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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for April 30, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson

Heritage series kicks off

By Kristy Scrymgeour

Starting on April 29, and with the first race underway as we post this news page, is the inaugural South Carolina Heritage Cycling Tour. The series consists of four evening criteriums held in different cities along the South Carolina Heritage Corridor. Races begin in Anderson, moving through Walterboro to Greenwood, and ending on May 2 in Aiken. Race courses will be 50 miles through the downtown areas of these historic cities.

Sitting between the Tour de Georgia, contested last week and the well-known Shelby and Roswell criteriums, the series aims to catapult cycling in the Southeast, both among sponsors and riders, and awaken professional riders to the intense training opportunities in the area.

Teams on the start list include Team Saturn who proved their strength once again last week with Horner taking the overall win at the Tour de Georgia, Navigators, recently returned from a successful European campaign, US Postal, Jittery Joe's, Health Net, Colovita/Bolla, Schroeder Iron, Prime Alliance and Ofoto-Lombardi Sports.

Riders coming off Tour de Georgia will in fine form to support their sprinters in what will be a very fast week of kermesse-style racing. Favourites include renowned criterium specialists Ivan Dominguez (Saturn), Marty Northstein (Navigators), Australian Jeff Hopkins (Jittery Joe's), and Jonas Carney (Prime Alliance). Also on the start list are David Clinger who so masterfully won the final stage of Tour the Georgia on Sunday and Dan Schmatz (7UP - Maxxis) who took out Saturday night's Twilight Criterium in downtown Athens.

The races

  • Race 1 - April 29: Anderson criterium, 50 miles
  • Race 2 - April 30: Walterboro criterium, 50 miles
  • Race 3 - May 1: Greenwood criterium, 50 miles
  • Race 4 - May 2: Aiken criterium, 50 miles

George Hincapie on the mend

US Postal Service rider George Hincapie is recovering from the health problems that have scuppered his early season, according to his management company Sotox Sports. Hincapie has been suffering from parasitic and respiratory infections and has been treated by a team of doctors and nutritional experts including a macrobiotic chef to prepare meals, a hematologist, a pathologist, and a cardiologist.

Sotox Sports medical Director William Pettis said, "George is experiencing a remarkable recovery following the diagnosis of a respiratory infection compounded by a co-existing parasitic infection. He currently is being aggressively treated using a balanced combination of methods from Eastern and Western medicine. His condition has dramatically improved, while undergoing moderate training, since the recent initiation of these treatments. I expect him to soon enjoy a full and rapid recovery."

Hincapie has begun training again at his home in South Carolina and says he is looking forward to getting back to racing. "It has been a real tough time for me," said Hincapie, "but in the last week I have noticed improvement. I am optimistic that I can return to the peloton within a month or so. Ready to race!"

Team fakta gets its chips

Danish Division I squad Team fakta will be running with a slightly longer name its riders line up for the Giro d'Italia on May 10. Thanks to additional funding from its Italian co-sponsor, the team will be known as Team fakta-Pata Chips. Pata Chips makes snack foods such as potato chips.

"We have an event sponsorship with our sponsor Pata Chips in connection to the Giro. We are very happy with the arrangement. It means that the team gets more financial means, and that Pata Chips gets a lot more exposure during the race," said Team fakta-Pata Chips manager Peter Sejer Nielsen.

The team will wear new jerseys just for the Giro with the Pata Chips logo prominently located under the fakta logo on the front and back of the shirt.

Giro adds one

The 2003 edition of the Giro d'Italia (May 10-June 1) will feature 19 teams and not 18 as previously announced by organizer RCS Sport. After an appeal by team manager Stefano Giuliani, the Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé - Ciarrocchi Immobiliare squad has been added to the roster.

An announcement from RCS Sport referred to the incident at Tirreno Adriatico which saw the expulsion of Massimiliano Mori and assistant team director Gabriele Di Francesco after an alleged attempt to avoid a UCI doping test. RCS Sport said that despite this "unpleasant episode" the team has been invited to take part in the Giro to "protect the jobs other members of the team who were not involved."

The addition of Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé brings the total number of riders in the Giro to 191, nine per team.

