First Edition News for April 5, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
UCI: Helmets mandatory
The UCI has indicated that for the first time, helmet use will be compulsory
in all professional events. The UCI has always advised helmet use, but
previous attempts at mandatory use were met with stiff resistance from
the peloton. However, following the death of Andrei Kivilev, and in light
of the advances in helmet weight and comfort, the decision to require
riders to wear helmets has finally come to fruition.
The UCI signaled its support of the resolution adopted by the Management
Committee of the Professional Cyclists' Association (CPA) to urge mandatory
helmet use. Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc had also called
for a new ruling on helmets following Kivilev's fatal crash on the roads
The new rule is expected to be put in place in the near future, likely
before the start of the Giro d'Italia on May 10. "The statutory aspects
of this initiative (financial penalties, loss of UCI points or other sanctions)
are currently being studied by the relevant departments," the UCI said
in a written statement.
Museeuw will ride the Ronde
By Jeff Jones in Waregem
Photo: © Jeff Tse
Johan Museeuw has finally decided in favour of riding the Ronde van Vlaanderen,
aiming for a record fourth win in the biggest Belgian classic. The Quick.Step-Davitamon
captain told journalists at a press conference in Waregem this afternoon
that he will be there thanks to the doctors who have looked after him
this week, who have given him the green light to compete on Sunday. He
has full breathing capacity in his right lung, but his left lung is not
yet 100 percent.
"I've been on heavier antibiotics since Thursday," said Museeuw, who
was still coughing a little as he answered questions. "That is naturally
not positive for the condition."
The Lion of Flanders trained for the first time since Tuesday on Friday
morning, riding 70 km of the RVV parcours - including the Kwaremont, Paterberg,
Koppenberg and the Muur - with teammates Paolo Bettini and Luca Paolini.
"The legs didn't feel fantastic, but I didn't expect that they would be,"
said Museeuw, who also felt short of breath on the climbs. "The crash
at Waregem last week stopped me preparing for Flanders as I would have
liked, but I've still got two nights to recover."
The Ronde van Vlaanderen and next weekend's Paris-Roubaix are two of
the most important races of the year for Museeuw, and he will not give
them up easily. He will decide on the day how he will race - whether to
ride as a leader or in support of the team, and that he will know the
answer by the Oude Kwaremont (km 177).
"I am and I remain Johan Museeuw. Even if I don't feel in form, I can
give my experience to others within the team. If I don't feel able to
win, I will try to be present in the finale to help my teammates."
Photo: © Jeff Tse
Team manager Patrick Lefevere was also slightly more relaxed about Museeuw's
condition, and said that he wasn't worried by his relative lack of racing
kilometres in the lead up to the spring classics. Lefevere pointed to
Museeuw's first race of the season, Het Volk, which he won convincingly.
Co-leader Paolo Bettini said of the reconnaissance this morning that
"This year it was more important than ever to see the course after the
introduction of the three asphalt climbs in the key part of the race."
"This year the race is really open. There are a lot of riders who can
win; as well as my team mates, I'd include the Rabobank team which has
shown they are going well. Then there's Van Petegem, Bortolami and Pieri.
My main objective will be to defend my World Cup leader's jersey, the
road will tell if I can fight to win the race as well," Bettini said.
Luca Paolini, who was third at Milan-San Remo, will be riding in his
first Ronde on Sunday. "Today's ride to see the course has left its mark,"
he said. "The final part of the race is really hard and never gives you
a moment to recover. It's a fascinating race where you can never win by
chance. My objective is to help Paolo and Johan as much as I can, which
means being with them in the final part of the race. I'd like to finish
with the leaders of the race."
Pieri says his form is great
Saeco's Dario Pieri will take the start on Sunday in Brugge with the
ambition of repeating or bettering his second place behind Andrei Tchmil
in the 2000 Ronde. Pieri has been a strong presence in the Belgian classics
so far, and finished 16th in the Driedaagse van De Panne after crashing
twice. The big Tuscan from Scandicci, near Florence, wasn't too concerned
about his crash on Thursday.
"Did I hurt myself? Perhaps the asphalt was the worst off! I must have
left a big hole in the road. Fortunately I wasn't injured, that would
have been really unfair. I'm feeling good, my morale is high and the team
is one of the strongest we've ever had for these kind of races."
The team includes Mirko Celestino, who has great form after finishing
second in Milan-San Remo and winning the Settimana Coppi & Bartali. Then
there is the experienced Stefano Zanini, who finished second in the Ronde
in 1998. Italian national champion Salvatore Commesso, Fabio Sacchi, Paolo
Fornaciari, J÷rg Ludewig and the young Giosue Bonomi will round out the
Gaumont ready for Ronde
Frenchman Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) will be on the start line in Brugge
for the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Suffering from sickness early this week,
Gaumont didn't even finish the first stage of the Driedaagse van De Panne.
