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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for May 9, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

56th Peace Race

Przydzial & Sosenka
Photo: © Jirka Urban
Click for larger image

The 56th edition of the Peace Race (UCI 2.2) begins Friday, May 9. The race is rich in history, emerging in eastern Europe as one of the greatest amateur events in the wake of World War II. The race diminished in scale over time, suffering the most after the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of heavy government subsidies for the event in the early 1990s. However, in an upswing in UCI recognition in recent years and the participation of some of the biggest European professional teams has repositioned the Peace Race as a major event on the international calendar.

The race begins in Olomouc in the Czech Republic and includes three stages in each of the three countries which host the event: Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. There are no individual time trials, common in stage racing, however the shortest day of racing is stage 1, at 111 kilometres. Two stages top the 200km mark, and nine straight days of racing should provide a worthy test to the riders.

Sixteen teams were scheduled to race the 2003 edition, however the suspension of Team Coast on the eve of the race means a substitute is unlikely, bringing the total down to fifteen. The American Saturn team is making a big European appearance at the Peace Race, alongside top teams such as CSC, Telekom, Lampre, and Gerolsteiner.

The initial winner of last year's Peace Race, Piotr Przydzial (CCC-Polsat), tested "non-negative" for EPO after a control taken following the fourth stage that finished in Chemnitz on May 13. As a result, following the analysis of his B sample, Przydzial was stripped of his victory, which went to his teammate Ondrej Sosenka.

The stages:

May 9: Stage 1 - Olomouc (Czech Republic) - Olomouc, 111.3 km
May 10: Stage 2 - Unicov - Opava, 155.4 km
May 11: Stage 3 - Knov - Polanica Zdroj, 189.3 km
May 12: Stage 4 - Klodzko (Poland) - Walbrzych 179.4 km
May 13: Stage 5 - Jawor - Zielona Gora, 212.8 km
May 14: Stage 6 - Krosno Odrzanskie - Frankfurt n O., 146.6 km
May 15: Stage 7 - Lübben (Germany) - Naumburg, 213.6 km
May 16: Stage 8 - Freyburg/U - Klingenthal, 187.0 km
May 17: Stage 9 - Bad Elster - Erfurt, 160.5 km

Total distance: 1,556 km


CCC Polsat
Team CSC
Team Coast *
Mercatone Uno-Scanavino
Team Wiesenhof

*Team Coast was suspended from competition by the UCI on May 8.

Previous winners:

2002 Sosenka Ondrej (Cze)
2001Jakob Piil (Den)
2000 Piotr Wadecki (Pol)
1999 Steffen Wesemann (Ger)
1998 Uwe Ampler (Ger)

First Giro blood controls OK

The first set of blood controls taken on Thursday before the Giro d'Italia have all come back negative, meaning the whole field can in principle start the race on Saturday in Lecce. There will be more controls on Saturday morning.

Tosatto in question

Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), who wore the pink jersey for three days in the 2000 edition of the Giro, may be forced to miss this year's race. Tosatto crashed while training and hurt his side. The team will make a decision on Friday whether to allow him to race.

Enter your team in the Giro d'Italia has joined with UK games development firm Fantasy Sports International to offer a new cycling fantasy game, right in time for the first major Grand Tour of the year, the Giro d'Italia. The game was launched today with the major prize being a Cannondale CAAD7 road frame, the heart of the machine to be ridden by Gilberto Simoni and the Saeco team.

The Giro fantasy game allows you to select your dream team for the Giro and pit yourself against other readers' favourites, as well as the team selected by Cyclingnews' chief online editor Jeff Jones (who's not allowed to win, by the way).

The Giro fantasy game costs $7.50 to enter and also allows for late entries up until stage 6. Click here for further details.

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Virenque plans for Olympics

Frenchman Richard Virenque (Quick.Step-Davitamon) plans to remain in the professional ranks until the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The 2004 summer games would be Virenque's third Olympic participation, and he has decided to consider after the games whether or not to continue his career. "I think it's a special race," he told VRT.


UK Anti-doping news

A report released recently by UK Sport has indicated that the number of drug tests undertaken in the UK hit record levels in the past year. A total of 7,240 tests were performed in the year ending on March 31, 2003, compared with 6,009 tests in 2001/02. This represents an increase of 20.5%.

Despite this large increase, the number of tests being reported to governing bodies for further investigation fell from 101 in 2001/02 to 100 this year. That amounts to 1.38% of all tests - well below the worldwide average of 2% reporting adverse findings. Among the 101 adverse findings, 49 were for stimulants (the vast majority of which were for substances confirmed as permitted medications), 26 were for anabolic agents, and 16 were for refusal to take a test.

