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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for August 26, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Latest UCI women's rankings

Susanne Ljungskog
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

The UCI has updated its elite women's rankings following the GP Plouay World Cup held last Saturday, as well as the Grande Boucle Feminine that finished on August 17. There have been surprisingly few changes at the top, with World Champion Susanne Ljungskog (Bik-Powerplate) still holding down the number one position. Nicole Brändli (Prato Marathon Bike) has swapped places with Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol) again to move into second position, although only 3 points separate the two. Moving up from seventh to fifth place is LGBF winner Joane Somarriba, who now sits 68 points behind fourth placed Judith Arndt (Nürnberger).

Triple World Cup winner Nicole Cooke (Ausra Gruodis) has jumped up a few places from 11th to 7th, while double LGBF stage winner Olga Zabelinskaia managed to move from 61st to 36th place. On the other hand, last year's LGBF winner Zinaida Stahurskaya (USC Chirio) slipped from 9th to 16th on the rankings, after not racing in LGBF this year.

In the teams rankings, Bik-Powerplate has a 300 point lead over Prato Marathon Bike, with Nürnberger in third place another 350 points back. In the nations rankings, Australia has assumed the number one spot ahead of Germany, the Netherlands and Russia.

UCI rankings as of August 24, 2003

1 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Bik-Powerplate                    658.50 pts
2 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Prato Marathon Bike                  584.00
3 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team     581.00
4 Judith Arndt (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung         537.50
5 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa)                              469.00
6 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Bik-Powerplate                        458.30
7 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                     375.00
8 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike                353.10
9 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox    332.00
10 Regina Schleicher (Ger) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo         326.00
11 Anita Valen (Nor) Bik-Powerplate                         284.50
12 Olga Slyusareva (Rus) Velodames-Colnago                  247.40
13 Olivia Gollan (Aus)                                      239.50
14 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling Team                  238.00
15 Alison Wright (Aus) Road Runner-Guerciotti               202.00
16 Zinaida Stahurskaya (Blr) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo       192.00
17 Debby Mansveld (Ned) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team    189.00
18 Petra Rossner (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung       179.00
19 Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu) Team 2002 Aurora RSM         175.00
20 Geneviève Jeanson (Can) Equipe Cycliste Rona-Esker       168.00
1 Bik-Powerplate                                          1,471.10 pts
2 Prato Marathon Bike                                     1,168.30
3 Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung                            824.00
4 Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team                           807.00
5 USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo                                  623.00
6 Ausra Gruodis-Safi                                        580.00
7 Team 2002 Aurora RSM                                      528.00
8 Saturn Cycling Team                                       487.00
9 Team T-Mobile Women's Cycling Team                        431.00
10 Equipe Cycliste Rona-Esker                               403.00
1 Australia                                               1,189.80 pts
2 Germany                                                 1,139.00
3 Netherlands                                             1,100.80
4 Russia                                                  1,036.90
5 Lithuania                                                 796.00
Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations

17th Tour de Poitou-Charentes

The 17th edition of the Tour de Poitou-Charentes will run from Tuesday, August 26 through Friday, August 29 this week, and is the third French stage race this month after the Tour de l'Ain and Tour du Limousin. The UCI 2.3 classed stage race is attracting riders such as Christophe Moreau and Jens Voigt (CA), Magnus Bäckstedt, Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Scott Sunderland (fakta), Jaan Kirsipuu, Laurent Brochard and Andy Flickinger (Ag2r), Jean-Patrik Nazon (Jean Delatour), Damien Nazon and Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches), Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze) and Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank). Last year's champion Guido Trentin (Cofidis) will not be present however, and the number one dossard will be taken by his teammate Médéric Clain.

The four day/five stage race takes place in the departements of Charente, Vienne, Charente Maritime and Deux-Sévres. Stage 1 starts in Pons and finishes, after 180 km and three climbs, in La Couronne. Stage 2 is a similar distance, taking the riders 178 km from Ruffec to Bressuire, with four categorised climbs. Stage 3 is also 178 km, between Bressuire and Loudun (four climbs), while the Stage 4 individual time trial takes place in Monts-sur-Guesnes over a 20 km parcours. The final stage, which follows the morning time trial, is a relatively short 106 km between Monts-sur-Guesnes and Buxerolles.

The Tour is also known for awarding more prizes and jerseys than just about any other tour. In addition to the General Classification (white jersey), there are also the Points (green jersey), Mountains (polka dot), Intermediate Sprints (blue jersey), Inter Tour 86 (golden jersey), Young Rider (fluoro green), Combination (red jersey), Teams (Credit Agricole cap), Best Division II rider (light blue jersey), Most Combative (trophy), Fair Play (trophy) and Best Team Rider (trophy) classifications.

