First Edition News for August 13, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Somarriba on course for third Grand Boucle win
With a two minute lead over Nicole Brandli (Prato Marathon Bike), Joanne Somarriba (Bizkaia Panda Spiuk Sabeco) is looking set to win her third Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale. But despite controlling the race in the mountains and on the flat, Somarriba knows that she can't start celebrating until the race arrives in Paris on Sunday.
Today was a rest day in this women's equivalent of the Tour de France and Somarriba seems confident that she and her team will be able to control the race for the three remaining flat stages before the last crucial test, Saturday's 37.1 km time trial in Flers. Then, she says, "It will be necessary to die on the bike to defend what we have gained up till now."
Aitken back racing and planning for Athens
By Karen Forman
Australia's Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory were local heroes at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when they won the 60km Madison on the Dunc Grey Velodrome. Since then, McGrory has continued his successful career as a specialist of the European Six-Day circuit, but things have been quieter for Aitken.
The affable trackie from Adelaide has put aside top-level racing for the last couple of years to concentrate on building a life after cycling, based on his coaching business, and to care for his daughter. However, as he has revealed in an interview with Cyclingnews, Aitken is back on the bike and looking toward the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
"Yes, if selectors agree, then Athens is on the agenda," Aitken told Cyclingnews. "It's up to them, but I would love to be in Athens."
Aitken realizes he is unlikely to be able to return to his 90s spot as member of the team pursuit squad as team management is unlikely to want to tamper with a set-up that seems almost certain to win gold in Athens. Given that the Australian team will therefore be centered around the pursuit, Aitken hopes to pick up a place as an additional 'specialist' rider, and thinks his immense experience and freshness after his break will work in his favour.
"Hopefully the selectors will make the right choice… choose experience over youth," said Aitken. "There are some really strong riders in terms of the team pursuit and I don't expect to be selected on that basis. The coaches have done an extremely good job in the past few years and I fully expect that the team will be based around the teams pursuit, which means there will be limited rides for specialist spots i.e. the Madison.
"Because the pursuit takes four riders just to ride the event, then they need a couple of spares to ride in other rounds as reserves. Basically you are talking about six to seven riders just for the pursuits… and then you are left with only one or two specialist riders."
The full interview will be posted later today on Cyclingnews.
Simoni rides with EU President
Gilberto Simoni is about ready to hang up his wheels for the season, according to his team, but as well as a few post-Tour circuit races he also recently a kept a social appointment, a ride with EU President Romano Prodi yesterday.
Prodi and Simoni were joined by Saeco directeur sportif Flavio Miozzo and Italian racing legend Maurizio Fondriest for a 70km ride in the hills near Bologna, after which Simoni and Prodi got together for a spot of lunch.
Simoni described the meeting as "a really nice day with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Prodi was very kind and complimented me for my wins and for the determination I showed at the Tour de France. I feel honoured for his attention and his praise. President Prodi is a big fan of our sport. Cycling always reveals the truth about people and riding side by side with Prodi, I realised he's really tenacious."
Aside from hob-nobbing with the great and the good, Simoni will round off his season with a kermesse in Germany this Saturday, the Francesco Moser ride on August 24 and then the Trofeo Melinda on home roads in the Trentino region on August 28.
Worrack going for gold at Athens Olympic dress-rehearsal
The road race at this weekend's European championships in Athens, Greece will provide an opportunity for 2004 Olympic hopefuls to reconnoiter and race the course that will be used in the 2004 olympics. One rider who is very much looking forward to the challenge of defending her title in Athens is reigning U23 European champion Germany's Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger).
In an interview with www.radsport-news.com, Worrack said, "I am really looking forward to the European championships. It will be a chance to measure myself against the best riders in my age group in Europe."
Worrack's preparation for the European championships has been hindered by the flu she's been suffering from since the Thüringen-Rundfahrt der Frauen last month. She also believes the competition this year will be stronger than ever. "The new generation in women's racing hasn't only taken things up a level a Germany," she said. "It will be very hard to defend the title and you always need a helping of luck, but I will give it everything." Worrack's main rival will be the hot favourite Nicole Cooke. The 20-year-old from Wales has already won two World Cups this year.
The German Federation will send 16 U23 riders in total to Athens:
Markus Fothen (Kaarst/TEAG Team Köstritzer)
Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger)
Italian women's team for Euro champs
The Italian Cycling Federation ha announced its Elite women's team for this weekend's European championships. The azzura squad in Athens will be:
Lisa Bacchiavini (GS Gauss Tecnoingranaggi)
Tatiana Guderzo (GS Top Girls)
Irish National Track Championships
By Shane Stokes
This year's National Track Championships will take place at the Tommy Givan velodrome in Orangfield, Belfast, with the underage meet this Saturday, August 16. The riders of each age group will take part in sprint, 500 metre time trial and scratch events. Sign on opens at 9.45 with the first race starting at 10.30.
The following week sees the senior, junior and women's all Ireland events take place at the same venue. The same timetable will apply, with the first race at 10.30. Senior riders will take part in the sprint, 1 kilometre time trial, 4 kilometre pursuit and the points race, while the juniors will compete in the sprint, one kilometre time trial, three kilometre pursuit and the points race. The women have the same choice of events, with the exception of their time trial, which is 500 metres in length.
Cycling Ireland is hoping for a strong turnout at the championships, both in terms of competitors and spectators. For further information please go to www.TrackcyclingIreland.com or call Will Byrne at 086 8047839.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)