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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for October 19, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Bettini ready for World Cup

Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) is ready to claim the overall honours in this year's World Cup series, which he currently leads by 9 points over Belgian Johan Museeuw. Bettini played the team role for the Italian squadra at last week's World Championships, won by teammate for a day Mario Cipollini. For the season finale in Italy, however, he's thinking only of himself and his World Cup leader's jersey.

"It's a very tough, challenging race, and coming at the end of the season it's even more difficult," Bettini told Bloomberg News' Alessandra Bacchetta. "As I am aiming to win the World Cup though, I'll have to make sure I'm up for it."

Bettini faces a number of in-form riders, including former mentor and Mapei teammate Michele Bartoli, who leads the charge for Fassa Bortolo. "Knowing Michele, he'll be battling for a win to prove to everyone once again that he's a great rider. Others who could be dangerous are Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Francesco Casagrande and Ivan Basso."

Bettini stole a few points from his main rival Museeuw at Paris-Tours, but was not able to seal the deal on the season-long competition. Despite his slender lead, Bettini is favoured over Museeuw as the Lombardia course favours a strong climber. "I wanted to wrap it up at the Paris-Tours race two weeks ago, to be mathematically guaranteed of winning the World Cup, but I didn't manage to. Still, I intend closing the season with (the World Cup winner's) white jersey on."

Cyclingnews will provide live coverage of the Giro di Lombardia starting 15:00 CEST/06:00 PDT/09:00 EDT/23:00 Aust. EST.

Preview and history
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Cipollini on the sidelines at Giro di Lombardia

World Champion Mario Cipollini has opted out of the Giro di Lombardia, conceding that the course does not suit his abilities, reports l'Equipe. Cipollini is expected at the start line, but only to meet and greet his fans. While the newly crowned world champion is typically a draw at the World Cup finale, the race parcours clearly doesn't suit Cipo the sprinter. Also absent will be Domo's Richard Virenque who had made Lombardia his principal objective for the end of the season, but will miss out due to illness.

Virenque out too

Domo's Richard Virenque will also forfeit the Giro di Lombardia, after contracting an illness after the World Championships in Zolder. Virenque, who was fourth in last year's race, made his decision on the eve of the last World Cup of the season.

Tafi on the mend

Andrea Tafi will be able to start training again in three weeks time, when the injuries he sustained in the Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato on September 24 should be fully healed. Tafi underwent a CAT scan which revealed a minor fracture of the left shoulder blade in addition to the previously diagnosed broken cheek bone. It's not expected that this will delay his recovery time however.

Blijlevens undergoes operation

Dutch pro Jeroen Blijlevens has undergone an operation to open up a constricted artery in his legs, a condition which has affected a number of pro cyclists. Poor form and physical ailments have hampered Blijlevens, who has been largely invisible in recent seasons. His contract with Domo-Farm Frites is unlikely to carry over to the new Lotto-Domo formation, but Blijlevens is still searching for a position with other teams.

Aitor Gonzalez close to Fassa Bortolo

Vuelta a España champion Aitor Gonzalez looks set to leave Kelme and Spain for the Italian Fassa Bortolo squad. With a two year contract reportedly on the table, Gonzalez would replace Francesco Casagrande, who (along with Wladimir Belli) has left Giancarlo Ferretti's Fassa Bortolo team for Lampre. Gonzalez is said to have been in talks with Quick Step, iBanesto, however no agreement could be reached with those teams. Another option may be Acqua e Sapone. Gonzalez's manager plans to travel to Italy to seal whichever deal proves most promising, likely by the end of next week.

Capelle to Landbouwkrediet

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team has announced the signing of Ludovic Capelle (Ag2r) for one season. Capelle was the 2001 Belgian champion and runner up to Tom Steels in 2002. Steels is already part of the team, along with Belgians Ludo Dierckxsens, Johan Verstrepen, Bert Dewaele, Marc Streel and Wesley Van Speybroeck and Ukrainians Yaroslav Popovych, Ruslan Gryschenko (Neo), Volodomir Bileka, Yuri Metlushenko, and Sergey Avdyeyev, Latvian Tomas Vaitkus (Neo), Italians Claudio Luchini, Domenico Puzzovivo (Neo), Salvatore Scamardella, and Lorenzo Bernucci, and Russian Mikhail Timochine (Neo). There are ongoing negotiations with other Belgian riders at the moment.

The team also wished to point out that in contradiction to some Belgian press reports there is no agreement with Jef Braeckevelt to become an extra sport director. Landbouwkrediet-Colnago will continue working with Gerard Bulens, Willy Geukens, Jef De Bilde, Marco Saligari and Olivano Locatelli.

