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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for June 23, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Pevenage confident in Ullrich

Jan is back
Photo: © Sirotti
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Jan Ullrich's long time mentor and sports director Rudy Pevenage believes that Ullrich will be ready for the Tour de France, despite a difficult spring. The financial problems with Team Coast nearly ended up with them not riding the Tour at all, until Bianchi stepped in with a rescue package for the team. Now, with three days to go until the end of the Tour de Suisse, Ullrich is beginning to show the form that he'll need to stay on par with the favourites in the mountains of the Tour.

Ullrich has the remarkable record of never having finished lower than second in all the Tours that he has started in. But past records mean little, especially after what Ullrich has been through in the last year. His stated aim has been to try and win a stage with a view to doing well in next year's Tour, but as Pevenage told Het Laatste Nieuws yesterday, "With Jan, you never know."

"Isn't it understandable that he really doesn't want too much pressure on his shoulders? For a team like ours it's not obvious how to compete with US Postal. When we began with Coast, Jan and I thought: good, with Beltran with us we are well placed for the cols. What's left now? Angel Casero, but he's not a born helper. And further: Garmendia, Plaza. It's a little bit tight."

Certainly Bianchi is no Telekom or US Postal, although with Ullrich back at the helm and looking good, sponsorship interest should be greater for next season. Ullrich has the capability and the talent to do very well at the top level, and the second half of the season should see him back to his best. An important factor is Ullrich's weight problem, which in the years after he won the Tour in '97 saw him put too many kilos on in winter and struggle to lose them in spring in time for the next Tour. This year, that hasn't been an issue.

Suffering on stage 5
Photo: © Sirotti
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Pevenage's response: "Because he wanted it himself. Finally. For my part I've stopped hammering him continuously about it."

As for his current form, Ullrich has been a little sick during the Tour de Suisse, and has had problems breathing. "I'm taking antibiotics and will look after myself here, but already it's going better today," said Ullrich before the start of stage 6 where he finished second, a big improvement on yesterday's 2'52 loss to Casagrande.

Ullrich's next test will be the 33 km time trial on Tuesday, then he will line up for the German National Championships next Sunday.

Pecharromán on a cloud

Jose Antonio Pecharroman
Photo: © AFP
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Jose Antonio Pecharromán (Paternina-Costa Almeria) emerged victorious Sunday in the 83rd edition of the Volta a Catalunya, beating defending champion Roberto Heras (US Postal Service) by a scant 43 seconds, and Koldo Gil (ONCE) by 3'46". The win puts another substantial feather in the Spaniard's cap, following his victory in the five day Euskal Bizikleta earlier this month.

"I'm on a cloud, as people say, but also with my feet on the ground, because I've had to come through many difficult moments to achieve success like this, usually reserved for the big names of the peloton," Pecharroman commented after sealing his victory.

Pecharromán dedicated the win to his family, honouring his father who passed away several months prior. The victor also recognised the efforts of his teammates, whom he said "have been the reason for his recent success."

After US Postal's Roberto Heras assumed control of the race on stage 3, Pecharromán constructed his victory by taking 52 seconds out of Heras in the stage 6 individual time trial, a ride of just 13.1 km. He was able to defend his lead without incident in Sunday's final road stage, which offered another bunch sprint and posed no threat to the overall standings.

Nicole Cooke crashes again

Back in competition after a crash in the Tour du Grand Montréal, Nicole Cooke has suffered another tumble in the Giro de Trentino. Cooke crashed on a descent with 50km to race in Saturday's stage 1. She suffered plenty of road rash on her right arm and hip, but was able to continue the race, which was won by Rasa Polikeviciute.

"It's annoying that other riders not riding well enough can bring you down," Cooke commented on her web site, referring to the crash which occurred in front of her and resulted in her fall. "And it's annoying that in the end I had to work really hard in the chase, leaving me very tired."

Cooke's injuries were not serious, but the accident provoked concern in the wake of her pervious accident in Montréal. "When I came down my left knee hit a spoke and I was really worried it might aggravate the previous injury. The good news though is that there was no problem at all."

Dunlap's injury more serious

Alison Dunlap underwent surgery last week following her crash in the final round of the NORBA MTB series on June 14. Dunlap's injury was initially diagnosed as a third degree separation of her shoulder, but was in fact found to be a fourth degree separation, meaning the shoulder was completely separated. The former cross country world champion could be on the sidelines for the remainder of the 2003 season, but hopes to be back by mid-August.

Big turnout expected for B World Championships

The 4th UCI B World Championships, which are being held in Aigle and Monthey from July 5 - 9, will feature the biggest competitor turnout by far, with over 360 riders from 62 countries due to take part. This represents an increase on several fronts: more countries are taking part, there will be a higher number of track riders (124), and double the number of female athletes (120). The UCI's aim of encouraging the maximum number of national delegations to take part in the UCI B World Championships, which are the last opportunity for many countries to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, has thus been met in full.

Admission is free to all events, and a large spectator turnout is also expected at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle. More information can be found at: www.championnatsb2003.org.

The Programme

Friday 4 July

Opening Ceremony (5pm start)

Saturday 5 July (Road, Aigle/Monthey)

Individual time trials

Sunday 6 July (Road, Monthey)

Road Races

Monday 7 July (Track, WCC Aigle)

Individual Pursuit (M), 1km TT (M)

Tuesday 8 July (Track, WCC Aigle)

Points Race (M), Individual Pursuit (W), Sprint (W/M)

Wednesday 9 July (Track, WCC Aigle)

500m TT (W), Elimination (M), Points Race (W), Keirin (M)

Irish track team for B World's

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

The Irish track team for next fortnight’s B world championships in Aigle, Switzerland was yesterday announced at a squad training session at the Manchester velodrome in England. The team will be comprised of nine riders and hopes are that some of these will race to success in the B world's, and thus secure Olympic qualification in the events in question.

Five men will take part in the various track disciplines. Paddy Moriarty and the former national time trial champion Paul Healion will both ride the 4000 metre pursuit, world master’s silver medallist Paul Doyle will target the points race and Ray Clarke is aiming for a strong showing in the kilometre time trial. Keith Bannan is hoping for success in the sprint event.

Of the women, Australian-based Sarah White will ride the points race and Gillian McDarby will tackle the 500 metre time trial. Both Louise Moriarty and Rebecca O’Connell are concentrating on the 3000 metre individual pursuit. All nine riders will also take part in other events, but their main priority will be with the disciplines listed above.

The squad is managed by 1996 Olympian Phil Collins. It is being coached by Terry McManus and, notably, by the British rider Chris Boardman, who during a successful career won three prologues in the Tour de France, held the yellow jersey and also rode to success in the world hour record, the world championship time trial and the 1992 Olympic pursuit.

"I am confident that the squad can do big things in the B world championships," said Boardman yesterday. "A couple of the riders have a bit of previous track experience, but by and large the team has been built from scratch over the past 20 weeks. Despite that, they have come on in a very big way in that time and have the potential to do well."

The squad will continue training in Manchester until Thursday, after which they will return to Ireland and taper off in their training before heading off to Switzerland and possible Olympic qualification in early July.

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