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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for September 4, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Telekom to ride for Zabel in the Vuelta

The Telekom team will once again be built around top rider Erik Zabel in the Vuelta España, with management naming the following additional riders: Rolf Aldag, Gian Matteo Fagnini, Sergei Yakovlev, Matthias Kessler, Andreas Klier, Andreas Klöden, Jan Schaffrath and Alexander Vinokourov.

Last year, Zabel won three stages in the Vuelta, and is using it as preparation for the World's in Zolder.

Team Coast for the Vuelta

There will be no Alex Zülle for Team Coast in this year's Vuelta, with the Swiss deciding to ride the Hessen Rundfahrt instead. Team Coast will be led by defending champion Angel Casero (Spa), and he will be backed by a strong Spanish line up including Fernando Escartin, Manuel Beltran, Aitor Garmendia Jaime Hernandez, Luis Perez, and David Plaza. German Daniel Becke and Italian sprinter Fabrizio Guidi complete the line up.

Domo-Farm Frites for the Vuelta

Domo-Farm Frites will not be taking Jans Koerts to the Vuelta, much to the disappointment of the Dutch sprinter. Koerts has not ridden a grand tour this year, and said that he has done "6000 km training for the Vuelta." However, team management have opted to go with Jeroen Blijlevens as the fast main, with Dave Bruylandts for the mountains.

Team director Marc Sergeant told ANP newsagency that it was a "painful decision" to make between the two sprinters, opting for Blijlevens "...who in the past has a good record in stage races, while Jans is more of a rider for the one day classics."

Koerts did not agree: "He has not followed my career that well."

The 33 year old added that it could be his last chance to ride a grand tour, as he has not yet got an offer from a division I team for next season. "I can sign for BankGiroLoterij, but there are maybe still a few other options," he said.

The full Domo-Farm Frites team is as follows: Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned), Bram Tankink (Ned), Koos Moerenhout (Ned), Steven Kleynen (Bel), Leif Hoste (Bel), Steve de Wolf (Bel), Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel), Andrej Kashechkin (Kaz), Dave Bruylandts (Bel)

Index Alexia for the Vuelta

Index Alexia has named Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli as part of its line up in the Vuelta España. The team will also feature sprinter Ivan Quaranta, who is looking for some good results after a fairly ordinary year.

The full team is as follows: Dario Andriotto (Ita), Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita), Daniele Galli (Ita), Alessandro Guerra (Ita), Marco Magnani (Ita), Ivan Quaranta (Ita), Andris Reiss (Lat), Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) and Corrado Serina (Ita). DS: Giovanni Fidanza.

Also see: Vuelta start list

Greatest MTB World's ever?

Austrian Mudfest
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Last week's World Mountain Bike Championships in Kaprun, Austria, have been hailed as the "greatest ever" in the sport's history, due to the high quality of the races and the incredible conditions on the final day. Such superlatives are often heard in sport, but rarely proven, as the enthusiasm of being involved in the event has a habit of clouding one's judgment.

The first World MTB Championships were held in Durango in 1990, and since that time the sport has developed from being a popular fad into something worthy of being an Olympic sport, if that means anything nowadays. What can't be denied is that it has helped produce athletes of the calibre of Cadel Evans, Floyd Landis, Miguel Martinez, Roland Green, Michael Rasmussen, Alison Sydor, all of which have proved or are proving that they are good enough to compete at the top level on the road.

Cyclingnews canvassed a few opinions on the matter of "greatest ever", including former UCI MTB coordinator and Global Racing manager Martin Whiteley, bronze medalist in the men's XC Thomas Frischknecht, and Australian Olympian and multiple national champion Paul Rowney.

Thomas Frischknecht
Photo: © Tim Maloney/CN
Click for larger image

Frischknecht has ridden all 13 World Championships, and can be considered a good person to judge. "The 2002 world championship in Kaprun saw the toughest course ever...never was a course so demanding, up- and downhill. This description stands for the way the track presented itself during the week, when it was dry."

No arguments from Frischy about the toughness of the course, but "In my opinion the greatest too, because of the warm hosting of the city of Kaprun. Too bad there were not as many spectators as I thought there will be, but this has also to do with the weather."

Paul Rowney agreed with the toughness aspect, but not the greatest: "Yesterday was hard, but in my case any time I have to run uphills and run down them, well it takes any point out of riding up the damn things. Also it was like some bad slapstick comedy on the off-camber grass...just ridiculous, bodies everywhere."

"It was tough but not the hardest or greatest.. not on a day like that. Survival to be more blunt."

On the other hand, Martin Whiteley, who viewed the race from a different perspective, had the following to say:

"Basically I usually refrain from "best ever" type descriptions because often I'm "in the moment" and totally affected by the immediacy of everything going on at an event that will ultimately lose some of its excitement in the afterglow. But this event is different. For a number of reasons:

1) Even though there may have been some behind the scenes glitches (not that many and nothing too dramatic, but irritating for us regulars), the overall presentation of the "show" was nothing short of spectacularly professional. Co-ordination of lighting, music, staging, sound etc. fully suited the magnitude of the event.

