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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for April 25, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

"Sunday is another race" for Vandenbroucke

After failing to show themselves in Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne, Quick.Step-Davitamon will be pinning its hopes on Frank Vandenbroucke in Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The 1999 winner of La Doyenne told Het Nieuwsblad after Wednesday's race that he will now "go and recover well with an eye towards Sunday. I'll ride the last 100 kilometres of La Doyenne on Friday. Really it's tradition, for I actually know the finale in my head. But it's always good to feel the hills and go up them hard one more time."

Vandenbroucke said that his poor result (24th) in La Flèche Wallonne means nothing for Sunday, and there is no more pressure on his shoulders. "Sunday is a completely different race," he said.

Ullrich does the Muur van Geraardsbergen

Jan Ullrich, who is making something of a cameo appearance in Belgium this week for the Ardennes classics, is also taking the opportunity to check out some well known landmarks. On Tuesday, the day before he finished 31st in La Flèche Wallonne on the Mur de Huy, Ullrich had a go at the Muur van Geraardsbergen, one of the best known climbs in Belgium.

According to team director Rudy Pevenage, Ullrich "found it better than he expected. According to Jan, it is impossible that someone who is not dropped on the Muur to get dropped on the Bosberg. Maybe I'll convince him to ride the Ronde next season."

No Giro for Steels

Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) will definitely not be riding the Giro d'Italia this year, which starts in a little over two weeks time. Steels said that he doesn't have the condition for a three week stage race, and prefers to ride the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of Belgium.

Sevilla still waiting

A date for Oscar Sevilla's return to competition is still not set, but the Kelme-Costa Blanca leader is slowly recovering from an unfortunate boil which has prevented him from following his normal training program. Sevilla underwent surgery to remove the boil, but healing time has been slow. "We taking it day by day," his doctor said. "He needs a little more time, but things are improving and I think by the end of the month he will be ready."

The problem has been unsettling for Sevilla, although he expects to be back on track to reach peak form for the Tour de France and Vuelta a España later in the year. "It's set me back a month and prevented me from training as I had hoped, but on the other hand the break should mean that I'll reach the end of the season with more force," Sevilla told Spanish daily Marca. "What I want is to be back in training, riding calmly. I hope that the problem is solved and I can begin to do specific work so as to arrive at the Tour and the Vuelta in the best possible shape."

Joly back for Tour de Picardie

Sébastien Joly (Jean Delatour) will return to racing at the Tour de Picardie (May 16-18) after a short bout with bronchitis. Joly first began to suffer at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but only recently took a few days off the bike. Eager to ride Paris-Roubaix, the young Frenchman aggravated his condition after a grueling day on the pavé.

The dust irritated my lungs and my throat," he said of the dry conditions on the road to Roubaix. "Then I wasn't able to ride more than two or two and a half hours without hearing myself wheezing. I sounded like a smoker!"

Joly began training again Wednesday, after having missed two rounds of the Coupe de France since his win at the Route Adélie.

Broken hand for Goubert

Stéphane Goubert, who injured his hand in a fall at the Critérium International, may need surgery after all. Further investigation revealed a broken bone in his hand rather than a simple fracture.

"Along with the doctors we are going to look for a way to delay an operation after the Tour de France if the team is selected," Goubert told l'Equipe. "[Yesterday] morning I rode three hours with a brace and some foam, but it was three hours of pain. This really falls at the worst time, since I usually start to go well in this period."

Raisin gets key to city

Ofoto/Lombardi Sports rider Saul Raisin, who took the early lead in the U23 competition at the Tour de Georgia, will receive a special honour before the start of stage 4 in Dalton on Saturday. Raisin, a native of Dalton, will be presented with a key to the city by the mayor of Dalton.

"It's really cool, as a cyclist you don't really get any recognition, and then one day a stage of a big bike race comes to your home town and it’s a really big deal," said the up and coming rider.

The mayor’s office of Dalton contacted Raisin’s family for this special award after learning of his participation in the race. Regarding a possible stage 4 victory, Raisin is hopeful but realistic. "I'd love to win that stage, but it could well be the deciding stage of the Tour, so I don't think I'll be handed anything on a plate. Still, I will be trying to do something special on that day."

Australian Track Cycling Championships

The five day Australian Track Cycling Championships get underway next Wednesday at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney, this year incorporating the Oceania Continental Championships. This means competition will not only be tough between the states, but also between Australia and New Zealand, with selection for the World Championships on the table.

"Riders who win an Oceania Title in individual events, are eligible to race that event at the World Championships," explained Cycling Australia High Performance Manager, Michael Flynn. "However Australian riders are still required to meet our selection criteria set down for the World Championships."

Among the riders looking for big results are four-time junior world champion Mark French, vying for his first senior title, Ryan Bayley, Shane Kelly, Mark Jamieson, Katie Mactier, and Rochelle Gilmore.

The World Championships are currently scheduled to take place in China in late July, although the UCI is examining the implications of the SARS virus. A decision is expected in the next few weeks regarding the World's location.

American Criterium Championship Series announced

Linking seven of the best known criteriums in the country, the American Criterium Championship Series (ACCS) has been created by "an independent group of bike race promoters and race directors" according to an official statement. The series will "definitively crown a champion of the criterium racing discipline, where teamwork, tactics and speed will be put to the test over an entire season. Every US based pro team is expected to participate."

By definition, a criterium is a multi-lap race on a closed course typically with a lap less than 2 kilometres. This racing style is generally fast, aggressive and spectator friendly, although races are rarely more than 100 kilometres.

The ACCS begins in Athens, GA, where the Twilight Criterium has been run for 24 years and will end in Los Angeles, at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, entering its 42nd year. In between these races, the series will include the Tour of Somerville, the longest continuously run bike race in America, turning 60 years old this year. The final criterium during Superweek, and The Chris Thater Memorial have each been held for over 20 years. The Sunday criterium of Wendy's International is in its 10th year, while the youngest of them all will be the 6th annual Clarendon Cup, in Arlington, VA.

Kissena Velodrome reconstruction in full swing

The New York based Kissena Cycling Club announced today that the start of its regular Wednesday evening Twilight Track Series would be delayed due to ongoing work by the New York City Parks Department to rebuild the velodrome in Queens' Kissena Park.

The Twilight Track Series traditionally runs on Wednesday evenings from May through August. The track in Queens also hosts the NY State track championships in June, a Labor Day racing festival and other events. The track's surface, especially on the banked turns, has been bumpy, grooved and cut for many years. Nonetheless, the Wednesday series has seen a strong turnout and high quality racing in recent years.

The Parks Department renovation of the track is the first comprehensive resurfacing and facility upgrade in memory. The cold winter and spring of 2003 slowed the rehabilitation, however the Kissena club says it's worth the wait. "The Parks Dept. says it needs five consecutive days of 70+ degree weather to apply a monolithic surface, and to get the elevations around the track right," said Don Winston, an engineer, Kissena member and chief referee of the track series during the past several seasons.

Kissena anticipates expanded programs at the track once rehabilitation is complete. In addition to the Wednesday racing series, open workout/coaching sessions, weekend racing, a sprint night and a junior program are all under development or discussion.

Team Down Under online

The fledgling Division III squad Team Down Under has launched its website, at The team, comprised mostly of riders under 25 years old, is concentrating on UCI 1.2, 1.3, and 1.5 events, and contested Thursday's Veenendaal-Veenendaal in the Netherlands.


(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)