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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for November 14, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Final UCI rankings for 2002

The UCI has issued its final rider, team and country rankings for the 2002 season, which are important for determining which teams qualify for Division I next season. As expected after the last release on October 19, Germany's Erik Zabel (Telekom) has once again finished on top of the UCI rankings, a feat that he also achieved in 2001. In second place and getting better each year is Lance Armstrong (US Postal), who along with winning the Tour de France for the fourth consecutive time, also took out such events as the Midi Libre and Dauphiné Libéré, finished second in the Criterium International, third in the Meisterschaft von Zürich and fourth in the Amstel Gold Race. In third spot is Paolo Bettini, who won Liège - Bastogne - Liège and the World Cup overall, as well as the Giro del Lazio and several other single day and stage races.

In the teams rankings, Mapei-Quick Step finished number one in both Division I and Division III (its espoirs team). In its last year in the professional peloton, Mapei will say goodbye from the very top. In Division II, the winners were EDS-fakta and BankGiroLoterij, which have both earned the right to ride in Division I next season as a result of their performances. However, financial considerations must also be taken into account, as each team needs an increase in budget to cover the costs of being in the top division.

Since the last release following the Giro di Lombardia there have been a few UCI races contested, including the Japan Cup (1.3), Herald Sun Tour (2.3), Tour of Okinawa (1.5), Tour of Southland (2.5), Doble Copacabana (2.5) and Tour du Faso (2.5). All of these offered some UCI points, and although most of the top riders had finished their seasons, there were still a few scores to be settled.

The Japan Cup was perhaps the most significant of these, with Saeco and Lampre looking for points to ensure that they could make the list of the top 14 teams that earn automatic qualification for the 2003 Tour de France. Prior to the Japan Cup, Saeco and Lampre were ranked 17th and 18th, which even when Mapei and Domo are removed from Division I next year, meant that they were just outside the top 14.

Despite winning the Japan Cup with Sergio Barbero (who won it the year before), Lampre didn't improve on its team ranking. However Saeco, with Astarloa and Sacchi finishing second and third, gained enough points to move ahead of Tacconi Sport on the UCI rankings and therefore end the year in 16th place. If Mapei and Domo are removed from the Division I rankings, that means Saeco has - unofficially at least - automatically qualified for the Tour de France.

There were also a few changes as a result of the Sun Tour, which carried more UCI points this year. The winner, Australian Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), moved up to 21st on the rankings with 1012 points, demonstrating that he is more than just a sprinter. Also the iTeamnova.com team, which raced in both the Sun Tour and Tour of Southland, jumped up from 14th to 3rd in the Division III rankings. iTeamnova.com hopes to become a Division II team next year.

UCI rankings as of November 13, 2002

Individuals

1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                        2,269.00 pts
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service              2,110.00
3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                 2,012.00
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco                     1,927.00
5 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo   1,749.20
6 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi               1,702.00
7 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca      1,556.00
8 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo             1,468.00
9 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                   1,467.00
10 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service     1,455.75
11 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                 1,417.75
12 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) ONCE-Eroski          1,298.00
13 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport            1,176.00
14 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) Team CSC Tiscali             1,153.00
15 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca  1,131.40
16 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites                1,109.50
17 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                      1,081.60
18 Alex Zülle (Swi) Team Coast                         1,043.00
19 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                1,041.00
20 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo             1,016.75

Division I

1 Mapei-Quick Step                                     9,244.75 pts
2 Fassa Bortolo                                        8,083.00
3 US Postal Service                                    6,819.50
4 Lotto-Adecco                                         6,662.00
5 Team Coast                                           6,307.90
6 Cofidis                                              6,307.00
7 ONCE-Eroski                                          6,115.75
8 iBanesto.com                                         5,993.27
9 Rabobank                                             5,829.20
10 Team CSC Tiscali                                    5,789.00

Division II

1 EDS-fakta                                            3,307.00 pts
2 Bankgiroloterij                                      2,217.00
3 Palmans-Collstrop                                    1,861.00
4 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                              1,656.00
5 CCC-Polsat                                           1,452.00

Division III

1 Mapei-Quick Step                                       962.00 pts
2 AXA-VVZ Professional Cycling Team                      450.00
3 iTeamnova.com                                          443.00
4 Mercury Cycling Team                                   416.00
5 Mikomax-Browar Staropolski                             406.00

Nations

1 Italy                                               13,736.70 pts
2 Spain                                               10,341.97
3 Germany                                              6,813.00
4 Belgium                                              6,455.85
5 France                                               6,341.00
6 Australia                                            5,681.00
7 U.S.A.                                               5,508.30
8 Switzerland                                          5,322.80
9 Netherlands                                          5,153.70
10 Denmark                                             3,998.00

Full rankings

Botero hasn't signed yet

Santiago Botero says that he hasn't signed a contract with Telekom or any other team yet, despite Kelme director Vicente Belda's recent comments that Botero wouldn't be riding with them in 2003.

