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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for May 14, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

86th Giro d'Italia news

Stage 4 wrap up: McEwen at last

Robbie McEwen
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Fifth in stage 1, disqualified in stage 2, annoyed in stage 3, winner in stage 4. That's how Robbie McEwen's Giro d'Italia has progressed. Today he beat the in-form Maglia Rosa Alessandro Petacchi in the sprint finish in Vibo Valentia. There were no arguments about this win, as McEwen jumped off Petacchi's wheel with 30m to go to take the stage.

"This win is a late birthday present for Ewan, my son," a breathless McEwen told Belgian TV1 afterwards. "The stage itself was incredibly difficult and then there was that climb of 14 kilometres. I died ten times there. In the finale, I got a puncture, but luckily I got a wheel from Marichal immediately. It all went very smoothly and I could get back. I could see Cipo being pushed by his team mates but it didn't help him enough to make it to front again like I did. But I don't care about that now, even if he'd hung onto the car; I still won. The last kilometre I was in Petacchi's wheel. The finish line came quick but I just managed to win with an ultimate kangaroo jump."

McEwen is still smarting from his loss on Sunday in Matera. "I still think that I shouldn't have been disqualified on Sunday. I didn't even feel Baldato on my wheel at first. And yes I saw the images quite a few times afterwards, I realize I did close the door on him but it wasn't like it was closed completely, there was a narrow opening. And they say I put my elbow out, but that was just to keep my balance. Of course this win is great but the win on Sunday is a missed one. Now, I just have a nice photo from it."

McEwen made up for it in part in stage 3, as he tried to get away on the dangerous descent. According to Belgian TV1 commentator and national coach José De Cauwer, who spoke to the star sprinter after yesterday's stage, Robbie had the feeling that the whole peloton was riding against him on the descent.

"I wanted to attack earlier," Robbie told De Cauwer. "But when I wanted to pass all these riders during the descent, it was like one by one they moved over so I had trouble to go down much quicker."

"But I feel good and I know that there are more stages for me to win. I don't often say it, but I said about today that I was going to win and I did."

Stage 4 report and full results
Blow-by-blow report
Photo gallery

Spiral of drug use and addiction in Perpignan pot Belge case

Their lawyer advises two of the accused
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

It sounds more like the plot of an Irvine Welsh novel than anything to do with cycling, but some of the 25 accused in the Perpignan 'pot belge' case yesterday told of the spiral of drug use and addiction that resulted from initial discussion of using vitamin supplements, according to a report from news agency AP.

Twenty-five of the 26 accused were present on the first day of the case. The prosecution alleges they used and took part in the trafficking of a range of doping products including 'pot Belge' between 1997 and 2000 in the Pyrénées-Orientales and Rhône-Alpes areas.

Amateur rider Ghislain Marty, a member of the Elite 1 'reserves' club run alongside the Festina team at the time told the court, "Initially we thought of using vitamin supplements, then someone told us the same thing could be injected and from there you get into a spiral."

Other riders told how they were "initiated" with 'pots Belges' by a "godfather" - often an older rider - at post-race parties.

Legal huddle
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

"The pots Belges were fatal for me, I became a drug addict," said Jean-Paul Gauthier who continued to take the drug cocktails - which can contain cocaine, amphetamines, heroin and caffeine - even after retiring from cycling because he wanted to feel he was still part of the scene.

Not all the accused riders were so forthcoming and some questioned the claimed level of trafficking, pointing out that doping substances had been retained for personal use and "for fun."

Riders also confessed to obtaining and using EPO. "It was rather simple. You went to Andorra and even without a prescription, the pharmacists sold us EPO, without a problem," said one rider.

Among those giving testimony was Doctor Yves Faure, doctor of the Morel brothers, minor celebrities in the area. President of the court Sylvie Truches asked Dr Faure, "You knew you were dealing with high-level cyclists. Didn't it seem odd to you that they asked for blood tests every week?"

