First Edition News for March 22, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Cipollini will start MSR
Despite some minor doubts earlier today about World Champion Mario Cipollini's participation in Milan-San Remo tomorrow, it has been confirmed that the Lion King will be at the start in Milan. Mario is the outright favourite for the race, possessing a powerful team and an equally powerful sprint, two factors that are critical for doing well in La Primavera. His main rivals are likely to be four time winner Erik Zabel (Telekom) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who beat Cipollini in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. Don't discount Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) or Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo), although the latter is basing his race around teammate Alessandro Petacchi.
Perhaps it was that unlikely defeat that caused Cipollini to have a bad night on Wednesday: he suffered from gastric problems and admitted that he felt terrible the next day after training. But today he is coming back to his usual self, and it's guaranteed that he'll be a major player tomorrow.
"He's not in his best form, but he'll ride," said team director Antonio Salutini.
Zabel feels strong
Telekom's Erik Zabel has won Milan-San Remo four times in his career, and is another certain protagonist tomorrow. "I've never felt so strong, certainly when I'm climbing," he said to Het Laatste Nieuws today. "Only in the sprint I am not yet at the top. I don't place a lot of value in Cipollini's sprint defeat in Tirreno. He is and remains the top favourite."
Pozzato deflects favourite's status
One of the most exciting up and coming sprinters in cycling is 21 year old Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo), who scored a surprising but honestly earned victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. Despite garnering his fourth season victory last Wednesday, Pozzato gives himself little chance tomorrow.
"The win in Tirreno doesn't change anything," he was quoted in Het Nieuwsblad. "Fassa Bortolo has but one leader: Petacchi. What have I got to prove on the Poggio? Nothing. I want to gain experience, not to win that much."
His team manager Giancarlo Ferretti added, "He's not a boaster, and that is important. Growing quickly as a rider is good, but not too fast because the head doesn't follow the legs any more. Only his long blond dyed hair worries me. What the hell is that good for?"
Cyclingnews will be covering the 94th Milan-San Remo live from 9:30 CET (3:30 EST/00:30 PST/19:30 AEDT), via our correspondent Tim Maloney.
Milan-San Remo coverage
Roland Green confirms ride with Postal
By Stephen W. Medcroft
Current UCI World Mountain Bike Champion Roland Green has confirmed that competing in road racing events for the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team will be part of his 2003 racing season. "It's just a matter of paperwork at this point," he said.
Settling the issue allows Roland's end of year plans to now include high profile road events. "Perhaps what I'll do is stay in Europe after World Cup Finals, do maybe the Tour of Holland and prepare for the World's."
Being a Canadian native, the World Individual Time Trial and Road Race Championships are especially attractive since they're scheduled to be held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. "We never thought we'd see a World championships in Canada," he said. "It's an unbelievable opportunity."
Roland's priorities are with mountain biking and the Trek/Volkswagen Mountain Bike Team. Although tempted by some of the more prestigious US professional events, road racing will not take precedence over Roland's defense of his World Championship title.
"Once the mountain bike season starts, we have like 11 weekends (of racing) in a row with maybe one weekend off. That's painful because I really want to do Philadelphia (Wachovia Cycling Series (Phila., PA) June 8) and San Francisco (San Francisco Grand Prix presented by BMC Software September 14) but San Fran's the same weekend as World Cup finals and I don't want to show up for Philly and not be prepared for it."
Vervecken and Tchmil appointed
The Union Cycliste Internationale has announced the appointment of cyclo-cross rider Erwin Vervecken as a member of the UCI cyclo-cross Commission. In the past, Vervecken has served as the cyclo-cross riders' spokesman to the UCI, voicing their concerns about a number of rules.
Andrei Tchmil will also join the UCI as "External consultant in charge of relations with Eastern Europe National Federations." Tchmil will work with the Moscow Continental Centre to help restructure the national training centres, and to help young riders in Eastern European countries.
Cyclo-cross World Cup
The UCI announced that the 2003-2004 cyclo-cross World Cup will consist of six events. Starting with a new race in Torino (Italy) on October 26, the series will include races in St. Wendel (Ger), Wetzikon (Swi), Koksijde (Bel), Nommay (Fra) and Pijnacker (Ned).
Finally, the following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences:
Stefan Rucker, sanctioned by Oesterreichischer Radsport Verband, after testing positive in the Int. Oberösterreich GP (Aut) on August 31 and September 1, 2002. He has been suspended for 6 months from October 22, 2002 to June 22, 2003 and fined CHF 1,000.