"I have not signed anything and have not received any news regarding the buyout clause [which has reportedly been reduced from 750,000 euros] at Kelme," said Botero in interviews with the Colombian press. "The only true thing is that we have continued negotiations and there is nothing clear. We are not near nor far, what has happened is that the conversations have been revitalized, but nothing else."

Botero also said that "Belda's declarations will have to be analysed, I do not know what is being said in Spain that is different from what I know."

He finished by saying that he would decide his future in cycling this week "whether it is with Kelme or with another team."

Courtesy of Fernando Zapata

Rumsas arrives in Lithuania

Raimondas and Edita
Photo: © ELTA
Click for larger image

Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas, together with his wife Edita and three children arrived in Lithuania from Italy on Wednesday, planning to stay for a few weeks in their homeland. Rumsas, who finished third in the Tour de France race, was involved in a doping scandal at the end of the race after his wife was caught in France with several illegal products in her car. Edita was imprisoned in Bonneville on charges of drug trafficking, but was released on bail in October. Raimondas Rumsas has always maintained that his Tour de France was clean, and none of the drug tests he submitted to showed any signs of banned substances.

Rumsas together with mother-in-law and a cousin came to Lithuania by car, while his spouse and three children flew to Vilnius by plane. The family were happy to pose for photographs at the airport.

Next week, Rumsas will give a press conference in Vilinus as well as attending a ceremony in his honour as the third placed finisher in the Tour. He said that his future team is still unknown, although he confirmed that negotiations with the Italian Lampre team are ongoing.

"For the time being I have not got a contract, but I think I will manage to get one. Everything depends on my agent," Rumsas said to ELTA newsagency.

According to ELTA, team manager Giuseppe Saronni was in favour of keeping Rumsas as there was no evidence to link him to doping use. If he doesn't stay with Lampre, he could go to the Polish Division II team CCC-Polsat, where Andrzej Sypytkowski, a former teammate of Rumsas in Mroz, is a director.

Images by ELTA

Fassa Bortolo's first training camp

The 2003 Fassa Bortolo cycling team will have its first meeting between November 25-30 at the Castrocaro thermal baths, during which time the riders will have some thermal cures. It will also be the first opportunity for all the team members to meet each other, including new arrivals Marzio Bruseghin, Fabian Cancellara, Francesco Chicchi, Dario Cioni, Juan Jose De Los Angeles, Mauro Facci, Dario Frigo, Aitor Gonzàlez, Filippo Pozzato, Guido Trenti and the new Directeur Sportif Roberto Damiani.

The team will meet again in Spresiano between December 9-11 for team photos, bike measurement and the determination of race programs.

Vogels and Spinelli sign for Navigators

Henk Vogels (Mercury) and Justin Spinelli (Saeco-Longoni Sport) will ride for US division II squad Navigators in 2003. "Although I am disappointed that we will miss a few of our solid performers from last year, I am very excited about the 2003 roster, and the new additions," said Team Director Ed Beamon. "Henk brings an enormous amount of experience, and adds tremendous depth to the squad, especially as we pursue international exposure, and I think Justin is one of the most experienced young riders in America. Both guys have a great attitude, and superb team capabilities and should really work well in our team dynamic."

After the Navigators' most successful season to date, where the team won races both in the US and in Europe, the following 10 riders will be returning: Chris Baldwin, Siro Camponogara, Vassili Davidenko, Oleg Grichkine, Ryan Guay, Glen Mitchell, Marty Nothstein, Ciaran Power, Burke Swindlehurst and Mark Walters.

In 2003, the team's goals include all of the major North American events and the US Pro Cycling Tour, as well as an increased presence in the European peloton. The team's European schedule is yet to be finalized, but Beamon expects to increase the number and quality of racing events.

"We are fortunate in that our competitive expansion into Europe parallels the goals of our sponsors", noted Business Manager Ray Cipollini. "Our strong presence in both markets allows us to maximize the value we bring to our partners", he added.

Mroz replacement takes shape

The new team to replace the Polish Division II Mroz team will probably register as a Division III team next year. All the co-sponsors are remaining, i.e. Shimano, Merida, Biemme, Mavic, Michelin and more. The major change will be in the team's top sponsor who will fund the riders' salaries. Team director Piotr Kosmala is still in negotiations with this sponsor, however Piotr "98% certain" that everything will go well. However it can only be 100% when the money is in the account.

The team will consist of 10 riders, eight from the former Mroz team and two new young riders for development. In general there is a bit of a crisis in the sponsorship of Polish cycling, and the coming season will only see one Division II Polish team (CCC-Polsat) as the rest need to down size to Division III.

Courtesy of Marek Jankowski

Glud & Marstrand extends for two more years

Glud & Marstrand Horsens has signed contracts with its main sponsor Glud & Marstrand and the co-sponsors Bilka, Citroen, Hatting and Festina, meaning the team is secure for at least two more years as a Division III trade team.

