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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for March 31, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

USAC firm on selection procedures

By Jeff Jones & Kristy Scrymgeour

Despite a number of complaints raised by track cyclists about USA Cycling's selection criteria for the World Championships, the national governing body is remaining firm about its procedures. The strongest criticism from riders has been that the criteria were released too late in the season, thus some riders have already missed opportunities to qualify that they didn't realise were there.

When contacted by Cyclingnews, USAC's CEO Steve Johnson reiterated what he said last week, namely that he believes that "these are going to be the best selection criteria to move forward with track cycling".

In reference to the growing number of complaints by riders, Johnson said that "I believe Jame and Colby have just been recruiting people to back them up on this issue. We are not going to change our position".

Sprinter Tanya Lindenmuth agreed with some of the rider criticism of USAC, telling Cyclingnews, "I must say I was not happy that the selection procedures came out so late, but I think they are fair. I misunderstood the procedures too, in fact all the athletes did, we just assumed they would be the same as they have been for the past few years, but I don't remember ever being told anything back in December by someone from the USAC."

However, Lindenmuth said that it wouldn't change her season plans. "The fact is we need to go to the World Cup races regardless of whether they are selection races for us or not, because we need to qualify spots for our country. We can't just not go to the World Cup races and expect other people to qualify positions for us. I actually qualified for selection last weekend at Moscow, so that is good for me, but I was not pleased with the timing of the procedures either. The trouble is, it's just so hard keeping everyone happy".

Professional riders to be consulted on mandatory helmet use

The subject of whether helmets should be mandatory in professional cycling has been debated for the last two and a half weeks, ever since the death of Andrei Kivilev during a stage of Paris-Nice. Kivilev died of head injuries sustained when he hit the ground face first, and doctors who treated him said that a helmet would have saved his life.

In the past, the UCI has tried to enforce the wearing of helmets by professional racers, but it has been met with resistance, notably in 1991 when the riders staged a protest during Paris-Nice against being forced to wear them. Currently, wearing helmets while racing is compulsory in only a few countries, notably Belgium, Australia, USA, and Great Britain. Now there is a possibility that more countries will follow suit.

In France, the Ligue du Cyclisme Professionnel Français will make a decision on the matter soon, but will firstly consult with riders and team managers to canvass their opinions. The Ligue will hear the riders in Rennes on April 6 at the time of the GP Rennes, and will then "take a clear and concerted position," according to Ligue president Thierry Cazeneuve's comments to AFP.

Hincapie back home and still suffering

George Hincapie (US Postal) will be sorely missed by his team in the upcoming spring classics, knocked out due to a mystery sinus problem. After the team announced his non-participation in the classics earlier this month, Hincapie flew home to his home in Greenville, South Carolina to try and find a cure for the problem, that has prevented him from breathing properly since the beginning of this season. He is now travelling the country visiting different doctors to see if they can help him. His return date to racing is unknown, although the team hopes he can be back on the road with them by May.

Muur van Geraardsbergen repaved

A historical piece of road in Belgium will undergo a permanent change later this year, when the Muur van Geraardsbergen is repaved with new cobbles. The old cobbles of the Muur have been raced over countless times in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Het Volk, and other Belgian classics. The unevenness of the cobbles, combined with the narrow road and maximum 20% gradient makes for a very tough climb, and the Muur has often been the decisive point in a classic.

Just as the Koppenberg was repaved a couple of years ago, so too will the Muur Van Geraardsbergen. The total cost will be over €1.2 million, and the work is expected to be finished in time for next year's Ronde.

Souvenir Magali Pache cancelled

The organiser of the Souvenir Magali Pache, a UCI 1.9.1 race scheduled for May 4, has been forced to cancel it for financial reasons. André Massard, whose fiancée Magali was killed by a car in September 2000, told Cyclingnews that he was not able to collect enough money to fulfil his budget. "I'm extremely disappointed not to be able to organise this race dedicated to my fiancée," he said.

