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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for September 6, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Fagnini will miss Vuelta

Telekom has announced that Gian Matteo Fagnini, Erik Zabel's key leadout man, will miss the upcoming Vuelta a España. Citing stomach problems as the primary reason for Fagnini's withdrawal, the team will instead send Robert Bartko. Team doctor Lothar Heinrich explained Fagnini's situation, saying "Gian Matteo has complained for four days about stomach pain. His test results clearly indicate that he should not ride."

Although Bartko will leave Telekom at the end of the year to join the Dutch Rabobank team, he was nonetheless appreciative of Telekom's invitation to ride the Vuelta. "I am pleased the team has the confidence in me for such an important race," Bartko said on the team's web site.

Mapei-Quick Step for Vuelta

Mapei-Quick Step team manager Alvaro Crespi has announced the selection for the Vuelta Espa–a. The team includes world champion Oscar Freire, who says his objective will be "battling against the best sprinters to win stages, particularly during the first part of the race." Freire, like many others, will also be using the Vuelta as preparation for the upcoming World Championships in Zolder.

The Vuelta will also serve as the first grand tour outing for Great Britain's Charly Wegelius. The full team lineup is as follows:

Elio Aggiano, Davide Bramati, David Cañada Gracia, Dario Cioni, Oscar Freire Gomez, Pedro Horrillo Muñoz, Andrea Noè, Eddy Ratti & Charly Wegelius. Team directors: Jesus Suarez Cueva, Roberto Damiani (Sept. 7-16), Fernandez Rodriguez Matxin (Sept. 17-29).

Also see: Vuelta start list

Vuelta blood controls all negative

The 207 riders enrolled in this year's Vuelta were subjected to mandatory blood tests on Thursday morning between 7:30 and 9:30am. None of those tested was declared unfit to start. The results of the analysis of urine samples taken from the riders are expected to be known by Saturday.

Axel Merckx calls it quits for the year

Axel Merckx has ridden his last race for the year, the GP Eddy Merckx just under two weeks ago. The Domo rider is tired and his blood test values are below normal. "I have to rest until September 11 for sure," he said to De Standaard. "What's left for me then? I already decided in April that I wouldn't ride the World Championships."

"I could race Milan-Turin and the Tour of Lombardy but whether I could reach the level I was at in July is another question. I was completely worn out after I returned home from the Tour and that hasn't improved. It's not that I've raced too much (55 days) but, training camps included, I've been going hard since last winter."

Merckx, who will ride for the next two seasons with Lotto-Domo, said that he will start preparations for next year on November 1, although he has yet to decide on his program.

Giesberts beats Eddy Merckx record

37 year old Belgian cyclist Ludo Giesberts has "beaten" the victory record of his compatriot Eddy Merckx, winner of 525 races and considered to be the greatest cyclist of all time. It should be noted that most of Giesberts' wins came in the amateur ranks, to which he returned after retiring as a professional in 1994.

Between 1980 and 1981 as a 15-16 year old, he won 47 races; between 1982-1983 he won 52 races in the junior ranks; between 1984-1986 and 1995-2002 he won 398 races in the amateur ranks, and between 1986-1994 he won 29 races as a professional for Panasonic. His last win was on September 4 in Arendonk, which gave him 526 wins in total.

Eddy Merckx won most of his races as a professional: 445 between 1965 and 1978. This is added to his wins as a junior (24 between 1961 and 1962) and as an amateur (56 between 1963 and 1965) for a total of 525.

Ludo Giesberts realises that it's difficult to compare the two: "That's nice but you can't compare apples with oranges," he said of the record. However, winning on average 24 races a year is no mean feat.

Giesberts intends to retire at the end of the season, racing his last race in Retie-Schoonbroek on October 6. "It is very good to do. Mentally I can not bring myself to do it any more though. It is time for another life."