According to manager Søren Vig, the team will have at least 10, perhaps 12 riders in 2003, depending on result of the negotiations with the second top sponsor, Team Horsens. Glud & Marstrand Horsens expects to start signing riders for next year later this month.

Maxxis teams up with 7 UP

Tire company Maxxis International has announced that it will team up with the U.S. based 7 UP cycling team for 2003. Maxxis, which is better known for its downhill mountain bike tires, intends on expanding its focus to cross country mountain biking and road cycling in future.

SBS to broadcast Australian track cycling

Volunteer cycling promotion body, Cyclists International, has scored a major coup with the announcement of a five program cycling series to be telecast on SBS, one of Australia's five free-to-air TV networks. The Fitzroy Cycles International Track Cycling Series will become a key component of SBS TV's increased commitment to cycling.

SBS has covered the Tour de France since 1991 and holds the rights to both the track and road world championships. "In that 11 year span the Tour's audience reach has grown from a few hundred thousand to three and a half million," said SBS' head of sport Les Murray. "This partnership with Cyclists International allows that commitment to extend to the Australian domestic calendar and we look forward to broadcasting and promoting Australian cycling."

The five race deal is a result of many months hard work, and capitalises on the success of Australian cyclists this year, who won 30 world championships across all disciplines in 2002. Cyclists International Media and Promotions Manager, Adam Murchie was justifiably delighted.

"We have been working towards this arrangement for a long time. SBS' commitment to cycling has meant we can now bring our events to a much wider audience, not only increasing the exposure of our sport, but also providing our sponsors with outstanding benefits," said Mr. Murchie. "We are confident that our events will attract a great deal of interest within the wider sporting community, especially considering the high profile stars who have committed themselves to each of our events."

The series will be shown on SBS as five one hour highlights packages between 11am-12noon on the following dates:

Sunday, December 22 2002: Fitzroy Cycles Melbourne Cup on Wheels
Sunday, December 29 2002: Jockey Australian Madison Championship
Sunday, February 16 2003: Dimmeys Forges Stores Wheelrace
Sunday, March 30 2003: Fitzroy Cycles Austral Wheelrace.
Sunday, April 6 2003: Fitzroy Cycles Sid Patterson Grand Prix

Cyclists International's first event, the Fitzroy Cycles Melbourne Cup on Wheels is only three weeks away. Tickets are on sale now from Ticketek (www.ticketek.com) from $15. Cyclingnews will also be providing full coverage of all five events.

Launceston International Classic Riders

By Matthew Conn

The Doherty's Launceston International Classic looks set to be a showcase of Australian cycling talent after organisers have secured some of the country's top name road stars for the December 27 event.

Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole) leads the line up which also includes Bradley McGee, Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson (all FDJeux.com), Matt White (US Postal) and Mathew Hayman (Rabobank).

US based West Australian, Henk Vogels will also be on the start line, as will Jay and Corey Sweet of South Australia. Following two years racing in Holland, Corey has recently signed with O'Grady's Credit Agricole squad for the 2003 European season.

While it is unlikely veteran Tasmanian rider Danny Clark will climb on the podium at the end of the 80km event, the former George Town boy never fails to draw attention when he races in his home state. The multiple world champion has jumped at the opportunity to come back to Tasmania to be part of the inaugural event.

In addition to the top international cyclists taking part, various state institutes of sport will be sending their top amateur and under 23 riders to the Launceston event.

The event organisers are hopeful that they can finalise the participation of their other headline riders early next week and if all goes according to plan, the Doherty's Launceston International Classic will see the cream of the worlds professional cycling ranks bring the streets of Launceston alive on the last Friday evening in December.

24 Hours of Adrenalin 2003 schedule

The 24 Hours of Adrenalin(tm) event schedule for 2003 has been announced by Trilife Sports International. New additions for 2003 are South Central USA and Nevada, with a total of 14 events across North America. The event series will commence one month earlier in 2003, beginning in Fountain Hills, Arizona on April 5-6.

2003 schedule

April 5-6: McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Fountain Hills, Arizona
April 26-27: South Central, USA Location To Be Announced
May 17-18: Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, (Central) California 24 Hours of Adrenalin(tm) NORBA National Championships and 24 Hours of Adrenalin(tm)
May 31-June 1: Glen Mountain Park, Quebec
June 14-15: Kelso Conservation Area, Milton, Ontario
June 28-29: Holiday Farm, Dalton, Mass
July 19-20: Canmore Nordic Centre, Canmore, Alberta
August 2-3: Town of Winter Park, Colorado
August 16-17: Hardwood Hills, Barrie, Ontario
Aug 30-31: British Columbia Location To Be Announced
September 13-14: Summit at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington State
September 27-28: Hurkey Creek Park, Idyllwild, (Southern) California
October 11-12: Nevada Location To Be Announced
October 25-26: Georgia Int’l Horse Park, Conyers, Georgia

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