International News for January 7, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Cyclingnews awards: Top 10 Nordic Moments
The Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, represent a small but significant part of the international cycling peloton. This year, riders from those countries performed very well, with a couple of World Championships, a Classic and a Tour stage win to name but a few. Cyclingnews' Scandinavian correspondent Tomas Nilsson outlines what he felt were the most significant happenings in Cyclingnews Top 10 Nordic Moments.
Riis confirms Ullrich deal off
CSC's team manager Bjarne Riis has again confirmed that negotiations with Jan Ullrich are off, after six months of trying to woo the German star to the Danish team. "I don't really know what's happened but I'm not spending any more time working on bringing Jan to our team," said Riis to BBC Sport. "I'm frustrated because we put half a year into trying to bring him to the team. The last one or two days have proved fruitless and I realise it's time for me to stop this."
Riis added that while he was frustrated, he was not angry about it. The team will not be contracting any more top riders for this season, however it may sign "one or two new faces," according to Riis.
Meanwhile, the tension in the Team Coast camp - another candidate for Ullrich's signature - continues to mount, in light of several rider non-payment issues from 2002. The recently retired Mauro Gianetti is taking the team to court claiming it owes him 180,000 euros. However, Coast's manager Marcel WŁst said that Gianetti did not meet all his contractual requirements, including earning a certain number of UCI points, hence his complaint was unjustified.
Tonkov set to sign for CCC-Atlas-Polsat
Poland's CCC-Atlas-Polsat team is hoping to sign Russian rider Pavel Tonkov within the next few days. The Division II squad wants all the help it can get in trying to snare one of the remaining Division I spots, and that includes a possible merger with French team BigMat. Polish sports site www.sports.pl reports that CCC team director Andrzej Sypytkowski received the proposal from the French, but has yet to reply until all aspects of the proposition are considered.
Courtesy of Marek Jankowski
Laszlo Bodrogi awarded
By Roland Gombkoto, Nemzeti Sport
Hungarian individual time trial champion Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick Step-Davitamon, ex-Mapei-Quick Step) has been voted rider of the year in Hungary, by the Hungarian Cycling Federation. It is the sixth time that he has won this title.
Bodrogi won the prologue of Paris-Nice, a stage of the Tour of Denmark and the GP Eddy Merckx (dual TT with Fabian Cancellara) in 2002. He is the first cyclist from his country to compete in the Tour de France, where he was third in stage 19, the final ITT. Bodrogi was fourth at the ITT World Championships in Belgium, and he starts the new year as number 36 on the UCI rankings, certainly the highest ranked Hungarian rider.
Bodrogi was also named by the Hungarian national sports daily, Nemzeti Sport, as Runner Up Athlete of the Year, behind the three times World Champion and three times European Champion kayak racer, Katalin Kovacs.
JP Van Zyl wants Hunter for Olympic madison
South African trackie JP van Zyl will partner Italian Adriano Baffi in the upcoming Six Days of Bremen which begins on Thursday, January 9. Baffi finished last year off in fine style by partnering fellow-Italian Marco Villa to take the Six Days of Grenoble in November, in a meeting in which South Africans Van Zyl and Robert Hunter featured prominently.
"If Hunter and I get the chance to ride as a madison pairing in the Athens Olympics next year, we will bring home a medal for Team SA and make people sit up and take notice of SA cycling," said a confident Van Zyl, prior to his departure to Germany.
"I can't promise what colour our madison medal will be, but I believe in my ability and along with a class rider in Robbie Hunter, am sure that we would be able to go all the way and claim gold."
Van Zyl will also be riding in the Six Days of Berlin, and possibly the Six Days of Copenhagen, provided a venue is found. There he would be partnered by Olympic sprint champion Marty Nothstein.
In this year's first track World Cup event in Moscow, Van Zyl announced that he will partner Robbie Dale in the madison. "Dale can read a race, which is of great importance at international level," said Van Zyl. "One can have the strength of 100 cavemen or the speed of a leopard, but it means nothing if a rider cannot read an endurance distance race at international track level. With Hunter unavailable due to international team commitments, I feel comfortable in selecting Dale as my madison partner for the World Cup meeting in Moscow."
Van Zyl's second World Cup outing of the year will be when the South African Cycling Federation host the third leg World Cup meeting at the Bellville Velodrome, from April 11-13.
Marx to retire
World powerlifting champion turned track cyclist Ingeborg Marx has indicated that she will stop cycling, but has not revealed her future plans. The multiple Belgian champion told TV1 at the recent Belgian Omnium championships that she'd had enough.
Jelly Belly announces 2003 roster
Confectionery sponsored US division III team Jelly Belly-Carlsbad Clothing Company has announced its lineup for 2003. The team, now in its fourth year, welcomes back eight riders from last year, with Danny Van Haute remaining as team director. The team will participate in 100 races in the coming season with the National Racing Calendar as its main focus. The team will also be attending non-NRC races which need support from US Trade Teams as well. Finally, the team will be more active in Track racing and also anticipates a trip to Europe.
The team will hold its preseason training camp in San Marcos, CA from February 28 through March 9.
Team director: Danny Van Haute
Ben Brooks (Aus)
Jelly Belly Candy Company
Flanders-iteamNova ready for action
The newly formed Flanders-iteamNova.com team will make its Australian debut at the Jayco Geelong Bay Classic, which runs from January 8-12. Led by David McKenzie, the five man squad hopes to get the year off to a good start with a race win there. The other team members will be Jamie Drew, Alan Iacuone, Trent Wilson and Jurgen Landrie.
