First Edition News for June 19, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Heras back at Catalunya
US Postal's Roberto Heras picked up up where he left off after winning the 2002 Volta a Catalunya, taking over the race lead Wednesday. Heras finished the day in fourth place, 2'42" behind stage winner Aitor Kintana (Labarca 2-Café Baqué), and holds a 9" advantage in the general classification over Jose Pecharroman (Paternina-Costa Almeria).
Heras will have to contend with the in-form Pecharroman, but can count on his strong team and plenty of local knowledge of the roads of the individual time trial to come. "Pecharroman's performance is nothing surprising," Heras said. "He already showed himself in the Euskal Bizikleta, and this climb to Andorra confirmed it."
Heras' directeur sportif Dirk Demol was also satisfied both with his leader's performance, as well as that of the team. "Roberto rode very well today in taking the jersey," said Demol. "[Pecharroman] is really flying, but Roberto is now in the lead and is looking very comfortable and confident. He will need some further help from his teammates in the mountains but he will be going for it (the overall win)."
"Although we lost Christian (Vande Velde) today, the boys are looking strong and will be there for Roberto," Demol added. "I can't say enough about George (Hincapie); he is definitely all the way back from his illness."
Virenque's focus is the Tour
Richard Virenque, five time winner of the king of the mountains prize in the Tour de France, has had a quiet build up to this year's Tour. Riding in the colours of Quick.Step-Davitamon, the Frenchman did not have his best climbing legs at the Dauphiné Libéré, and was rarely seen at the head of affairs. Nonetheless, he insists in preparation for the Tour is intact, as is his motivation.
In an interview with l'Equipe, Virenque explained that everything is on track for the centenary Tour. "I don't compare myself any more with other leaders, I prefer to focus simply on my preparation for the Tour without worrying about the others," he explained. "I'm at my ideal weight, and I'll have 47 days of racing before the start, which is about the same as I've done in other years."
Virenque recognises the importance of this year's event, the 100th anniversary of the Tour, and hopes to take advantage. "I'm beginning to understand that this year's race will be even more magical than the others. It's very exciting."
Willing to acknowledge his own lacklustre performance at the Dauphiné, Virenque also noted that his Quick.Step-Davitamon team was not among the best. "Honestly, I can't say the team is going very well right now," he said. "You could see it at the Dauphiné, we were always behind compared to the leaders. Only a few of our riders placed in the top 15 during the seven stages."
"It's always tough for the morale when the level at a race like the Dauphiné is so high, and when you can't follow the best," he noted. "But, with the exception of Lance Armstrong, I'm not sure that being in top form three weeks before the Tour is a good thing. In my experience, I know that the build up to the Tour really starts now. That's what comforts me the most."
The maestro of the solo breakaway, Jacky Durand (FDJeux.com) is concerned about the severity of his injuries sustained after a crash in stage 4 of the Dauphiné Libéré. Durand was hit by a motorcycle that was passing the field, looking left as the motorcycle came on his right. Durand remains in a wheelchair at his home near Grenoble, unable to put any weight on his left foot.
"I'm very worried because the doctors tell me that unfortunately I have all the symptoms of a cracked hip," Durand told l'Equipe. "That would mean forty five days of rest and would put a lot things in question," he added, referring most notably to a forfeit for the centenary Tour de France.
Victory Brewing carries on
By Kristy Scrymgeour
The title sponsor of the new Victory Brewing women's team has signed for another year, taking its sponsorship of the team to at least the end of 2004. The women's team was born at the beginning of 2003 when Victory Brewing and Amoroso's Baking Company came to extend their sponsorships of cycling and work together to take the women's team up to the next level.
The motivated team has not disappointed sponsors, performing well at national and international levels so far this year. Most recently the team was victorious in the UCI Tour du Grand Montréal, when Gina Grain held off world class sprinters to take the win in stage three of the tour.
Bill Covaleski, owner of Victory Brewing, expressed his excitement at being involved with the team when he spoke with Cyclingnews Wednesday morning. "We have had a good ongoing relationship with cycling for some time now and we're along for the ride," he said. "We like what we have done so far for the team and for what Mike Tamayo and the team have done for us. I always scratch my head about why women's cycling doesn't get the same attention as men's cycling and I feel fortunate to be involved. The women's team puts a much better face on our product and I think we get a lot out of it."
