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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for May 1, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Millar back to racing

Originally scheduled to return to racing at the Four Days of Dunkerque, David Millar (Cofidis) will be back on the start line today at the GP de Villers Cotterêts. Millar was injured after a high speed crash in the Critérium International, but appears to be ready to rejoin the fray, even if his form is not quite back to where he'd like it.

"I didn't expect to have any races before Dunkerque so I'm not really as prepared as I would have liked but it will be nice to return to racing," Millar commented on his web site. "I had a good three days training at the end of last week and I rode for five and a half hours on Saturday. I felt really good during this ride but the following day I was exhausted and I didn't get back on the bike until Monday when I only managed 2 hours."

Millar has also been asked about his teammates' dissatisfaction with the Cofidis management, an issue he himself raised earlier in the season. "I haven't spoken to any of the riders involved but I know that they have had meetings with the team," he said. "I can't really comment on the situation but it appears that some of the issues echo the things I said at the beginning of the year."

Following the GP de Villers Cotterêts, Millar will race Sunday's Trophée des Grimpeurs outside of Paris, before going on to the Four Days of Dunkerque on May 7th.

Lefèvre out of Romandie

Laurent Lefèvre (Jean Delatour), who injured his hand in a crash during yesterday's stage 1 at the Tour de Romandie, had insult added to injury after being ejected from the race by the jury. Lefèvre went down after the feed zone, and after a long chase was able to rejoin the peloton and finish the stage. However, race officials felt he hung onto the medical car for too long while receiving some assistance for his wounds, and decided to disqualify him. The driver of the medical car has also been removed from the race.

Friendly rivalry at Henninger Turm

Today's Rund um den Henninger Turm, one of Germany's biggest one day races, will feature a showdown of several of the country's most popular riders. Most notably, Telekom's sprinter extraordinaire Erik Zabel will not be competing against former teammate Jan Ullrich of Team Coast. Ullrich has shown he's hungry for results, even in the early stages of his comeback. Zabel will be looking for a third Henninger Turm victory on May Day.

They may be on different teams now, but Zabel insists there will be no negative racing between Telekom and Coast. "We're smart enough to separate our jobs and our private lives," he said on the team's web site. "Gerolsteiner, Telekom and Coast will not neutralize each other and sacrifice the respect that we've earned from the millions of cycling fans in our country. We will race according to our own tactics and give it everything."

Zabel's chances typically are based on a bunch sprint, but he knows he has plenty of rivals. "If the race should come to a sprint, then Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), and Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) are all capable of making life difficult for me," he said.

News from Australian/Oceania Track Championships

Jamieson's run continues

Mark Jamieson
Photo © T.I.S.
Click for larger image

Junior world pursuit champion, Mark Jamieson (Tasmania), added another title to his name last night at the Australian/Oceania Track Championships in Sydney. Jamieson is now the senior 4000 metre pursuit champion in his first attempt at this level, which should bode well for World Championship and possibly Olympic selection.

Jamieson set the fastest heat, semi-final and final times, riding some 5-7 seconds faster than his AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) coaches expected, his heat time of 4.28.524 only half a second outside the criteria for automatic selection for the Olympic Games, which places him at the forefront of pursuiting in Australia.

Using a special carbon fibre track bicycle fitted with instrumented pedal cranks, information gained from his rides will enable AIS/TIS (Tasmanian Institute of Sport) scientists to measure his winning performance in minute detail, and will guide Mark and coaches in his preparations over the next 18 months.

Jamieson recently represented Australia in the Teams Pursuit in South Africa, and before that he prepared extensively with Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Kevin Tabotta in Launceston.

For full results from Day 1 of the Australian/Oceania Track Championships, click here.

Wim van Est dies

Dutch rider Wim van Est has died in a hospital in Sint Willebrord, aged 80. Van Est was best known for his exploits in the Tour de France, becoming the first Dutch rider ever to wear the yellow jersey during the 1951 Tour. However he lost it the next day when he fell into a ravine during the descent of the Col d'Aubisque. Van Est and his former cycling colleagues met two years ago on the Aubisque to remember the 50th anniversary of his triumph and tragedy.

One of 16 children in his family, Van Est was born on March 25, 1923 in Fijnaart, West Brabant. Before he became a cyclist, he earned money by smuggling tobacco, until the police caught him and imprisoned him for six months. He started his amateur cycling career in 1946, aged 23. Four years later, he won the 600 km Bordeaux-Paris race, which he went on to win another two times. He was selected for the Dutch team to ride the Tour, and repaid that faith by taking the yellow jersey on July 16 in Dax after being part of a breakaway group that gained nearly 20 minutes on the peloton.

His yellow glory lasted only one day however, as during the next stage from Dax to Tarbes he crashed out of contention after puncturing on the Col du Aubisque and ending up in a ravine. He was surprisingly unhurt and wanted to get back on his bike to finish the stage, but his manager wouldn't allow it and withdrew the whole team.

