First Edition News for August 3, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
Van Petegem riding for the win in Hamburg
Current World Cup leader Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) is hoping to take a page from the Johan Museeuw handbook and take victory in Sunday's HEW Cyclassics race in Hamburg, Germany. Last year Museeuw won the race while wearing the World Cup leader's jersey, and Van Petegem wants to do the same this year to extend his lead.
"Hamburg is not a special race to me," Van Petegem told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I'm not calculating in each race how many points I have to get for the World Cup. I'm riding for the win on Sunday and then the points come automatically. But of course, if I do well in Hamburg and the week later in San Sebastian, I'll be safe."
Van Petegem does not consider his absence from the Tour de France to be a handicap, noting that the Tour de la Region Wallonne served to fine tune his racing form, and his principal rivals in Hamburg may not be riders coming from the Tour. "Last year it was Museeuw, Bettini, and myself who animated the race," he said. "Although maybe guys who did the Tour will be better off for the World Cup races to come. We'll see."
He points to Paolo Bettini in particular as one of his main World Cup rivals, "Yes, I watched him in the Tour but I never thought 'Shit, Bettini is good'. I didn't expect anything else. He is there every year, also in the August classics. He is indeed my most important competitor, but don't exclude another surprising name, like last year. Everybody thought that Museeuw had won the World Cup after Hamburg, but then suddenly there was this Astarloa who was twice second and still became a dangerous outsider."
The World Cup is only halfway, Van Petegem stresses. "Much more will be decided after Zürich. Bettini only has to win once and he is equal to me. And besides Bettini there are Vinokourov, Boogerd, Hamilton: they'll certainly get some points in races where I've got less chances to score. Or Jan Ullrich: he'll be very motivated to show himself in Germany - he's always good in Zürich. Or Michele Bartoli: he showed himself to be in impressive condition in the Tour de la Région Wallonne."
"OK, I was riding good too in Région Wallonne, but I didn't need the test any more. I knew that I'm ready for the coming races. For me all races are important: Zottegem or Overijse or Paris-Tours. I'm a classics rider and so the spring season is important, but also all one day races after the Tour de France."
Speaking of spring, Van Petegem said that "The good feeling after Paris-Roubaix is back. But you can't compare the atmosphere around Hamburg to what I feel for the Ronde van Vlaanderen or Paris-Roubaix. The motivation for Hamburg is totally different. Of course, it is a World Cup race: the victory is nice for your palmares, but it's not the same as a victory in a spring classic. I don't think I would ride this race if it wasn't on the World Cup calendar."
Van Petegem currently leads the World Cup with 200 points, thanks to his victories in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. His closest competitors for the moment are Michael Boogerd (Rabobank, 140 points) and Dario Pieri (Saeco, 117 points), while World Cup winners Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom), and Tyler Hamilton (CSC) each sit with 100 points.
Bettini looking forward to Hamburg
Paolo Bettini finished the Tour in top condition and is not panicking about Van Petegem's lead of 100 points in the World Cup. "I haven't finished the Tour totally exhausted, in contrary I'm in very good form," Bettini told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I'm very sure that I will finish close to Van Petegem in Hamburg. But he is not the only competitor. Michael Boogerd is much more dangerous. He can gain points in many more races. And Ullrich in Zürich. I really don't know about the others who were not in the Tour de France: I'll only know about Bartoli and Casagrande on Sunday."
When asked about his teammate Museeuw's role tomorrow, Bettini replied, "Museeuw may ride his own race tomorrow. It's his only chance left this year to win a World Cup race. It doesn't matter to me, as long as he gets so many points that it's not to the advantage of the others."
Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the HEW Cyclassics starting from 14:30 CEST/8:30 EDT/5:30 PDT/22:30 AEST.
Track World's Day 4: Aussies smash record; Gane gains; Slusareva too good
By Valkerie Mangnall in Stuttgart, Germany
Australia obliterated its own 4000m team pursuit world record by more than two seconds today and the riders believe they can slash another two seconds off in Athens next year. The quartet of Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Luke Roberts and Peter Dawson overcame a false start to ride an amazing three minutes 57.280 seconds as Australia defended its world title in Stuttgart, Germany.
