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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for March 11, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Clignet to make comeback

By Jeff Jones

Marion Clignet
Photo: © Clignet
Click for larger image

French multi-world track cycling champion Marion Clignet is to make a comeback to elite cycling this year. The talented Toulouse cyclist hung up her wheels in 2000, but told Cyclingnews that in her mind, she "never actually retired."

At a press conference held today at the health spa facility of Caleceo in her home town of Toulouse, France, Clignet announced that the Mexico round of the UCI Track World Cup will see her back on the boards, competing in the individual pursuit, points and scratch races.

Clignet held the world record in the pursuit for four years - from 1996 until the Sydney Olympics in 2000 - and has the Athens Olympics next year as her target to capture that elusive Olympic gold medal.

Look for the detailed Cyclingnews interview with Clignet tomorrow.

Petacchi wants to avoid San Remo pressure

Alessandro Petacchi, winner of yesterday's stage 1 in Paris-Nice, is hoping to escape the pressure of winning Italy's prestigious Milan-San Remo. After having prepared extensively for the World Cup opener last year, Petacchi could muster only a 17th place finish on the famed Via Roma in San Remo. This year, the Fassa Bortolo sprinter wants to follow a different approach.

"I don't want to think about Milan-San Remo," Petacchi told l'Equipe after his stage win in Paray-le-Monial. "Last year for three months I had nothing on my mind but (Milan-San Remo), and I didn't succeed. This time, I want to eliminate the pressure and concentrate on the races as they come."

That's not to say Petacchi doesn't still dream of victory in San Remo. "Obviously that wouldn't be very professional of me not to prepare for Milan-San Remo," he confessed. "Last week I did a training ride of seven hours with this in mind, but I don't want it to control my mind as it did in 2002."

Verbruggen: Too many teams

Hein Verbruggen, president of the UCI, has expressed concern that there are too many teams in the professional peloton, and even too many professional riders. In light of the situation surrounding Team Coast, currently suspended by the UCI for its inability to provide sufficient documentation of payment to its riders and its current financial stability, Verbruggen commented that the number of teams should be reduced to a more manageable number, increasing standards in the process.

"Last year we had 62 pro teams, now we have 57; that isn't much of a reduction," Verbruggen told Het Nieuwsblad. "Besides, I think there are still too many. I want to upgrade the level, guarantee more quality, and avoid situations with teams that don't know if they'll make it to the end of the season."

Furthermore, Verbruggen added that there are too many riders as well. "There are too many professionals who really shouldn't be pro," he said. "We are working on a system to let riders prove their value before they can sign a pro contract. You should see who are making their debuts in Italy alone..."

Holm to direct Tour with Telekom

Following his debut as directeur sportif with Team Telekom at the Vuelta a Murcia, Dane Brian Holm received word that he will help guide the team at the 2003 Tour de France. Telekom's Erik Zabel provided the team's first win of the season at Murcia, where Holm began learning the ropes of being a directeur sportif.

"It is incredible how many small details you have to spend you time on as a directeur sportif," Holm told Danish Newspaper Ekstra Bladet. Despite spending time on the details, Holm was though satisfied with his effort and the reception he got from the Telekom-riders. "I feel that I have a very good reception and that I have a good relationship with the riders. Especially Australian Cadel Evans, who normally has the reputation of being a little difficult."

Courtesy of Ole Ryborg

Tournant won't go to Mexico

Arnaud Tournant (Cofidis) will skip the Track World Cup event in Aguascalientes, Mexico (March 21-23), and will be replaced by teammate Arnaud Dublé. Tournant, who suffered this winter from a herniated disc, does not have sufficient form to contest the World Cup, despite having steadily increased his training in the past few weeks.

"We made this decision together," Tournant's coach Gérard Quintyn told l'Equipe. "He was supposed to contest the match sprint, and that would have been too hard for him to recover for multiple sprints."

As it stands now, Tournant will only compete in one World Cup event, in Sydney, Australia (May 16-18), where he will focus on the kilometre.

German women for Athens track

Top German road riders Petra Rossner, Judith Arndt, and Hanka Kupfernagel (all Team Nürnberger) are beginning to make plans to compete on the track at the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens. Kupfernagel, who also races mountain bike and cyclo-cross, could envision making a track comeback after claiming the junior world pursuit title in 1992.

"I was surprised by national coach's suggestion, but it could make sense," Kupfernagel said at a recent training camp in Mallorca. Team Nürnberger's coach Jochen Dornsbusch is hoping to develop more talent for the track, as well as on the road, for 2004.

Courtesy: Radsport-news

Jalabert joins France 3

In his first year of retirement from the professional peloton, Laurent Jalabert has joined France Television. Jalabert will serve as a consultant for France 3 for the 2003 Tour de France, to the delight of the French public, although he is not planning on spending much time behind the microphone. Jalabert has decided to remain involved in cycling in several capacities, serving also as an advisor to bicycle and component maker Look.

Jamba Juice/Casati Racing Team

The Jamba Juice/Casati Racing Team, based in Colorado’s cycling-mad Front Range, has announced its roster for 2003. The team’s goal for 2003 is to build on the successes of last season, retaining a cohesive core group of riders while also signing some new talent. The team will also begin a new focus on regional stage races. Look for the team in races across the mountainous West from Arizona to Idaho.

Team roster

WhittakerMeyer Specialized Cycling Team

The WhittakerMeyer Specialized Cycling Team has formally announced its 2003 roster. The team is focused in Southern California and the Western US in both Masters and Pro 1/2 races. The team will be based out of Circle Cycle bike shop in Torrance, CA, with title sponsor wealth management firm WhittakerMeyer.

Team roster



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