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Photo ©: Swift

First Edition News for April 29, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Latest UCI rankings

Following the fifth round of the World Cup, the UCI has updated its men's rider, team and nations rankings. After Paolo Bettini couldn't defend his Liege-Bastogne-Liege title due to a shoulder injury, UCI number one Erik Zabel (Telekom) now has a slightly bigger buffer over his nearest rivals. Displacing Bettini from second spot is Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo), who goes into tomorrow's Tour de Romandie as the defending champion, so is unlikely to make any UCI points, even if he wins again. Similarly third placed Lance Armstrong (USPS) will take a break now before returning in June for the Dauphine Libéré, which he won last year, hence will not gain any more points before the Tour.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Tyler Hamilton is enjoying his best ever season so far, and has moved into a solid 10th position in the rankings, with 1,360 points. He has scored nearly half those points already this year, but will lose some next month by not contesting the Giro, where he finished second last year.

Other movers include L-B-L runner up Iban Mayo (32nd - 23rd), Flèche Wallonne winner Igor Astarloa (27th - 18th), Flèche Wallonne runner up Aitor Osa (128th - 79th), and Niedersachsen Rundfahrt winner Nicolas Jalabert (159th - 100th).

In the teams rankings, Saeco has jumped up to second spot and there are now four teams (Saeco, Rabobank, Telekom and Fassa Bortolo) chasing Quick.Step-Davitamon for the number one spot. In the nations rankings there fewer changes, although Australia moved just ahead of the Netherlands into fifth spot.

UCI rankings as of April 27, 2003

1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                            2,217.00 pts
2 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          2,030.00
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor 1,942.00
4 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                 1,907.00
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                       1,798.00
6 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo               1,502.00
7 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                           1,485.00
8 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron             1,428.20
9 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal presented by Berry Floor   1,427.75
10 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC                           1,360.00
11 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                       1,344.00
12 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski          1,305.00
13 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Team Saeco                         1,275.00
14 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                          1,246.60
15 Laurent Brochard (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                  1,216.00
16 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Team Telekom            1,131.40
17 Baden Cooke (Aus)                            1,041.00
18 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Team Saeco                          1,020.00
19 Mikel Zarrabeitia Uranga (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski          1,001.25
20 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                     1,001.00
Top riders of 2003
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                   764.00
2 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                             657.00
3 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom                    640.00
4 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC                              639.00
5 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                     621.00
6 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo                         586.00
7 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Team Saeco                            574.00
8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                         561.00
9 Laurent Brochard (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                     551.00
10 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       547.75
Division I
1 Quick.Step-Davitamon                                     2,829.00 pts
2 Team Saeco                                               2,619.00
3 Rabobank                                                 2,541.00
4 Team Telekom                                             2,505.00
5 Fassa Bortolo                                            2,401.75
6 O.N.C.E.-Eroski                                          1,786.00
7 Gerolsteiner                                             1,666.00
8 Kelme-Costa Blanca                                       1,627.00
9 Alessio                                                  1,618.00
10 Euskaltel-Euskadi                                       1,604.00
Division II
1 Bankgiroloterij Cycling Team                             1,230.00 pts
2 Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada                                  694.00
3 Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf                                      683.00
4 Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo                                   618.00
5 De Nardi-Colpack                                           539.00
1 Italy                                                   13,493.20 pts
2 Spain                                                   10,678.48
3 Germany                                                  7,060.00
4 France                                                   6,792.00
5 Australia                                                5,503.00
Full rankings

Break for Bracke, but Ludo back

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team had some good and bad news on the weekend in regard to rider injuries. The good news is that after his crash and broken collarbone in Gent-Wevelgem three weeks ago, Ludo Dierckxsens looks to be ready to return to racing in the Tour of Picardie on May 16, or the Tour of Belgium a few days later.

The bad news is that Tony Bracke broke his collarbone during the Omloop van de Vlaamse Scheldeboorden on Saturday. Bracke crashed when he hit an elderly lady who was crossing the road, and had to be taken to hospital where he was operated on. He will be out for a number of weeks, as the bone was broken in two places.