Their time was well inside the previous world mark of 3:59.583 set by Brown, Dawson, Roberts and Mark Renshaw at last year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Last year's world championship was won by Dawson, Lancaster, Roberts and Stephen Wooldridge with Wooldridge claiming another rainbow jersey today after riding two rounds this year.
Website live for Melbourne 2004 Track World's
The official website of the Melbourne 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships is now live at www.trackcyclingworlds.com.au. The launch of the site coincided with an official reception hosted by the Melbourne Organising Committee after day two of competition at the 2003 Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
"Preparations are well underway for a successful competition," said Organising Committee Chairman, Geoff Henke, to those assembled including UCI (International Cycling Union) board members, delegates of various national federations, international media and UCI President Hein Verbruggen.
"As the final qualifying event for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games the Melbourne event boasts even greater importance and we are well aware of our obligations to the riders, officials, UCI members and fans of cycling," said Mr Henke. "But we also want everyone to enjoy their visit and to remember Melbourne for years to come."
Mr Verbruggen has already confirmed he will be in Melbourne for what he expects will be a outstanding championships.
"I'm expecting a fantastic event with wonderful organisation and strong support from Australian cycling fans," said Mr Verbruggen. "I'm confident this will be the case as we have no fears about Australia's capacity to deliver a world class cycling event."
Four time world champion and Olympic silver (1992) and bronze (2000) medallist, Victorian Shane Kelly, 31, who on Wednesday night claimed the silver medal in the one kilometre time trial in a personal best time at sea level also spoke.
"It will be fantastic to race in front of a home crowd in my home state," said Kelly, who in 1991 made his senior world championship debut on the Stuttgart track. "I know from racing in Sydney at the Olympics where I claimed bronze and in Perth at the 1997 world championships where I won the title, that a home crowd can raise you up and help you produce an extra special result."
The City of Melbourne will host the five day event from May 26 to 30 at the Vodafone Arena, one of the world's premier cycling venues.
Grande Boucle Féminine preview
The 12th edition of the women's Tour de France, the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale, gets underway Sunday with the 'grand départ' on the French island of Corsica. This year's race features 14 stages totaling nearly 1,400 kilometres of racing. Seventeen teams of six riders each will make up the peloton, which will cross France from August 3-17.
After two difficult opening stages on Corsica, the race heads north from the French Riviera to the Alps, stacking the difficulties in the first week of competition. Stage 4 from Val d'Allos to Puy-Saint-Vincent will test the climbers with an the climbs of Col d'Allos (HC), Col de Vars (Cat. 1) and a finishing Cat. 2 climb to Puy-Saint-Vincent. A steady northwest progression takes the race across the Massif Central to the Loire Valley and Normandie, before finishing with a 58km road stage from Versailles to Paris.
With defending champion Zinaida Stahurskaia absent in 2003, the likes of world champion Susanne Ljungskog, former Tour and Giro winner Joanne Somarriba, Fabiana Luperini, and a host of others could be ready to seize this year's title in Paris.
Stage 1 - August 3: Sartène - Ajaccio, 105 km
Total: 1383 km
Bik.Powerplate (Ljungskog, Carrigan, Robb)
Nazon still searching
Jean-Patrick Nazon, the first Frenchman to win the Tour's final stage in Paris since Eddy Seigneur in 1994, remains without a new contract for 2004. The most successful member of the Jean Delatour Tour team this year, Nazon wore the yellow jersey for a day and claimed the final bunch sprint on the Champs-Élysées ahead of green jersey contenders Baden Cooke and Robbie McEwen. As Nazon's teammates jump from the sinking Jean Delatour ship, the 26 year old sprinter finds himself in search of employment for the coming season.
"For the moment, not much is happening," Nazon confided in Friday's edition of l'Equipe, adding that he hopes at some point to find himself on the same team as his older brother Damien, who currently rides for Brioches La Boulangère.
