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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for June 8, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Wachovia USPRO Championship preview

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Mark Walters celebrates in 2002
Photo: © Jon Devich
Click for larger image

After 19 years, the USPRO Championships is well established as one of the top one-day races in the world. This year's field is probably the best ever assembled to compete for Sunday's $40,000 first prize. Last year's surprise winner Mark Walters (Navigators) will be back to defend his title, but Navigators real threat for Sunday's Wachovia USPRO Championship will be hard man Henk Vogels. Vogels is a big race rider, a major money man who won the race in 2000, establishing the course record. Last year, a consistent Vogels was the overall points champion on the Pro Cycling Tour and he held the leader's jersey at the recent Tour de Georgia until Saturn blew him out on the hilly penultimate stage. Doubtless Vogels will be looking for revenge in Sunday's main event and with Navigators Davidenko not starting due to injury; Vogels will have the entire squad at his disposal.

Saturn dominated the first half of the season in the USA, and the big question at the Wachovia USPRO is whether the American team, led by Chris Horner can maintain their power. Saturn may be hard pressed to have as much impact during Wachovia week as at the Tour de Georgia, but with big Trent Klasna back, if he is over his hamstring injury, this will give the Yellow and Black boys an extra weapon. Saturn has a rider for every purpose; Zajicek and Johnson for the breaks, Dionne for sprints and Danielson for climbs but the key for Saturn is Horner; will the Tour de Georgia winner find those great spring legs again, finally bringing home the National Championship jersey that has always eluded him? Can the talented Danielson show he is not just a climber and make an impact in the pressure-packed final on Sunday?

Two-time USPRO champion Fred Rodriguez (Vini Caldirola) has been training hard at home in California since the Tour de Georgia; Rodriguez just keeps getting better and better as he matures. After being cheated out of possible victory in Georgia by an unnecessary time penalty, Fast Freddy has something to prove in Philly; his team is strong and will support him 100%, with strongman Eddy Mazzoleni, who placed 10th in the recent Giro d'Italia, a key part of Vini Caldirola's strategy to get Fred his 3rd stars and stripes jersey.

1999 Lancaster and Philly winner Jacob Storm Piil, winner of last year's Paris-Tours World Cup is back with a very powerful CSC team, including Andrea Tafi, Lars Michaelsen, Tristan Hoffman and Geert Van Bondt backing him. CSC is taking no prisoners this year; they are looking to impress Computer Science Corp's world HQ, located in Virginia with an eye to expanding their team sponsorship in 2004.

Saeco has a small squad at Wachovia, but with Flèche Wallonne winner Igor Astarloa, GP Larciano winner Juan Fuentes and powerhouse Stefano Zanini ready to race, Saeco should be a key contender too. Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave' has some solid riders as well, with Massimiliano Mori and Uros Murn both capable of winning.

USPS has their focus as always on the Tour De France, but the squad that is at Wachovia week has some possible bright spots. Certainly, Van Heeswijk is a fast sprinter, but the real sleeper might be mighty Matt White, their unsung Aussie who has been riding well lately. With George Hincapie racing in Europe and Dave Zabriskie out with a broken leg, USPS really has no one likely to win either Sunday's race or the USPRO title. Flanders-IteamNova is the little team that rides big; they have nine riders at Wachovia and with the addition of the speedy Scheirlinckx bros., the Aussie-Belgian outfit will be looking for every opportunity to win.

Prime Alliance is on the upswing since spring; with their title sponsor uncertain for next season, team manager Roy Knickman is looking for put the Stars and Stripes jersey on his roster to help his cause. With David Clinger, he has a great chance, as the talented Southern California rider, who has proven he can win in a sprint or solo is primed for Sunday's championship chase. If PA can focus and support Clinger on Sunday, and his best legs show up, Clinger has an excellent chance to be crowned the next USPRO champion.

Last year's USPRO champion Chann McRae will be back on the Schroeder Iron team and may have a chance to follow the wheels and be in the right spot again, but there is likely just too much horsepower in the field for him to handle. Watch Schroeder's Mexican sprinter Miguel Mesa, who could surprise as well. 7-Up / Maxxis has three cards to play; lonesome John Lieswyn, Jason McCartney and Brice Jones. As for the other American teams; Jelly Belly, O-Foto, Webcor, Jittery Joe's, Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar West Virginia, LeMond Fitness, Sportsbook.Com and Colavita-Bolla, all will be looking for their moment of glory in a break, a prime win or a top 10 placing somewhere during the Wachovia Week.

