Latest News for April 25, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Spring classics finish with La Doyenne
By Jeff Jones
Photo: © Yuzuru Sunada
Somewhat fittingly as the oldest classic of them all, the 89th Liège-Bastogne-Liège
will also serve as the last of the spring classics this season, having
been swapped with the Amstel Gold Race this year. The race which is nicknamed
'La Doyenne' has a long history, first being run in 1892 when Belgian
Léon Houa recorded the first of three successive victories. Only Eddy
Merckx (1971-73) and Moreno Argentin (1985-87) have matched that feat,
with Merckx also holding the record for the most number of wins in this
Liège-Bastogne-Liège starts in Liège's Place Saint-Lambert, a large historical
square near the centre of town. For the first 95 kilometres, the riders
take a fairly direct route to Bastogne, which is nestled in the south
eastern corner of Belgium, quite close to Luxembourg. The route coming
back is a lot longer however (163 km), and takes in most of the climbs
in the race, before finishing in the northern Liège suburb of Ans.
Full preview and favourites
Cyclingnews will be covering the 89th Liège - Bastogne - Liège from
start to finish. Coverage begins at 10:00 CEST/04:00 EDT, 01:00 PDT, 18:00
Virus still with Museeuw
The virus which affected Johan Museeuw's respiratory system a week before
the Ronde van Vlaanderen is still there, according to his latest medical
tests. Museeuw took some more tests after the Amstel Gold Race, his last
classic of the spring season, and the results came back mid-week.
"I have actually had the virus in my body since a few days before the
Ronde van Vlaanderen," wrote Museeuw on his website. "At that moment,
we didn't know that it wasn't a normal respiratory infection. For that
reason I could not be fully cured because antibiotics don't help to get
rid of a virus."
Museeuw will now take two complete weeks of rest to try and get rid
of the virus. "The most important thing now is for my body to completely
recover. In any case I had planned a week's rest but now there will be
an extra one."
Quaranta prepares for the Giro in Brescia
The Saeco team is continuing its build up for the 86th Giro d'Italia,
one of the team's main objectives of this season. While Gilberto Simoni
is at the Giro del Trentino, sprinter Ivan Quaranta is following an intense
training programme in order to be ready for the Giro. Even though Quaranta
has won two races this season, he is still not at his best and for this
reason the team and manager Claudio Corti have planned a long training
camp for him.
Closely monitored by D.S. Bruno Vicino, Quaranta is training near the
Brescia area with team mate Antonio Bucciero. He will be doing six hours
a day until Saturday and will then a follow a lighter programme until
the start of the Tour of Romandie (April 29-May 4), his last race before
the start of the Giro d'Italia.
Palmans annoyed at poor performance
After Thursday's Dutch classic Veenendaal-Veenendaal, won by Lotto-Domo's
Leon Van Bon, the riders from the Palmans-Collstrop team came in for an
earbashing by team director Charles Palmans after they all abandoned by
halfway. "Only Omloop and Hammond were free of blame," said an annoyed
Palmans to Het Nieuwsblad. "They had bad days, in better circumstances
it's always those two who have the appetite to race. And Lembo rode Flèche
Wallonne on Wednesday. I'll also excuse him. But the others...Gert Vanderaerden,
Hendrik Van Dijck, Kristof Trouvé, Karl Pauwels. No-one in the first break,
no-one in the first fifty when we passed the finish line with 45 km to
go. I was so deeply ashamed that I looked for a side street so that they
wouldn't have to ride past the finish line to get to the changing rooms.
The men would be better off riding with the cyclotourists."
Van Lancker signs for Flanders-iTeamNova
Ex-Lotto rider Kurt Van Lancker has signed a new professional contract
with the Flanders-iTeamNova squad. Van Lancker did not have his contract
renewed by Lotto this year, and now has another chance to ride professionally.
43rd Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja
Held over the three days between Friday and Sunday this weekend is the
43rd edition of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja, a Spanish UCI 2.3 stage
race. The Vuelta a Rioja comes at a busy time, with the Giro del Trentino
(2.2), G.P. M.R. Cortez-Mitsubishi (2.3), Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt (2.3),
Tour of Georgia (2.3) and of course this Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège
World Cup, however for the Spanish teams is the main race on this weekend.
In addition to the seven Spanish squads, Credit Agricole and Jean Delatour
(France), 05 Orbitel (Colombia), Carvalhelhos-Boavista (Portugal), Lokomotiv
(Russia), Fassa Bartolo (Italy), Gerolsteiner (Germany) and Palmans-Collstrop
(Belgium) are all sending teams.
