Latest News for April 1, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Bettini out of De Panne
World number one Paolo Bettini continues to suffer from the cold that
has struck several members of the Quick.Step-Davitamon team. Bici Sport
cover boy and Cyclingnews diarist Bettini will sit out the Driedaagse
De Panne-Koksijde, which begins today in Belgium, although he hopes to
return to defend his World Cup leader's jersey at Sunday's Tour of Flanders.
After suffering from a bout of bad mexican food last week, and missing
the weekend's racing in Belgium, Australian Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) will
be on the start line for Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde. Despite his good
form shown in the Dwars door Vlaanderen, Cooke's condition is not as promising
for the three day race which begins today.
Pozzato bouncing back
Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo) is showing a quick recovery after his
crash in Milan-San Remo. The rising star of Italian cycling suffered a
deep cut to his left calf, but is feeling better and training for a likely
start in the Tour of Flanders. "I really want to be there, if only for
the experience," Pozzato told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Perhaps I will
also look to do something in Gent-Wevelgem."
J.P. Nazon on the mend
Jean-Patrick Nazon (Jean Delatour), hospitalised last week due to a high
fever and severe gastric distress, is on the way to recovery. "The gastro
went away quickly and my headaches were linked to a lumbar puncture performed
by the doctors," Nazon told l'Equipe. The French sprinter, whose brother
Damien claimed success in Saturday's opening stage of the Critérium
International, hopes to be back in action at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Ullrich moving closer
Jan Ullrich (Team Coast) has reportedly received the go ahead to obtain
his Swiss racing license. Ullrich moved last fall from Germany to Scherzingen,
Switzerland, along Lake Constance, and thus must apply for the new license.
Prior to the license being issued, however, Team Coast must provide an
additional bank guarantee to the UCI to cover the rider's salary. "I assume
everything will go smoothly," Ullrich noted on his web site.
Ullrich is still scheduled to make his return to racing at the Circuit
de la Sarthe stage race in France on April 8. The former Tour de France
winner returned to Tuscany Monday for a final training camp in preparation
for his first race in nearly 14 months, accompanied as usual by friend
and training partner Tobias Steinhauser. Ullrich is tentatively scheduled
to race the Vuelta a Aragon (April 16-20) and the Tour of Cologne (April
21). The possibility exists for Ullrich to line up for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
on April 27.
Cipollini preparing for Flanders
Disappointed after missing out on victory at Milan-San Remo, world champion
Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze-Elitron) is busy preparing for the second
round of the World Cup, the Tour of Flanders. Cipollini has been preparing
with long training rides, and believes he has a role to play in the northern
According to a Datasport report, Cipollini has not ruled out Paris-Roubaix,
and rumours from Specialized indicate that the Lion King may line up for
Flanders with a bike prepared specifically for the pavé, dubbed
"Roubaix". A sign that Cipo is ready for the Hell of the North? Given
the world champion's desire to ride the Tour de France this year, memories
of last year's snub following his withdrawal from Paris-Roubaix may have
prompted a change of heart.
Pantani in the thick of it
Marco Pantani's clamorous return to racing at the Settimana Ciclistica
Coppi-Bartali saw huge crowds lining the roadside, cheering for Italy's
most popular rider. Pantani showed good form, riding up front and even
finishing second on the race's final stage. Nonetheless, this Friday the
Pirate will have to face the next court case in Trento, where he will
be charged with sporting fraud at the court in Tione.
Pantani will not be present at the opening hearings, as he will be in
Spain training once more with his faithful teammate Daniel Clavero for
the upcoming Tour of the Basque Country. Depending how the case goes,
Pantani may make an appearance later in the month. He will also be listed
among the 50 named in the San Remo blitz during the 2001 Giro d'Italia.
That case is expected to be heard in October.
Française des Jeux starts development program
The French FDJeux.com professional team has started its initiative to
develop talent from the junior ranks, with an emphasis on education and
tempered enthusiasm. Five riders aged 18-20 have been selected for the
program based on both their cycling results in the amateur ranks and their
commitment to continuing their education. "The primary goal is not to
integrate them into the pro team," directeur sportif Marc Madiot told
Le Monde. "Rather, to give them the encouragement to think first of their
education and not only about become professional cyclists."
Face of the future
For two years, each member of the program will receive a scholarship
of 8,000 euros, and the support of the team. The riders selected are encouraged
to continue their development within their amateur teams, although an
understanding exists that if all goes well, they will likely be given
the opportunity to join the FDJeux.com pro team. Two of these young riders,
Jérémy Roy (19) and Fabien Sanchez (20) were in Paris for
the FDJeux.com team presentation last December.
"We realize that some riders are a bit lost outside the realm of cycling,"
explained Yvon Madiot, who selected the five riders for the program's
debut. "We don't want to pick them, wring them out, and leave them on
their own. If young riders know they have a career ahead of them, they're
be more confident for their own futures and won't feel as though there's
a knife to their throats. Thus it's also a way to fight doping."
Mavic's Cross Mountain Team on a mission
Mavic's Cross Mountain Team is embarking on six month tour of the United
States, planning to drop in on shop-based clubs and IMBA clubs in nearly
twenty states. The Cross Mountain team plans to visit the country's mountain
bike hot spots, joining local riders for rides, trail maintenance, clinics,
and not to mention beer and pizza. Mavic's "Senior Idea Guy" Chris Zigmont
notes that more and more riders are interested in just riding, rather
than organised racing, so Mavic will join the locals for the fun, riding
with as many mountain bikers as possible over the next six months.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)