job.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Contador to ONCE

Manolo Saiz has decided that the young climber Alberto Contador (19) is mature enough to join the ONCE team in 2003. Until now, Contador rode as amateur for Würth, which is ONCE's development team.

In addition to his good skills as climber, Alberto Contador is also a good time trialist (he is the current Spanish U23 champion), and that is certainly appreciated by Manolo Saiz.

Prime Alliance 2003

The Prime Alliance Cycling Team has announced its riders and sponsors for 2003. New to the team for 2003 year will be Jonathan Vaughters (ex-Credit Agricole) and winner of this year's First Union Invitational David Clinger (ex-US Postal). The backbone of the current squad will be returning for 2003 being led by 2001 U23 Time Trial World Champion Danny Pate, and including 2002 U23 National Time Champion Michael Creed, 2002 Points Race, Madison and Team Pursuit National Champion Jame Carney, Alex Candelario, Jonas Carney, Matt Decanio, John Peters and Svein Tuft. Also coming to the team in February, at the conclusion of the cyclo-cross season, will be all-rounder Jonathan Page.

Team Roster

Alex Candelario
Jonas Carney
Jame Carney
David Clinger
Michael Creed
Matt Decanio
Jonathan Page
Danny Pate
John Peters
Svein Tuft
Jonathan Vaughters

Management

Organization President: Tom Irvine
General Manager: Roy Knickman
Director Sportif/Road Manager: Kirk Willett
Head Mechanic: Ken Whelpdale
Head Therapist: Brenda Phelps

Lehmann to TEAG Team Köstritzer

German track specialist and double Olympic Gold Medalist Jens Lehmann (34) will ride for the next two seasons for Thüringen based TEAG Team Köstritzer. Lehmann had a contract with Team Nürnberger, but the men's team is disappearing next year as Nürnberger is putting more effort into sponsoring its women's team.

Voight resigns from USA cycling

USA Cycling has announced the resignation of Lisa Voight, Senior Advisor for Olympic and International Relations, effective immediately. Voight gave birth to twin daughters on May 6 and is planning on putting her energy into her family. Although she is no longer an employee of USAC, she will continue to represent the organization as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) board of directors and USOC executive committee through 2004.

"After much reflection, thought and discussion with my family, I have decided that my short-term priorities and focus need to be on my family," said Voight in a statement. "This change will allow me to devote time to my family. However, I look forward to continuing to represent USA Cycling's interests in my role with the U.S. Olympic Committee."

Voight started with the United States Cycling Federation (USCF) in 1987. She was named CEO of USCF in 1993 and continued in that role when USA Cycling became the umbrella organization for the sport in 1995. Voight led the expansion of USA Cycling, which included the acquisitions and mergers of the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA), the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (USPRO) and the National Bicycle League (NBL).

Voight resigned from her position as CEO of USAC in December 2001. She had been offered a controversial two year extension of her contract, which reportedly involved a six figure salary, and she accepted despite not playing an active role in the organisation. However after the first 11 months of this, the USAC board voted to give current CEO Gerard Bisceglia the power to renegotiate the terms of her contract, and Voight's resignation followed rather quickly.

Shimano to sponsor U.S. 'Cross Nationals

The 2002 U.S. National Cyclo-Cross Championships, scheduled for December 14-15 will be sponsored by industry giant Shimano, it was announced today. The event will be held at Domaine Chandon in California's Napa Valley.

"Cross racing is a no-nonsense effort," said Chris DiStefano, spokesman for the Shimano American Corp. "It's the ultimate competitive crucible. If something - anything at all - works for 'cross, it'll work anywhere else."

Event promoters GaleForce said that the sponsorship was a big step up for cyclo-cross in the USA. "With Shimano on board, everybody in the industry takes notice," said president Rick Sutton. "This will be the ultimate final toast to a great cycling season in America."

Irish National Cyclo-Cross League, Round 4 Preview

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

The Irish cyclo-cross league returns to Northern Ireland on Saturday when the off-road riders will fight out the fourth race in the series in Banbridge's Solitude Park. Local riders Don Travers and Roger Aiken will be hoping to draw inspiration from the support of their home crowd as they are currently twelve and sixteen points respectively behind Robin Seymour in the overall standings, and must work hard to reduce this deficit if they are to retain any hope of winning the league.

National champion Seymour was in fine form last weekend, taking his second straight win despite a puncture during the early stages of the Kilcullen event. Having already ridden hard to reel in Travers and Aiken after the handicapped start, the forced wheel change seemed to spell trouble for the Wicklow rider, but he was strong enough to get back on terms and then pull clear in the closing stages of the race.

Travers and Aiken put up a good fight, but the latter's chances evaporated when he punctured and rolled a tub on the final lap. He ran to the line, bike in tow, but was unable to prevent Aiken from passing him and taking second place.

Seymour, Travers, Aiken and Apollo CC's Aidan McDonald currently occupy the top four places in the league, with round one winner Michael Mulvenna (Ards CC) fifth and unattached rider Keith Meghen riding strongly to secure his place in the top six.

Saturday's action takes place on the same course as last year's Banbridge race, although the organizers have said that there will be some changes to the 2001 circuit. The program begins at noon with the underage events, then continues with the main race one hour later.

Remaining events in the series

Round 4 - November 9: Banbridge, Co. Down. Contact: Andy Potts, tel: 04840623822
Round 5 - November 17: Stormont or Castle Park, Bangor, Co. Down. Contact: Robert Lamont, tel: 048 7734 106016/ 048 90792160
Round 6 - December 1: Killarney Town Centre, Co. Kerry. Contact: Michael Concannon, tel: 064 44396/ 087 2802071

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