Saronni contemplates Cipo's chances

Italian Giuseppe Saronni, world champion 20 years ago, has been contemplating the chances of Mario Cipollini for the upcoming World's. When a wealth of talent within the Italian national team tends to go hand in hand with divergent interests and questionable team tactics, the former world champion wonders how possible it will be for Super Mario to arrive at the sprint for the rainbow jersey. "Cipollini will first have to demonstrate that he has the same condition he had this spring," Saronni commented in la Gazzetta dello Sport.

Concerning team tactics, Saronni posed the question, "who will devote themselves to chasing rivals' escapes when an escape might create its own chances for victory? It will not be easy for (Italian national director) Franco Ballerini to manage the situation."

Tourism services for Zolder

The tourism offices in Hasselt and Zolder, Belgium will be extending their opening hours to assist visitors at the World Championships. The two offices are situated within close proximity to the race circuit, and will be open during the evening for several nights. Contact information is as follows:

Toerisme Hasselt
Lombaardstraat 3 in Hasselt (centre of Hasselt)
Tel.: +32 11 23 95 44

Toerisme Heusden-Zolder
Terlaemenlaan 1 in Heusden-Zolder (200m from the World Championship Circuit)
Tel.: +32 11 53 02 30

Madiot keeps an eye on's future

With finances assured from title sponsor La Française des Jeux, team director Marc Madiot has announced two more contract extensions. Following the extension of French national champion Nicolas Vogondy, Madiot has re-signed Nicolas Fritsch and Australian Baden Cooke.

On the way out at the end of this season are Jean-Patrick Nazon, Franck Pencolé and Franck Perque.

Ivan Parra continues with ONCE

Colombian Ivan Parra will continue with ONCE for 2003, having signed on Wednesday an agreement with team manager Manolo Saiz. Parra and Saiz have had a verbal agreement since August 12, however on the eve of the debut of this year's Vuelta a España, Saiz put the deal on paper. Parra has suffered through crashes, injuries, and health problems in the last two years, but has kept a good relationship with Saiz.

No extension for Seko

The RDM Flanders team has decided not to renew the contract of Kenyan rider Duncan Seko next season. After riding for most of the year without result, Seko earned his first prize money yesterday in the kermesse at Wingene, where he rode solo for the first 70km and picked up 100 euros in primes. However, that wasn't enough for team manager Frans Assez, who said "I gave him a chance. Duncan has not taken it...He has still not finished a race."

Ratti to Lampre

Eddy Ratti (Mapei-Quick Step) will ride for the Lampre-Daikin team next year. The young Italian won a stage in the Regio Tour this year, as well as the highly ranked Italian classic, Tre Valli Varesine.

Wadecki to Quick Step

Polish rider Piotr Wadecki (Domo-Farm Frites) will ride for Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step-Davitamon team next year, according to Przeglad Sportowy.

Orvalho to ride MTB

22 year old Dutch rider David Orvalho will join the new Dutch mountain bike team Ten Tusscher next season. Orvalho previously rode for Domo-Farm Frites, but did not get a contract renewal this year and rode for Tegeltoko. He has signed a one year contract with Ten Tusscher and will make his debut this weekend.

Broken leg for Fraser MacMaster

Fraser McMaster (Volksbank-Ideal), one of New Zealand's better performed riders on the road this year, has broken his left femur. The injury occurred while he was racing in the GP Geneva on August 10, when he slipped and fell on a corner. The Swiss based rider was operated on in Geneva, and had a dynamic hip screw placed on his femur. He will be on crutches for the next month and his season is certainly over.

British team for Track World Championships

The Track World Championships will be held in Copenhagen at the end of this month (September 25-29). Great Britain will be sending a team of seventeen riders to the event. The major absentee is Olympic Kilo champion Jason Queally, who has formally withdrawn from the team due to ill health.

Major medal hopes include the Team Pursuit (GB silver at last two world championships), Team Sprint (medals at last 3 world championships), Kilo (Chris Hoy is Commonwealth Games champion) and Individual Pursuit (Bradley Wiggins won a silver at the Commonwealth Games).


