Latest News for August 11, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Bettini gives himself an "80 percent chance"
After an unprecedented third World Cup victory this season, Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) is set to repeat his 2002 performance in the ten race series. Bettini won the World Cup last year by just 9 points, beating his now teammate Johan Museeuw. Bettini only won one World Cup race last year (Liege-Bastogne-Liege), but with his three race wins already this year, he has amassed more points (300) than his 2002 winning total (279). This is despite missing Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold Race due to injury, which means that Bettini has won three of the four World Cups that he has participated in this year.
Bettini made it look easy on Saturday as he created the first ten man selection on the Jaizkibel, then whittled it down further on the Alto De Gurutze to just himself and Ivan Basso. Bettini had both the luxury of being the fastest sprinter and the strongest rider in the race, and Basso had no answer to his finishing kick.
"I'm satisfied with my race and with that of the team," Bettini was quoted in Het Nieuwsblad. "The guys put be in the front of the picture on the Jaizkibel, where I had to do it myself. I knew that the parcours suited me very well. Besides that I came a day earlier to Spain to reconnoitre the finale. That was just to put me at ease."
Bettini added that the World Cup is not yet won, however now he gives himself an "eighty percent chance" of winning, compared to fifty percent after HEW. "There's still twenty percent left over," he laughed. "My win and the gap that I've created will allow me to look forward with serenity. In Zurich on Sunday I want to profit again from my good form with a nice result, who knows, an even bigger lead in the World Cup standings."
The Championship of Zurich will be Paolo Bettini's last race for August. He will then take two weeks break to be with his wife, who is expecting a child, before starting his preparation for the World Championships and final World Cup races in October. "If I manage to hold this form until halfway through October, then I will gladly have the Italian World's team behind me, as we did last year in Zolder behind Cipollini."
Ullrich and adidas could get back together
German shoe/clothing manufacturer adidas, which in the past was one of Jan Ullrich's biggest personal sponsors, has not ruled out the possibility of renewing its relationship with Germany's most popular cyclist. adidas dropped Ullrich like a stone in 2002 after the "ecstasy affair", but now admits that their view has changed.
The CEO of adidas-Salomon AG, Herbert Hainer, was quoted in Berlin's Tagesspiegel as saying, "If we end a contract, it doesn't have to be for all eternity. If the athlete develops more as a person and also as a sportsman like this year, then there is always a way back."
"We are very clear that we will not work together with doped athletes," continued Hainer. "Therefore we had to terminate the contract with Jan Ullrich a year ago. But Jan is really a good guy. Of course he made a mistake."
Mr. Hainer also commented on the possibility of adidas sponsoring Ullrich's cash strapped Team Bianchi next season. "We have spoken with Bianchi of course, and are interested," said Hainer. "But it is still too early for us to go into that.
Dufaux to Quick.Step
34 year old Swiss rider Laurent Dufaux (Alessio) will ride for Quick.Step-Davitamon next season, having reached an agreement with team manager Patrick Lefevere at last Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian. Dufaux will join his old friend Richard Virenque in the team, and will be one of several climbers in the squad.
"The offer from Quick.Step was good," said Dufaux who will sign in the next few days. Quick.Step-Davitamon will be Dufaux's sixth team, and he will be riding in his 14th season next year. His main goals for 2004 are the Tour de France and the Olympic Games in Athens.
Quick.Step is also said to be interested in iBanesto.com's Juan Antonio Flecha, winner of the 10th stage of the Tour this year. Another Spaniard, José Antonio Pecharroman, is being courted by Quick.Step and Rabobank at the moment.
For sale: Spanish riders
In the wake of the disappearance of ONCE and iBanesto.com at the end of the season, Spanish cycling is facing a serious downturn. According to Spanish press agency EFE, 140 of the 209 professionals in the country do not have contracts for next season, although no doubt many will find places in teams abroad.
There are a total of seven Spanish division I and II teams, and 94 of the Spanish riders from these teams will end their contracts this year. In division I, the contracts of 15 riders from iBanesto, 17 from ONCE, 18 from Euskaltel and 11 from Kelme will finish, while in the division II teams Relax, Paternina and Labarca, most riders are on one year contracts anyway.
It's likely that with the abundance of division I riders on the market, many of these will end up in other division I or division II teams, but the net result will still be a reduction in the number of Spanish pros.
No Steels in Denmark
Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) will not be joining his team for the Tour of Denmark, which starts on Tuesday. Steels' wife is expecting a baby girl soon, and Tom doesn't want to miss it. The Belgian sprinter's next appointment should be the Ronde van Nederland, between August 19-23.
6th San Rafael Women's Cycling Classic
The San Rafael Pro Women's Cycling Classic is entering its sixth year in 2003, with the event scheduled for September 13, a day before the San Francisco Grand Prix. The pairing with San Fran has helped to create one of the biggest weekends of top professional cycling in North America. As in 2002, the Pro Women's race is the top event in San Rafael, with the Pro Men's race, a new Amateur Women's race, and two other supporting races rounding out the competition. In addition, the San Rafael Cycling Classic event proceeds will be directed to The Breast Cancer Fund.
The race course is a smooth, fast one mile clockwise loop of downtown city streets: Fourth Street, right on D Street, right on Fifth Street, right on A Street, and right again onto Fourth Street. The start/finish line is on Fourth Street at B Street.
This event is pre-registration only, and no race-day registration is available. Fields have completely filled in the last two years, so register early. You may register online via www.srcyclingclassic.com or send standard release and payment to race HQ (address below). Registration opens August 1, and ends Sept 10 at midnight. This is a USCF race and a USCF license is required.
Race Entry* Length Field limit Start time Cat 2 men $30 50 min 100 08:30 Masters 35+ $30 50 min 100 09:30 Kids Bike Safety Rodeo free 2 hours 100 09:30 Cat 3 and 4 women $30 50 min 100 10:30 Kids on Course free 20 min 100 11:30 Pro/1 men $45 90 min 150 12:00 Pro women $35 60 min 100 13:50
Eatough and Juarez to battle in World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships
There are three weeks to go until the 2003 World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin(tm) Championships, to be held on August 30-31 in Whistler, BC. Already the stage has been set for an epic battle between 2002 event champion Chris Eatough and 2003 24 Hours of Adrenalin National Champion Tinker Juarez. The contest will be highlighted by the fact that Juarez soundly beat Eatough at this year’s Adrenalin National Championships, while Eatough has a three year reign as World Solo Adrenalin Champion.
Tinker Juarez is also recovering from a broken femur, an injury he incurred only a short time ago. However much to the surprise of doctors, Juarez last week confirmed his participation at the Whistler event.
Organisers of the championships anticipate a field of up to 200 male and female riders, making this the largest solo field in 24-hour mountain biking history. Athletes from all over the world will be attending the August 30-31 event, and as is often the case in mountain biking, anything can happen.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)