First Edition News for February 27, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
VDB can't train with Quick Step, but looking good for Het Volk
By Jeff Jones
A bizarre consequence of Frank Vandenbroucke's suspension from Flemish races for possessing illegal drugs, is that he is not allowed to train with his Quick Step teammates on Flemish territory. The suspension is due to run out on Friday, just in time for Het Volk, and Frank is obviously hungry to do well in this race.
In an almost laughable situation, he was told by the Flemish government that he could not join his Quick Step buddies during their reconnoitring of the Het Volk parcours today, as the suspension applies to organised group training as well as racing. Team manager Patrick Lefevere couldn't believe it. "Then we'll let him ride a hundred metres behind the group, right?," he told Het Nieuwsblad.
Despite the silliness of it all, with his suspension so close to being over, Frank and his entourage refused to take any risks. Indeed, he was spotted - alone, talking on his mobile phone - at the bottom of Kluisbergen today, and latched onto what was then the Cofidis/Team fakta Het Volk training bunch. He also showed no signs of any knee problems, as he calmly rode up the 2.2 km cobbled climb of Oude Kwaremont, dropping most of the Cofidis crew, who were definitely not tapping along at an easy tempo. He covered 220 km in total during his solo training ride.
It could be bravado, but Frank is looking good again.
Dont miss our live coverage of the 58th Omloop Het Volk, starting approximately 11:45 local time (5:45 EST/2:45 PST/23:45 AEDT).
Rabobank substitutes three for Het Volk
The Rabobank team has been forced to change three of its riders for this Saturday's 58th Omloop Het Volk. Steven de Jongh, Karsten Kroon and Robert Bartko are all out, after suffering from bronchitis last week. They will be replaced by Roy Sentjens, Bobbie Traksel and Kevin de Weert.
Rabobank will be led by Oscar Freire, with Jan Boven, Mathew Hayman, Robert Hunter and Marc Wauters the other riders.
BankGiroLoterij without Koerts
Dutch sprinter Jans Koerts will not be joining the BankGiroLoterij team in Het Volk, due to injuries (bruised ribs) suffered from a crash in the Tour of Rhodes last week. He will also miss Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne a day later, and will be replaced by Jeroen Blijlevens there.
Dierckxsens looks good
Despite being sick at the beginning of this week, Landbouwkrediet's Ludo Dierckxsens will more than likely line up for Het Volk on Saturday. He will do his final training ride on Thursday.
Konyshev misses early season
Experienced Russian campaigner Dmitri Konyshev (Marlux) has been forced out of the first part of the season due to a pinched nerve back. The injury is giving him pain in his left knee, and he will have to have an operation. He hopes to be back within 6 weeks, which means he is unlikely to be racing until May 1 at the earliest.
Berden signs for three years
Cyclo-crosser Ben Berden (Vlaanderen-T Interim) has signed a three year contract to ride with the John Saey-Deschacht team, managed by Roger de Vlaeminck. His contract with Vlaanderen runs out at the end of 2003, which means he will ride with John Saey-Deschacht through 2006.
Teams finalised for Tour de Georgia
A total of 18 teams have been signed up to ride the inaugural Tour de Georgia, which takes place from April 22-27. Sidermec, Flanders IteamNova and Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave are the most recent additions to the list, which includes Rabobank and a Dutch national team, as well as the main U.S. and Canadian teams. The full team list is as follows:
O'Loughlin To Miss Cycleways Cup
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
2002 winner Martin O'Loughlin will miss the chance to defend his title in this Sunday's Cycleways Cup due to injuries sustained in a freak training accident. The Cidona Carrick rider had won the last two editions of the race but now will be sidelined for the early season, a time when he traditionally is one of the strongmen of the bunch.
"Contrary to some reports, I won't be going for 3 in a row in the Cycleways Cup," he told Irishcycling.com. "I was flying in training up to a fortnight ago, but during a sprint session my stem snapped and I broke my elbow and collarbone. The elbow was operated on in Waterford Regional Hospital and tension wires were inserted - however, the resultant swelling has put added pressure on the collarbone. It's still swinging around and may need pinning."
"It's a pity, because I won't be able to defend 3 of the races I won in 2002 - the Cycleways Cup, the Bill Hyland Memorial in Clonmel and the Silver Pail Grand Prix in Fermoy. Anyway, that's bike riding. As the banner in the CI handbook says, "Cycling has never been so exciting..."
50th Lacey Cup preview
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The Earl of Desmond/Tralee Bicycle Club will certainly herald in the new cycling season with the 50th edition of the Lacey Cup on Sunday (March 2nd) at mid-day. Normally the first race of the season, but not on this occasion, the event shares the limelight billing with the Cycleways Cup in Navan, Co. Meath at 12.30.
Added to this, the Earl of Desmond have secured this year a double sponsorship for the day's activities. Pat McDonnell Paints Ltd, Mile Height, Tralee is delighted to be associated with this edition of the Lacey Cup. They have previously supported Tralee Bicycle Clubs famous 'Conor Pass' leisure tour. Also on the listing is the Big Little Bike Shop, Woodlawn Road, Killarney who have donated a pair of Mavic Cosmos Racing Wheels worth over €260 for a points competition within the race. Three locations have been earmarked for bonus points during the event and the winner gets the wheels.
The route for the race will remain as before. A neutralised race cavalcade will roll from the Earl of Desmond Hotel to the Dingle Road. Riders of Junior, S3, S2, S1 and Veterans will be started at intervals and the race will proceed through Blennerville, Camp, Annascaul (noted worldwide for its breathtaking walks and scenery), Inch, Castlemaine and on to the finish in Tralee. Last year saw an exceptionally fast run race. The placings were decided on the last climb of the day, where the remains of the initial 70-strong field was left behind by a select group of riders. Some to Seán Kelly's descent of the Poggio likened the descent into Tralee during Milan-San Remo in the golden era of Irish cycling. Last years top riders Tipperary rider Eddie O'Donoghue (winner), Paul Griffin (Earl of Desmond-Tralee Bicycle Club), Richie Cahill (Cork) and Seán Lacey (Earl of Desmond-Tralee Bicycle Club) will be determined to defend or improve their reputations this year.
Added to this the mild winter has provided the perfect preparation conditions for this race and the cycle racing season ahead. Paul Griffin the most travelled competitor in Irish cycling last season has been training very diligently over the winter and is looking forward to showing how it should be done this season. With the help of Earl of Desmond-TBC riders Seán Lacey, Thomas Hogan and Kieran McMahon, the fiftieth edition of the Lacey Cup should be one to remember.
On paper it looks as the locals hold the key as to where the prizes will end up, but possibly Eddie O'Donoghue who has now defected to the Usher Irish Road could upset the planned festivities on behalf of the promoting club who aim to mark the 50th with a resounding win. Eddie in previous years had the backing of the Carrick Cidona Club, but he'll find it extremely difficult if he is to succeed. In all probability, Paul Griffin will make it a day to remember for this progressive club in the Kingdom.
Sign-on from 10am, at the Earl of Desmond Hotel, 3 miles from Tralee on the Limerick / Killarney road.
Race leaves the hotel at 11:45 and is neutralised to the Dingle Road.
Rider Categories are Vets, Women, S3, S2, S1 and Junior. Handicaps will apply.
The race is sponsored by Pat McDonnells Paint Sales Mile Height, Tralee, with Mavic Cosmos Wheels sponsored by the Big Little Bike Shop.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)