The evidence
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

"I am a general practitioner," replied Faure, "I don't know how EPO works... Throat infections, tendonitis - they had those and they need to be well looked after."

The French Cycling Federation is a civil partner in the case and is seeking one euro in symbolic damages from each of the riders involved. FFC lawyer Paul Mauriac said, "The theme of being caught up in the system is too easy. These boys need to take responsibility for their actions, otherwise the explosion of 1998 [the raids on Festina and others at the Tour] was for nothing."

Images by AFP

Peace Race woes for Saturn stars

By Kristy Scrymgeour

Saturn riders Nathan O'Neill and Tom Danielson have pulled out of the Peace Race due to stomach ailments. "We don't know exactly what it is," says Saturn's General Manager, Tom Schuler. "It could be food poisoning or an intestinal virus. They were having problems in the first two stages and they dropped out in the third."

"Both Nathan and Tom started their season in really strong form, and they have kept that form until now. Nathan, having come off the Australian summer, and Tom having taken regular trips down to New Mexico over the winter, went into Tour of Langkawi in great form. Maybe it's just catching up with them and their bodies are saying they need a rest."

"The other guys are riding well; they are all up there in the bunch. It sounds like a tough race."

O'Neill and Danielson will return from Europe to prepare for the next series of US races which include the Wachovia USPRO Championships in Philadelphia on June 8.

Tony Cruz becomes a father

Tony and Jody Cruz have announced the arrival into the world of their third child. Aidan Jackson Cruz was born on Mother's Day, May 11 at 10:56 am. He weighed 7lb, 6oz (3.35kg) and was 21 inches (53cm) long. Mom and baby are doing well, safe, and healthy.

Queensland criterium championships

The 2003 Queensland Criterium championships takes place this weekend at the Gold Coast Cycle Centre Criterium Circuits, 1 Hope Street, Nerang. Junior races are on Saturday and elites and masters Sunday, with the weekend culminating in the women's elite race at 1.45pm and the men's elite at 2.30 pm on Sunday afternoon.

Entries have closed, but the long-range forecast is for fine weather over the weekend, so how better to spend a post-ride weekend afternoon than by cheering on the racers in Queensland's top short-circuit event?

Return of the University Hill Criterium

Boulder, Colorado is one of the US's cycling meccas and May 25 sees the return to Boulder of the University Hill Criterium, an event with a history going back to the 70s. Last held in 1998, the University Hill criterium was a stage in the 1997 Red River Classic; this year's event was originally scheduled for April 6.

The day's racing - this year known as the Excel Sports University Hill Criterium - starts at 8:00 am with the Men Pro/1/2 race at 12:45 and the Women 1/2/3 at 2:10 at University Hill between Broadway at 11th Street in Boulder.

CTC aims to get adults back on bikes

UK cycling organisation CTC yesterday launched a new guide on how to set up and run cycle training schemes for adults and teenagers at its Cycle Training and Education Conference.

Over 200 delegates heard how many adults who cannot ride a bike or have lost confidence on today's roads can be encouraged to make cycling trips, while teenagers can pick up essential skills that will make them safe adult road users.

David Jamieson, the Minister for Road Safety welcomed the guide, saying, "We hope that this guidance will result in more teenagers and adults cycling and doing so in a more confident and safer manner."

Teams for Tour of Connecticut & Saturn Classic

Fourteen professional and four amateur teams will be on the starting line in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday May 16 for the three-day Tour of Connecticut, the scaled-up successor to the long-standing Housatonic Valley Classic.

Saturn heads the roster of entered teams, with Chris Horner and Eric Wohlberg the designated team leaders and Ivan Dominguez looking for sprint wins. Trent Klasna, winner of the first Housatonic Valley Classic, now the final stage of the Tour of Connecticut, is back and looking to recapture his 2001 form.

