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Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for August 5, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Beloki in demand

Joseba Beloki
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
Click for larger image

The withdrawal of ONCE from cycling has put 23 riders on the market, as well as a number of technical and support staff. Seven riders have contracts until the end of 2004 (Serrano, Jonathan González, Contador, Azevedo, Jaksche and Caruso), and ONCE will compensate them if they don't find a team.

One rider who should not have any great difficulties in finding a new contract is Joseba Beloki, the Basque rider who has finished three times on the podium in the Tour de France. Beloki is currently recovering from his terrible crash during this year's Tour, which left him with a broken leg, elbow and finger and no chance of racing before the end of the season.

In an interview with AS, Beloki said that he can't afford to wait for Manolo Saiz to try and come up with a new sponsor, and is already looking for a new team. "In my situation it's impossible," said Beloki. "If my injuries had permitted me to ride the Vuelta then I could have waited. But at the moment, I need to assure my tranquility.

"I am one of those least hurt by the departure of ONCE," he continued. "I am negotiating at the moment and I can say that I have several offers and that the conversations are sufficiently advanced. I'll decide soon, placing value on the sporting side, in order to go to the Tour with a good team, and the economic side. I also want to take my brother Gorka and another rider from ONCE with me."

Beloki specified that all the serious offers have been from foreign teams, although he has had a contact with Euskaltel.

Zabel thinks of Vuelta

Erik Zabel
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
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World number three Erik Zabel (Telekom) is considering whether to ride the Vuelta España in September. Winner of the points jersey last year and three stages in 2001, Zabel could well join teammates Steffen Wesemann, Mario Aerts and Matthias Kessler in Spain next month. He will make his decision in a few days, before riding a criterium in Dortmund on Friday and the Sparkassen-Giro in Bochum on Sunday. Zabel's next stage race will be the Ronde van Nederland (August 19-23).

Euskaltel-Euskadi for Clasica San Sebastian

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has been selected for this Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian World Cup race. The team will closely resemble the Tour de France squad, with David Etxebarria, Unai Etxebarria, Iker Flores, Roberto Laiseka, Alberto Martínez, Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia and Iñaki Isasi.

Italian showdown in Camaiore

The 54th edition of the Gran Premio di Camaiore takes place this Wednesday around Versilia, Italy. The race will see top Italians Davide Rebellin and Paolo Bettini duelling it out after their battle in the HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg last Sunday. Rebellin is the defending champion in the GP Camaiore, but couldn't outsprint Bettini in HEW. And Bettini is motivated to win this race, as he is almost a local.

In addition to Rebellin and Bettini, Gilberto Simoni and Salvatore Commesso (Saeco) and Michele Bartoli, Ivan Basso, Filippo Pozzato, and Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo), Giuliano Figueras (Panaria) and Francesco Casagrande (Lampre) will be present among the 18 registered teams.

Gerrit Glomser crashes

Austrian rider Gerrit Glomser (Saeco) has crashed at 60 km/h during the Altstadt-Kriterium in Salzburg. The 28 year old winner of the Tour of Austria was taken to hospital in Spital with heavy contusions and concussion, and he is now recovering.

Virenque stays at Quick.Step-Davitamon

French climber Richard Virenque, who won the polka-dotted jersey in the Tour for the sixth time this year, will remain with his current team, Quick.Step-Davitamon. The 33 year old extended his contract for one more year.

Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel prepares in Spain

Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel
Photo: © Roth
Click for larger image

World 3000m Individual Pursuit Champion Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel will travel to Spain in order to put the finishing touches to her preparation for her attempt on the World Hour Record. Zijlaard-Van Moorsel will join her Farm Frites-Hartol teammates Mirjam Melchers and Miho Oki, who have already been training in Spain. Leontien plans to make her attack on the Hour Record in September.

Spaarselect assured until 2005

The Spaarselect cyclo-cross team, which contains World Champion Bart Wellens among others, will remain active until at least January 1, 2005. The team was presented yesterday in Gent's S.M.A.K. museum, and has a five man roster. Apart from Wellens, there is Erwin Vervecken, who broke his wrist last Saturday in the Ronde van Vlaamse Brabant and will probably be out of action until the end of September.

