Latest News for August 12, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Colombians to Labarca 2-Café Baque
The Spanish Labarca 2-Café Baque team will bolster its ranks with the addition of two Colombians, Félix Rafael Cárdenas and Hernán Buenahora. The two riders will leave the Orbitel 05 team after having signed a deal with Labarca 2-Café Baque last Friday, reports the Gara newspaper. Each will finish the 2003 season with the new team and race through 2004, with the Vuelta a España their first major objective in the new team colours.
Eritrea riders line up against top Euro's
By Gudo Kramer
After racing for two months with the 'Marco Polo Cycling School', team director Nathan Dahlberg considered Habte Weldesimon and Ephrem Tewelde from Eritrea ready to get a contract with the Trade Team 3. Tewelde and Weldesimon both had top ten results in Belgium races and had been working really hard on their technique in the corners.
Their very first races with the Marco Polo Cycling Team were the Versatel Classic in Dortmund and the Sparkasen Giro in Bochum (UCI 1.3). Both races had top fields lined up, including McEwen, Zabel, Cooke, Ullrich and many other Tour de France pro's. The numbers one and two of the Giro di Eritrea were amazed to see all these stars line up next to them. Ullrich was friendly enough to pose for a picture with the Africans and McEwen told them that he read about them on the internet.
In the races Tewelde and Weldesimon showed that they are ready for racing on pro/am level, but the big guns are still too strong. Habte was not too impressed to attack in the Saturday criterium and lead the race on his own for a short time. Ephrem got in a small chasing group after 120 km on sunday and even later in the race Jan Ullrich came to Habte (who is a great Ullrich fan), to tell him he was racing very well.
When the race blew up with 20 km to go, Habte and Ephrem got dropped together with Marco Polo's Indonesian rider Matnur, who has been on the Trade Team a little longer. They were with the last guys to get dropped and only 59 riders finished the race. Maarten Tjallingii was in both races the best Marco Polo rider with a 19th and a 29th place. Newspapers in Germany reported that over 500.000 people watched the races. They could not have missed the two African rookies that showed they have the guts to attack in their very first pro-races.
The program of the Marco Polo Cycling Team in Europe continues with Dwars door Gendringen (August 17), OZ Tour Beneden Maas (August 30), and the Ster Elektrotoer (September 10-14).
Tour de l'Ain preview
Richard Virenque will have his eyes set on a revenge victory in this year's Tour de l'Ain, which begins Tuesday and wraps up Friday after four days of racing. Virenque finished second in last year's race, the first French stage race after the Tour de France, behind Christophe Oriol of Ag2R-Prévoyance. This year, back in form and with a sixth Tour de France king of the mountains title under his belt, Virenque is ready to tackle the climbs of the Jura mountains.
With an opening stage suited to the sprinters, the Tour de l'Ain puts an emphasis on climbing, and the decisive stage will likely come on Thursday with five climbs included on the route from Saint-Genis-Pouilly to a mountaintop finish at Lélex-Monts Jura. It was here that Oriol seized a stage win and secured his overall title last year, and the Ag2R leader will be back to defend his title this week.
Other hopefuls include Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches La Boulangère), David Moncoutié, and Tour de France stage winner Juan Antonio Flecha (iBanesto.com). For Virenque and others, the Tour de l'Ain will also serve as a tune up for Sunday's World Cup race in Zurich.
Stage 1 - August 12: Lagnieu - Saint Vulbas-Plaine de l'Ain, 153 km
Klöden hopeful for Denmark
Team Telekom's Andreas Klöden is hoping for a strong comeback performance in the Tour of Denmark, which begins Tuesday in Skagen. Denmark will be Klöden's first race since the Tour de France, where he was forced to abandon on the road to Gap. Klöden expects the Danish parcours, which is generally flat, will serve as an ideal test for him. Telekom's Danish insider, ex-pro Brian Holm, noted on the team's website that strong winds could produce equally substantial time gaps, and riders would have to remain vigilant throughout each stage.
Klöden will be joined at the Tour of Denmark by Rolf Aldag, Gian-Matteo Fagnini, Danilo Hondo, Kai Hundertmarck, Andreas Klier, Dirk Reichl, and Jan Schaffrath.
UCI Status for Trust House
Recognised as a showcase for road cycling in New Zealand, the Trust House Cycle Classic has gained international status with its acceptance as a 2.5 event on the 2004 UCI World Cycling Calendar, race organiser Jorge Sandoval announced Tuesday.
The Trust House Cycle Classic, a five-day stage cycle race, will be held between January 28 and February 1, 2004. The 17 year old event is the highlight of New Zealand cycling and the upgrading of the race to a UCI 2.5 ranked competition will have significant implications for the sport.
"With valuable world ranking points on offer, the move will see a large increase in both the number and quality of foreign teams applying to take part each year," Sandoval explained. "It would also provide New Zealand cyclists with an invaluable source of points, which govern a country's world ranking and determines if riders can participate in certain UCI events such as the world championships and the Olympic Games."
"At present, New Zealand is ranked 28th in the world, with only the top 30 nations securing automatic qualification for the 2004 Olympic Games. The ranking in April 2004 would determine New Zealand’s quota for next year’s Olympic games," Sandoval added.
The 2004 edition will also feature, for the first time, an individual time trial from Eastbourne to Petone on the final day of racing. The tour will also feature on television very night and a one-hour documentary of the race will be made.
Giant TCR-100 Tour bike awarded
The lucky winner of a edition Giant TCR Composite Tour 100 road bike is Matthew Niednagle, a doctoral student from Princeton, New Jersey. Niednagle won Cyclingnews' Tour de France Fantasy Game thanks to the top performance of his 'Gone Postal' team.
"I was constantly checking the website in the middle of the night to see how my team was doing," Niednagle confessed. "The Giant TCR is the bike I've wanted for all-time. To win one exceeds my wildest dreams."
Matthew got an added bonus when he was treated as a VIP at the Giant lounge in conjunction with the New York City Cycling Championships on August 3. He got to meet ONCE Team members Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, Jose Azevedo, and Isidro Nozal, and watch them race on their TCR Tour 100s.
Only 100 Giant TCR Composite Tour 100 bikes were produced, and each retails for over $12,000 (10,000€). To find out more about the bike, see Cyclingnews' report on ONCE's ride at the Tour.
Images by Matt Niednagel
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)