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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for October 1, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

A new nickname for Gonzalez

Future Tour de France contender?

Aitor Gonzalez
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Vuelta España winner Aitor 'Speedy' Gonzalez has a new nickname in the Spanish press: 'Terminaitor'. The way he demolished Roberto Heras and all his other rivals in Sunday's final time trial was an incredible performance of power riding, proving just how important it is to be able to time trial well in order to win a grand tour. Heras hoped that his efforts in the mountains would be enough to withstand the onslaught of the Kelme man, but the 1'08 gap proved to be far too slim, and it was completely gone by the second time check at 24 km.

Gonzalez didn't wear the leader's jersey until after the final stage, although he was within one second of it after the first time trial for five consecutive stages, with teammate Oscar Sevilla carrying the burden of the lead. When Sevilla lost time on l'Angliru, Gonzalez became the de facto Kelme leader, while a brilliant Heras took over the overall lead.

A simplistic analysis shows that Gonzalez had the best chance of the two Kelme riders anyway. Oscar Sevilla's final deficit to Gonzalez was 3'26 - he lost only 34 seconds of that on the 'disastrous' Angliru stage, and he might have sacrificed another 30 seconds when he helped Gonzalez on La Covatilla. In the end, it was Gonzalez's grim determination and consistency on the climbs and his far superior time trial skills that won him the Vuelta.

"When I started in Valencia I thought I had a chance of making the podium," he said in Spanish newspaper Marca today. "Thinking of victory would have been crazy, but I knew there were some key stages where I would have to try and hold on, and others where I was capable of making up time."

Gonzalez's immediate goal is the World Championships in Zolder, where he will be one of the big favourites for the time trial, which will be run on a pan flat course that will suit him. "I think I have a chance of winning it," he said. "I finished the Vuelta strongly and I believe I am in good enough condition to win the World Championship."

Gonzalez is almost certain to change teams next season, despite a good offer from Kelme. "At the moment, including myself, Kelme-Costa Blanca have three leaders for the grand tours and that makes things very tough. After winning the Vuelta I am looking for a team where I will be the sole leader, where there will be no problems and where I can prepare for the races as I want."

The big question now is whether he can challenge Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France. Based on his results this year - 6th in the Giro after losing 8 minutes on a single stage, and 1st in the Vuelta - he has risen to the top of the challengers list.

"I am interested in trying out the Tour," he said. "But first I have to change and become more focused, without becoming totally obsessive, because there is still room for improvement."

The key for Gonzalez is in his climbing ability, where Lance Armstrong is devastatingly strong. 1988 Tour winner Pedro Delgado commented to Marca that "The Aitor that we have all seen in the last few days would be a worthy rival of Armstrong's in the Tour, because even though he may not be as good a climber as the American he is a better time triallist."

2.5 Million tune in for final Vuelta stage

An estimated 2.5 million fans tuned in to watch the final stage of the Vuelta a España on Spanish television Sunday. When coverage began shortly after 15:00 on the second national channel, 1.26 million viewers were watching. As the event went on and the face off began between Aitor Gonzalez and Roberto Heras, ratings increased, topping 2.5 million viewers and an estimated viewer share of just over 25%. The final road stage on Saturday (Avila-Warner Brothers Park) netted an estimated 1.8 million viewers.

The previous Sunday's Angliru stage was even more popular however, with an average audience of 3.7 million people tuning in, corresponding to a market share of 34.3%. The audience peaked at 17:52, when an estimated 4,758,000 viewers tuned in to watch the finale.

Overall, ratings for this year's Vuelta topped the previous two editions, with an average share of 23.6%.

Latest UCI rankings

Erik Zabel
Photo: ©
Click for larger image

The UCI has issued its latest set of rankings following the completion of the Vuelta España. There have been a few changes since the previous rankings at the beginning of September, although the top three riders Erik Zabel, Paolo Bettini and Lance Armstrong still have their places intact. Zabel's consistency again has kept him well on top, with a 300 point lead over Paolo Bettini, who is also showing excellent end of season form. Lance Armstrong has finished his season, but his first half was good enough to net him 2110 points, and he remains the top scoring rider of 2002.

