First Edition News for July 2, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Ullrich becomes a Dad
As of eight past three yesterday afternoon, Jan Ullrich became a father to his first child, daughter Sarah Maria, delivered at Freiburg University Hospital.
According to Ullrich's website, janullrich.de, his girlfriend Gaby had a quite a complicated and difficult birth, with the operation requiring a Caesarian section. However, both Gaby and Sarah Maria are now doing fine, and today Ullrich drives to Switzerland to pack his bags for the Tour, flying out to Paris at midday.
"I could dance on clouds," said a delighted Ullrich. "These hours will never be forgotten; Sarah Maria's birth gives me more motivation for the Tour de France, and as I fly to Paris, my thoughts are with my girlfriend and daughter."
McEwen seeing green
By Anthony Tan
Last year's champion in the points competition at the Tour de France, Robbie McEwen, has started to come good just in time to defend his green jersey title at the Centenary Tour.
A left-knee injury sustained at the Tour Down Under when McEwen was in winning position to win overall began McEwen's rollercoaster ride this season. Subsequent abandons at the Tour Méditerranéen and Paris-Nice left the 31 year old Australian and his punters wondering, however, things started improving at the end of March with an impressive win at the Dwars door Vlaanderen.
His form continued to improve until mid-April at Scheldeprijs, but McEwen's luck turned sour once again when was caught in a bad crash with just two kilometres remaining.
"You've always got to rate your season based on what you've been through," said McEwen in an interview with Cyclingnews. "Last year everything went perfectly and I won one race after another; this year, I've had my injury at the Tour Down Under, then I came back from that a little too quickly and over did it, then I got sick, and then I had a big crash in Scheldeprijs."
McEwen may have gone down, but he wasn't out: the pocket rocket came back firing at the Giro d'Italia, winning two stages and quelling sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi's incredible run, albeit only for a few days. His most recent win in stage two of the Tour de Suisse was a significant morale booster, and McEwen says he now feels ready for another shot at the maillot vert.
"I think anybody who can go and win Dwars door Vlaanderen, two Giro stages and a stage in the Tour de Suisse could already say they've had a good season, and now my most important race is coming up, so I'm pretty happy with things so far," said McEwen.
Asked about his main rivals in the game for green, McEwen lists Erik Zabel, Stuart O'Grady, Baden Cooke and Alessandro Petacchi as 'real' threats. In terms of tactics, that's yet to be decided: "Last year, I probably gave away about 25 points not doing the intermediate sprints for the first four or five days, so that's something I'll have to consider over the next few days to decide exactly what my tactics will be."
(See also: Cyclingnews interview with Robbie McEwen)
Vogels slowly recovering
By Anthony Tan
Following Henk Vogels' terrible accident at the Tour of Fitchburg less than a week ago, the Navigators rider has been making sound but slow progress on his road to recovery.
Navigators team manager Ed Beamon told Cyclingnews that the head trauma Vogels experienced has virtually disappeared, but it remains to be seen whether the triple break to his ankle will heal properly. It was also revealed yesterday by Henk's wife Cindy that Vogels has a compound fracture to his veterbra.
"[The doctors] are really not sure yet; there's still a lot of swelling in his ankle, and until the swelling goes down, they can't really assess exactly what kind of rehab is going to be necessary to get the ankle back in shape," said Beamon, who has been carefully following Vogels' progress since the accident. "That's really his biggest problem right now in terms of cycling. He did crack a vertebra, but the time he spends in rehab for his ankle should be plenty of time for his back to repair."
Beamon also echoed Cindy Vogels' comments in relation to the compulsory helmet laws in the United States, and is certain the decision to wear a helmet saved Vogels' life.
"They don't look like much, but actually work pretty damn good," he said. "They break apart just enough to take away most of the concussion; I hate to think what could have happened had he not being wearing his helmet."
Once Henk is well enough, he will leave Massachusetts University Hospital to for initial rehabilitation, and once he is fit enough to travel, he will return back to his home on the Gold Coast in Australia, where he and his wife are expecting the birth of their second child.
UCI happy with Hamilton world's preparations
UCI technical delegate Charly Mottet says that only a some little details need to be corrected for the 2003 World Road Race Championships (scheduled for October 6-12, 2003 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) to be successful, according to World's organizers.
Mottet was in Hamilton this past weekend for the Tim Hortons Canadian National Championships, which was being used as a test event for the 2003 World's. Mottet pronounced himself very satisfied with the operation of the race, and in particular felt the 12.4lm road race course was "excellent."
Asked what sort of rider would do well on the Hamilton course, Mottet, whose pro career included a second place in the 1986 world championships, said, "[It] is a hard course that will not necessarily favour climbers or sprinters, it will take a very complete rider to win. The spectators along the course were very enthusiastic for all the riders on Sunday not just the Canadians. I believe we can look forward to a successful Road Worlds in Hamilton in October."
Organisers claim that over 10,000 spectators lined the course on Sunday for the road races. Pierre Hutsebaut, Hamilton 2003 Technical Director said, "We learned a lot from this event as it was the first time we could see the course without any traffic. From a sporting side, the Worlds will be a success. I think the road race course is one of the best five in cycling history, and one of the most difficult."
TDS riders head to Europe
Four riders from the US-based TDS High-Speed Women's Cycling Team are crossing the Atlantic for the first half of July for some high-standard European racing. Canadian Anne Samplonuis will join her national teamin France for the Tour of Brittany while three riders will hook up withother teams for the women's Giro d'iTalia. Helen Kelly will be racing with Danish Team S.A.T.S, and Joan Wilson and Shawn Heidgen will be racing for Italian-based Fanini Team System Data
Wilson is a Giro veteran, but this is the first European stage race experience for Kelly and Heidgen. "We see this as a chance of a lifetime-to gain some valuable race experience before returning to the U.S. for the last few months of the race season," said team manager, Karl Heidgen.
Heidi Van De Vijver back on the bike
Luckless Vlaanderen-T Interim Ladies Team rider Heidi Van De Vijver has started training again after her second serious crash of the season. Van De Vijver suffered a broken elbow in a training crash on May 17 and underwent surgery to repair the damage; she is only now able to put gentle pressure on the arm and doesn't yet have full extension.
Van De Vijver's doctor, Lieven Maesschalck, who treated also Johan Museeuw and Frank Vandenbroucke after their crashes, believes she will be able to race again at the beginning of August.
Her May tumble followed a pair of crashes in the Primavera Rosa after which Van De Vijver was suspected of having a broken hip, a diagnosis that fortunately turned out to be incorrect.
Women's Giro d'Italia this weekend
The Tour de France isn't the only major stage race starting this weekend; the women's edition of the Giro d'Italia rolls out in Grumo Nevano in the south of Italy on July 4 with a 2.2km prologue time trial. Italy's premier women's race finishes with a time trial into Venice on July 13.
Teams & main riders
US Chirio Forno D'Asolo: Zinaida Stahurkaia (2000 world champion, winner
2002 Grand Boucle Feminine), Simona Parente
Prologue - July 4: Grumo Nevano, 2.2km
Tour de Gastown seeks volunteers
The Steamworks Tour de Gastown in Vancouver, British Columbia, July 23 is looking for volunteers to help with event activities such as registration, banner/signage, volunteer check-in, road marshaling and set-up and takedown of the event.
Volunteer incentives include tasty food, a commemorative t-shirt and a front row view of the action. To take part, call Tatiana Micenko (604) 215-0306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)