Chris Hoy online

Double World Champion and Commonwealth Games Champion, Chris Hoy has just launched his revamped website, www.chrishoy.com. The site contains detailed information about Hoy's various successes on the track, including his impressive double gold medals (Kilo, Team Sprint) in last year's World's at Copenhagen, his gold and bronze medals (Kilo, Team Sprint) in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and his silver medal (Team Sprint) in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The site also contains a photo gallery, diary and biographical details of the Scottish rider.

Amputee to cycle across US

Below-knee amputee Daniel Sheret is currently training for a 52 day, 6100 km tour across America, aimed at raising awareness about the Ertl surgical procedure and The Barr Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives of amputees worldwide. The 40 year old from Wilmington, North Carolina, will ride in the company of 60 other able bodied cyclists, starting in San Francisco on June 7 and finishing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 29.

The Barr Foundation, located in Boca Raton, Florida, provides funds to purchase prosthetic limbs for amputees who cannot otherwise afford them. "Two thousand five hundred people face amputee surgery every week," said Sheret. "It is our goal to bring the hope and awareness that when someone is faced with this challenge, life is not over. It is only just beginning!"

For more information about Sheret's trip, visit www.ampu-cycle.com.

Perth to Darwin for 4Wheels4Sean

On April 9, 2003, Australian mountain biker Huw Kingston will kayak away from Perth on his sixth journey of his City2City project. The project involves seven journeys totaling 25,000 km, linking each of Australia's State capitals by following the most interesting and challenging human powered routes. No powered vehicles are used along the way.

The Perth2Darwin leg will take some four months and cover over 6000 km of rugged Australian terrain. Kingston will walk the gorges of the Hammersley Ranges, kayak the Kimberley Coast, mountain bike through the Kimberley to the domes of the Bungle Bungles, through properties and National Parks in the Northern Territory and onto the Daly River. Huw hopes to arrive in Darwin in early August.

Kingston is raising sponsorship for the 4Wheels4Sean charity, which was created in 2000 when, whilst on his Sydney2Brisbane journey, Kingston learned that his friend and fellow mountain biker, Sean Fitzgerald, had broken his neck and become a quadraplegic whilst mountain biking in the Litchfield NP in the Northern Territory. 4Wheels4Sean was set up to raise $50,000 to purchase a specially adapted vehicle for Sean. As a result of a recent auction, this target has just been reached, but the charity will continue as a means to fund any person who becomes severely disabled as the result of a cycling accident.

"Towards the end of the journey I'll pass the point in Litchfield NP where Sean had his accident, which will be a poignant moment," said Kingston. "I'm certainly hoping that this journey will only not only offer a personal challenge but will raise substantial amounts of money for 4Wheels4Sean."

On completion of Perth2Darwin, Huw will have just one journey left: from Melbourne2Hobart in March/April 2004. The journeys to date have been Melbourne2Sydney (52days, 1500km), Melbourne2Adelaide (45 days, 1950km), Brisbane2Darwin (105 days, 5800km), Sydney2Brisbane (49 days, 1850km), Perth2Adelaide (111 days, 6030km)

For full details on the charity and Huw's journey see www.polarismtb.com.au/4w4s

Tasmanian Cycling Federation AGM

Cycling Tasmania will hold its 73rd annual meeting next week at the Country Club Villas in Launceston, at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 3. Two of its main agenda items will include the future of the Tour of Tasmania road race and the appointment of a Senior Track Handicapper.

The meeting will see former Victorian cyclist Greg Nunn returned for a third term as president, while Latrobe's Noel Pearce and Launceston's Ron Bryan, will be re-elected as two of CT's four vice-presidents. The other two, Kevin Jamieson and Garry House still have one year of a two year term left to serve.

With nominations already closed for all positions, there will be no change at executive level, however CT officials have been working to find a replacement for Peter Coventry, who has indicated his desire to step down as the Senior Track Handicapper. Launceston based Nigel Cunningham will be returned as the Junior Track and Road Handicapper, but he has made no indication to move up to senior ranks.

Meanwhile CT will also discuss the 2003 and 2004 future of the Tour of Tasmania. Originally scheduled for February of this year, the event was scrapped after previous promoter John Trevorrow was unable to fulfil all obligations. Since then CT officials have held discussions with other promoters and the event could return - albeit in a different format and under a different name - sometime in 2004.

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