Riders progressing up the scale last month include Robbie McEwen, winner of Paris-Brussels, Circuit Franco Belge, and second in the GP Rik Van Steenbergen. McEwen is now up to 4th place on 1699 points. Vuelta España winner Aitor Gonzalez had a spectacular rise in the rankings, from 51st to 6th place, after winning three stages and the overall of the Spanish tour.

Other riders to do well out of the Vuelta include Roberto Heras (17th - 7th), who held the leader's jersey for five days and finished second overall. Joseba Beloki, the only rider to finish on the podium in two grand tours this year, moved himself up from 23rd to 13th, while Oscar Sevilla achieved a similar gain moving from 22nd to 12th. Danilo Di Luca, who won a stage and finished 20th overall in the Vuelta, earned enough points to move into the top 10 on the UCI list.

Alessandro Petacchi (35th - 17th), Gianluca Bortolami (174th - 37th), Baden Cooke (83rd - 33rd), Laszlo Bodrogi (46th - 32nd), Uwe Peschel (130th - 57th), Felix Garcia Casas (129th - 63rd) and Tom Boonen (121st to 73rd) also did well in September.

Riders losing places include Angel Casero (54th - 206th), OScar Freire (5th - 10th), Erik Dekker (6th - 11th), Davide Rebellin (9th - 14th).

Rankings as of September 29, 2002

1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                                2,439.00 pts
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                         2,146.00
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service                      2,110.00
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco                             1,699.00
5 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi                       1,586.00
6 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca              1,479.00
7 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service              1,455.75
8 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport                     1,426.00
9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                     1,414.00
10 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step                   1,395.15
11 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                  1,366.60
12 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo          1,344.20
13 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                  1,233.00
14 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                          1,225.00
15 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) Team CSC Tiscali                     1,138.00
16 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                              1,122.60
17 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                     1,071.75
18 Alex Zuelle (Swi) Team Coast                                1,038.00
19 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                         1,034.75
20 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca          1,013.40
Top riders of 2002
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service                      2,110.00
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                                1,949.00
3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                         1,679.00
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco                             1,679.00
5 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi                       1,586.00
6 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca              1,479.00
7 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service              1,455.75
8 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo           1,344.20
9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                     1,307.00
10 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                  1,223.00
Division I
1 Mapei-Quick Step                                             8,962.75 pts
2 Fassa Bortolo                                                7,454.00
3 US Postal Service                                            6,724.50
4 Lotto-Adecco                                                 6,571.00
5 Cofidis                                                      6,088.00
6 ONCE-Eroski                                                  5,991.75
7 Team Coast                                                   5,977.90
8                                                 5,761.27
9 Rabobank                                                     5,583.20
10 Team CSC Tiscali                                            5,310.00
Division II
1 EDS-fakta                                                    3,220.00 pts
2 Bankgiroloterij                                              2,217.00
3 Palmans-Collstrop                                            1,771.00
4 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                      1,604.00
5 CCC-Polsat                                                   1,452.00
Full rankings

Cloud lingers over VDB

Frank Vandenbroucke has rejoined the peloton with Domo-Farm Frites, but the dark cloud from his last brush with the authorities lingers overhead. Belgian newspaper De Morgen, surprise beneficiary (from an unidentified source) of a report from the Flemish government, has disclosed an expanded list of possible doping products linked to the rider from his arrest earlier this year. Originally thought to be limited to three products, the list has since expanded to eleven, including growth hormones, EPO, aranesp, testosterone, morphine, amphetamines and masking agents.

Troubled by the apparently blatant leak of information to the Flemish newspaper De Morgen, Domo manager Patrick Lefevere commented, "the role of the Flemish government is not very clear. The whole affair is frustrating."

