First Edition Cycling News for December 14, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Bettini aims for Athens
Paolo Bettini at the Clasica San
Sebastian, after racking up three World Cup victories in 2003
Photo: © Sirotti
Italian ace Paolo Bettini has just one date in 2004 circled in his calendar:
August 14, the day of the road race at the Athens Olympics. The world
number one and winner of the 2003 and 2002 World Cup series has told La
Gazzetta dello Sport that his 2004 season will be built around the
"In 2004 the world championships will be run in Italy, in Verona, but
first there is the Olympics," said Bettini, "Every sportsman dreams of
winning an Olympic medal because it takes you out of the boundaries of
your discipline and into the story of all sport."
Bettini started his preparation for Athens on December 2, and this weekend
has a training camp with his Quick.Step-Davitamon team in Marina di Cecina,
Tuscany, riding the roads where he grew up. "I had planned to start on
December 1, but it rained," said Bettini. "I went out with my usual group
of amateurs and bike fans. After Lombardia I didn't want to see or think
about the bike. I did nothing, absolutely nothing except for a bit of
work in the garden; I cut the hedge. After a while I started to hear my
bike calling again."
And after a long break, getting back on the bike isn't trivial even for
a rider of Bettini's caliber. "The bike was exactly the same as ever,
but it felt like everything was changed. It seemed I was sitting too high.
It's always like this when you start again. On my first ride, we all noticed
the same thing: how hard it is to ride a bike! We did a small climb, just
four kilometers long, near Livorno. In the summer you don't even notice
it, but now it's a lot of work! Our sport is always like this: sacrifices,
Bettini will return to racing in Mallorca on February 1, and his 2004
program will follow much of its usual shape, with targets including "the
Spring Classics, the Tour, the Athens Olympics and the World Championships."
And Bettini is still hungry. "I want to win the World Cup for the third
The attention brought by his standing on the world stage obviously pleases
Bettini. "In the French Velo d'Or prize this year I was second only to
Lance Armstrong. I am not known only in Italy and Belgium, what I do in
the saddle makes a mark on the whole world of cycling. Plus, I'm the world
number one aren't I? I am not planning to leave the top."
Tour of Britain to return
A British sports promotion company is planning the return of the Tour
of Britain as a six-day stage race from September 1 to 5, 2004, according
to a report by William Fotheringham in the UK's Guardian
A 29-page dossier leaked to Cycling Plus magazine details the plan. The
body behind the return of the Tour of Britain - not held since 1999, making
the UK one of the few remotely significant cycling nations without a national
tour - is Sweetspot, the promotion company that organizes the Nokia Open,
the Bahamas Masters and the UK snooker championship. Former track star
Tony Doyle, winner of multiple Six-day races and two world pursuit championships
in the 80s, is named as cycling director for the event.
The race is planned to start in Manchester and finish with a circuit
race around Westminster and a gala dinner at the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
Sixteen teams of six riders will take part and possible stage venues include
York, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newport, Slough and Reading.
Previous British tours, such as the pro/am Milk Race, the Kelloggs Tour
and the PruTour have been tied to an overall naming sponsor, but Sweetspot's
plan is reportedly to have no main sponsor. Backers named in the dossier
include Sport England, UK Sport and Visit Britain and it claims the organizers
"have now secured an agreement with the BBC to be the official TV channel
of the Tour and we will enjoy coverage of the race during the last weekend
and also an hour highlights coverage in the Grandstand programme".
Former double World and Commonwealth Games Kilo and Team Sprint Champion,
Chris Hoy was yesterday honoured with the BBC Scottish Sports Personality
of the Year award. The presentation was made by former Scottish Rugby
and British Lions player John Beattie as part of Radio Scotland's Sports
Weekly programme. Chris was interviewed live from the GB Training camp
in Perth WA. He gave an extended interview in which he discussed his early
years, how the current camp is going and what his plans are for Olympic
Tour to select Italian team for Athens
Italian national team manager Franco Ballerini says the Tour de France
will be used as the selection race for the team that will represent Italy
in the road race at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.
Speaking at a provincial cycling festival in Milan, Ballerini said, "The
Tour de France will define for me the national team hierarchy for Athens.
In previous years it has always been the best indicator of the condition
of our riders."
The Victory Brewing women's cycling team has announced its roster for
2004, with six riders staying from the 2003 squad and three additions.
New to the team are American Brooke Ourada, New Zealander Johanna Buick
and Australian Emma Rickards. "I am excited about the 2004 roster and
the new blood we are bringing onboard," says team director Mike Tamayo.
"Brooke Ourada and Johanna Buick are both very hungry riders that have
shown they have the talent to climb with the front group. Their raw talent,
coupled with the experience and leadership of Sandy Espeseth and Nicole
Demars could prove to be very dangerous. On the other side, Emma Rickards
comes to us motivated to work for the team. Her assistance as a pace setter
and lead-out will be much welcomed by sprinter Gina Grain."
The team continues to be supported by Victory Brewing, Amoroso's Baking
and Specialized Bicycles and will focus on US National Racing Calendar
and UCI events.
Victory Brewing 2004 roster
Sandy Espeseth (Team Captain)
Nicole Demars (Co Captain)
Gina Grain (Sprinter)
Lauren Franges (Sprinter/Domestique)
Johanna Buick (Climber)
Brooke Ourada (Climber/Domestique)
Emma Rickards (Pace Setter/Domestique)
Kirsten Robbins (Domestique)
Sophie St-Jacques (Domestique)
Sponsors: Victory Brewing, Amoroso's Baking, Specialized Bicycles, Voler
clothing, Northwave shoes, Maxxis tires, Honeystinger, Saris racks, Cycle-ops
Team Coastal Racing of Vancouver, British Columbia Canada has announced
the line-up of its new team for 2004. "Our Team is small but we're organized,
motivated, and love what we're doing," says director of racing Todd Hansen.
The team will be led and anchored by veteran racer Larry Zimich, with
talented young Saskatchewan rider Derek McMaster, climbing talent Damien
Waugh and Vancouver rider Jim Tsilemos.
The Ford Racing team has expanded for 2004, with a line-up of Lisa Matlock,
Melanie McQuaid and Dara Marks-Marino who will be competing in road and
mountain bike events and XTerra adventure races, plus putting on clinics
for female riders.
"Ford is not only giving us incredible support, but they also have a
regional Cat 1 Women's team as well as a junior development team," Dara
Marks-Marino told Cyclingnews. "How refreshing to see a company expanding
their support of cycling, rather than pulling their sponsorship!"
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