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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for February 14, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson

Green to board the 'blue train' in '03

MTB Champ flexes road ambitions while re-signing with Trek-VW

By Gerard Knapp

Langkawi KOM
Photo: © Mark Sharon
Click for larger image

Reigning world mountain bike champion Roland Green is set to be riding for division 1 road team US Postal Service in a selection of North American races this year as he keeps one eye on the big MTB prizes, and another on the World Road Championships to be held in Hamilton, Canada, later this year.

The Canadian rider is highly motivated to ride at the World's in his home country this year and will be working with his fellow Canadian pros to acquire as many UCI points as possible to boost their numbers at this flagship event, which is certain to raise the profile of cycling in the country.

On the dirt, Green will be riding this year - once again - for the Trek-Volkswagen MTB team after a delay which did lead to some speculation about his future. "It's going to be Trek-Volkswagen for this year," he told Cyclingnews, as the delays in re-joining the team were due to him and his agent Clay Young "working the kinks out of the contract".

In this case, the kinks were offers to join other teams - not on the dirt, but on the road. Green had discussions to ride selected road races in 2003 for teams such as Rabobank and CSC. "Lots of road teams were interested and I am in awe of the offers to ride for them," he told Cyclingnews.

Full report

Pantani puts his Best Face Forward

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Marco Pantani's Mercatone Uno-Scanavino-La Verve team will be presented in Asti, Italy this Saturday and the 33 year old climber is hoping that this new team is not his last gasp in the sport of cycling. But Pantani and his team still have the spectre of his impending ruling of the CAS hanging over them.

According to Pantani's attorney, Avv. Roberto Mazza, the Lausanne, Switzerland based Court for Arbitration in Sport will decide at latest by 25 February whether Pantani's 8 month suspension will be upheld (as requested on appeal by the UCI), or not, as ruled by the Italian Cycling Federations disciplinary commission last July. The decision may be crucial for the eventual fate of Mercatone Uno-Scanavino-La Verve, as Pantani will not be able to race in the 2003 Giro d'Italia if the UCI's appeal goes forward with the CAS.

Some observers on the Italian pro cycling scene speculate that should this worst-case scenario go forward and Pantani is out of the Giro, team sponsors could pull out and the team could fold. However, others expect that due to Pantani's previous track record, CAS will only sustain a 6 month suspension for Pantani, which will enable him to compete right away.

US riders wanted for Vuelta Independencia Nacional

Places are available on a US-based composite team heading out for next week's Vuelta Independencia Nacional (February 19-27), a UCI 2.5-ranked stage race in the Dominican Republic, last run in 2001 (

The nine stage race covers 1286km, and interested riders will need a UCI elite license and passport or driver's license and birth certificate (should be embossed with local seal), and team release - if license is attached.

A berth in the team will cost $900, including airfare from New York and transfers in the Dominican Republic. The cost also covers race fees, mechanic support, on-bike feed support, bottled water, hotels and nightly hotel buffet and team clothing. Riders will need to bring some additional cash, but most expenses are covered, including accommodation to March 1.

The team leaves Monday February 17, so you'll have to be quick. Contact Casey King at

Team Diet Rite

The Diet Rite Women's Cycling team has announced an almost-unchanged roster for 2003, the second year of the team's existence.

US National criterium champion Tina Mayolo-Pic returns to the team, aiming to defend her 2002 title and once again capitalize on the sprinting talent she showed when she won in Merced and Florida at the beginning and end of last season.

Also returning for 2003 are Kori Kelly and Kerry Soraci-Schmatz both of Colorado, and Canadian Cybil Di Guistini and New Zealander Joanne Kiesanowski.

The team's sole new addition for 2003 is New Zealander Tania Duff-Miller who made the podium at last year's Tour of Somerville and San Rafael Grand Prix.

The team will once again be directed by former Canadian national champion Al Boucher, who said of the 2003 line-up, "We were able to retain our really strong components from last year as well as adding Tania Duff-Miller to our line-up. She was a bit of a thorn in our side in finishes last season, and having her with us this year should prove to be an invaluable asset."

Boucher said the team plans to spend a little less time traveling in 2003, with a "more focused" program aimed at "winning the NRC overall, defending our National Champion status, and once again qualifying our team members for the World Championships."