The 2002 Housatonic Valley Classic winner Vassilli Davidenko and top Canadian Mark Walters head the team Navigators effort. The men in blue have returned from a very successful three-month European campaign and are in form and looking to repeat their 2002 success in Connecticut.

Tour de France veteran Jonathon Vaughters will lead the Prime Alliance team, with support from former World U-23 Time Trial Champion Danny Pate and sprinter David Clinger.

Running alongside the Tour of Connecticut, the one-day Saturn Women's Classic will follow the same route as the final day of the men's race, tracing a 70 mile course from New Milford to Danbury, Connecticut on May 18, preceding the men's race by an hour.

The course for the women's race has been designed to World Cup specifications and the race is a candidate for World Cup status in 2004.

Men's professional teams: Navigators Cycling Team, Saturn Cycling Team, Prime Alliance, Atlas Cold Storage Italpasta (Canada), 7up ­ Maxxis, Schroeder Iron Pro Cycling, LeMond Fitness/Captain Cra-z Soap, OFOTO/Lombardi Sports, Webcore Cycling Team, Jittery Joes, Colavita-Bolla, West Virginia Pro Cycling,, HealthNet

Men's amateur teams: FiordifFrutta/Wheelworks, Team Snow Valley, GS Mengoni, T.E.A.M. Fuji

Women's Teams: Saturn Cycling Team, Diet Rite, Verizon Wireless ­ Cervelo, TEAM Fuji, Team Basis, Team Squiggle, CRCA, RONA-Esker, Team Snow Valley, Richard Sachs Women¹s Team, Vaniqa-Red 5 Racing, Colavita-Bolla Racing, IF/Wheelworks

Bici Imports-CSN-Rudy Project for Milk Ras

The Bici Imports-CSN-Rudy Project team has announced it line-up for the FBD Milk Ras (May 18 - 25). The team's top rider, Joe Miller is sidelined with a hand injury and the team will be led by former U.S. National team rider and nine-time Ras finisher Isaiah Adams.

The team will also include East coast cyclo-cross rider, Ryan Leech and Nick Kenwright. Kenwright, a British rider, showed impressive form by finishing 5th in this year's Tour of North.

Team roster

Isaiah Adams (USA)
Joe Alachoyan (USA)
Nick Kenwright (GBR)
Ryan Leech (USA)
Dan Plitman (USA)

Team Director: Chris Harnish
Assistant Director: Paul Kiernan
Mechanic: Joseph Taylor

Cyclingnews Giro fantasy game update

It's still not too late to enter the Cyclingnews Giro fantasy game, with registration still open until the end of stage 6 and before the start of stage 7 (May 16-17). So as not to be disadvantaged by entering late, and also to allow time to understand the game play, you will be able to pick your teams and still earn points retrospectively for each stage so far. Even if you entered the game early, you can go back and change your stage selections, or your initial 15 team members.

The rules of the game allow you to select one (or more) teams of 15 riders, from which you choose nine riders for each stage, as well as nine for the final overall mountains, points and general classifications. You have 9000 UCI points to 'spend' on your each of your 15 rider teams, so choose wisely!

As an example, the Cyclingnews team selected for the competition (taking full advantage of the rules!) is as follows: Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), Mario Cipollini and Gabriele Colombo (Domina Vacanze-Elitron), Bernhard Eisel (, Isaac Galvez Lopez and Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-SO.DI), Graziano Gasparre (De Nardi-Colpack), Rodolfo Massi (Colombia-Selle Italia), Robbie Mcewen (Lotto-Domo), Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno - Scanavino), Alessandro Petacchi and Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo), Gilberto Simoni (Team Saeco) and Scott Sunderland (Team fakta-Pata Chips).

Of course even if it scored enough points, the Cyclingnews team isn't allowed to win a Cannondale CAAD7 road frame or any of the other great prizes on offer. That's what you can win if you enter this week, and the game costs $7.50 to participate in. Payment is required only after stage 6 - it's free to enter up until then. Click here for further details.

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