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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for September 10, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vuelta España news: Stage 3 wrap up

Stage three of the Vuelta was a more conventional sprinters stage compared to yesterday's, which had a difficult finish. The riders averaged nearly 43 km/h in hot conditions between and Murcia, with Mario Cipollini's zebra train bringing him to the line in a perfect manner. Cipollini led out with Zabel, Petacchi and Freire right behind him, but the Lion King was too strong, yet again. It was his first ever Vuelta stage win, meaning that he has now won stages in all three grand tours.

Full results & report
Live report
Danilo Di Luca's Vuelta Diary

Post stage quotes

Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone, 1st stage)

Mario Cipollini
Photo: © Yuzuru Sunada
Click for larger image

"It was a really nice sprint - The team was perfect," said Cipollini at the post race press conference. "This victory in Spain was missing from my palmares, but tomorrow I have another opportunity. It was a close sprint for sure, but then which sprints aren't?"

"The team worked magnificently and the mechanism was perfect. On the stage to Alcoi, Lombardi and Perdiguero did understood what to do and therefore I preferred to sit up. However, today my train did not fail. I won and I am very happy for the victory that I want to dedicate to my teammates."

"My physical condition has improved: I have the same feelings as I did in the Giro d'Italia 3 months ago. This confirms that my training program for the World Championships in Zolder is proceeding very well".

Italian technical director Franco Ballerini, who is in charge of selecting the World's squad, commented after the stage that "Cipollini showed himself to be trained well enough. The World's are difficult. Now it will be necessary for everyone to work together to succeed in winning it. However, Cipollini is an important man for our national team".

Joseba Beloki (ONCE, 1st GC)

"It was a stage of very few kilometres and the wind blew strongly from the coast in our favour, and no-one wanted to lose the wheel. Everybody is still very strong at and this is crazy. The finish was impressive, with a great deal of danger."

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE, 4th GC)

"It has been very hot and these stages are boring, but very fast. You must be at a hundred percent, because now you can lose more than you can win. Some favourites can drop out."

Roberto Heras (USPS, 9th GC)

"Today's stage went well enough. There were not many falls and no breaks, that's what's important in these first days with a lot of riders and a great deal of nervousness."

Cipo fined for working on his tan

Before the start of today's third stage, Mario Cipollini was already 171 euros poorer after receiving a fine from the race jury for wearing an unofficial jersey yesterday. Cipollini's sleeveless Acqua e Sapone top was not one of his more outlandish pieces of clothing, but it was enough to attract the ire of the ever vigilant commissaires.

Happy birthday Aitor Osa

Aitor Osa ( is the third rider after Giuseppe Di Grande and Marcos Serrano who have celebrated their birthdays during the course of the Vuelta. He was born on September 9, 1973 in Cestona (Guipúzcoa). A former rider of Euskaltel, he signed for his present team in 1997.

Vuelta starting cities in 2003/2004

The Vuelta has already revealed parts of the routes for the next two editions, including the cities that will host the start of the race. Gijón will be the starting point in 2003. The Asturian city saw both the start and finish in the second edition of the Vuelta in 1936. It also hosted a stage finish last year (won by Erik Zabel) and a stage start. It will be the finish of this year's 14th stage (Santander-Gijón, 190.2 km) and stage start the following day, which will lead riders to the notorious L'Angliru.

It is also certain that the start of the 2004 Vuelta will be in León, which will also host the finish of this year's 16th stage.

Santiago Perez to Phonak

Spanish rider Santiago Pérez (Kelme-Costa Blanca) has an agreement with the Phonak team for next season, according to Europa Press. In Phonak, Perez will have former Kelme director Alvaro Pino as a team leader, but that means things might not be too rosy with his current Kelme director Vicente Belda.

"The contracts will have to be honoured," said Belda, who added that Perez would have to invoke the rescission clause in his current contract, meaning that he will have to buy his way out of his current team.

Etxebarria prolongs

David Etxebarria has extended his contract with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team for the next two years Julian Gorospe's squad will also be keeping Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia and Roberto Laiseka.

Horrillo to Quick Step

Spanish rider Pedro Horrillo Muñoz (Mapei-Quick Step) will ride for the Quick Step for the next three years. Horrillo was seeking to ride in the same team as Oscar Freire, but the latest reports on Freire have him as unlikely to go to Quick Step, due to a high asking price.

On the other hand, Horrillo's Mapei teammate David Cañada will join him in Quick Step.

More transfers

Volksbank fires McCann

The Volksbank Ideal team has fired Irishman David McCann after his positive test for nandrolone. McCann failed a random urine test at the Tour of Austria held in June.

McCrae to try tri again?

