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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for November 1, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Groenendaal not ready for the Belgians

This Saturday will mark the first round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden cyclo-cross series in Oudenaarde, Belgium, followed Sunday by the second round of the Superprestige series in Sint-Michielsgestel. While the weekend's racing could produce another showdown between Belgian champion Sven Nijs and world champion Bart Wellens, Dutchman Richard Groenendaal, another perennial favourite, says he needs more time to build his winter cycling form.

"Not yet," he said about his chances for this weekend's events. "I had problems with my knee during my preparation and at the beginning of the season, so it's still a bit early to think that I'm as strong as Wellens and Nijs. I rode well at Ruddervoorde and at Turin, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to take on the two Belgians."

Trofee Veldrijden (oudenaarde) start list:

Bart Wellens, Erwin Vervecken, Sven Nijs, Ben Berden, Tom Vannoppen, Arne Daelmans, Sven Vanthourenhout, Peter Van Santvliet, Wim Jacobs, Davy Commeyne, Tim Van Nuffel, Jan Verstraeten, Richard Groenendaal, Gerben de Knegt, Camiel van den Bergh, Petr Dlask, Vaclav Jezek, Matthew Ellis, Tadeusz Korzeniewski, Dariusz Gil, Isaac Suarez, Maxime Lefebvre, Jonathan Page, Christian Heule, Tommy Nielsen, Kim Petersen, Anders Hansen, Karsten Schäffer, Joachim Pardo

Superprestige (Sint-Michielsgestel) start list:

Bart Wellens, Ben Berden, Camiel van den Bergh, Marek Cichosz, Pawel Cierpikowski, Davy Commeyne, Arne Daelmans, Petr Dlask, Matthew Ellis, Dariusz Gil, Wilant van Gils, Richard Groenendaal, Christian Heule, Wim Jacobs, Vaclav Jezek, Gerben de Knegt, Tadeusz Korzeniewski, Maxime Lefebvre, Maarten Nijland, Sven Nys, Tom Vannoppen, Tim Van Nuffel, Jonathan Page, Peter Van Santvliet, Sven Vanthourenhout, Erwin Vervecken, Leon Brouwer, Sancho Hofman, Roel van Houtum, Jan-Albert Krans, Marco Luyten, Harry Ruiterkamp, Erik Verrijt, Micha de Vries, Thomas Hannöver, Sebastian Hannöver

Superprestige standings after 1 race:

1 Bart Wellens         30 Pts
2 Sven Nijs            25
3 Sven Vanthourenhout  21 

Bak and Johansen to Bankgiroloterij

Team fakta's Lars Bak and Allan Johansen have both signed contracts with the Dutch Bankgiroloterij Cycling Team for 2004. The Team fakta riders did not receive sufficient assurances from manager Peter Sejer, in the midst of negotiations to take several fakta riders and merge with the Italian Alessio team. Sejer is expected to take at least three riders from fakta, likely including Magnus Bäckstedt, Michael Skelde, and Scott Sunderland.

"Both Lars Bak and I have been offered a one year contract [with Bankgiroloterij]," Johansen told Danish newspaper BT. "I [had] agreed with Peter Sejer that I would call him before I sign, but the Dutch offer is better than the one I have had from Alessio."

Peter Sejer is expected to bring a group of smaller sponsors with him to Alessio to cover the salaries for several riders.

Joaquin Rodriguez to Saunier Duval

Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver, wearer of the gold jersey early in this year's Vuelta a España, will join the Saunier Duval team for 2004. Rodriguez, who this year finished his third season in the colours of ONCE, did not sign a contract to continue with Manolo Saiz and his new sponsor Liberty Seguros.

Along with Rodriguez, two more riders will join the Saunier Duval roster, reports the Spanish daily Marca. Domina Vacanze's Ruben Lobato will make the move, as well as Juan Gomis, who this year rode for the Portuguese Pecol team.