Director of the team Mike Tamayo echoes these sentiments. "We're extremely thrilled that Victory Brewing is committed for 2004 already. It has given the team extra motivation for the rest of 2003 and for the preparation for next year. Victory Brewing is one of the best sponsors you can get, not only financially but in motivational ways. They understand cycling and really get involved with the team at a personal level."
The Victory Brewing team roster includes:
Leah Goldstein (Israel)
Roof plans for Frisco Superdrome
Hoping to enter the bidding for the World Track Championships, the Frisco Cycling Club, operators of the Frisco Superdrome track, is planning to build a roof for the Superdrome. The club hopes to bid for the 2008 World Championships, and building a roof over the velodrome- at an estimated cost of $600,000- would be necessary to win the bid.
"We're a world-class facility, but we're outdoor," club president Ryan Crissey told the Dallas Morning News. "When you look at the world's top velodromes, we're in that list, but we have an asterisk for that reason."
Fundraising would also be necessary for the expenses of hosting the World's should the bid be successful, to the tune of an additional $800,000. Further facility improvements, additional staff, and other expenses represent a challenge club members are ready to accept. "We're in the infant stage of securing financing to take the track to the next level," said one of the club's chief fundraisers, Tim Goodwin.
USA Cycling CEO Gerard Bisceglia has offered to lobby for Frisco to receive the World Championships if a roof is built for the Superdrome, as well as assist in recruiting donors and sponsors.
Courtesy: The Dallas Morning News
USA Cycling starts eBay auction
Sports memorabilia donated by various cycling stars will hit the eBay auction block this Friday, June 20 at 12:00pm PST. The USA Cycling Auction, which will directly benefit athlete development programs, will be available at www.ebay.com. USA Cycling will run two consecutive ten-day auctions between June 20 and July 9.
All proceeds will go directly to the U-23 program, USA Cycling's Track Program, and to the junior level mountain bike, road and track programs. Items donated and available for auction include a collection of unique cycling mementos and memorabilia from the likes of Lance Armstrong, Greg LeMond, Leigh Donovan, Stephen Roche, Chris Carmichael, Mari Holden, Genvieve Jeanson, Diana Ziliute, Dede Demet-Barry, Marty Nothstein, Tyler Hamilton, Frankie Andreu, Fred Rodriguez, Rishi Grewal, Susan De Mattei, Dylan Casey, Amber Neben, Ned Overend, Chann McRae, Tinker Juarez and more. Plenty of team gear is also available.
To view a complete listing of all the items in the first auction, see www.ebay.com and follow the links to the USA Cycling auction site.
The future's Orange for Irish MTB team
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Threatened with extinction twelve days ago after the theft of 75 thousand euro worth of bikes and equipment, the Irish mountain bike team has moved some way towards survival with the news of important support from companies and individuals within the sport. Orange Bicycles has committed to supplying the team with replacement bicycles at a hugely-reduced price, saving the team a large amount of money in getting back on the road. Orange is at present working flat out to try to have the team's custom painted, green and black bikes ready for this weekend's round of the downhill world cup at Mont Saint-Anne in Canada.
The Irish team has also been helped out by a number of unnamed donors, who between them have pledged several thousand euro towards the costs of re-equiping the squad. The bikes were stolen on June 6th when thieves broke into the team hotel at l'Alpe d'Huez in France, prior to the start of the second round of the downhill world cup.
"The lads are very happy with the offer from Orange", said assistant team manager Jim Smith. "Five of them were actually using their bikes already, and thought that they were very good. The deal we have got is phenomenal and is a great help to us. Orange is doing custom paint jobs for the team and is working flat out to have the bikes ready in time for us to head off to do the next round of the world cup."
"We have also had other pledges of support; two of these were for 1000 euro and there are numerous other smaller ones," he added. "All the donors wish to remain anonymous, and it is very nice of them to help out. To be honest, we are still struggling as we have to raise a lot more money. Orange is giving us the bikes at a greatly reduced price; it is great that a British company has been able to step in and help us out so much, but we are now hoping that an Irish company may be able to follow suit and help the lads out. The team is really pulling together but it has been a tough time for them all."
It is estimated that the squad will need to raise 40,000 euro to cover the cost of the new bikes. While they have been greatly cheered by the news of Orange's support and the generous donations of money, there is still much to be raised. Team manager Peter Popham is, like Smith, continuing to appeal for support and he can be contacted at 086 2564224. Those who wish to help out may also get in touch with Cycling Ireland at 01 8551522 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)