USPRO Championships Start List
Liberty Classic Preview and Start List

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the Wachovia USPRO Championship live from start to finish tomorrow. Action begins at 9:00 local time (6:00 PDT/15:00 CEST/23:00 AEST)

Locatelli resigns

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Colnago-Landbouwkrediet direttore sportivo Olivano Locatelli has resigned from his post, as he is currently detained under house arrest in Dalmine, Italy by "Operazione Bike", a doping inquest conducted by the Brescia Guardia di Finanza (tax police) office. Locatelli gave the team his resignation on Friday through his attorney and is currently incommunicado at home.

Locatelli and William Dazzani of women's team Aurora 2000 RSM are accused of having procured doping products for athletes. The Guardia di Finanza (GdF) intercepted telephone communications by both Locatelli and Dazzani as they discussed various strategies to avoid doping controls.

The origin of the GdF's "Operazione Bike" inquest stems from the pre-Giro d'Italia raids one year ago by the "Fiamme Giallo" flying squad in Brescia that rocked Italian cycling with the arrest of pro rider Antonio Varriale of Panaria-Fiordo and Domenico Romano of Colnago-Landbouwkrediet. This investigation is ongoing, however, at this point, only one pro rider has been named in the "Operazione Bike" inquest, 22 year old neo-pro Santo Anzà of Colnago-Landbouwkrediet.

Prosecutor Giancarlo Tarquini told a press conference Friday that "no athlete who participated in the Giro d'Italia is involved," which means that Colnago-Landbouwkrediet's Yaroslav Popovych , who's recent third place Giro performance was the revelation of the race, is not involved in this inquest. Tarquini went on to further comment that "this investigation has brought to light further bad elements regarding doping."

As is usually the case in the Italian judicial system, the open-ended "Operazione Bike" investigation can continue for years, but Locatelli and Dazzani may be released in the next few weeks.

Four Gerolsteiners sure for Tour

The Gerolsteiner team, riding in its first Tour de France this year, has so far selected four of its nine riders that will eventually take part in the three week race. Tour veteran Udo Bölts will be there of course, along with Davide Rebellin, who was forced to miss the Giro due to injury, Austrian climber Georg Totschnig (7th at the Giro), and Swiss sprinter Markus Zberg.

Tour of Austria preview

This year's Tour of Austria/Österreich Rundfahrt (June 9-15) has been renamed the "Wiesbauer Tour", after attracting title sponsorship from this Austrian sausage manufacturer. The 2.3 classed race is seven days and seven stages long, with no time trials, but plenty of climbing. For the first time ever, the race will start in Mozart's home town of Salzburg with a 131 km stage that also finishes in Salzburg. This historic Austrian city will host the World Road Championships in 2006, so the Tour of Austria is being used as a preparation event.

The second stage will be 189 km between Salzburg and Bad Hofgastein, featuring two climbs including one Category 3 hill with 8 km to go. A critical stage will be the third from Bad Gastein to Kitzbühler Horn over 158 km. The finishing climb is rated as Hors Categorie, and measures just under 10 km at an average gradient of 13 percent. Following this stage, the riders will have to tackle the Cat. 1 Felbertauernpass on stage 4, a 14 km climb at 8 percent, but coming early in the stage. Stage four finishes in St. Jakob im Defereggental after a long uphill drag.

The fifth stage from Lienz to St. Kanzian am Klopeinersee should be one for the sprinters, with only a couple of Cat. II climbs to break things up over the 200 kilometres. Stage 6 from St. Kanzian am Klopeinersee to Graz presents the climbers with their final challenge, the Cat. 1 climb of Pack, which is 8.5 km at 10 percent but comes early in the stage. The Cat. 3 climb of Wenisbuchplatte with 9 km to go could make things interesting. The Tour of Austria finishes on June 15 with a dead flat 124 km (20 lap) circuit race around Vienna's ring road, with the start/finish in front of Vienna's famous Town Hall (Rathaus).