He has been taking antibiotics since then and on Thursday managed to train
for 250 km behind the motorbike.
Team Coast hopeful
With team morale not exactly at its highest ebb at the moment, German
Team Coast is hopeful that it can do something in the Ronde on Sunday.
"We will strive whatever may happen," said team managers Rudy Pevenage
and Alain Gallopin, who are putting their hopes in Rafael Schweda.
"It's always a risk to start such a gruesome race with a climb, but
we have no other choice," added Gallopin. We will try from the start to
stay with the leading group, just as we did during the preparation race
at Driedaagse van De Panne."
The team will start with Daniel Becke (Ger), Bekim Christiansen (Dan),
AndrÚ Korff (Ger), Thomas Liese (Ger), Thorsten Rund (Ger), Rafael Schweda
(Ger), Malte Urban (Ger), and Sven Teutenberg (Ger).
Ronde van Vlaanderen coverage
Preview and history
Course map, time table and
Eddy Lembo confirms with Palmans-Collstrop
Palmans-Collstrop directeur sportif Hilaire Vanderschueren has confirmed
the signing of Eddy Lembo. Lembo, 22, represents the third team sponsor
MrBookmaker.com's desire to attract developing talent from France. Lembo
joins Palmans-Collstrop from French Division II team MBK-Oktos-Saint Quentin.
Casagrande out of GP Indurain
Francesco Casagrande (Lampre) has joined the international sick list,
and will skip Saturday's GP Miguel Indurain. Casagrande has been reviewing
key stages of this year's Giro d'Italia, along with teammates Wladimir
Belli, Simone Bertoletti, and Mariano Piccoli. The group encountered less
than favourable conditions, and the cold rain and snow have left the Lampre
leader slightly under the weather.
Casagrande has nonetheless confirmed his participation in the Vuelta
Ciclista al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) from April 7-11. Casagrande
will also target the Ardennes classics, including Amstel Gold Race, Flèche
Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Baby Johan keeps Halgand home
Jean Delatour leader Patrice Halgand has decided to skip Sunday's fifth
round of the Coupe de France, the Grand Prix de la Ville de Rennes. Halgand
is home with his wife celebrating the birth of their son Johan. Eddy Seigneur
will step in for Halgand in Rennes, although Halgand will return to racing
Tuesday for the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The Jean Delatour team scored a much-needed victory Friday at the Route
Adélie, courtesy of Sébastien Joly. Jean Delatour has ridden
aggressively this season, but has not posted the victories it will surely
need to earn a wild card entry in the Tour de France.
The team for Sunday's Grand Prix de Rennes includes Seigneur, Gilles
Bouvard, Mickaël Buffaz, Samuel Dumoulin, Christophe Edaleine, Frédéric
Finot, Christophe Laurent, and David Lefèvre.
Paumier almost clear
Laurent Paumier, who tested positive for corticoids during the 2002 Midi
Libre, will be eligible to race in France as of May 1, 2003. Paumier was
suspended by the CPLD, and despite signing for Ag2R-Prévoyance,
he has yet to race for his new team. Per UCI rules, however, Paumier has
been permitted to race outside France since last week.
UCI sanctioned riders update
The UCI has announced that the following riders have been sanctioned
by their federations for various offences.
Evandro Luiz Portela, sanctioned by Confederašao Brasileira de Ciclismo,
disqualified from Volta Ciclistica de Santa Catarina (Brazil), September
5-8, 2002, suspension of two years from December 4, 2002 to December 3,
Jefferson Misiak, sanctioned by Confederašao Brasileira de Ciclismo,
disqualified from Volta Ciclistica de Santa Catarina (BRA), September
1, 2002, suspension of four years from December 4, 2002 to December 3,
Renato SEABRA, sanctioned by Confederašao Brasileira de Ciclismo, disqualified
from Volta Ciclistica de Santa Catarina (BRA), August 30-31 & September
3-4, 2002, suspension of two years from December 4, 2002 to December 3,
Christian Wegmann, sanctioned by Bund Deutscher Radfahrer, warning,
time of the rider increased by 1% in a stage of the Int. Hessen-Rundfahrt
on September 6, 2002, and a fine of CHF 2,000.
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Racing
The Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Racing team, based in Charlotte, North
Carolina, is continuing its progress toward Division III status. The core
of OLP Racing remains intact and key additions have been made, including
up and coming Torsten Wambold, collegiate champion Christof Herby, and
former masters national champion Gordon Stiel. Former pro Thad Fischer
joins OLP as Team Manager.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)