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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for August 1, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

German Pursuit Team Out

By Valkerie Mangnall in Stuttgart, Germany

Germany will not line up in tomorrow's team pursuit qualifying at the world track cycling championships after massive in-fighting literally ripped the world record breaking outfit apart today. In a major embarrassment for the host nation, the German Cycling Federation announced the country would not contest the event after internal ructions split the four-man team, which claimed the world record on the way to winning gold at the Sydney Olympics, down the middle.

A hint of trouble surfaced on Tuesday when Robert Bartko was named as Germany's second starter in the individual pursuit ahead of Jens Lehmann. Bartko did not ride at the German national titles because of commitments to his professional road team, Rabobank.

The Germans announced Bartko had been nominated to join Daniel Becke in the event after beating Lehmann in a "test" over 2000m in Frankfurt at the weekend. Bartko bombed out in the first round of the pursuit, clocking a disappointing 4:26.522 as he was beaten by eventual bronze medallist Sergi Escobar Roure. Becke was also beaten in the first round, by Great Britain's Paul Manning.

Lehmann said his opposition to being left out had been justified after the German riders were eliminated. "I knew it would happen and it confirms my thoughts," he said.

Bartko said: "We could keep on speculating as to how Lehmann would have ridden, but the race is now over for us Germans."

The hostilities escalated when the coach for the Thuringen region, Jens Lang, told German national coach Bernd Dittert that Becke and Lehmann, who ride in the Thuringen capital of Erfurt, would not ride the team pursuit if they had to team up with Berlin duo Bartko and Guido Fulst. Lehmann actually hails from Leipzig but joined the Erfurt squad two years ago.

Lang also made reserve riders Sebastien Siedler and Christian Bach, who are from Thuringen too, unavailable, prompting German Cycling Federation President Sylvia Schenk to announce the team had been withdrawn.

"We have decided Germany will not field a team in the team pursuit," Schenk said. "It is up to the German Cycling Federation who participates at the worlds, it's not up to the athletes or the coaches."

Ian McKenzie, coach of reigning world champions and world record holders Australia, was stunned by the news. "My initial reaction is disappointment and I find it really hard to understand, especially with the championships being in their home country," he said.

"Absolutely we'd like them in the event. The more the competition, the tougher the competition, the more worthy the medal that you win. But realistically it won't affect us."

Too high hematocrit for Russian rider

By Valkerie Mangnall in Stuttgart, Germany

Russian endurance rider Sergei Koudentsov will take no further part in the world track cycling championships after failing a blood test Thursday. Koudentsov was the only rider to be declared 'unfit' out of 34 who underwent routine blood testing carried out at the titles in Stuttgart by the sport's governing body, the UCI.

The Russian's test revealed a haematocrit level above the UCI's designated 50 percent limit. The UCI sets limits according to medical advice that determines whether an athlete can compete safely.

After finishing 11th in Wednesday night's men's scratch race, Koudentsov will not be allowed to compete for two weeks. He is also expected to provide urine samples for further testing.

Serious crash for O'Neill in 'Toona

Australian rider Nathan O'Neill (Saturn) has been taken to Pittsburgh hospital for surgery following a crash in the fourth stage of The International (Tour de Toona). O'Neill, who was wearing the leader's yellow jersey at the time, suffered a broken C2 vertebra as well as damage to his teeth and forehead.

fakta to stop sponsorship at end of season

After five years of sponsorship of the Danish professional cycling team, the fakta chain of supermarkets has decided to let others have a go.

"The main sponsorship for Team fakta will not be renewed after 2003," said fakta's managing director Claus Jensen in a statement today. "Not because of the results nor the image of the team, which has increased positively year by year. But because a continuous investment in the team does not harmonise with the discount concept that requires customer oriented initiatives in the stores and an investment in expanding the activities on the market.