Defending champion is Austrian Gerrit Glomser, who'll be back with Saeco again this year to try and claim another title. Glomser was riding the Tour of Germany up until yesterday, but chose not to start today. Other riders to watch including Serguei Gontchar (De Nardi), winner of the final stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), who will be in the hunt for a stage win or two, Bo Hamburger (Formaggi Pinzolo), Austrian sprinting sensation Bernhard Eisel (Austrian National Team), Werner Riebenbauer (Team fakta), another one of Austria's fast men, and Hans-Peter Obwaller (Austrian National Team), who always does well in this race.

The stages

Stage 1 - June 9: Salzburg - Salzburg, 131 km
Stage 2 - June 10: Salzburg - Bad Hofgastein, 189 km
Stage 3 - June 11: Bad Gastein - Kitzbühler Horn, 158 km
Stage 4 - June 12: Kitzbühel - St. Jakob im Defereggental, 149 km
Stage 5 - June 13: Lienz - St. Kanzian am Klopeinersee, 200 km
Stage 6 - June 14: St. Kanzian am Klopeinersee - Graz, 157 km
Stage 7 - June 15: Wien, Ringstraße circuit race, 124 km

GP SBS: Simoni tackles the Mottarone

Sunday, June 7 marks the 2nd edition of the GP SBS-Living Technology, an individual mountain time trial to the top of the Mottarone, where Simoni won a stage of the Giro in 2001. The course measures 14 km and ascends 910m up to an altitude of 1500m, with an overall average gradient of 6 percent. The first rider off at 16:00 local time will be Michele Gobbi (De Nardi), and riders will start at 2 minute intervals after that, finishing with Simoni, who is the favourite for the race.

The start order is as follows: Michele Gobbi (De Nardi-Colpack), Mauro Zanetti (Team Tenax), Giacomo Battistel (Amore&Vita), Leonardo Zanotti (De Nardi - Colpack), Francesco Secchiari (Domina Vacanze-Elitron), Sergei Lelekin (Tenax), Ivan Fanelli (Amore&Vita), Sabino Cannone, Sergio Barbero (Lampre), Mario Manzoni (Mercatone Uno Scanavino), Cristiano Frattini (Tenax), Graziano Gasparre (De Nardi - Colpack), Timoty Jones (Amore&Vita), Valeriy Kobzarenko, Marius Sabaliauskas (Saeco), Gianluca Tonetti (Tenax), Giuseppe Palumbo (De Nardi Colpack), Przemslaw Niemec (Amore&Vita), Oscar Pozzi (Tenax), Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio), Massimo Codol (Mercatone Uno Scanavino), Alberto Ongarato (Domina Vacanze Elitron), Franco Pellizotti (Alessio), Paolo Lanfranchi (Ceramiche Panaria), Andrea Noè (Alessio) and Gilberto Simoni (Saeco).

Vinokourov extends

Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov has become the third rider to extend his contract with the Deutsche Telekom team, after Erik Zabel and Andreas Klier did earlier this week. He signed for another two years, taking him through until the end of 2005. Vinokourov won the Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Nice this year, and will be an important rider for Telekom in the Tour de France.

Vanlandschoot sick

Vlaanderen-T Interim rider James Vanlandschoot was forced to abandon the Tour of Germany in the fifth stage, suffering from sickness. Vanlandschoot will rest until June 18, when he will start in the Circuito Montanes in Spain.

Bad crash ends Joe Papp's season

Cyclingnews diarist Joe Papp has suffered a severe crash last week that will certainly end his season, and possibly his career. The accident occurred last Thursday, June 5 in a training race in Rockleigh, NJ, when Papp hit debris and a rough section of road in the first turn. He sustained a severe injury to his left knee which required three hours of surgery, as well as damaging nerves in his left elbow and also injuring his right shoulder. He hopes to being intensive physical therapy as soon as possible to try and recover.

He is currently in the Hackensack University Medical Center, and wrote to Cyclingnews that he is "Definitely very depressed right now, especially since my friends and family aren't geographically close to the hospital, meaning no one has been able to visit."

From all of us here at Cyclingnews, we are very sorry to hear about the accident wish Joe all the best in his rehabilitation.

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