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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for March 3, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Lotto-Domo's bad day at Het Volk

After missing the key move with 65 km to go in yesterday's Het Volk, the Lotto-Domo team was left to fight it out for the scraps, as Quick Step-Davitamon stamped its authority all over the opening Belgian race of the season. Lotto's best rider was Robbie McEwen, who finished 10th, and Peter Van Petegem, who was 16th. Quick Step finished with four riders in the top five.

Lotto's team director Marc Sergeant told Belgian TV, "It's difficult to come to terms with our defeat. Quick Step completely rode all over us. Van Petegem had a chance, but with the constant attacks he could not get clear alone."

"It surprised me that Quick Step kept riding until they had broken everything into pieces," continued Sergeant. "The preponderance of that team is disturbing, but that is not only the case for our team."

Lefevere praises his boys

Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere called it a "Majestic performance" by Johan Museeuw yesterday, as he rode away with 5 km to go to win his second Omloop Het Volk. Lefevere's comments were heard on Radio 927, and he was also asked about whether the team time trial move was planned.

"Yes, everyone knew that I wanted to have the team ride an aggressive race. We took the race in our hands. I found it at a certain point even a little bit excessive!" said Lefevere.

On Vandenbroucke's performance, Lefevere was also happy. "He had a flat tyre on the Valkenberg and then attacked out of the corner [up the Eikenberg]. For me, he was the man of the race."

Sunderland's luck continues in Het Volk

Team fakta's Scott Sunderland can already laugh about it again, but yesterday after abandoning the Omloop Het Volk, he was absolutely furious.

"I had to avoid the Crédit Agricole rider in front of me who made a sudden wild manoeuvre," he told Cyclingnews. "The axle of his back wheel went into my front wheel and broke a few spokes. As I tried to pull my front wheel away my foot came out of the pedal. I was virtually standing still but lost my balance. I got back up immediately, changed the front wheel and got on the bike but then noticed that my shoe-plate was broken. This has happened a few times to other riders on the team this year."

It was one of the few times in his 14 year professional career that Sunderland had no spare shoes in the team car. "I only received my second pair and did not have the time yet to put the plates on correctly. Magnus' shoes were the only ones in the car, something like a size 50... a bit too big for my 42! So we quickly changed the shoe-plate. It was done in that much of a rush...Then I got back on the bike and started chasing. Just as I got back to the tail end of the peloton, my derailleur broke! I was absolutely pissed off! I got off the bike again, ripped of my number, took my spare bike and rode to the showers."

Scott was not the only one having a bad day: his training partners ran into quite a bit of bad luck too. "It looked like our little group had been hexed. I had those technical problems, Andreas (Klier) and Geert (Van Bondt) crashed seriously with painful ribs, whiplash and stuff as a result. 'Baguetje' punctured at the wrong moment and Peter (Van Petegem) did not have the day he prepared for either."

There was more trouble for Team fakta also. As Scott's team mate Magnus Bäckstedt was getting back to the main group after the climb of the Berendries, a spectator on a mountain-bike crossed the road in front of him.

"Magnus t-boned him at 45 km/h! Magnus limped to the finish nursing a very sore shoulder but I don't know what the mountain biker would have felt like after the Swedish TGV hit him..."

Het Volk race results, Live report

Danish company threatens to sue Team Coast

Danish travel agency "Net Travel Service" is threatening to file bankruptcy charges against Team Coast, according to a report in Saturday's Ekstra Bladet newspaper. Net Travel Service used to organise air travel for Jørgen Marcussen when he was sports director at Coast. However, Net Travel claims that there are unpaid bills for around 50,000 Danish kroner (€6,700).

The matter has already been before the courts in Germany, where Team Coast lost. Coast has two weeks to pay, and after that time the Danish company said it will file bankruptcy charges against the team.

Courtesy of Ole Ryborg

Geelong World Cup gets thumbs up from UCI

By Karen Forman in Geelong

Photo finish
Photo: © Cycling Australia
Click for larger image

Sunday's first round of the 2003 UCI Women's World Cup in Geelong, Australia had been a success, said the UCI Road Commission president, Pat McQuaid. Dublin-based McQuaid said the UCI would be working hard to ensure it - and other major women's events - would develop in Australia into the future.

