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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition News for June 4, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones

Salanson autopsy inconclusive

Fabrice Salanson winning a stage of GP Midi-Libre in 2002
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

The autopsy performed yesterday on French rider Fabrice Salanson, who died in his sleep on Monday night in his hotel room in Dresden, Germany, failed to discover the cause of the Brioche la Boulangere rider's death, according to reports from AP and Reuters. Police spokesman Detlef Gasch said that investigations were continuing.

Salanson was in Dresden for the start of the Tour of Germany. The event's director Roland Hofer said that no medicine was found in Salanson's room, and his medical documents did not suggest a possible cause of death.

"Salanson rode a race on Sunday. Last night he still felt well and went to bed early," Hofer said.

Race doctor Georg Huber visited the Brioche la Boulangere team's hotel on Monday to treat a team member for a minor problem, but Salanson did not ask to see him. "Everything was normal," said Huber.

After a deeply shocked Brioche la Boulangere team pulled out of the Tour of Germany, riders held a minute's silence to honour Salanson before the start of the first stage to Altenberg.

Salanson's sudden death stunned his fellow racers. "I was in the same hotel and the other riders were in a state of complete shock," Gerolsteiner rider Udo Bölts told Reuters. "They didn't know what to say."

"When Bölts told me about it before the start, it was a real shock," said Telekom's Erik Zabel. "Of course, I'm affected by such a tragedy."

Rumsas satisfied with Giro

"If anyone had predicted before the start that I would finish in the top 10 I would have been delighted," commented Lampre's Raimondas Rumsas in an interview with Lietuvos Rytas after the Giro. "Sixth place in a race as prestigious as the Giro is a very satisfactory result".

Rumsas was Lampre's best rider in the Giro d'Italia, despite only starting the race as a supporting rider for Francesco Casagrande, who abandoned on stage 18. In fact, Rumsas only found out he was riding the Giro a week before it started, which is not the ideal way to prepare for a three week tour.

"My role at the start was to help Casagrande, however on the first difficult mountain stage finishing on Terminillo, I rode better than Casagrande - the Lampre DS's were a little bit disappointed in him," said Rumsas, who traded places with Casagrande until the latter eventually abandoned, suffering from stomach problems. After that, it was up to Rumsas and Wladimir Belli to carry the Lampre flag to Milan, although it did seem that they were riding as co-leaders, rather than one helping the other.

With the Tour de France definitely off the program this year for Lampre after the Edita Rumsas scandal of last year, Raimondas Rumsas said that he will concentrate now on the Vuelta España in September and the World Championships in Hamilton in October.

Euskal Bizikleta preview

The major Spanish stage race this week is the Euskal Bizikleta (Bicicleta Vasca), which runs between June 4 - 8 over six stages. It's a 2.1 classed race, and will attract all the Spanish teams, in particular those building up for the Tour de France. Riders like Joseba Beloki (ONCE), Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel), Leonardo Piepoli (iBanesto), Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme), Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), Txema Del Olmo (Milaneza) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will be present, along with foreigners such as Mario Aerts (Telekom) and Romans Vainsteins (Vini Caldirola) in the 120 rider field.

The race is generally quite hilly, with two tough days on Stage 3 (Aizarnazabal to Santuario Virgen de Oro) and Stage 5 (ETB (Iurreta) to Arrate (Eibar)). The final stage includes three Cat. 1 climbs, and could well change the classification after the 16.5 km time trial in Deba on Saturday afternoon.

The teams

ONCE - Eroski, Lampre, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone,, Paternina - Costa De Almeria, Maia-Milaneza - MSS, Kelme - Costa Blanca, Domina Vacanze - Elitron, Saunier Duval - Vini Caldirola, Labarca-2 Café Baque, Team Telekom, Rabobank, Colchon Relax - Fuenlabrada, Mercatone Uno - Scanavino, Marlux - Wincor Nixdorf

The stages

Stage 1 - June 4: Eibar - Ispaster, 146.5 km
Stage 2 - June 5: Ispaster - Aizarnazabal 167,2 km
Stage 3 - June 6: Aizarnazabal - Santuario Virgen de Oro, 187,6 km
Stage 4a - June 7: Murgia - Deba-Itziar 87,4 km
Stage 4b - June 7: Deba - Deba ITT, 16,5 km
Stage 5 - June 8: ETB (Iurreta) - Arrate (Eibar) 147,9 km

No Dekker in Tour

Erik Dekker will not be part of the Rabobank team for the Tour de France, as he doesn't consider himself fit enough to race it due to ongoing injury problems. Dekker wrote on his website today that "I have decided with the team doctor, team leaders and management to now forfeit the start for the Tour de France this year... the knee and the region around it is still playing up. Through that I don't have enough kilometres in my legs to make it to the start on July 5 in reasonable condition."

