News for January 8, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
US Postal ready for 2003
The US Postal Service team announced its 2003 roster today, a 20 rider lineup that includes mostly familiar faces. Lance Armstrong and Roberto Heras will continue to lead the team for the big tours, while George Hincapie will lead another spring classics campaign.
"For the first time in a long time, we have been able to retain everyone from the Tour de France team and almost everyone from the team in general," Armstrong commented. "I think we have started to really hit our stride in terms of teamwork, communication and camaraderie. I'm looking forward to 2003 with these guys."
Johan Bruyneel appears equally enthusiastic about maintaining so many of his team members, and looks forward to another big year. "Competitively, we were able to maintain almost the entire 2002 team, which I felt was very important following our most successful season," he explained. "The fact we can go on basically with the same group of riders and staff, in which our three new riders really fit very well, is a good and comfortable feeling."
Those three new riders include former ex-Domo-Farm Frites (and former Motorola) rider Max van Heeswijk, Damon Kluck, and Guennadi Mikhailov.
"We all know each other, have the necessary experience and know what it takes to win," added Bruyneel. "That is also why we are planning to do more or less the same racing schedule as last year with the same goals - the spring classics, the U.S. Pro Championship, the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain."
The full US Postal roster for 2003:
2003 Paris-Nice presentation
The 2003 edition of Paris-Nice will be presented Wednesday, January 22 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside of Paris. The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), owners of the Tour de France and numerous other races, acquired Paris-Nice last year from Laurent Fignon. The former French Tour winner, who himself promotes several races, was unable to secure all necessary funding for the Paris-Nice, which had suffered financially in recent years.
The 61st Paris-Nice will take place March 9-16, 2003, likely beginning in Issy-les-Moulineaux. Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc will be on hand to present this year's parcours, along with Daniel Baal, director of cycling for ASO.
FDJeux 'cross assault
No fewer than four riders from the FDJeux.com team will take their shots at the French cyclo-cross nationals, to be held in Nommay on January 12. Sandy Casar, Jimmy Casper, David Derepas, and former national champion Christophe Mengin will take to the line, according to French newspaper l'Equipe. Indeed, team manager Marc Madiot highlighted his interest in cyclo-cross at the team's presentation in Paris on December 13. Derepas, 23, has already achieved a second place at the nationals, riding for Phonak in 2002.
"This year, we recruited David Derepas specifically to try for the jersey of French national champion," Madiot explained. "For the other three, cyclo-cross will help in their preparation for the beginning of the (road) season."
Michele Bartoli crashes in training
Fassa Bortolo's Michele Bartoli suffered a crash during a training ride in Spain. According to team spokeswoman Myriam Nordemann, Bartoli's injuries are not too serious, but the accident may delay his preparation for Milan-San Remo, his first major objective for 2003. Bartoli will return to Italy in the next few days to see a specialist and undergo further evaluation.
Godefroot pulls no punches
Telekom manager Walter Godefroot reportedly has few kind words for his recently departed directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage. "The reasons he cited for leaving seemed acceptable to me: he wanted a calmer life, more time with his wife, and he even thought about taking a one year sabbatical," said Godefroot. "Now I learn another version of the story; his departure was linked with that of Jan Ullrich.
"For me, he no longer exists. The Ullrich-Pevenage duo may be gone, but it's replaced by Botero, Aerts, Savoldelli, and Evans," he continued. "The future will teach us who was wise."
Igor Flores retires
Igor Flores, the 29 year old Spanish rider from Euskaltel has bid farewell to the world of cycling after six seasons in the professional ranks. Igor, whose brother Iker is also a pro, failed to find a team for 2003 either inside the Spanish borders (Costa de Almeria and Labarca 2 - Baqué were the most recent teams approached) or elsewhere.
Throughout his six years career as professional rider, Igor Flores won 3 stages in stage races: at the 1997 Ruta Azetca, at the 2001 Vuelta a La Rioja, and finally last season at the Vuelta a Mallorca. He was one of those honest riders that gave life to many races thanks to his love for breakaways.
Flores ended his career at #535 in the UCI rankings with only 93 points, surely much less than Igor's fighting spirit would deserve.
Courtesy: João Cravo
Piccoli under investigation
Italian pro Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) will face charges of sporting fraud in Trento, Italy, stemming from doping allegations from the 1999 Giro d'Italia. Piccoli appeared before magistrate Burno Giardina in a tribunal in Trento. The date of Piccoli's next hearing has yet to be announced.
NSW Mountain Bike Summer Series
Round two of the NSW Mountain bike XC Summer Series will be held at Termeil on the South Coast, March 8 and 9 2003, as part of the Ulladulla Summer Games. The three stage cross country race includes a 3.5km time trial, a point to point race, and a 35km circuit race.
The general category will be calculated on a points basis not by overall time. All stages need not be completed to get points for the overall placing. Courses will be open for practice on the Friday before competition. All riders must have a Cycling Federation license or obtain a day license for the event.
For more information or entry forms phone Nick Smee at 02: 4457 2022 or Allan Dale 4455 4768. More information is also available on the web at www.ulladulla.info/summergames
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)