News for October 3, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
The Sociètè du Tour de France, organisers of the Paris-Tours World Cup race on Sunday, October 6, have released the list of teams and principal riders who will be competing in the event. Last year's winner Richard Virenque, who successfully pulled off a long breakaway with Jacky Durand, will be an important part of the Domo-Farm Frites team, which also features Johan Museeuw and Romans Vainsteins. Museeuw has a chance to reclaim the lead in the World Cup, as he trails Paolo Bettini by just two points. That would set things up for an interesting showdown in the last round, the Giro di Lombardia on October 19.
Paris-Tours will also serve as an important form tester for the following weekend's World Road Championships in Zolder. With its largely flat profile and long distance (257 km), Paris-Tours is probably as close as you can get to Zolder with a similar level of competition. Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone), Jaan Kirsipuu and Ludovic Capelle (Ag2r), Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco), Jan Svorada (Lampre-Daikin), Paolo Bettini and Oscar Freire (Mapei-Quick Step), Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Danilo Di Luca (Saeco), Tom Boonen (USPS), Gianluca Bortolami and Dario Frigo (Tacconi), and Danilo Hondo and Erik Zabel (Telekom) will all be there.
Paris-Tours starts in Saint-Arnoult-En-Yvelines, about 50 km south west of Paris. En route to Tours, the race passes via Bonneval (where the 188.5 km U23 race will start), Brou, Chateau-Renault, and Esvres-Sur-Indre before finishing in the Avenue de Grammont in Tours. As mentioned, the profile is fairly flat with the highest point being 200m, although there are plenty of small climbs to make it interesting.
Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of Paris-Tours, with coverage times to be announced.
Teams and riders
Domo Farm Frites: Virenque (2001 winner), Museeuw, Vainsteins
Gonzalez gets a new offer from Quick Step
All not quiet on the Kelme front
The winner of the Vuelta España, Aitor "Terminaitor" Gonzalez is still being courted by several teams for next season. After adding a few euros to his asking price last Sunday (now reportedly 1 million euros), Gonzalez now has a new offer from Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step-Davitamon team. "I want have an answer about my offer within 48 hours," said Lefevere to Het Nieuwsblad today.
Besides Quick Step and his current team Kelme, other teams reportedly interested in Gonzalez include Acqua e Sapone (with a strong offer), ibanesto.com and Saeco.
Things are not all rosy in the Kelme camp though, just a few days after winning their second Vuelta in three years. Team director Vicente Belda didn't pull his punches in an interview with Marca, calling Gonzalez "undisciplined" and saying that he would rather celebrate his victory with the "traitor" who helped Roberto Heras (Miguel Martin Perdiguero).
"The team did not fail him at any moment, and the only one who committed an error during the Vuelta was him. Everyone saw the one on the Angliru, but something similar also happened in Ubrique and we did not say anything [Gonzalez attacked in pursuit of Luis Perez on the descent, leaving Sevilla in the bunch. Gonzalez won the stage but Sevilla recorded the same time after he and a few others caught him.]."
"On La Covatilla I sacrificed Sevilla, who could have gained a few seconds to put himself on the podium, and he says that he didn't help him. It is clear that he was performing a 'paripé', a play in front of the gallery because the reality, it seems, is something completely different. When a rider who wins the Vuelta says that he does not want to continue with Kelme-Costa Blanca the paripé is over."
Belda was clearly not happy with Aitor, who he accused of not thanking all of the Kelme team and staff after his win. It's also clear that Aitor is one ambitious cyclist, with the talent and desire to keep on winning big races.
Museeuw looking for another birthday win?
Sunday, October 13, 2002 is an important day for Johan Museeuw. That day marks his 37th birthday, and also happens to be the day of the World Championship road race in Zolder. Six years ago, Museeuw won the World Championships in Lugano on his birthday. Can he do it again, on his home turf? He beat riders of the calibre of Paolo Bettini in a 10 man sprint at the HEW Cyclassics in August, so is certainly not to be underestimated if the race comes down to a small group sprint with him in it. It would be a popular win.
Riders don't always have good luck on their birthdays - witness Oscar Sevilla's unlucky finish to the Vuelta last Sunday. Sevilla was plagued by mechanical problems that ended up costing him a spot on the podium by just 15 seconds. Not a good way to celebrate your 26th birthday.
At the moment, with 10 of the 12 riders being named already for the Belgian team, Museeuw does not have a Domo teammate. Domo's Wilfried Cretskens and Jurgen Van Goolen are on the reserve list at the moment, with the final selection to be made following Paris-Tours.
Museeuw's director Patrick Lefevere has been critical of the selection so far. "If I was De Cauwer, I would wait until after Paris-Tours before naming the last four riders," said Lefevere in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad. "I ask myself how De Cauwer can form a bond within a team in just three days. And if you are selecting team riders over free booters, why Jo Planckaert instead of Nico Mattan? For me, Nico is much more a team rider. Strange. Very strange."
