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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for November 11, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Olano's last race

Abraham Olano rode his last professional race on Sunday in the Criterium de la Comunidad Valenciana. The 32 year old Basque rider had announced at the beginning of July that this season was to be his last, as he wanted to "live a life without pressures and spend more time with my family."

As part of the criterium, Olano rode against world 125cc motorcycle champion Héctor Barberá in a novel 'man against machine' match up. The race was conducted as a time trial with Olano having to complete one lap of the circuit on his bike and Barberá two on his motorbike. Each rider won one of the two rounds of the event.

Olano's counts 54 victories on his palmares, including the Vuelta España in 1998, the crowning point of his career. Often compared to Miguel Indurain when he was younger, Olano was looked at as someone who could continue Indurain's great run of wins in the Tour, but his best placing was 4th in 1997. His strength against the clock saw him take many victories in this discipline, including time trial stages in all the major tours and the World ITT Championship in 1998. In 1995 he won the World Road Championship in Colombia (ahead of Miguel Indurain), demonstrating that he was truly a complete cyclist.


Born: January 22, 1970
Nationality: Spanish
Teams: Lotus (1992), Clas (1993), Mapei (1994-1996), Banesto (1997-1998), ONCE (1999-2002)

Major wins


Tirreno - Adriatico (2.HC)
Criterium International (2.2)
Vuelta Valenciana (2.3)
Stage 9 in Vuelta a España (ITT)


Vuelta a Burgos (2.1)
Stage 6 in Vuelta a España (ITT)
Stage 4b in Bicicleta Vasca (ITT) (2.1)
Stage 1 in Vuelta a Burgos (ITT) (2.1)


World ITT Championship
Vuelta a España
Vuelta a Burgos (2.1)
Grand Prix Eddy Merckx (1.1)
Bicicleta Vasca (2.2)
Stage 9 in Vuelta a España (ITT)
Stage 1 in Vuelta a Burgos (ITT) (2.1)


Bicicleta Vasca (2.2)
Grand Prix Eddy Merckx (1.2)
Stage 20 in Tour De France (ITT)
Stage 6 in Dauphine Libéré (2.1)


Tour De Romandie (2.1)
Volta a Galega (2.2)
Prologue in Tour De Romandie (2.1)
Stage 5b in Tour De Romandie (ITT) (2.1)


World Road Race Championship
Prologue in Vuelta a España
Stage 7 in Vuelta a España (ITT)
Stage 20 in Vuelta a España (ITT)


Spanish Road Championship
Spanish ITT Championship
Vuelta a Asturias (2.2)
Stage 1 in Volta a Catalunya (ITT) (2.1)
Stage 2 in Vuelta a Asturias (ITT) (2.2)

Otxoa rides again

Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

The Criterium de la Comunidad Valenciana also saw the return of Javier Otxoa to the saddle for the first time in nearly two years. Otxoa was seriously injured in a training accident in February 2001 when he and his brother Ricardo were hit by a car. Ricardo didn't survive, while Javier spent two months in a coma. Sunday was thus an important step in Javier's comeback to full health.

Javier cut the ribbon to open the 13th edition of the Criterium, and completed two laps of the circuit, one alone and one with the peloton. He has already indicated that he would not be coming back to professional cycling due to his injuries, but may compete at the paralympic level in future.

O'Grady flips over and out

Credit Agricole rider Stuart O'Grady has crashed out on day three of the Six Days of Munich, held at the Olympiapark velodrome in Germany. Swiss rider Bruno Risi brought O'Grady down in one of the Madison events, who flew over the top of his bars and landed on his side. Apart from abrasions and bruising, the Australian is not too badly off, but will sit out the next two days of racing.

Although Risi was quick to acknowledge his error, O'Grady was clearly agitated after the incident. His teammate, Italian Silvio Martinello, has not decided whether he will race the rest of the event on his own, but it is likely he will compete in the points race tomorrow, Martinello's favoured discipline.

Martinello earlier announced that the Munich Six would be the last race of his career. Hopefully he can finish it!

