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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for May 5, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Hamilton's purple patch continues

By Jeff Jones

Tyler Hamilton
Photo: © Jeff Tse
Click for larger image

There are few things more satisfying for a cyclist than to train and prepare for a specific race and then to win it. In the last week, Tyler Hamilton (CSC) has done just that, taking Liege-Bastogne-Liege last Sunday and winning the final time trial in the Tour de Romandie, which gave him the overall victory over Laurent Dufaux and Francisco Perez.

"This is really fantastic," Hamilton told Swiss TV, echoing his comments after winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege. "The Tour de Romandie and Liege-Bastogne-Liege have been a big objective all spring. To win both is incredible. It's beyond words."

At the post-race press conference, Hamilton thanked his CSC teammates, who helped keep him in contention throughout the tough six day race. He also paid tribute to the team staff including Bjarne Riis, who has made changes in Hamilton's training program over the last year that have worked well.

Hamilton's next goal is the Tour de France, two months hence. In between he will ride the Classique des Alpes, Tour of Luxembourg and the Dauphiné Libéré. After his performances in the last two Sundays, people are wondering how far he can push former team captain and Tour favourite Lance Armstrong in July.

Hamilton is not predicting an upset defeat however. "Lance has been at a different level than everyone else," he pointed out. "People shouldn't say anything if their legs can't do the talking."

He also added that his friendship with Lance hasn't changed despite beating him in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. "We're still really good friends, but now we're competitors," he said. "I got a text message from Lance 15 minutes after Liege with his congratulations."

With Hamilton not riding the Giro d'Italia, he will be able to fully focus on the Tour de France, although he did ride both last year. At the very least, that promises to make the Tour more interesting in 2003.

Tour de Romandie coverage

Stage 5 report and results
Stages and results index
Photo gallery

Teenagers take the spoils in Australian track championships

By Gerard Knapp

The next generation of Australia's track riders were the dominant force as the final day of the Australian Track Cycling Championships at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome wound up on Sunday. The leading male and female riders are still in their teens and first years of senior competition, but the young riders showed speed and maturity beyond their years to capitalise on the absence of professional riders competing in Europe.

At the same time, the nationals were crucial for selection to the world championships team most of the young riders will be heading overseas later this year for the world titles. The stand-out performances were by Queenslander Anna Meares, 19, who took home four gold medals and Victorian Mark French, 18, with three golds.

French also took home the Champion of Champion's award, as the overall event point score for the trophy is based on individual events, a ruling that tends to favour the sprinters. "I certainly didn't expect back-to-back trophies," French said, who won the trophy for the second year in a row. He won gold in the flying 200m, inaugural standing 250m time trial and the keirin on the final night, as well as silver in the sprint.

Only one point behind on the overall event point score was the younger Meares sister, Anna, who won the 500 metre time trial, flying 200m time trial and team sprint, which she won with her sister Kerrie and Alexandra Bright to give Queensland the gold. Anna also won a bronze medal in the sprint and posted a personal best time in winning the 500 metre event.

The other major award announced at the end of the Championships also went to a teenager. Queenslander Wade Cosgrove won the George Adams Trophy for Ride of the Series after his stunning come-from-behind win in the men's 15km scratch race on the same night that he also celebrated his 19th birthday (see report).

The efforts of the young riders will generate benefits for the entire squad as it will result in additional places for Australian riders at the world championships. A Cycling Australia spokesperson said the Oceania Continental Championships were contested in conjunction with the Australian Championships, and the host nation - through the State representative riders - won every gold medal on offer, shutting out New Zealand and New Caledonia, who both sent teams.

In the case of the senior competition, the Oceania championships will guarantee extra places at the World Championships in selected individual events.

In terms of interstate rivalry among the Australians, the Victorians secured the Robina Joy Trophy for winning State based on points awarded for the top four positions in each, ahead of arch-rivals NSW. Victoria also claimed the Norm Gailey Trophy as the state to amass the most points across both national road and track competition.

