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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for August 29, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Vuelta to Domina Vacanze: Cipo or nothing

Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic has let its intentions be known concerning the status of the Domina Vacanze team: bring world champion Mario Cipollini to Spain, or don't come at all. The team, one of the wild card selections for the Vuelta, was invited based on the expected participation of Cipollini, who has not raced since the Giro d'Italia, apart from a few criteriums after the Tour de France. The team once again finds itself on the verge of missing out on a grand after it failed to earn a spot in the Tour de France.

"If Cipollini doesn't come, don't bother coming to Gijón," Unipublic's Víctor Cordero said to Domina Vacanze in Friday's Marca. The Vuelta organisation has left its options open as to whether it would invite a replacement team for Domina Vacanze or start the race with only 21 teams. Domina Vacanze's manager Vincenzo Santoni, feeling slighted once more, has asked UCI president Hein Verbruggen to intervene. However, being a discretionary invite for the Vuelta, Domina Vacanze has little chance of a helping hand from the UCI.

Unipublic noted that it wishes to avoid a situation similar to last year, when the Italian Alexia team was invited solely for the purpose of including 2002 Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli, who retired early from the race - along with several teammates - after a sub-par start to his Vuelta. Cipollini has confirmed that he plans to race the world championships in Hamilton, Canada in October, but unlike last year Cipo appears unlikely to use the Vuelta as preparation.

Pecharromán will start

José Antonio Pecharromán, winner of this year's Bicicleta Vasca and Volta a Catalunya, will start the Vuelta a España. The Paternina-Costa de Almeria rider, who recently signed a contract with Patrick Lefevere's Quick.Step-Davitamon team for 2004, has not been in the good graces of his team director since his decision to leave. Paternina had threatened not to give Pecharromán a start in the Vuelta, noting also his lack of racing and results in the past months, but ultimately he has been given his place on the team.

"I can't think of the podium with my current level [of fitness]," Pecharromán told Marca, "but I hope I can race for a stage win."

Phonak for Vuelta

Alex Zülle
Photo: © C.Henry/CN
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The Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team will send a team to the Vuelta a Españ, ostensibly built around two-time Vuelta winner Alex Zülle (1996, 1997). The Swiss veteran has made the Vuelta a key objective, having noted that without a competitive performance, he will likely retire from cycling, despite having a contract with Phonak through 2004.

Up and coming Spaniard Oscar Pereiro, third place in this year's Tour de Suisse, will also give Phonak a shot at a position in the general classification, while Alexandre Usov will be the team's man for the sprints.

The full Phonak roster includes Zülle, Niki Aebersold, Gonzalo Bayarri, Cyril Dessel, Juan Carlos Dominguez, Bert Grabsch, Oscar Pereiro, Santiago Perez, and Alexandre Usov.

Beloki closer to Phonak

Joseba Beloki is in continued talks with the Swiss Phonak team, and indications are good that the two-time Tour de France runner could reach a deal. On the market since the announcement of ONCE-Eroski's withdrawal from sponsorship, Beloki has said that he would prefer to stay with team manager Manolo Saiz, however Saiz does not appear to have secured sponsors to create a new team in time to keep the majority of his riders.

Speaking on Radio Euskadi, Phonak directeur sportif Alvaro Pino commented that "if Joseba has declared that he has decided on a team, and he's still in negotiations with us, then that's a good signal."

Phonak has expressed a strong desire to earn entry into the Tour de France, but needs to bolster its roster to ensure enough UCI points for automatic qualification. Phonak has also been reported to be talking with Team CSC's Tyler Hamilton for a possible transfer.

Chocolat Jacques finds co-sponsor

Noël Demeulenaere has found a co-sponsor for his Chocolat Jacques team, according to VRT Teletekst. The new sponsor is Passage Fitness Center, which will allow Demeulenaere to work with a budget of over €2 million. Demeulenaere hopes to add a third sponsor to push the budget up higher, but in any case he still intends on running a Division I team. He has approached Belgacom for sponsorship, but the telco has yet to agree to a deal.

Stagiaire contract for McPartland

Australian rider David McPartland has been offered a stagiaire contract by the Italian Division II team Tenax. McPartland will begin racing with them in September, and hopes that it will lead to a full professional contract in 2004.

Australians to ride New Zealand Junior Tour

By Alan Messenger

An Australian national team will again add zest to the Bike Wise sponsored New Zealand Junior Tour to be held from 26 to 28 September. Now based at Wanganui in New Zealand's North Island, the tour has a 22 year history and in that time has been won by some of New Zealand's outstanding young cyclists including current USA National Coach Craig Griffin, former World Junior Track Champion Alan Miller, Gary Anderson, Craig Saunders, Julian Dean, Greg Henderson,Karl Moore and Hayden Roulston.

In that time only two Australians have won. Warren Jennings was the first in 1996 and last year ex-triathlete Sam Lee did the honours. Lee was only the second first year junior to win, following on from Tim Gudsell's win the previous year. If Lee returns this year he could become the first rider to win twice.