Rabobank's pre-selection for the Tour is as follows: Michael Boogerd, Bram de Groot, Steven de Jongh, Addy Engels, Marc Lotz, Marc Wauters, Oscar Freire, Levi Leipheimer, Beat Zberg, Grischa Niermann and Robert Hunter.

Prosecutors answer appeals in Rennes 'pot Belge' case

The prosecution in the Rennes 'pot belge' case (not to be confused with the Perpignan 'pot belge' case) has defended the sentences handed down in January to Patrick Béon, Jean-Yves Verger, Serge Begnati, and Philippe Tomasina. Béon, Verger and Begnati were sentenced to a year in prison plus two year's suspension, and Begnati received a 10 month sentence plus 20 months suspended.

"The sentences seem to me to be appropriate, measured and balanced," said prosecutor Pierre Avignon. "We have here a case of trafficking in narcotics. There was a real intention of profit. We did not mislead in the lawsuit. This is not a case [simply] of doping, or of the French Cycling Federation."

Patrick Béon, a former team-mate of double Tour de France winner Bernard Thevenet, claimed family and financial problems drove him to sell approximately 400 'pots', while Jean-Yves Orchard, who received a suspended sentence, was presented by his lawyers as a large-scale consumer who was not trying to profit from the sale of 'pots belge' despite having been found to have sold about 450 'pots'.

The lawyers for the defendants said the lawsuit was an attack on the world of cycling where doping belonged to the culture. They said their clients had suffered enough and asked for all the sentences to be suspended.

The appeals were adjourned to July 1.

The Rennes case began October 30, 2000 when a customs control in Mons-en-Bareuil found about thirty flasks of caffeine and amphetamine mixture in a car coming into France from the Netherlands. The package was intended for Patrick Béon and subsequent investigation showed approximately a thousand flasks had been imported between October 1997 October 2000.

Million bucks on offer for Pro Cycling Tour

Pro Cycling Tour organizer Threshold Sports has put up a million dollar prize for any rider who can win the series' three top races: the Wachovia USPRO Championship in Philadelphia on June 8; New York City Cycling Championship presented by BMC Software on August 3; and the T-Mobile International, presented by BMC Software in San Francisco on September 14 (better known as the san Francisco GP).

The last rider to win a million dollar prize for a race series like this was a promising young member of the Motorola team called Lance Armstrong. Armstrong won the Thrift Drug Triple Crown including the equivalent of today's Wachovia USPRO Championship, then called the CoreStates USPRO Championship, in Philadelphia.

Lehigh Veloce charity ride open to non-members

The Lehigh Wheelmen Association has announced that its annual 'Veloce' meet-and-ride, scheduled this year for June 14, will be open to non-members for a nominal fee.

This year's Veloce will raise funds for Community Bike Works, a body that develops and uses peer role models, adult mentors, and bicycles to draw boys and girls, ages 9 to 17, into the Earn-a-Bike program and away from drugs, crime and violence. In the 13-week Earn-a-Bike program, kids learn mechanics, teamwork, commitment, responsibilities and deferred rewards. Kids earn a recycled bike and a new helmet for their efforts.

"The ride features 4 options, 22-, 38-, 50- and 56-mile loops," said ride coordinator Ron Krikorian of the Wheelmen. "Some people like to combine a couple of loops to increase their mileage." Each loop has a rest stop with water and bathroom facilities. The 50 and 56 mile loop rest stops will also have food.

Krikorian has been a member of the wheelmen for six years, and has also been a volunteer for community bike works for seven years. "I thought it would be great if the club could raise some money for Community Bike Works, doing what we do best, riding our bikes."

For more information see

Change of venue for Pedro's MTB festival

This year's ninth edition of the Pedro's New England Mountain Bike Festival will be held at a slightly different venue, according to the organizers. The August 8-10 event, claimed to be America's largest mountain bike festival, will be held at the Brodie Mountain Cross Country Ski Area, less than a mile from the previous venue at Lanesboro.

Organisers said the new site would be easier to find and more secluded from Lanesboro residents, citing the growth of the event as a reason for the move.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)