Ramon Martin Paz, sanctioned by Real Federación Española de Ciclismo, for testing positive in the Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad de Madrid on May 11, 2002. He has been suspended for 2 years from November 7, 2002 to November 6, 2004.
Cassio Freitas Paiva, sanctioned by Confederaçao Brasileira de Ciclismo, for testing positive in the Volta Ciclistica de Santa Catarina (Bra) on September 6, 2002. He has been suspended for 2 years from December 4, 2002 to December 3, 2004.
U.S. Track Team in Mexico
Fourteen athletes from the USA are currently competing in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in the second round of the UCI Track World Cup that takes place over the weekend. The team is as follows:
Women: Erin Mirabella, Racine, Wash. (individual pursuit); Becky Quinn, Quakertown, Pa. (scratch race); Ashley Kimmet, Bethlehem, Pa. (points race); Tanya Lindenmuth. Trexlertown, Pa. (500 meters, sprint); Sarah Uhl, Perkasie, Pa. (sprint);
Men: Andy Sparks, Colorado Springs, Colo. - U.S. Olympic Committee Resident Athlete (team sprint); Stephen Alfred, San Jose, Calif. (sprint, team sprint); Garth Blackburn, Houston, Texas (team sprint); Giddeon Massie, Colorado Springs, Colo. - USOC Resident Athlete (team sprint); Mike Tillman, Yorba Linda, Calif. (individual pursuit); Mike Creed, Colorado Springs, Colo. (scratch race, madison); Eric Saunders, Santa Barbara, Calif. (points race); Marty Nothstein, Trexlertown, Pa. (sprint, kilometre, keirin); Tyler Farrar, Wenatchee, Wash. (madison).
Teams for Flèche Wallonne
25 teams have been chosen by the Sociètè du Tour de France for the 67th edition of la Flèche Wallonne, which takes place from Charleroi to Huy on Wednesday, April 23. The majority of the teams (23) are from Division I, with two teams, Marlux and Vlaanderen-T Interim, from division II.
Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf (Bel)
The Subaru Nova Desert Classic
By Stephen W. Medcroft
The inaugural Subaru Nova Desert Classic mountain bike stage race will be held this coming weekend, March 21-23, in Fountain Hills, Arizona. An updated reincarnation of the popular 1990’s professional season opener, the Cactus Cup, the Subaru Nova Desert Classic has been awarded American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) status by USA Cycling. Event promoters hope to bring the same season-opening buzz to the sport that the Cactus Cup used to create.
So far, the buzz seems to be infecting the professional mountain bike world. Good responses from the major teams and encouraging attention from the industry, media, and fans, have race promoters excited about the upcoming weekend of world-class racing. Professional teams committed to sending racers to the event include Subaru Gary Fisher, Trek Volkswagon, the Luna Chix racing team, Team RLX Polo-Sport, Specialized Mountain Bike Team, and Rocky Mountain. Included in the battlefield for Roland Green, Alison Dunlap, Ryder Hesjedal, and their professional colleagues is an individual Time Trial (March 21), a dirt criterium/short track race (March 22), and a cross-country race (March 23).
Jerry Sieve, founder of the Nova Youth Cycling Foundation (NYCF), event promoter and co-title sponsor, says the goal for the event is "to make it something different than what has become the standard."
So, besides the pro events, the amateur stage race competition allows Beginner, Sport, and Expert racers to see how they match up against the performances of the pros. In unique twists on your typical mountain bike weekend, the event will also feature a team time trial, a team stage race, as well as kiddie events which might possibly be led by volunteer top-name professionals.
Since NYCF is an organization promoting the sport to youth racers, there will also be a unique opportunity for 18 and under, expert-level juniors. "The Nova Junior Expert Challenge is a special stage race for junior experts where they can (like their over-18 pro, semi-pro, and expert counterparts) win cash," says Sieve. "Over the years, I've found that junior experts have all the parts they want so winning a handlebar doesn't help them much. They need cash to go to other big races so they can develop and hopefully get to the world championships."
Plans also include a busy exposition and food service area with demo equipment and displays from top manufacturers such as Specialized, K2, Titus, Motobecane, Cliff, Pace Sportswear, Alison Dunlap Camps, and others.