RAGT Closes roster

RAGT Semences, which in 2004 will take over sponsorship for the French Jean Delatour team, has finished its search for talent for the coming season. Seventeen riders will make up the RAGT squad, which will retain its Division I status despite the exodus of some of Jean Delatour's top riders. Among the final recruits for next year is 24 year Ukrainian Roman Luhovy, who will turn pro after a season with Saeco's espoirs team.

"Yuriy Krivtsov already talked to me about him, telling me [Luhovy] was faster than him in the sprints," team manager Jean-Luc Jonrond told l'Equipe. "Who knows, maybe Luhovy will be the revelation in our team next year."

Now that the team roster is set, except for the possible addition of neo-pro Nicolas Dulac next August, the search is on for a bike sponsor to replaceme Scott.

Guilbert leaves the pro ranks

Charles Guilbert has decided to drop out of the professional ranks after his contract with the Belgian Marlux team was not renewed for 2004. The Frenchman will return to the amateur ranks with the team for which he began his career, VC Rouen 76.

Longo has Athens on her mind

France's living legend Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli celebrated her 45th birthday Friday, and in true Longo style, included a training ride amidst the festivities. Longo has openly set the 2004 Olympics in Athens as a major objective, and is already training with the event in mind. She celebrated her birthday on the island of Martinique along with her husband/trainer Patrice Ciprelli.

Longo has one Olympic gold medal to her credit, at the Atlanta games in 1996 where she won the road race. She has also claimed silver at the Atlanta time trial, silver at the Barcelona (1992) road race, and bronze at the 2000 Sydney games in the time trial. To add another medal to her collection is not out of reach.

"I have the ability to do well in whatever I devote myself to," Longo said in an interview with Aujourd'hui/Le Parisien. "Physical capacity is not the most important thing, one can always develop that. On the other hand, without the right mental capacity or a good trainer, you can't do anything."

Longo most recently finished 6th in both the road race and time trial at the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada, narrowly missing the gold medal on the road after a late-race attack where she displayed some of her best form.

Maier to return for 2004 Tour prologue

Downhill skier Hermann Maier will return to the Tour de France for his second prologue appearance when the Grande Boucle kicks off in Liège, Belgium next July. Maier, who has trained extensively on the bike, rode the prologue course in Paris in 2003, and finished admirably. He has been invited back for an encore performance in 2004.

"I was only 1'18 slower than the winner Bradley McGee," Maier commented on the skiing website ski2b.com. "For me that was a perfectly good result, and it awakened my ambitions."

Growing TV audience for UCI events

The UCI World Mountain Bike Championships attracted nearly 10 million television viewers this season, an increase of 19% over last year. Eleven countries broadcast the World's, held in Lugano, Switzerland, with the greatest audience in Germany (2.9 million), followed by Spain, France, and Great Britain.

Similar success was enjoyed by the UCI's Track World Cup series, which was watched by more than 11 million viewers this season. Twenty one television networks broadcast the track events throughout 75 nations, and attendance was high at events in Moscow, Sydney, Cape Town, and Aguascalientes.

UCI Doping news

The UCI has announced that the following riders have been sanctioned for doping offenses:

Alberto Loddo: Sanctioned by the Italian Cycling Federation, disqualified from the 2003 Volta ao Algarve, suspended one month from April 13 to May 13, 2003, and fined 2,000 Swiss francs.

Enrico Cassani: Sanctioned by the Italian Cycling Federation, disqualified from the 2003 Tirreno-Adriatico and 2003 Milan-San Remo, suspended one year from July 11, 2003 to July 11, 2004, and fined 2,000 Swiss francs.

Giampaolo Caruso: Sanctioned by the Italian Cycling Federation, disqualified from the 2003 Tour Down Under, suspended six months from April 29 to October 29, 2003, and fined 2,000 Swiss francs.

Giairo Ermetti: Sanctioned by the Italian Cycling Federation, disqualified from the 2003 GP Palio del Recioto, suspended one month from July 30 to August 30, 2003, and fined 500 Swiss francs.

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