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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for June 18, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vinokourov looking towards the Tour

Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Tour de Suisse stage 1 winner and overall leader Alexandre Vinokourov says that he is not interested in the overall victory in this race, despite having a very realistic chance at it. "I've already achieved what I came for: a stage victory will do, I don't care a lot about the leader's jersey," he was quoted in Het Laatste Nieuws. "I'm not going to make the same mistake as last year. I won the third stage but the next day I crashed on the descent of the Sustenpass and the Tour was gone. My own fault, I had taken too many risks. I can't afford that now."

"For the first time I'm going to ride the Tour as a classement rider. To be on the podium would be great, together with Armstrong and Ullrich, I suppose. Jan is the only one who can disturb Armstrong - for me he is one of the big favourites for the Tour win. Give him another week in Switzerland and he will be ready for the duel."

Vinokourov set his tactics yesterday as the peloton hit the finishing circuit. "After the first time across the finish line I already knew it wouldn't be won among the sprinters, and my explosive power on the climb would give me a chance."

Ullrich happy so far

After the first road stage of the Tour de Suisse, Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) was satisfied with his result, which saw him finish 15th and move up from 13th to 8th on the general classification. The Bianchi captain described it as a "very tough stage" due to the 30 plus degree heat. "But it wasn't really a problem," he added. "In one of the mountain stages or in the time trial I want to show myself in front."

Ullrich didn't have the most auspicious of starts to the Tour de Suisse, cutting his thumb with a knife when trying to put another hole in his helmet strap. The injury required three stitches, however Ullrich was still able to finish the prologue in 13th place.

Crucial stage for Aerts

Today's mountain stage in the Volta a Catalunya will be crucial for determining Mario Aerts' participation in the Tour de France. Telekom has four riders certain for the Tour at the moment: Santiago Botero, Paolo Savoldelli, Alexandre Vinokourov and Erik Zabel. The remaining five will likely be chosen from Daniele Nardello, Rolf Aldag, Giuseppe Guerini, Matthias Kessler, Bobby Julich, Andreas Klöden, Gian Matteo Fagnini and Mario Aerts.

"My condition now is the same as 12 months ago," Aerts told Het Laatste Nieuws. "Also last year I improved in Catalonia after a weak Bicicleta Vasca, and I reached my traditional peak in the last week of the Tour de France. The only difference was that with Lotto I knew already before the start of the season I would ride the Tour. I don't even know with whom I'm lying in the balance with. So far I haven't even got a small signal. I suppose they want to keep everybody 'warm'. Walter Godefroot said: 'Do the best you can, try to get stronger every day and then everything will be alright.' So I know what to do."

"The fate is not in my own hands anymore. The pressure is getting higher and higher, and there are nicer circumstances to race under," added Aerts. "But I accept the challenge. The list of pretenders motivates me: all strong riders. I was one of the best climbers in last year's Tour but I 'm afraid they have forgotten that. If I am selected, I won't have stolen my selection."

Bortolami defends

Six month suspension by Italian federation

Gianluca Bortolami (Vini Caldirola-So.Di) has defended himself against his positive drug test for Kenacort (a corticosteroid) during the Driedaagse van De Panne. Quoted in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Bortolami said that it was "an improbable case. The doping test after my victory on the first stage was negative. The next day I was controlled again as the leader and then it went wrong. I knew there would be another control that day, so I would have been very stupid to take a substance that is only allowed under doctor's orders - indeed I did not have a prescription. I'm going to go strongly on the counter offensive, because I am not guilty."

Bortolami has been suspended by the Italian cycling federation for a period of six months, ending on October 29.

Boonen breaks collarbone

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) crashed in training on Tuesday and broke his right collarbone. He was riding on a bike path in Geel when he hit a pothole, and went over the handlebars. He was taken to hospital in Herentals where we was operated on by Dr. Toon Claes yesterday evening. Boonen will be out of competition for the usual four to six weeks, and will thus miss the Belgian Championships in Vilvoorde. He is expected to be back in time for the Tour de la Région Wallonne (July 28 - August 1).

