First Edition News for March 12, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Verbruggen outlines more reforms
As well as the reduction in the number of professional teams noted in yesterday's news, UCI president Hein Verbruggen has outlined other changes he'd like to see in the structure of professional cycling to prevent a repeat of the current situation with Team Coast.
The AFP news agency reports that Verbruggen, speaking at stage two of Paris-Nice, said reforms were needed if cycling was to be enhanced, and teams were to guarantee their own survival. "In future, a team will have to show proof by January that it has the necessary finances to last the season," said Verbruggen. "For a team to hope to find a cosponsor halfway through the season is something that will no longer be accepted."
Verbruggen clearly has Coast in his sights. Coast boss Gunther Dahms is still looking for a cosponsor despite his team signing Jan Ullrich for a reported two million Euros per year. Irregularities in Coast's documentation and late payments to riders caused the UCI to suspend Coast from racing last week.
Verbruggen has the support of probably the most powerful man in cycling, Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc, whose company ASO also promotes Paris-Nice.
"Reform in cycling has been on the cards for a long time. Basically the idea is to group the best possible teams with the best riders in the best races," said Leblanc.
"There's only two conditions. First, we can't make it an exclusive club. We have to leave a bit of room to promote or relegate the best and worst performers from these races. Sport, by its very nature, should be open.
"Secondly, as far as sponsors' concerns about non-participation in the major races is concerned, I have to stress that nobody can buy their way into a race."
Adamsson comments on Coast
Coast rider Stefan Adamsson is confident that he and his team-mates will get paid, but admits his February salary had not arrived as of yesterday.
"I don't know much about this whole affair, except for what I've found on the Radsport and Cyclingnews sites," Adamsson told Cyclingnews reporter Gabriella Ekstrom. "As far as I'm informed, we are suspended because Team Coast failed to come up with the documentation requested by the UCI. I spoke to the team today, and they think this matter should be solved by tomorrow, and I am planning to ride in GP Erik Breukink this weekend.
"I have not been paid my February salary yet, but I trust that the money will be on my account tomorrow. As far as I'm concerned, this must be a matter of an administrative problem, because too much energy and money has been put into this team to let an incident like this come in the way.
"Should the ban on the team not be lifted, the situation would be somewhat weird. Not only I, but 24 riders would have to look for a new job at a time where most teams have already filled their roosters and budgets. However, this is not a scenario I expect. I hope I will receive my payment tomorrow, because I am somewhat dependant upon it."
Kivilev in coma after Paris-Nice crash
Cofidis rider Andrei Kivilev is in a serious condition after a crash in yesterday's second stage of Paris-Nice. Kivilev fell as the race passed through St. Chamond, approximately 40km from the finish. He was taken to St Etienne hospital where he was diagnosed with a serious skull fracture and two broken ribs, and is now in a coma. His team-mate Marek Rutkiewicz and Gerolsteiner's Volker Ordowski also came down, but they were not as seriously hurt.
Erik Dekker back in GP Breukink
Dutchman Erik Dekker will make his return to road racing this year in the GP Erik Breukink, which starts in Bladel on Friday, March 14. Dekker has been suffering from a sore knee for most of the season, and has only finished one race. He thought that he would have to miss the spring season completely, however he was recently able to train without pain in Spain, while the main part of the team was racing in the Vuelta a Murcia.
Vuelta's Spanish guarantee breaks rules
UCI president Hein Verbruggen believes the recent announcement by Vuelta a España organisers Unipublic that places in the Spanish Grand Tour would be reserved for Spanish division II teams contravenes UCI rules.
Speaking at Paris-Nice yesterday, Verbruggen said "This guarantee appears to me to conflict with the regulations of the professional Cycling Council. The complaints of the French teams are justified to a great degree."
Announcing a reduction of the number of teams in the Vuelta from 22 to 20 last month, Unipublic guaranteed that all Spanish professional teams would be invited for the next three years, and has put that guarantee in writing in an agreement with the association of Spanish professional teams. Directors of French teams, including Roger Legeay of Crédit Agricole and Marc Madiot of FDJeux.com have expressed concern that this move would exclude higher-ranked French teams from the Vuelta.