2) Crowds were excellent, and I would estimate anywhere from 70 - 100,000 for Fri-Sun, and were fully enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The pre-event marketing had obviously worked and we had the strongest crowds for a World's since the epic 1995 edition in Kirchzarten, Germany.

3) TV camera placement was excellent, especially in the 4X. I was totally glued to the giant screen (they had two for the fans that couldn't get close enough to the action, or for us working in the Tech area) for every heat. The course design was excellent and made for great racing, and when you add the overhead cameras, and excellent track side cameras, it was a perfect made-for-TV discipline, as originally intended, but fully delivered this time around.

4) The DH was fast, really fast, and that translated well onto TV. The camera placement once again was excellent, coupled with smart course design, ensured that we saw the riders at top speed, in full flight, and with interval splits and so on. It was the closest you'll get to DH skiing in summer.

5) The XC was epic. The rain was horrendous and the course was rideable but damn difficult. The leaders were slipping over every lap, guys fell in the river, there was action a plenty, and you got a real sense of endurance, pain and hardship. These are always part of XC, but often in the dry the riders make it look easy. This was hellish and the TV audience felt it. The races were closely fought and interesting to the end.

6) The Expo/Tech area looked F1. Helicopter shots showed the magnitude of the parking area and the colour etc. Coupled with the Trials World Championships happening right in front of the Expo area, it was all happening at once, never a dull moment.

So when all that is happening, you tend to forgive the fact that a rider's name was missing from a start sheet, or the shuttle system to the top of the 4X was not ideal, etc . The overall in-your-face atmosphere got everyone in the industry buzzing again. Most suddenly realised that MTB had never got lost, it had just taken a wrong turn, and we now need to harness the enthusiasm, keep the momentum, and build on this for 2003."

Got an opinion? Email us your thoughts.

Ullrich to decide soon about staying with Telekom

Savoldelli signs for three years

Jan Ullrich will most likely make a decision about his future team within the next few days. Telekom boss Walter Godefroot has made him an offer, "and now Jan must decide" he says. In recent interviews, Ullrich has indicated that he would like to stay with Telekom, which helped him to a Tour de France win and four second places in five starts. He has to weigh up the financial aspects, which will see him without a salary until March 2003 when he finishes his suspension for testing positive to amphetamines. On the other hand, if he signed for another team his contract would presumably start in January.

Ullrich can count on better than good support next year, with the signing of Cadel Evans and Paolo Savoldelli, both excellent stage race riders. The latter signed a contract today for three years with the German squad. Also Belgian talent Mario Aerts will be a handy man to have in the team for the mountains.

Lotto-Domo doesn't need Planckaert

Three sporting directors seem to be enough for the Lotto-Domo team next season, with Hendrik Redant, Marc Sergeant and Claude Criquielion looking after things under the management of Christophe Sercu, according to the Belgian press. That means that there is no room for Walter Planckaert, a long time assistant of Sercu's, who had his eye on a top director's job. Planckaert may be asked to drive in certain races, but not on a full time basis.

Tom Steels still looking

Belgian champion Tom Steels is still looking for a new team, as Mapei-Quick Step will fold at the end of the season. Steels has not got a good offer from Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step team, with a slight complication being that he wants a contract for his friend Fabien De Waele as well.

Verstrepen may follow Dierckxsens

One of Lampre's two Belgians, Johan Verstrepen may follow his compatriot Ludo Dierckxsens to Landbouwkrediet-Colnago next season. Verstrepen says that "it is not yet official, but I had very good contacts with Gerard Bulens [Landbouwkrediet team manager]. I think that everything will be sorted out in the coming days."

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has 12 riders under contract for next season, with just two Belgians confirmed so far: Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel), Bert De Waele (Bel), Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Volodimir Bileka (Ukr), Sergei Avdeyev (Ukr), Yuri Metluschenko (Ukr), Ruslan Gryschenko (Ukr), Mikhail Timochine (Rus), Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita), Claudio Luchini (Ita), Salvatore Scamardella (Ita), Domenico Puzzovivo (Ita). In total, the team expects to have 22 riders.

Eight riders for Palmans so far

Belgian division II team Palmans-Collstrop has so far contracted eight riders for next season: Björn Leukemans, Erwin Thijs, Roger Hammond, Mario De Clercq, Davy Commeyne, Tom Vannoppen, Bert Roesems and Geert Omloop. The team has ambitions for Division I next year, and will have a 20 rider roster. Geert Verheyen is another possibility for the team.

Louwers to Axa-VvZ

This year's Olympia's Tour winner Mart Louwers has signed a two year contract with Axa-VvZ. Louwers currently rides for the Rabobank Division III squad, and will follow his teammate Peter Möhlmann to Axa-VvZ. Lowers is good against the clock, winning the Dutch U23 championship last year as well as the U23 GP des Nations.