Wim van Est's career was certainly not over after that, and he went on to wear the yellow jersey on several more occasions in later Tours as well as winning another two Tour stages. He also won the Ronde van Vlaanderen and a stage of the Giro d'Italia. He retired in 1964.

Also see: Wim van Est's fall - A Cyclingnews feature

Capital Cup cancelled

Organisers of the 2003 Capital Cup have been forced to cancel this Washington, DC Pro/Am event due to the loss of a supporting sponsor. With such short notice, the prospects for finding a replacement sponsor are limited. Promoter Arlington Sports, Inc. is unwilling to take on the financial risk of finding another sponsor at this late date.

"We will now focus our efforts and recourses on continuing to grow and improve the Clarendon Cup, its sister event," indicated race director Rob Laybourn. The 6th annual Clarendon Cup will be held Sunday, June 1st in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. The Clarendon Cup will also be a part of the inaugural American Criterium Championship Series (ACCS).

"The Capital Cup was also cancelled in 2002, due to road construction, though has since been completed," added Laybourn. "Last year's cancellation also put us behind in growing our sponsorship for 2003. However, with the growth of the Clarendon Cup, we expect to bring the Capital Cup back in 2004."

Van Impe to lead juniors

Tour de France winner Lucien Van Impe has decided to lend a hand to the Sint Martinus amateur team in Belgium. Van Impe will serve as directeur sportif for the team, and in particular will focus on development of younger riders, according to Het Nieuwsblad. His first race with the team will be at Vilvorde on May 18.

Casagrande tries the Zoncolan

Lampre's Francesco Casagrande has spent some time testing his legs on the climb of the Monte Zoncolan, said to be the Giro d'Italia's answer to the fearsome Angliru in Spain. Casagrande rode the climb, accompanied by his director Pietro Algeri. One of Casagrande's key rivals, former Giro winner Gilberto Simoni, made his trip to see the Zoncolan first hand back in December, 2002.

"It's going to be a very hard stage," Casagrande said. "It's harder than the Mortirolo. The last three kilometres are truly horrible." The Mortirolo is one of the climbs of reference in the Dolomites. The climb to the Monte Zoncolan, to be used for the first time this year, comes on stage 12 of this year's Giro, on May 22. A number of riders have indicated that it could be a decisive stage in this year's race.

Holiday weekend racing in Ireland

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent

The countdown to the FBD Milk Ras has begun in earnest now that the race is just two weeks away. A lot of fine tuning is underway, with the finalisation of a number of county teams and the national team. This May Bank Holiday weekend has an interesting line up with the majority of the top seniors going north to contest the Tour of Ulster. This event comes on the heels of two fine promotions in the last 14 days, which has certainly allowed a window of opportunity for some cyclists who were not in the front line prior to that.

The Credit Union Ras Mumhan was a fine example of exemplary racing by a number of individuals who had not figured prior to that four-day event. In particular, the efforts of Brian Kenneally of Carrick Cidona and Paul Doyle of Tilechoice took everybody by surprise, plus of course the Clareman, Vincent Gleeson, who has certainly proved that Clare cycling is alive and well.

Last Sunday in the Swift Post Elliott Memorial, Kenneally was again a force to be reckoned with. At those two outings, Kenneally has certainly timed his effort to coincide with a good Tour of Ulster. Also, he will welcome the return to the peloton of Martin O'Loughlin, who has been sidelined due to injury for the last six weeks. Not to mention the return to club duties for Timmy Barry, who won this event two years ago.

Oddly enough, Eugene Moriarty is also smarting from a rare misjudgment last weekend in the Elliott when he literally had the event sewn up bar on the finishing line, only to lose out to the former Saeco/Index Alexia rider Allesandro Guerra.

Moriarty may not thrive in Ulster, but his namesake Paddy could be the man to watch. Paddy has reportedly turned down the opportunity to represent Team Ireland in the upcoming FBD Milk Ras and instead his place went to Andrew Donnellan of the Dublin Wheelers CC who, with the likes of Kenneally and Doyle, has shown sparkle in the last number of weeks.

For those who want an easier life on the bike this weekend, it has to be the Corkman Three Day, which starts on Saturday at four from the Square in Kanturk. Sign-on is in the local night club.

Weekend races

Saturday:

Munster, Corkman Three-Day, Kanturk. 16:00
Ulster, Tour of Ulster, Craigavon. 12:00

Sunday:

Munster, Corkman Three-Day, stage 2 & 3. 9:00
Ulster: Tour of Ulster, stage 2, Downpatrick. 11:00

Monday:

Munster, Corkman, stage four. 10:00
Ulster, stage three, Craigavon. 12:00

 

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