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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 8, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Vandenbroucke signs for Fassa Bortolo

The Italian Fassa Bortolo team announced Friday that Frank Vandenbroucke has signed a one year contract. Vandenbroucke parted amicably with Quick.Step-Davitamon manager Patrick Lefevere recently, which put him once more in the hunt for a new employer for 2004. Fassa Bortolo will count on the Belgian primarily for results in the northern classics. Italy isn't new territory for Vandenbroucke, having already ridden with Mapei and Lampre, although his appearances for the latter were few and far between.

"Fassa Bortolo was my first serious choice," Vandenbroucke told Belgian Radio 1 today. "The team is number one in the world rankings. Consequently I am very happy."

When asked if it was his "last chance", Vandenbroucke replied, "No, for years I've been getting so-called 'last chances'. First with Lampre, then with Domo, then Quick.Step... I always find a team. Fassa Bortolo offered me a contract for two years, but I wanted just one year. If it works with Giancarlo Ferretti then I can always extend my agreement."

Beloki growing impatient

Despite receiving assurances from Italy that "everything is going well," Joseba Beloki has yet to be given the green light to sign with the planned Stayer team for 2004. The former ONCE leader had expected the deal to be made formal on Wednesday, but as of Friday was still waiting by the fax machine.

"The Italians want us to come, but we've made it clear that until they have the bank guarantees we won't sign," Beloki told Marca, referring also to the other ONCE riders likely to join him next season.

"I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic," he added, noting that he still has offers from several other teams, although none within Spain.

Casero wants two years

Photo: © Cyclingnews

Angel Casero, linked with the Spanish Kelme-Costa Blanca team for 2004, says he will only sign with the team if he is offered a two year contract. Looking for a new employer after a stint with Teams Coast/Bianchi, the former Vuelta a España winner could, like his compatriot Joseba Beloki, look to Italy for employment. Casero said he would do just that unless Kelme's offer was for two seasons.

As for reports that he was being courted by Cofidis, Casero denied any contact with the French team. "This rumour must have been started by the newspaper Marca," he said in an interview with Levante. "I don't know where it came from, because [Cofidis] has never spoken to me."

Casero is eager to firm up his future plans within the next week. "I don't want the same thing to happen as when I won the Vuelta but was almost without a team at the end of the season," he explained. Casero won the Vuelta in 2001, the final year of the Festina team's sponsorship.

"I have a strong desire to return to a Spanish team," Casero said, "and all the better if it is the Kelme-Costa Blanca team from Valencia, my home region. I know for certain that I want a two year contract with the team. [Team manager Pepe Quiles] could reduce the value, but only if it's a two year contract. If they offer me one, I will have to drop the option."

Ullrich's plans congealing

A week after commencing cycling training near his home in Lake Constance, Switzerland, Jan Ullrich is starting to form plans for the rest of the off season and the early part of 2004. The German took time out of his program to fire the starting shot in the Six Days of Munich on Thursday night, where he also described his upcoming schedule.

"This year I have showed that when I decide [to train] alone or with my close circle of friends, then I ride well," Ullrich told DPA. In December he will do his own training camp either in Mallorca, South Africa or Nice, before joining his new T-Mobile team in Mallorca in January for a two week training camp. As far as major early season races next year, Ullrich intends to ride the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but the Giro d'Italia will only have a role "only in front of the television" according to Ullrich.

In his six week break from riding, Ullrich has gained five kilos, which he said is "completely normal...when you sit on a bike, you know what lies ahead of you."

Ullrich doesn't yet know what role his confidant Rudy Pevenage will play next year, as the Belgian does not have a place in the T-Mobile team. "It looks like that he will accompany me," said Ullrich. "Exactly how I don't know yet.

Finally, Ullrich commented on the problems he is having with his former employer Bianchi, which has not paid him since August. "There are still difficulties," said Ullrich. "I hope that they will be solved in the near future."

Giro presentation Saturday

Saturday, November 8 marks the unveiling of the 87th Giro d'Italia November 8. The annual presentation of the Giro parcours will take place in Milan's Gustav Mahler auditorium. The race is scheduled from May 8-30, 2004, beginning with a prologue time trial in Genova, designated a European City of Culture for 2004, and concluding in Milan.

The three men who made the podium in 2003, Gilberto Simoni, Stefano Garzelli, and Yaroslav Popovych, are all expected to attend the presentation. Cyclingnews will also be there will full coverage from Milan.

T-Mobile women set for 2004

The T-Mobile Professional Cycling Team has confirmed its roster for the 2004 season, announcing the return of eleven members from the 2003 squad and one new addition. The team has an unprecedented possibility of qualifying riders for the 2004 Olympic Games in each of cycling’s three disciplines: mountain, road, and track.

"The group of women we have on board heading into an Olympic year gives us the right mix of talent, experience, and leadership we need to meet our goals," says team director Jim Miller. "The eleven riders that we are bringing back plus the addition of Lynn [Gaggioli] certainly provides us with a solid foundation for continued success. Simply put, we’re looking forward to a tremendous season ahead."

