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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for October 8, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Lampre critical of police action

The Lampre-Daikin team has criticised the actions of the French police, who arrested 10 of its team members (four riders: Rubens Bertogliati, Alessandro Cortinovis, Ludo Dierckxsens and Marco Serpellini, a doctor, mechanics and managers) in Tours yesterday following the completion of the Paris-Tours World Cup. The arrests were made in relation to the "Rumsas affair", which started over two months ago when Edita Rumsas, the spouse of Lampre's Raimondas Rumsas, was arrested on the French-Italian border and placed under investigation for drug trafficking charges.

At the time of Edita's arrest, several Lampre staff members were also questioned but released shortly after. Last Sunday's arrests and subsequent questioning were similarly short lived, and all 10 members were released six hours later. Searches of the Lampre team vehicles revealed nothing.

Lampre's manager Giuseppe Saronni called it a "spectacular intervention", and the team issued a press release on Monday to explain their stance. In it, Saronni pointed out that Raimondas Rumsas was suspended immediately on July 28, a few hours after Edita Rumsas' arrest. Also, team staff "immediately showed their collaboration towards French authorities, even if they weren't directly involved in "Rumsas' case," adding that Lampre-Daikin riders have competed in several races on French soil since July 28, but "had never been contacted by the Court. We refer to Belohvosciks, Bertogliati, Cortinovis, Dierckxsens, Pagliarini, Pinotti and Serpellini."

The statement continued: "The times and the place of yesterday’s 'blitz' seem to be curiously orchestrated to obtain a great media visibility on an international level. Everything happened few weeks after the diffusion of some inexact and seriously defamatory news referred to a presumed recovery of doping-products on the team's camper on July 29th, 2002. As for that, the team makes a precise statement: no doping-products have ever been found in the team’s vehicles. The medicines found are completely lawful. Some of them - the so-called products with "restrictions on use" - were accompanied by their medical certificates."

Police in Tours claimed that it was low key. "There was no spectacle, nothing pre-meditated with the media," Commandant Gault said at the Tours police station according to Darren Tulett/Bloomberg News. "I have seen no TV pictures. It was very discreet."

"Our team cars were raided, too, but they were very nice," said Bertogliati, "They left us our mobile phones and mainly asked us questions about Rumsas."

Rumsas can in theory ride in the World Championships in Belgium, as he has not been charged with any drug offenses. However his team says that he is out of shape now, and won't ride again this season. Rumsas has a contract until the end of 2002 with Lampre, but no decision will be made on his future until the end of the French inquiry

Scanlon signs for 2 years with Ag2r

By Shane Stokes,

Mark Scanlon yesterday reaped the benefits of his excellent pro trial with the AG2r team when he signed a contract to race with the first division team for the next two seasons. The 21 year old former junior world champion had received a number of offers from pro teams, particularly after his third places in the GP Isbergues and the final stage of Paris-Corrèze, but finally decided to sign for the French squad who had given him the slot as stagiaire this summer.

Starting his trial in September, Scanlon quickly made his mark in the pro ranks, riding with aggression alongside some of the world’s best, and most experienced riders. The Sligoman finished 15th in the Tour de Finistère, placed 26th in both the Coppa Placci and Giro di Romagna, then went on to take those excellent podium finishes in both the GP Isbergues and the in final stage of the Paris-Correze event, where he finished 16th overall. It was a most impressive display for a rider who is still just 21 years of age, and a reflection of the huge natural ability that Scanlon possesses.

"The results were better than I had expected," he admitted. "I didn't think that podium finishes were possible, but once I got those two third places I was pretty much assured that AG2r would sign me. I did get some other offers, but as they were the ones who gave me the chance in the first place, I decided to go with them. They seem a good set-up and without a big leader for every race, there will be opportunities there."

