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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 19, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Colavita/Bolla signs Frischkorn

Photo: © Rob Karman
Click for larger image

The Colavita/Bolla Professional Cycling Team announced Thursday that it has signed former Saturn rider Will Frischkorn for the 2004 season. Frischkorn, 22, turned professional with Mercury in 1999 while still a junior, and has established himself as a leading U23 prospect.

The West Virginia native has won five National Championships, including the 2002 Espoir National Road Race, and has found success in European racing as well. Past Saturn and future Colavita/Bolla teammate Mark McCormack expressed his pleasure with Frischkorn's arrival.

"I am very excited that both Will and Nathan (O'Neill) will be joining Ivan (Dominguez) and me on the Colavita/Bolla team for 2004," said Mark McCormack, past Saturn and future Colavita/Bolla teammate. "We all shared in a magical season during 2003 and it will be great to be able to build upon the accomplishments we achieved together."

Among Frischkorn's top performances in 2003 were a stage win and first overall in British Columbia's Tour de Delta, a share of the win in the team time trial stage of the Ronde de l'Isard, second to teammate Nathan O'Neill in the Canadian National Road Race (a UCI Open event in 2003), and third place in the U23 Tour of Flanders.

Beloki's goal remains the Tour

Despite the flood of commentary surrounding the announcement for next year's Vuelta a España, Spain's Joseba Beloki maintains that the Tour de France is without question his number one objective for 2004. Beloki, who opted not to follow ONCE director Manolo Saiz to Liberty Seguros, will join Brioches La Boulangère for the next two seasons. Pleased with the team environment and his new teammates, Beloki nonetheless has his work cut out for him off the bike as well as on.

"Everything is going well, the only problem is the language," he said in a l'Equipe interview. "I don't understand a thing! But... Between now and the Tour, I will have made progress and I hope to understand at least some French."

Prior to the arrival of Beloki and his younger brother Gorka, Brioches La Boulangère was an entirely French team.

"My primary objective is the Tour," Beloki said simply. "Armstrong will no doubt be the man to beat. To win the Tour is difficult, but we're going to try... When everything is going well, there are no small teams," he added, referring to the stature of La Boulangère relative to the ONCE-Eroski powerhouse.

"I've already spent several days with the team and everything went well," he said.

Although the Tour is the goal of the season, Beloki nonetheless hopes to take his new team to Spain for the Vuelta. "I share Manolo Saiz's philosophy; he believes a rider can do both [the Tour and the Vuelta]," he concluded. "I've managed fairly well in the past few years and I don't see any reason to change that."

Belda counting on Valverde

Kelme-Costa Blanca directeur sportif Vicente Belda is counting on his rising star Alejandro Valverde in next year's Vuelta a España. Belda, who this week also acquired ex-Bianchi rider and former Vuelta winner Angel Casero, called Valverde "the man for the 2004 Vuelta" after the race was presented in Madrid on Wednesday. Valverde surprised many and confirmed his talents with a third place overall in this year's race, followed by a silver medal in the World Championships road race behind compatriot Igor Astarloa.

"The favourite? Last year's winner, Roberto Heras," Belda commented. "But Alejandro Valverde won't be far behind. Valverde will be the man for the Vuelta. It's a complicated race, which may not include the mythical mountains, but has many others that will be critical, like the Sierra Nevada time trial."

Like most observers, Belda expects the 2004 Vuelta, as in years past, will come down to the wire. "Even after the Sierra Nevada it won't be clear who will win," he added. "That was said last year after Albacete, but in the end Isidro Nozal cracked. Nobody was expecting a change in leadership on the penultimate day, but the defeat was psychological."

Dr. Michele Ferrari case plods on

Little progress in three year old investigation

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

More delays for additional "super partes" expert witness analysis and testimony continue to plague the case of Dr. Michele Ferrari in a court session on December 17th. As the Italian justice system proceeds, yesterday's court session in Bologna in Ferrari's sporting fraud trial, ongoing for several months already, was once again inconclusive.

Judge Maurizio Passarini asked for more independent expert witness investigation testimony from a court-nominated physician, Dr. Roberto Conte, head of clinical pathology at the Sant'Orsola Clinic in Bologna. Dr. Conte's investigation, to be conducted from mid-January to mid-March 2004, will seek to clarify the results of blood tests of athletes followed by Dr. Ferrari, particularly the values attributed to testosterone. However, Conte is a pathologist, not a sports medicine doctor, so his evaluations of the frequency and composition of Ferrari's clients blood samples may not be applicable to sports medicine practice and procedures.

Additional independent expert witness investigations will seek to determine whether the word "Androsten", a steroid, which was found scribbled on one of Ferrari's medical files is in fact his handwriting, since Ferrari says it isn't his writing. Another ongoing investigation by Dr. Marcello Faina of the Italian Cycling Federation will attempt to establish which products allegedly prescribed by Ferrari are prohibited and which are restricted use for in cycling.

Ironically, Judge Passarini had to adjourn the court session as Italian state prosecutor Spinoza couldn't attend; he is in the hospital recovering from a bike accident. Dr. Ferrari's next session in court should be in mid-April 2004 if no further procedural delays occur in the expert witness investigations or other elements in the Italian justice system.

Top international field for Launceston Wheel Race

Jame Carney
Photo ©: Shane Goss

The Launceston Wheelrace in Australia is one of the grand slam event events of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series. This year's race is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever, with a high-class international field as riders from the Northern hemisphere make their way to Tasmania for some warm-weather racing.

