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Latest News for May 5, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

49th Four Days of Dunkirk

Held over the five days between Wednesday, May 7 and Sunday, May 11, is the 49th edition of the Four Days of Dunkirk. It's one of the biggest stage races in France, and its past winners list includes top riders such as Jacques Anquetil, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens, Walter Godefroot, Bernard Hinault, Charly Mottet, Stephen Roche, Johan Museeuw and Alexander Vinokourov. Of these, Freddy Maertens has won it the most often, with four victories between 1973 and 1978.

Although overlapping with both the Giro and the Peace Race, this year's Four Days of Dunkirk will still have a strong field, with thirteen division I teams and seven from division II. There will be a strong representation from the French and Belgian teams, which comprise 65 percent of the field.

The parcours, which is for the most part flat, suits good time trialists who can also ride at the head of the peloton which inevitably breaks up in the crosswinds. Jaan Kirsipuu and Laurent Brochard (Ag2r) are two such candidates, as are Bart Voskamp (BankGiroLoterij), Didier Rous (Brioches la Boulangère), David Millar (Cofidis), Christophe Moreau and Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), Baden Cooke and Brad McGee (FDJeux.com), Bo Hamburger (Formaggi), Raivis Belohvosciks (Marlux), and Servais Knaven (Quick.Step-Davitamon).

The first stage, from Dunkirk to Roost-Warendin, takes the riders over parts of the Paris-Roubaix course, with some pavé sections near Orchies featuring towards the end of the stage. Stage 2 from Sin-le-Noble to Bapaume is the longest at 201 kilometres, and contains two hill sprints. The third stage from Arras to Arques is similar, although slightly shorter at 191 kilometres.

Stage four is the 'mountain stage' in the Four Days of Dunkirk, taking place over 180 kilometres between Wimereux and Boulogne sur Mer. The stage is primarily run over a circuit around Boulogne sur Mer, which the riders have to do six times. Each lap includes the climb of Mont Lambert. On the final day there will be two stages, starting with a 19 kilometre time trial on the banks of the Aa river in Gravelines and finishing with a 96 kilometre stage from Gravelines to Dunkerque.

Teams

05 Orbitel
Ag2R Prevoyance (Brochard, Kirsipuu)
Brioches La Boulangere (Rous)
Big Mat Auber 93 (G. Auger)
Bankgiroloterij Batavus (Voskamp)
Credit Agricole (Moreau, O'Grady)
Cofidis, Le Crédit Par Téléphone (Millar)
Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave - Ciarrocchi Immobiliare (Hamburger)
FDJeux.com (Cooke, McGee)
Jean Delatour (Halgand)
Landbouwkrediet Colnago (Capelle, Steels)
Marlux Wincor Nixdorf - Ville De Charleroi (Belohvosciks)
MBK Oktos Saint-Quentin (Hunt)
Palmans Collstrop (Hammond, Omloop)
Quick Step - Davitamon (Bodrogi, Museeuw, Knaven)
Rabobank (Den Bakker, Hayman)
Team fakta (Johansen, Rittsel)
Team CSC (Tafi, Jalabert)
U.S. Postal Presented By Berry Floor (Barry, Landis)
Vlaanderen - T Interim (Vanlandschoot, Gilmore)

Stages

Stage 1 - May 7: Dunkerque - Roost-Warendin, 189.5 km
Stage 2 - May 8: Sin-le-Noble - Bapaume, 200.9 km
Stage 3 - May 9: Arras - Arques, 191.4 km
Stage 4 - May 10: Wimereux - Boulogne sur Mer, 179.5
Stage 5 - May 11: Gravelines - Sivom de l'Aa ITT, 19 km
Stage 6 - May 11: Gravelines - Dunkerque, 96.1 km

Lotto-Domo for the Giro

With Rik Verbrugghe limiting his ambitions to stage wins this year, the Lotto-Domo team for the Giro d'Italia will be based around him and Robbie McEwen, who won two stages last year. The squad Lotto-Domo therefore contains a number of riders who are good domestiques and can work well to set up a lead out train.

Full team: Gert Steegmans, Nick Gates, Thierry Marichal, Robbie McEwen, Koos Moerenhout, Kevin Van Impe, Ief Verbrugghe, Rik Verbrugghe, Aart Vierhouten.

