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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest News for March 5, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Vandenbroucke: No more doubts

Frank Vandenbroucke's latest comeback attempt appears to be proceeding with greater success than the past few seasons, and the Belgian star is ready to announce that he has no more doubts about his potential. In an interview with La Dernière Heure, Vandenbroucke spoke about his performance as part of the Quick-Step team's dominance at the Belgian season open, Het Volk, and his thoughts on the season ahead.

Vandenbroucke's teammate Johan Museeuw emerged victorious in Het Volk, while Paolo Bettini finished third and VDB followed in fourth place, a minute and a half later, alongside teammate Tom Boonen. If Vandenbroucke were particularly nervous before the start in Gent, it was because he knew just how much the race had to figure into his successful return.

"I was extremely concentrated on the task at hand," Vandenbroucke explained. "You have to understand, after everything I've been through, and after all the work that I've done to come back, that day was extremely important for me."

The race took its toll on Frank, who explained that despite his fourth place, he rode the last 100km "in the red". Nonetheless, the signs were good and Het Volk has given him all the encouragement he needs to continue. "I don't want to think about the past any more," he insisted, "and I don't want to talk about it either. From this point on it's only the future that interests me."

Next up on Vandenbroucke's list of objectives is Paris-Nice, which begins Sunday. He's won the race before, in 1998, but does not expect to contest the overall victory this year. "I'll certainly be going to Paris-Nice with the motivation to get a victory, for example, on one of the more selective stages," Vandenbroucke promised. This season, however, the classics are the number one focus for a rider who has in the past won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Het Volk.

"I've always insisted that I'll be present for the classics," Vandenbroucke noted, "and I've already shown at Het Volk that for the moment there were only three riders stronger than me. But that was on one day. To win a race like Paris-Nice you have to be there for a week, without a bad day, and fight against the specialists."

California Dreamin' - The Paolo Bettini Diary

Cyclingnews is honored to welcome Paolo Bettini as a diarist for 2003. He's from California, down near the beach, but this guy's no surfer dude. Paolo Bettini is from La California, near Cecina on the Tuscan coast in Italy. Bettini is a compact, power packed explosive puncher of a rider who conquered the World Cup title last year for Mapei-Quick Step with his exciting, dynamic style. Bettini learned his trade as the right-hand man for Michele Bartoli, but emerged from his fellow Tuscan's shadow in 2000 with a great win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Bettini repeated at L-B-L last year and has now moved on from the glorious Mapei team to the new classics super-squad, Quick-Step-Davitamon. clear for Ronde

The team has received confirmation of its invite to the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the second round of the World Cup, taking place on April 6. After Jacky Durand's long breakaway effort with Tony Bracke and Kristof Trouvé in Het Volk, the organisers decided to give the team a start. Durand won the race 11 years ago with his best known solo breakaway attempt, and since then he's made it a trademark of his riding style.

Twenty four teams have been selected for the Ronde so far, with the 25th to be named after Milan-San Remo.

Fassa Bortolo
US Postal presented by Berry Floor
Team Coast
Team CSC
Team Gerolsteiner
Domina Vacanze-Elitron
Quick Step-Davitamon
Crédit Agricole
Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf

27th Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde

The 27th edition of the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde was presented in Middelkerke's casino on Tuesday. The UCI 2.2 classified race is held between April 1-3, and is the final competition for most riders before the Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 6. The format remains the same as in previous years, with four stages in three days, finishing with a relatively short time trial in De Panne.

Stage 1 from Middelkerke to Zottegem is run over 196 km, and will be the most challenging in terms of climbs. Although the first half is quite flat, the last 108 km consists of four laps of a challenging 27 km circuit around Zottegem, with the riders having to tackle the Berendries and Leberg each lap.

Stage 2 from Zottegem to Koksijde is the longest at 228 km, but is comparatively flat. The wind can always play a role in this stage however. The final day will see two stages: a 110 km stage starting and finishing in De Panne in the morning, followed by a 14 km time trial in the afternoon to decide the overall classification.

Stage 1 - April 1: Middelkerke-Zottegem, 196 km
Stage 2 - April 2: Zottegem-Koksijde (St. Idesbald), 228 km
Stage 3a - April 3: De Panne-De Panne, 110 km
Stage 3b - April 3: De Panne-Koksijde-De Panne ITT, 14 km

De Vlaeminck on Museeuw

Four time Paris-Roubaix winner Roger De Vlaeminck says that Johan Museeuw can never equal his record, despite having won the Hell of the North three times already, and looking in great shape in the early part of the season. Never one to mince his words, De Vlaeminck told Het Laatste Nieuws today that "I would be lying if there wasn't a little bit of pride about being the sole record holder. After my last win in 1977, Francesco Moser won three times in a row. 'Nothing can be done' I thought, Moser will come past. It didn't happen and now Museeuw can equal me. So it is said. If you ask me, Museeuw can never equal me."

So if Museeuw wins his fourth Paris-Roubaix on April 13, De Vlaeminck will still not be satisfied? "Oh yeah? Then he also has to finish second four times in Paris-Roubaix. And then win 109 races in Italy. That's more than Museeuw's whole career."

