First Edition News for August 28, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Botero to miss world's
After his disappointing ride in this year's Tour de France, Telekom rider Santiago Botero has ended his season early and returned to his home town of Medellín, Colombia to train and prepare for the 2004 season. He will therefore not defend his time trial title at the world championships in Hamilton, Ontario in October.
In the absence of Botero, the Colombian World's team will consist of Victor Hugo Peña, Félix Cárdenas, Marlon Pérez and Hernán Buenahora.
According to a report from German news agency sid, Botero's program for 2004 will not follow his usual pattern of training in Colombia during the early season, but instead he will return to Europe much earlier next year to work more closely with the team.
Wiggins to Credit Agricole
World pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins will ride for Credit Agricole in 2004, according to his agent Richard Allchin. At Credit Agricole the talented young British rider will be under the management of Roger Legeay. Chris Boardman, arguably the last great rider to emerge from the UK, rode for Legeay throughout his professional career, and Boardman has been advising Wiggins in recent months, a relationship that influenced the new deal.
Wiggins hopes to ride the Tour de France in 2004, though the Londoner's main target for the year is an Olympic gold medal in Athens.
Wiggins hopes the move will allow him to make "a fresh start and to take on more responsibility. The team have shown a lot of confidence in me and that finally made up my mind. Although the Olympics of course is a big personal target of mine I hope to make an impact on some of the world's big road events."
Like many pursuit specialists that includes targeting the Tour de France prologue. "I feel I could produce a good ride... and learn a great deal for the future," said Wiggins.
Wiggins also bade a gracious farewell to his former team, adding, "I have really enjoyed riding for Marc Madiot and Fdjeux.com, and they supported me well in my preparation for the World's this year and are a great bunch of lads."
However, the 2003 season isn't quite over yet. Wiggins recently rode the Tour of the Netherlands with fdjeux.com where he helped team-mate Brad McGee with his victory in the final stage. That was Wiggins' first race since the Giro d'Italia and was mostly an exercise in getting fit for the remainder of the season that will see him ride the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and then a program of Six day races on the track. While the exact details of Wiggins' Six-Day appearances are yet to be finalized, Allchin said Wiggins "seems certain to ride the Gent Six." Gent is one of the most accessible Sixes for British fans and so is seen as their 'home' Six. With partner Matt Gilmore, Wiggins was a close second at Gent last year just three points behind Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart.
Cofidis has signed Igor Astarloa (Saeco) for the next two seasons. Cofidis has also given up trying to acquire Ivan Basso and Danilo Di Luca. According to l'Equipe, Di Luca will stay with Saeco, while Basso is in advanced talks with CSC. There's no final word yet on whether Nico Mattan and Peter Farazijn will stay with Cofidis.
Blatter claims climbing record
We're not quite sure if there really is an "official" record for this, but in the absence of any other claim, it seems that Swiss mountain biker Jens Blatter has just set a new record for the greatest elevation climbed in one stint. According to a report from German news agency sid, Blatter spent 37 hours repeatedly tackling the 705 metre ascent from Visp to Visperterminen in Switzerland, clocking up 27 trips and 19,035 vertical metres.
The previous record was set by Italian rider Alessandro Forni with 17,612m.
Grafton to Inverell Classic offers $20,000 purse
Generally considered to be Australia's hardest one-day race, this year's 43rd edition of the Grafton to Inverell (September 20), has as much as $5,000 up for grabs by the winner. First place offers a $3,000 slice of the total prize pool of $20,000, and there's a $2,000 bonus on offer if the race record is broken.
That record has stood since 1985 when British rider Paul Curran won the 228km race in 6:00:49.
For the second year running Grafton to Inverell's major sponsor is Eastmon Camera House, and this year the race will once again include a women's division. The 140km women's race will start at the Rangers Hut and like the men's race is a cat 1 event in the National road Series.
Vuelta adds 23rd team of former riders
Vuelta a España organizer Unipublic has announced a "23rd team" for this year's edition: ten former riders who will be involved with the Spanish Grand Tour providing "all their knowledge as reporters and collaborators".
The ten are: Abraham Olano, Melchor Mauri, Herminio Díaz Zabala, Neil Stephens, Jesús Rodríguez Magro, Miguel Angel Iglesias, Jesús Cruz "Pantera" Martín, Antonio Sánchez, Alberto Leanizbarrutia and José Enrique Cima.
The role of these former riders will be as ambassadors and intermediaries between the organizers, the teams and the event's sponsors and guests. Unipublic sources say the aim is for this "stars team to contribute to the organization of the event with all their experience and at the same time to come closer to the authorities, sponsors and guests. They will also reinforce the relationships of the organisers with the different teams so they don't have any problems in or out of the competition."
SCU first aid for cyclists
The Scottish Cycling Union (SCU) has announced two subsidised first aid courses suitable for event officials, commissaires, team officials and coaches. The courses will be held as a one day course in Stirling on the September 20 and over two evenings in Edinburgh on the September 24 and 25. The cost of the course will be £20. The courses will be run to HSE (Health and Safety Executive) standards.
As well as basic first aid the course will contain additional elements that will address the more common type of incidents encountered in cycle sport. Interested parties should visit the SCU website at www.scuonline.org.
Gateway Cup preview
By John Musselman
This weekend, St Louis Missouri plays host to the THFGateway Cup, a four-day event that's attracting some major pro cyclists from around the country including most of the 7up/Maxxis team (John Lieswyn, Jason McCartney, Greg Henderson, and Brice Jones). Over $20,000 is up for grabs in cash prizes over the four criterium that make up the weekend's racing, and the 2003 version promises to be the largest ever.
The four races are:
Friday August 29: Lafayette Square. A very cool racing venue, historic Lafayette Square goes all out to welcome the riders. Extra lights are brought in for this event. Cheering crowds stay for the nightlife after the races. It's a party atmosphere and great way to start the Labor Day Weekend.
Saturday August 30: Greentree Park. Llocated in a suburb of Kirkwood, course gives riders the most climbing of the weekend. This venue offers lots of spectator friendly shade trees.
Sunday August 31: Giro della Montagna. The "Tour Of The Hill" is held in one of St. Louis' most beloved areas, "The Hill", known for wonderful Italian restaurants.
Monday September 1: University City Corners. This Crit is held in the New Bohemian section of St. Louis near Washington University with its shops, restaurants and nightspots. There will be live music but riders should keep an eye on those sharp turns as they weave through this urban tree-lined neighborhood.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)