Bayley lines up for Austral
Ryan Bayley, Commonwealth Games sprint champion and former world keirin champion will be coming to Melbourne to contest the 106th running of the world famous Fitzroy Cycles Austral Wheelrace.
The Austral, to be held at Vodafone Arena on Saturday March 15 commencing at 7pm, is the world's oldest track race and this year has attracted a field of 160 riders. The Austral Wheelrace will consist of eight heats and a Final, run to a handicap formula over 2000m - eight laps of the 250m Vodafone Arena track.
Bayley, who turned 21 last Saturday, has been training in Adelaide with the AIS and is primed to do well. "I have ridden the Austral a few times and got close on each occasion," he said. "I have had some reasonable form over the last few months and I hope to convert this into a win on Saturday night". Riding off the prestigious scratch mark, Bayley hopes to emulate the feats of champion Australian sprinter Gary Neiwand who won this event in 2000 with a barnstorming ride.
Bayley will also feature in a lap record attempt, trying to beat Jobie Dajka's record of 13.505 seconds for the Flying 250m lap (an average speed of 68.97 km/h) as well as in a sprint derby containing former junior world champion Shaun Hopkins, Shane Perkins and Daniel Thorsen. Perkins and Thorsen are currently in outstanding form, recently finishing first and second respectively in the Forges Stores Wheelrace and are sure to make their more experienced competitors work hard.
The night's entertainment will also feature the Victorian Keirin Championship and a Women's Handicap Wheelrace, in which Olympic star Lyndelle Higginson will commence her comeback campaign.
Hamilton world's staff adds three
The organising committee of the 2003 Road World Cycling Championships in Hamilton, Ontario has been strengthened by the addition of three new members, Ed Arzouian, Competition Co-ordinator; Janis Cookson, Volunteer Manager; and Laura Zamprogna, Event Operations Manager.
Ed Arzouian is a former racing cyclist who was a member of the Quebec Provincial Team from 1984 to 1987 before going on to own and manage Canada's only professional team at the time, Evian and Reynolds/Volkswagen and managing the Shaklee men's team.
Janis Cookson was Games Director with the 2003 Ontario Winter Games in London, Ontario and will be in charge of the 2,000-3,000 volunteers expected for the Tim Horton Road Nationals Championship and the Road World Cycling Championships.
Laura Zamprogna has worked for organisations such as Skate Canada, 2000 Sydney Olympics, 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games and the Toronto Raptors and will be part of the team responsible for event logistics such as grandstands, tenting and transportation.
New Zealand four-cross championships
New Zealand's mountain bike championships season is in full swing. After the cross-country and downhill series finals this past weekend comes the country's first ever four-cross championships at Wharepapa South, near Te Awamutu, Saturday March 15.
For more information see www.castlerockadventure.co.nz
Denmark's only women's professional team, Team SATS has unveiled its 2003 line-up. The team began in 2001 as Team GRACE but for 2003 a new title sponsor, SATS, the largest fitness chain in Scandinavia, has stepped up to support women's cycling.
For 2003 Team SATS will include an international road squad and a domestic/development road squad, two track riders, including the current Danish national champion, Pernille Jakobsen), and one mountain bike/cyclo-cross rider (Mette Andersen, the current mountain bike Danish national champion and 5th place finisher at 2003 cyclo-cross Worlds in Italy). The international road squad will compete in its first, full international schedule in 2003, focusing on the majority of the World Cup circuit and select UCI races, while the track and mountain bike riders will also focus on their respective World Cup races. The international road squad just returned from their season opener in Australia where they competed in the first round of the women's World Cup and the Bellarine Tour.
Team SATS is sponsored by SATS-Form & Fitness, Pinarello bikes, Shimano components, Rudy Project eyewear, Giro helmets, Tommy Hilfiger, the Scandinavian Design Group, BasWare, Ferrosan, TrueMax, and Alta.
Images by Kenneth Møller Kristensen Images by Kenneth Møller Kristensen
Louise Gamst (Den)
Pernille Jakobsen (Den)
Mette Andersen (Den)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)