D'Hont to Marlux

Patrick d'Hont will ride for the Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf team, directed by Jef Braeckeveldt. D'Hont will make his debut with the squad in today's Memorial Samyn (Fayt-le-Franc), to help fill the hole left by Christophe Stevens (injured), Geert Verheyen, Johan Dekkers and Raivis Belohvosciks (all sick). Patrick d'Hont is the son of former FDJ soigneur Jef d'Hont, and rode with FDJ between 1998-2001, but spent a year as an amateur in the ISCA team last year. He will be the 19th rider for the Marlux team.

Vanacker to Panorimmo

Luxembourgeois Marc Vanacker, 27, has signed with French amateur team Vanacker rode for Marlux-Ville de Charleroi last season, but was not offered a contract for 2003. In 2001, riding for Post Swiss, he won the Luxembourg national time trial title. The team is run by former world champion Luc Leblanc.

Simon Calder appointed General Manager of ACE

Cycling Australia today announced the appointment of Simon Calder as the General Manager of Australian Cycling Events Pty Ltd (ACE). The new events and marketing arm of Cycling Australia has been established to deliver high end major events for the sport around Australia and develop a commercial focus in marketing the sport. The ACE operations will be based in Melbourne and Calder will take up the position next week.

The initial key roles for ACE will be the delivery of the 2004 UCI Track World Championships, to be staged at Melbourne’s Vodafone Arena from May 26-30, and the cycling program of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Calder has extensive experience including a role as the Venue Manager for track cycling at the Sydney Olympic Games and as a Cluster Manager (coordinating eight venues) and Venue General Manager of the Main Stadium at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. He was also formerly employed by Cycling Australia as the National Mountain Bike Coordinator.

Simon Calder has spent the few months since the Commonwealth Games traveling in Europe, and is now keen to get stuck into the new role. ACE's mandate, he says, is to manage major cycling events for Cycling Australia. Initially that means the 2004 track World's in Melbourne, and the cycling element of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, but Simon is also keen to get involved in other events such as national championships. Further down the track he also sees the creation of some mass participation events as a possibility.

"After 2006 there's a pretty broad bailiwick," he told Cyclingnews. "I'd like to get some participation events going, bringing in the stars to help promote cycling. But with just 14 months to the World's, that's the focus now."

Etxabe not to be left out

Following former Spanish pro Eduardo Chozas' indication that he hopes to return to competition to compete in the Vuelta a España, compatriot Fede Etxabe has thrown his own hat in the ring for a comeback. Etxabe shares the record for the most Vuelta participations (14) along with Chozas and Txomin Perurena, setting the stage for a battle for bragging rights among the former pros.

Unlike Chozas, who claims to be in good condition with 10,000 km of training in his legs each year, Etxabe has hardly ridden since his retirement in 1996. Etxabe turns 43 in July, making his the same age as his rival Chozas.

Opening for Colavita-Bolla Racing Elite Women's Team

The Colavita-Bolla Racing Elite Women's Team has announced an unexpected opening for one superior sponsored rider. Team focus for 2003 will be on several NRC events, as well as a strong presence in New Jersey's Garden State Cup series and other local metropolitan area races. It is anticipated that the team will field a complete squad for the Wachovia series. The team will be racing in Italy in early August; the sponsorship includes a substantial subsidy for this trip.

Interested candidates may submit resumes by email, preferably in MS Word or Acrobat format, to team manager Rich Bauch (

The Colavita-Bolla Racing Elite Women's Team currently includes Ashley Kimmet, Rebecca McClintock, Lenore Imhoff, and Jacquelin Paull.

Oostende gets new track

The city of Oostende, Belgium will begin construction of a new velodrome at the end of this summer. The 250 meter track, which will cost an estimated 360,000 euros, will be located at the De Schorre sports park and should be open to riders in the summer of 2004.

Courtesy: Wielerparcours

Veloplex Arenas Unveils New Concept

VeloPlex Arenas LLC has announced the introduction and marketing of an innovative system to construct indoor cycling venues called VeloPlex Arenas. In an effort to increase the global popularity of track racing, VeloPlex Arenas is offering three packages to meet the specific needs and locations of each country, and the indoor tracks can be constructed and ready for racing and training within 12 weeks.

Each VeloPlex facility will be supplied and constructed by Canadian-based company Summit Structures. The arena plans feature full construction of the track and the building to house it. Each facility will be equipped with a 200 meter track designed by internationally-renown track designers, Ralph Schuermann and Peter Junek.

The company believes its plans will prove useful given the UCI's decision to change the date of the world championships to March in 2005, which could increase the need of an indoor velodrome in a number of countries, including the United States.

SACF secures Cape Town HQ

South African Cycling Federation (SACF) CEO Sylvia Dale has announced that the national cycling body’s sound finances have allowed for the SACF to pay the final installments on its headquarters in Cape Town.

This will be a big year for cycling in South Africa, with the SACF’s track showpiece event, the Tri-Nations Track Challenge, kicking off at Bellville Velodrome next Friday. The third leg of the UCI Track World Cup Classic will take place in Cape Town from April 11-13.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)