Scanlon is due to attend a training camp with the team in December, after which team management will begin planning his 2003 racing programme. "I am not sure yet what races I will be doing but there is talk of me riding the classics next year. There is possibly also a chance of a start in the Tour, if I am going well when the team is being picked, but I don't mind if I end up waiting another season to do that. There is no big rush."

This week, Scanlon will line out in the world championships in Zolder as one of the hot favourites for the under 23 time trial and road race. Many of his rivals will look to the results gained during his pro trial and recognise that he is one of the riders most in form, but the Sligoman feels under little pressure to live up to their expectations.

"I am pretty relaxed about the World's," he says. "I have achieved my main goal for the season, getting a pro contract, so I don't feel under pressure to do well this week. I will just take the races as they come and see how I get on."

The laid-back approach should work in his favour, though. Scanlon has been under massive pressure at the World's, ever since he took his world title in Valkenburg in 1998, and has never performed to the best of his ability in the races. This time the expectation is that his more relaxed outlook should see him ride well, although the unpredictability brought about by such a flat course means that it is impossible to be sure how he will fare. "Mark might have the strongest legs in the road race but be marked out of it," says Ciarán McKenna of Cycling Ireland, "or a move might slip up the road and stay away."

"In many ways a harder, more selective course would be better for him. All we can do is get the team to try to keep things together for him until a few laps to go, and then he can see how things work out. With regard to the time trial, he rode well in the Europeans earlier this year and looked set for a medal until his handlebars broke. It might work out well for him on Tuesday. We will see how he is going during the time checks and then decide whether he should continue to ride flat out or back off to keep fresh for the road race later in the week."

Gerrit Glomser renews with Saeco for two years

Austrian cyclist Gerrit Glomser (27) has signed a new contract for the 2003 and 2004 season with Saeco. Team manager Claudio Corti was very happy with Glomser's performance this year, which included winning the Tour of Austria overall, and having eight top 10 placings in stages in the Vuelta España.

Glomser's website can be found at:

Cristian Climent to Barbot Torrié

According to Aragón ciclista, Cristian Climent will ride for Portuguese team Barbot Torrié next season, with the contract soon to be signed. He would thus become the first member of the Spanish Café Baque team to turn pro. Climent won the Vuelta a Valencia for Elite riders this year.

Rubiera to race Martín Fíz up l'Angliru

US Postal's Jose Luis Rubiera has accepted the challenge from former World Marathon Champion Martín Fíz to race up l'Angliru, the most notorious climb in this year's Vuelta. The race will take place on the toughest 6.5 kilometres of the climb, which should reduce the clear advantage that Rubiera will have. The pair will meet in Bilbao to discuss the details of the challenge.

Mario de Clercq in Sint-Michielsgestel Superprestige race

World Cyclo-cross Champion Mario de Clercq (Palmans-Collstrop) has already made his mark on the 2002/2003 season, winning the Schultheiss Cup in Berlin recently. The experienced top class Belgian is one of the big favourites for the second Superprestige race in Sint-Michielsgestel on November 3.

The Superprestige series is the richest cyclo-cross series in the World, held over eight rounds starting in Ruddervoorde, Belgium on October 20. The series visits Sint-Michielsgestel, Gavere, Gieten, Diegem, Hoogstraten, Harnes and Vorselaar, where it finishes on February 22. Only one race (Harnes) will be held outside the Benelux region this season, due to the high cost and lower return of hosting races elsewhere.

"In Belgium, every cyclocross race attracts thousands of spectators, because Belgian crossers are the strongest," said SP president Theo Groenendaal. "But we must anticipate that this sport in other countries remains anonymous. Not so long ago Switzerland was the cradle of cyclo-cross, but at the moment they have nothing to bring."

"We see it as our duty as Superprestige organisers to stimulate cyclo-cross to other countries. I am therefore keeping the classifications for the Espoirs and the Juniors. We must also invite the best foreign teams to these races, so that they can compete against the best 'crossers from the Netherlands and Belgium in these categories. The Espoirs will therefore ride a separate race for the first time with us. That is also interesting for the public, who can see Thijs Verhagen riding in his rainbow jersey. And certainly, the Belgian 'crossers want to beat the World Champion in his own territory."