The Stages

Stage 1 - August 26: Pons - La Couronne, 180 km
Stage 2 - August 27: Ruffec - Bressuire, 178 km
Stage 3 - August 28: Bressuire - Loudun, 178 km
Stage 4 - August 29: Monts-sur-Guesnes ITT, 20 km
Stage 5 - August 29: Monts-sur-Guesnes - Buxerolles, 106 km


Credit Agricole
Brioches La Boulangère Vendée
Domina Vacanze Elitron
Ag2R Prévoyance
Ccc Polsat
Le Crédit Par Téléphone
Jean Delatour
Team fakta
Marlux Wincor Nixdorf
Big Mat Auber 93
Oktos Mbk

Time trial specialists to GP Eddy Merckx

Last year's winners
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

This Sunday will see the 24th edition of the GP Eddy Merckx, a two man time trial held in the Belgian capital of Brussels. The field contains some of the world's top men against the clock, including defending champion Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick.Step), who will be paired this year with Michael Rogers. The strongest challengers on paper look to be last year's runners up Uwe Peschel/Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner), who lost by less than a second in 2002 after missing a corner. Third place getters in 2002, Marc Wauters and Erik Dekker (Rabobank), are also back, with Wauters definitely in form after winning the Belgian Time Trial Championships, and Dekker still coming back to top shape. Other starting teams include Lotto-Domo's Leif Hoste and Peter Van Petegem (2nd and 4th in the Belgian championships), Bert Roesems/Andy De Smet (Palmans-Collstrop), Serguei Gontchar/Michele Gobbi (De Nardi), Brad McGee/Baden Cooke (, Stuart O'Grady/Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), Alexandre Vinokourov/Bobby Julich (Telekom) and another favourite pair, Viatcheslav Ekimov and Victor Hugo Peña (US Postal-Berry Floor).

Team CSC's Tyler Hamilton was also due to start with Andrea Peron, however Hamilton's latest crash has left him with a broken finger and unable to ride. Hamilton had a similar mishap at this time last year, when he broke his collarbone after crashing into a car door the day before the GP Eddy Merckx.

On Sunday the public will be given a chance to ride with Eddy Merckx and the Belgian Premier, Guy Verhofstadt, on a fun ride to raise awareness for cancer. Starting at 9:30am in Marathonlaan (near Koning Boudewijnstadion), Merckx and Verhofstadt will ride 15 laps of a 4 km circuit, with the public invited to do the same for a fee of €7 per starter (€20 for groups of five).

Selected starters

Bert Roesems/Andy De Smet (Palmans)
Serguei Gontchar/Michele Gobbi (De Nardi)
Bart Voskamp/Remco van der Ven (Bankgiroloterij)
Dave Bruylandts/Raivis Belohvosciks (Marlux)
Stuart O'Grady/Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole)
Brad McGee/Baden Cooke (
Axel Merckx/Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto)
Johan Museeuw/Servais Knaven (Quick-Step)
Alexandre Vinokourov/Bobby Julich (Telekom)
Marc Wauters/Erik Dekker (Rabobank)
Uwe Peschel/Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner)
Michael Rogers/Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick-Step)
Viatcheslav Ekimov/Victor Hugo Peña (US Postal-Berry Floor)
Marc Streel/Ludo Dierckxsens (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)
Jens Voigt/Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole)
?/Andrea Peron (Team CSC)
Nico Mattan/Phillippe Gaumont (Cofidis)

No place for Lander Euba in Euskaltel

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team will not be prolonging the contract of Lander Euba, winner of this year's Trofeo Agostinho, for 2004. Basque daily Deia reported this today, with Euba quoted as saying," In the Vuelta a Burgos they told me that I had all the freedom in the world to look for a team because I didn't enter into their future plans. It was a big blow, as after obtaining my first professional victory in the Trofeo Agostinho, I thought I would be offered a renewal. My manager, Antonio Vaquerizas, has told me to stay calm, because this year I have shown that I can walk and that I will surely find something in Spain or Portugal."

It's also reported that Iban Mayo has a 60 percent chance of continuing with Euskaltel, according to team manager Miguel Madariaga. Mayo is now between Saeco and Euskaltel, and will probably make a decision about his future on Saturday.

Finally, Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez has extended his contract with the team.

Steels junior arrives

Tom and Leen Steels are the proud parents of a baby boy, born at 4:00am on Monday morning. They have named their second child Rune, who joins his sister Lobke as part of the junior Steels clan.

Michael Hutchinson breaks British 100 mile record

Michael Hutchinson
Photo: © Nick Rosenthal
Click for larger image

British time trial specialist Michael Hutchinson has broken the national record for 100 miles (161 km), riding a time of 3:23:33 (29.47 mph/47.51 kmh) on a course between Kirklevington and Dishforth in North Yorkshire on Sunday. Hutchinson's time was 4'06 faster than the 1996 record set by Andy Wilkinson, and he did it just two days after racing in the British national track championships, where he finished 7th in the 4000m individual pursuit. Earlier this year, Hutchinson made an attempt on the World Hour Record, but failed.

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