Acqua & Sapone contract wranglings continue

Acqua & Sapone manager Vincenzo Santoni has reaffirmed that the team neither received nor accepted a 50,000 Euro payment to release Aitor Gonzalez from the contract the rider signed in November 2001 (see November 6 news). Santoni says that the deal reported by Aitor's manager Angel Buenache is a lie, and is also angry at the accusation that A&S owes money to Martin Perdiguero and Santos Gonzalez, both of whom are managed by Buenache.

Acqua & Sapone has indicated that it intends to force Angel Buenache to prove in an Italian or Spanish court the accusations he has made in the press.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Milan-San Remo and Lombardy out of the World Cup?

The ongoing TV rights dispute involving a number of major Italian races could lead to the exclusion of Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia from the World Cup, if those races aren't broadcast throughout Europe. At the last meeting of the Professional Cycling Council, a resolution was approved in that direction.

ONCE at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under

Manolo Saiz will fly to Australia next January 10, taking with him Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and another top rider, which may be Mikel Zarrabeitia or José Azevedo. They will be accompanied by youngsters David Arroyo, Jonathan Gonzalez, Alberto Contador and the Aussie Allan Davis. Koldo Gil (from iBanesto) and the ex-Kelme sprinter Angel Vicioso are also on the list of riders who will prepare next season in Australia, a country important for the team's bike sponsor Giant. The training camp will last until January 27 and will include racing in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under (January 21 and 26).

As with, ONCE-Eroski is also considering participation in the 2003 Giro d'Italia if the event gets TV coverage in Spain. In that case, ONCE would probably send a team to Italy under the leadership of José Azevedo.

Saeco-Longoni Sport's early season plan for 2003

The Saeco-Longoni Sport team is almost complete for the 2003 season, with 18 riders retained and four new arrivals (Zanini, Fornaciari, Shefer and Bucciero). The team management has planned the calendar of training camps for the new season, starting with a get together between December 9-13, 2002. At this camp the riders will undergo medical tests in Varese, before heading to Riccione on the Adriatic coast for training and race programme planning.

A training camp will be held in Terracina, south of Rome from January 13-26, although part of the team will be in Australia for the Jacob's Creek Tour down Under (January 21-26) the traditional start to the racing calendar for Claudio Corti's team.

A third and final training camp is planned for February 5-10 in an as yet undecided location. Again part of the team will be at the Tour of Qatar (January 31-February 4) before joining the other riders for the final part of the camp.

Few changes for Ag2r

Former world champion Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour) is the main reinforcement for Vincent Lavenu's Ag2r team, which has only engaged two other new riders for next season: the Irish neo-pro Mark Scanlon (from VC La Pomme-Marseille) and the Estonian neo-pro Erki Putsep (EC Saint-Étienne).

The team will meet first at Temple-sur-Lot between December 9 and 17. Then the three riders above along with Jaan Kirsipuu, Nicolas Portal, Alexandre Botcharov and company will reunite in January (6-12) at a place to be determined. A third training camp is likely to be held in Isle-sur-Sorgue from January 28 to February 3. At that meeting the team's first evaluation will be made, following the team's participation in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

Cantanhede-Marquês begins preparation

Riders and staff of Cantanhede-Marquês de Marialva will gather on Monday, November 11 in Tocha for the team's first pre-season training camp. In addition to Vitor Gamito (Barbot-Torrié), the team has also signed two other riders from Barbot: Pedro Costa and Pedro Bernabé. Spaniard Ezequiel Mosquera (Paredes) is the fourth new rider on the team. The team is still searching for a neo-professional ready to be immediately competitive at top level.

Riders currently on the team who will continue in 2003 include Hélder Silva, Paulo Ferreira, Luis Sarreira, David Garcia, Hélio Norte, Hugo Vítor and the Spaniard Unai Yus, winner in 2001 of the 297km Portuguese classic Porto-Lisboa.

Leaving the team at the end of the year are Joaquim Andrade, Nèlson Vitorino (Porta da Ravessa) and Lithuanians Saulias Sarkauskas, Arnoldas Saprykinas, and Valdemaras Saprykinas (destination unknown).

Courtesy of João Cravo

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