First Edition News for March 14, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Vinokourov more motivated than ever
By Chris Henry
Devastated by the loss of his long-time friend and countryman Andrei Kivilev, Telekom's Alexandre Vinokourov commented today on his sadness, and his new-found determination to defend his Paris-Nice title. Team Telekom spokesman Luuc Eisenga relayed Vinokourov's thoughts to Cyclingnews, explaining that despite the loss and a very emotional 24 hours, the Telekom leader wants to continue to race in Paris-Nice in honour of his friend.
"We were always there for each other," Vinokourov said of Kivilev. "We raced for the first time together in 1986, and took the same road through the national team to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. We turned pro at the same time, Andrei with Festina, me with Casino."
Kivilev's death was a shock to the entire peloton, and Vinokourov in particular, as both a friend and a compatriot. "To lose one of my best friends is really bad. We're such a strong gang; the Kazakhs are a strong family."
Vinokourov will remember Kivilev as many will, as a talented rider, a dedicated professional, and a true friend. "He was a great rider and was always there to help, like he did in the Sydney Olympics. He will always be there with me."
In Thursday's 16.5 km time trial, Vinokourov performed well, placing eighth behind stage winner Dario Frigo, losing only 24 seconds and holding onto second place in the overall standings. As defending Paris-Nice champion, Vino was already eager to challenge for the victory this year. Now he has an even more important reason. "I know that (Kivilev) wanted to win Paris-Nice. I thought about giving up, but now I have to win... for him. I'm more motivated than ever."
Vandenbroucke wants to win next year
Belgian Teletekst reports that Frank Vandenbroucke is very upbeat about the progress of his comeback after his fourth place in yesterday's time trial stage of Paris-Nice.
"This is very important to me. A time-trial never lies and I was there. After the Omloop Het Volk this is a second proof that I am back," he told Belgian station tv1.
Now VDB has to concentrate on his climbing. "I am still somewhat short on the climbs but this spring the classics are my main goal. I have the basic form for a race over 250 km. I can't win Paris - Nice this year, but next year I'll be able to."
Index shuts up shop
Citing the lack of confidence from its sponsors caused by the UCI's refusal to register the team in Division II for 2003, the Italian team Index has decided not to continue activities for 2003.
In a press statement issued last night, team manager Piercarlo Pedruzzi said, "the situation regarding the registration with the UCI has created in our sponsors a remarkable state of apprehension with regard to the future of the team.
"Because of this uncertain situation some companies involved with the Index team have decided to end the relationship with the team which now seems unlikely to have sufficient funds to continue its planned activities. As a result the decision has been made not to continue for the 2003 season."
MROZ lines up for 2003
Polish Division 3 team MROZ has recently registered for 2003 after a what sources close to the team call a "drawn out process" of negotiation with sponsor small goods manufacturer MROZ. The squad has a solid line-up of local talent and team manager Piotr Kosmala believes it is the strongest Division 3 team registered so far.
Races on MROZ's 2003 schedule include the Peace Race, Tour de Pologne and Sentema Bergamaska, and the team is sponsored by Merida bikes, Shimano components, Mavic wheels and Biemme clothing.
Museeuw and Bettini on the mend
Quick-Step Davitamon riders Johan Museeuw and Paolo Bettini, who were reported by their team as suffering from a flu last week, seem to be on the mend. They both finished with the main bunch in stage one of Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday, though they admitted they still weren't feeling 100 percent.
"Today was a good day testing my legs after the flu," said Museeuw. "The first competition after an illness is never easy."
Bettini feels similarly, saying, "Today my legs were heavy. But I am satisfied for the test after 4 days of stop."
Monex to debut at MacLane Pacific
The new Monex/Hot Wheels team will make its official debut at next weekend's MacLane Pacific (March 22-23), a round of the US 2003 NRC series. Monex will be showing off new signing, sprinter Dave McCook.
"Despite the late formation of the team, we are very excited to have this group together for the first time. The other teams will not be focused on us and that will help create opportunities for the guys," said team manager Patrick Fetzer. "Greg has already won a race and John has been very consistent placing in the top ten in Southern California events. We hope that Dave can show some form heading into Redlands."
Asked if there was an official roster for the team and if it had been registered as a UCI Division III team, as originally planned, Fetzer told Cyclingnews, "No official roster... we have decided to get our foundation more firm over the course of 2003 and to become TT3 status in 2004 with the goal of achieving TT2 status sometime this decade."
The formation of team Monex was originally leaked and the alleged involvement of former Mercury team manager John Wordin brought swift negative reaction from USA Cycling.
The Monex/Hot Wheels team for the MacLane Pacific will be Ryan Barrett; Dave McCook; Roberto Gaggioli; Greg Medinilla; Thurlow Rogers; Ken Toman; and John Wordin.
Talks overturn Cooley Mountains ban
By Shane Stokes
A recent decision to ban mountain biking from the Cooley Mountains has been overturned due to talks between elite rider Aiden McDonald and Louth County Council. Last month the council imposed a ban on the use of motocross bikes, quad bikes and MTBs on the grounds that it felt these were responsible for damage to the hills. The ban was due to come into place on March 1st.