Full team roster

UK insurer drops contributory negligence claim

A third motor insurer has dropped its negligence claim against a cyclist after a crash attributed entirely to driver error.

Royal Sun Alliance has abandoned its claim for contributory negligence against cyclist Richard Harrison who suffered severe brain damage in the collision on the A695 in Hexham, Northumberland, in May 1999. Royal Sun Alliance's claim was based on the fact that Harrison was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The case was settled before coming to court and compensation is expected to be several million pounds. Harrison, from Hexham, now 35, is paralysed in all four limbs. He is entirely dependent on others and will not work again.

His solicitor, John Davis of Irwin Mitchell's Newcastle office, said: "The admission of liability is a great relief to Richard's family who have fought very determinedly to prove that the accident and Richard's terrible injuries were not at all his fault.

"Insurers are trying to use helmets as an excuse to reduce damages to cyclists and will continue to do so. That means that cyclists' representatives must be vigilant and ensure that they do not succeed."

Multi-nationals Provident Insurance and NIG have both previously tried to force courts to reduce compensation to cyclists after car driving clients hit them in road crashes. In both cases, vociferous protests from national cyclists' organisation CTC, lawyers, doctors, parents and students forced them to drop their claims.

After the Coombs' case in 2001, CTC set up the Cyclists Defence Fund to resist threats to cycling and enhance the position of cyclists, including support for legal cases. CTC has also established the Cyclists' Defence Network to which solicitors and expert witnesses are contributing.

Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Manager at CTC said: "We are determined to stop insurers blaming victims and ducking their obligations. No amount of money can compensate Richard Harrison for his suffering. The message is clear: drivers must be made to take responsibility for the safety of other road users."

Big Shark Racing Team

Photo: © Big Shark racing
Click for larger image

The Big Shark Racing team of St Louis Missouri has announced its rather huge 2003 roster. Mike at Big Shark, who's an official Cyclingnews Good Egg after he stood us lunch at Interbike last year (ok, so we're cheap - but we're not easy) told us, "Last year we won the Missouri State Men's and Women State Road Race, The Proctor Cycling Classic (now an NRC race), and contested Wendy's International, Superweek, Quad Cities, and regional events throughout the Midwestern U.S. For 2003 we have the strongest roster ever and look forward to a successful season. Many thanks to Shimano and Vittoria for an unprecedented amount of industry support."

Full team roster

Team Jamis becomes Team Aerospace Engineering Group

The Florida-based amateur squad known lat year as Team Jamis has returned for 2003 with a new identity, new riders and new sponsors. The team's new title sponsor is Aerospace Engineering Group and the team is supported by presenting sponsors Downtown Bicycles, Toshiba, and Jamis Bicycles.

Returning to the roster from last year's team is Team Captain Chris Frederick, one of the US' top Cat 1 criterium racers. Also returning are John Cipolla, former National Amateur Time Trial Champion, Steve Mlujeak, current Military National Champion and junior Keith Norris, a member of the US Junior National Team and two time Junior National Champion.

New riders for 2003 are Raul Dominguez, a six time Pan American Champion, twenty-four time Cuban National Champion, and Barcelona Olympian as well as former Florida Point Series Champion Frank Travieso and veteran Florida racer Leonardo Martinez.

The team says its goals for 2003 are simple, "just win, baby!" and team captain Chris Fredericks is confident that victories are on the cards. "This is the strongest team that we have assembled in our history," said Fredericks. "We have assembled a team which will be a force not just within the regional level but also on a national level."

Team Aerospace Engineering Group will race USA Cycling National Racing Calendar Events, Amateur and Junior Nationals, and regional events, plus the team expects to compete in UCI events in South American countries and the Junior Team will be traveling to Quebec for the Tour L'Abitibi. The first race of the season will be the UCI 2.6 Vuelta Independencia in the Dominican Republic.

Full team roster

Team Airborne

Team Airborne has announced its roster for 2003. the team will be focusing on major road, cyclocross and track events in the Midwest, and aims to improve on its 2002 campaign.

Full team roster

Morgan Stanley - Specialized Cycling Team

The Northern California-based Morgan Stanley - Specialized Cycling Team is a new team made up of three squads, an elite team, a masters 35+ team, and masters 45+ team. The team will focus on west coast regional events and select NRC events through the 2003 season.

Full team roster

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