The younger Nazon has also been offered a helping hand from Laurent Jalabert, who as a favour has extended an offer of representation from his manager as Nazon examines his options. "That permits me to look outside of France," Nazon said, mentioning Team CSC, Quick.Step-Davitamon, and Telekom as possibilities.
As he has on several occasions in recent years, Ag2R-Prévoyance manager Vincent Lavenu has shown interest in Nazon, while at the same time looking for additional sponsors to bolster his roster for 2004. "A year ago, things seemed set [to join Ag2R], but I waited too long with my response and his budget was closed," Nazon explained. "But Lavenu's interest doesn't go unnoticed."
Moves afoot (again) to ban bunch training in Centennial Park
By Jeff Jones
The Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust Administration (CPMPTA) has once again raised the issue of banning bunch riding in Sydney's most famous park, Centennial Park. And once again it has been met with anger and concern by the cyclists who use the park on a daily basis to train in relative safety.
Centennial Park is a mecca for cyclists, and in addition to being used for other cycling events, formed part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Road Race and Time Trial circuit, on which Jan Ullrich, Viatcheslav Ekimov and Leontien Van Moorsel won gold medals at the last Olympics. But for most of the time, it serves as a place to train in pleasant surroundings, relatively isolated from the cyclist-unfriendly Sydney traffic. Also, moderate sized bunches get together to train, typically in the early hours of the morning and late on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
Not only cyclists use the park of course - it's home to joggers, walkers, rollerbladers, wheelchair athletes, football and cricket players, open air cinema goers, horse riders, picnic groups, people who want peace and quiet, and (occasionally) even bagpipe players.
In 2001, a proposal was put forward by the CPMPTA to introduce "traffic calming measures", including speed humps, pedestrian crossings, and a contra-flow combined cycling/pedestrian lane, that would run in the opposite direction to oncoming cars. This prompted a strong reaction from the cycling community, which banded together to form Cycle Centennial, a consortium of concerned Centennial Park users. After many meetings and debates, Cycle Centennial managed to convince the CPMPTA to abandon the traffic calming plan, and continued to work with the CPMPTA to "improve the image of the training cyclist and to formulate a Code of Conduct which would in turn be circulated to the membership."
In March 2002, the CPMPTA agreed to endorse "Bunch Cycling" as a legitimate recreational activity in Centennial Park, with further discussion mooted to iron out the details of training times and bunch sizes, as well as the code of conduct. Recently however, it seems that the CPMPTA has gone back on its word, and once again wishes to severely limit bunch training in the park.
In June 2003, Cycling Centennial delegates met with the CPMPTA, and found that nearly 50 additional conditions had been added to their originally proposed Draft Code of Conduct, including a regulation that requires that no bunch of cyclists should exceed 15 in number, else every rider in the bunch is guilty of an offence. When questioned about the regulation, the CPMPTA replied that they felt that large packs of riders were intimidating to other park users, and that they had no intention of changing the regulation.
It was also suggested by the CPMPTA that cyclists should train just outside Centennial Park, on a closed section of Driver Avenue, which is owned and controlled by the CPMPTA. This was met with some derision, as cyclists enjoy the park because of its surroundings, and training up and down Driver Avenue is akin to doing laps of a swimming pool. In addition, police raised concerns that Moore Park residents would have an important thoroughfare cut off in peak hours; who is going to close and open the roads?; who would pay for the public risk insurance if the road is closed and is exclusively for cyclists' use?; what would happen if the proposed traffic calming plan for Driver Avenue went ahead?; and how would the Sydney Swans football team access the Sydney Football Stadium from the west side for training?
In light of these concerns, which would drastically limit bunch training in one of the few places in Eastern Sydney where it's possible, Cycle Centennial has drafted a petition that it will deliver to the CPMPTA and the Premier of NSW. A copy of the petition is here, and Cycle Centennial is requesting that it be filled in and sent back to them at the following address:
Cycle Centennial PO Box 1568
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)