The Espoirs race in Sint-Michielsgestel will start at 13:15 on November 3, followed by the Elites at 15:00. The starting list is strongly weighted to Belgians and Dutch riders, but there are also plenty of room for talented foreign riders such as Geoffrey Clochez, David Seco and Christian Heule.

The Super Prestige calendar

20 October: Ruddervoorde (Bel)
3 November: Sint-Michielsgestel (Ned)
17 November: Gavere (Bel)
1 December: Gieten (Ned)
29 December: Diegem (Bel)
26 January: Hoogstraten (Bel)
9 February: Harnes (Fra)
22 February: Vorselaar (Bel)

Martinello says farewell in Munich Six

Italian Six Day legend Silvio Martinello will ride his last ever Six Day race in Munich, from November 7-12, 2002. The 39 year old is the defending champion in Munich, having won it last year in the company of Erik Zabel. Zabel won't be riding it this year, deciding to call his season closed following the World's, however the organisers have contracted Australian Stuart O'Grady, who is a very experienced track rider, to ride in Munich.

Martinello has won a total of 26 Six Day races, as well as the Olympic Games in 1996 and the World Championships on several occasions. He also won 20 races on the road, including stages in the Vuelta, Giro and Tour de Suisse. It has not been decided who his partner will be in Munich, but it's likely that he'll get a good one.

Giesberts finishes with 534 wins

Belgian Ludo Giesberts has finished his cycling career with 534 wins as both an amateur and professional. That eclipses the record of Eddy Merckx who won 526 races, although most of these were as a pro. Giesberts won his last race in Retie, the town where he was born, where there was a big festival organised in his honour with a thousand or so fans in attendance.

Giesberts will not leave cycling completely though - he will act as a team leader for the juniors and beginner riders in the Den Tip Vorselaar club.

Thomas Mühlbacher retires

28 year old Austrian pro Thomas Mühlbacher has decided to call it quits, riding his last race on Saturday, October 5. He has raced for 13 seasons, riding approximately 270,000 kilometres in that time. "Now a new part of my life awaits," he said, as at the end of October, he and his partner Eva are expecting a son.

Mühlbacher, who rode for Gerolsteiner between 1999 and 2001, was Austrian Mountain Champion in 1998, as well as being the best Austrian in the Tour of Austria that year. In the years following he never finished out of the top 5 in his national tour. However in 2002 he returned to the amateur ranks, and he admits that there were "no more big goals to have as an ex-pro, and that is not very motivating."

Helga Weiss killed

The German Cycling Federation has announced "with great sorrow" the death of mountain biker Helga Weiss, who was killed last Wednesday in a tragic accident. The 30 year old who rode for SC Hausach was killed by a tree branch while she was doing clearing work in her parents' place.

Helga Weiss rode in the BDR's national calendar between 1998 and 2001. Her best sporting achievements were second and third in the German Championships in 1999 and 2001, as well as a ninth place in the European Cross Country Championships in 1999.

Details of Tasmania's Great Race announced

By Matthew Conn

Some of the Australia's best known cyclists will do battle on Tasmanian streets for more than $20,000 in cash on December 27 this year. The newest race on the national calendar will be raced over 80km on a picturesque 2.5km circuit based around the City Park and CBD fringe in Launceston.

Timed to start at around 7pm on the Friday following Christmas, organisers hope to draw a large crowd to the exciting, circuit style race which will also feature many of the top local, national and international riders competing in the annual Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series.

Race Director, Leigh Kerrison has said that winner of the Launceston Classic will receive $10,000 cash, with lap prizes on offer throughout the race and a special prime of $500 at two laps to go.

An announcement next week is expected to confirm the participation of some of the biggest names in Australian and world cycling.

A full prize list and course profile, as well as entry and accommodation details is available from the Cycling Tasmania web page

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