Latest News for March 11, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Clignet to make comeback
By Jeff Jones
Photo: © Clignet
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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