Lefevere maintains support for the embattled VDB, and wondered aloud when the 'persecution' of his rider would end. "Certainly, his biggest error was keeping those products at his house. But remember, he has never tested positive for any banned substances. I personally requested that our doctor Yvan Vanmol test VDB for those products that were found, and the results have always been negative. I've worked with Vanmol for 11 years, and he's never lied to me."

Although VDB was reportedly tested for these substances by the Flemish authorities, the results of those tests have yet to be revealed.

Vandenbroucke remains suspended in Flanders only, and will be able to compete again at the beginning of March next year. He will spend some of his winter training in South Africa, where it's a good deal sunnier than Belgium.

Italian World's selection

The Italian Cycling Federation and national selector Franco Ballerini have named the full 14 man squad for the World Championships, and as anticipated, the team is structured in support of Mario Cipollini. Notably absent are stars such as Michele Bartoli and Gilberto Simoni, as well as double Vuelta stage winner Angelo Furlan. The final 12 will be named from this squad.

The squad seems to be better balanced than in previous years, with Cipollini's teammates Daniele Bennati, Mario Scirea and Giovanni Lombardi able to set up a great lead out if the race comes to a sprint. There are also Davide Bramati, Luca Scinto, Daniele Nardello, Matteo Tosatto, Fabio Sacchi, and Lorenzo Bernucci in the role of team workers, while Paolo Bettini, Danilo Di Luca, Gianluca Bortolami and Alessandro Petacchi will fill out the top end of the team.

The full composition of the team is as follows:

Road race: Mario Cipollini, Daniele Bennati, Giovanni Lombardi, Mario Scirea (Acqua e Sapone), Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Daniele Nardello, Luca Scinto (Mapei-Quick Step), Alessandro Petacchi, Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Danilo Di Luca, Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Gianluca Bortolami (Tacconi Sport), Lorenzo Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet).

Time trial: Filippo Pozzato (Mapei-Quick Step), Manuel Quinziato (Lampre-Daikin).

Steels makes Belgian selection

Belgian champion Tom Steels will ride in Zolder, national selector Jose De Cauwer announced today. Steels who has had reasonably good, but still patchy form this year, will join 11 other riders in the road race. The time trial will be ridden by Marc Wauters, who grew up near the Zolder circuit, and Bert Roesems, with Rik Verbrugghe being overlooked.

10 of the 12 riders have now been confirmed for the road team: Johan Museeuw (Domo-Farm Frites), Peter Van Petegem, Nico Eeckhout (Lotto), Jo Planckaert (Cofidis), Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre-Daikin), Tom Boonen (US Postal), Tom Steels and Kevin Hulsmans (Mapei), and Ludovic Capelle (AG2R). Those vying for the last two spots include Serge Baguet and Glenn de Hollander (Lotto), Jurgen Van Goolen, Wilfried Cretskens (Domo-Farm Frites), Chris Peers and Nico Mattan (Cofidis), Michel Van Haecke (Landbouwkrediet) and Erwin Thijs (Palmans Collstrop).

Australian team for the World Championships

Cycling Australia today confirmed the Cyclones Team for the World Road Championships in Zolder, Belgium. Australia will boast a full strength 12 man line up for the the men's elite road race scheduled for Sunday, October 13.

"This is the first time Australia has managed to qualify the maximum 12 riders allowed (based on achieving a world top ten nation ranking) and it just demonstrates the depth of talent we now have," said Australian Head Coach, Shayne Bannan just a day after witnessing Australia end its track cycling campaign as the number one country in the world. "We'll have a really strong team in Belgium especially with the experience of the professionals all coming together for this world titles."

The men's team includes 2002 Tour de France sprint champion and stage winner, Robbie McEwen and newly crowned world individual pursuit world champion and a stage winner of this year's Tour de France, Brad McGee. 2002 Commonwealth Games road race champion and a past stage winner and wearer of the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey, Stuart O'Grady, will also line up as will promising young sprinter Baden Cooke, who this year in his first Tour de France placed in the top three several times and scored bronze in Manchester.

McEwen, currently ranked fourth in the world - the highest of an Australian since the professional and amateur ranks merged in 1996, McEwen and Cooke all enjoyed victories last week in European road events.