The Kiwi cause gained a boost with the announcement that World Junior Duathlon Champion Terenzo Bozzone will ride the Tour. Two years ago he won his age group in the Te Awamutu Junior Tour.

Junior cyclists interested in riding the Tour can contact Organizer Ron Cheatley phone 64 6345 6490 (NZ 06 345 6490) or Email

Green Mountain Stage Race preview

The third Mad River Valley Green Mountain Stage Race will commence on Friday with defending champions Jonathan Page (Tilton, NH; Prime Alliance) and Geneviève Jeanson (Lachine, PQ; Rona/Esker) set to defend their titles.

Despite competing this year without any teammates, Page is still to be considered one of the favourites to win the overall title for the second consecutive time. Page will not be unchallenged however, with the likes of past Canadian national road champion Mark Walters (Milford, PA; Navigators), Eneas Freyre (Greenwich, CT; Lemond Fitness/Cra-Z Soap), current U.S. national road champion Mark McCormack (North Easton, MA; Saturn), Alex Lavallee (Sherbrooke, PQ; Trek/Volkswagen), Tim Johnson (Knowlton, PQ; Saturn), Michael Jones (Harpursville, NY; West Virginia), and Jonathan Hamblen (Amherst, MA; FiordiFrutta/Wheelworks) all due to compete.

Several Vermont riders will be fighting for the top spots this weekend as well, including U.S. Espoir (under 23) team member Kevin Bouchard-Hall (Shelburne; Hawley/ATA) and Andrew Knight (S. Burlington; Louis Garneau).

The women's side is loaded as well with several teams from the United States and Canada competing. Jeanson leads the pack, having swept all of the stages last year to win easily, and is the overwhelming favourite to repeat this year. However, several top riders will attempt to give Jeanson a hard time, including her former teammate Amy Moore (Mississauga, ON; Team Ontario), Heather Peck (Southbury, CT; Independent Fabrication/Wheelworks) and Ann Marie Miller (New York, NY; Verizon Wireless/Cervelo). Local riders include Sarah Schreib of Williston, who has graduated to the pro women's race after having won her first two women's category 4 races, and Marielle Aunave of Winooski.

The race begins with a 13km hill climb prologue on Friday afternoon in Waitsfield. This opening stage starts on the flats of the Mad River Valley and concludes with a 6.5km climb with an 11% average grade up to the Appalachian Gap. Look for the climbers to shine on this opening stage, including last year's winner Jonathan Hamblen and of course Geneviève Jeanson.

Saturday's Moretown Circuit Race features a 29km loop through Vermont's north-central corridor with a gradual 4km climb per lap. Mark McCormack has owned this race in its first two years, winning both of them in solo breakaways. The men will do 116km and the women will do 85km.

Sunday's Sugarbush Chamber Mad River Road Race will be the deciding stage, a 104km road course with three major climbs through the Green Mountains of central Vermont. The final 5km of the stage brings the riders to the summit of the Appalachian Gap, with the last kilometre averaging 18% gradient. Both last year's winner Jonathan Page and 2001 winner Scott Moninger won this stage on the way to their race victory, while Geneviève Jeanson just cemented her position at the top of the women's field with a strong win.

Monday's Voler Burlington Criterium shifts the focus to the streets of the queen city of Burlington, Vermont. A very technical, six turn, 1 kilometre course provides for very fast paced, exciting racing. With the stage race's unique points format, riders cannot rest on this day; general classification contenders must be prepared to finish in the front of the field to be able to maintain their stage race positions. The men will do 50km and the women will do 32km. Page took matters in his own hands last year and went with a four man breakaway to win the stage and the general classification.

The stages

Prologue - August 29: Waitsfield ITT, 13 km
Stage 1 - August 30: Moretown Circuit Race, 116/85 km (M/W)
Stage 2 - August 31: Sugarbush Chamber Mad River Road Race, 104 km
Stage 3 - September 1: Voler Burlington Criterium, 50/32 km (M/W)

World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships this weekend

The 2003 World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships will take place this weekend in Whistler, BC. There will be 167 athletes competing from nine countries including Germany, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, USA and host country Canada. On offer is a $US20,000 cash purse, which is likely to make some of the competitors very happy indeed.

Confirmed participants in the men's field include reigning three time Men's World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Champion Chris Eatough (USA), 2002 3rd place finisher Mark Hendershot (USA), top Canadian in 2002 Tom Zidek (4th place) and Chad Swanson (USA), 5th place in the 2002 event. Also competing for the men's crown will be mountain bike veteran Tinker Juarez (USA) who has just recovered from a hip injury that had initially thrown his participation into question. Look for Juarez and Eatough to go head-to-head for the title but never count out any of the other Elite Men that looking to oust Eatough from his three year supremacy.

The women's field will this year have a new champion as 2002 Women's World Solo 24 H ours of Adrenalin Champion Lesley Tomlinson is not returning to defend her crown. Riders battling for the women's solo title include Katie Lindquist (USA), 2-time 24 Hours of Adrenalin National Champion Christina Begy (USA), Simone Otto (Germany), Louise Kobin (USA) and Michelle Granger (USA).

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