Latest News for June 30, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Henk Vogels' season over after horrific crash
By Anthony Tan
The Fitchburg Longsjo Classic was overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Navigators rider Henk Vogels, who remains in traction at Massachusetts University Hospital.
At the time, Vogels was in a small breakaway group that had almost being caught by the peloton early into third stage around Princeton. As the Australian looked behind him to gauge their lead to the main group, Vogels clipped wheels with the rider in front of him on a high speed descent, tumbling out of control and hitting the guard rail several times before coming to a halt.
"Chris Horner said he'd never seen anyone crash that badly and live," said Vogels' wife Cindy, who is currently at their Australian home on the Gold Coast and expecting the birth of their second child. "They even stopped the race at one point because they thought it was all over, and from what they've told me, he looks like he's been hit by a bus."
Cindy Vogels' description of her husband is apparently no exaggeration: Vogels remains immobilised at the Trauma Center at Massachusetts University Hospital, where a team of specialist doctors performed three hours' reconstructive surgery for a triple break in his callus (ankle bone) and have kept him in traction as a precautionary measure for a fracture to his C7 vertebrae.
Doctors at the hospital have also said that Vogels' helmet saved his life. "I'm just so glad he had a helmet on; they [the doctors] said that if he didn't have the helmet on, it would have been game over for sure," said Cindy Vogels to Cyclingnews, who, not surprisingly, is still in a state of shock and disbelief herself.
Apparently Vogels' helmet took so much of the impact, it actually compressed into his head and cut his skull, however, the cuts resulting from the helmet's impact are minor in comparison to the injuries sustained throughout the rest of his body. Despite the frustration of being half-way across the other side of the world, Mrs Vogels remains positive about Henk's return to good health, and much later down the track, back to racing.
"I'm just hoping that each day, he's getting better," she said. "It's just frustrating being so far away, but I know he's in good hands. They flew him to a really good hospital which has a really amazing trauma ward."
Although the road cycling season in the United States extends through October, Vogels' season is most likely over. Once he is well enough to travel back home to Australia, Henk will most likely undergo intensive rehabilitation at the hands of renowned physiotherapist Victor Popov, and hopefully be well enough to see the birth of his second child.
Omloop delighted, but realistic about Belgian Championships
29 year old Geert Omloop (Palmans-Collstrop) won the Belgian Championships in Vilvoorde, easily the biggest win of his career. The appropriately named kermesse specialist was delighted with his victory, at the same time keeping both feet on the ground as to what it meant.
"It's like a dream," said Omloop shortly after the finish. "I proved I can be at the same level as the top riders. I've been working for it for so long. The team did a great job, Kristof Trouvé was very strong [in the break]. I thank the team. I thank my father who's always doing so much for me [motor pacing]. I thank Hilaire Vanderschueren [team manager], who was almost the only one who always trusted me. Palmans-Collstrop was a bit in the corner in the beginning of the season, but Hilaire Vanderschueren kept believing in us."
Omloop upstaged some of the bigger names, like Johan Museeuw, Tom Steels, and Peter Van Petegem, none of whom made the final break. But with such an aggressive finale and with all the favourites watching each other, this was a likely scenario. "A kermesse rider won, but why not?" added Omloop. "If you leave us at home, there will only be 20 riders at the start and that's not what they want."
"I'm not a 'pancake'. I know I can win races like Omloop Het Volk, Dwars door Vlaanderen or the Scheldeprijs, but then I can't have any bad luck. If I'm not having a super day, or I puncture or fall, then it's over and out. That's the difference with Van Petegem or Museeuw: they'll be there again."
Omloop knew he had the condition to do it however. "I was riding amazingly well for the last few weeks but the results weren't there though. I wasn't playing 'hide-and-seek', but the others were still stronger. I knew I would have a big chance today: good legs. The finale was fantastic. One moment I was panicking. I knew Jurgen Van Goolen was the fastest in the peloton, so I had to fix on one person. But I knew I was very strong too, so nobody could break away from me, I would always close the gap."
Was it your most beautiful win? "No, it's not my favourite victory. Winning in Putte-Kapellen last year was nicer, the day after I became a father," was the reply.
"Riding the whole year with the tricolore, that'll give me a kick and I expect that the jersey will have its consequences. But I don't really have an idea of how valuable it is."