Fassa Bortolo for the Giro

Dario Frigo and Aitor Gonzalez will spearhead the Fassa Bortolo squadra for the Giro d'Italia. Frigo, who has been in excellent shape all season, found the going a little tough in the Tour de Romandie, and pulled out before the final stage. Aitor Gonzalez appears to be regaining form, with a fourth place in the final time trial, however he was not able to stay in contention in the mountains.

Fassa Bortolo also has sprinter Alessandro Petacchi at its disposal, who will have the tough task of taking on Mario Cipollini in the bunch sprints. The remainder of the team is quite strong, and is more than capable of defending a pink jersey.

Full team: Dario Frigo, Aitor Gonzalez, Alessandro Petacchi, Marzio Bruseghin, Dario Cioni, Kim Kirchen, Matteo Tosatto, Guido Trenti, Marco Velo.

Sydney hosts final round of Track Cycling World Cup Classics

Over 200 of the world's top track cyclists, representing 42 countries, will converge on the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney for the fourth and final round of the UCI World Cup Classics series. The three day event will run from May 16-18 and will feature world, Olympic, Commonwealth and national champions.

"There will be more cyclists on the track at the Sydney World Cup than at the Sydney Olympic Games," commented Cycling Australia President, Mike Victor, who predicted an exciting meet with some top class racing.

After the conclusion of the national track championships on Sunday, Cycling Australia confirmed Australia's 14 rider team. It includes three time world kilometre champion, Shane Kelly (31); dual Commonwealth Games Champion and World Championship medallist, Kerrie Meares (20); 2001 keirin World Champion and Commonwealth Games Sprint Champion, Ryan Bayley (21) and teenage sprint sensation and four time junior World Champion, Mark French (18) who yesterday claimed the Champion of Champions trophy in his first year of senior competition at the Australian Championships in Sydney.

Australia will face tough competition from the rest of the world with a stellar line up heading to Sydney. France is sending a team of seven including nine-time world champion, Arnaud Tournant (24) who holds the current world record for the one kilometre time trial. Joining him will be eight-time world and three time Olympic gold medallist, Florian Rousseau (29) and four time world champion and Olympic gold medallist, Laurent Gane (30). The trio claimed the team sprint gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and is keen to gain revenge on the Australians who unseated them from the number one world ranking in track cycling at last year's World Championships.

Two time Olympic sprint champion, Jens Fiedler (33) will head the German assault and Great Britain will field Jamie Staff (30) a member of the current Team Sprint World Champion trio. Another Sydney Olympic champion heading back to Dunc Gray is American Marty Nothstein (32). Nothstein claimed the sprint gold medal in 2000 but is now concentrating on endurance events.

The Sydney World Cup Classic presents several riders with an opportunity to claim 2003 World Cup Champion honours in individual disciplines with points awarded to tenth place. It will also decide the winning nation in the 2003 World Cup Classics Series. After the first three rounds in Moscow, Mexico and South Africa, the leading nation is Germany with 289 points followed by France on 252 points, Russia on 219 points and Australia is in fourth place with 195 points.

Sixteen events will be contested over the three days of competition. The World Cup Classics are part of the qualification process for the Track Cycling World Championships and several nations will be keen to gain points to secure places.

The nations competing are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei , Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Uruguay, United States of America and Venezuela.

Australian Team

Ryan Bayley (WA)
Brad Norton (VIC)
Christopher Pascoe (NSW)
Mark French (VIC)
Mark Jamieson (TAS)
Shane Kelly (VIC)
Rodney McGee (NSW)
Chris Sutton (NSW)
Darren Young (TAS)
Rochelle Gilmore (NSW)
Belinda Goss (TAS)
Rosealee Hubbard (SA)
Kerrie Meares (QLD)
Amy Safe (SA)

Young Italian rider dies

16 year old Italian cyclist Marco Ceriani has died in Peschiera hospital after falling ill in a race on April 25 in Bonaldo di Zimella, near Verona. After abandoning the race, Ceriani was taken to Peschiera hospital in a serious condition, losing consciousness and never regaining it, despite the efforts of doctors. Ceriani was a promising young rider, having been involved in cycling since he was eight.

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