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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 2, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Armstrong awarded Vélo d'Or

Photo: © J.Devich/CN

Five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been awarded the 2003 Vélo d'Or from Vélo Magazine, his fourth time receiving the prestigious award. Armstrong won by a clear margin ahead of World Cup winner Paolo Bettini and Alexandre Vinokourov, third place in the Tour and winner of a number of major events including Paris-Nice and the Amstel Gold Race.

Track cyclist Laurent Gané was awarded the Vélo d'Or for best French cyclist. Following in the votes behind Armstrong were other luminaries of the 2003 season including Alessandro Petacchi, Jan Ullrich, Tyler Hamilton, and Peter Van Petegem.

Armstrong has won the award each year he's won the Tour, excluding 2002 when Mario Cipollini claimed the World Championship title and interrupted the American's streak in the voting.

Boogerd best Dutchman

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) is Cyclist of the Year for the fourth time on row. He received the Gerrit Schulte Trophee/Gouden Spaak during a gala in 's Hertogenbosch. Boogerd, 31, won the Brabantse Pijl and was second in the World Cup competition this year behind Paolo Bettini.

Servais Knaven was second behind Boogerd, while Gerben Löwik was third.   In the women's voting, Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel won the title for the ninth time. Leontien, this year's world pursuit champion on the track, new holder of the world hour record, and winner of the KNWU-Topcompetition, received the Keetie van Oosten-Hage Trohpee/Zilveren Spaak.

Another Spaniard for La Boulangère

Joseba Beloki's ONCE teammate Mikel Pradera wasn't able to reach an agreement with Brioches La Boulangère for next season, but the team has nonetheless added a third Spaniard to its roster to join Joseba and his brother Gorka. Unai Yus, who this season rode for the small Portuguese team Cantanhede-Marques de Morialva, will likely round out the Boulangère line up. Considered a talented amateur in Spain, Yus is still looking for his professional breakthrough.

Two neo-pros for Paternina

Spanish cyclists Mikel Elgezabal and Jokin Ormaetxea will both turn professional with the Paternina-Costa de Almeria team in 2004. Elgezabal, 24, claimed seven victories in the amateur ranks this year and was offered a one year contract with Paternina. Twenty three year old Ormaetxea was given a two year deal following his six wins in the Caja Rural colours.

Positive for Testi

Italian professional Fabio Testi (Mercatone Uno) has been handed a two year suspension by the disciplinary commission of the Italian Cycling Federation. Testi was confirmed positive for EPO after a test on August 23 at the Giro del Veneto. He has also been fined €2,500.

Life Repair loses funding

Racing for new sponsor
Photo: © G. McManus
Click for larger image

Administrators Begbies Traynor have been appointed to the Life Repair Group (main sponsor of Life Repair Cycle Racing Team during 2002-2003) last week (formerly The Compensation Group). This unexpected and unfortunate turn of events came about due to the turbulent times facing the personnel injury claim business in the current economic climate. This has resulted in the Life Repair Group's underwriters withdrawing funding. Along with the loss of funding for the cycle team, Life Repair Group employed over 200 people in the north of England who have been made redundant.

"We had a viable business which we believed had good future prospects. Unfortunately when funding was withdrawn we were unable to continue," managing director and ex-international cycle racer Tim Schools explained. "All the directors are very saddened about the turn of events and would like to thank the staff for their commitment and support. We will now be co-operating with the administrator to try to structure a business rescue with a view to continue trading in the future".

A string of top results had firmly established Life Repair as the number one team in the UK over the last two years. Schools hopes a replacement sponsor can be found before the start of the 2004 season to enable the team to remain together and realise its full potential through 2004 and beyond.

"It has come at a bad time when we are due to register the team for UCI Div III status for 2004 and finalise rider contracts," said Team Director Phil Leigh. "We have strong support from our existing product sponsors and would like to thank them for standing by us during this difficult period. Additionally, an extensive road program is in place including some European stage races. It would be very easy to pull the plug and call it a day, but we strongly believe we have established a sound infrastructure to move forward with, along with a fantastic set of riders.