Also see: Transfers page

Vogondy extends

French champion Nicolas Vogondy has extended his contract with for another two years.

Van De Vijver crashes out of the Holland Ladies Tour

Belgian time trial champion Heidi Van De Vijver has had a serious crash in stage 4 of the Holland Ladies Tour. She sustained bruises and abrasions all over her body, with her right hand being particularly badly injured and she is afraid that she has broken her little finger.

That means that Van De Vijver will not be able to defend her time trial title in Geel this Sunday, and her start in the World Championships in Zolder remains in doubt.

Graeme Miller crippled by back injury

Kiwi star hopes to come back

By Alan Messenger

New Zealand cyclist Graeme Miller has cut short his road season in the USA and is recuperating at home in Auckland following surgery to repair a damaged disc in his spine. Miller told the New Zealand Press Association that it will be six to eight weeks before he knows whether he can compete again. "I don't want to be a cripple and I'm not prepared to ride my bike again if that’s what could happen," he said.

"This has been a shock to me and a lot to handle as it has come so quick," he added. He has just started physiotherapy, and it looks to be a long road ahead. "I am now learning to walk again which is very humbling. I have the OK to do a few more stretches and been shown how to bend down and pick up objects from the floor. In a week I maybe able to ride the stationary bike and in another week go for a swim."

"Remember a few weeks ago I was at the biggest race in the USA with Lance Armstrong and leading out my Mercury team mate Gord Fraser. Now I am hoping that I can walk for 40 minutes on the flat."

He's certainly not done yet, but if the injury forces the 41 year old out of the sport it will be a sad end to an illustrious career. Miller burst onto International scene in 1981 when he won a sensational 15000 metre race on the track at the New Zealand Games at Wellington.

A year later he rode the Brisbane Commonwealth Games and won a silver Medal in the teams pursuit. Miller switched his attention to the road and at the Auckland Commonwealth Games in 1990 he won Gold Medals in the Road teams time trial and the Individual Road Race.

In New Zealand Miller has won the National Road Championship, the Tour of Southland and the Tour of Wellington. Internationally his CV includes a win in the USA Criterium Championship and Stage wins in the Australian Tour Down Under and the Tour of Japan.

Miller has been a mainstay in New Zealand Commonwealth Games and Olympic teams since 1982 but controversially missed selection to the 2000 Sydney Olympics and to the Manchester Commonwealth Games this year.

FCI offices vandalised

The Italian cycling federation's offices in Rome's Stadio Olimpico (Curva Nord) have been attacked by vandals, causing damage estimated at 100,000 euro. The attack happened on Saturday night after a Lazio Juventus football match in the stadium, with the "Ultras Laziali" hooligans being named as the perpetrators.

FCI general secretary Alessandro Pica and several members of CONI surveyed the damages on Tuesday, which were centred mainly on the anti-doping and partly on the administrative offices. Computers, telephones, the scanner, files and material for the next issue of the FCI's magazine, 'Il Mondo Del Ciclismo' were destroyed, meaning that its scheduled release this week will be delayed, possibly until Saturday September 7.

The FCI has condemned the attack as coming from "idiot hooligans" and will meet with CONI and the police to decide on a course of action.

Tour de l'Avenir selections

The following teams have announced their rosters for the Tour de l'Avenir (2.5), which takes place in France from September 5-14.

Mapei-Quick Step

Riders : Giampaolo Cheula, Bernhard Eisel, Graziano Gasparre, Filippo Pozzato, Evgueni Petrov, Patrik Sinkewitz. DS: Matxin Fernandez Rodriguez

Phonak Hearing Systems

Iker Camaño, David Derepas, Martin Elmiger, Stefan Kupfernagel, Michael Reihs, Alexandre Usov. DS: René Savary.


Erik Lievens, Yaroslav Popovych, Salvatore Scamardella, Volodimir Bileka, Santa Anza, Mikhail Timochine

Australian cyclist Vic Young dies

One of Australia's top cyclists from the post-war period, Vic Young has died on Saturday. His funeral will be on Thursday, September 5th at St. Michaels Catholic Church Nowra at 11am.

Burnaby velodrome official reopening day

The official public re-opening of the Burnaby velodrome, North America's only indoor velodrome, will take place on Wednesday, September 4. Riding will take place between 5pm and 7pm with rental bikes available, followed by a meeting for any and all interested in track riding and racing.

The Burnaby Velodrome Club has worked hard over the past year and a half and has come to agreement terms with Volleyball BC and the City of Burnaby to put track riding and racing back on the schedule. The track is located at The Harry Jerome Sports Centre velodrome, 7564 Barnet Highway, Burnaby, BC, Canada. It is the huge inflatable bubble on Barnet Highway or the north side of Burnaby (SFU) Mountain.

For more information please contact


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