De Clercq recovering fast

There was also good news for the Lotto-Domo team, who broke his knee cap in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen in March. De Clercq is recovering well and is set to return in the Tour de Picardie on May 16.

Fassa Bortolo interested in Mattan

Nico Mattan will have the option of leaving Cofidis at the end of the season when his current contract runs out, although he does have an offer from the French outfit to renew for longer. Meanwhile, Mattan also has attracted the attention of other teams, including Michele Bartoli's Fassa Bortolo squad.

"That's right, but I also have an offer from Cofidis to stay with them," Mattan said to Het Nieuwsblad. "I'll first go and sit down with my current employed to discuss it. In addition other teams have contacted me."

Irish professionals confirmed for FBD Milk Ras

By Shane Stokes,

The prospects of an Irish winner in the FBD Milk Rás have been boosted by the news today that the 2002 champion Ciarán Power has been cleared by his US pro team Navigators to line out in next month's race. Power and fellow US-based professional David O'Loughlin will spearhead a strong Irish team in the eight-day Tour, with the five man squad also comprising the 1996 winner Tommy Evans, Vincent Gleeson and Andrew Donnellan.

Power's participation is a big plus for the national squad as there was uncertainty as to whether the Navigator team's busy schedule would enable him to return to Ireland for the May 18th start. A large number of foreign squads will travel for the 2.5 ranked event and, with a big increase in the standard of the competition since it graduated to the international calendar, a top-notch Irish squad is essential.

Power and O'Loughlin are building their form at present and their solid rides in last week's Tour of Georgia in the US show that they should be in fine shape in the FBD Milk Rás. Both have ridden well this season, with Power taking several good placings in European events and O'Loughlin dominating the domestic scene here and winning the UCI 1.5 Archer Grand Prix in England one month ago.

Evans took a number of good placings in the Tour of Langkawi at the start of the season and last week returned home from his French base to win the Tour of the North. Gleeson and Donnellan have also been riding well of late, and will play vital support roles for Power and O'Loughlin in the FBD Milk Rás.

Race organiser Dermot Dignam will announce the foreign line-up later this week.

Date change for Vuelta a Castilla y León

The UCI 2.3 ranked Vuelta a Castilla y León, which was scheduled to start this Wednesday, April 30, has been postponed until May 20 due to a visit by Pope John Paul II. The Pope's visit will tie up the all-important TV time on La 2, the channel that was due to broadcast the race live. Thus the organisers decided to delay the race rather than risk minimal TV coverage.

Although the May 20-24 period will clash with the Giro d'Italia, this will not greatly affect the Spanish participation in the race, as Kelme is the only Spanish team doing the Giro, and it has assured the organisers that it will send its Tour de France riders to do Castilla y Leon.

The Vuelta a Castilla y Leon includes a time trial stage as well as stage finishes in Valladolid and Avila. The latter will be a crucial stage in the race, as it contains five climbs.

Burnaby Velodrome wraps up season with 3 day event

The third and final race event of the Burnaby Velodrome's indoor 2002/2003 season in scheduled for May 2-4 at the Harry Jerome Sports Centre in Burnaby. The three day track race will provide local riders with some great competition, as visiting track cyclists from Victoria, Washington and Oregon are just starting their outdoor track racing seasons. The event will be an important test for many local riders with their sights set on the BC Provincial Track Cycling Championships to be held in Victoria this July.

Local rider Murray Solem will be back to defend his February race event title, as will World Masters Champion and US National Team member Kenny Williams, who won the overall in November.

While several Canadian National Champions are scheduled to be racing on the weekend, the event will also provide an opportunity for novice riders to try their skills and fitness out on the 200m wooden track. The Burnaby Velodrome Club is running a Learn to Race program in parallel with the race weekend, introducing the basics of track racing and high-speed handling. Novice riders will be able to compete against each other throughout the 3 days of racing.

Racing begins Friday night with Win-n-Outs and Chariot Races for all 3 categories. Saturday and Sunday will see a number of mass start, sprint and timed events including points races, miss-n-out, scratch race, kilometre, keirin, Olympic sprint, and Madison.

For more information, schedule of events and entry form go to

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