The American contingent has already arrived in Tasmania. Long-time Tasmanian carnival rider Jame Carney has been joined by US national scratch race champion Sarah Hammer and top US sprinter Becky Conzelman, among others. Riders from England, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand will also contest the Launceston Wheel Race, which this year is sponsored by Tooheys/Hahn Premium Light. There are a total of 78 non-stop events starting at 12:30pm on December 28.

A highlight of the evening session will be the return of former wheel race winner and international cycling legend Danny Clark. He will ride off scratch in the Frank Clark Invitational Masters handicap and 60 metres in the Hahn Premium Light Wheel Race heat.

The final event for the evening, the A Grade scratch race, will be a spectacle with 25 of the best track riders including international star Graeme Brown, Jame Carney from the USA, Nathan and Danny Clark, and local junior champion Mark Jamieson all fighting hard for a win in the prestigious event. Danny Clark previously won the event in 1990 and 1991 and past winners include Mathew Gilmore and Michael Grenda.

The Tasmanian carnivals also feature wood-chopping contests and Launceston City Cycling Club is excited about the return of World Champion axeman David Foster who will no doubt be a highlight of the chopping events in the central arena.


Shane Goss/ took these shots of visiting international riders at yesterday's Launceston City Cycling Club race at the Launceston Silverdome.

  • Jame Carney has been a regular at the Tasmanian carnivals for the last several years
  • Becky Conzelman is making a first visit to Tassie in US national team colours
  • Sarah Hammer is also here in stars and stripes
  • Conzelman & Hammer took part in an open club race as part of the US contingent's warm-up for the Tasmanian carnivals

Virenque called as witness in Sainz investigation

In a court case in France, Richard Virenque was called as a witness Wednesday for testimony concerning a doping affair dating back to 1999. Virenque himself is not facing any charges, rather was called to comment on phone conversations, taped by the police, with French soigneur Bernard Sainz. Virenque had in fact already testified about these conversations during the Festina trial.

Sainz, also implicated in the doping affair which surrounded Frank Vandenbroucke after banned substances were found in Sainz's car and at Vandenbroucke's home, was accused in 1999 of illegal possession of certain banned substances, and of illegal practice of medicine. He spent nearly two months in police custody at the time.

According to a l'Equipe report, French judge Gilbert Thiel called Virenque for testimony in the case concerning ten syringes found in Sainz's office in May of 1999. Sainz, also an animal trainer, maintains that the syringes were to be used on his horses in Normandy.

Granada gets Vuelta start

Already thinking ahead, race organiser Enrique Franco confirmed at the launch for the 2004 Vuelta a España that the 2005 edition of Spain's grand tour will start in Granada. This year the Granada area will host two stages, including what should be a key stage, the uphill time trial on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

Verge NECCS Finale: Double Weekend in RI and NH

The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series (NECCS) will go out with a bang this weekend, with back-to-back UCI races being held in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. A tight race for the men's overall, a number of newly crowned National Champions on hand, and the Verge Series overall awards banquet immediately following the final event will highlight the weekend.

Saturday's W.E. Stedman Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross in South Kingston, RI, and Sunday's Patterson Construction/NEBC Cyclo-Cross are the last two rounds of the Verge NECCS. There are double points on offer for the top finishers of Sunday's race, and the series is expected to come down to the wire as a result.

In the Men's Elite events, Mark McCormack (Saturn) will be on hand to defend his overall series, and has his sights firmly set on reclaiming the season-long title. McCormack will be challenged by last year's winner Marc Gullickson (Redline) who hopes for an 11th hour chance to take back the jersey, and a host of others including new U23 national champion Jesse Anthony (Hot Tubes), Michael Cody and Jeremy Powers (NCC/

The Women's Elite events will come down to a battle between teammates Anna Milkowski and Marianne Stover (Gearworks/SpinArts). They fought for the win at the Chainbiter 5.0 Cyclo-Cross, and after great rides at the national championships last weekend, where Stover won the Women's 30-34 race, the same fierce contest is expected again this weekend. Juniors and Masters 35+ races will complete the competitions.

Following the final race of the day at Merrimack will be the Verge Series overall awards ceremonies, indoors at the race venue. A purse of $2,000 in cash on offer for the Elite categories, with merchandise prizes from series sponsors for the amateur and age-graded events.

Bray Wheelers Gentleman's GP

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Like a good wine, the novelty event started by the Bray Wheelers Cycling Club back in the early 1970's has matured with age. Little did the founding members realise that the "Gentleman's' Grand Prix" would still hold centrepiece on the run-in to Christmas.

The two-up time trial will take place this year on Sunday, December 21 at 10:30am from the clubhouse on the Dargle Road, Bray.

Participants- some of whom will come in 'fancy dress' which is being encouraged- will be requested to post a time for test. Placings are decided on the difference between the nominated and the actual times.

If the feedback emanating from the club is anything to go by, Urban "Petacchi" Monks and Tom Duggan have geared themselves up to post the fastest time. Whilst other participants will enter for the spirit of the event, this pairing is intent on laying down markers for the coming season.

Down the years, many events went up against the 'Wheelers' race, but they have fallen by the wayside. Most notably, the 'Hamper' event in Carrick which attracted in its hay day over 1000 participants, but it has succumbed more or less because of the lack of volunteers, in today's world is a fast diminishing breed of people.

Bray fortunately runs under the Presidency of Paddy Martin, who has always identified himself with the rank and file members and has more or less successfully kept the engine ticking over. Paddy initially was very much the driving force behind the initiative of the Gentleman's Grand Prix back in the days when it was comfortable to race on the open road.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)