Latest News for February 10, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Behind the scenes at the Cyclo-Cross World's
Cyclingnews' European editor Tim Maloney was in Monopoli last weekend where he witnessed, among other things, the Belgian 'Monopoly in Monopoli'. As you can see in the following photo features, there were plenty of 'other things' happening in Monopoli. Firstly there were the 'Cross bikes, which combine toughness and lightness in this discipline where skills go hand in hand with strength. Then there were the crowds, which combine alcohol with a lot of enthusiasm. You think you're a hard core fan, well look at this!
29th Volta ao Algarve
By João Cravo
Between February 19-23, the first of the eight UCI races in Portugal in 2003 will be staged. In its 29th edition and counting Alex Zülle amongst its winners, the Volta ao Algarve is a traditional (not yet classic) early season stage race.
The famous clemency of the Algarve winter, which attracts numerous foreign tourists to its beaches, swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courses, is also appreciated by many riders. The flat profile of the race for almost the whole of its 676.4 km, and the relatively warm weather, makes this race look like a perfect training camp where UCI points can also be obtained.
Although Alex Zülle will not take part in the 2003 edition of the Volta ao Algarve, other top riders will. Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre) will start, perhaps treading the first steps of the path that will lead him to a second podium in Paris. Francisco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo) will certainly be aware that victory in the 2003 Giro d'Italia can pass via the Algarve. George Hincapie (USPS) will prepare in the South for the Northern classics.
The Brazilian Luciano Pagliarini (Lampre) will try to confirm his status as a sprinter after three consecutive wins in the Tour de Langkawi. The winner of nine races (one more than Armstrong) in 2002, Angel Edo, will start his quest to beat that number. Finally, Ben Day (Boavista) will be able to show off his Australian time trial champion's jersey in the fourth stage.
The organization has announced that eight squads are registered, but five of the seven Portuguese Division II teams are still missing from that list. The teams already confirmed are as follows:
Milaneza (Angel Edo, David Bernabeu, Francisco Perez)
Stage 1 - February 19: Tavira - Tavira, 178 km
56th Peace Race
The stages and route of the 56th edition of the Peace Race (May 9-17) have been unveiled by the organisers. The UCI 2.2 ranked stage race will be contested over nine stages and 1546 km, starting in the Czech Republic, passing through Poland, and finishing in Germany.
The opening stage is in Olomouc, and consists of a circuit race over 116 km. After another stage in the Czech Republic, the race enters more mountainous territory in Poland. Stages 3 and 4 should therefore be fairly decisive in determining the shape of the race. A flattish stage between Jawor and Zielona Gora will prepare the riders for the final four stages of the race, which will take place mostly on German soil.
The longest stage in this edition is the seventh, from Lübben to Naumburg over 215 km. However this is merely a softener for the eighth and penultimate stage from Freyburg to Klingenthal, which will again be very mountainous and will test the riders to the limit. Whoever emerges as the GC leader after that stage should have no problems keeping the jersey over the final stage from Bad Elster to Erfuhrt.
The team sizes have been expanded from six to eight riders this year, meaning that the number of teams has been reduced to 17, for a total of 136 riders in the peloton. It's also noteworthy that for the first time since 1957, there will be no individual time trial in the race.
Stage 1 - May 9: Olomouc Circuit, 116 km
Palmans-Collstrop annoyed at second class treatment
The manager of the Belgian Division I team Palmans-Collstrop, Hilaire Van der Schuren, is not happy with the way his team has been ignored for the early season races. "In the Tour Méditerranéen and the Tours of Liguria and Murcia we are not allowed to start," he was quoted in Het Nieuwsblad. "We have to start in the Tour of Rhodes, while the Flemish Division II teams (Vlaanderen in Murcia, Flanders-iteamnova.com in Liguria) are coming round the back. I want to take this problem to the AIGCP."
The current rules allow organisers some flexibility in who they invite to their races. But it should be noted that in terms of UCI points, the Tours of Rhodes, Méditerranéen, Liguria and Murcia are all identical, as they are all 2.3 classed events.
By Scott Greenwood, Lightbluecycles (www.lightbluecycles.co.uk)
Friday, February 7 saw the official launch of TeamEndurasport.com-Principia at one of the team's sponsors' venues, 'Hartham Park' in Wiltshire. Managed by Richard Parsons and directed by Harry Lodge, TeamEndurasport.com-Principia has been established as a third division outfit, sporting a mix of young British riders and more experienced professionals.
General Manager Richard Parsons stated that the team is the culmination of three years' of hard work, and that he sees no reason why Britain shouldn't have a strong presence on the professional road scene, with TeamEndurasport.com-Principia represented in the top events.
Director Sportif Harry Lodge, who retired from the peloton last season, said: "I am looking forward to the challenge of getting the best out of our young riders. It will be a big step up for them, from amateur racing to the professional scene, with the extra travelling, different style of racing and different culture."
The sponsorship of TeamEndurasport.com-Principia is primarily provided by Endura (cycling clothing) and RBS Principia (importers and distributors of Principia frames). This backing is complimented by a number of corporate sponsors and a supporters club (www.teamendurasport.com) which is intended to help the team meet its short term ambition of becoming a Division II outfit in 2004.
The team has been able to cement its commitment to developing young British talent by entering into partnership with the Dave Rayner Fund (www.daveraynerfund.freeserve.co.uk), which was set up to support young British cyclists become experienced and established in the continental peloton. Two riders, Alex Coutts and Dan Lloyd will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of past Rayner funded riders such as David Millar, Charly Wegelius and Jamie Burrow
The team will be based in Italy, and will follow a race programme in Italy and Northern Europe, as well as contesting key events in the UK and Ireland.
Chris Tonge (Team Captain) (GBr)
Endura - Cycling clothing (www.endurasport.com)
Trek/VW East Coast Factory Team
The Trek/VW East Coast Factory Team has finalized its roster for the 2003 mountain bike season. The team is directed by Ernie Martin and managed by Jonathan Posner, and will see Jeremiah Bishop return for 2003, along with David Duvall, World Solo 24-Hour Champion Chris Eatough, Erin North, and 2002 Mid Atlantic Super Series Champion Kristine Oesterling. The team will receive the technical support of mechanic Steve Borkoski.
To avoid the snow at the moment, Jeremiah Bishop and Chris Eatough have made Clemson, South Carolina their home-away-from-home as they prepare for the upcoming seasons. Eatough has plans to defend his three time World Solo 24-Hour Championship title, in addition to competing for the first time in the 24-Hour Solo U.S. National Championships. Bishop's wants to qualify for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Mountainbike Team, with intermediate goals including producing podium finishes in the NORBA National Championship Series, to improve upon his sixth place at the NCS finals at Mt. Snow, Vermont.
A member of the original team, David Duvall, is expected to challenge for the Mid Atlantic Super Series title this year. Kristine Oesterling will try to continue to dominate the Mid-Atlantic scene and move toward the top 20 of the NCS pro women's field. Finally, U23 rider Erin North will make the transition to a full season of mountain bike racing, after winning the Espoir Women's silver medal and the Collegiate Women's bronze at the 2002 Cyclocross National Championships.
The Trek/VW Factory Team will also be hosting the Baltimore Bike Jam's Dirt Criterium, Saturday May 24, 2003 at Patterson Park in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.
Jeremiah Bishop (USA)
Baziel Wambeke dead
Former Belgian pro Baziel Wambeke has died in Kortrijk last Friday evening, aged 78. Wambeke rode in the same era as Stan Ockers and Rik Van Steenbergen. His funeral will take place at 10:00 this Friday, February 14 in Sint-Martinuskerk in Avelgem.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)