Many believe Australia has its best chance ever of securing a world road crown. "It's an Australian course, best described as Ballarat (country town in the Australian state of Victoria) on a winter's day - flat, windy, cold and with drizzle expected," said Bannan. "That will suit us."

Bannan admits that going into the elite road race event with such a strong team has increased the pressure. "I'm excited but also a little edgy because there is a lot of expectation on us this year," he explained. "But there has been a real buzz amongst the riders and they've been excited about the prospect of riding this world titles for months."

Bannan believes the team composition has enough depth to handle any eventuality in Belgium. "The beauty of our team is that we have at least one or two riders who can tackle any race situation be it a big bunch sprint finish, a sprint amongst a breakaway group or an attacking scenario," Bannan said.

In the men's elite road time trial Michael Rogers and Nathan O'Neill have been nominated for Australia. (Commonwealth Games time trial gold medallist and road race silver medallist, Cadel Evans, was unavailable for selection due to illness.)

The Australian women's team is treating this World Titles as a development step on the road to Athens. Former world ranked number one, Anna Millward, who claimed silver in the time trial at Manchester, will not race as she returned home in August in a bid to fully recover from a leg injury which has plagued her since a crash at last year's World Championships.

However National Women's Road Coach, James Victor, says his team has good form and the talent to be in the race making moves.

"Everyone's talking sprint finishes and if that's the case Petra Rossner (Ger) would clearly be the favourite but I think it will be a different type of race," he said. "We're going to look for any opportunity and exploit the critical moves to our advantage but we have to be careful not to chase after everything as we are not the strongest team and shouldn't be setting the agenda."

"We have a young and relatively inexperienced team and this year will be a great chance for them to measure their development."

World Track Championships scratch race silver medallist, Rochelle Gilmore, demonstrated her sprinting form in Copenhagen and Victor believes she can put herself in the right position to contest a sprint finish if that's how the race plays out.

In the U/23 men's road race will see Mark Renshaw, a member of the Australian world record holding pursuit team and newly crowned teams pursuit World Champion, trade his track wheels for the road. Another of the in-form riders in the division is Victorian, Simon Gerrans, who last month won a stage of the Swiss GP Tell tour.

In the junior teams Mark Jamieson, who won gold in the individual pursuit and silver in the teams pursuit at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne in August and Madison silver medallist Jonothan Clarke will make the transition to the road team while James Meadley will head to Zolder on the back of a win last weekend in an international junior road event raced in Belgium.

The women's junior team also boasts stars from the Melbourne World Titles team with individual pursuit champion, Alexis Rhodes, and scratch race bronze medallist, Belinda Goss, in the four rider team.

Full Team Roster

Elite Men

Road Race

Baden Cooke (
Nick Gates (Wiesenhof Leipzig)
Matt Hayman (Rabobank)
Robert McEwen (Lotto Adecco)
Brad Mcgee (
Stuart O'Grady (Crédit Agricole)
Nathan O'Neill (Ceramiche Panaria)
Michael Rogers (Mapei-Quickstep)
Scott Sunderland (Team EDS-fakta)
Henk Vogels (Mercury)
Matt White (US Postal)
Matt Wilson (

Time Trial

Nathan O'Neill (Ceramiche Panaria)
Michael Rogers (Mapei-Quickstep)

Senior Women

Road Race

Sara Carrigan (QLD)
Rochelle Gilmore (NSW)
Olivia Gollan (NSW)
Emma James (NSW)
Margaret Hemsley (ACT)
Hayley Rutherford (WA)
Alison Wright (ACT)

Time Trial

Sara Carrigan (QLD)
Alison Wright (ACT)

U/23 Men

Road Race

Gene Bates (SA)
Simon Gerrans (VIC)
Dave Pell (VIC)
Mark Renshaw (NSW)
Rory Sutherland (ACT)

Time Trial

Rory Sutherland (ACT)

Junior Men

Road Race

Jonathon Clarke (VIC)
Mark Jamieson (TAS)
James Meadley (ACT)
Richard Moffatt (NSW)
Nicolas Sanderson (VIC)
Ryan Sullivan (TAS)