Quick.Step-Davitamon filled the rest of the podium with Jurgen Van Goolen and cyclo-crosser Sven Vanthourenhout, who will become a full time road rider next season. One was happy with the result, the other not. "I tried several times on the last two laps, but the 'climb' wasn't long enough," said the disappointed Van Goolen. "Suddenly I had to sprint for the victory, which I've seldom done in my whole career. So I took Omloop's wheel and speculated, hoped I would come around. But no. In Maldegem [last year] I just couldn't make it and this year either. It's the second time I've had a hangover."
Vanthourenhout, who is a good sprinter, commented that "I found it a bit difficult when Jurgen went together with Omloop. The arrangement was that Jurgen would attack and I would finish off in the sprint. Now we (Van Goolen and I) are second and third, which doesn't mean a lot. But we are two young riders (22 years old), so I'm not too disappointed."
Defending champion Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet) couldn't control the race after losing teammates early on. "On that parcours it was impossible to keep the peloton together," Steels told Het Laatste Nieuws. "It was so hard it would have even been difficult in the sprint. I'm still very confident though. And I don't regret I'm not going to the Tour: it would have been too early."
On of the favourites, Dave Bruylandts (Marlux) finished 61st, and wasn't able to realise his chances. "If they rode another lap at the same speed of the first laps [46 km/h], not even 20 riders would finish," commented Bruylandts to HLN. "Besides, they watched me like a prisoner of war. I'm not complaining, only considering they always keep an eye on someone who's riding well. A missed chance."
Click here for the full results and report from the Belgian Championships.
Klöden and Wesemann renew with Telekom
Andreas Klöden and Steffen Wesemann have extended their contracts with the Deutsche Telekom team. Both riders signed for an extra year before the start of the Telekom-dominated German championships on Sunday. Telekom is also negotiating with sprinter Danilo Hondo to extend his contract.
Cycling officials act to get cycling back on the road in NSW
By Gerard Knapp
Cycling officials are confident there will be a quick resolution to the legal issue which has the potential to shut down nearly all road racing in New South Wales, Australia.
In a bid to resolve the issue, a delegation of cycling officials met with the NSW Minister for Police, John Watkins, late this afternoon in Sydney and the outcome was positive, said Tom Skulander from NSW Cycling. "All agreed it was a ludicrous situation which had to be addressed as quickly as possible," Skulander told Cyclingnews. "He (Minister Watkins) was quite adamant about working through all the legal options to allow us to go back to where we were before, when we could hold races," he said.
Late last week Cycling NSW advised its members that following the latest advice from NSW Police, all road races would have to stop unless there were "sterile" road conditions for all events, regardless of the area and nature of the event. This advice from the NSW Police had reduced the once-crowded NSW open road calendar to only five events for the year and also put an instant halt to club-based road events.
This effective ban on road racing is a result of the latest interpretation - by the NSW Crown Solicitor's Office - of recently consolidated motor traffic laws across Australia, an initiative that aims to result in uniform traffic laws in each State of Australia.
Under the consolidated laws, there is a ban on racing and speed time trials of any vehicles on public roads unless there are "sterile" road conditions, meaning police closures of all roads used in the event. Further, race organisers have to apply for special dispensation to hold any kind of race. It's understood that one of the key areas for discussion is that a bicycle is interpreted as a vehicle under the act (no allowance is made for bicycles or human-powered vehicles of any kind).
Skulander said the Minister promised to review the legal issues involved to allow the sport to resume in the State. Attending the meeting with Skulander and Minister Watkins was Ray Godkin, current vice-president of the International Cycling Union, a former president of the Australian Cycling Federation and a former officer of the NSW Police.
In an interview with Cyclingnews last week, Godkin said, "It's a bit of a disaster to say the very least. To me it's ridiculous. I don't know why something wasn't done by the legislators prior to this coming about. Road cycling is a major part of the sport of cycling. Take out road cycling and you might as well pull down the velodrome because without road there's no track cycling - that's where [track cyclists] come from."
Also in attendance at the meeting was Gabrielle Harrison, a former Minister for Sport in the NSW Labor Government, Rod Bates (president of NSW Cycling), Ron Dorrough and John Hartley (representing NSW Police) and Rolf Lunsman from the Roads & traffic Authority of NSW.