Dramatic start, brilliant finish

Photo © Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

The final day got off to a dramatic start, as in a qualifying heat of the keirin, Wade Bootes crashed heavily on his debut in the event and has a suspected broken collarbone. It was an eventful national track titles for one of the world's leading BMX and MTB riders, who had won a gold medal the previous evening in the team sprint- see full report.

The final senior event of the night saw Tasmanian rider, Darren Young, take out the men's 40km points race in a brilliant display of team riding with fellow Tasmanians Stephen Rossendell and pursuit champion Mark Jamieson. The 18 year-old Jamieson put on breath-taking lead-outs to set up his senior rider for many of the intermediate sprints.

"The guy's a freak," Young said of his teenage teammate. "He hits out at four (laps) to go and I can only just get him at the line. There aren't many guys that can do that. But as long as he does it when he's on my team it's alright."

Medal presentation

Kupfernagel and Algelid still out with sickness

By Jeff Jones

Two of Equipe Nürnberger's top riders, Hanka Kupfernagel and Jenny Algelid-Bengtsson have been sidelined this season due to health problems, which have been slow in clearing up. Kupfernagel started the year off well with a second place in the World Cyclo-cross Championships, but since then she had an operation on her teeth and subsequently suffered from an inflammation of her kidney pelvis. Algelid contracted a mystery virus at the beginning of the season, and doctors have been unable to find exactly what's wrong with her, although she is slowly recovering.

It's expected that neither will be fit in time for the Tour de l'Aude, which starts on May 15, and is the next important appointment for the Nürnberger team. "For Hanka Kupfernagel and Jenny Algelid it's too early," team director Jens Zemke told Cyclingnews. "I can't let them start in a big race so early in the season. Maybe they can start in June or July."

Zemke is hoping for more good results from his team, which just capped off a very successful Gracia Orlova tour in the Czech Republic, with Petra Rossner and Judith Arndt winning two stages each, Arndt finishing second overall behind Nicole Brändli, and Equipe Nürnberger winning the team classification.

U23 Thüringen-Rundfahrt

Taking place over seven stages between May 5 and May 11, the U23 Thüringen-Rundfahrt will attract several top national teams to Germany, along with a number of domestic squads. The race starts with a 3.4 kilometre prologue time trial in Sonneberg, and finishes six days later in the same town with a 139.2 kilometre stage starting in Bad Berka. Most of the stages are hilly, with the final two (Saalfeld to Bad Berka and Bad Berka to Sonneberg) the most challenging. Included in the race is a 42.1 kilometre team time trial on stage 3, which should test the strength and quality of all the teams.

The teams: German Track Team, German MTB Team, Switzerland, USA, Australia, Denmark, Team Hörmann/Schweiz, Cycling Team Löwik Meubelen/Tegeltoko, Rabobank, Trek-Astrorps Cykelklubb, Angelin Travel RO St. Petersburg, TEAG Team Köstritzer, Hofbräu-Radler Stuttgart, KED-Rad Team Berlin, Mapei Bayern U23, ISPO Lotusan Cottbus, Wiesenhof U23, Winfix Berlin

The stages

Prologue - May 5: Sonneberg ITT, 3.4 km
Stage 1 - May 6: Sonneberg - Bad Salzungen, 137.4 km
Stage 2 - May 7: Salzungen - Behringen, 152.8 km
Stage 3 - May 8: Heiligenstadt - Büttstett - Heiligenstadt TTT, 42.1 km
Stage 4 - May 9: Heiligenstadt - Saalfeld, 174.6 km
Stage 5 - May 10: Saalfeld - Bad Berka, 159.6 km
Stage 6 - May 11: Bad Berka - Sonneberg, 139.2 km

Mont 24 Hr Australian MTB race

Over 1200 Australian and international riders are expected to take part in the annual Mont 24 Hour race on October 11-12, on a purpose built 20 km course in the forests just outside of Canberra. Starting at 12pm on Saturday, October 11, riders will compete against each other, the elements and themselves in Australia's largest mountain bike event.

Also see: Cyclingnews' coverage of the 2002 Mont 24 Hr

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