For 2004 the team will focus on two major goals: the Olympic Games and the World Championships. 

With an eye on the Olympic Games in Athens next August, Chris Witty and Tanya Lindenmuth represent T-Mobile’s hope on the track. On the road, three-time defending U.S. national time trial champion Kimberly Bruckner is poised for a return to racing after successful surgery to remove a cancerous soft tissue tumor which cut her 2003 season short. Kim Anderson, who split her time between road and mountain biking last year, will again focus her efforts on both events as she has a legitimate opportunity to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in either discipline. 

T-Mobile's 2004 roster:

Kim Anderson
Kristin Armstrong
Dede Barry
Kimberly Bruckner
Dotsie Cowden
Lynn Gaggioli
Mari Holden
Lara Kroepsch
Tanya Lindenmuth
Amber Neben
Stacey Peters
Chris Witty

Saeco prepares for 2004

After a successful 2003 season, Team Saeco is already preparing for next year, with a series of training camps being scheduled in the next few months. The team will meet for the first time on November 25 in Coccaglio near Brescia for three days to examine the equipment for next year. Then after the medical tests in Varese on December 15, the team will travel to Riccione on the Adriatic coast between December 16-18 to plan the team's race program for 2004.

The traditional training camp in Terracina south of Rome will be in two distinct phases: From January 21 to 28 for the riders who will ride the Tour of Qatar (Including Dario Pieri and Salvatore Commesso), and then from January 28 to February 7 for Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca and the rest of the team.

Milkowski to Rona

US cyclist Anna Milkowski has been confirmed as riding for the Canadian Rona team next season, joining recent signing, Australian Helen Kelly there.

Zijlaard-Van Moorsel opens eating disorder centre

Dutch cycling legend Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel will open a halfway house for eating disorders in Zutphen, The Netherlands on November 12. Zijlaard-Van Moorsel suffered from anorexia early in her career, but conquered it to come back and win three Olympic Gold Medals as well as breaking the women's Hour Record.

The house, which is run by volunteer organisation Ziezozelfhulp, will give people with eating disorders the opportunity to come in for company and education, teaching people how to cook properly, not eat too many snacks but not feel guilty about eating sweets or chocolate.

In related news, earlier this week French Cycling Federation doctor Arnaud Mégret claimed that 30 percent of elite women and 10 percent of elite men cyclists in France showed some signs of disordered eating.

Velo Bella's Christine Vardaros injured

Velo Bella-Sally Spicer cyclo-cross rider Christine Vardaros fractured her leg in a crash at the November 2nd Clif Bar/ECV Cyclo-Cross in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The fracture does not appear complicated and if the healing progresses normally, she may return to international competition for the last few weeks of the season.

"It's disappointing, especially since my form was finally starting to kick in, but I'm already looking forward to next year and the possibility of doing some road racing in Europe this spring," Vardaros said.

Velo Bella will this year support a large team of regional cyclo-cross racers, the majority of whom are racing in the northern California, mid-Atlantic, and Georgia areas. The team plans to send a group of masters, juniors and developing elite riders to Nationals in Portland.

USA Cycling announces online membership

USA Cycling has announced its new online membership services which will become effective from Monday, November 10, 2003 at 10:00am EST. The new system will give USAC members the ability to buy and renew their licenses online at

The online project will be rolled out in three phases, the first of which starts Monday. In addition to buying and renewing licences, the first phase will allow members the opportunity to request upgrades and update their rider profile as well as request United Airlines bike vouchers. USAC claims that the efficiency of the system will mean that licenses will be posted to members no later than 48 hours after an online purchase. Also, immediately following a transaction, members can instantly print an "authorization to ride" form as proof of purchase that can be used in lieu of an actual license as evidence of eligibility.

Phase two will provide a results and rankings feature as well as online event permitting for promoters, while phase three allows for members to create an online race résumé and results history.

Symmetrics Cycling for 2004

British Columbia's Symmetrics Cycling Team has announced its roster for 2004. The newly-configured team is scheduled to compete in seven USA NRC races, the Canadian National Championships, BC Superweek (Tour de Gastown, Tour de Delta and Tour de Whiterock) and Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce. In addition, the team will compete in all of the other top events staged in the Pacific Northwest.

As part of its fund-raising component, Symmetrics Cycling raised more than $72,000 in pledges toward its Cyclists for Charity Program, which raises money for the BC Special Olympics organisation.

2004 Team roster:

Scott Goguen, Min Van Velzen, Brad Issel, Matt Usborne, Marsh Cooper, Will Routley, Fred Hodgson, Cameron Evans, Andrew Pinfold, Dylan Sebel.

Team manager: Jeremy Storie

Tour du Ghana cancelled

The Tour du Ghana, which was to take place between November 16-22, has been cancelled due to financial problems. Sporpub, the promoters of the African country's biggest race, are working with the Ghana Cycling Association to come up with more funding and a possible rescheduling of the race. The Tour du Ghana was due to start in Tamale and finish in Accra.

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