Second Edition News for February 18, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
McEwen cops a serve, but vows to be back soon
Robbie McEwen's abandonment with 1.5 km to go in the fifth stage of the Tour Méditerranéen, which ended in a bunch sprint, caused a few ripples in the Lotto-Domo camp, not the least from team director Hendrik Redant.
Redant said the Lotto-Domo team was built around McEwen for the Tour Méditerranéen, and wasn't impressed at his abandonment. "I understood Robbie was frustrated with his form but I made it clear to him that that sort of behaviour won't be tolerated. His attitude toward the team was incorrect," said Redant to Het Nieuwsblad.
McEwen admitted, "Ok, it wasn't an elegant thing to do. I was wrong. I said stuff this because I was feeling tired. I should have bitten the bullet just a little longer."
McEwen has been struggling with his form since pulling out of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under with an injured knee. He rode well in the Etoile des Bessès where he won a stage, but the Tour Méditerranéen was almost the opposite. "I've raced a little too much too early this season, and the condition is a little less," said McEwen. "First I got that knee problem, then overloaded the right leg, changed position, and then got a twisted pelvis."
McEwen is hopeful that he'll be back to normal by the first of March. "I want to do Omloop Het Volk and right up to and including Milan-San Remo. I'll lose a handful of UCI points now, but I can get that back in the big races. If I pull something out in a classic, then everything will be forgotten."
Zabel may go until 2005
The Mr Perpetual Motion of cycling, Erik Zabel, has indicated that he could ride for at least another two seasons with Telekom. He told German paper Bild that he was "not disinclined to still ride for many years with Telekom."
Telekom's team director Olaf Ludwig said that the relationship between the two parties, which started in 1993, could well continue. "After the classics in May we will offer him a new contract until 2005. We have a lot more interest in him, and if things go through, he could end his career with us."
Ullrich happy with training
Team Coast's Jan Ullrich has expressed his satisfaction with his recent mini-training camp in Tuscany, where he went with teammate Tobias Steinhauser, director Rudy Pevenage and girlfriend Gaby. Ullrich could train in relatively warm weather for up to six hours a day, which bodes well for his 2003 season.
"Only in the mornings and evenings it was too cold, with temperatures of around 1 to 2 degrees," wrote Ullrich on his website. "However during the day it became better with blue skies and 12 degrees."
"He is riding well, but the road is still long until Jan can ride fast again," said Pevenage.
No surgery for Fédrigo
Pierrick Fédrigo, who suffered two broken fingers in a crash in the Etoile de Bessèges, will not have to undergo surgery. The Credit Agricole rider is currently training indoors, his hand in a cast, but hopes to be back on the road in three weeks and back in competition by April.
Teams announced for Het Volk
The teams and provisional riders have been announced for the opening race of the Belgian season, Omloop Het Volk, which takes place on Saturday, March 1. Starting in Gent's Citadelpark, the race winds its way through the Vlaamse Ardennen, up many of the well known climbs in the area, before finishing in Lokeren.
The race is an important one for the Belgian teams, especially the pressured Lotto-Domo squad, which features last year's winner Peter van Petegem with the number 1 dossard. On the other side, Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step-Davitmon team will be sure to challenge for the victory with the likes of Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Johan Museeuw and Frank Vandenbroucke.
Full team list
Lotto-Domo (Van Petegem, McEwen)
Tour of Rhodes to go ahead as planned
Despite adverse weather conditions trapping some teams at Athens airport, the Tour of Rhodes (February 19-23) will go ahead as planned. The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and fakta teams were snowbound in Athens earlier in the week, and were not able to make the connection to Rhodes.
Team fakta reported that they were booked into a hotel and woken up at 2.30am on Tuesday morning with the message that a bigger plane would depart from Athens at 5.30am. The plane touched ground safely in Rhodes, but only two of the riders were lucky enough to have their bikes on the same flight. That means most of the riders will have to start the crucial prologue on reserve bikes.
It is the second time this season that air travel has caused Team fakta problems. On their way to the Tour de Langkawi at the end of January, the flight was delayed because one of the engines caught fire during take off.
The Tour of Rhodes organisers have assured Cyclingnews that "everything is OK" for the five day UCI 2.3 ranked tour.
Vuelta a Castilla y Leon requests date change
The organisers of Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, a UCI 2.3 stage race scheduled for April 30-May 4, have asked the UCI to move their race into dates left free by the cancellation of the Midi Libre (May 21-25). A planned visit by the pope to Spain during that time means that the race will not be broadcast on television if held on its original dates.
The only other race during the time of the Midi Libre is the Tour of Belgium (May 21-25). Riders such as Lance Armstrong, Oscar Sevilla, Joseba Beloki, and Jan Ullrich have already given their intention to compete in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon if the race is moved to May. A decision is expected from the UCI in a few weeks.