"I have been working fairly hard for the past 12 months with Ray Godkin and Graham Fredericks (of Cycling Australia) to try to get this promotion off the ground," he said. "There has been a lot of investment in the event by the Victorian Major Events and Geelong City and the atmosphere with the big screen, the activities and sideshows to make it a family day out, is superb."

"It has made it a big, big spectacle for the town of Geelong and in turn promoted and developed women's cycling."

Mr McQuaid said he had been hearing rumours of the possible inclusion of a women's event at the Tour Down Under (held in Adelaide each January) and thought it would be a wonderful addition to the growing women's calendar in Australia.

"It would be a terrific period for the UCI to have racing in Australia from January to March with events like this, the Cooma tour, the TDU and the national championships," he said. "It would go a long way toward attracting the European riders to Australia. Again, I will be working hard to make sure it will be happening."

Geelong has won the contract to host the World Cup for three years. This, run by Super Sprint with the support of Cycle Sport Victoria and funding from the City of Geelong and the Victorian Government, was the first. Previously, it was held in Cooma in the NSW Snowy Mountains in association with the now defunct Tour de Snowy.

However, plans are afoot to resurrect the Snowy Tour and create a six-week period of elite women's events which would include it, the new Geelong Bellarine Tour (run for the first time last weekend), the new Tour Down Under women's event, the World Cup and the Australian national road titles.

Sunday's inaugural Geelong World Cup attracted 74 starters, of whom 44 finished the 119km race.

Rickards taken to hospital

By Karen Forman in Geelong

Photo: © John Veage
Click for larger image

Victorian rider Emma Rickards was taken to hospital with a suspected broken hip after crashing during the Geelong World Cup today. Rickards came off her bike after she crashed into a witch's hat in the feed zone 70km into the event. An ambulance was called and the rider was taken to the Geelong Hospital.

X-rays cleared her of any fractures and she was given painkillers for severe bruising and released from hospital on Sunday night.

Knetemann extends as Dutch coach

Dutch national coach Gerrie Knetemann has had his contract extended until the end of 2004 by the KNWU. 51 year old Knetemann has been coach since 1991, and is primarily responsible the elite men.

Snow or Dirt, Swenson is a world class act

By Tim Maloney European Editor

Carl Swenson is one of the few athletes that can be considered world class all-year round. He's top ranked in both mountain biking and cross-country skiing; 8th overall in the '02 NORBA XC series, Swenson was key to pulling his RLX-Polo Sport teammate Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski to his overall title win last August in the NORBA final in Mt. Snow, Vermont. Dirt-wise, Swenson's other MTB accomplishments are the '00 NORBA STXC title and '99 Pan Am Games MTB silver, but it's on the snow that the 1993 graduate of Dartmouth College truly shines.

On Saturday, March 1st, Boulder, Colorado resident and North Conway native, two-time US Winter Olympian and current U.S. 50km XC ski champion skated to a superb 5th place in the 50km World Cross Country Ski championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Swenson was already an excellent 11th in last weeks Men's Pursuit, and finished the tough 50k race only 1'23" behind winner Martin Koukal and just 40" out of the bronze medal spot.

Swenson's gutsy performance came after a fast start and saw the 33 year old post one of the best performances in World Championship XC skiing since Bill Koch's 30km silver medal in Olso 21 years ago.

Over the hill for Steve Thomas

Photo: © Steve Thomas
Click for larger image

After a brief trip back to his native North Wales to change tyres and underwear, extreme mountain biker Steve Thomas was back in Asia and riding hard on the record trail once more. Just a few weeks previously, Steve had become the first person ever to bike down the Kuala Lumpur Telekom Tower (4th highest in the world). This time however, the emphasis was on up rather than down.

Accompanied by native Khadazan mountain guide Maike Miki, Steve set out to conquer the dizzy heights of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo. At 4100 meters high, the peak is the highest in Southeast Asia, and a two day roped ascent for most climbers.

