First Edition News for April 2, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Mattan going for de Panne not Flanders
Nico Mattan, who finished with the bunch in yesterday's first stage of the Driedaagse van De Panne (Three Days of De Panne) is not really using the race as preparation for the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the first Belgian World Cup of the season on April 6, according to an interview in Het Nieuwsblad.
Mattan told the paper, "the Three Days aren't a preparation for the Tour of Flanders. I have a lot more chance of winning the Three Days than I have of winning the Tour of Flanders. On a good day I can only aim for a top ten placing there."
Mattan says De Panne is his second goal for the season. "However," he said, "It's easier to win a prologue in the race to the sun (Paris-Nice) than to win the time trial on Thursday. If I don't lose too much time in the preceding three stages I might have enough reserve to win the race by finishing third in the time trial."
Mattan names as his biggest rivals, "Vandenbroucke, Chavanel, Ekimov, Van Petegem... and any careless moves by other competitors."
Mattan added that the weather would be a factor, and that he would be taking things carefully. "I will try and glide along, because we don't have the team to rescue things if they go awry. Gaumont is still not 100 percent so I can't count on him. Danger lurks around every corner in this race. You can lose all your chances on day one, for example on the Haaghoek."
"It's been crazy so far this year. The image of Kivilev has been burned in our memory. A big cause of many of the crashes, I think, are the earpieces. I saw that in Waregem. Even an insignificant Polish rider now knows exactly where the start of the Berendries is. But what they don't know is that, immediately after that, there is a wide big road, so that you don't need to push and shove on the climb itself. On the Eikenberg on the other hand, it is okay to try to get to the front before the climb."
De Panne organizers ready for worst
Today's second stage of Driedaagse van De Panne includes the feared climb of the Kemmelberg, and the treacherous descent following. Race organizers are taking no chances this year and have stationed a first aid tent and an ambulance at the foot of the descent. The weather forecast is for rain and strong winds, which certainly won't help matters. If that eventuates, then the Kemmel will be eliminated from the parcours at the request of some foreign teams.
Weather favours Belgians for RVV
Belgian weatherman Frank Deboosere predicts the weekend will see good weather for RVV, and as an avid cycling fan he's sure that will favour local riders. "It will be too dusty for the French riders, too cold for the Italians, too dry for the Russians, so, I think the winner will be Flemish..." Not a biased opinion at all, then.
Cipo prepares at home
Like sprint rival Robbie McEwen, world champion Mario Cipollini has opted not to ride the Driedaagse van De Panne. But he will ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 6.
"I prefer to train hard at home. I want make the rainbow jersey shine in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. After that Cipo will ride Gent Wevelgem on April 9 where he will be looking for a repeat of last year's memorable victory.
One hundred years and counting
Our special feature from the "100 Anni Di Corsa" exhibition is now live in our Italia Bici 2003 section. Inspired by Giovanni Torriani, son of the late Giro d'Italia boss, Monza native Fiorenzo Magni and sponsored by Ernesto Colnago, the "100 Anni Di Corsa" celebrates a century of cycling through the bicycles, images and memorabilia of the great champions of cycling since 1903 at the Palasport of Monza.
Almost 100 bicycles were on show, and Cyclingnews was there to share with you bikes from the olden days of Binda and Guerra, classic bikes from Coppi and Bartali, as well as championship steeds of Gimondi, Merckx and Moser. Modern day riders will be well represented via bikes from Indurain, Ullrich and Pantani among others.
Giro teams announced
Giro d'Italia organizer RCS Sport has announced the 18 teams that will line up for this year's race when it leaves Lecce on May 10 for its 3,449km, 22 day journey to its June 1 finish in Milan.
The 162 rider peloton will consist of ten Italian teams and eight 'straniere' teams from other nations.
The Italian squads are: Alessio; Ceramiche Panaria - Fiordo; De Nardi - Colpack ; Domina Vacanze - Elitron; Fassa Bortolo; Lampre; Mercatone Uno - Scanavino; Saeco; Tenax; and Vini Caldirola - Sidermec.
Joining them will be the international contingent of: CCC Polsat (Poland); Colombia - Selle Italia (Colombia); FDJeux.com (France); Gerolsteiner (Germany); Kelme - Costa Blanca (Spain); Landbouwkrediet - Colnago (Belgium); Lotto - Domo (Belgium); and Team fakta (Denmark).
Armstrong to ride Dauphine Libere
Lance Armstrong's lead-up to the 2003 Tour de France will once again include the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (June 8-15) which he won last year ahead of team-mate Floyd Landis in a US Postal one-two.
Landis is also expected to ride the Dauphiné, though after his broken hip earlier this year and subsequent missed training it remains to be seen if he can regain last year's form in time.
A significant indicator of Tour prospects is the Dauphiné's stage four ascent of the Col de la Ramaz, the first significant climb of the 2003 Tour de France.
The eight day race starts with a prologue in Villard-de-Lans, and crosses the Col de la Ramaz, Col du Télégraphe and the famed Col du Galibier before finishing in Grenoble.
New Zealand MTB nationals
This weekend, April 5-6 sees the last significant races of the summer mountain bike season in New Zealand, the national championships. Riders will be looking to improve on their performances from the national series and for those heading overseas the weekend provides extra preparation and training. These races also carry UCI points which count towards entry requirements for World Cup races and the World Championships.
Both cross-country and downhill races will be held at Jentree Farm, 15km south of Blenheim, with the downhill on Saturday and the cross-country races on Sunday.
Yesterday's Special News for April 1 notwithstanding, future Tours de France are likely to stay mostly inside France; the UCI has not banned white shorts; Marco Pantani is not under investigation (at least not for ear surgery and training); Campagnolo has no plans that we know of to return to MTB components; and Team Freewheel is unlikely ever to take part in the Tour of San Marino. Thanks to everyone who wrote to tell us we'd given them a laugh, and thanks also to those who were good sports about it when they realised they'd been had.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)