NORBA calms series fears

The tight sponsorship climate in the US has affected this year's NORBA mountain bike series, with a lack of prize money from sponsors possibly resulting in the downgrading of the events from the UCI's E1 class to E2.

Under UCI regulations, an E1 race must have a certain level of prize money, and carries UCI points for the top 20 Elite placings and top 10 under 23. There's no minimum prize list for E2, but E2 races only award points to the top 10 Elite.

NORBA has lost several series sponsors this year, shifting the burden of finding prize money from organization to the individual race promoters.

However, Eric Moore, Field Operations Director at USA Cycling, says the series is much more than the pro racers for whom UCI points are an issue. "It is unfortunate for the pro riders that there will be no prize money, but we have to remember that it is also our job to service the other 12,000 members of NORBA and keep the racing going," Moore told Cyclingnews.

"We realise that the NORBA series is an extremely important part of North American mountain bike industry and we are already formulating a plan for 2004.

"As of yet the UCI has not given us an answer as to whether our series will still hold UCI points," Moore added. "We still expect a huge turn up and really, apart from the lack of prize money for the pro riders and the absence of a few banners, people are really not going to see that much of a difference. We still have the same great courses, the same group of officials, the same people who have always made the series great and the atmosphere will be just the same as always. The NORBA Series is alive.

"We do realise that these races are important for many reasons, including the fact that they are selection races for World Championships for many international riders as well and we are going to do everything to ensure that this series will continue to happen in the future."

Teams galore at Wachovia

The Wachovia (formerly the First Union) Series has announced a record number of pro teams will take part in the June 3-8 races in Lancaster, PA, Trenton, NJ and Philadelphia. The series culminates with the USPRO championships for men and the women's Wachovia Liberty Classic, both in Philadelphia on June 8.

Twenty-two teams have signed up for the series, including 16 domestic squads, three from Italy, and one each from Belgium, Poland and Denmark.

The teams

7Up/Maxxis (USA)
Colavita Bolla (USA)
CSC (Den)
Flanders IteamNova.com (Bel)
Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave' (Ita)
Health Net (USA)
Jelly Belly (USA)
Jittery Joe's Coffee (USA)
Lemond Fitness - Cra - Z Soap (USA)
Mroz (Pol)
Navigators (USA)
Ofoto Lombardi Sports (USA)
Prime Alliance (USA)
Saeco (Ita)
Saturn (USA)
Schroeder Iron (USA)
Vini Calderola - Sidermec (Ita)
Sierra Nevada/Clif Bar (USA)
Sportsbook.com (USA)
US Postal Service (USA)
Webcor (USA)
West Virginia Pro Cycling (USA)

A few Wachovia Series stats for trivia hounds. Since the series began with races in Philadelphia (in 1985), Trenton (in 1989) and Lancaster (in 1992), American cyclists have dominated, winning 22 of the total 43 men's pro races.

Italian cyclists have done very well leading the international riders with six wins, followed by New Zealand with three then Canada, Denmark and Australia with two victories each. Riders from Belgium, England, Latvia, Czech Republic, Holland and Sweden have each garnered one win.

Only one rider, American Fred Rodriguez (Vini Caldirola Sidermec) has won all three races in the series ('95 Lancaster, '00 Trenton and '01 Philadelphia). Four athletes - George Hincapie (USA), Jacob Piil (Den), Roberto Gaggioli (Ita) and Michael Zanoli (USA) have won two of the races with Piil being the only rider to win two in a single year (Lancaster and Philadelphia in 1999).

Keen to new nutrition institute

British Cycling Performance Director Peter Keen's new job has been revealed as the Performance Director of a new sports nutrition body, the Lucozade Sport Science Academy.

Sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, makers of energy drink Lucozade Sport, the new body's mission will be to bring together academics and sportspeople to further understanding of the nutritional needs of high performance sport.

Think Racing endowment to Michael Norton

Think Racing has announced that the first endowment from its rider development fund will go to former UPMC-Fuji rider Michael Norton. Norton, 22, has been racing since 1994, the last three years with UPMC-Fuji. Norton was New York State Champion in the Espoir category and a medalist in the National Time Trial Championship.

Norton will ride as a senior this year with Think Racing's Breitling/Tradeware Cycling Team and the endowment will allow him to train and race full-time for the first time.

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