Spanish teams sign Vuelta agreement
The Spanish Teams Association and the organisers of the Vuelta España, Unipublic, will sign an agreement that will ensure their presence in the next three editions of the race. The contract will be signed on Thursday by Spanish Teams Association president Miguel Madariaga and treasurer Javier Valera, and the director general of Unipublic, Enrique Franco.
Cyclo-cross World Cup 2003/2004 news
The UCI has decided on the dates and venues for the five rounds of the 2003/2004 Cyclo-cross World Cup. Starting in St. Wendel, Germany on November 16, the series will travel to Wetzikon, Switzerland (December 7), Koksijde, Belgium (December 28), Nommay, France (January 18) and Pinacker, Netherlands (February 15).
There have also been a few changes to the World Cup rules, after a meeting between the UCI and the riders' representative, Erwin Vervecken on Monday. This coming season, the winner of the World Cup (Bart Wellens) will be given an automatic right to start in each round, meaning that Belgium can start up to seven riders in each event.
The awarding of double points for the final round that was used this year has been kept, despite many complaints that it was unfair. The UCI said that it will re-evaluate the points scoring system at the end of next season.
There will also be a World Cup for women introduced this coming season. In the past there has usually been a women's race at each World Cup, but no official series. Finally, the UCI voted that cyclo-cross riders will not be able to transfer any of their UCI points to the road. The 'cross riders hoped that by doing this, there would be more opportunities for them to be signed by major teams. At the moment, off-season publicity is what mainly motivates road teams to sign cyclo-crossers.
2003 Junior Track World Championships venue change
The UCI has announced that the venue for the 2003 Junior Track World Championships (August 20-27) has been changed. Due to the ongoing construction of the velodrome in St. Petersburg (Russia), the championships have been moved to Krylatskoye Velodrome in Moscow.
2003 AIS Women's Cycling Team launch
The AIS Women's Cycling team for 2003 was announced on Wednesday, February 19 at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. The eight woman team will remain at the AIS for two weeks of hard training and testing, before heading to their European base in Novellara, Italy on 9 March.
2003 will be a big year for the squad, as AIS Director Michael Scott commented. "The riders have an important year ahead of them with the World Cup series, the World Championships in Canada in October, and ultimately, selection in Australia's team for the Athens Olympics," Scott said.
"This year's team has already gone some way to fulfilling its potential with some excellent results domestically. Team member Olivia Gollan was crowned Australian Women's Road Race champion recently as well as winning silver in the Women's Time Trial."
Images by James Victor
Natalie Bates (AIS/NSWIS)
Geelong Women's World Cup news
Bates on a high after pursuit win
Katherine Bates flew into Sydney on Wednesday, fresh from her victory in the individual pursuit at the recent Moscow Track World Cup, and believes her new Power Plate Bik team will be one to watch when the Geelong Tour gets under way this Sunday. Bates headed to Moscow with good form after taking out the Geelong Bay Series last month but admits the Moscow conditions were a big shock.
"When we arrived it was minus 24 degrees and the warmest it got while we were there was minus five," said Bates, obviously relieved to be back in the Australian summer. "Even inside the track we were wearing leg and arm warmers and three jackets to try and stay warm, so it was far from ideal racing conditions."
But despite the cold Bates, posted a final ride of 3:40.747 to defeat Svetlana Ivahonenkava (Blr) by more than a second in the race for the gold medal. 2002 World Championship silver medallist Olga Slioussareva (Rus) was third.
"It's the first time I've won a World Cup or anything on that type of international level and to be faster than Olga on home territory was an awesome feeling," said Bates who was the bronze medallist in the World Championships in Copenhagen last year. "I had a big smile on my face after the win."
Bates will fly to Geelong tomorrow to meet up with her teammates, including Australian TT champion Sara Carrigan. "It's a new team for Sara and I but it's a really good unit of strong riders," said Bates. "We're out to prove that as a new outfit we have what it takes.
"Both Sara and I have some good early season form and the others have come in from Europe so the locals will be in the hot seat," said Bates. "That's fine because it means that if the racing doesn't go my way it could go Sara's way."
"We've got a group that's so experienced anyway that I expect we'll fit together pretty well but we'll use the days leading to get it perfect," said Bates.
The team also includes New Zealand's Kirsty Robb, Norwegian Anita Valen and Dutch pair Andrea Bosman and Sharon Van Essen.
Hanka Kupfernagel (Team Nürnberger) will not be racing in Australia. She will be replaced by compatriot Cornelia Cyrus, a past junior Points Race World Champion.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)