"When fakta started in 1999 the team was based in UCI division three with semi-professionals, and the investment was modest. Later on the team became known by virtually the entire population, and due to great sporting results the team moved up the rankings. The latest budget of the team of over two million euro, and the strong obligation and hard work by the team's riders and management has brought the team to the first division. We no longer have the capacity to support the budget at such a level, and feel it is time for others to take over.

"The PR value for fakta has annually been worth a considerable amount of money in millions and therefore I do not expect that it will be difficult for the team to find new partners," concluded Claus Jensen.

Despite this, fakta's team manager, Peter Sejer Nielsen, said that he is positive about the upcoming changes for his team. "With fakta we have had a strong and loyal sponsor, who in a professional manner has skillfully used the commercial and image-related possibilities which a sponsorship like ours can offer."

"At this stage the future is looking good for the team. We are quite a long way in our negotiations with title sponsors that can assure the continuity of our growth and success, and we expect to have the deals closed before September 1. Our ambitions are to increase the sporting goals for 2004.

"Our intentions are to create a team where we are certain of a spot amongst the top 18 teams that are guaranteed to race all WC events. Also we will have the ambition to race the Grand Tours - even potentially the Tour de France. We all know how difficult that is, but with the ongoing negotiations, it is not an impossible ambition to have."

Freire won't race HEW

Oscar Freire
Photo: © C.Henry/CN

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will not start in this Sunday's HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg, according to an ANP report. The Spanish sprinter is too tired after the Tour de France, but will make his return to racing in the Clasica San Sebastian the following weekend. Rabobank will rely on Michael Boogerd, who is currently second in the World Cup rankings. The remainder of the team consists of Steven de Jongh, Bram de Groot, Jan Boven, Maarten den Bakker, Robert Hunter, Mathew Hayman and Marc Wauters.

Saeco with strong line up

The Saeco team will enter the HEW Cyclassics Cup with a strong team, including last year's runner up Igor Astarloa, Dario Pieri, Mirko Celestino and Danilo Di Luca. The latter three are all in the top 10, and are all capable of winning the World Cup with five rounds to go. In addition, Celestino won the Hamburg race in 1999. The full team is: Igor Astarloa, Dario Pieri, Mirko Celestino, Danilo Di Luca, Salvatore Commesso, Fabio Sacchi, Stefano Zanini and Jörg Ludewig

Domina Vacanze to rely on Lombardi in HEW

The Domina Vacanze-Elitron team for this weekend's HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg will be built around sprinters Giovanni Lombardi and Daniele Bennati, who are in good condition according to team director Antonio Salutini. The rest of the team includes Martin Derganc and Paolo Valoti, who are both breakaway candidates, and Alberto Ongarato, Gian Paolo Mondini, Kyrylo Pospyeyev and Santos Gonzalez Capilla.

ONCE on two continents

This weekend sees the ONCE-Eroski team racing on two different continents, with a small team flying to New York for the New York City Cycling Championships, and a larger squad travelling to Hamburg, Germany for the HEW Cyclassics Cup. In New York, Jose Azevedo, Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano and Isidro Nozal will be in action, while Angel Castresana, Allan Davis, Xabier Florencio, Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano, Jan Hruska, Jörg Jaksche, Mikel Pradera and Mikel Zarrabeitia will race in Hamburg.

Prime Alliance to race as TIAA-CREF in NYC

The Prime Alliance team will be racing under a different name at this Sunday's New York City Cycling Championships. For this weekend only, the team will be known as TIAA-CREF after receiving sponsorship from this New York based financial services company. The deal aims to increase the interest in sponsoring cycling in the future by TIAA-CREF, and it has the full blessing of Tom Irvine, CEO and president of Prime Alliance.

Hamilton to be official starter of NYCCC

Tyler Hamilton
Photo: © C.Henry/CN

Tyler Hamilton, who finished fourth in the Tour de France despite suffering a broken collarbone in the first stage, will make his first public appearance in the U.S. at the New York City Cycling Championship presented by BMC Software this Sunday, August 3. Hamilton will serve as the official race starter in the second running of the event, a 100 km criterium around the streets of Manhattan's financial district.