Lefevere's words were also echoed by Christophe Sercu, the manager of the Lotto-Adecco team, who has just two riders (Van Petegem and Eeckhout) in the selection at the moment.
Bortolami's role at the World's
Gianluca Bortolami, winner of Sunday's GP Beghelli (Milano-Vignola) as well as the Giro di Romagna and GP Fourmies recently, is pleased to have made the Italian team for the World Championships. The consistent 34 year old Tacconi rider is hoping to be part of the team that wins the World's - the first Italian victory since Gianni Bugno in 1992.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Bortolami described his role as an antagonist in order to put pressure on the other teams. "The prognostic is for Cipollini, while myself and the others will have the job of being a nuisance, forcing the other teams to work," he said. The technical director Ballerini has chosen fast men on purpose, with experience and great endurance. The Zolder course is easy, but much depends on the weather conditions and the situations that arise in the race."
"Of course it will be impossible to keep the race together from the first to the last kilometre, that's why people like Bettini, Di Luca, Tosatto and myself will try to get in the breaks and we can also play for the victory in a small group sprint."
Bortolami said that winning last Sunday's Milano-Vignola was a "confirmation" of his selection, as he thought that what he had done already this year was sufficient. It will only be his third World Championships, having also competed in 1994 and 1997.
Maassen back with the pro's
Former Dutch pro Frans Maassen will be a team director of the Rabobank professional team next year. Maassen currently directs Rabobank's young riders, but will make the step to the first division.
51st Herald Sun Tour route
The official route of the 51st Herald Sun Tour (October 18-27) has been announced. The 10 day, 1028 km tour has been slightly revamped this year, making it more appealing to riders, in particular those who have raced a full season in Europe. There will only be two days with more than one stage per day, similar in format to a European stage race, although the spectator friendly kermesses and criteriums will still be a big part of the tour, numbering five in total this year.
The remaining seven road stages take the riders on a clockwise tour of Victoria, starting from Melbourne on October 18, passing via Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Bright, Omeo, Moe, Mt Baw Baw before finishing in Geelong on October 27. The tour's toughest stages come in the second half, with the climb of Mt Hotham featuring in the early part of Stage 8 from Harrietville to Omeo, and the climb of Mt Baw Baw completing the 11th stage which starts from Warragul. This stage will probably be the decider, as the race finishes in Geelong with a 44 km kermesse on the following day.
Total prize money for this year is AU$120,000, which is higher than last year's 50th anniversary edition. The race is classified as 2.3 on the UCI calendar.
Total distance: 1028.1 km
Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series round 1
The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series kicks off at the Lost Valley Ski Area in Auburn, Maine on October 6, 2002. Hosted by Maine Cycling Club/SRP-Gearworks-Spin Arts Cycling Team, the race is being held in conjunction with The Fall Festival at The Lost Valley Ski Area.
The top cyclo-cross racers in North America will be on the start line for opening day of not only the Verge Series opener, but also the first UCI cyclo-cross race in North America for 2002. Coming off of three wins in his first three 'cross races of 2002, former two-time US National Champion Mark McCormack of Saturn will be on hand to defend his 2001 overall Verge Series title. He'll be challenged by last year's DownEast 'Cross winner Jonny Sundt (K2) and the reigning (and 5 time) Canadian National Champion Peter Wedge (Kona). Also expected on hand are the 2001 SuperCup Series Final winner Jonathan Page (Richard Sachs), and Saturn's Tim Johnson, the only rider to have been U.S. National Champion as a junior, a U23, and an elite.
On the women's side, defending 2001 Verge Series and DownEast 'Cross champion Lyne Bessette of Cyclocrossworld.com can't make the trip due to her final preparations for road world championships in Zolder, Belgium. Favourites in Lyne's absence on what many believe to be the most challenging course in the U.S. are expected to be Canadian National Champion Shauna Gillies-Smith (SRP-Gearworks-Spin Arts), U.S. Masters Champion Jodi Groesbeck (Putney/WestHill), and U.S. collegiate champion Alicia Genest (Richard Sachs).
Richard Sachs announces 2002/2003 cyclo-cross team
North American frame builder Richard Sachs is again sponsoring a cyclo-cross team for the 2002 season. Having begun his involvement several years ago with Adam Myerson, who won the Collegiate National Cyclo-cross Championship in Denver, Richard has steadily built the size and strength of his team. At the Baltimore Cyclo-cross National Championships last year, every member of the Richard Sachs team made an appearance on the podium and won more National Championships than any other team at the event including the now defunct Supercup.
The team for 2002 will consist of five riders, four of whom will race the entire New England circuit with one member racing in Europe.
"We're also going to again sponsor Jonathan Page, who will be based in Belgium, for the entire European cyclo-cross circuit where he is poised to break into the top 10 on a regular basis," said the team director.
2002 Team Roster
Katrina Davis (2001 Masters 30+ National Cyclo-cross Champion)
Richard Sachs Frames
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)