Men (Team Sprint, Keirin, Sprint, Kilo)

Ross Edgar
Chris Hoy
Craig MacLean
Jamie Staff
Andy Slater - non-travelling reserve

Women (Sprint, 500m TT)

Julie Paulding
Victoria Pendleton
Denise Hampson


Men (Scratch Race, Points Race, Madison, Team Pursuit, Individual Pursuit)

Tony Gibb
Chris Newton
Bryan Steel
Kieran Page
Bradley Wiggins
Chris Newton
Paul Manning
Steve Cummings

Women (Individual Pursuit, Points Race, Scratch Race)

Emma Davies
Sara Symington

2003 USA Track Athlete Residence Program

USA Cycling is now accepting applications for the 2003 Athlete Residence Program for track cyclists at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. This resident program focuses on national team development in preparation for international track competition in World Cups, Pan American Games, World Championships and Olympic Games.

Athletes will work directly with USA Cycling's National Track Coach Des Dickie and his staff, and will be housed at the Olympic Training Center from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2003. Candidates must be between the ages of 17-25, have successfully completed high school or the G.E.D. equivalent and be ranked within the top-5 nationally in their discipline.

Applications will be accepted from now until November 1, 2002. To receive an application, athletes must send a resume to:

USA Cycling, Attn: Des Dickie
One Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO. 80909

Jean Delatour for Tour de l'Avenir and upcoming races

The French Jean Delatour team has announced its rosters for upcoming races, including the addition of three stagiaires for selected events.

Tour de l'Avenir:

Samuel Dumoulin, Christophe Edaleine, Frédéric Finot, Yuriy Krivtsov, Christophe Laurent, et Lénaïc Olivier.

Le Tour de la Somme:

Stéphane Augé, Jérôme Bernard, and Stéphane Goubert and will contest the Tour de la Somme, along with two stagiaires from the Vélo Club de Lyon Vaulx en Velin (VCLVV), Guillaume Canet (age 21) and Laurent D'ollivier (20).

Tour of Poland:

Laurent Brochard, Patrice Halgand, Bruno Thibout, Ivaïlo Gabrovski, Cyril Dessel, Joona Laukka, Gilles Bouvard, Yohan Boissy (stagiaire from VCLVV).

Meanwhile, French national time trial champion Eddy Seigneur will be off the bike for at least two weeks, after an operation to remove a cyst on his wrist. Laurent Lefèvre, originally scheduled to ride the Tour de la Somme, is suffering from tendonitis of the knee, and should be back in competition for the GP de Fourmies on September 15.

Irish update: the end of the season is nigh

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

With the domestic season cranking down, the emphasis over the next couple of weeks will be focussing on the international scene prior to the world championships in Belgium next month.

Reports from France suggest that Mark Scanlon is well on target to get that elusive contract that this young man from Sligo richly deserves. Mark will campaign for the remainder of the month between France and Italy for the AG2R professional outfit as a guest rider.

On Sunday a five-man team go to Japan for the Tour of Hokkaido in defence of their overall victory last year. David McCann, last year's winner is not included in the team. Hopefully they will be better attired than the team that went to the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia last month. For a national body, Cycling Ireland should be quaking in their boots sending out a team to a tropical country with no leisure gear. It was embarrassing when the team was introduced to the media at the launch of the Malaysian event - is there any pride in personal appearance?

To the team's credit they performed admirably and incidentally got the biggest pay check for their efforts as the top team of the 21 teams present.

Back home, the Navan Avonmore team who like the Usher Irish Road Club cater for competitive events put on two races this weekend. Both are being held in Kilmessan, Co. Meath on Saturday and Sunday.

Also the Coast-to-Coast leisure cycle takes place over the weekend. According to Elsa Connaughton of Cycling Ireland, "Bike Week has been very successful to date and tomorrow's leisure cycle to Galway and back is doing well. We have a good uptake from those not associated with CI and as you know our own members will more or less turn up on the day," said Elsa.

For further info please contact 01-8551532 and just ask for Elsa.


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