Wrolich out of Gerolsteiner team

Austrian Peter Wrolich will definitely not be riding the Tour de France, due to a knee injury that will keep him out of competition for up to three weeks. Wrolich has suffered from the injury for quite some time, however it hasn't completely prevented him from racing. But after having an MRT scan on his left knee on Monday, Wrolich was told that he needed complete rest in order for it to heal properly, otherwise he risked putting the rest of his season in danger.

Tara Llanes injured

Mountain biker Tara Llanes (Giant Pearl Izumi) suffered a broken foot when the team truck she was riding in was involved in an accident with another vehicle in Pennsylvania. The team was en route to the third round of the NORBA National Championship Series in Mt. Snow, Vermont. Llanes will return to her home in California immediately and it is uncertain when she will return to competition.

Other team members, including Dustin Adams and Jared Rando, and team mechanic Matt Duniho, suffered only bruises. Team members Adam Craig and Carl Decker were not in the vehicle, which was written off due to the accident.

Paris-Brussels gets shorter

This year's Paris-Brussels (September 13) has been shortened from 266 km to 230 km, as well as suffering a downgrading from 1.1 to 1.2 by the UCI. At 266 km, it was too long to be a 1.1 classed race, hence the reduction in the parcours. The start will be in Soissons, and the riders will have a 10 km neutral section until the official start in Cuffies. In addition, the finishing laps have been shortened from 16 to 7 kilometres and many of the hills have been cut out.

Irish team for B World's

By Shane Stokes,

The team for next month's B world championship road race in Aigle, Switzerland was today announced by Cycling Ireland. Lining out in the crucial Olympic qualifier on July 6 will be six Irish riders: US based professional David O'Loughlin, Irish time trial champion David McCann, FBD Milk Rás stage winner and yellow jersey holder Tommy Evans, plus Eugene Moriarty, Denis Easton and Brian Kenneally, who have all been in good form this year.

The team manager is Irish international Martin O'Loughlin, while John Keegan will act as mechanic and Dolores Usher and Heather Purcell will both attend as massage therapists. Padraig Marrey will provide technical support.

Top five placings by Ciarán Power and Eugene Moriarty in the 1999 B world championships in Uruguay qualified two riders for the Olympic road race in Sydney. Power and McCann represented Ireland on that occasion.

The team for the women's road race was announced last week, and they too will travel shortly to Switzerland. The team is comprised of Collette Swift, Marie Reilly, Debbie Booth, Beth McCluskey, Karen Bothwell and Kate Rudd, with Valerie Considine acting as team manager.

Deirdre Murphy finished fourth in the women's B world championship road race in 1999 and one year later represented Ireland in Sydney.

The B world championships are for nations outside the world's top 30.

Mauri directs young riders

Retired Spanish pro Melchor Mauri has been signed by sports club Barça to direct its Elite 2 and U23 cycling program. Barça is primarily a soccer club, but new president Joan Laporta wants to expand into other sports, including cycling. Mauri will build the team this year with the view to starting competition next year. In future, the team may race in the professional ranks, but in the short term it will serve as a development squad for up and coming Catalonian riders.

Fantasy Tour de France registration opens

The first provisional rider list for the Tour de France has been uploaded to, and will be updated in the next few weeks as the Tour teams are finalised. This means you can now register for Cyclingnews' Fantasy Tour de France, and start to think about your final 15 man team, from which you select 9 riders for each stage, as well as the points, mountains and general classifications.

Due to the uncertain status of Raimondas Rumsas, who may be disqualified from his 6th place finish in the Giro d'Italia if his counter-analysis is positive, we have not been able to finalise the winners of our Fantasy Giro competition.

The provisional winners (with Rumsas in place) are as follows:

Team name           Manager          Points 
1 Faster Bordello   Dr Ferrari       4829 
2 cipofftheblock    Daniel's Delight 4794 
3 whattheheck       Crystal Spring   4745 
4 Alleg Aitor       Dr. Mais-oui     4728 
5 Stimul            Stimulleke       4721 

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