First Edition News for June 28, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Bortolami appeal denied
The appeals commission of the Italian Cycling Federation rejected an appeal by Gianluca Bortolami (Vini Caldirola), suspended for six months for doping. Bortolami tested positive for corticoids at the Three Days of De Panne in April, and vowed to appeal the initial ruling on his suspension, claiming innocence. "I can't explain how this happened, but it's a reality," he said after the results were announced. The rider tested negative after stage 1 controls, but subsequently returned the positive test for corticoids. Bortolami will remain suspended through October.
UCI says no to Domina Vacanze
The last effort by Mario Cipollini and the Domina Vacanze-Elitron team to gain entrance into the Tour de France has fallen short, as the UCI today rejected the team's appeal of the Société du Tour de France's decision.
The team argued that the Tour de France organisers showed a preference toward nationality (i.e., selecting French teams) rather than sporting criteria which should have included Cipollini, the reigning world champion. Ultimately the UCI's three person panel rejected Domina Vacanze's appeal, ending definitively any last hopes that Cipo might appear at the prologue in Paris on July 5.
Galvez out of Tour
Spanish sprinter Isaac Galvez will miss his Tour ride with Kelme-Costa Blanca, suffering still from a knee injury. Already deprived of its leader Oscar Sevilla, Kelme has now lost the talented Galvez, who represented one of the team's best hopes for a stage victory. Galvez will be replaced by climber Julian Usano.
Millar completes Tour reconnaissance
Cofidis leader David Millar filled in the missing stage in his reconnaissance of the Pyrénées mountain stages of the Tour de France this week, after completing training camps both alone and with his team prior to the Dauphiné Libéré. The Cofidis crew was in the mountains again this week, although MIllar missed some rides due to a brief illness.
"It's very, very hard, but better to know that," Millar told l'Equipe after completing the Pau-Bayonne parcours (stage 16) on Thursday. "I've realised that when you know the route, even if it's difficult, you're more at ease because you don't keep asking yourself when it will end."
Ullrich out of German nationals
Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) has confirmed that he will not contest the road race at the German national championships on Sunday. The former national champion prefers to spend time with his girlfriend Gaby, as the two are expecting their first child. "I hope people understand Gaby and me," Ullrich commented. "If I'm absent, it's certainly not out of a lack of respect for the race, the title, or my fans."
Steels ready for nationals, and a break
Defending Belgian champion Tom Steels has declared himself ready for the road championship on Sunday, despite the loss of his teammate Ludo Dierckxsens due to injury. "Ludo's absence will certainly be felt," Steels commented in La Dernière Heure. This year's parcours is expected to suit the sprinters, and Steels hopes to be among those fighting out the finale in Vilvoorde.
"Speculating on a sprint finish, or on the other hand a long break lasting until the end, it's all guesswork," Steels said. Despite the flat parcours, the field of sprinters is not particularly deep, and Steels may find his Landbouwkrediet team working overtime trying to keep the race together until the end. Win or lose, he'll be ready for a break. "After the championships I'll rest and watch the Tour de France on television," he added.
Scanlon aims for championship defence
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Just two days after he finished a solid 58th in his first Tour of Switzerland, Mark Scanlon is home and preparing for the Irish national road race championships which are taking place in his native Sligo this Sunday. The 22 year old Ag2R-Prévoyance professional has had an exhausting time of late, taking part in five stage races in six weeks, and so faces a tough task in his efforts to defend the national title he won last year in Stamullen. However, should he manage to recover in time, the high standard of the events he has competed in this year should make him a level above the rest of Ireland's professionals on the day.
"Mark is very motivated for the championships, but he is also quite tired at the moment," said his coach Padraig Marrey. "How he will do on the day depends on how well he can recover. He is certainly determined to do a good ride in his home town, and should have a huge amount of support there."
Last year's silver medallist Ciarán Power has also flown back to Ireland and is hoping to go one place better this time round. He has pinpointed a win in the national championships as one of his major goals for the season and, confidence boosted by two stage wins in the FBD Milk Rás and similar success in the Nature Valley Grand Prix on the competitive US circuit, he is likely to be Scanlon's biggest obstacle.
Other professionals who will be determined to show their strength are David O'Loughlin (Ofoto Lombardi Sports) and the 2000/2001 champion David McCann, who is now racing for Team Endurasport. However, it is at this stage believed that Spanish-based Dermot Nally will not make it to Sligo for the event. The race organisers have not yet heard from the Paternina-Costa Almeria pro, although he could possibly turn up and enter on the day itself.
French-based riders Tommy Evans and Denis Lynch are both riding for the Totalcycling.com team for the championships, rather than their usual VC La Pomme team. However the Marseilles squad will be well represented by Philip Deignan and Paidi O'Brien, who like Evans and Lynch should be prominent on the day.
The promoting Eire Og team have chosen a tough course for the race, and one which should guarantee a deserving champion. Slightly under nine miles in length, the riders will cover twelve laps of the circuit, with two miles of this running through Sligo town itself and so ensuring a good atmosphere. Scanlon's achievements have earned considerable attention in Sligo since his 1998 junior world championship win so a good turnout of spectators is anticipated.
Outside the town, there are two hills for the riders to deal with each time around. The first of these is a two-mile drag on the Manorhamilton road, while the riders will also face a sharp, steep 400 metre hill which ends just two and a half miles from the start/finish line and would serve as the ideal springboard for a late attack.
"We are hoping for a good turnout of spectators," confirmed the race director Daire Mooney. "This will be the first real opportunity in a long time for people in the area to see Mark race, and so there should be a lot of interest."
Rousseau misses the cut
French track rider Florian Rousseau will for the first time in his career miss the chance to represent his country in the team sprint at the upcoming world championships in Stuttgart, Germany (July 30-August 3). Rousseau was not at his best during team tests on Wednesday, and in placing fifth among his teammates in the 500 metre time, French national trainers Gérard Quintyn and Daniel Morelon decided to leave Rousseau off the team.
"I wasn't very good with the start," Rousseau told l'Equipe of his test rides. "Once you miss a good start, it's impossible to make up the time lost. It's true that I have barely worked on the machine starts, but it's better not to look for excuses."
Rousseau will be replaced by Mickaël Bourgain, who along with Laurent Gané clocked the fastest 500m time of 31"59.
"Of course I'm disappointed," Rousseau admitted. "I wanted to be a part of the team, if not I wouldn't have been present for the test."
Bahati in the footsteps of Major Taylor
Team Saturn's Rahsaan Bahati, the first African-American of the decade to be signed to a major U.S. professional cycling team, pedaled up one of the steepest streets in Worcester, Massachusetts on Wednesday to help promote the upcoming George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor. The 500-foot hill has been a proving ground for Worcester cyclists since the 1890s, when 1899 world cycling champion Marshall "Major" Taylor, Bahati's hero, rode up George Street.
Three-time national champion Bahati said the hill was good practice for the nearby Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic stage race. The 21-year-old rider said he was honoured to bike the same streets that "the Worcester Whirlwind" rode more than a century ago. Worcester Mayor Timothy P. Murray also gave Bahati a key to the city in recognition of his efforts and achievements.
For more information about the George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor, coming up on July 20, see www.majortaylorassociation.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)