First Edition News for August 25, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Cooke closes in on World Cup
Great Britain's Nicole Cooke (Ausra Gruodis-Safi) has not yet secured the women's World Cup series, but her win in Plouay, France on Saturday put her considerably closer to clinching the overall title. In winning the GP Plouay, Cooke's third World Cup win of the season after Flèche Wallonne and the Amstel Gold Race, she now has a 118 point advantage over Australia's Sara Carrigan (Powerplate Bik) and 123 points over Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol).
With two World Cup rounds remaining, both Carrigan and Melchers could catch Cooke, but only with a first and second place in the two races, and only if Cooke failed to gain any points. Cooke won Plouay by outsprinting a small break which contained Melchers- who placed third- but neither Carrigan nor another World Cup rival, Regina Schleicher of Germany.
"When nine of us got away without Sara Carrigan and Regina Schleicher, I knew I'd eliminated them from the overall," Cooke commented on her website after the Plouay race. "And I thought as long as I beat one of Judith Arndt and Melchers in the sprint then I would only have one to watch in the last two races. As it turned out I beat both of them and am so close to winning the series now."
Cooke will look to secure the World Cup title at next weekend's race in Nürnberg.
Seven out at Telekom
Team Telekom continues to redefine its roster for 2004. Already confirmed are the arrivals of Tomas Konecny, Serguei Ivanov, and Bram Schmitz. Former German national champion Danilo Hondo, who has signed a contract with Gerolsteiner, will leave Telekom to join his new team in time for the Vuelta a España according to a Datasport report. Hondo was offered a contract from the team, however he preferred to accept the deal with Gerolsteiner.
Six other riders are without contract renewals for 2004, and have not yet signed for other teams, including Gian Matteo Fagnini, Kai Hundertmarck, Bobby Julich, David Kopp, Dirk Reichl, and Stefan Schumacher.
Team spokesman Olaf Ludwig has indicated that the team will be smaller for the coming season and will comprise fewer riders than the 25 allowed by the UCI, although the addition of another new face remains a possibility. Team manager Walter Godefroot has secured his title sponsor through 2006, however beginning in 2004 the team will go by the name T-Mobile.
Mickael Pichon to re-join La Boulangère
After one year with FDJeux.com, 30 year old Frenchman Mickael Pichon will ride for Brioches La Boulangère next year. Pichon began his professional career with Bonjour in 2000 and stayed with the team for three seasons before being kicked out. Previously, he rode for Vendée U, the reserve team which will send another three neo-pros to La Boulangère next year: Ronny Martias, who won the amateur GP Plouay, Mathieu Sprick, who finished third in the French amateur championships, and a third rider to be chosen between Jean Zen, Yohan Gène and Alexandre Naulleau. Laurent Lefèvre of Jean Delatour will also join Jean-René Bernaudeau's team next year.
Sijmens to Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
Belgian Nico Sijmens, who won three races this year riding with Vlaanderen-T Interim, will transfer to Division I team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for 2004.
More young riders have received their first ticket to the pro ranks as stagiaires for the remainder of the 2003 season. Joining Crédit Agricole will be Frenchman David Arassus. Belgian Kevin Desmedt will ride with Quick.Step-Davitamon, while the thinned out ranks of Jean Delatour will get an infusion of young talent with Nicolas Dulac, Pierre Therville, and Laurent d'Ollivier, who rode with the team as a stagiaire last year.
Ullrich won't ride Hessen-Rundfahrt
Organisers of the Hessen-Rundfahrt stage race (September 3-7) have evidently been unable to arrange the start money necessary to lure Tour de France runner up Jan Ullrich. Team Bianchi directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage has confirmed that his star attraction won't line up at the start in Frankfurt am Main, but the team will be present.
Cipo still uncertain
World champion Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze-Elitron) remains in limbo concerning his end of season plans. Cipollini told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is at a crossroads in his career and is hoping for some peace and quiet to plan his next moves. Cipollini has not raced much since he crashed out of the Giro d'Italia in June.
"The Vuelta or the World's? I don't know," Cipollini said simply. "I still must decide my future."
Third Spanish death in 15 days
Spanish cyclist Valentin Alvarez, 46, is the third rider to be killed on the roads of the Asturias region in just over two weeks. Alvarez was involved in an accident featuring two cars on the AS-242 route Friday afternoon. His training partner was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries sustained in the same accident. Already in the past two weeks Manuel Inclán Angel, 31, and his brother-in-law Luis Fernandez , 38, were killed in an accident in Nava.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)