The race will feature 19 national and international teams including US Postal Service-Berry Floor, Navigators, ONCE Giant, 7UP Maxxis, Saturn and Formaggi Pinzolo Piave, with tens of thousands of fans expected to turn out. The racing will begin at 7:30 am with the Junior PCT Grand Prix for riders 18 and under. The BMC Software Corporate Challenge will follow at 8:25 am and the amateur team cycling event, the Mengoni Grand Prix, is scheduled for 9:20 am.

The BMC Software Bike Messenger Challenge, pitting Manhattan's best delivery cyclists against one another in a uniquely New York event, takes place at 10:40 am The featured men's championship will start at 12:15 pm and end at approximately 3 pm.

Cyclingnews will be covering the race live, with its start approximately an hour after the HEW Cyclassics World Cup race, which will also be covered live.

Salmon to Crédit Agricole

Frenchman Benoît Salmon (Phonak Hearing Systems) will ride for Crédit Agricole next season. Salmon finished second in the Classique des Alpes and fourth in the French Championships this year, although his biggest claim to fame is winning the Midi Libre in 1999. He joins Alexandre Botcharov (Ag2r-Prévoyance) as the latest addition to Crédit Agricole.

Fantasy Cyclingnews Tour de France winners

It's been another close Fantasy Cyclingnews competition, with thousands of players taking part in the Fantasy Cyclingnews Tour de France. Without further ado, the winners are:

1st place - 4449 points

Team GonePostal - Matthew Niednagel (from Flemington, New Jersey, USA)
Prize - limited-edition Giant TCR 100 bicycle worth 10,000 euros/dollars, signed replica Jersey of the ONCE team, a Giro eclipse helmet, and Rudy Project Glasses.

Have a look at the winning team's make up: GC Team, Stage 20 Team, Points Team, Mountains Team.

2nd place - 4200 points

Team cycle pump2 - Alistair Ross (from Ayrshire, Scotland)
Prize - Campagnolo Veloce Groupset, a set of Nokon cables for one bike, a set of ONCE Pro series tyres from Hutchinson, an AX Lightness Endurance Saddle, a team issue Bell Ghisallo helmet, and Rudy Project Glasses.

3rd place - 4147 points

Team Trigger Happy X - Martin Lesny (from London, UK)
Prize - carbon fibre crankset and handlebar from Full Speed ahead, the latest Arione saddle from fi'zi:k, a team issue Giro Pneumo helmet from Giro, a set of Speedplay zero pedals., and Rudy Project Glasses.

4th place - 4121 points

Team Tyler's the Man - Ken Jones (from USA)
Prize - team issue helmet from Giro/Bell, Speedplay zero lightweight adjustable float pedals, and Rudy Project sunglasses.

5th place - 4069 points

Team 4B33 - Hans Jacob Hofgaard (from Sweden)
Prize - team issue helmet from Giro/Bell, Speedplay zero lightweight adjustable float pedals, and Rudy Project sunglasses.

6th place - 4028 points

Tristrams Team - Ira Cooke (from Australia)
Prize - team issue helmet from Giro/Bell, Speedplay zero lightweight adjustable float pedals, and Rudy Project sunglasses.

Further results lists are available on the Fantasy Cyclingnews site.

Cyclingnews' own team promised much, but bombed out in the GC stakes and could only manage 346th. The full team was as follows: Lance Armstrong, Joseba Beloki, Angel Casero, Baden Cooke, Giuseppe Guerini, Robbie McEwen, Bradley McGee, Sven Montgomery, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Pavel Padrnos, Victor Hugo Peña, Alessandro Petacchi, Jose Luis Rubiera, Jan Ullrich and Romans Vainsteins. It demonstrates the importance of picking the top five on GC in addition to a few sprinters.

The next fantasy game is the Vuelta a España which starts on Sept 6th 2003. Register now if you haven't already and we will email you once a provisional race list is available so you can start to build your team for the Tour. Click here to register now.

If you played the game and have any suggestions for improving it please email us.

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