Profits from the event will benefit the Foundation. NYCF has been active in the mountain bike community since its inception in September, 2000. A national, not-for-profit foundation, NYCF's mission is to provide support in beginning a systematic search for world-class mountain bikers at the junior level. To that end, NYCF has teams in Arizona, Texas, and Southern California, and supports more than 70 active riders at any one point in the season, some as far away as New Hampshire. "We do this (promote and support junior racers) because I feel mountain biking is such a really great sport for young people," says Sieve. He adds that mountain biking rewards those who put in the effort to succeed, providing valuable lessons to its participants.
This Subaru Nova Desert Classic will certainly bring attention to the foundation and is timed to become a popular early-season test for racers. As many as 1,000 participants will light up the Phoenix suburban singletrack. "We've had a lot of registrations from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, New York; all these snow-belt places that have just about had it with winter."
Stage 1 - March 21: Individual Time Trial, 13 km
More information can be found about the Subaru Nova Desert Classic and the Nova Youth Cycling Foundation at www.teamnova.org.
Sidermec-Saunier Duval adds Vini Caldirola
Division I team Sidermec-Saunier Duval, which includes Stefano Garzelli, Gianluca Bortolami, Romans Vainsteins and Fred Rodriguez, has added a third major sponsor to its squad. On Wednesday, March 19, a contract was signed with Italian wine company Vini Caldirola between team staff Enrico Maggioni and Bruno Barbieri, and company founder Nando Caldirola.
The team will now be known as "Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval" when racing outside Spain and Portugal, and "Saunier Duval-Caldirola-Sidermec" when racing in those countries.
John Moorhouse named Florida Sports Athlete of the Year
24-Hour solo mountain biker John Moorhouse has been named as Florida Sports Magazine's 2002 "No Boundaries Athlete of the Year", winning a Ford Focus ZTW Wagon for the achievement. Moorhouse manages Team 24, a group of 24 hour solo mountain bike specialists, and said that "The car will be used extensively to transport Team 24 cyclists to events in the Southeast Region, and to numerous 24-Hour MTB event up and down the East coast of the United States and as far west as Texas and California."
"For 2003 I plan on participating in at least 10 national 24 hour solo events (including the 2003 24-Hour Solo World Championships). This will be the year in which I participate in my 24th 24-hour solo competition," added Moorhouse, who named Australia's Mont 24 Hour and the United Kingdom's Red Bull Mountain Mayhem as two of his overseas events.
Moorhouse also plans to race the Trans Rockies Challenge, a seven day, 500 mile stage race in the Canadian Rockies. The Trans Rockies Challenge is competed in teams of two. Moorhouse and a Team 24 teammate hope to compete aboard an Ellsworth Witness tandem mountain bike.
Final days for 4 Wheels 4 Sean memorabilia auction
There are only a few days left in the online auction of cycling collectibles which is raising money for Australian charity 4 Wheels 4 Sean. Items open for bidding are:
To bid click here. Bidding ends on 24 March at 7:00PM Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time.
4 Wheels 4 Sean raises money to assist Australians in need because of a severe disability acquired whilst cycling, and since October 2001 has raised more than $46,000.
Italia Bici 2003: Tante Belle Cose Per Voi!
For the third consecutive year, Cyclingnews presents our feature Italia Bici, a unique inside look at some of the best cycling brands and products from la bella Italia. Perhaps no other country better epitomizes man's (and woman's) love affair with the two wheel mode of transportation called the bicycle. Italy is a nation where the passion for sport and technical innovation have captured the imagination of cycling aficionados worldwide.
The heroic pre-WW2 exploits of Binda, Bottechia and Guerra, the great battles between Coppi and Bartali in the 40's, the class of Baldini and power of Magni in the 50's. Then came the magic of Gimondi in the 60's and beyond inspired the passion of sports fans worldwide for the sport of cycling.
It was Moser vs. Sarroni that divided a nation of tifosi in the '70's and '80's. Then, the sheer talent of the enigmatic Bugno kept Italians and others on the edge of their seats in the in the 1990's, while Marco Pantani thrilled the tifosi with his explosive climbing and charismatic Giro & Tour wins.
This great tradition of Italian cycling lives on today with World Champion, the Magnificent Mario Cipollini, explosive World Cup champ Paolo Bettini and emerging young stars like Pippo Pozzato. The story of all of these great athletes is inextricably linked to the century old tradition of Italian artisan bicycle making. Please join Cyclingnews once again in our omaggio to il ciclismo a l'Italiano with Italia Bici 2003.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)