Understandably disappointed at the decision - not least because the Cooley Mountains are a valuable local training ground, and also because such a decision would set a serious precedent - McDonald met with the council and succeeded in getting the decision reversed, with regard to mountain bikes.
'It came as a major shock to me that we were being blamed for the damage to the mountains,' McDonald told Irishcycling.com. 'So I contacted the environmental department of Louth County Council and talked to them about it. Louth County Council have now issued a special licence for use by all members of Cycling Ireland to use Cooley Mountain commonage for the purpose of mountain biking.'
'I have now established a healthy relationship with the county council and will be starting some trail maintenance with all mountain users in the area.'
The first of these sessions takes place this Saturday (March 15th), with the volunteers meeting at 10 am at the bottom of the Golyin Path. McDonald is appealing for good show from local riders. 'Louth County Council are supporting the project and so it is important we get a good turnout', he said.
As regards his own training, McDonald has had to limit his exertions to walking and some turbo trainer work. 'I cut two tendons attached to my thumb in mid-January and have been off the bike since. I have done lots of walking and started on the turbo trainer last week. I don't know yet when my first spin out on the mountains will be, but I am looking forward to it.'
McDonald is one of Ireland's best off road riders, with a string of good results to his credit. Seventh in the MTB championship and fourth in the cyclo-cross champs in 2001, he improved on both last year to place fifth and third respectively in the same two races. He also finished second overall in the 2002 national cyclo-cross league.
Aussies, Belgians and strong RSA squad face off for Tri-nations
South African Olympic hopeful Jean-Pierre van Zyl will need to lead by example for Team SA at tonight's Tri-Nations International Track Challenge, at the Bellville Velodrome, Cape Town. Cagey team selection tactics were afoot in the South African camp yesterday on the eve of competition against arch-rivals Australia, and the Belgian junior side.
Team SA manager Willie Newman and his Australian counterpart Daryl Benson were keeping their final track combinations a secret until race day, but it is expected that Van Zyl will team up with WP star Robbie Dale in the Madison event, while both riders will also be a part of the action in the points and elimination races. The full-house signs are expected to go up with over 5000 spectators likely to attend SA's premier track showpiece.
"We know just what to expect from JP van Zyl since we see a lot of him on the international scene, but will be doing a bit of homework in an attempt to find the solutions to neutralise the challenges from the other Team SA riders," said Australian team manager Daryl Benson, who is expected to look to world junior kilometre time trial gold medalist Wade Cosgrove, and two-time world junior sprint champion Jason Niblett, to lead the way for the men from Down Under.
Benson will be hoping that his charges will be fully recovered from the grueling 24-hour flight from Australia, via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Johannesburg, and then on to Cape Town, which the Aussies endured, before putting in their first training session on arrival on Wednesday.
"We are quite happy with the Bellville Velodrome track surface, and hopefully the guys will be at their best after shaking off the effects of the long flight," said Benson.
The SA junior team is expected to look to WP's Raynold Smith to show the way, when they come up against a top-notch Belgian team, that includes national junior Madison champions Tim Ruels and Davy Tuytens, who finished second overall in the junior section of the world famous Amsterdam six-day track meeting in October last year. Smith finished in sixth place out of the 12 teams that competed in the event.
The action starts at 1900, Friday March 14 and tickets are available at the Bellville Velodrome gates, or from the SA Cycling Federation office on (021) 557 12 12.
Team SA elite: JP van Zyl, Shawn Lynch, Charl Jubber, Garren Bloch, Garth Thomas, Morne Blignaut Robbie Dale
Australia elite: Wade Cosgrove, Jason Niblett, Peter Fitzpatrick, Grant Irwin, Stephen Rossendell, Todd Wilksch, Joel Leonard, Steven Fitzpatrick
SA Junior: Raynold Smith, Nolan Hoffman, Stefan Geldenhuys, Dean Hopf, Gurswin Daniels, Pierre Mouton, Derwin Benjamin
Belgium Junior: Kenny Deketele, Tim Roels, Davy Tuytens, Angelo Ververken, Tim Bottu, Dominique Cornu, Tim Mertens
SA Federation: Wikus Esterhuizen, Mario Nell, Oscar Cloete, Liam da Roche, Ashley Kulsen, Emile Steenkamp, Avron Idas, Michael David
SA Development: Brinley Hector, Stefan Lombard, George du Toit, Leroy Thomas, Lucian Adonis, Jason Berry, Glynn Moolman
Basis women's team
The Basis Women's Cycling Team has announced its roster for the 2003 season. The line-up includes four national champions including 2000 Olympian Nicole Freedman and made its debut at the Pomona Valley Stage Race where Freedman won the sprint classification. The other members of the team are a mix of experienced riders and talented development riders.
Title sponsor Basis is a line of facial soaps and cleansers and the team will ride Terry Precision bikes.
Santa Cruz Spokesman
The Santa Cruz Spokesman has announced its cycling team roster for the 2003 racing season. As in previous years, the team says 2003 will see it focus on its goal of fostering young riders to become the professionals of the future. With a core group of Elite & Espoir Men and Women, the team will focus on major Northern California events, West Coast NRC events, Men's and Women's Elite, Espoir and Masters Nationals, as well as the Northern California district championships.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)