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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for November 25, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

New cyclo-cross start order regulations introduced

The UCI's controversial "start order by country ranking" rule will be changed for the second round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup. The rule was an attempt to give the countries with lower ranked riders a better chance by starting them nearer the front. However it was met with strong protest from the Belgian camp, which was afraid that it would disadvantage its riders too much. For example, if the fifth best Belgian in the team was ranked sixth in the UCI rankings, he would still have to start on the fifth row, behind a number of lower ranked riders from different countries.

The UCI intended to use this rule for the first round of the World Cup only, and from then on change the start order to one based on individual World Cup rankings. The Belgians needn't have panicked, as the winner in Frankfurt, Bart Wellens, started on the fifth row, caught the leaders by the third lap and rode away to a clear win despite a flat tyre with three laps to go. As his compatriots filled five of the next eight places, it means that the Belgians will still have the rails run in Round 2 of the World Cup.

The UCI has also specified that the host country will not be allowed to enter a 'B team' in its own round of the World Cup. Last year, the Belgians took full advantage of this to place 10 riders in the top 10 of the Wortegem-Petegem round in Belgium. Finally, last season's World Cup winner does not get a free spot in all of this season's races.

Despite all these rules to create a more even competition, it's clear that the Belgians are in a league of their own when it comes to cyclo-cross.

McRae looks ahead to Schroeder Iron and tri transition for '03

Cyclingnews caught up with US Pro Champion Chann McRae at his home in Austin, Texas after his recent announcement that he would sign for the Schroeder Iron team for 2003, an up and coming Division 3 outfit out of Southern California.

CN: Chann, how were your experiences at USPS in 2002, both positive and negative?
I really only had one positive experience at US Postal last season; that was winning the USPro jersey. I have a policy not to dwell over any of the negatives that happened to me last season or in the past; I only look at the present and towards the future with enthusiasm.

CN: So what about the alleged "curse" of the US Champion's jersey? Statistics show that if you win the USPro jersey on Postal, you will not stay with the team.
CM: My opinion is that I was a piece of the puzzle that did not fit. (US Postal) wanted an indian [as opposed to chief - Ed], and on Mapei I was a good indian. Mapei compensated me at the correct level for that, whereas US Postal was unwilling to do that.

CN: Are disappointed joining a Division 3 team as US champion?
I have to say that where I am in my career presently, is exactly where I want to be. Schroeder Iron is a predictable and positive environment; aspects conducive to motivation and results.

CN: Do you have any further European aspirations on a pro road team?
When I think about racing in Europe again, I think about the economic climate. The climate is in a recession; therefore going back to Europe at this time is not an attractive option.

CN: What about the transition to a tri career? What is your cycling and tri program look like for 2003?
My tri career is on the same level as my cycling, I will put more of my efforts into cycling through early June. My program with Schroeder Iron is the Pro Cycling Tour and a few other key events in April. After June, I'll then shift over to more of a tri focus. My main focus in tri will be qualifying for the Ironman, and then going faster than I did this year in Kona. For now, off season will be used to build a solid base and strength in all three disciplines.

Borghi awarded Casartelli prize

32 year old Ruggero Borghi (Tacconi Sport) has been awarded the Fabio Casartelli prize for 2002 by the Società Ciclistica Monte Brianza. The award is dedicated to the memory of Fabio Casartelli, who died when he crashed in the 1995 Tour de France. It is a tribute to the "dedication and generosity of an athlete, who despite suffering misfortune, always distinguished himself as a professional."

In accepting the prize, Borghi said to La Gazzetta dello Sport that he "wanted to keep cycling, even though the sport is going through a difficult period which will force a number of riders to retire."

Timochine awarded

The world's best ranked U23 rider for 2002, Mikhail Timochine (Rus) will be awarded the "Euromobil Oscar TuttoBici Under 23" prize in recognition of his accomplishments this season. The presentation will take place on the evening of Monday, November 25, in Treviso, as part of a conference entitled "Cycling and school". Amongst those present will be FCI president Giancarlo Ceruti, Best Young Rider in the 2002 Tour de France Ivan Basso, RAI commentator Davide Cassani, and journalists Pier Bergonzi (La Gazzetta dello Sport), Angelo Costa (Il Giorno, La Nazione, Il Resto del Carlino), Cristiano Gatti (Il Giornale) and Pier Augusto Stagi (TuttoBici director).

Former RFEC secretary dies

Rafael Torres Crespo, the former Secretary-General of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), has died from a heart attack suffered this morning at Jaén, Spain. Torres Crespo, who lived in Madrid, was there to attend the 2002 Andalucian Cycling Awards Evening.

The 65 years old was twice Secretary-General of the Spanish federation. The first time from 1981 to 1994, and the second time from 1997 until September 2002.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Panaria complete for 2003

Bruno and Roberto Reverberi have released the complete roster of the Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo for 2003. The squad contains 13 riders, with Paolo Lanfranchi (Index-Alexia) the final signing. Only five riders from 2002 are continuing with the team.

Team Roster

Giuliano Figueras
Cuapio Julio Alberto Perez
Graeme Brown
Filippo Perfetto
Sergey Matveyev
Paolo Tiralongo (Fassa Bortolo)
Luca Mazzanti (Mercatone Uno)
Paolo Lanfranchi (Index Alexia)
Brett Lancaster (
Fabio Gilioli (Neo pro)
Ruben Bongiorno (Neo pro)
Claudio Bartoli (Neo pro)
Scott Davis (Neo pro)

Team Manager: Bruno Reverberi
Director Sportif: Roberto Reverberi

Bikes: Battaglin
Group set: Shimano Dura Ace

Jensen extends with Glud & Marstrand

The Danish rider Gøran Jensen has signed a new contract for 2003 with Danish Division III team Glud & Marstrand Horsens.

Major Taylor school study guides released

Curriculum kits for lessons about trailblazing black athlete Marshall W. "Major" Taylor (1899 World Champion), are now available free to schoolteachers and youth group leaders through a collaboration of the Major Taylor Association, the Educational Association of Worcester and the Institute for International Sport.

The kits grew out of a teachers' guide to Major Taylor, written by Virginia Walsh, a Grade 3 teacher at West Tatnuck Elementary School in Worcester, in February 2002. They include five take home worksheets that provide information about "the Worcester Whirlwind," as Major Taylor was known, and related exercises and activities employing language, mathematics and other skills. The 13 page packet also includes a reading and discussion exercise for older students, focusing on the Jim Crow racial prejudices that marked Major Taylor's athletic career, how the champion reacted to the closed doors and open hostility he faced on and off the bike, and how his experiences might guide athletes and others today.

The materials are designed to be used during Black History Month (February) or National Sportsmanship Day (first Tuesday in March) in conjunction with an optional readathon to benefit the Major Taylor Association's fund raising for a planned statue of Major Taylor at the Worcester Public Library.

Beginning in December, educators and youth group leaders anywhere may download the materials free from Major Taylor information also will be available at the National Sportsmanship Day website: click on "Contact Information" to receive the 2003 National Sportsmanship Day packet.

Also see: Cannondale and Team Major Taylor On Track for 2003 (Cyclingnews Interbike story)

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