Flanders-iteamNova is a result of the fusion between the Australian iteamNova and the Belgian Flanders teams. The plan for the team is to grow over the next couple of years to become one of the top teams in cycling, with the emphasis on growth rather than an over eager push to the top.
The team is not financed by a commercial sponsor, but is funded by the public through membership subscriptions. This is rare, but not unheard of, in professional cycling. Other teams such as Euskaltel and Casino (now Ag2r) also used this concept to build their teams from a club base, and more recently British Endurasport.com have cloned the iteamnova.com concept.
Membership to the Flanders-iTeamnova.com team costs between AUS$143-220, and can be obtained by logging onto www.iteamnova.com.
Ronny Assez (Bel)
Logistics crew ready
The nature of the 2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under means the logistic crew must relocate and rebuild the race on each of the six days of the event. Two separate teams will operate using two sets of infrastructure, with one in charge of the stage starts and the other the stage finishes. Each setup involves barricades, start/finish line arches, signage, staging, sanitary facilities, public address systems and myriad other equipment.
For example Stage 1, the East End Adelaide Street Race, will require the crew to set up 2.5 kilometres of crowd barricades (approximately one thousand individual barricades) and Stage 6, the Adelaide City Council Circuit, requires the crew to lay out 4 kilometres of barricades (approximately 1600).
Fuelling the riders
The Adelaide Hilton chefs will serve up approximately 500 kilograms of pasta to keep the 96 riders fuelled up for racing. But that's not all the riders will eat. Whilst most people might struggle in the mornings to face a couple of pieces of toast and a coffee, cyclists, as we know, have to stock up on the calories.
On average each rider will consume 5000 calories a day, which equates to around 30 sandwiches. Breakfast is likely to consist of a large bowl of cereal, fruit and lots of bread, while the evening meal is similar to what anyone would eat for three meals. Pasta, vegetables, a meat dish, yoghurt and fruit. Lunch is often consumed on the bike with pre-packed snacks like fruit cake, energy bars and bananas being stuffed into jersey pockets in case of hunger. After breakfast, but before the race, the riders will continue to snack, and after each stage will again go in search of food in their constant battle to keep their energy levels high.
Added to the cyclist's diets are a constant supply of water (several litres per day) and energy drinks to combat the dehydration of racing in Australian summer conditions.
Telekom team change
Team Telekom has advised that German rider Dirk Reichl will replace Gian Matteo Fagnini in the starting list.
More information: www.tourdownunder.com.au
Le Tour de Langkawi live telecast
This year's Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi will, for the first time, be broadcast live in over 60 countries, an important milestone for the race. Cycling fans throughout the region are expected to catch the action live during the tour, which will make its way through the northern reaches of the country. With the exception of the opening stage, the remaining nine days will be shown live for 90 minutes each day.
"This is a very big step forward for the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi. It will put us on par with the major races in the world," said First Cartel Chairman Datuk Wan Lokman Dato Paduka Wan Ibrahim.
Last year was the first time that the race was aired live, but only in Malaysia. Its success, demonstrated by the fact that millions around the country tuned in for one hour each day, prompted TV channel RTM to extend the coverage by another 30 minutes. This year, RTM will carry the event live in Malaysia, while ESPN STAR will broadcast it to over 60 countries.
The telecasts will begin at 2.30pm and end around 4pm. The first day's proceedings, which will take place in Langkawi in the morning, will be aired as a delayed telecast. The live telecast of Stage 8 on February 7 will take place from 4.30pm to 6.00pm. The final day's Criterium, to be held in Kuala Lumpur, will be available live from 3.00pm to 5.30pm.
Route change for Trust House Cycle Classic
Race Director, Mr Jorge Sandoval, announced today a slight change in the race route for the Trust House Cycle Classic, which takes place in New Zealand from February 5-9. Sandoval said that the Rimutaka Hill section will not be a part of Stage 2 this year.
"We are aware that over the last couple of years, closing the hill road for just a short time has inconvenienced some motorists. It is obvious that the Wairarapa is seeing more visitors travel over the hill and with the Rimutaka stage of the Cycle Classic coinciding with the race day at Tauherenikau and a public holiday (Waitangi Day) it just isn't practical to have the cyclists racing over the hill under those circumstances. Almost 6000 people will drive to the races on that day," said Race Director Sandoval.
This year "Day 2" will start in Featherston and head straight up State Highway 2. This will provide the first opportunity for people in Greytown and Carterton to view the race passing through their towns. In previous years the race has travelled up the Wairarapa via Martinborough & Gladstone.
"The absence of the Rimutaka Hill will not make the stage any easier", said Sandoval. "The competitors will have to race north through Masterton, turn right towards Castlepoint and then left onto Highway 52 and travel as far north as Dryers Rock Road. The windy nature of the highway and the tortuous small climb at the start of Dryers Rock Road will mean the front runners will have to stay in close contact with each other, as some decisive breaks could be made through this section," Sandoval said.
Riders then head back into Masterton through Mauriceville and finish outside the Information Centre in Dixon Street. The stage is 110 km and will be a challenge to all riders, particularly if the traditional Wairarapa heat is present as well.
The competitors have little time to recover with the third stage, a 45 km criterium in Dixon & Church streets, scheduled for later that afternoon.
With many national and international teams confirming their entries, Sandoval expects to announce some of the international riders coming to the tour within the next few days.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)