A total of 41 sports have been covered by the UK's anti-doping program in the last year, with the most testing taking place in football, athletics, and rugby.

"The next 12 months will see major steps being made in the fight for drug-free sport as the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code draws nearer," said Richard Callicott, Chief Executive of UK Sport. "We have already started to work on the UK's own anti-doping policy to ensure compliance and we will continue to work with the athletes, governing bodies and other partner organisations to ensure a smooth transition to the Code."

Advice on supplements

UK Sport has also joined other national sporting bodies in releasing an advisory statement to athletes concerning the use of supplements. The statement warns athletes to be "extremely cautious about the use of any supplements." Athletes are advised that "no guarantee can be given that any particular supplement is free from prohibited substances as these products are not licensed and are not subject to the same strict manufacturing and labeling requirements as licensed medicines."

Noel Hammond/Kieran Hammond Memorial Races

By Shane Stokes,

The final major race before the FBD Milk Rás takes place this Sunday with the holding of the Noel Hammond Classic league event in Ballyboghal. The event will give a major insight into the identities of those who should be riding well in the Rás, which starts on Sunday May 18th in Dublin.

Defending Rás champion Ciarán Power is one of many who will line out in Ballyboghal. The Navigators professional is back from competing on the European and US circuits, and is at the moment recovering from a particularly hard block of racing. "I haven't touched my bike all week but will go out on a couple of easy spins and then race on Sunday," he confirmed.

The combined senior A and B race will take in seven laps of the undulating 12 mile circuit, while the senior 3, junior, veteran and ladies race will be disputed over five. This latter event has been renamed the Kieran Hammond Memorial race, in memory of the amicable Orwell Wheelers rider who ran the show in recent years.

One change to the races is that the finish line will be situated on the straight road before the left turn into Ballyboghal. "A couple of small speed ramps have been put on the main road,’ said Aidan Hammond of Orwell Wheelers. "They will be fine during the race but we thought it was best to move the finish back slightly." The race headquarters will be situated in the local GAA hall, as per usual. More information can be obtained from Aidan at 01 8431056.

LeMond helps YMCA

This summer the YMCA of Greater Seattle, in partnership with Rad Racing Northwest, will host three time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond for the first "Freedom Sports Camp". The camp will be held at YMCA Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, Washington June 30-July 7. The camp will focus on boys and girls ages 11-15 with beginner to intermediate skill levels who want to expand their knowledge of or learn about a variety of sports, including mountain biking. LeMond will be guest coach for the week and offer guidance and coaching.

Rad Racing NW Head Coach Jim Brown, USA Cycling Coach Geoff Proctor and several other prominent northwest cycling coaches will also support the campers. "We want to get kids excited about the sport, teach them the correct skills, and then plug them into resources back home so that they can continue to grow in the sport," Brown explained. "Mountain biking is the key to getting kids into the sport of cycling. Most of the kids from the Rad Racing program started out on mountain bikes and now are road racing at least 50% of the time."

Tour of Shenandoah

The first annual Tour of Shenandoah will take place June 13-15 in Virginia’s central Shenandoah Valley region. The event is a three day stage race, beginning Friday, June 13 with a 3 mile time trial at Massanutten Resort, outside Harrisonburg. Saturday’s Stage 2 is a circuit road race over a 5.5 mile course at Natural Chimneys State Park, northwest of Staunton, and the race will conclude with Sunday’s Pro/Am (Men only) road race based around the City of Waynesboro, taking in a 70 mile loop that includes the climbs of Rockfish Gap and Reeds Gap.

Following the men's race Sunday, women will race a 25 mile criterium using the same 1.6 mile finishing circuit that finishes off the men's race. In 1992 and 1993, Massanutten Resort hosted race finishes in the Tour Du Pont. Other events will be included in the three days of racing, including a 25 mile 'fun ride' on Sunday open to the general public.

Cape Epic for 2004

The Cape Epic, according to organisers, will be a "magical and untamed African MTB race", kicking off on February 28th, 2004 on the Garden Route in Knysna, South Africa. The race will end eight days later on March 6 at the world famous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. The route will test professional and amateur mountain bikers and over more than 700 kilometres along the Western Cape and across some of the most magnificent passes in South Africa.

The event is a team stage race, with four different categories: Open Women, Open Men, Mixed and Master (the combined age greater than 80). Online registration for the race opens in June. Entries are limited to 250 teams.


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