The mountain had been "biked" once before by two Japanese, who took two days over it. In a bid to go one better Steve ran to the lunar like summit with a bike on his back, took one of the highest rides ever around the summit, then ran back down again - in just over ten hours, setting a new record in the process.

"Physically it was quite tough going up, but running down the steep and stepped mountain with a bike and huge camera pack on my back was the toughest bit. I could hardly walk for the last three hours, and had to step sideways in tears for the last two, and don't mention the pains of the following week!"

McLane Pacific preview

The 2003 McLane Pacific Cycling Classic in Merced, California will be held over the weekend of March 22-23. The event features a downtown criterium and a road race in the rolling Sierra Nevada foothills. To increase the difficulty of the road race, which does not feature any significant climb, the race organisers have increased the professional men's distance to 120 miles and the professional women's distance to 96 miles.

In the past, the race has been characterised by high winds, forcing even the best racers into the dirt as they roll through the almond orchards and dairies that line the entire road course. Returning to the McLane Pacific with his new Health Net Professional Cycling Team will be former race champion Gord Fraser. Always one of the fastest finishers in field sprints, Gord is one of the favourites for victory. No doubt Fraser will be fuelled by comments from a local Merced Sierra Nevada professional that he is "not to much of a worry as he has lost his snap and jump".

Alongside Fraser will be longtime his leadout man, close friend and former McLane Pacific Foothills Road Race Champion Mike Sayers. "I excel on courses similar to McLane Pacific," said Sayers. "I am hoping for lots of wind and rain on race day, the harder and faster it is, the better I should do. Since I have a history at this race, I feel it is important for me to come to McLane with good form and ready to perform."

Schedule for South Carolina Heritage Cycling Series

Hincapie Sports, in conjunction with the South Carolina Heritage Corridor and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, has finalized the schedule for the inaugural South Carolina Heritage Cycling Series, to be staged April 29-May 2, 2003.

The host cities and dates are:

April 29: Anderson
April 30: Walterboro
May 1: Greenwood
May 2: Aiken

The series consists of four men's pro/1/2 criteriums. Each race will offer a $10,000 in prizemoney and points toward National Race Calendar standings. "Between Athens Twilight (April 26), the Heritage Series and the Shelby and Roswell races the next weekend, there will be nearly $80,000 in professional prize money up for grabs," race director Rich Hincapie said. "In terms of money, this is going to be the biggest criterium week in America."

Courses will be kermesse-style circuits through the cities' downtown areas. Races range from 80-100 km, and registration is open to UCI teams and select elite teams. The Heritage series comes on the heels of the inaugural Tour de Georgia, which is expected to attract the top US teams.

4 Wheels 4 Sean auction

Australian charity 4 Wheels 4 Sean has started its auction of cycling collectibles and memorabilia marking the achievements of Australian riders on the international scene. All proceeds will be used to help Australians in financial need as the result of a severe disability acquired whilst cycling.

The items to be offered at auction include:

  • A framed photograph of Australia's World Record Team Pursuit ride at the Manchester Commonwealth Games - signed by all four riders.
  • Three framed Graham Watson photographs from the 2002 Tour de France of Robbie McEwen and Bradley McGee's stage wins - signed by the stage winners.
  • A signed and framed photograph of Mary Grigson in the Sydney Olympic mountain bike race.
  • A signed and framed photograph of Australian Trent Lowe winning the 2002 U19 Cross Country World Championship race.
  • The Gary Fisher team dual suspension mountain bike ridden by Mary Grigson in the Sydney Olympics.

Items to be offered later include a commemorative stamp sheet from the Sydney Olympics Madison, signed by Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory, and jerseys including a World Cup jersey from Anna Millward, a 2003 Tour Down Under King of the Mountains jersey signed by Cadel Evans, a team jersey from the 2002 Commonwealth Games with autographs of Australia's 28 cycling medallists, and the jersey worn by Trent Lowe in the World Championship race.

Bidding for these items commences on March 1 and will end on March 24 at 7:00 PM Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time.

Funds raised by 4 Wheels 4 Sean since October 2001 now total more than $42 000. For more information or to bid in the auction, visit


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