"Someone in front of me grabbed his water bottle, slipped and fell - I went over too," Vervecken was quoted in the RUG newspapers. "Within half a minute I knew how bad it was. Luckily it is a clean break. Training will be just possible. It's better to happen now than in a few weeks' time."

Peter van Santvliet and Geert Wellens have also extended their contracts with the team, while Belgian elite without contract champion Wim Jacobs is the only new signing.

Marco Polo adds five

The Marco Polo Cycling Team (UCI Division III) has signed up five new riders as of the beginning of August. The new recruits include Eritreans Habte Weldesimon and Ephrem Tewelde, who have been in the Netherlands for the last two months, following an intensive racing and training program under the guidance of team director Nathan Dahlberg.

The Eritreans' stay was made financially possible through the help of the Dutch Interchurch Development Aid Organisation, ICCO, which wants to help the Eritrean Society and in this case the Cycling Federation by setting up international contacts. The ICCO also want to establish a more diverse image of East-African people in Europe.

Surprisingly, cycling is the most popular sport in Eritrea with the weekly national races in the capital, Asmara, attracting around 15,000 spectators on average. Habte and Ephrem are the best riders in Eritrea, finishing first and second in the Giro di Eritrea.

After initially encountering problems with the Dutch style of racing (flat, windy, lots of corners), Habte and Ephrem have improved considerably, according to the Marco Polo staff. They are talented riders and this is one of the main reasons why they have been chosen for the Marco Polo Trade Team. Their race program includes the Versatel Classic and Sparkassen Giro Bochum (both in Germany), Dwars Door Gendringen and OZ Tour Beneden Maas (Netherlands), and possibly the Ster Elektrotoer in the Netherlands if their visas can be extended.

Other new riders on the Marco Polo Team include 19 year-old American Blake Caldwell, who will be riding in the Qinghai Lake Tour in China (10-18th of August); Maarten Tjallingii (one of the top Dutch mountain bikers) and Ben Robson of New Zealand. Kashi Leuchs has left the team, because UCI rules do not permit him to do French national races for other teams when he is on Marco Polo. Kashi lives in Annecy, France and does these races to prepare for his mountain bike events.

Marco Polo Cycling Team roster

Michael Carter (USA)
Nathan Dahlberg (NZl)
Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh (Mgl)
Remko Kramer (Ned)
Kam Po Wong (HKg)
Robin Reid (NZl)
Dennis Hammink (Ned)
Kay Kermer (Ger)
Ngai Ching Wong (HKg)
Felix Rohrbach (Ger)
Cory Lange (Can)
Siu Lun Ho (HKg)
Tim Wilson (Aus)
Matnur (Ina)
King Nin Lau (HKg)
Kai Chun Lam (HKg)

Riders new to the team

Ephrem Tewelde (Eri)
Maarten Tjallingii (Ned)
Habte Weldesimon (Eri)
Ben Robson (NZl)
Blake Caldwell (USA)

Riders leaving the team

Kashi Leuchs (NZl)

Stamullen M. Donnelly announce team for Junior Tour

Stamullen M. Donnelly Road Club have announced a strong U/18 team to take part in this week's M. Donnelly Junior Tour of Ireland.

Colm Crawley, currently ranked number four in the Cycling Ireland national junior rankings will lead the team. Crawley is in fine form having won the recent Douglas circuit races at the Isle of Man International Cycling week.

Mark Nestor is a first year junior showing signs of immense talent. Ranked number six in Ireland, Nestor also tasted victory in the Isle of Man when taking the Junior Kermesse in a solo breakaway. Another first year junior, Stephen McKenna and Jamie Barlow complete the line-up with both riders honing their form of late for the six-day event.

The team will be managed by Gerard Cromwell, who is looking forward to the challenge. "It's unusual in that our club sponsor, Martin Donnelly, also sponsors our national tour. I think it just show's Martin's commitment to cycling and developing the sport as a whole. I think we have a strong enough team to be able to mix it up a bit and hopefully we can make our presence felt. It will be extremely tough with the amount of quality international opposition in the field. For Stamullen M. Donnelly to win a stage of the M. Donnelly Junior tour would be fantastic and I believe we have the riders to do that. The seniors in the club are on a roll at the minute with four wins last week, so we'll be hoping the good results continue this week."

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