Cruz re-signs for US Postal

Antonio Cruz will continue his contract with US Postal in 2003, marking his third year with the team. His manager Max Burgos confirmed this to Cyclingnews today. Cruz completed his second Vuelta this year after a very bad crash during stage two. He then finished 20th at Paris-Tours.

Chicchi goes pro

Francesco Chicchi, U23 world road champion in Zolder, has signed his first pro contract with the Italian Fassa Bortolo team. Chicchi, 21, hails from Camaiore in the province of Lucca, and rode this season for the Trevigiani Mapei team based in Treviso. His reputation as a strong sprinter preceded his win in Zolder, where he won the biggest sprint of his career.

Joly to Jean Delatour

Roster shuffling among the French pro teams continues. Bonjour rider Sébastien Joly, 23, signed a one year contract Thursday with Jean Delatour. Joly completed three seasons with Bonjour since turning pro in 1999.

Jeker stays with Milaneza

Milaneza/MSS revealed today that Swiss rider Fabian Jeker has finally accepted its conditions and will continue riding for the only Division I Portuguese team next season. Closing this affair, Milaneza is ready to face an season that might open the door to the Tour de France in 2004. They where invited to be present at the Tour 2003's official presentation and next spring they will switch the usual Spanish roads for the French ones.

Milaneza also announced the names of the other 15 riders who will try to do as good as or better than in 2002 despite a reduction of the budget by approximately 30 percent to 1,350,000EUR. The riders are as follows:

Dane Claus Møller (12th in the Vuelta 2002 and winner of the Volta a Portugal 2002), Swiss Fabian Jeker (13th in the Vuelta 2002), Portuguese Rui Sousa (14th in the Vuelta 2002), Carlos Carneiro, Rui Lavarinhas, Pedro Cardoso, Gonçalo Amorim, Paulo Barroso, Gilberto Martins and Renato Silva and the Spaniards Joan Horrach, Angel Edo and Txema Del Olmo are the riders that remain on the roster for 2003.

Portuguese João Silva and the Spaniards Melchor Mauri (retirement) and Victoriano Fernandez are leaving the team. However the Portuguese Lizuarte Martins (Matesica) and the Spaniards David Bernabéu (Carvalhelhos/Boavista) and Fran Perez (Porta da Ravessa) are expected to be true reinforcements.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Unai Elorriaga to Costa De Almeria

22 year old Basque rider Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur will ride for Miguel Moreno's Costa De Almeria-Jazztel-Paternina team in 2003. Elorriaga rode for Cafés Baque this season, winning the U23 Spanish Championship and the Vuelta A Valladolid amongst other races (12 wins altogether). He is considered a versatile rider who possesses a good sprint and has excellent potential.

More on Gutierrez

Spanish silver medalist in the U23 World's Road Race, Francisco Gutierrez, yesterday signed for Portuguese team Carvalhelhos/Boavista for a two year period. However his contract is not set in stone, according to Eloi Corres of As part of the deal, it was agreed that he can break his contract and sign for other team if he gets offers from Division I teams, but only after serving one year of his two year contract with Boavista.

After his silver medal in the World Championships (and not before), he had received four offers from Division I teams: Euskaltel-Euskadi, ONCE, and two other foreign teams.

Dunning joins Van Hemert Groep

Dutch cyclist Edwin Dunning, 28, has signed a contract for one year with the Dutch Division III Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team. Dunning will transfer from the Axa cycling team.

Power Plate-BIK additions

Following her impressive performances in the World Championships, Australian Sara Carrigan will join the Power Plate-BIK team for next season. Carrigan, 22, finished 5th in the women's elite time trial and 4th in the road race. She will be joined by Kate Bates, 20, who herself finished third in the pursuit at this year's World Track Championships in Copenhagen. New Zealander Kirsty Robb will rejoin Power Plate-BIK, after riding the 2002 season for Farm-Frites Hartol.

Arvesen to stay or go?

Despite reported interest from Cofidis for Kurt Asle Arvesen, EDS-fakta team manager Peter Sejer Nielsen has issued a statement indicating that a transfer is not in the cards. "There will be no transfer," Nielsen told Danish news agency Ritzau, "we have made that clear with Kurt. He has told us that Cofidis has contacted him but he cannot break the contract with us - and he doesn't want to. He can leave if we allow him, but we won't. Kurt is an essential part of our plans for the coming season."

Arvesen for his part maintains that he has not yet signed with EDS-fakta, but is awaiting the signing of a new sponsor. Cofidis would reportedly be responsible for a buyout of Arvesen's contract, worth 2.2 million Danish kroner (approx. $250,000 US).