US pro champion Chann McRae (US Postal Service), currently without a contract for next season, is hitting the triathlon scene again. McRae, like another well known Texas cyclist, started his career as a triathlete, and was an accomplished runner and swimmer at school. He started to take cycling more seriously in 1989 where he was part of the US team that placed fifth in the Team Time Trial at the Junior World's. From then on he focused on cycling, competing in 11 World Road Championships, including a 5th place in Verona in 1999.

Last weekend he competed in and won the Ironhead Dallas Triathlon, clocking a respectable time of 2:06:07 for the Olympic distance event. His splits for the three disciplines were 23:37 (1500m swim), 1:01:32 (41.5 km cycle), and 38:49 (10 km run). He has qualified for the Hawaii Ironman in October and he's pretty serious about it. A possible top 10 finisher perhaps? We'll find out in a couple of months.

Two of his current teammates Dylan Casey (US TT champion) and David Clinger are also set to leave US Postal at the end of this season.

Strong Irish team leaves for Tour of Hokkaido

By Shane Stokes,

Ofoto-Lombardi professional David O'Loughlin will this week lead an Irish quintet in their attempt to defend the Tour of Hokkaido title, which was won last year by David McCann. O'Loughlin has made a rapid recovery from a broken collarbone and highlighted his current good form with a spate of wins in recent weeks, including two this weekend in the Beechmount Cup and Collins Christle Memorial.

Also likely to figure in the overall standings are Paul Griffin, who won a stage, took the mountains classification and finished third overall last year, and fourth-placed Paddy Moriarty. The team is completed by John O'Shea and Stamullen M. Donnelly's Craig Sweetman, called up at the last moment after Stephen O'Sullivan made a late withdrawal from the squad.

Hampered by the French air traffic controllers strike, the team left today for Japan a day and a half after their scheduled departure. "The strike has caused chaos everywhere," said Cycling Ireland's Ciarán McKenna. "The riders were due to head out early yesterday morning but now will be arriving a day and a half late. The problem was finding seats on alternative flights - at one stage we were thinking of not going but as we won the race last year, we decided to go ahead. It is not really ideal preparation, though."

The Tour of Hokkaido starts this Wednesday and runs until next Monday, making jet lag a real consideration. However McKenna feels that the team can nevertheless leave their mark on the race. "Paul Griffin was going very well in the Tour of Slovakia and always performs well in the big events - he should do something big. David O'Loughlin will also be up there, although I think it may take him a day or two to really get going as he is not long back racing after breaking his collarbone. And the other riders could do well too."

Meanwhile French based rider Denis Lynch (VC La Pomme) and five others will compete in the GP Tell in Switzerland next week. Running from Wednesday 18th until Sunday 22nd, the under 23 race will see Lynch, Stephen Gallagher, Gary McQuaid, Brian Ahern, Conor Murphy and Tim Cassidy line out in what will act as a selection race for the world championships team.

Miami Cycling Classic: PCT finale

The US Pro Cycling Tour's (PCT) 2002 season finals will be held at the Miami Cycling Classic on September 29. The race will be held as usual in Miami's Coconut Grove, with riders competing for $30,000 in prize money and the 2002 PCT Men's and Women's titles.

US Postal Service's George Hincapie commented that "Coconut Grove is an exciting and beautiful course and I'd have to agree with Frankie (Andreu) that given all the Grove has to offer, it's definitely one of the coolest crits in America."

The one-mile circuit passes through the café-lined streets of Coconut Grove, past CocoWalk, Myers and Peacock Parks along the waterfront and to the Start/Finish Line on Grand Avenue. The men's race will be two hours, while the women will race for 90 minutes. The Women's PCT Final is set for 1:30 p.m. and the Men's PCT Final is set for 3 p.m. There will also be a Kid's Race, selected USCF races and a Lifestyle and Fitness Expo. The event will be covered by WPLG/ABC-TV Channel 10 throughout the day.

Mapei-Quick Step for GP Briek Schotte

Team manager Alvaro Crespi has officially announced the team formation for the Grote Prijs Briek Schotte in Belgium on September 10.

Riders: Allan Davis, Matthew Gilmore, Kevin Hulsmans, Scott McGrory , Leonardo Zanotti. Director: Eric Vanderaerden.

Ross Dillon/Leipheimer jersey auction update

The Tour de France team jersey signed by Rabobank's Levi Leipheimer has reached a bid price of US$2,325 with approximately 4 days to go in the auction to benefit Ross Dillon, a cyclist from Santa Rosa, California. Dillon was struck by a car from behind on June 3rd while out on a training ride, and has been in a coma since then. The jersey has also been signed by Erik Dekker and 2002 Tour de France stage winners Michael Boogerd and Karsten Kroon.

All money from the sale of this jersey will be donated to the Ross Dillon Hope Fund to help defray medical costs.

To bid, click here. Bidding ends Sep-14-02 09:28:40 PDT

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