The race consists of three varied stages, the first from Autol to Calahorra
is suited to the sprinters, containing just one category 2 climb. The
second stage starts in Albelda De Iregua and finishes atop the Alto Cruz
De La Demanda, a 1958 metre category 1 climb that averages 9.6% over the
last 8 km. The final stage is a 22.2 kilometre time trial in Logroño,
to sort out the GC once and for all.
The favourites for the race include iBanesto's climbers Francisco Mancebo
and Juan Miguel Mercado, ONCE's Jan Hruska, Kelme's Javier Pascual Llorente,
and defending champion Carlos Torrent (Paternina-Costa del Almeria).
ONCE-Eroski, Ibanesto.com, Kelme-Costa Blanca, Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada,
Paternina-Costa de Almeria, Labarca 2-Cafe Baque, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Credit
Agricole, Jean Delatour, 05 Orbitel, Carvalhelhos-Boavista, Lokomotiv,
Fassa Bartolo, Gerolsteiner, Palmans-Collstrop
Stage 1 - April 25: Autol - Calahorra, 129.4 km
Stage 2 - April 26: Albelda De Iregua-Cruz De La Demanda, 188.3 km
Stage 3 - April 27: Logroño -Logroño ITT, 22.2 km
History-steeped Bisbee offers challenging terrain
by Stephen W. Medcroft
The La Vuelta de Bisbee (LVDB) stage race kicks off Friday with a punishing
time trial that gains 837 feet of elevation in just 2.8 miles. The three
stages that follow will test competitors climbing, sprinting, and time-trialing
skills. If the race has not sorted itself by Sunday, the final stage features
an extended uphill finish that should leave all questions of who are the
toughest racers answered.
A USA Cycling National Racing calendar event, LVDB has been hosted by
this small, Southeastern Arizona community for 25 years. With a population
of about 10,000, Bisbee sits at 5,500 feet and is about 100 miles Southeast
of Tucson, Arizona. Unlike it's more notorious western-frontier town and
neighbor, Tombstone, Bisbee has a relatively tame history as a copper-ore
mining camp. Most of the mining operations shut down in the 70's though
and the almost thousand-foot deep open-pit mines have since become tourist
attractions. And once the mining community moved out of Bisbee, artists,
hippies, and retirees transformed the town into what it is today; a quirky
destination for historical tourism and art. A community into which cycling
seems to be readily accepted judging by the effort put forth by local
promoters to put on a nationally-sanctioned stage road race in such a
The terrain that made Bisbee Queen of the Copper Camps, is a perfect
challenge for cyclists. Nestled in a cluster of high-desert mountain ranges,
rural highways both lace through mountainous desert canyons and slope
down and away from town allowing event promoters several race course choices.
Two of the four stages, of course, include the brutal climb up Mule Pass.
These roads were even distinctive enough to attract the 1980 U.S. national
A prominent National Race since the eighties, LVDB boasts past winners
such as Greg Lemond (who won as a 16-year old in 1978), Bob Cooke (1977,
79), Alexi Grewal (1992), and most recently (2002), Scott Moninger and
LVDB will be a different race this year because of the coincidental scheduling
of the new Tour of Georgia (occurring simultaneously in and around Atlanta
more than a thousand miles East). Although many top-level professional
road teams have diverted their traffic to Georgia, the professional peloton
will still make a respectable showing at LVDB. Notable entries include
a team of seven from Saturn Cycling (Jessica Phillips, US National road
champion, and New York City champion Ivan Dominguez), the Lemond Fitness
/ Cra-Z-Soap division 3 pro team, as well as a contingent of six racers
from the USA Cycling T-Mobile National Women's Team.
Prologue: Friday April 25's Mule Pass Individual Time Trial climbs
straight up Tombstone pass ascending almost 900 feet in 2.8 miles.
Course records for the prologue are:
- Men: 9:18 by Malcolm Elliot in 1993
- Women: 10:33 by Leslie Schenk in 1987
- Master Men: 11:22 by Mark Weideman in 2001
Stage 1: Saturday's Sulphur Springs Road Race tests riders on
rolling rural highways around Bisbee on a two-lap circuit that includes
2,600 feet of total climbing.
Stage 2: On Saturday afternoon the riders get no rest with 10.6
mile time trial named for a city founder.
Course Records for the Warren Time Trial Course:
- Men: 19:11 by Chris Wherry in 2002
- Women: 23:02 by Marianne Berglund in 1994
- Master Men: 21:35 by Mark Weideman in 2001
Stage 3: This short, sharp tour ends with a tough finale. The
Tombstone Road Race starts and finishes in downtown Bisbee, and Sunday's
65 mile race promises to settle any tension and drama built over the weekend.
The race gains more than 5,000 feet and finishes with a five-mile, six
percent grade climb.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)