Parties interested in helping may contact Leigh at ++44 (0)1524 752845, +44 (0)794 7071278 (mobile) or The team's website is for 2004

World of Difference, the 'e-zine for the globally inquisitive', formally announced its 2004 women's road racing program. What began this past April as a stopgap plan to assist a few up-and-coming riders who weren't part of major teams has blossomed into a team itself, albeit one a little different from the norm. With an eye on helping to develop American cycling's female stars of the future, Women's Cycling has gathered a quintet of riders under the age of 25, and aims to give them the support they need to excel on the national stage.

The five young women who will be racing in the colours in 2004 are a truly unique group. All of them are either in college/post-graduate work, or have recently graduated, and all of them are relative newcomers to road racing- two of them have yet to enter their first NRC event, and none of them has more than a season of experience at the national level.

In addition to these five riders, will again be a secondary sponsor of Magen Long, whom the online magazine assisted during this past season and who guested with the team at the T-Mobile International, where she placed 14th against a world-class field. The 19-year old, who races full-time for OBRU/The Bicycle Store, took the Senior ranks by storm in '03, winning the Under-23 National Time Trial and taking a number of podium finishes in NRC races, including second in the Roswell Classic and third in the Clarendon Cup. Women's Cycling will compete in a mix of regional and national events, with highlights including the Wachovia Liberty Classic, Nature Valley Grand Prix, and T-Mobile Invitational. To read all about the program, visit the World of Difference website at

2004 team roster:

Andrea Dvorak
Sarah Faulkner
Julia Oh
Jessica Peil
Aimee Vasse
Magen Long - Associate, races for OBRU/The Bicycle Store

Final Colorado 'cross

Boulder Racing will host the USCF Colorado Cyclo-cross State Championships on Sunday, December 7. The Championship race will be held at the University of Colorado's Research Park, a classic Colorado venue and a staple of Boulder Racing since its inception. In 1999, it hosted a round of the nation's most prestigious cyclo-cross series, the Super Cup. This will be Colorado's last cyclo-cross race of the 2003 season. The event will also be NCCA conference finals for the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference.

Swedish club CK Wänershof awarded

The Johan Jelvin Memorial Award has been awarded to the cycling club CK Wänershof in Vänersborg, Sweden. The club has for many years had a long term youth recruiting program that has given Swedish cycling several talents with international careers.

The club has about 50 licensed cyclists and is a co-organiser of the Two Towns Two Days stage race as well as a tour ride and several local races.

The award was founded by Team Bianchi Nordic and Cycleeurope AB, the company behind Bianchi and other European cycle brands. Johan Jelvin was killed in a training accident in Italy last year with the team (then Team Crescent) before he had made his pro debut.

CK Wänershof will now receive two racing bikes to lend to interested youth who wants to try the sport.

Northbrook Velodrome "Close the Gap" fund drive

Just as "closing the gap" means digging deep and making that extra effort to stay ahead, the Northbrook Cycle Committee (NCC) is asking the community to respond the same way to its "Close the Gap" year-end fundraising drive. The NCC coordinates fundraising to save the Northbrook Park District Ed Rudolph Velodrome, one of only 16 velodromes in the United States. "Close the Gap" represents the latest in a series of efforts aimed at raising more than $160,000 needed for resurfacing and other improvements.

"This is a critical juncture for the Save the Velodrome Fund," according to Peter Janunas, NCC president. "Our initial momentum has brought us a long way toward our goal. We hope that supporters get into the spirit of the holidays with further giving this month, taking advantage of two-for-one 'Angel' matching in the next 30 days."

In just four months, Save the Velodrome efforts have raised more than $117,000, thanks in large part to the "Velodrome Angel." This anonymous contributor began with a $25,000 donation and then announced a two-for-one matching program through December 31. "Every $100 contributed is really $300 to the Fund through the end of the year," Janunas says. "Even small contributions will have a big impact."

All contributions are tax-deductible, as the NCC is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Donations may also be eligible for company match programs offered by many employers. Supporters are encouraged to send checks to Northbrook Cycle Committee, P.O. Box 1101, Northbrook, IL 60065-1101; contributors are asked to provide full contact information and indicate "Save the Velodrome" on all checks.

The Velodrome is in danger of closing after the 2004 season unless improvements are made. The Northbrook Park District, which owns the facility, has offered to fund half the project, charging the local cycling community with raising the rest. Since August, efforts such as online auctions, benefit races, a letter drive, and a lemonade stand have shown the community's commitment and raised funds. "Close the Gap" builds on that foundation.

More information and a contribution form are available on the web at

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