Time Trial

Mark Jamieson (TAS)
Richard Moffatt (NSW)

Junior Women

Road Race

Belinda Goss (TAS)
Sally Cowman (QLD)
Alex Rhodes (SA)
Stephanie Williams (TAS)

Time Trial

Belinda Goss (TAS)

Beltman breaks collarbone

Chantal Beltman will miss the World Championships in Zolder next week after breaking her collarbone on Saturday during the Dutch Championship for Club Teams in Dronten. The Dutch selection is, with the exception of Debby Mansveld, now entirely made up of Farm Frites Hartol riders:

Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, Mirjam Melchers, Debby Mansveld, Arenda Grimberg, Sissy van Alebeek and Anouska van der Zee.

Putting the 'old' back in Zolder

On October 10th, as part of the ongoing celebrations surrounding the World Championships, the municipality of Bokrijk will present an 'old-fashioned' kermesse featuring bikes - and riders - from a previous era. The race will also feature a publicity caravan using vintage vehicles, and a parade of vintage bikes ridden by participants dressed in period clothing. Among the legends expected to compete in the kermesse are Willy Vekemans, Roger Rosiers, Lode Troonbeeckx, Vic Van Schil, Jef Van Schoenmaker, and Paul Wellens.

Zolder by numbers

For anyone who's ever wondered how many cyclists come to compete at a World Championship, here are some figures to help put it all in perspective. Some 50 UCI recognized teams will be represented, and 520 members of the race organization and UCI will be on hand for the event.

Estimated number of participants:

Junior women time trial: 93
Junior men time trial: 116
U23 men time trial: 88
Elite women time trial: 69
Elite men time trial: to be determined
Junior women road race: 59
Junior men road race: 244
U23 men road race: 266
Elite women road race: 178
Elite men road race: to be determined (estimated 30% more than previous years)

Participating countries: 50 (anticipated)

Giro della Provincia di Lucca preview

The final test on Italian soil before the World Championships in Zolder will be the 4th Giro della Provincia di Lucca, held October 1-4. The race will present riders like Gianluca Bortolami with a final chance to test their form before the World's, while recent Giro dell'Emilia winner Michele Bartoli and the ever consistent (but seldom victorious) Davide Rebellin will look for glory in lieu of selection for the Italian team in Zolder.

The race is a four stage event which totals 714km of racing.

Stage 1 - October 1: Pescia - Castelvecchio, 165 km
Stage 2 - October 2: Cappanori - Altopascio, 225 km
Stage 3 - October 3: Stazzema - Forte Marmi, 162 km
Stage 4 - October 4: Viareggio - Lucca, 162 km

Previous winners

2001 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
2000 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
1999 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step

Scanlon to Ag2r?

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Over the weekend, Mark Scanlon's performance in the Paris Correze has moved him closer to that elusive professional contract which he has been chasing since his memorable win in the world junior cycling championships back in Valkenberg in 1998. Scanlon finished third on the final stage into Brieve after a testing 155.7 km of racing. Also the Sligoman had very high placings in the points, mountains and the combativity sections of the event first ran in 2001. His contribution also helped the team, Ag2r-Prevoyance, to be the leading team overall. The event was won by the Australian Baden Cooke.

Two years ago Mark made a move into the pro ranks with the now defunct Linda McCartney team. That was short lived when in January 2000, prior to the official launch in London, it went out of existence and with its demise left a number of disgruntled professionals high and dry.

Currently Mark is in negotiations with Ag2r, but has not yet signed a contract.

Leblacher promoted in Credit Agricole

Eric Leblacher, who rode for the Crédit Agricole Espoirs team this year, has been promoted to the Division I squad for next season. Leblacher won two races in Belgium this year: Brussel-Opwijk and the Circuit des Ardennes. Some good results in the Tour de l'Avenir persuaded team director Roger Legeay to move him up to first division. Leblacher will be 25 in March next year.

Courtesy of

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