De Nardi-Colpack merger

A merger is to take place between two Italian teams, De Nardi-Pasta Montegrappa and Colpack-Astro. The new De Nardi-Colpack team represents a collaboration between Colpack team manager Gianluigi Stanga and Massimo De Nardi, administrator of De Nardi Spa. The new team will feature riders from each existing team, as well as some young Italian hopefuls.

Superprestige 'cross revs up

The Superprestige cyclocross series begins this Sunday, October 20 in Ruddervoorde, Belgium. With 60,000 Euros on the line for the overall series winner, an top notch field is expected. Among those on the starting line in Ruddervoorde will be world champion Mario De Clercq, defending Superprestige and World Cup series champion Sven Nijs, Erwin Vervecken, Richard Groenendaal, and more.

The Espoirs/U23 and Junior Superprestige events also kick off this weekend, with U23 world champion Thijs Verhagen on the starting line in that category.

The 2002-2003 Superprestige series features eight events:

Ruddervoorde, Belgium - October 20
Sint-Michielsgestel, Netherlands - November 3
Gavere, Belgium - November 17
Gieten, Netherlands - December 1
Diegem, Belgium - December 29
Hoogstraten, Belgium - January 26
Harnes, France - February 9
Vorselaar, Belgium - February 22

McEwen in French criterium

Following in the footsteps of the post-Tour criteriums, there is still occasion for the post-World's criterium as the season draws to a close. This Sunday an estimated 20 professionals will take to the line with a number of Elite 2 and 3 riders in the French town of Marquette-lez-Lille. Heading the list of professionals in attendance will be World's runner-up Robbie McEwen, along with three of his Lotto teammates, according to Velomania. Also on the line will be Cédric Vasseur (Cofidis), Ludovic Capelle (Ag2R), and French national champion Nicolas Vogondy (, among others. The 80km criterium represents a change of format for race organizer Laurent Pillon, who in recent years has put on a mountain bike event.

Chrono des Herbiers preview : Jean Nüttli at his first attempt

By Jean-François Quénet in Les Herbiers

Newly retired Laurent Jalabert will make his first post-career appearance on Saturday and Sunday in the Vendée region where the Chrono des Herbiers will be held. It’s a time trial event for elite riders (UCI 1.3), Under 23, juniors and women, created 20 years ago by race promoter Christian Tessier.

Pascal Lance, Jan Karlsson, Arturas Kasputis, Chris Boardman, Sergei Gontchar are the biggest names on the record book. For the last two years the winner was Jean Nüttli of Switzerland. He broke the race record when he clocked 59’45’’ on the 48,150 kilometres course last year. He didn't perform too well at the world championship last week (23rd at 2’17’’ down on Santiago Botero), due to his experimentation with a new pedaling style. He changed from 90 to 105 rpm in order to beat the hour record on the Bordeaux velodrome, Nov. 15th.

Nüttli will line up against world’s silver medallist Michael Rich from Germany, Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi, who has finished four times 2nd in Les Herbiers (U-23 and elite races), Swiss champion Fabian Cancellara, Swedish champion Jonas Olsson, Spaniard Aitor Garmendia, Ukrainian Yuriy Krivtsov who won the U-23 twice before turning professional with Jean Delatour, and a strong Mapei team who will be racing for the last time. Besides Bodrogi and Cancellara, Mapei will bring Evgeni Petrov, Filippo Pozzato and Michael Rogers.

In the espoirs category, French champion Damien Monier will face the competition of Russian Mikhail Timochine, winner of Paris-Roubaix before turning professional with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, and Ouzbek Sergei Lagutin who finish 4th in the road race world championship.

The women race will be a duel between world champion Zoulfia Zabirova and Jeannie Longo, who will also sign her book "Vivre en forme" (live healthy) in the first cycling book show ever organised in France.

Burnaby Velodrome 3-Day

The only indoor velodrome in North America, the 200 meter Burnaby Velodrome in British Columbia, Canada, has announced its first series event of the 2002/2003 indoor track season. A new 3 day event between November 8-10 will draw local Canadian and American track riders from Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle, and hopes to bring additional talent in from Portland, Calgary and Edmonton. The event will be the first at the velodrome since its re-opening on September 4, 2002.

Friday night will begin with flying 200m qualifying heats, Saturday and Sunday will run a number of events including points races, miss-n-out, scratch race, kilometre, keirin, Olympic sprint, 4000m pursuit, and madison. Early bird registration ends November 1st, 2002.

For more race event information and registration details, contact Race Director Rosemary Pritchard ( or visit the Burnaby Velodrome website:

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