Skulander said "the Minister (Watkins) is very much in favour of the sport getting back on the road. He said he wants to see it back in the manner we've been used to. We expect there will be a resolution by the end of this week," he said.
Cyclists in favour of rolling closures and minimal police presence
Following last week's announcement, Cyclingnews conducted an online survey of racing cyclists to determine attitudes on the necessity for complete road closures to conduct road racing in the State. The results of the survey showed cyclists want road racing to continue in NSW with police supervision only necessary on major thoroughfares and high-traffic environments. The majority of cyclists are prepared to share the road with other road users while racing.
In response to a question on accommodating other road users during a race held on major thoroughfares, some 97 percent of respondents were in favour of rolling closures, with only three percent in favour of complete road closures. Further, in response to the question on whether any police supervision and road closures was necessary for club-level races, 98 percent of respondents said none was necessary.
Most club-level road races in the State are held on quiet roads in country towns which have neither a velodrome or private criterium circuit. At the same time, the 'bush' has produced some of the country's greatest cyclists.
(Note: Of the respondents, some 83 percent are active bike racers, 64 percent have held a racing licence and raced in NSW, and 71 percent have held licences and raced in States other than NSW. The survey is based on a sample of 949 respondents from June 26 - 29, 2003. The results were generated via an online survey.
Australian 'Cyclones' selected for World Track Championships
Ten reigning world and eleven reigning Commonwealth Games champions will lead the charge for Australia at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships being staged in Stuttgart, Germany, from July 30th to August 3rd.
The 22 rider team, (15 men and 7 women) will be led by the experience of reigning world champions Sean Eadie, (sprint), Brad McGee, (individual pursuit), Jobie Dajka, (keirin) and Australia's world champion and world record holding teams pursuiters, McGee will head to Stuttgart after the final stage of the Tour de France, lining up on the track three days later for the qualifying round. Last year he went from the Tour de France to his third consecutive Commonwealth Games individual pursuit gold in the same time frame and six weeks later won the world title.
This year two young guns have forced their way into the team after outstanding debuts in the senior ranks. Mark French, the 2002 junior World Champion in sprint and keirin, this year was crowned World Cup Series Champion in the sprint. Also making his debut at a senior World Championships is Mark Jamieson. Jamieson claimed the Australian and Oceania individual pursuit titles in April and in May took on a world class field at the Sydney World Cup and won gold in the same event.
In the women's ranks dual Commonwealth Games champion, Kerrie Meares, will hope to equal her performance at last year's World Championships in Denmark where she took silver in the sprint and third in the 500m time trial while Kate Bates, who earlier this year won the individual pursuit at the Moscow round of World Cup, will head to Stuttgart after a solid season with her professional road team.
The teams pursuit line up is looking as strong as last year when the Australians set a world record in Manchester and went on to win the World Championships. The endurance riders are currently overseas, most racing with professional road teams. The men, with the exception of Brad McGee, will join the team training camp in Buttgen, Germany on July 12th. The women endurance riders will head to Buttgen on July 7th. The sprint group fly to Germany this Wednesday with the exception of Ben Kersten, who will join the team from July 18th.
The full squad
Kate Bates (NSW)
Shayne Bannan: Cycling Australia Head Coach
Images by Gennie Sheer/Cycling Australia
Florit in the stars and stripes
Argentinean rider and Cyclingnews reader Jimena Florit has told Cyclingnews that her application for United States citizenship is slowly progressing, and that she hopes to be able to race under the US flag at the 2004 Olympics.
The 2002 NORBA XC champion said, "My citizenship is going forward, but with the Immigration and Naturalization Service department inside the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you never know."
With the American team strengthening, riders such as Katerina Hanusova and Mary McConneloug performing well recently, Florit believes she will make it hard on herself by changing nationality, but that it is for the best.
"I do acknowledge the competition to make the US team is a bit tighter than at the Argentinean team. I am ready to take that challenge though. I have no interest on racing in the Olympics if I am not in contention; I have done that already in 2000."
Brentjens gets Olympic nomination
In finishing eighth in the MTB World Cup race in Mont St Anne on the weekend, Dutchman Bart Brentjens has been nominated for a spot in the Dutch Olympic team for Athens next year. If Brentjens repeats the performance in the remaining rounds of the World Cup, and holds his form, then he will be selected for the Olympic squad.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)